“The best golfers without a major championship” is always a fascinating discussion and maybe never more so in the world of golf as we enter 2019. The sport is absolutely loaded with stars and superstars at the highest level, and you could argue that with Tiger Woods back to winning, the PGA Tour hasn’t been healthier in a long, long time.

Because of this and because a healthy PGA Tour leads to massive purses, golf is becoming more and more competitive. The rise of social media has engendered an era when even three-win or four-win golfers without majors are well-known personalities. All of this is a great thing of course, but it also means that the major-less crew is more recognizable than ever. That’s good for golf (so many stars can win in any given week!) but tough for the players on this list to continually field questions about why they haven’t won the big one.

With that, let’s get to our top 10. Remember, this isn’t a list of the 10 most accomplished but rather the 10 best players in the world who have yet to win a major championship.

1. Jon Rahm: He doubles as the most decorated on this list as well. For the second consecutive year, he won at least three times worldwide and solidified his spot as one of the handful of guys most likely to win the most majors from this point going forward.

2. Bryson DeChambeau: Only Rory McIlroy got to five wins more quickly in recent years. I don’t think DeChambeau is “somewhere between McIlroy and Spieth” good, but he’s certainly being undervalued.

3. Rickie Fowler: He’s the lightning rod for this conversation. I won’t belabor the point — I’ve done that plenty elsewhere — but he remains one of the most underrated big tournament players in the world.

4. Tommy Fleetwood: I struggled with these next two. Hideki Matsuyama is more accomplished, and neither is a tremendous putter, but Fleetwood has displayed a flair for the big stage. That gives him the nod over Matsuyama.

5. Hideki Matsuyama: One of my low-key favorite predictions to make is that Matsuyama won’t ever win a major. Not that he’s not good enough — he is — but at some point it just becomes a numbers game. There aren’t enough of them to go around.

6. Tony Finau: Embarrassment of riches when it comes to talent, but as Justin Ray of Golf Channel recently pointed out, Finau is also probably the most dominant player in the world who doesn’t win (or at least hasn’t won recently).

Yet, Finau finds himself with just one PGA Tour win so far. Over the last three seasons, Finau has 20 top-10 finishes — twice as many as any player without a victory in that span. Tony can find solace in his bank account — his $5.62 million in official earning last season are the second-most in PGA Tour history by a player without a victory.

7. Xander Schauffele: If you value winning, this is your guy. He’s maybe done more of it compared to his brand value in the general public than anyone else on the PGA Tour. Definitely has the goods to win a major or two.

8. Paul Casey: I wanted to go with Thomas Pieters right here, but Casey, even at his age, is still astoundingly good. To go with his Valspar win last season, he had five top 10s and 13 top 25s. It would be pretty awesome to see him win an Open Championship at this stage like Henrik Stenson did.

9. Patrick Cantlay: He’s become mildly overrated in deep golf circles if only because he became somebody sexy to hitch your hipster wagon to, but the talent is there. He’s made four of his last five cuts at majors, and I think he’ll give himself a chance to win at least one in 2019.

10. Gary Woodland: Seems to be having a later-in-his-career resurgence. At the age of 34 he won, had 11 top 25s and made it all the way to the Tour Championship in September. He was one of 17 players without a major to do so. I could have gone with Aaron Wise, Billy Horschel or Cameron Smith right here, but for my money right now, Woodland tops all of those guys.

SOURCE:  msn.com

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From the world of weird n’ wacky in Golf, we found this…

Ever wonder what people who live on golf courses do with all the balls that get hit into their backyards? Well, you probably wouldn’t guess what one Iowa man did.

Kevin Pingel took nearly 600 balls and turned them into a six-foot, 100-pound statue of a golfer, according to Siouxlandmatters.com. Here’s a photo of the structure:

Pingel said he modeled the statue — which is becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction in Alta, Iowa — after the current swing of his favorite golfer, Tiger Woods. Somewhere, Sean Foley just did a fist pump.

SOURCE:  Golfdigest.com

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Don’t make hitting a draw or a fade complicated

Modern launch monitors have taught us exactly what makes the ball go where it goes, but most golfers would be smart not to get too caught up in technicalities. Decades ago, Jack Nicklaus described a simple way to shape shots, and it’s every bit as valid today.

Jack said to hit a fade—his preferred shot—aim the clubface where you want the ball to come down, and align your body to the left (for right-handers). To hit a draw, do the opposite: Aim the face where you want the ball to finish and align your body to the right. For both ball flights, swing the club where your body is aimed.

Here’s the procedure, starting with the fade (above). After sighting your target from behind the ball, step in and aim the face at the target. Next, set your feet, making sure your stance line is well to the left. (Remember, a square stance is parallel-left of the target line, so you have to be farther left than that.) Your body lines—knees, hips and shoulders—should point where your feet point. Then swing where your body is aimed. The ball will start left and curve right.

“TO SHAPE A SHOT, BETTER TO CHANGE YOUR SETUP THAN YOUR SWING.”

Now, take the draw. Aim the clubface at the target, then arrange your stance and your other body lines to the right. Swing where your body is aimed, and the ball will start right and curve to the left.

What I really like about this method is, you get most of it done at address. I see golfers trying to roll the face closed for a draw or hold it open for a fade. Jack’s way is better.

GOLF’S NO. 1 MISTAKE
People ask me all the time, What’s the biggest fault you see with amateur golfers? My answer: They don’t take enough club. They take the club that requires a career shot to get to the target.

