Friday, February 14

Rory McIlroy Is Latest in Revolving Door of World No. 1 Players



RORY MCILROY RECENTLY MOVED TO NO. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, displacing Brooks Koepka, who held the top spot for 38 weeks. Neither McIlroy nor Koepka played during the week they swapped places.

In search of domination in men's golf, it's plain to see that parity rules. Sure, there have been a few perched at world No. 1 for a year or more. But by and large it's been a revolving door over the last decade.

This was apparent when I studied the Official World Golf Ranking, which highlights this era's No. 1 players and length of time in the top spot:

Rory McIlroy, 95 weeks
Dustin Johnson, 91 weeks
Luke Donald, 56 weeks
Jason Day, 51 weeks
Brooks Koepka, 38 weeks
Jordan Spieth, 26 weeks
Lee Westwood, 22 weeks
Justin Rose, 13 weeks
Adam Scott, 11 weeks
Martin Kaymer, 8 weeks
Justin Thomas, 4 weeks

That's a lot of folks, right?

And then there's Tiger Woods. 683 weeks. If my math is correct, that's more than 13 years at No. 1.

Good luck identifying that next dominant male tour pro. I've only seen two in my lifetime.

Harvey Penick's 'Magic Words' for Cutting 5 Strokes Off Your Score

"IMPROVEMENT COMES IN PLATEAUS," says golf legend Harvey Penick (1904-1995) in his classic golf instruction book, Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf.

Harvey Penick
It doesn't come stroke by stroke, he adds.

If you want to cut three or even five strokes from your game, Penick has some simple advice. Put the driver back in the bag. Stop pounding golf balls with the long clubs on the driving range.

"The short game. Those are the magic words," Penick says in his chapter titled "How to Knock Five Strokes Off Your Game."

"The higher your score, the faster you can lower it—with the short game."

Penick reminds golfers for the umpteenth time: about half the strokes in a round of golf come within 75 yards of the hole. He taught and observed amateur and pro golfers for seven decades. Penick says this about practice:

"If I ask an average golfer what percentage of his practice time he spends on his short game in comparison to hitting the longer shots, he'll probably tell me he gives the short game 10 or 20 percent. This is usually a fib.

"The average golfer will devote 15 minutes to stroking a few putts before he heads to the first tee, and that's about it for the short-game practice."

What should you do instead?

Penick says spend 90 percent of your practice time on chipping and putting.

"[I]f you want to knock five shots off your game in a hurry," Penick says, "leave your long clubs in your bag and head for the green."

Embed from Getty Images

Harvey Penick was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2002. Penick coached hundreds of golfers, including Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls and Kathy Whitworth. The annual teacher award presented by the Golf Teachers Association is called the Harvey Penick Award.

Sponsored by Bird Golf Academy. Bird Golf Schools provide the "Ultimate Golf Learning Experience"®.

Saturday, February 8

The Dean of Golf Photographers Receives a New PGA of America Award

Embed from Getty Images

LEONARD KAMSLER. MAYBE YOU'VE NEVER HEARD THAT NAME.

Kamsler is a different kind of golf legend. A golf photographer whose "shots" were as pure as Ben Hogan's.

Peter Morrice of Golfworld wrote:
[T]he "Dean of Golf Photographers," as Kamsler has come to be known. From his first assignment for Golf Magazine in 1959 (shooting a caddie camp) to 40 straight years covering the Masters to sessions with the top players and personalities in the game over the past five decades, Kamsler always got the picture. On Tuesday [January 14], the PGA of America announced that Kamsler, 84, will receive its inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in Photojournalism.
Congratulations to Mr. Kamsler. Following is more of his work.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Wednesday, February 5

50-Year-Old Ernie Els Excited About Rookie Status on Champions Tour

Embed from Getty Images

THE BIG EASY IS READY for the Champions Tour (PGA Tour Champions). Hall of Famer Ernie Els has reached that magic age.

John Strege of Golfworld wrote:
Els already has turned 50 and has indicated he is eager to join his contemporaries on the senior tour. He [was] entered in the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, which start[ed] [on a] Thursday in Hawaii. 
"I've had a great time out here [on the PGA Tour]," Els said last June. "It's been quite a long time out here. And I'll still play some of the events that I'm the past champion of, but I think I'm going to transition well onto the other side and play some golf on the Champions Tour and go see some of my old friends."
(Els finished second in his debut, losing to Miguel Angel Jimenez in a playoff.)

