Earlier today, I heard the news you withdrew from the Northern Trust with a muscle strain. I hope that as you head home, you get some rest and feel better soon. I can imagine you’re probably disappointed in having to leave the tournament, but at the end of the day, feeling your best is way more important than trying to prove something that doesn’t need to be proven.
Speaking of proving things, don’t listen to the armchair doctors (unless your actual doctor is sitting in an armchair). Don’t worry about how the golf talking heads of the world will react. Don’t feel pressured to return early because of the Playoffs or the Presidents Cup. Do what you have to do on your timeline, to get to 100 percent—or as close as someone with as many back surgeries can be to 100 percent.
Growing up, I never missed watching a tournament you played in, and as an adult, my habits haven’t changed much. As much as I and others want to see you play every week, I realize that it’s just not possible. The travel, the walking, and workouts, the range time, they all take a toll that we, as regular golfers, will never truly understand. I still remember only a few short years ago when you said you might never play again, and I was heartbroken. Not because I selfishly wanted to see you play, but because I hoped that current 10-year-old kids would have the chance to watch you in competition. Obviously, that wasn’t how the story ended, and I’m grateful as a golf fan for that.
When you drained the winning putt, walked off the 18th green at the Masters this year, and hugged your kids—just as your father hugged you—the golf world stood still. Golf fans once again appreciated what they had witnessed—a Tiger Woods major victory. Although not quite the same experience, it was pretty cool to be able to sit there with my wife and our child, just like my parents did with me in 1997.
As a 43-year-old guy with two kids, you have a lot of gas left in your tank – not for golf, maybe, but for actual life. Regardless of if we don’t see you make a swing for another month—or ever again in front of a camera—I just hope you get healthy. You have done so much for golf, professional golf, and even more for others thanks to your TGR Foundation—you have nothing left to prove to anyone.
Golf will go on and people will live their lives. My hope is the same as it was back in 2017 when it looked like you might never tee it up in competition again: you and your family you get to enjoy a healthy life.
The 19th Hole Episode 159: Howard University coach Sam Puryear
Host Michael Williams talks with Howard U. coach about the trials and triumphs in the fledgling golf program. Also features Adam Martin of Haig Point (SC) and Eduardo Mestres of Los Siete Misterios Mezcal.
The Wedge Guy: The Red Zone
For those of you who are big football fans, we are lost in the off-season, waiting a few more months before we get to watch our favorite pro or college teams duke it out on the gridiron. Living in Texas, of course, football is a very big deal, from the NFL Cowboys and Texans, through our broad college network representing multiple conferences and into the bedrock of Friday nights – high school football, which drives fans and entire towns into a frenzy.
In almost every football conversation on TV, you hear talk about “the red zone”. How a team performs inside the 20-yard line is a real measure of their offensive prowess, and usually a pretty good indicator of their win/loss record, too. It breaks down to what percentage of the time a team scores a touchdown or field goal, and how often they come away empty.
I like to think we golfers have our own “red zone”. It’s that distance from the green where we should be able to go on the offensive and think about pars and birdies, ensure no worse than bogey . . . and rarely put a double or worse on the card. Your own particular set of red zone goals should be based on your handicap. If you are a low single digit, this is your “go zone”, where you feel like you can take it right at the flag and give yourself a decent birdie putt, with bogeys being an unpleasant surprise. For mid-handicap players, it’s where you should feel confident you’ll guarantee a par and rarely make bogey, and for higher handicap players, it’s where you will ensure a bogey at least, give yourself a good chance at par, and maybe even a birdie.
But regardless of your handicap, your own “red zone” should begin when you can put a high loft club in your hands – one with over 40 degrees of loft. Of course, that has changed a lot with the continual strengthening of irons. In my early days that was an eight iron, then it migrated to a nine. But regardless of your handicap or the make and model of irons you play, my contention is that golf is relatively “defensive” with all the other clubs in your bag. With those lower lofted irons, your goal should be to just keep it out of trouble and moving closer to the goal line . . . er, the flag. Even the PGA Tour pros make a very small percentage of their birdies with their middle irons.
When you can put a high loft club in your bag – whether that’s from 150 yards or 105 – that’s when you should feel like you can put your offense into high gear and raise your expectations. It’s no longer about power, because this isn’t about raw distance, but rather distance control and precision. From the red zone, it’s about trusting your technique and your equipment and taking it to the golf course a little bit.
As most of us are in the early stages of the 2021 golf season, one of the best things you can do for your golf improvement is to begin tracking your “red zone” performance. Put the numbers down as to how you are scoring the golf course from your 9-iron range on into the flag. My guess is that you’ll see this is where you can make the most improvement if you’ll give that part of your game some additional time and focus. Any golfer can learn to hit crisp and accurate short range approach shots. And so you should.
Pay attention to your own red zone stats, and work to improve them. I guarantee you that you’ll see your scores come down quickly.
Club Junkie: Reviewing Titleist TSi3 drivers and fairways! (Finally!)
The moment you all have been waiting for: I finally have a TSi3 driver and 3-wood in my hands! Talking about how they performed and maybe some shaft changes for each in the future.
‘Shut it!’ – Paul Casey puts disrespectful spectator in his place
Billy Horschel’s winning WITB: 2021 WGC-Dell Match Play
Joel Dahmen’s winning WITB: 2021 Corales Puntacana
Valero Texas Open Tour Truck Report: Stenson back in Diablo, Rickie’s limited-edition driver, latest AutoFlex-er
Professional golfers who have never had a lesson
Jordan Spieth’s winning WITB 2021 Valero Texas Open
Dustin Johnson unveils Champions Dinner menu (and it’s not sandwiches)
Scottie Scheffler WITB 2021 (March)
Abraham Ancer WITB 2021 (April)
WITB Dylan Frittelli – March 2021
Rory McIlroy WITB 2021 (May)
Rory McIlroy WITB accurate as of the Wells Fargo Championship. In addition to the widely discussed return to his 2017...
Scott Stallings WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana Kai’li 60 TX 3-wood: Titleist TS3 (16.5 degrees) Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Red...
Brian Harman WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Titleist TSi2 (9 degrees) Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 5 S 3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (13.5 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661...
Matt Wallace WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Callaway Epic Speed (9 degrees) (standard N/S cog setting) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X (45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch)...
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