Posts Tagged ‘masters’

Refining My Golf Swing!

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

So, today’s practice lead to more great stuff, I am hitting the golf ball beautifully, great low-to-high trajectory with lots of spin, and control over my golf ball. And yes, my driver is definitely going over 320 yards, not that it’s important.

Continuing from yesterday’s practice, here’s my swing thoughts:

Really feel like you aren’t releasing the golf club at impact. I found that your golf club HAS to release at impact, you don’t have to make a conscious effort. What I do is try to hit the ball with a 90-degree angle formed by my hands and arms. What this does is help me keep the clubhead square as long as possible with natural release of my hands, which inevitably happens anyways.

If you take your golf club and take it near impact with your golf club at 90 degrees with your arms, then try to swing without releasing the club. The only way you will do that is by rotating your shoulders and forearms. That is exactly how you get a crisp strike through the ball. This results in natural release of your hands and the clubhead, squaring the clubface.

Enjoy~

2009 Masters Winner Angel Cabrera and Re-cap of Masters 2009!

Monday, April 13th, 2009

angel

Today, Angel Cabrera beat top-notch PGA Tour players like Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell to win the 2009 Masters at age of 39.  When I first heard about Cabrera about 10 years ago, I saw him playing on the European Tour on Golf Channel.  Of course, Angel was always winning tournaments.  A native Argentinian, it was always fun to see one single gifted South American beating all the European tour players in European Tour.

That was almost 10 years ago and I guess Angel Cabrera will play in America from time to time including this year’s Masters.  Angel Cabrera is probably the player who deserved to win this year’s Masters in the playoff.

For the record, Angel Cabrera has won a major on U.S. soil before, the 2007 U.S. Open, one of the most coveted majors on one of the hardest golf courses in the world, Oakmont Country Club.  In contrast, Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry both never have won majors.

Although they all finished with same scores, it was clear to me that Angel was the only player who had “dealt” with the final moments of pressure.  After the fact that he’s 2nd shot on the 1st playoff hole rickashaded short of the green, Cabrera was unfazed and made an easy par with a great pitch shot.

Of course, things could “easily” have different if Cabrera missed his putt but he didn’t, he “knew” how to deal with the press.

On the other hand, Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell might have come close but nothing close to Cabrera’s mental strengths.

Clearly, Kenny Perry had a meltdown on the last two holes, making bogeys.  (and yes, Tiger and Phil sorta did the same thing.)  It was unbelievable to some viewers because Kenny Perry was making birdies and had a 2-shot lead coming into the 17th hole.

I noticed that around the 15th hole, as Kenny Perry was approaching the final holes of his last round, he seemed to play more cautiously and noted here on Twitter:

#Masters Kenny Perry is playing too cautiously, it’s gonna cost him in the last 3 holes, betcha bogeys.

And after bogey on 17th, here’s my tweet:

#Masters Kenny Perry falling apart, I foresee him not winning, no offense kenny lovers.

At that point, he should have been more confident but I KNEW he was “worried” in his mind, his body language and the way he played clearly showed that Kenny Perry was suddenly worried about his lead.

What I said before his meltdown:

#Masters PRESSURE is ON at the last 2 holes, MELTDOWN for players who can’t handle the Master’s last-2-hole-pressure!

I have read tons of golf psychology books in my lifetime and that’s what you don’t ever want to do on the golf course at the last stages of the tournament, worry about your lead or even “think” about your score.  (You can read about this from Rob Rotella’s book, “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect”, very good book on golf psychology.  I read it when it came out 10+ years ago.)

This is simply what I “see” in a player when watching tournament golf, derived from junior, amateur, and pro golf tournament experience.  I am sure some of you scratch golfers will agree.

Did Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell have a Meltdown in the Playoffs?

You betcha, no player should really win with a par in a playoff unless the other players experience meltdowns.   Kenny Perry’s confidence disappeared on the 15th hole when he started playing cautiously, he’s mind told him that he’s not going to win.  Chad Campbell hit his bunker shot mediocre, (even though he holed a bunker shot in the same day!  He is a good bunker player.) and missed a short putt for par. (shorter than Cabrera’s par putt)

These are signs of weaknesses in Perry and Campbell’s mental states, it’s not good for the playoff holes.

