|Groups We're Watching|
The final round of the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew is set to begin. Here's a look at Sunday's round:
EXPERT PREVIEW: PGA TOUR NETWORK on-site correspondent Doug Bell previews Saturday's action:
The final round in Memphis is ging to be a pressure cooker and not only because the weather is again going to be a scorcher. This is the first time Robert Garrigus has ever had to sleep on a 54-hole lead. The affable 32-year-old told me last night he's not nervous, and he is simply going to do what he has always done. Hopefully he won't oversleep like he did on Friday night. ESPN Classic replayed the Stanley Cup finals and he stayed up to watch the replay of his beloved Blackhawks beating the Flyers. He slept through the alarm and managed to get to the course so late that he hit maybe 20 practice balls before heading to the first tee. Perhaps that carefree attitude will serve him well as he tries to win for the first time on the PGA TOUR while holding off two world class players like Robert Karlsson and Lee Westwood, both of whom are lurking close behind. Garrigus has had his best week ever up to this point with the short stick, ranking first in total putts. Speaking of the short stick, his putter measures only 29 1/2 inches long. Even though he leads the TOUR in driving distance at just over 305 yards a poke, he knows the old adage: drive for show, putt for dough. It's hard not to root for Garrigus, who has a gorilla head cover on his driver, and a logo on the front of his bag that reads "bassaholics." He's a character but personality alone won't help him get to the finish line. He knows that he'll have to improve on his 59 percent fairways hit and greens in regulation.
I've followed Karlsson, the 6-foot-5 Swede, quite a bit over the years and have always admired his demeanor on the course and soft touch around the greens. He overcame a very serious eye condition and has redemption on his mind. Karlsson has played on Ryder Cup teams and two years ago had his best finishes in all the majors combined. He's a seasoned veteran who won't beat himself.
Lee Westwood admitted that the heat did beat him down a bit on Saturday, but he was more concerned with his iron shots. He simply didn't give himself realistic birdie chances by leaving it nearly 20 feet from the hole on the front nine and 26 feet away on the back on Saturday. He's usually a much more consistent ball-striker. He told me last night when comparing his day to that of his favorite football team that tied Team USA 1-1," We will all live to fight another day, don't you think."
The sentimental pick among the Memphs faithful is native Shaun Micheel, who finds himself 5 behind heading into today's final round. Micheel is healthy and has qualified for next week's U.S. Open, and he would love to win one more for his dying mother. He realizes a 64 or 65 is probably what he needs to have a realisitic shot of breaking through.
INSTRUCTOR'S CORNER: John Stahlschmidt, head instructor at TOUR Academy TPC Scottsdale, analyzes the playing conditions this week:
TPC Southwind stretches more than 7,200 yards and is a rare par of 70. This course has seven par 4s over 450 yards. No doubt the eventual winner of this tournament will be able to bomb their drives off the tee in order to set up short-iron second shots.
At TOUR Academy TPC Scottsdale, I am always asked, "Do you need two swings, one for the driver and one for the rest of the clubs in the bag?" My answer is always the same: Not two swings, but two setups.
To understand why we change the setup for a driver compared to an iron, we must first understand the dynamics of what is occurring at impact. Given the characteristics of an iron (more loft), the club head should work down at the point of contact. This will make the ball go up. A driver is different. Launch monitor research has shown that if you hit slightly up on your driver, the ball will go farther in most cases.
|The Film Room|
Watch the PGA TOUR pros this week in Memphis. See if you can detect a difference in their setup. And then follow the chart below for irons and your driver and you will hit the ball farther and more accurate every time.