WGT Golf News

  • Happy Halloween

    31 Oct 2009

    Happy Halloween WGTers! We hope you enjoy this weekend's festivities and all the tasty treats.

    Photo: Southernpixel/Flickr

  • WGT Pinehurst Vacation Photos

    28 Oct 2009

    As you may have heard, the People v The Pros event was cancelled this year, but WGT decided to send the winners of the PVP tournament series on a Pinehurst vacation anyway. Last week, the attendees enjoyed five days of golf and leisure at Pinehurst resort, played the historic No 2 course, and had a great time bonding with each other. The pictures are starting to trickle in, and here are some of them!

    Photo by Gitthe: From left, Gitthe, Jarid, Brandi35, Jalaii, and Nivlac

    From the attendees:


  • Michael Whan, Hockey, the LPGA, and His Connection to Jonathan Ward

    27 Oct 2009

    By Ryan Ballengee

    Multiple magazines and websites are reporting that Michael Whan will be introduced as the 8th commissioner of the LPGA Tour at a 9am press conference at Madison Square Garden.  Currently, Whan serves as the CEO of Mission-ITECH Hockey. 

    Mission and ITECH merged together in 2004.  Mission Hockey was considered a leader in roller hockey and ITECH was a specialist in protective hockey gear.  The combined organization had roots in both California and Montreal, Canada.  In the transaction, Whan was elevated from CEO of Mission to boss of the combined company.

    Photo: The new LPGA Commissioner (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    The company continued for four years when, in late 2008, Mission-ITECH was purchased by Bauer Hockey.  Facilities in New York and Quebec were closed in May 2009 as part of the acquisition.  140 jobs were to be lost in the process.

    At the time of the announced acquisiton, Whan said, "Consolidation is essential for the long-term success of the overall hockey industry. [The companies'] combined commitment will only help increase the overall health of the industry and of the sport itself."

    Reports from hockey insiders indicated that Bauer was interested in Mission-ITECH's protective gear products for goalies. The brand was to be removed and all Mission-ITECH products would be rebranded as Bauer.

    Earlier in the same year, Bauer Hockey was purchased from its owner Nike for some $200 million by Kohlberg and Company.

    Kohlberg and Company is the current employer of Jonathan Ward, a man thought to be a serious candidate for the LPGA commissioner position.

    That's where the known facts end.  It is not difficult to make inferences about the financial strength of Bauer after its acquisition of Mission-ITECH in a floundering economy.  Perhaps Whan's job security was in question and, given that, Kohlberg and Company made the connection between Whan, his golf experience at TaylorMade-adidas & Wilson Golf, and the open position for the LPGA commissionership.

  • Now Open: The WGT Fan Store

    26 Oct 2009

    Shop our new WGT Fan Store for the perfect gift for you or someone on your holiday list. Featured items include WGT calendars, hats, shirts, sweatshirts, mousepads and more! Visit our store today.

  • Special to Air on 10th Anniversary of Payne Stewart’s Death

    24 Oct 2009

    By The Armchair Golfer

    Photo: The Payne Stewart statue on the Walk of Fame at Pinehurst.

    Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the untimely death of Payne Stewart, a multiple major winner and one of the PGA Tour’s charismatic personalities. In remembrance of Stewart’s impact both on and off the golf course, Golf Channel will air a one-hour special on Sunday at noon Eastern Time.

    Hosted by Kraig Kann, Steve Sands and Charlie Rymer, the special will feature the most memorable moments in Payne’s career, including:

    • The donation of his winnings to charity from the 1987 Bay Hill Invitational.
    • His passion and patriotism for the Ryder Cup, and a look back at his five performances, including his concession to Colin Montgomerie in 1999.
    • His three major championship victories, including the dramatic 1999 U.S. Open victory at Pinehurst over Phil Mickelson.

    Golf Channel’s Scott Walker will visit with Stewart’s family at the recently opened Payne Stewart Golf Club in his home state of Missouri. The special will also include interviews with fellow PGA Tour professionals and friends in the golf community who will share their memories of Payne.

