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Opinion & Analysis

Miura’s COO, Bill Holowaty, talks signing Abraham Ancer and more

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In the wake of the news of Miura Golf signing Abraham Ancer as a brand ambassador and one of few paid staff members on any tour, our Director of Original Content, Johnny Wunder, caught up with Miura COO, Bill Holowaty, for the inside scoop.

Here is the convo.

JW: Bill, congratulations on signing Abraham, seems like a great fit for Miura and a good way to kick off 2019. What lead to formalizing this relationship with him, and was this something that had been in the works for a while?

BH: Miura Golf has never paid for play on professional tours, however, we have always made our products available to the best players. Abraham was introduced to Miura by Genaro Davila (our dealer in San Antonio) a several years ago and although he moved away from our irons for a short time, he made the decision to trust his game to Miura and for the last 2+ years, he has been playing Miura irons.

Late in 2018, we were working to expand our distribution reach around the world, and that included Mexico. From there, things moved quickly as we identified Genaro Davila and his business partner Gerardo Benavides (DSP Golf Mexico) as the right partners, and they reached out to Abraham to join their team. As the press release stated, this in really a new and special relationship we have created with Abraham.

JW: Is he required to play a certain amount of Miura clubs?

BH: Abraham has no parameters on the number of clubs he plays. But, he’s said on multiple occasions that he just wants to play the best forged irons. Miura! And we obviously have the best interests of Abraham at heart.

JW: In regards to his irons, he got fitted for the Miura MB-5005. What is it about that particular head that resonated with him? He seems to be a traditional feel player, so I’m assuming it’s not just the iron profile that caught his eye. Turf interaction? Flight windows he looks for?

BH: Yes. All those things. Abraham had previously played the CB-57s, but when testing new product, the MB-5005 ticked all the boxes. We had yet to introduce our newest model, the MC 501. Therefore, it’s understandable, given his recent success, that he would stick with the 5005s for now. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the MC 501 in play at some point.

Ancer’s MB-5001 8-iron

JW: Will he be adding any utility clubs or wedges to the bag in the near future?

BH: The relationship we have with AA is fantastic. Although no plans to add utilities or wedges, he has been open to combining other Miura models in to his set.

JW: Does the Justin Rose Honma signing help you guys in building a bigger tour presence? Point is since they are both known as popular high-end Japanese companies, does the signing of a World No. 1 assist you guys in creating new conversations with tour players that would have been potentially difficult before? Thats form a craftsmanship/quality standpoint and leaving money out of it.

BH: Great question. Brand awareness has always been a challenge for Miura. The gear heads (a term I use affectionately) know Miura. But there are still many pros who do not. Again, this particular relationship is very unique, given Abraham’s involvement with distribution in Mexico. As far as the future is concerned, will continue to make the best forged irons available to golfers on all tours.

JW: Can we expect more signings like this in the future?

BH: Although we have no future signings in the works, the fact that we continue to receive inquiries from professionals on all the major tours suggests that you’ll be seeing more pros trusting their game to Miura in the near future.

JW: Does Abraham plan on sticking to his current set for now, or is he testing other products in the line?

BH: For now, he will be playing the 5005s, but it’s less about the model number and more about the Miura forging process. The consistency in feel and performance is what AA trusts. He has been enthusiastic about our entire line up and shown a willingness to test all our new offerings, including the CB-301, the IC-601 and our Tour Wedges. The Miura family has welcomed all his comments and looks forward to his input into future designs.

JW: Thanks, Bill! As always, great talking to you my friend.

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. B

    Feb 23, 2019 at 11:42 am

    It’s been a problem, because Miura has been a niche manufacturer making only a smaller portion of equipment compared to the major brands, and the prices therefore had to be that much higher. If Miura is going to be a player like the other companies, will we see prices come down to the levels of TM, Mizuno and Titleist and offer the same kind of shaft options in the catalogue? I doubt it, because you’re still going to want to be known as that higher end brand.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Setting goals…and achieving them

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Well, here we are, diving right into the new year of 2022 and seeing where this crazy world is going to take us now. I think we will all admit that the past two years have been a bit crazy, with the arrival of COVID changing everything in ways we would never have imagined at this time two years ago. Regardless of your personal thoughts, ideals and emotions about how it has been handled, it’s been crazy, right?

But that’s not what this column is all about. Today I want to offer some thoughts on how to set your own goals for your own golf this year, and then some ideas on how to make those goals a reality.

If your golf – and getting better at it – is important to you, there is no time like right now to decide what you want to do to achieve that objective. Are you willing to spend the time and energy to work on major swing improvements? Or do you just want to try to score better with a minimal amount of time and energy you have for practice and work?

Are you living where you can still get out to the range or course frequently? Or are you stuck inside for another few months until Spring begins to show? Do you have the desire to invest in instructional assistance, or do you pretty much want to do it yourself?

All these are important questions to answer as you decide your goals for 2022. For today, I’m going to address three ways I believe any golfer can improve their scoring measurably in 2022, regardless of how you might answer these questions I’ve posed. You can decide which of these would have the most impact you your golf as you kick off 2022.

IMPROVE YOUR PUTTING

Regardless of your handicap, a great percentage of your shots are taken with that one club. So, if there is any one part of your game that should get the most attention and work, it should be your putting. Begin by analyzing your own putting performance. Do you three-putt too often? If so, is that because your lag putting distance control is off, or your make percentage of short putts is not as good as it could be? Or do you just not convert enough 5-15 footers?

Putter fitting has become much more advanced these days and is usually worth the investment. You might find that the putter itself is ill-suited to your personal tendencies in the stroke and alignment.
If your mechanics are not reliable, an investment in a good putting mat and a few hours a week will offer huge returns, both in short putts made and improving your conversion of more of those 5-15 footers.

HONE YOUR SHORT GAME

Next to putting, you are likely taking more shots inside 50 yards than anywhere else. Even if you are a GIR machine (and few golfers are), those missed greens are what run up your scores. I see so many recreational golfers who just do not have a sound and repeatable technique around the greens, and that costs them with chunks and skulls that run up scores quickly.

I cannot “teach” the short game here, but there are so many good YouTube videos and books/tapes on the subject, you have no excuse to have a poor technique around the greens. Spend some time studying and learning, and practicing in your basement, den or office. It’s a short swing that anyone can execute – but it takes work. And that work will pay huge dividends.

SHARPEN YOUR MENTAL GAME

Regardless of handicap, I believe many bad shots are ‘pre-ordained’ by a poor mental approach. Many golfers do not get their mind right about what exactly they want to do with any given shot. And very few have a set pre-shot routine that gets their mind right so their body can execute the shot. On the course, it is unproductive to try to process swing thoughts; or at least more than one simple one.

When you are facing a shot, you should have a clear picture of what you want the ball to do and a clear mind to get out of your body’s way of trying to execute that vision. The great book and movie “Golf’s Sacred Journey”, but Dr. David Cook, nails it – “See it. Feel it. Trust it.”

I feel certain that one of these three areas of attention can help nearly every one of you improve your golf in 2022. And I hope to be able to offer you more insight and guidance in that endeavor as I write each week. Let me know if you have subjects you would like me to address, OK?

Let’s do this together.

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Review of Fujikura’s Ventus Blue TR shaft and new Cobra LTDx drivers

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Fujikura has a new Ventus TR shaft out and it seems to fit right in between the Ventus Blue and Ventus Black. A Slightly stiffer profile and handle section seem to make a tighter and more stable shaft. Cobra has 3 new drivers out for 2022 and I think they are going to do very well. Great ball speed and stability on mishits keep the ball in play.

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Opinion & Analysis

2022 American Express: Best prop bets

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Alongside Matt Vincenzi’s chief betting article, here I breakdown this week’s best side bets for the American Express.

 2022 American Express best props

Lucas Glover Top-20 +400

The 2009 U.S open winner has certainly has had his trials and tribulations both on and off the course, but he looked in good shape when finishing in fifth place at the Sony last week and can put up a similar display this week.

