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Stacy Lewis, Roger Chapman and Rory McIlroy voted Players of the Year, by Golf Writers Association

Stacy Lewis / Scott Halleran

Stacy Lewis Roger Chapman and Rory McIlroy have been voted Players of the Year by the Golf Writers Association of America. Stacy won four times on the LPGA Tour this year and was the run-away winner in the women’s bracket, gaining 153 votes to Na Yeon Choi who carded 31 votes and 10 for Inbee Park. Stacy’s percentage was 78.8% of the total vote. Congratulations to Stacy Lewis.

Stacy’s record was three runner-up finishes and a third-place slot on the LPGA money list $1.87 million, and was the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to earn the tour’s Player of the Year honors. The 27-year-old from Texas, had to battle scoliosis, since aged eleven, to make it big on the pro tour, she also becomes the first American since Juli Inkster in 1999 to earn the Golf Writers of America Player of the Year award.

Roger Chapman won 116 votes beating Tom Lehman who received 44 votes and Bernhard Langer who got 33 votes.  Rogers winning percentage was a healthy 60% of the votes cast. Roger, aged 53, began the year with conditional status on the Champions Tour, but won the Senior PGA Championship in his first start of the 2012 season. The Englishman then came from four shots back of the leaders to win the U.S. Senior Open.

Rory McIlroy, who captured the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours, received 190 votes, a massive 97.9%  Brandt Snedeker was second with 3 votes and Tiger Woods third with just one vote. Rory had already won European Tour’s Golfer of the Year,cementing his season with five birdies at his last event of the year to win the World Tour Championship in Dubai. His other achievements included his second Major, the  US PGA Championship, PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Award and PGA of America’s Vardon Trophy for adjusted low scoring average of 68.87%  and also finished the season with 10 top-tens in 16 starts. Rory is the World Number One ranked player.

 

 

Jim Flick has Died

      

Jim Flick/ golfwrx.com                                Jim and Tom Lehman/jimflickgolf.com

Jim Flick, golf instructor to some of the great golfing stars, has died of pancreatic cancer at age 82, his family has announced.

Jim had been a golf instructor for more than fifty years, his last piece of advice was given to Tom Lehman on Sunday morning when he advised Tom to ” Be Tom Lehman.”  Tom then went out and won the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Desert Mountain, on the Cochise Course. Jim was director of instruction at Desert Mountain, in Scottsdale for 20 years, and also wrote five books, his most recent publication was Jack Nicklaus, Simply the Best.

Jack Nicklaus consulted with Jim and they co-founded the Nicklaus-Flick Golf Schools, the association lasted from 1991 until 2003. Jim was awarded PGA Teacher of the Year, in 1988 and was also inducted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame. Golf World magazine selected Jim as one of the top ten teachers of the 20th Century.

Jim had recently said in an interview, with Golfweek magazine, that he was concerned that too many of the worlds golfers were trying to perfect the perfect swing, and stating that a mechanical or robotic swing is the worst thing you can do;

 ”We’ve let the game be taken over by science, golf is an art form. The golf swing is an athletic movement. Becoming mechanical and robotic is the worst thing you can do.”

Jim’s funeral arrangements have yet to be announced, I send my condolences to Jim’s wife, and his five children.

Dear Colleagues, Students and Friends:

After teaching the game of golf for more than 50 years, the time has come for me to step away from the lesson tee.

My life as an instructor has given me more than I ever dared imagine when I took my first swing at a golf ball as a boy in Bedford, Indiana. Golf has taken me all over the world and introduced me to so many wonderful and remarkable people. I’ve been privileged to work and associate with some of the game’s greatest players, though I’ve gotten as much satisfaction helping an amateur straighten his or her slice.

Yet for as much as I’ve learned about golf during my decades teaching, it’s taught me even more. Because of that, I urge you to always be open to the life lessons the game has to offer. I guarantee that they’ll make you a smarter, more successful and more contented person.

One more thing: Although golf is a game of infinite subtlety and possibility, always remember that the door that leads to its inner secrets and rewards is marked fun.

Kindest regards,
Jim

Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Tom Lehman Triumphs

Two for Tom

Tom Lehman/ Chris Condon/PGA Tour

Triumphant Tom Lehman became the first ever back-to-back winner of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, with a final round of -5 under par 65 and a tournament total of -22 under par, six shots clear of his nearest rival. In doing so Tom also picked up the Charles Schwab Cup, the season long points race, coming into the tournament Bernhard Langer was leading that points race, that was until Tom blitzed the Desert Mountain Cochise Course. Tom’s spectacular performance included a 47 hole bogey free run from the back of the 1st round to the turn of the 4th and final round. Tom needed to win this tournament, to have a chance of winning the season long title race, he did, and admits this is a dream come true week;

There’s a lot of times in this world where you need to play well and you don’t. This is one of those weeks where I needed to and I did. All in all, it’s a bit of a dream-come-true week.”

