Saturday, July 16, 2016

Video: Ben Crenshaw Talks Putting

If you need putting tips, you can't go wrong by listening to what Ben Crenshaw has to say.

What I like about this video, in which the putting genius Crenshaw discusses his craft, is that Ben never talks about mechanics. He's asked to offer advice to recreational golfers, and the advice he offers is about feel, and nothing but feel.

Crenshaw talks about the way most amateur golfers grip the putter - too tightly, he says. "Hold the putter as a delicate instrument, because you're doing delicate work," Crenshaw says. And: "Back off the grip pressure just a little bit, that makes the putter head feel heavier and therefore it swings more."

He then switches to what he calls one of the best things he heard Harvey Penick say about putting, "Never look like anyone else when you're putting," and explains what that means.

And finally Crenshaw briefly touches on the speed vs. line debate, and you can probably guess what side of that debate Crenshaw is on.

Ben Crenshaw's Insights from the Masters of Putting DVD

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Michelle Wie's Boyfriend: Former Pro Hoopster Adam Zahn

Did Michelle Wie and former pro basketball player Adam Zahn just go public with their romance? This photo of the two cuddling makes it seem so:

The caption that Michelle included with this photo on Instagram also points to Zahn being Wie's boyfriend:

The only boyfriend we've known about in Wiesy's past was Robin Lopez, the 7-footer who was at Stanford with her and has gone on to a decent NBA career.

Zahn, 32 years old, played his college ball at the University of Oregon. He measures in at 6-foot-8. And while he never achieved an NBA career, he did see the world playing pro basketball. Zahn, who now lives in California, had played professionally in a league in Japan, and even one in Iraq, in addition to spending some time in the D-League.

NBA centers might be the only men in America tall enough for Michelle.

Update I: We can confirm that Michelle and Adam are a couple and have been for a couple years. Back in October of 2014, Adam's mother wrote a comment on a friend's blog, and told the friend, "Adam our middle is dating Michelle Wie – the golfer ... she will be joining us for Christmas this year!"

Update II: Alas, Michelle appears to have deleted that Instagram post. So here's another photo of Michelle and her boyfriend, Adam Zahn:

Saturday, July 2, 2016

On Toddler Tiger and the Ubiquity of Video

I was browsing YouTube the other day and stumbled across excerpts from Tiger Woods' national TV debut. It's a famous story: At age 2, Tiger appeared on The Mike Douglas Show in a segment that included his father, the host, plus Bob Hope and Jimmy Stewart. Footage from that appearance isn't hard to find; I'd seen it before. It's been used in television commercials and in video segments many times. You've almost surely seen it before, too:

And it occurred to me after running across li'l Woods again - and it's not an original thought, to be sure - just how amazing well- and thoroughly documented the lives of today's youth are compared to those of people who grew up in the 1980s and earlier. Or, heck, even the 1990s.

Once upon a time, it wasn't that easy for parents to film their children. Depending on the family's income level, it might not be possible at all. Even if it was, the process of filming, developing film, showing the film was ... what's the word ... bulky.

But today, with very high-quality video capabilities literally at everyone's fingertips (or at least at the fingertips of those who own mobile devices), there will never again be a golf prodigy or future golf star whose earliest efforts in the game aren't well-documented and shared online in real time. Of course, we won't know who those people are in real-time, but in later years there'll be a trove of video. There'll be almost too much of it out there.

The Woodses and Mickelsons - they might be last generation of truly great golfers whose earliest days in golf are seen mostly in grainy home movie clips and faded Polaroids.

Luckily, Tiger was so famous (locally, at first, later nationally) from a young age that more video exists of young Mr. Woods than most of his contemporaries. A few years after the footage above was shot, Woods appeared, in the early 1980s, on the TV shot That's Incredible:

Here he is at age 14 on a show called TransWorld Sports: