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Dear Tiger…

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Dear Tiger,

Earlier today, I heard the news you withdrew from the Northern Trust with a muscle strain. I hope that as you head home, you get some rest and feel better soon. I can imagine you’re probably disappointed in having to leave the tournament, but at the end of the day, feeling your best is way more important than trying to prove something that doesn’t need to be proven.

Speaking of proving things, don’t listen to the armchair doctors (unless your actual doctor is sitting in an armchair). Don’t worry about how the golf talking heads of the world will react. Don’t feel pressured to return early because of the Playoffs or the Presidents Cup. Do what you have to do on your timeline, to get to 100 percent—or as close as someone with as many back surgeries can be to 100 percent.

Growing up, I never missed watching a tournament you played in, and as an adult, my habits haven’t changed much. As much as I and others want to see you play every week, I realize that it’s just not possible. The travel, the walking, and workouts, the range time, they all take a toll that we, as regular golfers, will never truly understand.  I still remember only a few short years ago when you said you might never play again, and I was heartbroken. Not because I selfishly wanted to see you play, but because I hoped that current 10-year-old kids would have the chance to watch you in competition. Obviously, that wasn’t how the story ended, and I’m grateful as a golf fan for that.

When you drained the winning putt, walked off the 18th green at the Masters this year, and hugged your kids—just as your father hugged you—the golf world stood still. Golf fans once again appreciated what they had witnessed—a Tiger Woods major victory. Although not quite the same experience, it was pretty cool to be able to sit there with my wife and our child, just like my parents did with me in 1997.

As a 43-year-old guy with two kids, you have a lot of gas left in your tank – not for golf, maybe, but for actual life. Regardless of if we don’t see you make a swing for another month—or ever again in front of a camera—I just hope you get healthy. You have done so much for golf, professional golf, and even more for others thanks to your TGR Foundation—you have nothing left to prove to anyone.

Golf will go on and people will live their lives. My hope is the same as it was back in 2017 when it looked like you might never tee it up in competition again: you and your family you get to enjoy a healthy life.

 

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. Donn

    Sep 14, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Dear Tiger:

    Please, leave pro golf, return to California, and run for governor, to break the stranglehold that the Dem party has on the good people of this state. Only someone of your stature could knock off the wannabbee dictator Gavin Newsom. Please.

  2. Jay

    Aug 22, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Hahahaha is this a love letter? This is so weird.

  3. The Dudeness

    Aug 17, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Serious Question; How can you write a letter like that about someone who is not part of your family,, if you dont live at my address,,, sorry!

  4. Niggy

    Aug 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Hookers & Blow

  5. AndIEvenLikeTiger

    Aug 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Sycophantic drivel.

  6. The Dudeness

    Aug 13, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Dear readers
    If your a parent and Tiger Woods is your child’s “Role Model” you have failed as a parent. A role model is some one you have an interaction with on a personal basis, not entertainers who you helped become rich and who will never be a part of your life.A role model is not someone who has affairs and then is arrested while driving under the influence of narcotics. And no, none of my role models are entertainers.

  7. The Dudeness

    Aug 13, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Are comments censored on this site?

  8. Mad-Mex

    Aug 13, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Dear Golfers
    I read the comments in fascination from what I can only assume are grown me calling Tiger Woods a role model. If your a parent and Tiger Woods is your child’s role model, you have failed as a parent. A child’s role model should be someone he/she has a physical interaction with, a parent, a teacher a relative, my role model is my step-father who worked an average of 2 jobs weekly and at time also on weekends to give me a better life when we first came to this country from Mexico. Reading how people defend a multi-millionaire entertainer, who owes his wealth to them , as if he was a family member is astonishing!

