a.k.a the British Open; a.k.a. THE Open Championship.  Come on guys, get your branding together.

This year, the 146th playing of the world’s oldest major championship will be played at Royal Birkdale.  Previous winners have included Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Ian Baker Finch, and Paddy Harrington.  While length doesn’t really figure into the equation with Open courses, the setup at Birkdale has only 2 par 5s, and they show up at the very end of the round at 15 and 17.  The pundits say this takes the bombers out of the equation, but hey, what do they know?

In the spirit of continuous improvement, the PowerFade is experimenting with a new format for predictions.  Happy Open viewing!

LG:
Relative to par, what will be the cut on Friday night? +4

List three players that will Top 10 (in order):
1. Sergio Garcia
2. Ian Poulter
3. John Rahm

List three players that will make the cut (other than above):
1. Rickie Fowler
2. Henrik Stenson
3. Adam Scott

List three players that will miss the cut:
1. Kevin Chappell
2. Jason Dufner
3. J.B. Holmes

Will the winner come from the morning draw on Thursday or the Afternoon draw on Thursday? Afternoon

Will you watch the coverage? YES!

JK:
Relative to par, what will be the cut on Friday night? E

List three players that will Top 10 (in order):
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Rickie Fowler

List three players that will make the cut (other than above):
1. Henrik Stenson
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Tommy Fleetwood

List three players that will miss the cut:
1. Ian Poulter
2. Rafa Cabrera-Bello
3. John Daly

Will the winner come from the morning draw on Thursday or the Afternoon draw on Thursday? Morning

Will you watch the coverage? Nope. Just cut the cable (yikes!)

It’s nearly time for the most punishing week in the professional schedule: the United States Open.  This year, the tournament will be contested at the monstrously long (7812 yards from the tips on the scorecard) Pete Dye (vomit) design at Erin Hills.

Kevin Na provides a perfect preview of the conditions to be faced in the video below:

With that context in mind, here’s the PowerFade’s guide on how to lose your money gambling:

Actual Leaderboard
1 | Brooks Koepka | -16
T2 | Hideki Matsuyama | -12
T2 | Brian Harman | -12
4 | Tommy Fleetwood | -11
T5 | Xander Schauffele | -10
T5 | Bill Haas | -10
T5 | Rickie Fowler | -10
8 | Charley Hoffman | -9
T9 | Trey Mullinax | -8
T9 | Brandt Snedeker | -8
T9 | Justin Thomas | -8
12 | J.B. Holmes | -7
T13 | Brendan Steele | -6
T13 | Patrick Reed | -6
T13 | Si Woo Kim | -6
T16 | Matt Kuchar | -5
T16 | Steve Stricker | -5
T16 | Chez Reavie | -5
T16 | Eddie Pepperell | -5
T16 | Bernd Wiesberger | -5

LG:
Winner: Rory Mcilroy MC—correct answer was Brooks Koepka
Winning Score: -4 -16
Runner Up: Dustin Johnson (in a playoff) MC
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Stu Hagestad Xander Shauffele
Last Year’s Winner (DJ) will…: runner up MC
Masters Champion (Sergio) will …: Make cut correct
British Open Champion (Stenson) will …: Make cut MC
PGA Champion (Walker) will…: Miss cut correct, +6
Last week’s winner, Daniel Berger, will…: Make cut correct, +9
Rory will…: WIN no
Rickie Fowler will…: Top 10 correct, T5 at -10
Jordan Speith will…: Make cut correct, T35 at +1
Justin Rose will…: Make cut MC, +2
Jason Day will…: Make cut MC +10
Will Mickelson play in the event?: Yes. NO
Will anyone break par for all 4 rounds?: No Koepka and Snedeker both shot all red
What will be the highest score that misses the cut?: +35 +20, Walker Lee (a). Highest score by a pro was Wesley Bryan at +15
What will be the highest single hole score?: 11 no idea
What will be the major storyline of the tournament: Mickelson’s daughter’s graduation gets pushed forward an hour so he can make his late tee time to miss the cut with no driver in the bag. that would be awesome…
Bold Prediction?: Stu Hagestad isn’t bold enough???? apparently a bit too bold

