Sergio Garcia sinks the final putt at the Masters and ends his long wait to win a major golf tournament. So it took seventy something tries at toiling and hitting shots in the bunker before the golf gods rewarded him an ugly green jacket. Okay, it’s not ugly to him but I don’t see too many of those around town. So I hear a lot of pundits calling this redemption. I have been always confused when I hear the redemption word. What makes Sergio Garcia’s victory redemption? Webster dictionary says this:
- An act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
- Deliverance; rescue.
- Theology. Deliverance from sin; salvation.
- Atonement for guilt.
- Repurchase, as of something sold.
- Paying off, as of a mortgage, bond, or note.
- Recovery by payment, as of something pledged.
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There comes a point when as a golfer that you say to yourself, “I need some lessons, new clubs and play more.” I have been saying this for a few years now and finally made the first step and purchased a quality driver. The driver costs more than what I paid for my whole set. I did my diligence on the internet and found one that fit the budget without creating a big discussion with my wife. I saved my pennies and went down to the golf shop, got fitted and went to blast away on their course simulator. It felt right in my hand and I was excited to let it rip on the course. Even though in the golf course simulator I barely could hit it 180 yards, I thought this was just an aberration until on got onto the links.
So pull out my Taylor M1 Driver on the 1st hole with a 380 yard distance. The grip on the club feels good in the hand and I think that I cannot miss with this behemoth of a club head. I take a few practice swings and I keep it in my head not to swing for the fences. I focus on mechanics and just want to hit one down the middle of the fairway. I would settle for 225 yard drive if it just played down the middle. My golf buddies are watching and they know I am using a new driver. They expect a big shot. I smoothly go into my backswing and focus on lining up my downward motion. Crack, I nail it. Ut oh, it begins to fade, and then really fade and now I am thirty yards into the middle of the fairway next to ours. Shame and embarrassment ensues and there is a short period of silence, then followed by, “oh crap”.
I know you golfers have had this type of shame and disappointment, plenty of times. If I hit the ball three hundreds on that first drive then I would have wondered why wouldn’t anybody go out and get a driver like this. It is my golfers dream to hit my drives 280 to 300 yards down the middle. Of course we all have those dreams but most will settle for just hitting the ball in fairway with respectable distance. Now what am I going to do. Before I throw in the towel and let a pro tell me what to do, I will be stubborn and try to work it out by my own means.
There will have to be some time and investment that I will attempt without the obvious need for a few good tips. There are devices on the internet that you can set up to analyze your swing by using your cell phone and an application. The next step is hit a few hundred buckets of balls. This will be a challenge to figure the right mechanics and swing speed to get this going in the right direction. After I have somewhat have the ability to hit a straight shot, I want some distance. I know that by increasing my swing speed will be the biggest obstacle and challenge in my long ball pursuit.
Even though golf is probably the most frustrating and biggest mind screw of a game there comes lot self-satisfaction when the shot you have shanked hundreds of times goes where you aimed. Once you get to level when you approach a 90 score, you get excited for that you are improving. Yes that 300 yard drive is out there for me to obtain but I know that a lot of slices and 200 yard worm burners have to be hit before I even sniff 280 yards. Happy Hacking!
You see it all the time in the sporting news, the expected winner doesn’t pull through and it gets labeled a choke job and a major disappointment. Yes, the Englishman, Danny Willet did win the 2016 Masters and did deserve it just like Jordan Spieth didn’t choke the tournament. Spieth had a bad 12th hole and it will be remembered as the defining moment of this tournament and the largest deficit to be overcome on the final nine. Chalk up that misfortune and to many other failures in the history of professional golf tournament play.
What most of those who actually watched the Masters, knew that Danny Willet was playing steady and consistently throughout. He wasn’t making a lot of birdies until when he really needed them on the back nine on the last day. He recorded the low score of the day, 67, to me, that is championship golf, stay close and put together a run at the end. Bravo!
Those same Masters viewers saw Spieth bogey the 10th and 11th and in the back of their mind thought this thing is still open to a couple of guys to win. Sure enough, the infamous 12th hole became his Waterloo and his hopes of winning the Masters was washed away. Spieth was in the driver’s seat for the whole tournament and that in itself is incredible. The young man is playing above the rest of the field and probably will learn more from those three holes than any other for the duration of his career.
Danny Willet is a great story and a humbled young man and golfer. He didn’t know if he was even going to play prior to the tournament due to the birth of his son. He was the last golfer to arrive at Augusta and took the number 89, the same number Jack Nicklaus wore in 1986 to win the tourney. In the post-match interviews, he knew how his victory came at the expense of another golfers failings and he was very humble in victory. On the contrary, all of the big time golfers know, that could happen to anybody in any tournament.
This year’s tournament was a Jordan Spieth highlight reel along with an unheralded player snatching the victory. Lost in the hoopla were the three hole in ones recorded on hole 16 which has never happened in Masters history. Davis Love III and Shane Lowry both recorded aces along with a bank shot by Louis Oosthuizen that stands as the most incredible in Masters history. For a lot of years, the Masters is a marginally entertaining event without drama but this year delivered the goods with a thrill of victory and agony of defeat. If Jordan Spieth would have won wire to wire, everybody would be singing his praises for years. The tables are turned and the story has changed to how both Jordan Spieth and Danny Willet come out of this tournament and the evolution of their careers.
