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Masters Memories: Tom Watson and Rory McIlory

Written by: Tony Korologos | Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Categories: PGA TourPro GolfRory McIloryThe Masters
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Rory McIloryOnce you’ve been to the Masters Tournament, even the practice rounds, you have memories for a lifetime. Here’s one that I vividly remember.

A couple of years ago I was at a Masters practice round and had the opportunity to follow around a very interesting grouping, Rory McIlory and Tom Watson. It was fun to watch the interaction between the two. Watson was helping McIlory out with tips on the golf course, and likely on life. He’s just that way.

Since it was a practice round, the players would often hit a few shots or several putts from one location. Most players know most of the pin placements so on their approaches they might hit a couple of shots to where they imagine the pins will be. On the greens they’ll putt to those same imaginary places, like lower right on the par-5 2nd (can you say Louis Oosthuizen?).

On the par-4 9th I got a fantastic vantage point to watch Tom and Rory approach the green. See the picture in this post of Rory. For those who have not been to Augusta in person, you have no idea how much elevation change there is. The 9th green is incredibly slanted from back to front. So much so, I think I’d fall down if I tried to walk down it. Watch the players during the tournament hit their approaches. The second they hit it they might get mad because they know they put it in the wrong place and the slope of the green will cause the ball to go to a very bad position.

One such bad position would be a shot which goes long. Chipping from the back of the 9th green would be a nightmare. I’d bet wads of cash that an amateur golfer could not chip a ball onto the 9th from above the green, and keep his chip on the green. It’s THAT steep.

During their practice round McIlroy walked right up in front of me and dropped about 8-10 golf balls off the back of the green. I watched in absolute amazement as he clipped those balls so crisply that they would land on the back fringe and actually check, before slowly moving to a tightly dispersed spacing. Imagine chipping from a downslope onto a downslope on greens that are probably running a 14+ on the stimpmeter. I could have sat there with 50 balls and never hit one that perfectly. I’d probably be hitting gap wedge back up to the surface for my next shot.

Tom Watson took notice too. He stopped his chipping practice and just watched. Rory didn’t know Tom was watching.

When Rory moved to another place to practice some chips or putts, Tom grabbed his caddie and pointed him to the back of the 9th green, right where Rory had been hitting those little crisp chips. He threw down about 8-10 balls. Tom Watson is one of the best around the greens in the history of the game. He wanted to see if he could replicate what Rory had been doing.

He couldn’t.

I watched Tom hit ball after ball. Some ended up in the middle of the green and some off the front and down the hill. The dispersion was massive. None of the balls ended up at the top of the green like Rory’s. Tom looked at the green, the balls, Rory… he then shrugged his shoulders and moved on.


Review: Tom Watson’s Lessons of a Lifetime II

Written by: Tony Korologos | Sunday, January 24th, 2016
Categories: GolfGolf For WomenGolf Instruction
Tags:

The courses have been closed for months here in northern Utah. I’ve enjoyed the break from golf, mainly the break from my short game. So during the winter layoff while working in my office I’m watching Tom Watson’s Lessons of a Lifetime II, a multi-DVD golf instructional program with over 3.5 hours of instruction. Who better to teach me chipping and pitching than one of the best ever?

Tom_Watson_Lessons_of_a_Lifetime_II

Watching some short game lessons during the big snowstorm

Topics Covered

Every aspect of the golf game is covered by Mr. Watson, from full swing to short game to putting. There are even lessons targeted specifically to kids, and seniors. Here are most of the topics:

  • Terminology
  • Basics of the grip
  • Stance
  • Ball position
  • The swing (takeaway, backswing, downswing, finish)
  • Shotmaking (high, low, draw, fade, hook, slice)
  • Distance
  • Bunker play
  • Playing in varying weather conditions
  • Short game
  • Putting
  • Practicing
  • Handling pressure
  • “The Secret”
  • Pre-shot routine
  • Bottom of the arc (perhaps the most important factor in many swings)

Sensible

What I like about Tom’s style is how clearly and easily he describes the situations, the objectives, and how to execute the shots.  I’ve been trying to absorb as much as I can from Tom, especially that pesky short game.

Tom_Watson_Lessons_II

Most Valuable Lessons For Me

I’ve found there are several things I’m not doing in my short game which Tom says are crucial:  Find the bottom of the arc and put the ball slightly behind it.  Set up square to the target, then open up the body, but close the left hip/side.  Pick a landing spot, and see how long the roll is with varying clubs while still hitting the same landing spot.

I’ve watched Tom’s tips for handling pressure a few times now.  Since I only compete in high pressure situations a few times per year, I seem to get pretty jumpy and nervous.  I find it hard to slow my heart rate down and calm down.  When the snow melts and I’m in one of those first pressure situations this next season, I’m looking forward to employing Tom’s advice.

Conclusion

This multi-DVD set is full of great golf lessons and I should be better at playing it more often to help my own game.  It’s nice to pick a point of focus, like short game, putting, bunker play and try to absorb the concepts.

For a price less than a single golf lesson, this DVD set from Tom Watson has hundreds of great golf teachings which can be viewed over and over again.  What a value.