Tom’s  longtime teacher and mentor Jim Flick is battling terminal pancreatic cancer, Tom spoke to Jim briefly before the last round on Sunday. Jim had some special words of wisdom for him;

 “Be Tom Lehman.”

Tom recalled the many times he and Jim had spent time together on the driving range at the Renegade Course at Desert Mountain;

“We probably spent half an hour just back there hitting shots, those are the kind of things you think about. But the more I thought about that, the more teary-eyed I would get. I decided I can’t play this round of golf with tears in my eyes. I have to wait until business was finished. The last hole, I know that he was probably watching today. I felt quite certain that was probably the last driver he was ever going to see me hit and I wanted to make it a good one. And the last 7-iron he will ever see me hit, and I wanted to make that a good one. And the last putt, I wanted to make that putt.”

When it was all over and Tom had secured victory, he had a few moments alone with his head pushed deeply into his white Taylot-Made hat, before being surrounded by family and fellow professionals.

In the tournament, Jay Haas finished in second place alone, after a last round of -1 under par, and a total of -16 under par. Third spot was occupied by Jay Don Blake with his final round of -4 under par, and finishing total of -14 under par. The two Fred’s, Couples and Funk were tied in fourth, Couples suffering a last round of +3 over par 73, to dash any hopes he had of victory. Fred Funk had a better last round, -5 under par, but he never got going in the first round, slumping to +1 over par effort. Bernhard Langer was ruing his par round of 70 on the third day of play, it cost him victory here.

The Champions Tour, Dick’s Sporting Goods Open

The Champions Tour hosted the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open at at En-Joie Golf Course in Endicott, and had a wonderful tournament, which required a play-off on Sunday to determine the winner. Willie Wood from Tennessee won the trophy in the one hole play-off after he and Michael Allen were tied at the end of the final round on -13 under par.

Dick's Sporting Goods Open: Final Round

Brad Faxon high fives Willie on sinking the putt that got him into the play-off/Casey Staff / Staff Photo

The field for this event included 57 of the top 60 players on the Champions Tour, notables were,  Tom Lehman, Brad Faxon, Joey Sindelar and Tom Watson. Tom was making his first appearance at En-Joie Golf Course since the 1976 B.C. Open, he said of this tournament;

” I just enjoyed the tournament and I’ve enjoyed it again this year. It’s a lot of fun; there’s a lot of good will, good community support. It’s a wonderful experience for me. I enjoy playing in tournaments like this.”

Dick’s Open tournament director John Karedes was all smiles at the conclusion of the exciting event, which included a little rain hiccup on Friday;

” Except for Mother Nature’s little challenge on Friday afternoon, everything went great. We had Willie Wood and Michael Allen in the playoff, and just behind them on the leaderboard was a who’s who of professional golf. And to hear someone like Tom Watson say that about the tournament, we certainly value that observation. He’s been all over the world, and he’s seen good and bad, and to have him say that is great.”

 

U.S. Senior Open Championship, Langer Leads

Major marvel

Bernhard Langer / Shamus/Getty Images

Bernhard Langer made nine birdies on his way to a -6 under par, 64 during the third round of the U.S. Senior Open Championship at Indianwood Golf and Country Club. The score gives Bernhard a four shot advantage over the field going into the last round Sunday. If he wins it will once again raise the question of anchoring the long putter, is it an unfair advantage.

Bernhard himself did not think he played that well, just putted well;

” The only difference really was just I made some putts. I probably played worse than I played the first two days. The first two days I made very little, and I guess the course owed me some. I made a bunch of putts today. It was really fun. Hoping to go really low and then made an error on No. 13.”

There are five players who are four shots adrift of the lead, and they will all have to pull out something special tomorrow if they want to win this tournament, or simply hope that Bernhard falls over. Given Bernhard’s exceptional record I can not see that eventuality happening.

The players waiting for a chance at -6 under par, are; Tom Pernice  Jr, Corey Pavin, Roger Chapman, Tom Lehman and John Huston.

 

 

 

PGA U.S. Senior Open Championship

logo-ussenioropen-1.jpg

Lance Ten Broeck leads the PGA U.S. Senior Championship by one shot at Indianwood Golf & Country Club, scoring a -2 under par, 68 for his second round, and a tournament total of -6 under par. One shot off the lead is yesterdays magical man Tom Kite, who came down to earth today just easing his way round the course in par, a 70, settling for a -5 under par total.

Lance is the full-time caddie for Tim Herron, and a part-time player, he has a reasonable chance to make about $500,000 on Sunday after earning less than half that total in his best year as a caddie. Lance said about his bag carrying job;

” Caddying is a lot easier than playing, that’s why you get paid more money to play. I figured I should be able to make the cut, but I never figured that I’d be in the last group on Saturday.”

tenbroeck-storytop-1.jpg

Lance Ten Broeck / Shamus/Getty Images

Tom Kite was philosophic about his comedown during the second round;

” It’s a sadistic game, it drives us all crazy. As Harvey Pernick said; It’s such an easy game to play, it’s just such a hard game to play well. In a championship like this, we’re trying to play very well, and they’ve given us a stern test on a golf course that is very tricky. The greens are very severe in a number of places.”

