Ten Week Challenge - Week 1

By Katherine RobertsJanuary 9, 2004, 5:00 pm
Over the next ten weeks we will be rolling out a golf-specific yoga program that will get you and keep you in great golf shape ' body and mind! Based on specific golf biomechanical information, the Yoga for Golfers program will address the physical components often responsible for swing faults. Each week the next series of yoga poses focuses on the following:
  • Standing poses that will increase strength, balance and endurance in the lower body.

  • Standing poses that utilize the wall so you have the opportunity to increase the intensity of the pose and support better balance.

  • Core conditioning poses stabilize the body from which all movement is initiated. Core conditioning also supports posture and endurance.

  • Seated poses increasing rotation, shoulder turn and strength in the upper body.

  • Seated poses using props and the wall that will enable you to work into the connective tissue.

  • Learn the basics of meditation techniques which can be applied to visualization techniques increasing your capacity to stay focused.

Each weeks yoga sequence should be added to the previous one so you will build an effective, flexibility and strengthening yoga based program.
Here's what you need to get started:

  • Frequency: Practice a minimum of three days a week. If possible five days a week is better. (I practice yoga six days a week)

  • Duration: This program is designed to be approximately 30 minutes. Adherence is more important to success than duration.

  • Equipment: You will need a yoga mat, yoga block and yoga strap. These can be purchased on-line at www.huggermugger.com or at most retail stores such as Target. You will also need three bath size towels.

  • Location: Find a space that is quiet and warm. You only need enough room to accommodate the mat (24 x 64 inches). This is a great program to take with you if you travel. If possible heat up the room so the muscles stay warm. You will be sweating!

And some guidelines to follow:

  • Move slowly in and out of each pose. You should never experience pain when practicing yoga. Slight discomfort is acceptable ' pain in not!

  • Breath deeply inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Note: If breathing becomes to strained, back off the pose so you can control the breath. The controlled breathing is more important than the pose. (more on that subject to follow)

  • Align your body with keen attention. Just as in golf the placement of the feet, posture and awareness is critical in yoga.

  • Each pose requires that you draw the navel inwards, lift the ribcage to lengthen the torso by working the core.

In my instructional DVDs, I offer three levels of intensity, what I refer to as the Par (Basic), Birdie (Intermediate) or Eagle (Advanced) levels. For our purpose we will mostly focus on the Par or Birdie levels.
Week 1 - The Warm-up
This week focuses on a warm-up sequence of yoga poses. This sequence should be performed at the beginning of every yoga practice. Some of these yoga poses look familiar and linked together will prepare the body for the yoga practice and a round of golf.
Breathing Awareness exercise:

Yoga for Golfers - Breathing Awareness exercise

This yoga exercise will facilitate deep, diaphragmatic, effective breathing. Begin by lying on your back, knees bent, and fingers resting lightly on your ribcage. As you inhale fee the expansion in the ribcage, as you exhale feel the contraction. It is as if the entire mid-section is rising and falling. Try to maintain the inhale for a count of four the exhale for a count of six. Practice this for ten to twenty breaths or until you feel you have awareness and control of your breathing.
Spine Warm-up with block:

Yoga for Golfers - Spine Warm-up with block

This pose warms up the spine and abdominals. Bend knees and place block between thighs, feet flat on the floor. Place hands under thighs to support the back. Draw the navel into the spine, pressing the abdominals against the spine, tucking the chin in. Slowly roll back wards, squeezing the block as tightly as possible. Go to the point of muscle fatigue and roll back up. Exhale as you roll down, inhale as you roll back up. Focus on the abdominal strength. Repeat ten times.
Cow-Cat pose:

Yoga for Golfers - Cow pose

On all fours, place the hands, fingers spread wide, directly under the shoulders, knees directly under the hips.
Yoga for Golfers - Cat pose

Inhale, draw the navel towards the spine, press the spine towards the ceiling, tucking the chin into the chest.
Exhale, press the spine towards the floor, shoulders moving away from the ears, lifting the head slightly. Continue for ten repetitions.
Modified Downward Facing Dog pose:

Yoga for Golfers - Modified Downward Facing Dog

On your knees, place your hands at the top and as wide as the mat. Spead your fingers wide, palms flat. Lift the buttocks away from the heels and feel the stretch in the shoulders and low back. Hold for ten breaths.
Downward Facing Dog pose:
Yoga for Golfers - Downward Facing Dog

From the modified dog pose, lift the hips up, pressing the mat away from you and feeling the stretch in the shoulders and hamstrings. Try to move the heels towards the floor and straighten the legs (EAGLE). If necessary, bend the knees to relieve the stress on the hamstrings. Feet are slightly less than hip width apart. Allow the next to relax, eyes gaze towards the nave. Hold for five to ten breaths.
Modified Cobra pose:

Yoga for Golfers - Modified Cobra

On your belly, squeeze the legs together, engage the buttocks, draw the navel towards the spine and lift the chest off the floor. Hands are placed next to the chest, elbows tucked in next to the body. Hold for ten breaths.
Upward Facing Dog pose:

Yoga for Golfers - Upward Facing Dog

Keeping the hands and top of the feet on the floor, lift the body up. Keep the lower body very active ' quads and gluts engaged. Roll the shoulders back and chest forward. Hold for five breaths.
Next week we will move into a series of standing poses. Feel free to e-mail me with any question at info@yogaforgolfers.com.
As my gift to you for your new commitment to Yoga for Golfers I am offering a 25% discount off all the instructional DVDs to TheGolfChannel.com readers. Go to my website - - www.yogaforgolfers.com. Select the product and enter PR25 in the purchase code and receive the discount. Enjoy!

Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at info@yogaforgolfers.com.
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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

“Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

“It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

“It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”