Updated quarterly, these are the posts readers found most interesting in the year ended December 31, 2013.
The list remains top heavy with posts on Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Phil and Suzann Pettersen because they are marquee players on the two big tours. But it has also rewarded the likes of Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, Lydia Ko, and unknowns like Gerry James, John Hurley. Also there were posts on issues like anchored putters, self-efficacy and…gossip.
1. Gossip Diffuses Our Consciousness – I can’t seem to be able to get rid of this thing. Intended as an indictment of tabloid-like gossip and its effect on us, I pointed to golf related items that were beneath us. Rather than crushing this scourge of our society, sad to say I created a mad rush from readers who couldn’t get enough of Rory and Amy Sabbatini’s divorce. Sigh.
2. Adam Scott: U.S. Open Prep, Fitness and Nutrition – This post has had a lot of legs too, but for substantive reasons. Adam Scott was in the interview room at the Memorial Tournament, but it seemed like all everyone wanted to know about was Merion and the U.S. Open a couple of weeks later. Scott provides some pretty good stuff.
3. Anchored Putters – Long putters that are “anchored” to the body in some way have become all the rage, much to the consternation of traditionalists like Tiger Woods. And me. And now, too, the USGA and the R&A. This post explains why. (For their final decision, see also, Anchored Putters: The USGA and R&A Have Decided.)
4. Strokes Gained – Putting – The new measure of putting prowess on the PGA Tour is pretty esoteric. Only a statistician like Dave Pelz could explain it in a way we mere mortals could understand. There’s Pelz’s video and links to two Tour pages to round things out.
5. Suzann Pettersen: The Ice Queen Has Melted a Little – Suzann Pettersen had a reputation as a tough nut when playing competitively. After her win in October of 2012 in Taiwan, maybe not so much anymore. It was nice to see. Since then, she won the LPGA Lotte Championship, the Safeway Classic, finished the season winning the last major of the year, the Evian Championship in France and was a rock in the Solheim Cup for Europe. Mellow seems to still be working for her.
6. Why Tiger Changed His Swing – A casual conversation at dinner with a friend of ours led to this post. She asked why Tiger changed his swing, but the restaurant was too loud to get into the nuanced answer with her. So I promised her this post. That was mid-summer of 2011 and people are still coming to read this one.
7. How to Integrate Hunter Mahan’s Swing Tips – This post really gained momentum over the last quarter. Golf.com came up with another very interesting article, this one Hunter Mahan’s six-tab exposition on what he sees as the key elements of a good driver swing. I try one of them out and tell you how I went about it.
8. How To Handle Yourself When Things Go Wrong – There is a lot to be learned when things go wrong in golf. In this post across three tours, a lot of bad weather had created havoc, especially on the LPGA Tour. And in London, four superstars reflect on missing the cut…badly. Great stuff.
9. Brandt Snedeker’s Pop Putting Tips – One of the best natural putters on Tour, his article at Golf.com lays out his old fashion approach to the putting stroke. I provide the contrast with some of the ideas that support the modern approach. But he was No. 4 in the Tour’s 2013 putting stats. Lots of continuing interest in this post.
10. The Coliseum of Scottsdale – “The Greatest Show On Grass,” the Waste Management Phoenix Open, is best known for its good weather, massive crowds and the stadium they erect around the par-3 16th hole. Readers still drop in to look at this iconic picture worth a thousand words…each and every year which is why it endures.
11. Joy is Discovering That Holly Sonders Can Actually Play – Holly Sonders has come out of the shadows of the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive show not just because of her good looks, but because as a former player at Michigan State, she knows a thing or two about the game. You’ll want to see these Golf Digest pictures if you haven’t already and from the traffic this post has generated, a lot more people have now.
12. John Hurley: A Monday Qualifier Gets In – I love it when Monday qualifiers hold their own; Hurley retains his position in the Top 25. A prodigious driver of the golf ball, he reflects on his career so far that included Monday qualifying for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He explains the long odds and how he handles the pressure.
13. Master’s Jolt: Berckmans Place – I know the Masters has mystique and all that, but that was eight months ago and still this post churns along. Writing at Golf.com, Gary Van Sickle, reveals a new hospitality venue at Augusta National that is nothing like anything they’ve ever done before. At $6,000 per badge it’s very expensive. And since they can only be had through a member for corporations, very exclusive.
14. Tiger Woods on Sport Psychologists – Tiger answers a question about sports psychologists at the PGA Championship and alludes to “keys that work.” I extend that conversation with a list of what some of those keys to golf mastery might be.
15. Hideki Matsuyama: Another Great Player From a Far Away Place – I really stirred the pot in Japan with this post. Hideki Matsuyama was a national hero there before his stellar performance in the 2013 majors and the Presidents Cup. We’re going to see a lot of this guy in 2014 and he’s already proven that he’s not a flash in the pan.
16. Self-Efficacy Versus Confidence – Two different writings appeared at the same time to let me know this topic was important and some new ground for us to cover. That was back in June of 2012 and it pleases me no end that you found this one as interesting as I did and that it continues to draw readers.
17. Gerry James: One of Golf’s Characters – An incredible interview from the 2012 U.S. Senior Open Championship with a guy who probably shouldn’t have been there, but did everything in his power to make it happen. But it’s even better than that. Trust me. And a lot of you did. Jerry’s story keeps churning along.
18. Solheim Cup: The European Transformation is Complete – The European ladies finally accomplished the impossible, winning on U.S. soil. Against a much more experienced team, they romped to a record-breaking 18 – 10 victory. That sort of soaring achievement needed to be recognized and you agreed with me.
19. Perspective – This post on iconoclastic Alaskan, Sue Aikens, is from the early days of the blog back in 2010. Aikens ran a camp year round in the far North and exemplified the principles of independence and mastery. The links to the podcast interviews are no longer active, but since then, her exploits have gained her a well-deserved presence on the Internet.
20. Sean Foley Interview – Brian Wacker, writing at PGATour.com, has an extensive two-part interview with Tiger Woods’ coach, Sean Foley, that is just lush. He’s an impressive young man. As Tiger continues his impressive comeback, this post continues to draw readers.
21. Some Say Tiger is Making a Mistake With Sean Foley – Criticism from Brandle Chamblee about Tiger’s choice to put his innate, natural swing in the hands of Sean Foley has generated quite some controversy, most of which Tiger has answered with five impressive wins in 2013. In the meantime, I link to five stories that flush out the details of the swirl.
22. In Defense of Phil Mickelson’s Tax Comments – Phil Mickelson made the mistake of thinking out loud about his taxes. He was pilloried by the Left and apologized, not for the substance of his comments, but for speaking out about a “private matter.” He had nothing to apologize about.
23. Scott Langley: The First Little Kid From the First Tee – The 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii had a surprise leader after Thursday’s first round. Beyond that, Scott Langley, is the first participant in the First Tee Program to make it to the PGA Tour. And he has quite a masterful story about how he won the day.
24. Jason Dufner: Dufnering; What Me Worry? – With “Dufnering” becoming one of golf’s favorite pastimes, it’s only fitting that its founding member end up on the Top 25. Written during Masters week of 2013, it was nice to see that his win at the PGA Championship proved that he wasn’t just some clown. He can flat play.
25. Lydia Ko’s Random Caddie – While 16-year-old Lydia Ko’s defense of her Canadian Women’s Open was quite a story, so was the one about how her local caddie was matched up with her. I link to a charming story in the Edmonton Journal that goes into the details.