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TaylorMade CEO: We firmly oppose ball rollback, bifurcation

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Last Monday, the USGA and R&A’s annual Distance Report pointed to an increase in distance in professional golf since last year and pledged continued study of the “concerning” trend.

Titleist was the first of the OEMs to respond, citing several issues with the USGA’s research and stating the uptick in distance “is not suddenly indicative of a harmful trend.”

We’ve also heard from Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker, and Lucas Glover.

Now, David Abeles, CEO of TaylorMade, has this to say.

“We have meticulously reviewed the USGA and R&A’s 2017 Distance Report and discussed its findings with key stakeholders. Additionally, we have carefully considered the inferred implications that the study may have on the game moving forward. The TaylorMade Golf Company firmly opposes any potential roll back of product performance or bifurcation of the rules in any form as we believe these movements will be detrimental to the game at every level.

“We are optimistic about golf’s future and we believe that the growth initiatives our industry has invested in are beginning to drive participation momentum in our sport. Any separation from the rules or any step backward in performance would be disadvantageous to the growth of the game.

“For millions of golfers of all skill levels, we believe innovation and technology lead to better performance, and better performance brings more joy to the game for all who play it.

“As the discussion around bifurcation and rollback formalizes, we look forward to having a seat at the table to lend our voice. Until then, we will continue to create the best performing products for all golfers.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members?

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Harry

    Mar 16, 2018 at 2:15 am

    The USGA “could” standardize the ball and decide that all pros in whatever tour would have to play the same ball. Every ball sport does that. MLB uses wooden bats for the same kind of reasons (also to protect the pitchers)- it limits the velocity of the ball off the bats. The players can use whatever wooden bat brand or design, but the same ball for all of them. To have different balls might truly be game changing for that sport. Why not for professional golf?

  2. Greg Platupe

    Mar 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    If something doesn’t happen, we will be needing 8000 yard courses to give same challenge as the 6700 course used to . Rounds are getting too long cause the avg Joe can’t play at these new yardages needed to maintain challenge

  3. steve

    Mar 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Here’s the rub…. the tour style balls do not provide the average golfer with more distance or better control. However, duffers will still want to buy the tour type balls in the hopeless hope their game will improve. That’s what TM and others are counting on… scam the gullible recreational golfer with costly golf balls that promise great improvements to their game.

  4. Mat

    Mar 13, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Don’t bifurcate equipment. If you want to have simplified on-course rules for non-tournament play, great! I’m all in for that. We all kind of do it anyway, and the rules are moving that way. Split or no, whatevs. But absolutely, 100% do not in any way split the equipment rules. It is the one thing that connects us to everyone else. So and so hits it 320? Cool. He’s 40 yards past me. Wow. If you have the conversation “He hits it 280, but he has to use a reduced ball and driver”, that just means that you’re cheating, figuratively, to reach the same results. That’s not fun.

    No one plays basketball with a size smaller just because NBA guys have big hands. High school baseball uses the same baseball, and the same CoR bats (albeit aluminum). If the USGA decided to roll back equipment, that’ll be a small bummer, but fine – just don’t split it.

    • J Zilla

      Mar 13, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      WRT basketball, there are different rules for different levels. Different 3 point lines, different fouls, International basketball had different lines on their courts, women and men use different size balls etc.

      HS baseball typically uses a different ball than the Majors as does college or American Legion.

      NCAA football uses a different ball than the NFL which in turn use a different ball than high school.

      Really what it comes down to is if the pro golf game remains an exciting product and if distance gains tearing apart old courses or distance gains making the product boring, then they should consider making rules to aid in increasing entertainment value. Pro sports are products and so are constantly tweaking their rules at the pro level to maintain or increase their excitement level. So what if they make rules that affect .001% of all golfers? You can still play your current clubs and the latest ball. It’s not like the vast majority of golfers should be playing pro level equipment anyway.

      • Rich Douglas

        Mar 13, 2018 at 11:56 pm

        Yes, but those are all spectator sports for the average fan; they don’t play those games. But they play golf, so using the same equipment (well, equipment conforming to the same standards) and playing by the same rule matters.

  5. tlmck

    Mar 13, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    In defense of bifurcation, that’s sort of already happened. The pros and top amateurs already play a different game from everybody else. On the other side, if you do not maintain a handicap and play in tournaments, you are perfectly free to use non-conforming equipment. The USGA are not law enforcement.

    And, if you want to play the same equipment as the pros, you are free to do that as well.

  6. Joseph Weiner

    Mar 13, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Good for TM. I’ve been tweeting-texting-commenting wherever I can. LEAVE the BALL Alone! and do not bifurcate this game.

