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GolfWRX Morning 9: Execs on the future of golf equipment | Best par 3 courses | Quirks of Tour pro speech

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

December 27, 2018

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. The Match returneth
Gianni Magliocco with the details…”The match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson was one of the most talked about events in the world of golf in 2018, and it appears that the alternative event is one that we will see more of in the future.”
  • “According to this report from Golf Digest, Woods and Mickelson signed a three-year deal, which locked in an annual event involving the two men until 2020.”
  • “Turner’s three-year deal is with both Woods’ and Mickelson’s business companies, so you can certainly expect both men to be involved in the following two events. However, as per the report, the next match-up is highly likely to be a team event, which will draw an extra two players to the contest, along with Woods and Mickelson.”
2. Former top Indian golfer arrested for poaching
Our Gianni Magliocco…”On Wednesday, former top Indian golfer, Jyoti Randhawa, was arrested on poaching charges by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department.”
  • “Randhawa was arrested inside the forest of the Motipur range of Katarniaghat. The 46-year-old had killed a jungle fowl, and inside the Indian’s vehicle, the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department recovered the skin of an animal which Randhawa claimed was a wild boar. The skin, however, was that of a sambar deer.”
  • “Speaking concerning the arrest, Director of the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Ramesh Pandey stated…”Our staff was on alert. We had this tip-off that a few people are roaming around in the area, and their moves appeared suspicious. Jyoti Singh Randhawa and Mahesh Virajdar have been arrested for poaching and unauthorised entry in a forest area.”
  • “A vehicle, weapon and other equipment have been seized with the skin of… (an) animal and a dead jungle fowl. They have been sent to jail and further legal action is being taken.”
3. Cheating scandal
While the implementation of the app is ostensibly the focus of the article, the cheating itself is pretty wild…
  • Joel Beall at Golf Digest…”Last spring the Michigan High School Athletic Association was rocked with a major cheating scandal when three schools-Anchor Bay, L’Anse Creuse and Fraser-were accused of shaving strokes in the state tournament. The schools, playing together in multiple groups, each shot a score more than 45 strokes lower than their teams’ season averages. For Anchor Bay, their total of 284 became the new all-time record for state regionals.”
  • “Though the two schools that would have advanced in the places of Anchor Bay and L’Anse Creuse filed a petition, the state association said it did not have enough proof to void the controversial scores. This problem became amplified during the state championship when Anchor Bay shot 738 (385-353) and L’Anse Creuse posted 777 (401-376) to finish in the bottom two spots.”
  • “Hoping to correct the issue going forward, the MHSAA will turn to an app to track scores in-round to curbing cheating in 2019.”
3. The quirks of Tour speech
A singular bit of writing from Shane Ryan, who poured over transcripts for a piece on the individual peculiarities of Tour pro speech.
A bit of what he found.
  • “Brooks Koepka: “I mean…” The three-time major winner has an enormous chip on his shoulder about the way he’s covered in the media, but maybe the real reason is just that he needs a more spectacular verbal crutch. Looking at his PGA Championship presser alone, he uses the relatively mundane “I mean” a whopping 19 times. “
  • “Justin Rose: “Obviously… “ This is a very common one in the world of professional sports, particularly golf, and despite Rose’s relative polish compared to his peers, he is not immune. In his victory presser at the Turkish Airlines Open, he deployed “obviously” 10 times.”
  • “Dustin Johnson: “Definitely” and “I felt like… “ DJ employs almost every cliche in the book as he slogs his way through his pressers, but his two most prominent crutches are “definitely” (a close cousin of “obviously”) and “I felt like.”
4. Molinari to focus on PGA Tour
AP Report…”Francesco Molinari says he may not play in Europe until the 19th-ranked Italian defends his British Open title in July.”
  • “The lure of the US PGA Tour and changes made to the European Tour calendar will combine to leave the London-based golfer short of available dates to compete on his home circuit next year.”
  • “Molinari is even struggling to commit to the British Masters in May, despite receiving an invitation from tournament host, close friend and Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood.”
5. Execs on the 5-year future of equipment
David Dusek at Golfweek chatted with a number of executives about the future of golf equipment.
  • Here’s a bit from Bob Philion, president, Cobra/Puma Golf and Puma North America.
  • ‘Innovate or die’…”I like to say, ‘Innovate or die.’ To be successful we need to push the boundaries of what is possible, delivering products that challenge the status quo, are truly innovative and help golfers of all levels enjoy the game and look and feel their best while playing.
  • “Tying into innovation, technology and data are changing the way we play golf, particularly amongst the next generation of golfers. With access to Tour-level analytics, through offerings like Cobra Connect powered by Arccos, we’re introducing a new way to experience the game. The data every amateur golfer now has access to with Cobra Connect will change how they play, how they practice, how they work with coaches and ultimately how they purchase equipment. That desire for data will only continue to grow, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that initiative, providing the information necessary to fuel improvements in people’s games.
  • “I also see things expanding on the customization front, as the demand for custom, personally fitted products, continues to grow.”
6. Woods knows what he’s capable of in 2019
USAToday’s Steve DiMeglio filed a piece that is at once a look back at Tiger’s 2018 rise from the ashes and a look ahead at the possibilities of 2019.
  • A morsel…”While Woods knows Father Time is undefeated – he turns 43 on Dec. 30 – he’s been blessed with a second chance and will march on in 2019, confident he can win again. He has begun his offseason prep work, both in the weight room and on the golf course, and he could begin his year in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii the first week of January. If not, expect his first event to be the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, which he’s won a record seven times and captured his 14th and most recent major title, the 2008 U.S. Open.”
  • “Also expect to see him play his favorite stops – the Genesis Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Players Championship, the Memorial. And the sites of three of the four majors could prove fruitful again as Woods tries to hunt down Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship titles. Augusta National is home to the Masters, which Woods has won four times, most recently in 2005; the PGA Championship is at Bethpage Black, where he won the 2002 U.S. Open; and the U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach, where he won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots.”
  • “His peers again expect a challenge on their hands no matter where Woods plays. Bryson DeChambeau, the only player to win four PGA Tour titles in 2018, expects more of Woods’ “greatness to come forth.” Reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed said Woods “isn’t done winning.” Rickie Fowler said the red shirt “means something again on Sundays.”
7. Best Par 3 courses in America
Josh Sens does the textual honors for Golf.com’s list of the best par 3 tracks in America.
Here are a few…
  • THE LINKS AT TERRANEA, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA...”A boomerang. A punchbowl. A “Portuguese Bend.” No, those aren’t items on a hipster cocktail menu. They’re distinctive green designs at Todd Eckenrode’s scenic nine-holer, a family-friendly venue in a scenic locale along the California coast.”
  • THE SANDBOX, Sand Valley Golf Resort, Nekoosa, WI...””Take what the land gives you.” Call it the unofficial motto of the Keiser family, the same bunch who brought you Bandon Dunes. What the land has given them at their burgeoning new resort in central Wisconsin is two 18-hole courses, a third in the making and this 17-hole (yes, 17) short course, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Sandbox is the perfect name for it, given its dune-sy setting and its receptiveness to creative play.”
  • THREETOPS, Treetops Resort, Gaylord, MI…“In the olden days, before the rise of $9 million pay-per-view extravaganzas, golf’s silly season featured quaint entertainments like the ESPN Par-3 Shootout. That dinosaur of an event died in 2006, but the course endures and it’s a gem-a Rick Smith-designed stunner, etched through the piney hills of northern Michigan.”
  • THE CRADLE, Pinehurst Resort…“At Pinehurst’s birth, more than a century ago, the property was dubbed the Cradle of American of Golf. From that cradle grew an iconic resort that now boasts 10 courses, including, yes, The Cradle, a stellar Gil Hanse design with nine artful holes ranging in length from 56 to 127 yards.”
8. No Tiger at Kapalua
ESPN’s Bob Harig...”After considerable speculation that he might play the Sentry Tournament of Champions for the first time since 2005, sources said Woods has elected to forego the tournament he qualified for by winning the Tour Championship in September.”
“Woods could still change his mind and has until Friday at the close of business to enter the tournament played annually at the Kapalua Resort on Maui. He has made no public statement, nor is he required to; a commitment is essentially the process by which players are required to enter PGA Tour events.”
9. In memoriam
Fine work by Brittany Romano at GolfWorld compiling the list of individuals we lost in 2018.
  • “Individuals connected to the game of golf who died in 2018 made an impact on the sport in many different ways. From professional golfers to golf course architects to well-known personalities with affinities for golf, their contributions and legacies will not be forgotten.”
  • “The golf world mourned-along with the country-the death of George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States and a fierce golf advocate. Golf also lost a former USGA president and beacon of morality in golf, Jim Hand.”
  • “The golf media will remember a few of its prominent voices who passed away in Keith Jackson, a staple in ABC Sports coverage; Marcia Chambers, whose writing worked to address race and gender discrimination issues in golf; and Dave Anderson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his sports writing.”
  • “The loss of a handful of prominent players, among them World Golf Hall of Famers Peter Thomson, Doug Ford and Carol Mann, brought back memories of triumphant moments in the sport. But it wasn’t just the victories we recalled, but the spirit of the individuals themselves, none more vividly than Australian golfer Jarrod Lyle. The 36-year-old’s long battle with cancer was felt across the golf community and particularly hard felt on the PGA Tour. Players and officials wore yellow ribbons to honor him and his courageous fight.”
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  1. Tom

