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Team U.S. will blow Europe away at the Ryder Cup (and 4 other predictions for 2021)

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1. Tiger wins PGA Tour title 83

2020 wasn’t the year Tiger was looking for, primarily down to a floundering short game. However, the unpredictability of the year and the untypical state of the schedule this year would not have helped. Tiger is a man who has been prudent and wise about the events he wants to play each year, and that has only increased as the years have gone by. With a fixed schedule, Tiger will already know the events he has in mind to play, and when on it, he is still the best iron player in the world.

Woods will put himself into contention in 2021 at courses that have been kind to him all through his career, and the best closer of all time will push himself clear of the rest and confirm himself as the greatest winner in PGA Tour history.

2. Justin Thomas will end the year as World Number One

It’s as competitive as it gets up the top of the World Rankings right now, but there’s plenty of reasons to believe that JT can get to the top and stay there until the end of 2021.

JT has won 13 events on the PGA Tour, but over half of these have come at ‘off-season’ tournaments (between the Tour Championship and the Farmers Insurance). Yes he’s thrown away the odd event he should have won, but for someone as prolific as JT has been, it appears primarily to be a case of the 27-year-old just peaking at the wrong time for World Ranking points.

At the end of the 2019-20 season, Thomas said that he was “a couple rounds away in a short season from winning five or six times.” When you look at the state of his game, there isn’t a significant weakness, and it’s only a matter of time before JT turns those swing season wins into victories at the biggest events.

3. Team U.S. will blow Europe away at the 2021 Ryder Cup

The U.S. has lost seven of the last nine Ryder Cups and put them in Europe with a course set up to counter the bomb and gouge mentality, then I’d fancy Team Europe. However, there are two factors behind my belief that next year’s Ryder Cup will be a blowout. 

Firstly, the caliber of players. The U.S. simply has a far superior pool of players, backed up by the World Rankings, with double the number of men currently inside the top-20 in the world. Secondly, course setup. When you have better players and the ability to tailor a course to suit their strengths, it’s akin to stacking the deck.

Forget the records over the last 20 years and look at the last time the U.S. hosted the Ryder Cup back in 2016 winning 17-11, and expect a similar scoreline at Whistling Straits.

4. Rickie Fowler will return to form

Rickie Fowler’s World Ranking has been in freefall after a shocking 2020, which saw him miss a plethora of cuts along with a failure to record a top-10 finish since January.

The 32-year-old now sits outside the top-50, thanks in part to seemingly suffering one blowup hole per round. However, watching him closely at this year’s Masters tournament, Fowler is nearer to putting a run of form together than people think and has the advantage of possessing perhaps the purest putting stroke on tour. 

Fowler finished T60 in 2020 for Strokes Gained: Putting – the first time he finished outside the top-50 in this department since 2016. This year has been an outlier, and a return to his best on the greens in 2021 will see Rickie get back inside the world top-25.

5. Abraham Ancer wins at least once on the PGA Tour

Only English duo Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood rank higher in the world without winning on the PGA Tour than Abraham Ancer.

What many people overlook with Ancer, is that despite no wins yet on the PGA Tour, he did win the prestigious Australian Open back in 2018. Since then, the Mexican has excelled at the Presidents Cup in 2019 winning as many points as anyone and backed it up with a stellar year on tour where he came close on numerous occasions to winning his first PGA Tour title.

With another year of experience logged on tour (at 29, 2021 will be just Ancer’s fourth season on tour), his progression will result in victories. If he plays as heavy a schedule as he did in 2020, then multiple wins await the Mexican in 2021.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Paulo

    Dec 31, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Gianni is a bot. Perhaps even an early form of skynet

    • Some other Italian name

      Dec 31, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      Would explain why he’s such a bad journo…

  2. Robert Fitton Scott

    Dec 31, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Pointless Journalism at its worst.

  3. PSG

    Dec 31, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Wow, what incredible predictions!

    1. The best golfer of all time will win another tournament, somewhere (where and when not specified).

    2. One of the best golfers in the world who has flirted with #1 for three years will get there (for some stretch of time, how long and when not specified).

    3. The team with the much better players and home field will win the Ryder Cup.

    4. A guy who had a bad year but has an eleven year history of solid play on tour will bounce back (how much of a bounce back, when and why not specified). Bonus points for the really solid use of “as much as people think” which is a go-to for authors who do zero research as it actually means nothing.

    5. The top-ranked guy in the world without a win has a good chance at getting a win.

    Man, people have mailed it in on this site before, but this is a new bar.

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Opinion & Analysis

Keep your golf body moving at home

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Over the past few months, I’m willing to bet that a lack of golf, limited access to gyms and spending more time at home in sitting positions will likely be having a negative effect on our posture.

This means certain muscles (pecs, abs, hip flexors) getting tight and short, thereby hunching us over, rounding our shoulders forward and tightening our hips. This combination can wreak havoc on our golf swings, particularly our ability to rotate efficiently.

This simple sequence of exercises, performed daily, will help maintain posture and mobility in the key areas that facilitate rotation in our golf swings. You can find these exercises and much more on the Golf Fit Pro app for iOS.

