Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2012 Pro Golf Synopsis E-Book Announcement

I am pleased to announce 2012 Pro Golf Synopsis, the ‘moneyball’ guide to golf strategy and game analysis, is scheduled to be published in December. I will have a store Web site where readers can download the e-book in a .pdf format for only $10.

The 2012 version of Pro Golf Synopsis is a new format which is very clear and easy to read. It will include 3Jack Golf’s up-to-date statistical research findings and analysis of what goes into the game of golf and why golfers shoot the scores they shoot. It is a book that is useful to every type of golfer, from the PGA Tour professional to the 30 handicapper looking to shoot lower scores and to better understand what goes into shooting lower scores.

2012 Pro Golf Synopsis will also include a statistical analysis of each of the PGA Tour players whom qualified statistically for the 2012 season along with 4 essays related to statistics and the game of golf and much more.

I will be offering a free analysis for PGA Tour players or their instructor and/or caddies for any player who qualified for the 2011 or 2012 season statistically. This will be a statistically detailed overview of their game along with my analysis based upon those statistics in order to improve their earnings. I provided this analysis for a few current PGA Tour players this season on a bi-weekly basis. One of my clients on Tour saw his earnings nearly quadruple from 2011!

If you are a current PGA Tour player, caddy or instructor and are interested in this free overview, please e-mail me at


Here are some samples of the 2012 Pro Golf Synopsis:

Golfers think of the game in terms of strokes and dropping strokes from their score. Instead, they should look at increasing their probability of getting the following golf shot closer to the hole. While there are obvious exceptions, getting the ball closer to the cup on average increases the golfer’s probability of getting the following stroke closer to the cup and eventually in the hole. If a golfer wants to drop their handicap, they have to seek out ways to improve certain parts of their game that will end up consistently getting the following stroke closer to the cup.

In part, this is why so many of the top tier Tour players hit the ball a long ways. Distance and power have an inherent advantage to a degree because the longer a golfer can hit it, the more likely they will leave that tee shot closer to the cup and that will increase their odds of hitting the subsequent shot closer to the cup.

However, that does not mean that power will always win out in the end. In fact, my Advanced Total Driving metric which determines a player’s effectiveness off the tee, is a proprietary formula that considers longer players more effective off the tee, but ‘penalizes’ them for missing more fairways and having a greater distance to the edge of the fairway on tee shots that miss the short grass. Furthermore, my zone play metrics determine the player’s ranking by their proximity to the cup over conventional methods like greens in regulation.

In the end, the findings are that the better the player, the more they will have to improve their Danger Zone play and Putting in order to take their game to the next level. But for the higher handicaps, they will need to improve their driving off the tee in order to drop their handicap permanently.


Danger Zone play and putting is where the largest gaps in getting the ball closer to the cup on the following shot exist for the lower handicaps (2 handicap or better). For the higher handicaps, there is an inability to consistently hit tee shots in a position where they can hit the subsequent shot closer to the hole. For some golfers it may be a case of having driving accuracy and precision inefficiencies. For others it may be a lack of power. But for the majority, it’s a combination of all three.

This is not to say that parts of the game do not matter. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Every part of the game matters to some degree. But, Pro Golf Synopsis is designed for players to more accurately prioritize what parts of the game have a greater influence on their score and to better understand what goes into posting lower scores so they can practice and strategize more effectively


The largest change in the Tour has come from the level of importance from off the tee versus on the green. The statistics show that as far back as only 1980, driving played a much bigger role in a player’s success on Tour compared to putting.

My theory behind the reason for this boils down to a few factors.

- Equipment
- Course Design
- Course Condition

Driving the ball effectively off the tee is still very important. But, putting ability has now increased its correlation to success on Tour while driving effectiveness has decreased its correlation on Tour. This has come to the point where putting is now of greater important than driving effectiveness on the Tour. I start to wonder if it will get to the point where 30 years down the road putting will be the most important factor to success on Tour above all else.


Click to Enlarge and see the 2012 statistical overview of Bubba Watson


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

3Jack Golf Round - 9.24.12 - FSGA Mid-Am Qualifer


Course: Legacy Club @ Alaqua Lakes
Stimp: 11
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Driver: Wishon 919THI 10-degrees
3-wood: Wishon 949MC 15-degrees
Hybrid: Wishon 775HS 18-degrees

4 iron: Wishon 555C (cavity back)
5-iron thru AW: Wishon 555M

SW: Edel Golf digger grind 55-degrees
LW: Edel Golf digger gring 60-degrees

Putter: Edel Golf Columbia (34" long)

This was my 2nd time playing in the FSGA Mid-Am qualifier, having qualified last year with a 74 (+2) at Shingle Creek. Legacy Club at Alaqua Lakes is a very nice golf course. If I have one gripe against it it's that it's a private club. One can get a tee time on, but it's a $92 green fee. So what happened is that there were about 10 golfers playing in the qualifier who were members of the club and have a lot more experience playing there than the rest of the field.

