Lifting misconceptions about weights

By Rex HoggardFebruary 17, 2016, 10:44 pm

LOS ANGELES – The problem with social media spats is the level of vitriol rarely matches the intended narrative.

Take for example Brandel Chamblee’s comments during a news conference this week setting up the Florida swing regarding Rory McIlroy’s extracurricular gym work.

“The only thing that gives me concern with regard to Rory going forward, [and] I say it with a lot of trepidation, because it's a different era for sure,” Chamblee said. “When I see the things he's doing in the gym, I think of what happened to Tiger Woods and I think more than anything as much as what Tiger Woods did early in his career with his game was just an example of how good a human being can be, what he did towards the middle and end of his career is an example to be wary of.

“That's just my opinion. And it does give me a little concern when I see the extensive weightlifting that Rory is doing in the gym.”

Never mind that virtually the same concerns have been voiced by Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo in the past and that the comment gained momentum largely because McIlroy responded with a video post on Twitter of the world No. 3 doing squats.

On Wednesday at the Northern Trust Open where he is making his 2016 PGA Tour debut McIlroy was jokingly asked if he’d done any squats?

“Not yet. I'm planning to, though. Maybe with Brandel on my back,” he said.


Northern Trust Open: Articles, photos and videos


The media laughed at McIlroy’s comment. Rory didn’t.

McIlroy and the current generation of players take fitness seriously, and however innocent or measured Chamblee’s comments may have been, they clearly struck a social media nerve largely because there is a misconception over why the vast majority of top players have turned to the gym and what exactly they are trying to accomplish.

Chamblee conceded as much, telling the media during Tuesday’s conference call, “I don't know the full extent of what he’s doing.”

Not surprisingly, McIlroy was more than happy to explain in impressive detail exactly what he’s trying to accomplish with his workout program.

“Stay injury-free. That's really it,” he said, simply. “Obviously I'm trying to be strong but the whole reason I started this is because I was injured.”

McIlroy explained that toward the end of his rookie year on the PGA Tour in 2010 he started experiencing back problems and was diagnosed with a degenerative disc.

“You think of the golf swing and the torque and the load that you're putting on your spine. The spine does two things: It flexes and it rotates. And it doesn't like to flex and rotate at the same time, which is what a golf swing does,” he said. “If anything, the golf swing is way worse for your back than anything I do in the gym.”

While pictures of McIlroy in a gym squatting 265 pounds (which really isn’t outrageous for a person of his size) often prompt a generally negative reaction from those who have traditionally viewed golf fitness as an oxymoron, taken as part of a larger, more detailed program, they are hardly a red flag.

“There’s nothing wrong with doing squats and deadlifts and push-ups,” said Sean Cochran, Phil Mickelson’s longtime trainer. “I have Phil do very similar things and they are conducive to the conditioning of an athlete. Along with that you have to do mobility training and core stabilization. I’ve seen [McIlroy] in the gym and don’t think he’s doing anything to hurt his golf swing.”

Comparisons to Woods, be they on the golf course or in the gym, are always dangerous. The greatest player of his generation did things with his game that are simply incomparable and the same can be said of how Tiger embraced fitness.

Whether all that time in the gym had a detrimental impact on Woods’ career only he can say, but the assumption that modern fitness programs should come with some sort of “warning label” ignores how specialized workout regimens have become for the top players.

“[Gary] Player said it best, most of those who don’t understand the value of an exercise component to golf often make the misconception that it’s going to do damage,” said Randy Myers, who trains dozens of Tour players including Brandt Snedeker and Davis Love III. “The reality is through today’s checks and balances through functional assessment there should be no player that doesn’t benefit from training and weightlifting.”

Perhaps McIlroy would have been better served if he’d tweeted a video of his stretching or mobility routines and not 265 pounds anchored across his back, but his point is valid nonetheless.

To think a player can compete for 25 or 30 years at the highest level with the modern swing and not have some sort of fitness program is unrealistic.

“I'm trying to make my back as strong as I possibly can so that when I come out here and swing a golf club at 120 mph, I'm robust enough to take that 200 times a day when I hit shots and when I practice and when I play golf,” McIlroy said.

When properly explained, McIlroy’s fitness program is a necessary and nuanced part of his greatness, but then social media doesn’t really leave a lot of room for that level of detail.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”