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Morning 9: Reed’s Masters menu | An impressive Tour record could be broken soon

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By Ben Alberstadt ([email protected])

January 3, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. TaylorMade M5, M6 launch
In a market where distance seems to dominate the conversation, TaylorMade has always been at or very near the top year in and year out. It’s no secret that some of the most popular offerings from the past 10-15 years have come straight out of the Top Secret “Kingdom.”
  • 2019 will be another year that TaylorMade Golf sits right near the top of that mountain, with its most aggressive push in regards to tech advancement since the SLDR in 2013.
  • Marketed as “taking speed to the limit,” TaylorMade’s next generation of the M family of drivers, the M5 and M6, feature a Speed Injected Twist Face, building on the Twist Face technology the company debuted with the M3 and M4 drivers last year. The M5 and M6 club faces are designed to initially exceed the USGA’s COR limit.
  • In simple terms, speed injected face technology is where they take all of the heads they produce, push them all past the USGA limit in regards to COR and work backwards to ensure they fall within the parameters – the algorithm-driven process of resin injection into the clubs via the two ports on the face brings the figure just inside the acceptable range.
2. Patrick Reed’s Champions Dinner menu
The 2018 champ revealed what he’ll serve.
  • Dan Kilbridge at Golfweek...”The highlights: Bone-in ribeye, mac and cheese, creamed corn, creamed spinach.”
  • “Reed also said he’ll have some grilled chicken and healthier options just in case.”
  • “I’ll go caesar salad, but then I was going to make multiple options, because some guys might not like steak,” Reed said. “So there will be grilled chicken, there will probably be some kind of seafood as well. I want to please everyone there. It’s not just for me, it’s for all the past champions and everybody and I want everyone to have a great time.”
3. An impressive record you likely don’t know about
Ryan Armour: fairway-finding machine.
  • Alex Myers at Golf Digest…”Armour is coming off a solid fall in which he made the cut in all five of his starts and finished T-15 at the RSM Classic in his final tournament of 2018. But in addition to carrying over into 2019 the $269,911 he’s earned, the one-time PGA Tour winner will also start the new year on a crazy streak. The 42-year-old has hit 52 fairways in a row.”
  • “Yep, that’s 52 fairways in a row. Or, essentially four straight tournament rounds of not hitting a tee shot on a par 4 or par 5 in the rough. And nope, that’s NOT the PGA Tour record. That distinction belongs to Brian Claar, who hit 59 in a row in 1992, which happens to be the first year the tour began keeping consecutive fairways as an official stat. Yeah, we’re guessing you didn’t know that one.”
4. Still no regrets for CH3
Echoing his tone after ending his victory drought at the RSM Classic, Charles Howell III still wouldn’t change a thing.
  • Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard… “There were times when I wondered if I might not ever win again. Maybe I’ll have a really nice career and try to be super consistent and maybe winning just isn’t in the cards,” he said. “I don’t know that you’re ever OK with that, but it was tending to be a reality.”
  • Although Howell has just three PGA Tour victories, he has finished runner-up 16 times and ranks 20th on the career earnings list ($37 million).”
  • “By comparison, John Daly won five times on Tour, including two major championships, yet ranks 177th in career earnings. When asked if he would trade careers with Daly, Howell’s answer was a testament to what has been an impressively consistent career.”
  • “I wouldn’t [trade careers with Daly]. As painful as that is to say, because he’s won majors. I am proud of the consistency I’ve had and the finishes I’ve had,” Howell said. “When I went to Oklahoma State I wanted to see how good I could be. But if you’d have said, ‘Charles you’re going to have a 20-year career on the PGA Tour,’ I would have signed up in a heartbeat for that.”
5. No flagstick for JT?
…not so fast.
Gotta love Thomas’ take on putting with the flag in.
“I mean personally I don’t think I can – I mean obviously whenever I’m like this and (caddie) Jimmy (Johnson) is, that’s one thing. But I mean if I have an 8-footer to win a golf tournament, I can’t – I mean no offense, I can’t really take myself seriously if I kept the pin in. I mean it just would be such a weird picture and like on TV me celebrating and like the pin is in and my ball’s like up against it. And so I don’t know, to me that’s one thing. But, yeah, I guess there’s some instances in tournaments where the pin is really the only thing that can stop it, that’s one thing. But if I have a putt, I’m trying to make that thing’s coming out.” (via Golfweek)
6. Welcome to the working world, Kyle Thompson!
Alex Myers at Golf Digest.…”In his third crack at the big leagues this past season, Thompson missed the cut in 20 of 22 starts while earning only $24,878. He decided the Wyndham Championship in August would be his final tournament if he didn’t qualify for the FedEx Playoffs, and he stuck to his word.”
  • “For some reason I haven’t had nearly the monetary success of some other guys,” the five-time Web.com Tour winner told the Greenville News the week of the Wyndham. “If you get one or two good years on the PGA Tour, it can set you up for years.
  • “Instead, after 17 years as a tour pro, the 39-year-old Thompson finally settled on his first “real job” to support his family for the foreseeable future. And he was excited about embarking on his new insurance career to begin the new year”
7. It’s 2019, so…
…time for an updated look at 2019 Masters odds!
Golf Channel’s Will Gray...”The Westgate opened Masters betting as soon as Brooks Koepka captured the PGA Championship last August, meaning that bettors have had more than four months to stake some early claims. While Spieth started out alone as the 10/1 favorite, he’s now joined by Woods, who started at 12/1, and Rose, who opened at 16/1 but has since received some support.”
12/1: Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose
14/1: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas
16/1: Rickie Fowler
18/1: Jon Rahm
25/1: Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau
30/1: Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama
40/1: Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson
50/1: Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Cameron Champ, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay
60/1: Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Pieters, Webb Simpson
80/1: Danny Willett, Alex Noren, Cameron Smith, Brandt Snedeker
100/1: Zach Johnson, Ian Poulter, Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Kisner, Tyrrell Hatton, Charley Hoffman, Branden Grace, Billy Horschel, Matt Fitzpatrick, Gary Woodland, Aaron Wise
8. Casey to Honma?
Via GolfMagic/most likely a tweet from Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall that they spotted…”Casey, who has been a free agent in the iron market ever since Nike Golf’s departure from clubs and balls several years ago, was photographed with a Honma TW-U Forged utility iron in his hands during his practice round at Kapalua on Tuesday. “
“The Englishman signed a metalwoods-only deal with TaylorMade in 2017, but is a free agent when it comes to the rest of his bag.”
9. Koepka’s goals
Apparently, Brooks Koepka only accomplished a portion of what he set out to do in his two-major season.

