Friday, September 21, 2012

#Golf on Twitter Reveals #FedExCup Speculations about Tiger Woods win

When @NikeGolf asked Tiger Woods about his approach to the final he said: "Same as always. I feel prepared to win.”  Woods' opinion, coupled with @PGATour's acknowledgment of Tiger's "pole position" start  in Round One of the Tour Championship, bring a heavy-hitting start to the final leg of a race for trophy created by Tiffany and Co. and a $10 million dollar reward.

 

Tiger_woods_2009_fedexcup
Tiger Woods-2009 FedEx Cup

 

 

Not only are Nike and the PGA Tour gearing up for a possible Tiger Woods end of season victory; stories on Twitter reveal cautiously optimistic viewpoints about Woods while interjecting the legitimate and very real Rory McIlroy threat into the equation as did , "Tiger Woods tops "The Intimidator" - Rory McIlroy - for one day

 

Is Woods somewhat intimidated by McIlroy as Greg Norman recently conjectured and, if so, could this slight anxiety cause a blip in Tiger's game?

 

The bottom line is that McIlroy is a strong possibility to win the FedEx Cup in spite of the fact that Woods is considered a bettors favorite but, no matter who wins the Tour Championship or the trophy this weekend, the fans want to see mutual respect between the players and a solid four rounds of golf.

 

That being said, below are listed a few of the more interesting tweets on Twitter adding fuel for thought about the FedEx Cup and Tour Championship finales. Enjoy!

 

Tiger Woods admits he has really enjoyed the opportunity to play alongside Rory McIlroy on a regular basis

 

: Tiger Woods shows he’s not intimidated by Rory McIlroy in Round 1 of TOUR Championship:

 

Familiarity breeds mutual respect for Tiger and Rory. |

 

Tiger Woods holds a share of lead for 27th time at the TOUR Championship. He's gone on to win 50% of the time. >>

 

And, for a non-biased approach... Tour Championship remains wide open:  

 

Let the fans remember that the field is wide open with many variables remaining during the next few days of golf which can affect the outcome (go Mickelson!) so let the games begin!

 

Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and friend on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Posted via email from stacysolomon's posterous

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Will the Belly Putter Go “Belly Up”? Examination of the Anchored Putting Style


By Scott McCormick, Contributing Writer

Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley have recently taken home major championship trophies on the PGA Tour utilizing a distinctive putting style – the long putter, or belly putter – in which they anchor the top of the putting shaft to their torso.


Bradley-wgc-belly_putter

Keegan Bradley using Belly Putter

Their success has inaugurated a debate about the virtues of the belly putter and whether the technique runs contrary to the spirit of the game of golf.  Such luminaries as Tiger Woods have chimed in against the belly putter, and PGA tour officials are said to be considering the future legality of the practice.

With this putting technique getting increased attention and a debate among golf aficionados raging as to its legitimacy, let’s take a look at the finer points of the belly putter.  Who uses it and why?  Does it constitute an unfair advantage?

History

There is a common misconception that the belly putting style is a wholly new fad, and though the method has clearly risen in prominence in the last couple years, the origins of the style actually date back to at least the 1920s.  After struggling with his short game, a future Hall-of-Famer by the name of Leo Diegel began experimenting with new techniques, eventually settling on a strange method in which he placed both elbows out wide and tucked the shaft of the putter into his chest.

In the decades since, other golfers who have experimented with alternative putting styles have done so for the same reason as Diegel: they were lousy putters and they were looking to improve.  Bernhard Langer -- a fantastic golfer who had the misfortune of acquiring a bad case of the putting “yips” during his heyday in the 1980s – experimented with an anchor putt similar to the one currently used by Adam Scott.


Adam Scott showing off his unique anchored putting style

Other putters past and present who have utilized an anchored shaft putting method include: Rocco Mediate, Johnny Miller, Billy Casper, Orville Moody and Jason Day.

Since the impetus for a pro golfer to adjust his stance to the belly putt has traditionally been a failure to putt well with a “normal” stance, for many years the belly putt had a less-than-sterling reputation.  The belly-putter was an oddity, seen as a desperate move to improve the short game that many golfers who might have benefited from it no-doubt eschewed due to the embarrassment.

That’s changed a lot over the past ten years.  Not only have many tour pros adopted the belly putt, but Dale Pelz –arguably the foremost putting instructor alive today – has for years recommended the anchored putt as way to improve your short game.

Banishment calls

But with increased popularity has come a rise in scrutiny and calls for the PGA and/or the USGA to outlaw the practice either through regulations that limit the length of the putter, or more likely a ban on anchoring the club against any part of one’s upper body.

Opponents of the belly-putt say that anchored putting goes against the spirit of the game, that failure to perform a full swing with a pendulum motion is in contrast with the very nature of the game.

Others say that anchored putting has been around for too long to ban it now, particularly when many younger golfers have been utilizing the style for their entire careers, and sales of long putters on the amateur market have skyrocketed in recent years.

