Lets See Grip It Like This What

By George WhiteOctober 21, 2004, 4:00 pm
Its one of the real mysteries of professional sports. Its as if an aging baseball player suddenly forget how to catch a fly ball, a grizzled basketball player lost the knack for shooting free throws.
Its putting, of course. How many guys/gals have we heard about now lets see, theres Ben Hogan, theres Sam Snead, theres Arnold Palmer, theres Tom Kite, Nancy Lopez, Craig Stadler, Mark OMeara, Tom Watson all once were deadly rollers, but when they begin getting on in years, voila ' they had to face the deflating realization that they no longer could get the ball into the hole.
Some managed to turn it around. Bedeviled by a faltering stroke, they turned in desperation to a radical grip. They turned the right hand around on the club and now utilize the Claw, the Saw, the Paint Brush ' whatever you prefer to call this weird-looking sweep of the ball.
You score better if you one-putt vs. two-putt ' of even two-putt vs. three-putt, said Kite in a sudden flash of brilliance. Its amazing! Its a great concept!
Kite was one of the surest of all putters until he reached his mid-40s. And then he was dismayed to discover the ball wobbling everywhere but toward the hole. He plodded along in misery until May of this year, when at age 54 he turned in desperation to the whacky grip.
Toms wife, Christy, had been giving him subtle messages for a year. She had placed pictures of Chris DiMarco using the Claw grip in Kites exercise room at home. Kite steadily resisted until the sad results of a Champions Tour event in his home town of Austin. He didnt break par in either of the final two rounds at the Kinkos Classic. At that point, he decided he would use a shovel for a putter if it would help.
I just putted horrifically, he said. It was the straw that kind of broke it. I finally said, Ive got to do something.
But when you see guys like Stadler and Mark OMeara have such great success with it, after putting so poorly for so long, it gives credibility to it. Finally I just picked something up and found something that seemed semi-comfortable.
That sounds startlingly similar to something Stadler said.
I had putter issues beginning about 89 or 90, said Stadler. I was a wonderful putter in my teens and early pro career. But about late-80s on, the putter was always prone to go south. About three or four years it just stayed there, and it didnt come back.
He, like Kite, changed only when he became desperate, clutching the putter with this zany grip.
Its made a world of difference, because I was late 90s, 2000 I was almost 32 putts a round, he said. Ive got that down to about 29.5. So youre talking about 10 shots a week in a four-round tournament.
I was standing over it from 4, 5, 6 feet and trying to figure out which side I wanted to miss it on, he said. And the odds were pretty good that it would be one or the other.
I was missing cuts by two or three, said Stadler. You cant make the cut, you go to $5,000 from $100,000 in a hurry.
The upshot? Stadler is now the No. 2 putter on the Champions Tour.
OMeara? Yes, him, too.
You're talking about a guy who stood there on the 18th green at Augusta National four or five years ago (when he won) and made the putt, he said. But to be honest, early in the week at Augusta that year in '98 I still had a little bit of yip in my stroke.'
It got steadily worse, and OMeara watched the misses in disbelief. He tried every putting device he had ever heard of on the putting green. And ' he discovered he froze on the course each time he was over a putt, blocking the ball to the right side.
Finally, at the Father-Son tournament last off-season, his coach ' Hank Haney ' convinced him to change.
He said, I want you to put your right wrist right on the putter like that, remembers OMeara.
'I can't do that,' he protested.
'No, no. Do it.'
I said, I can't, that looks so bad. I'm such a conventional guy, I just cannot do that.

He says, Listen, can I ask you a question? I said sure. How are you putting right now?
I said, Terrible. He said, Well, why don't you just try this? Maybe it will help.
So, all right, I tried it, and even though it looked goofy and I was a little conscious about it, all of a sudden, no yip in my stroke. Played in the pro-am with Tommy Roy of NBC, I was rolling them 20 feet. I'm like, You've got to be kidding me, where is this coming from?
Makes you wonder why the whole world hasnt changed. Looks weird, feels weird, it IS weird. But it propels the ball into the hole. And, like Kite says, one putt is better than two, two is better than three. So just grab it like a crazy man and shut up. Then, watch the ball roll into the hole.
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Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.