Jim Furyk, who turns 50 in May, might not be far behind.
"If I'm competitive and I feel like I'm knocking on the door and having opportunities to win, I'd like to play some out here," Furyk said of the PGA Tour last year. "If that's not the case, I'll go to [the PGA Tour Champions] and see if I can be competitive out there.

Monday, February 3

Graeme McDowell Ends Long Winless Drought With Saudi International Victory

Embed from Getty Images
By Brian Keogh
Brian Keogh contributes to major golf publications and runs Irish Golf Desk. Used with permission. GRAEME MCDOWELL SURGED BACK into the world's top 50 and the Ryder Cup reckoning when he closed with a gutsy level par 70 to win the Saudi International by two shots from Dustin Johnson on 12-under par. The 40-year old from Portrush had not won on the European Tour since 2014, but he showed all his trademark fighting qualities in blustery conditions to claim his 16th worldwide win, his 11th on the European Tour and a cheque for US$583,330. He is projected to leap from 104th to around 46th in the world, opening the door to all the World Golf Championships and the Majors. "It's special," he said. "I've been working hard the last year and a half. I said I wanted to be back up there one more time just to be out playing against these guys. The game of golf is in such great shape with so many great players in the world. It's so exciting to be a top player in the world and I want to be back up there again."

Webb Simpson Outduels Tony Finau in the Desert



IT'S TOUGH TO WIN ON TOUR.

Talented Tony Finau, who has won a lot of money but not a lot of tournaments, learned that lesson again on Sunday at the 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Finau had the lead, and it looked to me as if he had the tournament with two holes to play. But Webb Simpson had other ideas.

Simpson went birdie-birdie to tie at the end of regulation. Then, on the first playoff hole, the 2012 U.S. Open champion rolled in another birdie for the win. And that was that.

But Finau and Simpson are still the best of friends.

"I definitely didn't give him the tournament,'' Finau said. "Unfortunately, it's how the cookie crumbles. ... I love Webb."

"It's hard," Simpson said. "He is a great friend. Our wives are friends, and he's one of the best guys on tour."

Thursday, January 30

Facebook and PGA TOUR Forge Global Content Agreement

Embed from Getty Images

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – The PGA TOUR announced an expansive agreement with Facebook to distribute daily highlight packages globally on Facebook Watch in 2020 starting at the Farmers Insurance Open.

The PGA TOUR will publish daily round recaps and player-specific highlights from more than 30 events, including THE PLAYERS Championship and FedExCup Playoffs.

These expanded highlights will feature content from the TOUR's core telecasts, along with content from PGA TOUR LIVE, the TOUR's OTT service featuring more than 1,200 hours of exclusive Featured Groups coverage in 2020.

"We're excited to expand our partnership with Facebook by delivering additional content for our fans," said Chris Wandell, Vice President Media Business Development at the PGA TOUR. "This is in response to our fans' appetite for additional coverage packaged in a way that is convenient for them to consume."

The TOUR will create a robust and timely highlights experience for PGA TOUR fans around the world on Facebook Watch. Fans can stay up to date with the latest highlights by following the PGA TOUR Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/PGATour. Content will be posted daily at the completion of each tournament round. As part of the agreement, the TOUR will also engage fans in its Facebook Group, The Gallery, with interactive elements such as Facebook Lives and Facebook Watch Parties.

Monday, January 20

Lee Westwood Claims 25th Win on European Tour, Proves 'That I've Still Got It'

Embed from Getty Images

LEE WESTWOOD, 45, WON IN ABU DHABI on Sunday. That's 25 wins on the European Tour and 44 victories worldwide for the Englishman.

As Golfworld's John Huggan wrote, Westwood's resurgence began about 18 months ago. His focus changed around the same time his girlfriend Helen took over bag duties.

"I think it helps having all the responsibility and not listening to another opinion," Westwood said as quoted by Golfworld. "I've been out here 26 years. I ought to know how far it is, what club to hit, how to judge the wind and where not to miss greens. I feel like there is a lot more clarity to my head when I'm stood over the ball. There's only one opinion and it's mine. Even if I am wrong it is better to go with what I think rather than have a doubt in my mind."

Now the aging Westwood dreams of another Ryder Cup. As a player.

"I've been on losing Ryder Cup teams, and I've been on seven winning ones," he said.

"It's a big honor to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup. And I would love to play another as long as I'm good enough. I wouldn't want a pick, but if I qualified I would definitely play.

"So I'll be trying my hardest. But you can't control qualifying for a Ryder Cup team. I'll just be trying to do the small things right and it will lead on to the big things, like qualifying for the side. For now, it's just nice to come out and keep proving that I've still got it."