In the final round of the Franklin Templeton Shootout from Tiburon Golf Club, Kenny Perry and Sean O'Hair are victorious, reaching 31 under, and winning by one stroke.
Over the course of his World Golf Hall of Fame career, Greg Norman has made adjustments in his swing, even during major championships. But he's never undertaken a complete overhaul of his swing ala Nick Faldo or Tiger Woods.
Changes that significant take time to integrate, Norman said on the eve of the Franklin Templeton Shootout he hosts this weekend. Woods, for example, finally ended a 30-month victory drought with three wins earlier this year, bringing his total to 74, which ranks second all-time on the PGA TOUR.
"That's their choice and decision to do it," Norman said.
“If you're changing coaches, obviously the coach is going to
inject his belief on how the golf club should be swung during the
motion and the player is gonna listen. Obviously he wouldn't change
coaches if he wasn't going to listen to that coach.
"So you expect it, and you have to work together. It takes time, two to three months to really make a change, just one change. So if you're making three or four changes, it may take a year. It's a big effort. You can pretty much write off a year if you're going to make a significant change and build into the future."
Woods has restructured his swing with three different coaches, most recently Sean Foley. Norman, though, thinks Woods's swing, circa 2000, when he was embarking on what came to be called the Tiger Slam was the "purest I've ever seen him swing a golf club technically."
Norman said he isn't sure exactly why Woods decided to make the various changes. "Maybe injury is a significant reason," the former world No. 1 suggested, adding that he and Butch Harmon engineered changes in Norman's swing from time to time to alleviate stress on his back and spine.
"Like I say, I like the way he swung the golf club in 2000 at
any stage of his career," Norman said. "He was technically correct.
To me, he was a better middle iron player and controlled his
distance better then than he was or is today.
"Right now, from what I read -- and that's all I can say, is what I read -- is he's just trying to take one side of the golf course out of play, which is hitting the ball left. I think he's worked pretty hard on doing that."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
He was undoubtedly in the zone. But Ian Poulter had a much simpler way to describe the five straight birdies he made on Saturday at the Ryder Cup that most people point to as the turning point in Europe's victory.
"It was a good five birdies is what it was," Poulter said in understatement during a press conference in advance of the Franklin Templeton Shootout..
The surge enabled Poulter and Rory McIlroy to beat Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner, helping turn what appeared to be a U.S. rout in the Four-ball session into a 2-2 split. The momentum gained by the Brit's brilliant burst fueled Sunday's historic rally as Europe overcame a 4-0 deficit to win the Cup.
Some people wonder why Poulter, who won the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions earlier this year, doesn't bring the same kind of emotion with him every time he tees it up on the PGA TOUR.
"You can't do it," Poulter said. "I'm not going to stand on the
first hole having my eye bulging out, fist-pumping going crazy,
because they're going to go, ‘What is this idiot
doing?’ In Ryder Cup you're going to do it.
"You can't do that on the first hole of a 72-hole stroke-play event. Doesn't happen, but it happened in Ryder Cup. It just does. It's the only event in the world that is ever going to create that drama, that intensity, that pressure. But it's right. It's fitting. Stroke play is just not going to be there.
"Trust me, I've tried."
The Franklin Templeton Shootout, which will be played Dec. 5-9 at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla., features an unusual scenario this year - two "defending" champions.
Not only will Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele defend their 2011 title but Ian Poulter, who starred in the recent European Ryder Cup victory, and his partner Dustin Johnson, who were unable to defend theirs from 2010, will be among the 12 teams competing in the 12th renewal of the popular event.
"I think it adds a little bit of spice to it," said the tournament's host, Greg Norman, during a Wednesday conference call to announce the pairings.
Norman, who will play with his good friend Fredrik Jacobson, was extremely pleased with way the teams worked out for the event he called a "more relaxed version of the Ryder Cup." The format features a modified alternate-shot format during the first round, best-ball on Saturday and a final-round scramble.
"It felt like confetti coming out of the ceiling -- absolutely perfect," he said.
Vijay Singh and Jason Dufner will be making their Shootout debuts. "Vijay is probably the oldest rookie to ever turn up at the golf course," Norman said of the 49-year-old.
Good friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly are playing together for the fifth straight year. Another team features U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III and 2012 FedexCup champion Brandt Snedeker.
"It's a perfect set-up for them," said Norman, adding the two asked to play together. "Brandt since July, from the British Open, even though he faded at the end, I think that was a catalyst that made him think he could take it to the next level -- and he went on to win the TOUR Championship (presented by Coca-Cola."
Following is the complete roster of teams: Bradley/Steele, Jacobson/Norman, Johnson/Poulter, Kelly/Stricker, Dufner/Singh, Stewart Cink/Carl Pettersson, Love/Snedeker, Bud Cauley/Rickie Fowler, Justin Leonard/Scott Verplank, Charles Howell III/Rory Sabbatini, Mark Calcavecchia/Mike Weir and Sean O’Hair/Kenny Perry.
One of the most underreported stories on the PGA TOUR in 2011 was how well Camilo Villegas played in the second half.
Villegas was supposed to be a shoo-in to make the Presidents Cup team, but instead, he free-fell in the first part of 2011. He didn't even have a top-25 finish until June, and he says it was all about erratic ball-striking.
What was different? Villegas now says it was a tiny grip change that caused him to miss the ball left. His grip had grown too strong, he said, and it wasn't until midseason that he realized it.
"The grip had got a little bit too strong and it was definitely hard for me it cut the ball," Villegas said.
"I'm looking toward to next year. I'm definitely hitting it better. I definitely have more confidence. I'm definitely happier," said Villegas, who is preparing to play in this week's Franklin Templeton Shootout with partner Rickie Fowler. "You got to somehow understand the nature of the game and go through those tough times and grind it out and have fun somehow."
Starting around June, Villegas' game turned around. He rallied to qualify for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, and then reeled off top-10s in the Playoffs. He then went 15 under in the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic and tied for fourth.
"I had my back against the wall going into the Playoffs, not even knowing if I was going to be a part of them," Villegas said. "I stepped it up and played some good golf."
The always popular Franklin Templeton Shootout, which will feature 24 of the game's best players, gets under way on Friday at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples.
The first round will be played with a modified alternate-shot format while the second round is contested as best ball and the final round is a scramble.
Scott Stallings, who won The Greenbrier Classic earlier this year, was the last man in the field after J.B. Holmes had to withdraw earlier this week. The Shootout was to be Holmes' competitive debut after he had surgery in September to correct a Chiari malformation of his brain.
"While I continue to make great strides in my recovery ... I am not 100 percent and I think it would be a disservice to my partner, Kenny Perry, and the entire Franklin Templeton Shootout organization for me to play at less than full capacity," Holmes said.
Stallings, who is making his Shootout debut, will now play with Perry. Here are the first-round pairings.
|9:55 a.m. ET||Jason Dufner/Sean O’Hair and Chad Campbell/Chris DiMarco|
|10:07 a.m. ET||Mark Calcavecchia/Nick Price and Rory Sabbatini/Jhonattan Vegas|
|10:19 a.m. ET||Charles Howell III/Justin Leonard and Stewart Cink/Bo Van Pelt|
|10:31 a.m. ET||Jerry Kelly/Steve Stricker and Kenny Perry/Scott Stallings|
|10:43 a.m. ET||Keegan Bradley/Brendan Steele and Webb Simpson/Anthony Kim|
|10:55 a.m. ET||Greg Norman/Scott McCarron and Rickie Fowler/Camilo Villegas|