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The Day Finally Arrives

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-Jason Day Wins The HP Byron Nelson Championship-

Early success and high expectations can be a terrible recipe for a burgeoning golf career but things turned in the right direction on Sunday for Jason Day as he captured his first PGA Tour title at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Achieving that at age 22 is incredible by most standards, and follows a recent streak of 20-somethings taking down PGA Tour titles (Rory McIlroy -Quail Hollow Championship and Adam Scott – Valero Texas Open), but when you are five years past being heralded as the next great thing in professional golf, it does gives some pause for extra thought.

As the youngest Nationwide Tour winner on record at the age of nineteen Jason Day was expected to join his fellow Aussies on the big tour and instantly start racking up crowns. But alas, the PGA Tour does not yield so easily. It took him 65 tries to get the first win and nobody really appreciates what went in to making that happen than Day himself. It has turned out be me a far more wandering journey than he, or anyone, else, expected.

That included a mind-numbing final hole Sunday where Day (66-65-67-72-270) won an “uglyfest” battle to scrape out a bogey and secure a two-stroke win. Blake Adams, playing alongside, made his own water-strewn tragedy on 18 at the Four Seasons Las Colinas that prevented him from catching Day. It did however; give Adams part of a 3-way tie for second with Brian Gay and Jeff Overton, at 8 under par -272. 

No matter the quality of the finish Day got what he came for, a win, and he was very humbled to finally become not only a PGA Tour winner, but the victor of the HP Byron Nelson Championship. “It means the world to me, for this to be my first TOUR event. To be even in the same breath as Mr. Nelson is just amazing and just to have my name on the Champions' Wall for next year, it's a complete honor. I'm so happy that I came through with that win, and I'm happy that my first one was here at the HP Byron Nelson.”

To his credit Day did not shy away from the truth about why he had not lived up to his early billing – the promise by many that he was the “next Tiger Woods.”

He did not lean on the fact that he had some injuries early in his career as an excuse. “No, me being lazy and thinking — you give someone a really good contract deal with, you know, a big company, you have — you know, everyone is telling you you're the best, and it's easy to slack off,” he said with modesty in the media room afterwards.  “It's so easy to slack off, and I never grew up with anything. I was very poor growing up, and to have a couple of dollars under my belt kinda eased the tension, and with that I didn't work hard. I've been working very hard this year and last year, and it's starting to pay off, which is nice.”

That’s a great lesson for another golfer who actually garnered more attention this week than all the pros, 16 year-old Jordan Spieth. Not only did the youngster tee it up – he truly competed for the title, finishing in a creditable tie for 16th place tie. 

Asked to comment of what advice he would have for the young man, based on his own wild ride, Jason Day had this to say. “The advice I would give him is keep at it, keep learning, keep playing a lot of tournaments and try and win as many as you can and make it a habit, make it a habit and keep pushing through, no matter what happens. As long as you push through those hard experiences and work hard, you'll come out on top. It will all work itself out.”

The PGA Tour is a tough racket, and true greatness is really only measured one way – with wins, not simply by the stroke of a friendly pen, happy to gloss and promote for the sake of monetary gain. 

Jason Day finally has his first win and in time, so too Jordan Spieth might as well.

But they don’t hand those trophies and million dollar checks out simply because they like you – soggy bogeys or otherwise – for four days you need to be better than everyone else.

Sunday, Jason Day did just that, and all those expectations are finally starting to look a little more creditable.

Of course he knows now, if he wants to have the feeling he enjoyed Sunday again – he’ll have to work hard because there is a whole slew of Jordan Spieths, or the next “Jason Day,” out there that only too happy to steal the spotlight.

This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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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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