    Dec 27, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    USGA equipment rules parameters have all but stopped manufacturers from introducing new conforming equipment with any discernible performance benefit…..all these companies have left to offer are smoke and mirror claims trying to get in your wallet. Be smart with your hard earned money, snake oil salesmen are trying to take it from you.

  2. marvin

    Dec 27, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    Since I’ve topped out in my golfswing, I look forward to new clubs with high technology features that will improve my distances and dispersion. I don’t mind buying new clubs if they can help me with my game and score.

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Tour News

GolfWRX visits with Ryan Palmer

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The 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial is upon us. I got the chance to sit down with three-time PGA Tour winner and Colonial Country Club member Ryan Palmer ahead of his opening round at the PGA Tour’s stop in Fort Worth, Texas. We discussed why he loves Colonial, how it felt to win on tour again, his friendship with Jon Rahm, the Ryan Palmer Foundation, and why he chooses not to have a club equipment sponsorship.

(GolfWRX spoke with the actual, not the cardboard, Ryan Palmer)

JN: Do you have a home field advantage here at Colonial?

RP: To a point, I guess. Obviously, I have played this golf course in every type of wind. I mean, I know certain holes play shorter than they are. So, a little bit of an advantage because I don’t put much stress into the golf course itself. I just know it. And of course, James, my caddie, knows it. And that is nice. But I do put more pressure on myself because I want to play well here

JN: Why did you decide to join Colonial as a full golfing member?

RP: The history of it. To me, it’s one of the most prestigious clubs…if not the most prestigious club…in Dallas/Fort Worth. History of the golf course, history of the tournament. The more and more I played it…playing in the tournament for 16 years now…the guys that play in the ‘big game’ took me in and they’ve thrown a few parties for James and me after we won a few times. I thought the best way to give back then is to join and become a full member.

JN: How often do you play out here?

RP: If I am home for a week, I play at least twice a week. Just to play in the big game. If I am home and playing golf, I am playing here.

JN: Tell me about the Ryan Palmer Foundation

RP: I started it in ’03 in Amarillo with my dad and my good friend Billy Slaughter. We do a lot of different things but our biggest thing now is our brighter smiles initiative through dentistry. My wife Jennifer is a dentist. And our good friend Chris Swayden with Smile Workshop here in DFW does a lot of our work here and then Kyle Sparkman in Amarillo, Texas does all our dental work out there. The biggest thing was just bringing in kids to boost their self-esteem, give them a better way of life. A lot of their families don’t have the means and the funds to provide dental care. It’s an easy decision to help these kids and give these kids a sense of confidence. I have read stories about kids wearing hoodies to school because of their teeth. That’s pretty sad. I have always been about giving back and having an immediate impact. So what better way than to provide dental care.

