Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Friday, June 24, 2011

Rory McIlroy wins the US Open, not a surprise

source; Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

It has been several days since Rory McIlroy stunned the world with his record breaking victory at the 2011 US Open at Congressional Country Club. I say surprising not that he won. Rather, they way he blew away the field, ala Tiger in 2000. Far be it from me to analyze his performance or the records he set. As usual I will let that up to the experts who do it for a living every day.

I have to recount a phone conversation I had with my brother just after the Tiger Woods accident in November 2009.  Like all other golfers we were discussing the Tiger Slam, errrrrrrr crash and who would benefit from Tigers absence on the Professional Golf scene. He asked me who I thought would benefit the most and I told him Rory McIlroy, while he picked Phil Mickelson. He thought Phil would benefit the most because of the fanfare. Given Phil’s life situation at the time and his connection with the fans he felt Phil had the most to gain.

He wanted to know why I thought Rory McIlroy would benefit the most. First, I told him that I believed that Rory had that something special that you see in very few players. He had that extra gear that most pros do not have and cannot call on at will. We all know what that extra gear looks like as Jack and Tiger have displayed it many times in competition. Very few players can command more from their game at precisely the right moment, under pressure to win golf tournaments. Not to take anything away from the other tour players, it is just there are those special few who can take their game up a notch in majors. In my opinion, Rory is in that category. I am NOT comparing him to Tiger and Jack, all I am saying is that he has the extra gear and we saw it at Congressional.

Second, I felt that with Tiger off the tour for awhile young players like Rory would have the opportunity to grow. They would have the opportunity to win more often, gain confidence and establish themselves as champions. We all remember how intimidating Tiger was in major championships to proven tour players, let along young guys like Rory. Much of winning at the highest level is confidence and a certain swagger. You need to believe in yourself, your game and your ability to win on the back nine of a major.

Finally, I felt that Rory has an incredible golf swing, great short game and flowing putting stroke. Now, one can argue that many players have those same qualities and I would agree to a certain point. The difference is that Rory brings that game to the course just about every time he plays. Most players are “on” any given week in one or two of those three areas but not all three.

So, where does Rory go from here? Only time will tell. I am sure like most major champions he will be burdened with press obligations, hounded by fans, hire a new swing coach, get new equipment and be travel weary for the next year. I hope that does not happen. I hope he comes out at the Open Championship next month, puts himself in a position to win and we get a chance to see that young, great talent compete once again for a major.

With all that talent, much less pressure and tremendous confidence, it is going to be fun to watch Rory the rest of his career.

How do you think Rory will do going forward?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Watching the US Open

                                   Source www.veteranticketsfoundation.org

The US Open begins this week at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda Maryland. For Americans this is our National Championship, our oldest running competitive golf event and holds special meaning to us. I love to watch the US Open because it is a unique event in golf. Not to take anything away from the Open Championship played in Great Britain. For most American Golfers it is difficult for us to relate to the style of golf played across the pond. I have had the opportunity to attend several US Opens in person, both men’s and women’s and they are a fantastic golf event to see live.

Here are some of the reason I love to watch the US Open on TV, in person and now on the Internet;

• The US Open tests the players like no other championship. Every aspect of their game is challenged and exposed throughout the championship

• As spectators we get a chance to see some of the great golf courses our country has to offer in perfect shape and splendid color. Since most of the US Open sites are played on private golf courses this is our only chance to see them

• The Championship is a true test of golf, not a driver wedge event like some many PGA tour stops

• We get a chance to see the players struggle like the rest of us. Most weeks on tour you do not see the pros three putt, hit shots fifty yards out of the rough, make triple bogey’s and so on.

• Leading up to the Championship I enjoy watching all of the coverage of the event by the experts. You get detailed analysis about the players, course, history, injuries

• In recent years we have seen some classic Phil Mickelson dramatics at the end of the US Open, they usually come on the back nine on Sunday. Let’s see what Phil the Thrill has in store for us this week

• There are usually a few “no name” players and international players that pop up on the leader board throughout the event. It gives us a chance to see players that we normally do not see on the PGA tour

• The US Open is the only major that has an 18 hole playoff should two or more players be tied after play on the final round. Remember Tiger and Rocco at Torrey Pines? Or, Ernie, Monty and Loren Roberts at Oakmont

• The US Open produces so many great memories and shots in the history of the game. Who can forget Watson’s chip in at Pebble, TC Chen’s double hit at Oakland Hills, Corey Pavin’s 5 Wood at Shinnecock, Tigers blowout victory at Pebble, Lee Trevino throwing the toy snake at Nicklaus at Medina. The list goes on and on, feel free to add your own in the comment section

• Last but not least Johnny Millers 63 in the final round of the 1973 Open at Oakmont. Not to mention that he gets choked up every year as he talks about the US Open and usually sheds a tear while doing the telecast

So, let’s gear up for another exciting US Open and see what drama unfolds this week on another classic American golf course

What do you like about watching the US Open, leave a comment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

2011 Sunnehanna Amateur

                                                          source; sunnehanna.com

The 2011 Sunnehanna Amateur begins this week in Johnstown, PA. The Sunnehanna Country Club is a hidden gem in this part of the country. The club opened in 1923 and was originally design by famed architect A.W. Tillinghast. Tillinghast designed many famous golf courses including current US Open Sites; Bethpage Black on Long Island, Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower and Upper Courses), and Winged Foot (East and West Course).

