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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

That one time Tiger switched driver shafts and NOBODY noticed

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It seems like pretty much everyone on the planet has an idea of what clubs Tiger has in play at any given moment. Especially now in the age of social media. However, his bag was still analyzed and tracked immensely from the beginning of his arrival on the golf scene. Point is, when the guy switches anything out, the world will know.

But did you know that, during the 2002 and into the 2003 season, he switched driver shafts? It was a pretty substantial switch too, but it fell completely under the radar. As a Tiger junkie myself, I noticed it, but in those days 1) The internet wasn’t what it is today and 2) I was bartending in Newport Beach and didn’t have access to info like I do today. So, it went in my Tiger vault…until now.

Always known to have a True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shaft in his driver, Tiger and the Nike team wanted something a bit lighter, all while maintaining the stiffness profile of his X100.

We now introduce you to the 118-gram DGSLX100 Tiger Proto (a stock Dynamic Gold X100 shaft is 130 grams).

UNITED STATES – OCTOBER 28: Tiger Woods (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA)

A complete one-off made specifically for Tiger Woods. If you look at the pictures you will see an unfamiliar step pattern that starts off a bit wide towards the handle but gets progressively closer down towards the tip section. Basically, the step pattern (diameters) dropped lower to keep stiffness across the board.

“That’s the shaft we used to get him out of Titleist 975D and into Nike Blue 275cc driver in 2002.” – Anonymous Nike source

In theory, this was Tiger accepting the fact that he was going to have to get used to the feeling of a lighter shaft to begin the inevitable transition into graphite, which ultimately happened for good in 2004.

With the mystery of his bag completely gone these days with minute-to-minute reporting, I thought it kind of nice to still have a couple of nuggets to discover.

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GolfWRX Spotlight: Precision Pro NX7 Pro Slope rangefinder

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If you are looking for a premium full-feature laser range finder at a price normally reserved for more entry-level units, the PrecissionPro NX7 Pro Slope is exactly what you are looking for. Clear optics, easy-to-use, pulse vibration targeting, and last but not least: Free batteries for life. You heard that right, for as long as you own the rangefinder, Precision Pro will make sure you never run out of juice on the course.

NX7 Pro Slope features

Generally, a product that fits into the affordable category has to compromise along the way to meet a certain price point. With the NX7 Pro Slope from Precision Pro, you don’t have to compromise to get everything you would want from a top-of-the-line rangefinder at a less-than-top-of-the-line price.

The NX7 has pulse vibration, which notifies the user the laser has locked onto the target. Having used a lot of other rangefinders in the past, I always thought of a “pulse” as being a bit of a redundant feature to someone with experience using a rangefinder. I was completely indifferent but was quickly proven wrong! To me, the pulse is just the extra reassurance to know that I am locked onto the flag instead of something behind. The NX7 Pro Slope does this with a priority target acquisition process to make sure you are getting the flag and not a tree behind the intended target.

As the name would lead you to believe, the NX7 Pro Slope comes with a slope feature that can be turned on and off for casual mapping of a course or competition—just be sure to check with any tournament committee for conformity during an event. It’s easy to see both the measured and calculated distances in the viewfinder without ever being cluttered.

The extras

Each rangefinder comes with a well-made protective case that allows you to store the unit either on the outside of your bag or tucked away for safekeeping during travel to and from the course. Although it seems like a small feature, details matter, and having the case latch with a mini elastic cord makes getting the rangefinder out just that much easier—no need to zip and unzip 40 times per round.

The rangefinder also comes with a cleaning cloth, pre-installed battery—and don’t forget those batteries for life. All you need to do is register your rangefinder and go through the form on the Precision Pro website.

For $289, it’s one of the best buys in the rangefinder market.

 

 

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Bettinardi collaborates with Scottie Pippen to create limited-edition authentic jersey putter covers

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Bettinardi has collaborated with six-time NBA Champion and Chicago Bulls Legend, Scottie Pippen to create limited Home, Road, and Alternate authentic jersey headcovers ahead of this weekend’s NBA All-Star game.

Pippen is the only NBA player to have won an NBA title and Olympic gold medal in the same year twice (1992, 1996), and just 33 of the covers have been made by Bettinardi – which are constructed from the NBA star’s own authentic jersey collection making each cover unique.

The covers feature the seven-time NBA All-Star’s iconic number 33, his signature stitched across the underbelly and also the Hex B logo.

The covers will be available to purchase in the Hive at Noon CST on Saturday. Bettinardi will also have a special USA “Dream Team” 1992 cover (only 8 made) due to release at the same time.

Also look out for a special “All-Star”  giveaway which will be unveiled on Bettinardi’s Instagram page on Sunday.

 

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