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Ways to Win: Phil’s Detour – How Mickelson dominated his first PGA Tour Champions event

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After missing the cut at 2020’s first FedEx Cup Playoff event at TPC Boston, Phil Mickelson decided to make a quick detour to Ozark National to play his first-ever tournament on the PGA Tour Champions.

A course that fits Mickelson’s style of hitting high bombs, Ozark National features generous fairways and is a shorter track compared to those seen on the PGA Tour. Mickelson was able to hit less than driver on many holes and keep the ball in play. He jumped out to a hot start with a sizzling 61 that included a bogey on the only green he missed.

Speaking of keeping it in play, Mickelson hit an impressive 75 percent of his fairways for the week. In previous articles, we have covered that fairways do not necessarily translate to better scores. However, if you can translate those fairways into greens in regulation, it will. Greens Hit is the best ‘traditional’ statistic in terms of correlation to scoring. Over the three days at Ozark National, Mickelson was able to hit more than 87 percent of the greens. This included 17/18 greens in round one and 16/18 on day three.

In addition to fairways, another way to make it easier to hit the green is to hit it farther off the tee. In general, the closer you are to the green, the better chance you have of hitting the green. Mickelson’s patented “high bombs” enabled him to average 323 yards for the week (on measured holes). This average would be good on the PGA Tour, but it’s outstanding on the senior circuit. Mickelson’s length and the offseason work he has put in to increase his swing speed paid off with the ability to drive key par 4s and shortening par 3s. This included driving the par-4 fifth during the final round and nearly acing the long 12th during the second round.

Using V1 Game’s “Hole by Hole” review, we can see that these two tee shots gained 0.83 and 1.34 strokes respectively. Great shots, to be certain—particularly when you take into account that Mickelson felt like he miss-hit the drive that hit the green on the par 4 and needed only an 8-iron to stuff it from 200-plus yards on the par 3. High bombs indeed.

Mickelson was able to do something this week that he has struggled to do on the PGA Tour this season: play mistake-free golf. Using V1 Game’s Virtual Coach, we can see that he maximized his potential in all three rounds, avoiding the mistakes in our three keys.

Mickelson had just two three-putts on the week. Coincidentally, both came in the final round while he was trying to close out the tournament. He also only had one penalty over the three days. Avoiding scorecard-wrecking mistakes is one of the central keys to scoring at any level and it helped Mickelson coast to a four-shot victory over Tim Petrovic.

Typically, in Ways to Win, we have plenty of advanced metrics such as strokes gained to dive even deeper into the winner’s performance, however tours such as the PGA Tour Champions, LPGA, and Korn Ferry Tours do not utilize the same PGA Tour Shotlink technology as the PGA Tour that allows us to track every shot. V1 Game is equivalent to Shotlink technology for the amateur golfer. So with no Shotlink, this week we captured Mickelson’s data using the simplified V1 Game score entry method. The feature requires minimal input and still provides significant actionable data to help V1 Game users improve.

The biggest takeaway this week is confidence and loving the game not only makes it more enjoyable but improves performance. Mickelson likely went into the week with confidence that he should be the best player on this tour and he legitimately enjoyed his time playing against some of the game’s greatest champions. V1 Game can highlight your weaknesses, help you improve, and give you the confidence to get more enjoyment out of your golf.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Devin

    Aug 27, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Nice V1 ad

  2. Roy

    Aug 27, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    He dominated by playing a shorter course with less rough and trouble than he has for the last 30 years….

  3. Benny

    Aug 27, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    No way is it “easy”. These Champs will smoke any of us on any track. That means anyone reading this boys. I know you may think your +3 index is good but the Sr PGA will still make you look like a fool.
    Phil made short work of the tourney but and hopefully gives him some serious confidence with the majors!

    • Roy

      Aug 27, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      Easy is a relative term. Easy to a PGA tour player, not easy to any of the +3’s here

  4. Speedy

    Aug 27, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Easy pickings for Phil. Setups are usually tame on the old boys tour. Semi-retirement.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Breakthrough mental tools to play the golf of your dreams

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Incredibly important talk! A must listen to the words of Dr. Karl Morris, ham-and-egging with the golf imperfections trio. Like listening to top athletes around a campfire. This talk will helps all ages and skills in any sport.

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Homa Wins! And how to avoid “paralysis by analysis”!