  • Weekend Replay Roundup

    23 Oct 2009
  • Golf Game Killer: The Sway

    22 Oct 2009

    By John Diekmann

    Admit it, you sway, I sway, we all sway. Many times when my game falters I can trace it to the dreaded sway. Unfortunately this usually doesn’t happen until I’ve looked a lot of other places first. Even your putts aren’t safe from the dreaded sway.

    Golf involves a lot of movement; twisting, turning, weight shifting, coiling, releasing and who knows what else. Given all that movement it’s easy to see in hindsight why swaying can creep into your swing again and again.

    Swaying has to do with moving your core—the spine. Basically the golf swing is a coiling and uncoiling around the spine. The spine is the center of your swing. If it moves your control over hitting the point of impact you’re aiming for is severely compromised.

    Poor spine management leads to swaying left and right and also up and down. When your spine is still, the chances of bringing the club at impact back to where it was at setup is greatly improved.

    If you want to get down to the nitty-gritty in the best golf swings, then the spine tilt does change slightly during the downswing for full shots as the hip moves out and around. This helps you stay behind the ball at impact. However, this does not mitigate in the slightest that a major problem in poor shots is spine movement. If you don’t believe me, then exaggerate a sway in hitting practice shots and see how that works for you!

    There are lots of gizmos and practice tips to keep the spine from swaying. However, there is a better and simpler way. Put your consciousness in your spine while you swing. Focus on feeling the rest of your body rotate around it. Do this for every club from putter to driver. If you do this, at first you’ll be surprised how much you are swaying. It’s not easy to keep still and takes a significant amount of core strength.

    One of the shots where it’s easiest to feel sway and practice eliminating it is the greenside chip. If you’ve been having problems making solid contact, you’ll find that keeping your spine still will quickly build your confidence. You’ll stop worrying about hitting it fat or thin and start thinking about holing these shots. Stopping the sway is that powerful!

  • WGT Tour-SD Balls

    20 Oct 2009

    The new WGT Tour-SD balls have been available for a week, and players are raving about the extra spin. If you're looking for a ball that will stick to the greens, try them out for yourself (there are 10 colors to choose from)!

  • For Morgan Pressel, Success Places Home Further Away

    19 Oct 2009

    By Ryan Ballengee

    For Morgan Pressel, the very chilly conditions at Trump National Bedminster just did not register with her.

    "We don't really deal with this kind of thing where I'm from," said the West Palm Beach resident.  Having flown up to the New York City area to participate in American Express' USGA Champions Experience, Pressel was playing in a golf outing on one of the worst possible days to do it.

    She was stationed at Trump National Bedminster New Course's 14th hole - an island green par three totally exposed to the wind and sleet that was added on top of cold temperatures.  Having to get by like the rest of the golfers by using hand warmers and ear flaps, Pressel toughed it out like all of the participants.  She met and greeted groups as they passed through her hole, playing it out with them.  Pressel made some small chat for the ten minutes with that group, returned to the tee on a golf cart, and repeated the process.

    At the end of the outing, she helped hand out awards to the winning participants.  After that, she made the small trek to Far Hills, NJ, to speak about her 2005 US Women's Amateur win at the USGA headquarters.  She fielded questions from fans.

    The cold, rainy outing at Trump National is symbolic of the kind of life Pressel must feel she is living sometimes: anonymous golfers passing through, shaking hands, and disappearing again.

    It was all a part of a day's work for Pressel, who is one busy woman indeed.

    Later in the day, Pressel would be in the city at Chelsea Piers to attend the LPGA Tour's corporate outing, which included an update on the tour that makes her very livelihood.  The next day would include a trip to Polo Ralph Lauren's NYC headquarters to take a look at what the fashion icon had coming down the pipe for next year.

    Pressel spends nine months of the year away from home.  That West Palm Beach in Florida that she referenced to me is often so distant for her.  The forecaddie in our group, Neville, was from Donald Trump's course in Florida.  He caddies for Morgan when she is in town to play.  For Pressel, it was a connection to home - albeit a brief one.

