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The Tiger Woods/Ping putter grip romance finally has the write-up it deserves

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Tiger Woods, as we know, is a creature of habit. He’s a stubborn, dig-the-heels-of-his-Nike-Air-Zoom-T71-golf-shoes-into-the-ground kind of guy. 14 times a major champion, he knows what works and is consequently extremely particular when it comes to his golf equipment.

TW equipment testing anecdotes are legion–remember the one about the series of Nike drivers, one different in weight to the tune of a nickel’s heft, and Woods felt the difference immediately. We have a few new tales from Golf Digest and PGA Tour observations as Woods tested new TaylorMade woods and tried to work out the kinks with the new prototype blades the company is tailoring to his specs.

Anyway, back to Tiger the Particular. Let’s get right to it: You’ve gotta read Michael Bamberger’s missive on Tiger Woods’ loyalty to a single model of putter grip throughout his career: the Ping PP58 “Blackout” grip.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – NOVEMBER 30: Tiger Woods of the United States lines up a putt on the second green during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas on November 30, 2017 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Here are a couple of the most interesting passages.

“But the grip on his game-day putter has always been (as best as can be observed) a PP58, designed by Karsten Solheim, with artwork (Mr. Ping) by his son John and manufactured by Golf Pride, the first company to make rubber grips. The PP58 is a blend of natural and synthetic rubber and natural rubber, when exposed to the sun, can quickly get slick, and it is likely that Woods switches out his grip with some regularity. In other words, a PP58 comes off and a new one comes on.”

Bamberger also points out an interesting phenomenon: Though plenty of golfers copy Woods’ putting and putter, few use the same grip.

“There are scores of players, on tours all over the world, who use putters modeled on the old Anser 2. There are hundred of players trying to copy Tiger’s circa 1997 stroke. (Stan Utley teaches it.) But Tiger pretty much has the PP58 grip all himself. When his supply runs low, somebody from his team — not Woods himself — contacts somebody at the Ping Tour trailer, or the Ping Tour office in Phoenix, and asks for a new batch.”

Again, you’ll definitely want to read the whole piece, but it’s always interesting to examine top players’ equipment, and even more so when they’ve clung to a particular item for most of their careers.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tom

    Jan 29, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Ping PP58 was previously known as the Golf Pride Traction Action.

  2. Brando

    Jan 26, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Ping was the most popular putter in the 1990s and the pingman grip is what came on the majority of thoes putters is the reason many players from the 1990s still use the grip. Tiger copied from Greg Norman when he was #1 Greg used a anser 2 putter with the pingman grip as did Tiger. Both used the original Cobra 9 degree deep face driver as well Greg probably first with a tour velvet cord grip. Watch Norman in his prime in the 1990s TWs swing looks very similar in the late 90s. Pingman It’s a great grip no reason not to use one perfact thickness and taper to it in my opinion.

  3. Joe

    Jan 26, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Just need to sand the grip a little and it will get rubbery again. No need to replace it, or at least not regularly.

  4. Progolfer

    Jan 26, 2018 at 10:36 am

    So, pretty cool story:

    I’m a playing professional and am sponsored by Ping. One day while I was testing some new clubs at the headquarters in Phoenix, I saw a bunch of those Ping PP58 grips sitting on a desk, and joked, “Those must be for Tiger…” The guy I was working with said, “Actually, they are!” Apparently, Tiger orders a couple dozen at a time and goes through 50+ of those grips a year. He’s so loyal to those grips, that he switches them out just about every week because they get slick quickly (just as the article says). Just another case of how meticulous Tiger is!

    • manny

      Jan 26, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Tigger is a ‘feel’ golfer with the feel all in the hands. Ask his many squeezes ..:-o

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19th Hole

Amateur makes 3 holes-in-one in 36-hole competition

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We’d like to say congratulations to Ali Gibb, 51-year-old amateur golfer, for winning her club championship at Croham Hurst Golf Club in England, Monday. Oh, and she made three holes-in-one on the day.

