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Watson ends winless drought at Riviera

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Hogan’s Alley is not a track for the timid, nor for the untested. The third-round leaders of the Northern Trust Open became aware of this as a dozen golfers made birdie after birdie on Sunday afternoon and created an entirely new script for the tournament resolution.

Bubba Watson made amends for his late miscues two weeks ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open by seizing the lead with six birdies in his first 11 holes. Despite threats from Dustin Johnson and Charl Schwartzel, Watson held on for a two-stroke victory and his first tournament win since the 2012 Masters.

Click here to see photos of the clubs Watson used in victory.

It’s difficult to overcome a no-bogey effort by any competitor and Bubba Watson gave his opponents little room to make a move. Watson paired seven birdies with 11 pars for his second-consecutive 64 and a 15-under total. The occasional dramatic shot, like Charl Schwartzel’s birdie hole-out on No. 13 from a greenside bunker, or Cameron Tringale’s long putt for two on No. 6 served to excite the gallery for a time. Midway through the round, Watson found himself tied with William McGirt (the third-round leader), Dustin Johnson and Brian Harman for the lead. Johnson did his best to overtake Watson, completing his own bogey-free round of 66, but came up two strokes shy of the leader.

For a time, a number of feel-good stories held the headlines. Monday qualifier Jason Allred charmed television viewers with his uplifting attitude and eventually tied for third with Brian Harman at 12-under par. South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel came in fifth alone at 11-under.

After his all-world front nine, Watson did what a champion must: he made no mistakes coming home and added two birdies to force his challengers to make even greater chase. None but Johnson was able to do so and Watson secured his sixth career PGA Tour victory.

Third round leader William McGirt was unable to ignite his putter as he did on Saturday, making only one birdie in Round 4 against three birdies, eventually tying for 6th with Bryce Molder, Matt Every and George McNeill.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. MH

    Feb 16, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Congrats, Bubba! Always good to see you win. Here’s to many more.

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News

New troops: PXG announces additions to tour staff for 2021

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Earlier this week, it was the Brooklyn Nets making big news in the NBA with player acquisitions. Now in the golf world, it’s PXG, who is also adding to its roster with a number of new players on both the PGA Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour.

The newest members of the PXG roster, which they like to call “troops” are

  • Jim Herman
  • Sung Kang
  • Danny Lee
  • Luke List
  • Henrik Norlander
  • Adam Schenk
  • Kyle Stanley
  • Hudson Swafford

Speaking to the switch, Sung Kang said

“PXG makes some of the best performing equipment in golf. I know, with the support of Bob Parsons, his team, and PXG clubs, that I am going to be able to take my game to the next level!”

The professionals from the Korn Ferry Tour joining current PXG staffers Scott Langley and Grant Hirschman include

  • Kevin Dougherty
  • Nicolas Echavarria
  • KK Limbhaust
  • Justin Lower
  • Seth Reeves
  • Charlie Saxon

“Between grit and their love of the game, every one of these new players brings something special to the course. We are proud to welcome them all to the PXG Troops and honored that they have chosen to put PXG in play.” -PXG founder and CEO Bob Parsons.

These players join a long list of PXG staff players, which also includes LPGA Tour players Lydia Ko, Katherine Kirk, Austin Ernst, Christia Kim, Brittany Lang, Haley Moore, Celine Boutie, Ryann O’Toole, Gerina Piller, Jennifer Song, Linnea Ström, and Mina Harigae.

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Sony Open Tour Truck Report: CH3 newest Ventus Black convert, free agent testing, and Srixon has two new staffers

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With no tour trucks on site until the West Coast Swing begins next week, we had to scrape and claw for every morsel of information for this week’s report. And with the time difference in Hawaii, we may get more info this evening and will update accordingly.

That said, let’s dig into this week’s Tour Truck Report.

Titleist

Charles Howell III put a new Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X in his Titleist TSi3. He was also testing new 4-irons to find a recipe that gapped a bit better with his Ping G410 7-wood and Titleist T100 5-iron.

TaylorMade

Lots of players staff and non-staff players going into SIM2.

Staff

  • Nick Taylor: SIM2 w/ Fujikura Atmos Blue 6 X

Non Staff:

  • DJ Trahan: SIM2
  • Danny Lee: SIM2
  • XJ Zhang: SIM2

Non Staff Testing

  • SIM2/SIM2 Max: Jim Herman, Luke List, Henrik Norlander, James Hahn, Sung Kang, Kyle Stanley, Hudson Swafford

Collin Morikawa has the new TP5 Prototype ball in play and Sergio Garcia is in the new TP5X Proto.

Callaway

Jim Furyk went to a long stick with a 47-inch (tipped 3/4) Callaway Epic Proto Driver (9 degrees) with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X.

Will Gordon is also in the new Callaway Epic Proto (9 degrees) with a Ventus Black 6 X and was seeing ball speeds reach 190 mph.

Callaway announced the signing of Tyler McCumber who will be in a full bag of Callaway gear in 2021. We will update on what landed in the bag ASAP.

Si Woo Kim switching to a prototype Odyssey OG Putter

Srixon

Keegan Bradley added the new Srixon ZX7 irons (4-PW) replacing his trust Z745’s. The new irons come equipped with Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts.

Srixon also added two new staff members for 2021 PGA Tour veteran KJ Choi and 27 year old Matt Neismith.

