With the excitement surrounding "the new and improved" John Daly's return to the PGA Tour and the buzz encircling 2008 Rolex Rookie of the Year Yani Tseng's win at the Corning Classic with an upcoming second major try at the McDonalds LPGA Championship, golfers are getting out onto the course in droves attempting to mimic the shots of the professionals.
More often than not, amateurs are stepping to the back tees and seeing more of the golf course than need be, and this usually refers to the men! Does this sound like you, Mr. Macho? Whereas women, in my opinion, are inclined to play a game of accuracy, men have a tendency to ignore course and slope ratings in favor of the thrill of "tipping it out" with a similar level of ability as from a more forward position.
But, is it such a terrible affair to try your luck from the tips, not worrying so much about which teebox suits your skill level or will it help improve your game in the long run?
If your tee shots are shorter than your opponents, you may not be able to "drive for show" and you may be forced to use longer clubs on your approach to the green. The inability to outdrive your competitor may actually creep into your mental game, psyching you out and forcing you to question your ability.
Commenters on the Golf Channel's discussion boards agree that ego plays a large part in the game of golf. Problems that ensue include overswinging as well making bad course management decisions.
As one analogy stated, "If you were a beginner or intermediate skier would you ski down a double black diamond run? Unlikely.
Most recently I have been placed into the position of playing from the "whites" or men's tees (in many cases) and found that the game changes enormously as you step back. After several attempts of struggling with my long game and mainly woods, I moved forward to the ladies tees and the result was definitive! I actually found myself more self-assured, with my entire game cooperating from tee to green.
I can't hit a golf ball 295 yards just short of the green like Michelle Wie does so my ego is put on hold by keeping home plate at the senior tees!
This week, Golf for Beginners focuses on fun and easy golf exercises to improve core strength and flexibility so that, when you do get out to the course, you will be the Tiger on the tee!
Another Sunday another myriad of mishaps, this time at the Sybase Classic. Just chalk it up to more experience for Michelle Wie. With the press and fans clamoring for a win, all MW can do at this point is to offer up hope that, one day, things will be different, that one day she will break through barriers and the world will rejoice.
"I'm trying my hardest out there. Most importantly, I'm having fun," claimed Wie, knowing that she once again had to defend her fragile ego as computer keyboards eagerly clicked out another story similar to the last.
At Golf.com, waiting for Wie to "just do it", writer Michael Walker Jr. was forced to wax creative, coming up with a comparison between Wie and pre-Masters winner Phil Mickelson. Where a correlation can be made between any two likely suspects, Walker mentions that both golfers are "massively talented, adored by fans while generating mixed feelings among fellow pros (and) capable of an amazing, tell-your-friends-about-it birdie or a what-was-she-thinking bogey on virtually every hole."
Phil Politi added in the Star Ledger that both Wie and Mickelson "thrill and disappoint all at the same time."
Flip-flop feelings of highs and lows, ups and downs, of coming close yet falling short is what makes fans observe both golfers in spite of what is to come. We will groan, we will probably shout at the television, "come on, even I could have dropped that putt" but we will watch hoping for a miracle shot and for the day that Michelle Wie wins an event. She will win, it is just a matter of time.
One difference between the two which separates us from Michelle but makes us feel for Mickelson is that Phil resembles "everyman", the guy that is just like us, the underdog struggling for a win, a regular Joe.
Perhaps fans feel a bit of distance from Michelle because of the way she attained fortune and sponsorships without ever having won an event. Her professional etiquette is also still lacking as it was noted that Wie still walks off of the green before the final putt of her competitors has been holed out. Mickelson proved himself early on at the Northern Trust Open, one of only four golfers ever to win as an amateur and always provides a professional demeanor. We're still waiting for Michelle to lift a trophy and hope that she will gain propriety as well.
Eagerly watched by fans, disliked by fellow golfers, both players have helped their respective tours gain and retain an audience. LPGA players were angry that Wie preferred the PGA Tour to the LPGA and, according to GQ Magazine, Mickelson was considered one of the Ten Most Hated Athletes with fellow golfers nicknaming him "FIGJAM".
Love them or hate them, if it were not for "flip-flops" there would only be fairways and greens with no struggle needed to achieve greatness. Michelle Wie is now earning valuable points towards joining the prestigious Solheim Cup team and Mickelson is working out the kinks for the upcoming Colonial. If they both succeed, we will applaud; fail and the tabloids, internet and fans will have something more to talk about!
