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Watch the incredible two shots that got Matt Jones into the Masters

By Alex Myers

Johnny Miller dubbed them the two best shots of 2014. They're certainly the two most memorable shots of Matt Jones' career.

Related: Our favorite Johnny Millerisms

First, Jones holed a difficult 46-foot putt for birdie on the final hole of regulation:

Miller called that a "one in 100" putt. Then playing No. 18 again in a playoff against Matt Kuchar, Jones holed a one in a thousand chip to win the Shell Houston Open and punch a last-minute ticket to the Masters:

And how about Miller and Dan Hicks describing the action on NBC?

Miller: "The secret is here where do you leave this shot . . . that looks good. Maybe you leave it in the hole!"

Hicks: "Maybe you do!"

We're declaring that the best call of 2014.

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Instruction

Make The Turn Challenge #3: Start Your Engines

By Jeff Ritter

One of the biggest differences between recreational players and the pros is the ability professionals have to exhibit a higher level of control over their golf swings. This control is not only a component of the mechanics associated with producing various shot shapes, but also the speed at which each swing is made.

jeff-ritter-start-your-engines-518.jpgThis “Start Your Engines” challenge comes from a drill Davis Love Jr. taught Davis Love III back when he was developing as a player. To create a higher level of awareness for sequencing and rhythm, Davis was directed to make “Full Swings” with his driver hitting the ball only a short distance. He would then gradually increase pace extending the carry until he was swinging at full capacity, achieving max speed and distance.

Years after learning of this practice, I was watching Davis play in the J.C. Penney Classic. Faced with a shot of 200 yards over trees to the green, Davis told his caddie, “Give me the club that will get me over the trees and I’ll get it there.” If my memory serves me correctly, he hit a towering 7-iron 200 yards to pin high. Seeing his thought process in action, I couldn’t help but think that his training in developing the skill to gear up or down aided his ability to pull off that shot.

Tour players are rarely playing at full speed. Instead they have a zone which allows them to exhibit their best rhythm, while producing a reasonable combination of distance and accuracy. They have a high level of body awareness and can adjust speed or movement to meet any situation. Recreational golfers, however, always seem to be locked in at full throttle, possessing relatively low body awareness and a constant "go for broke" mentality.

As it relates to learning or making a swing change, pace is critical. If you’re always operating at full speed it’s tough to have an awareness for how you’re moving. Just like listening to a radio with bad reception, the static makes it difficult to hear the music. This “Start Your Engines” drill is all about training yourself to swing through different gears as means of building awareness and rhythm. The awareness that allows you to develop a better golf swing and the rhythm that delivers the pace that allows you to consistently hit your best golf shots.

Demonstrate that you have the patience to master this swing speed challenge and you’ll be one step closer to separating yourself from the competition.


Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf.


 

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News & Tours

Underrated moments in golf history: Sergio Garcia climbs a tree to hit a one-handed shot

By Alex Myers

Most golf fans remember Tiger Woods won for the eighth time at Bay Hill in 2013. Yada yada, been there, done that. But what happened for a first time at the same tournament? Sergio Garcia climbed a tree to hit a one-handed backward shot.

Related: When a Woods "walk-off" performance at Bay Hill meant something else

At least, we think it's the first time Garcia has attempted such a shot when he scaled a tree on the 10th hole during Sunday's final round to get to his ball. After toying with the idea of hitting a shot between his legs -- never a good idea -- Garcia got settled and pulled it off perfectly:

What a moment! After hacking his ball back to the fairway, Garcia went on to make an incredible par bogey double bogey on the hole and salvage a top 10 top 25 withdrawal two holes later.

Related: Counting down the top 25 viral videos of the year

OK, so the story could have had a happier ending (Garcia didn't even flash a smile after his athletic dismount) and it's not even Garcia's most memorable shot involving a tree. That, of course, came at the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah. But it's still pretty memorable. We just wonder why he put so much effort into it only to walk off the course shortly after.

Sadly, Garcia isn't in the field at Bay Hill this week to celebrate the one-year anniversary of a shot that went viral. To any player who is, good luck trying to top it.

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News & Tours

9 fascinating GIFs of Ben Crane doing strange things

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

As part of our brand new video channel, Golf Digest and Conde Nast Entertainment paired with Ben Crane to produce a series of soon-to-be released videos, "#GolfSecrets with Ben Crane." The trailer was released on Wednesday, and it featured Ben Crane in his signature helmet, goggles and red jumpsuit doing some rather interesting things. . .

Related: 13 Strangely Mesmerizing Golf Action GIFs

Like when he looked strangely satisfied with the sunshine.

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Or the time he was slightly creepy.

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We feel for you, man.

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He had this way of making normal words sound really intense.

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And slightly scary.

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But not everything he said was normal.

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After all that, he found time to beat-up a pool noodle.

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And show off his mad skills.

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And, of course, dance like some kind of angry chicken.

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Here's the full video:

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News & Tours

When a "walk-off" performance meant something else for Tiger Woods

By Alex Myers

A bad back has dominated any Tiger Woods talk of late, but a "walk-off" performance used to refer to something much different than a WD for TW. Woods' clutch play throughout his career has produced numerous "walk-off" winning putts on the final hole, and nowhere has he pulled that off more than at Bay Hill.

Related: Does Tiger WD at an unusually high rate?

Woods pulled out of this year's Arnold Palmer Invitational, but those memories remain. Let's take a look, um, back.

In 2001, Woods arrived at Bay Hill in a bit of a "slump" despite having won the final three majors the previous season. He was (gasp!) winless in his first five events before arriving at Bay Hill (remember the days he used to play five events before Bay Hill?), but got on a roll that included him capping the Tiger Slam at the Masters a month later.

