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GolfWRX Morning 9: Most entertaining PGA Tour events of 2018 | Ping Blueprint irons aren’t hollow after all

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

December 21, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans.

 

 

1. Most entertaining PGA Tour events of 2018
The folks at Golfweek ranked their most entertaining Tour events of 2018. Normally, I wouldn’t play spoiler and reveal the top selections, but the most interesting element of the story is what they selected for the top trio.
  • “3. WGC-Mexico Championship…Of course Phil Mickelson breaking a five-year win drought will be high on this list (although another five-year win drought exorcized in 2018 ranks a little higher, stay tuned). Thomas put a jolt of electricity into the tournament when he holed a wedge from the fairway for eagle at the 18th to take the clubhouse lead and possibly the title. But Mickelson made a late birdie to match Thomas, and then beat him in a playoff. Quite a way to win again.”
  • “2. Arnold Palmer Invitational…There’s little in golf (outside of Tiger Woods) that can bring the entertainment value quite like a Rory McIlroy rampage to victory. We’ve seen less of that in recent years from the Northern Irishman, but he brought a glimpse again in 2018. It came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where McIlroy went on an epic closing run of five birdies in his last six holes to storm to a three-shot win. You can relive it all here. It may be in smaller doses at the moment, but Rory’s still got it.”
  • “1. Tour Championship…Yeah, Woods had this win in the bag down the stretch and nobody really charged at him on Sunday. But really, who cares? This one is all about Woods breaking a five-year win drought and how much excitement that brought. Let’s remind you of the bedlam that broke out in the crowd as Woods walked down the 72nd hole.”
See the other 7 selections in the full piece.
2. Pros skeptical of rule changes?
Kevin Casey at Golfweek…”There are a huge set of changes coming to the Rules of Golf. These alterations courtesy of the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A will take effect on Jan. 1, and you can study up on those changes here.”
  • “But not everybody is automatically on board with every change…Mackenzie Hughes, winner of the 2016 RSM Classic, took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his mixed emotions on the changes coming in 2019″
  • Hughed: ” I just went through the new rules of golf for 2019 again. I feel like a few of the changes are good (ex. caddie alignment, loose impediments in bunkers), but I feel like most of them missed the mark (ex. ball drop from knee height, damaged club, and more). Thoughts?”
  • Jim Furyk: “If I had to be skeptical of one rule, it would be tapping down spike marks,” Furyk said. He then explained his reasoning on that and added skepticism on another change:
  • “I think pace of play. I guess for no other better reason than that’s just the way it’s always been (but) I think pace of play. I think moving the time you look for your ball (before it is declared lost) from 5 minutes to 3 minutes is going to insignificantly (improve) the pace of play. But the tapping down of spike marks could tend to drag things out a bit.”
3. The story of golf in 2018 in objects
Ryan Herrington with a fun one for Golf Digest’s Loop.
  • “Bryson DeChambeau’s drawing compass…The Mad Scientist said he was using it to help him get “true pin locations” off his green-reading books. USGA/R&A officials said not so fast when they saw its use on national TV at the Travelers Championship, noting that it violated Rule 14-3a that prohibits the use of unusual equipment that might assist a swing or play. The revolution ended before it could begin.”
  • “Tony Finau’s ankle brace…Who says golfers aren’t athletes? At the Masters, Finau suffered this gruesome (self-induced) ankle sprain after celebrating an ace during Wednesday’s Par-3 Contest. He then played the next four days, shooting 68-74-73-66 to finish in a tie for 10th in his first appearance at Augusta National. Not sure if we could have watched four days of the Masters let along played in it if our ankles looked like that.
  • “Shinnecock Hills’ 13th green…And we thought the speed limit was 35 miles per hour in Southampton?”
4. LET Q-School
Brentley Romine on LET card earners… “Bronte Law set a new tournament record Thursday in Morocco as she earned her Ladies European Tour card for next season….Law, a 23-year-old UCLA product from Stockport, England, shot 26-under 334 to earn medalist honors at the final stage of Lalla Aicha Tour School, the tour’s version of Q-School. Law posted rounds of 70-71-62-64-67 at Amelkis Golf Club to edge Sweden’s Linnea Strom, who played two-and-a-half seasons at Arizona State before turning pro last winter, by a shot.”
  • “The previous 90-hole scoring record was 331. Law’s third-round, 10-under 62 included tournament records for most birdies (12) and most consecutive birdies (nine).”
  • “German amateur Esther Henseleit, England’s Sian Evans and Ireland’s Leona Maguire also earned fully-exempt status for next season. Maguire needed to defeat Sarah Nilsson in a playoff after each player finished at 13 under. The former Duke standout, who won two Annika Awards in four seasons with the Blue Devils, holed a 15-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole.”
5. Mike Taylor on his work for Bernhard Langer
Andrew Tursky talked with Mike Taylor at Artisan Golf about the 5-iron manufactured by his company presently being gamed by gray-haired maestro. Langer plays a mixed set of clubs, with artillery from different manufacturers, including the cavity back 5-iron from Artisan pictured above.
  • Here’s Taylor…”Me and the boys, we did the ’99 Apex irons back in the day, and he sent a bunch of clubs here once so we could measure them all out. And his long-irons, at that time, were ’99 Apex raws that had enough lead tape on those things they could have gotten clearance on a nuclear reactor. But you know what, I love the way he looks at his stuff. An 8-iron is an 8-iron. (He doesn’t have to play a 7-iron) just because it’s married to the 8-iron. He’s looking for 14 tools that he’s got confidence in, and that’s all it is.”
  • “To give you a little bit of a backstory on how that happened, one of my buddies was a fitter here at The Oven for a long time. He works for Titleist now, but Scott worked with Bernhard a lot when he worked for Adams back in the day. The story was that (Bernhard) had been looking for new irons for years, but he’s very sensitive. You know, when you put his clubs down, if you held them, you’d see a lot of offset in those golf clubs. And that’s one of the things that his eye is very keen to, is the offset that he likes.
  • “We made some golf clubs at first, they were just some clubs that I ground on. We had some finished heads and we built them up, sent them to him, he tested them. And based upon those tests, he decided that initially he wanted us to make him a blade set. We made the blade set first. Then, he tested those. Then, when they were playing at the event in Houston this year, Scott and myself did some additional testing with him. We took some of the cavity-back stuff with us. And that test results in ‘Ok, I want you to make me a cavity back set.’ So, we made a blade set and a cavity-back set.”
6. Vote for the European Tour’s Shot of the Year
EuropeanTour.com Staff...”There was over a million shots hit during the 2018 Race to Dubai season. But only one can be crowned European Tour Shot of the Year.”
  • “Who wins is down to your vote. We’ve selected the ten best shots caught on camera from the year, all you have to do is watch each of the shots and pick your favourite. The winner will be the shot with the most fan votes.”
  • “Will it be Ross Fisher’s hole in one, Justin Thomas’ clutch hole out, Renato Paratore’s 72nd hole escape, Edoardo Molinari’s ace, Russell Knox’s play-off winning putt, Dylan Frittelli’s enormous eagle putt, Nicolas Colsaerts’ albatross, Eddie Pepperell’s rebound hole in one, Andy Sullivan’s driver off the deck or Justin Rose’s perfect hole out in Turkey? The decision is yours.”
7. The merits of sneaking in a round on Christmas
The folks at National Club Golfer discuss under what circumstances it is acceptable to play golf on Christmas Day.
  • “Steve: If I could scale the locked fence at the club I would do this every year. It’s a perfect day for a quick nine holes. There’s no-one about, you’ve usually got some new gear to put to the test, and you can whizz round in about an hour. That’s exactly the time my other half is usually out of the house at the Christmas Park Run so everyone is a winner.”
  • “James: I’m not sure it’s acceptable. Not if you have a partner, especially not if you have children. Maybe if your other half played as well and you could go out together once the kids have all flown the nest.”
  • “Alex: I have done this a couple of times in the past – it’s the best day to play by a mile – but not a chance now I have offspring. I’ll have to just wait until she’s old enough to caddie for me.”
8. Best golfers without entering a major entering 2019
Kyle Porter assembles his list of the best players on Tour without a major championship with the new year approaching.
Here are a few of his selections.
  • “Jon Rahm: He doubles as the most decorated on this list as well. For the second consecutive year, he won at least three times worldwide and solidified his spot as one of the handful of guys most likely to win the most majors from this point going forward.”
  • “Bryson DeChambeau: Only Rory McIlroy got to five wins more quickly in recent years. I don’t think DeChambeau is “somewhere between McIlroy and Spieth” good, but he’s certainly being undervalued.”
  • “Rickie Fowler: He’s the lightning rod for this conversation. I won’t belabor the point — I’ve done that plenty elsewhere — but he remains one of the most underrated big tournament players in the world.”
9. Not hollow after all
Andrew Tursky reveals that, contrary to the assumptions of most, Ping’s Blueprint irons are indeed fully forged and not hollow bodied.
  • “Despite getting play on TOUR, however, the iron designs remained shrouded in a bit of mystery. Most golfers assumed the screw in the toe signified that the irons have a hollow body design, much like the Ping’s new i500. Most golfers were incorrect.”
  • “During a recent trip to Ping Headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, company representatives informed me that the irons do not have a hollow-body design, and that the screw in the toe is to add weight.”
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  1. smz

