Q-School Finalist Does It Differently - Cross-Handed

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 12, 2002, 5:00 pm
The cross-handed grip has long been considered normal when you are talking about putting. Many of the games better players ' Jim Furyk, Fred Couples, Tom Kite and others ' have grasped the club in this manner at least part of their careers. Left-hand low has become an everyday occurrence when stroking the ball along the ground.
Then again, going cross-handed while swinging away is a different story.
Josh BroadawaySay hello to Josh Broadaway. He grips and swings the club cross-handed ' ALL the clubs. A 24-year-old Hooters Tour graduate from Albany, Ga., he has passed the first two legs of the PGA Tours qualifying school and is on his way to California for the finals.
It gets a lot of looks, said Broadaway with a grin. A lot of guys will laugh at me on the range. Then they see me later in the week and theyre like, Man, thats that guy whos gripping it wrong. And hes teeing off later than I am!
Broadaway has been playing cross-handed since he first picked up a club and swung it rather unsteadily at the ball on the ground. Fortunately, he sees the humor in the situation, just as does almost everyone who sees him.
It gets comical on the range, but I started playing that way because I am naturally left-handed, said Broadaway. I didnt have any left-handed clubs when I was young, and I just started playing that way from batting left-handed in baseball. Thats the grip that felt comfortable to me.
The plan was for him to continue playing left-hand low just for awhile, until he got old enough to effect a change.
My grandpa said, Yeah, thats fine for now, well wait until you get a little older and then well switch you, Broadaway said. When I was about 13 or 14, I tried to switch ' I couldnt hit it a hair (by hitting with a normal grip).
He (his grandfather)would come out and practice with me and Id hit it standard and I couldnt hit it 20 yards. And when he would leave, Id go back cross-handed and I could hit it decent enough to get it around.
'I finally said, You know what? Im not switching ' Im sticking with it. And he was always, Well youre never going to be any good if you dont switch.
But you know, its paid off ' its paid off a little bit.

He was kidding, of course. 'It' has paid off a lot, starting in high school in Albany, advancing to college at Troy (Ala.) State, and finally playing the Hooters Tour.
Brother Drew Broadaway caddied for him on the Hooters. He can still recall the expressions of disbelief when Josh started to warm up.
Josh BroadawayIts pretty funny when we walk up on the range, and theyre all looking and going, Whats this guy doing? Who is he? said Drew. And then they see him hit a few shots and they say, Man, this guy is pretty good! Then they look on the scoreboard a couple of days later and theyre like, Hey ' maybe this guy CAN play like this!
Fellow Hooters Tour alumni Zack Johnson was one of the gawkers when Broadaway first showed up, but Johnson is now a believer. He watched Broadaway grip the club - '10-fingered, but cross-handed, he recalls. And then he saw Broadaway give the ball a ride which would make Federal Express proud.
Im not the longest guy, but I can get it out there a little ways. He just bombs it past me, marvels Johnson.
Despite a stellar record in high school, the opportunities for Broadaway were few and far between out of high school. Fortunately, one gentleman gave him the shot he needed. Troy State would take him, he was told.
Coach Burnett - he was actually the only coach who gave me the chance, said Josh. I didnt really have many people looking at me out of high school, and I had a pretty good junior career.
He said, You know what? You want to come here at Troy and play, come on and well let you play. Well see what you can do. He said, I wont mess with you.
The first qualifier we had, I won it by about 14 or 15 shots. He said, Well, if you want me to help you with something, you can ask. But dont look for any answers. He goes, Im just going to let you do your thing.
Well, Josh HAS done his thing quite well on the Hooters Tour in 2002, but he has had some help along the way.
My brothers on the bag ' Drew, said Josh. Hes gonna go out there with me, and its gonna be a fun trip. My goal at the start of this year was to win a Hooters event ' which we did; to have a good year and finish in the top 10 on the money list ' which we did; and to go to Q-School and get to the finals ' and weve done that.
Now our goal is to finish in the top 35 and get to the Big Show.
And when he goes, brother Drew will be beside him, in spirit if not in actual fact.
Were very close ' as close as brothers can be, I guess, said Drew. Out on the road, he calls me two or three times a week when Im not with him. Weve got a great relationship. Id venture to say that if he does get through, Id be out there in some capacity. I dont know if Id be on the bag fulltime, but Id be out there a good bit.
Many of Joshs peers think that he has the skills and, without question, the flair to be a star on the PGA Tour.
He's an unbelievable talent and when he gets out there ' its in due time, I think - hes going to be a crowd favorite, said Johnson. Hes got that personality, but hes very professional about it, too ' hell go out there and play hard and, you know, (take care of) business. Outside that, hes great to sit down and talk to. Hes just a good Southern boy.
Josh certainly knows the task at hand will not be an easy one. But hes aware of the perks.
Everybody I talk to says, Man ' you play cross-handed; you get on tour, youre an instant millionaire, he said.
So its hard not to think about it, you know. Its hard to fathom. My family worked hard for everything theyve got - my grandfather and father. Im lucky to be out here doing this ' I really am.
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Rory 'convinced' driver is the play at burnt Carnoustie

