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Morning 9: Tales from a 42-year-old Tour rookie | Rules-related takeaways from Tour rollout

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

January 9, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. No Steph Curry event in 2019
ESPN’s Bob Harig with the news, building off a San Francisco Chronicle report.
  • “A PGA Tour event that was to be hosted by Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry has been put on hold for 2019 due to an inability to bring together all of the factors needed to stage a tournament in a short time frame.”
  • “The tour confirmed in a statement Tuesday night that the event scheduled to be played at Lake Merced Golf Club outside of San Francisco in September will not take place this year.”
  • “The San Francisco Chronicle first reported that discussions with potential title sponsor Workday had broken off and, along with other factors, the event would not be played in 2019.”
  • “While Stephen Curry still hopes to bring a PGA Tour event to the San Francisco area, the tour released a statement Tuesday saying the event won’t be held in 2019 as initially hoped. “
  • “Due to a combination of factors, we are unable to bring a proposed event to San Francisco at this time,” the PGA Tour said in a statement. “While it has been reported that sponsorship was the primary factor, this is untrue. The bottom line is the short timeframe for creating an event in early fall of 2019 was the biggest obstacle.
To paraphrase Geoff Shackelford regarding the issue: Why didn’t the Tour just agree to finance the event year one once the sponsor pulled out? Getting Steph on board as a tournament host ought to be that important, right?
2. Biggest Rules-related takeaways one week in
Digest’s Dave Shedloski caught up with Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s Senior Managing Director of Governance, following the first week of the new rules roll out. Pagel was on site at last week’s TOC.
“What is the most common issue so far that players have asked about in your interactions with them?”
  • “The most common question is guys trying to get a handle on the dropping procedure. The drop is the one area where there needs to be a lot of thought. Frankly, and I told this to them: If they do that incorrectly, that’s one area where they can be penalized if they act as they did in 2018. In a lot of areas we’re removed penalties if they acted as they would before. As opposed to the drop where they need to remember it’s knee height. And once it’s in the relief area, then it’s good. If they play outside the relief area, it’s now a two-shot penalty.
  • “You can make a drop from shoulder height without penalty. You simply have to re-drop from knee-height before you play the shot. The rules allow you do undue any procedural breach before you make a stroke. So, if you drop from shoulder height, which we have been doing for 30 years, then you can re-drop properly. There’s a misconception that it’s a penalty. Only if you play the shot. In six weeks, we’ll all forget about shoulder height.”
3. The players love Paddy
Rex Hoggard rounds up some European player remarks about the Captain-elect.
“You would assume his attention to detail would be flawless because that’s just the way Padraig is with his own golf game,” said Paul Casey, a member of last year’s winning European team in Paris. “I’ve never met anybody that seems to be on this quest to find this secret to golf.”
  • “When asked to describe what kind of captain Harrington might be, Ian Poulter, the heart and soul of the European team since 2004, rattled off a verbal resume that could double as a blueprint for a modern captain.”
  • “He’s been vice captain, he has an abundance of experience, very thoughtful guy who would do a great job,” Poulter said. “He’s vocal and has plenty to say. He’s opinionated. From the time I’ve spent with him in a team room he’s always listened and that’s a great thing.
4. That first check
Good stuff from Helen Ross at PGATour.com talking to pros about their first pro golf paydays.
J.J. Spaun remembers winning $10,000 at a Gateway Tour event in Arizona. He held a share of the lead entering the final round and played the last 18 holes riding in the same cart with Jimmy Gunn, the man who was tied with him.
“That’s mini-tour golf for you,” Spaun chuckles.
Spaun, who hadn’t planned to play in the tournament and didn’t arrive in time for a practice round, took a one-stroke lead into the last hole and sealed the deal. He got the winner’s check in the mail several days later.
“I didn’t get one of those big ones like Happy Gilmore, but I did get a trophy,” Spaun recalls.
  • The money was enough to essentially bankroll Spaun in Canada that summer. He drove home to Los Angeles after the tournament ended and took his parents out to dinner to celebrate the win.
  • “Ultimately the goal is to be on the PGA TOUR and to succeed and to win, but you’ve kind of got to win at every level, every step of the way to kind of prove that you have what it takes,” Spaun says. “So I’m glad that I was able to win at that mini-tour level to kind of prove to myself that I could make a living at this.”
  • “Ryan Armour, who picked up his first TOUR win at the 2017 Sanderson Farms Championship, knows about those stepping stones.”
  • “He played the mini-tours for the better part of five years after graduating from Ohio State in 1999 with a degree in communications. In between tournaments, Armour worked in a wine shop.”
  • “His first pro start produced a top-10 finish and a whopping $32 paycheck – remember, this was 20 years ago. Armour cashed the check at the same store where he was selling all those bottles of chardonnay and cabernet.”
