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Opinion & Analysis

Who’s hot, who’s not at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia

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By Tim Hartin

GolfWRX Contributor

The CIMB Classic field of 48 need one thing on their minds when teeing it up Thursday at The MINES Resort and Golf Club: birdies. In its first two years, the 6,917 yard, par-71 course in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has seen its competitors go low. Ben Crane claimed the inaugural event in 2010 with an 18-under, 266 tournament total, while Bo Van Pelt cashed in the top prize by firing a 23-under, 261 total, last year. Van Pelt’s week featured an eagle along with 25 birdies and only four bogeys.

The CIMB Classic has boasted big-named fields in its first two years and the 2012 version is no different. PGA Tour players naturally headline the event, with members of the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia looking to stare down the world’s best and make a world name for themselves.

So, who will lead the birdie fest this week,who will fall short and what unfamiliar names may we see on the leader board?

Who’s Hot — Contenders

Van Pelt would love to end the week being a back-to-back winner in two senses of the phrase: a successful defending champion and a winner in consecutive weeks. The 37-year-old closed out last week with a 4-under 68 at the ISPS Handa Perth International in Australia, holding off Jason Dufner for the victory. Van Pelt also performed well at the close of the FedEx Cup, scoring T-10 finishes at both the BWM Championship and The Tour Championship.

Meanwhile, Dufner also makes the transition to Malaysia sporting a solid game. His second-place finish last week featured 21 birdies and an eagle (the same as Van Pelt), but too many bogeys. If he limits the lost shots this week, Dufner has proven he can go low and contend. Last year, Dufner finished with a T-10 in his first appearance at the CIMB.

Brendon de Jonge is one of several players making the quick turnaround from the McGladrey Classic to the CIMB this week. The Fall Series was a success for de Jonge, as he posted a solo 2nd at the JT Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and a T-4 at the McGladrey Classic following a final-round 65. He currently leads the PGA Tour in total birdies this season with 410.

Tiger Woods continues his whirlwind of a fall schedule in Malaysia after hosting an amateur event at Pebble Beach last weekend. Woods may not be “hot” in his former sense of the word, but a trio of top-10s in the FedEx Cup Playoffs prove he’s a threat in any stroke play event. A winless 2012 Ryder Cup record and a 1-2 record in the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final aren’t exactly stellar, but Woods can still make the birdies which are needed this week. On Tour this season, Woods ranks No. 2 in scoring average (69.78), No. 4 in birdie average (3.97) and No. 5 in par-5 scoring average (4.56).

Who’s Not

Carl Pettersson rode a hot streak into the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but played to a cumulative score of 12-over during the four events. A T-20 finish at The Tour Championship was his best of the series. In his 16 playoff rounds, he posted six rounds of 73 or higher.

Johnson Wagner, like Pettersson, is a PGA Tour winner this season, but doesn’t seem to have his “A” game at the moment. After cashing checks in his first six events of 2012, Wagner has made just one more cut (11) than he’s missed (10). His early season play helped him advance in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but a missed cut at the Barclays and T-51 and T-45 finishes didn’t get him to The Tour Championship. When returning to play in Vegas during the Fall Series, Wagner missed the cut.

Trevor Immelman battled a wrist injury early in 2012 and has struggled to find his rhythm. The South African owns just three top-20 finishes this season and has missed 10 cuts. His entries in both the JT Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and the Frys.com Open finished before the weekend.

Names to Learn

Thaworn Wiratchant isn’t exactly household name, but his 15 Asian Tour wins — three in 2012 – -have given him some notability. The 45-year-old has a good opportunity to become the oldest Order of Merit winner in the history of the Asian Tour, after his win at the Hero Indian Open moved him to the No. 1 position. In addition to his three victories, Wiratchant has two more T-2 finishes and a solo 2nd finish on the Asian Tour. The 25-year professional ranks No. 1 on the Asian Tour in his total score to par and total birdies this season. Wiratchant earned a T-33 finish at the inaugural CIMB.

Siddikur Rahman will be making his third appearance in the CIMB. Last year, Rahman finished T-11, improving upon his T-37 finish in 2010. Rahman may not have any victories on the Asian Tour this season, but he owns five top-five finishes.

Anirban Lahiri owns an early season win on the Asian Tour and is coming off a T-5 finish at the Hero Indian Open. Lahiri made his British Open debut this season, providing the first hole-in-one for this year’s tournament, helping him make the cut and finish T-31. This is his first time playing in the CIMB, but fellow countryman Jeev Milkha Sing posted a T-10 finish in last year’s event.

Americans have walked away with the title in the CIMB’s first two years, a fact that may turn into a quick trend in Malaysia. Combine the aforementioned Van Pelt, Dufner and Woods with fellow countrymen Nick Watney, Bill Haas and 2010 champ Crane — not to mention a host of additional talented Americans — and you have a slew of proven champions taking on a small field.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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GolfWRX fan turned GolfWRX contributor. Sports fan, golf enthusiast. Looking to provide a variety of content to GolfWRX.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: GolfWRX.com – Who's hot, who's not at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia | Golf Products Reviews

  2. j_eezy

    Oct 26, 2012 at 11:06 am

    that doesnt look like a vr le to me

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Opinion & Analysis

More Distance Off the Tee (Part 1 of 3): Upper Body Training

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If you read my previous story, Tour Pro’s Revealed: 3 Tests to See How You Stack Up, you are well aware of the fact that improving your upper body power is one of three sure ways to increase your distance off the tee. If you have not, I strongly suggest you check it out to gain some context about what is to follow and what is critical for your golf game.