JK:
Winner: Dustin Johnson
Winning Score: +2
Runner Up: Rory McIlroy
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Thomas Pieters MC
Last Year’s Winner (DJ) will…:  Back-to-back, assuming he doesn’t fall down the stairs again
Masters Champion (Sergio) will …: MC
British Open Champion (Stenson) will …: MC
PGA Champion (Walker) will…: MC
Last week’s winner, Daniel Berger, will…: Make the cut
Rory will…: Top 10
Rickie Fowler will…: Top 10
Jordan Speith will…: Top 10
Justin Rose will…: MC
Jason Day will…: Top 10
Will Mickelson play in the event?: No
Will anyone break par for all 4 rounds?: No chance
What will be the highest score that misses the cut?: +23
What will be the highest single hole score?: 9
What will be the major storyline of the tournament: The rough
Bold Prediction?: The big names do really well overall…not many unknowns making a play. couldn’t be more wrong–there wasn’t a single prior major winner in the top 20

Prediction: 2017 Masters

April 5, 2017

It’s Christmas! No, it’s even better! IT’S MASTERS WEEK!

This is the week that LG and I wait for every year, the best week of golf of the year. 20 years since Tiger’s record-setting performance, I can’t wait to see how it plays out on Sunday.

Updates in Bold added 4/20/2017
Top 10:
1 Sergio Garcia -9 3
2 Justin Rose -9 5
3 Charl Schwartzel -6 F
T4 Matt Kuchar -5 F
T4 Thomas Pieters -5 F
6 Paul Casey -4 F
T7 Rory McIlroy -3 F
T7 Kevin Chappell -3 F
T9 Adam Scott -2 F
T9 Ryan Moore -2 F

JK:
Winner: Rory McIlroy T7 at -3. Correct was Sergio Garcia, happy to say
Winning Score: -9 correct
Runner Up: Jordan Spieth T11 at -1
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Matthew Fitzpatrick Solo 32nd at +4. Closest to “unknown” in the Top 10 was Kevin Chappell
Last Year’s Winner (Danny Willett) will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Make the Cut MC
The US Open Champion (Dustin Johnson) will …: Top 10 WD – back injury
The Champion Golfer of 2016 (Henrik Stenson) will …: Make the Cut MC
PGA Champion (Jimmy Walker) will …: Miss the Cut T18 at +1. Not bad
How many prior Masters winners will be in the Top 10: 4 2
The Low Amateur will be…: Curtis Luck T46 at +9, but not LA. Low Am was Stewart Hagestad, T36 at +6
Does the Low Amateur make the cut?: No Yes he did, and so did the second best
Jordan Spieth will … Top10, second place close, T11 at -1
Jason Day will … Withdraw T22 at +2. Not bad
Rory McIlroy will … Win not exactly
Hideki Matsuyama will … Top 10 T11 at -1. Good showing
Justin Thomas will … Make the Cut T22 at +2
Rickie Fowler will .. Make the Cut T11 at -1
Adam Scott will … Top 10 Correct, T9 at -2
Bubba Watson will … Top 10 MC
Sergio Garcia will … Make the Cut WIN IT
Phil Mickeslon will … Top 10 T22 at +2
Bernhard Langer will … Make the cut MC, 75-78
Ian Woosnam, Mark O’Meara, Sandy Lyle, or Larry Mize–who is lowest?: All MC, I’ll go with O’Meara Larry Mize made the cut with 74-76 then took down solo-52nd at 17 over par. Yikes
Will there be a hole in one? Yes of course, 16 most likely CONGRATULATIONS MATT KUCHAR!!!
What will be the major storyline of the tournament? Tiger Woods / Rory McIlroy comparisons Definitely Sergio dropping the monkey
What is your Bold prediction? McIlroy makes 4 eagles over the weekend yea, not exactly

