Here it is, the swing that slayed the Tiger. This is Y.E. Yang on the range at the USPGA championship.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Irish Examiner SpinDoctor Donal Hughes 18th Aug 2009. What’s in the Bag Hunter Mahan, Golf in the Olympics, The Rules Quiz, Segway Golf, KLM Open Tips, Wyndham Championship Tips, Yang, Harrington, McIlroy and more….
Under The Microscope: Hunter Mahan
Born: May 17, 1982 (age 27)
Height 5 ft 11
Weight 79 kg (12.5 st)
Nationality: United States
Residence: Plano, Texas
Turned professional 2003
Current tour(s) PGA Tour (joined 2003)
Professional wins 2
Hunter Myles Mahan was born in Orange, California. A successful amateur Mahan went to Oklahoma State University, where he was a two-time Big 12 Conference Player of the Year and a two-time first-team All American. He looked up to David Duval, Ernie Els, and Tiger Woods as role models for his game. Mahan was the runner-up at the U.S. Amateur Championship in 2002, in which he was defeated by Ricky Barnes 2 & 1. He won the Haskins Award in 2003 for outstanding collegiate golfer.
In 2003, still as an amateur, Hunter entered the Masters where he finished tied for 28th. He decided to forego his last season of college eligibility to turn pro at 20 and promptly earned a PGA Tour card for the 2004 season through Q-school. His first PGA Tour victory, which came at the 2007 Travelers Championship elevated him into the World’s top 100 and though he hasn’t won since, has climbed to 24th in the rankings. Hunter became a household name in Europe in 2008 as the architect of the USA’s Ryder Cup victory. Mahan played all four Friday and Saturday matches winning three points by winning two matches and halving the other two. Against Paul Casey in the Sunday singles, Mahan maintained his unbeaten run by gaining a half in what was a titanic battle of 12 birdies.
Mahan cites the first thing he learned about golf as, "Practice is the only way to get better."
What’s In Hunter’s Bag
Bloggy Underfoot: Olympic Golf
The big news last week was Women’s Boxing’s likely accession to the Olympic Games and the possibility of Katie Taylor pummelling her way to gold. She’s won 39 bouts in a row you know, is only 22 and also plays soccer for Ireland! Maybe a shade less interesting to Irish boxing fans was the fact that at meeting the IOC also paved the way for golf to be an Olympic sport in 2016.
So is it to be Tiger and another United States gold medal to add to the others they will win in on the pommel horse and the parallel bars, or will it be Padraig doing a “Carruth” on top of the podium? If Danny Lee wins, will the Australian flag or the Korean flag be raised? And who will Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell represent, the cross or the harp? Maybe we are getting a little ahead of ourselves here, assuming that the pros will embrace the Summer games. Being that they already have four majors and the TPC event, would they have any respect for the Olympic Tournament? What comes to mind here is tennis, which itself has it majors and made a comeback to the Olympics in 1988. For me it has been an Olympic sized let down, with top seeds having little or no interest. I doubt 2004 winner Nicolas Massu from Chile would agree with me, but there you go.
Would it not be altogether fairer to allow the top two amateurs from each country the chance to fight fairly for Olympic gold? Surely this is closer to the Olympic ethos and ideals than letting the already mega rich touring pros sweep in and out of town for another week of glory. The dream of Olympic gold to a young kid whacking a ball around the dunes of Conemara would be a convoluted one; first become a top amateur, turn pro, qualify for a major tour, earn enough money to climb the World rankings to qualify for the Summer Games and then be on form to win the damn thing! And sadly that’s what how it looks like panning out. The IOC’s proposed format for the games includes a field of 60 players using the World Golf Rankings as a method of determining eligibility. The top 15 world-ranked players would be eligible, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.
According to these rules and using the current world rankings, if the Olympics were staged next week, the USA would have a total of six players in the field. That’s hardly the Olympic spirit is it? Ireland would at least have Padraig Harrington in there, but has no other qualifying player. Assuming Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell pull on the Great Britain tracksuit, they would also not qualify, as Casey and Westwood would own the GB spots by virtue of their world ranking. The process takes no account of form either. The Swedish team would consist of Henrik Stenson and a one-eyed Robert Karlsson who would still qualify as 17th on the rankings list.