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This week’s episode covers a wide array of topics from the world of golf including Max Homa’s win on the PGA Tour, golf course architecture, and how to avoid “paralysis by analysis” when it comes to your golf game.

This week’s show also covers the important topic of mental health, with the catalyst for the conversation being a recent interview published by PGA Tour with Bubba Watson and his struggles.

 

 

 

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Opinion & Analysis

A golfing memoir in monthly tokens: February

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As some might say, if you don’t take the plunge, you can’t taste the brine. Others might not say such a thing. I’m taking the plunge because I want to taste the brine.

Here you’ll find the second installment of “A Golfing Memoir” as we trace a year in the life of Flip Hedgebow, itinerant teacher of golf. For January, click here.

He could never explain his given name. Why would a German family name their son “cirE”? Some mistook it for Sire and thought him presumptuous. As a lad, with fingers crossed, he hoped that other kids hadn’t the intellectual gumption to search a Gaelic dictionary, where they would find the translation of … wax.

Why do mothers name their children such odd names, and why don’t fathers object? Flip’s father had made a career of objecting to every sincere and frivolous pursuit the boy had undertaken. Why not object to cirE? Flip stared into the morning sun, preferring the more-than-momentary blindness, and surmised that the old man knew that it was a battle he couldn’t win. Carry this bowling ball around for nine months, pulling on organs, muscles, and bones, and don’t let me pick his name? uh-UH. Stored it all up and took it out on the kid.

Considering the brief nature of February, cirE “Flip” Hedgebow feared that planning was overrated, and that much was beyond his control. He had transitioned many times before, from south to north and from north to south. After a few years, he gave little thought to each move. Yet, despite experience and wisdom, he felt possessed by neither. Flip was not wrong; the turbulence roiled beneath the surface of his calm demeanor. Work a pro shop long enough, and you learn to pass emotional tsunami off as a wink and a nod.  If you can’t, you don’t last.

February was an odd month in the Sunshine state. The amateur snowbirds had departed, and the fairly-experienced ones began to arrive. Difference? Amateurs arrive for the first month of the new year, bask in the warmth, then head home for two or three more months of cold, and get sick. The fairly-experienced brood (usually 4-5 years into retirement or freedom) had figured this out, through pain and suffering. They made their reservations one month later, stunned that time was available for them. There was a reason for that, but Flip wouldn’t consider it for a pair more of fortnights. What the departure of the amateurs meant, was lower revenues, across the board.

Amateur snowbirds bathed in the deceitful glow of recent loosenings. They spent like there was no tomorrow when, for most of them, there were too many tomorrows. Their departure meant that registers wouldn’t ring (his mentor used that expression) like the chapel on Sunday. In the world of cirE, registers were tablets that used Square, and chapels didn’t do business like they did in the past.

The fairly-experienced crowd had settled into a February routine. No longer trying every new thing, they spent their Valentines month in nearly-perfect symmetry. They knew which restaurants to frequent, and which sales would appear in windows, at which appointed hours. Frivolous purchases were no longer their wont, as the writing on the wall began to show in greater clarity. Flip cared nothing of this…he cared about the diminishing returns and the lightening of his pocket clip. This generation suspected that March was the better month for rolling into northern Spring, but those who held those dates, weren’t giving up before a literal fight to the finish. So February it was.

Something else that the February armada offered, was time on the lesson tee. They weren’t giving up on youthful potential and conquest, at least not on the golf course. What they could not offer in the clubs, they could occasionally summon when money was on the line, and that would have to do. The majority of them accosted Flip over matters of distance and new drivers. The savvy ones asked when he could show them a shot or three around the green, or from the trees. If Flip ever had to run a Calcutta to save his life, he lived in the certainty that those savvy ones, those scramblers, would be the ones to back. Since all of them paid, the lesson tee was a bonanza.

No matter the month, Florida was a gold mine compared with New York. No taxes, and even the most frugal snowbird tipped and bought more than folks in rural Empire state. Flip’s nest egg needed to swell a few sizes, like the Grinch’s heart, before April Fools’ Day arrived. Something else that needed to swell, was his peripheral vision. For the second time in as many months, the potency and potential of the red-haired woman escaped his notice, as did the farewell wave she gave to Flip’s next student. Good things come to those who wait, but do they also come to those who miss?

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