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Monday Tour Mash: Fowler’s finish, aggregate playoffs and Tiger’s evaporation

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Rickie Fowler Earns Playoff Victory Over Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia

There was one winner on Sunday at Sawgrass: Golf. Three members of the field played well enough to win the tournament on Sunday, but only one of them walked away from the course with the title and its trappings. Think for a moment about this list of “What the heck happened” over the final holes in round four:

  • Fowler played the final six holes in six-under par.
  • Garcia birdied 16 and 17, the latter with a putt nearly as wide as the green.
  • Kisner also birdied those holes and darned near won the thing in regulation.

When Johnny Miller is doing the seated Tarantella behind the 18th green, you know that these guys are beyond good and great; they’re other-worldly. On this day, in this town, Dick Fowler, Private Eye, solved the case.

Related: Rickie Fowler’s Winning WITB.

Aggregate Playoff A Winner At Players

FowlerPlayoffGarcia

There is no more dynamic finish (thank you, Alice Dye!) to any golf tournament, anywhere, than the closing triumvirate at TPC-Sawgrass. It was as if the clouds parted, the sun shone through and the Powers That Be(man) cried, “Egads, It’s Time For aggregate!” There are no breather holes over the final 1100 yards of this golf course, so no lead is ever safe. Let’s hope that two things transpire over the next decade: the format remains and we have oodles of playoffs.

George Coetzee Hammers Thor In Playoff

Coetzee

George Coetzee (pronounced coat-SEE-uh) might make a name for himself outside of his native South Africa. The 29-year old pro claimed his second European Tour victory of 2015 this weekend with a second-hole playoff win over Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen. The two professionals tied at thirteen-under par, with Coetzee making birdie at the last to catch the two-time tour winner. The playoff was contested over the same closing hole and Coetzee’s form held true. He birdied it twice in extra holes, a pace that Olesen was unable to match.

Smith and White Win Inaugural USGA Men’s Four-Ball Amateur

USGAwhitesmith

As easy as it is to misunderstand the concept of four-ball competition, it was THAT easy to recognize the winners. Teammates on the 2013 USA Walker Cup side, Nathan Smith of Pittsburgh and Todd White of Spartanburg threw everything they had at their final-round opponents (Sherrill Britt and Greg Earnhardt) and got home early after a decisive, 7 & 5 victory.

Contested at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, it was uncertain whether the college-age amateurs or the wily veterans would fare better in this better-ball event. Judging by the three mid-am and one college-am pairs to reach the semifinals, it was the latter. The Four-Ball Amateur replaces the USGA Women’s and Men’s Public Links Championships on the slate of national events this year. This week, at Pacific Dunes (Oregon), the women take center stage in their four-ball championship.

Tiger Woods Has Evaporated!

TigerWoods

Or so you’d think, if you read the headlines of the major online golf news sources. He is anywhere from the illusory “entirely lost” to the identifiable “worst score ever” at The Players. Well, let me tell you this: if there is any course on the tour that punishes a player whose game is a bit off, it is TPC Sawgrass. And, let’s not forget the weekend breakup with significant-other Lindsey Vonn. Hopefully, Tiger will recover emotionally and spiritually in the coming weeks. Let’s reserve judgement on his game and his future until after the four 2015 majors have played out.

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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.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. don davis

    May 13, 2015 at 3:34 am

    I miss the tiger buzz when he is moving up the leaderboard. Unfortunately he cannot keep it in play off the tee. Why is he not playing this week at the wells fargo? I wonder if he really has the will to put in the effort to regain his old form. He is really showing his age . Time to turn the page and start looking at some of the other players. Tiger and Phil are riding off in the sunset despite what all the media hype is trying to tell us.

    • Ronald Montesano

      May 13, 2015 at 9:10 am

      These are very astute points, don davis. Phil has more on his mind (I suspect it is family concerns) than Tiger, but Tiger has less in his life (again, family) than Phil.

      • Glorious

        May 13, 2015 at 9:37 am

        Yeah, but with all the physical ailments that Phil has, you don’t see him cringing and bending over and blaming it on a fake hurt like Eldrick does, do you? No. Phil just takes his pill and gets on with it. When he plays poorly, he says it as much. When he feels the course is tough, he says it much. Unlike Eldrick, who doesn’t know humility from his next glory hole.

