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Morning 9: Tiger: I’m not too rusty | How would Jack fare on tour today? | WGHOF rule change

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By Ben Alberstadt
Email me at ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com and find me at @benalberstadt on Instagram and golfwrxEIC on Twitter.
January 22, 2020
Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. Best wishes to all navigating the sea of khaki and quarter-zips at the PGA Show today!

 

1. Not too rusty
ESPN’s Bob Harig…”Now he’s back at Torrey Pines, where he’s won eight times as a professional, looking to build back up and with an eye on getting his 83rd PGA Tour victory, which would pass Sam Snead for the record.”
  • “I feel like I ended the year on a good note, and I felt like my game really didn’t need a whole lot of dusting off,” Woods said Tuesday before his first practice round, where he is testing some new equipment.
  • “I didn’t touch a club until my birthday [Dec. 30]. That was the only day I touched a club since the Presidents Cup [ended Dec. 15]. Just wanted to get away from it, I was a little bit fried physically, mentally, emotionally and just wanted to have it all end.
  • “Played on my birthday with my son, and we had a great time. Very similar to what I used to do with my dad [Earl] on every one of my birthdays when my dad was still alive.”
2. Tiger on catching Jack
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Woods renewed his chase of Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships with victory No. 15 last spring at the Masters.”
  • “To even get to the number I’m at right now, 15, is a lot. Not too many guys who are around have seen that kind of number before,” Woods said. “It’s just going to take time. It took Jack about 26 years to get to it; it’s taken me 20 some odd years to get to mine.”
  • “There were a number of years where I didn’t compete and didn’t play so those were some missed opportunities,” Woods said. “But I’m playing again now so these are blessed opportunities, I didn’t think I would have these.”
3. The Modern Bear
Superb concept and execution from Daniel Rappaport at Golf Digest. On the occasion of Jack Nicklaus’ 80th birthday, Rappaport tries to answer the question of how the 18-time major champion, in his prime, would fare on today’s PGA Tour.
From his investigation into Jack’s driving distance…”Clearly, Nicklaus had a physical and length advantage over his competitors. But just how long would he have been with today’s equipment and technology? If you take Lee Trevino for his word: freakin’ far. “If Jack in his prime could have played the clubs and balls these guys are playing today, he would have hit that sumbitch 400 yards,” Trevino told Golf Digest in 2010, with characteristic color. “I’m dead serious.”
  • “A search for a more scientific answer is hamstrung by a lack of data. There was no ShotLink in the 1960s or ’70s, and the first year the PGA Tour kept driving distance as an official stat was 1980. Luckily for us (and somewhat randomly) IBM did, for whatever reason, decide to measure driving distances for 11 tournaments in 1967, when Nicklaus was 27 and in his physical prime.”
  • “The results, as uncovered by our Mike Johnson: Nicklaus averaged 276 yards, the longest on the PGA Tour. He was 4.5 percent longer than the average distance of 260.2. Extrapolate that 4.5 percent advantage to the 2018-’19 season, when the average was roughly 293.8 yards, and a player with Nicklaus’ advantage would have averaged 307 yards.”
  • “But there’s another relevant data point here, and it paints a slightly different picture. Nicklaus was 2.15 percent longer than the rest of the top 10, meaning there was a bit of a gap between he and the next-longest players. If we translate that advantage to last season, he’d have averaged 318.71 yards, which would have led the tour. So if we average those two figures-307 yards and 318.71 yards-we get 312.9 yards. That would have ranked fourth on tour last season, ahead of bombers like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and so many more.”
4. Day: “I was angry”
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The Australian was supposed to be a big part of the International team’s game plan at last month’s Presidents Cup, but his ailing body wouldn’t allow it and he was forced to watch the matches from his couch.”
  • “Every time I would watch the Presidents Cup coverage, I was angry,” Day said Tuesday at the Farmers Insurance Open. “I had to go up to the barn to kind of either ride or do some sort of exercise to get some frustration out, because I really wanted to be there.”
  • “Day is making his 2020 debut following eight weeks of rehabilitation on his back, which caused him to withdraw from the matches at Royal Melbourne after captain Ernie Els made him a captain’s pick.”

 

5. Don’t change the rules
Golfweek’s Adam Schupak is not a fan of what the WGHOF is doing…”The World Golf Foundation Board of Directors have lost their minds. They announced on Tuesday that it was lowering the age for eligibility to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame to 45. Just four years ago, it raised the age from 40 to 50, a move that was universally praised.”
  • “The Hall said the age was lowered this time to make “an effort to ensure the game’s greats from around the world are actively recognized and celebrated.”
  • “This change happened for one individual and one individual only: Tiger Woods, who just so happens to turn 45 in December.”

