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Morning 9: “Healthy” Tiger at Sawgrass…working with a putting coach too | What PXG means | Vokey on Woods’ 2001 wedges

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

March 12, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans. PSA to all anti-Tigerites who will email me about the abundance of TW items. There are several Woods-related stories included today. Read items 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9 only.
1. Woods arrives at Sawgrass “healthy”
Per USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio…”I feel good, man.”…Those were the words of Tiger Woods as he arrived Monday at TPC Sawgrass to begin preparing for The Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s aflagship event that begins Thursday.”
Channeling James Brown? Better than channeling Nine Inch Nails (“Hurt”).
  • DiMeglio also writes…”He said he’ll play a 9-hole practice round Tuesday before meeting with the media.”
  • “I didn’t want to push it. No need to,” Woods said of his decision to bypass one of his favorite tournaments. “Not at my age. Can’t do that anymore.”
2. …and works with putting coach Matt Killen
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”Tiger Woods says he is fit and healthy ahead of this week’s Players Championship, and the 14-time major champion has putting coach Matt Killen alongside him at TPC Sawgrass as he seeks his third title at the event.”
  • “Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte broke the news on social media, and the move represents the first time Woods has had an instructor of any type since his split with Chris Como in 2017.”
  • Here’s the tweet: “@TimRosaforteGC…. Back of the range @TigerWoods was working with @killengolf. I’ll have more tonight on Live From Players @GolfChannel”
  • “Woods struggled with the flat-stick at his last outing at the WGC-Mexico, where he three-putted six times. That event represented the first time that Woods has lost strokes to the field on the greens at a tournament since the Northern Trust back in August, and over his previous 24 rounds, the 43-year-old ranks 42nd in this week’s field for strokes gained putting.”
3. In or out?
Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura pointed out Francesco Molinari holed the most significant “flagstick in” putt of the new era.
  • “The great debate over whether to leave the flagstick in while putting got another endorsement Sunday when Francesco Molinari holed a swerving 44-footer for birdie with the pin in on the 18th at Bay Hill to cap his closing 64 and the Arnold Palmer Invitational victory. However, one of the world’s leading putting instructors and the resident expert on putting at the TPC Sawgrass thinks the flagstick’s value just might end up being more mental than physical.”
  • He also writes, “….Molinari was of at least two minds when it came to his putt on 18. He said his brother, Edoardo, has produced research questioning the value of leaving the flagstick in, and those findings mirror the research conducted for Golf Digest by Tom Mase, a professor of mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University. The research project from Cal Poly showed that breaking putts were holed 80 percent of the time with the flagstick out, but only 56 percent of the time with the flagstick in…”
4. What PXG, Honma mean
Geoff Shackelford quotes and comments on a few portions of Brian Costa’s WSJ item on the expansion of the luxury golf club market.
“I was thinking that PXG’s driver price drop signaled a weakening of the high end club market, but as WSJ’s Brian Costa writes, Honma’s entry into the U.S. and other signs suggest an expansion…”
“There was this from Mark King, ex-Taylor Made CEO:
  • “‘How do you justify these prices? How do you justify the price of a Lamborghini?'” said Mark King, the former chief executive of TaylorMade who is now a consultant to Honma. “‘People don’t understand what’s under the hood, nor do they care. There is a certain status it represents.'”
  • “And yet…’U.S. retail sales of golf equipment grew 8% from November 2017 to November 2018, at $2.6 billion, according to market data compiled by NPD Group. Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst for the company, said that growth was largely driven by low-cost, entry-level gear.'”
5. Voke on Woods’ 2001 Players-winning wedges
Andrew Tursky talked to the maestro of wedgecraft, Bob Vokey, about Tiger Woods’ wedges, gamed during his 2001 Players Championship win.
  • “As Vokey explained, Woods used two Titleist Vokey 200-series wedges — a 258-08 sand wedge and a 260-06 lob wedge — during his tenure as a Titleist staffer. Vokey says he “lightly touched the heel” of each wedge for a slight bit of heel relief, and that Woods “liked a certain radius” of the leading edges.”
  • “Woods’ 58-degree wedge, which originally had 8 degrees of bounce on it, was no ordinary 58-degree wedge. According to Vokey, Woods liked the look of a 58-degree wedge, but he had it bent to 56 degrees, since playing a 58- and 60-degree wedge left too small of a yardage gap. Bending the wedge 2-degrees strong gave the wedge 6 degrees of bounce rather than 8, though. Comparatively speaking, 6 degrees is not a lot of bounce for a sand wedge. Knowing this, Vokey cautioned Woods that the low-bounce sand wedge might “grab” the turf too much, and Woods ultimately made the proper adjustments.”
6. Remembering TW’s U.S. Am win at Sawgrass
PGATour.com’s Sean Martin with an excellent reflection on Tiger Woods’ U.S. Amateur victory at TPC Sawgrass in 1994.
  • “…The wiry Woods, wearing a striped shirt and large straw hat, let out a violent fist pump after holing his birdie putt on the Stadium Course’s iconic par-3. It’s an image that has a permanent place in his career’s highlight reel. For many, it was the first time they witnessed one of Woods’ electric celebrations.”
  • “He was once 6 down to Trip Kuehne in the Amateur’s final match. That putt gave Woods a 1-up lead. He won the 18th hole, as well, to become the youngest player to hoist the Havemeyer Trophy.”
  • “He was 18 years old and still weeks from starting his college career at Stanford. It was the first of three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles that preceded his 80 victories on the PGA TOUR.”
7. Get well, Double P!
Pat Perez posted on Instagram that he “blew out” his Achilles, saying “See y’all down the road somewhere.”
According to the scuttlebutt, Perez sustained a freak injury in the gym.
8. Masters odds update
Per Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Here’s a look at the other notable odds via the Westgate, with the Masters now just four weeks away”
10/1: Dustin Johnson
12/1: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose
14/1: Justin Thomas
16/1: Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka
18/1: Jon Rahm
20/1: Bryson DeChambeau
25/1: Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Tony Finau, Tommy Fleetwood
30/1: Phil Mickelson, Francesco Molinari, Hideki Matsuyama
9. Tell us how you really feel, Zac Blair!  
Zac Blair on Twitter...
  • “Here’s my take … the players is a HUGE golf tourney … 1 that I’m positive any pga tour member would absolutely LOVE to win … but it’s not a major & I don’t think it’ll ever be a 1 when everyone is trying to shove it down your throat as a 1 … Just let it be the Players”
  • “So again to recap … it’s a HUGE event … it’s the best field in golf by a long shot … biggest payday in golf … but it’s not a major …. BUT I don’t think that should take away from how great the event it … it’s amazing … just stop trying to spoon feed it as a major”
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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Chuck

    Mar 13, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    The Vokey 200 series and 400 series (Vokey’s personal favorite) are still to this day the best looking shapes he’s ever made.

    I’d love to compare Tiger’s current custom wedges to some old Vokey 200’s.

  2. Joey5Picks

    Mar 12, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Grown men look ridiculous wearing a cap backwards.

  3. Thomas A

    Mar 12, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Pat Perez in the gym?!?! His Achilles didn’t stand a chance.

  4. Martin Ayers

    Mar 12, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Finau paying less than Molinari.. and Rickie on same line of betting as Brooks and Spieth .
    Go home Vegas, you’re drunk!

    • Swirley

      Mar 12, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      I guess you don’t understand how it works.

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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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