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Sergio Garcia on his U.S. Open putter switch, World Cup thoughts

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With the start of the World Cup just a few days away, one Spain supporter arrived at the Adidas Flagship store on Fifth Avenue to check out the wares, make a custom jersey at the print shop and…talk to reporters ahead of his 76th straight major appearance.

Sergio Garcia, the La Roja fan in question, took a quick chopper ride into Midtown from Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, site of the 118th U.S. Open, for a meet and greet yesterday; he was kind enough to talk to GolfWRX for a few minutes.

Photo by Tom Bender.

Q. Any equipment tweaks for Shinnecock?

A. Not really. Just a new putter; but other than that, pretty much the same stuff. But I’m just excited to be there after 2004 [Garcia tied for 20th].

Q. So no adjustment to the wedges? No new grinds?

A. No. I’ll go to the course tomorrow and see how it feels. But I don’t think I’ll be changing much at all…the way I look at it, it’s not easy to practice with something all the time and then come in two days before the tournament and change everything. Unless it’s really radical–the course is extra firm or something like that–I’ll usually just deal with it.

Q. And then the putter: tell us a bit more about that.

A. I’ve got one of the [Odyssey] EXOs [Rossie X]. A little bit more of a…half moon shape with a little bit more weight on it. It swings a little bit easier. (See in-hand photos of Sergio’s putter here)

Q. Since we’re here at Adidas, and you’ve been signed with the company for nearly 20 years, I wonder about your exposure to the brand was before you signed…maybe when you were younger, watching soccer?

A. I’ve always been a huge soccer fan, as everyone knows, and I played it myself, so I’ve always been connected to Adidas from a very young age. Obviously, when it comes to golf, they started just around the time I turned pro…so it fitted nicely–me being European, I felt very connected…it was a perfect fit from the beginning…

Q. Two decades. A lot has changed in terms of apparel and footwear in that time, hasn’t it?

A. I think of 1999-2000, and it doesn’t feel like it was almost 20 years ago…it feels like maybe five or six years ago. But the quality of everything, every single aspect of clothing, shoes, hats…has come a long, long way. It’s an honor to be partnered with a company that is fighting to become so much better every single time…the way they’ve introduced new materials, always innovating…they’re doing things that are not only good for us, the athletes, but for the environment. [They’re doing] those things that are easy to say, but are not always easy to do.

Photo by Tom Bender.

Q. Cool. So, World Cup. I was looking at the Official FIFA Ranking, and I think Spain is No. 10. I saw a couple of power rankings that had them at, like, No. 2 or No. 5. How do you like their chances?

A. To be totally honest, I like the team we have. It’s a little bit younger team. Some good young players. It’s just a matter of seeing how fresh they are…some of them have had really long seasons with Real Madrid and Barcelona. A lot of games. So it’s always a bit of a question…to see if they get in a rhythm. It isn’t easy.

And the other teams, they’ve all improved so much. Any team that maybe 10 or 12 years ago…you struggle to beat them 1-0 or 2-0.

Photo by Tom Bender.

Related: See our most recent WITB for Sergio here.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. HDTVMAN

    Jun 13, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Still have a White Hot Rossie, but gotta get that new EXO Rossie S…it’s gorgeous!

  2. golfraven

    Jun 13, 2018 at 9:47 am

    The fella holding the putter looks like a young Tiger. The guy in the back went over the top with his Adidas socks. Sergio is class when meeting young kids or any fan – he spent some time taking pictures and chatting to my wife and son not long ago. I have a picture with him couple of years back too. Certainly cheering for him – Vamos Sergio

  3. gif

    Jun 13, 2018 at 1:10 am

    … [Odyssey] EXOs [Rossie X]…. wow, good to know… microhinged face too… potent putter… 😮

    • golfraven

      Jun 13, 2018 at 9:42 am

      The EXO putters are killer but so are the prices. You are talking twice the price of a current iWorks model. However if I was in the market for a new putter the Exo #7 would be my first choice. Great looking club and the insert is awesome – I rolled all balls into the hole from every possible distance, not that it counts.

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Tour News

Brandt Snedeker shoots 59 after bogeying his first hole at the 2018 Wyndham Championship

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Brandt Snedker started his first round of the 2018 Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on the 10th hole with a drive way left off the tee, leading to a bogey. He didn’t make his first birdie until his fourth hole, actually, but from there, the flood gates were open. Snedeker birdied four holes in a row — hole nos. 13, 14, 15 and 16 — to go out in 32 (3 under).

He then SCORCHED his back nine, shooting an 8-under 27 including 6 birdies and an eagle. Certainly knowing it was for 59, Snedeker rolled in a 20-footer on his 18th hole (the course’s 9th hole). Watch the putt below.

It was by far the longest birdie putt he made on the back nine, probably because he was sticking everything to within 5 feet.

Notice the “0 feet” putt above? Yea, because he didn’t have to putt after dunking his second shot.

Where does Snedeker’s 59 stand in terms of the history books? He’s the 9th player ever to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour, and the FIRST to do so starting the round with a bogey.

Remember, even if you start with a bogey you can shoot your best round ever. Maybe not a 59 like Snedeker on Thursday of the Wyndham Championship, but don’t let that first-hole bogey get you down; there’s 17 more opportunities to make birdie — and Snedeker nearly did just that.

If you’re curious to hear what Snedker has to say about his 59, check out the Tweet embed below, or click here.

