Notes Leftys fun project fighting breast cancer

By Doug FergusonMay 19, 2009, 4:00 pm
What started as a fun project to share his wizardry with the short game has gone beyond Phil Mickelsons expectations.
 
His Secrets of the Short Game DVD debuted last month at No. 2 on the Billboard Video Sales recreational sports category. Early sales have topped 25,000 copies, and it now is in the second print run.
 
We did a lot better than we prepared for, Mickelson said, which is a good problem to have.
 
Lefty considered it a success even before it went on sale.
 
He has amazed with his short game since he was a kid and his father built a putting green in the yard. Mickelson is most famous for his flop shot, but he has shown incredible imagination from all points around the green and with all clubs, such as the side sauce he put on a wedge at The Players Championship one year, or the 9-iron he played from a buried lie in front of a lip in a bunker at the Ryder Cup.
 
Making the DVD allowed him to teach himself.
 
I had no script, he said. I had to come up with the outline and decide what I wanted to say. That forced me to think about what I actually do and how I can articulate it clearly. Its not a difficult concept. Its easy to understand and emulate. I had to identify what I do, and I had to simplify it. I got rid of the complex jargon and got back to the basic techniques.
 
The DVD was produced by Terry Jastrow, a former ABC golf producer who created instruction videos with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson among others in the 1980s. It was shot over two days in January at The Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe. The DVD is about two hours and covers every shot inside 50 yards.
 
Mickelson said he wanted to help players of all levels, but the highest compliments have been seeing some tour players using the drills. And last week, he received an unsolicited testimonial from Ted Purdy.
 
Purdy had 20 birdies at Hilton Head and only finished at 2-under 282 for the tournament. He was browsing through a PGA Tour store in the airport when he came across Mickelsons DVD and plunked down $49.95.
 
Ive always been a decent ball striker, and my putting has turned around, but my short game always seems to lag, Purdy said. I bought the DVD, and Ive been chipping great ever since.
 

 
SKINNERS LIFE: The economy didnt stop Val Skinner from raising another $500,000 through her LIFE event, believed to be the biggest one-day golf fundraiser for breast cancer programs.
 
The 10th anniversary was held Monday at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. Among the 28 LPGA players who participated were Solheim Cup captain Beth Daniel, Meg Mallon, Morgan Pressel, Karrie Webb, Laura Davies and Kraft Nabisco winner Brittany Lincicome.
 
LIFE stands for LPGA Pros in the Fight to Eradicate breast cancer. It now has raised more than $5.6 million for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Skinner founded LIFE in honor of former LPGA player Heather Farr, who died of breast cancer in 1993 at age 28.
 
While I am extremely proud of what LIFE has accomplished in the past decade, I know that we still have much work ahead in the fight to eradicate breast cancer, Skinner said.
 

 
DIVOTS: This isnt a shot Briny Baird will face on the PGA Tour ' a 9-iron from 230 yards with a 375-foot drop in elevation. In a promotion for his corporate sponsor, P.F. Changs China Bistro, Baird hit from the top of the Omni Hotel to a target in the outfield of Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. Baird hit the target eight out of 10 times, meaning the restaurant will make good on an online coupon for a free lettuce wrap, along with a $25,000 donation to the San Diego Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society. John Kaczkowski has been promoted to president and CEO of the Western Golf Association. He succeeds Don Johnson, who has led the WGA the last 21 years. Kaczkowski had been the associations VP of tournaments. Dicks Sporting Goods has agreed to continue as a title sponsor on the Champions Tour for upstate New York through 2012. People vs. the Pros is returning to the silly-season schedule this year, played Oct. 23-27 at Pinehurst Resort on courses Nos. 1, 2 and 4. The two winning amateurs after 54 holes will use their handicap index to play the final round against Fred Couples and Nick Faldo.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: The Irish Open offered more world ranking points than the Texas Open, the first time the European Tour has had a stronger field than the PGA Tour since the third week of January.
 

 
FINAL WORD: When youre trying to win a tournament, youre not playing for money. The only time youre playing for money is when youre not going to win the tournament. ' Scott Verplank.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - HP Byron Nelson
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Daly makes an ace at the Chubb Classic

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 9:01 pm

    John Daly won't walk from the Chubb Classic with the trophy, but he certainly deserves recogition for his Sunday scorecard, which came complete with a hole-in-one.

    Daly aced the 154-yard par-3 16th on the Talon Course at TwinEagles, when his ball carried the froont bunker and tracked right to the hole.

    Two holes later, Daly signed for a final-round 67 that included four birdies, three bogeys and two eagles, which both in the span of four holes on the back nine.

    Getty Images

    Gustafson shares stuttering success video

    By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Sophie Gustafson shared a breakthrough Sunday morning on YouTube.

    Gustafson, a five-time LPGA winner and 16-time Ladies European Tour winner, shared her news in a 4-minute and 15-second video.

    She did so without stuttering.

    And that’s the nature of her breakthrough, something she is sharing in hopes that it will help others who stutter.

    “I’m certainly not perfect, and the next time you see me, I am going to stutter, there is no question about that,” she says in the video. “But I am excited, because I am going in the right direction, and I believe I have found the solution that works for me.”

