2009 President's Cup

After spending some time with Twomasters out at Harding Park this week… and staying in today to see the final singles matches…here are a few initial thoughts…

Course conditions:

The course was surprisingly wide open… from the TV you see lots of trees everywhere, but the distance between the trees left and right are substantial… On Wednesday we played a game at The Olympic Club, which was much tighter… tighter yet was Pasa Tiempo, a classic Alister MacKenzie track in Santa Cruz.

The rough was not high… it looks thick on TV, but it was not when you are there. Of course the crowds trample down the grass so anytime we saw a player miss a drive, and we saw a lot of that…they had a good lie.

The course played very short. The longest par four hole #7 was a drive and a 7 iron. We never saw a long iron pulled into a par four.

The last three holes were a driver flip wedge… a driveable 4 par #17 where we saw VJ put one on the green… and the 18th which was simply a long 4 par that they call a 5 par.

Playing The Olympic Club with persimmons, we wore holes in our 3-4-5 irons into 4 pars. A couple 5 pars were only possible to reach with two really busted woods with plenty of risk in pursuing such efforts. We pulled long irons out 8 times from our bags… it was cool conditions, slight mist in the air… playing long… but so should Harding Park being just on the other side of the lake and measuring 7200.

With the modern gear, Harding plays very very short. I found watching it a bit less exciting in person.

The Ball Striking: It’s a given we are watching the best putters in the world… but we saw very little that represented fine ball striking. Mike Wier could hardly find a fairway, even some snap hooks. Tiger as usual hitting wonderful precision irons, but the driver was all over the lot. Looked to be at best about 50-50 if he was going to keep it out of the trees. Regardless, Tiger always had a good lie, the grass trampled by the gallery, and an open shot because the trees were trimmed up from the ground, so just the occasional tree trunk to contend with.

I really found it shocking how ordinary the ball striking was.

Now, I will say, that Jim Furyk was one player that I saw properly controlling his golf ball. I don’t think I ever saw Jim miss a fairway, other than just a run off, and his iron play was excellent. Tim Clark was also striking the ball very well, and seemed to be in control of what was going on.

Tiger’s iron play was also excellent as I mentioned before, but his driving was pathetic.

I’m glad we had comped tickets, because if I was paying to see this, I would be disappointed to see the top golfers in the world showing such mediocre ball striking. With the technology that is available, and all the supposedly high tech swing training, we should be seeing much better action in my opinion. Very disappointing from that perspective.

If you love watching the short game wizardry and putting precision… you would more than enjoy the spectacle.

Course management:

Coming from an era where managing your game and strategic ball positioning around a golf course was a premium, I can’t say how many times I saw a player pull driver off a tee that needed only iron or three wood to position the ball into the fat of the fairway leaving only a short iron. We watched Wier hit a drive right through a fairway and over drawn… ending up behind a jail of trees when a simple play would take all that out of risk, and still just leave him a wedge or 9 iron approach. Many iron shots being missed on the wrong side of the green… such as right of a tucked right pin, bouncing down a slope. These guys should be too good to be making such simple course management mistakes in my opinion.

The most exciting thing as been the pairings themselves particularly on Sunday. Tiger - Yang rematch. Perry - Ishikawa, youngest vs oldest… this is all fun stuff.

Other fanfare:

Micheal Jordan seemed to be getting more crowd response than Tiger… being in some kind of assistant coach role? :open_mouth:

Thanks for the wonderful insight!

Playing with Twomasters the day before at Pasa Tiempo, and watching him hit all 14 fairways with a persimmon driver, with great precision and positioning, then going out to Harding and watching some of the so called best in the world literally spraying the drivers all over the lot… was really an eye opener as to how much the game has changed.

The fairways at the famous Alister MacKenzie track Pasa Tiempo were literally half the size of Harding, and only Furyk and Tim Clark seemed capable of controlling their tee shots. Pasa was quite tighter than even Olympic Club. Two’s fine driving set him up for a easy 68 on a first look at that classic track. Very impressive stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed his ball striking with a vintage Hogan persimmon much more than anything I saw at The President’s Cup. Night and day really.

Lag/Two (or anyone else who has seen him play)

I am wondering what your thoughts are on the ballstriking of Robert Allenby. Every time they show him on TV, one of the announcers will describe him as a great ballstriker and I’ve heard this coming from multiple announcers and players. I don’t know if you guys got the chance to see him play while at the president’s cup, but I figure that someone around here has seen him at some point.

Allenby is a very very good striker of the ball.
Sometimes he has an off day, but rarely. He does move the ball quite a bit from right to left on almost every shot which plays into the have one shot and stick to it ideal. Somedays this only having one real shot shape hurts him, but more often than not he really hits the ball squarely and solidly.
the putter has been a killer for a long time. although he was an awesome putter early on when he was amateur and then first turned pro.
I myself would like to see him change his stroke somehow. His golf swing is a short, solid, authoritative strike- this is in stark contract to his longer, slower, wishy washy putting stroke.
If he could match his putting stroke to his swing he would win a bunch of tournaments in a hurry.


Can I ask you what your own emotions were being up close and personal and mixing with the guys who are at the top of their trade? I doubt that any of the 24 players there has made less than a million bucks this year (maybe Adam Scott?) and many of them will have made muti millions.

I guess I am asking (if you are prepared to answer it) if your work with Lag is aimed towards getting you back on that stage earning that sort of money or is your aim more towards becoming abetter ball striker again.

This I feel is something that cuts to the heart of Lag’s process. Yes we want to be superlative strikers of the golf ball, but we mustn’t forget that there are no spaces on the card for pictures. Golf is ultimately about getting the ball in the hole in the fewest amount of strokes.

