Connect with us
Advertisement

Opinion & Analysis

6 must-have exercises in any golf fitness program

Published

on

Golf is inherently an asymmetrical pattern. It also exposes the golfer to peak compressive forces of up to 8 times bodyweight through the lumbar spine. It’s no wonder then that the golf swing, when repeated over and over, can lead to the build up of physical asymmetries, overuse issues and injury.

Indeed, the literature relating to injuries in golf reports the most common injuries are due to overuse. Studies suggest time spent practicing and playing are significant factors that influence injury risk. Those who played at least four rounds per week or hit more than 200 balls per week were also shown to have significantly higher instances of injury. It has also been proposed in several studies that poor swing mechanics can accelerate this process. With this in mind, almost all keen golfers — not just the ones on tour — could benefit taking a proactive approach to managing their injury risk. It will likely prevent them from missing time on the course and keep them on the course for longer into old age.

It is fairly clear that managing the volume of golf swings and correcting faulty swing mechanics is likely a big part of the puzzle of preventing injury to golfers. There is also a large body of evidence to suggest appropriate strength training could also be used to reduce the injury risk to golfers. A huge, 2014 meta-study found that strength training reduced sports injuries by roughly 33 percent and overuse injuries by 50 percent. Interestingly, this study also found that stretching alone had no relationship to injury prevention.

“Implementing a training program that includes flexibility, strength and power training with correction of faulty swing mechanics will help the golfer reduce the likelihood of injury and improve overall performance,” another study concluded. The only problem is that golfers often make one of two mistakes in their training that prevent them from realizing these injury prevention benefits:

  1. They train with little regard to improved movement quality, jumping right to sexy-looking exercises without mastering the basic firsts. More on this later. 
  2. They train too “sport-specific,” seeking to mimic the golf swing using bands and cables, for example. By training in a highly specific manner, they end up neglecting antagonist/ stabilizer muscles and reinforcing those asymmetries inherent in the golf swing.

As such, we do not want to spend a huge amount of gym time stressing the joints in the same specific way we do on the course already. MLB strength coach Eric Cressey probably said it best: “Specificity works great until you’re so specific that you wind up injured and have forgotten how to do everything else.”

Balanced strength development through foundational movement pattern training and compensation strength exercises should, instead, form the vast majority (at least 80 percent) of your training activities, both from a sports performance and injury prevention perspective. The foundational movement patterns in question are:

  1. Squat
  2. Hip Hinge
  3. Upper Body Push
  4. Upper Body Pull
  5. Single-Leg Work
  6. Core Intensive Work (such as dead-bugs, planks, pallof presses and weighted carries)

The real key to unlocking the benefits of the foundational movement patterns and long-term success in your training lies in emphasising movement quality and picking variations/ progressions of each movement to suit you, rather than sticking to dogmatically programmed exercises that may not fit your body, your current training experience or goals. In really broad terms, this probably equates to selecting the most difficult exercise progression you can do technically perfect for the desired number of reps.

With this in mind, the rest of this article will be focused on providing some specifics for the six foundational patterns. It will also outline a progression framework you can use to gauge the best variation for you currently and where you should aim to progress in the future. That said, I would be remiss not to mention that getting the exercise selection and progression right is where a good coach becomes really valuable. He or she is able to take a full injury history and complete various assessments of joint range of motion and dynamic mobility to make sure you’re starting in the right place and advancing at the proper pace.  

Squat

The squat does a lot of great things. It teaches us to create and maintain appropriate position of the pelvis and core. It also helps us learn to create and absorb force while developing mobility in the hips, ankles and thoracic spine. I bet the image you have in your mind right now is that of a barbell back squat taken to the floor. That is one squat pattern variation, but it’s by no means the only way to squat. Everyone is different, therefore, everyone must squat differently and squat using the squat variation most appropriate for their current skill level and trainability.

The goblet squat is my favorite variation for most golfers, as the anterior loading helps to shift weight back while maintaining core/pelvic stability. It should also be noted that the barbell back squat might not be something the athlete ever uses, because their physical makeup might always be better suited to front-loaded squatting. That’s perfectly fine. Once again, the key is to find the “hardest” variation that you can do perfectly. From there, you’ll be able to train the squat pattern without internal restriction, get a great training effect and minimize joint stress. The goal is to move up the list over time and progress strategically.

Hip Hinge

The hinge is one of the most important patterns when it comes to protecting your lower back from injury, but many people have lost the ability do it. The hip hinge is often confused with the deadlift, which is a specific exercise that falls under the hip hinge umbrella (i.e. while not every hip hinge is a deadlift, every deadlift is a hip-hinge pattern).

