What you can learn from the play at The WGC – Bridgestone Invitational:
The South Course at Firestone CC in Akron played host to The WGC – Bridgestone Invitational this week and the venerable venue produced one of 2012’s most shocking finishes. After rounds of 63, 66, and 70 Jim Furyk led the field as the rain-delayed final round commenced. Three opening birdies and a self-professed “dream start” increased Furyk’s lead over his playing partners, Louis Oosthuizen and Keegan Bradley.
Furyk played beautifully from tee to green the entire final round and exhibited masterful control of his golf ball around the difficult layout. Oosthuizen faltered slightly through the middle of the round and signed for a 1-under par 69 and an 11-under par total, good for fourth place. Steve Stricker blazed his was up the leaderboard with a final round 64 and moved to 2nd place. His bogey-free round of 6-under par was matched by Keegan Bradley who mixed six birdies with a few incredible par-saves on the final two holes to overtake Furyk (who made a very uncharacteristic double bogey on the 18th) for the title.
The result in Akron that was as unexpected as any in this tumultuous season – for the record, of the 33 tournaments played thus far, only 10 of the third round leaders have gone on to take the title – and there is a lot we can learn from it:
It’s never over till it’s over: It’s crazy to think but the tournament winner, Keegan Bradley never led the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational until the end of the 72nd (final) hole of the tournament. For all intents and purposes, it appeared that Jim Furyk was going to be the wire-to-wire champion, but an unlikely par save from a plugged lie in the greenside bunker by Bradley and an even more unlikely double bogey from Furyk turned the result on its head.
(It occurred to me that I make this very point nearly every time I review an event and write one of these blogs and I trust that by now the lesson has stuck with you.) Golf is a strange game and the volatility of its nature means that nothing is ever really absolute. So hang in there, keep grinding because you never know what is likely to happen.
Consider Keegan Bradley who was one stroke behind and assessing a plugged lie on the short side of the flag on the final green. This was hardly a spot from which he would likely overtake Jim Furyk but he dug in and grinded out an all-time par save. Just a few minutes later, he was covering his mouth with his hands in disbelief as he watched Furyk miss his bogey putt to tie.
A swing is only as beautiful as the shots it produces: In other words, your golf swing only looks as good as what it looks at impact. Don’t be fooled by a beautiful-looking swing that produces a myriad of inconsistent shots. Those swings may look good but in reality that are really are not that good at all.
Enter Jim Furyk… His swing is not the kind of action that most instructors would teach but to me it is so very beautiful. He is perennially one of the better ball-strikers on the PGA TOUR and through two rounds this week he was first in Driving Accuracy and T4th in Greens in Regulation. So then, as proved by his golf ball and his control thereof, Jim Furyk’s golf swing is good (and to me beautiful).
So as you make adjustments to your swing, or if you plan to do so, remember that beautiful on a video camera only truly beautiful if the swing adjustments positively affect the ball-flight and your control thereof. Whereas there are important areas and moves in your golf swing, everything should work toward that moment of truth when the club makes contact with the ball. That is the most important part of the golf swing and it is where Jim Furyk’s clubface application to the ball it truly beautiful.
Exhibit good character after a trial or a failure: Forgettable was Jim Furyk’s double bogey on the final hole at Akron. Memorable was his response to a question that was posed right after the completion of play asking him to put his failure and emotions into words.
Said Furyk: “I have no one to blame but myself, but when things go wrong, it’s an empty feeling. I’m disappointed. I walked over, my boy is crying right after the round, and I guess it reminds you as an adult, as a parent that you have to act the proper way. You have to do and say the right things to try to give the right lessons.” What a champion; what a quality person and what a lesson for all of us. Golf will not only test your game and your skill, it will test your character. So when you have those forgettable outings, gather yourself, put on a brave face and realize that you have to behave and conduct yourself the right way.
Play well and enjoy our great game.
- Tags: Firestone CC, Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley, Louis Oosthuizen, PGA TOUR, WGC - Bridgestone Invitational,
- Category: Tip Blog