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



Ben Giunta, a former Nike Tour Rep and now owner of the, 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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  1. Brandon

    Jun 6, 2018 at 10:25 am

    As a Mizuno fanboy I’d love to hear Chris Voshall on the pod. I think it would be very insightful.

    Please & thanks in advance 😉

  2. Ranger Dave

    May 25, 2018 at 8:42 am

    Love the show and where its headed… solid guests with front line info!!!

    One suggestion, turn off the email notifications during the recording! The “mail chime” goes off all the time and drives me nuts!

    I am excited for more episodes and really love the show.

  3. patrick dempsey

    May 24, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Love gear dive. Need better sound quality though

  4. CP

    May 24, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    What’s the purpose of wooden dowels in iron shaft tips?

    • Hogan Fan

      May 24, 2018 at 7:11 pm

      Its supposed to make it feel more solid. I think Titleist even did it in some of the PT woods years ago.

      • Mower

        May 26, 2018 at 5:16 pm

        Still have that one. Silver head with a wooden bore-through.

    • bebop a lula

      May 24, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Gives them a pine scented freshness, very relaxing

    • B Mac

      May 25, 2018 at 7:17 am

      The dowels are to absorb shock/soften the harshness. They are also labeled sensicore if you were to buy golf pride shafts with pre installed dowels.

      • David

        Jun 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

        WTF? lol @B Mac. Golf Pride makes golf grips…not shafts. Sensicore is a polymer insert by True Temper.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Perception shifts re: Woods, Reed, more in ’18 | Web Q-School update | Jim Nantz writes



By Ben Alberstadt (

December 7, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Seismic shifts
Golf Channel’s Will Gray looks at some of the massive changes in public perception of some of golf’s biggest names.
  • “Golf is often billed as one of the purest meritocracies in sports. Play well, shoot low, and you’ll move up the rankings and into the biggest events. There is no head coach to woo for extra playing time, no front office to appease. No long-term playing contracts, either.”
  • “Tiger Woods went from a walking injury report to the eye-popping superstar that he’s been for much of his career. His match-play foil, Phil Mickelson, added fashionista and dance instructor to his ever-growing list of credentials.”
  • “Patrick Reed graduated from fiery villain to major champion, a transformation that can’t be undone with 100 post-Ryder Cup sound bites. Brooks Koepka went from Dustin Johnson’s workout buddy to the history books in the span of a summer, all while proving that perhaps Johnson should be viewed as his plus-1 rather than the other way around.”

Many more in the full piece.

