Not Flip-Flop But Flop-Flip

By Adam BarrApril 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
Like it or not, its election season. That means the term flip-flop will regain currency in news broadcasts and coffee counter conversation, emerging from the mouths of paid pundits and armchair analysts like so much poisonous gas. .
But Im all about turning negatives into positives. Lets start by focusing on something infinitely more important than the election ' golf ' and switching up the order. Instead of the flip-flop, lets discuss the Flop-Flip.
The Flop-Flip is what you do from short yardage to get the ball close to the hole, set up birdie or par, and amaze your friends out of their ill-conceived Nassau bets. Employ a confident flop shot to flip your ball in tight, and Lincolns will be pushing their way out of competitive wallets in an effort to get close to you. .
The flop shot, made famous by Phil Mickelson but available in the arsenals of a great many players, can be achieved two ways: equipment or technique. All you have to add is practice; this isnt one you can fake. And what better way to adjust the balance of your practice the way the experts always say you should? Less long game, more short game.
Equipment is a good bet. By now were all familiar with the 60-degree wedge, whose sheer loft allows you to make a standard, back-and-through swing while literally letting the club do the work. You can even go as high as 64 degrees from some manufacturers, but you can also achieve a creditable high, soft-landing butterfly with a 58 or even a 56.
Just a few considerations when shopping and test-driving: check the back. If youre flopping from tighter lies, you dont want a big flange or too much muscle to get in the way and bounce the leading edge up into the equator of the ball for a dreaded skull job. Thats why a lot of players carry a nice, bouncy sand wedge (say, 12 degrees of bounce) and a low-bounce with 58 or 60 degrees of loft.
But if you go the technique route, youll essentially be hitting a sand shot from turf. So youll want to open the face of the wedge as you do for a sand shot. The idea is to strike the ball and the ground under it in such a way that the leading edge goes under, while the increased loft of the open face flings the ball high so that it lands like the proverbial sore-footed butterfly. Here, a non-bulging back is crucial. Some players have a favorite wedge from which they will grind the back down a bit (or more likely, have it done by experts in such things so as not to overdo it and ruin the head). Or you can buy a low-bounce model and be done with it. The grinders also may want to have the heel shaved down a bit so it wont accidentally catch the turf and turn the clubhead inward, squirreling the shot away in directions unknown.
The key to this more advanced shot is to get a wedge whose back you can confidently flatten to the turf. Then, keeping the handle in front of the ball but not deflected too far downward, you can make that sand-shot swing along the line made by your feet, which are in an open stance to the target line. Up goes the ball, soft is the landing.
I say this not as some expert, but as a lucky student. On a Whats In The Bag? shoot some years ago, Vijay Singh and I were demonstrating wedge properties. Between takes, I hit a few pitches while the cameraman loaded a new tape. Watching in restrained horror, Vijay said, I cant let you leave here without trying to help you.
He did. Flattening the back of a wedge to the ground and getting the handle ahead enough to point to a spot beneath my belt buckle, he got me to make a confident, pretty big swingand the ball did as instructed. .
You got it now, bro, he said. Now just practice it to get your distance control down.
That may have been the most important part of the brief lesson. Whether you decide to go square-swing-and-high-loft or open-faced-cut-shot, the flop requires serious feel. Hit a lot of them. Pick a practice area that lets you take big swings, as you must do to get these things to go 20 yards or more. At first it will feel like youre swinging for 95 yards, and youll skull a few. Choose an area with a safe landing area.
Once you can flop, though, youll gain a lot of confidence, and it will spill over into other parts of your game. And thats better than a political promise, election year or not.
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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

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DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.