For Barkley its time to lay new cable

By Dr. Rick JensenMarch 24, 2009, 4:00 pm
The Haney Project: Charles Barkley has highlighted one of golfs most feared diseases ' the yips. Barkley has turned to Tiger Woods instructor, Hank Haney, to find a remedy for his pause, or yip, on his downswing.
For those who have never encountered this unwanted intruder, the yips present a sudden, involuntary jerk, twitch, tremor, or hitch in a golf motion. Although the yips most often attack a players putting stroke, they are nondiscriminatory and will interfere with a players chipping, pitching and full swing motions as well, as weve seen with Barkley.
Although novice observers often define the yips as choking under pressure, the yips are not necessarily a mental problem. As Haney has said about Barkley, Its not in his head. As a sport psychologist, I have to agree. Researchers have categorized the yips into two categories, Type I yips (caused by a neurological disorder called focal dystonia) and Type II yips (caused by choking). It is the psychological yips (Type II) that are mental in nature and more often get the credit for the uncontrollable movements that appear under pressure.
To remedy the psychological yips, mental techniques such as anxiety management and attention control strategies can be used to help golfers lower their heart rate and focus their attention effectively during competition.
Barkley, on the other hand, appears to be struggling with neurological yips (Type I) which, although triggered or enhanced in times of heightened anxiety, are neuromuscular (not mental) in nature. Neurological yips involve involuntary muscle contractions during a specific motor task (i.e., a golf swing), and likely result from the overuse of certain muscles while the body is in an abnormal position. In The Haney Project, Haney points out the flawed positions in Barkleys swing (e.g., head moving down toward the ball, the club being off-plane) as reasons for why Barkley stops in the early stages of his downswing. When asked why Barkley stops, Haney says, What would happen if he didnt? How could he hit the ball?
In experiences with players, both professional and amateur, who have struggled with the yips, the neurological yips are more difficult to extinguish. The process of remedying the neurological yips is analogous to fixing a broken telephone line by laying new telephone cable rather than repairing the existing one. Picture your neuromuscular system as a series of telephone cables that connect your brain to the muscles in your hands, arms, wrists, etc. Each time you command your body to hit a golf ball, your brain transmits an electrical impulse along these cables to your muscles. When the muscles receive and interpret the message, they fire, resulting in the execution of your golf swing. Now imagine if one of the cables was damaged, crimped, frayed, or worn out from overuse. As electrical impulses pass across this cable, they become distorted. The resulting interpretation of this scrambled message by the muscles would result in a neurological yip.
Often with the yips, players wont experience any symptoms under practice conditions, but will under tournament or pressure situations. This is equated to a damaged cable having the ability to withstand a low-voltage impulse (i.e., practice), but not being able to handle the high voltage impulse of playing under pressure.
Thus, the best solution for the neurological yips: Lay new cable. The reason why many players have never conquered the yips in their games is that theyve attempted to apply psychological solutions (e.g., relaxation strategies, breathing, preshot routines, positive thinking) to a neurological problem. In reference to his turning to hypnosis in an attempt to fix his yips, Barkley says, No offense to the hypnotists out there, but all I got was a good nap. To eliminate the hitch in Barkleys golf swing, Haney understands that he must create a new neuromuscular freeway.
What Im trying to do is get him going down a different road, some shape of his swing thats different, said Haney. On the road, its just a freeway. There are no stop signs; theres nothing but open road.
In putting, laying new cable to cure the yips has been shown to be successful by pros willing to put in the work necessary to master a new, uniquely different putting stroke. Players like Sam Snead, Bernhard Langer and Chris DiMarco abandoned their traditional putting strokes in search of a new freeway. Snead pioneered a croquet-style of putting, while Langer went to a long putter and DiMarco a claw grip.
For golfers, like Barkley, who have had the neurological yips invade their full swing, the road to improvement is much longer than it is for putting. The full swing yips can take touring pros completely out of contention as they did for Ian Baker-Finch, Seve Ballesteros and David Duval. Why? Laying new cable in the full swing is difficult.
With the full swing, a player has to rebuild the swing in a way that no longer relies on the previous neurological pathway (the damaged telephone cable) used in the past. This is a difficult task; this is the task that The Haney Project has embarked upon with Barkley.
Laying new cable is hard work, something that Barkley is accustomed to from his days in the NBA. When it comes to his golf game, Barkley is just as motivated. Im going to work as hard as I possibly can, I promise you, he says.
In the coming weeks, well see how Barkley responds when its time to lay new cable.
Rick Jensen, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized sport psychologist and author of Drive to the Top: 5 Timeless Business Lessons Learned from Golfs Greatest Champions. Dr. Jensens clients include more than 50 touring pros on the PGA, LPGA and Champions tours. For additional information, go to
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M. Jutanugarn finally joins sister in LPGA winner's circle