JN: How big was that win at the Zurich in New Orleans for you?

RP: It was unbelievable. Nine years since our last win. But to have Jennifer, my wife, there and our son Mason, 12 years old, was there. He was there in ’08 when I won. But he was a year and half so he had no clue. In 2010, they weren’t there. But to have them there and have him finally see it. Mason always asks “Dad, are you going to get a trophy?” So to have him there to finally witness it…that was special.

JN: How did the partnership with Jon Rahm come about?

RP: We met in ’15 at the Phoenix Open. I knew Jordan wasn’t playing this year at Zurich. Jon and I had played some rounds together. He played in my charity event last year. So, I knew Jon a little bit and I know his caddie, Adam Hayes real well. We’ve known him since we have been on tour, James and I. And so, I talked to James about players we should want to play with and Jon was one of the top ones. So, I texted Adam and mentioned the idea to Jon and he loved it. Jon and my games are pretty similar as far as ball striking. So I shot Jon a text and he accepted.

AVONDALE, LA – APRIL 28: Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm fist bump on the fourth hole during the final round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2019 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

JN: Are you going to play together again next year?

RP: It would be hard not to play together again next year. I will have to run it by Jordan….no I’m kidding. Jordan was happy for me and excited. He gets it. As long as Jon wants to play, we will go try to defend.

JN: What are your thoughts on not having a full bag club sponsorship?

RP: It is just a matter of playing with what I like. When I first got on tour, you would sign a full deal and it was pretty good. Now you are signing for balls and all 14 clubs. I love the Taylor Made driver but they cut out the driver only deals. They went just full line. Fortunately, with the help of Mike Chisholm and Chisholm Sports, I have some great corporate partners. United Rentals, a great deal with Unisys, RBC. I am able to have these corporate sponsors allow me to play what I want. I made some comments like ‘two hundred grand is not worth an equipment contract on tour because of what you can make that week.’

So, I got ribbed a little bit for making that comment but honestly it is not worth it in today’s game. We play for so much money now each and every week that by the time you get a $200,000 deal, you’re paying taxes and management, at the end of the day its worth a top 20-finish. And then you have to play those clubs all year long, whether you like them or not. So now I can play whatever putter or iron or driver I want. I am only under contract with ball, shoes and gloves. Footjoy and Titleist. I test and I tinker now and then but I always go back to what I have performed with in the past. I stand over a tee shot and I think, I know I hit this driver this way at this tournament at this particular moment. Why would I change?

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Morning 9: U.S. Open qualifiers | USGA x Marvel? | Tiger miniseries?

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Owing to technical difficulties, please enjoy this very low-tech (let’s call it “minimalist”) version of the M9

1. Weir, and other U.S. Open qualifiers

AP Report…”Former Masters champion Mike Weir is headed back to the U.S. Open for the first time in six years as one of 10 players who advanced Monday from the first of 12 sectional qualifiers.”

  • “Brendon Todd continued his resurgence with rounds of 65-66 at Northwood Club and Bent Tree to share medalist honors with Nick Taylor of Canada.”
  • “Weir opened with a 69 at Northwood and secured his spot with a 67 at Bent Tree to avoid extra holes.”

Full piece

More on yesterday’s qualifying in Dallas from the USGA’s David Shefter…

  • “Todd, a former University of Georgia All-America honoree, shot 10-under-par 131 at The Northwood Club and Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas, Texas, on Monday to share medalist honors with Nick Taylor in the first of 12 U.S. Open sectional qualifiers. Ten players advanced from a strong field of 102 players that included several PGA Tour and Web.com Tour competitors.”
  • “The 36-hole sectional qualifier in Japan is scheduled for May 27, while the remaining 10 qualifiers are set for June 3 – eight in the United States, one in England and another in Canada.”
  • “I’m pumped,” said Todd, who owns one PGA Tour and three Web.com Tour victories since turning professional in 2007. “This was on my list for about a year to try and qualify for Pebble. It’s one of my favorite courses in the world. I just can’t wait to get out there and play Pebble in a U.S. Open setup. I think it will set up good for me. I think it will be firm [and] I drive it straight. It’s a course-management golf course. You’ve got to put it in the fairway, keep it under the hole and score well.”

