Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “I have a history of a ruptured back 10 years ago. Since then I've been as strong and as healthy as I've ever been. I've never looked at myself as a person with a back issue. Really came out of the blue. I happened to bend over, and it snapped. It's more of a movement pattern more so than disc related. I think a lot of people thought it was just disc. That's not the case. Probably a little aggravated disc, but mostly muscular and having the right joints moving at the right time pretty much.”
BRAIN TEASER: Matt Every leads the TOUR in putts made this season from 15 to 20 feet. How many do you think he's made from that distance?
SUSTAINABILITY: The upcoming US Opens at Pinehurst will also serve as a coming out party for the restoration of famed #2, host venue for the men and women competing in the national championship. Unlike other courses that have seen some cosmetic work applied to it, in an effort to bolster it from being attacked by the best players in the world, in this instance the impetus was completely different.
“After the 2008 amateur, Don (Padgett, past president of Pinehurst) and I were talking and Mike (Davis) and others about Pinehurst has been a very special place for a very long time, but we felt like we have become too much like everybody else,” said Bob Dedman, owner and CEO of Pinehurst and honorary chairman of this year’s championships “We felt it was time to really try to help restore the character we think that Donald Ross and certainly that Mother Nature had intended.
“At the same time, we wanted to position Pinehurst to be able to host our nation's greatest championships for the next 100 years. It was a pretty big task starting out. There are really three design criteria from our standpoint. We wanted to make it more authentic. We lost a little bit of that specialness. We looked too much like everybody else in the game of golf. It was wall-to-wall green. It was really monochromatic out there. I think it had become really part of the homogenization of the game of golf,” Dedman explained. “We lost the uniqueness of being this beautiful, 30 mile wide, 80 miles long, sand hills of North Carolina. We wanted to restore that and restore some of the character of the course.
“By going back to the early broken turf, the broken ground that Ross intended and I think really through the wisdom of Ben (Crenshaw) and Bill (Coore) and Mike's involvement, I think really are able to capture the strategy of the holes from off the tee, but to be in the right side of the fairways, based on where the pins are on the greens as well. So, first, it was to become more authentic. Secondly, be more strategic. And the third was really and I think this is really about the future of golf, is to be more sustainable. Certainly ecologically.
“They removed over 40 acres of turf, over 700 sprinkler heads. We spend a lot less on chemicals now. It is tough to maintain these courses, because they to look in their natural state, but that's good for golf. So it's more sustainable ecologically, but also economically.
“What was done here with the restoration (by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw), in some ways was a byproduct of them wanting to get back to Donald Ross and its origins, but what this has done is they're using less resources to maintain Pinehurst No. 2 than they used to use,” stated Mike Davis, Executive Director of the USGA.
“They now do not over seed it, which costs money, uses a lot of water, fertilizer, and so on. So in the winter it goes dormant. It's a wonderful surface to play off of. There also is, as Bob said, they're using 40 or 50 percent whatever that number is, the amount of water they used to use. They're not cutting as much. They don't have to cut the grass in the roughs anymore. So it's just a much more natural environment,” he said.
“And all of us that care about the game, we talk about the time it takes, the dwindling participation levels from junior golfers, we talk about the cost of the game. At the USGA we would say the biggest threat, the biggest threat to the game long-term is water. When you think, whether it's 20 years from now, whether it's right now in certain parts of the country or a hundred years from now, water is going to be the thing that ultimately is going to affect the game the most. I think that this is a great, great story of what Pinehurst has done. There's a way that we don't have to irrigate 150 acres anymore. We can cut that down. We can get a dryer, firmer fairways and we hope that this kind of shows the golf world that this can be done other places too,” Davis added.
COVERT OPS: The next defending major champion acknowledged he has still some homework to do. “I don't know Pinehurst at all. So definitely I'll get some prep going and going to spend a week there before the tournament and really get to know the golf course. I'm looking forward to that, I'm going to really work hard from now until then so I keep my hand on the job,” said Justin Rose. It’s a similar proposition he faced from last year going into Merion.
“I spent three days the week before the tournament and really got to know the course and conditions when there was nobody around. I could spend hours and hours out there really learning the nuances of it. And I think Pinehurst will be similar, especially with the short game shots,” said the 2013 US Open Champ.
SCORING, PRESENTED BY CLEVELAND GOLF: Golf is a game heavily populated by males. Perhaps it’s the male ego that interferes with improving performance! It’s a challenging proposition to explain why most recreational players never improve. Dave Pelz, who has devoted his life to teaching the short game, says 95% of all practice time is devoted to the power game, meaning the full swing with driver, etc. Only 4% practice putting, which leaves 1 out of 100 that make time to work on the short game. Consider for a moment that the best players in the world, members of the PGA Tour typically hit 12-14 greens in regulation in a round. If the best still miss greens, what is it like for everyone else? “Scratch players will hit 10-12 greens in regulation but high handicap players, 25 or above eventually hit all their greens with a wedge. Some players will use their wedge 20-25 times in a round! The closer you hit your wedges to the hole the better putter you’ll be,” said Pelz. “When I was out on Tour in 1975, no one was practicing their short game. Most players carried a sand wedge, which at the time was 55-degrees. Some would also have a Pitching Wedge at 49-degrees. But most carried one wedge and some would have two. Most players today carry four wedges and Phil Mickelson has five,” Pelz said.
At last week’s RBC Heritage, Matt Kuchar’s short game proved to be the difference in winning. “Came up on the front bunker, and there are a lot worse places on 18 to be than the front bunker. I knew it was at least an easy par,” he said afterwards. He ranked 11th in the field for scrambling at 73.68% at the RBC. Jim Furyk was first in the category missing a total of 24 greens for the week. He escaped 23 out of 24 times with par, which helped him finish T7 for the event. Safe to say for both players, their wedges were an important part of their game
According to Pelz, fitting is crucial when it comes to wedges. “Its the worst fit club in amateurs bags,” he said. “If you have little bounce and the ground is soft its a tough shot. If you have too much bounce and a tight lie, it’s a killer. Even pros can’t hit a good shot with the wrong wedge,” Pelz said. “The wedge is the most important club in the bag.” Safe to say both Kuchar and Furyk certainly echo those thoughts.
A NEW TOURNAMENT: Tiger Woods is hosting another tournament, this one for recreational golfers on courses that include Merion and Congressional, and a gem north of Boston that a century ago was reputed to be the toughest U.S. Open course. READ MORE>>>
ITS A YOUNG MAN’S GAME: University of Florida men's golf coach Buddy Alexander is retiring after 27 seasons. READ MORE>>>
STENSON LOOKING TO GET ON TRACK: "There has been a little hangover from last year after so much success and then all the resulting commitments that come off the course," he said. "I have only really had a two-week break from it all and it has been tough to kick-start a new season when you are quite low on energy. But other than that I am right on track.” READ MORE>>>
ANSWERS: “I have a history of a ruptured back 10 years ago. Since then I've been as strong and as healthy as I've ever been. I've never looked at myself as a person with a back issue. Really came out of the blue. I happened to bend over, and it snapped. It's more of a movement pattern more so than disc related. I think a lot of people thought it was just disc. That's not the case. Probably a little aggravated disc, but mostly muscular and having the right joints moving at the right time pretty much.” --Suzann Pettersen, who is back in action this week on the LPGA Tour.
Year-to-date through the RBC Heritage, Matt Every, over 49 rounds has made 27 putts from 15-20’. His total distance made is 277 feet and his percentage of 1-putts from this distance is 9.7% to lead the Tour. To see the full rankings click here.
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