Bump and Run Mark Wood

By David AllenAugust 6, 2009, 4:00 pm
We know it's difficult to find time to practice during the week. When a Saturday or Sunday tee time rolls around, you're hoping to find some spark or productive swing thought that will help you break 100, 90, 80 or whatever your scoring goal may be.
 
With the weekend warrior in mind we created Bump and Run, a weekly Q&A with some of the game's top instructors. Each Friday, a teaching professional will occupy this space and answer questions directed toward improving your game. This week it's Mark Wood (pictured), a part-time radio talk show host who is ranked among the Top 50 Greatest Teachers in America by Golf Digest.
Mark Wood, Stewart CinkMARK WOOD
Director of Golf, Cornerstone Colorado Montrose, Colo.
 
Accomplishments:
- Golf Digests 50 Greatest Teachers
- Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers in America
- South Florida PGA Section Teacher of the Year
- Host, GolfWorld On-Air Radio Show
 
Students (past and present):
Stewart Cink, David Toms, Dudley Hart, Bo Van Pelt
 
Web Site:
www.markwoodgolf.com
 
Contact: 970-497-8383
Wood enjoyed a very memorable Sunday recently when current pupil Bo Van Pelt grabbed his first PGA Tour win in a sudden dealth playoff at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. Earlier that same day, former pupil Stewart Cink captured his first major title by defeating 59-year-old Tom Watson in a four-hole playoff at the Open Championship.
 
'I couldn't lose either way,' said Wood. 'On one hand you had Tom Watson possibly making golf history, and on the other you had Stewart, whom I taught as a kid and young professional. It was obviously a life-changing victory for him.'
 
To submit a question to Wood or one of our teachers, please e-mail bumpandrun@thegolfchannel.com and check back every Friday to see if your question got answered. Who knows, it just might be the impetus you need to shoot your best round ever come the weekend.
 
Do you have a favorite Stewart Cink story?
 
One year I gave him this training aid to help him create the feeling of more width in his swing. When I asked him how it was working out, he said it had fallen out of his golf cart and that despite several attempts to run it over, it wouldn't break. So he kept on using it. You give Stewart something to work on and he'll keep at it, even if he doesn't want to. So long as there's a benefit, he's willing to do it.
 
Stewart used to work hard on his footwork with you. How should your feet work during the swing?
 
If you stand up and take your stance without a club, and simply rotate your hips open (to the left), you should start to see your right heel come up off the ground. As you continue to rotate, the right foot should roll onto its instep. At the same time, your left foot should remain flat on the ground and your left leg stable. This way, you can swing within the framework of your stance. That's good footwork. When the hips slide forward, that's when the left foot rolls up to the outside (this was Stewart's fault), and your power and accuracy suffers.
 
Stewart Cink approach shot at Open Championship.
At impact, Cink's right foot rolls onto its instep and his left foot remains flat on the ground.
Any advice for the weekend warrior? Something that may help them drop a shot or two during their Saturday or Sunday round?
 
Keep the ball in the same position relative to your left foot -- two balls inside the left heel -- for every club but your driver. When you need to move the ball back or forward in your stance, simply move your right foot. For example, to hit a short pitch shot, narrow your stance by bringing your right foot closer to your left; this will draw your weight forward and level out your shoulders to create a more descending blow. If you want to hit a full hybrid, widen your stance by moving your right foot away from the target, thus shallowing out your swing some. The only time you need to move your left foot is when you're hitting driver, because the ball needs to be more forward -- opposite your left instep -- in your stance.
 
What happens is that people move the ball, which changes the position of their shoulders relative to their stance. When you move the ball too far back, for example, you get the club coming in too much from the inside with the clubface open, which leads to a push-slice. If you play it too far forward, there's no way you'll be able to hit the ball and take a divot in front of the ball. If you can get your ball position to a point where you're very confident with it, then you'll find yourself making solid contact more often, regardless of the club.
 
One of our readers, Jesse, writes in: I'm having problems with my chipping and short pitch shots. The problem seems that I stab at the ball and either chunk it or skull it over the green. What can I do to correct this?
 
Jesse, the reason you're mishitting the ball is because you're using your hands too much. Here's the perfect drill to combat this; it's called the 'Anti-Wristy Drill': Take a second club (preferably a short iron) and turn it upside down so the clubhead is just below the grip of the first club. Hold on to both clubs as if it were one long extension of the first and take your normal address position; the second club should sit to the outside of your left hip and ribcage. Now try and chip the ball without letting the second shaft hit your left side. If it bangs into your ribcage, you're using your wrists too much and throwing the clubhead past the handle. You want to move your arms forward, toward the target, without breaking your wrists. Provided you do this the shaft will miss your left side and you'll hit the ball with a descending strike.
 
Jack Nicklaus used to keep the club suspended off the ground for all shots, not just the driver. Why'd he do this?
 
Paul Runyan, a fantastic teacher and player who taught Jack a lot of what he knows about the short game, always talked about underreaching the ground so that the clubhead barely reached the top of the grass. Even on a very tight lie, he believed the club should be suspended off the ground. This way, the arms would have room to stretch and could take a divot after the ball. When you overreach, or sole the club on the ground at address, the tendency is to hit the shot fat or pull up and top the ball.
 
The momentum of your swing is going to stretch your arms, which is why it's a good idea to keep the club suspended. This is especially true in the rough, because the ball has a tendency to perch up on top of the grass like a snow cone. If you soled the club in the ground and the ball was an inch or two off the ground, you would then contact the ball on top of the clubface and miss the sweet spot.
 
To underreach, stand up tall in your hips and extend your arms so that the leading edge of the club is resting off the ground and you can feel the weight of the clubhead. Then swing. Provided your arms have room to stretch, you should hit the sweet spot more often and control the distance of your shots much better.
 
Mark Wood Related Videos
  • Stewart Cink's Flat-Footed Drill
  • L to L Power Drill
  • Question - Chipping and Pitching

  •  
    Getty Images

    Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

    Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

    “The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.

     

     

    Getty Images

    Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

    Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

    She wondered if there would be resentment.

    She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

    “I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

    PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

    Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

    She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

    Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

    “It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

    Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

    He waved Lincicome over.

    “He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

    Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

    “The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

    Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

    Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

    “I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

    Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

    Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

    Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

    What are Lincicome’s expectations?

    She would love to make the cut, but . . .

    “Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

    Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

    “I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

    Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

    Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

    As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

    “The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

    Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

    The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

    “She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

    Getty Images

    Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

    By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

    There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

    Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

    She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

    It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

    Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

    "It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

    Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

    Getty Images

    Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

    Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

    “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”


    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

    “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

    The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

    “All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”