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Golf Ball Selection Not That Important In Ryder Cup Foursomes

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By Joseph Bidwell

GolfWRX Contributor

Of all the formats in the Ryder Cup the Foursomes matches are probably the most intriguing. It’s a format that can potentially force players to use a piece of equipment they are not familiar with: their partner’s golf ball.

In the Foursomes format for the Ryder Cup prior to 2006 teammates would have to use the same single type of ball for the entire match as they alternated shots to complete a hole. In 2006, that rule changed allowing players to change a ball whenever the rules would normally allow it (in between holes) and vary the brand/type of ball they use. This change took the emphasis off of pairing players with similar golf balls as teammates could put balls in play particularly on par 4’s that would allow their teammate to hit approaches with their own golf ball.

Players chose to tee off with their teammates ball as discrepancies in launch conditions have less effect on the outcome of a shot off of the driver or fairway wood than compared to an iron or wedge. This makes sense in that if your partners ball is 10 yards shorter off the driver because it spins too much you’ll still be in the fairway if you hit it straight.  A ball that spins too much off of an iron or wedge could be catastrophic, especially into the wind. So the strategy after the rule change makes logical sense.

Launch angle and spin rates off of irons and wedges from one ball to the next can vary enough for players at this level that they won’t switch when a new ball model comes out.  A prime example of this is Luke Donald still playing a 2007 model Titleist ProV1X.

Given this rule change, it’s surprising that two U.S. groups chose one player’s ball in their Foursomes matches. Phil Mickelson was on record saying that he and Keegan Bradley would only use Bradley’s Srixon Z-Star golf ball during their Foursomes matches. They won both their matches handily, 4&3 and 7&6. As was reported in several broadcasts, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker choose to only use Woods’ Nike One Tour D during their matches.

Another team of note on the American side was that of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. Dufner uses a ProV1 and Johnson uses a ProV1X. Of all the players paired together during Foursomes play, their golf balls varied the most in performance characteristics, but they too won both of their matches. Johnson and Dufner both spoke of how well they know each other’s games and how often they had played rounds together during the FedExCup.

On the flip side, the European duo of Ian Poulter and Justin Rose won both of their Foursomes matches. They were the only side for Europe to do so. In a post-match interview Saturday Rose said, “We know each other well enough not to say sorry if we hit a bad shot and we back each other, especially around the greens, both of us have great short games…”

Overall, the U.S. won five Foursomes matches to the Europeans’ three. The rule change has put less emphasis on the equipment and more emphasis on how well players are playing and how well teammates match up together. The camaraderie of the groups of Mickelson and Bradley, Dufner and Johnson and Poulter and Rose proved that on Friday and Saturday. But unfortunately for the Americans, the singles matches were a different story.

“Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/pre-release” forum. 

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

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Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

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10 interesting photos from Monday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures, and have WITB looks at Matt Jones and Roberto Diaz, in addition to a general gallery from the TPC Louisiana range.

Let’s dig in.

Matt Jones doesn’t need his name embroidered on his headcovers: tape and a marker will do just fine, thanks

Last week, Faaaabel the Goat. This week, someone who would eat Faaabel

Roberto Diaz: Brand agnostic

Wesley Bryan’s Taco Bell(t) lives

Homemade putting aid or soon to be seen on a Golf Channel infomercial (or both)?

UDI with a side of lead

Shaft bags: Assemble!

Roberto Diaz Fourteen RM wedge

What more do you need in life?

A bouquet of Circle T putter covers

Check out our photos from Monday below!

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