On this day, In 1985 Peter Oosterhuis wins the Spalding Invitational by 4 strokes over Johnny Miller

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Oosterhuis Wins Spalding Tourney

[From Associated Press] PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Peter Oosterhuis shot a 66 Sunday to win the $200,000 Spalding Invitational tournament with a score of 274, beating Johnny Miller by four strokes.

“Anytime you win, you feel fortunate,” Oosterhuis said. “There are a lot of good players here but a lot depends on how well they know what shots are required.”

“Two of the most important shots that I made were on the fifth and 12th hole, both par threes,” said Oosterhuis, who had nine one-putts and one three-putt.

Oosterhuis, who also won this tournament in 1983, earned $40,000, and Miller got $23,500 for second.

Going into the final round, Oosterhuis was tied with George Archer and Kathy Whitworth at 10-under par. However, he took command on the toughest stretch of the course with birdies on the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th holes.

The Spalding Invitational

The Spalding Invitational  is a non-tour professional golf tournament. The event debuted in 1972 and is now known as the Taylormade Pebble Beach Open. The 2016 purse was $300,000 with $60,000 going to the individual winner. There is also a team competition. Professionals from the PGA TourLPGA TourPGA Tour Champions, and Web.com Tour all compete against each other. Tee placements vary for each tour, based on average driving distances.

GOLFBUSTERS: THE INFOMERCIAL WEDGE TEST

DO INFOMERCIAL WEDGES ACTUALLY WORK?

Almost all golfers have seen an infomercial ad for a wedge. Most think they're a joke or a gadget only for the fools in the world that think they can buy a game. But are the joke? Is it possible they actually work? The Ray Cook Alien Shot Saver grossed over $200,000,000 in sales over a three year period.  That's pretty amazing to think about when there's never been a comprehensive test done to find out if they actually help golfers.

That's where MyGolfSpy's GolfBusters comes in. We think all "AS SEEN ON TV" and Golf Infomercial products should be put to the test to see if they stack up to all their wild claims. So, we tested the three most popular (and recent) infomercial type wedges that were created for golfers with high handicaps and struggling short games. If these wedges really do perform, it could be the difference between you saving par and making a triple bogey...

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HOW WE TESTED

Like most infomercial products, the target demographic for the product is mid to high handicappers. With that, we tailored our test group to accurately reflect the target market.

  • Four total wedges were tested: a C3i Wedge, a Cleveland SmartSole 3, a Callaway SureOut, and a traditional sand wedge from a market leader.
  • The same clubs were used in each session for every tester.
  • 8 golfers with handicaps ranging from 10-20 and driver swing speeds between 70 and 90 mph participated in this test.
  • Each tester hit 12-14 shots for each club from the group (frequently rotating between clubs).
  • All shots were recorded regardless if the ball finished on the green.
  • All testers hit Bridgestone B330-RX Golf Balls.
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OBSERVATIONS

  • The C3i and Cleveland SmartSole produced the tightest average proximity to the hole.
  • The C3i also left the fewest shots in the bunker (6) AND the least number of shots short of the green (9).
  • The traditional wedge and Callaway SureOut left an identical number of shots in the bunker (12).
  • While the average proximity numbers don't show the C3i to be extremely impactful - 5 out of the 8 testers produced better results with the C3i  than any other wedge.
  • Not a single tester performed best with the traditional wedge; in fact, 5 of the 8 testers produced the worst results with the traditional wedge.
  • Subjective feedback from the test group showed the C3i was the preferred wedge among all clubs tested.  Testers noted the C3i felt heavier and were "allowed to let the club do more of the work."
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FINAL THOUGHTS

So, do these non-conventional wedges really perform? Our data suggests that they do for the average golfer. While these wedges may not be your golf game "savior," they can certainly help you get the ball out of the sand on your first try.

