Hide and Sneak
It’s a very popular mind game played in professional golf.
It requires pros to hide their eyes from leaderboards while sneaking around them. The object is to keep their focus on the shot at hand in their bid to win.
It’s remarkable how many PGA Tour pros do not like to look at leaderboards. A lot of them leave the scoreboard watching up to their caddies, who are instructed only to alert the player to his standing if it requires the player to change strategy down the stretch. This avoids the Jesper Parnevik finish. Parnevik might have lost the British Open because he didn’t know where he stood on the leaderboard at the 72nd hole when Nick Price won in 1994 at Turnberry.
Is Hide and Sneak smart golf? Or is there some kind of weakness in trying to trick your mind to take the nerves out of the finish? Even the game’s best players will debate the point.
I’ve never seen Hide and Sneak more thoroughly played than Crane played it Sunday at the Farmers Insurance Open. Crane said he actually did not know he won the tournament when he putted out at the 72nd hole. He said he didn’t know until fellow competitor Ryuji Imada congratulated him for winning.
“I did not know that I had won when it was over,” Crane said. “I didn't know who was playing well. I didn't know what was really going on in front of me. I had no idea, really, what was going on.”
Anyone else out there astounded by that?
Tiger Woods always looks at leaderboards. So did Jack Nicklaus. But there are a lot of terrific players who would play it just like Crane did.
I once asked six-time major championship winner Nick Faldo what he did.
“I've done it looking and not looking,' Faldo said. “I think it all depends on your confidence at the time. If you're feeling confident, you look at the board.”
Paul Azinger, a 12-time PGA Tour winner, felt similarly when I asked him a few years back.
“If you are real secure, you want to know,” Azinger said. “If you are a little bit insecure, you want to stay wrapped up in your own little world. That can be effective in helping you plot your way around, but it can be dangerous, too, because at some point you have to know where you stand.
“I think the whole idea is getting comfortable [in contention]. That's the ultimate challenge. If you're comfortable knowing where you stand, you're going to have an advantage on somebody who isn't comfortable knowing where they stand.”
Parnevik will confirm that. He didn’t know he had a two-shot lead stepping to the 72nd hole at the ’94 British Open and blew his chance attacking the final pin. This was back before he had won a PGA Tour event.
“I was so caught up in the situation, birdie is all I could think about,' said Parnevik, a 5-time PGA Tour winner. 'I wasn't very experienced, but I learned.
“I think in the end, you really have to know where you stand, but if you know that knowing is going to mess you up, then it's better not to look at all.'
Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity
Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.
On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.
In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids.
Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.
Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'
Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.
He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.
McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.
"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."
Check out the full interview below:
Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'
Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.
He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.
He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.
He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.
And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.
While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.
The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”
Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.
Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'
In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.
Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.
The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.
To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.
Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.
Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.
The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.
“Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”
Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.
Tweet of the week:
If u get friend zoned on live tv after winning a tourney, u pretty much need to do some not appropriate for all viewers type stuff after ur next W to get rid of that stigma #JustSaying— max homa (@maxhoma23) May 21, 2018
Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.
“No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”
Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.
As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.
Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).
In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.
Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.
Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.
In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.
The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.
“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”
Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.