Full piece.

6. Spieth looking to go back in time
There’s a thought. Golf Digest’s John Strege…”Fairways and greens became so elusive that even his vaunted short game was incapable of mitigating his misfires. The worst season of his career followed his second worst season, reflected in his plummeting world ranking. He is now ranked 46th, his worst position in more than 6 1/2 years, since midway through his rookie season in 2013 when he was in the midst a steady climb. Note, too, that he hasn’t won since the British Open in 2017.”
  • “So it was time for a reset, and, by chance more than choice – he was going to begin 2020 at the Sony Open in Hawaii, but withdrew with illness – he has returned to where it all began, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. He made his professional debut here, in 2013, and though he missed the cut, he went on to post the first of 11 tour wins, earning nearly $4 million in the process.”
  • “…”Hopefully ready to bounce back to where I’ve been in the past. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right away, but kind of build to that. I feel like I got out of the offseason tournaments, the fall tournaments, what I wanted to an extent. It was a little trial and error. So big picture I have a really good frame of mind, which should allow me to build some patience into getting my game where I want it to be.”

Full piece.

7. Tempering expectations
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Woods’ efforts to temper expectations are understandable but if new woods, specifically his driver, is all that stands between Tiger and Tour history those attempts are sure to be ignored.”
  • “Tiger’s health will always be the great unknown, and he did have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last fall, but his body of work since coming off the surgeon’s table suggests he is, at least at the moment, injury-free – even if he doesn’t paint a perfect picture.”
  • “When I was younger it was I had more good days than bad, feeling wise,” Woods said. “Now at 44 I feel more bad days than I do good days. I think all of you at my age or older can relate to that. I think that’s the hardest part about being an older athlete.”
8. Spieth: From slow player to reformer
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Spieth was part of the process to develop the Tour’s new pace-of-play policy as a member of the policy board and considered the circuit’s shift to a program that focused on individual pace of play a step in the right direction.”
“You can’t just improve pace of play. You can’t say, ‘Oh, our rounds are going to go from 4:40 [hours] to 3:40,’ it just doesn’t happen,” he said. “But if you can limit the individualized significant overtimes, then I think, overall, it’s just a better product that we’re putting out there, whether it’s people in your own group or how it appears to the public.”
9. Tiger Woods WITB
So, what’s Tiger Woods playing this week? As you can see, he’s testing new TaylorMade SIM woods, with the rest of his artillery being the usual suspects.
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Equipment

A Deep Dive: The equipment timeline of David Duval, 1993-2001

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Like Tiger, David Toms, and Fred Couples there are certain players that I have been obsessed with for years. If you go to my Instagram, you can see it in plain sight. When it comes to DD it was more than the what, it was the why, the how that sparked my curiosity. Let’s face it, in 2000 with the Mossimo gear, Oakley shades, jacked-up physique, and on Titleist staff, was there ever a cooler looking player?

No. There wasn’t or isn’t.

That’s where my interest in Larry Bobka came about. I saw David and Larry walking the fairways of Sahalee at the ’98 PGA Championship.

At the time, I was already knee-deep in David Duval fandom but that experience took me over the top. Bobka had a handful of clubs in his hands and would pass DD a 970 3-wood, Duval would give it a rip and the two would discuss while walking down the fairway. Of all my time watching live golf, I have never been so awestruck.

This is an homage to David’s equipment during his prime/healthy years on the PGA Tour. From his early days with Mizuno, into the Titleist days, and finally Nike.

1993-1995 Mizuno

*This was an interesting time for Duval from an equipment standpoint. The pattern of mixing sets to put together his bag began and it was the time he transitioned from persimmon (Wood Bros driver) into metal woods. It was also the beginning of his long relationship with Scotty Cameron, a relationship that still stands today.

What was in the bag

Driver: TaylorMade Tour Burner 8.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100 (*he also played with the Bubble XHKP Prototype)

3-wood

King Cobra @14 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

TaylorMade Tour Issue Spoon @13  w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Irons

1993: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1994: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1995: (2,3) Mizuno TC-29, (4-PW) Mizuno TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

Wedges: Mizuno Pro (53, 58) with Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport (35 inches, 71 lie, 4 degrees of loft)

Ball: Titleist Tour Balata 100

Glove: Mizuno Pro

1996-2000 Titleist

The beginning of the Titleist years started off quietly. There wasn’t any new product launched and David wasn’t quite the star he would become 12-18 months later. However, it gave Titleist the opportunity to get to know DD and his overall preferences, which aren’t dramatic but certainly unique. He didn’t win in 1996 but did qualify for the Presidents Cup Team and finished that event off at 4-0. So the buzz was going in the right direction and his peers certainly took notice.