Many people don’t deadlift because they think it’s too risky. And since the deadlift is the only hip hinge exercise they know, they skip training the entire movement pattern. This is a mistake. Master the hip hinge, and you’ll avoid chronic flare-ups, lower back tightness, and generalized “neural-lock” of your mobility and flexibility. The pattern should be slowly implemented at lower levels, however, which allows motor relearning to take place. Watch the video above to see the main progressions I use to reactivate the hip hinge from the ground up. 

Not everyone will have the ability to pull a barbell off the floor with good neutral spine mechanics due to different body types. Again, totally fine. If that’s you, don’t feel the need to force it. Just stick with having the bar or kettlebell elevated off the floor as I have in the video. In fact, this is what I have the vast majority of my golfers do.

Single-Leg

Single-leg exercises unlock strength and movement quality potential. They tap into your “primitive patterning.” You learned to walk in a sequence. You rolled over, crawled, pulled yourself up and finally learned to stand and walk. Not all of that was unilateral, but the movement between the steps was. That primitive patterning is what single-leg movements are targeting for re-education.

There are few movements more powerful than single-leg variations for identifying weak links, sticking points and pain patterns. Again, we need to work from the ground up to build optimal patterns and movement efficiency to keep us strong and healthy.

The single-leg lunge pattern does include more dynamic lunges. Under its umbrella are single-leg squats involving standing only on one leg, lateral squat variations and hinge-based movements such as the single-leg RDL’s. For the sake of brevity I haven’t covered these, but this doesn’t devalue their importance in a good plan built around the non-negotiable foundational patterns. Be sure to include both the knee-dominant variations shown above, as well as the hip-dominant patterns such as single-leg RDLs to cover all your bases.

Upper Body Push

Movement patterns are classified as either open- or closed-chain depending on the contact points with the ground. If the hands and feet are in contact with a stable surface like the ground, the movement is a closed kinematic chain. If the hands or feet are freely moving through space, that’s an open kinematic chain.

With the push-up, the hands are anchored to the ground (or stable surface) that alter the way the spine, gleno-humeral joint, scapula and acute muscular stabilizers of the region move. In this closed chain, the shoulder blades are able to move freely against the thoracic cage placing more of a dynamic stability emphasis on the musculature controlling this position. This skill of creating stability and tension in the shoulders and upper back is something that must be mastered in order to translate into a more static, stability-based position such as the bench press.

Starting with the mastery of the plank and push-up allows the biggest bang for your buck in full-body motor learning through the push pattern. From integrated core and hip stability to upper back and shoulder tensional recruitment, the push-up is a key player in learning how to generate stability in order to display power and strength. Once this skill is honed in at the horizontal plane of motion, vertical pushing will be the next challenge.

Upper Body Pull

Strong and stable shoulders depend on pulling more than pushing. Our sitting- and bench press-dominated world (guys I’m looking at you) leads to tonic anterior shoulder and chest muscles, lengthened/weak posterior shoulder muscles and internally rotated shoulders. To combat this, I will often program pulling to pushing in a 2:1 or even 3:1 ratio. We must also bear in mind, however, that the vertical pull also places the shoulder into internal rotation during the movement pattern itself. This means we should bias the horizontal pull more than vertical pulling in our programming.

In order to create full-body stability at the shoulders through the pull, the horizontal pull must first be mastered before introducing the more complex vertical pull variations off the pull-up bar and beyond. Moreover, mastering the pull from a stable core and hips will help develop a strong posterior that can support athletic endeavors such as the golf swing. That’s exactly why this pattern must be a priority.

The pattern must first be introduced and perfected from a full-body, stability-based position. From this position, the pillar is challenged to generate tension and create stability through the legs, hips, pelvis and spine, while the upper body works to generate dynamic force.

Core Intensive Movements

The core muscles help safeguard the lumbar spine during sports, gym and everyday activities, and they are therefore crucial in preventing back pain. If the core is weak, then other muscles will have to compensate in order to stabilize the pelvis and spine, leading to faulty movement patterns, asymmetries and injury.

Golfers, for example, are more susceptible to lower back pain due to rotating at the lumbar spine. The rotation should occur through the pelvis and thoracic spine, with the lumbar spine remaining in a relatively fixed position. A strong core, in addition to the glutes and stretching out the anterior hip muscles, will help stabilize the pelvis back in more a neutral position. It helps prevent the lumbar spine from over extending and rotating into ranges of motion for which it is not designed.

Additionally, the core muscles link the upper and lower body. If a link in the body chain is broken, performance will suffer. Much of the power in the golf swing actually comes from the ground. In order to effectively transfer this ground reaction force through the body and to the club, the pelvis and spine need to be stable. This stability is achieved when the core muscles and glutes are strong and highly functioning.

Many train the core poorly, however. In short, you should train the function of the core — not it\s anatomy. This generally means training four patterns:

  • Rotational Core Strength
  • Anterior Core Strength
  • Lateral Core Strength
  • Hip Extension Strength/Bridging

For the sake of brevity, I offer an example of anterior or anti-extension core strength progressions in the video above. 