Don’t get me wrong, Perry and Campbell still have won many, many PGA Tournaments, they will beat 99.9% of the world population in golf including me probably 365 days out of 365 days in the year.  But what they lacked is experience and “mental” state required for winning Major championships.

A good example of that is Tiger Woods.  We have seen numerous times Tiger seemed to “will” his way into winning majors.  Of course, Tiger is human too, he can’t win all the majors.  I think today Tiger and Phil actually fed off each other during the whole round, Phil shooting an unbelievable 6 under 30 on the front while Tiger made every short to medium putt until the last two holes.

The reason why Tiger and Phil failed is they were playing too aggressive.  Tiger pulled a driver out on the last hole, when he had been using 3-wood all day long.  They were both trying to beat each other too much in the end, when they should have simply played their own games in crucial moments of pressure.  This ultimately ended up in Tiger/Phil meltdown at the end although it did helped them go WAY under during the round.

The last 3 holes of golf has always proven to be either extremely detrimental or explosively helpful for golfers including me.  I can recall countless times when I “birdied” the last 3 holes to win OR I made a 10 on the last hole that costed me the trophy.

The last 3 holes of golf always “test” your true mental strengths and in today’s case, Tiger, Phil, and Kenny all FAILED although Chad finished pretty good until the playoffs.

Another thing to note, heck, I was rooting for Tiger but the world doesn’t end if he doesn’t win.  Golf is simply not about winning, it’s what you do with the results.

Who knows, Chad Campbell is still young and I am sure he will win Masters one day.  Kenny Perry has made a living from the PGA Tour, makes more money than 99.9% of the population.  I don’t see anything wrong with that other than people should be able to get a better perspective of reality.

Perhaps, Phil, Tiger, Chad, and Kenny all wanted to win so badly that it affected their game.  On the other hand, Angel Cabrera played horribly in the beginning of the round, sorta disappeared from the spotlight, and slowly creeped up on the leaders.  This might have helped him rally to win the playoff.

Mental Tip for the Day

In my competitive tournament experience, I have learned that if you “slowly” play better in the round and start hitting the fairways/sinking putts nearing the end of the round, that always results in better scores and top mental state.

This tip you can take with you.  The next time you double-bogey your first hole, just remember golf isn’t finished until you hit your ball in the hole at the 18th.

Both Phil and Tiger started playing lights out from the beginning, their adrenalin was running so high, it was inevitably hard to control near the end of the round.  It’s like you got a 350 horsepower car that might not stop if you go too fast.

Even Kenny Perry was “leading” the tournament from hole 1 to 18th hole but he started “bogeying” everything starting on the 17th hole, not good.

Your mental state in golf is critical to your success in golf.  Your perfect swing is never going to help you hit the ball in the fairway if your mind’s somewhere else under pressure.  I can recall countless times when I had been shooting under par consistently before a tournament, only to “lose” my swing suddenly in competition.  (maybe that’s why I am not on the PGA Tour…yet.)

How to achieve the mental state required to play under pressure?

As a player, I have played good at various times too, those times I usually felt like I was “home” or simply “relaxed”.

Here’s some tips on how to feel “relaxed” during your round:

  • To feel relaxed, you need to make sure to “visualize” your outcome during the round and don’t be too “aggressive” on holes that you don’t have to.
  • Develop and hit your “bread-and-butter” shots.  Sometimes, I even hit a low-screaming knock-down shot with my 3-iron on short par 4s and my playing partners are like, “did you miss that?”.  No, i can hit that low screamer at my target 9 out of 10 times, even under pressure.
  • If you start playing bad on the course, take at least couple days off golf.  Those mental pictures  you keep putting in your head will end up in vicious cycle of bad rounds thereafter.  You need to get those out of your system.  If I were Phil, Tiger, Kenny, or Chad, I would take at least a week off golf before I even “touch” a club.  Trust me, your golf memories are EVERYTHING in golf.
  • When you practice, make sure you hit perfect shots, meaning take every step of your pre-shot routine to ensure 100% quality in your shot.  Don’t just bang balls one after another, that’s worse than just sitting on your couch.  It’s ALL about your mental memories of your previous “good” shots.
  • Especially for shorter shots like short game and putting, practice with 5 to 10 balls.  Don’t dump your golf balls and bang away.  Treat each shot like it’s REAL.  If you hit a bad chip shot and it comes up 20 feet short of the pin, CLEAR your balls and start over so you don’t SEE or REMEMBER your bad shots.
  • Keep tricking your brain on a consistent daily-basis that you only hit “perfect” shots.

