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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

Wunder: Titleist TSi driver first impressions

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Three things I want to address before I kick this off.

  1. “Better, best” will not be addressed. It’s never about that these days only what works for me or you.
  2. I’m not adding TrackMan data to this for one simple reason: It doesn’t matter to me for a first impression. I can get lost in the data and ultimately it confuses my ability to just enjoy the sound feel and look of the driver. Obviously, the fitting was on TrackMan, but in the past, successful drivers for me started with the emotional part. Simply, do I like the thing? Can I look at it? Can I trust it? Can I hit shots with it? That’s it.
  3. When I say “spin this” and “spin that,” it’s always addressing a positive aspect.

On Tuesday of this week, I had the good fortune of visiting the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI in Oceanside, California) to do my TSi metal woods fitting. Won’t get too far into that, but essentially it’s golf heaven in every sense of the word. Like TaylorMade’s Kingdom or Callaway’s ECPC, TPI it’s a gearhead paradise.

Titleist Master Fitter Joey Saewitz (@thejoeysaewitz on IG) was my fitter and after hitting a few balls to warm up, we dug into my gamer driver that I adore.

Current Gamer Spec

TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees @ 8.5). Fujikura Ventus Black 6X (no tipping) 45 inches, D4, GolfPride BCT 58R

I have been constantly messing with my driver between new shafts, lofts, lie, etc. Since I’ve been playing a bit more this month, I’ve had the chance to work on my swing and the driver has been the last thing to come around. I’m working on decreasing dynamic loft through the bag and have not adjusted my driver to match. The point is, I’m hitting the driver solid but have lost a ton of height and spin to keep it in the air.

I’m saying this now because for key metrics I was at a deficiency because of the craftsman not his tools. The SIM I was fit into was/is excellent. So, as you read on, keep in mind that I knew that numbers-wise apples to apples my setup was vulnerable to getting beat out due to my tinkering.

Thoughts

My average numbers these days are are 105-108 mph swing speed, 155-160 mph ball speed, 14-degree launch, and 1,800-2,000 spin. At 43-years-old, when I’m hitting it solid I get a lot out of my driver. IF I’m swinging well, at my low spin, off days can be nauseating with the driver.

LOOKS

TSi3: If two of my favorite drivers 975D and R7 Superquad TP had a baby, the TSi3 would be it. Its flawless appearance-wise. The heel section gives it an onset look that the faders will love and the top line toe section is a bit rounded off to give it an open look without having to crank it open. Not the first time we have heard that but nonetheless, Titleist nailed it.

The face has a cool matte finish that I can’t get into yet, but it frames a white ball excellently.

TSi2: Like the TS2, it has that high-MOI shape, although I will say the top line and transitions are a bit softer on the eye. It’s a driver that looks like it just wants to go high and far. If I wanted to hit something as hard as I could that’s the shape I would look for.

Side note—the black shafts in the TSi3 are almost too cool to even look at—the closest thing to a Darth Vader golf club I have ever seen.

FEEL/SOUND

This is where they really figured it out. Titleist drivers in the past to my ear sounded good but not great. There was always an essence of ting that I couldn’t fall in love with. The TSi series fixed that in totality, like all the great drivers on the market in 2020 it has that hammerhead thud that I adore. When you crunch it, you literally hear crunch. At impact, however, it has a more compressiony (is that a word?) feel than its competitors. The comparison would be a one-piece forged feel vs a hollow body players iron. Both feel excellent but there is a difference. You can feel the ball squeeze into the face which I think most will notice and respond well to.

PERFORMANCE—Not going to compare it to my gamer as it’s not fair, I gear headed my gamer to the point of lunacy. I will only comment on what the TSi series did while testing.

TSi3: The biggest standout here was usable spin. I am not a high-spin player by any stretch, so if I can find a driver that gets me 2,100-2,200 consistently when I flush it, it’s a contender. For a player at my speed to sneak it out there with the big hitters, I have to launch it at 14 at 1,700 spin, and hope I’m aimed correctly. What I found with the TSi was I was getting that performance at 2,100-2,200, and if anything only giving up 2-3 yards all while doing it 5/10 times as opposed to 2/10.

