May 13, 2011

rich_lerner1 “Rich Lerner here from Golf Channel with this week’s “Spotlight On Golf”. You may not know who Doug Richard is from hanging around your club and quaffing a cold brewskie at the 19th hole after a feisty round of skins or bingo bango bongo, but you no doubt have heard of The Great White Shank from Goodboys Invitational and Goodboys Nation weblog fame.

“I recently sat down with The Great White Shank on the front lawn of his Gilbert, Arizona hacienda that also serves as his personal chipping area to ask him about the state of his game as he heads back to Massachusetts for his first round of New England golf this year. I also asked him a about a certain you-know-who who has been all over the golf headlines today.”

ram_on Rich, it’s great to talk with you. Sit down, have a lemonade and a sandwich.

RL: You’re heading back to Massachusetts this weekend, and you’ve been working hard on your game. How do you see the state of your game at this time, Great White Shank?

TGWS: Well Rich, I feel good. I started out this year with the sole intent of working on my set-up – squaring up, getting my hands and body lower, and making my backswing a little less flat, and I think I’ve succeeded in that. We’ll see what happens when I tee it up this coming weekend.

RL: You’ve recently taken to chipping balls in your front yard. Where did that idea come from?

TGWS: It goes back to the driving range being what it is vs. what I felt I needed to work on. Out here I can just focus on my set up and timing, and it’s paid off big time. I’ll hit a 8-iron or 6-iron and just try to hit that light post behind that tree in the center behind – don’t swing too hard, let the club do all the work. That light post is 108 yards away, but with the concrete it really only plays to about 80 yards. One bounce and try and hit the light post, that’s what I try and do. I’ve actually hit it several times. It’s a great way to work on your set-up and your timing, and making good solid contact with the ball.

RL: You recently purchased new Cobra S2 woods. How are you hitting them, and are they going back to Massachusetts with you?

TGWS: [Laughing] Well, they’re still here and I’m going back without ’em. I’m having trouble hitting them consistently, and when I go back this time I want to focus on my mental game and course management in preparation for the Goodboys Invitational, not worry about being able to hit or not hit certain clubs. The Cobra woods I’ve got back in Massachusetts have been good to me, so we’ll see if my swing change effects the way I hit them as well. Once I’m back here, we’ll take a look at those new clubs again. Maybe to sell them. [Laughing]

RL: Who would have thought that after all these years The Great White Shank would be re-focusing himself on such basic fundamentals as his set-up, mental game, and course management. It’s something, I think, the high handicappers out there can take a lesson from.

TGWS: Rich, this game is about… tradition and integrity and honor. Me? I’m just glad to be out here, to be honest with you. And if there is any way I can help someone realize their own dreams when it comes to this wonderful sport, well I’m just glad to be that role model.

RL: A lot has been written about Tiger Woods this week. Bubba Watson says he needs to toss all the Sean Foley technical stuff out the window and just get back to swinging the club naturally. Your thoughts?

TGWS: I haven’t talked to Tiger recently, but I think Bubba’s got a point there – I mean, after a certain period of time, you are what you are, and your swing is what your swing is. So why fight it? If I had Tiger’s ear I’d tell him to forget about Sean Foley and listen to my own swing coach, Ben “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis. If Tiger’s got a “death move”, TFG’s the guy to find it for him, then he’d just turn him loose to do what he does best. Another thing I’d tell Tiger is, rather than spend an hour or two on the range before you tee off, take 5-10 swings and then have a beer with the boys at the bar instead. He’d enjoy his round a whole lot more. I know I do.

RL: Your toughts about Tiger withdrawing from THE PLAYERS today?

TGWS: Hope you remember to put THE PLAYERS in caps when you write this, Rich, or Tim Finchem will be all over your a** like a lawnmower. Look, I don’t want to cast aspersions on Tiger in any way, but I’ll say this: you guys in the media went all gaga over the toughness of Tiger Woods when he won that U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He could play and win hurt, you guys said. He could beat anyone on one leg, you guys said. Well, we’re apparently seeing a different Tiger Woods out there now – a player who seems to lack the mental toughness to compete through pain like he used to. Perhaps he’s hurt more seriously than he’s letting on. Or perhaps his knees and legs are just wearing down after decades of playing golf. Perhaps he’s just burned out and loses interest more easily if he’s down early. Who knows? But regardless, quitting after you get off to a bad start and then blaming it on an injury that’s nothing compared to what you played through at Torrey Pines doesn’t look very good.

RL: Great White Shank, always a pleasure and interesting conversation.

TGWS: Thanks, Rich, for having me on. Tell Kelly I said hello.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 00:10 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Once again, great advice from TGWS!
    Keep up with your practice regimen.
    See you at he show. Go Bruins…


    Comment by Ron "Cubby" Myerow — May 13, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

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