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Tour Mash: Matsuyama repeats, Garcia wins in Dubai

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The week of the NFL’s big game was an exciting one on three of the world’s professional golf tours. The PGA Tour visited Scottsdale, while the European Tour stopped in Dubai. The Asian Tour was in Bangladesh and an important amateur event was contested in coastal Georgia.

No performance was as unbelievable as Tom Brady’s, but they came close. Let’s Mash On!

PGA Tour: Matsuyama repeats at WM Phoenix Open

Hideki Matsuyama dispatched another American golfer in extra holes at TPC Scottsdale, making birdie for the second consecutive year on Sunday’s 22nd hole. Last year, it was Rickie Fowler. This year, he sent Webb Simpson away with a runner-up finish. In the process, Matsuyama moved ahead of Justin Thomas and into first place in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings.

The day began with Byeong Hun An in first place. An, the 2009 U.S. Amateur and 2015 BMW PGA champion, turned to Sunday’s back nine with a three-stroke lead. An inward 40 dropped him to sixth place, opening the door for runs by a number of players. None was more brilliant than Simpson, whose 18th-hole birdie completed a round of 64. Matsuyama had putts to win on each of the last three regulation holes, but he burned the edge on each.

Related: Hideki Matsuyama’s Winning WITB

Demonstrating the patience of a champion for the ages, Matsuyama matched Simpson shot for shot until they reached the 17th hole for the first time in extra holes. There, Matsuyama finally knocked down a birdie putt and the fourth PGA Tour trophy of his career was in his grasp.

No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale: Brilliant, but…

I’ve a congregation of suggestions for the Waste Management team for next year, but I’ll limit it to a trio. Payment may be offered in free garbage pickup for a lifetime.

  1. Entrance Music: Yup, just like batters and relief pitchers in MLB. They come through the tunnel, why not bring them in… in style?
  2. Mascot Races: We get that some health concerns (heart attack, sprains) were offered as the demise for the caddie races. Fair. How about mascot races? Get someone dressed in the college or country colors of each golfer and have those mascots make a dash for the green.
  3. Swag Slingshots: It’s great that the tour guys feed the animals with personalized swag, but in reality it’s only the front-row folks that benefit. Take a book out of the David v. Goliath showdown and #BringTheSling. Gun some of the tees and the… whatever else into the upper decks.

European Tour: Garcia becomes 4th Spaniard to Claim Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Sergio Garcia played a bogey-free final round on Sunday in Dubai to claim his 12th European Tour title. Following in the spikemarks of countrymen Ballesteros, Olazabal and Jimenez, the world’s best iron player drove a dagger into the hopes of Open champion and nearest pursuer Henrik Stenson on the par-3 15th hole. With his lead whittled to two slim strokes, Garcia capitalized on a wayward Stenson tee shot with a dart to two feet to seize a four-stroke lead.

Showing all the signs of a mature golfing professional, Garcia took no risks on his road to victory. Stenson made birdie at the last to close the gap to three, finishing second alone on 16-under. Lasse Jensen of Denmark had the round of the day, a seven-under 65, which vaulted him all the way to a tie for 3rd with Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

Related: Sergio Garcia’s Winning WITB

Filed under Headline We Wanted To Write required a victory by Li Haotong, who tied for 39th. On this #BigGame Sunday, we would have lead with “Super Bowl LI.”

Asian Tour: Jazz wins Bangladesh Open

And I used to think that my last name was legendary! Jazz Janewattananond opened with 64 at the Bashundhara Bangladesh Open. Then he followed it with three more rounds in the 60s and won going away by four strokes for his first Asian Tour victory.

The young Thai golfer held off local legend Siddikur Rahman with a flawless four-birdie, zero-bogey final round. A bogey on the 13th hole ended Rahman’s chance at the title. American Dodge Kemmer came in third, two behind Siddikur and six back of the champion.

Filed under Things We Learned While Scrolling Twitter: Fourth-place finisher Panuphol Pittayarat has the handle of the week. Happy birthday, @ProCoconut.

