Q-School Finalist Does It Differently - Cross-Handed

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 12, 2002, 5:00 pm
The cross-handed grip has long been considered normal when you are talking about putting. Many of the games better players ' Jim Furyk, Fred Couples, Tom Kite and others ' have grasped the club in this manner at least part of their careers. Left-hand low has become an everyday occurrence when stroking the ball along the ground.
Then again, going cross-handed while swinging away is a different story.
Josh BroadawaySay hello to Josh Broadaway. He grips and swings the club cross-handed ' ALL the clubs. A 24-year-old Hooters Tour graduate from Albany, Ga., he has passed the first two legs of the PGA Tours qualifying school and is on his way to California for the finals.
It gets a lot of looks, said Broadaway with a grin. A lot of guys will laugh at me on the range. Then they see me later in the week and theyre like, Man, thats that guy whos gripping it wrong. And hes teeing off later than I am!
Broadaway has been playing cross-handed since he first picked up a club and swung it rather unsteadily at the ball on the ground. Fortunately, he sees the humor in the situation, just as does almost everyone who sees him.
It gets comical on the range, but I started playing that way because I am naturally left-handed, said Broadaway. I didnt have any left-handed clubs when I was young, and I just started playing that way from batting left-handed in baseball. Thats the grip that felt comfortable to me.
The plan was for him to continue playing left-hand low just for awhile, until he got old enough to effect a change.
My grandpa said, Yeah, thats fine for now, well wait until you get a little older and then well switch you, Broadaway said. When I was about 13 or 14, I tried to switch ' I couldnt hit it a hair (by hitting with a normal grip).
He (his grandfather)would come out and practice with me and Id hit it standard and I couldnt hit it 20 yards. And when he would leave, Id go back cross-handed and I could hit it decent enough to get it around.
'I finally said, You know what? Im not switching ' Im sticking with it. And he was always, Well youre never going to be any good if you dont switch.
But you know, its paid off ' its paid off a little bit.

He was kidding, of course. 'It' has paid off a lot, starting in high school in Albany, advancing to college at Troy (Ala.) State, and finally playing the Hooters Tour.
Brother Drew Broadaway caddied for him on the Hooters. He can still recall the expressions of disbelief when Josh started to warm up.
Josh BroadawayIts pretty funny when we walk up on the range, and theyre all looking and going, Whats this guy doing? Who is he? said Drew. And then they see him hit a few shots and they say, Man, this guy is pretty good! Then they look on the scoreboard a couple of days later and theyre like, Hey ' maybe this guy CAN play like this!
Fellow Hooters Tour alumni Zack Johnson was one of the gawkers when Broadaway first showed up, but Johnson is now a believer. He watched Broadaway grip the club - '10-fingered, but cross-handed, he recalls. And then he saw Broadaway give the ball a ride which would make Federal Express proud.
Im not the longest guy, but I can get it out there a little ways. He just bombs it past me, marvels Johnson.
Despite a stellar record in high school, the opportunities for Broadaway were few and far between out of high school. Fortunately, one gentleman gave him the shot he needed. Troy State would take him, he was told.
Coach Burnett - he was actually the only coach who gave me the chance, said Josh. I didnt really have many people looking at me out of high school, and I had a pretty good junior career.
He said, You know what? You want to come here at Troy and play, come on and well let you play. Well see what you can do. He said, I wont mess with you.
The first qualifier we had, I won it by about 14 or 15 shots. He said, Well, if you want me to help you with something, you can ask. But dont look for any answers. He goes, Im just going to let you do your thing.
Well, Josh HAS done his thing quite well on the Hooters Tour in 2002, but he has had some help along the way.
My brothers on the bag ' Drew, said Josh. Hes gonna go out there with me, and its gonna be a fun trip. My goal at the start of this year was to win a Hooters event ' which we did; to have a good year and finish in the top 10 on the money list ' which we did; and to go to Q-School and get to the finals ' and weve done that.
Now our goal is to finish in the top 35 and get to the Big Show.
And when he goes, brother Drew will be beside him, in spirit if not in actual fact.
Were very close ' as close as brothers can be, I guess, said Drew. Out on the road, he calls me two or three times a week when Im not with him. Weve got a great relationship. Id venture to say that if he does get through, Id be out there in some capacity. I dont know if Id be on the bag fulltime, but Id be out there a good bit.
Many of Joshs peers think that he has the skills and, without question, the flair to be a star on the PGA Tour.
He's an unbelievable talent and when he gets out there ' its in due time, I think - hes going to be a crowd favorite, said Johnson. Hes got that personality, but hes very professional about it, too ' hell go out there and play hard and, you know, (take care of) business. Outside that, hes great to sit down and talk to. Hes just a good Southern boy.
Josh certainly knows the task at hand will not be an easy one. But hes aware of the perks.
Everybody I talk to says, Man ' you play cross-handed; you get on tour, youre an instant millionaire, he said.
So its hard not to think about it, you know. Its hard to fathom. My family worked hard for everything theyve got - my grandfather and father. Im lucky to be out here doing this ' I really am.
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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.

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Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

It was too much “socializing.”

“I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

“Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

His plan for doing that?

“Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.