Photo 1 – www.thegolfchannel.com
Photo 2 – www.yahoosports.com
It was 100 degrees outside, the ballgame and the PGA Championship was on TV, the couch was inviting and the AC was turned down, heaven. The PGA Championship was one of the better golf tournaments I have seen broadcasted on TV. First you have the incredible rounds that Jason Day and Jordan Speith put together, but the stories behind the two golfers was also compelling. In addition, the coverage of the event was superb with technology that follows ball trajectory, the close up of putts and super slow motion of the club face hitting the ball was very captivating.
Jason Day, Australian, as you know won this event in record fashion with an amazing minus twenty under to hold off Jordan Speith who was breathing down his neck all day. They started the day with Day having a two stroke lead and ended with Day holding a three stroke advantage. All eyes were on Day to see if he could withstand the pressure of Speith and play a great final round of golf. Day did just that by blasting incredibly long drives that gave him good fair way looks. Jordan Speith couldn’t match Day on the driving portion but he has proven to be an accurate shot maker and very good putter. This combination of skills has made him the number one player in the world, overtaking Rory McIlroy with an amazing run this year.
The story within the story is Jason Day’s path to glory. His father passed away when he was young, his mom struggled to raise him so she sells her home to put him into a boarding school. While there, Day discovers golf and meets his mentor, father figure and lifelong caddie, Colin Swatton. For fifteen years the two have been a team and they hugged with the tears of joys flowing when Day sank the final putt. Those who were rooting for Speith couldn’t help see how this victory was life changing for Jason Day.
Jason Day didn’t crumble under the pressure, in fact it appeared to make him stronger. When you have the number one golfer chasing you, Day’s performance was rock solid. Only once did I see him hit an awkward shot, and he was able rein it in and keep the shot mastery moving forward. It was a good day for the golf world, the tournament scoring was record setting, the competition was fierce and the young guns are making everybody forget about Tiger Woods. Salute Jason Day and Jordan Speith!
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Jason Day has been there, done that, being the leader or in contention on the final day of a Major. The problem that he and everybody knows is that if he doesn’t win this championship, he will continue to carry around the crown of “I could of been a contender”. Marlon Brando and I are pulling for him, in a serious way. One major issue he has to contend with is Jordan Speith, the elephant in the room. Speith is surging with an amazing round of 65 on Saturday.
If you don’t know Jason Day’s story, it is not one of despair, just a lot of good performance that have not yielded him a PGA Major victory. He has been so close in the Masters, the British Open and the US Open, but only to be surpassed in a case of the last day follies.
The final rounds in professional golf are the most nerve racking that requires a Superman effort to contain. I don’t know how the players deal with pressure because it is so personal and each player must go inward to find some inner mojo. Hopefully your caddy can keep you from shanking into a sand trap or water hazard. The stories are long and painful of the golfers who let victory out of their grasp. On the contrary, most times it is because another player steps up and plays a masterful round with an array of birdies and deadly putting. Not sure if Justin Day or Jordan Speith will win today or some raging bull from lower down on the board.
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The British Open played at St. Andrews, introduced a handful of potential stars, some older champions and of course Jordan Spieth. This was a unique Open for various reasons, two of three amateurs landed in the top twelve and the third, Paul Dunne was contending until the final round on Sunday. Nothing to take away from Zach Johnson’s victory but it seem like the biggest stories were about the amateurs and the elephant in the room, Spieth.
The three amateurs where Oliver Schniederjans, top college player from Georgia Tech, Jordan Niebrugge a senior from Oklahoma State and Paul Dunne from Ireland. Schniederjans finished at nine under par with a solid round of 67 on the final day which put him at twelfth place. His fellow country man, Jordan Niebrugge finished at eleven under par and earned him the Silver Medal for the top amateur and an exemption into next year’s tournament. Lastly, Paul Dunne began the fourth round tied for first place, only to shoot a disappointing 78 on the last day. An amateur hasn’t won the British Open since Bobby Jones did 85 years ago.
Schiederjens will become a pro shortly after a stay as the number one ranked amateur in the world. He had an amazing run the last year at Georgia Tech and now will be heading to the pro ranks with momentum. Niebrugge a senior to be at Oklahoma State will continue on as an amateur while finishing his degree. At the Open, not only was an amateur, he became the first amateur since Chris Woods at Royal Birkdale in 2008 to finish in the top ten. Dunne of Ireland was the first amateur to be leading the final round in 88 years. Who knows if it was nerves that plagued him on the final day but it was unfortunate and would of been a great story.
Seems odd that amateurs were putting the pressure on the older pros and then you have Jordan Spieth breathing down their necks as well. This is exactly what you want to see in a major tournament because it brings out the best in a lot of the established players. The golfing world is looking for the next young phenom so they can be compared to Tiger Woods and after the Open, you might have new blood.
Photo – Russell Cheyne/Reuters