Welcome to the #Punchout. A monthly Q&A where I answer your questions on anything related to the world of golf. Keep the questions coming!
1. “Does Dustin Johnson have what it takes to stay on top of the golf world?” — D. Wilding (@danny_wilding)
I know I’m in the minority here, but I think DJ’s game is suspect. I understand he’s ranked #1 in the world but most know that those rankings can be very political. Here’s the thing. Dustin has a quirk in his swing that almost no one has detected or discussed. If you look very closely, you might notice that he has a bowed left wrist at the top of the swing. Don’t believe me? Go check out his swing in slo-mo on YouTube. This bowed left wrist is great for consistent power and accuracy but that’s about it. It’s fools gold. I teach my students to get a fully cupped wrist at the top, which promotes an open face and puts the player in a perfect position to flip at the ball just prior to impact. I doubt if Dustin will reach out to me (since I’m based in the midwest) but if he did, I would recommend a total swing tear-down and re-build with an eye towards 2020.
2. “What can the LPGA do to attain the popularity that the PGA tour enjoys?” — S. Dunn (@psdunn)
Two words: More Asians. Viewers love big personalities and emotional performances. Many people say that the most electric moment of 2016 was the Rory/Patrick Reed front nine duel at the Ryder Cup. But for my money, it was when Ha Na Jang sank the winning putt at the HSBC and nearly made a facial expression. Her cliché laden post round interview spoken through a translator was equally great. Listen, the PGA Tour “gets it”. It’s no accident that Y.E. Yang is so popular. They understand that he moves the needle.
My other ideas for LPGA growth include but are not limited to:
3. “Is Tiger Woods done?” — M. McNish (@macmcnish)
4. “I know fitness is a big deal to you, how do you go about staying in shape?” — B. Harris (@bharris_PGA)
I’m still making payments on a Bowflex that I bought back in ’01 so I like to jump on that every once in a while. The gym here at the club has a Gazelle and a set of Shake Weights that I hit pretty hard in the off season to keep my arms tone. Not many people realize that nutrition also plays a role in overall health so I gravitate toward lower carb beers and try to never eat Hardee’s more than 4 meals in a row.
5. “It looks like you didn’t get an exemption to the WGC Mexico this week. Given your many contributions to golf in Mexico, any hard feelings?” — S. Johnston (@stivejgolf84)
I’m not angry, just disappointed. The story I got from PGA headquarters in Ponte Vedra was that they wanted to give the exemption to a player who would not “embarrass” the tour and the world of golf as a whole. Plus, I heard rumblings that the legal department at Cadillac didn’t want me anywhere near one of their courtesy cars. It’s probably for the best, my short game is shit right now and I don’t have the vacation days anyway.
6. “My club pro told me to never have more than 2 swing thoughts. Is he wrong?” — B. Krantz (@brettonK)
Don’t walk, but run to find another instructor. The golf swing is a very complicated motion and requires a complex and ornate set of instructions in order to complete it effectively. Heck, the transition alone requires 4 swing thoughts (below)….
1. Wonder if you forgot any of the swing thoughts from the backswing.
2. Say “Hideki Matsuyama, Hideki Matsuyama, Hideki Matsuyama”
3. Start to panic that you will forget a downswing swing thought.
4. Tell yourself not to block it right
It drives me crazy when these so-called instructors tell students to ” just be an athlete” or to “just pick a target and hit it”. Nonsense! Would you put your wife in the cockpit of an F-16 and tell her to “just pick a runway and land it?” Of course not.
7. “I noticed readership of golf magazines is way down. Is there anything they can do to rebound?” — B. Lardon (@lardonbrad)
Some say the internet and social media is to blame, which is partly true. But I think the content is getting stale and repetitive and has been for many years. I mean how many months in a row can you write about green side chipping techniques? I think these magazines need a bit more of an “US Weekly” or “TMZ” vibe. Who wouldn’t read an article with accompanying pics about an embarrassing Dottie Pepper on air nip slip? How about some blurry pics of a sweaty Paulina Gretzky coming out of yoga class? An in-depth interview with Tiger’s HGH dealer? You get the idea. Here’s another one, let’s rank the 50 WORST teachers in America. Seriously, who wouldn’t read that?
8. “The USGA is proposing several new rule changes. Are you in agreement with their recommendations?” — D. Carpenter (@ballgame70)
First of all, I was not aware that you couldn’t ground your club in a hazard. So that change will be seamless for me. I find the new timing rules problematic. They are proposing that a player must hit a shot in under 40 seconds. Hell, it takes me almost that long to put my iron cover in my fanny pack, let alone go through my pre-shot routine and visualization process. If the USGA forces me to hit a shot in under two minutes I may need to find another game.
I do like the USGA’s proposal to not penalize a player if your golf ball strikes you or your caddy. Do you realize how many strokes this would have saved me on tour? A ton. Also, the rule proposing the legalization of tapping down spike marks will be popular among my playing partners because (as a professional) I still wear metal spikes and absolutely destroy the area around the cup.