The course came a long way since my Saturday practice round. I tend to believe that September is the most difficult time for Central Florida course due to the daily rainfalls never giving courses time to recuperate from all of the precipitation. On the practice round Saturday it was still fairly soft and a lot of shots were plugging, but we didn't have a problem with that today and I thought the course and the greens were in excellent condition for this time of year.

I played in a 2-some with another golfer and we started on #10. My driving was much improved since the state amateur qualifier and I shot 69 (-3) in a practice round. However, I was a little shaky with the putter.

#10: This was a bit of a toe-hook that went up against the lip of the fairway bunker. I then hit a SW to just get it into the fairway, but I hit it too far and went into the rough. I then hit a LW to about 20 feet. I just missed the first putt, but missed a 2-foot comebacker and 3-putter for double bogey (+2)

#11: This was a bit of a pull with the driver into the woods. I had 2 avenues that I could take, one that would be a pitch shot that would leave me with a 150 yard approach shot. The other would be a tougher shot thru some trees, but would be me to about 90 yards. I took the latter route and hit a nice shot that wound up 88-yards away. I then hit a LW to 10-feet and made the birdie putt, even though I pushed the putt a tad (+1)

#12: I could not see this one fly, but the yardage said 171 and I felt like I hit it well and it came up short. The weather was 'only' 69-degrees and from there I could gauge that the lower temperature along with the humidity was causing the ball to fly a little shorter.

Thankfully, I walked up to the flag and I noticed that the ball was going to bank hard off right side of the green. So I played the pitch well to the right and wound up to about 3-feet and canned the par save (+1)

#13: Another crappy swing with the driver and I hit a low pull draw into the rough. This was important because the hole played about 450 yards, thus it was likely the drive was going to end up in the Danger Zone.

It did and I hit a 5-iron pretty well, but a bit of a closed face caused the ball to draw and miss left. A decent chip with a LW to 5-feet and this was a putt I had at inside left edge as the % of slope on the putt was almost perfectly flat and sometimes those are the most difficult to read. However, I hit the putt perfectly and drained the par save (+1)

#14: Worst swing with the driver, yet and hooked it into the woods. Pitched out, but again; too hard and into the rough. Caught a SW fat and missed the green short. I then nuked a SW on a pitch shot about 15-feet bye and 2-putted for double bogey (+3)

#15: finally hit a nice driver. I pushed it a little, but it carried the trees and found the fairway. I then crushed a 3-wood from a downhill lie over a tree and it...hit the lip of the bunker and stayed there. If it goes about 1-foot further, I'm up near the green. I then hit it as hard as I could and got it out.

Then pitched to 10-feet and just missed the par save and made bogey. A real heartbreaking 2-stroke swing (+4)

#16: Blasted a driver down the middle. Then a 9-iron to 10-feet. Just missed the birdie putt because I pushed it, but missed the 2-footer coming back and made bogey. Real lousy job there (+5)


#17: Poor swing with an 8-iron and missed the green right. Weak chip to 15-feet and hit a great putt that hung on the edge and made bogey (+6)

#18: At this point I was just like 'screw it' and trying to make birdies, so I took driver out on a hole that I would usually hit 3-wood off the tee. I hit this one well, but pushed it into the woods. Hit out to 90 yards. Then a LW to 15-feet. First putt was on line, but 3-feet short. Made the bogey save (+7)

#1: I think my ball position was a problem off the tee as I noticed after this tee shot that my ball position was too far back. And I wound up hitting an ugly steer push into the woods. Chipped out, but again, too far and into the rough.

Of course, I wasn't paying attention too much as the palmetto was scraping against my leg. Now I had no shot as I was in the long rough and on a sidehill lie. I hit that shot out there to 50 yards to the flag. Hit a SW to 10-feet, but made this bogey save (+8)

#2: Another ugly swing and pulled it into the bunker, short siding myself. Hit a nice bunker blast to 6-feet and made the par save (+8)

#3: Best drive of the day ripped down the middle. I choked up on my gap wedge and hit a nice shot to 10-feet. Putt never broke as much as I thought and made par (+8)

#4: Another good driver down the right side. Had a semi-difficult lie, but hit a 3-wood pretty well to about 50-yards to the pin. They had a very difficult pin position and I thought I hit a good LW, but could not get it to stop and wound up with a 20-foot putt. I had this breaking at 21 inches to the right and drained the birdie (+7)

#5: Smoked a driver down the middle. Little weird shot because the lie was slightly downhill and it was difficult to gauge the wind which had just picked up. I hit a 9-iron that felt a little high on the face and it went to 30 feet. I was near the low anchor and had the read, but I pulled it and 2-putted for par (+7)

#6: Flushed a 4-iron to 20-feet. Hit a good putt, but too hard. Missed a 3-footer coming back and made bogey (+8)

#7: Hit this drive well, but pushed it a bit and went into the right rough. Hit it out with a 7-iron. Had a 9-iron with an uphill lie into the wind. I think it went so high that it came down with frost on it. I then drained a 25-footer to make birdie (+7)

#8: Smashed a driver down the middle. Choked up on a 8-iron and flushed it to a few inches and kicked in for birdie (+6)


#9: Pushed a driver a tad into the right rough. It was not an easy shot with the lie, but I hit it over the flag, just too far and all the way to the back of the green. Slick, downhill putt from 35-feet that I hit to 5-feet short, but made the par save (+6)

THOUGHTS: Obviously disappointing, but I did make a nice comeback. My last 2 rounds of competitive golf have been my highest scores of the year, so it was nice comeback here and avoid that from happening.