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 6:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – There are two distinct schools of thought at this week’s Open Championship - that Carnoustie is either best played with a velvet touch and a measured hand off the tee, or that it makes sense to choose the hammer and hit driver whenever and wherever possible.

Count Rory McIlroy in the latter camp.

Although the Northern Irishman’s opening 2-under 69 may not be a definitive endorsement of the bomb-and-gouge approach, he was pleased with his Day 1 results and even more committed to the concept.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I’m convinced that that's the way that I should play it,” said McIlroy, who hit just 4 of 15 fairways but sits tied for eighth. “It's not going to be for everyone, but it worked out pretty well for me and I would have taken 69 to start the day.”

From the moment McIlroy’s caddie, Harry Diamond, made a scouting trip to Carnoustie a few weeks ago, the 2014 Open champion committed himself to an aggressive gameplan, and there was nothing on Thursday that persuaded him to change.

The true test came early on Thursday, with McIlroy sending his tee shot over the green at the 350-yard, par-4 third and scrambling for birdie.

“That hole was a validation for me. It proved to me it’s the right way for me to play here. It was a little personal victory,” said McIlroy, who played his opening loop even but birdied Nos. 12 and 14 to move under par.

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Report: USGA, R&A to 'severely restrict' green books

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 6:42 pm

The detailed yardage books that many players rely on to help read greens at various tournaments could soon become a thing of the past.

According to a Golfweek report, the USGA and R&A are poised to "severely restrict" the information offered to players in green-reading books, which currently include detailed visuals and specifics about the location and severity of slopes and contours on each putting surface. The change is expected to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Green-reading books have come under scrutiny in recent years as their use has increased, seen as both an enemy of pace of play and a tool that can take the skill out of reading the break on putts.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

"We believe that the ability to read greens is an integral part of the skill of putting and remain concerned about the rapid development of increasingly detailed materials that players are using to help with reading greens during a round," the R&A said in a statement. The USGA also reportedly issued a statement that they plan to update their review process on the books "in the coming weeks."

Speaking to reporters after an opening-round 72 at The Open, Jordan Spieth seemingly implied that the rule change was all but official.

"I don't think we're allowed to use them starting next year, is that right?" Spieth said. "Which I think will be much better for me. I think that's a skill that I have in green reading that's advantageous versus the field, and so it will be nice. But when it's there, certain putts, I certainly was using it and listening to it."

According to the report, new language in the Rules of Golf is expected to address the presentation of the books and "end the current level of detail."

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'Super 7' living – and loving – frat life in Carnoustie

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 6:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It’s not exactly “Animal House Scotland,” but it’s as close as the gentleman’s game allows itself to drift toward that raucous line.

