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Tiger, Phil to join U.S. Ryder Cup task force?

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The 2014 Ryder Cup was a collective disaster for the United States — a 16.5 to 11.5 rout by the Europeans. Phil Mickelson let the world know his feelings, and Tom Watson apologized for the error of his ways. We know the story, we acknowledged our mistakes — but what does this mean for 2016? How will the U.S. Team respond going forward?

The PGA of America is reportedly collecting a panel of players and ex-Captains to elect a captain for 2016 and develop a game plan for success — or at least avoid the atrocity that was the 2014 Ryder Cup.

“The decision has been made to assemble a task force that will include PGA of America representation, past captains and current players to really dive into an open analysis of all aspects of the Ryder Cup to see what we can do to improve and give Team USA its very best chances of success,’’ PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua told the New York Post.

Among those approached to join the task force, according to reports, have been Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Paul Azinger and Davis Love III. Azinger, who captained the 2008 U.S. squad to victory, wrote a book on his winning strategies, in which Mickelson publicly bought into.

Do you think the task force will work in 2016? If it were up to you, who would you recruit to be on the panel?

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. ND Hickman

    Oct 13, 2014 at 4:43 am

    I love how Paul Azinger is suddenly the messiah yet he was facing off against the worst captain that Europe has ever had. Would he have beaten Monty, Seve, Jose Maria or Paul McGinley? I’m not convinced.

  2. snowman

    Oct 10, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Tiger and Phil seem to care not-a-lot about the Ryder cup and their records are not that great. Task force!?…WTF? Maybe a new selection process/timing will help, but Pods and all that may/may not work depending on the time/place/players. The Euros: care more, have better chemistry, and better players (at least for now). Plenty of blame to go around, but I think the Americans are primarily a bunch of spoiled rich guys that just play for money and the Euros are spoiled rich guys that play for money and the Pure Joy of smoking the U.S. in the Ryder cup. That attitude along with the talent the Euros bring is tough for the U.S. to overcome and when U.S. loses, I’m not sure they really, really care for very long. They just some home and start cashing huge checks for placing T19th (not that there is any thing wrong with cashing huge checks)……

    • T

      Oct 12, 2014 at 10:51 am

      You watch, and buy into, to much Golf Channel propaganda.

  3. Robeli

    Oct 10, 2014 at 10:54 am

    “Big Break Ryder Cup 2016” – soon coming to The Golf Channel!!

  4. Joseph

    Oct 9, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    There is part of me that thinks the Americans simply don’t care enough. Something has to happen to fire up the US and get their heads back in the game. Getting their butts whipped certainly isn’t doing it.

  5. dot dot

    Oct 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Glad they are taking it more seriously. Perhaps competition will come first and not the blatant commercialization like this year.

  6. steve

    Oct 9, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    The people that put Watson as captain feel stupid. Now they put this task force together. To little to late. Who cares?

    • Captain

      Oct 9, 2014 at 7:30 pm

      Too* little too* late. Who cares? WHO CARES!?! I think you’re on the wrong website friend.

      • steve

        Oct 10, 2014 at 8:03 am

        So they still have a chance to win? And no one cares about the Ryder Cup in the U.S.
        Right website, your a troll that adds nothing to the topic

        • T

          Oct 12, 2014 at 10:54 am

          Who’s the troll here?…You are. US has a chance to win every year, and a lot of golfers in the US care about the Ryder Cup.

  7. 8thehardway

    Oct 9, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Team America Task Force WILL mold disparate personalities into a tight-knit unit by 2016, such unit to be known as Ryder’s Rangers

    Basic Training
    In the months leading up to battle all RR recruits will undergo binge drinking with fellow recruits and memorize the sneers and dismissive gestures of James Bond movie villains.

    High Recruiting Standards
    Rich, arrogant pros need not apply.

  8. Brian

    Oct 9, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Let’s not overthink this thing at all…a task force? Now we need a task force to still get our butts kicked? The captain needs some pull over the PGA like the European captain has. The Euro captain has players paired together on Thurs/Friday rounds in regular tournaments to start building rapport and see how they do together. Where’s that here in the US? IMO, the players need more of a say in who plays with whom and when.

  9. gplfing

    Oct 9, 2014 at 4:51 am

    http://youtu.be/j7bnORHv2WE

    To beat the best, you must learn from the best.

  10. Jack

    Oct 9, 2014 at 2:28 am

    This is so stupid and so obvious… The US players have to play better — period. There now you don’t need a task force! Phil is a moron, btw.

    • Danny Patterson

      Oct 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      I agree. Also, why let these Ryder cuppers make these decisions? The best players from this Ryder cup were rookies. Phil, Tiger and Furyk, combined 39-56-13 career. Not very inspiring.

