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Tiger’s return, Fowler flirts with 59, and more from the Hero World Challenge

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He came, he saw, he purred, he roared. The 41-year-old Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf to much fanfare in the Bahamas. He justified and sated, thrilled and fulfilled. Oh, and 17 other fellows showed up to compete in the Hero World Challenge. It all added up an excellent, last week of top-shelf competition for 2017. Before this year gives way to 2018, let’s have a look at some of the week’s high points.

Tiger Totals

Round One: 5 birdies and 2 bogeys
Round Two: 1 eagle, 4 birdies and 2 bogeys
Round Three: 2 birdies and 5 bogeys
Round Four: 1 eagle, 6 birdies, 2 bogeys and 1 double

For any fan of golf, these numbers are uplifting. El tigre averaged 4.5 birds and 0.5 eagles per round. With more tournament reps, those numbers can only go up, and the bogeys (2.5 per round) can drop as he gets re-acclimated to competition. For those who point to his weak finish on Sunday, remember that the guy knows a thing or two about closing a tournament.

Dick Fowler, PI, caught up to that 28 he’d been chasing

Don’t remember those Farmer’s Insurance commercials starring Rickie Fowler? Search ’em and laugh out loud. Oh, Fowler shot 28 on Sunday’s outward half, with birdies on every hole but No. 8. So much for Charley Hoffman’s healthy third-round lead. Everyone wants to lead and no one wants to lead. We’ve waited years for Fowler to dominate in the way that we think he can. The front nine called to say, help.

A week of revelations from Tiger

One of the perquisites of a newish Tiger, one who is grateful for much of life, is an expanded openness about the travails of the past year. On Tuesday, Tiger discussed the pain from a back that was worse than he imagined, and the impact on his life that it had. The toll included very little sleep, constant pain, and weakness from foot to lower back. On Thursday, after his opening 69, the 14-time major champion discussed the impact of adrenaline on his game, and the difference between the holes he played at home and the ones he played at Albany. The most refreshing comments came after his Saturday 75, when he discussed the minor mistakes that led to bogeys, and what he missed most about tournament golf: the fight.

Oh, and Rickie Fowler did win!

Almost lost amid the Tiger tracks was the performance that Rickie Fowler offered on Day 4. Following a pattern of 2017 champions who rode on, smoking-hot round to victory, Fowler saved his best for last. Eleven birdies and 0 bogeys led to 61 and an 18-under total. Fowler actually had a chance to shoot 59 by holing his second at the last, and despite taking dead aim at the flagstick, he pushed it a bit, and went on to make a tidy par. His tournament total was Fowler’s career low in competition, and sent him into the off-season in the best of possible moods. Third-round leader Charley Hoffman matched birdies and bogeys on the front nine, then made 9 straight pars on the inward side to finish second alone at 14-under. Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Race To Dubai champion, and Jordan Spieth tied for the third spot at 12-under.

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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.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Tom54

    Dec 4, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I think most golf fans are anxious to see how Tiger does to see if he can play a normal schedule again, but can someone please tell The programming directors that we do not need to make every telecast about Tiger. There are many players that shots were not shown this past weekend. Ricky Fowler is extremely popular and Friday or Saturday I recall very few of his shots. It was non-stop Tiger until his round was finished. Then after his hi light reel and his interview was over then it was time to show the leaders. Please, if Tiger is in the hunt he deserves the coverage but let’s not forget there are tons of pros who rate the tv time as well. The game will always be bigger than any one player.

    • T0MD1KH@RRy

      Dec 5, 2017 at 12:15 am

      You must have been watching a different program because I saw plenty of other golfers on the telecast. Even so, why wouldn’t there be more focus on Tiger at Tiger’s tournament, during Tiger’s first competitive round in nearly a year, and during which he displayed signs of greatness that only give way to hope that he’s not yet done playing (or winning)? Tiger is the needle, you hear it from the broadcast booth, you hear it from the players, and it’s proven by the ratings and number of spectators at events in which he plays. I agree the game is bigger than any one player, but we aren’t talking about the game of golf as a whole. We’re talking about the PGA Tour, advertiser dollars, and ticket sales. If Tiger played an exhibition round in which he was the only player on the course, he’d still pack them in better than a handful of regular tour stops and garner more viewers on TV as well.

    • Thomas A

      Dec 5, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Tiger’s first tournament at Tiger’s tournament and one that doesn’t count for anything. Yeah, it’s gonna be Tiger’s show no matter what.

