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The LINKS Report

News and notes on Davis Love, Phil Mickelson, Nick Faldo, and Johnny Miller

By: Tom Cunneff

Ryder Cup captain, Davis Love, doesn’t exactly come off as a real cut-up, but he does an admirable job in those funny McGladrey commercials with the bad caddies. The "Pep-Talk" one is particularly amusing with the caddie reminding Love of how much money is riding on the putt and all the millions of people watching—just the things you don’t want to say. What’s interesting is that Love is holding a long putter, which he’s never used on Tour. According to one of his real former caddies—his brother, Mark—Davis was experimenting with the big wand for a few weeks when the commercial was shot last summer. As for what their caddie-player conversation would really be like, Mark always tried to ask things in a positive manner. For example, if Davis was leaning toward a club that he didn’t feel was enough, he would say something like, “Do you think the wind is blowing hard enough that it could be one more?” as opposed to, “I don't think that's enough club.” 

“I tried to introduce the option of another club without planting doubt in the event he stayed with the one he had,” says Mark. “Essentially the most important thing was to give information in a calm, positive, and decisive manner. I also made sure to stay close and create a little small talk in between shots in pressure situations.”

Phil and Amy Mickelson, along with Jim and Cathy Justice of the Greenbrier, are hosting a charity pro-am and gala at TPC Sawgrass Nov. 30–Dec. 1 to benefit “Birdies for the Brave,” the PGA Tour’s outreach program to support the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families founded by the Mickelsons in 2004. The Military Appreciation Gala and Pro-Am Charity Golf Event costs $8,500 per person and will feature a round on the Stadium course with one of 54 PGA Tour, Champions Tour, and LPGA Tour pros, including Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Vijay Singh, David Duval, Mark O’Meara, and Jay Haas. In addition to the gala party at the Sawgrass Marriott, there will also be a concert with Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, and other country music stars, as well as a live auction for a special round with Mickelson. An Internet auction is already underway where a starting bid for a foursome with Phil at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.) going for $300,000. Too pricey? Greg Norman and Darren Clarke can be had for just $75,000.

FaldoSir Nick Faldo has just came out with a revised and updated version of his 1995 instruction book, A Swing for Life, that now includes Microsoft Tags that take readers to instructional videos when they scan them with their smartphone. It’s loaded with good advice and more than 250 photos, illustrating the six-time major winner's "Feel within a framework swing," one of the most repeatable moves ever under pressure with his quiet legs, big turn back and through, and smooth tempo. One particularly good tip is the placement of the left thumb in the grip that really helps set the wrists better. In addition to it being slightly right of center, the left thumb should also be “pinched short,” Faldo recommends. “This is a must,” he writes. “A short left thumb (as opposed to one extended long and loose down the grip) is more effective in creating leverage in the swing, and it also makes it easier to correctly fit the right hand.” On sale starting Nov. 6 for $40.

MillerFaldo’s counterpart at NBC, Johnny Miller, has a new course design, Rising Sun, that just opened in Montana at Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, an historic resort-style dude ranch that has been around since 1929. Located on 8,000 acres in picturesque Paradise Valley near Gallatin National Forest and Yellowstone National Park, Mountain Sky offers the golf for free when you book a stay there. Although there are only nine holes open at the moment, with stunning views of the Absaroka Mountains, plans call for adding another nine down the road.

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