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  • The "Anchored Putt"

    03 Dec 2012

    By Mike Purkey for GlobalGolfPost

    The real question is: Why was the anchored putting stroke perfectly acceptable five years ago and now, all of a sudden, it’s not?

    Is it because you can putt remarkably better with that method and it is clearly an unfair advantage? The data collected by the ruling bodies comes to no conclusion that there is a statistical advantage. In fact, the top 20 putters on the PGA Tour all use conventional putting strokes.

    So, then it must be that so many people are using it that it is threatening to take over the game. Not exactly. The USGA says that about 15 percent of PGA Tour players are using an anchored putting stroke. And that number changes from week to week. But 15 percent is average. And only a small, unknown percentage of elite amateurs – from juniors to seniors – are using an anchored stroke. The evidence there is entirely anecdotal.

    Well, then, what?

    The USGA and the R&A have jointly decided to dodge those questions and, instead, proposed Rule 14-1b to “define the stroke.”

    “Anchored strokes have very rapidly become the preferred option for a growing number of players, and this has caused us to review these strokes and their impact on the game,” said R&A chief Peter Dawson. “Our conclusion is that anchored strokes threaten to supplant traditional strokes, which with all their frailties, are integral to the long standing character of our sport. Our objective is to preserve the skill and challenge, which is such a key element of the game of golf.”

    Did we understand that correctly? “Very rapidly become the preferred option for a growing number of players...” Is that what he said? What consists “rapidly” and “growing number of players?” If you go from five percent to 10 percent over five years, that’s a 100 percent increase. But it’s still only 10 percent of the whole.

    “Essentially, it boils down to two things; that in the last 18 to 24 months, we have seen a significant increase at all levels of the game of people using anchored strokes,” said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA. “I’ll start out with the PGA Tour. For years, we saw two, three, four percent of players at PGA Tour events using anchored strokes, mostly with the long putters back in the 80s and 90s. And, all of a sudden, we get to 2006 through 2010, and it jumped to an average of six percent.

    “Then, last year, it almost doubled, and it goes to 11 percent. This year, it’s jumped to 15 percent. And some events have over 20, 25 percent using anchored strokes.”

    So, the USGA did collect data on the PGA Tour on anchored strokes. Just wanted that to be clear.

    Listen, an anchored putting stroke won’t make a bad putter a great one. What it does is allow the struggling player the opportunity to be a “normal” putter, allowing himself or herself a chance to compete. Many players who use anchored strokes struggle so badly with a conventional stroke that putting would otherwise force them out of the game, or at least out of competition.

    And, apparently, as long as the anchored stroke was limited to those afflicted players, the ruling bodies had no problems. Even when the likes of Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els won major championships with belly putters, there was no panic. But when it was discovered that elite juniors were using anchored strokes – especially 14-year-old Guan Tianling, who won the Asia-Pacific Amateur armed with a belly putter – the ruling bodies threw up their collective hands and cried, “Enough.”

    The bottom line is that this proposed ban is not performance based. No one can say whether it makes the playing field lopsided. Instead, the anchored stroke is going away because the ruling bodies don’t like the way it looks. They maintain that the other 13 clubs are designed to be swung and that long and belly putters, because they have an anchor point, are not swung. That’s it.

    They are also quick to point out that this is not a ban of longer putters. They can still be used, just not with an anchor point. But try and use a putter from 42 to 50 inches by holding it away from your body and swinging with both arms. Whoever says they can use a long putter without anchoring, well our hats are off to them because most of the rest of us can’t.

    So what’s next? What if someone wins a major championship or, worse yet, the U.S. Junior, with a side-saddle stroke with a long putter? Short-game guru Dave Pelz says that method, according to his research, is the most effective way to putt. Will rulesmakers look to ban that stroke because it doesn’t look right, either?

    There are so many other issues that threaten the game, both on the elite and recreational level, that the ruling bodies could have taken on rather than this issue, which affects such a small percentage of the 60 million worldwide golfers.

    Instead, they have made a decision that inexplicably asks so many more questions than it answers.

    PHOTO: GlobalGolfPost

  • WGT Holiday Gift Guide 2012

    29 Nov 2012

    It's that time of year again, Starbucks has pulled out the red cups, stores are filled with holiday decorations, and the weather is changing...the holidays are here and it's time to figure out what to get everyone on your list.

    Don't forget all your friends on WGT, as you may spend more time with them than with your friends in the real world. Seriously, think about it.

    Gifting on WGT is easy. Just go the Pro Shop, find an item, click the big GIFT button and enter the WGT username. Note that you can only gift items to players if that item is unlocked based on their level or tier. You also can't gift the few items that unlock at tiers for Tour Pro thru Tour Legend players.

    Here are some gift ideas for the virtual golfers in your life...

    FUN GIFTS

    For friends with the yips...

    PUTTER PAL
    Help out your friends who just can't seem to get their putting right. Putter Pal breaks down the swing meter into smaller increments making it easier to more accurately set the power of putts. 
    (10+ credits)

    For your slow friends...

    SPEED-UP BOOSTS
    Have a buddy who seems to slow down your multi-player rounds? Maybe one that likes to play in a hurry? Get them a Speed-Up Boost so they can play WGT games 2-4 times faster. Boosts don't affect your shots, distance or roll at all, just makes the display faster.
    (75+ credits)

    For your countrymen/women...

    COUNTRY AVATARS
    Show off country pride with an avatar from any of our available country avatar collection, including USA, Canada, UK, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Italy and more!
    (800 credits)

    For the fashionista...

    FUNKY AVATARS
    Help your friends and family look stylish on the golf course by getting them a fancy new avatar! There's something for everyone so have some fun picking out the perfect look.
    (400 credits)

    PERFORMANCE GIFTS

    Slowest meter...

    MAX METER BALLS
    Give the gift of a slow meter, in the form of these sleek new MAX Slow Meter golf balls. They offer good overall distance and spin, but the maximum amount of feel to ding more shots. And now with colored vapor trails!
    (450+ credits)

    Most distance...

    NIKE 20XI-X BALLS
    Thanks to the revolutionary RZN core, get the most distance with these Nike golf balls. You're friends will definitely thank you for these as they're crushing their drives!
    (400+ credits)

    Best spin...

    CLEVELAND WEDGES 
    Get the best spin and back up your approach shots just like the pros with Cleveland Wedges.
    (475+ credits)

    Best hidden weapon...

    TAYLORMADE R11S HYBRID 
    Level 43+ | Level 96+
    Add a top-performing Hybrid on WGT to complete any set. It's longer and more forgiving than the original R11, making it the perfect pairing for the R11S Driver and 3 Wood for top WGT players.
    (695+ credits) 

  • McIlroy Breath Of Fresh Air For Golf

    27 Nov 2012

    By Lewine Mair for GlobalGolfPost

    Some bemoaned the fact that there was not a tighter finish to the Race to Dubai; rather more saw the week of the DP World Championship as a celebration of a thrilling young talent.

    On or off the course, the 23-year-old Rory McIlroy is never dull. His every round is lit with a couple of believe-it-or-not recoveries while, when it comes to his press conferences, he always laces diplomacy with a delicious – if inadvertent – touch of the unexpected.

    In which connection, his proud father, Gerry, will tell you that not too much has changed. While watching his offspring last week, he recalled one of those precious Sundays of 15 or so years ago when he would take a rest from juggling the three jobs which helped him to fund Rory’s golfing sorties.

    On the Sabbath in question, he had played his usual nine holes with the child and accompanied him to the driving range before finally slumping in his chair. That was when Rory approached and insisted they return to the range – he had more work to do.

    “No, Rory,” protested Gerry. “We’ve done enough.” To which Rory hit back with an unanswerable, “Don’t you want me to get better?”

    McIlroy’s coach, Michael Bannon, threw in a favourite old story of his own. It concerned how, when he handed Rory a scorecard for one of his first nine-hole children’s competitions at Holywood GC, he noticed that the little lad had labeled himself “Rory Nick Faldo McIlroy.”

    Bannon, the Holywood professional for 15 years before moving on to Bangor GC, mentioned in passing that any jealousy towards McIlroy in those early days was short-lived; the culprits recognised almost at once that they were not in his league. “The jealousy would switch to awe,” he remembers.

