(Yani Tseng is so money. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.)
The most dominant golfer in the world currently resides on the LPGA Tour, and Yani Tseng's remarkable run through the early stages of 2012 has the history writers reaching for their erasers seemingly every week. With three wins through five tournaments already (she placed fifth and eighth in the two she didn't win), Tseng is well on her way towards a third straight LPGA Player of the Year title and only four points shy of qualifying for the Hall of Fame -- which she can narrow down to two with a victory at this week's Kraft Nabisco Championship. And at age 23, she has over two years to break Kerri Webb's record as the youngest ever to qualify for the LPGA HoF.
Considering the way she's playing, it's almost a given Tseng will reach that by summer, so I've decided to put together a list of the five defining moments that have brought her to the brink of an already Hall of Fame career. With all of the talk about who is the best player on the PGA Tour, there's no question who the No. 1 golfer in the world is.
Yani Tseng's Top Five Career-Defining Moments (So Far):
5. Yani Tseng, at age 15, beats Michelle Wie in the final of the 2004 U.S. Women's Pub Links.
Tseng's "coming out" party, the young amateur took down the defending American star on her own turf. The 15-year-old made it clear she meant business, saying afterward, "I'm really not intimidated by Michelle. I look at myself as a long hitter too. My friends who happened to also play in this tournament watched Michelle play and they told me, 'You're going to do fine and you're just as good.' "
I just played a round of golf yesterday with a colleague who is also an inspiration. He's 11 years older than I am, yet he hits the ball every bit as far as I do and often hits it past me. I've been playing with this older whippersnapper for more than two decades, and I can't recall ever hitting it by him on a regular basis.
"Why is that?" I found myself muttering under my breath after another one of Bob's drives airmailed one of my best hits. The answer is, he swings with abandon. And usually it goes straight down the middle, as Bing Crosby would have crooned.
Then I was reading about young Keegan Bradley for an upcoming article in Golf Digest. At a rail-thin 180 pounds (same weight as me) he averages 299.2 yards off the tee. How can this be?
Then I watched Fred Couples win another Champions Tour event last weekend, where he made that effortless-looking, smooth backswing, looped the club on an inside path, and powdered his drive on the last hole straight down the middle, 290. Of course, he birdied the hole and captured the tournament by a stroke. He could actually be a contender at Augusta this week.
So what gives? What's their secret to obscenely long drives? I know that while the backswing is important, it's the through swing that gives you distance. As teacher Tim Mahoney once told me, "You don't hit the ball with your backswing."
But there must be more to it than that.
So I asked Jim McLean, Bradley's teacher who also coaches LPGA long-hitting phenom Lexi Thompson, for his insight. He says the key is to get your hips to line up under the shoulders (McLean calls this getting stacked). Then from this coiled position, swing the club through the ball--not to it--swinging with abandon. Bradley looks as if he's swinging about as hard as he can. But he stays in balance on the backswing (remember, coiled at the top), all the way to his finish, which McLean tells him to hold for at least two seconds, every time.
As Julius Boros used to say (and even wrote an entire book by the same title): "Swing Easy, Hit Hard." Especially when you're under pressure, try these keys. Not only will you hit the ball farther, you'll probably hit it straighter, and have a lot more funl.
Good luck with your game this weekend. And remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.
Roger Schiffman Managing Editor Golf Digest ... Read
As he begins play today at the U.S. Intercollegiate at Stanford GC, San Diego State senior J.J. Spaun is riding a three-tournament winning streak and has become a dark-horse candidate for national player of the year honors. The 21-year-old from San Dimas, Calif., has played in eight events during the 2011-12 season, posting four top-three finishes, five top-10s, just one showing outside the top-12 and a 70.63 stroke average.
Does he deserve POY consideration? Listen to the podcast and you be the judge.
Our increasingly-popular contest, allowing you to help us write Golf
World's weekly "Front 9" magazine feature, is back. Your name could appear in the game's No. 1 newsweekly.
Inspired by The New Yorker's cartoon-caption writing contest, Golf
World is featuring the "Front 9 Punchline Contest" in every issue.
Here's how it works: Every Sunday morning, Golf World's editors will
post a Front 9 setup line to our magazine's Facebook page. We'll give you until 3 p.m. on Monday to enter your best punchline to that setup.
(An example from a recent Front 9: Luke Donald wins the Transitions Championship in sudden death, and retakes golf's No. 1 ranking from Rory McIlroy.")
Next step: Getting these guys to do their battle in the same tournament, instead of a computer program.)
Golf World editors will then select the winning entry, which will
appear (along with the writer's name and hometown) in that week's issue
of Golf World. In addition to having their entry published in the
magazine, winners will receive an official Golf World logo hat.
Hey, even if you don't have the best one, your creativity won't go
unnoticed. We'll give you a shout out on our Editors' Blog: We've gotten
too many quality responses to not acknowledge some of the best.
Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske,
Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction
Blog. This week he speaks with Sean Foley, who coaches Justin Rose,
Hunter Mahan and, of course, Tiger Woods. So much of a good golf swing
is about footwork and balance, says Foley.
Look for Weekend Tip
remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman.
Here's Ron: Since I debuted my original 20-in-20 workout last May (see below for the original beginner and advanced versions), many of you have asked for an even more advanced version.
Well the time has come, and over the next five weeks I'll roll out two exercises per week until you have the complete new 20-in-20 workout. In addition, I will also give you four bonus exercises you can supplement to add some spice to your routine. I compiled this workout after several conversations with top fitness experts, including Ben Shear, Kai Fusser, Randy Myers, Craig Davies, Chris Noss, Greg Rose, Ralph Simpson, Mark Verstegen, Mike Boyle, Gray Cook and Alwyn Cosgrove.