LG:
Winner: Bubba Watson MC
Winning Score: – 8 Close
Runner Up: Rory T7
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Adam Hadwin T36 at +6
Last Year’s Winner (Danny Willett) will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): MC correct
The US Open Champion (Dustin Johnson) will …: Top 10 Best player not in the field
The Champion Golfer of 2016 (Henrik Stenson) will …: Top 10 not exactly
PGA Champion (Jimmy Walker) will …: MC not exactly
How many prior Masters winners will be in the Top 10: 2 Correct
The Low Amateur will be…: No idea who they are. learn some golf, LG
Does the Low Amateur make the cut?: Don’t care. wasted talent
Jordan Spieth will … Top 10 close, T11
Jason Day will … Make Cut Correct, T22
Rory McIlroy will … Top 10 Correct, T7
Hideki Matsuyama will … take forever to swing, look like he hate the shot, then make an ace on 12.  Make cut. Correct, T11
Justin Thomas will … MC made cut
Rickie Fowler will .. Make cut correct
Adam Scott will … Make cut Top 10
Bubba Watson will … WIN! MC
Sergio Garcia will … Miss cut WIN!
Phil Mickeslon will … Top 10 Closure, T22
Bernhard Langer will … be old. yep
Ian Woosnam, Mark O’Meara, Sandy Lyle, or Larry Mize–who is lowest?: Woosie will be the shortest, for sure. winner
Will there be a hole in one? YES good
What will be the major storyline of the tournament? The rain, sadly. not at all
What is your Bold prediction? Jim Nantz says the word “shit” live on the air. he was fighting it back all week

Apparently, there’s another major this week?

Glory’s last shot at Baltusrol… yada yada yada…

JK:
Win: Jordan Spieth
Winning score: -6
Runner-up: Phil Mickelson
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Jason Kokrak
Low PGA Professional: Rod Perry
The US Open Winner (Dustin Johnson) will: Top 10, probably T2
The Masters Winner (Danny Willett) will: Make the cut
The Open Champion (Henrik) will: Top 10
The 2015 PGA Championship Winner (Jason Day) will: Top 10
Sergio Garcia will: Miss cut
Hideki Matsuyama will: Make Cut
Adam Scott will: Top 10
Bubba Watson will: Get caught in his jetpack
Will someone win it, or everyone else lose it: Tough rounds in the middle of the week, but Spieth lights it up on the weekend to take his third major
What will be the biggest storyline of the tournament: Jordan coming back after not showing up for most of the year
Will you watch on Sunday: Hell no…I’ll be flying somewhere golfy

LG:
Win: Rory
Winning score: -15
Runner-up: DJ
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Kevin Chappell
Low PGA Professional: Mitch Lowe (GO MITCH!)
The US Open Winner (Dustin Johnson) will: 2nd!
The Masters Winner (Danny Willett) will: MC
The Open Champion (Henrik) will: Make Cut
The 2015 PGA Championship Winner (Jason Day) will: Make Cut
Sergio Garcia will: Top 10 (sorry, Sergio)
Hideki Matsuyama will: Make Cut
Adam Scott will: Make Cut
Bubba Watson will: Miss Cut
Will someone win it, or everyone else lose it: Rory takes it down.
What will be the biggest storyline of the tournament: Classic Rory/Tigeresque win.  He’s Back!
Will you watch on Sunday: Nope – on a plane to Scotland!

Hot off the press, the PF releases its predictions for the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon. The 7,175 yard course in Glasgow (which JK might maybe possibly get to play in a few weeks) is one of the classic tracks in all of the old country. This will be its 9th hosting of the Open, with notable winners Bobby Locke, Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf, Tom Watson, and Justin Leonard. The most recent was 2004 when Todd Hamilton edged out Ernie Els in one of the biggest upsets in major golf history. We’d be remiss to fail to mention The Postage Stamp green on at the 8th at Royal Troon, one of the most iconic shots in all of golf (http://www.royaltroon.co.uk/courses/old-course/8). Will this hole be the one to decide the Champion Golfer of the Year? We will soon find out.