        • Pat M

          Jun 1, 2015 at 8:02 am

          Phil does not do the silly and childish acting that Tiger engages in.

  2. Yaknowit

    May 12, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Man, was that the most over-rated tournament ever, or what, huh?

    The Players is so totally overrated. Yea.

  3. cody

    May 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    the aggregate is the way to go. Way better than a single hole sudden death were one bad shot and its over. I do see the merits of both but prefer the aggregate.

    Tiger is toast. Thanks.

  4. 1 up

    May 12, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Way to be (not) consistent on the Tour and to keep the non-golfing sports fans totally confused as to what the big deal is with a tourney like The Players to have a silly play-off finish in an aggregate way. It really is asinine that the Tour treats its own game this way, to drum with useless and meaningless play-off formats that ends up being sudden death, anyways!
    As a regular golfer, I HATE the aggregate. In fact, I hate the fact that there are any differences in stroke-play format play-offs at all. It should be kept consistent, where certain holes at all the courses are played, and not jumbled up from course to course. Monotonous? Sure – but the game is about consistency and doing the same thing correctly and better than anybody else by scoring the lowest score possible in stroke play. Otherwise, we already have stable fords and match-play, so we don’t need the Tour to go around confusing the world with its varied play-off formats and choice of different holes at different courses!
    What doesn’t the Tour get? The players themselves don’t honestly care whether it appears to be exciting on TV, or not! They make so much money now, win or lose. The TV coverage is there solely for the money. But the game would still be played without the TV coverage, as it used to be, and the game would be just fine, actually. The Tour needs to buck up and become transparent, and accept that it doesn’t have to be exciting, it needs to be respectful and show what that sort of behavior means, and not this ogling of the young players for the sake of entertainment.
    The Players is a circus, and not really very exciting. It really isn’t. Nor does it need to be.

    • Ronald Montesano

      May 12, 2015 at 9:45 am

      I disagree with everything you wrote. Please continue to comment, though. This site needs your perspective.

      RM

      • Captain Oblivious

        May 12, 2015 at 10:32 am

        And I must disagree with you. He needs to crawl back under his rock. The Tour doesn’t need to be exciting? Really?!!

        The “ogling of the young players for the sake of entertainment.” Uh, hello. They were showing the young players because they were the ones in the PLAYOFF. (Which, by-the-way, was awesome, IMO.)

        This clown doesn’t realize that TV exists mainly for the purpose of entertainment. This site needs informed and well-reasoned perspectives, not this drivel.

  5. dapadre

    May 12, 2015 at 5:34 am

    Shane Foley said it best, Tiger spoiled us. He was so out of this world that when he plays better than a PGA pro we say he is done. The young phenom, Spieth muts be going down hill, he didnt make the cut and he is nr 2 in the world ( Im being sarcastic btw).

    This is the same guy that has played few tournaments, changed coaches, has a break up, had surgery, re injured came back didnt play much decides to play the Masters when everyone said he would make a fool of himself and makes the cut and played well actually. When Chamblee gives him credit, then he must have played well.

    Agreed he is not at the top of his game, but his C game seems to be doing ok. I wonder what will be said if he is able to get to his B+ game not even A. Those that hail Rory (Im a fan btw, great player/person), compare the cuts made percentage with Tiger.

    • Ronald Montesano

      May 12, 2015 at 9:48 am

      I concur. For years, we had the almost-next Nicklaus in Trevino and Watson and Seve and Norman, but not quite, Then he arrived, warts and all. Just as we cannot compare Tiger with Jack (see Jack’s 2nd and 3rd-place record in major championships v. Tiger’s), we cannot compare Rory’s cuts-made % to Tiger’s.

  6. Tony

    May 11, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Nike can’t make a driver for Tiger for him to keep it in play? 4 of 14 fairways hit at the players? Phil?, too busy to work on his game, corporate stuff, design…

    • Ronald Montesano

      May 13, 2015 at 9:13 am

      It’s so hard to say with Tiger. Which swing is in his head or his hands or his heart during any given week? Is he 100% healthy?

  7. Pat M

    May 11, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Tiger is done. He is a journeyman player now fighting to make the cut. He is being whipped by little guys like Rory and Rickie. Tiger was no where at The Masters. Phil almost caught Spieth and Phil has a serious form of arthritis.

