Archive: August 2009

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August 31, 2009

At PGA, Woods' Ali strategy led to Yang's knockout

Posted at 10:12 AM by Rod Lidenberg

No one was more shocked than Tiger Woods when the virtually unknown Y.E. Yang convincingly won the 2009 PGA Championship.

Yang delivered the final knock-out punch with a daring birdie on the final 475-yard 18th hole. After finding the left rough off the tee, Yang hoisted a 3-hybrid over an intervening tree to within 8 feet of the pin. He then went on to sink the putt for birdie eventually winning by three after trailing by two at the start of the round—in all a five shot swing.

This all while Tiger did his best imitation of Mohamed Ali’s famous “rope-a-dope” as the South Korean delivered blow after blow. For those that are too young to remember or have forgotten the details, Mohamed Ali used the rope-a-dope strategy against the more powerful George Foreman in the now infamous Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire.

In the long-anticipated fight, Ali hung on the ropes in a protected stance allowing Foreman to pummel him like a punching bag. Of course the genius of Ali’s approach was that the unwitting Foreman thought he was winning the fight. But then suddenly, at just the right moment, Ali sprung to life eventually defeating his arm-weary opponent.

As it turned out Yang was no Foreman and Woods was no Ali—not by a long shot. When the final bell rang Tiger was looking up from the canvas unable to continue—scoring a technical knock-out for Yang.

The punisher had been punished. The intimidator had been intimated. Woods had never been bloodied like this before by another opponent.

After the tournament was over a reporter, carefully choosing his words, made the statement that Tiger had never been in this position before and went on to ask him, how it felt. Woods deflected the question, answering in a somewhat defensive tone, that indeed he had been in that position many times before.

Continue reading "At PGA, Woods' Ali strategy led to Yang's knockout" »

August 25, 2009

Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions

Posted at 11:55 AM by Brady Riggs

Can't stop three-putting? Chipping from one side of the green to the other? Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be Tuesday at noon Eastern to fix your golf swing. Be first in line by leaving a question in the comments section below.

Thanks to everyone for the questions, especially the videos. My apologies to those who asked questions I was unable to get to. Please resubmit your questions next week, and get them in early! As always, any links to your swing posted on You Tube will be moved to the top of the list.

Bruce asks at 12:45:

I feel like my swing, while comfortable from the waist up, is all upper body and not nearly enough legs/hips. No matter what I do, I just can't get a good feeling of "getting my legs into it," or getting that powerful-looking "sit down" move I see almost every pro use. How can I incorporate the lower body into my swing in the proper way?

This is a big emphasis of my teaching. I think people should use their feet, legs, and hips to support the swing, power the pivot, and produce the rhythm needed to hit good shots. Getting the legs into the swing begins in the set up. The legs should feel bouncy, relaxed, and ready to move. In my opinion, the club should always trail the movement of the weight during the swing. The weight should move into the right leg during the backswing before the club moves away from the ball. On the downswing, the weight should move towards the target before the club begins down to the ball. If the weight moves before the club in both directions, the feet and legs are leading the swing and produce the proper rhythm needed to hit quality shots. This may be a huge philosophical change for you to make, but there is no change that will be more important.

Jaekwon asks at 12:35:

What is the proper position of the right arm/elbow in the backswing? Specifically, how high should it come up? I had been keeping it pretty low the entire time, and I'm struggling with terribly inconsistencies (50/50 hook/slice on almost all drives). Could this be part of the problem?

This certainly could be part of the problem. There has been a trend over the last few years in the world of golf instruction to have the right arm extremely low and close to the body at the top of the swing. Like so many things in the swing, there are no absolutes. Think of throwing a baseball, would you rather have your pitcher throw with his arm low and attached to the body or up, out, and away. I would take the ladder. I prefer to see the right arm in a position where the upper arm is parallel to the horizon with the elbow off the body. This is a more powerful position and allows the arm to move closer to the body on the downswing. A common mistake people make when keeping the arm close at the top is to have it move away on the downswing, the classic over the top move. The right arm is a good place to look, but always start with a solid grip, stance and posture. It will save you valuable time. 

Continue reading "Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions" »

August 17, 2009

Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions

Posted at 2:32 PM by Brady Riggs

Can't stop three-putting? Chipping from one side of the green to the other? Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be Tuesday at noon Eastern to fix your golf swing. Be first in line by leaving a question in the comments section below.

That is all folks! I have to get out to the lesson tee and screw up some golfers in person! Thanks to all for your questions, I apologize for not getting to all of them but I try to give each question as complete an answer as possible so get them in early next week. Anyone posting a link to your swing on You Tube will move to the front of the line so get those cameras out and we will see you next week!


Simon asks at 1:25

This is where I am at... Where should I start? Have been working on eliminating my shoulder tilt, creating lag by pulling through rather than pushing, and hitting down/out on the ball. Are these the right areas to work on now?

Simon, thanks for posting your swing! Very brave!