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Everything former Nike rep Ben Giunta said about working with Tiger Woods

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Ben Giunta, a former Nike Tour Rep and now owner of the TheTourVan.com, joined host Johnny Wunder and TXG’s Ian Fraser for the most recent installment of the Gear Dive podcast.

While you’ll want to hear everything Giunta has to say, his remarks about working with Tiger Woods are particularly notable, and we wanted to present them here for those of you who may be more textually inclined.

On Tiger Woods’ preferences for club testing

“He always does his testing at home. 99 percent of the time. Whenever Tiger showed up to an event he was ready to go. There was no tinkering with equipment at Tour events. All of the work we did with him, we would do a week prior.”

“Rick Nichols, who was my boss when I was at Nike…he was Tiger’s right-hand guy. He worked with him on pretty much everything. We would prep everything. Rick would go and work with him at home…at that time it was in Orlando. They would tweak and do everything they needed there. Then when he showed up to the tournaments, I could probably count on one hand the number of times he came into the trailer to get work done.”

“He was built different. He came to do his homework on the golf course and prepare for the tournament. He was not tinkering around with equipment when it came to tournament time.”

“Any time he would test anything during the week…it was for a backup. He was constantly searching for backup drivers and…woods. So if something happened…he already had done all of his work.”

On Tiger’s driver preferences

“We were always tinkering with different CGs. Obviously, there was a lot of special stuff made for him. He didn’t use an adjustable driver…until Nike got out of the equipment business. We were always making sure the center of gravity was perfect. He was very specific on face angles and how much loft he wanted to look at. And he always wanted the face angle to be pretty much the same.”

“We had to have different iterations with different lofts based on where his golf swing was…obviously, his golf swing changes a lot based on all of his injuries and swing changes…There were certainly times where he was swinging a driver that spec’d out at a true eight-degree head, then he’d be all the way up to 11 or 12 degrees sometimes.”

On Tiger’s consistency in iron preferences

“The only thing that ever really changed with Tiger’s irons…was the lie angle. But lofts…they have been the same since he played golf…It’s been the same specs for his entire professional and amateur career. Those specs haven’t changed but the lie angles have. As far as I know, he has never experimented with different iron shafts [True Temper Dynamic Gold X100]. They’ve always been the same…with wooden dowels down in the tips of the shafts.”

“He always had the mindset that he was going to manipulate the club to get the ball to do what he wanted it to do.

On the consistency of Woods’ wedge setup

“He’s evolved with different grinds depending on his delivery or what he’s trying to do technique-wise, he’s modified his soles a little bit over time…but he’s always kind of reverted back to your traditional dual sole.”

In addition to talking Tiger, Giunta discusses how he got a job on Tour, working with Rory McIlroy, tinkerers vs non-tinkerers, and what he’s doing now (and more) in the rest of the podcast.

You can listen below.

RELATED: Tiger Woods WITB 2018

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Tour News

WATCH: Tiger Woods on Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf

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Tiger Woods just appeared in a Bridgestone Golf Facebook Live video. While the audio isn’t the greatest (sounds like there’s some mowers rolling by), we’ve got to pass it along.

Check out the video below.

Woods initially discusses his wedges, before moving on to sharing some insights about how he hits his patented stinger–covering the ball, starting it farther right, and keeping his follow through short.

On his ball, the Bridgestone Tour B XS, which he presents as a softer ball well-suited to his swing, Woods says

“I need spin. I don’t spin the ball a lot. My swing has never produced a lot of spin. I’ve always been able to take spin off the golf ball–I grew up in an era where we played balata. What separated a lot of guys was the ability to take spin off the golf ball…to keep it below the tree line. There was a lot more movement in the golf ball.”

“My swing has naturally evolved. I’ve had different swings throughout the years, but each swing didn’t spin the ball a lot. So, when I get up to my long irons with a harder ball that most people would launch…I don’t. It falls out of the sky because it has so little spin.”

Woods mentioned that he hasn’t played Shinnecock since the course’s pre-U.S. Open makeover, but that he expects the course will be particularly difficult: an old-school U.S. Open with minimal graduated rough where it will be difficult to shoot under par.

Responding to comments, Woods sings Hazeltine’s praises and mentions he’d love to be able to wear shorts during PGA Tour events

“We play some of the hottest places on the planets and it would be nice to wear shorts…even with my little chicken legs,” Woods says.

Woods tells amateurs looking for more spin around the greens that they need a soft golf ball, mentioning that solid contact, maintaining loft, and allowing to club to do its job are key. Woods mentions that he has “a couple extra shots around the greens” thanks to the softness of his golf ball.”

We’ll next see the 14-time major champion in action at next week’s Memorial Tournament (which he discusses to wrap up the video).

 

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Popular Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

Prettier than a new penny.

Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

Everything here is excellent. Just excellent.

More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

You can’t fool me. You’re not Adam Hadwin, you’re a golf bag.

Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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