Optimistic? No, more like unrealistic. You should base your club selections on the average distance you get out of your clubs. Take one more than you think you need, and then swing within yourself. Trust me, you’ll make better contact and hit your target a lot more often.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

From the world of weird n’ wacky in Golf, we found this…

Among the frost delay’s redeeming qualities–a few more minutes of clubhouse warmth, a chance for the sun to creep higher in the sky—let’s also not forget: reduced risk of being decapitated by a landing airplane.

Frost on Putting Green

No joke, this was the reason an emergency landing at Paramus (N.J.) Golf Course on Sunday fortunately did not result in any golfer injuries. The small plane operated by Manhattan science teacher Jonas De Leon abruptly needed open space for a landing, and it targeted the ninth fairway of the Paramus course (which borders the Ridgewood Country Club, host of last year’s Northern Trust on the PGA Tour). The fact that only 18 golfers were on the course, and all of them in the early stages of the front nine, was because play had been delayed that morning because of frost.

Golfers were playing the first few holes on Sunday when the plane landed on the ninth fairway.

“Normally we are packed on a weekend,” Ron Dorrell, a cashier at the course, told the New York Times. “But luckily, because of the frost, we didn’t have anyone out there on the back nine, so none of our golfers were injured.”

According to reports, three of the four passengers on the plane sustained minor injuries. Nine holes of the golf course, meanwhile, remained open after the landing.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

To the non-golfer or golfers just beginning, chipping and pitching might seem like very similar shots. Both are basic short game shots and can be achieved with a wide range of clubs.

However, many golfers don’t know the difference between two, and their one-size-fits-all approach often adds strokes to the scorecard.

When looking a professional golfers who exhibit superior proficiency and consistency with their short games, it’s key to understand their consistent quality of contact and variety of shot choices are accomplished successfully by understanding basic setup and technique differences between chipping and pitching.

 


Chipping vs. Pitching

The most common definition of a chip shot is that it has more ground time than air, with very little carry and more time bouncing and rolling on the green. This shot often occurs very close (within a few yards) from the green and requires a smaller swing than a pitch shot.

A pitch shot is contrarily one that spends more time in the air than on the ground, with more carry, a has a higher trajectory and more spin that helps it stop faster after it lands on the green. Pitch shots often occur farther away from the green than chip shots, and thus require a slightly longer swing.

Chipping Setup

Chipping vs. Pitching - chipping setup

It’s key to first understand setup changes needed with chipping compared a full swing to ensure a clean strike and the low, predictable trajectory we’re looking for.

To accomplish this, start with a narrowed stance, about 80 percent of your weight on the lead foot and ball positioned back in the stance. A good measure for ball position is to place it just forward (toward the target) of the big toe of your trail foot. The handle of the club should be about even with your lead thigh (not much more forward than a normal setup position), and you will also need to stand closer to the ball and raise the handle, so the shaft is at a more vertical angle.

Also, while using a wedge is often the right club for these shots, it’s also often wise to pick an 8- or 9-iron because it can be more predictable than a higher-lofted wedge.

Pitching Setup

Chipping vs. Pitching - pitching setup

The setup for a pitch shot is very similar to a chip shot, but your weight remains more centered, with only about 55 to 60 percent favoring the lead foot.

Your knees should be also be slightly more flexed than with a chip shot, feet slightly farther apart, and a ball position more forward (in the middle of your stance) with the handle location remaining neutral.

Impact Points

The strike of a chip shot is slightly different than a pitch shot. Most chip shots are struck ball first, compared to pitch shots that see the ball and ground contacted at about the same time.

Simply stated, this difference occurs because the ball-back, weight-forward setup of a chip shot creates a steeper attack angle and contact occurring earlier in the downswing in relation to where the swing arc bottoms out.

The chip shot setup also keeps the clubhead’s loft reduced to create lower trajectory shots in comparison to pitch shots, which yield higher, softer shots with more spin from a setup encouraging a shallower attack angle, more use of the club’s bounce and an impact point closer to the bottom of the swing arc.

SOURCE:  golftec.com

There are many worthwhile ways to gauge Tiger Woods’ comeback in 2018. Tiger’s memorable Tour Championship victory highlighted his campaign, with his near misses at the PGA Championship and the Open Championship not too far behind.

Another indication of Tiger’s return to elite play around the world in 2018 is his world ranking, which made some really impressive increases over the year. Of course, the below stat might not be surprising when you consider the 14-time major champion was ranked as low as 656th in the world in January.

Now Tiger’s in the top 15 in the world—which is obviously impressive, but even more so when you consider this stat:

We’re pretty sure most golf fans wouldn’t have expected such a rapid return to becoming one of the world’s best players in less than 12 months. But that’s what we saw with Tiger’s return in 2018. And when you consider Tiger’s world-ranking position to end 2018 is higher than Jordan Spieth’s, Patrick Reed’s and Bubba Watson’s—especially considering Bubba won three PGA Tour events in 2018—the stat become more impressive.

Perhaps no world-ranking stat will ever compare with Woods spending 683 weeks (more than 13 years) at No. 1, which is 352 more than No. 2 on the list, Greg Norman. But this one is one more cherry on top of this season for Tiger—what a year it was.

SOURCE:  GolfDigest

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From the world of weird n’ wacky in Golf, we found this…

 

THE BIG BEERTHA

Inside many an outwardly mature golfer lurks a glazed-eyed frat boy opposed to growing up. For those arrested fellows—and yes, they’re mostly fellows—there’s the Big Beertha, which looks like a driver but works like a beer bong. You pour a 12-ounce brew into the hollowed-out club head, then flip the club over and shotgun your beverage through the grip end. The liquid flows through a clear acrylic shaft, creating a viewing spectacle for those around you, who are likely to be either appalled or impressed.

SOURCE:  Golf.com