Full piece.

Full results here.

2. Fassi!

The AP’s Doug Ferguson on Maria Fassi (ANWA runner up) capturing the NCAA individual title handily…

  • “Fassi, with her high energy and a powerful swing, delivered a bogey-free round of 68 to win the NCAA individual title by four shots. She is the first woman from Arkansas to win the NCAA title since Stacy Lewis in 2007.”
  • And from Fassi…”After a pretty perfect year that my junior year was … and then heading to nationals and playing pretty bad golf was not fun,” Fassi told Golf Channel. “It was a feeling that I never wanted to feel again. I think I just grew from that. I don’t like feeling that way, I don’t like finishing second. I think those are things that fuel me. They make me wake up early, go work out and stay here to dark practicing. I think those are the things that have helped me this year.”
  • “I think not winning at Augusta was probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I can say that now that I have reflected. I know that not winning was probably what needed to happen because I knew I was going to learn a lot more from coming in second versus pulling that one off. Of course I hate losing, but coming here I knew what I was going to be put up against.”

Full piece.

3. Who’s missing?

Begging the question… was it worth it?

Golfweek’s Forecaddie…”The list of players who turned pro midseason this year was particularly long thanks in large part to changes the LPGA made to its qualifying process…The Man Out Front got to wondering – where are they now?”

A few of the departed…

  • “Robyn Choi, Colorado – Missed three cuts so far on the LPGA this season and one on the Ladies European Tour. Ranks 66th on the Symetra Tour money list with $4,381 after making four of five cuts.”
  • “Kristen Gillman, Alabama – Ranks 33rd on the LPGA money list at $156,459, getting a huge boost from a T-6 at the ANA Inspiration. (That’s the week she likely would’ve been playing at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur.) Not only has her card locked up for 2020, the Solheim Cup is not out of the question.”
  • “Lauren Stephenson, Alabama – Started 2019 rookie year with a T-8 at the Vic Open. Ranks 75th on the money list with $55,673 in seven starts.”

Full piece.

4. Back to the Black

Geoff Shackelford’s thoughts on adjustments to Bethpage ahead of the Ryder Cup’s turn at the venue (plenty of time!)

  • “…Not much needs to be done at Bethpage Black for the 2024 Ryder Cup…Take down the rough cut for the bomb-and-gouge loving American team, more concession stands and way more grandstand seating…”
  • “The most complicated of all involves the oft-discussed, widely loathed par-4 18th hole…Tweaks were made this time around, more bunkers added to the already excessively-trapped, straightaway mess and a dreadful finishing hole remained so. The last time a major was played at Bethpage, the USGA tried to improve 18 by moving up tees and that just led to the regrettable sight of 6-iron lay ups and a sense that the hole was no better.”
  • “In the past, consideration was given to creating a hybrid hole utilizing the righthand bunker complex, the first fairway on the Red, and the current 18th green. Many others have advocated that players be asked to take a walk from the par-3 17th to the Red Course’s 18th tee.”

Full piece.

5. Hovland wins Ben Hogan Award

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Viktor Hovland received the Ben Hogan Award at Colonial C.C. on Monday night.”

  • “The Oklahoma State junior beat Cowboys teammate Matthew Wolff and California’s Collin Morikawa for the prize, which is given to the nation’s best collegiate golfer. (The award used to be primarily academic based, but its criteria changed in 2002.) Though Wolff has received more media attention, the honor encapsulates all amateur competitions, which made Hovland the easy choice.”
  • “The 21-year-old out of Norway is currently No. 1 in the world amateur rankings, a standing spurred by winning the 2018 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach. That victory earned an invite to Augusta National this past spring, where Hovland finished as the Masters Low Am. He also captured three collegiate events this season, and finished second at last year’s European Am.”