Over To You

All you have to do now is give the variations a try. Pick the ones that work best for you. I suggest videoing yourself while doing them to ensure proper form.

Follow a sensible progression strategy, add in some mobility work for the weakness you’ll have identified by trying different variations and you have the nuts and bolts of a really useful injury prevention program. I willing to wager you’ll feel better and, as many of the physical qualities developed in these exercises are also needed in properly executing the golf swing, you’ll be playing better, too.

Your Reaction?
  • 124
  • LEGIT12
  • WOW4
  • LOL3
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK6

Nick is a TPI certified strength coach with a passion for getting golfers stronger and moving better. Through Stronger Golf he uses unique, research based training methods to create stronger, faster, more athletic golfers. Golfers who are more coachable, achieve higher levels of skill mastery, play injury free, and for longer as a result of improved physical fitness.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. bruce

    Jun 7, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Most guys I see on the golf course can’t walk and invent a new golf swing every try. The sport of last resort.

    • Nick Buchan

      Jun 8, 2018 at 8:51 am

      There is some truth to that Bruce. Hence why I recommend most golfers start working on general patterns such as above to develop good movement, gait, etc before we start to add and supplement with some more golf specific stuff.

  2. DB

    Jun 5, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Great article, and Imma let you finish, but… what is wrong with that guy’s arm?!?

    • Nick Buchan

      Jun 8, 2018 at 8:50 am

      I have a fair amount of laxity in my elbow joints – I can do some pretty freaky stuff with them and you should see my top of the backswing position. Something I probably should try to be aware of and correct more often as not the greatest stabilisation/ loading strategy but doesn’t seem to have any affect on me at all as yet to be honest.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion & Analysis

Ted Bishop on the U.S. Open setup, Phil Mickelson’s antics, his infamous Tweet and more (full interview, transcribed)

Published

on

Ted Bishop has seen highs and he has seen lows. As the 38th President of the PGA of America, he was the one of the leaders of the game and the industry of golf. He was at the pinnacle of the game, but one ill-advised tweet brought that crashing down. After calling Ian Poulter a “lil’ girl” on social media, Bishop was impeached from his office and stripped of all of his titles and honors. But he retained his dignity and his love for the game of golf. In this exclusive interview, Bishop opens up about his feelings on the PGA of America, the USGA, this year’s U.S. Open and the double standard that seems to exist in the upper echelons of the game

Read the full transcription below, or click here to listen on SoundCloud, or click here to listen on iTunes!

Michael Williams: So, you’re out in Indiana. What are you doing these days?

Ted Bishop: You know, I’m the General Manager of the Legends Golf Club, which is a 45-hole facility about 25 minutes out from downtown Indianapolis. And it’s a golf course that I’ve built. And that’s pretty much what I do seven days a week and loving every minute of it. It was great when the PGA thing was over with to really dive back into my operation. And the day to day aspect of public golf… I’ve never gotten tired of it in my 47 years of working on a golf course.

Michael Williams: So let’s get to it with the U.S. Open. You saw it just like I did. Great winner, Brooks Koepka. I think you had a lot of great players fighting for the championship as we came down to the wire, which is exactly what you want to see. And you have a repeat champion for the first time since Curtis Strange. Talk to me about how you felt about the players and the level of play and then we’ll switch to how you felt about the golf course and it’s set up.

Ted Bishop: Well I thought Koepka played great and he putted the ball so well on that back nine Michael. And I thought Paul Azinger had one of the classic quotes late in the round yesterday, where he said, “You can’t ride ball striking to the winner’s circle.” And that was certainly the case with Koepka. When you look at the biggest hole that he played, it was probably the bogey he had on number 11.

Michael Williams: Absolutely.

Ted Bishop: And a couple of par saves after that. So for him to have been injured and to have been out as long as he has been here in 2018, this is a great, great victory for him. We knew that DJ was going to be there. I mean, I think he’s clearly earned his right to be the number one player in the world. And he’s playing better, week in, week out than anybody else does. Obviously with the setup, there was a lot of controversy as to how good golf was and how entertaining the open was. But at least when I’m here at a public golf course, they kind of enjoy watching the greatest players in the world be challenged. And that was the case at certain times last week.

Michael Williams: They say that Shinnecock is a second shot golf course but it’s not really a second shot golf course, it’s a third shot golf course because you’re going to hit some shots that hit that green and you’re going to hit a lot that don’t. So, it’s all about your ability to persevere and be creative on the greens and around them, making sure that that three goes from four to five and not to six, seven or eight.

But the controversy really started on Saturday. In your opinion, did they lose the course?