There are a few important things to note when deciding on one of these wedges:

  • If you have a "bunker swing" that you've practiced, tried and tested - we should probably stick to a conventional wedge. Due to the unusually large amount of bounce on the sole, opening up one of these wedges and taking a normal bunker swing can cause the club to just bounce off the sand, leaving you to blade it across the green or scoop the ball completely.
  • If you have a struggling bunker game but still know the basics (we call these golfers "in-betweeners") the Cleveland SmartSole is a great option.  The bounce and loft aren't as aggressive, which allows the club to dig just a bit.
  • For the weekend golfer, the high handicapper, the guy who just can't get the damn ball out of the sand - the C3i Wedge is for you. You don't have to change your stance, your aim or the way you swing the club; just step up and hit it out and closer.

You might just want to give one of these a try.

BY MYGOLFSPY

 

On this day, In 1970 Doug Sanders gets a win of sweet redemption at the Bahamas Island Open Classic

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After heartbreak at St. Andrews, Doug Sanders finally got redemption in the Bahamas

The 1970 British Open and the 1970 Bahamas Island Classic…Two different climates, two different results.  The 1970 Open Championship will always be synonymous with Doug Sanders name.  After a heartbreaking loss in any regard, its near impossible to bounce back from defeat.  Defeated indeed was Sanders at the 1970 Open Championship missing a 3 foot putt for the win.  Although maybe he beat himself, its never unnerving having Jack Nicklaus charging at your back.  He says this quote when asked about the putt,”(Walter)Hagen said that no-one remembers who finished second. But they still ask me if I ever think about that putt I missed to win the 1970 Open at St. Andrews. I tell them that some times it doesn’t cross my mind for a full five minutes.” (see missed putt below)

5 New Metalwoods That Offer Forgiveness

These metalwoods can fix your flaws

You might think that all metalwoods are designed to do the same thing: launch it high with low spin. In a way they are, but they go about it in different ways. The newest metalwoods target certain types of swings: (1) big hitters who need shots to launch with less spin; (2) slower swingers who need more clubhead speed; and (3) hitters who need a straighter ball flight. Whether it’s less weight or redistributed internal mass, most new metalwoods are player-specific. So start your search knowing your weaknesses, and make a purchase based on how a new club can correct what’s wrong. Here are five fixes worth considering.

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TOUR EDGE EXOTICS CBX
Better players looking for a low-spin fairway wood might benefit from this construction. It includes a titanium face fused to a high-strength steel body. A lightweight carbon-composite piece in the rear of the sole allows more weight to be placed forward.

CALLAWAY GBB EPIC STAR
This ultralight driver is designed for golfers with slower swing speeds and features the same distance technology found in the standard Epic—including two rods that join the crown and sole to help the face flex across a larger area.

COBRA F-MAX
This fairway wood provides full service for the flaws of average golfers. Helpful features include a lighter swingweight, anti-slice bias, higher lofts and larger, more comfortable grips. A thin, high-strength steel face insert gives distance a boost.

TITLEIST 818 H1
The H2 is preferred by tour players, but the H1 here offers something for the rest of us. The latest version is more stable on off-center hits and is designed for golfers who hit their hybrids with more of a sweeping motion than a downward strike.

PING G400 SF TEC
We don’t just hit slices with our drivers, so the G400 line has a heel-weighted fairway-wood option. A high-strength steel face provides extra flexing for more distance, and the slightly larger head size offers forgiveness on mis-hits.

By 

Mike Stachura

On this day, In 1993 Nick Price wins the “Million Dollar Golf Challenge”

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Price won the Million Dollar Challenge while breaking the course record…

Zimbabwe’s Nick Price posted a 24-under-par total of 264 to win the Million Dollar Golf Challenge by a amazing 12 strokes at Sun City on Sunday December 5, 1993.  Price shot rounds of 67, 66, 66 and a course record-equalling 65 as he won the 1 million first prize for the first time.  His four-round total was a remarkable eight shots better than the record set by Germany’s Bernard Langer in 1991 when the German also set the course record of 65.

