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Zen Golf Quote of the Week
September 2009


PGA Tour Playoffs
PGA Tour Notes
Solheim Cup
Tour Stats to Know
Events and Media


PGA Tour Playoffs


The first tournament of the playoffs saw Tiger Woods struggling on the greens once again this year. He put it into another gear on Sunday, as he often does, and had his chance to send the tournament into overtime, but missed one of those rare inside 10 footers that makes us believe that he may actually be human after all. As the cream of the PGA Tour was rising to the top, (Woods, Harrington, Stricker, Els), Heath Slocum, the 124th ranked player on the list, snaked home his 20 footer to save par on the 72nd hole of the tournament and move into third place in the FEDEX points race. In a similar vein to PGA Champion Y.E. Yang's comment on his own surprise victory, Slocum said that he was just happy to be there and felt that he "had nothing to lose, so he went for it."  


Steve Stricker set the tone for the weekend, outplaying Tiger for the first two days, then hanging around until finally closing the deal on Labor Day with two clutch birdies on the 71st and 72nd holes of the tournament. Once again, however, Tiger put himself in the picture late, starting his final round 9 strokes back but making a huge move going out in 30 with 4 birdies and an eagle. He slowed a little on the back, finishing 8 under for the day, moving from 30th place into 11th for the tournament. The Fedex points shuffled Tiger into second behind Stricker, and the field of 70 was set for the third round.


Tiger quickly took control of the FEDEX Cup with a brilliant week of golf. He hit fairways and greens, made putts and converted any and all sand save opportunities. This type of performance always translates into a win for Woods, and his eight stroke margin of victory was dominating. Two of the three players paired with him over the weekend, Mark Wilson and Brandt Snedeker, appeared to fall victim to the dreaded "Tiger effect" - failing to advance to the Tour Championship after putting themselves in perfect position by the weekend. Rookie Mark Leishman, who eagled the 72nd hole at the Deutsche Bank to advance to the BMW played a very solid final round with Tiger and all the added pressure and distraction that accompanies playing with the world #1 player. With 16 pars and birdies on two of the 3 par 5s, Leishman secured his place at the Tour Championship as well as an automatic entrance into 3 of the 4 majors in 2010.  


The grand finale of the FEDEX Cup may not have been the most exciting tournament ever, but somehow there was a great deal of poetic justice in the trophy distribution. After a season filled with personal turmoil, Phil Mickelson found his way on the greens at East Lake and cruised past the leaders on Sunday with an air of confidence that we haven't seen in a long time. As is always the case, the better one is putting, the less pressure to get the ball closer and closer to the hole with approach shots, and the easier to let your first signature swing come through. Tiger, on the other hand, continued his struggle to hole putts. During Friday's second round, Tiger missed consecutive opportunities inside 5 feet, perhaps for the first time in his career, at a point where he looked ready to run away with another tournament. Tiger also had never given up a 36 hole lead on a Saturday when shooting under par, until Kenny Perry shot a 66 on Saturday to grab the 54 hole lead. The biggest mental game triumph of the week, however, may belong to Paddy Harrington, who completed his first PGA tournament in his last 14 attempts without a double-bogey or worse on his card!



We Read Emails! 


Dear Dr. Joe,

I have no doubt you receive many, many emails of this nature. Here is one more for your collection.

I've been listening to your book, "Zen Golf", on audio all week. Yesterday I put your methods to the test.

I play golf with my wife every Thursday afternoon. On one particularly long par 4, I hit a fabulous shot that happened to plug in the face of the greenside bunker. When I started laughing and said, "that looks like a fun bunker shot", she turned to me and said, "who are you, and what have you done with my husband?"

The fact of the matter is that yesterday was the most fun I have had playing golf in a long time. Using just a few of your techniques allowed me to play very relaxed and in fact, very well. It was one of the best rounds I have played in weeks.

After finishing 17 with a par, anxious thoughts began creeping into my mind. I glanced up toward the sky and smiled. I said out loud, "I acknowledge you, I know you are there, but i am going to dive under you and par number 18. You can hang around all you like, but while you thrash around up there, I will be diving under you, down here." I shot par on 18, perfectly.