    • ChristianR

      May 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Did you change channel when Phil and Spieth were already at home on friday evening? ’cause Tiger played also the wekeend.
      Where’s the fun to be an hater I really don’t understand, there are another things in life man, check behind you keyboard.

      • cb

        May 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        +1 ChristianR. its crazy people call tiger a “journeyman.” No true journeyman would be able to take as much time off as tiger did, without swinging a club, and then come back and play the way he is playing. He is a living legend, just like arnold and jack. and if a legend is teeing it up that week then you should talk about them. you owe it to them to talk about them.

      • Ronald Montesano

        May 13, 2015 at 9:14 am

        +2 Haters will hate hate hate…that should be a song.

      • Pat M

        Jun 1, 2015 at 8:01 am

        Tiger is over. Stick a fork in him. He cannot keep up with the younger players and he looks really old now.

  8. ross

    May 11, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Don’t you guys ever get tired of talking about tiger? He’s washed up, no more majors for him!

    • Ronald Montesano

      May 12, 2015 at 5:20 am

      No, but it has to be the correct time and topic. Notice that I referenced the hyperbole surrounding Tiger, not his placement at the tournament. He can’t ever be the young superstar again, but he can evolve into something different. It all seems to depend on his physical stamina.

  9. Ronald Montesano

    May 11, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you, Mike and Joachim.

    Did you see the latest about Rickie being part of “Golf’s New Power Couple”? Please take away my keyboard when I’m that needy for a headline.

    • adam

      May 11, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      You can make up a combined name for them too, how about Rorkie?
      Rickie and Jordan are good but I don’t know if they’re quite on Rory’s level yet to make any combination of the three the “power couple,” but definitely heading that way. (based on wins, at least)

  10. Mike

    May 11, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    The Tiger stuff is insane. Although champions like Woods should not be measured by making cuts, that had to have been a realistic goal for him coming into The Players. He will win big again it’s just a matter of when… In the mean time, it’s nice to have Rory, Rickie and Jordan around.

    • Pat M

      Jun 1, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Looks like Tiger is already writing off 2015. Maybe 2016. He is a journeyman golfer now. There are a lot of guys on the web.com tour who are better golfers than Tiger now.

  11. Joakim

    May 11, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Nice job fowler well deserve now you the must underestimate player on tour. And i must agree about tiger. He made the cut. Speith mickelson kuther didnt!.

    sry for my english

    /J

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Tour News

Arnold Palmer Invitational Tour Truck Report: Rickie’s iron experiments continue, MMT train rolls on, Rose tests a ton

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The fleet of tour trucks arrived southwest of Orlando this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge.

It’s an appropriate place to be digging into the nuances of pro golfers’ gear, given the club building, tinkering, and general gear junkie-hood of the tournament’s namesake, Arnold Palmer, whose 10,000 club-filled workshop is gear nut’s cave of wonders.

Let’s dig into the tweaks and wholesale switches we’re hearing about at the King’s place.

Titleist

Byeong Hun An plugged a Mitsubishi MMT Utility 125 TX shaft in his Titleist U500 2-iron.

Bernd Wiesberger is testing a Graphite Design Tour AD DI9 TX shaft (tipped 1.5 inches) in his TSi2 3-wood as he searches for more of a consistent cut ball flight. His current gamer features a Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 8 TX shaft with the same tipping.

Denny McCarthy, Robert Streb, and Byeong Hun An are all testing new Project X EvenFlow RipTide shafts (which began tour seeding in late January).

And on a related note, while we haven’t heard specifics of anyone putting one in play, we spotted prototype Scotty Cameron 11.5 putters that feature an expanded range of sight lines (more photos here).

Vokey

The report from @vokeywedgerep: “Tons of fresh wedges this week anticipating firm and fast greens at Bay Hill as well as prep for The Players. Many players checked loft and lies, also.”

Bernd Wiesberger has a fresh set of wedges and Byeong Hun An added a 60T SM8.

Doug Ghim, who is usually in an SM8 60-08AD+, is going with a different grind/bounce profile this week: 60-06K.

Patton Kizzire switched to a 52M Proto.

JT Poston is switching to SM8 56-10S reducing some bounce on his wedge (from 56-14).

Jazz Janewattananond may have some of the most unique wedge stampings on tour. Gotta love the skateboard tricks (and the skateboarder stamped by AD) on the 60T!