It was 1997 that things took off on all fronts and it was the year that Titleist made David Duval the face of the DCI brand and with that decision spawned the greatest cast players cavity ever: the 962B—and also equipped David Duval to go on a 3-year run that was surpassed by only Tiger Woods.

Hence the deep dive article I wrote up earlier this month

What was in the bag

Driver

1996

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

1997

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

King Cobra Deep Face 9 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100, True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ Fujikura Prototype X

1998

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

1999: Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) @ 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

2000: Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

3-wood

1996

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1997 

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1998

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X


Callaway Steelhead 3+ @13 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Titleist 970 (Dark Grey Head) @13 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (only tested this one)

1999

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

Cobra Gravity Back 14.5T w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Irons

1996

(2-PW) Titleist DD Blank Prototype w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

(2-PW) Titleist DCI Black “B” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

*This prototype set was a blank set of the DCI Black “B” but with sole modifications. 

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000: (2,3) Titleist DCI Black (4-PW) Titleist DCI 962B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

*David liked the original prototype version of DG Sensicore X100 that had weight removed from the center of shaft to create better feel and a slightly higher trajectory

24 Feb 2000: David Duval watches the ball after hitting it during the World Match-Play Championships at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. Mandatory Credit: Harry How /Allsport

Wedges

1996: (52 @53, 58) Mizuno Pro, (56 @57) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1997: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG, (58) Titleist Bobka Grind, (57 @58) Cobra Trusty Rusty w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1998: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTGw/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1999: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

2000: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER

1996: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport 1 35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft, Scotty Cameron Long Slant Neck Laguna Custom (double welded neck)

1997: Odyssey Dual Force Rossie 2, Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

1998, 1999, 2000: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

2001: Nike Golf and The Open Championship

The relationship with Titleist Golf ended quickly and when David showed up to Kapalua with a non-Titleist stand bag the rumor mill went nuts. The story (although super speculative) was that David opted out in the middle of a $4.5 million per year deal with Acushnet, a lawsuit followed, but Davids’s stance was that he had a marquee player clause that allowed him to walk if he wasn’t “marquee” aka highest-paid.

Apparently he had a point, Acushnet had recently inked big deals with Davis Love and Phil Mickelson leading someone on the outside to do the math. However, I’m not an attorney, wasn’t there, and have no clue what the legality of any of it was. Point is, he walked and landed at Nike with a new head-to-toe contract. 

 

DRIVER:

Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975E Prototype 8.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Nike Titanium w/ True Temper EI-70 II Tour X (pictured below)

Nike Titanium Prototype 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (featured image)

3 WOOD:

Callaway Steelhead Plus 4+ @15 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Nike Prototype @14 degrees w/ True Temper EI-70 Tour X

Sonartec/Excedo (SS-03 head) Driving Cavity @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

IRONS:

(2-PW) Titleist 990B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

(2-PW) Nike Prototype “DD” Grind MB w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

(2) Titleist DCI Black w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

 

WEDGES: 

(53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

(53,58) Nike DD Grind w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

SPEC TALK

Over the years the one constant was David’s iron and wedge specs. As a shut-faced player he has always favored traditional lofts in his irons. However, a cool thing to note is his lie angles remained constant 59.5 (2-4), 60 (5-9). The running theory here was being a shallow (low hands) and shut faced player, keeping the lie angles at a constant (flatter) lie angle allowed him to feel like his angle of attack could remain the same for each iron. It’s just a feeling but that’s what he did. If the “why of it” is true, it looks like he was doing Bryson things before Bryson did.

David Duval Iron/Wedge Specs

Loft/Lie/Length/SW

  • 2-17/59.5/40.25/D5
  • 3-20.5/59.5/39 1/6/D4
  • 4-24/59.5/38 9/16/D4
  • 5-27/60/38 1/16/D4
  • 6-30.5/60/ 37 9/16/D4
  • 7-35/60/37 1/16/D4
  • 8-39/60/36 9/16/D4
  • 9-43/60/36 5/16/D4
  • P-47/61/36/ 1/16/D5
  • GW-53/62/35 5/8/D4
  • LW-58/62/35 9/16/D6

Whew…since this prolific run, David transitioned into some interesting projects with smaller companies like Scratch, B.I.G Golf (AKA Bio-engineered in Germany), back to the mainstream with Nike, and most currently Cobra Golf.

I hope you all enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me, Duval is not only fascinating from a career standpoint but digging into the equipment of DD has been quite the experience.