That being said, my nerves really got the best of me on the first 9 holes and if those cannot be controlled, I'll continue to run into the same issues. I think it requires a lot better mental preperation starting with more mental focus in practice and casual rounds of golf. Furthermore, I think I need to take my blood pressure medication before the round instead of taking it at 10 am when I usually take them.

I think putting wise I have some issues going from my typical slow greens to the faster greens I play in these tournaments, but still it's some nerves issues. I hit a lot of good putts and make a lot of good putts, but then miss too many easy putts.

35-43=78 (+6)
7/14 fairways
9/18 greens
31 putts
7 impeded shots

-2 on par-5's
+2 on par-3's
+6 on par-4's


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nathan Smith Golf Swing

Here's a look at the golf swing of Nathan Smith, who recently won his 4th United States Mid-Am


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Red Zone Putting Drill

Here's a nice drill that uses AimPoint along with the visuals of the break of a putt


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ball Position with Mario Bevilacqua

Here's 3Jack Golf Top-50 Swing Instructor, Mario Bevilacqua, discussing ball position


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3Jack Golf's PGA Tour Rundown - Week 37

Rory McIlroy won the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick a week ago.

I've ranked the players at East Lake in order of what my metrics tell me are the best odds of winning the Tour Championship (the sportsbook odds are in parentheses):

Tiger Woods: 5/1
Bo Van Pelt: 35/1
Steve Stricker: 35/1
Jason Dufner: 25/1
Rory McIlroy: 9/2
Webb Simpson: 40/1
Dustin Johnson: 16/1
Jim Furyk: 25/1
Luke Donald: 20/1
Bubba Watson: 33/1
Phil Mickelson: 12/1
John Senden: 66/1
Zach Johnson: 25/1
Louis Oosthuizen: 25/1
Justin Rose: 35/1
Matt Kuchar: 50/1
Brandt Snedeker: 35/1
Carl Pettersson: 66/1
Scott Piercy: 100/1
Robert Garrigus: 50/1
Ernie Els: 50/1
Lee Westwood: 16/1
Sergio Garcia: 25/1
Keegan Bradley: 35/1
Nick Watney: 40/1
Adam Scott: 16/1
Rickie Fowler: 66/1
John Huh: 80/1
Hunter Mahan: 50/1
Ryan Moore: 50/1


1. Rory McIlroy
2. Bubba Watson
3. Hunter Mahan
4. Jason Dufner
5. Charlie Beljan
6. Boo Weekley
7. John Rollins
8. Bo Van Pelt
9. Graeme McDowell
10. Graham DeLaet

177. Tommy Biershenk
178. Stewart Cink
179. Matt Bettencourt
180. Nick O'Hern
181. Tom Pernice Jr.
182. Derek Lamely
183. Michael Bradley
184. Stephen Gangluff
185. Ryuji Imada
186. Joe Ogilvie


1. Brandt Snedeker
2. Luke Donald
3. Brian Gay
4. Derek Lamely
5. Phil Mickelson
5. Aaron Baddeley
7. Bryce Molder
8. Zach Johnson
9. Ben Curtis
10. Jason Day

177. Charley Hoffman
178. Kris Blanks
179. Alexandre Rocha
180. Roland Thatcher
181. D.J. Trahan
182. Charlie Beljan
183. Scott Brown
184. Kyle Stanley
185. Boo Weekley
186. Scott Dunlap


1. Jerry Kelly
2. Brian Gay
3. Ian Poulter
4. K.J. Choi
5. Stuart Appleby
6. Jason Dufner
7. Jonas Blixt
8. Fredrik Jacobson
9. Rocco Mediate
10. Kevin Kisner

177. Blake Adams
178. Ryan Moore
179. Martin Laird
180. Gary Woodland
181. Kyle Reifers
182. Charlie Beljan
183. Harris English
184. Sang-Moon Bae
185. Cameron Beckman
186. Edward Loar


1. Steve Stricker
2. Garth Mulroy
3. Bo Van Pelt
4. Jason Bohn
5. Richard H. Lee
6. Vaughn Taylor
7. Roland Thatcher
8. Padraig Harrington
9. Brendon de Jonge
10. Sergio Garcia

177. Kris Blanks
178. Jhonattan Vegas
179. Aaron Baddeley
180. Adam Scott
181. Brandt Jobe
182. Edward Loar
183. Jonas Blixt
184. Billy Hurley III
185. Miguel Angel Carballo
186. Jamie Lovemark


