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Dear Tiger…

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Dear Tiger,

Earlier today, I heard the news you withdrew from the Northern Trust with a muscle strain. I hope that as you head home, you get some rest and feel better soon. I can imagine you’re probably disappointed in having to leave the tournament, but at the end of the day, feeling your best is way more important than trying to prove something that doesn’t need to be proven.

Speaking of proving things, don’t listen to the armchair doctors (unless your actual doctor is sitting in an armchair). Don’t worry about how the golf talking heads of the world will react. Don’t feel pressured to return early because of the Playoffs or the Presidents Cup. Do what you have to do on your timeline, to get to 100 percent—or as close as someone with as many back surgeries can be to 100 percent.

Growing up, I never missed watching a tournament you played in, and as an adult, my habits haven’t changed much. As much as I and others want to see you play every week, I realize that it’s just not possible. The travel, the walking, and workouts, the range time, they all take a toll that we, as regular golfers, will never truly understand.  I still remember only a few short years ago when you said you might never play again, and I was heartbroken. Not because I selfishly wanted to see you play, but because I hoped that current 10-year-old kids would have the chance to watch you in competition. Obviously, that wasn’t how the story ended, and I’m grateful as a golf fan for that.

When you drained the winning putt, walked off the 18th green at the Masters this year, and hugged your kids—just as your father hugged you—the golf world stood still. Golf fans once again appreciated what they had witnessed—a Tiger Woods major victory. Although not quite the same experience, it was pretty cool to be able to sit there with my wife and our child, just like my parents did with me in 1997.

As a 43-year-old guy with two kids, you have a lot of gas left in your tank – not for golf, maybe, but for actual life. Regardless of if we don’t see you make a swing for another month—or ever again in front of a camera—I just hope you get healthy. You have done so much for golf, professional golf, and even more for others thanks to your TGR Foundation—you have nothing left to prove to anyone.

Golf will go on and people will live their lives. My hope is the same as it was back in 2017 when it looked like you might never tee it up in competition again: you and your family you get to enjoy a healthy life.

 

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. Donn

    Sep 14, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Dear Tiger:

    Please, leave pro golf, return to California, and run for governor, to break the stranglehold that the Dem party has on the good people of this state. Only someone of your stature could knock off the wannabbee dictator Gavin Newsom. Please.

  2. Jay

    Aug 22, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Hahahaha is this a love letter? This is so weird.

  3. The Dudeness

    Aug 17, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Serious Question; How can you write a letter like that about someone who is not part of your family,, if you dont live at my address,,, sorry!

  4. Niggy

    Aug 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Hookers & Blow

  5. AndIEvenLikeTiger

    Aug 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Sycophantic drivel.

  6. The Dudeness

    Aug 13, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Dear readers
    If your a parent and Tiger Woods is your child’s “Role Model” you have failed as a parent. A role model is some one you have an interaction with on a personal basis, not entertainers who you helped become rich and who will never be a part of your life.A role model is not someone who has affairs and then is arrested while driving under the influence of narcotics. And no, none of my role models are entertainers.

  7. The Dudeness

    Aug 13, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Are comments censored on this site?

  8. Mad-Mex

    Aug 13, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Dear Golfers
    I read the comments in fascination from what I can only assume are grown me calling Tiger Woods a role model. If your a parent and Tiger Woods is your child’s role model, you have failed as a parent. A child’s role model should be someone he/she has a physical interaction with, a parent, a teacher a relative, my role model is my step-father who worked an average of 2 jobs weekly and at time also on weekends to give me a better life when we first came to this country from Mexico. Reading how people defend a multi-millionaire entertainer, who owes his wealth to them , as if he was a family member is astonishing!

  9. Mad-Mex

    Aug 12, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Dear Reader
    I cannot understand how ANYONE considers an entertainer (i.e sports player,movie star, musician a “role model” or “hero” since that “role model” will never have a face to face interaction with you.
    If your a father and an entertainer is your kids “role model” you have some parenting failures in your bag. If your not a father and YOUR father or someone your PERSONALLY know is not your “role model” you have problems.
    Sorry if I don’t lavish Tiger Woods with praise, but he , like thousands of other entertainers, became millionaires with the money of the people who payed to see them perform.
    In case you care or wonder, my role model was my stepfather who worked his ass off in two jobs when we came to this country so I could have a better life than he did.

  10. Sean Crappity

    Aug 12, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Thannnnnnks for the memories! Lol!

  11. MW

    Aug 12, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Tiger should not be considered for any Ryder Cup or President Cup team for this very reason. I’m not sure he even would especially based on his play in the last Ryder cup and his age, but give the spots to those who are much healthier. At this point it’s hard not to think that the back issues are an easy out when he is playing bad.