By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 1:42 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn won the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open by two shots for her first victory in six years on the LPGA Tour, joining sister Ariya as the second siblings to win on the tour.

The 23-year-old from Thailand shot a 3-under 68 for a 12-under 272 total Sunday at Wilshire Country Club in the tour's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

Jutanugarn won in her 156th start after three career runner-up finishes, including at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She had 21 top-10 finishes before winning.

Seven-time winner Ariya tied for 24th after a 70. She joined the predominantly Asian crowd to follow her older sister's final holes, crying as Moriya two-putted to close out the win.

Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam were the first sisters to win on the LPGA Tour.

Hall of Famer Inbee Park shot a 68 to tie for second with Jin Young Ko (70).

Park had opportunities, but she wasn't able to put pressure on Jutanugarn playing in the final threesome. However, Park will return to No. 1 in the world when the rankings come out Monday, knocking off top-ranked Shenshen Fang, who tied for 12th.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

Jutanugarn began the final round with a two-shot lead and never wavered in fulfilling the potential she first displayed as the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2013. After a birdie at the second hole, she reeled off nine consecutive pars before sinking birdie putts at 12 and 13.

She overcame a tee shot that narrowly missed going out of bounds for another birdie at 15 to lead by three.

Jutanugarn ran into trouble on the par-4 16th. Her approach landed on the green and rolled off it, stopping inches from dropping into a bunker. Her chip shot ran well past the hole and her par putt just missed catching the edge of the cup. That left her with a short putt for bogey, her first in her previous 28 holes, trimming her lead to two shots.

Ko's tee shot on 18 landed about 4 feet from the hole, giving her a chance to cut Jutanugarn's lead to one shot with the Thai facing a long birdie attempt.

But Ko missed, leaving Jutanugarn room to maneuver. Her birdie putt came up a couple feet short, but she calmly parred the hole to win. Ariya rushed onto the green and joined others in emptying water bottles on her sister before they embraced.

So Yeon Ryu (68) finished fourth at 7 under. American Emma Talley (67) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) tied for fifth at 6 under, making Ji one of four South Koreans to place in the top five.

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After Further Review: Tour players embracing new ideas

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2018, 1:26 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On players embracing new ideas on the PGA Tour ...

PGA Tour players are trying to tell commissioner Jay Monahan something: They like new.

In the second year of the two-man team format at the Zurich Classic, 10 of the top 14 players in the world have signed up, including all four reigning major champions. It’s the first time all four have been in the same field since the Tour Championship. If the laid-back event offered world-ranking points – it doesn’t, and that’s part of the appeal – the winner would have received 62 points. That’s the same as the Genesis Open.

Sure, some sponsor obligations are involved in boosting the field here, but there’s no other way to look at this: Today’s PGA Tour players are not only willing to play events that are a departure from the 72-hole, stroke-play norm. They’re encouraging it. - Ryan Lavner

On Moriya Jutanugarn's breakthrough win ...

As much love as there is between the Jutanugarn sisters, it couldn’t have been easy for Moriya, watching her baby sister, Ariya, soar past her as one of the LPGA’s dominant stars the last few years. Mo, though, never betrayed an inkling of frustration or envy.

That’s what made Mo’s breakthrough LPGA victory Sunday at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open especially meaningful for everyone who has admired Mo’s devotion to her sister. Mo was always a fixture, waiting in the wings to celebrate whenever Ariya hoisted a trophy.