Well, that was a long post that included my thorough analysis of the top golfers at today’s Masters from a pro golfer and my “mental” tips on your golf game.  You won’t get this from the announcers on TV (because it’s not their job), subscribe to my blog and please leave any other tips in the comments line or @progolferdigest that might be helpful to other golfers.

Congratulations to Angel Cabrera from ProGolferDigest.com and keep up your great “major” works:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode



LIVE – Go Tiger at Masters 2009!

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

tiger

As an avid fan of golf, I am glad that Masters is one of the top trends on Twitter this weekend.  I think this guy Tiger had something to do with that as I don’t think golf was as popular before we had Tiger.

Anyways, I wish Tiger and the rest of the players best of luck and let the best win today although I am biased towards Tiger.

This will be Tiger’s first major since his last major 2008 U.S. Open, which he won with a BROKEN KNEE!

Now, I will be expecting much more today from a Tiger with new knee.

Regardless of who you are rooting for, join me on twitter @progolferdigest as I “live” twittercast the whole Masters starting in about 3 minutes, 11AM PST.

Kenny Perry and Angel Cabrera Leading Masters 2009!

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

kennyperry

Wow, what an exciting 3rd round it was at the 2009 Masters.  While Tiger Woods barely finished with 4 under par, Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry “killed” the field with numerous birdies and great shots.
(You can see live twittering that went on over here @progolferdigest.)

Chad Campbell had been leading the the first 2 rounds, double bogey and bogey during the last couple holes cost Chad the lead.  It’s still too early to tell if Chad Campbell can win but my honest opinion is that he “lacks” major championship experience, especially at Augusta, where even former world’s number one player Greg Norman had failed to win a single Masters.  (While he came close to winning a bunch of times, only to fail on Sunday.)

Likewise, tomorrow will be exciting day for the golfing world as we will get to either watch Kenny Perry or Angel Cabrera MELT DOWN!  (Am I being evil?  Yes, I am free to my own predictions but don’t mind me, winning isn’t EVERYTHING.  Whoever finishes tomorrow at the Masters will be still racking up a lot of cash home.)

Here’s my biased predictions (from a pro golfer) for tomorrow:

Based on history of Masters, I don’t think either Kenny Perry nor Angel Cabrera will win.  Of course, I could be wrong but my favorites this year are Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, or Jim Furyk.

I have seen countless tournaments and it’s actually an advantage if you get to tee off early; couple shots back from the leader.  Unless Perry and Cabrera plays “lights out” golf tomorrow, they are going to have a hard time dealing with all the pressure and other great players of the world, right in front of them, hopefully making birdies.

Perfect swing aren’t everything but you can see my detailed analysis of Kenny Perry’s swing and Chad Campbell’s swing. (You will see WHY Chad’s swing can become instable at times, proven today near the end of the round.)

Anyways, I will be live twittering all day tomorrow for the Sunday finale, follow me on Twitter @progolferdigest.

Watching Tiger Live at Masters!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Well, what a weekend, I have been waiting to watch the Masters for like a year!

Tiger is of course playing this year, after winning Arnold Palmer Invitational 2 weeks ago.  Through 10 holes, Tiger is even par for the first day of the Masters, not too bad considering the fact that the very first time Tiger won Masters, he shot 4 over 40.

On the other side of the course, Chad Campbell is 9 under par with just few holes to go.  He’s certainly playing out of his shoes today.

It’s too early to tell who’s going to win Masters this year including Tiger, but there’s sure lotta great players at the top of the leaderboard including Jim Furyk, Arron Baddeley, Sean O’Hair, and Greg Norman.

Follow me as I tweet the Master live @progolferdigest.

Watch Masters 2009 Live on the Internet!

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Looks like Masters 2009 is already on its way, you can watch the holes 15th and 16th live on the internet over at Masters.org.  This is probably the tournament of the year and also my favorite one to watch so let’s see who’s gonna finish up on top.

You can also follow me live twittering on my twitter probably around when Tiger tees off.

