Class Continues August 2, 2011

By Martin HallAugust 3, 2011, 12:48 pm

Q: Should a beginner use a premium ball rather than a low-end ball when learning the game of golf? And, would a beginner's progress in learning the game of golf be faster with the premium ball because they would have to learn to control all aspects of the game at the same time, i.e., contact, distance control, spin, compression, etc?

-    Mr. Mack
A: I suppose if there are no budget constraints, a premium ball would be the best way to go as it is easier to judge distance on, and around, the greens.  However, the difference is not that significant to a beginner. A low-end ball would not stop you from learning a good short game.  I hope this helps.

Q: My grandfather was a lifelong admirer of Bobby Jones. I recently obtained Mr. Jones’ “How I Play Golf” videos. What a beautiful swing!  Research tells me his swing was based on the old 'Carnoustie' swing of Stewart Maiden.  Is there a reason this swing and the “swing the club head” concept are no longer taught for the average golfer?

-    Bob G.
A: Clearly the swing Mr. Jones had was magnificent, and his timing perhaps was as good as we have ever seen.  The old hickory-shafted clubs had a lot of torque which demanded a substantial amount of more opening and closing of the club face than the new equipment does.  Also, the clothing worn back in the 1920’s (tie, jacket, etc.) made the swing more difficult to time, so the swings were easier, more flowing, more “swing the club head.”  In this day and age, equipment and attire allow the action to be more aggressive and less dependent on timing.  The “Carnoustie” swing also had an inside or off-plane takeaway that nowadays we feel complicates the move for most players, so it is rarely taught.  Hope this answers your question.

Q: I'm 65-years old and my swing speed with the driver is 75 mph.  My problem is that I'm hitting the ball low with a draw or hook.  I've been told I need to get my launch angle up.  When I do get my launch angle up, I hit a high draw.  I hit my irons and hybrids high and straight but I can't hit my fairway woods; I'm always hitting the ground before the ball. What do I need to do to hit the ball straight or fade?

-    Jim S. (Los Angeles, CA)
A: Jim, with your swing speed, getting anything but lofted fairway woods in the air will be a challenge.  I would suggest a 5-wood and 7-wood but no 3-wood off the fairway.  As for hitting the ground before you reach the ball, it very well might be that your hips are not unwinding sufficiently by impact.  That could be a flexibility problem which some stretching would help or if not that, then it will probably create a more solid contact if you aim a little more to the left as you set up (taking it that you are right-handed).  Best of luck.

Q: After watching Dustin Johnson’s left shoulder pull-up and then Martin's sit-down drill during Chapter 22 to attain that +5%, I wandered out into my backyard to try it.  But oh no, Mr. Bill!  Perhaps more information from the Professor is needed.  I thought of not stepping into the slime, and engaged the leg muscles - particularly the thighs - but as I put the downswing in its 'L' position and moved to complete the swing, I contacted the ground before reaching the ball! Help!  

-    Walt (Pasadena, CA)
A: As you sit down to push the water out of the ground, you must be tilting the left shoulder up and the right shoulder down – AND the right arm must stay bent at the elbow well into the downswing.  If the right arm straightens too soon, you will hit the ground before you reach the ball.  The right arm should be bent at the elbow at impact and straighten after the ball has been hit.  My opinion is that you must have straightened your right arm too soon.  Hope this helps.

Getty Images

Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

Getty Images

Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

Getty Images

Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

Getty Images

Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.