So emotions were high late Sunday, with Ariya waiting in the wings this time, with Ariya sobbing in Mo’s arms after the victory was secured. It was heartwarming for more than Apple, the mother who raised these talented, loving sisters. As always, Apple was there, too, soaking both her daughters in tears of joy. – Randall Mell

On the tough scheduling decisions facing the PGA Tour ...

According to multiple sources, officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation on Monday.

While this is good news for the folks in Fort Worth, Texas, who were in danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of timing, there remain some tough decisions to be made in the next few weeks.

If the PGA Tour’s plan is to end its season before Labor Day beginning in 2019, something must give. Currently, the Houston Open, a staple on Tour since 1946, and The National are without sponsors. When the music stops in a few weeks and the circuit announces the ’19 schedule, there’s a good chance one, or both, of those events will be the victims of bad timing. – Rex Hoggard

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Triplett hole-out wins Legends of Golf playoff

By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 12:12 am

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Kirk Triplett holed out from a bunker for birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf to lift himself and partner Paul Broadhurst past Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.

''Well, you're trying to make it, but you know realistically it doesn't go in very often,'' Triplett said. ''You're trying to give your partner a free run at it. You don't want to hit it up there 20 feet past or do something silly. I'm just trying to hit it the right distance and get it on the right line.''

Langer and Lehman took it in stride.

''You kind of learn to expect it,'' Lehman said. ''These guys out here are so good and Kirk Triplett is a magician around the greens. The odds of making that shot are probably not good, but you certainly expect him to hit a great shot and he did and it went in.''

Lehman and Langer missed birdie putts after Triplett holed out.

''I kind of felt like we both hit pretty good putts, misread them, both of them,'' Lehman said. ''I hit mine probably too hard and Bernhard's was too soft, but you have to hand it to the guys who hit the shot when they have to hit it.''

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Broadhurst and Triplett closed with a 6-under 48 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to match Langer and Lehman at 24 under. Langer and Lehman had a 47, playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

The 56-year-old Triplett won his sixth PGA Tour Champions title.

''That's a big roller-coaster - three good shots and mine, right?'' Triplett said. ''I'm feeling a little dejected walking down that fairway there, a little sheepish. To knock it in it just reminds you, this game, you know, crazy stuff.''

Broadhurst claimed his third senior victory.

''I don't get too emotional, but that was something special,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said.

Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal had a 48 to tie for third with 2017 winners Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco. Singh and Franco, the third-round leaders, shot 50.

Mark Calcavecchia-Woody Austin (48), John Daly-Michael Allen (49), Steve Stricker-Jerry Kelly (50) and David Toms-Steve Flesch (52) tied for fifth at 20 under.

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Mullinax (T-2) comes up short of maiden win

By Will GrayApril 23, 2018, 12:06 am

The Valero Texas Open saw an unheralded player break through to earn a maiden victory, but unfortunately for Trey Mullinax his day will have to wait.

Mullinax started the final round within a shot of the lead, having fired a course-record 62 during the final round. He trailed Andrew Landry by one shot for much of the final round while racking up six birdies over his first 11 holes, but a pair of late miscues meant the former Alabama standout had to settle for a share of second place, two shots behind Landry.

A final-round 69 marked a career-best finish for Mullinax, who is playing this season on conditional status and whose lone prior top-10 this season came after he Monday qualified for the Valspar Championship.

"I know my game's there, I'm playing really well," Mullinax told reporters. "Give all credit to Andrew, he played really well today, rocksteady. He was putting great, hitting great shots."

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

Given time to reflect, the 26-year-old will likely look back on the final two holes where nerves appeared to get the best of him. Looking to put some pressure on Landry, Mullinax chunked his pitch on the short 17th hole into a greenside bunker, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course.

Then Mullinax was unable to convert a 9-foot birdie putt on the final green, which would have forced Landry to make his 8-foot par putt to avoid a playoff. Afforded the luxury of two putts for the win, Landry rolled in his par save to cement a two-shot win.

"Made a bad bogey on 17, but just you've got to hit some bad shots," Mullinax said. "Would have liked to have got the putt on 18 to fall to put a little bit of heat on him, but this experience that I'm gaining right now is just going to help me down the road."