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19th Hole

Fred Couples on Seattle, being a feel player, and what Phil Mickelson is the best ever at

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Fred Couples joined Johnny Wunder for the latest installment of his “Gear Dive” podcast. Couples, as he approaches 60, is an interesting case from an equipment perspective, and he’s seen some major changes in the clubs he’s so fluidly swung across his career.

Particularly interesting is the fact that Couples seems to stick with a club until he wears it out. Look at his current driver (a 2013 TaylorMade SLDR) and 3-wood (a 2008 Callaway FT-i Squareway). Hearing what he has to say about those clubs and his equipment philosophy is darn interesting (and atypical).

That said, we’re pulling a section of the pod for further examination that has more to do with technique than equipment, as Couples had some interesting things to say about growing up as a feel player and learning to hit shots around the green.

Johnny: “You’re the epitome of a ‘feel guy’…growing up in Seattle, growing up in the Pacific Northwest, you have to be a feel player, you have to feel your way around a golf course…can you commentate a little bit on how to get yourself out of trouble…how to scramble? How did growing up in the Pacific Northwest teach how to play well hitting it straight and play well hitting it sideways?”

Fred Couples: “If you look at some of the shots some of us play. If you grow up in Seattle…I played at Jefferson Park…small greens; they called them ‘pop-up greens.’ If you missed the green, you had to have great feel, and you had to have touch to get it up in the air and to stop it fast. There weren’t many times where I took a 7-iron out and played a little bump-and-run; it was all sand wedge.”

“So when I got on the PGA Tour, ever time I used a club from off the green, it was a sand wedge…then as you go to Florida and you’re playing on Bermuda, that’ll make you look bad fluffing chips, so you just learn to play around the United States…”

“You mentioned a guy earlier, Phil Mickelson. People want to know how good he is–he’s probably the best player ever to judge a lie. Whether it was a bad lie, good lie, in the rough. We know he’s tried to hit drivers out of the rough and tried to do things, but more or less, that’s what makes Phil the player that he is…he’s got the feel for every shot, and he tries to pull off every shot. And if we’re anywhere alike, we’re like that…I do judge the ball well out of the rough.”

“Seattle, it certainly made me the player that I am. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Incredible perspective from Couples–although he did later say rain is his kryptonite, which is somewhat odd for a Seattle boy. Anyway, the rest of Johnny’s talk with Boom Boom is well worth your time.

Check it out below.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. shawn

    Jun 6, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    “feel” is bogus…. what they’re talking about is emotional feeelings…!

    • Sour Grapes

      Jun 7, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Your thoughts are bogus…Perhaps you have never been a good golfer, otherwise you would know what feel is.

      • PhilDSnuts

        Jun 7, 2018 at 1:53 pm

        “Feel is bogus”. I would expect that coming from a ping swinger. Hack on my good man, hack on.

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19th Hole

Baba Booey for Life! Does this GolfWRX member have a point?

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Oh boy, here’s a heater. On the subject of Baba Booey-ing at golf tournaments, WRX member Stickner started a thread, writing

“For those that think nois.e while a player hits shouldn’t be allowed, you must also believe that fans should NEVER make noise.

“A player with a large gallery jars a 70 footer for eagle to take the lead. The crowd erupts! This should not be allowed.

“Why you ask? There are other golfers well within earshot of the noise. This could disrupt their game. Why does the nearby player you can see deserve the “courtesy of quiet” but the one 400 yards away that you can’t see doesn’t?

“We have all seen players back off because the crowd erupted on another hole. What happens when that eruption happens in the backswing right before the player is about to transition to the downswing? Those boisterous hooligans need to keep their traps shut as this is a gentleman’s game right?

“Being quiet while someone plays golf is silly. My guess is that the elitist snobs that played this game a century ago needed a scapegoat when hitting a bad shot and noise became their scapegoat.”

He wraps his rant in, well, the most appropriate way possible: “BABA BOOEY FOR LIFE B&^%HES!”

Now, this flies in the face of the “isolated noise during the golf swing is extremely distracting” argument that is popularly leveled in defense of silence. But let’s see what GolfWRX members think about Stickner’s comments.

MtlJeff says

“While i am not in favor of intentionally yelling during a swing, your point is an interesting one. I hadn’t really thought of it like that, the loud roars often get overlooked when it comes to the “distracting noise” narrative.”

Eagle1997 says

“Planned vs. Spontaneous. Jabroni Factor only applies to one.”