  • “And lo and behold, (the owner) saves that check and sends it to me like 10 years later, framed,” he recalls. “It was pretty cool.”
5. Breakthrough major winners of 2019?
Our Gianni Magliocco compiled his list of majorless players he thinks are most likely to be majorful by the end of 2019.
Two of his selections.
  • Rickie Fowler…”Fowler and his fans must be sick of the sight of his name appearing on these lists. Fowler came within touching distance at last year’s Masters tournament, and his clutch back nine finally proved that he has it in him to raise his game at the crucial moments. The confidence provided by that final round at Augusta in 2018 may make all the difference for the 30-year-old.”
  • “Most likely major to win?…The Masters. With four top-12 finishes at the year’s opening major in the last five years, Fowler has shown that he has the perfect game to capture a green jacket. Solo second last year, and with the way he’s capable of putting, he has every chance of going one better this April.”
  • “Bryson DeChambeau...The astronomical rise of Bryson DeChambeau in the past six months has been spectacular to watch. Four wins on the PGA Tour since June speaks for itself, as the American has developed into a ruthless closer. Lack of form in the majors isn’t overly concerning due to the level of play he has shown since August. DeChambeau is a far better player now than he was when he last teed it up in a major championship.”
  • “Most likely major to win?…You can make a case that DeChambeau could compete at all four this year. The 25-year-old would love to taste victory at Augusta more than anywhere, and he may well do it. But as with Schauffele, the PGA Championship’s more conventional set-up now offers the best opportunity for those in their 20’s looking to get their first major. Therefore, DeChambeau’s best chance is likely to come at Bethpage Black.”
6. Special invitation: accepted
Golf Channel’s Will Gray...”Japan’s Shugo Imahira has accepted a special invitation to participate in the 2019 Masters”
  • “Imahira, 26, won the 2018 Order of Merit on the Japan Golf Tour and ended last year ranked No. 53 in the world rankings when a spot inside the top 50 would have earned a Masters exemption.”
  • “Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts established the Masters as a global sporting event, so throughout our history special invitations for deserving international players have always been carefully considered,” said Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley in a release. “We are pleased to continue this tradition by welcoming Shugo Imahira to our field this year based on his impressive record during the past 12 months.”
7. More 9&9
No surprise here.
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Last season the PGA Tour introduced a new pro-am format that allowed professionals the option to share their pro-am commitment with another player. It is called the “9 & 9″ option.”
  • “Under the “9 & 9” format, which was used at seven events in 2017-18, players could choose to play nine holes of the pro-am before being replaced by a second pro to finish the round. The program proved to be so successful that the Tour has expanded the option to 13 events in 2019, starting with this week’s Sony Open.”
  • “It gets the (pros) more engaged earlier in the round to make sure the guys are taking an interest in the guys they are playing with. Over 18 holes you have over five-and-a-half hours together so there’s no real urgency to get to know the guys,” Brandt Snedeker said Tuesday at the Sony Open. “In nine holes you feel more of an urgency to get to know guys in your group. And the amateurs have a better time getting to know a couple of pros instead of being with one guy the entire day.”
8. 42-year-old rookie
Dave Shedloski talked with journeyman and long-time mini-tour toiler, Chris Thompson, a rookie on the PGA Tour this season.
Thompson told this tale of U.S. Open Sectionals in Tampa.
  • “He and a friend, Ryan Vermeer, who last year won the PGA National Professional Championship, drove together to a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier from Kansas to Tampa, Fla. It took 20 hours plus an overnight stop to reach Old Memorial Club on the day before the qualifier.”
  • “”We get to the course, and I mean, we’re just peeling ourselves out of the car. Can’t move. Get the clubs and we’re going to the range,” Thompson said Tuesday at Waialae Country Club. “But we’re getting ready to walk across this lawn out in front of the clubhouse, and this security guy comes up and says, ‘Guys, can you hold up for a minute or two?’ We’re like, ‘I guess, yeah.’ We have been driving in the car for 20 hours, what’s another couple minutes?”
  • “They actually waited about 10 minutes. And then they heard the sound of whirring propellers. “It’s Greg Norman,” Thompson said. “He’s coming in to land his chopper on this lawn, and he’s going to go out and play.”
  • “We spent 20 hours in a car and Greg Norman is flying in on his chopper to play the same practice round. So that was kind of a glimpse of life on the mini tours.”
9. Sartorial snippets from the TOC
If you like tropical-themed golfwear, last week at the Tournament of Champions was a veritable island paradise for you.
Golf Digest’s Brittany Romano rounded up some of the best stuff, including Bubba Watson’s floral G/Fore shoes, below.
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GolfWRX takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Callaway ball plant