So I’m giving it a guarded welcome, though I think the proposed qualification process smacks of Rolex watches under hotel room pillows. Maybe they will change the change the Olympic motto to “Swifter, Higher, Stronger especially if you’re an American in the Worlds top 15”.
Dr. and The Medic: Chopping Wood
You hit a lot of balls off of the toe as well as see a lot of pull hooks.
Try not to use an excessively steep swing. Check to make sure that you are not using a severe out to in swing path. This is usually due to starting your downswing with your arms. Think of this swing error the same way a person swings an axe. They take the axe up steeply; continue the momentum in the arms at the top to almost loop the club back down in a chopping action into the wood or in this case, cutting across the ball. This motion with the golf club will leave you with a low finish with the arms and body curled up a little.
Too many players focus only on the way they take the club back and return it to the ball. They forget to look to see how they are finishing the swing. Freeze your body as you finish the swing and use a camcorder or a friends help to analyse your finish position. If you have the low finish position, work on improving your arm extension during the follow through with a shallower swing style. Make sure you also work on synchronizing your arm and body movements throughout the entire swing.
The Doc’s Rules Quiz
Try these tougher teasers to see if you really know the rules of golf. Text your answers, name and address to 087-3140467. The weekly winner will receive a Kartel shirt as worn by Padraig Harrington with thanks to Golfstyle Galway!
Question 1: True or False- A ball to be dropped under the Rules must be dropped by the player or his partner
Question 2: True or False- A and B are to play C and D in a four-ball match, however A arrives just after B, C and D have teed off at the third hole. A is prohibited from joining the match until the fourth hole but A gives advice to B during the play of the third hole. There is no penalty.
Question 3: True or False- In a handicap Stableford competition, a competitor inadvertently returns his score card to the Committee with a score of 6 at the 11th hole when his score for the hole was actually 7. The 11th hole is a par 4 at which the competitor receives no handicap strokes. The player is disqualified.
Last weeks answers
Question 1 - A player makes a practice swing and accidentally moves his ball in play with his club. What is the ruling?
Is it (a) The player has made a stroke and must play the ball as it lies, Or (b) The player incurs a penalty of one stroke and must replace the ball. Answer: b
Question 2 – True or False: In match play, a Tony's ball lies on a bridge over a water hazard and he grounds his club. There is no penalty Answer: True
Question 3 - True or False: In stroke play, a player’s ball lies in a bunker. The player takes his stance and is just about to ground his club when the ball moves. The player incurs a one stroke penalty. Answer: True
Congrats to last weeks winner Tim Doyle, Killorglin, Kerry who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.
I Want One Of Those: Segway X2 Golf
Ah, I wish the recession didn’t kick in when it did. I was 13% of the way to saving up for the Segway X2 Golf. This is the ingenious self balancing two wheeler first seen on Irish TV screens as the device used by the BBC camermen at the British Open. This golf model has a golf-bag carrier and a score card holder mounted in the center on the handle bars. They say it fits into a standard car but we reckon you’ll need a 1999 Ford Transit to move it around. With a top speed of 12.5 mph, it’s pretty nifty and has a range of 24 miles on one single battery charge. Available online for about the same price as the ’99 Transit.
Bet Your Balls-
odds thanks to
The KLM Open
20 Aug 2009 - 23 Aug 2009
Gareth Maybin 28/1
Its back to the bump and grind of the European Tour with a trip to the recession hit KLM Open. Darren Clarke is the defending champion and we are hoping for a return to form for the Dungannon man. The form dog is his Ballyclare comrade Gareth Maybin, who on his first year on tour, is already into the top-50 in the race to Dubai. Maybin looked to have the Czech Open in the bag before disaster struck with four holes to play. That performance was Maybin’s fourth top-10 in his rookie season.
Graeme Storm 22/1
The 2007 Open de France winner is quietly going about his business. An early season tied third finish in Andalucia was followed by some indifferent efforts but three top-15 finishes in his last five events have seen him climb to 39th in the rankings. Seemed to have discovered his putting touch in the Czech Republic climbing to fourth at the finish behind winner Oskar Henningsson. One of the few players in the depleted field that knows how to win.
Lee Slattery 45/1
The former high street clothes shop attendant graduated to the European Tour by virtue of winning the 2004 Challenge Tour. It has been a tough road on the big tour for the Englishman who struggles for consistency. In his bid to retain his tour card for next season, Slattery finished tied fourth at the SAS Masters and followed it with a tied 11th at the Czech Open. Having finished fourth at the KLM Open last year, Slattery will bring form and happy memories with him to Kennemer.