Ted Bishop: You know Michael, I thought the most telling interview that I saw the entire weekend on the course set up was the one that FOX did yesterday with Patrick Reed when his round was finished. And they asked him about the Saturday setup and he said, “You know, I really didn’t have a problem with it.” He said, “There were two pins on 13 and 15 that were maybe two yards out of place and it made a completely different situation on the putting greens.” But he said, “Other than that, I didn’t have any issues with it.” And that’s his personality. He’s the guy that rolls with the flow and doesn’t make any excuses. Now obviously, there were a lot of players that were very critical. I was just reading an article before this phone call. Some quotes from Steve Stricker, for example. And Strick’s usually a guy that doesn’t say anything bad about anything and he was very critical of about the set up. But I think the biggest controversy would be the fact that the players in the morning on Saturday were probably a different golf course than the players in the afternoon were. And that’s just sometimes in golf, the way that it goes.

But I for one, like I said before, I like to see these guys challenged and the US Open always kind of borders somewhat on the unfair side. I remember very vividly the 1974 US Open at Winged Foot and watching Hale Irwin slugging out there. I think he was … Correct me if I’m wrong or if you know, maybe he was seven over par at Winged Foot. So it’s just … That’s just what the US Open is. And it’s different than the other majors. And I personally found it entertaining.

Michael Williams: I did too. If you had been in charge of that championship, would you have done anything different throughout the four days? In terms of course set up.

Ted Bishop: Well, you know that’s a difficult question. My youngest daughter is a PGA member and she’s at St Andrews Golf Club, which is not far from Shinnecock. It’s the oldest club in the United States. And I was talking to her Saturday night, just about the weather that they had to experience in that part of the country and she was saying to me that their greens at St Andrews were as hard and fast as she can ever remember them in the 15 years that she’s been there. So hard that you could actually … You could hear the ball land on the green from the fairway. And so obviously, Shinnecock was harder and faster than some place like that would’ve been in that area.

Michael Williams: Right.

Ted Bishop: And you know, I guess maybe you would have watered … In retrospect, you might have watered more on Friday night if you would have known that conditions were going to get that out of hand. You know, that part of this is so complicated and sophisticated. I say complicated, really in a lot of ways it’s easier Michael, because you got these moisture meters. And you can go out and you can actually test your soils at any point during the morning hours. You can anticipate what your evaporation rate’s going to be based on the wind. And you can do some things differently.

I think Mike Davis said he kind of got off guard on Saturday and I’m sure that if he had some things to do over again, he would’ve done it. But then he made the corrections, I felt like on Sunday. And pins were far more reasonable, the golf course was softer and there were no issues.

Michael Williams: Yeah and you got Tommy Fleetwood shooting a 63. Does that mean there’s an overcorrection?

Ted Bishop: Oh I don’t know about that. I just think the weather got out of hand. And that’s the one element that you can’t ever control. And I know Mike has taken a lot of criticism and he continues to take it. I did an interview with a radio station in Charlotte on Saturday, and they were asking me the difference between Kerry Haigh, who sets up the PGA Championships and Mike Davis who obviously does the USGA. And Kerry is not a risk taker; you can almost go to the bank every year no matter where the PGA’s played, that the winner score is going to be 8 to 12 under par. His philosophy is he wants to see good shots rewarded and there’s a little bit of risk and reward, but he never gets over the top. Mike on the other hand, I would call a risk taker. And that starts really with some of the sites that he selects. And you can point to Chambers Bay and Erin Hills as two that would be that case. Certainly, he made it that way with Shinnecock. But you know, they are different personalities and their philosophies are different. And I’m going to stand up for Mike Davis and I’m going to say that one’s not necessarily right and one’s not necessarily wrong.

I always felt part of golf was being able to adapt to the conditions, no matter what they are. And Tom Watson had a great quote that he said that golf was not meant to be a fair game. And that’s just kind of the way it is… I think that’s always interesting Michael, about the U.S. Open, the tour players are so conditioned to play with the same type of playing conditions week in and week out.

Michael Williams: Yep.

Ted Bishop: I mean, the PGA Championship is not much different than a tour event. Obviously, the Open Championship is going to be different. The U.S. Open is going to be different. The rest of them … Even the Masters, is a, what I would call a PGA Tour set up. So these guys are so conditioned to play the same way week in and week out, when they get a curve ball thrown their way sometimes they don’t react well.

Michael Williams: You’ve already addressed the fact that what happens at the U.S. Open never happens at the PGA Championship. Who is the constituency of Mike Davis? Who is he trying to please? If so many people are displeased, why isn’t he held accountable? Why doesn’t somebody else get a crack at doing that?

Ted Bishop: Well, I think his constituency would be the USGA Executive Committee, possibly.

Michael Williams: So as long as they’re pleased, he’s good to go?

Ted Bishop: Yeah.

Michael Williams: Okay.