  11. Joe

    Oct 8, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Let the top 10 players with points choice the next 3 players for the team. Then as a team they can pick who plays with who and who plays who.PGA of America chooses the assistant captains to do all the standard
    BS, speeches, outings, dinners etc. Just let the players figure out how to come together and bring back the cup. Yeah it sounds far fetched. I’ll even add make Payne Stewart the honorary captain. Win it for our country & Payne’s legacy.If Pic’s of Payne all over the place can’t get the team to come together and win it who can?

  12. Johnny

    Oct 8, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I think everyone makes too big a deal of azinger as a captain. People seem to forget who the European captain was that year. Faldo was one of the worst captains, if not the worst captain, the Europeans have ever had. He couldn’t even remember who was all on his team.
    The bottom line is the Europeans want it more. You look at the European team this year and you could have paired any of them to play together. They get along. They’re a TEAM. The American team isn’t. Certain guys can only play with certain guys. I went to the ryder cup this year and the difference in the players attitudes was unreal. Quite honestly, bubba Watson was a disgrace. You could see by his body language he didn’t want to be there. I think his play in the opening days four balls highlighted this. Both he and simpson didn’t make one birdie between them. That’s terrible in that format. Surely the occasion should bring out the best in you. You’re playing for your country!
    It’s not the captain. It’s the players.

    • RobCH

      Oct 12, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      So if it’s not about the captain, the fact that it was Nick Faldo up against Azinger is completely irrelevant. Either the captain does make a difference, in which case they can logically be judged good or bad (or even, in your example, “worst”), or they don’t. You can’t have it both ways.

  13. roger

    Oct 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I believe it is cupitas. The Euro’s have 2 years to think about and 2 years to enjoy the victory. The US loses it and now it’s on to the Presidents cup, the next season starts shortly after the Ryder cup and now they start to think about earning points to make the Presidents cup. I myself watched about 10 minutes of the Ryder cup this year. I love watching tournament golf on TV and watch all 4 rounds. The difference is the show is on the course all about the golf shots. The Ryder cup and Presidents cup, a lot of the show is in the crowd any more, crazy groups of people in crazy outfits. We have the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Solhiem Cup and now they are talking about a Senoir’s Ryder Cup, that’s just way to much for me.

    • Forsbrand

      Oct 9, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Absolutely it’s gone far too corporate! Maybe the US are just not good enough to beat the Europeans. Why do the US need to set up a task force to win it! doesn’t that take something away from a possible victory? It s all a little wish washy for me.

  14. Ben

    Oct 8, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I’m still trying to figure out why Larry Nelson and Mark OMeara haven’t been captains yet. Both are easy going guys with strong personalities. That seems to be the best combination for captaincy.

  15. Mark Littlejohn

    Oct 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    The Europeans consider it a major, the Americans consider it an exhibition…I honestly believe some would rather not be bothered to participate at all. They have complained before about the Ryder Cup one year, the President’s Cup the next. I’m reading Draw in the Dunes right now about the 1969 Ryder Cup and it’s amazing how little thought Captain Sam Snead seemed to put into it. One solution not talked about yet might be to reduce the automatic quals down to six and have six picks for players who effing want to be there. Where the hell do they get our guys for the World Cup…none of the top players play it. They must go down the list until they find two who agree to play.

    • RobCH

      Oct 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Webb Simpson, who begged Watson to make him a captain’s pick, wanted to play. And how did he do?

  16. Jake

    Oct 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I think we need to develop a system, sort of like USA basketball. There needs to be a US Director of Ryder Cup who’s job it is to pick the captain. I think we should get Paul Azinger back, signed on as captain for the next 2-3 Ryder Cups to set up the system. He should have a consistent stable of Vice Captains that he is grooming to be the next captain.

    We don’t need a panel to look at this, we just need to model it after already successful enterprises.

  17. Joel

    Oct 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I love Tiger and Phil both…but they have played a lot of ryder cups spanning many different captains and styles of management and they don’t exactly have a stellar record. I love the ryder cup, but it belongs to the europeans…if we’re expected to win we lose, if we’re expected to lose we do. Just let things go people.

  18. Jim

    Oct 8, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Glad to hear that the US might take the next Ryder Cup more seriously. What they need to understand is 1) competitive team spirit/ effort, and 2) how to motivate these rich, arrogant pro’s that really don’t care about the event as much as the Europeans. It’s not the captain but the players who can’t win a point in foursomes that’s the problem. And I heard that Phil flew over in his private jet so that speaks to his knowledge of team building. Geeez.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2020 Players Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The field this week featured the best golfers in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and more.

