A Quick Round with Bob Toski

By Randall MellMay 28, 2010, 6:12 am

Bob Toski is more preacher than teacher.

At 83, he still possesses a passion for the game that can turn any little patch of grass he’s standing on into a bully pulpit. You never know when a question will lead to one of his fire-and-brimstone rants at the Toski-Battersby Golf Learning Center in Coconut Creek, Fla.

Though he weighed just 118 pounds, Toski was the PGA Tour’s leading money winner in 1954. After leaving the Tour ranks, he would become one of the giants of the golf teaching business, helping establish the Golf Digest Instruction Schools and becoming the first living inductee into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame.

With the PGA Tour stopping at Colonial Country Club this week, Toski took on topics ranging from Ben Hogan to Tiger Woods in a Quick Round:

You played the PGA Tour with Ben Hogan, what’s your favorite memory of him?

That he allowed me to watch him practice, but he never talked to me.

Allowed you?

I probably watched him practice about 12 times, usually for about an hour. That’s about 12 hours I watched him practice, but he never talked to anybody when he was out practicing on Tour.

Did you try to talk to him?

One time, I made the mistake of standing too close to him at the Los Angeles Open. I would stand in back of him when I watched. You stand behind a player to see how they aim and where they are swinging. I took a couple steps too close. He turned, put up his hand and looked at me with those steely hawk eyes, as if to say, “Get your butt back there, boy. I can see those white shoes of yours.”

But he didn’t actually say anything to you?

I’ll never forget, afterward, we met in the locker room. He was taking his shoes off. My locker was down a few lockers. He looked over at me, and he said “You were out there long time today, Bob.” I said, “I was out there as long as you, Ben.” He says, “Yeah, did you learn anything today?” I said. “Every time I watch you, I learn something.” He says, “Good,” and he threw his shoes in his locker and walked out.

What did you learn watching Hogan practice all those times?

How well he aimed the club on the line of play, and swung on the line of play. In other words, he aimed at the target and his golf swing was from online to in, from online to in. It wasn’t inside out or outside-in. When he swung through the golf ball, his golf club would travel left so fast it looked like he shanked it.

Why was that?

He didn’t want the club face to go right and turn over because he was a duck hooker. You’ve got to understand what he was confronting. He was a hell of a hooker of the golf ball. That is what plagued him. He found a grip and a swing to get rid of the hook.

Did watching Hogan help you become a better player?

Oh yes. Hogan’s best year was 1953. My best year was ’54.

You learn by watching. How the hell do you think kids learn? Kids learn things looking at their mothers and fathers. You learn by mimicking. Now, today, they’ve got video, audio. It’s such a science now, you would think we were flying to Venus to learn how to play golf.

What did you try to mimic watching Hogan?

How well he moved. There are three motions you make in a golf swing. You swing, you turn and you shift. That’s all your body does. Those are absolutes. When you swing the golf club, you have a swinging force, a turning force and a shifting force. Hogan synchronized those three. The timing of which he did that was relatively fast, which, I think, is what Hank Haney tried to get Tiger to do, which I don’t think Tiger should have tried to do because he’s not Ben Hogan.

What do you make of Tiger’s swing these days?

Tiger’s become the world’s worst driver for a great player that I’ve ever seen. I think he was trying to do something he shouldn’t have tried to do.

The worst driver for a great player?

I thought Phil Mickelson was bad until Tiger came along.

What do you see in Tiger’s swing that makes him “the worst driver for a great player?”

I think he was a better swinger of the golf club when he was with Butch Harmon. His golf swing in college was a better swing than he has right now. Since he’s tried to make all these changes, he doesn’t deliver the club head toward the target and change direction with control like he used to. He gets in a position where he is so far inside, and he blocks everything to the right because of what he’s trying to do, which I don’t think is correct, which is only my opinion.

So what should he do now?

If he is smart enough, he would learn how to work it out by himself. He has enough information, and he’s old enough to become his own best teacher. There comes a time in life when you have to become your own best teacher.

What problem did you see changing from Harmon to Haney?

One guy wants him more upright, one wants him flatter. The golf swing can’t be standardized. You get enough different information from different teachers, you can get confused about what you want to do. You talk to enough doctors, you don’t know whether to crap or wind your watch.

You think Tiger will right his course and win more majors than Jack Nicklaus?

He has the potential to do that. It’s a matter of whether his mental psyche will be strong enough to overcome all these problems, as a competitor and as a person. He’s lost a lot of confidence in himself as a person because of what’s happened with his family.

He won’t win a major this year, that’s for sure. He can’t mentally focus and apply his concentrated effort to do what he has to do to win a major because of the problems he’s got, because of all the things he’s gone through. It’s going to take him a couple years.

But you can see him beating Nicklaus’ record?

Yes. He’s 34. He can play until he’s 50.

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)

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Fort Worth Invitational: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 10:30 pm

The PGA Tour makes the short drive from Dallas to Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club. Here are the key stats and information for this week. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Purse: $7.1 million

Course: Colonial Country Club (par 70, 7,209 yards)

Defending champion: Kevin Kisner. Last year he defeated Jordan Spieth, Sean O’Hair and Jon Rahm by one stroke

Notables in the field

Jordan Spieth

• Finished T-2, 1st and T-2 in last three starts in this tournament

• 52 under par at Colonial last five years (best of anyone by 27 strokes in that span)

• 100 birdies/eagles made here last five years (most of anyone in that span)

Rickie Fowler

• First start since missed cut at The Players

• More missed cuts (3) than top-10 finishes (2) in 2018

Jon Rahm at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Jon Rahm

• Finished T-2 in this tournament last year (66 in final round)

• 17 top-5 finishes in 46 official worldwide individual starts as professional

Webb Simpson

• First start since Players victory (fifth PGA Tour win)

• Fifth on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season (177th two seasons ago)

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Maguire's storied Duke career comes to an end

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 8:39 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – After losing in the quarterfinals here at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Duke coach Dan Brooks gathered his team and walked back toward the 18th hole. He wanted to get away and deliver a parting speech to senior Leona Maguire, one of the most important players in program history.

“I feel like I didn’t say enough, and I feel like I didn’t say it right,” he said afterward. “I guess that’s inevitable when dealing with a player who has meant so much.”

Maguire’s heralded Duke career came to an end Tuesday when she and her teammates dropped their quarterfinal match to Southern Cal, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2. Maguire did her part, winning, 1 up, against USC’s Jennifer Chang, but it still wasn’t enough.

Maguire will go down as one of the best players not just in Duke’s storied history, but all time in college golf. She’s a two-time Player of the Year. She finished with the best scoring average (70.93) in Division I women’s golf history. She had a record 32 competitive rounds in the 60s. She spent 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings, another record.

The 23-year-old from Ireland is the rare collegian who turned down guaranteed LPGA status to return to school to earn her degree and try to win a NCAA title with twin sister Lisa, the team’s No. 5 player. Ultimately, they never reached the championship match.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said softly outside the clubhouse. “The experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Maguire said that she’s turning pro soon and has a full schedule upcoming. She’ll play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then try to capitalize on her full status on the developmental Symetra circuit.

Asked about her potential at the next level, Brooks said that Maguire can be a future Hall of Famer.

“She’s the hardest worker and the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’m really going to miss her.”