That’s right, during the 36-hole final, Gibb aced the fifth hole twice and only needed one shot at the 11th hole during her second 18.

“Today was just a weird day. It was just very, very strange,” she said, per a BBC report. “On my card I had a nine, two eights, sixes, fives, fours, threes, twos and three ones.

“I have had a hole-in-one before – three actually. One was here on the seventh, one at Surrey National Golf Club, and one at the Atlantic Beach Golf Estate in South Africa,” Gibb added.

“It’s just absolutely extraordinary. I think I will wake up tomorrow asking if I’ve just been dreaming about it and if it is club championship day today instead!”

Hopefully, Gibb doesn’t have to buy three drinks for everyone at the club.

What can you say about a story like this? Beyond once-in-a-lifetime stuff. If the odds of an average golfer making a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1, what are the odds of a player making three aces in 36 holes? You probably have a better shot of winning the Powerball. Incredible stuff.

 

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Nick Faldo: Tiger Woods said his career was over in 2017

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It’s safe to say only the most optimistic of fans expected Tiger Woods would contend on the weekend at two major championships in the 2018.

We’ve heard murmurings that Woods himself doubted he would make a comeback, such as his 2015 “I think pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy,” remarks.

However, we’ve never heard explicitly that Tiger Woods thought he was finished playing professional golf. Sure, he’s said he didn’t know how well he’d be able to play and that he’s been surprised by his speed and power, but we haven’t heard anything as extreme as what Nick Faldo claims Woods said at last year’s Masters Champions Dinner.

Talking with Dan Patrick, Monday, Faldo had this to say.

“What he’s been able to do, Dan, is unbelievable, remarkable,” Faldo said. “To go from a frozen back, I know he whispered to another Masters champion two Masters dinners ago, ‘I’m done. I won’t play golf again.’ And here we are 18 months later.”

“He was in agony. He was in pain,” Faldo said. “The pain down his legs, nothing enjoyable, he couldn’t move.”

“What he’s been able to do is, it’s unbelievable, remarkable,” Faldo told Patrick. “To go from a frozen back—I know he whispered to another Masters champion two Masters dinners ago ‘I’m done. I won’t play golf again,’ and here we are, 18 months later…”

“No, I won’t mention the name, but he’s a Masters champion. He said ‘I’m done, my back is done.’ He was in agony, he was in pain, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn’t move.”

Woods had his fourth back surgery April 20th, shortly after the Masters, which put him on the path that ultimately led to a runner-up finish at last week’s PGA Championship.

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19th Hole

An airline lost Thorbjorn Olesen’s golf clubs…and his backup clubs…and his suitcases

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Thorbjorn Olesen has arrived in Sweden for the Nordea Masters. Unfortunately, his golf clubs have not…nor have his back up clubs.

He tweeted this, Tuesday.

“So the comedy continues, @British_Airways have managed to now lose 5 suitcases and 2 sets of golf clubs in 10 days! Decided to bring my only backup set of clubs on this morning’s flight to the Nordea Masters in case my other lost set don’t arrive and BA have also now lost these!”

Thousands of tour pros fly hundreds of times per year, yes, but doesn’t it seem like more golf bags are getting lost than should? Sidebar: Masterful GIF game, Mr. Olesen.

Olesen hasn’t provided an update on his bag(s) since the tweet above, so we’re not sure where things stand now. BA responded with this

Nope…doesn’t sound good at all…

Olesen also fired off this tweet–good he can see the humor in what has to be an utterly enraging situation.

Guess this is a #PlayBetter so you can afford NetJets, etc, situation, because it’s certainly not ever going to be a #AirlinesStoppedLosingBags situation. Also Ship Sticks is at least theoretically in play, right?

Or, of course, there’s option 3: Telescoping golf clubs in a collapsible bag that you can take as a carry on. That’s the surest bet: Just stash ’em overhead! Gotta get to work inventing those…

But really, rough stuff, and here’s hoping the Dane gets his bats back.

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