Think Wizard of Westwood to improve your game

By Tasha BrownerMarch 19, 2014, 3:00 pm

With apologies to the participants in this year's play-in games, the 2014 NCAA Tournament gets underway in earnest on Thursday.

While checking your brackets during this year's March Madness, remember a legendary basketball coach and his teachings.

John Wooden, who won 10 national championships at UCLA, is one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport, and he has had a lasting impact on more than just basketball.

Let's apply some of his timeless wisdom (in the form of the quotes below) to help you improve your golf game this year:

• "Never mistake activity for achievement." Most of us have busy lives so when we actually get to the course we must have a plan. Just because we're hitting golf balls doesn't mean we are actually achieving anything with our golf games. Before your next practice session, identify your goals for the day and establish a plan to execute them.

• "Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." How many of us play rounds where we are not driving the ball well and our frustration trickles down into all of our other clubs? So many golfers get discouraged by the part of their game that is misbehaving that they lose focus on the things that they do well. Remember, it only takes one good shot (a solid iron, a good chip, a made putt, etc.) to turn things around, so focus on what you do best.

• "If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes." When learning new things or making changes to our game, we must remember that the only way to learn that new information is to experience it. Even if the shot is lousy, there is always something that can be learned. Both negative and positive reinforcement are acceptable ways to learn new information. The road to improvement will be paved in part by mistakes that are made that you don't want to repeat!

• "It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it." There are several things you can do to stay focused toward the end of your round. First, stay hydrated and snack on foods that help you sustain your energy. Second, experiment with turning your focus "on" when it is your turn to play and turning it "off" between shots to conserve your mental energy. Finally, use your knowledge from the beginning of the round to help you make good decisions. By the time you play the latter half of the round, you should know your tendencies and make adjustments for them.

In honor of March Madness, let's utilize Coach Wooden's words of wisdom to play better golf. After all, "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts."

For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your overall game, click here.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated” while taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor, he made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

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

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.

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Van Rooyen continues links run with impressive 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:27 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For Erik van Rooyen familiarity has not bred contempt.

The South African, like many European Tour players, has been on a links golf odyssey the last three weeks, playing the Irish Open, Scottish Open and this week’s Open Championship in consecutive weeks, and the crash course paid off on Day 1 at Carnoustie when he opened with a 4-under 67 to assure himself a spot among the early leaders.

Although van Rooyen missed the cut last week just down the coast at Gullane Golf Club, he entered the final round in Ireland with a four-stroke lead.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I didn't pull it off the final day,” said van Rooyen, who closed with a 74 to tie for fourth place. “I still think I played pretty well. I was nervous. That's completely normal, and I'll learn how to deal with that. I'll take that experience into tournaments like this.”

Van Rooyen, who was alone in second place when he completed his round, began his round with back-to-back birdies and was bogey-free until the last hole. It was just what one would expect from a player who has immersed himself in links golf for the better part of a month.

“We've been playing nice golf now the last three weeks, so definitely used to the way this course is playing, definitely used to handling the wind,” he said. “So I'll be ready.”