This Butch Harmon interview is awesome. Dude still has the golf bug after all these years.
Shane Bacon at Yahoo:
Long drives are fun, but go to any website that had a recap of the best golf shots of 2012 and find me one booming tee ball that made the list.
Something depressing about this. I really think that putting is about a free swing, not having the club stuffed against your body.
I also find it amusing that pro golfers in favor of the ban say there is no evidence that it helps. If that’s the case, then why fight so hard for it?
If the USGA can’t pass this rule, then what can it pass? Does the PGA Tour just take over and make all the rules? Is that a good thing? (I don’t think so.)
The fact that Tiger Woods changed his swing multiple times in his career is generally seen by the golf elite as a baffling mistake.
His Butch Harmon-swing in 2000 is widely regarded as one of the finest ever.
If you can get past the fact that he has changed his swing, and just think about the fact that he has changed it and still performed at the highest levels of the sport, it’s pretty mind-boggling.
Scott Eden has an excellent story for ESPN The Magazine on Woods’ swing changes. Here’s the key paragraph that puts in context what Woods has done:
WITH ALL DUE respect to the 14 majors, 74 wins and historic victory margins, the greatest act of Woods’ career, the constant and complete reinvention of his game, has been almost universally reviled. Other than the lurid soap opera of his private life, arguably nothing has brought Woods so much derision as his major swing changes. But now, nearly two decades after that Amateur in Florida, Woods appears to be on the verge of completing the unthinkable: disassembling, reconstructing and mastering his golf swing for the third time in his career. Not only has no other player ever attempted such a thing, no other player has ever conceived of it — though perhaps a better way of putting it is: No other player would ever want to conceive of it.
Mahogany Run is the only course on St. Thomas. So, if you’re there on vacation and want to play golf, you’re playing here.
Luckily, the course is fantastic. It’s a short course packed with interesting angles and great views. While the greens fees are a tad steep ($170 during the day, $115 twilight) it’s worth it. I mean, what else are you going to do? Sit around on the beach? Boring.
Below is the good, the bad, and my overall assessment.
It’s only a touch longer than 6,000 yards from the back tees, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in strategy. There are a lot of dog legs, elevation changes, blind shots, and narrow openings for drives. It’s a fun course that makes you think. The greens, which are small, are excellent. The course routes out to the water, and it’s beautiful.
Because it’s short, you’re not going to play a diversity of iron shots. You could play the front nine with driver or hybrid from the tee, and wedges and 8-irons from the fairways the rest of the way. There’s something slightly boring about just hitting driver, wedge. But, in this course you barely notice it. I didn’t even realize until after my round.
The par-3s are all pretty much the same distance. They’re all in the 130-160 yard range. And other than the 14th hole which is on the ocean, they sort of look alike.
You have to take a cart. I’m not a fan of carts. Especially in a place with great views, you want to walk to take it all in.
Figuring out yardages is tough. I couldn’t use my iPhone because Verizon doesn’t work on St. Thomas. I don’t have a rangefinder. There are no sprinkler heads with yardages. So I was eyeballing it using the 200, 150, and 100 yard markers are my guides.
Like I said, I really like this course. The course is carved into a hilly landscape so there are fun angles, and weird bounces. You’ll want to play it twice so you get the know the course and what’s going to happen. Also, bring a lot of extra balls with you because you will lose balls. This is not the course to crack open that new box of ProV1s.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
And, now for a deep dive, here’s my hole-by-hole review (as best I can remember each hole.)
It’s an economic problem, according to Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein:
1990 to 2000 was the most innovative decade in the game’s history, yet during this period, golf participation in the U.S. and Europe flatlined. Golf is a game of the middle class, and golf has a demographic issue. In the Western world, today’s middle class is the same size as in the early 1990s.
I watched just about every minute of the Abu Dhabi tournament with Rory and Tiger.
They both missed the cut. Tiger missed because of a strange, semi-bogus ruling about an embedded ball that led to him getting a two-shot penalty after the round was over. Bummer for the people that paid an estimated $4 million for both of them to show up!
Anyway, here are the high-level take aways from the first event of 2013. Since this is set up to be a big year for both of them, this is not exactly a great start, but it’s more worrisome for Rory than Tiger.
- Tiger beat Rory again when the two are paired together. Going into this event, ESPN STATS reported: “Woods and McIlroy have been grouped together nine different times in official events around the world. Seven of those times, Woods has posted the better score. In fact, in those nine rounds, Tiger is a combined 38-under, while Rory is 24-under.” Tiger shot a +3 to Rory’s +6 in this event, which continues his head-to-head dominance. I bet he’d like to be matched with Rory for a big Sunday this year!
- Tiger appears to have improved his short game. I don’t have any stats handy to prove it, so maybe I’m wrong, but watching the round it felt like Tiger was putting and pitching very well. From 120 and in he seemed like a better shot. This is encouraging for the outlook of the rest of the season.
- Tiger needs to figure out how to hit a driver. It’s just crazy that he’s always hitting 5 and 3 woods. He’s consistently giving up 100 yards or more to other players. Life would be much easier if he could figure it out. I know he’s always struggled, but come on man.
- Overall, there was more to positive than negative about for Tiger. Yes, he missed the cut, but it was based on bad driving. He can fix that as the season progresses. The short game is in much better shape than it was this time a year ago.
- Rory, on the other hand, looked lost out there. After every shot he was slumping his shoulders. He was hooking things, he was coming up short, it was just not good and his body language made it look like he was shooting 20 over par.
- Rory is always streaky, so maybe he’s a in a rut. The problem with that is that he won’t play for another four weeks. And with the transition to new equipment, he needs more time on the course.
- It’s unclear how Rory handles the pressure of Nike. When Rory is winning, he’s the nicest guy in the world. When he struggles, he can be a little curt with the press and annoyed. This year’s story for him, if he has more bad rounds like this, will be all about Nike. And he is going to hate that.
- Bottom line: It’s the start of a long year; We can’t learn too much from one week.