  12. Salmonoid

    Aug 11, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    All you Tiger haters, two facts: 1) if you’re on tour and in the top 120, you’re a multimillionaire. He brought big purses to to game. 2) his record! Who’s on pace to beat his record? What say you?

    • Jamie

      Aug 12, 2019 at 12:17 am

      Oops. You played the hater card. Autofail. Big purses in the era of money printed from thin air and corporate bailout welfare? Big deal. What record? Nicklaus didn’t waste his 30s and still has the record.

    • JThunder

      Aug 14, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      So, you’re saying money and wins are all that count in a person? I don’t think anyone is disputing his record or his ridiculous bank account. His behavior on and off the course, and his very public personal choices are another matter. And, NO, you can’t have one without the other. You want a private life in the modern world, then don’t become rich or famous!

      • Pro Tip..

        Aug 16, 2019 at 12:36 pm

        I just came to laugh at all the tiger haters lol, you guys are silly and have no idea. “There are so many more people to talk about” Blah Blah Blah. They did the same thing for Jack until the end and will most defiantly do it with Tiger. Keep on hating chaps! You make me happy, its fun to read the moronic comments of you haters lol.

  13. Lance

    Aug 11, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Hey, R… Elaborate…

  14. Dustin Bush

    Aug 11, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Beautifully written, so warm, true love within those words!

  15. Joseph Ortep

    Aug 10, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    OMG… wth.. Togger who??? Good bye and good riddance… you people really need a life. He has the worst attitude in sports today…

  16. Jamie

    Aug 10, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Tiger has made golf journalism very boring and shallow. And those are who he has brought into the game: the boring and shallow types.

  17. Rascal

    Aug 10, 2019 at 12:56 am

    I hope Tiger has a nice retirement so that the dumbbells constantly whining about Tiger coverage all find something more productive to do with their vitriol.

    One can hope.

    • JThunder

      Aug 15, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      Absolutely, because consumers should have NO SAY in what they’re force-fed by the media!

  18. Matt

    Aug 9, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Well done. He has changed the game. We all want to see that greatness again. That is why TV covers Tiger. Ratings and ratings pay the bills. Get well Tiger, I want to see you play at Whistling Straits in 2020.

  19. Jeremy

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Well written Ryan. Could not agree more.
    Thank you

  20. NoTalentLefty

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Actually I think a healthy Tiger is still good for golf BUT he’s not healthy and the ones who called it are ostracized. Chamblee may not be PC but he was right on Tiger. When Tiger looked like he was back he knew it by observation. The players may hate him but he speaks as he sees it We need that kind of objective eye reporting on golf.

  21. JThunder

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    There are better role models for 10-year-old kids to watch. Great golfers who don’t string together 10 expletives with every bad shot, or cheat on their wife (and kids’ mother) with 300 women.

    • Alex Taylor

      Aug 10, 2019 at 6:58 am

      Couldn’t agree more. I continue to be amazed at how many people fawn over Tiger. Just about the worst possible role model.

      • David Burlett

        Aug 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm

        And we all know you had a perfect life! Your just a hater, period!

        • Alex Taylor

          Aug 13, 2019 at 8:05 am

          Well, I’m not a hater but I do hate it when people are unable to use proper grammar…..”Your just a hater, period!”…..Really??? Try this next time: “You’re just a hater, period!” People whill taik yew moor ceereslee wen yoo yeus guud grammer.

        • JThunder

          Aug 14, 2019 at 12:15 pm

          Leading a “perfect life” is not a prerequisite for what I wrote. Nor would I expect it of Tiger. I did manage to divorce my wife without cheating on her with 300 women (not even one woman)… and I haven’t frequently yelled string of expletives with thousands or more kids watching me.

          With his great stature and ludicrous income come some responsibility. With promises made to his (ex) wife and implied to his children come some responsibility. As I said, simply, “there are better role models”.

          Yes, his golf talent is one of the greatest the game has seen. There are many, many other great players in good health worthy of watching. Golf will survive his departure just as it did Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, et al. And some future generation will see records broken again. (Assuming the world survives).

    • Chris Leadbetter

      Aug 10, 2019 at 7:52 am

      And I bet you voted for our President

      • Alex Taylor

        Aug 10, 2019 at 9:38 am

        Nope……nice try.

      • Cody

        Aug 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm

        I voted for this pres. And will miss tiger…

      • JThunder

        Aug 14, 2019 at 12:10 pm

        I hope you don’t mean me, as I most absolutely, certainly, vehemently did not.

