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Tiger changes driver-weight settings, shoots even-par 70 at Honda Classic

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After missing the cut by four strokes at the 2018 Genesis Open last week, Tiger Woods is back at it again this week at the Honda Classic; it’s the first time he’s played in back-to-back PGA Tour events since 2015.

Opting for something other than driver off the tee much of the day, Woods made one double bogey, one bogey, and three birdies en route to an even-par 70.

It’s no secret that Woods has been struggling off the tee of late, especially with the driver. He’s hitting just 35 percent of fairways on the year, and he has already made one driver shaft change (going from a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX to a Matrix Ozik TP6HDe ahead of the Genesis Open). According to photos on Thursday, it appears Woods has also changed the weight settings in his TaylorMade M3 for a bit more forgiveness and fade-bias (as pictured above). At the Genesis Open and the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods had the M3 driver weights in the forward position, which moves CG (center of gravity) forward and tends to lower spin.

On Thursday, however, Woods hit a slew of long irons and fairway woods off the tee instead of drivers at the 7,100-yard par-70 PGA National… an approach that seemed to work. Well, he hit just 50 percent of the fairways on the day, but that means he’s trending upward.

One of the shots Woods hit with the driver was so far right it was literally laughable… but he managed to make par anyway.

Actually, his double-bogey 7 on the par-5 third hole (his 12th of the day) came after hitting the fairway; he was fumbling on and around the green after hitting his third into a greenside bunker. That blunder aside, three birdies and an even-par round at the always-difficult PGA National leaves Woods currently in T19, obviously well inside the cutline.

Do you think Woods will make the cut? Do you think he can contend to win the tournament?

See the clubs Tiger Woods has in his bag this week at the 2018 Honda Classic.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. J Jackson

    Mar 2, 2018 at 5:14 am

    The total attraction to woods is unbelievable. The way that television coverage centers on this one individual is abhorrent.

  2. Timmy Dearden DDS

    Feb 24, 2018 at 7:50 am

    Glad to see that Mud Shark Coal Burning anti American race traitor aka Lindsay Vonn crash and burn at the Olympics.

  3. cdj

    Feb 24, 2018 at 6:40 am

    180+ ball speed not laughable at all though…

    • JR

      Feb 25, 2018 at 12:48 am

      … but the spin axis is carrying the ball into bananaland. He should learn to hit square and straight otherwise his high speed swing will exaggerate any small mistake.
      He should first learn to swing at a slower speed and control the ball before he launches bombs into the spectator gallery on his right side…. which is a danger zone if beaned by one of his errant efforts.

  4. Chuckster

    Feb 24, 2018 at 12:07 am

    OMG! OMG! OMG! ELDRICK SHOOTS 70! HE’S BAAAAAACK! HE’S CAPTURED THE MAGIC FROM 1996-2000, THIS IS IT, THIS IS

    IT, THE SECOND COMING! HE’S GONNA WIN THE 5 MAJORS NOW, OMG! WHAT DO WE DO NOW? HYSTERIA ABOUNDS!! THE

    WORLD IS FLAT!! HAHAHAHA!! HOW DESPERATE ARE WE FOR THIS EXHAUSTING COVERAGE OF A PEDESTRIAN, HAS BEEN

    GOLF’A?

    Uhhh geez, gimme a break with all the forced hoopla already! You’da thought his group was the only one on the nmad course!!

    Edith…..where’s my beer?

  5. Robert Nadjiwan

    Feb 23, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    I like the fact that Tiger is willing to work with a few equipment tweaks to try and strengthen his game. The driver is not an easy club to hit because one has to hit it with authority to get the performance that it has to offer. As always Tiger brings something to the game that I admire and trust that he will be rewarded with favorable results. Success comes in small spurts and it’s all about time, patience and the willingness to overcome challenges.

    • george

      Feb 23, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Gary Player says that Tiger told him that he became confused after 2000, since taking instruction from the ‘experts’

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZkxmr2wMyU

      Tiger more than any other pro has unlimited clubs and shafts to test and the time to check out all the adjustments.

      He is still confused about the golf swing. Too bad, but for his well being and health he should retire before he does permanent injury.

      • JR

        Feb 25, 2018 at 12:42 am

        Gary Player is a blowhard. He isn’t giving a golf clinic. He is giving a lecture on how everyone needs to be just like himself.
        “It takes hard work”. How many times has he said that? Does he think working in a factory is easy work?
        He spends his whole life playing a game, getting rich doing it and then claims to know something about life. What a clod.?

