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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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9 Comments

9 Comments

  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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Dame Davies! | Curious Kaymer quote | Does “fore!” work?

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1. Dame Davies triumphs
For the first time, two senior women’s major titles were available. All Laura Davies did was win them both. Bow down to the dame!
  • Golf Digest’s Keely Levins…”…Laura Davies claimed the first major victory in dominant fashion, winning by 10 strokes. In the following major, the Senior LPGA Championship, Davies again proved that her game in major condition: She won at French Lick Resort in Indiana by four shots over Helen Alfredsson of Sweden on Wednesday.”
  • “Davies, 55, won wire-to-wire in her fifth time playing in the event. After opening with a 4-under 68 in the first round of the 54-hole event, Davies rounded out the event with back-to-back 70s.”
  • “The wind made a difference, and it was still cold,” she said of the final round. “It was still tough, but I think two-under today was a pretty good round. There’s some shots out there, on 16, I nearly hit a horrible 7-iron into the water, but I got lucky today when I really needed to on 11 and 16 when I didn’t hit great shots. It’s the sort of course where you’ve got to be careful, but you’ve got to be brave as well. Because you’ll make bogeys if you’re trying to play it safe.”
If you’re scoring at home, Davies beat the field by 14 across the two major championships.
2. Meanwhile, on Jeju Island…
AP Report…”Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.”
  • “In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.”
  • “Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70 and tied for fourth included Ian Poulter, Nick Watney and Michael Kim.”
  • “Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour player of the year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.”
3. Double-edged sword
Randall Mell with a lengthy look at the pressures South Korean women golfers face
  • A morsel…”While American players admire the massive popularity Koreans enjoy in their homeland, they see what comes with it.”
  • “Koreans really do elevate their women players, but at the same time, they put a ton of pressure on them,” American Cristie Kerr said. “There’s pressure on them to not only be good, but to be attractive, and to do the right things culturally.”
  • “So Yeon Ryu felt the pressure to perform build as high as she has ever felt with Koreans trying to qualify for the Olympics two years ago. The competition to make the four-woman team was intense, with so many strong Koreans in the running.”
  • “This just makes me crazy,” Ryu said back then. “The biggest thing is the Korean media. If someone is going to make the Olympics, they’re a great player. But if somebody cannot make it, they’re a really bad player.”
4. Sounds strange, indeed
Imagine being deemed the best in the world at your job. Now imagine being deemed, like, the 100th best and thinking you’re better than you were when you were No. 1. Such is the case with one Martin Kaymer, interestingly.
  • Brentley Romine at Golfweek…”As a result, he has slipped to No. 157 in the world and missed out on his first Ryder Cup team since 2008.”
  • “Yet Kaymer remains positive. In a recent interview with Golf Australia, the 33-year-old German said he has no doubt that he can return to the player he once was.”
  • “As strange as it sounds, I am a better player right now than I was back in 2011 when I was No. 1 in the world,” Kaymer said. “My problem at the moment is that golf is a sport that is based on results and I have struggled a little bit to put every part of my game together for four consecutive rounds.”
5. Crazy for Js?
Enthusiasm for golf shoe releases is, well, generally substantially less than for sneaker launches in general. I mean, are there any golf shoe sneakerheads? And certainly plenty of skepticism has met efforts to make golf shoes look less like, um, golf shoes.
  • Thus, this news is interesting: Nike’s Air Jordan 3 golf shoe is flying off the shelves.
  • Via GolfMagic…”Nike’s sixth Jordan spike golf shoe is a throwback to the third line of Michael Jordan’s basketball sneaks that were first launched 30 years ago – shoes that featured MJ’s signature ‘elephant print’ as well as his soon-to-be iconic Jumpman logo on the heel.”
  • “Nike launched this new model back in February in its classic white and grey version, pictured, and then unveiled a brown leather version shortly afterwards. Both shoes retail at $220, 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.”
(…more is?)
6. Under-the-radar golf brands to know
Golf.com highlights Forya, Dormie, Leus, Birds of Condor, Devereaux, Greyson, and more in a quick sketch of makers of interest. (I would have liked to have seen Sugarloaf Social Club, Holderness & Bourne, Hedge, and Fore Ewe on the list).
7. RIP, Jim Wiechers
Never a Tour winner, Jim Wiechers came close, but that’s not why he’s worth remembering, suggests PGA Tour.com’s Jim McCabe.
“If the national amateur golf stage never fazed Jim Wiechers, the reason was simple. Just to fare well locally in the San Francisco area in the 1960s, Wiechers had to compete against the likes of a rising teenage star named Johnny Miller, future PGA TOUR winners such as Ron Cerrudo, Bob Lunn and Dick Lotz, and a legendary veteran named E. Harvie Ward. That accomplished, Wiechers knew he could more than hold his own in the deep end of the pool.”
“Which he did with distinction….Wiechers won the 1962 U.S. Junior Amateur, the 1964 Western Junior, the 1966 Western Amateur, and finished second, one shot behind Marty Fleckman, at the 1965 NCAA Div. 1 Championship.”
“That Wiechers, who died Monday night at the age of 74, failed to carry that winning touch over to a 12-year PGA TOUR career that featured 32 top 10s, none of them victories, surprised Cerrudo, but never seemed to unsettle his friend.”
8. Does yelling “fore!” work?
A timely question in the wake of the events at Le Golf National… Golf Digest’s Guy Yocom both reflects (on getting plunked in the posterior, among other things) and examines the question.
“Gary had screamed “Fore!” when his drive sailed off line into our fairway. I not only heard him, but had time to spin, crouch, duck and cover my head. But of the four times I’ve been hit-once in the head, twice in the back and once on the butt-this was the only time a shout of “Fore!” reached me in time to react. In two of the instances I didn’t hear anything, even though the hitters all swore they’d screamed it. The most doubtful “Fore!” claim happened on a rock-hard muny when I caught a one-bouncer on the back of the head. My buddy said it made a sound like a coconut falling on Gilligan’s head. He heard the coconut sound but did not hear anyone yell “Fore!””

