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19th Hole

Did Tiger Woods screw up by hitting iron off the tee at the 72nd hole?

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Tiger Woods, as we know, finished one stroke behind Paul Casey in his bid to return to the winner’s circle at the Valspar Championship.

Woods arrived at the 72nd hole needing birdie to tie Casey. Electing to avoid flirtation with fairway bunkers left and right, Woods hit a long iron 258 yards down the fairway, leaving himself a 185-yard approach shot to the back right pin. His approach shot ended up 38 feet, 11 inches, from the hole. Unsurprisingly considering the distance, he didn’t make the putt.

(via PGA Tour’s ShotLink)

Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but some questioned Woods not taking on the bunkers with a 3-wood or driver, and thus allowing for the possibility of a much shorter approach shot he would have been statistically more likely to get close.

Scott Fawcett, founder of the Decade course management system, didn’t question Woods’ decision however. In fact, Fawcett took to Twitter to laud Woods’ decision. The responses to Fawcett’s tweet were both interesting and insightful, spearheaded by our own Rich Hunt.

You can find a portion of this excellent conversation below.

What do you think, GolfWRX members, do you agree with Woods’ approach off the tee at the final hole?

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. kevin

    Mar 13, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Richie…correct me if i’m wrong

    LAY UP – 100% chance to hit fairway * ‘good’ approach to 27.7′ (make putt 8%) = 8% chance of birdie.

    DRIVER – 40% chance to hit fairway * ‘good approach to 16’ (make putt 20%) = 16% chance of birdie

    • kevin

      Mar 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm

      actually the driver would also give you 8% … 40% * 20% = 8%

  2. WestPhi

    Mar 12, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    how the “f” do you hit a 258y iron?!?!

  3. Not A Legend

    Mar 12, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    I heard from a reliable source that Tiger is considering using jailbreak technology, especially after his arrest. Also, the PGA Tour issued him a get out of jail free card.

  4. juststeve

    Mar 12, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    I think you are all ignoring the roll that the person actually hitting the shot plays in deciding what shot he can hit at a particular moment. Analogizing this to my years as a pitcher, the catcher would call for a pitch but ultimately it was for me to decide if I had command of that pitch at the moment. That’s not a matter of statistics. I suspect Tiger hit the shot he thought gave him the best chance to win and no one is in a better position than the guy hitting the shot to know which shot that is.

  5. MotionDynamics

    Mar 12, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Scott Fawcett knows his stuff, love his methods, completely changed my game…

  6. Matthew Sanker

    Mar 12, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Questioning the GOAT is bad karma. 185 yards considering the club they use is ludicrous. He just didn’t hit a good shot into the green. He was very average (our expectations of jim) except the birdie on 17

  7. It'sJustAGame

    Mar 12, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    My question is how many PGA tour events has HUNT GOLF @Richie3jacks won?

    • kevin

      Mar 13, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      this is so completely irrelevant.

      actually, pga tour winners employ guys like Hunt because they know what they are talking about and help them improve in areas such as course management. But I’m sure Richie thanks you for plugging his twitter handle.

  8. 4Right

    Mar 12, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Doesn’t matter what we think… If he hits driver or 3 wood and plants it in the trees, rough, or bunker, this conversation is the completely different… Tiger has won 70 plus events and we question it… LOL!!!

  9. Eagleye

    Mar 12, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Believe the long-iron tee off was appropriate in the situation. Tiger probably hits 8i to 185 yds, with the pin back and right, don’t you think a greater number iron would have got closer to pin ?

  10. kevin

    Mar 12, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Richie Hunt is absolutely right on this. over the long haul vs needing a birdie on that hole at that moment…..it absolutely should change your strategy.

    • Looper

      Mar 12, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      We sometimes forget we are talking about Tiger, who are we to suggest otherwise. He hits something other than what he did and hits it in the garbage we are having a different discussion…

      • kevin

        Mar 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm

        yeah….never question tiger….its not like he’s ever made a poor decision before

        lol

  11. Eric

    Mar 12, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Dude keeps talking about better odds but doesn’t factor in the odds being on Tiger’s side seeing as how he played that hole the same all weekend. If he can keep repeating it (which he had been doing) that would improve his chances at success too.

  12. Scott Francis

    Mar 12, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    sure playing 3 wood puts him farther down there but also given how far hes hitting irons wouldve had him hitting a 9 or PW more likely he wouldve spun off green considering pin location. He shouldve hit some kind of low chaser up there with pin being on a shelf. He also hit a big cut in there which was gonna stop immediately. Had to literally fly it pin high or beyond from 185 tough shot for even the GOAT

  13. MD

    Mar 12, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    What if he just hit his 3 wood, which he was hitting pretty well all week? He could have hit the fairway and been 30yds further down the fairway? I get that he probably doesnt make the green if its in the bunkers, but he left himself a much tougher shot in, even though it was only a 7 iron (probably needed 6iron)

  14. Eric

    Mar 12, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    at first blush i did not have a problem with the tee shot. however, after seeing the data it’s difficult not to second guess. what i did second guess was the club selection on the approach. 7 iron 185 uphill seemed like a strong ask. 6 seemed more appropriate. he’s obviously playing for the win so why not try to hit a club that can actually get to that back shelf?

  15. juststeve

    Mar 12, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Hard to second guess Tiger’s decision. Unless I thought he took a dive, which I don’t, I think he hit the shot that he believed would give him the best chance to win. Although I am not a Tiger fan I do admire the fact that there is no quit in the guy. Always trying to win.

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19th Hole

“Congratulations” to Brooks Koepka, and “thank you” to Tiger Woods

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In much the same way that Paul Casey’s breakthrough victory at the Valspar Championship earlier this year was, Brooks Koepka’s convincing triumph (and second major win this year) will be overshadowed by Tiger Woods’ bona fide contention in a major golf tournament.