 

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A post shared by Aaron Dill (@vokeywedgerep)

Callaway

Both Kevin Kisner and Matt Every have switched into Mitsubishi MMT iron shafts (125 TX) as the composite iron shaft surge continues (more on the MMT shafts here).

Francesco Molinari is testing a Callaway Epic Speed (Triple Diamond) driver.

Tyler McCumber has a fresh set of MMB irons.

Sam Burns is in an Epic Speed LS driver with a Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X shaft (and going down three swingweight points, D6 to D3)

Marc Leishman moved into an Epic Speed 4-wood with a Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X shaft.

Matt Wallace is putting an Epic Speed driver (9 degrees) in the bag with a Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X shaft.

Maverick McNealy is gaming “Proto Top Gun irons” (that we are eager to get a look at!) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts.

Ping

Tyrrell Hatton is testing a Fujikura Ventus Red 6 X (tipped 1.5 inch) shaft in his G425 driver. Compared to his gamer, Hatton saw an increase in ball speed, more consistent spin, and less curve to the right.

Cobra

Jason Dufner testing a prototype 3D-printed Cobra putter “Agera.” It seems to feature the same SIK Descending Loft Technology (DLT) as the King Supersport-35.

Rickie Fowler returned to his Rev33 irons—albeit with some fresh grinding to the soles of the sticks. Have we arrived at Rev34?

TaylorMade

Pretty quiet on the TM front—save for some superb limited AP headcovers.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Chris Trott (@trottiegolf)

Robert MacIntyre is taking the full SIM2 plunge: SIM2 Max driver, SIM2 Titanium 3-wood, SIM2 Rescue (19.5 degrees).

Tommy Fleetwood is gaming the 2021 TP5x ball.

PXG

Jim Herman is testing a PXG Gen4 driver with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 6X (tipped 1 inch).

Zach Johnson was testing a Gen4 driver as well.

Scott Garrison/KBS

Jordan Spieth got a new SuperStroke Traxion Flatso 1.0 grip on his Scotty Cameron 009 putter.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GolfWRX (@golfwrx)

Bryson DeChambeau’s SIK Pro C got a loft and lie check.

Free agents

Justin Rose is looking at new blade-style prototype Axis1 Rose putter models—as well as both Mizuno MP-5 and MP-18 irons—in addition to Ping G425 5 and 7-woods (both LST and MAX) with Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Orange shafts.

A final note: If you’re wondering what 1990 champion Robert Gamez will be playing, here’s a look—Wilson D7 irons, Wilson Staff blades, multiple Cleveland RTX wedge varieties, and a T.P. Mills flatstick. Nice!

Check out all our photos from Bay Hill, here.

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Interesting photos from the Arnold Palmer Invitational (plus links to all photo galleries)

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This week, the PGA Tour is at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida, and GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy some interesting things from the grounds and around the practice area as players were getting ready to battle for the $9.3 million purse at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Don’t forget you can check out all our image galleries in the GolfWRX Tour Equipment forum.

Justin Rose’s new Axis1 (Blade) proto

Justin has been using an Axis1 putter for years, but this is the first time we’ve spotted him with a blade-style prototype version.

Rickie continues to tinker

Rickie Fowler’s bag is always interesting, and this week the Rev33’s are in play.

John Augenstein’s WITB

The 2019 U.S. Am runner-up turned professional in late 2020 has quite the club setup.

Camilo Villegas with new Srixon ZX7 irons

Camilo always has a very interesting club set up based on his unique dynamics into the ball—lots of forward shaft lean and low dynamic loft. Thanks to their more aggressive VT sole the new Srixon ZX7’s seem to be a perfect fit for the Colombian.

Justin Rose continues to test

It was exactly a year ago at the 2020 API, Justin Rose started to tinker with his club setup, and this week in 2021 it appears that he is still working to get dialed in and testings drivers.

Speaking of drivers, Rose was as caught talking to Jason Dufner about his new Cobra RAD Speed, and might have ordered one to test.

A story in 4 parts – the assumed conversation

Rose– “Oh, I like the look of this Duff!”
Duff– “It’s my new one. I like it”
Rose– “Interesting, what’s it all about?”
Duff– “It has all this weight to make it stable, & you adjust it here.”
Rose (on phone )- “Hey cobra can I test one of those Rad drivers?”