Thank you for your book!

- Bart K.


PGA Tour Notes


It's time to recognize the importance of par 5's again. At the Nationwide Tour's Utah Championship, the eventual winner, Josh Teater, played the par 5's in 21 strokes under par. On a course with 5 par 5's, low scoring was to be expected, but after birdieing 4 out of the 5 on both Thursday and Friday, Josh stepped it up with 4 birdies and an eagle on Saturday, finishing up with 3 birdies and 2 eagles on Sunday. Tiger Woods had a similar performance at the BMW, where there were only 3 par 5 chances per round. After one birdie on Thursday and 2 on Friday, Tiger stepped it up on the weekend with 2 eagles and 3 birdies on those 6 holes. (At the Tour Championship where there were only two par 5 holes, not one of the 30 players was over par for them for the week.)

One of the first things we look for when assessing a pro's performance on any particular golf course is par 5 scoring. Once the practice rounds are out of the way and strategy for each hole has been determined, it's just a matter of executing the long second shot or the short third shot to secure the scoring opportunity. The Tour Players all have cutoff points where the risk of the long shot outweighs the reward that would be gained by going for it, and they layup to favorite distances when they are outside the cutoff, or if they are otherwise out of position. The key is to effectively turn the long approach shot into a par 5 green into a very short par 2 1/2, where the player expects that they will get up and down no fewer than every other attempt. 


Solheim Cup

Golf is usually only a team sport for high school and college players, but every once in a while the Pros take a step back and play for something other than the money - the Solheim Cup is one of those occasions. Dr. Joe has been working with both Cristie Kerr and Juli Inkster, two of the stabilizing influences on the victorious U.S. Solheim Cup team this year, and contributors toward 4 of the 16 winning points by Team USA. Congratulations to all the players and coaches for their inspired play and sportswomanship, and for retaining the Cup once again.


Events & Media

New York Times

Dr. Joe's prescription for "making putts" has always been the same- if you started the putt on the path you wanted with the pace you wanted, then you've made your putt - Larry Dornan's article previewing the Tour championship in the New York Times featured this quote from Tiger about a putt that could be worth $10 million - "When you're over that putt, all you think about is where you're playing that ball, all the other stuff takes care of itself. It's nothing else but starting the ball on that line with the correct speed. That's it." He may not call it that, but Mr. Woods' attitude expresses the essential perspective of Zen Golf and Zen Putting.

Sports Illustrated

Look for Dr. Joe's comments on the mental game in an upcoming Sports Illustrated feature on Cristie Kerr.

"At The Turn" with Peter Kessler

Dr. Joe continues to appear as a regular commentator on Peter Kessler's "At the Turn," a very popular radio program on the PGA TOUR Network of XM/Sirius. Dr. Joe will be speaking with Peter every other week, with additional special appearances after majors and "cup" events. The program airs monday-friday at 10 a.m. Eastern, and can also be accessed from the homepage of the PGA Tour website. Members can listen to archived interviews in the audio section of the member's portion of the website.

Member's Teleforum

The next Member's Teleforum is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6th at 5:30 p.m. Pacific, 8:30 p.m. Eastern. If you have questions for Dr. Joe to answer during the call, please email them to us by 5 p.m. Monday, the 5th at: info@zengolf.com.

Dr. Joe at Your Club

You can invite Dr. Joe to speak at your club, and offer a Zen Putting clinic as well as group lessons and on-course instruction.

For more information, please call the Zen Golf office at (805)640-1046 or email info@zengolf.com. 

To schedule phone consultations, lessons or for more information on any Zen Golf programs, please call the Zen Golf International office at (805)640-1046 or email info@zengolf.com 
Feel free to forward this newsletter, or links to archived newsletters. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if there are other topics you’d like to see addressed in our Zen Golf Newsletters, or any other feedback that will help us serve you better.
Yours in Clarity, Commitment, and Composure, 
Ken Zeiger 
Program Director, 
Zen Golf International 
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