“Shouts of “Fore!” just aren’t as unassailably effective as most golfers believe. The incident at the Ryder Cup in which Brooks Koepka struck a woman in the eye with a full-blooded driver on the fifth hole of the Friday morning four-ball matches, was, unfortunately, more typical. Although Koepka and others on the tee screamed “Fore!”, video of the incident shows that not one person in the gallery ducked. The injured woman, Corrine Remande, claims no one yelled a warning, and she reportedly filing a lawsuit against the organizers. Remande’s doctors have said she is never going to recover full vision in her right eye.”

9. Hmm…
With all due respect to the PGA Tour Superstore, while the other components of this Titleist AP1 build may be correct, there may have been a slight oversight with respect to one key variable…  (via jakedasnake11 on Reddit)
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Tiger Woods cites fatigue for disappointing Ryder Cup showing

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Many people were left scratching their heads after watching Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup just a couple of weeks ago. The 14-time major champion had just come off an incredible victory at the Tour Championship where he produced scintillating golf to capture his first victory in five years, and there were high hopes that Woods would finally perform at his best at the Ryder Cup. What followed, however, was yet another disappointment in the biennial event for Woods, who went 0-4 and looked flat all week.

This week at a driving range Q&A at Pebble Beach at a benefit for his TGR Foundation, Woods discussed his performance at Le Golf National, and he went on to admit that fatigue had played a significant role in Paris.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season. I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

Fatigue would undoubtedly be a valid reason, considering Woods played 18 times on the PGA Tour this year after coming off spinal fusion surgery. Only once in the past decade has Woods played more golf on the PGA Tour in one year than he did in 2018.

At the Q&A, Woods then spoke about the potential of him performing as a playing captain at the 2019 Presidents Cup, an event that Woods has always excelled in with a career record of 24-15-1. The American made it clear that despite being the captain that week, he hopes to improve on that impressive playing record next year at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

“I really hope to be a playing captain, I really do.”

The next occasion where you can see Woods tee it up will be on Thanksgiving weekend, where he’ll take on his old rival Phil Mickelson in a pay-per-view battle.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Johnny’s biggest regret | Farewell, British Masters? | Langer haters