Tom knows all about Lance, and his ability;

“I played a bunch of golf with Lance when he was in Austin. He’s had so much talent for so many years and to a lot of people’s minds didn’t take advantage of all the talent that he has.”

There are six players tied in third place at -4 under par, American’s John Huston, Tom Lehman, Dick Mast and Corey Pavin, they are joined by two European’s, Germany’s Bernhard Langer and Roger Chapman of England.

Roger is happy with the layout of the Indianwood course;

“I’m quite happy with it. My first impression, apart from the trees, was a type of linksy place. So having grown up on sort of Royal St. Georges, Royal St. Paul, Little Stan, those courses down there on the South Coast, yes, it’s nice. It also reminded me of a golf course that Nick Faldo designed in Berlin. Very similar, sort of humps and hillocks and wispy grass, has that look. Nobody can get away from anybody. People are not making mistakes. They’re not making many birdies. They’re sort of hanging around, 2 under, 1 under, level par, 1 over. And anybody that’s still to shoot maybe 66-66 at the weekend from the back of the field has got a chance. I guess I’d probably take a couple of 67s myself and see what happens. With the severity of the course and the driving, I don’t think anybody’s really going to get away from us. I think Sunday afternoon could be quite exciting.”

The cut was made at +4 over par, and those notables missing the cut were;

Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson, Eduardo Romero, Gil Morgan, Kenny Perry, Hal Sutton, Chip Beck and the Walrus Craig Stadler.

Ex Salesman Joe Daley Wins Senior Players Championship.

Joe Daley (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

It took twenty years after quitting his job as a credit salesman for Joe Daley to win his first victory on the PGA or Champions tour. He had to contend with the likes of  Fred Couples,  the defending champion. Mark Calcavecchia the winner the previous week in the Montreal Championships, and Tom Lehman breathing down his neck, and hoping to steal this victory away from him. Joe stuck to his guns after starting  the day tied with Calcavecchia and a shot ahead of Couples and Lehman, who won the previous major last month.

A smiling Joe Daley said he was not worried about the competition, he was battling himself;

” I was my competition, not them, I’m my own competition. Have been for years. All I was keying on was what I had next, with the best possible attitude and keeping my emotions under control. I had a little adrenaline going later in the round and I dealt with it pretty good, so here I am.”

This victory earned Joe Daley full Champions Tour status for a calendar year, and he deserves it.

Mark Calcavecchia was full of praise for Joe;

“I thought he might get a little shaky in the back, but he was solid,  he deserves it. He’s been at this a long time, and this is a huge win for him.”

Tom Lehman bogeyed three of the final six holes, and was not happy;

“Just a little bit off all day today, I didn’t play badly, I didn’t play great. With the conditions the way they were, being a little bit off was enough. “

Tom spoke about Joe;

“I know him enough to know he’s a hard worker, he’s very committed and willing to pay the price. I look at a guy like him and say, well deserved.’”

Congratulations to first time winner, 51-year-old Joe Daley.

Tom Lehman aims for smaller schedule

Tom Lehman, a senior like myself, has decided a smaller schedule is the best approach for the 2012 season. Tom played in 29 tournaments last year and he lamented;

“I won’t do that again, I can assure you that, I might get 23 or 24 in.”

He will concentrate on the Champions Tour, aiming to add to his list of majors, he has two and wants the other three.

insider.inglis.jpg

In 2011  he was playing so well and enjoying it so much, he just kept teeing it up, winning  three times, including a major at the Regions Tradition, the Charles Schwab Cup, topped the money list and also claimed Champions Tour Player of the Year honors. Tom said the Player of the Year was especially gratifying because it is the vote of his peers;

“All the guys you play with and respect and admire so much. So for them to make that decision means a lot to me. I think we all appreciate the fact that other players respect your ability. To me that says a great deal and makes me feel really good.”

“As the season progressed, it seemed like I just really wanted to play as much as I could to keep on pursuing the goal that I had set for myself. It ended up being a lot of golf, but it was a worthwhile year and very satisfying.”

“I was always planning on playing at least 20 on the Champions Tour. I don’t think I played any more or less on the Champions Tour than I would have otherwise. It’s just the other ones I committed to play on the PGA TOUR, five of those, then three others throughout the year, kind of made the year become a bit more full than maybe I would have liked otherwise.”

“I would like to be able to win as many tournaments as I can, as many of the bigger ones as I can. I’ve already won two of the majors out there and I’d like to win the other three. As I think of my career on the Champions Tour, that would be a goal, to win all the majors.”

I have also cut back my playing schedule, I found playing too much golf was not good for the soul. I have improved my low level stats by playing less and learning more.

 

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