Remember Vicky Hurst? She is the attractive LPGA star whose signature was her Ben Hogan-style cap. She was good enough that she made the 2011 Solheim Cup team as a captain’s pick after just three years on Tour. She had her second best money year in 2012 and then the wheels began to come up. She describes it as a time when serious injury and distracting coaching got the best of her.
But now, she’s back on the LPGA after going back down to the Symetra Tour last year and finishing 8th on the year. I stumbled across her on the range at the JTBC Founders Cup at the Desert Ridge Marriott in Phoenix, Arizona. I have a pretty good eye for the powerful economy of a tour-quality swing and Vicky’s was so good, I stood there and watched ball after ball for over thirty minutes.
I caught up with her the next day on her way for an after-lunch practice. Continue reading →
It’s pretty exciting when the No. 1 Player in the World shows up in the media center for a questioning free-for-all. Even more so when the conversation moves to the work on her swing with David Leadbetter. And almost ecstasy when that leads naturally into the topic of golf mastery: “How do you integrate all of these swing changes so that you can just play naturally?”
Lydia Ko popped into the LPGA’s JTBC Founders Cup and, as she always does, was only too happy to consider these questions and come up with thoughtful answers. My questions begin with my question that I have been speaking with her for three years trying to find out what her “secret sauce” is. Continue reading →
For those of you in the Phoenix area or who would like to be here in mid-March, I just received this message from the LPGA Founders Cup seeking volunteers:
JTBC FOUNDERS CUP SEEKING VOLUNTEERS FOR 2016 TOURNAMENT
Register now to volunteer at LPGA tournament coming to Phoenix this March
PHOENIX, Ariz. (February 23, 2016) – The JTBC Founders Cup is seeking volunteers for the 2016 JTBC Founders Cup, March 15-20 at Wildfire Golf Club at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.
There are a variety of areas in which people can volunteer, with committee descriptions and online registration available on the Volunteer page of the Tournament Website found at www.LPGAFoundersCup.com.
All volunteers will receive a tournament golf shirt, visor or baseball hat, complimentary weekly badge for the tournament; a commemorative lapel pin and one free round of golf at Wildfire Golf Club.
“Volunteers are crucial to the overall success of any tournament, especially at the JTBC Founders Cup. We are lucky to have so many returning volunteers and always look forward to seeing their smiling faces year after year,” said Tournament Director Scott Wood. “We can’t thank them enough for all of the time and dedication they put into this event. Everything they do behind the scenes helps make this tournament such a success.” Continue reading →
For all of his fans who were ardently pulling for him, Rickie Fowler took one on the chin on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
With the tournament in hand on the 17th tee, he hit a perfect tee shot that landed on the downslope short of the driveable green, kicked up on the green, scooted all the way through the green and into the water hazard behind. He made bogey, Hideki Matsuyama made birdie and they were tied.
It was a terrific display of golf from 18 through the fourth playoff hole where Matsuyama won when Fowler hit it in the water at 17 again, this time short left with a more “prudent” 3-wood. Actually it was a terrific display of golf all day long by both men: stellar driving of the ball, bold approach shots into the green and amazing putts that caused you to hold your breath as they slowly rolled to the hole. Continue reading →
Posted inMastery|Comments Off on Rickie Fowler: “Don’t worry”…and an unrelated Phil addendum
Phil Mickelson had one of his legendary adventures on the par-5 15th hole in the 3rd round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He was far enough back at the beginning of the day that he started on the 10th tee.
But he was not discouraged because he knew he was playing well, but most important, he knew why he was playing well:
Q. You’ve been hitting the ground running from the beginning of the season. Are you surprised you’re playing this well this early in the season?
PHIL MICKELSON: Am I surprised I’m playing this well? No, I mean, I had a great offseason, put in a lot of work. I knew from the details, the divot pattern, shot dispersion and so forth, that I was playing well. It was one thing to hit the ball in the hole, but in the past my divot would be going one way and the ball would be going the other and I would kind of save it with the hands.
