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The Dufner signing says a lot about Cobra

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Editor’s note: Cobra Golf announced today Jason Dufner is signed to a multi-year full-bag deal.

In all honesty, if you have been following Jason Dufner over the past 9 months, this announcement may not surprise you. He spent 2 years living out every gear heads dream by being an equal opportunity player. He had some epic bags, most notably the drool-worthy National Custom muscle backs finished off with Auburn Tiger BB&Co Ferrules. It was amazing, but even he admits that yes it can be fun messing around but it’s still playing with career fire.

I think it needs to be pointed out that Dufner, believe it or not, is a tough nut to crack when it comes to his clubs. The guy is incredibly smart, precise and knows what he needs….and like Tiger, will not compromise. Those compliments can be a blessing and a challenge for companies all at once. The latter being a guy that is a hard switcher, a hard sell and won’t budge unless it’s perfect.

This critical eye isn’t reserved for only certain clubs, they all have to fit into a very thin pocket. For instance, Jason is a low launch, low spin, average distance player. His lofts are a nod to the late ’90s with a 28 Degree 5 Iron and 48 Degree Pitching Wedge but the guy has no interest in picking up 20 yards. His clubs need to go a certain number every time out of certain flight window. Yes, he looks at Trackman, but imagine selling a car to a guy that isn’t attracted to speed or gadgets but only the granular feel of making a right turn and how far his eyes track over the steering wheel. There are no Trackman numbers for feel and instinct.

But like TaylorMade getting Tiger into an iron he likes, Cobra signing Jason Dufner says more about the quality of work of the people behind the scenes than anything. As a Tour Truck junkie, I’ve gotten to know a bunch of the guys and in particular Ben Schomin of Cobra. As this process went on, I would text him questions about working with JD and I could literally feel his excitement around the process through text.

I can still remember the day late this summer that I saw Cobra wedges in Dufners bag. At that point I knew today was coming. Ben Schomin has become someone Jason trusts, trust that is earned at least equipment wise. Most of the stories around Dufner came around his wedges. The grinds, bounce, shaft, grips need to be perfect and if they are just a whisper off, it’s a non starter. I can only think of a few guys on tour that are like that. Guys that can tell you the yardage and spin numbers on a wedge shot before it even lands…that’s Jason.

So although this signing may seem typical for this time of year, for me it’s awesome. Jason Dufner is extremely interesting to follow, and when he’s playing well, it’s always a good time. But most importantly it’s a testament to the hard work of the folks at Cobra and in particular Ben Schomin. Well done Benny, very well done!

 

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Hoganben

    Dec 4, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Bs about Tiger and his irons….all of Tiger’s irons have all been basically identical since he stopped playing eye 2s. Ps…. Patrick Reed’s new forged irons look like all the other forged blades too.

  2. Scott

    Nov 24, 2019 at 5:55 am

    The dude sells butt wipes on his hat….WTF? No way would he represent my company.

  3. Daniel

    Nov 13, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Love that the whole article is how serious he takes his clubs, but first thing you notice about the picture is the bryson troll stamped on to the wedges. Golf needs Duff.

  4. Steve

    Nov 12, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Maybe he should just go down to Golf Galaxy and get whatever’s on clearance because he can probably miss the cut with those too.

    • Pat MaGroin

      Nov 13, 2019 at 11:08 pm

      you owe me a new monitor after I spit up on it reading your post 🙂

      well said…..

    • Cody Reeder

      Nov 20, 2019 at 1:53 pm

      Duff is an interesting guy but will not make much difference in the long run. No screen time.

  5. Everyone

    Nov 12, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    MORE WRITING LIKE THIS!!

    • Digger Dave

      Nov 12, 2019 at 6:40 pm

      Thats the first thing that cane to my mind 1/2 way through the article!

      Cobra also makes great gear that is just as good if not better than everything else out. I just sold a set of Cobra MBs bc i got a set of Mizunos and a set of the old TW Nike blades. Sad to say 2 months later im back to ordering another set of Cobras and done tinkering.

  6. Benny

    Nov 12, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Awesome mews and great article Johnny. Thanks as always Golfwrx.

    Hope he wins. More and more I am turning back towards Cobra. Could be a great honeymoon.