2. Meanwhile, in South Africa…
At the time of this writing, Charles Schwartzel is 8 under for his second round and leads the field by a stroke at the South African Open. First-round leader, Louis Oosthuizen, has been unable recapture the magic of his opening-round 62 thus far; he’s 1 over through 11. Ernie Els, after looking promising yesterday, has fallen eight strokes off the pace.
3. Q-School update
Andy Johnson at the Fried Egg has the update from Web Q-School.
  • “Bryan Bigley and Braden Thornberry are tied for the lead after one round of Tour Q-School in Arizona. The duo each shot rounds of 62 on Thursday in pursuit of earning that coveted top spot in Q-School. They are being chased by dozens of others though, with twenty-four players shooting 66 or better during the first round.”
  • “Just behind the leaders is a trio at 63; Andy Zhang, Michael Gligic, and friend of the program Vince India. Zhang famously qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open as a 14-year-old and recently played collegiately at Florida. Gligic is a Canadian who has played on the Mackenzie Tour for the last decade while also dipping his toe in the waters in 2017. India graduated from Iowa and has mainly played on the for the last few seasons. He did qualify for two PGA Tour events last season and notched his first career made cut in the Dominican Republic.”
Andy published the Q-School update in his thrice-weekly newsletter, which you can sign up for here.
4. LPGA 2019 schedule highlights
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell on the LPGA’s year ahead.
  • “More, more, more….That’s the theme behind the 2019 LPGA schedule released Thursday, but tour commissioner Mike Whan sees something else in the growth….”There’s less unpredictability,” Whan said. “I think that’s the cool thing. The schedule isn’t a big surprise. Most of our events are back again. We’re just growing our purses.'”
  • “The 33 official events on next year’s schedule are one more than this year and will feature a tour-record $70.55 million in total prize money, surpassing the 2018 record haul by $5.2 million…It adds up to more stability…Notably, there will be more diverse formats, with three new formats on the schedule…”We’ve grown to the point where we are able to do more of these fun formats,” Whan said.”
  • “The year will begin with one such event – the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions (Jan. 17-20), featuring LPGA winners from the last two years playing alongside celebrities and entertainers in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.”
5. World Long Drive schedule released
Also on the subject of scheduling, Kevin Casey at Golfweek writes…”The World Long Drive Association announced its 2019 schedule on Thursday with a significant addition.”
  • “The 2019 World Long Drive schedule will now include an inaugural event called Celebrating Service: Fort Jackson. The tournament will have a division represented by military service members competing alongside World Long Drive athletes.”
  • “The inaugural event will be among six World Long Drive tournaments to air on Golf Channel in 2019.”
6. PGA Tour Live is now NBC Sports Gold
Golfweek Staff report...”For those subscribers to PGA Tour Live, the service will have a new home for U.S. fans in 2019.”
  • “It was announced in July that the PGA Tour and NBC Sports Group had made a partnership and that NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Digital’s direct-to-consumer live streaming product – would be the U.S. home for PGA Tour Live in 2019.”
  • “The new PGA Tour Live will provide exclusive live coverage of featured groups from 28 PGA Tour events beginning at the Desert Classic and running through the Tour Championship.”
  • “Active PGA Tour Live subscribers will soon receive an email from NBC Sports Gold with instructions to complete account set up.”
7. From the desk of Jim Nantz
Nantz penned another installment of his column for Golf Digest, and well, here’s how he begins.
  • Sept. 23 was the first full day of autumn. Summer had officially passed, and my mood was matching the melancholy of Mother Nature’s final cycle of the seasons. It was the third NFL Sunday of the year, and my family had joined me in Minnesota for the weekend. While covering the Vikings-Bills game, I opened our broadcast as usual with, “Hello, friends.” Tony Romo and I covered Buffalo’s surprising victory and rejoiced during commercial breaks as we watched Justin Rose take the FedEx Cup at East Lake and Tiger complete his remarkable comeback with a parade down the 18th fairway. But this day was different.”
  • “It marked what would have been my beloved father’s 90th birthday. He’s been gone 10 years now, after a 13-year unwinnable battle with Alzheimer’s. They say time heals all wounds, but sometimes you wonder. It wasn’t supposed to end this way for Dad. He was an athletic, strapping, fit, bright and brilliant man who easily could still be with us. We had plans to experience the road together. There would be football weekends, basketball boondoggles and countless golf trips. Always golf.”
8. Davis Riley to turn pro
Now at Golf Channel (from Golfweek) Brentley Romine writes…”Alabama senior Davis Riley has decided to forego his final semester of eligibility and turn professional.”
  • “The news was confirmed to Golf Channel by Crimson Tide coach Jay Seawell on Thursday. Riley informed his coaches and teammates of his decision during the Thanksgiving break. While the news came as a surprise, Seawell knew Riley, a gifted athlete and ballstriker, was ready to make the jump.”
  • “Riley, a 21-year-old senior from Hattiesburg, Miss., was a decorated junior golfer when he arrived at Alabama, having twice finished runner-up at the U.S. Junior Amateur and represented his country at the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup. During his time at Alabama, Riley was twice an All-American and helped the Tide to a national runner-up finish last season. He amassed one win and nine top-5s in his career, and finished with a 71.3 scoring average.”
9. Golf Academy of America closes
Golfweek’s Jason Lusk…”Golf Academy of America, which operated five locations around the United States, is ceasing operations after 44 years in the business of training hopeful golf professionals.”
  • “The privately held Education Corporation of America, which owned the five golf schools, announced Wednesday that it would shutter all of its roughly 80 campuses in the wake of declining enrollment and losing its accreditation. Employees have been notified that their positions will be eliminated, and most of the company’s approximate 20,000 students will not be able to able to finish their programs unless they were in their final semester.”
  • “Golf Academy of America said on its website that it has trained more than 11,000 students, with graduates employed in the golf industry in all 50 states and around the world. Its five campuses are in Myrtle Beach, S.C., San Diego, Dallas, Orlando and Phoenix.”
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2019 PGA Merchandise Show to feature Global Golf Innovation Competition



The 66th PGA Merchandise Show gets underway on Jan 22, 2019, and along with showcasing the latest golf equipment and technology, next month’s event will also see the inaugural Global Golf Innovation Competition take place.

