Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lexi Thompson

source; womenplayball.com

I generally do not cover much in my blog about the LPGA Tour but wanted to include this post about Lexi Thompson.  Coming off a weekend where Michelle Wie captured her first major championship victory many other bloggers are writing about her and deservedly so.  She deserved to win and played a great US Open championship.  However, Lexi Thompson is playing great and for such a young player she continues to stand out.  I first watched her play last fall in the Solheim Cup and was immediately impressed.  She plays a fearless, aggressive style of golf.  The style of golf most great champions play.  The style of golf that wins major championships not “The Screen Door Open” as Lee Trevino would say. 
At the Kraft Nabisco Championship this spring she sprang to the top of the leaderboard in impressive style.  That is when I first noticed “the look”.  When Raymond Floyd was in his prime he had “the stare”.  That is what I liken Lexi’s look to.  They say the window to the soul is through the eyes.  If that is the case then I think the LPGA tour better pay very close attention to this young lady.  Not only is she one of the longest players on tour, she is one of the most aggressive. She hits driver where others layup, she attacks pins instead of aiming for the middle of the green and she is out there to hole putts.  Now this style of play sometimes backfires on days when the player’s timing is slightly off.  People might say that she is just young and that her game will mature.  That she will learn how to manage the course and her game better.  That may be true and there is no doubt she will continue to progress as a professional.  What stands out to me though is the internal drive and desire to win.  She possesses a competitive spirit that cannot be taught by a swing guru or sports psychologist.  These are intangibles that make a player not just good but great.  That is what I see in her stare.  The fact that she has this look while under pressure during a major championship says a lot. 
I can think of a few other great champions who had an intense stare under pressure; Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and Tom Watson.  I am not trying to compare her career to these great professionals.  What I am saying is that if you watch Lexi closely the next time she is on TV; keep an eye out for the stare.  I think that stare is an expression that’s says, here I come, I am playing to win and I will do whatever it takes to bring home this championship. 
It will be fun to watch Lexi mature as a champion and she if she can continue to translate this look into more wins.  I would be very surprised if it did not. Who knows she may be the next American player to hold the #1 in world ranking.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sunnehanna Amateur

source; sunnehanna.com

The 61st Sunnehanna Amateur Golf Championship will be held June 11th-14th at Sunnehanna country Club in Johnstown, PA.  This tournament hold a special place in my heart because it is held in my hometown and on a fabulous A.W.Tillinghast designed golf course.  I have played Sunnehanna Country Club many times in my life going back to my junior golf days and it is still one of my favorite golf courses in the country.  Not only is Sunnehanna a visually stunning property it is always in amazing condition.  So, if you have the chance to play this storied layout I highly recommend you take that opportunity. 
Over the years as I have traveled I have asked people if they ever heard of the Sunnehanna Amateur.  Most people say that they have not.  When I tell them it is one of the top amateur events in the country they are surprised that they have never heard of it.  It may be a well-kept secret but I would like to play a small part in changing that.  Here is a recent fact I found this week on Facebook regarding the Sunnehanna Amateur.  There are only two amateur golf tournaments that Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger woods and Phil Mickelson have played in: the Sunnehanna Amateur and the United States Amateur.  This pretty much proves my point that it is one of the most prestigious amateur golf events in the country.
I had the opportunity to watch Phil Mickelson play in the Sunnehanna Amateur when he was a junior at ASU.  I still remember him hitting his three wood off of the first tee and being amazed at how long he hit the ball.  I also remember him carrying doglegs and hitting shots that I just did not see.  You could tell even back then he was going to be an amazing player in the professional ranks.
Another neat part about attending the Sunnehanna Amateur is walking through the clubhouse.  There are pictures, trophies and memorabilia through the facility and it is really neat to see pictures of the great players who have played in the championship over the years. 
If you want to watch some of the future stars of the PGA tour, on a storied golf course, in a beautiful part of the country, you must attended this event at least once.  I promise you, that you will not be disappointed.  While in the area bring your golf clubs and play some of the great public course nearby.
Please visit their website for more information, www.sunnehanna.com
If you make it to Sunnehanna post your comments, we would love to hear what you think about the property and the championship.