This Week on Tour

Written by: Tony Korologos | Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
Categories: Golf
Tags:

LPGA TourLPGA TOUR
The Evian Championship
Dates: Sept. 10-13
Venue: Evian Resort Golf Club, Evian-les Bains, France

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 5-8 a.m. / 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 5-8 a.m. / 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Live) / 6:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Saturday 6:30-11:30 a.m. (Live) / 6:30-11:30 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 8:30-12:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 6:30 a.m.-Noon (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)

Tournament Airtimes on NBC (Eastern):
Sunday 12:30-2 p.m. (Tape delay)

Broadcast Notes:
Final major championship of 2015: The final major championship of 2015 will feature each of the top-10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
Kim defends: Hyo Joo Kim birdied her 72nd hole to defeat Karrie Webb by one stroke for her first LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: Inbee Park, Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis, Brooke Henderson, So Yeon Ryu, Hyo Joo Kim, Suzann Pettersen, Lexi Thompson, Shanshan Feng, In Gee Chun and Anna Nordqvist.

Web.com Tour LogoWEB.COM TOUR
Hotel Fitness Championship
Dates: Sept. 10-13
Venue: Sycamore Hills Golf Club, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 1-4 a.m. (Friday replay)
Friday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 1-4 a.m. (Saturday replay)
Saturday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / Midnight-3 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 3-6 p.m. (Live) / 1-4 a.m. (Monday replay)

Broadcast Notes:
Web.com Tour Finals begin: The four-event Web.com Tour Finals gets underway this week, with players finishing 126-200 in the PGA TOUR FedExCup standings and players finishing 26-100 on the Web.com Tour season money list eligible to compete for a chance at securing one of 25 additional 2015-16 PGA TOUR cards up for grabs at the conclusion of the Web.com Tour Championship. Players having finished in the top-25 on the Web.com Tour money list already having secured their 2015-16 PGA TOUR card also are eligible to complete in the Web.com Tour Finals to try and improve their playing status for next season.

Cauley defends: Bud Cauley finished one stroke ahead of Colt Knost for his first Web.com Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Anirban Lahiri, Patton Kizzire, Derek Ernst, Sam Saunders, Jhonattan Vegas, Lucas Glover, Billy Hurley, Scott Langley, Luke Guthrie and Smylie Kaufman.

European Tour Logo - GolfEUROPEAN TOUR
KLM Open
Dates: Sept. 10-13
Venue: Kennemer Golf & Country Club, Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 5:30-7:30 a.m. / 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Friday 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 5:30-7:30 a.m. / 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 7-11 a.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)
Sunday 12:30-2:30 p.m. (Tape delay) / 6:30-11 a.m. (Streaming on Golf Live Extra)

Broadcast Notes:
Headlining the field: Tom Watson, Martin Kaymer, Tommy Fleetwood, Thorbjorn Olesen, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jamie Donaldson, Padraig Harrington, Eddie Pepperell and Darren Clarke.


Spiethgasm – Masters Thursday Commentary

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, April 10th, 2015
Categories: Pro GolfRory McIloryThe MastersTiger Woods
Tags:
Arnold Palmer Now Driving

Arnold Palmer Now Driving

Yesterday’s first round of the Masters was, as usual, fantastic.  As I’ve said a million times, the Masters Tournament never disappoints.  Thursday’s round had so many great stories to it.  There was the return of Tiger Woods, the resurgence of Ernie Els, and amazing play of Jordan Spieth and a few surprises like the super round of 67 by Charlie Hoffman.

Spiethgasm

Jordan Spieth was -8 going into the easiest hole on the course yesterday, the par-5 15th.  That hole is practically a guaranteed birdie and he could easily reach it in two.  He was between clubs though, and knocked his approach over the green and nearly in the water on 16.  He failed to get the chip on the green and ended up making a bogey.  He got that stroke back on the 18th with a birdie.

The low round of 63 in a major championship was in jeopardy for a while there and the golf media and social networks were blowing up into a “Spiethgasm.”

It will be interesting to see if he can keep it together for four days.

Woods

My prediction for Tiger Woods’s first two rounds has been 74-70.  Yesterday he shot a 73.  Not bad. Not good.  Nine shots off the lead.  It’s not close to over for Tiger and I expect him to make the cut.  The problem I see is massive dipping in his head during his downswing.  If that gets bad, his shot dispersion goes to hell.  You can’t spray it around August and get away with it.

What the weekend holds for Tiger should be interesting.

McIlory

Rory McIlory finished Thursday at -1.  That’s an okay start and he’s not out of it by any means.  I theorize that Rory wants to win this one so bad, it may cause him some mental issues.

Others

Others on my radar include my pick to win it all, Jason Day.  Jason’s first round was super solid, including five birdies in a row.  He’s right in the mix at -5 after day one.

So many other great stories which could be entire topics of discussion.  Ernie Els, at 45, is right up there.  And speaking of older players, how about Tom Watson shooting 71?  He’s the oldest player to break par at the Masters after yesterday.

Cant’ wait for the rest of the weekend.


Happy 60th birthday to Tom Watson

Written by: Tony Korologos | Friday, September 4th, 2009
Categories: Champions TourPGA Tour
Tags:

Oh man if only Tom Watson could have parred the 72nd hole at the British Open. That would have been one of the biggest moments in sports history. Still, that was one of the most awesome performances I’ve seen, and the most fun I’ve had watching golf all year.

Today is Tom’s 60th birthday. HOG best wishes to Tom Watson.


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