    It has been much the same across McIlroy’s triumphant first five years on the European Tour. Listen to Anders Hansen on the subject: “If anyone feels anything in the way of resentment after what Rory’s done for the Tour, they would have to be mad,” suggested the Dane.

    Everything about McIlroy startled Hansen at the outset. “I first saw this curlyhaired kid on the putting green at a British Masters and didn’t have a clue whether it was a boy or a girl,” he began. “Long before I saw Rory hit a shot, I could see he was something special. Everything came so naturally to him.

    “What makes him even more admirable,” he continued, “is that he’s one of the nicest guys out here. I wouldn’t say that of a lot of them but he really is that nice. Where he has it over Tiger is that he’s more approachable. He’s a good boy who carries his stardom better than anyone I know in any sport. I can’t think of anyone who comes close.”

    McIlroy interacts with spectators during his practice rounds – and always they return for the tournament days. Again, he is friendly with the photographers. They can snap him and he never snaps back.

    Dave Cannon, the supremo among cameramen, cites a day at the Open when his state-of-the-art-camera went off on its own on the 18th tee as McIlroy was about to hit. McIlroy pulled out of his drive and waited patiently for him to sort things out. “Are you ready now, Dave?” he asked.

    Matthew Harris, another photographer par excellence, said that McIlroy passes the ultimate test: “Even if he’s had a 76, he’ll stick with arrangements. Others, after a bad round, will give you a brief ‘Not today’ at best.”

    When, at the start of last week, George O’Grady awarded McIlroy – a five-times winner this season – his gold money-clip for 2013, no-one could have responded more graciously. “I’ll always be loyal to the European Tour,” he promised.

    He carried on saying all the right things and it was only when someone hit on the theme of how his wrapping up of The Race to Dubai had stripped the tail-end of the season of its excitement that he slipped up a tad. Asked if he would find it tough to get motivated for the week, he came up with an engagingly truthful, if rather too forthright, explanation as to why that would not apply.

    “Obviously, I’ve got to hang on till the end (to collect his Race to Dubai winner’s loot) so I might as well make the tournament count by winning a second trophy.”

    Another moment to savour came when he was asked about his switch – allegedly for $250 million over ten years – to Nike. Was he at all wary of changing clubs?

    The answer was in the negative.

    “Today’s clubs,” he began, “are all much the same and they’re mostly all made up at the same factories.”

    Warming to his theme, he added that he could probably get by with a hockey stick and an orange.

    You had to feel for those Nike club-makers who might even then have been working on the finishing touches to the world No. 1’s new set. Mind you, the chances are that they would have given a knowing nod to what the young man was saying.

    He is that gifted.

    PHOTO: Global Golf Post

  • Virtual U.S. Open Flashback - Round 2

    26 Nov 2012

    Round 2 of the Virtual U.S. Open Flashback tournament has started for all the players who posted a score in Round 1 that closed yesterday, 11/25.

    The current cut line is 154, requiring players to shoot an average of 77 in each of the first 2 unlimited-play rounds, in order to qualify for the final 2 single-play rounds.

    Remember, you need to post your Round 2 score by Sun, 12/2. Good luck!

    Tournament Schedule:

    • Round 1 - Oakmont: site of 2007 U.S. Open, play Mon 11/12 thru Sun 11/25, unlimited stroke play
    • Round 2 - Bethpage: site of 2009 U.S. Open, play Mon 11/26 thru Sun 12/2, unlimited stroke play
      • Cut - Top 50% combined scores advance to Round 3
    • Round 3 - Congressional: site of 2011 U.S. Open, play Mon 12/3 thru Sun 12/9, single-play stroke play
    • Round 4 - Olympic: site of 2012 U.S. Open, play Mon 12/10 thru Sun 12/16, single-play stroke play

    The overall leaderboard champion, plus one lucky sweepstakes player will each win a $500 USGA Shop gift card to use online for real golf equipment and USGA gear. See tournament rules for eligibility.

    See Tournament Leaderboard

  • Get Free Nike Balls on Cyber Monday

    26 Nov 2012

    Another big sale today for Cyber Monday... Get 3 free Nike 20XI-X virtual vapor balls when you buy $30 or more WGT Credits. 

