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Kings of the West Coast Swing: stats and equipment

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By Seth Kerr

GolfWRX Staff Writer

With the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play Championship marking the official end to the West Coast swing; let’s take a look back at some of the more important stats and what we learned so far.

Americans have won all nine PGA Tour events, with Kyle Stanley and John Huh being the only first-time winners. Huh is the only rookie to win on Tour, finishing off Robert Allenby in a marathon eight-hole playoff at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Despite Stanley’s disappointing loss at the Farmers Insurance Open, he is still the current Race for the FedExCup point leader over Johnson Wagner and Phil Mickelson thanks to his  impressive win at the Waste Management Open.

Phil Mickelson had an up-and-down West Coast Swing, struggling early in the year before dominating Tiger Woods by 11 strokes in the final round to win at Pebble Beach. Tiger made the switch to the Nike Method 001 putter and it hasn’t worked so far, missing a number of makeable putts at Pebble Beach and the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in his loss to Nick Watney.

Mickelson followed up his victory at Pebble Beach with a disappointing finish at the Northern Trust Open. He had the lead for three rounds but could not finish off the tournament, losing to Bill Haas in a playoff.

Stanley is the only player in the top-25 of driving distance to win on Tour this year. He is average 303.3 yards off the tee, well behind No. 1 Bubba Watson and his pink PING G20 driver (Watson is averaging 312.7 yards). Gavin Coles has the lowest driving average on tour at just 267.1 yards.

Gary Woodland used his Titleist 910 D3 driver for the longest drive of the year at an outrageous 450 yards on No. 18 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The top-39 drives of the year were all 400 yards or more and all were from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Using the new Cleveland Classic driver, Jason Kokrak had the longest drive from a tournament other than the Tournament of Champions at 399 yards at the Sony Open.

Paul Goydos leads the Tour in driving accuracy, hitting 73.76 percent of fairways. Hunter Mahan is the highest ranked winner in driving accuracy at No. 4, with an average of 71.26 percent of fairways hit.

Webb Simpson used Titleist 680 irons to hit 75.93 percent of greens in regulation to lead Bubba Watson and his PING S59 irons by just over 1 percent. It is a shocking stat for Watson, who is also the leader in driving distance.

You would expect the leader in driving distance and second in greens in regulation to be in contention each week to win. But Watson is just 21st in FedExCup points with only one top-10 finish. For Watson, it shows just how badly he has putted this year.

Watson and his PING Anser putter rank 170th in total putts with an average of 30.60 putts per round. That is a whopping 3.22 more putts per round than Greg Chalmers, who leads the tour in putts per round at 27.38. Chalmers is one of few players on Tour to use a Bobby Grace putter.

Brian Gay, who now wears TaylorMade gear but still uses Mizuno irons, gets up and down 74.68 percent of the time, making par or better an outstanding 59 out of 79 times. Scott Brown is worst on tour in scrambling only getting up and down a paltry 38.71 percent of the time.

Titleist gamer, Bobby Gates, leads the Tour in eagles with eight, while fellow Titleist pro, Ben Crane, who is not known for prodigious length, is second with seven eagles this year.

Perhaps the most well-known American Titleist player, Steve Stricker, leads the tour in scoring average at 68.13, but has only played eight rounds after taking five weeks off following the Sony Open.

In a sign of how well Stricker has played this year, he leads the Tour in seven total performance stats.

Stricker leads the tour in:

1) Birdie Average                                   5.13 per round

2) Sand Save Percentage                     73.33 percent

3) Par-5 birdie or better                       75 percent

4) Scoring Average                               68.13

5) Scoring Average before cut           66.50

6) Consecutive Cuts                              45

7) Back Nine Scoring Average          33.13

So what do all these stats tell us entering the Florida swing?  Probably not a whole lot.  None of the 2011 players who won on the West Coast won again before the Masters. In fact, Bubba Watson and Luke Donald were the only multiple winners who won on the West Coast last year.

Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland are just two players happy to hear that. While Woods has had a few good rounds, he has yet to show he can put together four solid rounds. Woodland has looked lost for most of the year, though he and his new coach, Butch Harmon, promise he will be ready for Augusta. And for pros that is what it’s all about. They would all trade there rankings in every stat for one major, because while no one remembers who finished No. 1 in scoring, putting, or birdies, everyone remembers who won major championships.

Below are a list of the winners and the clubs they played.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions — Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 909 D3 (8.5°)

Fairway wood: Titleist 906F2 (13°)

Hybrid: Titleist 909H (19°)

Irons: Titleist 710 AP2 (3-PW)

Wedges Titleist Vokey (54°, 60°)

Putter: Odyssey White Hot #2

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Sony Open — Johnson Wagner

Driver: TaylorMade R11S (8°)

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 (13.5°)

Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro a 12 (18°)

Irons: Titleist CB 712 (3-9)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey (48°, 54°, 60°)

Putter: Scotty Cameron proto

Ball:  Pro V1x

Humana Challenge — Mark Wilson

Driver: PING I20 (8.5°)

Fairway Wood: Cleveland HiBore XLS (13°)

Hybrid: Ping i15(17°, 20°)

Irons: Ping i20

Wedges: Ping Tour (52°, 60°)

Putter: Ping Karsten Anser

Ball: Pro V1x

Farmers Insurance Open — Brandt Snedeker

Driver: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast (10.5°)

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Superfast (15°)

Hybrid: Adams Idea a12 Proto (20°)

Irons: Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back (4-PW)

Wedges: Bridgestone J40 (52°, 56°), Titleist Vokey (60°)

Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B330

Waste Management Phoenix Open — Kyle Stanley

Driver: Titleist 910D3 (8.5°)

Fairway Wood: Titleist 910Fd (13.5°)

Hybrid: Titleist 503i (19°)

Irons: Titleist 712MB (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey (52°, 56°, 60°)

Putter: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Timeless (GSS) Proto

Ball: Pro V1x

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am — Phil Mickelson

Driver: Callaway RAZR Fit (9.5°)

Fairway Wood: Callaway Big Bertha Diablo (15°)

Hybrid: Callaway X Proto (19°)

Irons: Callaway X-Forged (4), RAZR X Forged Muscleback (5-PW)

Wedges: Callaway X Series JAWS (52°, 60°, 64°)

Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Blade Prototype

Ball: Callaway Hex Black Tour

Northern Trust Open — Bill Haas

Driver: Titleist 910D2 (8.5°)

Fairway Wood: Titleist 910F (13.5°)

Irons: Titleist 712 CB (2), 710 CB (3-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey (54°, 60°)

Putter: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Studio Select Kombi

Ball: Pro V1x

Mayakoba Golf Classic — John Huh

Driver: Ping G10 (7.5°)

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Burner (13°)

Hybrid: Titleist 910H (17°)

Irons: Ping S57 (3-PW)

Wedges: Ping Tour (52°, 58°)

Putter: Ping Scottsdale Wolverine

Ball: Pro V1

World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship — Hunter Mahan

Driver: PING G20 (9.5°)

Fairway Wood: PING G20 (15°)

Hybrid: PING i15 (17°)

Irons: PING S56 (3-PW)

Wedges: PING Anser Forged (56°, 60°)

Putter: PING Nome

Ball: Pro V1x

Click here for more discussion in the forums.

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Seth is an avid golfer playing year round in Florida.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Coastal Duck

    Mar 2, 2012 at 1:14 am

    ‘Huh is the only rookie to win on Tour, finishing off Robert Allenby in a marathon eight-hole playoff at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.’

    Apologies, but I am just now coming back to the game after a 30-year hiatus. I would have liked to have known the whereabouts of the above mentioned tourney.

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Equipment

Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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