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Brooks Koepka, a machine built to win majors

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Brooks Koepka is your 2018 PGA Champion. Of his 4 PGA Tour victories, 3 have come at major events, all of which have come in the past 14 months. He has won a U.S. Open that played like a PGA (Erin Hills), a U.S. Open that played like a British Open (Shinnecock) and now, a PGA that played like a PGA, at Bellerive in St. Louis. What do we make of this 28-year old, born and bred Floridian, who doesn’t appear to win often, but makes it count when he does? That depends on the units with which you choose to measure his performance. Have a look at his most recent performance, a 2-shot win over Tiger Woods at the 2018 PGA Championship.

  • Birdies: 22 in total, 13 on the front nine
  • Bogeys: 4 total, 2 on each nine
  • Double Bogeys: 1
  • Eagles: 0

Out of 72 holes, it might be said, Koepka made 5 mistakes that counted. That’s not a lot. He made two consecutive mistakes on the front nine on Sunday, but countered those two holes later, with three consecutive birdies. Koepka also bogeyed consecutive hole in round three, on the inward half. Similarly, he made a birdie soon after, to regain momentum. On Thursday, when he made double bogey on the par-3 5th hole, he made all pars before and after, until the 11th. From that point on, it was 3 birdies and 5 pars. What we see from him is an incredibly precise performance, where mistakes are minimized and opportunities, maximized.

Koepka is no fool. He knows his initial strength is distance off the tee, and he utilized it to perfection at Bellerive. After round two, he commented,

“I like the way the golf course sets up. People talk about it turns right-to-left, but you’ve always got a bunker on the inside of the turn, but I can carry most of them, so it’s not really a big deal that the holes turn right-to-left, you can kind of get away with it with my length.”

Yes, Brooks, you can, but only if you are accurate when the ball returns to Earth. After three performances where he outplayed the best from two generations, we might become believers. During the same interview, Koepka revealed a bit more about who he is, and what he does, during a major week:

“More attention to detail. More mentally focused, more every shot really, really means something. You drop a shot or two, it’s, you really put yourself back. There’s a lot more focus that I have in the Majors, the preparation, I mean everyone on my team even says I act a little different, the way I approach it. It’s very down to a routine this week and other weeks sometimes, not saying I vary from the routine, but it’s much more disciplined. Eating right, going to the gym, it’s almost timed perfectly.”

None of those things is impossible to emulate. I’m certain that Rickie Fowler does them, and I’m positive that Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, and Tiger Woods do so as well. None of them hoisted the Wannamaker trophy this week, so something that Koepka does, or has, or know, continues to pay off.

It might be absolute comfort in his skin. Koepka told a story about a workout he had with perennial partner, Dustin Johnson, this week at Life Time Fitness in St. Louis. In his words,

“Today I was in there with Dustin and everybody wanted a picture with Dustin. They were talking about him as we left and I was just standing there laughing. They were like, did you see that No. 1 player in the world was here. It’s like, yeah, okay. I don’t know what to say to that. It was like, all right.”

I’d certainly be tempted to jump in and tell the ogglers who I am, but that’s not Koepka. He doesn’t have the DJ beard, the DJ bent wrist, the DJ wife/daughter of a hockey legend. It’s only about Brooks Koepka, albeit not in an egocentric way. The egotist approaches the ogglers and tells them who he is. Koepka focuses on self: I’m just focused on me. I feel like, if I do what I’m supposed to, I should win the golf tournament. That’s not arrogance, that’s not delusion. He is good, good enough to win each time he tees it up. Is he proud of his first tour win, at the Phoenix Open? For sure. Is he prouder of the three that came next? Without a doubt. The stakes continue to increase, and Koepka rises to the occasion.

Remember, too, that Koepka lost a sizable chunk of this season. He shut his game down after injuring his wrist. A late-2017 surgery kept him out of action through the Masters, an event that now seems tailored to his style of golf. Not a large muscle that heals quickly, but a part of the body with so many moving parts. A part of the body so essential to the execution of every golf shot. If that threat doesn’t give one pause, and later, gratitude, then one has missed the point.

In 1986, Greg Norman and Severiano Ballesteros were the two best golfers in the world. Jack Nicklaus was not, a relic from another era, whose most recent win had come six years prior. When the Golden Bear began to make noise at Augusta National, Norman and Ballesteros folded. Fast forward 32 years, to the footsteps of another forest creature, Tiger Woods. Woods posted 8 birdies for 64 on Sunday at Bellerive. He reached the number (-14) that I suggested yesterday would be enough to win, except it wasn’t. Why not? Koepka, unlike Norman and Ballesteros, rose to the challenge.

Brooks Koepka has joined a small group of golfers with three major victories. He now has two distinct major titles on his resume, and will certainly be one of the favorites at all four majors next year. From 1903 to 1905, Willie Anderson was the only man to raise the unnamed trophy. In 2019, Koepka might join him at at Pebble Beach. He might put on a green jacket in Georgia, in April. He also might grasp a trophy named for a specific wine, at Royal Portrush, in Northern Ireland.

See Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB

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Photos from the 2018 U.S. Women’s Amateur

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GolfWRX is live from the U.S. Women’s Amateur at the Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs, a venue which most recently hosted the 2006 Tennessee State Open.

The USGA fielded a record 1,468 entries for the competition, in which Kristen Gillman, Kaylee Benton, Laren Stephenson, and Jiwon Jeon are still alive in match play.

From WITB looks to shots of the superb Fazio course to some high art calligraphy (see below) we have it all.

Friday’s photos

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

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