Tom Kite and Wes Short Prepare For Champions Tour

The date of January 9th does not generally conjure up images of golf, given that January is a winter month and much of the country, including Austin, has recently suffered from colder than normal temperatures.  However, the golf gods moderated the temperatures and cleared the skies enough so some of the Austinites preparing for the 2014 Champions Tour could get in a round of golf at Austin Country Club. 

Tom Kite and Wes Short, who are champions tour players, were joined by Dale Morgan, Head Professional at Austin Country Club and Mike Allen, a member at ACC for a friendly but competitive round of golf at ACC. Pictured here left to right are Kite, Allen, Morgan, and Short.

For this round, Kite and Morgan played Short and Allen in a $2 nassau tem bet.  Although the bet was slightly smaller stakes then what Kite and Short will playing for on tour, the competition was intense and it provided an opportunity to play around of golf. Tthe winning margin for the match was Morgan's 4 iron and ten foot putt to make birdie on the 18th.  

Tom Kite

Kite, who is coached by Chuck Cook, has worked diligently since the end of the 2013 season on his physical conditioning and his golf game. No suprise there…. Although the 2013 season was not up to his standards, the closing stretch of the season saw Kite finish with several good tournaments including a couple of top ten finishes. 

Kite has built on that finish and continuted to work on the swing changes he was making during that stretch.   As for his swing, Kite commented, "its not perfect, but its good enough to play well and it is getting better." Shown below is a swing sequence of Kite hitting a tee shot on number 11. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Kite's first event of the 2014 season is the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, which begins January 17th.  It is commonly known as the tournament of champions and features the champions tour winners from 2013.

Kite, along with several other Golf Hall of Fame members is playing on one of eight sponsors exemptions.  Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Cursit Strange and Nick Price are also among that group.

Wes Short

Wes Short created quite a buzz among Austinites by winning the 2014 champions tour qualifying school with a record setting 20 under par.  Short, who is a native Austinite that graduated from Bowie High School and briefly attended UT to play golf,  is a former PGA tour winner who just turned 50 in December.  He has played professionally all his adult life and maintained his residence here in Austin, playing a lot of his golf at the Roy Kizer, Jimmy Clay City of Austin Golf complex.

After suffering with some medical issues and injuries for several years, he played a busy schedule in 2013 on a combination of tours, including the PGA.  Then he won the 2014 Champions q-school in December at the TPC course in Phoenix.  See the highlghts of that victory on the PGA Tour website at this link

The victory in the q-school gave him the ability to play a full schedule on the Champions tour in 2014 until the reshuffle takes place at about mid season.  His performance prior to the resuffle will determine what impact the reshuffle will have on his status for the remainder of the 2014 season. 

Dale Morgan asked Short what enabled him to play so well at the qualifying school.  Short related that he had been playing OK prior to the event but was not totally satisfied with his ball striking.  He decided to visit Bruce Smith in Dallas and have him take a look at this swing just before the q-school event.  Smith is a well known instructor who works with a number of touring pros.

Short indicated that Smith did not change much in his swing but determined that his hands were a bit behind the desired impact position and made a slight adjustment to his ball position and his impact position.  Short indicated that adjustment resulted in solid ball striking and  improved his ball flight.  This swing sequence was taken on #11 tee box at ACC on 1-9-2013. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Short said he played and putted great during the Q-school and it was a lot of fun to have such control over his game and shoot such low scores at an important juncture in his career. Short's first Champions tour event will be in early February in Boca Raton, Florida where the first full field event for the year takes place.  

Shown below are several swing sequences of Short taken during the round at ACC.  Although the camera angles may not be perfect for a swing analysis, you should be able to get a good idea of what is going on in Short's swing.

Tee shot at par five 15th.  Short hit this tee shot slightly to the right, where it appears he was aligned.





On the following hole, #16, after Kite had hit an iron shot to about five fee, Short hit this 7 iron to about 10 feet from the hole.




And, on the final hole of the day, Short hit this iron shot to about 12 feet slightly right of the pin on the scenic number 18 at ACC.

We wish both Kite and Short the best of luck in the upcoming season. 

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