Rex Hoggard writes…”Despite that success Koepka said he checked off about “half” his goals last season, pointing out that he missed a good portion of the spring with a wrist injury and he didn’t make every cut.”

  • “I like playing the weekends,” said Koepka, who missed his only cut at a non-team event at the RBC Canadian Open in July. “I wasn’t happy on that plane ride home. I can tell you that much.”
  • But hey... “In bed by 10 o’clock every night. I did good on that one. Every night,” he laughed before adding, “On the road. On the road.”

 

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from the AT&T Byron Nelson

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GolfWRX was on site at a very wet TPC Craig for practice rounds ahead of the AT&T Byron Nelson, and we weren’t going to let the rain wash away the opportunity for interesting photos.

We have six general galleries for your viewing pleasure

…and a number of special of galleries as well.

We got a look at University of Texas Junior Cole Hammer’s sticks as he prepares to put a peg in the ground at the Byron Nelson on a sponsor’s exemption.

Equipment free agent Daniel Berger was seen testing a Titleist TS3 driver with a Fujikura Ventus Black shaft.

D.J. Trahan once again solidifies his status as the Tour’s biggest Deadhead.

Kevin Chappell’s Wilson Staff irons have taken on a lovely patina.

Tidy stamping on Jhonattan Vegas custom Cameron.

Also on the Cameron front: James Hahn’s T12 Prototype.

More putter photos: Matt Kuchar had two center-shafted Bettinardi blades built for testing. (More photos here)

Rickie Fowler has gone back to his Newport 2 with “Cameron” stamped in the cavity rather than “Rickie,” which is in his other wand. He’s also been back in a steel shaft in the putter for a while.

Russell Knox was spotted testing an Axis1 putter.

New to us, this Odyssey “Sir Makes-a-Lot” putter cover is clever.

Odyssey Tri-Hot insert sighting!

Michael Greller displays Jordan Spieth’s new 2021 Pro V1x balls. Did he stop in the pro shop to pick up a sleeve?

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AT&T Byron Nelson Tour Truck Report: Details on Spieth’s ball change, Kuch’s new putters, more

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There’s not a ton of tinkering going on at presently soggy TPC Craig Ranch where Monday was wet and Tuesday was a washout. With it being the week before a major championship and the heart of the season, most players are committed to dancing with the one that brought them and are only soliciting the tour trucks for spec checks and regripping.

Perhaps most interestingly this week, Jordan Spieth has switched from a previous generation of the Titleist Pro V1x into the current iteration of the golf ball (Exhibit A: The photos of Spieth’s caddie, Michael Greller holding up the wares below).

Check out all our photos from the Byron Nelson!

Matt Kuchar continues his flatstick experimentation as he looks to find his form on the green. Bettinardi built him a couple of long-neck center-shafted blades to tinker with. Face-on view of one of the models below, and more photos here.

