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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 Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the RBC Heritage – Part 3

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The first round of the RBC Heritage gets underway today and with that, we have an unprecedented part 3 of our most interesting pictures from the event. As a refresher, the field of 134 is battleing on the tight treeline Pete Dye designed course, for the $7.1 million purse with $1.28 million going to the winner.

In part one of this week’s “most interesting photos”, we covered putters, for part two we covered some of the action around the course, and for part 3 we have a little bit of both.

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

Snedeker with that “new driver” look

The 2012 FedEx Cup champ is quietly one of the biggest driver testers on tour, and he was looking thirsty at a couple of TaylorMade SIM2 drivers on the range. Also noted his Miura CB-301 irons.

Build your own training aid

Path board – check, digital level – check, alignment rod – check, extra club – check. Why spend all kinds of money when you can just build your own simple training aid?

Its armlock – but backward

Matt Kuchar brought the arm-lock style to the PGA Tour and it looks like he might be changing course again since he was spotted testing a “reverse” arm-lock Bettinardi on the practice green of Harbour Town links. This is a reverse style because the grip rests against the trailing arm versus the lead one.

Maybe graphite is the new steel

We’re not sure whose caddie this is, but the interesting thing in this photo is the graphite shaft in the putter. Although Bryson wasn’t the first, he certainly has opened the door for more players testing and putting ultra-stiff graphite shafts into their putters for stability.

Si Woo, and Charles Howell talking putters

Everyone knows Charles Howell loves to talk gear, and here he is chatting with Si Woo Kim about a couple of putters—just imagine the nerd level conversation being had.

Na continues to test the new Callaway Epic

Kevin Na is one of the last holdouts on tour with an original Epic driver in the bag, and again this week we spotted him testing one of the new Epic Speed drivers. Considering his chances this week based on the course length, it will be interesting to see if he officially made the switch.

 Maverick’s unique Toulon

Maverick McNealy’s slant-neck San Diego has a very different shape from the retail version and looks to be both longer heel to toe and also shallower—it reminds this writer of the classic Ping Anser 4.

Davis Love III has a full bag of familiar sticks

Davis Love has won the RBC Heritage 5 times (yes, 5) and this past champion has a full bag of Titleist gear including 718 AP2s and SM8 Vokey wedges. You can get all his full WITB here: Davis Love III WITB RBC Heritage

Who has 2 thumbs and loves to test putter? Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace was working with a number of Toulon putters Tuesday, and although they all had something a little different to offer, the one thing that stayed the same is his preferred 2-Thumb grip.

The grind doesn’t stop for Furyk

Did you know Jim Furyk is 3rd all-time on the PGA Tour career money list with over 71 million buckeroos banked. Crazy right? So imagine the drive it takes to continue to work your butt off week in and week out on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour to find every edge.

Speaking of edge, Jim was seen on the range working with Callaway tour reps on a Callaway Epic Speed triple diamond to hopefully gain a few mph of ball speed. Gotta respect the grind.

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Interesting photos from Tuesday at the RBC Heritage – Part 1: The putting green

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This week, the PGA Tour is decompressing in Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town, and GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers. The field of 134 is getting ready to battle starting Thursday on the tight treeline Pete Dye designed course, for the $7.1 million purse with $1.28 million going to the winner.

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

Armlock is building momentum on tour

We spotted both Henrik Norlander and, in a stunning twist, Kevin Kisner working with an armlock putter on the practice green at the RBC Heritage. Kisner is generally not one to switch, but it looks like based on the sideways grip, flat part aligned with the face, he’s taking a big cue from Bryson.

Fleetwood working with a new wand

Coming off a disappointing week at the Masters, it looks like Tommy is ready to try something new on the greens and by the looks of it, it’s shafted with an LA Golf graphite putter shaft.

So clean

Equipment free-agent Chris Kirk’s raw finished Odyssey prototype looks spectacular as its oilcan finish takes on a deeper patina.

It’s all about those drills

Practice is an important part of building consistency, and this drill sure does a lot for keeping everything locked in place.

On the level

There is no better way to work on hitting straight putts than making sure you are actually working on a level surface. This digital level proves that some of the best training devices can be found at your local hardware store.