The Sunnehanna Amateur, which has been held annually since the mid 1950s, is one of the Premiere Amateur Golf events in the United States today. However, most people have never heard of the event because it does not get national attention such as the US Amateur or US Public Links Championships, both USGA events. Instead, the Sunnehanna Amateur is an invitational that attracts the top amateurs from around the country. The event is played over three days for 72 holes. The guys play 18, 36, 18 from Friday to Sunday.

I attended the event on several occasions, as Johnstown is my hometown. I had the opportunity to watch Phil Mickelson play there when he was a junior at ASU. Back then he had the flipped-up collar and was much thinner. I remember two things about that round. First, Phil was extremely long as an amateur, using the old Yonex Composite Woods. Second, he carried doglegs and trees that I did not think were humanly possible. In the early 90s, I also had the opportunity to watch Allen Doyle make eagle on the par 4 8th hole. My dad and I had just arrived at the course when we stopped to watch Allen hit his approach. The ball hit pin high, spun left down the hill and into the jar. Allen won the event four times then went on to win on the Champions Tour. Another notable amateur from Pennsylvania that won the event several times was Jay Siegel.

Other winners of the event over the years were Don Cherry, Tommy Aaron, Leonard Thompson, Howard Twitty, Ben Crenshaw, John Cook, Bobby Clampett, Brad Faxon, Scott Verplank, Billy Andrade, Lucas Glover, Web Simpson, and most recently Ricky Fowler who won in back to back years.

In case you are wondering if Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods played in the event, the answer is yes. Other popular players included Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Hal Sutton, Bob Tway and so on.

If you ever have the chance to watch the Sunnehanna Amateur, I recommend it. If history holds true, you will likely see some future tour winners and major champions. The event is always held in early to mid June. Another interesting thing to do is walk around the historic clubhouse and see all the photos and memorabilia and take in the rich, deep history this special club.

I’ve played the course several times and it’s fantastic. The greens are perfectly manicured and fast, and the course design is challenging. It’s been a few years since I’ve last played there, but I’ll have the chance again in a few weeks when Sunnehanna hosts the qualifier for the Pennsylvania Mid Amateur.


Friday, June 3, 2011

My wife came to me recently, asking about golf etiquette as it relates to business.

“If you invite a business client to golf and you’re playing a lot better than him, do you fudge a few shots so that you don’t embarrass him, or do you play your best to impress him?”

Golf Etiquette has a long history and is an integral part of the game. Traditionally, etiquette on the golf course is a learned behavior from simply being around the game for many years. I haven’t seen too many books or instructional videos on the concept.

I define etiquette on the golf course as a behavior that respects yourself, the golf course, your fellow players, and the history of the game. Like any sport, the game of golf is always attracting new players. Most beginning golfers, and even some who have been around the game for a while, never had the opportunity to learn the unwritten rules of etiquette that most seasoned players expect on the course. Most golf or pro shops don’t teach you etiquette when you buy a set of golf clubs for the first time. So, if you are new to the sport, take the time to learn the basics about golf etiquette before you hit the links.

Here are a few basics to golf etiquette

Before teeing off:

• Turn off the ringer on your cell phone or don’t bring it onto the course.

• If you do bring your phone, be mindful of talking, texting, taking pictures and tweeting, which can annoy and break the concentration of your fellow players.

• Remind yourself to play by the rules. Golf has a lot of them, so become familiar with at least the basic rules of play.

At the tee box:

Play by who has the honor system. Whoever has the honor gets to tee off first and the next lowest score goes second and so on.

In the fairway and approaching the green:

• Drive the golf carts in intended areas only; follow the signs!

• Replace your divots.

• Watch where you stand when a fellow player is about to play a shot. It is best to give them space and stand behind their plane of view.

• Do not talk, shout, yell or clap while a fellow player is hitting a shot.

• Keep up a steady pace. Don’t backup the course; keep play moving.

• If your ball travels to an unknown destination or towards another player- for their safety and your wallet - yell FOUR!

In a bunker:

• Rake the sand traps after hitting your shot.

• Knock the sand off of your shoes after hitting your bunker shot and before walking onto the green.

On the green:

• If your ball landed hard on the green, fix your ball mark. There are right and wrong ways to fix the mark. The best way is to insert your repair tool at the edge of the mark and pull toward its center to try to lift up the depressed turf, then tap down on the repaired area with your putter to make the putting surface even.

• Do not walk across the putting line of your fellow players on the green.

• If it’s a sunny day, be mindful of your shadow, not letting it fall across the putting line of your fellow players.

• Remember to tend the flag if requested, if asked or pull the flag when you fellow player is on the green.

After the round:

• After the round you should remove your hat, look your fellow players in the eye and shake their hands.

• If you used a caddie, it is customary to shake their hand as well.

Please leave a comment with some other golf etiquette tips.

source; lifestyle.resourcesforattorneys.com