Matt Neismith WITB

ZX7 Driver 9.5: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

ZX Utility 18: Fujikura Atmos Blue Hybrid 85 X

Z-FORGED (4-PW): Nippon Modus 125 X

Wedges RTX Zip Core (50, 54, 58): KBS 610 Wedge 115g

K.J Choi WITB

ZX7 Driver 9.5

ZX7 (5-PW)

Wedges RTX Zip Core (50, 54, 58) w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Free Agents

Not in the field at Sony, but two notable free agents Ryan Moore and Jason Day are in the midst of building new bags. Nothing is secure by any stretch but see below for what we heard they have been testing thus far.

Jason Day

Ping G425 LST Driver, Mizuno JPX921 Tour irons

Ryan Moore

TaylorMade SIM2, Titleist TSi2 and 3 fairways, Mizuno irons (multiple), Vokey Wedges

Also…

Vijay Singh put in a brand new Callaway Epic Proto driver at 46.5 inches with a Fujikura Atmos Black 5 TX shaft.

In regards to players who have signed with new companies, here is the list

PXG

  • Sung Kang
  • Jim Herman

Srixon

  • Matt Neismith
  • KJ Choi

Titleist 

  • Joseph Bramlett
  • Fabian Gomez
  • Nelson Ledesma
  • Troy Merritt
  • Sam Saunders

Callaway 

  • Jon Rahm
  • Tyler McCumber

TaylorMade 

  • Tommy Fleetwood

Ping

  • None
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News

Sentry TOC Tour Truck Report: New sticks, new companies, and Patrick Reed buys his own threads

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Happy 2021! The PGA Tour is at Kapalua for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, and with the electricity around the Rahm Callaway signing and new TaylorMade gear hitting the streets, there is a ton to track.

Here is a list of who had new gear in the bag to kick off the year.

Titleist

Justin Thomas finally put the new Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) into the bag fully equipped with a Fujikura Ventus Red 6 X. The Ventus Red is gaining popularity little by little with Adam Scott and now Thomas switching into it. The new set up saw JT keeping his launch constant from the old TS3 set up all while going from 176 to 179mph ball speed and dropping spin from 2300 to 2100.

Richie Wereksnki also added a Ventus Red 6 X to his yet-unreleased Titleist TSi4 (10 degrees @9.25, D1 SureFit)

Lanto Griffin joined the long driver crowd with a fresh new TSi2 (9 degrees) with a Project X HZRDUS Black 65 6.5 @46 inches.

Adam Scott made some fairway wood switches adding a 15-degree TSi2 3-wood with an old-school Fujikura P95 and a TSi2 7-wood with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 10 TX.

TaylorMade

Dustin Johnson tested the new SIM2 and SIM2 Max heads in 9 and 10.5 degrees. The world No. 1 tried both heads with his trusted Speeder 661 Evolution and a Ventus Black 6 X. DJ will also put the SIM2Max HL (16.5) 3-wood in play with a Fujikura Ventus Black 9 X.

Collin Morikawa tested SIM2 (10.5) and SIM2 Max (9). Word is on course he was going back and forth between the SIM2 (10.5 degrees @9) and his current gamer SIM (8 degrees @8.5) both with the MCA Diamana D+ Limited 60 TX. Morikawa also has a new Spider FCG putter in the satchel as well as the new Sim2 3-Wood ([email protected]) with an MCA Diamana D+ Limited 80TX

Ping

Cameron Champ switched into the new Ping G425 LST (10.5) with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green (Hulk) 70 G 6.5 TX.

Michael Thompson is now in the new Ping G425 LST (10.5) with a Fujikura Ventus Black 6X.

Joaquin Niemann also added the new Ping G425 LST (10.5) with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 TX.

Tony Finau added swing weight to his entire set over the winter. The reason was to reduce a left miss, and after some tweaking, he ended up adding two to three swing weights across the board. The irons went from D3 to D5+ (D5.5).

Mackenzie Hughes put the new Ping G425 Max (9) in play with a Project X Hzurdus T1100 60G 6.5.

Callaway

Jon Rahm showed up with a whole bag of new Callaway gear

Driver: Callaway Proto Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX

4-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (16.5)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX

5-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI (Black) 8 X

Irons: Callaway UT Proto (3), Callaway Apex Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

  • TBD on UT or 5 Wood

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Forged JPN (52-8, 56-12, 60-10)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

Marc Leishman added a prototype Odyssey putter to his bag. The putter has an OG White Hot insert, and sources tell me Leishman loved the feel of the face straight away.

Xander Schauffele put a new Callaway Triple Diamond Prototype driver in play. The 9-degree (@8) head is loaded with his usual Graphite Design Tour AD BB 7X (custom black finish) shaft. Xander, like Rahm, also has the new Apex Prototype irons in play with Nippon Pro Modus3 130 X. The irons are rumored to have less offset, thinner top line, shorter blade length, and no Flash Face Cup.

Srixon

Hideki Matsuyama swapped shafts in his Srixon ZX5 driver (9.5 degrees) from a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8 TX into a Graphite Design Tour AD MD 8X XX (that’s right). The prototype shaft is a modified XC with a soft butt section and a very stiff tip.

Free Agents

On the fashion front, Patrick Reed who parted ways with Nike at the end of 2020, showed up in head-to-toe G/Fore apparel. The coolest part about the story is that Reed was such a fan of the brand that instead of signing a deal or expecting it for free, the 2018 Masters Champion went online and put all of his gear on the old AmEx like everyone else. According to my source, he’s loved G/Fore clothing for a long time and insisted that he get it like everyone else. Well done, PR.

This is what a representative from Team G/Fore had to say

“We are happy anytime we hear someone is enjoying our products and though Patrick is not on our roster for 2021, we are glad to learn he enjoys our gear!”

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