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What it’s like to caddy for a player who wins a Web.com Tour event

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In case you missed it, a pair of incredible things happened on the Web.com Tour last week at the El Bosque Mexico Championship. Wesley Bryan, one-half of the Bryan Bros trick-shot duo, won his second event in six starts on the tour. And he did it not with his brother, George, on the bag, but with Callaway’s Social Media Manager, Chad Coleman, carrying his sticks.

Related: The clubs Bryan used to win in Mexico

Chad was kind enough to chat with us about his wild weekend cleaning clubs and calculating yardages, rather than creating content and calculating character counts. How did Coleman find himself in Mexico carrying a golf bag? Thanks to the power of social media, coincidentally enough. I asked him how he landed the gig.

How exactly did you ended up on Wesley’s bag at the El Bosque Mexico Championship for those who haven’t heard?

Yeah, it was pretty crazy how it happened. Wesley’s brother, George, couldn’t caddie for him that week, because he was Monday qualifying for the event the following week in Indiana. And so literally without even talking to me about it first, he sent out a tweet that said, “If this gets 100 retweets then Chad will caddie for me next week in Mexico,” or something like that.

Then he called Harry [Arnett, Callaway’s SVP of Marketing and Brand Management], got his approval, and made sure I could be out of the office. And THEN he texted me and said, “Pack your sunscreen. You’re coming to Mexico next week.” So at that point, I really didn’t have another choice.

Any previous experience looping, or competing in tournament golf?

I’ve definitely competed in a few tournaments before, but never have caddied on a professional level. So this was entirely new to me. Luckily, I got there in time to caddie for the Wednesday Pro-Am, so I could get the hang of it a bit before the competition started.

What was the toughest part of the gig? 

Well, the good thing is that Wesley is a very self-sufficient player. He likes to read most of his own putts (and rightfully so — he’s one of the best putters out there), so the main things I focused on were keeping his clubs and grips clean and getting the right yardages for his tee and approach shots. We were at 6,000-feet elevation so the ball was going forever, so I had to learn how to factor that in plus the wind, slope of the hole, where we wanted to land the ball on the green, etc.

Do you have a new respect for pro loopers, and beyond that, pro golfers?

One-hundred percent. It’s a very tough job and pro caddies (and players, for that matter) don’t get nearly enough credit. It’s a grind out there, and is both physically and mentally exhausting. On Monday morning, when I was sitting in the airport, I was SO glad to be coming back home to my own bed and my normal routine. I was wiped out.

And to think that Wesley was going straight to Indiana to do the same thing all over again was pretty eye-opening. Don’t get me wrong — it’s incredibly fun out there. But it’s not as easy as people may think.

Wesley is obviously a friend of yours. What was it like working with him on course?

I think that was one of the big advantages we had out there, the fact that we are good friends on a personal level. We had a blast both on and off the course all week, and the fact that we were so comfortable around each other helped keep both of us calm and focused on the golf course. Wes is a big fan of the Biebs, so on the rare occasion he missed a shot, I would liven the mood with some horrible singing. We had a great time.

What the heck was it like being in contention and eventually winning on Sunday? 

I was DEFINITELY more nervous than he was, both on the day he tied the course record with a 63 on Friday and when we had a three-shot lead standing on the 18th tee on Sunday. I was incredibly impressed with his demeanor the entire week.

And so yeah, on Sunday I really just tried to stay out of his way as much as I could. He was in the zone. The first time I really felt relief on Sunday was on the 18th green. He was reading his 6-foot birdie putt from the opposite side of the hole and I stepped in behind the ball just to confirm the line. I was looking down at the break for a few seconds — nervous as could be — then looked up at Wes, who was just staring at me with a huge grin on his face. It was at that point that it really sunk in that we were about to win this thing.

This has to be doubly surreal for you, since you’ve known the Bryan Bros since they were making trick-shot videos. Wesley comes out, qualifies for the Web.com Tour, wins two of his first six events, and is now heading to the PGA Tour. How crazy is that?

Yeah, it’s unreal. To think about how far he has come since we first signed him a year and a half ago is just ridiculous. I know how hard he works at his game, so to see him succeed like this is very gratifying for both me and everyone here at Callaway.

