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DJ and Tiger In The Spotlight – But Oceans Apart

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by Scott MacLeod, via www.flagstick.com (Flagstick Golf Magazine)

It will be a reoccurring theme this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The name Dustin Johnson will be in just about every sentence uttered by the television announcers until another player can emerge from his shadow and in to a winning position.

It’s justified, of course, as the two-time defending champion Johnson deserves praise for his feat that put him in the company of Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff, Tom Watson, Mark O’Meara, and Jack Nicklaus. Despite a final round of 74 last year he made a key birdie on the final hole to surge ahead of David Duval and J.B. Holmes for what was then his 3rd career PGA Tour title.

What will also not be overlooked was Johnson’s monumental collapse the last time he traversed the Pebble Beach Golf Links, during the 2010 United States Open Championship last June where he torpedoed his chance at a major victory with a final round score of 82. But will not likely deter the very confident 26 year-old this week on a track where he feels very comfortable and is always a threat. Early sports book lines still have him as a slight favorite over Phil Mickelson.

Other notable players in the field include 2-time winner in 2011, Mark Wilson, 2010 FedEx Cup Champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year Jim Furyk, and three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Dates: February 10-13, 2011

Where: Pebble Beach Golf Links (Host) Par/Yards: 36-36—72/6,816

Spyglass Hill Golf Course Par/Yards: 36-36—72/6,953

Monterey Peninsula CC, Shore Course Par/Yards: 35-35—70/6,838

Field: 156

Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson

Purse: $6,300,000; Winner’s Share: $1,134,000: Format: 72-hole stroke play

Meanwhile…

While the majority of the PGA Tour is spending time mingling with celebrities another heroic golf battle will be taking place on the other side of the world. The three top-ranked players on the planet, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, and Tiger Woods will be paired together at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. It is the first time since 1994 that the top three in the world have played in the same European Tour event other than the Major Championships and World Golf Championships.  

Kaymer has a chance to overtake Westwood for the number one spot and will be playing with Tiger Woods for the very first time. Kaymer says he likes his chances more this week to get to the top spot, pointing out that he is much more comfortable on this course than the one that hosted the Qatar Masters last week.

“I’ve never played with Tiger Woods before,” said Kaymer in a press conference earlier this week. “Of course I've met him but I don't know how it is to play with him, so it will be nice.  It will be great for the tournament, having the top three playing on Thursday and Friday.  So I look forward to it."

Tiger, who is coming off a lackluster performance at the Farmers Insurance Open, is hoping to regain the form that has saw him win in Dubai twice before. Whether he can rise to the occasion and put a challenge to Kaymer and Westwood (coming off a couple weak performances himself) should draw record ratings for this European Tour event. Woods last played this event in 2008 but missed the 2009 edition due to injury and in the wake of a personal scandal, did not make the trip last year.

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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