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Golf: McIlroy’s Magical Short Game

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

In winning the Honda Classic and becoming the world’s Number 1 it was Rory’s short game that saw him through. The young Irishman’s almost flawless swing has captured the attention of envious golfers and golf swing gurus. But today as Tiger turned it on with his final round 62, it was Rory’s short game that saved the day.

When the heat was on and Tiger was on a roll. Rory sank an 8-footer at the 13th, got up and down from a lie at the 14th that was so deep even the TV cameras had difficulty spotting his ball. Sand saves on the two par threes at the “Bear Trap”. And now we have something else to admire about his marvellous golf game.

Rory’s magical short game confirmation of the saying, "Drive for show, and putt (and chip) for dough.”

Which brings me to The WSJ’s John Paul Newport who writes, “Nine Things People Say About the Game That Aren't True—and One That Is”

John reports that the one that is; “Drive for show, putt for dough. Finally, a widely held assumption that holds up. An analysis of ShotLink data by the PGA Tour reveals that, from 2004 through last season, only 11 of the 323 Tour winners led the field in driving distance, compared with 47 winners who led the field in strokes gained putting (the Tour's new putting stat). Putting beat driving accuracy by an even bigger margin, and it was also more predictive of winners in the negative. A third of Tour winners finished outside the top 30 in driving distance, but only 13% of the winners finished outside the top 30 in putting.”

As to what’s not true. “Golf is only for rich people. Only 10% of the 26 million golfers in the U.S. belong to private clubs, according to the National Golf Foundation. The rest play primarily at public courses, where the average rack-rate cost per round, on weekends with cart (not including resorts), is $43.”

“The biggest difference between Tour pros and amateurs is how far the pros hit.” Also not true. “Despite the pros' prodigious length, their most compelling advantage compared with amateurs is their prowess in getting up and down from 30 yards. The pros manage to do so 46% of the time, (McIroy did lots better, something like 18 out of 22 up and downs) while 10-handicap amateurs succeed only 11% and 30-handicappers less than 3%.”

And eat your heart out those people who’ve given up on golf because of slow play.

“In fact, a foursome of Scots in a four-ball match average about four hours a round, according to Hamish Gray, chief executive of the Scottish Golf Union. That's the recommended pace of play posted at many U.S. golf courses. The difference is the Scots really do play in four hours, whereas at most U.S. courses it's the impossible dream.”

Thanks to the Armchair Golf Blog for the link to John’s article

Quote of the Day

“In a Ryder Cup year, it seemed fitting for the new world No 1 to end the American victory streak to begin 2012” – Ryan Ballengee

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