That alignment is a ten out of ten

We spotted Callaway staffer Chase Seiffert working with an Odyssey Stroke Lab Ten with a very unique set of sightline dots—the more the merrier.

Scotty Cameron appreciation

Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy the classics, and this “bullet soled” blade is a thing of beauty. The closest thing to this in the retail market is the Coronado released in 2010—maybe we’ll see an updated version in the future?

Chicago’s finest

Kentucky native John Augenstein must be a big fan of Chicago, not the band, but golf companies that originate in the land of the Cubbies and da Bears. Not only is he sponsored by Wilson Staff, but he also has this lovely Bettinardi DASS (double aged stainless steel) custom in the bag with a LAGP graphite shaft (Bryson sure is rubbing off on people).

From Chicago to Texas

Speaking of custom putters, we also spotted this Edel blade being used along with one of the most simple training devices you will probably ever see—who said putting had to be hard?

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

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The Masters Tour Truck Report: Bryson’s new driver, Adam Scott’s new irons, RIP Freddie’s Squareway

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Welcome to this Masters edition of the Tour Truck Report. Normally, there aren’t many major equipment changes the week of a major golf tournament. However, Bryson James Aldrich DeChambeau—and we mean this in the best possible way—is anything but normal.

Thus, it’s not totally surprising to see DeChambeau testing a new Cobra RadSpeed Prototype driver at Augusta National.

Here’s what Cobra VP of R&D Tom Olsavsky had to say about the new weapon.

“The big thing here is speed, and Bryson has a lot of it. To help build a driver specifically tuned for his dynamics, we removed the adjustable weights to save mass from the housings and have focused on internal changes to help him reduce miss-hit variance.”

”The other thing we did was increase the face thickness of his drivers to prolong durability. Bryson hits a lot of golf balls, and with the amount that he hits both in standard practice and his speed training sessions, we wanted to help eliminate any durability concerns. We also suggest that he rotates the heads during sessions—and the adjustability in the hosel makes that easier to do.”

”Now speaking of the face, we specifically removed the Infinity Face on this new head, because it allows us to change the face radii easier and reduce the toe radius to help with his toe misses.”

More on the smattering of other pre-Masters equipment switches below.

Titleist

Adam Scott has been testing 620 MB irons for the past few weeks, according to our source. There’s a good chance they go in play Thursday. The Australian is also debating between a Vokey SM8 60-06K and 60-A.

Callaway

Phil Mickelson is reportedly considering putting with a glove on this week, for what that’s worth.

Jon Rahm continues to play Epic Speed Sub Zero Prototype 3 and 5-woods, as well as a prototype Stroke Lab steel putter shaft.

Photo via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder.

TaylorMade

After a week in the SIM2 Max, Dustin Johnson has returned to his 10.5-degree SIM Max. Fujikura Speeder 661 X, of course.

Matthew Wolf has a new Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 60 TX shaft in his 9-degree SIM2.

Cobra

Sources confirmed Bryson DeChambeau will put the Cobra RadSpeed Prototype in play.

Ping

Lee Westwood has swapped his hybrid for a Ping G425 7-wood.

Cameron Champ has switched from a Ventus Blue back to the Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 70 6.5 TX he played last year.

Matthew Fitzpatrick tested a G410 9-wood. Unclear whether he’s putting it in play.

In a case of tailoring equipment to the course, Joaquin Niemann added loft to his G425 3-wood to hit a high draw at the downhill 495-yard 10th at Augusta.

Others, free agents

In other news, we’re hearing Fred Couples may bench his beloved 2008 vintage Callaway FT-i Squareway 3-wood for a TaylorMade SIM2 Max. We’ll have to see what Boom Boom booms his 3-wood shots with on Thursday. He may also have his old Bridgestone irons in play.

Matt Kuchar demoed a LAGP putter shaft with a SuperStroke grip in a new Bettinardi BB8 Tri-Plane putter. He has also reportedly decreased the loft from seven degrees to four on the wand as he is using a new armlock putting method.

Collin Morikawa is testing Vokey SM8 60-04L with reduced ribbon for Augusta’s firm, tight lies.

The legend Jose Maria Olazabal has a new Vokey SM8 58-08M in the bag.

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