    These top-performing Nike virtual golf balls don't unlock until Level 75, but are yours free with today's offer. Just buy $30 or more WGT Credits as many times as you want on Cyber Monday, 11/26 to get more Nike balls.

    Stock up for the winter with these top-performing golf balls, yours free with today's offer!

    Get WGT Credits

    Use your WGT Credits to upgrade your WGT virtual equipment, enter online tournaments, or send gifts to your WGT friends for the holidays!

    *Unlimited offer available to WGT players who buy $30 or more WGT Credits on 11/26/12, get 3 free Nike 20XI-X virtual vapor golf balls (L75+) with each purchase.

  • Free WGT Club Rental Weekend

    24 Nov 2012

    This weekend, rent any virtual club on World Golf Tour for FREE!

    We're thankful for you, our WGT players, so this Saturday thru Sunday you can rent virtual clubs for free in the Pro Shop.

    Rent Free Clubs

    Rent any virtual club that you have unlocked for a 24-hour period free. Try the latest TaylorMade R11S woods, the popular PING G20 clubs, the top Cleveland wedges, or the new MAX Control Putter.

    *Offer available to WGT players renting virtual clubs (not applicable to balls, avatars or boosts) 11/24/12-11/25/12, receive free virtual club rental for 24-hour period, and clubs can be re-rented during that time.

  • Get Free Nike Ball on Black Friday

    23 Nov 2012

    Today only, get 1 free Nike 20XI-X virtual vapor ball (L75+) when you buy $10 or more WGT Credits.

    This top-performing Nike virtual ball doesn't usually unlock until Level 75, but is yours free with today's offer. Just buy $10 or more WGT Credits as many times as you want on Black Friday 11/23 to get more Nike balls.

    Get WGT Credits

    Use your WGT Credits to upgrade your WGT virtual equipment or enter online tournaments, like the Virtual U.S. Open Flashback – going on now!

    *Unlimited offer available to WGT players who buy $10 or more WGT Credits on 11/23/12, get 1 free Nike 20XI-X virtual vapor golf ball (L75+) with each purchase.

  • Hither and Yeon

    20 Nov 2012

    By Brian Hewitt for GlobalGolfPost

    Yani Tseng is still No.1 in the rankings. Stacy Lewis was clearly and fairly the LPGA’s 2012 Player of the Year. But the early-line favorite for 2013 No. 1 and POY might just be Korea’s willowy Na Yeon Choi.

    The LPGA concluded its official season with a stirring Florida duel Sunday between the most recent U.S. Women’s Open winners – Choi and So Yeon Ryu.

    Choi pulled away at the end and reminded us again how good she can be – like when she scorched Blackwolf Run at the Women’s Open in early July with a third-round 65 on a day when the field scoring average was closer to 77.

    Meanwhile in Australia, Adam Scott won his country’s Masters while Brit Luke Donald triumphed in Japan and Henrik Stenson came up big in South Africa.

    Finally, it all went wrong in Hong Kong for Rory McIlroy in his last tune-up for this week’s Race to Dubai finale.

    McIlroy stumbled to eight bogeys and a four-putt double in 36 holes to miss the cut by three shots. Unfortunately for him, when you are world No. 1 and the presumptive Player of the Year on two major Tours, this is news.

    Clearly, global Rory is either a) Homesick, b) Lovesick, c) Human or d) All of the above and burned out, too. The vote here is d) All of the above and burned out, too.

    The winner in Hong Kong? That colorful Spanish bon vivant, Miguel Angel Jimenez.

    Stay thirsty, my friend.

    PHOTO: AFP

  • Talking The Talk On The LPGA

    19 Nov 2012

    By Mike Purkey for GlobalGolfPost

    It’s great and everything that Stacy Lewis is the first American woman in 18 years to win the Rolex Player of the Year award on the LPGA Tour. But the most groundbreaking, wide-ranging, hand-clapping event to happen to the LPGA in years took place in a minute or less on Golf Channel during the telecast of the CME Group Titleholders last Thursday. 

