Tuesday, July 27, 2004 at 1:22 AM
While most of them sucked, there were several really phenomenal swings. One little girl must have been only 8 years-old tops and she had a swing to die for. While she hit her driver only 150 yds., she pured each and every one. She had a great setup, Els-like tempo, and gymnast flexibility. "A young Michelle Wie," you say? Well, that's exactly what I thought.
Unfortunately, watching this future LPGA Hall of Famer only depressed me about my own swing. In fact, after a couple of bad shots I was too embarrassed to continue. I thought, I've been playing this friggin' game for longer than this kid has been alive, and yet she makes me look like I swing the club like Charles Barkeley. Should I quit and just write about golf in a golf blog? I decided to play a round, hoping to find my swing somewhere on the course.
I joined 3 other hackers for a round. Luckily, none of these guys were better than me, so my confidence was bouyed. None of us played well and we were all at least 8 over after 6 holes. The 7th hole is a par 3 and it was backed up as usual. I struck up a conversation among my playing partners about the state of our games. I learned that we were all in the same boat, all of us fruitlessly trying to improve failing golf swings. I felt better knowing that I wasn't the only one to suffer from a "slump."
As we were commiserating with each other, an 8-year kid from the threesome behind us walked up to our teebox and proclaimed ecstatically, "I'm only 2 over after 6 holes!" He had a look on his face that said, "Isn't that great! This game is so easy. Soon I'll be better than Tiger!"
Well, nothing eats at your craw more than someone boasting about their golf game when your's is headed to the sewer. Now you can imagine how much of my craw was left when a kid, who still has 5 years until he can see "Whale Rider," is doing the boasting.
My playing partners were nice enough to praise the kid for his score, but there was no way I was kissing his little arse. I grumbled, "WTF, how the hell could this kid be only 2 over. Is this game really that easy? No way. His parents must be fudging the score to make him feel good." I looked at the kid's parents in disbelief and they only smiled proudly. I rolled my eyes as I set my 8-iron behind my Pro V1.
I struck the ball well, and hit the green. "Nice shot!" exclaimed the little golf devil. I flashed a stupid Mickelson smirk, but it still didn't make up for this latest cruel stunt pulled by the Golf Gods...
Monday, July 19, 2004 at 9:38 AM
While I agree that equipment is a big factor in golf performance, I think that it is relatively minor in Tiger's case. Here are some reasons:
- Tiger is still missing fairways with a Titleist PT 3-wood that he has used for more than 6 years.
- Tiger rarely hits his 2-iron "stinger" off the tee anymore, a shot that always hit the fairway. Now, when he does hit it, a fairway isn't guaranteed.
- Tiger went back to the Titleist 975D driver last year at the Battle of The Bridges, only to miss even more fairways.
- Tiger has an exit clause in his Nike equipment contract that allows him to play any equipment that he wants. So why would he play with any equipment that wasn't best suited for him? Tiger was seen using drivers from other manufacturers (Taylormade, Titleist, etc.) during the "silly"-season last year, so he clearly utilizes this exit clause.
My favorite channel recently confirmed Tiger's dramatic swing changes. They compared Tiger's God-like swing of 2001 vs. his current swing. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out the next 3,000+ words:
If Tiger was missing fairways with the swing that he had before, then, maybe, his equipment would be to blame. But, as these pictures clearly illustrate, his swing is not the same.
The most dramatic change is Tiger's position at the top. What do you think?
Labels: Tiger Woods
Monday, July 12, 2004 at 11:14 PM
Anyone who's ever gotten the case of the $hanks, knows the misery of this affliction. Unfortunately, there is no known 100% remedy.
The $hanks hit me for the first time about 2 months ago while I was golfing in San Diego (Torrey Pines and Barona) with some friends. The trip started out great as my "A" game surfaced at the Torrey Pines South Course to produce a legit 84 from the white tees (6,885 yards) in conditions last seen in the movie, "The Perfect Storm." Torrential rain and winds actually halted our play for about an hour. After my magical round, I thanked the Golf Gods and sacrificed one of my Pro V1s to appease them.
The next day, we played Barona. I shared a cart that day with my buddy Anthony, a low single-digit handicap. Things began much like the previous day with my "A" game still intact, carrying me even par through the first two holes. I thought, "Damn, I am finally becoming a good golfer just like Anth!" The Golf Gods must have heard my over-confidence. On the 3rd hole, both me and Anth hit good drives within 10 yards of each other with about 150 yards to the pin. Anth hit first, but shockingly full on $hanked his 7-iron about 20 yards dead right! I stood there in disbelief, wondering how this could happen to such an accomplished golfer. This is a dude who once played on a college golf team. I was thinking, "If the $hanks can happen to Anth, then it could damn well happen to me" as I setup for my next shot. With that thought penetrated deep within my psyche, I also $hanked my 7-iron.
The disease seemed to spread in epidemic fashion as my buddy John exhibited preliminary symptoms on the next hole with a topped fairway wood (it would have been a $hank if fairway woods had exposed hosels). Our friend Larry noticed the rapid spread of the apparent airborne virus and kept a safe distance from all of us. Luckily, he was spared.
At the time, I thought that the $hanks would only be a brief phenomenon. You know, something that would vanish after a good night's rest. I couldn't be more wrong. Virtually every round that I have played since, I have $hanked a shot. I've tried to fix it at the range, only to $hank it with more frequency. Recently, I have nightmares where I'm on course to shoot a 58, only to $hank my approach shot on the last hole into the drink. I think I now have a pretty good idea what Finchy went through in the mid 1990s.
I've heard that President Bush is focused on the development of next generation weapons systems. Based on my experience, I recommend that Bush look at weaponizing the $hanks. It is truly a dangerous and undefeatable force. Look what it did to Darren Clarke!
Monday, July 05, 2004 at 9:56 AM
Why you ask? Well, who doesn't get a chuckle or two out of David Feherty's and Gary McCord's witty comments? But the real reason is CBS' super-slow motion "SwingVision" swing analysis feature. It's the coolest thing in golf broadcasting since...well let's be honest, there haven't been that many cool innovations in golf broadcasting ever.
SwingVision takes slo-mo and kicks it up a notch. It's able to capture the full golf swing at an astounding 1,000 frames per second (fps)! But what really makes it cooler than other slo-mo features, is that there is a camera solely focused on the ball at impact. You know how they say to "hit down" with your irons? While it's true, it's probably one of the hardest things to comprehend in the golf swing. I know that it took me a very long time to fully understand the concept. Well, it is instantly understood when you see a close-up of Tiger's 7-iron (my guess) spanking the rock on a descending path and then clipping a shallow divot in textbook fashion:
SwingVision is a great feature that tremendously improves watching golf on TV. I only wish that CBS used it more. And why not? I mean, there's usually enough downtime during a typical golf coverage to fit in a full-length feature film.
Anyway, if there's enough interest, I can try to dig up some more SwingVision screen shots. I think I can get screenshots of Tiger and Els hitting the driver. Please leave comments of what you want to see, and I'll see what I can do. Stay tuned.
P.S. Here's the video of Tiger hitting iron off the tee:
The following are some additional SwingVision-related posts on Grouchy Golf. Eventually, I'll have all the videos available for you to enjoy, so be sure to check back in the future!:
Vijay Singh Driver
Briny Baird Iron Video
Ernie Els Driver
Darren Clarke Shank Video
Ernie Els 3-Wood Video
Justin Leonard Driver Video
Tiger Woods Iron II Video
In addition, check out the Eye of the Tiger. It is a great video that gives you an idea of what Tiger Woods sees when he makes his super swing!
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