Through our testing and the testing done of many of the industry leaders in golf performance, we have found that the ability of golfers to generate “push power” from their upper body is critical to maximize efficiency and speed in the swing. The way that you can test your power is simple. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keeping your back on the chair, chest pass with both hands a 6-pound medicine ball as far as you can. When you compare this to your vertical jump as described in More Distance Off the Tee (Part 2 of 3): Lower Body Training Plan, the number in feet you threw the ball should be relatively close to your jump in inches.

If you threw the ball and it went 5 feet, you have an upper body power problem. If you threw the ball 25 feet and jumped only 14 inches, your upper body is not the problem — you probably need to focus on your lower body. It’s not rocket science once you understand what you are looking for. What can be challenging is knowing how to improve your power once you identify a problem. That is where the rest of this article comes in. What I am going to outline below are three of the most common upper body power exercises that we use with our amateur, senior and professional golfers.

The key with any power training exercise is to make sure you are as rested as possible between sets so that you can be as explosive as possible for the repetitions. Try not to do more than 6 repetitions in a set to assure that each one is as fast and explosive as possible.

Med Ball Chest Pass on Wall

This is one of the most basic exercises there is for developing upper body push power. Make sure your feet are about shoulder-width apart and don’t be afraid to use your legs to help maximize the punishment you deliver to against the wall!

Med Ball Wall Ball

Watching the video, you may be scratching you head and wondering why this is in the upper body power article when clearly the athlete is using his legs. The reason is that in the golf swing, power starts with the legs.

Med Ball Sky Chest Throws

This one is simple. Laying on your back, all you need to do is push the ball up as high as you can, catch it on the way down and the explode it back up into the air as high as you can. If you incorporate this exercise into your routine even once a week, you will see huge gains in your ability to swing faster if this was a problem area for you.

That being said, power creation requires not only speed but also strength development. It is also important that you have a solid strength program to increase your ability to generate more force. While this is beyond the scope of this article, finding yourself a solid golf fitness expert will help you create your ideal program.

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Podcasts

GolfWRX Forum Member dpb5031 talks about the TaylorMade Twist Face Experience

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Forum member dpb5031 (aka Dewey) joins TG2 to talk about his Twist Face Experience at The Kingdom. Recently, him and 6 other GolfWRX Members went to TaylorMade HQ to get fit for new M3 and M4 drivers. Does Twist Face work? Dewey provides his answer.

Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Opinion & Analysis

Inside the Ropes: 5 things you didn’t know about playing on the PGA Tour

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Golf finds a way to take a hold on you… whether you become entranced by the skill of the world’s best professionals, fall in love with the feeling and beauty of a well-executed shot, or simply enjoy getting outside and having fun — the game is addictive.

I started playing at the age of 4 and began watching the pros on TV dreaming what it would be like to play golf on the PGA Tour. When I earned my PGA Tour status for the 2014 season, that dream became a reality. And like anything, it’s not until I actually experienced that life did I have any idea what it entailed.

For those of you who are curious what it’s like to be on the PGA Tour, here are 5 things to describe it.

1) The Culture

Traveling the world to various cities can be fun, and it’s an underrated part of the Tour lifestyle; you get to see new landscapes and taste the cuisines that define different regions across the country and the world. Unlike some other professional sports, where players stay in one place for maybe a night or two, we get to stay in places for a week or more, which allows for plenty of time away from the course to see the sights and get a feel for what the cities and their cultures offer.

2) The Show

The setup and time that goes into planning an event — the grandstands, concession stands, volunteers, and the whole network that makes these tournaments run — is beyond impressive. We see the finished product at the event in the epicenter of it all, but the planning goes on behind the scenes all year. When it’s game time and the golf ball gets teed up, it’s time for us players to block all of that out, but we certainly appreciate all of the hard work that goes into putting on an event. It may feel like being in a circus at times, but performing in the show is a thrill.

3) The People

The game of golf in general brings people together, but especially so on the Tour. Thousands and thousands of fans come to watch the golf action and enjoy the festivities. The Pro-Ams are a great way for the fans to get an up-close look at what goes on at a Tour event, and they’re also a great way for us pros to interact with fans and maybe provide some helpful swing tips, too. In my opinion, one of the best events of the year is the Pebble Beach Pro-Am — a gathering of pro golfers, athletes, musicians, actors and other celebrities. It’s a testament to how the game can bring people together from different walks of life.

4) Inside the Ropes

The Tour is almost like a private school of sorts. It’s a select group of a couple hundred guys traveling around playing these events. The jocks, the nerds, the geeks, the loners; you see a little of everything. As much as there’s a sociable aspect to traveling on Tour and getting to know these people, it’s a dog-eat-dog world where everyone is playing for their livelihood and playing privileges.

5) The “Pressure”

A season-long race can come down to a single shot making the difference — for some it’s between winning and losing a tournament, and others it’s between keeping and losing your card. The cameras, the grandstands, the noise… it can all be quite distracting. The idea is to block all of that out and pretend you’re playing like a kid, focusing with pure imagination for the shot. All the extra attention can help heighten the focus further, adding inspiration to “give the people what they want” and hit even better golf shots.

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