  6. HDTVMAN

    Feb 23, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Hit that driver at the PGA show. The M3 was OK, but preferred the Ping G400.

  7. Mike Pollard

    Feb 23, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Oh Wait……Tiger changes his shoes!!!! and his golf towel……..oh, my what will he shoot today?? Frankly, I’m kinda sick of it……ijs 🙂

    • Mark McKenzie

      Feb 23, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Tiger who…
      He’s not worth the ink. Mac

  8. Jim Bob

    Feb 23, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Who Cares! He’s guaranteed to hit every fairway with the new “Twist Face” Technology

  9. Billy Turner DDS

    Feb 22, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    She’s a disgusting mud shark that will never marry and have off spring. It’s her fault, burn the coal, pay the toll.

    • Ogo

      Feb 23, 2018 at 2:51 am

      Blond Swedish women are inveterate coalburners… e.g. Elin

  10. dat

    Feb 22, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    It is the indian, not the arrow. Adjusting a club might get you back .001 strokes per round. Fixing your swing faults will do tenfold or more better for your scores. Tiger took his medicine and generally used woods and irons. Playing it safe and making the cut is critical now for him. If he makes the weekend, by all means let the driver loose and see what happens.

    • Simms

      Feb 22, 2018 at 10:22 pm

      Love your comment it is the Indian not the Arrow..shows every amateur golfer out there that a $500 plus driver cannot even make one the greatest golfers of all time hit a fairway…and you think it is going to work for you………….

      • Ogo

        Feb 23, 2018 at 2:11 am

        But it’s so much fun tinkering with the weights to dial out your OTT banana slice…. and besides it makes yer golffing buddies green with envy as you pull out yer big black weapon to whack the lil’ whitey ball ….. 😉

      • ~j~

        Feb 23, 2018 at 11:58 am

        True, but some absolutely perform better to dome than others. Spent a hard year with the 915 driver, going through multiple chefs and settings, and never found a good consistent flight with it . Finally traded it in for 2017 M2, and right off the shelf begin hammering fairways. Same Indian swingnit!

        Tiger needs to ditch the M3, settings and Shafts won’t help much now that it’s in his head

  11. TV

    Feb 22, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    This is why the Tour needs more OBs. Why they let these guys get away these slash swings without penalty is beyond dumb. Make them think about the trouble and force them to hit a 3w or hybrid or iron.

  12. george

    Feb 22, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    give us a break, its not the arrow.

    That swing sucks and it is continuing to damage his body, just as he has done since changing post 2000.

    IMO he will continue to miss cuts until his body gives out, again.

  13. gvogelsang

    Feb 22, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    The title of this article is surely incomplete, and perhaps totally wrong.

    Tiger shot even par by hitting irons and 3-wood off the tee. The couple of times that he driver were a disaster.

    Only on WRX. I would say fake news, but I hate the usage.

  14. Your Mom

    Feb 22, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    Tiger isn’t hitting stuff off the toe and heel that bad! He’s a ball striker. He hits everything dead center of club face. All this twist face talk is pretty stupid

  15. Ogo

    Feb 22, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Tiger’s drive off the tee suffers from Peyronie’s disease… it jerks off to the left.

  16. Dave Hast

    Feb 22, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Here is my thought…. Twist face allows for of center hits too be playable… That being said you grooveing a swing because you are getting away with it…….. It’s only going to get worse. The club can only do so much. Put the M2 back in play and get on with it!! I’m sure they can find a way to make the M2 look like an M3. Just my two cents

    • George

      Feb 23, 2018 at 7:08 am

      Twist face is a joke. Quickly running out of ideas is what they should call it.

      • Ross

        Feb 23, 2018 at 7:43 am

        Twist face is relate to off centre hit when the path is true, If you throw it in to out it’s going right!

  17. The dude

    Feb 22, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Can’t work the Twist Face…..it’s a double edge sword

  18. James

    Feb 22, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Copy Stenson and use a strong 3 wood ? Set up a poll, should Tiger copy Stensons strong 3 wood approach to driving?

  19. Kyle

    Feb 22, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Don’t confuse correlation with causation. It wasn’t the driver that allowed him to shoot E. check out shot link on hole 12.