From disqualification to becoming the champion

The victory resonated on a whole different level with Price, who just a year earlier was DQ’d after he fails to sign his scorecard in protest.  The reason being as during the third round, Price’s caddie moved an advertisement which resulted in a two stroke penalty.  Second place went to fellow-Zimbabwean Mark McNulty, who finished on 276, 12 under par, after closing with a five-under-par 67. Langer claimed third place with a final round of 68 for a total of 279 while South Africa’s Fulton Allem returned the second best score of the day with a 66 to finish fourth on 280.

Price was 17 under and 10 shots clear at the end of the third round and began the final 18 holes in spectacular style with an eagle two at the first, holing his 125 yard approach.  Out in just 32, with birdies at five and seven, he then birdied three of the next four holes to go to 24-under for the tournament.  Price bogeyed the 16th, but a well-timed birdie three at the last in front of packed stands enabled him to finish in style.  Price has now won over 2.7 million US dollars for the year and only Australian Greg Norman has a slight chance of overtaking him at the Johnny Walker Classic later in December.

 

Monday Scramble: An ode to 2017

Tiger Woods returns from a layoff, Justin Thomas becomes a superstar, Jordan Spieth authors an incredible comeback, Lexi Thompson comes close, Team USA keeps rolling and more in this season-ending edition of the Monday Scramble:

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Tiger Woods proved yet again that he is still the needle in golf, but 2017 will be remembered as the year that an already-famous high school class rose to the top.

Members of the class of 2011, Justin Thomas was the no-brainer Player of the Year as a five-time winner, major champion and FedExCup champion; Jordan Spieth moved one step closer to the career Grand Slam, on a major pace with Jack and Tiger; and Xander Schauffele went from struggling newcomer to Rookie of the Year after a torrid three-month stretch.

It’s a trend that isn’t going anywhere: 15 of the 30 players who qualified for the Tour Championship were in their 20s, marking the first time that the average age of a Tour winner was younger than 30.

These 20-somethings are talented. Fearless. Hungry.

If Woods can somehow return to championship form, it would make for one heck of a show in 2018: Golf’s next generation versus the player they grew up idolizing. 

1. Before we wrap up the past year, Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf last week, and there was a lot to digest. A few thoughts:

• The biggest takeaway is that Tiger looks happy and healthy. His gait was more athletic, his swing more free-flowing and powerful. That wasn’t the case last year, when he showed flashes of brilliance but overall looked like he was laboring, like he was 60, not 40. If his body cooperates, this "comeback" – whatever that entails – has a real chance.

• Tiger’s driver is now a weapon, not a liability. That hasn’t been the case in … a decade? On a forgiving course, he avoided the big miss, worked the ball both ways and absolutely pounded it, easily reaching the par 5s in two. His 180-mph ball speed matched the big-hitting Thomas, and it would have ranked among the top 20 on Tour last season. The only question: Can his back withstand that type of velocity over a full season?

• His short game still needs work. One of the misconceptions about his previous aborted comebacks was that he was able to spend more time in the short-game area than on the range. Not true, Woods said. It hurt even more to put himself in the proper posture, and so he avoided it altogether. It became obvious that part of the game had been neglected. Albany’s tight, sandy lies proved a stiff challenge for everyone, but Woods hit enough shaky chips to recall memories of his chip-yip horrors from years’ past.

• Tiger has been through a physical and personal hell. He was in so much pain, he kept a bucket near his bed to go to the bathroom. That's a horrible way to live, and it's little wonder he became so reliant on pain medication. It's impossible to play good golf in a fog, but a clear-eyed Woods says he's now on the "other side." 

Overall, the week was a resounding success - the T-9 put him back in the top 700 in the world ranking - that portends well for Woods perhaps being more competitive than previously thought.

