It is quite common to see athletes live off a certain reputation that is far from reality. While I am as big of a fan of Derek Jeter as anybody, his reputation provided him with Golden Glove awards that he was not worthy of. Michael Jordan’s defense became a liability in the latter years of his career, and it seems like anytime Bill Belichick uses a new scheme, he is credited as the inventor of that scheme.
On the PGA Tour, misconceptions about the abilities of certain golfers may be more prevalent. It surprises me that there are often so many misconceptions in a sport like golf — a game that has far fewer moving parts than a team sport. But I think a lot of these misconceptions have to do with people struggling to accurately quantify different parts of the game. There is also such a large discrepancy between a PGA Tour player and an amateur golfer that amateurs tend to overestimate the abilities of touring pros when they see them play in person — they think pros are incredible at every facet of the game simply because they are better than anybody they have seen before.
One of the myths I labeled in 2012 Pro Golf Synopsis as the “Mayfair Effect.” It occurs when a player has such an unorthodox swing or putting stroke that it is assumed that the player must be a good ball striker or putter because they are on Tour with that unorthodox motion. I called it the “Mayfair Effect” because of Billy Mayfair’s strange putting stroke. Because of its uniqueness, many golf fans and reporters labeled him as a great putter. The reality is that Mayfair was a very good ball striker who was held back by his struggles with the flat stick.
Perhaps the biggest myth on Tour today is the prowess of Sergio Garcia’s ball striking and his ineptness with the putter. No other player today quite gets the accolades of being the best ball striker of our generation like Garcia does.
Tiger gets praise for his ball striking, and the statistics show that Tiger is indeed an elite iron player. He just tends to struggle with his driver, and we acknowledge this. However, from what we hear about Garcia’s ball striking abilities, we would think he was the second coming of Ben Hogan. But the stats show this to be far from the truth.
Sergio has been a very average driver of the ball for the past three years on Tour. As far as his Zone play goes, the Safe Zone (shots from 125 to 175 yards) is his best part of his game, but his performance from that distance is just above average. And the Zone that matters the most on Tour is the Danger Zone (shots from 175 to 225 yards), which outside of 2011 he has been downright mediocre.
This does the raise the question of “How is Sergio still successful on Tour?” Well, he is a much better putter and short-game player than he is given credit for.
At one point in his career, Garcia was an elite ball striker on Tour and one of the Tour’s best putters. While those days appear to be behind him, he has become a much better putter and short-game player than most people realize, which has been a key for him in 2013.
On Spec: Saying goodbye to the build shop | Mailbag!
Host Ryan Barath says a final goodbye to his build shop and explains the reason why shop number two is going to be a big upgrade. Also a fan favorite, answering audience question in the club builder’s mailbag.
Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below.
Explaining PXG: The supercar analogy
Every idea has to start somewhere.
Whether it be in a garage, basement, or in a conference room with a blank piece of paper, it’s how the idea is executed that will ultimately determine its success. When you’re Bob Parsons, execution is your specialty. When you have an idea to build some of the most technologically advanced clubs on the planet—you bring in some of the world’s best mad club scientists to help you bring them to life.
Product design is a difficult space, regardless of industry, and certainly in golf. With almost any consumer product you have to work within a lot of different constraints
- Technology: Not every company can afford to innovate to create real breakthroughs
- Materials: Just like with technology, some materials become too expensive to use in the consumer marketplace
- Time: Time is money, especially when you have smart people on board that deserve proper compensation. You need to see a return to justify products and design, and that often leads to forced product cycles.
All of these factors add up to products being designed into price categories. For example: economy car vs. luxury vehicle. No chance an economy car is going to have the horsepower or options of the luxury version because of what the inherent cost to produce is.
Where you don’t see this model is in supercars—they design what they design, use whatever materials and technology they can, then worry about price.
PXG is building supercars!
What started with a phone call and a piece of paper has become one of the golf industry’s most talked-about brands. Designers Mike Nicolette and Brad Schweigert have been given the opportunity to create products as they see fit, and with input from Bob, a self-professed golf club nut, these mad scientists are changing the industry.
Watch the fourth installment of our video series with PXG, The Disruptors, to find out how.
The coveted FedEx Cup Top 30: Why making it to the Tour Championship really matters
This week at the BMW Championship held at Medinah Golf Club in Chicago, the top 70 players left in the FedEx Cup Playoffs are looking to seal their spot in the top 30 and get to East Lake for the Tour Championship.
Not only does getting into the top 30 mean a chance at winning the FedEx Cup and a cool $15 million bonus for winning the event, but heading into the 2020 season, being in the top 30 comes with some big perks. This top 30 threshold allows players the opportunity to build their schedules around the biggest event in golf.
Let’s take a look at what punching a ticket to East Lake really gets you
- An automatic invitation into every major in 2020: The Masters, PGA Championship, US Open, and The Open Championship. For many players qualifying for these events, especially The Masters in a lifelong dream.
- Invitation to all the WGC Events: There are only a few event on tour that get you an automatic paycheck and FedEx Cup points. Being eligible for the WGCs shows that you are a world-class player, and with these events on the schedule, you don’t have to worry about qualifying through world rankings.
- Invitation to all limited field events: This includes the Genesis Invitational (formerly Genesis Open / LA Open), The Arnold Palmer Invitational, The Memorial, and The Players Championship.
If a player was to play every one of the qualified events that would put them at 12 events for the season—to maintain a card for the next year a player has to play in at least 15 events. If you conclude that many of these are also winners and will play in the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii that would put the players at 13 events.
This is why being in the top 30 is such a vital line in the proverbial sand—it gives these top players the ability to pick and choose their schedules for the 2019/2020 season without the stress of worrying about what events they are in. Although not to the same extent, this is also why every cutoff is so crucial for each player, whether it be the PGA Tour top 125, PGA Tour 125-150, or those players that gained their cards through the Korn Ferry Tour. Every dollar and every point earned accumulates towards playing opportunities for the next season!
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