Tuesday, November 24

Jason Day's Letter to Younger Self

JASON DAY HAS HAD QUITE AN IMPROBABLE life and climb. And he's still only -- what? -- 28. Not exactly a geezer.

Day's story can melt the most cynical among us. He captured a portion of his biography in a "Letter to My Younger Self" at The Players' Tribune.

It begins:
Dear 12-year-old Jason,
I'm telling you the truth, but you're laughing.
There's no chance, you're thinking. No chance. You're thinking I'm crazy. You're thinking that nothing, right now, could be further from possible. You're staring out at that vast, blue Beaudesert sky — it's all sky — and you just can't see it.
But trust me on this one.
You're going to be the No. 1 golfer in the world.
No — I'm serious, mate. No. 1. The top of the mountain.
So, if you're looking for some inspiration as you begin this Thanksgiving week (if you're in America), read Jason's entire letter. It's good stuff.

Also, in case you missed it, below is "The Jason Day Story" produced by his sponsor RBC. It's very good.

Monday, November 23

Rory McIlroy: 'I Guess I Saved the Best for Last'

By Brian Keogh

Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following excerpt from Brian’s Irish Golf Desk is used with permission.

News from Brian Keogh's
Irish Golf Desk.
EVEN THE BEST IN THE WORLD need constant motivation and stimulation and there's no doubt that Rory McIlroy got that in spades in 2015. The impressive way he closed out his third Race to Dubai title in four years by winning his DP World Tour Championship marks him out as a special talent.

The arrival on the scene of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day can only be good for McIlroy. But the fact that he mentioned "putts" or "putting" some 16 times in his post Dubai press conference is certainly an indication of his mindset.

"For me, it seems like the more pressure I'm under or the more it means, the better I putt, which is a nice thing to have," he said. "I feel like my game and my putting has been gradually progressing throughout these last few weeks. It was nice to hole (sic) some putts over the weekend there that I needed.

"But I know if I putt like this and I putt like this regularly, this is what can happen, because as I said at the start, my ball-striking has been there all throughout this Final Series, and even before that, even coming back from the injury, my ball-striking was never the thing that I was worrying about...

"I feel like the last few events, I've come off the course a lot of times frustrated because I really feel like I could have done better and I put myself in the position to do better.

"But I guess I saved the best for last. I feel like I finally showed this week what was in there. I just needed to find something to be able to let it out and thankfully this week I was able to do that."

In other words, if I putt well, it's game over folks.

With four wins from 20 starts this year, McIlroy has never had a better year in terms of success rate. That he didn't win one of the three majors he played irked him no end and missing the Open though injury was a blow.

It's perfectly reasonable to expect more brilliance from Rory in 2016, especially if that putter stays warm.

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Friday, November 20

Meeting Trick-Shot Artist Wedgy Winchester

I MET LARRY "WEDGY" WINCHESTER IN JUNE in Seaside, Oregon, where he and his wife run a small inn. Not only did my wife and I happen to stay there, but I learned that Wedgy has quite an interesting history as a golf professional, traveling the world as a trick-shot artist.

This talented fellow also won the 1984 Long Drive Championship -- with a 60-inch driver! Wedgy's winning drive measured 319 yards, 14 inches. (Read the story in the New York Times.)

The below photo of Wedgy and me was taken at Gearhart Golf Links. I watched Wedgy tee off and he striped it down the middle of the 1st fairway. I had several great conversations with Wedgy during my stay on the Oregon Coast.

If you're in the area, look him up. Wedgy is a nice man and a terrific golf ambassador.

Wedgy and yours truly in Gearhart.

Thursday, November 19

Tiger Woods: 'This Is Something I Want to Do'

TIGER WOODS CARES ABOUT THE RYDER CUP. And if anyone questions that commitment, Tiger has already signed on as a vice captain for the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup team. In fact, Tiger might care more about the Ryder Cup than he ever has, especially since his fitness to compete at a high level is jeopardized by a slew of injuries, surgeries and recoveries.

The captaining phase marks a new beginning and what might be a career transition for the winner of 14 major championships. I expect Tiger will make yet another comeback, but his physical condition and competitive abilities are two large questions marks.

In addition to Woods, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III also named Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker as vice captains. The three men join Tom Lehman, who was appointed as Love's first vice captain in February.

"To welcome four vice captains of this caliber is a giant first step toward preparing the 2016 team for success," Love said at PGATour.com. "Tom, Jim, Steve and Tiger have over 50 years of combined Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup experiences that they are eager to share. They'll also be my eyes and ears from event to event next year on TOUR. That's invaluable, and as captain, I am grateful for their commitment, dedication and passion to win."

"I'd like to thank Davis for his confidence in me and for my selection as a Ryder Cup vice captain," Tiger said.

"This is something I want to do. I will continue to do whatever I can to help win the Cup back. Once I'm fully healthy, I'd like to try to make the team too, but either way, I'm very excited to work with Davis, the other vice captains and the players to get a U.S. victory."

Love will name a fifth vice captain later on.