These exercises are designed to improve your golf swing by training all the major muscles involved. They also will help prevent injuries when you play by eliminating asymmetries in your muscle development. They will improve your strength, flexibility and also help you lose weight.
Not familiar with the 20-in-20? In short, it was borne out of the idea that you don't need to spend an hour or more in the gym to get a good workout. Rather than spend 30 minutes on a treadmill and then go lift weights, you can combine your strength training and cardio training into one speed circuit. You'll be doing two sets of 10 different exercises in 20 minutes. You can take short breaks between sets, but the clock is ticking.
Studies have proven that strength training is more effective than steady-state cardio in raising metabolism and burning calories. And studies also have shown that the majority of people stop working out within two months of starting simply because they burn out from spending too much time in the gym.
Now you don't have to. So if you're ready for a great golf workout, click on the video below to watch me introduce the new 20-in-20 and give you the first two exercises. Until you have the full circuit, you can implement these into the advanced version of the 20-in-20 from last year. That workout, as well as the original beginner version, is listed below.
If you've seen some of the video clips promoting the Back9 Network, a startup channel covering golf and "the golf lifestyle," you might be surprised to hear what founder Jamie Bosworth says about the typical programming he has in mind.
"People thought we were going to be pretty outrageous," says Bosworth, "but it's going to be much more down-the-middle" than some of the network's promotional material might have you believe. Clips like the one below from the PGA Merchandise Show, with its thumping disco beat and "we rock all day, we rock all night!" attitude, were designed to attract attention, not necessarily reflect what the network will look like.
Make no mistake: Bosworth does want the Connecticut-based Back9 Network to be different...but it still has to appeal to golfers, after all. The magazine Golf Punk published in the U.K. until it folded two years ago, serves as both an inspiration and a warning for Bosworth. "It was very well done," he says. "The problem was, it was a little too narrow. It was just for younger, hipper golfers, and we are not that. We're for everyone."
This is not a new story to Martha Burk. But she's hopeful for a new
A Bloomberg article on Wednesday revealed a predicament for Augusta
National Golf Club because of IBM's new CEO, Ginni Rometty. In the past,
CEOs of the Masters' top three sponsors, IBM, AT&T and Exxon, have all
received membership invitations from Augusta National. The club has
never had a female member in its 80-plus year history, which prompted a
series of protests led by Burk, a women's rights advocate, in 2003.
When Burk heard the news
about Rometty, particularly that neither Augusta nor IBM commented on
the situation, she felt it was a mistake and an opportunity lost.
"They should say they no longer participate [in sponsoring the
Masters]," Burk told Golfdigest.com late Wednesday, speaking from a hotel room in
Washington D.C. Augusta National's male-only membership "is an archaic
policy that does not agree with their company's values. The board of
directors has a responsibility here too. The board needs to distance the
company from this club. But they've had that responsibility for the past
nine years, and they haven't done anything about it.
"So if they don't do anything, that is a sign of disrespect for
their new CEO."
Photo: Burk photographed in Washington D.C., in 2002. Mannie Garcia/Getty Images
Augusta National's media relations director, Steve Ethun, declined
to comment for the Bloomberg News story. Its chairman, Billy Payne, has
said there's no timetable in place for when its all-male membership
policy might change.
Burk's protests outside Augusta National in 2003 generated headlines
around the world but didn't lead to any significant change. Now Burk
would like to see Rometty take a stand on the issue, too. "Female CEOs
are rare, and it's very hard for her to get where they get," Burk said.
"They are subject to a huge amount of peer pressure. They have to
conform to the norms or they don't get to where they get. So it's
interesting to see how strong she is."
THE FAB FIVE My look at the top five teams in the country right now
1. Texas (Last week: 1)
If baseball has the dog days of August, then these are the dog days of college golf, at least for the Longhorns, who have two more tournaments after their start this weekend in Augusta before the Big 12 Championship. On the plus side, they've got plenty of time to sharpen things for the postseason. On the minus side, they've got plenty of time to lose some confidence. Says here, John Fields will have them doing more of the former. Next event: Insperity Augusta State Invitational, Forest Hills GC, Augusta, Ga., March 31-April 1
Ron Burgundy is back! Will Ferrell made the announcement on Conan last night that a reprise of his hit comedy Anchorman is in the works, and like most people with a sense of humor, we're excited. And like most people who subscribe to some form of social networking, I'm going to use his trending status as a cheap excuse to offer up some classic Ferrell golf moments, including his best Tiger and Phil impersonations. The comedian is not only an avid golfer, he's a humanitarian through the sport, hosting his own Will Powered Golf Classic to raise money for Cancer For College. While many amateur golfers have a dream of one day playing alongside a tour professional, I like to picture myself cracking Old Milwaukee's with Ferrell, laughing and cajoling our way through 18. After all, golf is a gentleman's game, so what better way to keep it classy?
HUMBLE, Texas -- Fred Couples is cool. Not news. Fred Couples is intimidating. Now there's a surprise.
On the eve of the Shell Houston Open -- a day when the reigning Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell found time to visit with the press -- the apparently threatening aura emitted by the now-former Presidents Cup captain so cowed PGA Tour officials that they were reportedly "afraid" to ask him to make the two-minute trip from clubhouse to media center. So it was that Couples fulfilled one of the most important aspects of his job as a professional golfer standing rather incongruously in the middle of range at the Redstone Golf Club.
The strange thing was, he didn't look or sound either frightening or aggressive. He was, as ever, just Fred -- calm, friendly, charming and clearly perfectly happy to be back in the city where he played his college golf. What can those tour personnel have been thinking? Is one of golf's nicest people really possessed of a split personality?