  7. Silverbackster

    Nov 12, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    As an engineer, Thats good with numbers and accuracy, but where is the RESULT? Where is the winning? Thats no one would sign, you put employees through hell dialing in perfect combination, but then can’t even make top 100 in the world past two years!?
    event country week year Missed cut *RANKING*
    Houston Open USA 41 2019 MC – 1 – 192nd
    Safeway Open USA 39 2019 MC – 1 – 179th
    Sanderson Farms Championship USA 38 2019 MC – 1 – 176th
    A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier USA 37 2019 T57 – 1 – 167th
    Wyndham Championship USA 31 2019 MC – 0.9783 – 167th
    Barbasol Championship USA 29 2019 T18 1.74 0.9565 1.66 155th
    John Deere Classic USA 28 2019 MC – 0.9457 – 161st
    3M Open USA 27 2019 T66 – 0.9348 – 157th
    Rocket Mortgage Classic USA 26 2019 MC – 0.9239 – 149th
    U.S. Open MAJ 24 2019 T35 3.65 0.9022 3.29 136th
    the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide USA 22 2019 T7 11.56 0.8804 10.18 146th
    Charles Schwab Challenge USA 21 2019 T40 1.70 0.8696 1.48 194th
    PGA Championship MAJ 20 2019 MC – 0.8587 – 194th
    Wells Fargo Championship USA 18 2019 T4 11.50 0.837 9.63 183rd
    RBC Heritage USA 16 2019 T63 – 0.8152 – 222nd
    Valspar Championship USA 12 2019 MC – 0.7717 – 195th
    THE PLAYERS Championship USA 11 2019 T74 – 0.7609 – 187th
    Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard USA 10 2019 MC – 0.75 – 173rd
    The Honda Classic USA 9 2019 T75 – 0.7391 – 166th
    Genesis Open USA 7 2019 MC – 0.7174 – 162nd
    Desert Classic USA 3 2019 MC – 0.6739 – 127th
    Sony Open in Hawaii USA 2 2019 T73 – 0.663 – 125th

    • Aztec

      Nov 12, 2019 at 6:51 pm

      As an engineer, your grammar is terrible.

      • Martin

        Nov 28, 2019 at 5:22 pm

        But his comment is to the point;-)

        No results lately,, just a drama on tour. Hope for better now but clubs are just clubs,

    • golfraven

      Nov 24, 2019 at 5:01 pm

      Hey, go easy on Duff. He is still recovering from his wife walking out on him. Not that she was a great asset but hey so is life at times.

    • John

      Dec 2, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      On his worst day he’d still beat you 10&8 playing one handed. As an engineer you must know this.

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Patrick Reed’s caddie thrown out of Presidents Cup after altercation with fan

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Patrick Reed’s caddie, Kessler Karain, has been kicked out of the Presidents Cup after admitting that he shoved a fan following an altercation on Saturday at the Presidents Cup.

Karain, who is also Reed’s brother in law, admitted to losing his cool after becoming irate after a fan heckled Reed after his 5 and 3 defeat alongside Webb Simpson to Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan on Saturday.

Karin spoke to ESPN and Barstool Sports following the news of his exclusion from the event.

@foreplaypod

In response to his caddie’s ban from the event, Reed stated

“I respect the Tour’s decision. We are all focused on winning the Presidents Cup tomorrow.”

Reed’s swing coach, Kevin Kirk, is expected to be on the bag for the Texan’s singles match on Sunday.

 

 

 

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5 things we learned on day three of the Presidents Cup 2019

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They’ve got us where they want us. We care. In the middle of December, we care about golf. We care about golf course architecture. We care about young golfers earning their first international cap. And about golfers who should and should not be on their respective teams. And about golfers who play well under pressure, on a Sandbelt course with all the traits of a links. And about at least five other things that I’m about to elaborate. Two rounds of four matches each, went in the books on day three of the Presidents Cup. In a facts-only retrospective, Team ROW moved from a 3-point, overnight advantage to a 4-point mid-day advantage. Team USA found a needed gear in the afternoon, and close the 4-point disadvantage to 2 points. And that’s where we stand, with 12 singles matches ahead. Team USA needs to claim 7 points from those 10 matches, in order to retain the cup. Team ROW (the Internationals) need 5.5 points to hoist the chalice on home soil.

1. Why the Internationals will win on Sunday

They’ve played better in Four-Ball competition. In the matches where a golfer’s own ball completes the hole, the ROW has won 6.5 of 9 points. They are making birdies and pars beyond the scope of anything the USA can match. Sungjae Im makes more birdies than anyone else on the PGA Tour. If he gets his usual bushel against Gary Woodland, that’s one point. Ancer has a bit of an advantage against Captain Tiger, in that Woods hasn’t golfed his ball since Friday. If Ancer’s short game stays lit, he has a chance. Unlike the USA, the International squad gets a world-level team event once every two years, and hosts it, once every four. Despite not being an official community (like Europe for the Ryder Cup), the impact of a captain like Els brings the importance of this event home for the team members. It seems that they want to win for him, which goes a long way.