Wednesday, November 18

LPGA Finale: Ko vs. Park, Battle of Titans

By Golf Channel Communications

The LPGA Tour wraps up its season with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, as nine players have a mathematical chance of claiming the season-long Race to the CME Globe prize. World No. 1 Lydia Ko and World No. 2 Inbee Park each have recorded five victories in 2015, and will automatically win the race with a victory this week.

The nine LPGA Tour players with a mathematical chance to win the season-long race to the CME Globe are: Lydia Ko (No. 1); Inbee Park (No. 2); Stacy Lewis (No. 3); Sei Young Kim (No. 4); Lexi Thompson (No. 5); Amy Yang (No. 6); So Yeon Ryu (No. 7); Anna Nordqvist (No. 8) and Shanshan Feng (No. 9). (The top three will automatically win the race with a victory this week.)

Ko and Park each have recorded five victories in 2015. Currently, Ko also holds a narrow lead over Park in the Rolex Player of the Year and money title rankings, while Park leads Ko in the Race for the Vare Trophy, given to the player with the lowest scoring average.

Ko defends: Lydia Ko defeated Carlota Ciganda and Julieta Granada on the fourth playoff hole to earn her third victory of the 2014 season and capture the season-long Race to the CME Globe.

Headlining the field: Lydia Ko, Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Sei Young Kim, Lexi Thompson, Amy Yang, So Yeon Ryu, Anna Nordqvist and Shanshan Feng.

CME Group Tour Championship
Dates: Nov. 19-22
Venue: Tiburon Golf Club, Naples, Fla.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday         4-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 12:30-3 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Friday              4-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 1:30-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Saturday          4-6:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 1:30-4 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Sunday            **2-4 p.m. (Live on ABC)**

Tuesday, November 17

Stocking Stuffer: USGA's Holiday Ticket Offer


FAR HILLS, N.J. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) has announced a special holiday offer for early buyers of tickets to the historic 2016 U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club.

In celebration of the holiday season, the USGA will ship a free personalized brass bag tag to those who purchase tickets for the 116th U.S. Open between Oct. 26 and Nov. 30. The bag tag, which features the distinctive logo of the 2016 U.S. Open Championship at Oakmont, will be engraved to the buyer’s specifications. Free shipping will apply to all tickets purchased before Nov. 30, with actual tickets mailing in early May 2016.

[Orders can be placed at USGA Holiday Ticket Offer]

The 2016 U.S. Open will be contested June 13-19 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, marking the record ninth time the club has hosted the championship. To enhance spectator viewing, the USGA is capping daily ticket sales at 30,000. Many fans have already purchased tickets in the hope of seeing whether Jordan Spieth can defend his 2015 U.S. Open title earned at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

Daily and weekly ticket packages for the 116th U.S. Open Championship, with prices starting at $50 and $450, respectively, are available for purchase at usga.org/tickets and usopen.com. All tickets include access to the grounds of Oakmont Country Club, as well as complimentary parking and shuttle bus transportation to and from the championship admission gate. U.S. Open ticket types include:

1895 Club Tickets: Located near the Main Admission Gate and Main Merchandise Pavilion, the 1895 Club is an allinclusive ticket option in a custom-designed, air-conditioned hospitality pavilion. The area will feature live televised coverage, ample seating and upscale food service, including breakfast, buffet lunch with hot entrees, snacks and full bar service.

Trophy Club Tickets: Also located near the Main Admission Gate, the Trophy Club is an air-conditioned pavilion featuring live network coverage of the championship in a sports bar-like setting with a variety of food and beverage options available for purchase.

Gallery Tickets: General admission to the championship grounds of Oakmont Country Club, as well as access to all concession facilities and grandstands throughout the course.

Junior Tickets: Available on-site at Will Call during the championship for juniors ages 17 and under.

All tickets are available at USGA websites – www.usopen.com or www.usga.org/tickets – or via a mailed application. Each buyer may purchase up to four tickets per day while supplies last. Specific questions, as well as requests for a printed ticket application, can be directed via email to ticketquestions@usga.org, or via phone at 1-800-698-0661.

Monday, November 16

G-Mac Triumphs in Mexico

THE YEAR 2015 HAS BEEN DISAPPOINTING for U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (aka G-Mac), but the Northern Irishman has kept grinding and it finally paid off today in Mexico.

The Associated Press reported:
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) -- Graeme McDowell ended one of his worst calendar years with one of his best shots. He hit an approach to 3 feet for a birdie on the 18th hole Monday to win the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in a three-man playoff. 
McDowell, who moved to 7th in the FedExCup standings with his win, closed with a 66 to finish at 18-under 266 which he thought would be only good enough for second place.

Friday, November 13

VIDEO: The Practice of Practicing With Fred Shoemaker

FRED SHOEMAKER HAS A UNIQUE APPROACH to golf, and golf coaching. He is the founder of Extraordinary Golf, which is the name of his golf school founded in 1990 and is also the title of his popular book that published about two decades ago.

Scotty Shoemaker (Fred's nephew) told me in an email, "As a coach, Fred has over 30 years, 42,000 lessons and thousands of schools/workshops under his belt. He has a unique way of coaching that focuses on awareness and bringing out a person's innate abilities."

That's definitely true.

You can sample Fred's unorthodox methods in the above video and by also watching him coach Golf Channel Morning Drive's Damon Hack here.