Ted Bishop: Exactly. And, they own that championship. I know it’s the United States Open, but you and I don’t own it. The USGA does. So, it’s really their prerogative, and Mike’s the guy that they’ve entrusted that core setup year in and year out to, so it’s their baby to do with what they want to.

Michael Williams: Again, I’m with you. I love what Mike Davis does. I love the fact that you get one tournament a year that’s half Masters and half NASCAR. You’ve got speed and performance, and you’ve also got crashes in Turn 2.

Besides the winner and the course, the story was, Phil Mickelson. I’m going to ask you this as a three-parter. What do you think of what he did, what do you think of his explanation for why he did it, and if it was your sole decision to make, would he have been disqualified?

Ted Bishop: Well, I think that had Phil kept his mouth shut after the round and really not exposed what had happened he would have been OK. Under rule 14-5, I mean, he clearly struck a ball in motion, so that’s a two shot penalty.

Michael Williams: Right. That’s physics, so you can’t argue with physics. He hit a ball that’s moving. Done.

Ted Bishop: Yeah. Can’t argue with that. Honestly, the great thing about the rules of golf, you always have the opportunity to use the rules to your advantage. That’s not cheating. That’s just knowing the rules book and using them to your advantage.

Michael Williams: Right.

Ted Bishop: At that point, when he did that, I would say that he succeeded in using the rules to his advantage. When he went to the media scrum afterwards, and basically admitted what his intent was, now all of the sudden, that really kind of falls under a different rule, Rule 1-2, which is another situation that could have very easily have resulted in a disqualification.

Michael Williams: Now, what is it he said specifically that takes it from a 14-5 consideration to 1-2?

Ted Bishop: Well, he indicated what his intentions were, to stop the ball before it went off the putting green and rolled down into a place that he very conceivably might not have had a shot. It was his intent, if he wouldn’t have divulged what his intent was, if he would have just said, “Hey, I clearly struck a ball in motion. I did what I did, and that was it”, and not taken it any further than that, then it would have been pretty clear-cut that it was a two shot penalty. But when he expressed his intent to breach the rules, then that’s where the disqualification would have come into play.

I talked with a guy that’s on the PGA of America Rules Committee, and watched a couple of people talk about it this morning in preparation for this story, and I think that’s about as clear and concise as you can make it. The question then goes to the USGA, well, then why did you not go ahead and disqualify him because he clearly indicated what his intentions were? That stuff happens. I remember being at the Masters when Roy McIlroy took that practice swing (2009). I was on the Rules Committee in the bunker that year, and there was a lot of talk that he should be disqualified. I know Kerry Haigh privately said, hey, if this would have been the PGA Championship we would have DQ’d him, but they elected not to at Augusta, and the USGA elected not to DQ Phil. Again, that’s what the committee does. They make those types of decisions, and the rest of us debate them.

Michael Williams: Okay. A lot of this discussion going forward is going to be about one of my favorite subjects, which is hypocrisy. I think hypocrisy ruins the world, among other things. Let’s go there a little bit. So, it’s not Phil Mickelson that does this, it’s Pat Perez. Is he DQ’d?

Ted Bishop: That’s a great subjective question. I would say that he might have been DQ’d. I would also say this, I know Phil well, as well as I guess I could have in the position that I was in. I like him, but I also think that sometimes there’s nothing that he doesn’t do without an agenda. I think that clearly what he did on Saturday was basically his way of really trying to show up the USGA for what he felt like was not a good course setup.

Michael Williams: You know the other thing that he did, it hasn’t been talked about at all, but I thought really served as a frame of reference for what he did on 13, was the putt he made on 14. Because he hits the green on 14, and instead of going right at the hole, he went, what, six feet to the right of it and up the bank, and tried to bring it in from above the hole back down to it and into the backdoor. He hits that putt, and then like turns to Beef Johnson, and is sort of like laughing and giving that Phil Mickelson smirk. To me, that’s like, okay, this is how you feel. You are saying and giving a clear statement that this course is unplayable, and I’m going to show you just how unplayable it is by hitting into the windmill on number 14 and trying to get it into the hole. Did you see that too?

Ted Bishop: Yeah. I can’t argue with any of that. Then, of course, you had the Twitter tirade that my friend Ian Poulter went through on Saturday night where he said some very derogatory things about Mike Davis and the USGA. I guess the difference between those two styles is that maybe Phil’s was a little bit more discrete than what Poulter’s was. But, I think there were a lot of negative reactions by players to what went on on Saturday, and how they displayed that certainly was different.

Michael Williams: So, it’s been my contention that what Phil Mickelson did will probably not dent his reputation among his fans. But within the people who are the guardians of the game golf, those people who wear green jackets, and pins, and crests, and things like that, I think it has taken an irreversible hit. What do you think?