HYPE Sports Innovation will host the competition in cooperation with PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions, and the event will offer the opportunity for up-and-coming innovators to showcase their newly designed technology for the game of golf. Applications for innovators are currently being accepted here, with the deadline for applications being on Dec 15.

Like “Shark Tank” for golf, the competition will see 10 start-up teams selected from a pool of over 200, who will then pitch their companies and products to a panel of experts. The 10 finalists will receive the following

  • A Feature in the HYPE Sports Innovation Magazine, PGA Merchandise Show edition
  • A one-on-one meeting with the panel of judges
  • Dedicated promotional video shared on HYPE’s social media channels
  • Global media and influencer exposure through HYPE’s network of 40k members
  • A special presence in the New Product Zone exhibit area of the PGA Show Floor
  • Interaction with golf industry influencers and leading mentors in the field of sports innovation during a special event cocktail reception

Speaking on the inaugural event, HYPE CEO, Dr IIan Hadar, declared how he hoped the competition would create a platform for top innovators to shape the future of golf.

“We’re honored to host our inaugural Global Golf Innovation Competition at such a pivotal golf industry event. We anticipate receiving applications from some of the most promising golf start-ups from around the world, with the potential to shape the future of golf.”

The Global Golf Innovation Competition takes place on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the Orange County Convention Center.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Captain Woods Down Under | Bush’s advice to Norman | Newsmaker: Growth of women’s golf worldwide



By Ben Alberstadt (

December 6, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.

1. Tiger Down Under

Captain Woods is in Australia for promotional, logistic duties for the 2019 Presidents Cup. A concern: the proximity of the Hero World Challenge to the competition in Melbourne.
  • AP Report…”U.S. captain Tiger Woods will have discussions with golf officials in Melbourne on how to best prepare his team for the 2019 Presidents Cup next December at Royal Melbourne.”
  • “Woods, in Melbourne for a promotional visit, said the talks later Thursday would focus on the options of the Americans playing his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, coming to Melbourne the week prior for practice with sand-belt techniques, or playing the Australian Open as the lead-up event at The Australian in Sydney.”
  • “We have to figure out some logistical things between now and then and that’s the reason I’m here,” Woods said.
  • “We’ve got a few meetings here today to try to get a plan going forward so we can get the best that we can at the Hero as well as get everyone here from the Bahamas rested and prepared and ready to play.”

Full piece.