Amateur Golf: Jones Cup in hands of Thornberry

Braden Thornberry of Ole Miss thrust his name into the mix of the U.S. Walker Cup team with a five-stroke win at the prestigious Jones Cup Invitational. Contested at the Ocean Forest Club on Sea Island, Georgia, Thornberry began the week with a 67 on Friday, two strokes clear of Bryson Nimmer and Sam Burns. Only Thornberry played near par during the remaining two rounds. Max McGreevy of the University of Oklahoma closed with 70, the low round on Sunday, to move into second place. High school golfer Cole Hammer of Houston place third, one back of McGreevy and six behind the champion.

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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.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Mark

    Feb 8, 2017 at 2:52 am

    Hideki is now the best player on the planet. Sweden waited a long time for a men’s major. I think Japan will get one this year.

  2. Tom54

    Feb 6, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Now that Sergio is engaged he might not beat himself up so much over his golf. He certainly has the talent. I wish him well.

    • Ronald Montesano

      Feb 6, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Astute observation. I think he was always chasing Tiger, because he was told to do so. He was unable to measure himself in any other way.

  3. mlecuni

    Feb 6, 2017 at 9:02 am

    I wish to Hideki and Sergio a major win this year !

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Tour News

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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Valero Texas Open Tour Truck Report: Stenson back in Diablo, Rickie’s limited-edition driver, latest AutoFlex-er

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With the Masters next week, players who have punched their tickets to Augusta National will be making the proverbial “final tune-ups” to gear and games at TPC San Antonio.

Those who are without an iconic Masters invitation card have but one path into the field of the first major of the year: a Valero Texas Open victory.

Accordingly, there’s a whiff of desperation blowing in the Texas wind. Even players who can count themselves among the fortunate next week are searching—such as Henrik Stenson, who is returning to his beloved Callaway Diablo Octane Tour 3-wood.

As a reminder, you can check out all our photos from the Valero Texas Open here

Callaway

Phil Mickelson is testing a new prototype version of the PM Grind wedge. Unfortunately, Callaway is mum on any further details!

Also on the Phil phront: Mickelson put a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 TX shaft in his Mavrik driver.

As mentioned in the introduction, Henrik Stenson has shelved his Mavrik 3-wood in favor of his immortal beloved, Diablo Octane Tour 3-wood.

Stenson is also gaming an Odyssey 2-Ball Ten putter.

Branden Grace is testing an AutoFlex shaft.

Titleist

Bernd Wiesberger is testing a new TSi2 13.5-degree fairway wood with a TPT Hi 14 shaft (he’s currently gaming a 15-degree TSi2).

Lanto Griffin moved into a TSi3 (10 degrees, D4 SureFit setting).

Chesson Hadley is testing a TSi3 (10 degrees). He’s seeing better control and increased ball speed. (Hadley is currently in a 10-degree TSi2).

An update, of sorts—and an aesthetically pleasing one—on Byeong Hun An’s 60-T

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Aaron Dill (@vokeywedgerep)


Cleveland/Srixon

Graeme McDowell is testing Mitsubishi MMT iron shafts.

Cobra

Rickie Fowler has the limited edition Cobra Palm Tree Crew (PTC) RadSpeed XB in play.

Jason Dufner is testing Mitsubishi MMT iron shafts in his King Cobra Forged CB irons.

Scott Garrison (SEG Golf)

Brian Gay had a KBS Hybrid shaft installed in his TaylorMade SIM2

KJ Choi added a LAGP shaft to his Cobra RadSpeed driver.

Gary Woodland had new KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 Black wedge shafts installed

Sam Bennett’s Bettinardi BB8 raw putter got a LAGP putter shaft and SuperStroke grip.

Free agents

Charl Schwartzel has his old Nike wedges back in the bag.

Equipment free agent extraordinaire Ryan Moore swapped out his Mizuno MP-18 irons for Ping Blueprint.

As a reminder, you can check out all our photos from the Valero Texas Open here

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Tour Photo Galleries

Most interesting photos from Tuesday at the 2021 Valero Texas Open – Part 2

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This week, the PGA Tour is at TPC San Antonio on the Oaks Course for the Valero Texas Open. GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to catch a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers.