Ted Bishop: Well, you know Michael, here’s what I would say. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are, in a lot of ways, are bullet proof for any of their actions. I mean, their fan base is loyal, and supportive, and that’s really kind of the interesting thing about this sport, is the fact that people just have a tendency to turn their head or overlook some things that happen that maybe aren’t really in the best interest of the game, and really doesn’t seem to tarnish them much going forward. I mean, Phil’s had other things that have come up in his career. I mean, the insider trading situation is one. If that was Pat Perez, would that have been handled differently? So, you know, I’ve always laughed about golf; for a sport that hangs its hat on ethics, and etiquette, and ideals, I do think that there is a lot of hypocrisy from time to time in the sport.

Michael Williams: Let’s go a little deeper into your tenure as President. I think most people know the situation where there was a series of tweets between you and Ian Poulter. In one of them, you made a comment that ultimately was determined to be sexist and damaging to the reputation of the PGA, and the golf industry in general. In a very short period of time between one tweet and a consideration of this action, it led to your removal as the President of the PGA. What’s your recollection of the timeline of that event? How do you look at it now?

Ted Bishop: Well, I mean, just the factual part of it was this. It took place on October 23, 2014. It was less than a month after the Ryder Cup, and I was working the Faldo Junior Series at the Greenbrier with Nick Faldo.

Michael Williams: And we were there at the Greenbrier at the same time.

Ted Bishop: Oh, no kidding?

Michael Williams: Yeah, we were there. I was doing a fundraiser for St. Jude’s and Faldo was the guest of honor. I was there that night.

Ted Bishop: Wow. You should have saved me. But at any rate, it was the last night that I was there. We were going to go out to Nick’s for a quick reception. He has a house there at the Greenbrier, and then we were going to go back and have dinner with the kids that night. I was looking at Geoff Shackelford’s blog, actually, and I had seen where Ian Poulter had released his new book called No Limits, and he had been very critical of Nick Faldo and Tom Watson both, actually. Watson is a Ryder Cup Captain, and it struck a nerve. It’s no excuse on my part, but it was really kind of the last straw in the aftermath of that 2014 Ryder Cup, so as you said, I called Poulter out on Twitter and Facebook, and referred to him as a little girl. The PGA and other people took offense to that remark. And actually, within 18 hours after my stupid remarks on social media, I was removed from office with 29 days left to go in my tenure.

Michael Williams: Stunning. With 29 days left to go, amazing. Amazing.

Ted Bishop: Yeah. I mean, I will say this, and I’ve said this 100 times, it was a very poor choice of words on my part, very stupid for the media training that I had had. I’m not going to apologize for standing up for two guys that I felt like were being unduly criticized, particularly in Tom’s case, as a Ryder Cup Captain being criticized by an opposing player. I really, I don’t make apologies for that, I just wish I would have chosen my words better. What I did was, it was stupid. I mean, I make no excuses. There’s a lot of ways I could have said it, but to use the term little girl, I just never even began to think of it from a sexist viewpoint, but it is what it is, and I was done.

Michael Williams: It was funny because you had been on my show not long before and we talked about the fact that your tenure was almost over, and I asked you about the practice of the U.S. presidents leaving a note in the office of the incoming President, for their eyes only.

Ted Bishop: I remember that. That was a great question.

Michael Williams: As you look back on it now, although it wasn’t a timely exit, what would you have put on your note in your desk for the incoming president?

Ted Bishop: I mean well, my mindset has totally changed since then. Another thing that was kind of interesting, obviously, in preparation for my outgoing speech at the annual meeting in Indianapolis, we were at the Grand … I’ll back up. A week before this all happened I was at the Grand Slam in Bermuda and we were having what really would be our final executive committee meeting with Kerry Haigh, Darrell Crall, Pete Bevacqua, Derek Sprague and Paul Levy and myself. I asked the PGA to kind of summarize my two years; I said, “Could you give me a timeline of just the things that happened in my two years which what kind of really put into play my remarks at the annual meeting?”

And, they came back about a week later and they gave me a five-page, single spaced document of all the things that happened in ’13 and ’14. And, there were a lot of really positive things that we did as an association, that we did for the game. I think we elevated the stature of the PGA of America and the golf community. And unfortunately, even to this day I feel like my stupidity on social media wiped out a lot of that work. They always say to any kind of a leader, “How will your legacy be defined?” And, I think had it not been for that minute and a half of really dumb, irresponsible action on social media, my legacy in golf probably would be a hell of a lot different than what it is today.

Michael Williams: I applaud you for being a man and stand up and taking responsibility for your actions. But again, the rails that we’re riding this train on for this part of the conversation is hypocrisy. You didn’t use any of The Forbidden Seven. You didn’t say anything that you could have been fined for by the FCC. You called the guy a little girl. But, when you looked around the room at the people who were judging you, do you think that there was any one person around there who hadn’t at some time said to a playing partner when they hit a putt short, “You gotta hit it Nancy.” Or, “Hit it again, Shirley.”