2. Why the USA will win on Sunday

To begin, they hold higher rankings on the official ladder of golfing greatness, have won more major championships, and have more international-match caps (if only because they play one every year.) Team USA also has momentum, halving the 4-point deficit in one brace of matches, and being on the cusp of making it even closer. Justin Thomas is flat-out pissed (in the USA understanding of the term) about giving away a half-point. Winning zero holes on the inward half, and failing to tie one of the remaining five, did not leave a fine taste in the mouth of the young stalwart. Knowing his game, this will buoy him in his match with Cameron Smith. Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland finally won a point outright, which should give them the confidence they need to claim matches on Sunday. Oh, and there’s the Captain-Tiger effect. They may not want to win FOR him, but they don’t want a plane ride home WITH him, but WITHOUT a certain goblet.

3. Damage control, Team USA

Where to start? Are these guys all-in for international matches? Is it possible to get up for this competition, after peaking for four majors, a handful of almost-majors, and a three-week, tour playoff? And then taking September through November off (for some of them)? Add in the discomfort that many have with the ground game, the firm game, the non-spin game, the bunkers-cut-into-greens game, the holes-cut-on-the-edge-of-disaster game. How about guys like Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed, who have not partnered well, yet inexplicably been paired 3 times? Both took Saturday afternoon off, and both need to count on Sunday, or the ROW is well on its way to snatching the trophy. Not far behind are Finau and Kuchar (two half-points each). Finau must be the best guy in the team room, the most unlucky competitor, or something else. He continues to get the nod as a Captain’s pick, over match-play stalwarts like Kevin Kisner and Kevin Na.

4. Damage Control, Team International

Start with Haotong Li and Adam Hadwin. One match for Li over 3 days and 4 rounds, and only 2 for Hadwin. Is either one injured? Off form? A bother to partner with? Seeing the ease with which Captain Els and staff shifted golfers in and out of pairings, the first glaring absence was Li, with the Canadian not far behind. Follow up with the aging trio of Scott, Leishman and Oosthuizen. The first two have played every match thus far, with Louis appearing in 3 of 4. They’re the spiritual spine of the team, but do they have the endurance to make it one last day? Finish it off with Joaquin Niemann. Why is he here? South American representation? Perhaps. Youth? Perhaps. Future of the team? Perhaps. He has one-half point in four matches, and has shown an erratic, unreliable game. His win in September on the PGA Tour seems more fluke than fate, but a day-four victory over Patrick Cantlay would be a massive salve on his wounds.

5. The IF factors

So many “ifs” and so little ability to anticipate if they will turn out or not. Here’s a list of ten:

IF Tiger Woods or Abraham Ancer gets out to an early lead, in the day’s first (and most-anticipated) match, how will that impact the remaining 11 matches?

IF Haotong Li finds any semblance of the game that earned him a spot on the team. He’s out 4th, and a win over Dustin Johnson is certainly plausible.

IF Jason Day and Brooks Koepka were playing/not injured…

IF the weather isn’t as predicted (around 70 degrees, no rain, 10 mph winds), what impact will it have?

IF the USA can avoid shooting at flags, and work the ball into the hole using angles, splines and spines …

IF only the small ball still existed, and the ROW could use it to its advantage

IF the ghost of Peter Thomson returns to putt for the ROW

IF the entire ROW team wears yellow bucket hats on Sunday, in memory of Jarrod Lyle …

Now I’m getting misty. So much good about this game. Forget your usual, Saturday-evening celebrations. This Saturday Night Fever doesn’t involve young Travolta. It salutes the passing of one generation to the next, the opportunity to earn your stripes in international competition, and the opportunity to see an exquisitely-designed golf course, whose conditions are much easier to replicate for superintendents than, say, a certain fruit farm in Georgia. Sunday’s matches will be just like Royal Mel, brothers and sisters: fast and firm. Strap in and ride the coaster!

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5 things we learned on day two of the Presidents Cup 2019

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Guess who will take a split of the points each of the next two days? That’s absolutely correct! The men in tan and black, and green and black. In addition to having amazing color schemes for their wardrobe choices, Team International preserved a 3-point advantage over Team USA after two days of competition in Melbourne. Should it have been a wider margin? Might it have been closer? That’s what we want to dig into, with the five things we learned on day two of the last Presidents Cup of this decade. School is in session!

1. It should have been closer

Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar were 2 up after 5, and also after 7, in their match against Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen. By the 10th tee, they were all square. In fact, that 7th-hole win by the Americans was their last hole won on the day. Ouch. Patrick Reed and Webb Simpson won three holes on the outward half on Friday. Their only concern was that the ROWOE (rest of the world outside Europe) won four. And then won 3 against the RWB’s 1, for a 2nd-consecutive loss. I’ll have more on the Simpson-Reed pairing in a moment, but if the Americans are to win this competition, they will need to receive more birdies (ROWOE had 4 & 6 birds, respectively, in the aforementioned, in alternate-shot matches) from all team members, and get the ball in the hole first.