1. Graeme McDowell
2. Lee Westwood
3. Nick O'Hern
4. Gavin Coles
5. Tim Clark
6. Scott Dunlap
7. Alexandre Rocha
8. Boo Weekley
9. Webb Simpson
10. Bo Van Pelt

177. J.J. Killeen
178. Gary Woodland
179. Daniel Summerhays
180. Harrison Frazar
181. Troy Kelly
182. Tom Gillis
183. Edward Loar
184. Brendan Steele
185. Mark Anderson
186. Jamie Lovemark


1. Bo Van Pelt
2. Steve Stricker
3. Rory McIlroy
4. Kevin Stadler
5. Tiger Woods
6. Chad Campbell
7. Louis Oosthuizen
8. Graeme McDowell
9. Charlie Beljan
10. Kyle Stanley

177. Edward Loar
178. Brian Gay
179. Sung Kang
180. David Mathis
181. Rocco Mediate
182. John Rollins
183. Sang-Moon Bae
184. Joe Ogilvie
185. Derek Lamely
186. Nick O'Hern


Monday, September 17, 2012

Cathy Schmidt and Key #2

Here's golf instructor Cathy Schmidt, discussing Key #2 in the 5 Simple Keys golf instruction; the 'steady head.'

For more on the 5 Simple Keys Instructional DVD's, check it out at 5 Simple Keys

For more on Cathy Schmidt's golf instruction, check her out at


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sand Play With Shawn Clement Video

Here's an interesting video by Top-25 Putting & Short Game Instructor, Shawn Clement, with help on your bunker play.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Perfectly Taylor Made For Elk

Fun little series of video by the Secret In The Dirt crew showing the behind the scenes footage in a PGA Tour van:


Friday, September 7, 2012

A Statistical Examination of the US Ryder Cup Team


With the Ryder Cup coming at the end of the month, I wanted to do an overview of each player on the US Team, their strengths and weaknesses and what formats I see them excelling in with certain teammates.

First, I think this has the makings of a great Ryder Cup. I think the American side is fairly strong and even better than the ’08 team, which won at Valhalla. Furthermore, outside of Bubba Watson, no other player on the American team is higher than 68th in Putts Gained. Meanwhile, the European team has Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, all sporting excellent metrics this y ear. Luke Donald’s iron game has suffered, but he’s still as good as anybody with the flatstick and has improved his iron play. Plus, it appears that Sergio is back.


Generally, I think the American team has more depth, but when Rory is playing well he seems virtually unstoppable and the Euros have great Ryder Cuppers like Sergio and Luke Donald. I could see Olazabal relying heavily on McDowell, Sergio, Donald and Rory to gain the majority of their points and leading the Europeans to victory. Lastly, while Medinah is not the most exciting course to watch on TV, I think if the weather holds up it will be perfect for the Ryder Cup because we don’t have to worry about a unique design adversely affecting one team. Plus, the Chicago crowd should be into it.


In the Fourball format, this consists of each player playing their own ball and the team’s score is represented by the player with the lowest score. This is often referred to as ‘best ball’ or ‘low score’ format.

Unfortunately, the sample size of data is limited when it comes to the Ryder Cup because the earliest ShotLink data goes back to is 2004 and not all of the data even goes back that far. But from what I have been able to research along with my own interpretation of the data, the better Fourball teams usually have golfers that excel on par-4’s and par-5’s along with have a good rate of birdies and bogey avoidance.

I think it plays out that way because your typical golf course has 10 par-4’s, 4 par-5’s and 4 par-3’s. Thus, it’s easy to see why par-4 play is so important…there are more par-4’s on a typical golf course thant here are par-3’s AND par-5’s, combined. I think par-5 play is important because that’s where you run into birdie and eagle opportunities. And on average, the Tour birdies par-3’s about 12-13% of the time. But , they birdie or eagle par-5’s about 40-45% of the time. Thus, par-3 play does not appear to matter in the Fourball format because it’s generally a hole that Tour players will not birdie very often and between the 2 Tour players who were good enough to make the Ryder Cup, they should typically come away with par.


As far as birdie and bogey rates go, I think captains emphasize birdie rates too much. While it’s certainly important in the Fourball format, you still need players who can extend every hole and force their opponent to win the hole instead of them losing the hole. Here is my statistical rankings, in order, of the best to worst Fourball format players on the US team.

1. Bubba Watson
2. Jason Dufner
3. Tiger Woods
4. Webb Simpson
5. Steve Stricker
6. Dustin Johnson
7. Brandt Snedeker
8. Matt Kuchar
9. Zach Johnson
10. Phil Mickelson
11. Keegan Bradley
12. Jim Furyk

That being said, I think that outside of Furyk, each player appears to be a very competent to great Fourball participant. Furyk’s problem is that he’s 161st in birdie or better rate and 64th in par-5 scoring average.

