Warning: Swanson, the author of this story, does not exist… except in his writing. His character is completely imagined, but that doesn’t mean his opinions aren’t real.
Recently, I shared with the GolfWRX community my golden nuggets for selecting the 14 clubs in your bag, as to abide by the USGA maximum club rule. Some of you were astoundingly unappreciative. I’ve been getting hate mail and negative comments since it’s been published.
Therefore, I’d like to use the first half of this story to address the responses, which are utterly appalling. The second half of this week’s article will be dedicated to an equipment tip for Jordan Spieth to improve his game and avoid any future meltdowns.
Responding to the Hate
Swanson: “Duffer,” you sound like quite the stick. But think about this: If I couldn’t hit a 1-iron better than Hogan (he actually hit it too low), would you care what I had to say? Golfers always complain that the best teachers can’t play a lick or hit it out of their shadow. Consider me your saving grace. How’s this: I’ll play each of the top-100 teachers in match play, and we’ll see who knows more about golf.
Swanson: Loser? I remember the last time I needed a 2-iron to reach a par 5. It was around when Bush was in office… Bush Sr. If you want to play for big prize money, you can find me at my country club every week with a locker full of cash and a tee time.
Swanson: 17 handicap, yes. When I play the entire round with a putter.
Swanson: Stab at Ian Poulter? Uh no, he’s a family friend. My father sold Poults his first Ferrari back in ’92 before my father bought Ferrari (the company).
Swanson: Funny story. I’m good buddies with the character on which Spaulding Smails is based. He’s a “good egg,” as they say. And in case you haven’t noticed, I’m named after the driver of the boat in Caddyshack, since my father loves boats and yachts.
“Move over Swanson, I’m driving!” Just never gets old!
Swanson: They’re handmade by the Dalai Lama’s right-hand man, and I have his cell number if you’re serious. Message me and I’ll get you a price estimate.
Swanson: The last part of the last sentence was spot on.
An equipment tip for Jordan Spieth
I actually feel bad for Jordan. He probably thinks he choked The Masters away. I mean he did, but it wasn’t his fault. I went through literally the same exact thing, so I know what happened.
You see, I’ve also hit a tee shot into the water on No. 12 at Augusta National (I also used the drop zone and got up and down for bogey, but that’s not the point). I got fit for new irons the week before I played Augusta for the first time. Admittedly, I wasn’t the stellar ball striker I am now, so the fitter put me into a set of game-improvement style irons. You know, thick top line, cavity back, thin face… the whole works. They were basically garbage cans, but who was I to question the fitter, right?
So I get to Augusta National with a bag full of shovels, and I struggled a bit on the front nine and made the turn in a few under par. The par 5s are basically par 4s, and the par 4s are basically par-3.5’s, so nothing special. I just wasn’t catching the new irons flush, and didn’t have the precision I had with my forged blades.
Nos. 10 and 11 aren’t nearly as difficult as the pros claim, so I cruise through those with easy pars. But then I get to the 12th.
The pin was all the way on the right, similar to where it is on Sunday for the Masters. The hole was playing 154 yards and the wind was swirling. I decided to try and take the wind out of play, and went with a low-slinging draw with my 9 iron. It’s a shot I’d hit a million times with my forged blades, but the ball floated out to the right and never drew back to the pin.
I knew immediately it was the club’s fault. The forgiveness of the irons kept the ball from drawing back to the pin.
I went onto birdie 5 of the last 6 holes (I missed 3-foot eagle putts on Nos. 13 and 15 because I was flustered), and would have had the course record (which is only 63) if it wasn’t for my irons.
But I learned my lesson. That was the last day I ever played an iron with even an ounce of “technology” in it. In fact, after the round I took a NetJets home to get my forged blade irons, and played the course again the next day. I couldn’t get it going with the putter and shot 66… but I made a hole-in-one on No. 12.
They say there’s only been three holes-in-one on that hole, but there’s actually been four. When I told the committee at Augusta National I made a hole-in-one there with a low-squeezer 9 iron, they didn’t believe me, and no one was there to attest. They no longer allow me on the premises because of the dispute, but if you jump into the pond in front of the green, you’ll find a set of game-improvement irons.
And that’s where Jordan Spieth’s irons should be, too. If he wants to win any more majors, he needs to ditch those irons with all that forgiveness and switch to blades. It’s no wonder he hit the worst tee shot I’ve ever seen there, he had zero ball control.
Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or tweet me (@longballswan1) with questions you’d like me to answer for a new segment called “Yo, Swanson!” I’ll answer anything you want since I know pretty much everything about everything golf-related, and I can help you avoid you’re own major meltdown.
Longball Swanson, out.
A trip down Magnolia Memory Lane: Patron fashion at the 1991 Masters
Like a lot of golfers out there, I’ve been getting my fix thanks to the final round Masters broadcasts on YouTube via the Masters channel. Considering these broadcasts go back as far as 1968, there is a lot we could discuss—we could break down shots, equipment, how the course has changed, but instead I thought we could have a little fun taking a different direction—fashion.