Ted Bishop: No, there’s no question about it, and we had situations in my two years as the president where we actually had past presidents and we had board members that we kind of had to sanction. And when I say sanction, I mean, I felt like we did it in a very responsible and gentle way. We brought the people in, we said, “Look, you can’t be saying this. You can’t be doing this. You represent the largest working sports organization in the world.” And, I think that was a bitter pill for me, the way that my whole thing went down. Some of that didn’t happen. That being said, again, I’ll make no excuses. I’m the guy at the top of the ladder and I’ve got to set an example for everyone within the association. And, I should have done that, but I would say that certainly there were other disciplinary cases and there have been since that weren’t quite handled the same as mine.

Michael Williams: When you look now and you see the things that are said by athletes, by entertainers, and I’m going to go there, even by the President of the United States about women, seemingly without consequence, it’s hard not to be bitter, Isn’t it?

Ted Bishop: Yeah, but I just never wanted to be that guy. That’s why I just try to come back and really throw myself into my family and my business and just try to move on and not get caught up with that. That was one of the reasons that I wrote the book. I wanted to try to educate people on your responsibilities with social media and I’ve spoken on this topic. And, I guess that was really to this day, that’s my biggest disappointment, Michael, with the PGA of America.

I could have been a poster child for all those things. I think I could have helped with a golf professionals, but I could have helped people in general doing a lot of the things that I’m doing now. So, when it was all said and done I thought, “You know what? That is what I’m going to do. I’ll just take matters into my own hands and try to do that.” And, that’s kind of been my message and what I kind of stand for now. “Hey! Learn from my mistakes.”

Michael Williams: There’s a recent incident, again, most of our readers and listeners know about it and I know you know about it too, where Paul Levy, the current president of the PGA, was arrested last week on a DUI, driving under the influence. A statement of apology and contrition was made, but I have heard no word on any disciplinary action. And I say this noting that Paul Levy is a friend of mine. I really, really like that guy. But, isn’t it a double standard?

Ted Bishop: I think that’s for other people to judge and I’m not going to comment on Levy’s arrest. I think the PGA of America’s been pretty clear at this point that they stand behind him and they’re going to continue to do that. The way they’ve not messaged Paul’s situation to the membership compared again to the way my whole thing was handled, is kind of curious. But, I don’t know. Maybe they feel that my remarks were so insensitive and so violating to the diversity and inclusion principles that they have really made their platform over since 2014. Maybe that’s a bigger issue to them than the DUI. I don’t know, you’d have to ask somebody from the PGA of America.

Michael Williams: Yeah, I fully intend to. Thanks, and I’ll keep you posted on that. What’s your relationship with the PGA, professionally and personally right now?

Ted Bishop: I’ve tried to get as involved as I possibly can in my own section, the Indiana PGA. I’ve actually hosted and MC’ed our last few section awards ceremonies in the Spring, which I’ve enjoyed. I’ve had the opportunity to speak at some section meetings. I’ve led something that I think is critical to the future of the game right now and that was a junior pace of play pilot program that we had called Project 215 where we’re trying to get juniors to play nine holes in two hours and 15 minutes because I think the slow pace of play at the junior golf level is one of the things that’s killing the sport right now. That’s where I’ve really chosen to get involved with. One of the things that happened to me when I was impeached was that they took away my right to vote, they took away basically my right to be involved in any governance at the PGA of America level. So, I’m a guy that kind of has to rely on the local aspect of the PGA in my life right now. And again, that’s okay because selfishly, Michael, that’s kind of what influences my own little world each and every day and I’m done with the rest of it. However, I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work for MorningRead.com, which is a daily digital golf newsletter that Alex Miceli started and that’s kept me in touch with the game and I love to write and I felt that it kind of kept me relevant to a degree.

Michael Williams: As always Ted, thanks so much for your time and most of all for your honesty. In today’s world that’s pretty tough to come by.

Ted Bishop: I always love talking to you and I remember very well that first meeting we had down at the PGA show and I’m glad to call you a friend.

Your Reaction?
  • 4
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Travelers Championship

Published

on

The Travelers Championship gets underway this week. Unlike some events after a major championship, we will be treated to an excellent field. Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Brooks Koepka will all be in action at TPC River Highlands this week in what is without a doubt the most stacked field in this event’s history.

Unlike last week at Shinnecock Hills, TPC River Highlands is a short course, measuring just 6,841 yards. It should mean that all different types of players will have the opportunity to excel here. The par-70 includes 12 par-4 holes, eight of which measure between 400-450 yards. Those are birdie holes for this generation of players. Expect to see a lot of positional play off the tee with players then relying on their short irons to get the ball close.