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In Chicopee, Massachusetts, there is an unassuming red brick building that predates the existence of every modern golf OEM. From the outside, it could be confused for any other American manufacturing facility if not for the proudly displayed Callaway sign. Inside, there are over 400 hard-working people producing the highest quality golf balls using state-of-the art manufacturing techniques and tools — this red brick building is the Callaway golf ball plant.

To understand what you see when you first enter the ball plant, it’s best to first understand why it is here in the first place. When I initially asked this question to one of my tour guides, Vincent Simonds, the Senior Director of Global Golf Ball Operations, his answer started with a story that predated cars…it was at this point I knew that these guys mean business.

The modern history, however, starts in 2003 when Callaway purchased Top-Flite brand and subsidiaries, and with it purchased the entire Top-Flite manufacturing facility. In its it heyday, Top-Flite/Spaulding was producing its full line of clubs and balls out of this building, and that included equipment made for Bobby Jones. Chicopee, Massachusetts, was essentially the center of the golf club technology universe.

Part of the original Spaulding golf club factory

Letter from Bobby Jones discussing the advantage of the newly designed ball

Page 2 of the Letter from Bobby Jones

When its comes to balls, most modern golfers don’t equate Top-Flite with premium equipment or breakthroughs, but during this time period the ball plant in Chicopee was responsible for just as many technology and scientific breakthroughs as its modern Callaway self.

One Example is Bob Molitor. In 1972, Molitor developed the first two-piece golf ball with a Surlyn cover by combining the right amounts of various ionomers. This allowed golf balls to have much greater durability and along with it improved distance. This development is part of the reason the USGA had to establish the “One Ball Rule” because players would switch out depending on the hole since there was a huge distance advantage to this Solid Core Surlyn Cover design. Imagine that – the USGA having to change rules to accommodate a new technology, seems to me our current daily discussions about bifurcation aren’t something so new after all.

There were a lot of other great innovations over the years that lead to new technology making its way into the bags of players all over the world, one of which caused a revolution that we still benefit from today. In the 90s Top-Flite, under the Strata brand, cracked the code of merging the soft, high-spin “tour ball” performance with the lower-spinning, longer-flying, and more durable “distance ball”, this three-piece ball was like two balls in one. Strata’s design team accomplished this feat by placing a soft polyurethane cover on a Top-Flite distance ball, and then added a thin layer between the cover and the core that encased the ball’s already large and solid rubber core. In short, the modern golf ball was born. 

This brings us back to the modern day Callaway ball plant, a facility where the average employee tenure exceeds 20 years, and where every single premium Callaway Ball on the planet is made. The thing I quickly realized upon entering the plant for the first time is the pride every person has for their role in making world class golf balls. This sense of pride, and a friendly, yet hard-working environment is something I witnessed before at Callaway’s Carlsbad facility too — a testament to the company’s corporate leadership and the culture that they promote everyday. The “Victory Flag,” as they call it, was flying high thanks to Xander Schauffele’s win just a few days before my visit. 