    • Scott Bangerter

      Aug 10, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      Stop thinking athletes should be counted as “moral” role models. They are just as human as anyone else; and as such have failings. Tiger is and always will be a GOLF role model. Tenacious. Dedicated to his craft. Unrelenting. Intimidating. And at the end of the day (read career) will have accomplished more than most could ever dream of. Broke more records. Held world number for most number of weeks consecutively and cumulatively. And, ultimately transformed the game more than any other golfer during his or any other generation. *drops mic*

    • Shaun

      Aug 11, 2019 at 2:17 am

      So your a famous celebrity with super models trying to get that notch . I’ve never cheated but I can solely say it would be damn hard as the most famous athlete on the planet for 20 years

    • Mike

      Aug 11, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Wow, still holding on to that? It’s been 10+ years ago. Enlighten us, how did Tiger’s philandering personally affect you to the point where you’re still ‘hating’? I didn’t like the Tiger ‘person’ back then but he’s been humbled so much that exactly what in his lifestyle now is “wrong”? He’s a single dad w/ back issues trying to get out & play golf. Sounds like millions of other guys. And regarding ‘role models for kids’, I’m my kid’s ‘role model'(as every dad s/b).

      • JThunder

        Aug 15, 2019 at 11:52 pm

        Enlighten me; why do I have to like Tiger? Because *you* do? Because the golf media insists that I do? Am I not allowed to like and dislike what I choose? What if I disagree that he is “humble” now?

        Yes, “sound like millions of other guys”, expect that the entire sports world has elevated his status to hero, role model, legend, “Greatest of All Time”. AND, the entire sports world has financially compensated him for this status and worship FAR, FAR beyond any reasonable amount for smacking a golf ball.

        “I’m my kid’s role model”. A lot of dads think that. I wonder how many are correct? I hope you indeed are – moreover, I hope you’re worthy of it! I’d be willing to bet, unless you keep them locked in the basement, that they have other heroes and role models. If one is Tiger, I hope they know the difference between his work ethic and his dating ethics.

    • Sean

      Aug 11, 2019 at 11:11 am

      Tiger was the role model for most of these role models you speak of…

    • Brandon H

      Aug 12, 2019 at 8:40 am

      So should we all stop idolizing Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as well? While we’re at it, should we try and dig up all the dirt on all of our favorite players in every sport? People idolize him for his golf ability and philanthropy, not because of what he did/does in his personal life. He failed as a spouse, but by all accounts, he has been a great Dad. He is the GOAT for a reason.

      • JThunder

        Aug 15, 2019 at 11:43 pm

        So you believe that even young kids are smart enough – and/or their parents are engaged enough in their lives – that they carefully pick and choose which specific things about their “heroes” that they emulate, while carefully disregarding others?

        I can think of at least one major country where the leader’s followers are certainly spending a LOT of time (and ammunition) emulating the worst of his behaviors (and words).

        I wonder how many people making this argument for Tiger would accept the same argument about Ozzy Osbourne? Yeah, forget the decades of drugs and decapitated animals – he’s a talented signer and songwriter! Kids know the difference!

  22. No fan ????

    Aug 9, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    I am also so sick of this Tiger ???? train, makes me sick he can be 7 shots back and the announcers say man if he can just birdie the last 8 holes he will when….give me a break. GWRX is also obsessed with Tiger , all this discussion about his decision to use lead tape on putter vs using a heavier putter. Believe me there’s a lot more exciting things in the golf world right now than TW ……smh

    • Monty Hall

      Aug 9, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      So let me get this straight, you are sick of Tiger talk on GolfWRX. So why are you here? My guess is you enjoy complaining about people that talk about Tiger on GolfWRX otherwise you would not be here. Remeber ignore the noise, focus on what you are interested in and everything else is “ghost”!

      • Aj

        Aug 9, 2019 at 9:55 pm

        No I’m just sick of the constant attention he is given while other golfers who are more deserving are ignored there is plenty of young talent on the tour without having to dwell on what he done 20 years ago move on

        • Brandon H

          Aug 12, 2019 at 8:43 am

          So are you mad that we still constantly talk about Michael Jordan? That’s what happens when you’re the GOAT, you get talked about FOREVER!!!!!

  23. Aj

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    I will be glad when he’s done for good I am so tired of hearing about tiger tiger tiger if he’s playing in the tournament you see the all of his shots whether or not he’s in last place or first when he’s not playing in the tournament you still hear tiger did there’s tiger did that here please retire

    • Manny Upshaw

      Aug 10, 2019 at 2:00 am

      There are only 4 majors a year he has won one of them but your tired of a winning golfer????

  24. NICK

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    TIGER WOODS WILL WIN AGAIN!

  25. Golf al

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Thank Tiger

  26. Brad Flacco

    Aug 9, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    You literally just copied this concept from the Mygolfspy owner post. Wow.

  27. JP

    Aug 9, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Sucking up a little too much…

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The Gear Dive: TrackMan’s Tour Operations Manager Lance Vinson Part 1 of 2

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In this episode of The Gear Dive brought to you by Titleist, Johnny chats with TrackMans Lance Vinson on an all things TrackMan and its presence on Tour. It’s such a deep dive that they needed two shows to cover it all.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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An open letter to golf

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Dear golf,

I know it has been some time since we last spoke, but I need you to know I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.

