The Memorial

6 June 2011

The Memorial is an important tournament, if only because of its proximity to the US Open. But it’s also the course. Jack’s layout is a shotmaker’s course demanding strategy, execution, recovery shots of all types and confident putting. It’s a great test of what your game yet needs to be Open Ready!

Steve Stricker: A Big Congrats to Steve on his first win in a while. His Jeckyl and Hyde week saw Stricks go 24 under par on the front nine for the week and 6 over on the back nine!  That’s absolutely amazing, particularly given that in all 11 of his prior appearances Steve has scored better on the back nine!

Coming down the stretch on Sunday we saw a different Stricker than we’d seen all week. On the back nine he got out of his relaxed focus.  He became jittery and quick in all that he did.  He was showing the “importance” of this victory. Result: he started steering his tee shots – trying not to miss! It is so difficult to stay in the present – to play one shot at a time – focusing only on GO THERE!

But, in spite of his ball striking on the back nine on Sunday, Steve manged two great bunker saves on 16 and 17 to retain a two stroke lead (breathing room) coming down 18.  And he needed it. He was all over the course on 18, saying to Jack as Nicklaus welcomed him to his own personal fraternity, “it wasn’t pretty!” Getting it done, however, and stepping once again into the winners circle, Steve will be ready to compete this year at Congressional.

Brandt Jobe: Starting from (4) back on Sunday and shooting the low round of the day (65) you’d think you’d have a great shot at standing in the winners circle. But even with his brilliant golf down the stretch and a final birdie on 18, Brandt was only able to pick up (3) shots on Stricker - who produced a little magic of his own with a five under 31 on the front nine. 

Brandt is yet another “new name” for us this year on the PGA Tour.  Last year he ranked 30th – on the Nationwide Tour! A Q-school grad, hats off to Brandt on an excellent showing this week on a tough layout where both birdies and bogeys out numbered pars. Jobe managed himself and his game so well that he gained at least one new convert here.  I look forward to seeing his quality swing and short game a lot more often.  Hopefully this week’s 2nd will be that ‘breakout event” that every player needs – to start playing RELAXED! All the best, Brandt!

Matt Kuchar: Feeling better about his game each week, Matt is gaining the confidence needed to be Open Ready.  Had he not tugged his nine iron approach into 18 left into a bunker – precisely pin high and shortsided – on Sunday – following a tremendous and daring tee shot,  Matt might well have forced a playoff with the already jittery Stricker. He came that close.  But if you were to ask Kuch about his game, he’d find at least a dozen loose shots throughout the week he’d like to have over. For Kuchar to hoist the Open trophy this year, he’ll need to sharpen both his alignment and his focus on EVERY shot.

Jonathan Byrd: Our Close But No Cigar Award this week goes to Jonathan Byrd. Byrd’s ball striking this week was probably the best in the field. But he lost this tournament from inside 10 feet.  His putting looked like he’d caught the Els/Garcia virus. Cheer up J-Byrd.  The fix is easy.  Your handle is moving.  Simply get your handle swinging from a fixed fulcrum (your left neck).  This will facilitate the feel of confidently delivering both line and speed to your intended finish position.  Get this down, and you too should be ready for Congressional.

Golfstruck – Better Golf – Right Now!

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