    In that segment, So Yeon Ryu and Sun Young Yoo (yes, as a matter of fact, I did have to go look up their names) talked – in remarkable English – about the differences in their names, their games and their personalities. I found out more about two prominent Korean players on the LPGA Tour in 30 seconds than I knew in the past five years. 

    In case you were wondering, So Yeon Ryu is this year’s Rookie of the Year even though she won the U.S. Women’s Open last year. And Sun Young Yoo won the Kraft Nabisco, the first of the women’s major championships, earlier this year. Yeon and Young sound alike, while Yoo and Ryu are pronounced the same way. And on Golf Channel, the players had fun telling us about the differences and similarities. 

    Whoever thought of this should get an expensive bottle of wine, a steak dinner and next weekend off. And they should be asked to do it again – and again. We’ve been waiting a long time for someone to tell us more about the young (or is it Yeon?) women on the LPGA Tour who come from Korea. 

    Everyone knows about the language barrier. Until now, the Korean women have been reticent to learn English. Carolyn Bivens, the previous LPGA commissioner, was right even though her bedside manner was wrong when she said that the Koreans needed to make an effort to bridge the gap. 

    Yani Tseng, the current No. 1 on the Rolex World Ranking, comes from Taiwan and knew little or no English when she first appeared on the LPGA Tour. But she has worked tirelessly on her second language and is wonderful in interviews both on television and in print. She proved it could be done. 

    Now, if this Golf Channel segment is any indication, more progress is being made. The Koreans aren’t the only foreign-born players on the LPGA Tour. The continental Europeans – Suzann Pet-tersen, Sandra Gal and Azahara Muñoz, for instance, were taught English in school and their command of the language is practically flawless. 

    But it’s apparently much more difficult for the Koreans because the languages are so different and they don’t get any training in school. Yet, that’s not an excuse. Like it or not, the LPGA Tour is based in the U.S. and most all the pro-am participants speak English, so the Koreans owe it to the Tour to at least make an effort to make a contribution off the course by learning the language. 

    It’s no accident the LPGA uses its most prominent American players in its television advertising campaign. Like it or not, Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie, and Brittany Lincicome, among others, are the faces of the Tour. And, along with Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson, the Tour needs marquee Americans to win more often to drum up more interest for women’s golf in this country. 

    Which is why Lewis’ four victories and 16 top-10 finishes this year was such a boost to the game. Not since Beth Daniel in 1994 has an American been Player of the Year. Granted, in between we’ve had Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Tseng, with Laura Davies and Karrie Webb sprinkled in, who dominated the Tour during those years.

    This is not to imply that Lewis is the next dominant player. But she is wonderful for the women’s game. Her story is inspiring: She had scoliosis as a child and spent seven years, 18 hours a day in a body brace before she had spinal fusion surgery at age 18, with the possibility that she might never play golf again. 

    Remarkably, she has five wins on Tour, including last year’s Kraft Nabisco. She is the top-ranked American player at No. 2. However, the LPGA Tour is full of talented players and the pool is deep with women from all over the world. 

    Inbee Park leads the money list, Pettersen won in back-to-back weeks in Asia, Jiyai Shin is back to good form, Kerr got back into the winner’s circle and Tseng is working her way out of a slump. 

    But that alone doesn’t solve the problems of the LPGA Tour. It still needs more events, particularly in the U.S., and in an uncertain economy, title sponsors in this country are harder and harder to come by. 

    The product, however, is in its best shape in years, thanks to the quality of players on the course and off. If the players keep finding ways to be embraced by fans and sponsors alike, the women’s game can, in turn, find ways to grow. 

    Success, which comes through winning by everyone involved, is easily translated into any language.

    PHOTO: Getty Images

  • Divot.com Deal of the Day: Cobra S3 Wedge Golf Club

    16 Nov 2012

    Today only, save over 80% on a Cobra S3 Wedge Golf Club for only $24.99 (suggested retail $150).

    Visit WGT partner Divot.com for daily deals on golf equipment to help improve your game out on the golf course. There's a new deal every day, so be sure to check back for updates.

    See Today's Deal

    *Offers subject to Divot.com terms and conditions. Shipping only within United States, US Territories, and Military APO addresses.



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