Last year, Jordan Spieth defeated Daniel Berger in a sudden-death playoff with a stroke of genius from the greenside bunker.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Justin Thomas 12/1
  • Rory McIlroy 12/1
  • Brooks Koepka 12/1
  • Jordan Spieth 14/1
  • Patrick Reed 16/1
  • Jason Day 18/1
  • Paul Casey 18/1

With just one missed cut in his last nine events, Webb Simpson (25/1, DK Price $9,100) gets the call to continue his excellent 2018. Simpson bounced back from his missed cut at the Fort Worth Invitational to deliver a top-10 finish at the U.S. Open last week. Simpson had a dismal Thursday. He looked set to miss the cut at Shinnecock Hills, but he performed excellently over his final three rounds. One of the most encouraging signs was his iron play over the weekend. Simpson gained over 5.5 strokes with his approach play over his last two rounds, which should bode well for this week’s challenge.

TPC River Highlands is a course that Simpson has played well in years past. He has recorded two top-10 finishes in his last three starts at the Connecticut event, and his form this year is better than it was in that period. Over his previous 12 rounds, Simpson ranks 13th for Strokes Gained-Tee to Green, second for Strokes Gained-Short Game, 17th for Strokes Gained-Putting and second for Strokes Gained-Total. All parts of Simpson’s game are in form right now, and on a course where he’s enjoyed success in the past, he should play well again this week. I don’t particularly like his outright price of 25/1, but as a DraftKings play at a salary of $9,100, Simpson is a rock-solid choice.

Another man who is enjoying a terrific 2018 is Bubba Watson (33/1, DK Price $8,800). Watson has won twice already this year, and although he has cooled off lately, he should be full of confidence heading to a track he adores. Watson has won this championship twice in his career and has missed the cut on just one occasion, which came last year when by all accounts he was struggling with his health.

Don’t read too much into his missed cut last week at the U.S. Open. It’s an event Watson doesn’t enjoy, and he’s now missed four of his last five cuts at the tournament. When he missed the cut at the U.S. Open in 2015, he won this championship the very next week, and there’s every chance he could do the same this week. Watson is sixth in Ball Striking over his past 24 rounds, and his record at Pete Dye-designed courses is excellent. Watson ranks 10th for Strokes Gained-Total on Pete Dye courses over his last 50 rounds, while his Strokes Gained-Total at TPC River Highlands over the past five years is better than anyone else. I expect Watson to bounce back from last week’s missed cut, and he looks an excellent price to do just that.

Emiliano Grillo (55/1, DK Price $7,700) may also have missed the cut at the U.S. Open, but TPC River Highlands is a course that is tailor made for the Argentine’s game. Grillo is first in Ball Striking and seventh in Strokes Gained-Tee to Green over his previous 24 rounds on courses measuring less than 7,200 yards. Over the same period on Pete Dye-designed courses, the Argentine ranks second in Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green.

Grillo finished T43 on his first appearance here last year, although it would have been much better had it not been for a miserable week on the greens. Grillo was 13th that week for Strokes Gained-Tee to Green. With the way he is hitting it at the moment, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him improve on that effort this week. Over his previous 24 rounds, Grillo sits eighth in ball striking, sixth for Strokes Gained-Approaching the Green, sixth for Strokes Gained-Putting and second for Strokes Gained-Total. At a top price of 55/1 and a DraftKings salary of just $7,700, the Argentine is well worth siding with this week.

Lastly, I’ll take Aaron Baddeley (160/1, DK Price $7,000) at a knockdown price to play well this week. Judging by his last two outings, the Australian’s game is slowly coming around. Notably, his irons look very good all of a sudden. Over his previous two events, Baddeley has gained over eight strokes with his approach shots, which is excellent. Baddeley has also played well at the Travelers in the past, recording a top-5 finish here in 2014. He has made the cut at this event in three of his last four attempts. With such a low price tag and his iron game nice and sharp, I’ll happily take a punt on Baddeley this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Webb Simpson 25/1, DK Price $9,100
  • Bubba Watson 33/1, DK Price $8,800
  • Emiliano Grillo 55/1, DK Price $7,700
  • Aaron Baddeley 160/1, DK Price $7,000
Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Podcasts

The 19th Hole: “It was chaos” behind-the-scenes at the 2018 U.S. Open, says Shane Bacon

Published

on

Fox Sports anchor Shane Bacon gives a behind-the-scenes look at the unforgettable 118th U.S. Open on The 19th Hole with host Michael Williams. Also, former PGA President Ted Bishop gives his take on the difference between USGA and PGA Championship course setup, Phil’s Faux Pas, and the apparent double standard in how the game disciplines its own on and off the course.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

Your Reaction?
  • 11
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB1
  • SHANK14

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending