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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

Phil phires a 60 | Lowry leads in Abu Dhabi | Bernhard the bricklayer’s son

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

January 18, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1.  Desert Classic
A “rusty” Mickelson leads with nothing less than a 12-under 60…
Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”If this is his idea of rusty, it could be another special year for Phil Mickelson…Before heading out to begin his 28th year on the PGA Tour, Lefty alerted his 250,000-plus Twitter followers that he was “excited” and “fresh” and “ready to get started,” but also, um, “rusty,” which is a golfer’s subtle way of suggesting that expectations should be lowered. Mickelson even told his playing partner, Aaron Wise, the reigning Rookie of the Year, as much before the round: “I’m rusty, so don’t expect much.”
  • “But Mickelson has been doing the improbable for nearly three decades now, and so maybe it shouldn’t have been such a complete surprise that in his first round of 2019, at 48 years of age, with no expectations, he carded his lowest score in relation to par in his long and decorated Tour career – a 12-under 60, to take the lead Thursday at the Desert Classic.”
  • “It was kind of a lucky day in the sense that I did not feel sharp heading in,” Mickelson said afterward. “Sometimes it’s just one of those days when it clicks.”
2. Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour…
AP Report…”Nearly three months after Lewis became a mother, and six months after she last played on tour, she opened with seven birdies on Thursday for a 5-under 66 that left her one shot behind Brooke Henderson and Eun-Hee Ji at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.”
  • ”Pleasantly surprised,” Lewis said. ”Had pretty low expectations going into the day. Just really made a lot of putts. I had some weird shots, which I knew was going to happen having not played in a while. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m going to take it.”
  • “Henderson overcame a slow start with a bogey on the second hole and a par save on No. 3 at the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons. She birdied five of her last eight holes for a 65 to tie Ji, who had a bogey-free round.”
  • “The tournament – the first season-opener in Florida for the LPGA since 2015 – is only for LPGA winners each of the last two years.”
3. European Tour
A report from The National...”Shane Lowry has a three-shot advantage to take into Saturday’s final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA.”
  • “A birdie at the 18th gave him a round of 67 to leave him on -17, three ahead of South African Richard Sterne.”
  • “An eagle on the final hole from Ian Poulter lifted the Englishman to -12 and gives him hope he can prevail on Saturday.”
  • “Pablo Larrazabal will start the final round on -11 ahead of a quartet of Maximilian Kiefer, Thomas Pieters, Soren Kjeldsen and Scott Jamieson.”
4. The bricklayer’s son
Bernhard Langer’s “My Shot” runs in Golf Digest this month.
A few morsels…
  • “My father built our house. When I was a boy, he would call on me to help him lay bricks. I would shovel the material for the mortar into a small mixing machine, then join him in laying the bricks, setting them carefully, one by one, using string to make sure everything was straight. I consider it a miracle to have come this far.”
  • “WE CADDIES were given four hand-me-down clubs to share. There was a 2-wood, 3-iron and 7-iron, all with bamboo shafts, and a putter with a shaft bent like an archer’s bow. By the time I was 12, I saved enough money to buy a new set of Kroydon irons. They weren’t top of the line, but they were shiny, new and all mine. I added a Blue Goose model putter that had a small indentation in the head. It was a magical putter, and I quickly became the best putter at the course, Golfclub Augsburg, and possibly all of Germany. One day the putter went missing. I frantically went through the members’ bags, and sure enough, found my Blue Goose with the indentation. But I was in a terrible situation. I couldn’t confront the member-he surely would deny everything, and I would be fired. So I kept it to myself. I never did get the Blue Goose back. I’ve spent the past 50 years looking for a putter that suits me as well.”
5. Latin American Am
AP Report…“Alvaro Ortiz of Mexico had an ideal start Thursday in hopes of turning his fortunes in the Latin American Amateur Championship, opening with a 6-under 66 to build a three-shot lead after the opening round.”
  • “Ortiz has been runner-up in the Latin American Amateur the last two years. He finished five shots behind Joaquin Niemann of Chile last year, and he lost in a three-man playoff to Toto Gana the previous year.”
  • “The winner earns a spot in the Masters in April, and is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open and British Open.”
6. Pins in at Augusta National? Maybe…
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Will players really be allowed to putt with the pins in during at the Masters?”
  • “Asked that question Thursday at the Latin America Amateur Championship, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley didn’t say no.”
  • “Under the new Rules of Golf, which went into effect on Jan. 1, players are now allowed to leave the flagstick in while on the greens, as Bryson DeChambeau so eagerly demonstrated.”
  • “Addressing the possibility of Augusta National going against the Rules of Golf during Masters week, Ridley first thanked the USGA’s Mike Davis and R&A’s Martin Slumbers for their work, then preached a message of “consistency” at the game’s highest levels.”
  • “We will, as we always do, collaborate with the governing bodies. We will talk about those local rules and conditions that will be implemented,” Ridley said.”
  • “We think it’s important that there be some consistency in top championship golf, and so you should expect that the Masters Tournament, from a rules perspective, will look very much, if not the same, as what you’re seeing in the major championships and the professional tours.”
7. The weirdest lies in golf history
Great stuff here from Coleman Bentley rounding up some of the most absurd lies (and resultant shots) in golf history (although it’s hard to believe there’s any way his list could be comprehensive, but hey, headlines, and you have to admire the effort)
  • “Golf is a game of minutely controlled chaos. Atoms crashing into atoms. Weight swooping into inertia. A ballet of bounces, spins, kicks, and ricochets that goes wrong just as often as it goes right. The beauty of a such an unpredictable game-one of inches, not yards-however, is that when it goes right it’s spectacular and when it goes wrong, well, it’s equally spectacular. Beg to differ? Well, keep on begging, because as the weirdest, wildest lies in golf’s weird, wild history prove, chaos is a beautiful thing indeed.”
  • “Shane Lowry – 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship…Before Shane Lowry could tie the course record at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Championship, he first had to conquer Trash Heap Corner. P.S. If no one’s taking that couch, we might know a guy who’s interested.”
  • “Phil Mickelson – 2014 Barclays Championship…The Leave: Just to the left of Big Jeff’s Hotdog Haus. One day Phil Mickelson will save par from the surface of the moon. We’re sure of it. Until then, his walkabout at the 2014 Barclays Championship will have to suffice.”
8. Kang & McNealy
A couple of Las Vegas-based golf pros are a couple!
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell...”Danielle Kang watched Maverick McNealy with special interest when he was mic’d up on Golf Channel’s telecast of the Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas earlier this week.”
  • “They are dating.”
  • “Kang wasn’t sure whether to reveal McNealy is her boyfriend, but she couldn’t help herself.”
  • “He’s a dork,” she cracked when asked to review his running dialogue on Golf Channel. “But he’s my dork.”
  • “She was applying the Kang needle. Both she and McNealy live in Las Vegas. She said they met at a golf course there, The Summit Club.”
  • “He’s a sweetheart,” Kang said. “I have so much respect for him and vice versa.”
  • Aww!
9. Back in black!
Titleist 718 AP2 Black and AP3 Black released in limited quantities. Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock.
  • Titleist has unveiled new 718 AP2 Black and 718 AP3 Black irons in limited black finish that will be available to purchase from March 1.
  • Previously only available in a traditional chrome finish, the new Titleist 718 AP2 Black and Titleist 718 AP3 Black irons are finished with a sleek, high polish black PVD coating. The irons feature True Temper AMT Onyx shafts stock. The shafts’ powder coat matte black finish aims to minimize glare (in addition to looking cool). An all-black Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip is standard as well.
  • Speaking on the move to release the irons in black, Josh Talge, Vice President, Golf Club Marketing said
  • “One request we heard from both tour players and amateurs, particularly those who have gravitated toward our Jet Black Vokey SM7 wedges, was if they could have these same irons in a darker finish. Our team spent a lot of time making sure the aesthetics were done just right. It’s a look that you just have to see.”
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Brooks Koepka with Mizuno JPX 919 irons, TaylorMade M5 driver in the bag at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX919

Brooks Koepka is in action this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship equipped with a new driver and set of irons.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall broke the news, via Twitter, that Kopeka has TaylorMade’s new M5 Driver in his bag this week, as well as Mizuno’s JPX 919 Tour Irons.

The three-time major champ used TaylorMade’s M3 460 Driver and Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons throughout 2018, and it appears as if Koepka is happy to make the transition to both manufacturers latest additions of those series of clubs right from the get-go in 2019.

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

Koepka is currently T13 after two rounds of play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and sits five shots off the lead.

 

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European Tour members have heated exchange over cheating incident…from 2013

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Social media appears to have become the new playground for golfers to air their issues with each other, and this week it was the turn of two European Tour members.

The two men involved were Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and England’s Simon Dyson, and the subject of the feud revolves around a new change in the rulebook of golf. As of 2019, players are allowed to repair spike marks on the greens, an act which Dyson was found guilty of doing when it was prohibited back in 2013, and subsequently found himself slapped with a fine and a suspension.

Fernandez Castano kicked off the fun and games following his opening round at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The Spaniard said how the new rule “will take some time to get used to” before adding the punchline  “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”

The bad blood between Fernandez-Castano and Dyson appears to be fully down to Dyson’s misdemeanour in 2013, as one year later on Twitter when the Spaniard was asked for his opinion on Dyson; he bluntly replied: “Used to like him, not anymore”.

Asked why he hadn’t tagged Dyson in his tweet yesterday, the Spaniard claimed that the Englishman had blocked him, before Dyson took to the stage, with a different rationale. In a since-deleted tweet, Dyson stated that Fernandez-Castano didn’t have the cojones (or something similar) and stated that the Spaniard is a “sad little man”.

After getting that off his chest, Dyson approached the incident differently, saying that he, unlike Fernandez-Caetano supposedly, had moved on from the affair which occurred six years ago.

Nothing quite like a good old confrontation on social media with a peer to begin your professional year, eh?

 

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