Rory McIlroy enters the tournament as the defending champion, looking hoist the crystal again.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from TPC Sawgrass.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

Bettinardi’s St. Patrick’s Day covers  

Brand-new Srixon 745 in Keegan’s bag

Roger Sloan’s custom Cameron

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons spotted in Nick Watney’s bag 

Joel Dahmen with a battle-worn hybrid

Fresh eggs for Patrick Reed…

Justin Rose continues to tweak his equipment

Carlos Ortiz looks to be picking up some supplies to mark the end of his driveway…

Jordan Spieth with a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60T in the bag

Kiradech Aphibarnrat with lead tape and stamping on cavity-back irons. Solid! 

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GolfWRX Spotted: Justin Rose with mixed bag at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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It’s not very often we get breaking equipment news this time of year on the PGA Tour schedule, but this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the highest-profile players on tour, Justin Rose, was spotted testing multiple brands of clubs throughout his entire bag.

It started last week at the Honda Classic when Rose put a TaylorMade SIM driver with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage in play. As of today’s first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose has a mixed set including TaylorMade, Cobra, and Titleist clubs, along with an Axis1 putter.

Here are the details of Rose’s equipment:

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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Inside look: Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges on tour…6 months after launch

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Callaway Jaws MD5 wedges hit professional golf tours months ago. We reported on the launch extensively (see our videos later in the article) with deep coverage on the PGA Tour and at retail. As with any new offering, and especially for the gearheads on GolfWRX, it’s the tour chatter that drives us. What the pros do, play, and think is always a driving force.

However…

Personally, I have always been fascinated by the aftermath of a launch. What are the reactions and tweaks that are made once the shine has worn off?  It’s not uncommon for players to need to warm up to a new product before it ultimately finds its way into the bag permanently.

When Jaws hit the scene, it integrated quite quickly, and that is saying a lot. The MD4 was a very successful wedge line on tour and at retail. It was a huge initial launch and one Callaway was happy with as a solid portion of its staff put Jaws in play straight away.

In my conversations with tour staff and techs, spin and lower ball flight has been a recurring theme. In the case of the Tour, being able to flight a wedge down and not have it float, while maintaining maximum spin, is a weapon. Imagine being at Honda last week and knowing you can hit a knee-high fastball with a 58-degree wedge and trust the ball will stay down, not skip, and will stop dead in its tracks. On tour, its the speed of the stop that is valuable, not ripping it backward—that is typically only fun for TV. Golf these days is more like darts and less like billiards.

As to be expected, the grinds on all Callaway wedges are tour favorites. It’s pretty simple to fall in love with something that comes ought of the mind of Roger Cleveland, who has been the driving force in putting Callaway consistently at the No. 2 most-played wedge on Tour.

But how has the MD5  really done thus far?

Let’s be clear, most guys don’t make switches late-summer or fall (when MD5 was launched on tour). The season is too far down the river and the coming winter gives them quiet time to really test. Also, when you work through the California swing, a good portion of the higher-ranked staff only poke their heads out once or twice. This doesn’t mean the guys on the truck aren’t building new products, but a good portion of it is for winter testing, emergency backups, etc.

But now we hit the Florida swing. The Masters is a month away. The world’s best start to show up consistently, the playing surfaces change from the West Coast to the East Coast, and all of these guys are in full attack mode. Any real testing or guesswork is pretty much done, and it’s time to get going. This is the time when you can actually see if a product has staying power.

The question is since Jaws hit the scene, what have the pros learned, what adjustments have been made to dial them in, and ultimately, is this wedge line a success? I wanted to tackle this question from two different perspectives: from the reps on tour and two young staff players that have them in play.

In this case, there is the guy on the Callaway tour trailer who is in charge of wedges, Simon Wood, and young tour staffers Akshay Bhatia and Min Woo Lee.

Three unique perspectives—and also perspectives that give us an honest look at the performance and popularity of a “new” wedge on Tour.

I talk with Simon Wood quite a bit. He’s a good as they get in this category, having worked for years in Europe and on the U.S. tour. His knowledge is extensive and even more importantly, he is ridiculously honest. If the product is solid and he believes in it, he will tell you. If he goes quiet, there’s that too.

I caught up with him on a day off and this was the update he gave:

Wunder: It seems MD5 came out of the gates quickly and never really slowed down, are you surprised at the response?

