Class Continues February 15, 2011

By Martin HallFebruary 16, 2011, 12:00 am

Q: I've recently begun to 'duck hook' my driver off the tee box. Do you have any suggestions or exercises that could help to correct this? Thanks very much.

- Garth (Cumberland, MD)

A: A duck hook occurs when the direction the clubhead is moving at impact is substantially different from where the clubface is looking at impact; the clubface is closed to that swing path. As often as not, it is caused by a faulty grip - very likely your grip is too strong. If you play right-handed, this means your left hand is too much on top of the shaft and your right hand is too much under. Weaken your grip - turn both hands somewhat counter-clockwise and you will probably lose the duck hook.

Q: I am 69-years young. I have a horrible problem of coming over the top and hitting everything with a weak slice. My friends tell me that my lower body is always moving forward during the downswing and that I am not staying behind the ball but rather getting the body out in front of the ball. I need help and need it in a bad way. Can you help or is it time for me to just give up?

- Edward Moore (Oklahoma, City, OK)

A: Slices come from clubfaces that are open at impact; the lower body may contribute to that but not for sure. I would look first at your grip and make sure it is not too weak. Then I would make sure as you take the club away from the ball that you’re keeping the clubface looking at the ball in the first part of the backswing. An early rolling or opening of the clubface will more often cause a slice than anything you do with your legs. Good luck.

Q: Regarding your recent show on the grip, what are your thoughts on a strong left-hand grip? It's my understanding that all but a few Tour players either have a strong grip or a very strong grip. Is it true that a strong grip is consistent with the modern golf swing which is more of a body swing and less manipulation of the clubface with the hands? Thanks for your time.

- Steve (Chicago, IL)

A: A strong left-hand grip has some advantages and some disadvantages. It is easier to draw the ball and does encourage more body rotation through the ball, but usually causes problems in the short game, unless you are a Tour pro. The short game issues tend to be too low of a ball flight and/or contact issues. I certainly prefer a weaker grip for shorter shots and a power grip for full shots. A finesse grip, or weak grip, for short shots is more the norm that many recreational golfers would know.

Q: I'm a high handicap golfer. Can you please explain 'The Release'? This is really a hard concept for me. Everyone says that you have to release the club but no one says what that is.

-Michael A. Thomas (Silver Spring, MD)

A: 'Release' is a term that is just thrown around by many people, and somehow many people take it to mean it is a wrist throw of the clubhead at the ball, independent of the arms and body. NO, NO, NO!!!!! As good a definition of release as I know is that just after impact both arms must be straight and the clubhead must be as far away from the left shoulder as possible. Take some practice swings and stop just after impact, checking that both arms are fully extended and the clubhead is as far from your left shoulder as possible. By the way, that definition of release came from Jack Nicklaus!!

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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm