Bump and Run Mark Wood

By David AllenAugust 6, 2009, 4:00 pm
We know it's difficult to find time to practice during the week. When a Saturday or Sunday tee time rolls around, you're hoping to find some spark or productive swing thought that will help you break 100, 90, 80 or whatever your scoring goal may be.
 
With the weekend warrior in mind we created Bump and Run, a weekly Q&A with some of the game's top instructors. Each Friday, a teaching professional will occupy this space and answer questions directed toward improving your game. This week it's Mark Wood (pictured), a part-time radio talk show host who is ranked among the Top 50 Greatest Teachers in America by Golf Digest.
Mark Wood, Stewart CinkMARK WOOD
Director of Golf, Cornerstone Colorado Montrose, Colo.
 
Accomplishments:
- Golf Digests 50 Greatest Teachers
- Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers in America
- South Florida PGA Section Teacher of the Year
- Host, GolfWorld On-Air Radio Show
 
Students (past and present):
Stewart Cink, David Toms, Dudley Hart, Bo Van Pelt
 
Web Site:
www.markwoodgolf.com
 
Contact: 970-497-8383
Wood enjoyed a very memorable Sunday recently when current pupil Bo Van Pelt grabbed his first PGA Tour win in a sudden dealth playoff at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. Earlier that same day, former pupil Stewart Cink captured his first major title by defeating 59-year-old Tom Watson in a four-hole playoff at the Open Championship.
 
'I couldn't lose either way,' said Wood. 'On one hand you had Tom Watson possibly making golf history, and on the other you had Stewart, whom I taught as a kid and young professional. It was obviously a life-changing victory for him.'
 
To submit a question to Wood or one of our teachers, please e-mail bumpandrun@thegolfchannel.com and check back every Friday to see if your question got answered. Who knows, it just might be the impetus you need to shoot your best round ever come the weekend.
 
Do you have a favorite Stewart Cink story?
 
One year I gave him this training aid to help him create the feeling of more width in his swing. When I asked him how it was working out, he said it had fallen out of his golf cart and that despite several attempts to run it over, it wouldn't break. So he kept on using it. You give Stewart something to work on and he'll keep at it, even if he doesn't want to. So long as there's a benefit, he's willing to do it.
 
Stewart used to work hard on his footwork with you. How should your feet work during the swing?
 
If you stand up and take your stance without a club, and simply rotate your hips open (to the left), you should start to see your right heel come up off the ground. As you continue to rotate, the right foot should roll onto its instep. At the same time, your left foot should remain flat on the ground and your left leg stable. This way, you can swing within the framework of your stance. That's good footwork. When the hips slide forward, that's when the left foot rolls up to the outside (this was Stewart's fault), and your power and accuracy suffers.
 
Stewart Cink approach shot at Open Championship.
At impact, Cink's right foot rolls onto its instep and his left foot remains flat on the ground.
Any advice for the weekend warrior? Something that may help them drop a shot or two during their Saturday or Sunday round?
 
Keep the ball in the same position relative to your left foot -- two balls inside the left heel -- for every club but your driver. When you need to move the ball back or forward in your stance, simply move your right foot. For example, to hit a short pitch shot, narrow your stance by bringing your right foot closer to your left; this will draw your weight forward and level out your shoulders to create a more descending blow. If you want to hit a full hybrid, widen your stance by moving your right foot away from the target, thus shallowing out your swing some. The only time you need to move your left foot is when you're hitting driver, because the ball needs to be more forward -- opposite your left instep -- in your stance.
 
What happens is that people move the ball, which changes the position of their shoulders relative to their stance. When you move the ball too far back, for example, you get the club coming in too much from the inside with the clubface open, which leads to a push-slice. If you play it too far forward, there's no way you'll be able to hit the ball and take a divot in front of the ball. If you can get your ball position to a point where you're very confident with it, then you'll find yourself making solid contact more often, regardless of the club.
 
One of our readers, Jesse, writes in: I'm having problems with my chipping and short pitch shots. The problem seems that I stab at the ball and either chunk it or skull it over the green. What can I do to correct this?
 