However, I do believe that there are some combinations that work from a psychological perspective in the Fourball format. Much like the ’08 tandem of Boo Weekley and JB Holmes. Weekley is a perennial top driver of the ball on Tour who not only hits it accurately, but very long off the tee as well. Holmes is often referred to as the longest player on Tour. In the ’08 Ryder Cup, the duo would have Weekley tee off first and blast drive after drive over 300 yards down the middle. And if Weekley was in good shape (which he usually was), that would allow Holmes a free rip and he was routinely blasting drivers 375 yards. From a psychological perspective, you could see it wear on poor Lee Westwood who was being outdriven by Weekley and if Holmes could keep the ball in play, he would be up to 100 yards behind his tee shot.

From that perspective, even Furyk is not a terrible bet in the Fourball format if he’s paired with a golfer who can make a lot of birdies. Somebody like Keegan Bradley, who I have 2nd to last on the list, could work well with Furyk in a Fourball format as Bradley is 2nd in birdie rate, 5th in par-5 scoring average, 1st in par-3 scoring average (Furyk’s 2nd weakest metric) and is an excellent driver of the ball (14th in ATD). With Keegan’s total driving and Furyk’s incredible steadiness and bogey avoidance (2nd), they can still make an effective pairing in the Fourball format.

To me, the first day pairings are most important. I’m not exactly sure if they will start off with the Fourball format matches or the Foursome (alternate shot) matches. I would tend to go with the philosophy of having the young, inexperienced players go off the in first series of matches. I think this helps get the jitters out of the way and I would be a little leery of an older player having the mental and physical stamina to play 2 matches on the first day. Furthermore, I would want the experienced players to be in the 2nd round of matches because if the team gets off to a slow start in the first round of matches, I think experience would be helpful in not having the teams push too hard to try and make up lost ground.


The foursome format is often referred to as the ‘alternate shot’ format or sometimes the ‘Scotch Twosome’ format. This format is simple, one player hits a shot and then the other player hits the next shot. And they do that throughout the entire round


I get the feeling that most golfers think that metrics are not relevant in the Foursome format as continually in each Ryder Cup, I see players who ‘get along’ or are from the same general region paired up for that. As Billy Beane once said ‘hope is not a strategy.’

I think that the foursome format is where metrics are even MORE important to observe. For instance, I think it would be a poor pairing to put a player who struggles from the rough, like Zach Johnson, with a player who misses a lot of fairways like Phil Mickelson. I would rather see a tandem of players whose strengths and weaknesses mix well together. The difference here is that the metrics I’m more concerned with are actual performance with different types of clubs instead of performance with regards to scores on a golf holes. I also tend to favor putting and short game play in the Foursome format. Players are bound to screw up and you need that player who can hit a short-sided pitch close or save the team with an 8-footer.


One team I think would be strong is the duo of Jason Dufner and Webb Simpson. Simpson has dominate the Tour from the fairway this year, finish 4th, 3rd and 37th in shots from the fairway in the Birdie, Safe and Danger Zones. Simpson’s problems this year have been off the tee as he’s 84th in fairway % and 102nd in distance to the edge of the fairway. So a partner like Dufner, who is 18th in fairway % and has played very well from the rough this year should be a good fit. You could also take Simpson with Stricker, although I think Stricker and Tiger would be a good fit based solely on their metrics. And since they have experience together, it may be worth a shot.


I’m assuming that the Fourball (low-score) format will be the first to go off and the afternoon matches will the Foursome (alternate shot) format.

Fourball Pairings

Bubba & Tiger – Ranked #1 and #3 in my best suited players for Fourball. Weak spot is that Bubba is traditionally a terrible par-3 player and this year is no different as he ranks 162nd in par-3 scoring average. However, Tiger is ranked 23rd in par-3’s and their par-4 and par-5 play is superior. And while I don’t make this a big consideration, they do play a lot of practice rounds together. I would recommend that Tiger tee off first and allow Bubba to hit his bombs when Tiger is in good position.

Jason Dufner & Webb Simpson– Ranked #2 and #4 in my Fourball power rankings. They don’t have a glaring weakness in this format and should make a lot of birdies. I also want these two together for the Foursome format in the afternoon, so I might as well have them play together in the morning.

Brandt Snedeker & Dustin Johnson – I want Snedeker out on day one because he’s a great putter who has been riding a hot streak with the putter and I want to see if he can get the team some momentum early on and then see if I can ride him later on. DJ is a big-time player and young. He also has been playing well lately. He’s another player that can fit into the Foursome format and if he’s playing well early on, I would not mind having him play all day.


Matt Kuchar & Keegan Bradley – I have a good feeling that Keegan Bradley is a good fit in the Ryder Cup. He continually shows up for big tournaments, he’s a great total driver of the ball and he can putt pretty well. The big key is that if you took a ‘best score’ scoring average for the year, this team would be 1st in par-3 scoring average (Bradley), 5th in par-4 scoring average (Kuchar), and 5th in par-5 scoring average (Bradley). And that’s with Bradley being 2nd in birdie percentage and Kuchar 6th in bogey avoidance.