For the third consecutive year, some of golf’s biggest and brightest chose to set up shop on the same corner of the Angus coast, a testosterone-fueled riff session where feelings are never spared and thick skin is mandatory.

Among the eclectic “Super 7” who are sharing two houses in Carnoustie this week are defending champion Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker and Kevin Kisner – a group that ranges in age from 24 (Spieth) to 42 years old (Johnson).

The tradition, or maybe “guy’s week” is a better description, began in 2016 at Royal Troon when Spieth, Fowler, Thomas, Walker, Johnson and Dufner all roomed together. Kisner was added to the mix this year and instead of baseball – the distraction of choice in ’16 – the group has gone native with nightly soccer matches. Actually, the proceedings more resemble penalty kicks, but they seem to be no less entertaining.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

For the record, his flat mates will attest to Dufner’s abilities as a goalie, although asked about his chances to make the U.S. national team Thomas was reluctant to go that far.

“As a U.S. citizen, I hope he does not make our team, but he's a pretty good backyard goalie,” Thomas said.

The arrangement comes with a litany of benefits, from the camaraderie to the improved logistics of having so many VIPs under the same roof.

“Honestly, it just makes everything really, really easy because there's a lot of cars going to and from the golf course. They know our address. We have food essentially at our beck and call. And we have friends. I mean, we have some women [wives] in there to keep the frat house somewhat in order,” Johnson said. “But I mean, every individual there is great. It's fun.”

But this goes well beyond some random male bonding for what at the moment represents nearly one-third of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. This is a snapshot into a curious side of golf that’s as rare as it is misunderstood.

Unlike team sports, golf is a lonely pursuit. A player can collect as many swing coaches, sports psychologists and handlers around them as they wish, but there’s a connection between athletes at this level that creates a unique flow of ideas that’s normally only present during the annual team events, be it a Ryder or Presidents cup.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

At this level, players talk a language only they understand that’s littered with the kind of insider give-and-take one would expect from PGA Tour winners and major champions. Between the two houses, which are adjacent to each other, there are eight major victories.

“I have zero, so I don't know how many they have,” Kisner joked when asked about his accomplished roommates.

Kisner is southern like sweat and sweet tea and can trade good-natured jabs with the best of them, but given the pedigrees assembled between the two houses he seems to understand the importance of listening.

“Everybody is just really chill, and it's a lot of fun to be around those guys. There's a lot of great players. It's really cool just to hear what they have to say,” Kisner said. “Everybody's sitting around at night scratching their head on what club to hit off of every tee.”

It’s worth pointing out that The Open winner has come from this group twice in the last three years, including 2017 champion Spieth, who took no small measure of inspiration from Johnson’s victory at St. Andrews in ’15.

Nor is it probably a coincidence that four of those players now find themselves firmly in the mix and all within the top 20 at Carnoustie, including Kisner who will have bragging rights on Thursday night following a first-round 66 that vaulted him into the lead.

“I probably get to eat first,” he smiled.

In their primes, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player would occasionally share a house, they even vacationed together from time to time – you know, SB1K68 – but the practice fell out of favor for a few generations. It’s hard to imagine Greg Norman enjoying a friendly kick-about with any of his contemporaries and even harder to think that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson could share a cab ride, let alone a house for a week.

Some say this type of fellowship is the product of a new generation who grew up playing junior golf against each other and logically took their bond to the big leagues, but that ignores the 40-somethings (Johnson and Dufner) in the frat.

Maybe it’s a byproduct of America’s Ryder Cup rebuilding efforts or an affinity for non-stop one-liners and bad soccer. Or maybe it’s a genuine appreciation for what each of the “7” have to offer.

“[Kisner] is good friends with all those guys, he likes to cut up and have a good time and talk trash. It’s a good little group,” said Kisner’s swing coach John Tillery. “This last year or two and the Presidents Cup and being on the teams with those guys has just escalated that.”