Full piece.

6. USGA x Marvel

A real thing that is actually happening…

  • Via Golfweek staff…”The USGA announced Tuesday it has partnered with the Marvel Universe for a comic book using some of the Marvel Super Heroes teaching kids the basics of playing golf.”
  • “The books will be available prior to the U.S. Open online. Limited-edition Marvel-themed golf posters will be distributed at the Junior Experience on June 9 at Pebble Beach.”
  • “The story follows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and other Avengers as they teach the next generation of Marvel Super Heroes about golf.”

Full piece.

7. The big win that wasn’t

Golf Digest’s Stephen Hennessey…

  • “It turns out, there was another huge payday on the line at Bethpage Black on Friday of the PGA Championship, just not one that would’ve been on anyone’s radars.”
  • “The Vegas Sports Information Network reported on the very bold “make-the-cut” parlay for the PGA Championship placed by Icelandic gambler Spencer McIlmoyle. For the casual reader, a parlay is a wager with multiple bets included, and it only pays out if every bet wins. McIlmoyle’s bet was a $3,448 10-leg parlay on seven golfers to make the cut and three golfers to miss the cut. The potential payday? $155,000.”
  • “Amazingly, McIlmoyle nailed nine of the 10 golfers’ outcomes, correctly predicting Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Maytsuyama, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau and Webb Simpson all to make the cut, and Jason Dufner and Branden Grace to miss the cut. It all came down to Shane Lowry to miss the cut, and a birdie by Lowry on his second-to-last hole of his second round moved Lowry inside the cut line, costing the gambler the six-figure payday.”

Full piece.

8. JT to return from wrist injury at Memorial

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…

“It appears Justin Thomas’ injury sabbatical is coming to an end.”

  • “Thomas, who dropped out of the PGA Championship last Monday and the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks before that due to an ailing wrist, has committed to next week’s Memorial. The tournament announced Thomas’ participation on Tuesday morning.”
  • “The 26-year-old, who dealt with a similar issue at the end of last season, hurt his wrist at the Honda Classic after hitting a tree with his club in March. In 11 starts this season, Thomas boasts five top 10s, highlighted by a runner-up at the Genesis Open. His last event was at the 2019 Masters, where he finished T-12.”

Full piece.

9. Tiger miniseries?

Report via Tim Baysinger at The Wrap

  • “A scripted miniseries on Tiger Woods, based on Jeff Benedict’s book about pro golfer is in development at Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment.”
  • “Benedict reached a deal with Montgomery to set up a joint venture at WHE, with “Tiger Woods” as the first project that Benedict and Wheelhouse will take to market. The book, which Benedict co-authored with “60 Minutes” correspondent Armen Keteyian, was published last year and became a New York Times bestseller.”

Full piece. 

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifier at Northwood Club

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GolfWRX had feet on the ground at Northwood Club in Dallas, Texas for this Monday’s U.S. Open sectional qualifying. We have seven galleries in our forums filled to the brim with photos from Monday’s action, and here are ten interesting selections for you to enjoy.

“Talk to me Goose.” And presumably, “I feel the need for speed.” Top Gun all the way!

Jim Nous’ bag full of Ping clubs features three visible wedges all with different bounce.

Blaine Hale rocking this great looking TaylorMade Spider headcover.

Shorts on the course –  a rarity.

Conner Koberg showing off his colors with this Iowa State headcover.

Julius Boros won the 1952 U.S. Open at Northwood Club. One of his three major triumphs. How about that bag?

Stephen Jaeger played collegiate golf at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, but he’s quite clearly proud of his homeland too.

Noah Goodwin is another player who loves the raw finish on the Callaway Apex MB irons.

Up close with the Titleist 718 T-MB utility iron

.

A glance at Northwood Club itself.

Check out all of Monday’s photos on our forums.

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