When winning the John Deere last year, the 42-year-old broke a 10-year losing streak, and came via a closing best-of-the-day 64 and a tournament ranking of 3rd and 4th for strokes-gained-approach and tee-to-green.

Nothing much changes for Glover in that regard, and it was good to see him return to that standard of play at Waialae when leading the approach stats and ranking second in tee to the short stuff. That he was 30th off-the-tee gives a further boost to his iron game at present and he showed last year that he can keep the game going when finding form – T21/T0/T21/T23 – through the Charles Schwab, RBC Heritage, Travelers and Rocket Mortgage, at least two of those courses with a correlation to this week’s test.

A couple of top-six finishes at The Players show a further liking for Pete Dye designs, and whilst he will never win the prize for best putter, 2016 winner Jason Dufner showed that a solid tee-to-green game can keep you in contention, whilst they both have form at Colonial and at Sawgrass.

Glover’s first four starts here yielded two top-20 and one top-30 finish, whilst I’ll ignore the two recent missed-cuts given they were his first outing of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

The vast majority of winners have played at least two recent competitive rounds before coming to the American Express (and its various guises) and Glover can take encouragement from the vast progress made when down the field at Maui.

Russell Knox Top 20/Top 40 +300 +130

The Scotsman is another that fits with the Dufner/Glover/Henley genre of player.

With an always impressive iron game, it is always encouraging to see players rank highly in approach and greens-in-regulation even if finishing lower than their overall game warranted.

Take, for example, 2021 finishes of 40th and 58th at the RSM and Fortinet. At both, he ranked top-10 for finding the short stuff and continued that form with the irons at last week’s Sony Open, where he ranked 4th for greens, 10th in approach and 8th for overall tee-to-green.

One swallow doth not make a Summer and all that, but he ranked 7th in putting average and inside the top-30 for strokes-gained-putting, a figure that will certainly help him gain his fourth consecutive top-40 here in as many starts.

Alongside finishes of 29th and 37th at this event Knox can also boast a couple of top-20 finishes, the latest 16th a figure that should have been better given a final round 73, he has a win at the Pete Dye River Highlands, and high finishes at Colonial, Harbour Town and Scottsdale.

After a 12-birdie weekend, he comes here in the form that makes me believe anything better than field average on the greens will land the bet.

Luke List Top 10/Top 20 +550/+250

It’s a trio of excellent tee-to-green players this week, and whilst here is another player that often lets himself down with the putter, the case for him to do well is strong enough to make him my play of the week.

Start with his current form, which reads 7th at the Zozo, 11th at Houston and 10th at the Sea Island course. We don’t have full stats for the first-named, but, at the other two, the 37-year-old has ranked top four off-the-tee, and 12th and 17th for approaches, figures that combine to give a ranking of top-four at both for tee-to-green. Also worth noting is that, at both, Luke was inside the top-10 going into Sunday.

That isn’t unusual for the former U.S Amateur runner-up, and once again, it has been the short stick that has let him down. However, rather like the two players above, List should only need to be field average in putting to put up a good show at a course at which he has a best finish of 6th in 2016 and a 21st last year, when a final round 72 saw him fall from an overnight 13th.

List also carries some of the most guarded Pete Dye form, his last win in 2020 being at TPC Sawgrass at Dye’s Valley Course, whilst in 2012 he won his first Korn Ferry event at the South Georgia Classic.

That event was held, until 2014, at Kinderlou Forest on a course designed by Davis Love III, a player that thrived on Dye courses, winning The Players on two occasions and at Harbour Town a total of five times.

Take a deeper dive into a few of the top two finishers at the Georgia track and Brian Stuard, Will Wilcox, Blayne Barber and runner-up Alex Prugh all have form at one or two of either The Heritage, Pheonix, Sawgrass, River Highlands and here at the Bob Hope, as it once was.

In an event that has seen many shocks, and that might be subject to the weather as they rotate around the three courses, I’m happy to be with a player with far more current positives than many at a shorter price.

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