Jesse, the reason you're mishitting the ball is because you're using your hands too much. Here's the perfect drill to combat this; it's called the 'Anti-Wristy Drill': Take a second club (preferably a short iron) and turn it upside down so the clubhead is just below the grip of the first club. Hold on to both clubs as if it were one long extension of the first and take your normal address position; the second club should sit to the outside of your left hip and ribcage. Now try and chip the ball without letting the second shaft hit your left side. If it bangs into your ribcage, you're using your wrists too much and throwing the clubhead past the handle. You want to move your arms forward, toward the target, without breaking your wrists. Provided you do this the shaft will miss your left side and you'll hit the ball with a descending strike.
 
Jack Nicklaus used to keep the club suspended off the ground for all shots, not just the driver. Why'd he do this?
 
Paul Runyan, a fantastic teacher and player who taught Jack a lot of what he knows about the short game, always talked about underreaching the ground so that the clubhead barely reached the top of the grass. Even on a very tight lie, he believed the club should be suspended off the ground. This way, the arms would have room to stretch and could take a divot after the ball. When you overreach, or sole the club on the ground at address, the tendency is to hit the shot fat or pull up and top the ball.
 
The momentum of your swing is going to stretch your arms, which is why it's a good idea to keep the club suspended. This is especially true in the rough, because the ball has a tendency to perch up on top of the grass like a snow cone. If you soled the club in the ground and the ball was an inch or two off the ground, you would then contact the ball on top of the clubface and miss the sweet spot.
 
To underreach, stand up tall in your hips and extend your arms so that the leading edge of the club is resting off the ground and you can feel the weight of the clubhead. Then swing. Provided your arms have room to stretch, you should hit the sweet spot more often and control the distance of your shots much better.
 
Mark Wood Related Videos
  • Stewart Cink's Flat-Footed Drill
  • L to L Power Drill
  • Question - Chipping and Pitching

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    J. Korda leads M. Jutanugarn by four in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 3:00 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand - Jessica Korda kept an eye on her younger sister while firing a 4-under 68 in the third round of the LPGA Thailand on Saturday to lead Moriya Jutanugarn by four strokes.

    A day after a course-record 62 at Siam Country Club, Korda fought back from a bogey on the front nine with five birdies to finish on 20-under 196 overall. The American was on the 18th hole when concerns over lightning suspended play for 30 minutes before play resumed.

    ''(I) was playing really well at the end of the season, but I haven't been in this (leading) position. Being back, it just takes you a little bit of time,'' said the 24-year-old Korda, who won her fifth and last title at the LPGA Malaysia in 2015.

    Her 19-year-old sister Nelly Korda (65) is eight shots off the lead.


    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand


    ''I'm definitely a leaderboard watcher. I love seeing her name up there,'' said Jessica Korda, who was playing her first tournament since jaw surgery.

    Propelled by eight birdies and an eagle on the par-4 No. 14, with three bogeys, Moriya signed off with a 65 and a total of 16-under 200.

    ''Everybody has the chance to win as all the top players are here this week,'' said Moriya, who has a chance to become the first Thai winner in her home tournament.

    Australian Minjee Lee (68) is third on 15-under 201, followed by former top-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn (65) on 202. Lexi Thompson (69), the 2016 champion, is a stroke further back. Michelle Wie (69) is tied for sixth.

    Brittany Lincicome was in second place after the second round, four shots behind Jessica Korda, but the American dropped down the board and is tied for ninth after a 73.

    Getty Images

    The Tiger comeback just got real on Friday

    By Randall MellFebruary 24, 2018, 1:11 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Slow play was a big storyline on the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing, but not so much anymore.

    Not with Tiger Woods speeding things up Friday at the Honda Classic.

    Not with Woods thumping the gas pedal around PGA National’s Champion Course, suddenly looking as if he is racing way ahead of schedule in his return to the game.

    The narrative wondrously started to turn here.

    It turned from wondering at week’s start if Woods could make the cut here, after missing it last week at the Genesis Open. His game was too wild for Riviera, where a second-round 76 left him looking lost with the Masters just six weeks away.

    It turned in head-spinning fashion Friday with Woods climbing the leaderboard in tough conditions to get himself into weekend contention with a 1-over-par 71.

    He is just four shots off the lead.

    “I’d be shocked if he’s not there Sunday with a chance to win,” said Brandt Snedeker, who played alongside Woods in the first two rounds. “He’s close to playing some really, really good golf.”

    Just a few short months ago, so many of us were wondering if Woods was close to washed up.