JK:
Win: Jordan Spieth
Winning score: -8
Runner-up: Graeme McDowell
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Alexander Noren
The US Open Winner (Dustin Johnson) will: Top 10
The Masters Winner (Danny Willett) will: MC
The 2015 PGA Championship Winner (Jason Day) will: Make the cut
Last year’s Open Champion (Zach Johson) will: Top 10
The 2014 Open Champion (Rory McIlroy) will: Top 10
The 2013 Open Champion (Phil Mickelson) will: Make the cut
Sergio Garcia will: bounce it off a flagstick OB. MC
Hideki Matsuyama will: swing out of his shoes, which doesn’t work at Troon. MC
Adam Scott will: have a nice week. Make the cut
Henrik Stenson will: Make the cut
Bubba Watson will: post a stupid video. MC.
Will someone win it, or everyone else lose it: Combination of both–one shining star plays just well enough to outlast an embattled field
What will be the biggest storyline of the tournament: Spieth goes wire-to-wire
Will you watch on Sunday: as long as it looks something like what I’ve outlined above and not a garbage can fire of players, then yes.

LG:
Win: Jim Furyk
Winning score: -2
Runner-up: Tony Finau
Unknown in the Top 10: Tony Finau…
The US Open Winner (Dustin Johnson) will: Miss Cut
The Masters Winner (Danny Willett) will: Make Cut…possibly top 10
The 2015 PGA Championship Winner (Jason Day) will: Make cut
Last year’s Open Champion (Zach Johson) will: Make cut
The 2014 Open Champion (Rory McIlroy) will: Make Cut
The 2013 Open Champion (Phil Mickelson) will: Miss Cut
Sergio Garcia will: Top 10 – possibly playoff with Tony Finau and Jim Furyk
Hideki Matsuyama will: Miss Cut
Adam Scott will: Make cut
Henrik Stenson will: Make Cut
Bubba Watson will: Hopefully miss his flight
Will someone win it, or everyone else lose it: Furyk grinds out a huge win
What will be the biggest storyline of the tournament: the weather
Will you watch on Sunday: I’ll be playing Old MacDonald 😀

Make Golf Fun Again

July 4, 2016

Happy Am-exit day, everyone!  In the spirit of the occasion, the PowerFade team has decided to do something that the country as a whole is threatening to do: when faced with mass hysteria about the state of an alleged problem, we’re going to throw out everything anyone has ever done to try to fix a problem and replace it with an entirely new regime that has never been tried or tested.  In this case, we’re talking about the rules of golf.

In the wake of yet another rules fiasco at the U.S. Open that could have cost Dustin Johnson yet another U.S. Open title, several questions keep coming to mind: why are the rules of golf so damn hard to understand?  Shouldn’t they be easier to understand?  Why isn’t the USGA following their own rules?  And most important: are the arcane and unapproachable rules contributing to why golf is falling off in popularity in this country and around the world?

After discussions between JK, LG, and the AMTP, we have devised a set of rules for the weekend golf crew that we think will make golf fun again.  Disclaimer: in order to prevent these rules from becoming as cumbersome as “the Rules of Golf,” we have assumed a certain amount of knowledge of the “Rules” and of golf in general.  We’re not a rules making body, and the scores that result from playing with our versions should not be posted for handicap purposes.  Read: You’ll end up losing a lot of money in your regular $2 nassau if you start posting these scores, so don’t do it.

Rules of PowerFade Golf

Goals of our rules: Make golf faster, more fun, and keep it in the spirit of the game.