Sedgefield Country Club · Greensboro, N.C.
Rich Beem 80/1
Shooting a 70 at Sedgefield is like shooting an 80 anywhere else in the world being as it is probably the easiest course on the PGA tour. That makes Rich Beem’s performance last year all the more remarkable when you consider he shot 70 in the first round. He closed with two successive rounds of 63 to scramble up the leaderboard and finish tied third. With all the pressure from the media regarding his 2002 Hazeltine PGA win firmly put to bed, Beem can get back to business at Greensboro and boy does he need it having not worked a weekend since June. A nostalgic long odds punt.
John Senden 35/1
The 38 year old Aussie is having his best year on the PGA tour. This is the last scheduled event before the “playoffs” and Senden is sitting pretty in 28th in the standings. Senden has now clocked up five top-10’s this season including a tied second at The Buick Open behind Tiger. Performed well at this week’s venue last season also with three rounds of 66 helping him to a tied fourth finish. I predict a big Aussie finish to celebrate the return of Home and Away!
Tim Clark 20/1
Somebody must have shown Tim Clark that Konica Minolta Slow-motion video of his leg action during a swing at the WGC in Firestone, because he dropped off the leaderboard like a two-day-old fly off a window. It was pretty scary stuff though, the five foot seven inch Clark actually has both feet off the ground at impact! Kind of like a Serena Williams serve only smaller. Let’s hope for good things this week for Tim like a repeat of his second place finish at Colonial. Arrow straight and a great putter, Clark tied for sixth here last year.
How Good Is Rory?
He flashed once on the radar at Hazeltine Aiport but other than that Rory McIlroy’s tied third finish at the USPGA went completely unnoticed. And all this with a putter that’s been permanently in the freezer. McIlroy’s ball striking was by far and away the best in the field at Hazeltine only two watch more putts rim the edge than a good night out in The George. Our statisticians reckon that if Rory had have holed 70% of his putts he missed inside six feet he would have won by three!
This week is the turn of the Ladies and the biennial Europe versus America scrap in the Solheim Cup. The USA are the hotter than hot favourites going into this staging at Sugar Grove, Illinois, having won the previous two encounters by four and three points respectively. The star studded USA team boasts names such as Creamer, Kerr, Gulbis and Wie whilst Europe are banking on favourites such as Laura Davies, Suzanne Peterson and recent major winner Catriona Matthew. The future of Irish ladies golf looks exciting too with the inclusion of Lisa and Leona Maguire in the Karin Coch’s Junior Solheim Cup side and the hosting of the 2011 event at Killeen Castle in Meath.
Hats Off Paddy
Lest we get too critical of Padraig Harrington’s PGA performance, let’s take a wee minute to review where he came from and how we actually did. After a year of swing changes, hard knocks and eureka moments, we think it pretty astounding that Padraig put in the kind of defence to his PGA crown that he actually did. Second at the WGC and top ten at the USPGA from absolutely nowhere a couple of weeks back ‘aint half bad. Minus that leak, pull, bone, duff quintoople, we could have been looking at a four time major winner. On such water-lined holes are majors won and lost. One thing is for sure, once Padraig has finished building that masterpiece of a swing, he will be unstoppable.
Monday, August 17, 2009
At half past eight he was Y.E., at half past nine he was ambassador for the rest of the golfing world and at half past eleven he became “Crouching Tiger”! What a breath of fresh air it was to see Y.E. Yang tear up, not only the script, but the entire golfing history book in slaying the Tiger. In winning the USPGA Championship, his first major, Y.E Yang became the first Asian to achieve that feat and in doing so, gave hope to every other golfer in the world. Tiger Woods' streak of 14 major wins after leading 54 holes is well and truly over. The truth is out there; you can enter the Tiger’s cage, prod him a couple of times, dangle raw meat in front of him and still emerge victorious. Nifty bit of bench pressing a tour bag too!
Anthony Hopkins Talks About The USPGA Championship on Sky HD
“Ah yes, the USPGA Championship and that great dance on the top of the steps in Minnesota. That was the moment, that was the iconic moment for America. People wanted to feel good and Y.E. Yang did it. It was a wonderful wonderful moment. People will say ‘Oh it’s a bit hokey’, but so what, life is hokey. Life is hokey.”