  20. Martien Schwencke

    Feb 22, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    The best for Tiger is an Titleist 905 with a TT metal shaft (On ebay 30 dollar)

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Morning 9: Azinger: If Brooks doesn’t like the Ryder Cup… | U.S. RC team targeting unity & birdies

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By Ben Alberstadt
For comments—or if you’re looking for a fourth—email me at [email protected].
Good Thursday morning, golf fans… I am looking to form a long-term M9 partnership with a coffee company — seems like a natural synergy! — if you’re the right highly caffeinated person, please drop me a line. 
1. Azinger: “If Brooks doesn’t love the Ryder Cup…”
Who could have forecast the winds of blowback yesterday? That’s right. Everyone.
  • Golf Channel Digital team…”Former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, in an NBC Sports/Golf Channel conference call to discuss next week’s competition, said he read Koepka’s full quotes and didn’t think Koepka was fully invested in the matches.”
  • “Brooks, when I just read that article, I’m not sure he loves the Ryder Cup that much. If he doesn’t love it, he should relinquish his spot and get people there who do love the Ryder Cup,” the 2008 winning captain said.”
  • “Not everybody embraces it, but if you don’t love it and you’re not sold out, then I think Brooks should – especially being hurt, should consider whether or not he really wants to be there.”
2. Rahm out of pro-am with stomach bug
The World No. 1 sat out Wednesday.
Golf Channel’s Max Schreiber…”World No. 1 Jon Rahm withdrew from the Fortinet Championship’s Wednesday pro-am because of a stomach illness.”
  • “Rahm was supposed to tee off at 8:40 a.m. PST and moved his press conference to 2 p.m. But he then canceled his pre-tournament presser altogether and the Tour announced he would not appear at Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course at all on Wednesday.”
3. Unity & birdies
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”If the team scouting trip to Whistling Straits this week is any indication, there are at least two themes that will define the Ryder Cup – U.S. captain Steve Stricker’s message of team unity and a golf course that will be set up for plenty of low scoring.”
  • “The majority of the U.S. team spent Sunday and Monday at Whistling Straits playing two practice rounds and attending a relaxed team dinner hosted by Stricker.”
  • “We understand how much it means to [Stricker], how much it means having it in his home state. I think you are going to see a very cohesive team that’s playing for each other and understands the bigger picture,” Harris English told GolfChannel.com. “We are all a team.”
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A smooth, subtle, never-bitter cherry and chocolate flavor profile, Death Wish’s brew is the only one I count on to hit my 5 a.m. Morning 9 deadline!
GolfWRX may earn a commission of “Recommends” products.
4. Storylines of 2021: The Bryson saga
ESPN’s Bob Harig rounds up the major plot points of the 2020-2021 season. Not surprisingly, one Bryson DeChambeau features prominently.
  • “No player made more headlines than Bryson DeChambeau. From his six-shot U.S. Open victory in September 2020 to his spat with Brooks Koepka — and that was just the beginning of the Bryson drama — DeChambeau was an overwhelming story in the season just completed.”
  • “He won his first major at Winged Foot, had a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, wowed fans with long drives, contended at the 2021 U.S. Open, lost in a stirring playoff at the BMW Championship and continues to approach the game from a different place.”
  • “But after his March win at Bay Hill, the headlines were mostly for other things. The spat with Koepka that began at the PGA Championship was the biggest one and is still ongoing. That led to on-course heckling and some verbal, social-media sparring between he and Koepka.”
5. Assistant captain Stenson
BBC report…”Sweden’s Henrik Stenson has been named as the fifth and final European vice-captain for next week’s Ryder Cup.”
  • “The 45-year-old joins compatriot Robert Karlsson, Germany’s Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald of England and Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland in the role.”
  • “The 2016 Open champion has played in five Ryder Cups, winning three times.”
  • “He knows what it takes to win – and that experience and knowledge will be crucial for us,” said European captain Padraig Harrington.”
6. Keeping the dream job
Adam Schupak puts some meat on the “PGA Tour rookies” bone with his item for Golfweek.
  • “There are 27 rookies in this season’s class on the PGA Tour, the most since 2011 when 35 earned cards, and 26 of them are in the field this week (all but Matthias Schwab). Max McGreevy and Jared Wolfe are making their Tour debut.”
  • “Some, like Aaron Rai, a 26-year-old Englishman who once holed a record 207 straight 10-foot putts at age 15, needed just three starts in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to graduate while others such as Scott Gutschewski, 44, is returning to the big leagues full time for the first time since 2011, and had made just two PGA Tour starts in the past 10 years. How did he celebrate his success? He went to Denny’s.”
  • “It ain’t Applebees, but still pretty fancy,” he tweeted.
7. Furyk to seniors
Listen to Jim! Golfweek’s Tim Schmitt with remarks from the 17-time PGA Tour winner that point to the appeal of the senior circuit for shorter hitters — and the relevance for golfers getting on in years.
  • “It’s one of the reasons why I really enjoy the Champions tour. Not the only reason, but I joke that I got to know my 4- and 5-iron really well playing the PGA Tour and kind of missed hitting the 8, 9 and wedge into par 4s,” Furyk said on Wednesday. “I get an opportunity now to attack a little bit more at times and get some shorter irons in my hand and make a few more birdies. It’s a lot of fun.”
  • “But while Furyk was mandated by PGA Tour rules to play the world’s best courses at their very longest, he said it’s a mistake that common players make when enjoying the game in middle age.”
  • “As amateurs get older, it’s very common that if they grew up playing the blue tees, they want to play the blue tees. It’s hard to move up to the whites,” Furyk said. “When they finally do, they go, ‘Wow, this is fun, why didn’t I do this earlier? I should have been doing this five years ago.”
8. Inbee the best putter in golf?
Our Andy Lack…”The PGA Tour has embarked on a data driven revolution over the past decade, and with the unveiling of KPMG Performance Insights, the LPGA is following suit.”
  • “Beginning at the 2021 LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in June, the KPMG team has gathered data from over 240,000 individual LPGA Tour Shots.”
  • “While there were a number of a fascinating conclusions that Justin Ray this week highlighted for LPGA.com, Inbee Park’s putting stood out the most.”
  • “Any LPGA Tour fan is familiar with the fact that the seven-time major champion is one of the best putters in the world, but the advanced analytics shed even more light on just how brilliant she has been.”
  • “Since the start of KPMG Performance Insight tracking, LPGA Tour pros have a conversion rate of 28% on putts from 10 to 15 feet. For context, PGA Tour golfers hover around 30%, with the leaders in that statistic making 10-15 foot putts 40 to 41% of the time.”
9. Photos from the Fortinet
GolfWRX is live from Napa for the 2021 Fortinet Championship. Along with the return of in-hand WITBs (8 players!) we have a number of general galleries for your perusal.
In addition, we got a look at putters from Ping, Bettinardi, and Scotty Cameron — covers, too!
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Photos from the 2021 Fortinet Championship