Some seem to think these friendships run a little too deep. That sharing a bachelor pad and dinner for the week somehow erodes a player’s competitiveness. But if the “Super 7” have proven anything, other than American golfers probably aren’t the best soccer players, it’s that familiarity can be fun.

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Foley helping Willett (69) emerge from dark times

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 6:23 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After all of the dark places Danny Willett has occupied over the past 18 months, he wasn’t about to beat himself up Thursday.

“As perfect as we try and be,” he said after a bogey-bogey finish gave him a 2-under 69, putting him three shots off the early lead at The Open, “you should remember the times that were terrible and go, Well, that’s not too bad.”

There have been plenty of terrible times lately for Willett.

Seemingly ever since that 2016 Masters breakthrough he’s been locked in golf purgatory, at times betrayed by his body, his swing and even his own brother.

Willett began to break down not long after he won at Augusta, a tournament, not unlike The Open here in 1999, that’s destined to be remembered more for the player who lost (in this case, Jordan Spieth) than the one who executed all the shots Sunday and triumphed.

Tournaments near and far wanted the Masters champion in their field, and Willett dutifully obliged, putting his slender frame under duress. First his back began to ache, making routine tasks like climbing out of bed and picking up his kids a chore. Then he blew out his shoulder, the pain eventually creeping into his neck. Trying to manage a body that wouldn’t cooperate, he recently told Press Association Sport that he was taking six painkillers a day, to little effect. With his game and body in disarray, his confidence needed a reboot, too, especially after his brother, P.J., posted a poor attempt at satire in the days leading up to the 2016 Ryder Cup. Already showing signs of decline, Willett withered under the spotlight at Hazeltine and needed more than a year to rebuild his self-belief.

How dark were those times?

“Pitch black,” he said. “Not a nice place to be.”

Save for a scare in Italy (knee) and in a practice round here at Carnoustie (shoulder), Willett has mostly been injury-free for the past eight months, allowing him to dive headlong into some much-needed changes. Needing a fresh start, he blew out the entire team around him late last summer, tabbing swing coach Sean Foley to overhaul his swing.

“He was quite battered,” Foley said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

But Foley has a history of resurrecting players who have fallen on hard times, most famously Tiger Woods, with whom he began working in 2010, just a few months after his scandal. He’s also helped Sean O’Hair, Stephen Ames and Justin Rose find a swing that alleviates the discomfort in their backs.

Willett’s fall was steeper, and more harrowing, but for Foley the challenge remained the same.

“I guess I enjoy that in a way, because I’ve grown into a mentor as well as a coach,” he said. “They’ve been playing golf their whole life. They got good really quick, and when you get to the summit, there’s no oxygen and it’s really cold. Most climbers die when they go down a mountain instead of up it. These guys have never really struggled before.”

Mentally and physically, on a 0-to-10 scale, Willett was a “0” when Foley first saw him at last year’s PGA.

“When you know how good you can be, and you can’t get back to that point, that’s where they lose their mind,” Foley said. “The range can be a dangerous place to be.”

And so they targeted some of the moves in Willett’s swing that were causing him pain and went to work. Success was slow, but Foley reminded him to celebrate some of the small victories along the way. Even when he missed eight of 10 cuts earlier this year, Willett took time to appreciate that he wasn’t taking painkillers, or that he didn’t need to spend an hour on the physio table, or that he was starting to grow more comfortable in left-to-right wind.

“He’s a very charismatic guy, very upbeat, and I think with where I was, I really needed that,” Willett said. “We often have little jokes about where we were.”

Listening to Willett, the cockiness that fueled his rise to the top 10 in the world is gone. Perhaps that’s what happens when just seven of his 54 rounds played on the European Tour last year were in the 60s.

Even with three top-20s in his past five starts, rising from No. 462 to No. 320 in the world, he remains cautiously optimistic. Asked Thursday if the worst is behind him, he smiled: “You never know. But I’m pretty hopeful we’ll never be in as dark of a place as we were.”

“Regardless of what the golf is and how the golf is,” he said, “it’s a lot better place to be.”