Blackngold_blood says

“I am fine with cheering for a great shot or groaning for a bad one. My problem with…bababooey and mashed potatoes is the fact that it has nothing to do with GOLF! All the person is doing is screaming “Look at me, I need attention!” Or how about the even less classy “How’s your ankle” that was shouted at Finau after he hit his last approach to 18. I get the point that these are professional athletes and golf is becoming more mainstream but the immature comments need to stop.”

Naptime says

“Background noises and distant noises can be perceived as while noise. If you play next to a highway you adapt and become less aware of it. But if a trucker blasts a horn in your swing it would startle and at least for me would probably result in a hot grounder to third base. Yelling Baba Booey or any other lame comment after a swing doesn’t startle the swinger, just make the shouter sound like a doofus who can’t hold his alcohol.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Does Stickner have a point? Should the rules of the wider sports world apply to golf, or does golf fandom require a particular understanding of when to be quiet and when to cheer?

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19th Hole

Both Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth laughed at Phil Mickelson’s 13th hole antics

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The image of 48-year-old Phil Mickelson jogging after his golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock, Saturday, was bizarrely comedic. Even if you condemn Mickelson in the strongest of terms, taken on its face, the scene is a silly one.

That said, it’s interesting that two of the biggest names in the game had the same response: laughter.

Speaking before the Travelers Championship, Rory McIlroy said

“I saw what happened…and honestly, I laughed. I felt there was a massive overreaction to it. Knowing Phil, he knew what he was doing, and as a player who has been in that head space before in a tournament, I can see it happening.”

Jordan Spieth voiced similar sentiments earlier in the week

“I laughed, I thought it was really funny…Phil knows the rules…There was a chance it was going to go back behind the bunker and he’s got to chip back, or he was going to play off the green anyways, so he was potentially saving himself a shot. So if that was the intent, then what’s the harm in that? He’s playing the best score he can.”

There are a couple of widely different perspectives (and plenty in-between) here.

One: Thank goodness Spieth and McIlroy aren’t uptight dogmatists when it comes to the rules, and they appreciate the humor in an absurd situation.

Two: Spieth and McIlroy, as significant figures in the game, ought to stand up for the integrity of the rules of golf, condemning Mickelson’s behavior…and perhaps question whether disqualification was in order (as Jason Day and other pros have done).

Which camp you find yourself in likely aligns with how you view the Mickelson incident: A humorous and well-deserved middle finger to the USGA or a reprehensible act for which Mickelson was not sufficiently punished?

Beneath Mickelson’s behavior and the responses of McIlroy and Spieth is the ever-growing rift between the USGA and PGA Tour players–as well as a level of annoyance with/disdain for the organization’s Rules of Golf.

Remembering how Mickelson spearheaded the overhaul of the PGA of America-run U.S. Ryder Cup team and its procedures when he called out captain Tom Watson in 2014, it was the same sort of situation: “Is this calculated, or has he lost his mind?” everyone seemed to be asking.

In the wake of those remarks, players rallied behind the veteran, and he assumed a leadership position in the reform effort. Whether we see something similar with respect to the pros and the USGA/U.S. Open, it certainly looks like the political will for change is there among Tour players, as McIlroy and Spieth’s remarks suggest.

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19th Hole

In other Phil Mickelson news…robot-delivered food

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Not an Onion story; real thing that is actually happening here. Phil Mickelson and his manager/business partner, Steve Loy have signed a deal with Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc. and its flagship subsidiary, Reis & Irvy’s, to open 30 yogurt locations in San Diego.

We’ll just quote directly from the press release, because, who can paraphrase language like this?

“Reis & Irvy’s-branded signature robot characters of the same name can dispense servings of frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelatos and sorbet topped with a selection of six delicious toppings in under 60 seconds. With self-checkout touch screen ordering and payment options, video animation, music and delicious frozen dessert provided exclusively by Dannon, robot vendors meet consumer demand for convenience, entertainment and a superior quality product.”

Mickelson and Loy are reportedly keen to challenge the status quo in food retail.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of such transformative industry change,” says Mickelson. “I’ve pushed boundaries my whole career and that mindset carries over into the business world. The energy and passion from the Generation NEXT team to both deliver a quality product and disrupt food retail is exciting.”

Reis & Irvy’s has awarded $130 million in franchise and licensing contracts since its launch in 2016.

Dress shirts on course. Robo froyo. What will Phil do next, indeed.

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