I’m not sure how many caddies have won in their professional debuts, but I assume you’re going to pull a Jim Brown and go out on top?

That’s right. I’m hanging up the bib.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Bill Mac

    May 9, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Love it.

  2. Zachary Jurich

    Apr 29, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    It would be cool if more web.com guys did stuff like this. I would kill to loop for a golfer that can actually hit it where you tell them.

  3. Jonathan Daily

    Apr 29, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Some people say you should continue to post…but most of us know they are fools also.

  4. MRC

    Apr 28, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Great read!
    You guys are money.

  5. Other Paul

    Apr 28, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Great story!

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Equipment

Abraham Ancer becomes Miura’s first PGA Tour ambassador

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Miura Golf has announced that Abraham Ancer will be the company’s first-ever PGA Tour ambassador ahead of this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.

As a PGA Tour ambassador for the club manufacturer, Ancer, who has played Miura clubs since 2017, will work directly with the Miura family in Himeji, Japan to craft his custom-designed forged irons and will don a Miura hat at tour events.

Speaking on the announcement, Ancer said

“I switched to Miura irons well before any partnership; I just wanted to play the best forged irons available. I am honored to represent Miura and look forward to introducing Miura to the Mexican market.”

Ancer as well as club fitter Genaro Davila (who initially fit Ancer for Miura clubs two years ago) have also teamed up with entrepreneur Gerardo Benavides to form Dead Solid Perfect (DSP) Golf Mexico, which will become the official distributor of Miura Golf in Mexico.

Hoyt McGarity, President of Miura Golf, shared his thoughts on the partnership, stating

“This is a first for Miura, and it was important to us that this partnership transcend the traditional sponsorship model. Abraham is the perfect partner to grow Miura’s presence on and off the course. As one of the most successful Mexican golfers ever, his personal investment in Miura is the strongest endorsement as we increase our operations in Mexico and other parts of the world.”

Ancer will tee it up for the first time since becoming Miura’s first PGA Tour Ambassador today at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec. The 27-year-old will play alongside Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau in the opening round at 2.03 pm ET.

 

 

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Equipment

Danny Lee’s Mizuno MP-32 irons: The real inside scoop!

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Hipsters are known for loving “old” stuff — you know the classics, the vintage, the retro. From vinyl, to thrift store sweaters, what’s old is new again. In the case of Danny Lee, he’s leading the charge as the PGA Tour’s iron hipster.

It should also be noted that “old” is a relative term, especially with golf equipment. Now when it comes to “classics,” Mizuno has produced some of the most recognizable irons of all time, including the Cut Muscle MP-32 released in 2004.

We recently spotted Danny Lee at the Genesis Open and it started a LOT of discussion about classic designs, as well as whether these are new old stock (NOS) or new forgings, using the original tooling.

I reached out to Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer Chris Voshall to get to the bottom of this interesting iron development. (Plus the idea that Mizuno has sets of 10-plus year-old irons kicking around ready for custom builds — I have a huge smile thinking about what that storage room might look like — is a pretty fun thought).

Heres the inside scoop on Danny’s irons from Chris Voshall

“The MP-32s being played by Danny Lee are a new old stock set that came from Luke Donald’s personal stash inside the tour van. The ones Danny is playing are the very last set of custom grind 32s that were made for Luke.”

(HERES WHERE THE STORY GETS VERY INTERESTING)

“Here’s the part that makes the Danny’s set unique – During final development of the 32s, Luke was feeling that the soles for him were not getting through the turf the same as his previous MP-33s, but he loved the profile and extra forgiveness offered by the cut muscle design.

“By working with the Craftsman on the Mizuno team they created a unique sole profile for Luke that modernized that of the MP-33 for his new MP-32s. They rounded off and beveled the trailing edge of the 32s and had multiple sets made that he used during their entire run in the line.

“The tell tale of the Luke soled irons vs. the retail and standard version is how close the trailing edge of the sole is to the “Mizuno” on the back. What’s even more interesting about the development of that sole and grind is that every MP iron moving forward in the line starting with the MP-62 in 2008 utilized the exact sole profile of the one developed with Luke for the 32s and then 62s he used to become Number 1 player in the world.”

