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19th Hole

Tony Finau says he’s hitting 8-iron the same distance he did at 16; no need to roll back ball



Tony Finau is currently second on the PGA Tour in driving distance. He pounds his driver an average of 317.6 yards off the tee.

18Birdies’ Josh Hayes spoke with Finau on the aptly named 18Birdies podcast about distance in the game and proposals to roll back the golf ball.

“Where are you at with the distance debate?” Hayes asks. “Do we need to roll the ball back? Do we need to leave it alone?”

Finau says we should leave the ball alone, saying “We have to believe in evolution,” and adding, “athletes get better and stronger. To this, Finau adds the thought that technology gets better and players have more knowledge and technology at their fingertips to enhance performance.

“Things progress…part of that is guys hitting the ball farther,” Finau says. “Maybe there’s a debate that the average is a little bit longer, but guys have been hitting it far for a really long time. John Daly was hitting it 300 yards 15-20 years ago.”

He did make an interesting point with respect to distance across all clubs.

“If I look at how far I hit an 8-iron today, I was hitting my 8-iron the same distance when I was 16 years old…I don’t know if the debate is about the ball or the driver. From what I hear, it’s the ball, and I don’t know if I believe that. The only club I’m hitting farther is the driver.”

Finau also mentioned that he doesn’t think rolling back the ball will help grow the game or make it attractive to new players, “Kids like to hit it far…hitting it 280 yards isn’t even cool,” Finau said, adding, “It’s not as fun to watch someone hit it 280 yards as it is to watch Dustin Johnson.”

Finau agreed with Josh Hayes that the responsibility to challenge players lies with the PGA Tour and course setups, rather than with governing bodies imposing regulations.

You can check out the full pod below

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Certainly, it’s interesting to hear what one of the Tour’s most impressive natural athletes and longest hitters has to say. Do you agree with his remarks? Should his opinion carry extra weight given his “bomber” status? Less? Let us know!

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  1. Uhit

    Apr 29, 2018 at 4:24 am

    Our golf club is planning to move the tee boxes closer to the green of our second longest par 4…
    …because the reality shows, that currently (with our current equipment) almost no one is able to reach the green in two, or to cut the dogleg – with current balls!

  2. Rekklss

    Apr 25, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    OMG. Tony hits his 8 iron the same distance ? No one talks about the LOFT.
    I think consensus is … grow the rough more … like 6″ deep … around 300 to 350 yards as well as the rough around the greens. This solution is so obvious … the USGA & R&A … bunch of lawyers trying to leave their ‘mark’ on our game. Just grow the rough !

  3. Donn Rutkoff

    Apr 25, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Leave equip alone. Pros play such a diff skill level. They almost never hit longer than a 8 iron on a par 4. I think pro tournaments should be on courses where they can put higher risks around 300 yards out on a few holes to make more players hit longer 2nd shots. Hazardize up the long distance landing areas from the tees. I think we fans would like to see more skilled iron shots to the green and not the monotonous driver. wedge, on par 4s.

  4. Kirk

    Apr 25, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Get rid of the dam face flexing – club face material should have to be 1cm thick rigid material – then we will see if these guys are any good!!!

  5. TigerJr

    Apr 24, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Fowler plays a 43.5″ driver…..allot of the guys out there dont play over 45″. This is so dumb….the middle of the face doesnt matter at 460 or 430cc

  6. Maxfli HT

    Apr 24, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    But when he was 16, was Tony only making half swings like he does now?He is basically swinging at 70% of what he could right now.

  7. GolfGolfGolf

    Apr 24, 2018 at 8:54 am

    just stop with the distance talk. Leave it alone… If anything someone needs to look at Langer still anchoring. They messed up that rule. Should’ve limited the length of the putter. My 2 cents

  8. Gill Weir

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:22 pm

    Harbor Town is proof that you do not need to roll the ball back. Golf is hard enough WTF are these people thinking?

  9. Tim Armington

    Apr 23, 2018 at 10:01 pm

    Leave the ball alone and leave the clubs alone. Fans dont want to pay good money to come out and watch DJ bomb it 275!
    If anything…put more of a premium on accuracy. Grow the rough and narrow the fairways a little. Not to the point where tour guys are hitting iron off every tee, but enough to where a shot hit long but off line is penalized a little bit. Its a very fine line, but the guys that will ultimately make the decision are very intelligent people.

  10. John

    Apr 23, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    I just dont understand… why? They want to alter the rules of the entire game possibly even bifurcation because the egos of the people who own golf courses are getting bruised? It’s insane…. I dont want to hit it shorter, but i also don’t want to play a different game to the pros – my interest in golf will waiver if i’m playing a boosted ‘amateur ball’ or if i’m hitting it shorter. Who cares if people who look like athletes are shooting -10 instead of -5? How many fat guys you see out there these days?

  11. ROY

    Apr 23, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    But is he more accurate now?? Almost every PGA player will tell you they were longer in college than on tour – learned that accuracy is far more important. So at 16 was he hitting an 8 iron 175 yards with a 95% swing, and today hits one 175 with an 80% swing??