The counterargument to that line of reasoning is that the golfing establishment has made many other rule changes to improve the game over the years, and those who were affected either adapted or were left behind.  As far back as 1895, the billiard cue style of putting was formally outlawed (really!) and the croquet style putting that Sam Snead experimented with in the 1960s was also regulated out of existence.

Weighing the pros and cons

In order for there to be sufficient justification to outlaw something, one must first wonder if it really is giving golfers an advantage.  What is the benefit of the anchored putter?  And are there disadvantages that balance out these gains?  After all, if it is such a tremendous advantage, why isn’t everyone using it?

According to many, the main edge that belly putting adherents gain is purely psychological.  Particularly for those that have suffered from extreme cases of the putting yips in the past, having the top of the club shaft anchored to something gives the golfer the sense that their stroke is more stabilized and less susceptible to anxiety attacks.  Whether this is simply a placebo or something tangible probably depends on the individual, but there are some that argue that the benefits are far more than merely mental, and that posture, pace and rhythm are all significantly improved with an anchored stance.

Yet, there are those that feel that belly putting can be a detrimental in certain instances.  Commentator Johnny Miller, who as a top tour pro piddled around with the belly putter himself, has said on occasion that belly putting removes some of the “feel” from putting, making it more difficult for a golfer to “get in the zone” on their short game.  Others have noted that while the method can help improve consistency on putts within ten feet, longer putts are actually more difficult when using the anchored approach.

My two cents

In my opinion, calls to have the belly putter banned are misguided.  Compared to other golf equipment revolutions in recent years – drivers and balls that enable pros to drive 400 yards, wedges that literally cut through rough – it’s hard to see long putters as an over-the-top advantage, despite what someone like Tiger says.  With the stigma of using the belly putt slowly eroding, we can expect to see more tour pros experiment with the method, but many more will stick to the traditional approach.

And making an adverse ruling against long putters at this junction would be tremendously unfair to those that have come to rely on the method.  There are parallels in other sports for handling these kinds of rule changes; years ago when baseball outlawed the spitball, they “grandfathered in” those that had used the wet pitch for the duration of their career.  But applying that scheme to golf in this day and age would be cumbersome and impractical, a textbook definition of a solution in search of a problem.

But since the debate has heated up and speculation as to what the golfing establishment will do has run rampant in the last year, it would behoove PGA officials to announce their intentions one way or the other.  If they have no plans to ban the anchored putt in the near or long-term future, they should make a proclamation to that effect; otherwise up-and-coming golfers will be in limbo when trying to determine which style to adopt.


Scott McCormick comes from a long line of mediocre – yet devoted – golfers.  He lives in Arizona with his wife Alexis and their two dogs.  When not trying to improve his short game on an office putting machine or following his favorite PGA tour pros on Twitter, he works as a freelance writer for GolfNow, specializing in Kansas Kansas City Golf and Orange County Golf Courses.

photo credit: http://www.linksforlife.com

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Friday, September 07, 2012

Is Rory McIlroy moving in on Tiger Woods' golf turf?

Smiling faces, hand-shaking and a bit of revelry surrounded Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods as the BMW Championship paired the two golfers for a two-round start to the final legs of the #FedExCup Playoffs. With Rory McIlroy moving stealthily into the winners' circle and Tiger Woods struggling to maintain form, could this competitive pairing be what Woods needs to revitalize his game or does this signal a passing of the torch?


Woods_mcilroy


Huff Post Sports "wondered if there was something compellingly symbolic in this passing, if McIlroy, in a larger sense, is ready to take Woods' place on the game’s grand stages."  Rory, a twenty-three year old with three wins under his belt this season is young and aggressive like the Tiger Woods from ten years ago. A joking McIlroy who is growing muscles on Tour recently stated he would like to "kick his (Woods) behind" at the Ryder Cup.

Woods, on the other hand, has backed off of his more aggressive style more calmly stating that he still wants to taste victory. "I'm just going to try and get a 'W' this week," Tiger said about Crooked Stick. "That's the goal. That's why I'm here. That's why I entered."

Yes, Tiger Woods may have entered the BMW Championship to win but his comment after the first round that "The game of golf is in great hands with him (McIlroy), and he's here to stay," could be taken as a sign that Woods may be letting go of the struggle to stay on top. Letting go may be the first sign that Woods is ready to come back.

Although Woods has three wins on the PGA Tour this season; the Memorial in which Tiger surpassed Jack Nicklaus' record, a win at Bay Hill that marked his seventh at that golf course and the AT&T which was won with a bit of a struggle at Congressional, there is a definite weakness in his game which now shows up during the final stages of tournaments, a flaw in his putting, in my opinion, caused by a lack of focus.

In 2009, right before his woes began, Tiger won the same tournaments and also included three more wins including the BMW Championship.

Although money may be a motivator for many golfers struggling to stay in position, the "$100 million dollar man" needs a different type of stimulus in order to return to his former greatness and Rory McIlroy may be just what the doctor ordered to wake up a sleeping Tiger.

Voice your opinion on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and friend on Facebook.



photo credit: Canada.com

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