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Sony Open in Hawaii: Preview

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Action will finally get underway tomorrow at the first full field event of the 2010 PGA Tour season.  After a taste of live golf action last week at the SBS Championship and the teaser equipment photos here on GolfWRX.com of all the new gear in play, hardcore golfers are primed to watch the Sony Open in Hawaii.

The PGA Tour pros not in the field last week will be eager to kick off their season in a grand way at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.  And it truly is a stellar field this year at the Sony, highlighted by none other than defending champion Zach Johnson.    He will be seeking not only his 6th PGA Tour victory this week but he will also be trying to become only the fourth player to successfully defend the title.  Only Hubert Green (1978-79), Corey Pavin (1986-87), and Ernie Els (2003-04) have managed to do so.

Among the notable players in the field are the World #3 ranked player Steve Stricker, 20-time PGA Tour winner Davis Love III, 2008 FedEx Cup Champion Vijay Singh, and 16-time PGA Tour winner (including 2 Sony Opens) Ernie Els.

An added bonus will be the presence of all four major champions from 2009.  By having Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, and Y.E. Yang present it will be the first time since 1978 that all four major champions from the previous year will be contending for the Sony Open trophy.  It marks only the 3rd time in history that it has occurred.

Additional story lines will include local Tadd Fujikawa who was among the sponsor's exemptions.  Other invitees include John Daly, John Huston, T.J. Kua, WC Liang, Shigeki Maruyama, Ryuichi Oda, Chris Riley, Dean Wilson, and Kaname Yakoo.

And, of course, grooves will again be a hot topic for the TV Coverage crew (Golf Channel will broadcast each round from 7:00 to 10:30 P.M. EST).  That was the case last week at the SBS Championship but the golfers at Kapalua were facing a much different course than what the pros will find in Honolulu.  With narrow  fairways and 3-inch Bermuda rough this really should be the first good chance to see what impact the new groove rules have on the ability of the golfers to play shots.  Fortunately little rain is expected so excessive moisture should not add into that mix.

The golfer who manages to tame the famed par 70, 7044-yard, Seth Raynor (1927) layout will enjoy a $990,000 check out of the $5.5 million dollar purse.

This report for GolfWRX.com is courtesy of Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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Tour News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut

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Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB

Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.

(c/o PGATour.com)

We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open

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After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Custom Camerons, wedge stampings, a 6-hybrid, and Tiger wearing Tennis shoes?

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Yesterday, we brought you shots of Thomas Pieters’ iron stamping, Adam Scott’s new (shorter) wand, and more.

Today, we’ve got some more choice shots from the range at Riviera from Tuesday’s practice. Strap in for a sampling from a cornucopia of WITB shots and a helping of Tiger Woods (who we feature in two galleries). We also discussed his new driver shaft yesterday, so if you missed that piece, check it out.

On to the pictures.

First up, Wesley Bryan looks to be gaming an some Anthony Taranto artistry with his 54-degree Mack Daddy 4 wedge. Do work, indeed!

Ted Potter, Jr. won more than a million dollars at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week. But as the check hasn’t come yet, he hasn’t been able to buy Goo Gone to take the tape residue off the bottom of his putter.

A custom Cam for Rafa Cabrera Bello.

…and William McGirt.

#GrindGoals (Luke Donald’s 60-degree Mizuno T7)

Vijay Singh looks to have gotten his foot stuck in a bear trap, and yet he’s still practicing!

The most famous putter in golf, and Nike Vapor Advantage tennis shoes for Tiger?

Apparently, all the weight modification available on PXG 0311 irons was insufficient for Charl Schwartzel.

When your name scripting matches your sponsor’s script…

This is not the WITB of a 20-handicapper, rather Camilo Villegas may be the only Tour pro gaming a 6-hybrid.

So much is going on with Camilo Villegas’ irons…

You’ve seen custom stampings, but how about Bubba Watson’s custom shaft and custom shaft graphic?

When you’re the only PGA Tour professional to own a candy store, your wedge imagery reflects that fact.

The Big Cat browsing GolfWRX on mobile, no doubt…

If you’d like to dig deeper, we have two galleries of range photos from the Riv, plus 13 (!) WITB threads. Dig in!

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