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Mickelson Wins Tour Championship; Tiger Captures Playoffs

Phil Mickelson scorched the field on Sunday, shooting 65 and capturing the season ending Tour Championship by three shots over Tiger Woods. By virtue of his stellar play throughout the playoffs, Mr. Woods made off with the FedEx Cup and the $10 million prize. Say what you will about golf playoffs, the possible permutations on the back nine Sunday were enough to amuse the confused. I tried to follow the explainations, but much like South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, found myself hiking the Appalacian Trail as a short cut to Argentina. No way I could keep up. I did manage to grasp that, with Mr. Mickelson firmly in command, Steve Stricker only had to finish ahead of Mr. Woods to win the Cup. His hopes ended with a mud covered shot over the 16th green that led to a bogey. “There was so much riding on the line,” Stricker said. “There might be some tweaking again. Who knows? But I thought it provided a lot of excitement for the fans and the players. All the players coming in here this week had a legitimate chance at winning the FedEx Cup.”

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Phil Mickelson scorched the field on Sunday, shooting 65 and capturing the season ending Tour Championship by three shots over Tiger Woods.  By virtue of his stellar play throughout the playoffs, Mr. Woods made off with the FedEx Cup and the $10 million prize.  Say what you will about golf playoffs, the possible permutations on the back nine Sunday were enough to amuse the confused.  I tried to follow the explainations, but much like South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, found myself hiking the Appalacian Trail as a short cut to Argentina.  No way I could keep up. 

I did manage to grasp that, with Mr. Mickelson firmly in command, Steve Stricker only had to finish ahead of Mr. Woods to win the Cup.  His hopes ended with a mud covered shot over the 16th green that led to a bogey.  “There was so much riding on the line,” Stricker said. “There might be some tweaking again. Who knows? But I thought it provided a lot of excitement for the fans and the players. All the players coming in here this week had a legitimate chance at winning the FedEx Cup.”

 

Who knows indeed, at least this year the cup wasn’t decided before play even began for the week as it was last year.  That was, yawn, fun.  In 2007 Mr. Woods won it all even though he skipped an event.  “What is right? Every year you’re going to have a scenario that’s going to jump out and you’re going to say, ‘That just doesn’t seem right,”’ Stricker said. “You’ve got to put something together like they did this year that creates a lot of excitement like this did. With five guys having a chance to win, it did do that.”  I think the Tour got closer to the promised land with this iteration of the Cup.  Look at the photo op on the 18th green after all the shots were played.  Messrs. Woods and Mickelson next to one another each holding a trophy.  That’s hard to beat for any sport. 

Mr. Woods was done in again by a balky putter, at one point not having made a putt over 6 feet since a 48 foot plus bomb the previous day.  Hardly the stuff of Woodsian lore, but all too familiar this season.  Mr. Mickelson on the other hand led the tournament in putting and shot a nifty four under par 31 on the front side.  Third round leader Kenny Perry began the day with a two shot lead, stretched that to four shots after two holes and then morphed into a Hoover (meaning he sucked).  Sean O’Hair had a run at the leader as well until a bogey on the 17th hole led to a solo third place finish.

 

All in all these were the best playoffs yet, not exceptional, but at least more than one player had a chance to win the overall Cup coming down the stretch.  Was it enough, I don’t know.  I’ll wait for the TV numbers to decide, but going up against the third week of NFL action is a tough draw no matter how much excitement, contrived or not, is involved.  The season feels over to me, and yes I know we still have the remaining Fall Schedule.  That still strikes me as a bone to the guys who are the run of the mill players,  not to disparage their games in any way, any one of them would hand me my lunch easily, but there just isn’t much special to look forward to until next year.  The MLB playoffs and the NFL season will see to that in short order. 

Congratulations to Mr. Mickelson, who played great golf despite all the emotional turmoil he’s been put through in his real life.  It was fun to watch him play well.  And as well to Mr. Woods, who gives new meaning to coming back from a major injury.  Bouncing back to the best in the world status is plenty impressive.

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Thursday’s Photos from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 PNC Father/Son Challenge at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida.

The 20-team field includes some of the game’s legendary major champions, and their sons. Notable teams include John Daly/Little John Daly, Nick Faldo/Matthew Faldo, Tom Kite/David Kite, Bernhard Langer/Jason Langer, Greg Norman/Greg Norman Jr., Jack Nicklaus/Gary Nicklaus Jr., and Lee Trevino/Daniel Trevino.  The teams will compete in a scramble format over 36 holes to decide the winners of the Willie Park Trophy.

Last year, David Duval and his step-son Nick Karavites took home the trophy, and they are back in the field this year to defend.

Check out our photos below from this year’s event!

Thursday’s Photos

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos

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An instructor’s perspective on the Chamblee/Dufner Twitter controversy

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If you have not had a chance to read the latest exchange on Twitter between Brandel Chamblee and Jason Dufner — and his teacher Chuck Cook — you have missed a wonderful controversy brewing. As you may know, Brandel is never one to hide his feelings on his views of the golf swing (he’s against The Golfing Machine teachings). And when people disagree with him (Jason Dufner), he’s not hesitant to tackle his opposition head on.