Foursome Pairings

Jason Dufner & Webb Simpson – I would like to think that this is a top pairing that I would want to use again for the reasons stated. I think when Dufner is driving the ball, this team would be tough given how adept Simpson is with his irons from the fairway. And even if Simpson misses, Dufner is ranked #2 in Adjusted Short Game play. The only thing that concerns me a little is that Dufner has never been known as a great putter. He’s ranked 68th in Putts Gained right now. But, I think that I would take Dufner putting from a much shorter distance than a European player putting from a longer distance, even if it’s Luke Donald.


Tiger Woods & Steve Stricker – I think that Simpson and Stricker could be a better team, but you have to make some room for Tiger. Tiger’s issues this year have been shots from the rough from both the Safe and Danger Zones. Keep him in the fairway and he’s deadly. While Stricker isn’t the greatest driver in the world (75th in Advanced Total Driving), he does hit it fairly accurate. He’s also dominated from the rough this year. So Stricker can keep Tiger in the fairway and if the longer Woods hits the fairway he’ll put the deadly Stricker in great shape. If he misses the fairway, you have the current best player from the rough this year still hitting the shot.

Bubba Watson & Phil Mickelson – I know, Mickelson is not exactly the ideal foursome player. Neither is Bubba. But together they may just work because as wild as Mickelson is off the tee, Watson can recover with crazy shots as well. Plus, I don’t like the idea of having some players not get into the action on day one. On day one, I would want to see a little from everybody and then determine who the hot hands are for the rest of the tournament. While Phil may be better suited for Fourball play, this year his putting (6th) and Short Game (48th) may be too good to pass up in this situation.

Jim Furyk & Zach Johnson–Johnson may be better suited in Fourball format, but Furyk is not (I really wish they would have selected Bo Van Pelt instead) and I don’t want to veterans going into the next day cold. They both play a similar type of game and have both putted well and have had a good year with their short game.

Tomorrow, I will do something on the Europeans.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

3Jack Golf's PGA Tour Rundown - Week 35

Rory McIlroy wins the Deutsche Back Championship in Boston:

Here are how my picks did at the Deutsche Bank Championship:

Tiger Woods 10/1 (3rd)
Rory McIlroy 12/1 (1st)
Dustin Johnson 16/1 (4th)
Jason Dufner 18/1 (t-18th)
Bubba Watson 25/1 (MC)
Bo Van Pelt 40/1 (t-26th)
Keegan Bradley 40/1 (t-13th)
Robert Garrigus 100/1 (t-42nd)
Kyle Stanley 125/1 (t-42nd)

Value Pick: Josh Teater 150/1 (t-60th)

I will not have picks for the BMW Championship since they are playing at Crooked Stick instead of Cog Hill.


1. Bubba Watson
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Hunter Mahan
4. Jason Dufner
5. Charlie Beljan
6. Boo Weekley
7. John Rollins
8. Tiger Woods
9. Graham DeLaet
10. Bo Van Pelt

181. Tommy Biershenk
182. Stewart Cink
183. Matt Bettencourt
184. Nick O'Hern
185. Tom Pernice Jr.
186. Derek Lamely
187. Michael Bradley
188. Stephen Gangluff
189. Ryuji Imada
190. Joe Ogilvie

Most Improved: Adam Scott
Biggest Decline: Tom Gillis


1. Brandt Snedeker
2. Luke Donald
3. Brian Gay
4. Derek Lamely
5. Aaron Baddeley
6. Phil Mickelson
7. Zach Johnson
8. Bryce Molder
9. Bo Van Pelt
10. Jason Day

181. Kris Blanks
182. Alexandre Rocha
183. Roland Thatcher
184. D.J. Trahan
185. Charlie Beljan
186. Scott Brown
187. Kyle Stanley
188. Kyle Thompson
189. Boo Weekley
190. Scott Dunlap

Most Improved: Rory McIlroy
Biggest Decline: Mark Wilson


1. Jerry Kelly
2. Jason Dufner
3. Brian Gay
4. Ian Poulter
5. K.J. Choi 
6. Stuart Appleby
7. Jonas Blixt
8. Fredrik Jacobson
9. Rocco Mediate
10. Kevin Kisner

181. Blake Adams
182. Kyle Thompson
183. Gary Woodland
184. Kyle Reifers
185. Charlie Beljan
186. Martin Laird
187. Harris English
188. Sang-Moon Bae
189. Cameron Beckman
190. Edward Loar

Most Improved: Ian Poulter
Biggest Decline: Bubba Watson



1. Steve Stricker
2. Garth Mulroy
3. Bo Van Pelt
4. Jason Bohn
5. Richard H. Lee
6. Padraig Harrington
7. Vaughn Taylor
8. Roland Thatcher
9. Brendon de Jonge
10. Henrik Stenson

181. Kris Blanks
182. Jhonattan Vegas
183. Adam Scott
184. Aaron Baddeley
185. Brandt Jobe
186. Edward Loar
187. Jonas Blixt
188. Billy Hurley III
189. Miguel Angel Carballo
190. Jamie Lovemark

