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Ryan Palmer on switching irons, learning the game in Texas, and why he doesn’t have an equipment contract

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Last week, Johnny Wunder talked with three-time PGA Tour winner Ryan Palmer on his Gear Dive podcast. While the pod has nearly 5,000 listens on Soundcloud, we saw plenty of WRX Members asking to, well, see some of what Palmer had to say in the form of a transcript or article.

In response to those requests, we’ve transcribed some highlights from the Texan’s appearance on the Gear Dive, and we hope you enjoy.

On growing up in Texas

RP: Growing up in Amarillo, it’s flat, it’s windy. It can get on a little hardpan. I guess I’ve learned, I just learned, at an early age how to trap the ball…I was able to hit it low for a lot of years. I used to hit a big ol’ sweeping hook…it was just the game I learned to play, you know. As I got better and got older, you learn to hit other shots. I can always go back to that trap-flighted that I can hit so good when the wind is blowing. So, I guess, a little bit of an advantage there growing up in Amarillo and the Panhandle.

On what he looks for in an iron

RP: It’s mostly appearance…I like a little offset in the iron…You’ll notice, and, as I talk about in my career I don’t switch, and, when I find something I like I stick with it, and Titleist always comes out with a good looking iron each and every year. So I kind of just kept moving and progressing with their models. And you know the sole of a Titleist worked out. That’s the reason why I hit the AP 2s for so long, because of the sole of it. I liked the width of it, how it went through the turf, and every iron I looked through the last 10 years, the first thing I look at is the sole, and if it’s a little skinnier than what I’m used to seeing, yeah I know it’s not going to be what I want. That’s kind of the first thing I look. A little top line I guess. But, main thing is, looking at the sole of the club and the length from heel to toe. That’s the two things I look at the most.

On what it takes to switch, particularly with a driver

RP: Yeah, I switched to TaylorMade’s back in ’08, I think it was ’08, ’09, somewhere around there from Titleist. Uh, you know, today with drivers, I’ve been hitting the M1 since it came out. And then before that, I was in the white Burner SuperFast, forever. When I get a driver I like, I hit the same shaft forever. It was the old Harmon Tour Design Shaft CB2x. You know, I switched shafts the first time last year or two years ago, I think, at Colonial. To the ACCRA…That was the first time I’ve switched shafts since, since, the Web.com in my driver.

With the driver, you know, the one thing…I look at, first of all, I’ll hit it a few times before I get on the monitors, I need to see the launch. The feel of the club, all that stuff, the weight of it. Once I start seeing the flight, then I’ll get on the numbers. And you know, look at the ball spin, the launch, the spin for me. I don’t look at the other garbage on there. I just, it’s ball speed, launch, spin, and you know, obviously clubhead speed. Once I see those numbers, that’s all it takes. Then, if I hit one or two hooks with the driver, then, it’s out. I won’t even give it another look.

On not having a club deal

RP: Well the problem today is, you’re having to sign the full bag. I mean, with TaylorMade, you’re having to sign the full staff, the ball. Titleist, full clubs, the ball. Callaway, I mean, Callaway will get you in a driver deal. TaylorMade doesn’t have anymore driver deals out there. Ping is obviously full staff, full clubs. So it’s just, guys, are not wanting to sign away every club in their bag. I mean, for me, I got an Odyssey putter, Vokey wedges, Srixon irons, TaylorMade woods.

You know, honestly, some of the contracts aren’t worth what the money we’re playing for. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it, the last few years, and, I’d rather take the clubs I’m comfortable with and have confidence in than going out there with something I’m not used to just get a couple hundred thousand more dollars.

I think these young guys today, come out here, and then they leave the Web, and then automatically, “Who can I sign with, where can I sign?”…They’re getting bad advice, from a lot of, from the people giving them advice, you know? There’s people out there trying to make a buck off them. They think, “Here sign this deal with this company, this club company, because somebody on the outside is getting an extra kickback.”

Guys don’t realize, you sign a $400,000 contract with whoever…Go finish top 10 twice, and you’ve made it, you’ve made that money. So it’s almost, that’s my approach, and, you know, Mike Chisholm, my manager, close personal friend of mine first, but, we talk about it all the time. And, to me, and he knows, there’s more money to be won on the golf course then there is off the golf course when it comes to equipment.

On the switch from Titleist 710 AP2 to Srixon 785 irons

RP: I ran, I don’t know which year it was, um, they sent, I don’t know if it was when the 12 or 14s, when they came out. They sent me like, two or three sets, and they sent Stricker two or three sets as well. That was all, they told me, this is all we have left. And so, they just kind of, they finally played theirselves out.

We were at BMW this year and James Mackay and I, and my coach, Randy Smith, we were on the range, and I had a Mizuno set made, I had these 785s made. And, we hit a bunch of balls, different shots. Low, right-to-left, left-to-right, high, and with the Srixons, I hit every shot the way I wanted. And so I was playing so bad as it was, I played the Srixons the final round at BMW. And then, didn’t look back, because I hit a lot of shots I wanted, the yardage control, everything I wanted that day. And then James and I both agreed, I told James, I’m comfortable, let’s just take them. We took them to Malaysia, and Korea, and Vegas so, it’s worked out.

You can find the full podcast here. 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Benny

    Dec 16, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Agree nice read and follow up Wrx. Always love hearing and seeing this stuff. I think more and kore we will see this. Brooks is the top 10 I can think of w/o a bag deal. Rose moving to Honma. Heard TMag doesn’t do the “woods only” contract anymore. Yet still so many play their woods when the option is there?

  2. Rich Douglas

    Dec 16, 2018 at 10:59 am

    There should be a strong correlation between on-course performance money and endorsement money. But as pointed out by Palmer, there isn’t. Unless you have an ownership stake, of course.

    In golf, tournament purses can be influenced by many factors, including corporate sponsorships. But it is the fans who buy the equipment endorsed by players, not the corporations. Thus, there is an imbalance, where there’s a disproportionate amount of money to be earned on-course (from corporations) than off-course (from fans). The golf OEMs can’t pay the players in endorsements commensurate with their on-course earnings. There are exceptions, of course, but very few. I like Palmer’s point that, for most players, that the money lost from a club contract can be made up by using clubs right for you.

    We’ve seen this on the Tour in the past. I remember when Payne Stewart switched to Top-Flite after coming into dominance. Hitting a two-piece surlyn ball with cast clubs was quite a switch for him and his performance suffered.

    Where I disagree with Palmer is with the emergent pro. That guy should grab the cash and get the stability from it. Let his performance then dictate whether to go “independent” from there.

    Now, what about Corey Pavin and those VAS 792s….

  3. Broton

    Dec 5, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for the transcription!! Glad to know you guys are listening. Way to go GolfWRX!

  4. Burnt toast

    Dec 4, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Eh, he’ll have a club deal as soon as he wins a tournament…

  5. retired04

    Dec 4, 2018 at 8:34 am

    I never do podcasts or video-like to read/scan/digest-so THANKS for the transcribing!! Read the whole thing and enjoyed it.

  6. Jamie

    Dec 3, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    What putter grip does he use with his ‘claw’ putting style?

  7. Danny Lynch

    Dec 3, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Srixon makes the best feeling CB and MB iron out there. The 765’s are about a perfect a feeling golf iron as can be made. If you haven’t already, give the Srixon’s a try.

  8. Speedy

    Dec 3, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    It’s all between the ears.

  9. BIG STU

    Dec 3, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks also for transcribing the Pod Cast for some of us old farts

  10. Aztec

    Dec 3, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Excellent! Thanks for transcribing. And, pretty pleased he chose Srixon irons. Refreshing to hear him talk about how important it is how irons and drivers look and not obsess over trackman numbers.

  11. Connor Jones

    Dec 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Very interesting take on the club contract and I absolutely love it. Important to play well rather than struggle and switch clubs

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News

Morning 9: LPGA players to add to Hazeltine’s history | Web.com Tour no more | Mickelson’s U.S. Open dream dead?

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

June 20, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1 Adding to Hazeltine’s history
Doug Ferguson at the AP….”This is where Rich Beem, a former car stereo salesman, held off a charge by Tiger Woods in the 2002 PGA Championship. It’s where Y.E. Yang became the only player to come from behind and beat Woods in the final round of a major at the 2009 PGA Championship.”
  • “It’s where the Americans actually won a Ryder Cup in 2016.”
  • “Hazeltine also is an example of how much the second-oldest major in women’s golf has risen in stature since the LPGA Tour and PGA of America became partners to stage what is now the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.”
  • “The magnitude of this event has gone up so high, and it’s neck and neck with the USGA and U.S. Open,” said Danielle Kang, who won the Women’s PGA two years ago at Olympia Fields, the course south of Chicago where Walter Hagen and Jim Furyk won majors. “It’s just when you get here and people talk so much about the golf course. ‘Oh, you’re going to play Hazeltine.’ They talk it up so much.”

Full piece.

2. Caddie arrested on charges of human trafficking, exploitation of a child
Bizarre, awful stuff, here. As reported by Joel Beall at Golf Digest…
  • “Evan H. Vollerthum, a caddie on the Korn Ferry Tour, was arrested Monday for human trafficking and attempting to sexually exploit a child.”
  • “Vollerthum was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Topeka, Kansas, according to an ICE news release. Topeka is about two hours away from this week’s Wichita Open.”
  • “Shawnee County Jail (Kansas) records state Vollerthum is being held in connection with one count of aggravated human trafficking involving hiring a child 14 or older to engage in sexual acts, and attempted commercial exploitation of a child involving hiring a person under 18 for a sex act.”
3. Korn Ferry Tour
Via the Golf Channel Digital team…”As of Wednesday, the Web.com Tour will now be known as the Korn Ferry Tour, after inking a 10-year deal through 2028.”
“Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm, also becomes a PGA Tour’s official marketing partner and will assume sponsorship of the developmental circuit’s Tour Championship, the third and final event of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.”
4. Mickelson: I’m out of U.S. Open chances
Golfweek’s Dan Kilbridge…
  • “….He made a run up the leaderboard Friday and made the cut for a ho-hum T-52 finish. He also had nothing but praise for the USGA’s setup after ripping the organization’s past failures in the days and weeks leading up.”
  • “It was nice to see cooler heads prevail on both sides throughout the week, but it doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. Open remains Mickelson’s white whale. And he’s starting to get more and more realistic about his Career Grand Slam chances at age 49.”
  • “I’m appreciative of the opportunity, even though I didn’t play my best and didn’t win,” Mickelson said. “I really don’t have many more chances. Probably have to come to the realization that I’m not going to win the U.S. Open, but I’m not going to stop trying. I’ll keep trying. You never know.”
5. Hovland on being a Ping man
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com went deep with Viktor Hovland on his new Ping weaponry (photo above is Tursky’s)
A few of his specs and remarks
Driver: Ping G410 LST (draw setting, 9 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS 6.5-flex 62 grams
  • Hovland says: “I just put this in the bag on Thursday morning of the U.S. Open. I drove it really nice and it was a big part of my success last week… I’ve been messing around with the different kind of heads and I felt like this was a great fit for me. I was struggling with a bigger left-to-right curve. I put it on draw [setting] and it keeps it neutralized a bit. I was able to hit a lot of fairways with it at the U.S. Open.”
3-wood: Ping G410 LST (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5TX 80 grams
  • Hovland says: “I really like [the way it] sits down because it looks like it has a lot of loft and it sits real tight to the ground, so for me it’s real easy to launch. I’m a guy who hits a lot of drivers off the tee, I don’t really like to hit a lot of 3 woods [off the tee]. So for me it’s key to have something I can launch up in the air and get it to stop on the greens, [such as going for] par 5’s in two. That’s been a great help for me.”

Full piece.

6. The role of restoration in Gary Woodland’s 17th-hole chip
An interesting note from Geoff Shackelford…
  • “The neck of the “hourglass” green created by Egan had been reduced to a sliver, the green unpinnable anywhere near the surrounds. The square footage restoration estimate was over 1000 square feet and while the green was still not as large as the original, the remodel made the 17th was made functional again.”
  • “But more important than the reclamation of architectural roots or reminding us of this wonderfully bizarre vision by Egan, the expansion gave Gary Woodland the opportunity to hit a shot for the ages, requiring him to clip the ball and land in a very small area and join Pebble Beach’s other 17th hole classic moments by Nicklaus and Watson.”
  • “The shot reminds how important golf course design is to giving us golf-watching thrills, and the vitality of caring for architectural gems.”
7. What it’s like without tour status
...rough…
Nick Menta focuses through the lens of Chip McDaniel…
  • “I saw [Roberto Diaz] in the locker room today,” McDaniel said Wednesday at the Travelers Championship. “He’s like, ‘What’s up, Mr. Monday?’
  • “I already have a nickname out here, which is pretty cool.”
  • On Thursday, McDaniel will make his sixth PGA Tour start this season and his second in as many weeks.
  • The 23-year-old out of the University of Kentucky went through local and sectional qualifying to make it to Pebble Beach, where he made the cut on the number and finished 78th in his U.S. Open debut.
  • “Then I had to hop on a red-eye and get back to the real world and play in a Monday qualifier,” he said.
8. Getting good at golf without a golf course
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins offers the example of Sung Hyun Park, who only visited an actual golf course about once per year early in her golfing development…
  • “…In her first few years playing golf, she barely set foot on the golf course.”
  • “I first started playing when I was nine years old, and I only practiced indoors,” Park said through a translator in her pre-tournament press conference at the KPMG. “It was like a three-meter distance, and I used to hit my shots over there. And playing like that for three years, I probably went on the golf course around four or five times only, which probably means like once a year. And so I always looked forward to going out on to the course and to play.”
  • “If you’re someone who loves golf, but don’t have easy access to a course, there’s hope for you. Park is proof that you can get good-sometimes really, really, good-even if you can’t get on-course as much as you’d like.”
 
9. Why does the USGA now care about player complaints?
Good point from Alan Shipnuck in his weekly mailbag.
  • Whining players > non-whining players during the U.S. Open? -@Nolanddad
  • “Oh, hell yes. Going back decades, the soundtrack to every U.S. Open was the plaintive wailing of the players. That’s how we knew it was our national championship. “Fair” is often codeword for too easy, so I knew we were in trouble when the players universally employed that word to praise the Pebble setup. I pray that future Opens will feature the appropriate amount of kvetching.”

 

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Morning 9: Women’s PGA | Fox: best golf coverage in the biz? | Michelle Wieturns

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

June 19, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. Henderson, Thompson sizzling heading into Women’s PGA
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson couldn’t get hotter at a better time.”
  • “With three major championships over the next seven weeks, they’ll be looking to make the most of their winning form. They each have a chance this week to reach No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings for the first time.”
  • “Henderson won the Meijer Classic last week, Thompson the ShopRite Classic two weeks ago.”
  • “Ladbrokes makes Henderson the co-favorite to win the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship with Jeongeun Lee6 at 11/1 odds, with Thompson at 12/1 odds.”
2. Wieturning again
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com…
“But perhaps the most difficult digits to digest are those detailing the impact of the injuries that have disrupted Wie’s career. Without the constant interruptions, her five career wins with one major championship would almost certainly be more. Now, she tries once again to get back into action.”
  • “I’m feeling hopeful,” Wie said Tuesday at Hazeltine National where, on Thursday, she will tee it up for just her ninth tournament round of the year. “It’s still a process. It’s been hard sitting out during the middle of the season. There’s really nothing worse. But I had to take the time to get myself back to where I want to be.”
  • “There is almost no a part of Wie that has not been damaged, beginning with an injury to her left wrist when she fell while jogging in 2007. Since then, she’s had issues with a finger, knee, hip and the other wrist. At times, it almost appears as if her body is held together by multi-colored physiotape.”

Full piece.

