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Opinion & Analysis

Wisdom teeth come young, wisdom takes a while

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I do give Rory some slack. For one reason:  He’s 23!  To be No. 1 in the world at anything is tough but at 23 it is unimaginable. But this is golf and there are two things we can’t do: cheat and quit. He’s certainly not a cheater, I hope today does not forebode the latter.

In baseball, if you’re the starting pitcher and you’re getting shelled, they take you out. In boxing when one fighter is being beaten senseless by the other, they stop the fight.

But in golf, we just keep golfing our ball until we hole out on No. 18.  It’s the nature of the beast and why it remains the ultimate test of character.  There is no dugout, no early showers, no dressing room or penalty box to slip into.  You just stand there and look foolish in front of millions.

Bobby Jones once picked up his ball and ripped up his card at The Old Course at St. Andrews. He regretted it for the rest of his life. But we came to love Jones because of his character — character he learned from that and other lessons the hard way.

Golf is a metaphor for life. The very same emotions we go through every day in life we go through in a four hour round of golf. Sometimes golf, like life, just gets the best of us. I’m guessing that nobody feels worse this weekend than Rory. He will learn from this because he is a fine young man. And when he gets those wisdom teeth out, he’ll get the wisdom to learn this lesson.

As always, feel free to send a swing video to my Facebook page and I will do my best to give you my feedback.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors. Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Troy Vayanos

    Mar 8, 2013 at 5:08 am

    As long as Rory learns from the experience and improves that’s the main thing.

    I think he will and come out much stronger at the other end.

  2. Matt

    Mar 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Spare me this sanctimonious nonsense. Bobby Jones was not loved because of his “character.” He was loved because he was a winner. We do our society a disservice when we conflate athletic prowess with moral fortitude, and we do it far too often. To suggest that McIlroy’s behavior last weekend provided us a window into his soul would be as foolish a thinking that Tiger’s smile on the 18th of Augusta afforded the same.

    • t

      Mar 6, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      i still don’t buy the wisdom teeth story. advil can’t help tooth pain.

  3. Jeff

    Mar 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Rory has shown he can blow out fields at his best, but he seems to lack the mental toughness of Tiger who happened to win a US open with a torn tendon in his knee. I like Rory, he seems a lot more modest and if a European player has to be number one in the world I’m glad its him and not Garcia or Poulter. The US players have shown up to play this year and my hope is that one of them can grab the number one spot back and pound on Europe leading into the next Ryder Cup.

  4. k

    Mar 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I don’t think Rory cares nearly as much as all you guys writing the articles.

    • Andy B

      Mar 3, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      No one is saying Rory cares. The writers are simply saying he should care. When he, and Tiger, and anyone else quit due to a terrible round it takes away from the game of golf. I 100 percent agree with Dennis Clark, that golf is a test of character. If you want to be the greatest you should have the character and respect for the game not to wd anytime you are about to shoot an all time high round. While Rory may not care, he should care, and he should want to show he is the best player in the world, even if he is having a bad day at the office.

  5. Dane

    Mar 3, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Great write up Dennis!

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Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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Just as in 2017, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans will once again provide a change in format for the players this week. Players will team up once more at TPC Louisiana for a combination of Best Ball (Rounds 1 and 3) and Alternate Shot (Rounds 2 and 4). Unfortunately, the change in format means that there is no DraftKings this week.

The course is long at over 7,400 yards, but it’s also very generous off the tee. TPC Louisiana offers the opportunity to go low, and players took advantage last year despite the inclement weather conditions. It took a Monday playoff to separate them, but eventually Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt pipped Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown by making birdie on the fourth playoff hole to take the title after both teams had posted 27-under par in regulation.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson 7/1
  • Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay 12/1
  • Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley 14/1
  • Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar 14/1
  • Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer 14/1
  • Jon Rahm/Wesley Bryan 16/1
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello/Sergio Garcia 22/1

For the first time, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar (14/1) will team up for this event. Last year, Watson played alongside J.B Holmes. The two performed well, finishing in a tie for fifth place. TPC Louisiana has been a course that has suited Watson’s game over the years, his prodigious length being a significant factor. Along with his T-5 in 2017, Watson has a victory and three other top-20 finishes at the course when the event was an individual stroke-play tournament.