Anyway, thanks to Lag for the reports, sounds like you guys had a blast, perhaps we could here a little more about the rounds you played. Who won!!!

I guess it was good to go watch up close. It was certainly half empty/half full for me to be there watching and wishing I was playing. I was more interested in Lag getting to see it all up close and personal and get his opinions on it by seeing it all firsthand.
So to answer your question fully. I am working hard with Lag to get back the proper sensation of striking a ball. I had this when I was younger. I could still hit a persimmon 300 yards or more in those days. Not because I was younger or stronger- BUT because I had great dynamics in my swing that allowed this to happen. As the week went by in San Fran and we worked more and more on the modules the feeling was beginning to come. I hit every fairway at Pasatiempo and long enough that I shot a few under par there using a persimmon and old blades.
the persimmon is just pure genius to show you where your swing is at in the process. eg: We watched Leonard and Weir tee off one hole at Harding Park. They hit and everyone oohed and ahhed and the balls both drew a fair bit just into the rough. Lag and I could hear it straight away when they hit that they both hit the ball way off the toe. It had an awful sound. If they were using persimmon the ball would have toe hooked and nosedived straight into the trees and possibly OOB. That’s how bad the strike was. It shows how much those big metal clubs help a mishit- but if you can flush a persimmon all day long and then go use your big metal driver then – a metal wood becomes a weapon in your hands not an assisting tool for mishits. I can’t stress just how good it was to use the old persimmons. It told me more about my swing over the course of a week than you could imagine. I went from low heel shots- to nice high solid hits, to actually being able to draw it, to finally hitting it long and straight and moving the ball around at will and hitting all 14 fairways and shooting a few under par at Pasatiempo. probably not been done there for 15 years? under par with persimmons?
I won’t post anything here videowise because I worked on a few modules down the track that no-one has seen yet- But maybe Lag can grab a couple of shots and show just how much my swing has started to evolve through the work. My swing became all these positions after coaching took over my natural instincts. Positions by setting the club- that is all wrong. The ABS program trains the correct muscle movement and the swing evolves- it is too easy and natural for me- so long as time is spent moduling and not hitting balls. Too much golfing will attempt to reverse the trend and head back to the old problems we all have in our swing, as the ball becomes the key.
The more natural, more comfortable swing with better dynamics and intentions WILL definitely bring better ball striking. Better ball striking WILL get me back on the tour and it will then have me competing at the highest level again. Money is a back drop. That just comes along with good play.
My short game is decent enough to compete. It will only get better the more I advance along the ABS program as confidence breeds confidence. I am certainly not frightened by the players as nothing really stands out except their length- which will be achievable and many of them putt the spots of the ball. I guarantee flushing the ball down every fairway and onto every green will beat anyone out there.

Great post Bradley… Thank you for that. Fairways and greens are the key as we’ve always known… just so hard to do most of the time!

I was thinking about you also this week at the President’s Cup and wondering if you got a chance to meet with your friend and idol Greg Norman and if you care to share that with us?

I thought this was interesting - course management seems to me to be a little bit of a lost art at all levels. About 18 months ago I was lucky enough to get a chance to play Royal Birkdale. Sadly it was not the sort of day weather wise that you hope for when you get a chance to play one of the best courses around - 20-30 mph winds gusting much higher, cold stinging rain coming at you horizontally, so you march along looking only at your shoes. But as it was possibly going to be our only chance to play at Birkdale we weren’t going to miss out. Same with the group of 4 US club pro’s over on a golf tour who were playing in front of us. We waited a respectful distance away as they teed it up on the first with the wind hard off the left, all sorts of rubbish and OOB on the right. The play was certainly to keep it low and nudge it up the fairway a couple of hundred yards to the right of the solitary bunker at the corner and then take things from there. To my amazement all 4 of them took out the big dog and 2 of the 4 went OOB right without bouncning and a third into the rubbish just short of the OOB. Anything with any height or any spin basically had no chance of surviving the forces of nature.

In the interests of balance I can say that as an inveterate hooker of the ball at that point of my inglorious career, who had not seen the right hand side of the course for approximately 5 years, I probably wasn’t as intimidated by that teeshot as others. But I did hit my slingy little 3 wood hook to the corner, a 5 iron just short and left and chipped and putted for a 4 on the way to a course record 62. Ok so the bit about the 62 isn’t true but I did make a 4 at the first :smiley:

We met up with most of the International team on tuesday when we were out there. It was practice round so much easier to talk and mess around.
Caught up with Allenby and Ogilvy first of all. Walked the 16th with them chatting and then went back to the gallery as we were getting some weird looks from security. Watched them play a few.
watched Els, Weir and VJ whack it off 17. Caught up with Adam scott and Greg Norman on 18 tee. I was standing on the tee and Tony Navarro (Scott’s caddie) saw me and laughed because apparently they were talking about me on the previous green for some reason- and then there I was watching them hit off 18. They got a kick out of that. Saw Nobilo and caught a cart ride with him inside the ropes for a hole or so.
Didn’t bother anyone on saturday while the matches were going on, but had a quick chat to VJ on one hole whilst they were waiting.
It was fun to catch up again…maybe ABS can kick in quickly and get me to Royal Melb in 2011… that would be awesome

Being an Aussie, the Presidents Cup resonates more with me than the Ryder Cup. I do get the difference and I kinda like some of the Ryder animosity rather than the buddy/buddy stuff that comes with playing 10 years with the same blokes.

It won’t be any get in the hole rubbish but I will yell my heart out when ““Twomasters”” hits it to a couple of feet by working something with a small fade over the bunker on the 18th at RM to win his singles in 2011.