Not Flip-Flop But Flop-Flip

By Adam BarrApril 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
Like it or not, its election season. That means the term flip-flop will regain currency in news broadcasts and coffee counter conversation, emerging from the mouths of paid pundits and armchair analysts like so much poisonous gas. .
 
But Im all about turning negatives into positives. Lets start by focusing on something infinitely more important than the election ' golf ' and switching up the order. Instead of the flip-flop, lets discuss the Flop-Flip.
 
The Flop-Flip is what you do from short yardage to get the ball close to the hole, set up birdie or par, and amaze your friends out of their ill-conceived Nassau bets. Employ a confident flop shot to flip your ball in tight, and Lincolns will be pushing their way out of competitive wallets in an effort to get close to you. .
 
The flop shot, made famous by Phil Mickelson but available in the arsenals of a great many players, can be achieved two ways: equipment or technique. All you have to add is practice; this isnt one you can fake. And what better way to adjust the balance of your practice the way the experts always say you should? Less long game, more short game.
 
Equipment is a good bet. By now were all familiar with the 60-degree wedge, whose sheer loft allows you to make a standard, back-and-through swing while literally letting the club do the work. You can even go as high as 64 degrees from some manufacturers, but you can also achieve a creditable high, soft-landing butterfly with a 58 or even a 56.
 
Just a few considerations when shopping and test-driving: check the back. If youre flopping from tighter lies, you dont want a big flange or too much muscle to get in the way and bounce the leading edge up into the equator of the ball for a dreaded skull job. Thats why a lot of players carry a nice, bouncy sand wedge (say, 12 degrees of bounce) and a low-bounce with 58 or 60 degrees of loft.
 
But if you go the technique route, youll essentially be hitting a sand shot from turf. So youll want to open the face of the wedge as you do for a sand shot. The idea is to strike the ball and the ground under it in such a way that the leading edge goes under, while the increased loft of the open face flings the ball high so that it lands like the proverbial sore-footed butterfly. Here, a non-bulging back is crucial. Some players have a favorite wedge from which they will grind the back down a bit (or more likely, have it done by experts in such things so as not to overdo it and ruin the head). Or you can buy a low-bounce model and be done with it. The grinders also may want to have the heel shaved down a bit so it wont accidentally catch the turf and turn the clubhead inward, squirreling the shot away in directions unknown.
 
The key to this more advanced shot is to get a wedge whose back you can confidently flatten to the turf. Then, keeping the handle in front of the ball but not deflected too far downward, you can make that sand-shot swing along the line made by your feet, which are in an open stance to the target line. Up goes the ball, soft is the landing.
 
I say this not as some expert, but as a lucky student. On a Whats In The Bag? shoot some years ago, Vijay Singh and I were demonstrating wedge properties. Between takes, I hit a few pitches while the cameraman loaded a new tape. Watching in restrained horror, Vijay said, I cant let you leave here without trying to help you.
 
He did. Flattening the back of a wedge to the ground and getting the handle ahead enough to point to a spot beneath my belt buckle, he got me to make a confident, pretty big swingand the ball did as instructed. .
 
You got it now, bro, he said. Now just practice it to get your distance control down.
 
That may have been the most important part of the brief lesson. Whether you decide to go square-swing-and-high-loft or open-faced-cut-shot, the flop requires serious feel. Hit a lot of them. Pick a practice area that lets you take big swings, as you must do to get these things to go 20 yards or more. At first it will feel like youre swinging for 95 yards, and youll skull a few. Choose an area with a safe landing area.
 
Once you can flop, though, youll gain a lot of confidence, and it will spill over into other parts of your game. And thats better than a political promise, election year or not.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.