2. It should have been wider

The obvious match to point to, is the final one of the day. Cameron Smith and Sungjae Im stood on the 16th tee in a strong position. They held a 2-up lead over Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland, and were poised to make the margin 7 to 3. Back came the American duo, with birdies at 16 and 17, to erase the deficit. Imagine the horror if the RWB had won a 3rd-consecutive hole, and trimmed the margin to 6-4! Fortunately for Smith/Im, they held strong and halved the 18th in pars, escaping with a half-point and just a few bruises. In the day’s 4th match, eyes were on the powerful pairing of Tiger and Justin. Could they recreate their first-day magic? They needed to, if the USA were to preserve any hope. The day started well, with 2 holes won over the first 5 holes. Then Ben and Hideki lit fire to 3 consecutive holes, turning a 2-down into a 1-up, International-squad advantage. And then came the USA, with a win at the 9th, for an all-square (with 6 holes traded) at the midway point.

Things got interesting on the inward half. More a dance than a tussle, two more holes were exchanged early, then 4 went by with no blood. On the 18th tee, all square, with so much on the line (pride, margin, well, pride and margin) and JTTW came through. With a magnificent birdie at the last, Tiger and Justin didn’t lose, nor did they tie. They won the most crucial point for the 2nd consecutive day. Their win on Thursday avoided the shutout, the dreaded tennis bagel. On Friday, they gave Team USA a reason to cheer, and a reason to hope.

3. Bet me…Bet me!!!

I’m not the brightest when it comes to bets. Check out the comments from Friday’s, first-round 5 Things, and you’ll see a bet I made with one of our readers. Pretty awesome bet on Sungjae, except for the fact that he wasn’t playing his own ball on Friday! I shall accept my loss and claim distraction as my only culprit. I shall also ask for double-or-nothing from said reader, and wager as gentlemen once again, that Sungjae will make 9 birdies on his own ball, in Saturday’s first match. That’s correct, the one that tees off at 7:16. Yessir, the one where he and Abraham Ancer will compete against the state of California (Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele).

4. Back to golf…and Saturday’s AM pairings

TIGER ON THE BENCH! Indeed, the captain has benched himself. The captain knew that the player would need rest, and the captain needs to lead his golfers around Royal Melbourne. Take a look back at how quickly Seve Ballesteros drove around Ryder Cup matches…no governor in that golf cart. He needed to be everywhere, for everyone. Tiger will do the same, mark my words. As fast as Royal Melbourne is playing, he won’t need much acceleration. Yes, it’s an exhibition, and no, it won’t be the end of the world if the USA loses. Tiger doesn’t accept losing, not before, nor during, nor after, the final putt is holed. More important, his reclaimed legacy in the game will include how he fairs as #PrezCup and #RyderCup captain. He will say to Justin, Padawan, I’ve given you all I know. Now you are a Jedi. Get Rickie’s head in the game!!! To Patrick and Xander, he will say Hey, Calif boys, I’m one of you. Just a little older, is all. Let’s get it done, west coast style. To Webb and Patrick, he will … jeez, what do you say to these guys? O42 and not showing much sign of life. Maybe they will pull one out for the big cat. If not, we can remove the Captain-America nickname from Reed’s slumping shoulders. Finally, he will look at two more, underachievers (trust me, they’re great in the team room) named Finau and Kuchar, and perhaps say more than They’re good to Finau and Tip better to Kuchar.

And the International side? We begin with LiLeishman. Haotong Li makes his debut with Leishman in the morning’s first match. The faith that Els has in Leishman! He gave him Niemann on day one, Ancer on day two and now Li on day three. Leishman is the rookie whisperer on this squad. He must be like a mix of teddy bear and boa constrictor. Next we have Abe and Im. Guess what? They haven’t partnered each other yet, but Ancer is 2-0 and Im, 1.5-0.5. They are pretty strong and might be the darlings of these matches. Third come Pan and Matsu. This is the first time that partners have reprised their roles. That’s a mountain of respect from the Big Easy. First, he trusts them to play well with each other. Second, he trusts his entire company to play well WITH ANYONE! Last come Ben and Adam. OK, they also played together on day one. So much for my theory. Good pairing, I’ll admit. Big comeback, they had, against Finau and Bryson.

5. Speaking of Bryson…

Where is El fuerte, el gigante, los SMUsculos? On the sidelines for a second-consecutive match, he is. He and his 4-degree driver, his new build, his…inability to partner well in four-ball? If he didn’t play on Friday in foursomes, is he likely to play on Saturday in foursomes? Who knows? That’s a rough assessment, and will either motivate (or soul-crush) him for Sunday’s singles match. Oh, right, it’s an exhibition. I always get ahead of myself.

See all the things we learned? Sometimes they happen on the course, and sometimes, in my mind. Remember: 9 birdies this evening/tomorrow morning from Sungjae. Put it in the bank. And collect interest. And bet on him again.

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