Yes, Woods’ detractors will howl about Koepka not being given his due…about how the unflappable Floridan once again got the job done with a host of challengers bringing the heat amid the, well, sweltering St. Louis heat.

Koepka deserves all the credit in the world, and laurels ought to be heaped upon the bow-wristed-backswinging masher of the golf ball. However, the reality among most golf fans and 99 percent of general sports fans is that the faithful were hoping to see Woods’ first major victory in a decade. In his post round press conference, Koepka himself said, “Other than me, my team, everybody was rooting for Tiger… as they should.”

It doesn’t take anything away from Koepka’s win to acknowledge that the gravitational pull, of what was surely record viewership, was for a Woods’ victory. If anything, it’s another feather in Koepka’s Nike golf cap to (to mix metaphors) have paddled against that current successfully.

Starting the day four strokes ahead of Woods, it was always going to take a Koepka collapse at eminently gettable Bellerive. That didn’t happen, and from the seventh hole on BK was a veritable golfing colossus, pounding his drives down the fairway, hitting all but a handful of greens in regulation, and playing his final 12 holes in 5 under par.

On a day where the likes of Adam Scott, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, and Rickie Fowler all faltered to one degree or another, Woods reversed his own 2018 trend of fading on the weekend with an inspired 6-under 64. Fans are right to be excited.

Inspired, the final round was, in vintage Woodsian ways: the man didn’t hit a fairway on the front nine and managed to go out in 3-under. Sure, he was the beneficiary of the favor of the golf gods and the trampled grass of the swelling galleries, but artistry like this towering hook at the ninth was a joy to watch.

Then, of course, for all the difficulty Woods had off the tee (both with driver and irons), he was masterful in carving approach shots toward Kerry Haigh’s attempted tucked pins. Consider this shot at the 15th.

Tiger Woods firing a 64 in a major on Sunday in the year 2018…at 42…after spinal fusion and wandering out of a personal abyss…was impressive. Indeed, today was a day most (even Tiger himself) doubted would ever come. Better writers than I can debate how many rungs below Ben Hogan’s comeback this is on the ladder of achievement.

More than its impressiveness, however, Woods’ Sunday charge at Bellerive was just plain fun to watch, wasn’t it? He stirred the echoes of the Tiger Woods of the early 2000 and mid 2000s. He showed that, should his back continue to hold up, he will contend in majors for, what, at least the next five years?

And if you like that sort of thing, you know, seeing one of the greatest of all time at the top of his game, you have to say, “Thank you, Tiger,” for taking the long, difficult, and often dark road back to serious contention in a major championship.

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19th Hole

This company made a putter out of a Notre Dame Stadium bleacher

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Call the leprechaun and fire up the Band of the Fighting Irish for the “Notre Dame Victory March,” here’s a putter even Knute Rockne would have approved of.

Members of the infamous (well, significantly less infamous than many other subreddits) r/Golf subreddit, the Bradley Putter Company posted the incredible flatstick below with caption.

“We made a putter out of an old Notre Dame Stadium bleacher. Our client found the wood online and sent it to us. We stabilized the wood for durability, protected the “15” seat number under a layer of acrylic, added internal weights to bring it to 350 grams, and face balanced it for true playability.”

If you aren’t familiar with Bradley Putters’ handiwork, the company was started in 2016 by Bradley Converse (obviously, he couldn’t call it Converse Putters), and, well, here are the basics from the company website…

“I got the idea to build golf putters out of burl wood. I called my friend Greg Dahl at Oregonburls.com, acquired some Olive burl, and made two prototypes. Within one week of the idea, I had putters in golfers’ hands. They loved the feel, and I knew we were on track. We don’t use any CNC machines, only saws, sanders, and a drill press. Our decades of experience with engineering and woodworking ensure tight tolerances and deadly accurate putters.”

Well played, Bradley, well played.

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19th Hole

Greg Norman’s watches (and the stories behind them) are incredible

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Following in Jack Nicklaus’ footsteps, Greg Norman chatted with Jon Beus, Senior Editor at Hodinkee, about his watch collection (and unlike Nicklaus, Norman has not worn the same Rolex for 50 years).

Norman tells Hodinkee he was one of the first golfers in the modern era to wear a watch during play. Ebel approached Norman and and asked him if he’d be interested in wearing a watch on the golf course. Norman “thought about it long and hard,” and decided to go ahead. He tried metal bands, leather bands, and even different color faces to see what he was most comfortable playing golf in.

Interestingly he chose a dark face that isn’t very reflective, saving him from the glare of the afternoon sun. Norman says that when he wore a watch on his left wrist with a more reflective face, it distracted him during his putting, so he opted instead for a flatter look and wearing the watch on his right wrist. Norman also says when he tried a metal band on his left wrist, it interfered with his action through impact.

For watch junkies, the rest of what Norman has to say and the tour of his collection is must-see stuff.

Bues asked Norman a couple of non-watch questions that will be of interest, including asking the two-time major champion how he got started in the game.

“I was…bored one day down in Brisbane, going on my 16th birthday, and I went out and caddied for my mother. My mother at that time was a really good player, she was a three handicap. When she went in for a cup of tea with her friends, I took her golf clubs out..played out and back, out and back…four holes…[and I] got hooked.”

Norman mentions his won his first professional tournament less than five years from that initial experience with his mother’s golf clubs. He also talks through how he learned the game–relying heavily on Jack Nicklaus’ Golf My Way.

It a great interview and one which–if you like golf and watches, at least–you’d like to have seen be 10 times longer.

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19th Hole

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