    Dec 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    If it ain’t {{{hollow}}} they ain’t gonna be in my WITB arsenal of gonadal weaponry… PXG and TM are technologically superior with hollow irons… and hollow drivers… and hollow golfers.

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News

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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5 questions with Justin Kinney of Virtual Golf Caddy

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We chatted with Justin Kinney, founder and CEO of startup Virtual Golf Caddy about his product, which serves both courses and players, by offering drone arial photography of golf courses (with graphics overlayed).

While drone photography and videography of golf courses is an established phenomenon, using the photos and video for better course management and preparation is a relatively new approach.

We wanted to learn more about what VGC is doing, and Kinney was kind enough to answer a handful of questions and include an example of the company’s work.

1. Tell us a bit about your background

I am 38 years old, born and raised in Connecticut. Lifelong golfer. Just finishing up my career as a middle school math teacher to focus on VGC full-time. I also have five years of business experience managing people’s retirement accounts. I played as many sports as I could growing up, and love the thrill of competition.

2. What’s the opportunity you saw?

I agreed to caddie for one of my students two summers ago. When researching the courses he was going to play, there was NO info on the courses. I thought there was a huge opportunity to provide course management strategies for players and give players a view of the entire courses with drones. No one was really doing anything like that, so I spent the past two years working on and building my business plan. Two months ago I secured funding to work on this full-time.

3. What is Virtual Golf Caddy, exactly?

VGC is a golf preparation and mental conditioning program designed to help give golfers a game plan to attack courses with. We provide drone views of each hole as well as course management strategies on how to best play each hole. Shot suggestions are given based on how far and confident players hit their clubs. We include mental conditioning tips and exercises to help players “zone in” more often and consistently. We are considering getting into golf fitness and nutrition as well to help build the whole golfer. Players purchase access to each course’s videos and info for either $15 or $25 per course, depending on how much info they want. They get unlimited access to the videos and can watch them wherever (home, airport, hotel, course).

4. What stage is the business in, and can you show us an example of VCG in action? 

We are still in the start-up phase. We are making agreements with and filming at courses. The website is being redesigned and will be up in June. It appears like things may take off quickly so stay tuned!

For an example, check out the video below.

6. What else should GolfWRX members know?

We are looking for courses to partner with. We will give courses free publicity on our site, a promotional video from the footage to use on their site, and share 15 percent of their courses profits with them. A win-win for everyone involved! If readers know of any courses, please email us.

One other thing to add: the mental prep/conditioning program is being built by renowned sports psychologist Bill Cole, MS, MA. It is legit and comes from over 40 years of research and experience! We’re also pursuing options in fitness and nutrition.

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