I’d like to take the time to weigh-in on what I feel should be focused on from an instruction standpoint, instead of what has been said on Twitter in this controversy.

Brandel’s side

First of all, I consider Brandel to be a friend of mine and he has been nothing but gracious to me during my professional career; though we have differing viewpoints on certain things. I have often called or emailed him, asking his opinion on one thing or another, and he has never failed to answer me. In fact, I love hearing what he has to say, even if it’s the opposite of what I feel personally and professionally — he hardly speaks without research to back it up. When you have the kind of stage he has, you must be armed with facts.

As we all know, Brandel is not a fan of the new breed of instruction. He prefers the old school methods, and clearly from his initial Tweet that sparked the entire controversy, he prefers an upright backswing. He is not a fan of most technologies used on the lesson tee, and he is very vocal regarding the Golfing Machine book and the Trackman launch monitor. While I hold both these things dear to me personally, I do understand how he could not be as convinced as I am of their successes within the game.

People must understand his opinion is a matter of perspective, and though he has this perspective as a player, and as a player-turned-teacher, he does not have the thousands and thousands of hours on the lesson tee. This does not make him right or wrong, it just gives him a different viewpoint.

Dufner’s side

As a teacher myself, I admire Dufner’s rise to fame and to the top ranks as a player, and I applaud him for doing so in spite of the odds and the drama that has gone on within his personal life over the last few years. I am proud to see him step up on a public forum and defend Chuck Cook (his long time teacher) on this Twitter thread. It is refreshing to see! Though I don’t know Jason, I’d like to shake his hand for doing so. My biggest gripe with Tour Professionals, in general, is their failure to stand by their instructors when things are not going well.

The last time I saw a player defending his teacher this adamantly was in a text string I had with Kevin Kisner (who is a great guy and friend) and John Tillery (his teacher and also a friend), who was not picked as one of the Top-100 Teachers on the latest list by Golf Magazine. As I told Kevin and John, it is a matter of time before he is recognized by Golf Magazine. The lists are subjective and many things go into the selection process; they make good choices and other times they make mistakes. John is a heck of a teacher and will always be Top 100 in my book! So kudos to Jason and Kevin for standing up for their guys…they both deserve it 100 percent.

Chuck Cook’s side

How Chuck was dragged into the middle of this whole controversy is beyond me, because he is one of the nicest and most soft-spoken guys. I also consider him the top-1 percent of teachers within our business. Chuck was in Vail for many years while I was also teaching there, and we have been on many outings together. He has been nothing but professional to all of us and anyone he comes into contact with personally. When someone questions him or his ability to teach at the highest levels, I can only say look at the two U.S. Open Champs he has taught, as well as what he’s done with countless other people within the game of golf. He is a smart and stand-up guy and deserves nothing but respect from all of us.

Chuck, I wish I could be HALF the teacher and person you are and have always been! That is a fact.

The Golfing Machine

Now, we could write an entire article series on the book I call my bible within the golfing world. However, 99 percent of the people in the world call it a “method,” or too complex, although every top teacher uses its methodologies within their instruction. It is ONLY an encyclopedia of motion — that’s it. It tells you what will and will not work together during the swing. What the book lacks has been the proper messenger to get the word across and that blame is only on timing. That’s not a knock on the past teachers who have used it or the players on Tour who have employed it.

Homer’s great book was born in 1969, and sadly the world would not be ready to hear these type of ideas in this type of format until now. And, like anything, it has been grossly misunderstood. The book and teachings have been chastised and will continue to be until a few more generations realize the greatness of what is contained within its pages. Only time will help our cause.

The Conclusion

Its all good… it’s not a big deal people! Please understand we ALL come from different places within the game and have our own opinions based on our perspective. Remember that these are all subject to change and can at any time. Every one of the people in that string of Tweets have their own agenda to promote and have the basis to call themselves great in what they do for a living. As long as we all have a drink and a laugh together at the end of the day, I see no harm in a gentleman’s disagreement between friends as long as nothing was done out of malice.

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Friday’s Photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2017 QBE Shootout at Tiburon G.C. in Naples, Florida. Formerly known as the Franklin Templeton Shootout, or the Shark Shootout, the unofficial event plays host to 24 of some of the world’s best golfers, competing in a two-person team competition. The format calls for 54 holes; first-round scramble, second-round modified alternate shot, and third-round fourball (or better ball).

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Here is a list of the teams:

  • Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland
  • Keegan Bradley-Brendan Steele
  • Kevin Chappell-Kevin Kisner
  • Jason Dufner-Billy Horschel
  • Harris English-Matt Kuchar
  • Tony Finau-Lexi Thompson
  • Brian Harman-Pat Perez
  • Russell Henley-Kyle Stanley
  • Charley-Hoffman-Zach Johnson
  • Shane Lowry-Graeme McDowell
  • Brandt Snedeker-Bubba Watson
  • Sean O’Hair-Steve Stricker

Last year, Harris English and Matt Kuchar took down the crown, finishing at 28-under par for the event. Of course, they’ll be playing together again this year as the defending champs.

Check out our photos from the 2017 QBE Shootout below!

Friday’s Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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