The field of 144 is getting ready to battle starting Thursday for the $7.7 million purse, with $1.386 million going to the winner. The tournament is also the last event where players can qualify for The Masters, just like Canadian Corey Conners did last year.

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

Hunter Mahan going “G”

OSU—Oklahoma State University—is a golf powerhouse. Golfers from OSU who have gone on to great professional careers include Charles Howell III, Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff, Viktor Hovland, and of course one of the “OG’s” Hunter Mahan who also happens to by playing a Ping combo set with a new G425 long iron.
Yeah, I shoehorned all that in there.

Charles Howell’s bag is a treasure trove of gadgets

Charles’ bag includes an Orange Whip, alignment sticks, extra alignment sticks, extra driver shafts, and multiple putters. This is why gearhead golfers love CH3.

Phil loves to flex

 

Phil Mickelson will always be a showman, and this week as he tunes up for Augusta National he was flexing all kinds of gear on the range at TPC San Antonio.

  • Three drivers in the bag
  • Custom Callaway alignment stick cover
  • Double launch monitor/iPad set up
  • His own “Air Phil” logo on his shoes
  • And how can we forget those calves?

The second coming of the 2-Ball is upon us

I can remember it like yesterday. It was the summer of 2001, I just got a brand new set of irons, I was working at a golf course and playing every single day, and the Odyssey 2-Ball had just been released. That putter was everywhere, and 20 years later in 2021, I have those same feelings all over again—minus the whole “working at a golf course and playing every day” thing.

The new Odyssey 2-Ball Ten is all over professional golf right now, and we spotted more than one on the putting green in Texas.

Hideki gonna Hideki

Here is your weekly reminder that Hideki Matsuyama “out gears” every other golfer on tour when it comes to the weekly testing of driver shafts and putters.

Branden Grace is looking to go “Auto”

Branden Grace, how sweet the swing,
So flowing and so free,
The AutoFlex shaft, he is trying,
Might be the final key….for him to win for the second time this season.

Branden already won this year at the Puerto Rico Open and in Texas this week he was on the range deep into testing with the AutoFlex shaft in his Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond.

Japan forged Apex MB’s still going strong

The very limited edition “Japan forged” Callaway Apex MB’s which were originally made exclusively for Francesco Molinari have still been finding a place on the tour—and my goodness, they look fantastic.

Fluff is like the Energizer Bunny

Famous PGA Tour caddy Mike “Fluff” Cowan is 73 years young, looking fit, and still an absolute boss!

You don’t always need a staff bag

Luke Donald was seen grinding away on the range, and lucky for his caddie, Luke’s rig has been made a little bit lighter this week by swapping out the traditional staff bag with a tour stand bag instead.

It’s True, seriously

Former Ping staffer turned free agent, turned Scratch Golf staffer and part-owner, turned free agent, turned PXG staffer, turned free agent once again Ryan Moore has been playing a mixed bag that included Ping Blueprint irons, and an ever-changing array of wedges and woods.

The one constant for Ryan is his dedication to his True Linkswear shoes (a company he co-owns with his brother), and his love for his alma mater UNLV. This is why Ryan Moore is a True GolfWRX gear head legend!

It’s BACK!!!

It’s no secret Henrik Stenson has been struggling recently on the course, and like many golfers, it appears that he is looking to right the ship, or at least free it from the banks of the Suez Canal of poor play by going back to his faithful Diablo Tour strong 3-wood.

The mega combo set

Canadian Adam Hadwin isn’t well known as being a gearhead in the traditional sense, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t afraid to mix things up. His iron set is a combo of three different models which include the Apex MB, Apex TCB, and an older model Apex UT.

The graphite godfather is in the field

Everyone made a big fuss when Bryson went to all graphite in his clubs, but the true modern graphite iron shaft godfather is KJ Choi. He has used a variety of graphite iron shafts going back to 2003 and he has a yet-to-be-identified set in his Srixon ZX7’s.

You know, maybe there is something to graphite iron shafts and weight lifting, since it has been well documented KJ Choi was a competitive powerlifter in his teens before turning his attention to golf. So before we give Bryson all the credit for beefing up and using graphite shafts, we should remember KJ was doing it before Bryson was in diapers.

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

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