My favorites this week: Greg Norman, Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, and Nick Watney.  (I know, call me old-school but I want the old guys to win, they deserve one before they retire to Champion’s Tour. :) )

Tiger will be teeing off 1:52PM Eastern Standard Time.

There’s two leaderboards you can follow, MajorChampionships.com, and Masters.org.

masters

Book Review – Four Cornerstones of Winning Golf by Butch Harmon

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

four

One of the best books I have ever read about golf is this Four Cornerstones of Winning Golf by Butch Harmon.  I have an autographed copy and that’s not why I read from front to back but the the priceless advices that Butch gives in the book.

This was the book Butch Harmon wrote while Tiger Woods was developing and honing his skills before/after winning his first Masters.

You can expect to learn a lot about the “secrets” behind advanced golf with this book.  There’s also a lot of good advice for beginners too so don’t be shy. :)

Price: $12 on Amazon

Danny Lee becomes the Youngest U.S. Amateur Champion ever!

Monday, August 25th, 2008
Danny Lee becomes the Youngest U.S. Amateur Champion ever!

Danny Lee becomes the Youngest U.S. Amateur Champion ever!

Danny Lee becomes the youngest U.S. Amateur champion in history of golf as he beat Drew Kittleson in style 5 and 4.  He also becomes the very first Korean-born golfer to win the U.S. Amateur.  That means Danny Lee is also the very first pure-breed Asian Asian person to win the U.S. Amateur.

UPDATE: Oops, Danny Lee ISN’t the very first Asian person.  Actually Tiger Woods is the very first Asian.  BTW, Tiger isn’t really black at all, he’s more Thai than anything else.

With Korean ladies taking over the leaderboard in LPGA, Danny Lee is also another one of those players starting the act of taking the PGA Tour along with the young PGA star, Anthony Kim.

Pinehurst, N.C. — Danny Lee became the U.S. Amateur’s youngest champion, supplanting Tiger Woods by holding off Drew Kittleson 5 and 4.

Lee, 18 years and one month old, frittered away most of a six-hole lead before regaining control with consecutive birdies midway through his second trip around Pinehurst’s No. 2 course. He capped his 11th consecutive day of competitive golf by sinking a 30-foot birdie putt on the 14th.

Lee is six months and 29 days younger than Woods was when he won the first of his three Amateurs in 1994.

The victory gives Lee exemptions into the U.S. and British opens, a probable invitation to The Masters and a 10-year exemption into the U.S. Amateur as long as he remains an amateur.

via theglobeandmail

Greg Norman “doesn’t” win the British Open, but watch out…

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Greg Norman doesn’t win the British Open today but it was a exciting 1st 3 rounds watching one of my golfing heroes battle it out at 53 years old.

What’s amazing is that Greg has just broke through his 15-year old dryspell of bad rounds.  Heck, he is now officially playing the next year’s Masters.

If Greg Norman practiced before this week’s Open, he might have won by 5 or 10 shots.  Even with Tiger Woods around, he probably would have won for sure.

Now, it’s up to Greg Norman to believe in himself again and win couple more majors before he really “retires” from major golf.

The same couldn’t be said about Rocco Mediate because it’s different.

Heck, Greg Norman is capable of breaking any of that old-age records.  He just proved it to us.

Maybe his last round 77 wasn’t one of his best but I will be waiting for some more top finishes from the former #1 golfer of the world.

Congrats to the winner but I think Greg Norman probably “won” in his terms, outlasted every one of the best golfers of the world.

I look forward to couple more 54-hole leads on Sunday from Greg.

Greg Norman Leads British Open by 2 – About to Become the Oldest Player to win a Major!

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Wow, what a tournament.  I just finished watching the 3rd round of British Open as Greg Norman finishes up with a 2 shot lead and a 72 today.

What impressed me wasn’t the fact that he is 53 years old, it’s the fact that he’s able to turn back time to his 1986 Turnberry British Open championship.

I know if this was the Masters, Greg Norman wouldn’t have a good chance going into the final round but in this case, with Norman 2 shots ahead, it’s as good as in the bag.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Greg Norman eventually wins by 5-7 shots tomorrow.  He might be old but he’s still more in shape than most 30 year olds.  Plus, he knows how to win a British Open.

Well, I hope I am not wrong tomorrow and let’s see one of our favorite golfers win one of his last majors tomorrow.