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Matching 'feel' and 'real' creating new distance explosion

By Brandel ChambleeJuly 6, 2018, 6:46 pm

One of the most common refrains in teaching, “Feel is not real,” is a teacher’s way of breaking the bad news to a student, that despite their persistent efforts to coerce their limbs into a new order, they can look at the video of their swing—the way a radiologist looks at a mammogram— and not one bit of difference will be visible. Which seems impossible to the student, because they are with every bit of resolve they can muster telling their brain to send a message to the specific body part or parts to move this way or that, positive that every order is being followed, only to look at the video and see the same swing they were making before the orders were sent; it’s only then that one comes face to face with the reality, that what one feels in the golf swing is not what is actually happening.

This is not an affliction unique to poor golfers either; on the contrary, the most intelligent, dogmatic superstars who have ever played this game have made the most ludicrous of claims about their own swings. I say ludicrous, because video of their swings shows quite clearly that these superstars are not doing what they say they are doing; that they say is of paramount  importance that YOU do. For instance, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus both maintained that swinging around a steady head was what they did, that “keeping your head still” was a fundamental even, and hugely important to playing great golf. Except that neither of them did this.

Ben Hogan wrote in “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf” that one must restrict hip turn, and then turn the shoulders against that restriction to create tension or coil which in turn would give them power. Indeed one can argue ( as I have ) that the whole restricting of the hips movement that now pervades the Tour can be traced back to this “feeling” that Hogan had, that he wrote about and that then became gospel in the game. Except for one problem, Hogan did NOT restrict his hips. They turned an enormous amount.

To be clear, I am not saying that Palmer, Nicklaus and Hogan were purposely trying to deceive the rest of the golf world; what they were feeling was real enough to them. But the great golf shots they hit did not come about because they were actually doing the things they felt but perhaps because their own innate athletic ability was overriding those feels. The minutia was unknown to them, but it didn’t hurt their golf. Or did it?

This is what makes teaching so hard, because how can we learn from the best players, if they in fact are not doing what they say they are doing?

This is why I believe teaching golf has been so controversial over the years, because there has been so much confusion over what in fact the best players were actually doing. Of course with each technological breakthrough in cameras each generation has thought they found the secret. One hundred years ago, the innovative teacher Alex Morrison wrote that slow motion video had made it very clear to him etc… and his student Henry Picard taught Jack Grout who taught Jack Nicklaus, so something must have been clear to him. Or was it that great athletes simply found a way to hit great shots, regardless of the misinformation?

Recently cameras of a very high shutter speed have captured arms and hands, legs and feet and hips at full speed in the swing almost as if they were posed. Technological devices have allowed a forensic look at ballistic characteristics for every imaginable shot, obliterating previous thoughts about impact conditions. Pressure plates have allowed a precise tracing of the movement patterns unique to short, medium and long hitters, obliterating previous thoughts about where distance came from.

Are we, like Alex Morrison, of the false belief that our current technology has given us all the tools necessary to actually know what the best players are doing, or do we in fact have all of the necessary tools to know for sure? One never knows what they do not know. I do know, however, that there is a tidal wave of speed about to wash over golf unlike anything that has ever been seen and it is not because of better balls or better golf clubs, but because of a better understanding of how to move one’s body; of how to swing the club.

As I write this, there are 94 players averaging over 300 yards on the Tour, led by Cameron Champ, who is averaging 339 yards. This year’s Haskins award winner Norman Xiong, who at 19 made his pro debut at the U.S. Open, supposedly has a swing speed of 133 mph. When you consider that the line in the sand for distance improvements in balls and clubs was drawn more than 10 years ago, you see just how impactful the understanding of how one needs to move to create speed in the golf swing has been and is about to be, and perhaps for the first time in history, players are beginning to match up their feels with what they are actually doing. 

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1

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Perez (T-3) looks to remedy 'terrible' major record

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 7:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez’s major record is infinitely forgettable. In 24 Grand Slam starts he has exactly one top-10 finish, more than a decade ago at the PGA Championship.

“Terrible,” Perez said when asked to sum up his major career. “I won sixth [place]. Didn't even break top 5.”

It’s strange, however, that his status atop The Open leaderboard through two rounds doesn’t seem out of character. The 42-year-old admits he doesn’t hit it long enough to contend at most major stops and also concedes he doesn’t exactly have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the game’s biggest events, but something about The Open works for him.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I didn't like it the first time I came over. When I went to St. Andrews in '05, I didn't like it because it was cold and terrible and this and that,” he said. “Over the years, I've really learned to like to come over here. Plus the fans are so awesome here. They know a good shot. They don't laugh at you if you hit a bad shot.”

Perez gave the fans plenty to cheer on Friday at Carnoustie, playing 17 flawless holes to move into a share of the lead before a closing bogey dropped him into a tie for third place after a second-round 68.

For Perez, links golf is the great equalizer that mitigates the advantages some of the younger, more powerful players have and it brings out the best in him.

“It's hard enough that I don't feel like I have to hit perfect shots. That's the best,” he said. “Greens, you can kind of miss a shot, and it won't run off and go off the green 40 yards. You're still kind of on the green. You can have a 60-footer and actually think about making it because of the speed.”