    For someone who has struggled with stuttering all of her life, Gustafson has touched so many with her ability to communicate. She has entertained her legion of Twitter followers with her sense of humor. She also has written articles.

    Back in 2011, Gustafson touched Golf Channel viewers when she opened up about her stuttering in an interview that was aired during the Solheim Cup. Her courage in sharing her challenges was recognized the following year, when the Golf Writers Association of American presented her its Ben Hogan Award, an honor bestowed to someone who has persevered through physical ailment. She also won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award that year.

    Gustafson, 44, left the game as a player three years ago to become Beth Allen’s full-time caddie on the Ladies European Tour. She explains in the YouTube video that she is making her breakthrough with the help of Steve Gill, a team member with Tony Robbins’ life and business strategy group.

    Gustafson said Gill led her to breathing, meditation and incantation exercises that have helped her since they began working together eight months ago.

    “If you know anyone who stutters, tell them to breathe in and then speak,” Gustafson said. “I tried it the other way for 44 years, and it's just not working.” 

    Getty Images

    J.Y. Ko wins her first start as an official LPGA member

    By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 4:09 pm

    Make way for Jin Young Ko.

    The South Koreans keep delivering one new star after another to the LPGA ranks, and they aren’t going to disappoint this year.

    Ko made some history Sunday winning the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, closing with a 3-under-par 69 to claim a wire-to-wire victory. She became the first player in 67 years to win her LPGA debut as a tour member. Beverly Hanson (1951) is the only other player to do so.

    Hyejin Choi, an 18-year-old who just turned pro, is yet another emerging South Korean star looking to crack the LPGA ranks. She finished second Sunday, three shots back after closing with a 67. She played on a sponsor exemption. She is already No. 11 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and likely to move up when the newest rankings are released. Had Choi won Sunday, she could have claimed LPGA membership for the rest of this season.


    Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open


    Ko, 22, moved herself into early position to try to follow in Sung Hyun Park’s footsteps. Park won the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards last year. She joined Nancy Lopez as the only players to do so. Lopez did it in 1978. Park shared the Player of the Year honor with So Yeon Ryu.

    Ko said winning the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Award is a goal, but she didn’t come into the year setting her sights on Player of the Year.

    “I haven’t thought about that yet,” she said.

    Ko finished at 14 under overall.

    It was a good week for rookies. Australia’s Hannah Green (69) finished third.

    Ko claimed LPGA membership this year based on her victory as a non-member at the KEB Hana Bank Championship in South Korea last fall. She’s already a star in South Korea, having won 10 times on the Korean LPGA Tour. She is No. 20 in the world and, like Choi, poised to move up when the newest world rankings are released.

    Former world No. 1 Lydia Ko closed with an even par 72, finishing tied for 19th in her 2018 debut. She is in next week’s field at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

    Getty Images

    Luiten takes title at inaugural Oman Open

    By Associated PressFebruary 18, 2018, 3:25 pm

    MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten of the Netherlands won the inaugural Oman Open on Sunday to break a title drought of nearly 17 months.

    The 32-year-old Dutchman shot a 4-under 68 to finish on 16-under 272, two shots ahead of his friend, England's Chris Wood (69).

    It was Luiten's sixth European Tour title and the first since the 2016 KLM Open.

    Frenchman Julien Guerrier (71) virtually assured that he would not have to go to qualifying school for the 12th time with a third-place finish after a 13-under 275.

    Luiten started with three birdies in his first four holes, but bogeys on the seventh and eighth set him back. On the back nine, he made three birdies, including a key one on the 16th, where he made a 30-foot putt.

    ''It feels great. I didn't know what to expect when I came here but to play a course like this which is in great condition - it's a great technical golf course as well - it was beyond my expectation and to hold the trophy is even better,'' said Luiten, who is expected to rise to No. 65 in the new rankings on Monday.

    ''I had a great start, that's what I was hoping for. I hit some nice ones in close and rolled in a couple of nice putts and that gets you in the right position, where you want to be.


    Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic


    ''Unfortunately, I had a couple of bogeys as well on the front nine, but I recovered from that with a couple of nice birdies on the back nine and it was a good battle with Woody.''

    Playing one group ahead, England's Wood was right in the mix and tied with Luiten at 15-under when their fortunes went in opposite directions almost at the same time. On the 17th hole, Wood drove his tee shot into the hazard left and could do no more than chip his ball out for a bogey. Luiten, meanwhile, drained his 30-footer birdie putt on the 16th for a two-shot swing.

    Recovering his form after a series of disappointments, Wood was let down by the loss and said: ''It's golf isn't it? You are never happy.

    ''I played poorly for six or eight months. Would have never thought I would have put myself into contention. And when you do, you feel gutted when you don't win. I am pretty down really, but in the grand scheme of things, when I reflect after a couple of days, I will think it is a big step in the right direction.''

    Luiten's win also got him into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai, securing him a start at the WGC-Mexico Championship in two weeks.

    Frenchman Alexander Levy (70), who was hoping to finish in the top five to push into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai and grab the WGC-Mexico spot himself, did manage a joint fourth place at 11 under, but Luiten's victory kept him 11th.

    The European Tour next moves to Doha for the Qatar Masters starting on Thursday.