Wood: Not at all. Truth is, these players are very particular about what makes it in or out of the bag. A new club has to do something better than the old one and do all the things they liked about the old one. The Jaws really spins. This is a unique groove system, and I’ve noticed the players like it for two main reasons 1) They can keep the trajectory down on the high lofts 2) they can be a bit more aggressive because of the amount of spin these wedges offer. Out on tour that’s a big deal.

Wunder: What percentage of staff (25+players on U.S. Tours) are in the MD5 across the board?

Wood: I’d say close to 50 percent, which is a good number considering how many good options are out there.

Wunder: Now that we are in the Florida swing, are you having to do anything special to adjust to the new grass and conditions?

Wood: No its the opposite actually. I think with the grooves being as good as they are and the number of options we have grind wise, we on the truck are doing less tweaking and grinding to wedges. That’s a sign one the R&D team did a great job with this design and two that our players trust our product enough to let their creativity take over.

Wunder: Any surprise grinds that are popping up more often?

Wood: It’s not a surprise because we knew it was good, but the low bounce W has been a hit thus far. Lots of guys testing and gaming that one.

I then went on to chat with Callaway staffers Min Woo Lee (winning WITB, podcast link below) and Akshay Bhatia on their experience with Jaws. This perspective was interesting because Akshay is young, he’s fighting for a place to play this summer, and he’s still learning the nuances of playing as a professional. Min just recently won in Australia and has enough time under his belt now to understand a real asset over something he’s still trying to make work.

Point is: pressure is high on both of these kids, and the last thing either wants to struggle with is their wedges.

Wunder: You were an early adopter of the MD5 last fall, have you noticed any significant improvement over your previous gamers?

Bhatia: Trust is the biggest one. I love the shape of these wedges and just knowing that Roger and Phil have an influence on the wedges you are playing gives me so much confidence. From a performance standpoint, I like the variety in grinds the MD5 offers. Anywhere I play I have an option, whether it be X in soft conditions or C for the firmer turf.

Wunder: With the aggressive grooves of the MD5, what shots have you gained that you didn’t have before?

Bhatia: Definitely the off-speed/three-quarter shots with some spin. These wedges really keep the ball down and it’s a bonus when I know I can take something off of a shot and the ball will stay down and hold its line into the wind.

Wunder: And your current set up is?

Bhatia: Currently, I’m in the Jaws MD5 50S, 54S bent to 55, and the 60C or X depending on the conditions (KBS $Taper 130X shafts in black with Iomic grips) with some heel and toe relief in the X. I also like to mess around wit the PM Grind 60 if I’m looking for a different look.

Young Callaway staffer Min Woo Lee, who recently triumphed at the European Tour’s Vic Open, has this to say

Wunder: What ball flight differences do you see in Jaws over the past wedge set?

MWL: Overall the same. I like to pick my trajectory. So if I didn’t like it,  I wouldn’t have put it in my bag…need to have every shot at my disposal.

Wunder: Do you do any extra grinding to your S?

MWL: Just in the 60, there is a little leading edge relief ground in. Prevents it from digging and gives me a bit more ability to be aggressive into it.

Wunder: Are there any other grinds you tried?

MWL: I tried the low bounce W and really liked, but the S grind has been my go-to for a long time, I know how to play with that one.

Wunder: As far as full shot turf interaction, why do you prefer the S?

MWL: The S is always what I’ve been into looks-wise, nothing else really caught my eye like that grind did. I do pretty good chipping around with it around the greens and we have some history so why mess with a good thing.

Overall, I think the MD5 wedge line has been a success on tour. Let’s be honest, wedges arent drivers, but identifying a popular line over another is quite interesting. These guys can get a TV remote ground into something useable, so when there is a shift across the staff to a new model, it validates that the ideas in it are sound and the wedge performs like it says it will. For larger tour staffs like Callaway has, operating a 50 percent clip for full line use is a really solid number.

Let’s be clear here, Callaway hasn’t made a bad wedge…like ever. From X Forged to the MD line and now into Jaws, Roger and the team know what they are doing. In my experience with these wedges, I will say that the grooves are ridiculously aggressive, and as Bhatia mentioned, there is a grind to satisfy any conditions.

Do most OEMs make solid wedges? The answer is of course they do; they all do. But the advantage that Callaway has over the rest in this category is Roger Cleveland. Having the man who inspired some of the most iconic wedge shapes ever coupled with a superb R&D team yields a combination that will deliver quality and performance time after time.

Here are some pics from the forums of MD5 out on tour now.

Akshay BhatiaFrancesco Molinari
Brendan GraceIsaiah SalindaJ.J. SpaunAlex Noren
Chun An YunHenrik Stenson Matt Wallace 

Si Woo Kim

Check out the videos below to see me and one of our forum members put Jaws MD5 to the test!

 

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