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  • The Last Heartbreak Major

    20 Aug 2009

    By Peter Kessler

    Over the last 49 holes Yang was 13 under and Tiger was 1 under.
    Yang's best previous major finish wad 30th in the 2007 Masters.
    Tiger beat Yang in the previous 21 events in which they both played with Tiger winning nine of those,
    Yang has played in fewer majors than Tiger has won.
    Tiger made more bogeys in the final round than all three previous rounds combined.
    On Sunday's back nine Tiger shot 37 and Yang 34.
    This was Tiger's first come from ahead loss.
    Tiger lost to YE Yang.
    Think about that.

  • Tier Adjustments & Career Earnings Fix

    19 Aug 2009

    Hi everyone, we performed a routine system maintenance last night, and along with that we made the following changes:

    Tier Adjustments

    Based on your feedback, we tuned the tier score range parameters to make it more challenging to move up tiers. This change does not apply retroactively, so you will not move down a tier even if your score range does not fall within the new parameters.

    Bug Fix

    If you received 100 credits for being in the pro tier during last week's product update, your career earnings stat should no longer display an extra $100. It should display an extra $1 ($1 = 100 credits).

  • USA v Europe in This Week's Solheim Cup

    18 Aug 2009

    The Solheim Cup, founded in 1990 by the company behind Ping, kicks off this week in Sugar Grove, IL. This biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition between U.S.-born players from the LPGA Tour and European players from the LET, is a highly anticipated event after three quiet weeks for the LPGA. Here are team USA's Christina Kim and Michelle Wie having a relaxed moment after practice:

    Photo: Christina Kim

  • Winner Profile - sabbath270: What's in His Bag?

    17 Aug 2009

    Congratulations to sabbath270, who placed first in the Pro tier in the July People v. The Pros Open. What’s in his bag?

    • TaylorMade R9 TP 9.5° Driver
    • Ping G10 Pro 3 Fairway Wood
    • Ping G10 Pro Iron Set (Steel)
    • Ping Tour W Pro 54° Wedge
    • Ping Tour W Pro 60° Wedge
    • Ping Tour W 60° Wedge
    • TaylorMade Spider Putter
  • Yang Joins The Pantheon of Sporting Upsets & Changes Golf Forever

    16 Aug 2009

    By Ryan Ballengee

    Down goes Frazier.  18-1.  The '69 New York Mets.  The miracle on ice at Lake Placid.  Hell freezing at Hazeltine.

    This is not Ed Fiori at the Quad Cities.  Rocco at Torrey certainly falls short.  Not even Rich Beem, on the same course seven years prior, can touch the significance of this PGA Championship.

    YE Yang joined the pantheon of all-time great sporting upsets on Sunday by managing to shoot 70 in the final round of the PGA Championship to best Tiger Woods by three strokes.  He became the first man to unseat Woods when the world number one held a share of the 54 hole lead in a major championship.

    With the accomplishment, Yang officially gives Asia a seat at the United Nations of golf champions.  Asia was the only continent with more people living on it than penguins that had not produced a major champion.  Every other continent had done it already.  Even if you discount South African champions as not really ethnic Africans, they count.  South America can thank Angel Cabrera for getting them on the board - interestingly enough by also beating Woods at the 2007 US Open at Oakmont.  Now, Yang will be a hero for the rest of his life for what he won on Sunday.

    Golf is exploding in mainland Asia, finally catching up to the golf bug that Japan caught decades prior.  China is reporting that participation in golf is growing by nearly 50 percent per year.  Courses are being constructed all over the continent.  The Champions Tour is hosting its first tournament in South Korea next year.

    By virtue of his win, Yang intensified all of that momentum and enthusiasm for the game by tenfold.  Yang will be to Asia what Tiger Woods was to a generation of young people in the United States.  He is a champion to emulate.  He was the man who stood up to the best in the world, beat him, and smiled at the camera while doing it.  It was fun and endearing, while simultaneously courageous and clutch.  Yang is a tremendous ambassador and representation of what Asian golf is and can be.