3. Arrival of the Wolff
Sean Martin at PGATour.com…”This week’s Travelers Championship is Matthew Wolff’s first tournament as a professional. It may be the most anticipated pro debut in a decade. The consensus collegiate player of the year combines charisma with a swing that is identifiable from a few fairways over.
  • “He wins. He’s unique. His swing is different, so it catches everybody’s eye,” said Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee. “And then there’s the incredible speed.
  • “When you see somebody with speed … it gets your attention.”
4. Fox the best?
An interesting take from Sean Zak at Golf.com…
  • “In its five years as the USGA rights-holder, Fox has added something new every year, which, for a sport whose visuals seem to never change, is refreshing and important. One year it was the mic’d up holes, even shadows on the greens to display slopes. Some of it sticks from year to year, some of it doesn’t, but Fox is trying new things and adding new context.”
  • “This year the novelty was epic, highlighted by delicious drone shots along the coast. Blimp shots are great and were more relevant this week than most, but the drones that floated up over Carmel Bay, gliding along with the players, providing the perfect scale of the property – those were new and beautiful. A good broadcast shows viewers everything they must see to better understand a course, but also makes them a bit jealous of everyone there on the grounds.”
5. JT pain free
A few quotes from Thomas…”I have zero pain. I can do everything normally.”
“I could have played Colonial – easily – but it would have been stupid and [my wrist] could have been lingering the entire year,” he said. “This injury should never be an issue again in my life, as long as I do the proper things and don’t do anything stupid. That’s why I waited as long as I did.”
6. Not a fan
The Herald’s (Scotland) Nick Rodger…
  • “As everyday life hurtles along at a furious rate of knots, the golf season too is hammering on. Three men’s majors have already been played and in just four weeks’ time the curtain will come down on the quartet of grand slam events at the Open Championship. It’s rather like uploading a Youtube video onto your laptop and quickly spooling through to the best bits.”
  • “It’s all happening a bit too quickly for my liking,” gasped Colin Montgomerie as the dust settled on last weekend’s US Open even though there’s still probably dust lingering from the previous majors of the US PGA Championship and the Masters.”
7. Jin Young Ko dreaming of Brooks?
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“On a day when LPGA stars filed in and out of the press room at the KPMG Women’s PGA, Ko delivered the line of the day. When asked what it is that she likes about Koepka and how he inspires her play, Ko said: “I met him in my dream, and then we had really great time.”
  • “…He always (has) like a poker face and then like stone.”
  • Ko, 23, put her arms out wide and said, “I like big guy.”
8. What Gary was aiming for
Our Gianni Magliocco…“U.S. Open Champion Gary Woodland made an appearance at SiriusXM’s Manhattan studios on Tuesday, where he sat down to discuss a multitude of topics with Adam Schein on his Mad Dog Sports Radio program – Schein on Sports.”
  • “Woodland also discussed beating Tiger Woods’ total of 12-under-par from the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The 35-year-old first mentioned how he recognized that Woods won that tournament by 15 strokes, before adding how he was aware of beating his 72-hole total, saying…”
  • “I knew it, but I was trying to two-putt. I wasn’t trying to make that putt. Once it got halfway there and it went in I obviously let the emotion out. My caddie came over to tell me congrats and I said, ‘You know that clipped Tiger by one?’ And he said, ‘No I didn’t.’ He was focused on the wrong stuff, he was focused on winning, I was focused on beating that record.”
9. A Phireside chat
How to introduce Phil Mickelson’s first Phireside with Phil video…? Mickelson tells a story of an early morning restart at the Memorial some years back and a, um, crappy situation.
My question: This is a clear violation of the rules of tournament play. Is there a provision for situations that make the hole/toilet unusable after restart and necessitate cutting a new cup?

 

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Equipment

TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB

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TaylorMade Golf has officially announced the signing of Matthew Wolff on a multi-year agreement that will see the 20-year-old play the company’s metal woods, irons, wedges, putter and ultimately, TaylorMade’s flagship golf ball, the TP5x.

Wolff had previously unveiled that he would be making his professional debut at this week’s Travelers Championship, and just as top prospect Collin Morikawa did earlier at this month’s Canadian Open, Wolff will do so as a TaylorMade staffer.

The NCAA All-American and 2019 NCAA Division I individual champion made his debut on the PGA Tour at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year where he finished T50 after opening his week with a round of five-under par.

Matthew Wolff WITB

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (8 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design TP 7TX

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.5 TX

Utility Iron: TaylorMade P760 (2)
Shaft: Nippon Modus 130x

Irons: TaylorMade P750 Tour Proto (3-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 130x

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind Raw (52, 56, 62 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

 

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