 

1 – Mid Back Massage – 1 x 90 seconds

Using a foam roller or tightly rolled up towel, aim to apply firm pressure through the mid and upper back whilst gently pushing out the rib cage and arching back. Move up and down the roller or towel to target different areas of your spine.

 

2 – Upper Back Extension – 1 x 30 seconds

Using a bench, box or chair, push the chest down toward the floor whilst keeping your abs / core engaged. You should feel this in your mid and upper back.

 

3 – Straight Arm Chest Stretch – 1 x 30 seconds each side

 

Find a wall, post or doorway, place your hand flat with elbow pointing to the floor and arm straight. Gently turn away from your hand until your feel a stretch in your chest and front of your shoulder.

 

4 – Step Up and Turn – 1 x 5 reps each side 

 

In a push up position, move your foot to the outside of your hand (or as close as possible) then rotate your upper torso with arm straight, aiming to point your hand straight up to the ceiling.

 

5 – Back Swing and Follow Through – 1 x 10 reps

Using a piece of rubber tubing or as pictured, the GravityFit TPro, get into your golf set up position pushing out against the tubing. From there turn into your backswing and then into your follow through. Aim to do the majority of the rotation with your torso, keeping your hands in front of your body.

 

You can check out more of Nick’s articles and services here:

Articles
Golf Fit Pro App
Online Training

 

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Talking new Callaway Gear with Dave Neville

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On this episode of TGD, Johnny chats all things new Callaway gear with Sr. Director Brand and Product Management Dave Neville. They go deep into Epic Speed, the new Cally irons, and basically everything else.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: From “secret” to 5 basics for a better wedge game

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First of all, thanks to all of you who read and gave last week’s post such high marks. And for all of you who have sent me an email asking for me to address so many topics. Keep those coming and I’ll never run out of things to write about.

In response to so many of those who asked for more on the basics, I want to start a series of articles this week to address some of what I consider the basics as you move your wedge game from greenside chipping, back to “full” wedge distances.

While I certainly do not want to try to replace the skills and contributions of a good instructor, what I hope to accomplish over the next few posts is to give you some of what I consider the most sound and basic of fundamentals as you approach shots from the green back to 100-130 yards, or what you consider “full” swing pitching wedge distance.

So, to get this series kicked off, let’s take the most basic of greenside chips, where the ball lies in a reasonably decent lie 3-10 feet from the edge of the green. I know there are many theories and approaches to chipping the ball, from a “putt-stroke” to hitting them all with a lob wedge, but I’m going to focus on what I consider the most simple and basic of approaches to chipping, so here we go:

Club selection. For golfers who are not highly skilled in this shot and who do not yet want to try to exhibit tons of creativity, my theory is that it is much easier to master one basic technique, then choose the right club to deliver the appropriate carry/roll combination. Once you have done a little practice and experimenting, you should really understand that relationship for two to four different clubs, say your sand wedge, gap wedge and pitching wedge.

Geometry. By that I mean to “build” the shot technique around the club and ball relationship to your body, as those are static. Start with your club soled properly, so that it is not standing up on the toe or rocked back on the heel. With the ball centered in the face, the shaft should be leaning very slightly forward toward the hole. Then move into your stance position, so that your lead arm is hanging straight down from your shoulders and your upper hand can grasp the grip with about 1-2” of “grip down” (I hate the term “choke up”). I’m a firm believer that the lead arm should not angle back toward the body, or out toward the ball, as either compromises the geometry of the club. The stance should be rather narrow and a bit open, weight 70% on your lead foot, and the ball positioned just forward of your trailing foot.

Relax. This is a touch shot, so it needs a very light grip on the club. Tension in the hands and forearms is a killer on these. I like to do a “pressure check” just before taking the club back, just to make sure I have not let the shot tighten me up.

The body core is key. This is not a “handsy” shot, but much more like a putt in that the shoulders turn away from the shot and back through, with the arms and hands pretty quiet. Because of the light grip, there will, by necessity, be some “loading” as you make the transition at the end of the backswing, but you want to “hold” that making sure your lead shoulder/forearm stay ahead of the clubhead through the entire through-stroke. This insures – like I pointed out last week – that the club stays in front of your body through the entire mini-swing.

Control speed with core speed. I think a longer stroke/swing makes for a smoother tempo on these shots. Don’t be afraid to take the club back a bit further than you might otherwise think, and just make the through-stroke as s-m-o-0-t-h as possible. Avoid any quickness or “jab-iness” in the stroke at all. Once you experiment a bit, you can learn how to control your body core rotation speed much easier than you can control hand speed. And it is nearly impossible to get too quick if you do that.

Again, I am certainly not here to replace or substitute for good instruction, and I know there are a number of approaches to chipping. This is just the one that I have found easier to learn and master in relation to the time you have to spend on your short game practice.

Next week, we’ll move back to those shorter pitches up to about 30 yards.

And keep those emails coming, OK? [email protected].

 

 

 

 

 

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