2. Some of the Woods apathy was understandable – after all, this was his 10th comeback, from either personal or physical issues – but he proved that he’s still the most powerful man in golf.

His mere presence turned the Hero World Challenge, an 18-man holiday exhibition, into a must-see event. The first round alone was streamed by so many people, it would have ranked as the sixth-most-streamed four-round event of the year on NBC/Golf Channel. (Don’t you people work?!) Based on the reaction of his peers, the on-site fans and a very unscientific sampling on Twitter, most seem genuinely happy that Woods is back in the fold and eager to see him return to form.

If he can stay healthy, 2018 just got a lot more interesting.

3. So what will his schedule next year look like?

At this point, Woods either isn’t sure or isn’t ready to share it publicly.

Only Woods knows his body and how much he can handle, or how much he needs to play to feel sharp, but a pre-Masters run with Phoenix, Riviera, Honda and Bay Hill sounds ideal to this scribe. Yes, he has so much history at Torrey Pines, but the long, brutal track is no longer the best fit for his game.

The worst mistake he can make with a fused back is to overextend himself. He doesn’t need a 20-event slate to be competitive.   

4. At long last, Thomas has moved out of Spieth’s considerable shadow.

For the majority of his career he has taken a backseat to Spieth, and that divide only grew once both were in the pros. Not anymore. With awe-inspiring drives and a vastly improved short game, Thomas became one of the game’s bona fide stars, surging from 35th in the world last fall to No. 3.

And so a new question has emerged: Right now Thomas trails Spieth in the major department, 3-1, but at the end of their careers, who will have more? Thomas has the firepower – and, now, the self-belief – to make it a close race. 

5. It’s a what-could-have-been year for Dustin Johnson.

Make no mistake, he was brilliant – winning four times, including a pair of World Golf Championships and a playoff event, and holding on to the No. 1 ranking – but you also can’t shake the feeling that it could have been so much better.

DJ had reached Tiger-like levels of dominance. He was the first player in more than 40 years to arrive at Augusta having won his last three tournaments … and then he never even made it to the first tee, after slipping on a set of stairs on the eve of the Masters and injuring his back.

The year’s first major went on without the world No. 1 – and produced a deserving winner in Sergio Garcia – but would the result have been different with a healthy DJ? We’ll never know, of course. The back injury led to compensations in his swing, and he failed to factor in any of the three remaining majors. A shame, because that may have been once-in-a-lifetime form.

6. After a predictable letdown year, all Spieth did in 2017 was put together the best ball-striking season of his career and add another major to his collection.

For as much as Spieth is lauded for his putting prowess, this year it was his iron play that carried him to three wins and some Player of the Year discussion. A point of emphasis moving forward will be improving his performance off the tee, but at 24 he’s already a generationally great player.

His back nine at The Open figures to be replayed for decades, a two-hour period that had a little bit of everything – a meltdown that recalled his Masters collapse, a lengthy ruling, clutch shots, a few iconic moments – and, ultimately, the end result that he desired.

If Spieth can overcome all of THAT and still claim the claret jug, then no obstacle is insurmountable. 

7. As for two guys who disappointed in 2017 …

Expect “angry” Rory McIlroy to show up next year. He has plotted an ambitious, early-season schedule in hopes of rediscovering the form that propelled him to four majors and world No. 1.

There should have been plenty of soul-searching this fall, after a transitional year in which he battled a nagging injury, got married and changed both his equipment and caddie. We should know by March if he’s addressed the issues with his wedges and putting.

And after winning eight times over the previous two years, Day went 0-for-2017 while taking significant steps back with his driver, iron play and putter. It’s probably unreasonable to think he’ll ride another heater like he did in 2015-16, but he also possesses way too much firepower to get left behind for long. 

8. In a year in which the top players played hot potato with the No. 1 ranking, even more memorable might be the ladies who didn’t end the year in the top spot.