However, I’m not talking players fashion, that’s fairly straight forward. Instead, I wanted to follow the action behind the action and see what we could find along the way – here are the 1991 Highlights.
I love the “Die Hard” series as much as anyone else but one fan took it to a new level of fandom by wearing a Die Hard 2 – Die Harder T-shirt to Sunday at the Masters. This patron was spotted during Ian Woosnam fourth shot into 13. Honorable mention goes to Woosie’s gold chain.
There is a lot going on here as Ben Crenshaw lines up his put on 17. First, we have the yellow-shirted man just left of center with perfectly paired Masters green pants to go along with his hat (he also bears a striking resemblance to Ping founder Karsten Solheim). Secondly, we have what I would imagine is his friend in the solid red pants—both these outfits are 10 out of 10. Last but not least, we have the man seen just to the right of Ben with sunglasses so big and tinted, I would expect to be receiving a ticket from him on the I20 on my way out of town.
If you don’t know the name Jack Hamm, consider yourself lucky you missed a lot of early 2000s late-night golf infomercials. OK so maybe it’s not the guy known for selling “The Hammer” driver but if you look under the peak of the cabin behind Woosie as he tees off on ten you can be forgiven for taking a double-take… This guy might show up later too. Honorable mention to the pastel-pink-shorted man with the binoculars and Hogan cap in the right of the frame.
Big proportions were still very much in style as the 80s transitioned into the early 90s. We get a peek into some serious style aficionados wardrobes behind the 15th green with a wide striped, stiff collared lilac polo, along with a full-length bright blue sweater and a head of hair that has no intention of being covered by a Masters hat.
Considering the modern tales of patrons (and Rickie Folwer) being requested to turn backward hats forward while on the grounds of Augusta National, it was a pretty big shock to see Gerry Pate’s caddy with his hat being worn in such an ungentlemanly manner during the final round.
Before going any further, I would like us all to take a moment to reflect on how far graphics during the Masters coverage has come in the last 30 years. In 2019 we had the ability to see every shot from every player on every hole…in 1991 we had this!
At first glance, early in the broadcast, these yellow hardhats threw me for a loop. I honestly thought that a spectator had chosen to wear one to take in the action. When Ian Woosnam smashed his driver left on 18 over the bunkers it became very apparent that anyone wearing a hard hat was not there for fun, they were part of the staff. If you look closely you can see hole numbers on the side of the helmets to easily identify what holes they were assigned to. Although they have less to do with fashion, I must admit I’m curious where these helmets are now, and what one might be worth as a piece of memorabilia.
Speaking of the 18th hole, full credit to the man in the yellow hat (golf clap to anyone that got the Curious George reference) who perfectly matched the Pantone of his hat to his shirt and also looked directly into the TV camera.
It could be said the following photo exemplifies early ’90s fashion. We have pleated Bermuda shorts, horizontal stripes all over the place and some pretty amazing hairstyles. Honorable mention to the young guys in the right of the frame that look like every ’80s movie antagonist “rich preppy boy.”
What else can I say except, khaki and oversized long sleeve polos certainly had their day in 1991? We have a bit of everything here as Tom Watson lines up his persimmon 3-wood on the 18th. The guy next to Ian Woosnam’s sleeves hit his mid-forearm, there are too many pleats to count, and somehow our Jack Hamm look-alike managed to find another tee box front row seat.
You can check out the full final-round broadcast of the 1991 Masters below.
GolfWRXers Vote: Best U.S. Open venue showdown
Following on from our Golf Movie Madness contest which saw GolfWRXers vote “Caddyshack” the best golf film ever, we thought it was time to up the ante and find out the GolfWRX consensus on one of the more debated subjects in golf—U.S. Open host venues.
We’re matching off the last 16 U.S. Open venues to find out what GolfWRXers think is the ultimate U.S. Open course.
As with our Golf Movie Madness contest, we’ll leave voting open for 48 hours for the first eight head-to-heads. At that time, we’ll determine the winners and matchups for the next four games.
So get voting below and let’s find out who GolfWRXers crown as the ultimate U.S. Open course!
*Years hosted, winners and avg. winning score from 1950 onwards*
- Years Hosted: 1972, 1982, 1992, 2000, 2010, 2019
- Winners: Nicklaus (+2), Watson (-6), Kite (-3), Woods (-12), McDowell (E), Woodland (-13)
- Avg. winning score: -5.33
Torrey Pines SC
- Years Hosted: 2008
- Winners: Woods (-1)
- Avg. winning score: -1
Oakland Hills SC
- Years Hosted: 1951, 1961, 1985,1996
- Winners: Hogan (+7), Littler (+1), North (-1), Jones (-2)
- Avg. winning score: +1.25
Winged Foot GC
- Years Hosted: 1959, 1974, 1984, 2006
- Winners: Casper (+2), Irwin (+7), Zoeller (-7), Ogilvy (+5)
- Avg. winning score: +1.75
- Years Hosted: 2015
- Winners: Spieth (-5)
- Avg. winning score: -5
- Years Hosted: 1954, 1967, 1980, 1993
- Winners: Furgol (+4), Nicklaus (-5), Nicklaus (-8), Janzen (-8)
- Avg. winning score: -4.25
Pinehurst Resort (No 2.)
