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5 Things We Learned on Day 1 of the 2017 PGA Championship

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In the run-up to Thursday’s opening round, the new holes at Quail Hollow, followed by the tournament’s move to May in 2019, held our attention. With the firing of the first shots, all eyes turned to the action in Charlotte, North Carolina. A few things about the course, the competitors and the potential outcomes, became apparent during Thursday’s first round, so we wrapped these five things we learned for you with a special bow.

1) Bogeys will happen

Anyone who expects to get around the venomous Quail Hollow course with zero bogeys is delusional. They are out there, they will find your scorecard, but they can be more than overcome. Thorbjorn Olesen had six birdies in his opening 67, while other players notched birdies and eagles in flocks. Quail Hollow features traditional (as in, pre-Mike Davis) U.S. Open conditions, meaning that the winning score might be at par or just slightly under.

2) Runaway winner? Please!

As of 7:30 p.m on Thursday, 32 golfers were at even par or better. Thanks to point No. 1 above, there is little chance that anyone will separate himself from the field. Even if a number in the low 60s were to happen at some point this week, the odds of maintaining that pace over Charlotte’s fanged beast are slim. Expect a down-to-the-wire tournament come Sunday. WARNING: Byeong Hun An’s start is unlikely to be repeated.

3) Quail Hollow demands concentration for 18 holes

In case it’s unclear after points 1 and 2, this will be no cake walk. Bunkers are plentiful, and the rough is not forgiving. Oh, and there’s plenty of water. Not to mention 7600 yards to traverse. On the plus side, the bunkers are delightful to play from and the greens are buttery-smooth for putting. Lots of deep breaths, plenty of zen thoughts, and you might bag yourself a major championship.

4) Major champions are lurking

What these guys (Koepka, McIlroy, Oosthuizen, Day, Johnson and Johnson) have is apparent, but anything but simple. They have that rare combination of wisdom, confidence, patience and skill that allowed them to break through for major titles. The absence of wiggle room, or margin for error, plays right into their hands. You’ll see plenty of unfamiliar names cross the leader board this week, but the one at the top come Sunday will certainly have multiple major titles to his credit.

5) Unless…

The PGA is known for breakout winners. Shaun Micheel…Jeff Sluman…Davis Love III. We could go on, but these guys won just one major, and they could not be happier. Here’s a list of guys who might break through, based on round one tallies:

Jon Rahm
Rickie Fowler
Matt Kuchar
Patrick Reed
Hideki Matsuyama
Paul Casey

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

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Pro golfer Hosung Choi has the most ridiculous golf swing you’ll ever see

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Professional golfer Hosung Choi, playing in the third round of the Kolon Korea Open at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, has set the golf Internet on fire with his wildly entertaining golf swing. And while it may look ridiculous, he’s currently sitting at 8-under for the event through three rounds, only two shots back of the leader. It’s worth noting that the top two finishers in the Korea Open will earn a spot in the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie next month.

Enjoy the videos of his golf swing below!

Top-100 swing instructor and GolfWRX’s resident swing expert Tom Stickney has this to say about Choi’s golf swing: “The club goes up and away with a nice rerouting motion from the top into a perfect delivery and impact position. It’s obvious that this guy can play from those two positions, however, I’m not sure about the dismount. Nor can I even guess why he does it…I’m betting he was self-taught and made that move from day one. Great lesson to all the “golf swing” centric people playing today, why change it if it brings you to the dance?!?!”

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Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, qualified for the PGA Championship

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The top 20 professionals from the PGA Professional Championship–contested last weekend at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside, California–are heading to the PGA Championship later this year.

Perhaps you saw Ryan Vermeer, at 5 under, was the medalist. What you may not have seen however, is something particularly cool for golf equipment geeks: Ping’s Director of Product Development, Marty Jertson, qualified–and he did so in spectacular fashion: the 37-year-old birdied the last three holes to finish T9.

Not bad for an engineer!

Also noteworthy: Ping confirmed Jertson played the company’s yet-to-be announced i500 irons in his 3, 4, and 5-irons, which will reportedly be available mid-summer. Yes, they confirmed that the rumors are true; Ping’s new iron will be called i500.

Related: We did a podcast with Jertson at the PGA Show, we also interviewed him back in 2017.

 

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Reddit AMA alert: Anthony Taranto, Callaway’s wedge art maestro, on his favorite designs, WITB

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If you’ve been around GolfWRX for any period of time, you’ve seen Anthony Taranto’s work. The Callaway wedge specialist is tasked with designing some of the coolest wedge decorations in the game.

Taranto did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) yesterday, and The Wedge Art Wizard (as he introduced himself) didn’t disappoint.

Here are a few highlights (edited for spelling)

Remoolg asked: How did you start working at Callaway and get into this specific position?

AT: Back in 1999 Callaway had a job fair for their new golf ball plant Mr. Callaway was opening. I made it though many layoffs and reorganization. I was good at building clubs and I was placed in the pro tour department about 12 years ago. About 4 1/2 years ago I discovered this technique for sandblasting art onto wedges and now here we are.

Loudshorts asked: What’s the most odd art request you’ve put on a wedge and what’s the most common?

AT: Most odd: Probably Michelle Wie’s Harry Potter-themed wedges

I didn’t know anything about Harry Potter at the time so I had to do some research. Accio birdies!
Most common would just be old fashioned stamping of players initials.

Bunny said: Billy Idol, never pictured him as a golfer. What kind of design did he want on his clubs?

AT: He asked for his logo, which is this cool crown with a lightning bolt:

Iamrobert_paulson asked: What wedges are in your bag? Can we see pics?

AT: I’m gaming MD4’s: 45° (46 bent to 45), 50°, 55° (54 bent to 55), and 60°. Design wise: Skull & Crossbones and lots of stars.

Dr. Troutman asked: What is your favorite custom set you’ve ever done?

AT: Putting me on the spot! It might be these that I just recently made. Figured out how to evolve the sand blasting technique and start doing layers. Really happy with how these came out:

You can check out the full AMA here.

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