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19th Hole

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

The Florida Mid-Am final ended with a player getting punched in the face. Or did it?

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On paper–that is the Florida State Golf Association’s paper, not the police report–Marc Dull won the Florida Mid-Am when his opponent, Jeff Golden, withdrew.

Dull had just birdied the 16th hole to pull even, when the skies opened.

A FSGA statement on the final match indicates what happened next

“With the players on 17, play was halted by heavy rains. When conditions permitted play to continue nearly two and a half hours later, Golden was unable to continue due to an unfortunate injury and defaulted the match.”

Indeed, the statement is technically correct. However, it hardly tells the full story…and what a story it is.

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner did some digging into the “unfortunate injury,” and what he found was certainly surprising.

Per a Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office police report, Jeff Golden (the man who suffered the “unfortunate injury”) called police. Golden claimed he was assaulted in the Coral Creek Club parking lot by his opponent’s caddie. According to Golden, Dull’s caddie, Brandon Hibbs, punched him in the face.

Why in the world did this happen? Apparently, during the ninth hole of the Golden-Dull match, Golden asked Dull about the condition of one of the holes, inquiring as to whether the cup was damaged.

“Don’t worry about it,” Hibbs (again, this is Dull’s caddie) told Golden. “If you’re going to make it, you’re going around it.”

Following this, Golden told a rules official that he believed the caddie’s statement constituted advice (to Golden, who was not his player). Apparently/incredibly, the rules official agreed, and Golden was awarded the hole.

Hibbs, presumably furious, left the course at this point and returned to the clubhouse.

During the previously mentioned rain delay that interrupted the match, Golden claims Hibbs approached him in the parking lot while he was at his car getting additional clothing.

Per the report, Hibbs “approached him, apologized, then punched him on the left side of the face.”

Now this story would be ridiculous enough if these facts were agreed upon. However, Hibbs says the incident never happened. He claims after leaving the course, he was in the clubhouse during the entire rain delay.

Nobody saw the alleged attack, and there were no surveillance cameras trained on the parking lot. Further, Golden’s face was not swollen or cut and Hibbs’ hands showed no evidence that he’d punched anything.

Golden maintains he was punched and that his shirt had blood on it, also claiming that he suffered “concussion symptoms.”

Golden declined to press charges, and both Hibbs and Dull maintain nothing happened.

Per Ryan Lavner, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that Golden “didn’t want to play anymore.”

“Regrettably, the golf course was very playable and Jeff understood that he needed to resume the match. I think he was just ready to go,” adding police “found absolutely no evidence of an assault.”

What do you make of this, GolfWRX members? The scales of justice don’t seem to be tipped in Mr. Golden’s favor, do they?

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19th Hole

Ricky Barnes DQd at the Byron Nelson

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Ricky Barnes took a trip to Dairy Queen at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Barnes was disqualified following his second round 1-over 72. He signed for a three at the par-4 sixth hole, when in fact he had made a par.

Ultimately, he won’t rue his impromptu trip to get a Blizzard: Barnes was 3 over and was in no danger of making the cut.

Because this is the world we live in, Barnes apparently found out about the DQ via LuckyTrout Golf Pool on Twitter.

Of course, no scorecard error will ever top “What a stupid I am,” Roberto De Vicenzo signing for 66 when he shot 65, handing the green jacket to Bob Goalby at the 1968 Masters. Such an unfortunate legacy for a man who won hundreds of tournaments around the world.

Also unfortunate: Ricky Barnes is on the way for being remembered as a man who never lived up to the promise he showed at that same tournament, The Masters, as an amateur.

Let’s hope that changes.

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19th Hole

WATCH/LOOK AWAY: Jordan Spieth misses a 15-inch putt

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Aren’t you glad there isn’t video of all the 15-inch putts you’ve missed? I certainly am.

Unfortunately for Jordan Spieth, his failed attempt from little more than a foot at the Byron Nelson was captured on video, and it will exist on the internet for all eternity.

Spieth, who has struggled with the flatstick lately, stood over a short par putt at the par-4 15th hole, and well…

Spieth is currently 183rd on the PGA Tour this season in strokes gained: putting, losing .412 strokes per round to the field on the greens.

But at least he hit the hole, right?

Here’s the offending weapon: Spieth’s trusty Scotty Cameron 009.

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19th Hole

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