Below are comparison pics of Danny’s irons vs retail MP-32s and MP-62s

Danny Lee’s LD Grind 32s

Standard MP-32 7-iron – notice the amount of space above the “Mizuno” text

Right – MP-62 vs Standard MP-32

Danny Lees LD Grind 9-iron

Retail MP-32 9-iron

MP-62 9-iron vs retail MP-32

WOW! How cool is that insider information? True 14-year-old prototypes back in play on Tour! Now we know 100 percent the real story behind this very cool set and how it lead to historical Mizuno design changes that we still see in the MP line today!

 

NOTE: All Mizuno forged irons pre-2010 meet the 2010 USGA Conforming Groove rule; they were conforming before and are still conforming now. This is also part of the reason you don’t see many other classic irons on tour, except for maybe some from Ping which did do a few older models with new grooves –most notably D.A Points’ i5s irons. 

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Tour News

Tiger Woods lofting up for thin air? Examining the switch and what happens when you play at altitude

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It’s not very often a Tiger Woods equipment change flies under the radar, but for one of the world’s most recognizable golfers, a little fairway wood switch should have some big impacts. Per the Darrell Survey and some insider information, the Big Cat has switched from a 13-degree TaylorMade M5 Ti fairway to the same model in 15 degrees (Woods is sticking with the same Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 80TX shaft).

In his press conference at the Genesis Open Tiger said

“I’ve always been pretty good at taking spin off, but I’m trying to get the ball up for this week and trying to hit the ball high. I knew that that was going to be one of the things I needed to do. And also getting ready if I was going to play Mexico, it was going to be two weeks of trying to get that ball up because obviously it’s at altitude next week and the ball doesn’t spin a lot. So to be able to send that ball up in the air and have it pretty soft when it lands I thought was important.”

It’s an interesting point by Tiger, and this also gives us another reason to pay a little extra attention to the shots hit with that club over the next couple weeks. Also, it’s not every day I get to explain, or in this case, help correct, a misunderstanding in a Tiger Woods quote.

Here is the part of the statement “it was going to be two weeks of trying to get that ball up because obviously it’s at altitude next week and the ball doesn’t spin a lot.” 

Let me explain: The golf ball in an inanimate object has no idea it’s at altitude; the air will not have an effect on how much the ball will actually spin. YES increasing loft should, by almost every imaginable measure, increase spin (so Woods’ switch is the right one, from that standpoint) but the air it travels through will not change the spin rate.

However, playing at altitude does have effects. Let’s break down what happens

  • Thinner air exerts less drag force (resistance) on the ball. The ball moves more easily through this less dense air and won’t decelerate as quickly as it flies. But note that the faster an object moves the more drag force will occur.
  • Less resistance also means that it harder to shape shots. So you when you see Shot Tracer, the pros are going to be hitting it even straighter (like they need the help – eye roll)
  • Less force = less lift, the the ball will also fly lower and on a flatter trajectory

Time for some fun math from Steve Aoyama, a Principal Scientist at Titleist Golf Ball R&D (full piece here: The Effect of Altitude on Golf Ball Performance)

“You can calculate the distance gain you will experience (compared to sea level) by multiplying the elevation (in feet) by .00116. For example, if you’re playing in Reno, at 1 mile elevation (5,280 ft.) the increase is about 6% (5,280 x .00116 = 6.1248). If you normally drive the ball 250 yards at sea level, you will likely drive it 265 yards in Reno.”

With Club de Golf Chapultepec sitting just over 7,800 feet above sea level, we’re looking at 9.048 or an increase of just over 9 percent. THATS A BIG DEAL! That makes this 7,341 yard course play 6,677 yards (+/- where the tees are placed).

We often see the question of what would happen is pros played “my” course, and in the case of the WGC in Mexico City we might have a pretty good idea, owing to the effective yardage.

As for the fairway wood switch, the lofted-up TaylorMade M5 should help Woods navigate the tight, tree-lined fairways at Club de Golf Chapultepec, and potentially help him add to his impressive list of WGC titles.

 

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