- Years Hosted: 1995, 2005, 2014
- Winners: Stewart (-1), Campbell (E), Kaymer (-9)
- Avg. winning score: -3.33
- Years Hosted: 1955, 1966, 1987, 1998, 2012
- Winners: Fleck (+7), Casper (-2), Simpson (-3), Janzen (E), W. Simpson (+1)
- Avg. winning score: +0.75
- Years Hosted: 1953, 1962, 1973, 1983, 1994, 2007, 2016
- Winners: Hogan (-5), Nicklaus (-1), Miller (-5), Nelson (-4), Els (-5), Cabrera (+5), Johnson (-4)
- Avg. winning score: -2.71
- Years Hosted: 2002, 2009
- Winners: Woods (-3), Glover (-4)
- Avg. winning score: -3.5
Southern Hils CC
- Years Hosted: 1958, 1977, 2001
- Winners: Bolt (+3), Green (-2), Goosen (-4)
- Avg. winning score: -1
Olympia Fields CC
- Years Hosted: 2003
- Winners: Furyk (-8)
- Avg. winning score: -8
- Years Hosted: 1950, 1971, 1981, 2013
- Winners: Hogan (+7), Trevino (E), Graham (-7), Rose (+1)
- Avg. winning score: (+0.25)
- Years Hosted: 2017
- Winners: Koepka (-16)
- Avg. winning score: -16
- Years Hosted: 1964, 1997, 2011
- Winners: Venturi (-2), Els (-4), McIlroy (-16)
- Avg. winning score: -7.33
Shinnecock Hills GC
- Years Hosted: 1986, 1995, 2004, 2018
- Winners: Floyd (-1), Pavin (E), Goosen (-4), Koepka (+1)
- Avg. winning score: -1
Retro golf video game review: CyberTiger for N64
Being stuck at home indoors as spring officially arrives stinks—period. Now with that in mind, we also hope that everyone out there, along with your family and friends, are healthy, happy, and safe.
Like others around the world, we at GolfWRX are doing our part to stay home and catch up on both television and video games while also supplying you with the most interesting ways to keep engaged in the game we love. Speaking of video games, one of my all-time favorite systems is the Nintendo 64 and to me, it is still home to one of the most fun (albeit not highly ranked) golf games of all time: CyberTiger.
Cyber Tiger for Nintedo 64 was released in 1999 and fits securely in the category of arcadey and fun golf. Compared to other N64 games released around the same time period, the graphics leave something to be desired, but considering the style and forgiveness of the gameplay nearly 30 years later, we can let it slide.
The gameplay is simple and overall very forgiving for any level of gamer. The only difficult thing for some to get a handle on right off the bat is shots around the greens. You are only given the option to either chip, pitch, or attempt a very limited full shot—it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it but starting out its easy to see how this part of the gameplay can be frustrating.
Game modes are as straightforward as you can imagine: stroke play, match play, tournament mode, practice range, and Tiger Challenge. The latter being one of the most fun in multiplayer since you get to remove a club from your opponent’s bag if you win the hole.
Options here are extremely limited and include—Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara—no seriously that’s it for actual tour golfers. Beyond those two, you are given the option of Lil’ Tiger (Teenage Tiger), Lil’ Mark (Teenage Mark), and then a handful of no-name brandless figures, including Chip and Mia. One thing to note is there are a number of ridiculous characters easily unlockable using cheat codes, but for what it’s worth, playing as a teenage Tiger is still a lot of fun. (Hint: UFO)
Since this is a cartridge Nintendo 64 game, memory is at a premium and courses are limited. There was licensing in place from the PGA Tour which allows for a “Best of TPC” composite course as one of the initial options and features a selection of holes at TPC Sawgrass. Beyond that many are hard to recognize in the hole-by-hole setting of the game.
Not to fret though, there is a total of five courses in the game, which can also be unlocked using cheat codes easily found online. I realize five courses seem beyond limited in today’s world, but they offer enough variety and fun that whether playing alone or against a friend it never feels overly repetitive.
If you happen to find yourself with a few hours to kill and have a Nintendo 64 (or an emulator), I highly recommend finding a copy of Cyber Tiger and taking your best shot at a few tournaments or playing against a friend. If nothing else, it might take you back to when you were 14 and had nothing else to do on a rainy day when you couldn’t make it to the course.
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