The start of production begins with materials formulation

I was able to observe a pre-shift meeting, and you would think that based on the discussion of machine tolerances, quality control, & equipment inspections this plant is making parts for a yet-to-be-seen shuttle being sent into space, but they’re talking golf balls. Speaking to the tolerances the plant works within, the in-house machine shop had some amazing equipment, including some things I unfortunately could not share through pictures. This equipment works with the tolerances of less than the 1/30th the thickness of a Post-It Note. For example, each single side to a cover mold for the Chrome Soft line takes more than 30 hours of machine time to complete — an amount of time which might seem excessive, but when you think of the speed and forces impacting a golf ball from first driver strike and along its parabolic trajectory, we really are talking space shuttle physics.

Some of the most impressive equipment has nothing to do with the performance of the balls but rather how they look. I’m talking here about the Truvis patterned balls. What was perceived by many golfers at first as a gimmick (and something than even some Callaway management believed would be a fad) has proven to be an absolute slam dunk. The pentagon pattern provides a tangible benefit by creating an optical illusion that makes the ball look bigger (and easier to hit) especially out of the rough, and also gives visual feedback for short game shots and putting.

Let’s just say that what started as a toe dip with one machine has turned into an area of the plant with more than a dozen machines,  and Callaway is also producing Truvis balls with custom colors and logos — they’re not just printing pentagons anymore.

GolfWRX Truvis

For actual production, every ball starts as raw materials, and compounds are precisely mixed in house, allowing Callaway to control the entire production process. The amount of materials engineering and chemistry I witnessed was way beyond what I was expecting, and to be frank, I went in with already high expectations. After initial mixing each batch is tested and sent to the next step.

Mixing Station

Pre cut core “slugs” ready for baking

Ever wonder why the cores of various golf balls from a single OEM are so bright and differently colored? It’s actually done to make each material identifiable in the process and give production staff another way to make sure materials get to the right manufacturing line. Of all the questions I asked, this one had the most simple answer.

Callaway ERC ( Left ) vs. Chrome Soft ( Right )

The next step is the “cooking” process of the inner core. Each oven press is precisely controlled for pressure and temperature along multiple areas of each unit, this ensures a core that comes from the outer part of the press is formed and “cooked” to the exact same spec as one from the middle. The same process is used for both parts of the dual core.  

Hydraulic press “oven” for producing cores

 

Cores post-pressing and still hot

Callaway utilized a proprietary manufacturing and molding technique to ensure exact specifications are met for centering the core and achieving correct cover thickness. Once the covers are in place, we officially have a golf ball, but we’re not done yet. There are still more quality control checks done by machine as well and humans to once again ensure each ball that leaves the plant is built to the highest quality standards and will perform just like the one before it.

Chrome Softs just after the cover process – Still very warm to the touch as the urethane cools

Even the final paint and clear coat are highly engineered to resist staining, sheering, and stay on during deformation. To quote of one my tour guides, “The force applied to the cover and paint on the ball by a wedge would be like taking a hatchet to the paint on the side of your house.” It might seem like a simple process, but to ensure full coverage of sphere requires some pretty unique tools to get the job done.

This brings us to the new Triple Track Alignment system and how it was developed to help golfers play better. The new system helps improve alignment on putts from all lengths and it also happens to be on Callaway’s longest ball to date: the ERC Soft.

The alignment aid wraps 160 degrees around the ball and offers three parallel lines with high contrast (no more need to try and draw that long Sharpie line around your ball).  For those who choose to putt without the Triple Track alignment, Callaway considered you too, since the other 200 degrees around the ball unsure that you won’t see those lines from address.

Triple Track Alignment visible vs hidden

Every shot taken means something to someone, whether it be a golfer trying to break 100 for the first time, or a tour professional lining up a putt on Sunday afternoon of a major championship. The golf ball is the one piece of equipment a golfer will use on every shot, and each person at the Callaway ball plant in Chicopee, Massachusetts, is proud to put their name behind it, even if you don’t see those names on the box.

 

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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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