At Bay Hill, Woods found himself in a tie with Phil Mickelson -- they were the top two players in the world rankings at the time -- on the final hole of regulation and after a wild drive left, he hit an incredible approach shot to about 10 feet. He converted the birdie putt (:43 mark of the video) for a dramatic win, gave a huge fist pump, and celebrated with then caddie Steve Williams. Note: This will be a recurring scenario.

Fans had to wait all of seven years to see a similar finish. Woods won this event two other times in between, but he did so by a combined 15 shots. In 2008, the difference was Woods was in search of a fifth straight win. Oh, and this time it was a 25-footer and he was battling journeyman Bart Bryant instead of the No. 2 golfer in the world. Woods doesn't discriminate when it comes to his on-course victims.

"Only perfect. That's all that putt was," NBC analyst Johnny Miller said. Of course, Woods would win that year's U.S. Open and then miss the rest of the season after having surgery on his left knee. We don't think the injury stemmed from his violent cap throw celebration.

Related: Our favorite go-to sayings for Tiger Woods

When Woods returned to Arnie's event the following year, he was still looking for proof that he could return to the player he was before the surgery. With Woods tied with Sean O'Hair on the final hole, Miller and Dan Hicks set the stage as if they knew what was going to happen next.

"He's got that beautiful cut shot, that he can aim it at the stands there and work it to the hole. And we know he can make that putt," Miller said. Good call:

"Again! At Bay Hill! On the 72nd hole!" Hicks exlaimed. "That's the way to get back into the winner's circle, isn't it?"

Related: A collection of our favorite Johnny Millerisms

"The guy is absolutely out of this world," Miller added.

This year, Woods is just out of another tournament. He won't be around to author another "walk-off" putt this weekend, but you can bet that won't stop NBC from taking a stroll down memory lane.

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News & Tours

A golf ball through a beer bottle caps what might be the greatest trick shot video ever

By Alex Myers

The dudes in Dude Perfect, a YouTube trick shot group that also created a hysterical golf stereotypes video, have topped themselves once again. This time, the five guys pull off nine consecutive trick shots involving five different sports in one unedited clip.

Related: You'll watch this two-man golf trick shot over and over again

The ninth and final trick involves one of the guys hitting a golf ball through a beer bottle being held by another member some 20 yards away. We'll let you judge if it's all real or not, but it sure looks impressive. Oh yeah, don't try this at home. . . 

(h/t SB Nation)

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News & Tours

You'll want to watch this incredible two-man golf trick shot over and over again

By Alex Myers

We don't know anything about these two guys -- other than they've created the latest golf trick shot video to go viral. Uploaded to YouTube just two weeks ago, the clip already has nearly 600,000 views.

Related: Meet Chip Hoch, golf's newest trick shot artist

In theory, it's quite simple, but golfers know the timing required is incredibly difficult. Guy No. 1 chips/passes a golf ball from behind to Guy No. 2 at a driving range. Guy No. 2 crushes it forward out of the air and exclaims, "Oh, my gosh." Guy No. 1 then turns to the camera and says, "That was cool." Yes, yes, it was. We're sure you'll agree:

)

(h/t Gizmodo)

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News & Tours

Tiger Woods finally smiles at Doral and all it took was him holing a 92-foot putt

By Alex Myers

OK, so it wasn't a full 92 feet. We rounded up from 91 feet, seven inches. Hope you don't mind.

Related: Phil Mickelson is having a bad day. Here's the photo to prove it.

Trump National Doral's new Blue Course has played extremely tough so far this week, but Tiger Woods managed to snake this long birdie putt in on the par-3 fourth hole for a rare highlight. Check it out:

The improbable make drew an even rarer smile from the World No. 1, who finished a first-round 76 Friday morning and shot 73 in the afternoon.

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News & Tours

Underrated moments in golf history: Phil Mickelson turns a post-round TV interview into an instructional video

By Alex Myers

Leave it to Phil Mickelson to make a replay of a spectacular shot even better than the shot itself.

Related: 15 signs you're watching too much golf on TV

At the 2013 WGC-Cadillac Championship, Mickelson found his ball resting on a cartpath by the 17th green at Trump National Doral. What would Phil do next? Play the ball as it lies and get up-and-down for a birdie. Of course. What would Phil do after that? Turn his post-round interview on Golf Channel into an instructional video on hitting such shots. Of course.

"Pause it one second, Tommy, if you can," Mickelson said as he seriously tried to explain how to pull off that shot to TV viewers. Classic.

So to review, here are Phil's two main tips for hitting a pitch shot off a cart path:

1. Don't open the clubface. (Phil says "you'd have to be an idiot" to do that.)
2. Anticipate the ball "coming out five yards longer than normal."

Got it? Good. Now go out there and scuff up your wedges!

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News & Tours

Grantland's new mini-documentary on putt-putt is really good

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

We highly doubt Grantland's newest mini-documentary on putt-putt will invoke the same controversy as another recent golf article, "Dr. V's Magical Putter" (which they later apologized for), but credit to them, because it's very well done.

Related: A speed read of Grantland's article: 'Dr. V's Magical Putter'

We won't ruin the ending for you, but you might be able to extract the gist of the story from the synopsis: there have only been three perfect putt-putt rounds in history, one of them at the 2011 Professional Putters Association Tournament in Richmond, Virginia. Enter Rick Baird, the subject of the documentary who just happens to be talking about that event. . .

You get the idea. And even if you do already know the ending, it really is worth watching:



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