This week's Golf for Beginners offers advice from Phil Mickelson on the flop shot. The video below was chosen to show Lefty's ingeniuty and the ability to think outside the box.
Also discussed is the importance of National Golf Day and what you can do to bring it about. Golfblogger.com helps us to identify poisonous plants so that we don't have to add Calomine lotion to our shopping lists!
PGA Tour title sponsor negotiations are in high gear as a number of agreements will expire in 2010. With a current bailout of six mainstays and a weakened economy looming, options are dwindling despite the aggressive efforts of Tim Finchem.
Crowne Plaza is the most recent sponsor to jump ship two years before its scheduled exit date and takes along with it seven million dollars in endorsement and media commitments. FBR and Ginn are two additional casualties leaving Tim Finchem to bemoan, "We've obviously had, and are having, some bumps in the road."
Temporary declines in attendance also hurt the tour and were to some degree caused by the 2008 absence of Tiger Woods but, since his return, that ship has righted itself.
There are also corporations eager to extend the life of their sponsorship deals as well as new deals on the horizon, forcing Commissioner Finchem to think outside the box when considering any and all offers.
New ideas to help soften a hard-hit Tour? Introduce hard liquor and casinos as sponsors, once thought of as the bane to a sophisticated American way of life.
In my opinion, allowing spirit sponsorships can add a whole new host of problems although the PGA Tour has been loosening up a bit knowing that estimates run as high as fifty million dollars for the Tour if they just change the rules to allow it. But if you amend the rules, accept any and all penalties because of it.
How would fans behave if spirit companies forced a plan on the PGA Tour to offer their liquor during tournaments? Nascar on grass!
But the PGA Tour will have to find a poster child other than John Daly to sell this idea to the public. Daly is svelte and says he's almost totally off the sauce. If hard liquor was title sponsor of events when Daly had committed his egregious activiites, would he still have received a six month suspension or just a slap on the wrists?
On this week's Golf for Beginners show we wonder what allowing hard liquor will do to the PGA Tour. And, if the PGA Tour relaxes its rules, would there be more questionable sponsors lining up in the conga line?
Life without Annika at this year's Sybase Classic is discussed.
Hank Haney also helps us easily fix a slice using the basics of G.A.S.P. and Butch Harmon's golf tip tells us how not to hold back.
“It's difficult to think of you as a loser, but hey, you're a loser."sniggled David Feherty, as he interviewed Tiger Woods after a mediocre performance at Quail Hollow.
You can lose but that certainly doesn't make you a loser...
Of course the above was said jokingly as Woods could never never be a loser. Aside from his recent victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger has a total of sixty-six career PGA Tour wins under his belt with some events (like the Buick Invitational) being won six times by Woods!
But did pre-surgery Tiger have better survival instincts?
Before the ailments, with a bum knee, Tiger limped to victory at the U.S. Open. The 2009 version, as mentioned on Backspin, has had issues "closing all year." Usually in the hunt with golfers sweating on the back nine, Tiger has been four-over on the last three holes of events he has played in this season. Maybe having kids has made Woods a bit soft?
But Tiger golf is in no way related to the rest of the field. Out of the five events he has played in 2009, Tiger came in top-twenty and better and is currently poised in tenth position in the FedEx Cup race with plenty of golf left to play.
Perhaps Johnny Miller said it best recently when he compared Tiger and Phil Mickelson (although any name can be switched-out in place of Lefty):
“Phil has as much horsepower in his car as Tiger. It’s just that the lug nuts aren’t tightened down as much."
It is because Tiger Woods is "a model for how athletes should conduct themselves" that Roger Federer wrote why Woods deserves to be listed as a hero and icon among Time's Top 100 movers and shakers (see below for link information). Respect for the history of the game, a class attitude and his philanthropic efforts also helped Tiger gain the admiration of the internet users who voted him onto the list.
Could superhero status be far behind? Will we one day see Tiger Woods in his very own comic book saving the world from trechery?
Others on the list that have shaped the world this year include President Obama and wife Michelle, Edward Kennedy and even Bernie Madoff! Yes, on this list we have the good, the bad and the ugly!
Golf for Beginners also offers up an easy, mental drill in order to play better target golf. We also discuss how to take the confusion out of shot-gun starts.
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