Lydia Ko was No. 1 at the start of the year and she’s all the way down to No. 9. Ariya Jutanugarn seemed the most likely challenger, but she was alternately brilliant and bewildering during a two-win campaign. Lexi Thompson had the best year of her career, and yet two self-inflicted mistakes left her wanting more.

Rising to the top, instead, were So Yeon Ryu and talented rookie Sung-Hyun Park, who last year took the Korean tour by storm. The talent level is only getting deeper. That’s bad news for Lydia, Ariya, Lexi and everyone else who was supposed to "dominate" the women’s tour.    

9. How good was Bernhard Langer’s 2017? Smart golf people legitimately debated whether he’s better now than when he won his two Masters titles.

That’s hyperbole, of course, but the 60-year-old German left everyone searching for superlatives after a year in which he won seven events (including three majors), finished in the top 3 on five other occasions and top-tenned in 16 of 21 events.

That he didn’t take the season-long title (that went to Kevin Sutherland) should be reason enough for the PGA Tour Champions to overhaul how it determines the playoff winner.  

Langer is now just 10 wins from overtaking Hale Irwin as the all-time senior wins leader. The way he’s playing, he could accomplish that in the next three years. 

10. Are we entering a new era of American domination in team events?

It sure felt that way at the Presidents Cup, where the U.S. team nearly ran the Internationals out of town on Saturday, with the singles session still to play.

Their rout at Liberty National was a continuation of last year’s beatdown at Hazeltine, and what’s so scary about Team USA moving forward is that its core of players – Spieth, Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger – figures to remain intact for the next decade or so, while Europe transitions to a new wave that includes Jon Rahm and European No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood.

Next September in France, the Americans should be heavy favorites to end a 25-year winless drought on foreign soil. 

No moment generated a bigger what-is-happening?! reaction than when Lexi Thompson was slapped with a four-shot penalty during the final round of the ANA Inspiration.

Thompson was cruising, up by three with six holes to play, when she was notified of the infraction from a day earlier, after she sloppily marked a 1-foot putt.

“Is this is a joke?” she asked an official.

In tears, she staged an improbable rally, only to lose to So Yeon Ryu in a playoff. It would be the first of two heartbreaking finishes; at the season finale, she yipped a 2-footer that would have given her Player of the Year honors.

The governing bodies’ new reasonable-judgment standard wouldn’t exonerate Thompson, but the USGA and R&A now seems open to revisiting the more unfair issue – the post-round scorecard penalty, which added an additional two strokes to her card. 

It'll be a long offseason for Lexi.

This year's award winners ... 

Breakout Star of 2017: Jon Rahm. Already one of the game’s best from tee to green, he won three titles all over the globe – California, Ireland, Dubai – while playing many of these courses for the first time. Stud.

One Way to Go into the Offseason: Rickie Fowler. He erased a seven-shot final-round deficit with a career-low 61 that set a course and tournament record at the Hero. It was his third top-2 finish in his last four worldwide starts. Which is why ...

Breakthrough Pick for 2018: Rickie. He’s such a complete player, with a ton of big-game experience. Yes, he tempts us at every major, but a year of watching his pals win the big ones should light a fire under him.  

Most Overlooked Achievement: Branden Grace’s 62. We’d been waiting forever for someone to finally break the 63 barrier in a major. Grace finally did, on a windless day at Birkdale, but it’s been virtually forgotten because A) it happened in the third round, B) he didn’t win, and C) it was one of the most dramatic finishes in history. Hey, he still goes in the record books.

Quote of the Year: Johnny Miller, after Thomas broke his record for lowest U.S. Open score: “A 63 for a par 72 is a heck of a score, even if it was the Milwaukee Open.”

Best Celebration: Jordan Spieth and Michael Greller. Hard to believe, but a golfer and his caddie actually pulled off a cool celebration, connecting not on a high-five but a chest bump after holing a bunker shot to win the Travelers.