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GolfWRX is live from Napa for the 2021 Fortinet Championship. Along with the return of in-hand WITBs (8 players!) we have a number of general galleries for your perusal.

In addition, we got a look at putters from Ping, Bettinardi, and Scotty Cameron — covers, too!

You’re not here for the words, though. Let’s get to the photos!

General galleries

Special galleries

WITBs

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2021 Fortinet Championship betting tips and selections

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After the shortest offseason in sports, the PGA Tour kicks off its new 2021-2022 season with the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California. If this tournament sounds unfamiliar, fear not, it will still be held at Silverado Country Club, which has been the host course for the past seven years. It merely received a new title sponsor, as this was primarily the Safeway Open. While many of the world’s best players will be opting to rest up after a grueling super-season, three of last year’s major champions, Hideki Matsuyama, Jon Rahm, and Phil Mickelson will be in attendance.

As far as the task at hand, Silverado Country Club is a par 72 measuring just 7,123 yards on the scorecard with a poa-bent greens and poa-Bermuda fairways. Players will certainly be able to take advantage of the Robert Trent Jones design, as all four par 5s are reachable, zero par 4s measure over 458 yards, water only comes into play twice, and there is not a huge penalty for missing the fairway. For those reasons, I will primarily be looking to attack elite wedge players who thrive in low scoring events.

Let’s dig into my outright selections.

Harold Varner III (40-1, DraftKings)

On a course where every player in the field will have a wedge in their hands often, I’m comfortable skipping the top of the board and beginning my card in the 40-1 range. I tend to feel that elite players lose some of their advantage on easier courses. Much more randomness is involved in tournaments that can turn into a putting contest, so you’ll notice that I am taking a couple more chances with selections at longer odds.

With that being said, Harold Varner feels like an adequate place to start. The East Carolina University alum is coming off back-to-back top-15 finishes in the FedEx Cup Playoffs where he gained over 3.5 strokes on approach. Now, he enters a tournament with a much weaker field on a course he has already experienced a fair amount of success at. Varner has four top-30 finishes in six appearances at Silverado, and he continues to come here every year and is often hovering around the first page of the leaderboard. Both his off the tee and approach game are trending positively as well. This feels like a logical breakthrough spot for the Ohio native.

