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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Diffley Weighs in on the PGA Championship

Mike Diffley
Guest blogger Mike Diffley, head pro at Pelham CC and all around good guy, shares his thoughts on the PGA Championship and a few other hot topics:
The four majors have been played. The PGA was exciting as it has become the major where the best players play great courses not too tricked up--except they continue to make the finishing holes par 5's that they call par 4's. It seems like a par is a birdie, I'm not sure if it's good or not but I don't like it.

Oak Hill was soft earlier in the tournament and the scores reflected what happens when all these great players don't have to worry about controlling the ball into the greens. Looked like darts! The fairways become wider as the ball doesn't roll out into trouble if hit a little off line. Length is not much of an issue with an amazing amount of players using non-drivers on long holes. I have personally not been to Oak Hill but it surely looks like and have heard it's like many of our best.

Speaking of our best, the three locals, Danny Balin, Mark Brown and Rob Labritz surprised me by not playing better. All three are great drivers of the ball as evidenced by their having won on the Black at least once. Getting used to the scene or just not having your "A" game at a major makes things tough.

Jason Dufner all week--but particularly in the last round--proved the adage that the three most important clubs are putter, driver and wedge. He was splitting the fairways, hitting it on the center line defined by the cut. Wedging it to three tap-ins in the final round and putted well from inside 10 feet. He can be a little shaky on the greens but handled it well this week.

Dufner has a great motion with incredible balance and power all following the longest (in length and number of times) waggle in the history of golf. He waggles until he feels it, very different than most players or instructors would advocate. He is known as an awesome ball striker, so keep it up.

His persona on the course is interesting. The announcers are always saying how calm he is. He definitely seems like a cool cat because he has found his way of not reacting (no judgment) to every or any shot. He didn't know how to celebrate after his last putt went in because he had trained himself not to react! In his first interview after the win you could tell he was in shock and hadn't turned off his focus.

It's great to see a player who has worked and improved over the years. He is 36 and nobody really knew who he was on the big scene until the PGA two years ago. He was a walk-on at Auburn and comes from Ohio. Not a star at 17 I guess, just someone who figured out how to keep getting better. Chuck Cook a great Texas teacher is his man and lets him be himself!

On another note: Andrew Svoboda (a St. John's grad) won on the Web.Com this week in Missouri shooting 22 under with a final round 64 (8 under) to probably secure his PGA Tour Card for 2014. He hasn't had a great year but caught fire this week under the radar. Andrew grew up at Winged Foot and is a former Met Am and Open Champion.
Speaking of Met Open Champions, Diffley won the premier event in 1991. This year, he'll be playing in his 30th Met Open at Old Westbury CC.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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