While Watson can be feast or famine at times, Kuchar is Mr. Consistent. He hasn’t missed a cut in over a year, and he has been a top-10 machine over the past few years on the PGA Tour. Despite this, Kuchar hasn’t been able to convert many of his top-10 finishes into wins, but playing alongside Watson this week — who has already notched two victories in 2018 — may help his cause. Over their last 24 rounds, Watson ranks third for Strokes Gained-Off the Tee and eighth in Strokes Gained Total. Over the same period, Kuchar has been predictably consistent, ranking in the top third in the field in every major Strokes Gained category. It’s an intriguing partnership, with Watson’s explosiveness combined with Kuchar’s consistency, and it’s a cocktail that should prove to be a formidable force at TPC Louisiana.

Two men with the hot hand coming into this event are fellow Americans, Jimmy Walker and Sean O’Hair (25/1). Last week at the Valero Texas Open both men excelled, posting the highest finishes of their year thus far. Walker finished solo 4th, while O’Hair grabbed a T-2. It’s the pairs first time playing TPC Louisiana together, but Walker has some good course form to lean on. Back in 2012 and 2013, he posted back-to-back top-20 finishes, which shows that TPC Louisiana is a course that fits his game. Accuracy off the tee has never been Walker’s strength, but the generous fairways may be one of the reasons that he has performed well at this course.

O’Hair has been in good form as of late. The Texan has three top-15 finishes in his last six events, and last week he recorded his highest Strokes Gained Total at an event in years. Walker also seems to have turned a corner with his game. Along with his excellent performance last week, he managed a top-20 finish at the Masters, and his Strokes Gained-Total at the Valero was his highest since his 2016 PGA Championship victory. With both men coming off their best performances in a long time, they should be confident. The duo looks to be a decent value to mount a challenge this week.

Last year’s runners-up Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown (40/1) are hard to ignore at their price this week. Brown has struggled mightily for form in 2018, missing six cuts out of 11 events played so far this year, but the prospect of playing alongside Kisner may be the boost that Brown’s 2018 is needing.

Kisner’s form has been strong as of late. He backed up his runner-up finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play with a T-28 at Augusta before grabbing a T-7 at the RBC Heritage. At Harbour Town, Kisner’s iron play was especially sharp, with his Strokes Gained-Approaching the Greens total being the highest since the Memorial last year. Despite Brown’s slump, in a highly tricky format to predict, the pair showed enough chemistry last year and an ability to excel in the format, which is enough for me to consider their price a little undervalued this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar 14/1
  • Jimmy Walker/Sean O’Hair 25/1
  • Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown 40/1
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Podcasts

Gear Dive: Legendary club builder Larry Bobka speaks on Tiger’s old Titleist irons

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Legendary club builder Larry Bobka joins us in the first episode of our new podcast called “Gear Dive,” hosted by Johnny Wunder, GolfWRX’s Director of Original Content. Gear Dive is a deep look into the world of golf equipment, and Wunder will be interviewing the craftsman, the reps and the players behind the tools that make up the bags of the best golfers in the world.

Bobka, our first guest, is a former Tour rep and club builder involved in some of the most important clubs of the past 25 years. From his days at Wilson Golf working with legends such as Payne Stewart, Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer, he transitioned into the Golden Age of Titleist/Acushnet building clubs for Tiger Woods, Davis Love, David Duval and Brad Faxon. He currently runs Argolf where he builds and fits handmade putters for Tour players and amateurs alike. He’s one of the Godfather’s of modern golf equipment.

Skip to 45:30 for the discussion about Tiger’s Titleist irons.

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

What do you think of the new podcast? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

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Podcasts

Gary Player joins our 19th Hole podcast, talks past and future of golf

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Hall-of-Famer and career Grand Slam winner Gary Player joins host Michael Williams for an exclusive one-on-one interview at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament and Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri. Player talks about the past and future of the game, including his take on everything from reigning in the golf ball and golf courses, to advocating for more testing for performance enhancing drugs on the Tour. Steve Friedlander of Big Cedar Lodge also appears.

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

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