Who Got Next?: Patrick Cantlay. He’s already won in Vegas, and the former world No. 1 amateur is finally beginning to realize his immense potential after years on the sidelines because of a back injury and personal loss. Don’t be surprised if he contends for a major in 2018.

Redemption: I.K. Kim. Three years after blowing a 14-inch putt to win a major, Kim banished all of those demons by cruising to the Women’s British title at Kingsbarns. 

Look For a Comeback in 2018 From …: Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker. Bubba no longer plays a gimmicky ball that you’d find on a putt-putt course, and Walker should be able to put the toughest physical year of his life behind him with the proper Lyme disease medication.

Biggest Surprise: Stacy Lewis’ victory. The former world No. 1 had come so close so many times over the past few years, but to get back in the winner’s circle apparently she needed to open up her wallet. Before the tournament, she vowed to pledge all of her earnings to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. One of the year's feel-good stories.

What to Watch For: Governing bodies vs. golf manufacturers. Never before has there been such a drumbeat for a scaled-back ball or bifurcation. It promises to get very messy. Can’t wait!

Ryan Lavner

The Yips: “Once you’ve had em, you’ve got em…”

Many viewers of Tiger’s return (including his  former coach, Hank Haney ) observed his difficulty with a few “sticky” chips around the greens at the 2017 Hero World Challenge — it should be noted that other players did also have a similar problem dealing with the tight lies around the Albany greens, most notably Hideki Matsuyama. But Woods, who has had more consistent issues in the last few years, stubbed the ground behind the golf ball on a number of shots this week, and half-skulled a few others while trying to avoid the same result. We can pass it off as “rust,” but we have seen it from him before. So let’s talk about it for a bit.  The “yips,” as they are known, are one of the most frustrating problems that plague golfers, particularly professional golfers. The  physical  causes of the yips are well known; this is not some esoteric information known only to great players and coaches. We all know the  physical reasons, but the yips are not simply a physical problem. In fact, the physical might be a small part of the problem. The biggest part is the mental.  Everyone reading this has  yipped a chip , and we all know that the very next time that shot presents itself we are thinking about the yip. It’s difficult (if not impossible) to dismiss that last shot from the mind. And if it happens more than once, or more than few times, it might be  permanently  on one’s mind. That’s a huge problem if you play the game for a living. Brandel Chamblee, with whom I have publicly disagreed in the past, has a theory on this. He believes no great player has ever really gotten over the condition. I can’t say if that’s true or not, but it may be.  It’s been said, (I have read that Sam Snead might have said it first, but who knows where these things ever really come from) about the yips: “Once you’ve had ’em, you’ve got ’em.” How’s that for a scary thought? Who knows if it’s true, but one thing I do know is this; golf always seems to go for the jugular!  It seems as though every time I have ever stubbed a chip shot, very soon, if not the very next hole, I have to hit another chip from a tight lie. If I’ve just missed a short putt, very soon, if not the next hole, it also seems like I’ll knock it 5 feet past the hole. And what am I thinking about? You guessed it, the last missed short putt. So no amount of mental discipline seems to overcome these evil thoughts.  Hitting the ground behind the ball on a short shot is caused by one or any combinations of the following:  The leading edge of the wedge sticking in the ground  An early release with a closing face  Swaying off the ball  A path that is too inside-out (too far from the inside)  But as I noted, every tour player and coach KNOWS this all too well. The same player who once chipped in from behind the 16th green at Augusta with a Green Jacket on the line yipped some sticky chips last week. To me, that is not rust or a mechanical problem; it’s a mental one. I would like some professional psychologist or mind-discipline expert to chime in to advise all of us on how to overcome this problem. It’s easy enough to say: “Forget about it, stay present, play the shot at hand only.” But that seems almost impossible, or at the very least, difficult to do. “Don’t think about yipping this shot” is almost a sure fire way to do just that. It’s a vicious cycle.  If it’s on Tiger’s mind, the rest of us are in big trouble. Let’s hope Chamblee is wrong, but I have to wonder. Remember the down time in golf far exceeds any other game.  We are on the golf course 4+ hours, and in the act of swinging a club a total of only about two minutes. The rest of the time is thinking about swinging the club, and the outcomes. And unfortunately what we usually think about is the WORST shot we have hit in a situation, not the best. And when that shot is a short, chip from a tight-lie, well, that’s when the yips resurface.  The mechanical is correctable, but the mental is long-lasting.     By    Dennis Clark  

