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Players' Tips

June 26, 2008


Winner of 18 major championships, considered by many the greatest golfer of all time.

This will help you: To be your best, you have to understand what your abilities are. And once you understand what your abilities are, you learn to play within them and then you excel. I always say someone who is a 10 handicapper and understands he's a 10 handicapper, he'll be a five pretty fast because he plays within himself. It's not just "learn how to hit the golf ball," it's "learn yourself."

This one helped me: I picked up something from everybody. Most of the tips I got I picked up by imitating: I'd play with Sam Snead, I'd imitate his swing; I'd play with Ben Hogan, I'd imitate his swing; I'd play with Julius Boros, I'd imitate his swing. . . . I didn't try to imitate Arnold.

But the only specific tip I recall was from Arnold. I was chipping the ball off the edge of the practice green in Palm Springs, where we were both playing. He said, "Jack, why are you chipping that?" I said, "I've always chipped this shot," and he said, "Just think about it. Don't you think your worst putt would be about the same as your best chip?" Think about it: You chip a ball to three feet, that's pretty good; you putt it to three feet and you're not very happy. I started using that tip from that day on.



Thirteen-time winner on the PGA Tour, 2003 U.S. Open champion.

This will help you: Most amateurs try to play better than they're capable of. If you try to kill every drive, eventually your swing goes bad. With an iron in your hands, you know how far you hit it, so you're hitting for accuracy, left or right. With a driver, most players don't do that; they just try to hit as far as they can. That's not good for your swing. So you need to approach your driver like you do your irons, stay within your limits and hit to a distance target as well as a left or right target.

This one helped me: My dad taught me when I was a kid, as long as you know where you're aiming, where the ball starts is mostly a product of the path of your club, and where the ball curves is mostly a product of where your club face is. So you can determine what you're doing wrong when you're hitting poor shots by just looking at where they're going. If they're going right to right, you know the club is coming from inside out with the face open; if it's starting at the target but drawing, you know you're swinging down the line good but the face is shut. And the reason that's important is you can't fix the problem if you don't identify it.



Winner of the 2007 Masters.

This will help you: For the most part, a round of golf is a day off work for amateurs, like guys who come out to play with us in the pro-ams. All I'd say is to not take the game seriously. Just enjoy yourself. You're going to hit a lot of bad shots, but keep a sense of perspective and enjoy the shots that you do hit well. Ultimately, you'll find yourself playing better.



Three-time PGA Tour winner, 16-time international winner, 2007 British Open champion.

This will help you: For most amateurs, if you maintain your balance and hold your finish for a couple of seconds, you'll be much better off. I can frequently see people falling back off their shots and losing their balance. If you swing through to a good, balanced finish, you can swing as hard as you like. You also have to do a lot of good things to get to that position, but as a general rule, amateurs need to hold their finish at the end. And if they do that, they've got to have made a reasonably good pass at the ball.

This one helped me: When I was a young kid, I was told to give it a good hit, don't hold anything back . . . and hold the finish.



Most prolific British winner in European Tour history, 31 victories.

This will help you: There will be not one amateur I will ever tell to quicken up his swing. They all swing far, far too fast and therefore not finish their backswing and therefore go right. Most amateurs off the first tee [particularly when playing in pro-am events] hit the ball right because they're anxious to find out where it's gone before they've actually made contact. I have a tee time in 15 minutes (before a pro-am event), and I guarantee at least three of the four amateurs will swing far too fast, fail to complete their backswing, and hit the ball farther right than they can imagine. (All four did).

This one helped me: Light hands on the putter. Everybody tries to strangle the putter, and you can't complete the backswing if you're strangling the putter. You've got to have loose hands, light hands on the putter and let the putter flow freely. If you do that, you have a chance. Most people strangle the putter, and the stroke doesn't happen when you're far too tight on the grip. That tip came from Bill Furgeson, my boyhood coach.



Only LPGA player to shoot a 59 in competition.

This will help you: I get asked a lot of times about what advice I'd tell amateurs to improve their games and there's one tip that I usually rely on. It's this: Play your own game and don't try to hit heroic shots. The main thing is to have fun. That's not complicated, but it's the best advice I can offer.



Current world's No. 1 women's golfer.

The best advice I can give is to work extra hard. There is never enough practice or enough working out. You can never spend too much time at the golf course. You have to stay one step ahead of everybody. Amateurs always need to be motivated by goals and dreams. You have to wake up every morning trying to achieve them.

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