Learn how to make pars when you need them most

By Tyrus YorkFebruary 18, 2013, 2:00 pm

Birdies tend to get all the attention on the PGA Tour and for good reason. Generally, the player with the most of them has the best chance to win the golf tournament.

John Merrick, however, defeated Charlie Beljan in a two-hole playoff at Riviera Country Club to win the Northern Trust Open by paring the last five holes of regulation and then making par on both playoff holes.

It should go without saying that Merrick would have much rather birdied some of those holes than make par, but the fact he didn’t make any bogeys kept him in the tournament.

There are only a few ways to make birdie on a hole, but par can be achieved several ways.

So, what parts of your game do you need to excel at to increase the number of pars and decrease the number of bogeys or worse on your scorecard?

The key is in how you practice:

• It would be nice if we could drain 10-plus-footers all the time on the putting green, but the fact is statistically we won’t. Find your range (most player’s range will be a 3-5-foot circle around the hole) and become proficient to the point where it feels automatic to make putts from that distance. Most players struggle with short putts because they aim incorrectly. Use chalk lines, string, or any other alignment aids to ensure good aim when practicing short putts.

• Eliminate 3-putts to increase your chances to make par. Most 3-putts end up in bogey or worse, so spend more time practicing your lag putting to avoid them. Imagine a circle around the hole that is within your range of making short putts. From different locations and distances on the green, practice getting the ball inside your range to increase your chances for par.

• Chipping is another way we can get better at making pars. It all goes back to being able to get the ball inside your range to make par putts. Chipping a pile of golf balls onto the green alone is not very effective practice. Instead, make your practice more like how you’ll play by grabbing your putter and making the putt whenever you get a ball in your range.

Take an online lesson from Tyrus York.

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Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.

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The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”

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Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.

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In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.