    In the week that the International Golf Federation announced that the IOC is recommending golf to be included into the 2016 Olympics, Yang is proof positive of the power of the event.  Despite flaws in the proposed Olympic golf tournament format and qualifying criteria, this victory gives credence to the possibilities of the sport in the Olympic games.  It no longer takes an imagination to conjure a defeat of this kind of magnitude.  It happened on Sunday.

    Not only does the Yang victory help perception of golf in the Olympics, but it also helps the perception of Asian professional golf.  The Asian Tour has been steadily growing in recent years, but largely due to a symbiotic relationship with the European Tour.  Co-sanctioning of events has boosted the profile of Asian Tour events by bringing in higher ranked players with paid appearances to mow down the best that Asia has to offer.

    Though the talent level has been growing in Asia with names like Jeev Milkha Singh, Prayad Marksaeng, and Thongchai Jaidee, there had not been a validation of that growth.  Yang represents that and confirms that Asian professional golf is a legitimate threat in major championships.  They can no longer be ignored or patronized with invites to participate.

    The Masters invited Ryo Ishikawa to compete in the tournament this year because of his youth, clear talent, and - most importantly - the potential benefit to their brand if Japan's emerging superstar could pan out at Augusta National.  Now, with Yang as a confirmed major victor, that kind of transparent business-based invite is unnecessary.  In time, Ishikawa will certainly hoist a major trophy of his own, but until then, golf's major championships have a legitimate and proven champion from Asia.

    The elevation of this victory is not intended to diminish what players like Se Ri Pak, Eun Hee Ji, and Ji Yai Shin - among many others - have accomplished in women's golf and on the LPGA Tour.  Those victories were and are very significant in fueling the growing enthusiasm for the game in Asia.  Now, though, those female champions have a male counterpart.  Their counterpart took down the greatest golfer still playing.

    And the victory was not a squeaker.  It was decisive.  A three shot win is a practical blowout in a major championship.  Yang was not conservative in his approach.  He went for broke, with nothing to lose.  He really had nothing to lose.  Perhaps, though, it dawned on him somewhere on that back nine how much he could gain for himself and the sport were he to do what was previously considered impossible.  Yang even birdied the final hole to serve as an exclamation point of the win.

    The exclamation point was not just for this tournament, though.  His final putt will be an enduring image in golf history - and an incredible thorn in the side of the career of Tiger Woods.

  • Wrist position at the Top of the Backswing

    15 Aug 2009

    By Josh Zander

    As you can see from my written blog this month, be careful about taking swing advice from your fellow golfers. One of the tips I often hear golfers giving is to flatten your left wrist (for right-handed players) at the top of the backswing. Does this apply to you? Well there is only a 33% chance it does. If you are slicing the ball, flattening your left wrist will help. Do not take this advice if you are hitting it straight or hooking the ball as flattening your left wrist will close the clubface and make the ball go more left.

    As you can see in the video, the position of the left wrist at the top of the backswing has a lot to do with how you grip the club. If you have a strong grip, your wrist should look cupped at the top. If you have a neutral grip, your wrist should be flat or slightly cupped at the top.  If you have a weak grip, your wrist should be flat to slightly bowed at the top.

    I look at the golf swing as a recipe of many different ingredients. After we pour all these ingredients into our pot of boiling water, we are looking for the end product to be a solid golf shot with the desired ball flight. As an instructor, I love the challenge of putting the puzzle together to help my students achieve their desired results. Every piece of advice I dole out has an effect on the quality of the shot. I never give advice to make something look prettier or because it is the latest swing fad. I give advice to help your game and it has taken years to learn the cause and effect of each ingredient.

    So are you willing to take advice that may or may not be correct from a “helpful” friend? I feel like I have invested a lot of time, effort and money on my golf swing. I will only take advice if the person can give me a good explanation of cause and effect. Find a teacher you trust and stick to the plan. If you do, your recipe will turn out delicious!!