  12. Blake

    Apr 23, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Totally agree its the driver. There should be tour only heads of smaller size. what size that is is up for debate.

  13. Sven Hallauer

    Apr 23, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I totally agree with what Tony says. If excessive distance is an issue on Tour then the Tour should limit driver head sizes, and maybe limit the max shaft length. For example changing the max head size to 430cc instead of the current 460cc will limit forgiveness and size of the sweat spot thus reducing average driver distance. Similarly limiting shaft length to a max of 44″ from the current 46″ would limit driver club head speed thus limiting the max distance the ball could travel. Changing the ball is a non-starter as it separates the Pros from the Amateurs in ways that will reduce fan connection with the sport.

    • ROY

      Apr 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      SO you think pick up basketball suffers since most pick up games dont have a 24 second shot clock, same as the pros??

      • punny

        Apr 24, 2018 at 12:24 am

        hahahah, worst analogy ever. At least say not regulation size backboard or college 3 point line in local pick up game.

        This about equipment.

    • J Zilla

      Apr 23, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      The pros ability alone separates the connection between them and the fans.

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19th Hole

Which Air Jordan model should Nike release as a golf shoe next?



According to GolfMagic, Nike’s Air Jordan III golf shoe took off from the foul line and soared right out of stock.

Per the site: “Nike launched this new model back in February… but you’ll do very well to get your hands on either them right now as they have sold out on Nike’s website. However, a Nike spokesperson has since commented saying “more is on the way.”

Grammar aside, this is interesting.

Now, it wasn’t long ago that all golf shoes looked like this.

And with all due respect to the Etonic Dri-Lite of yore, and giving wide berth to the traditionalists in the golf footwear space, the transition to sneaker-style golf shoes is cool, isn’t it? I mean, even if you’re monumentally swagger impaired like myself and could never pull the “Js on the fairways” look off, it’s intriguing, no?

With that in mind, and recognizing the demand for the 3s, I thought it’d be interesting to consider what the next Jordan golf shoe ought to be.

Here are my finalists for the next wide release (yes, I know Nike made Ray Allen custom 11s and MJ has had a few customs). Many of these are new colorways of classic (OG) models. I’ve tried for a range of styles and picks from across the Jordan timeline. Images via the excellent catalogue on the Jordan website.

Air Jordan XXXII

Air Jordan VI

Air Jordan VIII

Air Jordan II (low)

Air Jordan XXX

Let me know what you think, GolfWRX Members!

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19th Hole

Looks like Tiger is exploring some innovative solutions to his putting woes…



Tiger Woods was 39th in strokes gained: putting in 2018. Historically an excellent putter, Woods was hot-and-cold with the flatstick, even benching his soulmate Scotty Cameron Newport 2.

It looks like Woods may have an ace in the hole for the upcoming season, however, with respect to his green reading and putt sinking. Check out this video posted to his Instagram from the Tiger Woods Invitational on the Monterey Peninsula earlier this week.

Good thing the USGA is restricting the use of green-reading devices and technologies, because this kid looks close to cracking the eternal mystery of the perfect marriage of line and speed for every putt.

Cool stuff, though, isn’t it? It’s also cool to see Tiger so genuinely excited about his “mentee.”

We all know the story of how, after September 11, Woods re-evaluated his charitable endeavors and began to conceive of the Tiger Woods Learning Center. He’s spoken passionately about the students who have made their way through the various programs in the past, and there’s no doubt he cares deeply about the TGR Foundation’s efforts, but seeing a thin slice of that reality is awesome.

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19th Hole

The 7 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (10.11.18)



If you’re on Instagram, you’re hopefully aware that we are ‘gramming it up as well (@golfwrx). And if you’re not following us, well, that hurts our feelings more than a three-putt bogey.

Even if you do follow WRX on Instagram, however, you may not be aware that an abundance of equipment enthusiasts are hashtagging their photos #GolfWRX. We feel it’s only right to feature the best of the WRX-tagged imagery here.

And if you’re not on Instagram, well there’s no way you could see these photos, so think of this series as a handy filter for the best #GolfWRX photos from the past 24 hours.

Michael Martinez with a phenomenal custom Nike concept sketch in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

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Hispanic Heritage Month #golf #nikeshoes #leetrevino

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Worse than the blue screen of death…

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Sadness. #RadryGolf

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In the pantheon of golf tattoos, this one has to be featured prominently, no?

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Tattoo level: Tin Cup ???????? ???? via @pgamemes

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BB&F continues to reign as the ferrule king.

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Ferrule B

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Kraken’s latest ballmarker is hotter than a fire track.

With all due respect to aquatic creatures, these are the best kind of scallops.

A clean sole grind and stamping from Don White. Nothing like it.

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Made with a purpose.

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If you’re on Instagram, remember to hashtag your photos #GolfWRX. And if you’re not on Instagram, well, don’t.

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19th Hole