  1. The Game:
    1. …it’s golf.  Hit the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible.
  2. Playing the game:
    1. Winter rules apply everywhere – No bad lies.  If you roll into a divot off the tee – move it.  If you get a fried egg in a bunker, roll it out, but stay in the bunker.  If you get a gnarly lie in the rough, improve it.  Mud ball? clean it.
  3. Scoring
    1. No penalty shots will be assessed for hitting into or out of hazards.  Not even if you ground your club in a bunker.
    2. All marked or staked hazards/Out of bounds will be played as lateral hazards if possible.  This means drop it within approximately two flag sticks of the nearest point you think it went into the hazard.
    3. If it is not possible to play a hazard/OB, yell over at your opponent and come to a fast and reasonable agreement about where you should play from.  Remember, karma is a bitch.
    4. On the green: only intentional putts count toward your stroke total.  If the ball moves closer to the hole at address without an intentional stroke, move it back to where it was.  If it moves away from the hole, play it as it lies.
    5. On the green: no more than 3 putts are allowed.  If you reach the green in 1 shot, the worst you can do is 4.  Once you reach 3 putts, pick up.  If the greens have been punched in the last 3 weeks, automatic two putts are mandatory.
    6. Once you reach 8 strokes, pick up.  If you both reach 8 strokes, the hole is pushed.
  4. Tees: Any set of tees that are 6,400 yards or shorter.  It may help to modify the scorecard by tearing off the top two sets of tees that are no longer relevant, or even part of the course, as far as you are concerned.
  5.  Equipment
    1. No limit on the number of clubs in your bag.  (You’re welcome, Phil)
    2. You may only use one putter per hole (no switching putters between putts).  (Sorry, Phil)
    3. You may NOT adjust an adjustable club during the round.
  6. Time of play: 15 minutes per hole or fewer.  There’s no scoring penalty for violating this rule, but don’t be a pill.  If your group violates this rule more than once in a given match, each member of the group must donate $5 to the local First Tee organization per violation.  If, at any point during the match, the total amount of the bets placed on the first tee has been exceeded by repeated violations of the $5 rule, any member of the group that has not already deposited his or her clubs in the nearest lake should do so, and everyone should trudge into the bar so as not to have wasted the entire Saturday.
  7. In general, discrepancies that are not addressed by the rules should be handled with common sense.  To the extent common sense is not available, trial by combat is appropriate, assuming no violation of Rule 6.

Next up: The PowerFade team reviews how well the rules accomplished their objectives by playing a round or two using them.  Please feel free to post your own reviews in the comments below if you use these rules during your next round!  If you’re going to troll this, please do so in a way that makes us laugh 🙂

The Anonymous Mini-Tour Pro presents: Shooting Your Best Score Ever

Are you looking to shoot your best score ever?

Well, good luck sifting through the red-stake-marked pool of advice that exists in all types of outlets that cover golf – magazines, the golf channel, your local pro, and of course your golf buddies. Good news though! This column will guide you through accomplishing just that.

The bad news, however, is that it’s going to require you to take a tee and prick the massively inflated bubble that is your sense of self. Take Mr. 85 for example: he goes around with his single digit index of 9.9 and consistently throws away shots by thinking that he should employ the same strategy as the pros. The most important lesson he should learn in order to shoot his best score ever is that everyone is really terrible at golf.

And yet, one might say, Tiger in 2000 won practically every tournament – he wasn’t bad at golf! False. Tiger would consistently take 60 to 75 shots to complete a round, of which only 18 of his shots would find the bottom of the hole. I will double check the numbers but I believe that is way less than 100% of his shots. Perhaps even below 90%. So you see, if Tiger would only put 18 of 69 shots in the hole, a terrible rate, and he was best ever, think how bad Mr. 85 must be at golf – really, really awful!

The goal in golf is to be the least awful you can be. Remember that next time you aim for a tucked pin from 240 out to an island green guarded by alligators.

So let’s go through some common scenarios and see if Mr. 85 can alter his decision-making in an attempt to shoot his least horrible score ever:

Putting

A classic scene when observing Mr. 85 preparing to hit a 15 foot putt is a series of useless rituals that will not put a dent in the high likelihood that he will 3 putt. The problem lies in the fact that the plumbob, 360 degree green reading, and 7 practice strokes do not turn him from a horrible putter into an okay putter but instead turn him from a horrible putter into a still horrible putter whose stupid rituals distract him from having correct speed on his putts and also hold up the group behind him – the same group who earlier in the round were also doing stupid putting rituals but are now drunk and stopped caring about score and may get violent if they see one more plumbob out of Mr. 85. Let’s break it down:

Best player ever: makes 10% of 15 footers

Mr. 85’s opinion: “What do you mean 3 putt? I’m gonna drill this!”