2. Playing captain?
AAP report…”Tiger Woods has given the strongest indication yet that he will tee it up as a rare playing captain in the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.”
  • “But 14-time Major winner Woods has declared he will accept the role of playing skipper — which has happened just once — if he is to earn automatic qualification for what will be a star-studded American team.”
  • “If I am part of the top eight, yes, I will play,” Woods told AAP in Melbourne.
Additionally, Woods indicated that if he and his vice captains agree the best way for him to help the team would be to accept a captain’s pick, should he be in that position, he would do so.
3. Worth keeping an eye on… report…”Ernie Els produced a stunning birdie blitz around the turn to share the early lead on day one of the South African Open hosted by the City of Johannesburg.”
“The four-time Major Championship winner is seeking a sixth title in his home Open and he delighted the fans at Randpark Golf Club as he moved to five under after 13 holes of his opening round.”
4. Return of the Roar
ESPN press release…”The historic comeback season of Tiger Woods will be documented in a prime time film debuting on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 30 – Woods’ 43rd birthday.”
  • “Tiger Woods: Return of the Roar, airing at 9 p.m. ET, chronicles the 2017-18 season that saw Woods overcome career-threatening back surgery to win on the PGA TOUR for the first time in five years. Beginning with his return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in Albany, The Bahamas, in late 2017 and culminating with his stirring victory at the 2018 TOUR Championship in Atlanta – the 80th of his PGA TOUR career – the film captures the season that reenergized the career of arguably the game’s greatest player.”
  • “With new, never-before-seen content, including multiple interviews with Woods, viewers will get behind-the-scenes access to PGA TOUR events central to Woods’ return, including the Valspar Championship and the TOUR Championship, featuring stylized off-speed cameras and inside-the-ropes viewpoints.”
  • “The film also will touch upon Woods’ growing role as a leader and mentor on the PGA TOUR, highlighting his role as Captain’s Assistant at the 2017 Presidents Cup and the announcement made in March that he will captain the U.S. Team at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia. Due to his remarkable comeback, Woods is in position to be the first playing captain since World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwin at the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994.”
  • “Featured are more than 60 interviews with PGA TOUR players as well as various professional athletes, all offering unique context to Woods’ comeback. The film also includes a new interview with Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, on his front-row seat to this historic season.”
5. Return of the Luke
Cameron Morfit at…”Luke Donald hasn’t played a shot on the PGA TOUR since he missed the cut at the RBC Heritage in April, but he will tee it up with partner Andrew Landry at the QBE Shootout starting Friday.”
  • “Donald, who will turn 41 later this week, missed six months with a lower back injury in 2018. In nine starts he made just three cuts and earned 42 FedExCup points, and he will start the 2019 season on a major-medical extension.”
  • “The state of the game is unknown,” he said after his pro-am round Wednesday. “We’ll see. I’ve been able to work hard the last couple months with no pain. I’ve certainly been putting in the time, but to bring it from your home course out here into a competitive situation, we’ll see how it goes.”
6. Newsmaker: The women’s game globally
Continuing to count down the top-10 newsmakers of the year Golf Channel in general, and Randall Mell in particular, write the global growth of women’s golf is the No. 9 entry.
  • Among other developments, Mell notes...”Back in the spring, Augusta National Golf Club stepped up, announcing it would launch the Augusta Women’s National Amateur in 2019. It’s a 54-hole event that will conclude with the top amateur women in the world playing the final round at Augusta National’s iconic venue.”
  • “In November, Suzy Whaley was elected president of the PGA of America, becoming the first female to hold that position in the 102-year history of the organization.”
  • “In December, the LPGA announced that CME Group CEO Terry Duffy would double the purse for the season-ending Tour Championship in 2019 and raise the winner’s check to $1.5 million, the largest in the history of the women’s game. It is notable that it will be greater than the first-place check was in 33 of 47 PGA Tour events last season.”
7. Bush’s advice to Norman
Greg Hardwig of the Naples Daily News, via Golfweek…”Norman even sought out Bush’s advice when the office of President Clinton, a Democrat, contacted Norman about playing golf with him because he was coming to Australia. Norman, who is a Republican, wasn’t sure about playing with Clinton.”
  • “I don’t want to play with him because I don’t really like a lot of things he’s trying to recommend,” Norman told Bush.
  • “Bush gave a very direct answer.…”Greg, you shall respect the Office of the President of the United States,” Bush said.”
  • “I said ‘Yes, sir’ and I played with President Clinton,” Norman said.  “It was all about the office, and respect for the office, regardless of the person who’s in it.”

Full piece.

8. Pepperell’s path to Bettinardi
Eddie Pepperell is a singular quantity in to world of golf, so it’s not surprising that the Englishman has taken a unique route to becoming a Bettinardi staffer.
  • 20 months ago, the two-time European Tour winner walked into Core Golf in Thame, Oxfordshire, and bought four putters, including a Bettinardi Studio Stock No. 8.
  • Pepperell, who jumped from No. 513 to No. 38 in the OWGR since putting the Bettinardi in play in April 2017, won’t have to pay for his putters any more. He joins the likes Francesco Molinari, Haotong Li, and Matt Kuchar as a Bettinardi staffer, the company announced the today.
  • “I’ve tried a number of putters and time and again, it’s the one model I keep coming back to.” said Eddie. “Positively I won’t have to buy a Bettinardi putter again, but having bought four putters from Core Golf I’m just hoping I haven’t put them of business as a result!” he added.

Full piece.

9. Epic Flash sighting
We spotted both Steve Stricker and Kevin Na hitting Callaway Epic Flash woods on the range of the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort ahead of the QBE Shootout in Naples, Florida, today.
  • The Epic Flash and Epic Flash Sub Zero showed up on the USGA’s conforming list just this Monday.  As with all photos from that registry, however, the images were both in black and white and only of the sole of the club. Fortunately, with apparent Tour seeding and testing under way, we can catch a glimpse of the color scheme, face, and crown designs.
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19th Hole