The best place to begin is with your grip, it is extremely strong. I would like to see both of your hands turn to your left as you look down on the grip. I gave a detailed answer about grip earlier in the blog today so check that out. I like the down and out idea through impact, but wouldn't be too concerned about created lag, pulling or pushing or eliminating shoulder tilt. Start with the grip, let me know how things go and we will proceed from there. Don't be shocked if a great number of your shots head to the right, this is to be expected in the beginningWe will get to that when you send in an updated video.

Real quick, and this goes for everybody sending in video. Make sure you get a face on clip, a target view clip, and a close up of your grip. This will make it much easier for me to help you get better faster. Also, it is always best to see your swing when you are hitting an actual golf ball so if at all possible make that happen.

Send me a new one next week and we will keep going!

Continue reading "Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions" »

Top 100 Teacher holding web instruction seminar

Posted at 2:10 PM by Anne Szeker

On Monday, August 17, at 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher Laird Small will be taking part in an online seminar to help you improve your golf game.

Small, who is the director of instruction at the Pebble Beach Golf Academy and was the 2003 PGA of America Teacher of the Year, will be joined by Ingrid Gudenas, president of Effective Training Solutions in Silicon Valley, Calif.

Topics that will be discussed include:
·     Improving your consistency
·     Creating more power
·     Distance and directional control
·     Developing a sound pre-shot routine

Each session will last one hour and space is limited. The cost is $125. For more information and to sign up, go to

Get more tips from Top 100 Teacher Laird Small

August 11, 2009

Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions

Posted at 9:45 AM by Brady Riggs

Can't stop three-putting? Chipping from one side of the green to the other? Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be every Tuesday at noon Eastern to fix your golf swing.

Thanks to everyone for your questions. I am sorry that we ran out of time and couldn't get to all of your problems. Please ask again next week and get them in early so we can be sure to give you an answer. Remember that you can post your swing on You Tube and give us a link so we can all get a look at it.  Enjoy the PGA Championship this week and make sure you follow it here at and on SI GOLFNation.

Todd asks at 12:59:

I am about a 12 handicap. My one trouble shot is hitting iron shots fat. I feel like I have good distance and can putt ok, but fat shots will kill my round. I feel like I can't stop myself from dropping my shoulder during my downswing. I watch Tiger look like he's dropping way down yet he always hits the ball first. I know this is difficult to diagnose from just my description, but are there any tips I should be thinking about?

The best place to begin is with your swing path. If the swing is getting steep and coming excessively down as you strike the ball, hitting fat is a very likely miss. Try to get the club swinging into the inside-back of the ball and not the back of the ball. This will shallow out the swing path and make the contact more consistent. It will also encourage your miss to be thin instead of fat, a big key to better scoring. I always say that I have hit a ton of awful, thin shots and made birdie but I have never hit a fat shot close to the hole.

Vinny asks at 12:54:

I have always been told to take a slightly open stance, keep most my weight on my left side (I'm right handed), and hit down when hitting short irons. It has always worked well in the past. Lately, I have had a tendency to come into the ball with an open club face and get a weak slice. It feels like my hands are getting ahead of me or I'm cutting across the target line. When it happens, the more I try to stop it, the worse it seems to get. What am I doing wrong and what's the fix?

I wouldn't have you change your address position just because you are hitting a short iron. When you are open and have your weight forward, it is difficult to get the clubhead past your body and square up the face properly. I would get you squared up, weight even, and make a normal swing with the club going past your body as it would with a longer club. This will get the distance and direction back on track.

BTW, I don't even let my really good junior golfers hit pitch and chip shots with their stance really open. The technique has changed for the better over the years. Give it a try.

Matt asks at 12:48:

Brady, I’m looking a drill that will help with ball striking. I’m a 9 handicap and think any inconsistency is usually a result of the transition to downswing. Thanks!

I can always use a little more info to help you with a specific problem like fat, thin, shank, etc. I will tell you that most often poor contact relating to the transition is from improper sequence. Try to make sure your weight is always moving before your club, and not the other way around. Think of a quarterback throwing a pass, if he steps up into the pocket and then throws he has power and accuracy. If he faces a rush up the middle and throws off the back foot, he is likely to get intercepted. Make sure you "step into" your downswing and your contact should improve dramatically.

Ron asks at 12:40:

I'm 6'2'' and I have trouble getting into good posture, standing tall like Tiger. Do you have a routine I can follow to achieve good/proper posture? 

Standing like Tiger is a good idea, standing too tall like Adam Scott is a bad idea. Don't get too hung up on being "tall" at set-up, it can really be bad for your game. I always encourage my students to feel like an athlete in the address position, knees flexed out over the toes with the weight in the balls of the feet, core tight, and neck relaxed. If you get your body ready to move in an athletic fashion, your posture will be good.

Continue reading "Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions" »

August 05, 2009

5 Tips for Playing Business Golf

Posted at 11:59 AM by Keith Lyford

Tip #1: On the course, keep business talk to a minimum. The main focus of business golf is to get to know people better, build relationships. It’s not really to do business on the golf course. The best time to do business is after the round, in the bar. Go get a few drinks, light snacks, and you can talk business there.