Mr. 85 reality: No drilling but many, many 3 putts

Solution: Skip the pre-shot routine and lag it to 11 inches short and 7 inches right of the hole for an unexciting 2 putt. You’ll thank me after the round.

Chipping

While putting is usually a struggle for Mr. 85, chipping is usually a relative strength. Just kidding! His chipping is putrid. Unfortunately, Mr. 85 does not know this because he hit that one chip close to the hole that one time. Let’s take the common situation of having a tough chip over a bunker with little green to work with.

Best player ever: hits a nice flop over the bunker that will be close 30% of the time, 15 feet past 69% of the time, and flubbed in the bunker once in a long while.

Mr. 85’s opinion: “Watch and learn, boys!”

Mr. 85 reality: 49.9% chili chunk in the bunker, 49.9% skull over the green, and that one chip that one time.

Solution: Chip it 15 feet past the hole, where he will probably 3 putt.

Iron shots

Putting and chipping are undoubtedly important but at least a 3 putt is only a single lost stroke. The result of certain iron shots, on the other ungloved hand, can be the golf equivalent of being beaten over the head by Old Tom Morris’ rusty brassie from the 19th century.

There’s no doubt that Mr. 85’s iron game is hideous. He hits chunks, skulls, slices, hooks, and whatever other negative golf terms exist to describe shots. There’s also no doubt that he will continue to be horrible. However, there is hope! Mr. 85 could change his target line. Tucked pin surrounded by bunkers? Go for the middle. Island green? Go for the middle. More than 200 out over water? Lay up.

Let’s take a specific example: second shot on 18 at bay hill from 210 out with the pin back right.

Mr. 85’s opinion: “Here comes a controlled power butter drawfade right at the pin!”

Mr. 85 reality: Too gruesome to be explained in this column. Not for the faint-hearted.

Solution: Go for left and long of the green where your chunk, skull, slice, and hook will all find grass and where you can chip on and make your 5, which is 2.5 strokes below your current average after choosing That-Which-Is-Too-Gruesome-To-Be-Explained.

Mr. 85 might be asking: well, at what distance should I stop aiming for the middle and start aiming at the pin? 150 yards? Answer: Hmmm….yeahhh…. how about at 100 yards and under just to be safe.

Driving:

The good news with the irons is that the worst Mr. 85 can do (usually) is hit it in the water. That means a nice drop up to where it entered the hazard! The driver, conversely, can introduce a whole new level of punishment in the form of white stakes.

The problem with Mr. 85’s driving is that he believes that he hits ‘ehhhh…. around 70% of my fairways?’ when in reality he’s hit 619 banana slices in a row. Now fast forward to Mr. 85 teeing off on a hole with an array of beautiful, soon to be damaged houses down the right side. Now fast forward to banana slice 620. Now fast forward to Mr. 85 calculating how long it would take him to hop the fence, hit a nice recovery shot back to the fairway without taking too big a divot off of the back yard lawn, and hop back over the fence, all before the angry pitbull in the yard tries to eat his FootJoys and the drunken group behind him gets rowdy. And that’s the best case scenario – worse case is Mr. 85’s playing partners catch him trying to play his shot from out of bounds.

If the latter happens, he would have to re-tee where he will be hitting 3. 3! With no progress made! Remember the beating you took from Old Tom Morris’ brassie? This is way worse. This is like taking Old Tom Morris’ spoonie, dipping it in a pool of anthrax, spearing a beaver with it, feeding it to an alligator, and then having it bite your leg while you’re doing the move where you take your shoes off to play the ball on the edge of the lake even though the sign CLEARLY said to beware of anthrax gators.

Solution: realistically map out your tee shots in a dispersion pattern that you can then adjust your target line on. That means Mr. 85 needs to know that he hits mostly boomerang slices and on the hole that has the houses down the right side needs to pick a new line down the left.

Conclusion

In short, we have learned that penalties from iron shots in the hazard or drives out of bounds are absolutely devastating to Mr. 85’s rounds. The value of the short game, while still a good opportunity for improvement, pales in comparison with the simple changes one can make in the target line. Follow these directions correctly and you will accomplish your goal of being slightly less terrible at golf.