    • nyguy

      Dec 6, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      I agree. Love Tiger, think he’s great for golf, and awesome to watch, but he’s not the only one out there. I’m surprised we didn’t know when he went to the bathroom on the course…. It’s a little over the top, although I think that with most mainstream broadcasts

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Tour Photo Galleries

WRX Retrospective: Interesting photos from the 2019 Masters

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As of now, we know the 2020 Masters is going to have to wait until November. The tournament will be as exciting as it will be interesting since it will be the first modern glimpse into Augusta National beyond April.

It has also given us the great opportunity to look back with hindsight 20/20 (that was very much an unintended pun) at our pictures from 2019 to showcase some of the most noteworthy and interesting, including some potential foreshadowing of the week that was to come.

2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson isn’t one to change putters too often, but he must have been searching for something last year when testing out this TaylorMade Spider.

This was Viktor Hovland’s last Masters as an amateur. He won low amateur honors and went on to capture the same distinction at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

TaylorMade always does a wonderful job with major-themed accessories and bags. 2019 was no exception.

Little did we know at the time this was taken, this man would be leading heading into Sunday’s final round. How the tables turned so quickly.

Callaway’s collab with Seamus Golf lead to these flower-themed headcovers.

We can’t forget that Tuesday practice day was rained out and the course was closed at 10 a.m. to both players and spectators. It wasn’t the warm spring kickoff many had hoped for!

Although it was short-lived, it was a rainy Tuesday for all, including caddies.

The weather broke on Wednesday and the view up the 10th hole never gets old.

Did you realize two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson’s Flightscope has a custom pink paint job?

Inexpensive snacks and beverages are always a highlight of any Master’s visit.

The 2019 Masters featured pre-bulked Bryson, who also happened to have a custom FlightScope X3. He looks like a veritable stick!

They say a picture says 1,000 words, but in the case of Tiger Woods, we had no idea how many words would be written come Sunday.

A peek into the bag of Gary Woodland, who would go on to become the U.S. Open Champion only a few months later.

Special shoutout to Gary Woodland’s caddy Brennan Little, who hails from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, and is obviously a big Toronto Blue Jays fan. He was also on the bag for Mike Wier’s win in 2003.

Although the relationship was short-lived, Sergio used some very cool custom Toulon putters while on staff with Callaway Golf.

The eighth green is one of the most interesting and mounded on the course, there’s not a bunker to be found but danger lurks everywhere.

Undulations at No. 1 are a sight to be seen at ground level.

The iconic, understated clubhouse of ANGC.

The tucked-away first tee spike cleaner is something every course should have.

And of course, the iconic 12th, where so much would be decided come Sunday.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from the 2020 Players Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The field this week featured the best golfers in the world, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, and more.

Rory McIlroy enters the tournament as the defending champion, looking hoist the crystal again.

Check out all our galleries below, along with highlights from TPC Sawgrass.

General Galleries

Special Galleries

Bettinardi’s St. Patrick’s Day covers  

Brand-new Srixon 745 in Keegan’s bag

Roger Sloan’s custom Cameron

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal irons spotted in Nick Watney’s bag 

Joel Dahmen with a battle-worn hybrid

Fresh eggs for Patrick Reed…

Justin Rose continues to tweak his equipment

Carlos Ortiz looks to be picking up some supplies to mark the end of his driveway…

Jordan Spieth with a Vokey WedgeWorks Proto 60T in the bag

Kiradech Aphibarnrat with lead tape and stamping on cavity-back irons. Solid! 

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Tour News

GolfWRX Spotted: Justin Rose with mixed bag at Arnold Palmer Invitational

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It’s not very often we get breaking equipment news this time of year on the PGA Tour schedule, but this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of the highest-profile players on tour, Justin Rose, was spotted testing multiple brands of clubs throughout his entire bag.

It started last week at the Honda Classic when Rose put a TaylorMade SIM driver with Mitsubishi Kuro Kage in play. As of today’s first round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rose has a mixed set including TaylorMade, Cobra, and Titleist clubs, along with an Axis1 putter.

Here are the details of Rose’s equipment:

Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 degrees @ 8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 80 TX

5-wood: Cobra SpeedZone Tour (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 X

Irons: TaylorMade P730 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52, 56 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design Prototype K Grind (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5 (52, 56), Proto Hi-Rev 135X (60)

Putter: Axis1 Rose
Grip: Flat Cat Svelte

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ‘19 (No. 1)

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