Most Improved: Luke Donald
Biggest Decline: Kevin Stadler


1. Kyle Thompson
2. Graeme McDowell
3. Nick O'Hern
4. Lee Westwood
5. Gavin Coles
6. Tim Clark
7. Webb Simpson
8. Scott Dunlap
9. Alexandre Rocha
10. Boo Weekley

181. Gary Woodland
182. Daniel Summerhays
183. Tom Gillis
184. Harrison Frazar
185. Troy Kelly
186. Henrik Stenson
187. Edward Loar
188. Brendan Steele
189. Mark Anderson
190. Jamie Lovemark

Most Improved: Tiger Woods
Biggest Decline: Martin Flores


1. Steve Stricker
2. Bo Van Pelt
3. Kevin Stadler
4. Chad Campbell
5. Tiger Woods
6. Charlie Beljan
7. Matt Every
8. Louis Oosthuizen
9. Bubba Watson
10. Kyle Stanley

181. Edward Loar
182. Brian Gay
183. Sung Kang
184. David Mathis
185. Rocco Mediate
186. John Rollins
187. Sang-Moon Bae
188. Joe Ogilvie
189. Derek Lamely
190. Nick O'Hern

Most Improved: Adam Scott
Biggest Decline: Padraig Harrington


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Examining DL III's Ryder Cup Picks

US Ryder Cup captain, Davis Love, made his 4 captain’s picks on Tuesday. They are:

Jim Furyk
Dustin Johnson
Brandt Snedeker
Steve Stricker

Before I delve further into the picks, I have a few general guidelines for quality captain’s picks:


A good pick will be a player who does not do 1 or 2 things exceptionally well or is very inaccurate off the tee. In the future, I would be against using somebody like Phil Mickelson or Bubba Watson as a captain’s pick because they are too difficult to pair up with somebody in the alternate shot format. In the case of a Mickelson or Watson (both of whom made the team outright), it’s too difficult to pair them up with a player that is not used to having to play tee shots that they hit off the grid. Mickelson and Watson can play them because they are used to playing that bomb-n-gouge style of golf. But somebody like Zach Johnson would probably be a very poor fit.

Furthermore, I would be a bit skeptical in putting them in the best ball (aka low score) format because it adds pressure to a golfer when their partner is out of the hole off the tee. That being said, Paul Azinger showed in the ’08 Ryder Cup that you can pair an extreme bomb-n-gouger up with a great, pure ballstriker with success. Azinger did this with Boo Weekley, one of the greatest ballstrikers in the past ten years and JB Holmes, one of the longest hitters in the last ten years. Weekley hits it long and straight and would tee off first, routinely blasting it past Lee Westwood and split the fairway. Once he did, JB Holmes could let the shaft out and hit drives 375+ yards long. It’s a real nightmare for an opponent.

Versatility is important because the captain will likely have to make some adjustments on the fly. Perhaps riding a hot hand and knowing when to bench a player who is cold. Or possibly stumbling across a pairing that works great or abandoning a pairing that doesn’t gel. For the most part, I think Love did a very good job here.


If you look at the history of the Ryder Cup and the best players, typically they have been very good putters. Recently, the unstoppable Ryder Cup player has been Luke Donald, the greatest putter on any Tour for the last five years. Before we had great Ryder Cuppers like Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, Raymond Floyd and Billy Casper; all of whom known as great putters.

My guess is that this level of play, a pairing can usually get one of the players to hit a quality shot and thus putting becomes the deciding factor. Believe it or not, I think Love has done a good job here as well.


One thing people don’t realize is that the best players on Tour typically do a good job of avoiding bogeys. However, there are certainly players who are more in the mode to make a birdie than to avoid a bogey. But the key for the average Tour player, year in and year out, is to do a better job avoiding bogeys than making birdies. Put it this way, Phil Mickelson’s best seasons were when he did a better job of avoiding bogey than he usually has done, rather than making more birdies than he normally makes.

Again, excellent job in the picks from DL III when it comes to this part of the game.


To me, this is a tried and true philosophy. All players on Tour tend to go thru little streaks of good play, then go into a stanza of fairly average play, then have some struggles and eventually cycle back to a good streak of play. I believe the key for Tour success is to still be able to make cuts when going thru the bouts of mediocre play.

But for the Ryder Cup, I think it’s paramount to find players who are playing well. Again, this was a good job by Davis Love III, who decided against the popular Rickie Fowler, who has struggled mightily over the past 2+ months.


The problem with experience is that it does not do you much good if the player is an experienced, but poor Ryder Cup player. All a captain has with an experienced poor Ryder Cup player is a poor Ryder Cup player. IMO, captains should strive to avoid these guys because they KNOW that this player has been unsuccessful instead of the UNKNOWN youthful player who may be an excellent player. I think Love made a bit of a questionable pick in Furyk, but I will go into that in a moment. Also, I like youth because a captain won’t have to worry if they need a player to play 36 holes in a day or if a player on the team suffers an injury.