What does all that jibberish add up to? Consistency and something I can play with. Is it longer than my gamer? I have no idea, but we will find out. What I know is I hit a bunch of really good shots with TSi3, and after I got going with it, it was point and shoot. Stable? Yes. Long? Yes. Forgiving? Yes. Playable? Yes.

TSi2: To be honest I only hit a few with the Tsi2 as its not my genre of music. What I can say is it feels apples to apples with the Tsi3, launches higher with a bit more spin, and goes really straight. No shocker there. The high MOI category has a bunch of contenders, and in my opinion, it’s a head weight game. Heavy is always better for stability.

The setup I landed on

I was fit into the (D4 SureFit setting 9 degrees @ 9.75, flat) however after testing a bit at home on course and range, I landed on the D1 setting, which I like. For whatever reason, I can play Tsi3 at 8.25 and still maintain height spin and it flew about five yards further.

Final setup

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees @8.25, D1 SureFit, 44.5 inches, D4 swing weight)

Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1)

Overall, the TSi Series drivers will be VERY popular but not for the reasons you would think. It’s playable, you can hit shots with it, that’s the mark of a GREAT golf club. It’s not all ball speeds and carry anymore in my opinion. This is a driver I can go out and play well with, that’s huge for a hack like me. In my experience, I can’t say that about a lot of drivers I’ve tried to make work in the last four to five years. That’s just me. Lots of great drivers every year but I’m a hard case and finding one that’s just right is a challenge.

Ultimately, for me, the best driver on the market is SIM hands down because it performs in the hitting bay and even better on the course—my hunch is Titleist has something that will do the same.

It’s a beautiful driver that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know.

 

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Equipment

GolfWRX Classifieds (9/25/20): Titleist U510, XXIO Red, Tour issue M5 head

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Yenmaster – TaylorMade M5 driver head

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times—if you already have a shaft that you love, buying a driver head is the best way to upgrade and save a few bucks along the way. Is it time for you to trade up?

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: M5 Driver head

Member dansrixon – XXIO X Red Driver

This listing is littered with really cool and rare drivers and fairway woods from Cleveland, Srixon, and XXIO, including the XXIO Red driver looking for a new home.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: XXIO Driver

Member kkennedy – Titleist U510 1-iron

The new U500 series utilities are the fastest and most forgiving Titleist have ever made, so if you are looking for a club to keep the ball out of the wind—here you go!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Titleist 1 Iron

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Whats in the Bag

WITB GolfWRX Members Edition: Rkelso1984

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Recently we put out the call for our members to submit their WITBs in our forum to be featured on the GolfWRX front page. Since then, our members have been responding in numbers!

Now it’s time to take a look at the bag of Rkelso1984.

*Full details on the submission process can be found here, and you can submit your WITB in this forum thread.*

Member: Rkelso1984

Rkelso1984WITB

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Max (10.5 degrees, set to 9.25 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Devotion-6 04 Flex 65g

3-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rouge 130MSI 70s

5-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rouge 130MSI 70s

Hybrid: Titleist TS2 (19 degrees, set to 20.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X Evenflow 6.0S 90g HY

Irons: Mizuno JPX 919 HMP (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper lite 110s

Wedges:  Mizuno JPX 919 (50 degrees), Callaway Jaws (54, 58 degrees)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper lite 110s, KBS Hi-Rev 125s

Putter: Ping Heppler Ketsch (34″)

Putter Grip: Golf Pride Tour SNSR Contour Pro 140cc

Golf Ball: Taylormade TP5x PIX

Grips: SuperStroke TX1 Mid + 1 Wrap

Get submitting your WITB in our forum as we’ll be publishing more and more of them on our front page over the coming days and weeks.

Feel free to make it your own too by including some thoughts on your setup, your age, handicap, etc. Anything you feel is relevant!

Share your WITBs here.

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