QA Tiger Versus Medinah

By Frank ThomasAugust 22, 2006, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the latest in a weekly Q&A feature from The Golf Channel's Chief Technical Advisor Frank Thomas. To submit a question for possible use in this column, email

I noticed that Tiger removed his 2-iron from the bag for the PGA Championship last week and only used his driver on two or three holes. Was the course playing shorter than the 7,561 yards reported? -- Simon, Wilmington N.C.

You are correct Tiger did remove his 2-iron from the bag for the PGA Championship.
The reason for this is that he did not need that low knock down shot he uses in high winds. The potential for high winds is not the same at Medinah as it is at the British Open at Royal Liverpool where he did have his 2-iron ready and available.
The Medinah #3 course built in 1925 is now the longest course on which this Championship has been played but this still didn't affect the scores significantly. The reason for this is that the Par 4s averaged 441 yards with a range of 82 yards between the longest and shortest par 4 and the Par 5s averaged 577 yards and the Par 3s averaged 209 yards.
This means that all Tiger needed to do, was to get to the turn in the dog-legs using his 3- or 5-wood off the tee. Tiger can hit his 5-wood about 250 yards and can control it better than his 2-iron. The course was so set up, that the all the Par 4s were reachable with a straight 250 yard shot and a 6 or 7-iron (for Tiger). He also finds it easier to shape his 5-wood than his 2-iron and also control the distance better. The down side is that it has a higher trajectory which is affected significantly more by the wind than his 2-iron.
The Par 3s average length was 209 yards so this added more distance to the course without affecting the playability for the pros.

The average golfer will find the par 4s playing more like 5s and thus the reason for the course's degree of difficulty for handicap rating purposes. Medinah #3 has one of the highest slopes ratings on record. The course is long but because of the setup it played shorter than the yardage indicates for the pros. Shorter Par 3s and longer par 5s would, without changing the overall length would have made a difference in scoring.

Hey Frank,
I am new to this column, and I love your work. Will worn grips really affect accuracy/consistency? My grips are only a year old, but I practice a lot (I am a +2 handicap with a driver swing speed of 115mph) and there are now flat spots worn on my grips where my left thumb sits and are just worn in general. Will this actually affect how much control I have on the ball? Thanks for all your help. -- Mark Handley, Ordnance Engineering

The fact that you are a +2 handicap golfer indicates that worn grips are not affecting your accuracy or consistency.
It is not a good idea, however, to use worn grips if they are as you describe. If you play as much as you do, then you should change your grips every year. There is an advantage in having worn grips with specific indentations for your fingers. What you have done is created grips which are molded for the hands. This is a violation of the rules unless it is a result of normal wear (see rule 4-1 b).
The fact that you have been gripping the grip so consistently to wear them in this fashion is testimony to the fact that you have a good and very consistent grip position and therefore don't need grips molded for the hands. The grip is a very important part of the club as it is the connection between you and the club and making this connection the same way each time does require a quality grip which is not worn.
Bottom line; change your grips when they are visibly worn down and in your case Mark; every year.

The August 14, 2006 'Your Game Night' show had a segment where you discussed non-compliant clubs in the golf bag. Three training devices were referenced. The speed Stick, Swing Setter, and the Momentus.

Did I understand correctly that the Momentus was a compliant club, and could be carried in the bag and used to swing and warm up during a round as you would use two clubs? Thank you. -- V. Alvin Pemberton

Your understanding is correct. The reason for this is that the Momentus club conforms to the rules of golf. I think the very first one made didn't conform and then only because the grooves were a little out of spec. With the assumption that you have a conforming version then you can carry it, hit a ball with it (not recommended) and use it to loosen up or stay warm during a round. The object of this club is to help warm up your tired and stiff muscles. As there is no limitation on the weight of a club and this one is very heavy (same as two or three clubs) it is considered a club and must be included in the overall count. The limit on the number of clubs you are permitted to carry is 14 and I am proposing that for the pros this be reduced to 10. The reason for my proposal is to prevent the USGA and R&A from adopting separate performance standards for equipment that the pros use. This rule of 14 was adopted in 1938. Please review my article published in The New York Times OP-ED section in April this year. You can find it on my site

I thoroughly enjoy your segments on TGC and answers on the net. My question is this - Whenever I am playing near the ocean, be it in New Jersey, S.
Carolina or Florida it seems that I am at about one club shorter than when I play in my home state of Pennsylvania. Is this do to humidity, altitude or turf conditions? -- Art Williams

If the air is dense, the ball will fly shorter than in less dense air because of the aerodynamic drag properties. As the density of the medium increases so does the resistance to going through it. Dense air also increases the lift forces on a spinning ball so the ball will have a higher trajectory in more dense air. The density of the air increases when it is cold and when you change altitude from Denver, Colorado to the coast of South Carolina. Also as the humidity increases the air density will decrease not increase as we intuitively believe. The effect of humidity on ball flight is not nearly as significant as altitude or temperature.

You can add about 2.5 yards for every 10 degrees of temperature increase from 35 degrees F, to 95 degrees F. In temperatures outside of this range you should not be on the course at all so don't worry about it.
I think also in your case Art, the turf may be playing a part in the decrease in distance you are experiencing. My advice when playing at the coast is to estimate your distance and take out an extra club for all your irons and enjoy your beer at the end of the round.

Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to Helping Golfers. Frank is Chief Technical Advisor to The Golf Channel and Golf Digest. He served as Technical Director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN System and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email
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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off Olesen to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

“I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

“It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.