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Battle in Beantown: Deutsche Bank preview

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By Pete Pappas

GolfWRX Staff Writer

The FedExCup Playoffs continue this week with the 2012 Deutsche Bank Championship, and when the last shot is fired Labor Day evening at TPC Boston only 70 players will be left standing.

The Deutsche Bank Championship is the second of four events in the PGA Tour playoffs, and has produced five different winners since the tournament became part of the playoffs in 2007. Past winners of the event include Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Charley Hoffman, and the defending champion and 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson.

The FedExCup leaders will tee off together and marquee groups battling in Beantown (with their current rankings in the FedExCup) are Nick Watney (1), Brandt Snedeker (2), and Tiger Woods (3).

Last week Watney turned his season around, going from two-down to three-up in a four-hole swing to surge past Sergio Garcia on the final day and win The Barclays (and with that victory, Watney leaped 48 spots to his current first place in the FedExCup standings).

Woods, on the other hand, suffered through another troublesome and increasingly common weekend collapse.  Nevertheless — he’ll try to become the second two-time winner of the Deutsche Bank Championship (Singh won in 2004 and 2008).  And to that aim Woods comes into TPC Boston healthy.

“The back’s good,” Woods said at a press conference this week, referring to the lower back injury he suffered last week while sleeping on a soft hotel mattress.

2012 PGA Championship winner Rory McIlroy (4), Zach Johnson (5) and Jason Dufner (6) is another group worth watching.

McIlroy has only one previous FedExCup playoff appearance (finishing T37 here in 2010).  But the young Irishman’s 2012 campaign has been as impressive as anyone’s on Tour.  To go along with his second career major victory at the PGA Championship, McIlroy also won The Honda Classic and twice finished runner-up at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Wells Fargo Championship.

Dufner also comes into Boston with two victories this year — the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and HP Byron Nelson Championship. And the native Clevelander also boasts eight top-10 finishes in this season.

“I had a good run in the regular season to get to this point, and I’m excited about the last three events, playing some great golf courses, against some obviously great fields,” Dufner said.

And after skipping last week’s playoff opener Dufner said he is fresh and focused.

“I feel good after the week off,” he said. “I had a nice week at home, just resting, and getting ready for this stretch.”

Other star-studded groupings include Bubba Watson (7), Dustin Johnson (8), and Carl Pettersson (9); Matt Kuchar (11), Hunter Mahan (12), and Keegan Bradley (13); Luke Donald (14), Justin Rose (15), and Stricker (15); and Mickelson (17), Ernie Els (18), and Rickie Fowler (19).

The top 70 players on the FedExCup points list after the Deutsche Bank Championship advance to the BMW Championship next week. And the top five after the BMW control their own destiny. They can win the FedExCup with a victory in the final event, the Tour Championship presented by Coca Cola — which turns the heat up on the 98 players in the field this week to jockey as close as possible to that magical five spot.

And to add just a little more drama to stakes this week, the 18th green at TPC Boston has been redesigned specifically for the Deutsche Bank Championship.  Scoring will be more difficult with the green raised about two feet.  And subtle changes to the surrounding area add a risk-reward dimension that could result in the tournament being won or lost on a final shot.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

You can follow Pete @TheGreekGrind and GolfWRX @GolfWRX

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Pete is a journalist, commentator, and interviewer covering the PGA Tour, new equipment releases, and the latest golf fashions. Pete's also a radio and television personality who's appeared multiple times on ESPN radio, and Fox Sports All Bets Are Off. And when he's not running down a story, he's at the range working on his game. Above all else, Pete's the proud son of a courageous mom who battled pancreatic cancer much longer than anyone expected. You can follow Pete on twitter @PGAPappas

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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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