It was just a few months ago I walked crowded isles, stood shoulder to shoulder, and talked endlessly with likeminded individuals about you and your promising future in 2020 at the PGA Show. At that time, the biggest concern in my life was whether I had packed the perfect dress-to-casual pant ratio and enough polos to get through the mayhem of six days in Orlando. Oh, how the times have changed.

On a professional level, what started with the LPGA Tour a few weeks prior progressed quickly at The Players Championship, when you ground to a complete halt within days. As much as it was a tough decision, it was the right decision, and I admire the judgment made by your leaders. Soon after, outside of the professional ranks followed suit and courses everywhere began shutting doors and asked golfers to keep away.

This is the right decision. For now and for the foreseeable future, as much as I don’t like it, I understand how important it is we let experienced health medical professionals make choices and craft policies for the wellbeing of people everywhere. Although, judging by the indoor short game trickery I have witnessed over the last 10 days, handicaps could be dropping when you finally return.

As a game, you are over 200 years old. You have survived pandemics, wars, depression, drought, and everything else that has been thrown at you. Much like the human spirit, you will continue on thanks to the stories and experiences others passed down and enjoyed.

I know you will survive because I also plan on surviving. As long as there are people willing to tend to your grounds and maintain your existence, I will also exist ready to take on your challenge.

When you are able to return in full, I will be here.

Sincerely,

Ryan Barath (on behalf of golfers everywhere)

 

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The Wedge Guy: Improving your short iron and wedge impact

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One of my most appreciated aspects of this nearly 40 years in the golf equipment industry is the practically endless stream of “ah ha” moments that I have experienced. One that I want to share with you today will–I hope–give you a similar “ah ha moment” and help you improve your ball striking with your high lofted short irons and wedges.

As I was growing up, we always heard the phrase, “thin to win” anytime we hit an iron shot a little on the skinny side (not a complete skull, mind you). When you caught that short iron or wedge shot a bit thin, it seemed you always got added distance, a lower trajectory and plenty of spin. It was in a testing session back in the early 2000s when this observation met with some prior learning, hence the “ah ha moment” for me.

I was in Fredericksburg, Virginia, testing some wedge prototypes with a fitter there who was one of the first to have a TrackMan to measure shot data. I had hit about two dozen full pitching wedges for him to get a base of data for me to work from. The average distance was 114 yards, with my typical higher ball flight than I like, generating an average of about 7,000 rpms of spin. What I noticed, however, was those few shots that I hit thin were launching noticeably lower, flying further and had considerably more spin. Hmmm.

So, I then started to intentionally try to pick the ball off the turf, my swing thought being to actually try to almost “blade” the shot. As I began to somewhat “perfect” this, I saw trajectories come down to where I’d really like them, distance increased to 118-120 and spin rates actually increased to about 8,000 rpms! I was taking no divot, or just brushing the grass after impact, but producing outstanding spin. On my very best couple of swings, distance with my pitching wedge was 120-122 with almost 10,000 rpms of spin! And a great trajectory.

So, I began to put two and two together, drawing on the lessons about gear effect that I had learned back in the 1980s when working with Joe Powell in the marketing of his awesome persimmon drivers. You all know that gear effect is what makes a heel hit curve/fade back toward the centerline, and a heel hit curves/draws back as well. The “ah ha” moment was realizing that this gear effect also worked vertically, so shots hit that low on the face “had no choice” but to fly lower, and take on more spin.

I had always noticed that tour players’ and better amateurs’ face wear pattern was much lower on the face than that of recreational golfers I had observed, so this helped explain the quality of ball flight and spin these elite players get with their wedges and short irons.

I share this with you because I know we all often misinterpret the snippets of advice we get from friends and other instructional content that is out there. To me, one of the most damaging is “hit down on the ball”. That is a relative truth, of course, but in my observation it has too many golfers attacking the ball with their short irons and wedges with a very steep angle of attack and gouging huge divots. The facts are that if the club is moving only slightly downward at impact, you will get the spin you want, and if the clubhead is moving on a rather shallow path, you will get a more direct blow to the back of the ball, better trajectory, more distance and improved spin. Besides, shallow divots are easier on the hands and joints.

If this is interesting to you, I suggest you go to the range and actually try to blade some wedge shots until you somewhat groove this shallower path through impact and a lower impact point on your clubface. As you learn to do this, you will be able to zero in on the proper impact that produces a very shallow divot, and a great looking shot.

[TIP: If you will focus on the front edge of the ball – the side closest to the target – it will help you achieve this kind of impact.]

It will take some time, but I believe this little “experiment” will give the same kind of “ah ha moment” it gave me.

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