Chez Reavie (70-1, DraftKings)

Moving down the board, Chez Reavie has my attention as a player who is both riding some impressive form and has already experienced success at Silverado. The two-time PGA Tour winner has made the cut in every appearance at this event, culminating with a career-best third-place last year, where he gained 7.4 strokes on approach.

While Reavie is not long off the tee, he is able to mask that with elite driving accuracy and wedge play. With impressive performances at Pebble Beach, TPC Scottsdale, Waialae, and PGA West, the Arizona State product also has a clear affinity for west coast golf and poa greens.

Most importantly, I love the way his ball-striking is trending. Reavie has gained over 1.7 strokes off the tee in four consecutive starts, and he is coming off a performance at the Northern Trust where he gained 3.2 strokes on approach. I will gladly back Reavie at this very reasonable price.

Doug Ghim (90-1, DraftKings)

Doug Ghim is a player I continue to believe is on the precipice of a break-through win. At the tender age of 25, the former University of Texas standout boasts a decorated amateur and collegiate career, and while he has yet to find the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour, a contending performance at the Players Championship in March displayed his talent.

The reason I have interest in Ghim on this specific course is two-fold. First of all, Ghim is an incredible wedge player. Over his last 36 rounds, he is one of only two players in this entire field to rank inside the top 15 in every proximity distance between 75-150 yards, where the large plurality of Silverado’s approach shots come from.

Secondly, Silverado can be picked apart with elite driving, and Ghim is coming off a week at the Northern Trust where he gained 5.3 strokes off the tee, good for the best performance of his career. If the former Ben Hogan Award winner has truly found something off the tee, and irons can continue to trend positively, Ghim will be firmly in the mix come Sunday afternoon.

Pat Perez (95-1, FanDuel)

Pat Perez might be my favorite play on the board this week, and I would encourage readers to shop around, as he can be found as low as 60-1 at other books.

With four top-20 finishes in his last six starts, the three-time PGA Tour winner is clearly percolating. Most recently, Perez gained 5.7 on approach at the Northern Trust, which featured one of the strongest fields of the entire season. Now he returns to a much weaker field in a fall series event, where he is certainly most comfortable.

Two of Perez’s three career wins have come in fall series events, and his affinity for resort-style courses where birdies are the currency runs deep. I expect the Arizona State product to mesh perfectly with the vibe this week in Napa, and pick up win number four in the process.

Dylan Frittelli (140-1, FanDuel)

While Dylan Frittelli’s 2021 season has been marred with inconsistency, Silverado is the perfect set-up for the big-hitting South African, as evidenced by a 25th and seventh in two appearances.

While Frittelli is mediocre at many things, he is downright elite at two very specific things that have been proven to be very important at Silverado. The University of Texas product is long off the tee, and he is an excellent wedge player. Frittelli is actually one of only two players in this entire field to rank top-40 in all of the proximity distances between 75 and 150 yards, as well as driving distance.

At an extremely elementary level, selecting players that can bomb it off the tee and stick their wedges is not a terrible strategy to adopt this week. Obviously, recent form cannot be ignored, and while Frittelli has missed two of his last three cuts, he is coming off his best off the tee performance in over a year, and his irons are trending positively as well. This is far too large of a number for a PGA Tour winner with a recent top-five at the British Open, who also happens to fit this course to a tee.

Patrick Rodgers (160-1, FanDuel)

After a standout career at the University of Stanford, there is only one way to describe Patrick Rodgers’ PGA Tour career: disappointing. Rodgers is not short on talent, but he has yet to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together and pick up that elusive first PGA Tour victory. While some may have already lost hope, I’m not yet willing to give up on the big hitting former Ben Hogan Award winner with one of the silkiest putting strokes in the game.

In a nutshell, Patrick Rodgers hits the ball a long way and can get insanely hot with his putter, which is never a bad formula in a birdie-fest. I think Silverado is the perfect course for Rodgers, and not just because it is in California, where Rodgers has un-coincidentally recorded some of his best career finishes.

With seven of his last eight made cuts, Rodgers’ game is really starting to come around. He has gained off the tee in seven of his last eight starts and gained with his irons in three straight as well. I’ve already alluded to the putting stroke, and now Rodgers returns to his preferred surface, poa annua, where he was last seen gaining 7.2 strokes putting at Torrey Pines.

Featured image c/o Fortinet Championship on Twitter

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