  • Q&A: TNT Analyst Bill Kratzert from PGA Championship

    14 Aug 2009

    By The Armchair Golfer

    (Editor’s note: I had the opportunity to ask TNT analyst and former PGA Tour player Bill Kratzert a few questions prior to today’s start of the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. TNT has 18 hours of coverage on Thursday through Sunday.)

    ARMCHAIR GOLF: How are current course conditions?

    BILL KRATZERT: The course is in great shape. It’s unusually hot right now and the golf course is not as bouncy and as fiery as you would think it would be. The greens are running as quick as they can, given the undulations in the greens. A lot of the greens have mounding and many of them are turtle back greens, where it filters off each way. As far as the rough is concerned, it was topped off Sunday afternoon after a huge amount of rain. I don’t think they’re going to touch it again. In my opinion, the rough isn’t all that penal right now. It’s very playable. I think there is ample room off the tee. I don’t think that driving the ball extremely straight is going to be a huge factor. Which plays into a Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or a Geoff Ogilvy.

    ARMCHAIR GOLF: Will shorter hitters be able to compete on such an extremely long Hazeltine?

    BILL KRATZERT: A lot of people think the longer player has the advantage. But given the fact that of the par 5 holes where a player like [Tiger] Woods or [Phil] Mickelson should capitalize, only one that is reachable — the 7th hole. The other three are not reachable so the long hitters are not going to have any more advantage on those. When you’re looking at a guy hitting with a 7-iron or a 5-iron, a Tim Clark or Brian Gay or Jim Furyk might be as effective with a 5-iron as the longer hitters are with a 7-iron. I’m not discounting the length of the course, but I’m not placing the shorter hitters off to the side.

    ARMCHAIR GOLF: Other than Tiger, which players are on your radar this week?

    BILL KRATZERT: Jim Furyk or Steve Stricker, or I would also look at Lee Westwood. His name keeps coming to mind. He’s never won a major championship, but he has the game. Look at the way he played the Open Championship. He’s out of the playoff by a shot and he bogeyed on the last four holes. Yes, had a birdie in there on the 71st hole, a par 5, but he should have a major championship on his resume already. He’s one guy we should take a good, hard look at. Or, maybe it’s a young guy — a [Camilo] Villegas, Sean O’Hair, or Anthony Kim.

    ARMCHAIR GOLF: If you were still playing, what would your game plan be this week?

    BILL KRATZERT: I would really concentrate on distance control and, by that, I am referring to the par 5 holes that you can’t reach. Also, the par 3s that are over 200 yards. The 8th hole and 17th hole, they are in the 175, 180 range. Because the rough isn’t that penalizing from what I’ve seen, a lot of it would be distance control. The more times you can put it flag high or just underneath the hole, you’ll benefit from it.

  • Multiplayer Matchmaking, Full Game Screen and More!

    13 Aug 2009

    Here are the highlights from today's product release. While we make an effort to include all updates made to the product, please note that occasionally some changes are unintentionally omitted.

    New Multiplayer Options

    Customize your multiplayer games with new matchmaking features! When you create a multiplayer game, you can now choose the course and hole groups you want to play, in either ranked or practice mode. When searching for a group to join, you can set preferences for these parameters.

    Credits for Advancing Tiers

    As an incentive for fine-tuning your skills, you will now earn credits for moving up the tiers. Players already in the Pro and Master tiers will receive credits for the last tier advancement made (i.e. from Amateur to Pro). Hack and Amateur tier players will receive credits upon their next tier advancement. Here is a breakdown of the number of credits you earn when advancing tiers:

    • Hack to Amateur - 50 credits
    • Amateur to Pro - 100 credits
    • Pro to Master- 200 credits

    Full/Adjustable Game Screen

    You can now play the game in full screen mode, or adjust it to whatever size you like. Simply click and drag the window to resize, or click on your browser's Full Screen button to experience the game in full-screen glory.

