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Vegas Baby!

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There might be a lot to distract them off course this week but most of the players in Las Vegas for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital For Children Open will be firmly focused on the opportunity at hand.

It’s hard to imagine that there could be a more exciting finish than what took place just a few days ago at the FRYS.COM Open but if there is a place capable of the spectacular, Vegas is it. It has few rivals in that department.

Scotsman Martin Laird picked up the win here last year, providing a kick-off to his career that took a player wallowing in a sea of missed cuts all the way to being the 58th ranked player in the world. It took three extra holes for him to win his first PGA Tour title in a playoff with George McNeill and Chad Campbell. Campbell was eliminated on the 2nd extra hole. The last player to defend in Las Vegas was Jim Furyk who won in 1998/1999. 

Many in the 132-player field will be looking for a similar boost but in order to do so they will have to get past a wealth of quality players including more than a few who already have 2010 PGA Tour wins on their resumes. The winner picks up a $774,000 share of the $4.3 million purse. They will also receive the usual spoils for winners including a two-year PGA Tour exemption and a spot in the winners-only SBS Championship in January. For some players teetering on the edge of losing their playing privileges, Las Vegas, of all places, could provide their salvation.

It will be hard to look past a trio of Las Vegas residents when looking for a potential winner. Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, and Nick Watney have all had solid seasons and the comfort of home cooking just might enhance their chances at the TPC Summerlin. They are among 12 Nevada residents in the field while UNLV Alum Ryan Moore and Chad Campbell also have local ties.

Hoffman had the biggest win of his career at the Deutsche Bank Championship during the FedEx Cup Playoffs and he would surely like to rack up a 2nd 2010 win on another TPC layout. Summerlin suits him well as he has posted numerous strong scores on the Bobby Weed/Fuzzy Zoeller design in past years.

Nick Watney is coming off a 4th place finish at The Tour Championship and with seven Top-10’s in 2010 he is ripe for a win.

Making his professional debut here last year, 21 year-old Rickie Fowler has gone on to be the leading candidate for the PGA Tour Rookie of The Year in 2010. He knocked on the door last week in California; a home game might just be what he needs to put him in the top spot at the end of the day Sunday.

Other players to watch for will be Hunter Mahan, Ryan Palmer, and a resurgent David Duval who has won in the desert before.

Now almost 20 years old the TPC Summerlin is a run & gun style course where scoring is always low. The cooler than normal weather with the possibility of some showers could soften up the greens more than normal and give everybody a chance to go “Lights Out” in a place used to having them shine 24 hours a day.

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This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Canada’s 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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