Now the divot is going down my line where I want it to. The ball is exiting and taking off down where the club is swinging. There is no manipulation. I’m just hitting a lot of good shots very easily. Continue reading →
When the PGA Tour media room staff at the Waste Management Phoenix Open asked me if I wanted an exclusive interview with Kevin Na, I jumped at the chance. When he finished an on-camera promotional piece with the PGA Tour — including a promotion for a Tour outlet in Eastern Europe — the staff guy introduced us and off we went.
Hi. Bill Rand. I write a daily golf mastery blog called EyeOnTheTour.com from the perspective of a former Monday qualifier on the Champions Tour.
And so what I do is watch what you guys do and write about it on a daily basis.
And I’ve always been a big fan of yours…
Ever since you did what you did, giving up you senior year in high school… Continue reading →
Brandt Snedeker rolled into Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open after a tortuous win at the Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla, California. He managed to finish his round in pretty good shape on Sunday, but was relegated to waiting for the rest of the field to finish. Unfortunately, a huge wind and rain storm shut down play for the day and he had to wait until Monday afternoon. I was curious what that was like for him.
Q. How did you manage Sunday night? What was that like for you?
BRANDT SNEDEKER: Awful. It was absolutely awful. It was worse — I have had the lead on Sunday going into the Masters and I slept better than I did that night. I don’t know why. It was completely out of my control. Literally the elements were everything. If I had elements on Monday, I had a chance to win. If I didn’t, I didn’t have a chance to win.
It was just a completely helpless feeling. I know how my family feels all the time when they watch me now. I know how everyone’s family feels now when they watch it now and how brutal it is to watch and have no control. Continue reading →
Brooks Keopka was in the Waste Management Phoenix Open media center, a privileged obligation of the defending champion, and the result of Brook’s “Excellent Adventure” on the European mini-tour. The theory, still currently practiced by young American PGA Tour aspirants, is to go play in Europe where the conditions are rougher and the fields not as accomplished. They do this in order to accumulate World Ranking points that would get them to the Tour without going through the do-or-die American Q-School process and subsequent one-year apprenticeship on the Web.com Tour. I had a chance to ask him about it.
Q. I was fascinated a couple years ago to read about your adventures over in Europe going to the tournaments that were way out in the middle of nowhere. What kind of temperament do you have to have to be able to do something like that, and how has it helped you now that you’re back on the American tour?
BROOKS KOEPKA: Well, it’s helped. Everything is easier over here, obviously. You know where to eat, you know where to go. If you’re bored, you know there might be a game you can catch. TV is in English [with the raise of his eyebrows]. Stuff like that. It’s a lot easier.
Over there, it was fun. It helped me grow up a lot. I think I grew up a lot in those two years. It is kind of lonely, I’m not gonna lie. You have to be by yourself a lot. Continue reading →
Billy Horschel won the biggest purse in golf when he simultaneously won the 2014 Tour Championship and the year long race for the FedExCup. A mere $11.44 million for a lifetime of hard work. He gave his caddie a $1 million bonus and left $10,000 for the locker room attendants.
I came across him practicing on the range Tuesday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and he seemed to be a little lost. The reason I know is that for the forty-five minutes I watched him, he was working on the same thing I’ve been working on in my own swing: keeping his right elbow close to his body on his back swing. He does that well in the above video from 2013.
Curt Byrum, the announcer in the video, credits Horschel’s coach, Todd Anderson, for this beautiful swing. But Tuesday he and Anderson were searching for it again. How could that happen to such a great player? Continue reading →
Posted inMastery|Comments Off on Billy Horschel: Working on the same stuff I am
Olin Browne had a good first round in the Charles Schwab Cup. He managed to post an early 4-under 66 at the Desert Mountain Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, good enough to warrant a trip into the media center.
Browne’s is a name we’ve known for a long time. His PGA Tour career began in 1992, winning three times. He moved on to the Champions Tour in 2009, winning twice including once this year and, most impressive, the 2011 U.S. Senior Open. So he knows more than a little bit about what it takes to keep a round going when a round isn’t going like you’d want it to.
He said that he didn’t start out all that great and I wanted to understand how he turned that into a 66. Continue reading →