Many viewers of Tiger’s return (including his former coach, Hank Haney) observed his difficulty with a few “sticky” chips around the greens at the 2017 Hero World Challenge — it should be noted that other players did also have a similar problem dealing with the tight lies around the Albany greens, most notably Hideki Matsuyama. But Woods, who has had more consistent issues in the last few years, stubbed the ground behind the golf ball on a number of shots this week, and half-skulled a few others while trying to avoid the same result. We can pass it off as “rust,” but we have seen it from him before. So let’s talk about it for a bit.

The “yips,” as they are known, are one of the most frustrating problems that plague golfers, particularly professional golfers. The physical causes of the yips are well known; this is not some esoteric information known only to great players and coaches. We all know the physicalreasons, but the yips are not simply a physical problem. In fact, the physical might be a small part of the problem. The biggest part is the mental.

Everyone reading this has yipped a chip, and we all know that the very next time that shot presents itself we are thinking about the yip. It’s difficult (if not impossible) to dismiss that last shot from the mind. And if it happens more than once, or more than few times, it might be permanently on one’s mind. That’s a huge problem if you play the game for a living. Brandel Chamblee, with whom I have publicly disagreed in the past, has a theory on this. He believes no great player has ever really gotten over the condition. I can’t say if that’s true or not, but it may be.

It’s been said, (I have read that Sam Snead might have said it first, but who knows where these things ever really come from) about the yips: “Once you’ve had ’em, you’ve got ’em.” How’s that for a scary thought? Who knows if it’s true, but one thing I do know is this; golf always seems to go for the jugular!

It seems as though every time I have ever stubbed a chip shot, very soon, if not the very next hole, I have to hit another chip from a tight lie. If I’ve just missed a short putt, very soon, if not the next hole, it also seems like I’ll knock it 5 feet past the hole. And what am I thinking about? You guessed it, the last missed short putt. So no amount of mental discipline seems to overcome these evil thoughts.

Hitting the ground behind the ball on a short shot is caused by one or any combinations of the following:

The leading edge of the wedge sticking in the ground

An early release with a closing face

Swaying off the ball

A path that is too inside-out (too far from the inside)

But as I noted, every tour player and coach KNOWS this all too well. The same player who once chipped in from behind the 16th green at Augusta with a Green Jacket on the line yipped some sticky chips last week. To me, that is not rust or a mechanical problem; it’s a mental one. I would like some professional psychologist or mind-discipline expert to chime in to advise all of us on how to overcome this problem. It’s easy enough to say: “Forget about it, stay present, play the shot at hand only.” But that seems almost impossible, or at the very least, difficult to do. “Don’t think about yipping this shot” is almost a sure fire way to do just that. It’s a vicious cycle.

If it’s on Tiger’s mind, the rest of us are in big trouble. Let’s hope Chamblee is wrong, but I have to wonder. Remember the down time in golf far exceeds any other game.  We are on the golf course 4+ hours, and in the act of swinging a club a total of only about two minutes. The rest of the time is thinking about swinging the club, and the outcomes. And unfortunately what we usually think about is the WORST shot we have hit in a situation, not the best. And when that shot is a short, chip from a tight-lie, well, that’s when the yips resurface.

The mechanical is correctable, but the mental is long-lasting.

 

By

 Dennis Clark