When you do discuss business on the course, don’t do it on the first hole. And once you start talking shop, keep the business conversation to short little snippets because you don’t want to delay the game. Make small points and continue conversation at the next tee or on the green. This technique gives people a chance to think about what you’ve said.

Tip #2: Keep up the pace.
Nobody likes a slow player, so keep your pre-shot routine between 15 and 25 seconds and try to take only one practice swing per shot. If your ball goes in the bushes, don’t take the whole five minutes allowed to search for it. Just throw one out and keep playing. If it’s the client’s ball, go ahead and look for it longer.

Tip #3: Don’t get angry. People are going to miss shots; it's how you handle the misses that matters. It will reflect poorly on you if you’re getting angry or screaming profanities.

Tip #4: Don’t cheat. If you cheat on the course, you probably cheat in business.

Tip #5: Putt for dough. Finally, if you’re playing in a scramble tournament and you’re not a very good golfer, you can still contribute to the team’s success by making a few clutch putts. So practice your putting before the tournament begins and maybe you'll make a few when it counts.

You may also want to take a lesson before a business outing, and at least make sure you know the basic rules and etiquette so you don’t accidentally offend anyone. If you can get the ball down the fairway and keep up with the people you’re playing with, you are going to be more confident and successful.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Keith Lyford is director of instruction at the Golf Academy at Old Greenwood in Truckee, Calif. You can read more about Keith at

August 04, 2009

Ask Top 100 Live! Special 1959 Tips Edition With Eden Foster

Posted at 10:38 PM by Eden Foster

Hey, that’s all we have time for today. Ask the Top 100 Live! will be back at noon Eastern time on Tuesday if you have more questions.
Joe Bob asks:

I played nine holes of golf a week ago and finished 3 over par. I can drive straight, and my irons are o.k.. I am stuck on the finer points however like lining up my shots, side hill lies. harder bunker shots. How can I break par. I can't afford lessons and only get to play a few times a year. My dad said I should get a job at a golf course so I can play more. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Joe Bob. A job at a course is a great idea if you want to play more. Sounds to me like you have the game but have never learned how to actually play. All of the shots you are talking about come with experience. My suggestion is to try and figure out a way to play as much as you can. You have the hard part down. I wish I could hit it straight.......Eden

Matt asks:
I'm an eight handicap, with a pretty good idea of what I'm trying to do on the course. I'm looking for a good drill that will help my transition from the backswing to the downswing. Also if you can comment on the "feel" I should have when starting the downswing. Thanks!

Thanks for the question, Matt. If you feel like you get a little quick at the top it is probably because you are taking it back a little slow. Try to feel that your swing is at one speed. Match your over all tempo to your personality. If you tend to do things quick your tempo should be quick or if you are more patient your swing should be a little slower both back and through. I usually like my students to start the downswing with the lower body but it also depends on the students normal ball flight. Hope this helps....Eden

Keith asks:
I am in my mid 30's and became serious about the game of golf about a year and a half ago. I began taking twice a month lessons with the same gentleman at a driving range at this time. I now either play or practice at least three times a week. The problem is that my practice and lessons are not equaling better scores on the course. I was a 30 handicap then and am still a 30 handicap eighteen months later. I show flashes of being a good player; however they are only flashes. What am I doing wrong?

Great question! I'm sure you are not the only one with this problem. Sounds like you are doing all the right things. What I have noticed is that most people spend time hitting balls not practicing. Make sure you spend most of your time taking practice swings getting the feel of what your instructor is teaching you. Just thinking of what you are working on is not enough. You have to really get the feel. Hope this helps....Eden

Michael B. asks:
I am looking for some kind of warm up routine I can use on the driving range before my round. I have heard that there are certain routines that a golfer can go through before the first tee. How should I warm up? I have always started with my wedges and worked my way up to my driver but I find myself just banging balls and not really preparing myself mentally for my round. Therefore my first couple of holes stink! I am looking for a more structured warm up....

Thanks for checking in with me, Michael. I would make sure you spend some time putting and hitting a couple of pitch shots. The main thing you are trying to do is find a rhythm and get a feel for the greens. Don't spend too much time hitting drivers. Most of the time people will try to analyze there swing too much and take too many swing thoughts to the course. You are probably getting off to a bad start because of this. Also, try not to put to much pressure on the first couple of holes. Remember you are playing 18 not just 1 and 2. Good luck....Eden

August 03, 2009

Best Golf Tips Ever

Posted at 1:24 PM by

In its 50 years of existence, Golf Magazine has published thousands of tips to cure every swing flaw. For the 50th Anniversary, the editors chose the five best tip the magazine ever published. They were:

- Make a diagonal hip turn for more power
- Pre-cock your right hip to fix your slice
- Match your swing to your flexibility
- Picture the top half of your putterface striking the ball before the bottom half
- Best Drill: Swing with your feet together

Have you tried these tips, and do you have other favorites from the magazine? What's the best tip you ever received? Join the discussion by leaving a comment below.

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