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“Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?” – GolfWRXers have their say

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In our forums, our members have been discussing irons and how to hit your numbers consistently. WRXer ‘Hubb1e’, who is a 15 handicap, is having issues and says:

“I recently upgraded from 20 year old Taylor Made 360 irons to a set of custom-built Callaway Apex 19 Forged irons. Old irons were traditional cavity back. New irons are categorized as players distance irons. Both have the same fit.

My new 3 iron will go 230 yards or 130 yards and not even make it far enough to reach the fairway. My new 7 iron will typically go 160 yards but will often will fly 175 yards or drop out of the air at 120 yards. I can’t control the distances of my new irons, and I spent a fortune custom fitting them to my swing. Why is this happening? This was never an issue with my old irons. A bad hit would go 10-20% shorter, but I never had balls fly over the green or completely fall out of the air. What is going on with my new equipment?”

Our members offer up their solutions in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • ThreeBoxers: “Strike quality is your answer. Tech or no tech, irons will not have 50-yard distance discrepancies. Not super familiar with the Apex irons, but they’re pretty forgiving no? You might lose 10 yards on toe or heel strikes but 40, 50? You’re probably hitting it heavy. If they have a beveled edge, it may mask the feeling of hitting it fat a bit, but not the result. My Mizunos have a pretty aggressive front edge grind which helps a ton on heavy shots. It’s the difference between landing 15 yards short and 50 yards short. +1 on using foot spray to check impact.”
  • extrastiff: “It also would not hurt to check your swing speed. Even strike being terrible that’s a large discrepancy. Maybe your last build had a weight that helped you get consistent swing speed.”
  • WristySwing: “I would say inconsistent strike is the biggest issue. Now that can mean a couple of things. It could mean you, as in the person swinging, are not hitting the ball properly because of inconsistent delivery. The other option is the fit is bad, and it is causing you to be extremely inconsistent because you cannot feel the head. It might be a little bit of column A and column B. However, I would lean more towards column A in this scenario because even a horrifically misfit set someone could get used to it eventually and not have 100 yards of discrepancy in carry shot to shot. I’ve seen people who are playing 50g ladies flex irons with fat wide soles who are very shallow and swing a 6i 92mph still not have 100 yards of carry flux with their sets. If your miss is toe-side 9/10x that is because you are coming too far from the inside. When you get too stuck on the inside you typically stall and throw your arms at it. When you break your wrists (flip)/throw your arms at it you get a very inconsistent low point average that often manifests in extremely fat or thin strikes….typically fat since your squat and rotate is out of sync with your release. As others have said, get some impact tape/foot powder spray and see where you are actually making contact. Then if you can get on a video lesson and see what the issue is. As of right now, we can all only assume what is going on. If your low point control is good, you don’t get stuck, and you are hitting it in the middle of the head — then fit comes into question.”
  • larryd3: “I”d be on the phone to my fitter and setting up a time to go back in and see what’s going on with the irons. You shouldn’t be getting those types of results with a properly fit set of irons. When I got my fitting earlier this year at TrueSpec, the fitter, after watching me hit a bunch with my current irons, focused on increasing the spin on my irons, not on distance but on consistency. So far, they seem to be working well when I put a decent swing on them.”
  • fastnhappy: “One possibility that wouldn’t necessarily show up indoors is sole design and turf interaction. You may have a real problem with the newer clubs because of a sole design that doesn’t work for your swing. That’s hard to tell when hitting inside off a mat. If so, you’d see major distance inconsistency because of strike. The feedback I’ve seen on the players distance irons is exactly what you’re describing… difficult to control distance.”

Entire Thread: “Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about their favorite watch for golf

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In our forums, our members have been discussing their favorite watches for golf. WRXer ‘Sourpuss’ asks fellow members: “Dealer’s choice, cost is of no concern. What would you wear if you could afford it? Top 5 of your choice?” and WRXers have been weighing in with their choices in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • sheppy335: “Garmin S40. Love the feel and look.”
  • golfkrzy10: “Apple iWatch with the hole 19 app. Yardage, score, fway, and putts. Perfect for my minimalist walking views on the golf course.”
  • jcboiler: “Second the Apple Watch. Need to look into the apps though.”
  • Deadsquiggles: “If it didn’t bother me to play with a heavy watch, I’d wear my Deep Blue NATO Diver Automatic. But instead, I wear my cheap GShock.”
  • Golfjack: “I thought I was going to come in with a witty comment about my expensive watch, but looks like I’m late! Anyway, I wear my Galaxy Active 2 normally now. Used the Golf Caddie app for a few times. It worked well enough, but I don’t see it helping too much. Still prefer using apps on the phone if I need GPS info. Otherwise, I just use my rangefinder.”

Entire Thread: “Favorite watch for golf?”

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