>This week I and my fellow Hack-Shackers discuss Goydos’ 59, golf at St. Andrews, who we like at the British Open this week, and how our own game is going.
PAUL GOYDOS SHOOTS A 59, AND STRICK WINS THE JOHN DEERE AT A RIDICULOUS 26 STROKES BELOW PAR. HOW SIGNIFICANT IS THIS?
STEFAN: I love “Sunshine”, but he gets a slight asterisk next to his score. Par is 71 on this course, and they were playing “clean and place”. This essentially means every iron shot is teed up as long as it’s in the fairway, and we all know Goydos hits a lot of fairways. The other three 59s were on par 72 courses. Strick can shoot darts with the best of them.
JEFF: How can you not like “Sunshine” Goydos? The guy is a quote a minute. I do think this is pretty significant, despite that it was on a par 71 course. These guys play PLENTY of par 71 courses throughout the year, and still this is only the 4th time it’s ever been done in history. How can you not say that’s significant?
STEFAN: Oh, it’s definitely significant, and nobody’s a bigger Goydos fan than me. Earlier in the week I was keeping my fingers crossed for a Goydos/Mediate pairing on Sunday. They would have HAD to put a mic on those guys.
JACK: Whichever way you look at it, a 59 on the PGA Tour is a 59. Incredible stuff, even though Paul Goydos was the last guy I had down to achieve such a feat. Imagine if Stricks could have gone one better on the Thursday and matched Goydos: a pair of 59s on the same day! Now that would have been significant.
TONY: That round shows you how good any regular middle tier tour player could be on any given day. They’re so beyond low handicap amateurs it is sick. How funny is it that Stricker shoots a 60 in the first round and was in 2nd place? The scores last week were very Bob Hope Desert Classic like. I don’t mind a tourney or two a year where they go super low like this. Perhaps that balances out the high scoring of the US OPEN. Any company who provides gear for Goydos has been quick to jump on the bandwagon, from ball manufacturers to club manufacturers. I think I even saw a press release from Goydos’ toothpaste manufacturer.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, EMOTIONS ABOUT ST. ANDREWS?
TONY: The home of golf. The whole town is all about golf. I can’t wait to go. Planning on going next July.
My best friend has played the old course and walked the grounds at Augusta National. He tells me the feeling he gets at the old course is far beyond what he felt at the Masters. As big a Masters fan as I am, I found that hard to believe but I’ll wait until I stand on the 1st tee at the Old Course before I judge what he said.
I love the old course and the links style golf. I play very well on links courses and I love the creativity and shots that can be played, especially ones which run and follow the contours and rolling hills.
STEFAN: I’ve never been there, and maybe I’m building it up too much in my mind, but for me it’s the Mecca of golf in every sense of the word. It’s like a portal through which all other golf experiences get funneled. Growing up in Sweden we were big Seve fans, and his win there in ’84 put it on the map for us. Then you add Bobby and Jack before that and Tiger a couple of times after that, and you can’t beat it. I’d love to see the Ryder Cup played there one day, maybe for the Centenary in 2027.
JEFF: Overall I’m not a “huge” fan of links style golf, but have to respect these players that go and can completely change their game to accommodate the course and conditions like that. St. Andrews IS the Mecca of golf and I’d give my right arm to play there some day. It’s created so many historic moments over the years and I love that The Open goes back there so often. I love watching the guys tee it up on the road hole.
JACK: First things first, I think St Andrews is slightly overrated as a course. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic, but Turnberry and Royal Birkdale stand out as two better Open Championship venues I’ve had the privilege of playing… not wanting to brag or anything. As an Open Championship venue, however, you can’t beat St Andrews. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that it’s the best major venue by quite some way. The atmosphere, surroundings, fans, architecture, EVERYTHING: the place is just so special. Close your eyes at the last hole and you can almost envisage yourself on the fairways with the game’s greats – the sense of history is palpable and somewhat overwhelming.
TIME TO MAKE YOUR PICKS. I SAY WE PICK ONE PLAYER FROM THE TOP 10, ONE PLAYER FROM 11-20, ONE PLAYER FROM 21-30, AND ONE PLAYER RANKED ABOVE 30 IN THE WORLD ACCORDING TO OWGR (http://www.officialworldgolfranking.com/rankings/default.sps). IF YOU’RE NOT PICKING TIGER OR PHIL, LET US KNOW WHY NOT.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THOUGH THIS CONVERSATION WAS POSTED AFTER THE START OF THE TOURNAMENT, THE PICKS WERE MADE ON WEDNESDAY)
STEFAN: I’m basing my picks in part on the fact that with the exception of Nick Faldo the recent six winners at St. Andrews have been some of the longest hitters in the game (Jack, Seve, JD, Tiger).
– LEE WESTWOOD (barely edging Rory and Tiger). Beware of an injured golfer. This tournament will be a stern test to his psyche, after his performance at the US Open. He’s won here before on the Euro tour.
– JUSTIN ROSE (just ahead of Paddy). I know it’s supposed to be some sort of weird taboo to win the tournament before a major, but the way he has been playing he has to have loads of confidence at this time.
– DUSTIN JOHNSON. You know how when you hit a bad shot with a certain club on a hole you’re bound to get that very same shot on the next hole? Well, for Dustin it’s another Major, and obviously a test of his psyche as well.
