|Volume 42Golfing Weekly Home PageWeek of January 10, 2005
Table of Contents
(Click on an item below or scroll down to read all)
PGA Tour - Tournament Report - Mercedes Championship
Learn from watching the Pros
PGA Tour - Results Top Ten - Mercedes Championship
"Off the Cart Path", our popular weekly cartoon strip by Roy Doty
Official World Golf Rankings
Tournament action got under way last week in Hawaii with the Mercedes Championship where the field was restricted to the winners from last season. Vijay Singh looked like he he had a firm grip on the trophy but it all changed on the final day. You can read my full report below.
From time to time there are things we see a player do in a tournament which we can incorporate into our own game with great benefit. This week is a good example so I have started a new section called "Learn from watching the Pros" which will also appear in future issues when a suitable opportunity arises.
The Tour stays in Hawaii this week for the Sony Open which has been won by Ernie Els for the last two years. Can he make it three in a row? Last week he played well enough to put himself in contention on the final day and a couple of times on Sunday he looked as though he was going to come through to capture the Mercedes title. If that was his warm up, look out for another good showing this week. The field is one of the strongest ever for this event with the world number one taking part for the first time since the world ranking were introduced almost twenty years ago. Other entries of interest are 15 year old Michelle Wie, who missed the cut here a year ago by just one shot and 55 year old Tom Kite, giving it one more shot on the main Tour after five successful years on the Champions Tour.
Have a great week.
All the best
You would have received long odds on Stuart Appleby to retain his Mercedes Championship title after he posted a first round 74 that left him in a tie for second to last place. But that is just what the battling Aussie achieved after completing the final three rounds in 22 under par to clinch a one stroke victory over Jonathan Kaye, winner of the 2004 FBR Open.
Appleby's rally began on friday with a 9 under par round of 64 and by saturday night he had closed to within four shots of Vijay Singh who had looked to be headed for a wire-to-wire victory, standing at 19 under after three bogey-free rounds. But Appleby had other plans, posting birdies on the third and fifth holes and then firing himself up the leaderboard with an eagle after driving the green on the 398-yard sixth hole. Singh dropped out of contention with a triple bogey on 13 and Appleby needed just two more birdies to secure his 21 under par winning total of 271.
With his wife due to give birth to their first child and himself still nursing a hip injury, which visibly caused him discomfort early in the event, Appleby had considered giving the tournament a miss but as it turned out the trip was well worth his while. Not only did he pick up $1.06million to start the year at the top of the money list again but he also jumped three places to number eleven in the the world rankings.
Runner-up, Jonathan Kaye, missed a birdie chance to force a playoff on the final hole, having been in contention all day and leading the field for part of it. Kaye got off to a good start in 2004 also, heading the money list at the beginning of February, but was plagued by injury problems for the main part of last season. He looks to be at the top of his game at the moment and if he remains injury free this year he could pick up a title or two before the season is through.
Although Singh appeared to have this event in his pocket for most of the week he could only manage a share of fifth place in the end. His two main rivals at the top of the world rankings, Tiger Woods and Ernie Els, both held their games together well and finished one stroke ahead of the world number one in a tie for third place with 19 under par totals of 273. Woods was the only player in the field to card four rounds in the sixties on this par 73 course. Although it is early days to compare, his stats, e.g. 71.7% of fairways hit and 87.5% of greens in regulation, are way above his 2004 performance but the key factor was his consistency thoughout the four days.
On Sunday Els looked like the one most likely to break through. On the front nine he strung together three birdies in four holes then lost momentum with a bogey on the seventh hole. Again on the back nine he put together a charge with birdies on 15 and sixteen and approaching the final hole, which he had birdied on each of the first three days, the South African looked favorite to win. Unfortunately for him, he sent his tee shot way out right and ended up playing three off the tee. The two shot penalty cost him the chance to get into a playoff with Appleby.
Adam Scott shot the best final round, a 65, to climb into a tie for fifth place with Singh and Stewart Cink. The best round of the tournament was Mike Weir's 10 under par 63 on Friday but with his other three rounds in the seventies, including a 76 on Sunday, he finished in a tie for 13th place.
Did Stuart Appleby win this tournament despite his injury and family distractions or because of them? Have you ever noticed that you, or one of your playing partners, played well on a day when a poor performance was anticipated due to an injury, a hangover or a personal situation like a sick relative or a bereavement?
This is not an uncommon occurrence and stems from the fact that, for whatever reason, you are not putting so much pressure on yourself and are just "going through the motions". A good score under such circumstances is not a fluke but more an indication of your true potential at your current skill level.
Teach yourself to artificially create this situation every time you play and your scores will show a marked improvement. This does not mean that you should be careless with your club selection or aligning yourself correctly but once you are ready to play your stroke, put your mind elsewhere and let your swing take care of itself.
There are many good books on the mental aspects of golf that can teach you how to best do this as part of your routine on every shot you play. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend reading "The Double Connexion" by Carey Mumford", which is all about playing on "automatic" and The Mental Keys" by Michael Anthony.
|PGA Tour - Results Top Ten - Mercedes Championship
The full standings can be found at the Official World Golf Ranking website, www.officialworldgolfranking.com