More of what’s up with major OEM staffers, below.

Titleist

Sean O’Hair is testing a TSi2 (10 degree) driver and TSi2 (15 degree) fairway.

Per Titleist, Spieth offered this about his switch into the new Pro V1x

“I’m trying to optimize launch conditions through the bag. For me, the 2021 Pro V1x, I get more spin around the greens. It’s softer, spinnier around the greens with my short game shots. And then when I went up the bag, I started to get a little bit higher launch, but it didn’t add spin in the long clubs. It just added ball speed and launch. So it’s a little higher window, but it just looks like it’s screaming through the air. And then from the 7-iron on down, I didn’t see much difference in the full shots, just like I said more action around the greens.”

“I’m trying to just hit optimal windows and if I can gain – really, in my long clubs – just a little bit better peak height with a little bit faster ball speed, it actually helps fill my gaps a little bit easier. And then it’s just coming down – it has the potential to come down a little bit softer, which is obviously important. But I’m not seeing a massive difference through kind of that mid iron into short iron. And I still can hit each shot that I want to with the scoring clubs. So being able to tee off and all you do is change the ball and it’s actually in a similar window that’s going 3-4 yards further, that’s nice. And then when I get to the scoring range clubs, I feel like if anything, I just have the ability to hit an even softer shot if I want to. But the rest of them were all still there.”

 

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A post shared by Aaron Dill (@vokeywedgerep)

And while Titleist is mum on any further details, there is this…

Callaway

Talor Gooch had set of raw Apex MB irons built for testing.

Wesley Bryant added a prototype full-face MD5 wedge to his arsenal.

Others, free agents

Rickie Fowler returned to the Scotty Cameron with “Cameron” rather than “Rickie” at the Wells Fargo Championship, but this is the first good look at the flatstick we’ve gotten since the switch.

Daniel Berger was spotted testing a Titleist TS3 with a Ventus Black shaft.

Russell Knox was spotted testing an Axis1 putter.

In a pretty wild story we’re looking for more information on, notorious gearhead Chris Baker is rumored to be putting a set of irons belonging to Cobra rep James Posey in play. Incidentally, Baker is also testing a Kali White shaft.

Free agent Dominic Bozzelli is testing a Titleist TSi3 driver (9 degrees).

James Hahn is reportedly testing a number of shafts: prototype Aldila in a fairway wood, and Mitsubishi MMT in a hybrid and long iron.

PXG staffer Danny Lee switched out of Project X 6.5 and into KBS Tour V 125 shafts (5-PW) and KBS TGI 110 in 3 and 4-iron.

Tom Lewis has moved back into KBS S Taper 125 in his full set. He was playing Nippon 125’s in his irons and a Fujikura Ventus Black 115 HB in his Srixon ZX5 3-iron.

Check out all our photos from the Byron Nelson!

 

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TaylorMade to be acquired by Korean-based private equity firm Centroid Investment Partners

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On Tuesday, TaylorMade Golf Company announced that its current financial sponsor, KPS Capital Partners, has signed a definitive agreement, through an affiliate, to sell TaylorMade Golf Company to Centroid Investment Partners.

According to TaylorMade CEO David Abeles, the focus of the new partnership will be to “keep on doing what’s made us the leader in our industry – the creation of best-in-class products, invest in our brand, and deliver incredible service to our customers and golfers of all skill levels.”

KPS acquired TaylorMade in 2017 from Adidas, and since then, TaylorMade has experienced substantial growth in revenue and profitability worldwide, and per the company is poised to have the strongest year in its history under the leadership of David Abeles, CEO of TaylorMade Golf.

On the sale to Centroid Investment Partners LC, Abeles further stated

“This transaction is a very important milestone as we continue to build upon our brand’s momentum around the world. Not surprisingly, the sale process for TaylorMade generated tremendous interest from a wide range of prospective buyers and resulted in an agreement that reflects the outstanding performance of our business today, as well as the outlook for the future.”

Established in 2015, Centroid Investment Partners LC (“Centroid”) is a Seoul-based private equity firm. Some of the equity firm’s most recent purchases include the South Springs Country Club, Kolon Advance Fiber, and Woongjin Booxen.

Speaking on the acquisition of TaylorMade Golf Company, Jinhyeok Jeong, founder and CEO of Centroid Investment Partners, said

“TaylorMade Golf is a transformational investment for Centroid. We are very excited to have the opportunity to invest in a global leader in golf. The industry is currently experiencing high demand, increased participation, with strong long-term opportunities around the world. TaylorMade is an iconic brand with continued momentum across the key golf equipment categories and regions, especially the Korean and wider Asian markets. We are equally excited to work with CEO David Abeles and his “exceptional senior management team to support continued growth and success.”

The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

 

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