– ANGEL CABRERA. He has the power and the experience to do well here. It’s about time for him to come out of nowhere to win a major again.
I think Tiger will get another Top 10 here, but I think Phil will struggle. He’s just so in love with his own game. The power of his drives, and the freaky flop shots he throws up there. I think he’s blinded to the kinds of shots he’s going to have to hit in order to do well at St. Andrews.
JACK: Top 10: Tiger Woods, who else? Yeah yeah, he’s streaky, but he’s got to win sometime soon. This is his favourite track, and it shows in the fact that he’s hoisted the Claret Jug here on the past two occasions. He’ll make it three in a row if you ask me.11 – 20: I’m with Stef on this one… Justin Rose. Made a name for himself at this tournament back in ’98 at Royal Birkdale and, based on current form, there’s no reason why he can’t go a few better and win the thing.21 – 30: Sean O’Hair, anyone? Love Sean’s game and after a decent finish at St Andrews in 2005, I think he’ll be turning a few heads come Sunday afternoon. You heard it here first.Outside 30 – Ross Fisher. Sure, this guy’s dull as dishwater, but he can’t half play golf. Let’s forget the fact that Fisher made a hash of thing at Turnberry last year, because he’s got the length and patience to contend again this week.
JEFF: From Top 10 in OWGR – Lee Westwood
He’s primed and ready for his long-awaited first Major. After the Masters I said that I didn’t think his first would be Pebble, but that St. Andrews would be. So I’ll stick with that. He’s a Major Championship shark, and he’s playing the best golf of his career. I think he’s the guy to beat this week.
11-20 in OWGR – Justin Rose – The OTHER Brit who is absolutely on fire right now. Rose is finally starting to live up to all of that potential and I would not be surprised at all to see him win this week. He’ll certainly have the crowds behind him.
21-30 in OWGR – Geoff Ogilvy – Ogilvy hasn’t been playing the best of golf this year, but to choose from this small select group of 21-30 in OWGR, I like his chances seeing his T5 finish in 2005 at St. Andrews.
Outside of Top 30 – Sergio Garcia – I know this can be somewhat laughable, but since 2001 he’s finished in Top 10 SIX times at The Open. I just like him as an outside reach/sleeper pick.
I didn’t go with Tiger or Phil for pretty obvious reasons. Tiger, as we’ve seen has had some issues with the putter, and you just don’t know what you’re going to get with him lately. Phil, doesn’t exactly have a great track record at the British either, as much as I’d love to see him win.
TONY: 1-10: Lee Westwood (arguably playing the best golf of anyone on this planet right now and will have great support from the galleries)11-20: Padraig Harrington (total stud, knows how to win Opens)21-30: Sean O’Hair (like the kid)30+: Angel Cabrera (love his attitude and he’s mega long)
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU’RE WORKING ON WITH YOUR OWN GAME RIGHT NOW, AND HOW IS IT WORKING OUT SO FAR?
STEFAN: I’ve come to the realization that I need to spend some time in the practice bunker, so I started that last night. It was ugly. My regular muni doesn’t have a lot of sand on it, which is nice for two reasons: 1) It doesn’t have a lot of sand on it, and 2) I can wear my golf sandals to play there. When I go to a course with more bunkering (like Bali Hai last month) I tend to struggle. In addition to the difficulty of the shot there is also a lot of variation from sand to sand.
My focus is on taking a consistent amount of sand with a shallow swing. I realized last night that bunker practice takes a lot more out of you than almost anything else you do on the range. My plan was to hit a small bucket after about 45 minutes of bunker practice, and I barely made it through the bucket because I was worn out.
JEFF: I have played golf for over 23 years and despite playing on high school and college teams with coaches who would give “tips”, never had a formal/official lesson. But still got down to a 4 handicap at one point. About 2 months ago, I decided to finally take a lesson with a pro. I know there were some things in my swing that needed to be worked on. He identified 2 off the get-go. I take the club back too far, and I’m lazy with my hip turn. The club going back too far is something that is difficult (at least for me) to correct. It’s so mental to tell yourself to stop, when for 20 years you’ve been used to that backswing. I’ve been hitting the range a lot and working on it. I see much cleaner and pure contact with that shortened backswing (as well as consciously firing my hips through), but my tendency now is to pull the ball a bit, and sometimes hit it fat. It’s all a timing thing I think at this point, and just hitting the range on a regular basis I’ll hopefully get it down to where I can build that “repeatable” swing for better ball striking.
Keep’em in the short stuff.
The Hack Shack is a group of golf fans and golf bloggers who like to comment on the current events in the world of golf. You can get to know us better in our introduction http://golferinkilt.blogspot.com/2010/06/introducing-hack-shack.html. On the electronic internets we can be located as follows:
Tony’s blog is http://www.hookedongolfblog.com/.He also runs http://www.thegolfspace.com/.His twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/thegolfspace.
Jack’s blog is http://dudewheresmypar.tumblr.com/.His twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/dudewheresmypar.
Jeff’s blog is http://www.goodwalkgolf.com/.His twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/jpalopoli.
Stefan’s blog is http://golferinkilt.blogspot.com/.And his twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/golferinkilt.