Sj�land, who unlike Hjertstedt will be a first-timer at the Masters, matches his fellow Swede gush for gush. He planned to arrive in Augusta a week early, explaining, "When you get invited, you can come and practice whenever you want I've received so much information about that tournament it's unbelievable. It's going to be a dream come true."
The Ladies' Go-to Guy
Meg Mallon finished second at the Dinah Shore. Juli Inkster won the Welch's/Circle K. Hollis Stacy, 45, and Jan Stephenson, 47, both of whom seemed headed for the rocking chair, have become competitive again. What do these players have in common? Mike McGetrick, the hottest swing guru on the LPGA tour.
"Mike has given me back my career," says Stephenson, who began working with McGetrick three months ago, right before she finished fourth at the Hawaiian Open, two shots behind winner Alison Nicholas. "Everyone would say, 'You're just not putting well. You don't look confident. You look like Tom Watson.' When I met Mike, he said, 'You know, you have a lot of flaws in your putting stroke.' "
McGetrick, who runs the McGetrick Golf Academy at Meridian Country Club just outside Denver, encountered some resistance with his first LPGA pupil, Sara Anne Timms, but though he couldn't teach her much, he did marry her. "I was the student that most frustrated Mike," says Sara Anne, who played on the tour from '86 to '92 and now stays home with the couple's four girls and two boys. It was Sara Anne who convinced her traveling roommate, Mallon, to get help from Mike after Mallon lost her tour card in '87. Four years later Mallon won the U.S. Open and the LPGA Championship.
"Mike taught me how to practice," says Mallon. "Most teachers work on your swing and say 'Go out and play? Well, Mike says, 'You need to score.' We spend most of our time working around the green, in pressure situations, so I won't get nervous on those shots in competition."
In fact Mallon says McGetrick is so good at getting into her head that she saves money on a sports psychologist "I like [my students'] practice to be competitive," says McGetrick, who will turn 40 on April 6. "I like them to have a practice where they're putting themselves in game situations."
Before the final round of the Welch's, McGetrick asked Inkster, "What do you think you need to shoot to win?" Inkster said she needed a 65, which is what she shot to win by one over Dottie Pepper. "He's always going 100 miles per hour," Inkster says. "But if you get him focused on one thing, he's unbelievable."
Stacy, who was left out in the cold by six points when the LPGA revised its Hall of Fame criteria in January, rehabilitated her right knee after surgery last September partly by hitting balls in the snow with McGetrick. It's paid off. Stacy was 47th on the money list in '98, but she's 16th in '99 and now doesn't look like such a long shot to play her way into the Hall. "Sometimes we just have a five-or 10-minute lesson because I don't like to hit balls," says Stacy, who was in contention at the Welch's before tying for fourth with a final-round 70. "I put my faith in him because he's quick to see the problem and he fixes it."