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It’s Still Colonial To Me

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– The Crowne Plaza Invitational Is Upon Us –

No disrespect to the tournament sponsor but rarely will the words – Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial roll off my lips. For myself and millions of others this week’s tournament will always carry a single name – Colonial. 

With it, that moniker brings visions of one man, so revered in golf circles that even neophytes of today are familiar with his name – Ben Hogan.

If you have ever been to Ft. Worth you will understand the significance of Ben Hogan, and golf in general, there.   In a place where people are comfortable to talk about cattle, oil, and just about any other wide-ranging subject golf has a special place in their hearts.  A lot of that has to do with the pride of knowing that two of the world’s greatest golf champions, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, got their starts in “Cowtown.”

Nelson, the quiet and humble man was always respected but it was “The Hawk,” Ben Hogan who was always larger than life.

Take the Colonial National Invitational, as it known when it was founded in 1946.  Hogan went out and won the first two installments of the tournament, eventually becoming a record 5-time champion.  Shady Oaks Golf Club, just a few miles down the road, might have been Hogan’s membership home but he just about “owned” Colonial Country Club .  His name will forever be tied with the place and the statue of him by the clubhouse is testament to it.

Colonial Country Club was a perfect golf course for the talents of Mr. Hogan.  Requiring thoughtful precision at all times it is a test that demands a lot of any professional who has hopes of winning on it.

Last year that honor went to Steve Stricker, who will be in the field this week but will carry six weeks of rust in his bag after a shoulder injury put him on the sidelines.

Being an invitational this week the field is slightly smaller but blessed with plenty of depth in the talent department,

Yes, Phil Mickelson is in the field this week and he did Houdini his way to a Colonial win in 2008 but it would be hard to say he is a great pick to grab another “Crowne”.  The tight thoroughfares at Colonial that bend it places you least expect or desire, require winners to hit it straight when they need it and shape it by request as well.

You don’t have to look much further than one of last year’s playoff participants that lost out to Stricker, Tim Clark as a must watch for the week.   The combination of last year’s finish and his recent The Players victory are certain signs that he could again be in contention.

 Two others to keep an eye on will be Brian Gay, a native of Ft. Worth who has missed just 2 cuts in 11 starts here and has won on layouts like Harbour Town, a place that demands similar shots as Colonial.

You can also never discount Justin Leonard, who has yet to win in 16 starts but has five career top-tens and fired 61 in the final round in 2003 on his way to a runner-up finish.

It’s time for another week to hear all those great Ben Hogan stories again and one player will get the honor of being forever tied to the one of the game’s great artists.

For a true golf professional, that probably means a lot more than what any Fed Ex points or winner’s check can provide.

It is “Colonial” after all.

This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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Everything former Nike rep Ben Giunta said about working with Tiger Woods

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Ben Giunta, a former Nike Tour Rep and now owner of the TheTourVan.com, joined host Johnny Wunder and TXG’s Ian Fraser for the most recent installment of the Gear Dive podcast.

While you’ll want to hear everything Giunta has to say, his remarks about working with Tiger Woods are particularly notable, and we wanted to present them here for those of you who may be more textually inclined.

On Tiger Woods’ preferences for club testing

“He always does his testing at home. 99 percent of the time. Whenever Tiger showed up to an event he was ready to go. There was no tinkering with equipment at Tour events. All of the work we did with him, we would do a week prior.”

“Rick Nichols, who was my boss when I was at Nike…he was Tiger’s right-hand guy. He worked with him on pretty much everything. We would prep everything. Rick would go and work with him at home…at that time it was in Orlando. They would tweak and do everything they needed there. Then when he showed up to the tournaments, I could probably count on one hand the number of times he came into the trailer to get work done.”

“He was built different. He came to do his homework on the golf course and prepare for the tournament. He was not tinkering around with equipment when it came to tournament time.”

“Any time he would test anything during the week…it was for a backup. He was constantly searching for backup drivers and…woods. So if something happened…he already had done all of his work.”

On Tiger’s driver preferences

“We were always tinkering with different CGs. Obviously, there was a lot of special stuff made for him. He didn’t use an adjustable driver…until Nike got out of the equipment business. We were always making sure the center of gravity was perfect. He was very specific on face angles and how much loft he wanted to look at. And he always wanted the face angle to be pretty much the same.”

“We had to have different iterations with different lofts based on where his golf swing was…obviously, his golf swing changes a lot based on all of his injuries and swing changes…There were certainly times where he was swinging a driver that spec’d out at a true eight-degree head, then he’d be all the way up to 11 or 12 degrees sometimes.”

On Tiger’s consistency in iron preferences

“The only thing that ever really changed with Tiger’s irons…was the lie angle. But lofts…they have been the same since he played golf…It’s been the same specs for his entire professional and amateur career. Those specs haven’t changed but the lie angles have. As far as I know, he has never experimented with different iron shafts [True Temper Dynamic Gold X100]. They’ve always been the same…with wooden dowels down in the tips of the shafts.”

“He always had the mindset that he was going to manipulate the club to get the ball to do what he wanted it to do.

On the consistency of Woods’ wedge setup

“He’s evolved with different grinds depending on his delivery or what he’s trying to do technique-wise, he’s modified his soles a little bit over time…but he’s always kind of reverted back to your traditional dual sole.”

In addition to talking Tiger, Giunta discusses how he got a job on Tour, working with Rory McIlroy, tinkerers vs non-tinkerers, and what he’s doing now (and more) in the rest of the podcast.

You can listen below.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB 2018

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Tour News

WATCH: Tiger Woods on Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf

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Tiger Woods just appeared in a Bridgestone Golf Facebook Live video. While the audio isn’t the greatest (sounds like there’s some mowers rolling by), we’ve got to pass it along.

Check out the video below.

Woods initially discusses his wedges, before moving on to sharing some insights about how he hits his patented stinger–covering the ball, starting it farther right, and keeping his follow through short.

On his ball, the Bridgestone Tour B XS, which he presents as a softer ball well-suited to his swing, Woods says

“I need spin. I don’t spin the ball a lot. My swing has never produced a lot of spin. I’ve always been able to take spin off the golf ball–I grew up in an era where we played balata. What separated a lot of guys was the ability to take spin off the golf ball…to keep it below the tree line. There was a lot more movement in the golf ball.”

“My swing has naturally evolved. I’ve had different swings throughout the years, but each swing didn’t spin the ball a lot. So, when I get up to my long irons with a harder ball that most people would launch…I don’t. It falls out of the sky because it has so little spin.”

Woods mentioned that he hasn’t played Shinnecock since the course’s pre-U.S. Open makeover, but that he expects the course will be particularly difficult: an old-school U.S. Open with minimal graduated rough where it will be difficult to shoot under par.

Responding to comments, Woods sings Hazeltine’s praises and mentions he’d love to be able to wear shorts during PGA Tour events

“We play some of the hottest places on the planets and it would be nice to wear shorts…even with my little chicken legs,” Woods says.

Woods tells amateurs looking for more spin around the greens that they need a soft golf ball, mentioning that solid contact, maintaining loft, and allowing to club to do its job are key. Woods mentions that he has “a couple extra shots around the greens” thanks to the softness of his golf ball.”

We’ll next see the 14-time major champion in action at next week’s Memorial Tournament (which he discusses to wrap up the video).

 

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Popular Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

Prettier than a new penny.

Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

Everything here is excellent. Just excellent.

More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

You can’t fool me. You’re not Adam Hadwin, you’re a golf bag.

Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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