Advanced Total Driving Rank: 37th

Putts Gained Rank: 31st
Short Game Rank: 25th

Bogey Avoidance Rank: 2nd

Birdie Zone Rank: 79th
Safe Zone Rank: 38th
Danger Zone Rank: 21st

Furyk’s lack of success in the Ryder Cup has been an enigma because his metrics tend to look similar to this year after year. He drives it well due to his uncanny accuracy. Hits it well from each zone, particularly the Danger Zone. He’s got a very good short game and is typically a fine putter.

However, I can understand the pick because he has played very well in the 2nd half of the season and it’s difficult to debate his metrics. Where I see negatives are in his folding down the stretch in the US Open and in the Bridgestone. Again, this is unique for a guy who has such a repeatable, homemade golf swing.

I would probably look to pair him with a good, clutch putter. Preferably somebody who is just money from 6-feet and in. Somebody who can always keep the team in the hole, perhaps win some holes early on and give Furyk the confidence to contribute. That being said, I would have picked Bo Van Pelt. He’s younger, has struck the ball better and putted better this year and is much longer off the tee.



Advanced Total Driving Rank: 25th

Putts Gained Rank: 52nd
Short Game Rank: 162nd

Bogey Avoidance Rank: 33rd

Birdie Zone Rank: 92nd
Safe Zone Rank: 68th
Danger Zone Rank: 34th

I was iffy on Johnson a few weeks ago as he was still recovering from his injuries early in the year. But, he’s finished in the top-10 in his last 5 events, which those finishes being in the British Open, The Barclays (held at a Major type venue in Bethpage) and Deutsche Bank Championship.

While he’s a bomber, he’s not a reckless bomber as he tends to keep the driver reasonably in play due to his boring ball flight. Many consider him the longest player on Tour into the wind. But where Johnson appealed to me is that he’s simply putted fairly well for almost the entire year. Since week 7, he’s been no higher than 77th and no lower than 50th in Putts Gained. That resembles solid putting, week after week.

I would try and pair Dustin with somebody who hits a lot of greens in the alternate shot format, particularly from the rough, so you don’t have to worry about him having to hit a chip or a pitch close. Perhaps somebody like Dufner (5th in GIR) or Bubba (2nd in GIR).



Advanced Total Driving Rank: 90th

Putts Gained Rank: 1st
Short Game Rank: 31st

Bogey Avoidance Rank: 22nd

Birdie Zone Rank: 21st
Safe Zone Rank: 63rd
Danger Zone Rank: 115th

Snedeker is #1 in Putts Gained and that gives Love 3 of the top-10 ranked players in Putts Gained. Had he picked Van Pelt, he would have another top-10 ranked player in Putts Gained.

Snedeker picked up the pace in his last 7 tournaments, with 3 top-10 finishes and having the lead on Sunday at the British Open before collapsing. I would wonder how well he will hold up in Ryder Cup in tense situations. But, if he can play well early on that could give the US team an insurmountable lead and be good enough to lead the team to victory. Here is how his rankings in Putts Gained have been over the last 12 recorded weeks:


While his Danger Zone lay is a little worrisome, he has improved that dramatically as well as only 5 weeks ago he was ranked 150th and he’s a fairly noticeable improvement in the area.

In the alternate shot format, I would probably pair him with a very good short game player to take care of any time that he has a shot in the Danger Zone. However, in the best ball format I would stick him with a very good Danger Zone player so the team has a shot on those long par-3’s.



Advanced Total Driving Rank: 75th

Putts Gained Rank: 45th
Short Game Rank: 155th

Bogey Avoidance Rank: 3rd

Birdie Zone Rank: 1st
Safe Zone Rank: 11th
Danger Zone Rank: 1st

I think Stricker was a foregone conclusion given his stature in the game and the only reason why he did not qualify was due to his light schedule. However, if I were Love I would keep a close eye on Stricker as his putting and Short Game play are not exactly what I would have expected.

The biggest alarm is the Short Game play. Not only is it where Stricker ranks worst, but he was ranked 1st in Short Game play in Week 20. He then had a bunch of disastrous weeks with his short game. Thankfully he hits it so well that he’s finished in the top-25 in 7 of his last 8 tournaments, which included the US Open, British Open and PGA Championship.

I don’t see any reason to not play him early on, but I would be curious if his small downturn in his putting and his dramatic regression in Short Game would affect how he plays with other partners. If he were Steve Wheatcroft posting these numbers instead of Steve Stricker, I would say that as it stands he should be paired with a very good and accurate driver who racks up the GIR’s. And yes, he and Tiger look to be a good fit, again.

Overall, I'm satisfied with the picks because so far Love has not relied on the 'they are good friends' or the 'they are from the same part of the country' approach. He apparently has done some research on who is putting and playing well and it happens to coincided with other favorable metrics. And even with the Furyk pick, I can see some logic in it as he's playing well and there was not a big pool of other players to choose from.

The key now become how well the pairings work together and how well Love can make adjustments on the fly.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Yoda On Hand Pressure Point Locations

Here's 3Jack Top-50 Swing Instructor, Lynn Blake, discussing hand pressure point locations. Lynn can be found at