    New Equipment in the Pro Shop

    • Available to All Tiers:
      • WGT B-ES ball - Enhances the amount of spin you get when you apply backspin to your swing. You only get the extra spin if you apply backspin, and the amount you get will vary depending on your tier and the club you are using.
    • Exclusive to Pro & Master Tiers:
      • Ping Redwood ZB Putter - This putter's 303 stainless steel clubhead is 100% precision-milled to exact specifications, creating clean, flowing lines and superior feel for greater confidence. This is the most precise putter we've added to date, and has meter increments of 15, 30, 45, 90 and 150 for greater distance control.
    • Exclusive to Master Tier:
      • Ping G10 Masters - Fitted with stiff shafts for increased swing speeds and distances while retaining the precision of the standard G10s.
      • TaylorMade R9 TP Master Driver - Inverted cone geometry in a classic head shape helps to ensure fast ball speed and big distance even on off-center hits while offering both traditional and modern lines in a stunning driver head. The sophisticated high-inertia tip of the 65-gram low-torque graphite shaft promotes faster ball speed.
      • TaylorMade Master Clubset - Fitted with stiff shafts for increased swing speeds and distances. Includes the R9 Fairway Wood, Burner Rescue T3, Tour Preferred Iron Set, and Z Satin TP Wedges.

    Sell Back Your Clubs in the Pro Shop

    You can now sell the equipment you no longer use back to the Pro Shop at a percentage of the current listed price. Learn more in our FAQs.

    Online Status Updates

    Let everyone know what you are doing right now with the new Status Updates feature! Your status updates appear below your profile picture and also in the Activity Feeds of you and your friends.

    Private Messaging

    Set up tees times and converse with your friends with the new private messaging feature. Private messages may only be sent to people on your friend list. Learn more in our FAQs.

    In-game Tutorials

    Our video tutorials are now accessible in the game window. If you are a new player, a Tutorials tab will appear during gameplay, allowing you to access the tutorials easily. Once you create an account and play a game while logged in, the tab will go away but you can still access the tutorials by clicking on the game menu.

    Bug Fixes

    • You should no longer receive duplicate feeds in your Activity Stream.
    • The game should no longer hang or freeze when a player exits a multiplayer game by closing the game window.
    • Your wind conditions in tournaments should now reflect the tier you were in when you entered the tournament, not your current tier (if different).
  • Scheduled Downtime 8/12/09

    12 Aug 2009

    Hi everyone, there is a product update planned for tonight, Aug 12 starting at 11PM Pacific Time. We expect the site to be down for approximately 4-5 hours.

    During this time, you may see a popup window prompting for a username and password. This is not the WGT login prompt, so don't try to log in. If you see the popup it means we are in the process of updating the site.

    Equipment sellback and multiplayer matchmaking are two of the new features in this release. We will have a complete list posted after the update is done.

  • Hazeltine and This Week's PGA Championship

    12 Aug 2009

    By Peter Kessler

    When Hazeltine was built in the 1960's it measured over 7,400 yards from the back tees. Unheard of at a time when 7,000 was LONG.
    The course is now 7,674 yards--unheard of in 2009.
    The course was originally routed so that a carry of 250-260 yards made it safely over the bunkers. Now that carry is 300-320 yards.
    Hazeltine is number 68 on GolfWeek's Best Modern Course list.
    Every hole is different now than it was for the 1970 U.S. Open.
    The 14th is a drivable par four.
    The 16 is the toughest driving hole.

    Made 54 of 55 putts inside of ten feet. Unheard of in the history of the game.
    Won 28% of the majors he's played in. Unheard of in the history of the game.
    Won 13 of his last 23.
    Won four of his last six.
    Won all 14 of his major championships when leading after 54 holes.
    Found his putting stroke as evidenced by his 23 putts last Saturday.
    Won four PGA's.
    Could win eight or nine times before the year is out.

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