 

Kisner with a unique putting drill

Keith Mitchell continues to use HZRDUS T1100 in his driver

With all the talk about players including Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen moving to longer and much more flexible driver shafts, Keith Mitchell continues to buck the trend with one of the stiffest shafts available – the ProjectX HZRDUS T1100.

Here’s a look at Louis with his stock Ping ALTA CB stiff shaft.

Alex Noren loaded up with golf balls

We know there is a lot of water around the course this week at Bay Hill, and it looks like Alex Noren is prepared like an 18 handicap headed out to play from the back tees with four dozen balls ready to go.

Dufner putting with his wedge

Jason Dufner was seen working on his putting using the popular bellied wedge drill which forces you to work on producing a level stroke and precise center contact.

Hideki Matsuyama’s bag must be heavy

Hideki is the ultimate tester, which is why we love him at GolfWRX.

Bryson potentially testing grips

It looks like Bryson was getting ready to test some new Jumbo-Max grips, or just had a fresh set installed this week.

Paging Ping – Harris English needs a new putter headcover

That ratty old thing must hold some sentimental value to Harris based on its condition.

Charl Schwartzel back to Miura irons

Charl has gone through a number of iron sets in recent memory and at the API it looks like he’s back to a set of Miura 001 blades.

Spieth testing new utility

Jordan Spieth had a few extra Titleist utility irons next to his bag on the putting green, and it could be that he is working on his gapping because of the long par 3’s at Bay Hill.

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WGC-Workday Championship Tour Truck Report: New putter for Rory, more AutoFlex experiments

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First and foremost, prayers and love to Tiger Woods and his family.

TaylorMade

Rory McIlroy is going back to an older model putter this week at Concession swapping his Spider X for a TP Juno.

Robert McIntyre AKA “Bobby Mack” put a new TaylorMade Rescue ’21 Hybrid ([email protected]) in the bag with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black Hybrid 100 6.5 TX.

Matthew Wolff put a new TaylorMade (19) UDI in the bag with a Mitsubishi MMT 125TX.

Collin Morikawa was testing SIM2, SIM2 Max hybrids this week with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX shafts.

Dustin Johnson alongside TaylorMade’s Keith Sbarboro was testing SIM2 drivers with Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X, Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 and an LAGP Proto.

Callaway

Jon Rahm made adjustments to his Mavrik Sub Zero 5-wood to optimize launch. The 5-wood has 16.4 degrees of loft and a Black Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8X. The adjustments were to the lie of the club going from 59.8 to 58.9 and weight distribution from 12g Front/6g Back to 10G Front/6g Back. Dialed.

Min Woo Lee put a new Epic Speed ([email protected]) with a Fujikura Ventus Red 7X. Lee also debuted his new logo which is on fire.

Titleist 

Genesis Invitational champion Max Homa tested TSi2 5-woods to give him some options for some of the tee shots at Concession. It’s equipped with a Graphite Design Tour XC 8 TX.

Lanto Griffin swapped into a shorter driver going from 45 to 44.5 in his TSi3 (10). Griffin’s driver has a Project X HZURDUS Smoke Black 70 6.5TX

Justin Thomas put a TSI3 (9) in the bag this week. The new set up is powered by a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF TX

Ping

Cameron Champ switched back into a shorter length Ping G425 LST this week going from 45 to 44.25 inches. The shaft is a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 70 6.5 TX (@44.25 , Tip 1.5, D4 SW).

Louis Oosthuizen did something interesting. He had a Ping build him a G425 LST (10.5 @ 9.4, Small -) with the company’s lightweight Alta Slate CB 55 stiff shaft. The 2010 Open Champion was looking for a softer feel with the driver, which isn’t surprising, considering he was seen taking a hard look at Adam Scott’s TSi with an AutoFlex. The whippy lightweight plot thickens…

Ping released a bunch of new putters this week for seeding. Multiple staffers tested them and we will see on Thursday if any go in play.

Cobra

Cobra’s Ben Schomin (and king of the mullets) is doing something to Bryson’s driver—wanted to post this because of the respect for Ben’s hair. Hair aside, Bryson did put a new LAGP Axis Blue 6X in his driver and was also testing new Rad Speed 3 Woods.

Misc/Free Agents

Tommy Fleetwood swapped out his Callaway MD5 Jaws wedges for a set of Titleist Vokey’s (52M, 56M, and 60T) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts.

Adam Scott (Titleist staff) was testing long center shafted Odyssey Two Ball 10.

 

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