    “He’s only going to improve,” Snedeker said. “The more time he has, as the weather gets warmer, he’ll feel better and be able to practice more.”

    Snedeker has had a front-row seat for this speedy Tiger turnaround. He played the third round with Woods at the Farmers Insurance Open last month. That was Woods’ first PGA Tour start in a year.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    How much improvement did Snedeker see from that Torrey Pines experience?

    “It was kind of what I expected – significantly improved,” Snedeker said. “His iron game is way better. His driver is way better. I don’t’ see it going backward from here.”

    This was the hope packed into Friday’s new narrative.

    “I’m right there in the ballgame,” Woods said. “I really played well today. I played well all day today.”

    Tiger sent a jolt through PGA National when his name hit the top 10 of the leaderboard. He didn’t do it with a charge. He did it battling a brutish course in wintry, blustery winds, on “scratchy” and “dicey” greens that made par a good score.

    When Woods holed a 25-foot putt at the ninth to move into red numbers at 1 under overall and within three shots of the lead, a roar shook across the Champion Course.

    “It got a little loud, which was cool to see,” Snedeker said. “It’s great to have that energy and vibe back.”

    Woods sent fans scampering to get into position, blasting a 361-yard drive at the 10th, cutting the corner. He had them buzzing when he stuck his approach to 9 feet for another birdie chance to get within two of the lead.

    “I thought if he makes it, this place will go nuts, and he could get it going like he used to,” Snedeker said.

    Woods missed, but with the leaders falling back to him on this grueling day, he stuck his approach at the 12th to 10 feet to give himself a chance to move within a shot of the lead.

    It’s another putt that could have turned PGA National upside down, but Woods missed that.

    “It really is hard to make birdies,” he said. “At least I found it hard. It was hard to get the ball close, even if the ball is in the fairway, it's still very difficult to get the ball close, with the wind blowing as hard as it is. It’s hard to make putts out here.”

    Patton Kizzire, a two-time PGA Tour winner who won just last month at the Sony Open, could attest to how tough the test at Honda has become. He played alongside Woods this week for the first time in his career. He shot 78 Friday and missed the cut.

    Kizzire had a close-up look at what suddenly seems possible for Woods again.

    “He’s figuring it out,” Kizzire said. “He hit some nice shots and rolled in some nice putts. It was pretty impressive.”

    Woods could not hide his excitement in getting himself in the weekend hunt, but his expectations remain tempered in this comeback. He knows the daily referendums his game is subject to, how we can all make the highs too high and the lows too low.

    “We’ve got a long way to go,” Woods said.

    Woods lost a tee shot in a bush at the second hole and made bogey. He hit his tee shot in the water at the 15th and made double bogey. He three-putted the 16th to make bogey. He knows this course can derail a player’s plans in a hurry, but he knows his game is quickly coming around.

    “I’m right there where I can win a golf tournament,” Woods said. “Four back on this golf course with 36 holes to go, I mean, anybody can win this golf tournament right now. It’s wide open.’”

    Woods hit his shot of the day at the 17th to right his game after the struggles at the 15th and 16th. He did so in front of the Goslings Bear Trap Party Pavilion, cutting a 5-iron to 12 feet. It was the hardest hole on the course Friday, with nearly one of every three players rinsing a shot in the water there. Woods made birdie there to ignite an explosion of cheers.  He got a standing ovation.

    “I was telling you guys, I love Riviera, I just don't play well there,” Woods said. “So here we are, we're back at a golf course I know and I play well here.”

    So here we are, on the precipice of something special again?

    Woods seems in a hurry to find out.

    Getty Images

    List, Lovemark lead; Tiger four back at Honda

    By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2018, 12:41 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Even with a tee shot into the water for another double bogey, Tiger Woods could see the big picture in the Honda Classic.

    He was four shots out of the lead going into the weekend.

    Luke List delivered a round not many others found possible in such difficult conditions Friday, a 4-under 66 that gave him a share of the lead with Jamie Lovemark (69). They were at 3-under 137, the highest score to lead at the halfway point of the Honda Classic since it moved to PGA National in 2007.

    So bunched were the scores that Woods was four shots out of the lead and four shots from last place among the 76 players who made the cut at 5-over 145. More importantly, he only had 13 players in front of him.