    Between traveling to tournaments, participating in functions like this one, and actually playing the LPGA Tour, Pressel has little time to spend at home with her friends and family.  It's not that Pressel prefers to spend time away from the people she cares about most.  Rather, it's a condition of being a professional golfer that is a wanted quantity.

    Travel can take its toll on a professional whose livelihood is not just supplemented by outings like the one with AmEx, but are actually a very large portion of a pro golfer's income.  Speculation was abound earlier this month when it was reported by Forbes that Tiger Woods had passed the billion dollar threshold - despite his having earned less than $100 million in PGA Tour winnings.  Almost all of that other purported $900 million came off of the course.  Though not on the same scale, the truth for any golfer is that there is more money to be made off of the course than on it.

    With success comes more opportunities to make that kind of money.  Pressel being a multiple time winner on the LPGA Tour, as well as a major champion, has those kinds of chances.  The downside is that the demand requires travel so significant that Pressel lives a near permanent life on the road.

    She will be traveling to Korea in a few weeks for the LPGA Tour's second Asian swing of the year.  Sponsored by Kapalua in Hawaii, she would have played in that event prior to the Korean trip.  But, the tournament was lost when Kapalua could not find a title sponsor to replace their name on the event.  Now, it is a one week global excursion for Pressel, who will return to the US after that tournament.

    Adjusting to the time change going to Asia is not nearly as trying as it is making the adjustment back into the United States.  She will need extra time to adjust in order to finish out the LPGA Tour schedule with a circadian rhythm that is even close to normal - even by her standards. 

    Pressel and the ladies of the LPGA Tour have way more hours in the air than their PGA Tour peers because of how many international events comprise the dwindling LPGA Tour schedule.  In order to make money on the course, Pressel and her fellow players have to traverse the globe.  If they're successful, then they keep traveling to private functions.  In other words, with success comes more demands on their time - not less.

    That makes finding time to practice their craft more challenging.  Pressel told a fan that she practices until she "has it," depending on what she is working on with her game.  She admits that her wedge has not since been as good as her '05 US Amateur triumph.  The task of building upon success on the course is almost more difficult than getting there in the first place.

    Despite that, Pressel finds time to engage in charity work, particularly with her Morgan and Friends event that she runs each fall.  In just three years, the event and subsequent donations through is has raised nearly $1 million for breast cancer research.  Having lost her mother to breast cancer, that event is a crucial one that helps her maintain a connection to her entire family.

    When out on the road for three-fourths of the year, someone who is very close to her family like Pressel has to have that kind of connection.  Anyone would.

    Still, Pressel has clear and true friends amidst the ladies of the LPGA Tour.  The weekly grind is better, she says, when she is paired with someone she knows and likes.  In other words, it helps to make life inside the ropes a little more like what you and I experience when we play with our friends - a little piece of normal.

  • Keep it Square - Video Blog

    16 Oct 2009

    By Josh Zander

    Everything in moderation is a pretty good philosophy in life and it is in your golf game as well. Opening your stance for short game shots is ok if it is done in moderation but opening it too much leads to disaster. Setting up too open leads to glancing blows, pulls, chunks and excessive sidespin on your short game shots. More importantly, it seeps into other parts of your game which leads to inconsistency.

    I recommend putting a shaft down on the ground to monitor your alignment. It will give you the sense of what is square so when you remove the club, anything other than square will feel awkward. If square is your baseline, you are setting yourself up for success. Setting up square leads to solid contact due to an on plane swing. Your ball will come off with pure backspin and an absence of sidespin. You hear people talk about trying to get the ball within a three foot circle in order to have a good chance at getting up and down. I try to hole all my short game shots. Knowing that my ball will have a predictable bounce because of pure backspin enables me to give the ball a good chance of going in. I even read the green on my chip shots much like you would on a lag putt. If your goal is to hole your shot, chances are that if it doesn’t go in, it will be inside that three foot circle.

    The key to scoring in golf is predictability. Whether you are a hooker or a slicer, you can plan your aim and find the fairway if you know beforehand how your ball will curve. Setting up square will give you predictability of distance control because of your solid contact and predictability of direction due to square spin. Now go practice and hole some short game shots.

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