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1. Farewell, British Masters?
Without a sponsor to succeed SkySports, the British Masters is reportedly not included on the 2019 European Tour calendar. Unreal.
The most recent edition’s host, Justin Rose, speaking to the Mail, had some harsh words.
  • “Dare I say it, there are so many events on the European Tour that shouldn’t be there, and these events with history are the ones that should be there,” said Rose.
  • “I wonder if we should be focusing on condensing things slightly, and stressing quality over quantity.
  • “It’s such a shame when we lose events like this one, and we’ve seen it far too often with the loss of other traditional events like the European Open.
  • “These are the ones where the fans really come out in force in the UK and support them and they create the type of atmosphere which makes it such a pleasure for the players to compete.
2. Miller talks like most fans think
An unbylined AP column (Doug Ferguson?) gets at the essence of Johnny Miller, analyst.
  • “The comment was vintage Johnny Miller, raw enough to cause most television producers to wince…Miller was in the NBC Sports booth at Doral in 2004 when he watched Craig Parry hit another beautiful shot to the green. Miller said what he saw. That was his job…He just didn’t say it like other golf analysts.”
  • “The last time you see that swing is in a pro-am with a guy who’s about a 15-handicap,” Miller said. “It’s just over the top, cups it at the bottom and hits it unbelievably good. It doesn’t look … if Ben Hogan saw that, he’d puke.”
  • “I was in Ponte Vedra going back to the Honda Classic, and my phone is blowing up,” said Tommy Roy, the longtime golf producer at NBC. “It started percolating down in Australia, and you had radio stations demanding Johnny Miller be fired.”
  • “He doesn’t have a filter. That’s why he’s so good,” Roy said. “What he’s thinking comes out. And 99.5 percent of the time, that was a great thing for viewers, and for me. And 0.5 percent of the time, it was a problem for our PR department and for me.”
3. Johnny’s biggest regret
Golf Channel’s Jason Crook on Johnny’s lament.
“I think that I didn’t say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really – I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn’t have said that,” Miller recalled. “I want so much for the outcome that I’m hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn’t win a match.”
  • “After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole – one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.”
  • “Of course he ended up – after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal,” Miller said. “Almost like a Hollywood movie or something.”
4. Harig on Miller
ESPN’s Bob Harig on the singularity of Johnny Miller…”You probably heard that Johnny Miller once shot a 63 in the final round of a major championship, firing at those treacherous Oakmont flags on his way to winning the 1973 U.S. Open, becoming the first player to score so low in one of the game’s biggest tournaments.”
  • “And you may very well have heard it from Miller himself….Repeatedly. Like, numerous times over a nearly 30-year broadcasting career that is set to come to an end early in 2019.”
  • “It was both an infuriating and enduring quality Miller possessed, causing many to dislike his work as an analyst, but so a part of what made Johnny Miller, well, Johnny Miller.”
5. Tiger talks
Appearing at a clinic…TW answered a few questions from the assembled faithful.
  • “It’s still sinking in, because 80 is a big number,” Woods said. “I’ve won 80 times out there. That’s pretty cool. It hasn’t been easy. What validates it for me is the fact that I got a chance to go against Rory (McIlroy) head to head in the final group, and also (Justin Rose), who was tied with Rory, a group ahead. He’d just become the No. 1 player in the world. In order to get my first win in five years I had to beat those two guys. That makes it feel even more special.”
  • On Ryder Cup fatigue…”It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”
  • Woods also mentioned he’d like to be a playing captain for the Presidents Cup next year.
6. Langer haters
Nick Rodger at the Herald (Scotland) pointed out an uncomfortable reality: for as stellar as Bernhard Langer’s play has been, his wins have something resembling an asterix for some.
  • “Despite the sodden lumps of acclaim that regularly get shovelled over him, however, there remain plenty of cynics who are outspokenly sceptical of Langer’s putting technique. The can of worms that was opened up in the wake of the ban on the anchored method of putting, a style Langer adopted to overcome the heebie-jeebies and has since had to adapt, has led to locker room mutterings, accusations and aspersions being cast that he is still anchoring.
  • “You can understand the point of view. Watching him execute a stroke on the green, with the handle of his putter right next to his chest, just about requires you to take a CT scan to ascertain whether it is actually anchored or not. But that is the ambiguity of the rule and one that seems to have produced more grey areas than that 50 Shades of whatdoyoucallit.”
  • “The shame for golf is that many of Langer’s detractors have opted to relinquish the  game’s fundamental trust in the player. My word is my honour? There are plenty who still need convincing…”
7. The dame!
AP Report…”Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.”
Here’s hoping she gets done!
8. Cobra’s new irons…just like Rickie’s
WRX Staff…”For years, Rickie Fowler has used custom Cobra King Forged MB irons that have tungsten plugs in both the toe and center of their soles to fine tune CG (center of gravity) for additional feel, forgiveness and trajectory control. Now, with it’s new mixed set of muscleback short irons (7-PW) and cavity back long irons (2-6), general consumers can take advantage of the custom design, as well.”
“The new irons undergo a 5-step forging process, according to Cobra, and have slightly different designs than the original King Forged MB and CB irons previously released to the public. While the short irons have a compact design for workability and shot-shaping that better players prefer, the CBs have a new “muscle cavity” designed for a more “workable trajectory” and softer feel, while still delivering forgiveness on off-center strikes, according to the company.”
9. Bowditch headed for Tiger surgery
The fan favorite tweeted the below. Gotta hope for a similar outcome!
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