    ''This is a difficult golf course right now,'' Woods said. ''Making pars is a good thing. I've done that, and I'm right there with a chance.''

    And he has plenty of company.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    Tommy Fleetwood, who won the Race to Dubai on the European Tour last year, scratched out a 68 and was one shot out of the lead along with Webb Simpson (72), Russell Henley (70) and Rory Sabbatini (69).

    Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger each shot 72 and were in a large group at 139. They were among only 10 players remaining under par.

    Fleetwood laughed when asked the last time he was at 2 under after 36 holes and only one shot out of the lead.

    ''Maybe some junior event,'' he said. ''It's good, though. These are the toughest test in golf. Generally, one of the best players prevail at the end of weeks like this. Weeks like this challenge you to the ultimate level. Whether you shoot two 80s or you lead after two rounds, you can see what you need to do and see where your game is. Because this is as hard as it's ever going to get for you.''

    The difficulty was primarily from the wind, which blew just as hard in the morning when List shot his 66 as it did in the afternoon. More aggravating to the players are the greens, which are old and bare, firm and crusty. It's a recipe for not making many putts.

    Defending champion Rickie Fowler had six bogeys on his front nine and shot 77 to miss the cut.

    ''It's unfortunate that the greens have changed this much in a year,'' Fowler said. ''They typically get slick and quick on the weekend because they dry out, but at least there's some sort of surface. But like I said, everyone's playing the same greens.''

    It looked as though List was playing a different course when he went out with a bogey-free 32 on the back nine, added a pair of birdies on the front nine and then dropped his only shot when he caught an awkward lie in the bunker on the par-3 seventh.

    ''It's very relentless,'' List said. ''There's not really too many easy holes, but if you hit fairways and go from there, you can make a few birdies out there.''

    List and Lovemark, both Californians, have never won on the PGA Tour. This is the third time List has had at least a share of the 36-hole lead, most recently in South Korea at the CJ Cup, where he shot 76-72 on the weekend.

    ''It's kind of irrelevant because there's going to be 30 guys within a couple shots of the lead,'' List said. ''It's going to be that type of week.''

    He was exaggerating – there were 11 players within three shots of the lead.

    And there was another guy four shots behind.

    Woods brought big energy to a Friday afternoon that already was hopping before he overcame a sluggish start and holed a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 9 to make the turn at 1 under for his round, and leaving him two shots out of the lead. Everyone knew it just from listening to the roars.

    Woods had his chances, twice missing birdie putts from inside 10 feet at Nos. 10 and 12, sandwiched around a 12-foot par save. His round appeared to come undone when he found the water on the 15th and made double bogey for the second straight day.

    Then, he hit out of a fairway bunker, over the water and onto the green at the dangerous 16th hole and faced a 65-foot putt. He misread the speed and the line, so badly that it was similar to a car driving from Chicago to Denver and winding up in Phoenix. A bogey dropped him to 2 over.

    The big moment was the 17th hole, 184 waters into the wind and over water. That's where Rory McIlroy made triple bogey earlier in the day that ruined his otherwise solid round of 72, leaving him seven behind. Making it even tougher for Woods is the Brandt Snedeker hit 5-iron before him to about 6 feet. Woods got to the tee and the wind died, meaning 5-iron was too much and 6-iron wouldn't clear the water.

    He went with the 5-iron.

    ''I started that thing pretty far left and hit a pretty big cut in there because I had just too much stick,'' Wood said.

    It landed 12 feet below the hole for a birdie putt.

    Thomas made 17 pars and a double bogey when he three-putted from 6 feet on No. 16. He felt the same way as Woods.

    ''I'm in a good spot – really good spot – going into this week,'' Thomas said.

    Getty Images

    Woods to play with Dufner (12:10 p.m.) in third round

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 12:10 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods will play alongside Jason Dufner in the third round of the Honda Classic.

    Woods and Dufner, both at 1-over 141, four shots back, will tee off at 12:10 p.m. ET Saturday at PGA National. They’re in the 10th-to-last group.


    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


    Co-leaders Luke List and Jamie Lovemark will go at 1:40 p.m.

    Some of the other late pairings include Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger, who will be playing together for the third consecutive day, at 1 p.m.; Louis Oosthuizen and Thomas Pieters (1:10 p.m.); and Webb Simpson and Russell Henley, in the penultimate group at 1:30 p.m.