  9. Mad-Mex

    Aug 12, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Dear Reader
    I cannot understand how ANYONE considers an entertainer (i.e sports player,movie star, musician a “role model” or “hero” since that “role model” will never have a face to face interaction with you.
    If your a father and an entertainer is your kids “role model” you have some parenting failures in your bag. If your not a father and YOUR father or someone your PERSONALLY know is not your “role model” you have problems.
    Sorry if I don’t lavish Tiger Woods with praise, but he , like thousands of other entertainers, became millionaires with the money of the people who payed to see them perform.
    In case you care or wonder, my role model was my stepfather who worked his ass off in two jobs when we came to this country so I could have a better life than he did.

  10. Sean Crappity

    Aug 12, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Thannnnnnks for the memories! Lol!

  11. MW

    Aug 12, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Tiger should not be considered for any Ryder Cup or President Cup team for this very reason. I’m not sure he even would especially based on his play in the last Ryder cup and his age, but give the spots to those who are much healthier. At this point it’s hard not to think that the back issues are an easy out when he is playing bad.

  12. Salmonoid

    Aug 11, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    All you Tiger haters, two facts: 1) if you’re on tour and in the top 120, you’re a multimillionaire. He brought big purses to to game. 2) his record! Who’s on pace to beat his record? What say you?

    • Jamie

      Aug 12, 2019 at 12:17 am

      Oops. You played the hater card. Autofail. Big purses in the era of money printed from thin air and corporate bailout welfare? Big deal. What record? Nicklaus didn’t waste his 30s and still has the record.

    • JThunder

      Aug 14, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      So, you’re saying money and wins are all that count in a person? I don’t think anyone is disputing his record or his ridiculous bank account. His behavior on and off the course, and his very public personal choices are another matter. And, NO, you can’t have one without the other. You want a private life in the modern world, then don’t become rich or famous!

      • Pro Tip..

        Aug 16, 2019 at 12:36 pm

        I just came to laugh at all the tiger haters lol, you guys are silly and have no idea. “There are so many more people to talk about” Blah Blah Blah. They did the same thing for Jack until the end and will most defiantly do it with Tiger. Keep on hating chaps! You make me happy, its fun to read the moronic comments of you haters lol.

  13. Lance

    Aug 11, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Hey, R… Elaborate…

  14. Dustin Bush

    Aug 11, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Beautifully written, so warm, true love within those words!

  15. Joseph Ortep

    Aug 10, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    OMG… wth.. Togger who??? Good bye and good riddance… you people really need a life. He has the worst attitude in sports today…

  16. Jamie

    Aug 10, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Tiger has made golf journalism very boring and shallow. And those are who he has brought into the game: the boring and shallow types.

  17. Rascal

    Aug 10, 2019 at 12:56 am

    I hope Tiger has a nice retirement so that the dumbbells constantly whining about Tiger coverage all find something more productive to do with their vitriol.

    One can hope.

    • JThunder

      Aug 15, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      Absolutely, because consumers should have NO SAY in what they’re force-fed by the media!

  18. Matt

    Aug 9, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Well done. He has changed the game. We all want to see that greatness again. That is why TV covers Tiger. Ratings and ratings pay the bills. Get well Tiger, I want to see you play at Whistling Straits in 2020.

  19. Jeremy

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Well written Ryan. Could not agree more.
    Thank you

  20. NoTalentLefty

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Actually I think a healthy Tiger is still good for golf BUT he’s not healthy and the ones who called it are ostracized. Chamblee may not be PC but he was right on Tiger. When Tiger looked like he was back he knew it by observation. The players may hate him but he speaks as he sees it We need that kind of objective eye reporting on golf.

  21. JThunder

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    There are better role models for 10-year-old kids to watch. Great golfers who don’t string together 10 expletives with every bad shot, or cheat on their wife (and kids’ mother) with 300 women.

    • Alex Taylor

      Aug 10, 2019 at 6:58 am

      Couldn’t agree more. I continue to be amazed at how many people fawn over Tiger. Just about the worst possible role model.

      • David Burlett

        Aug 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm

        And we all know you had a perfect life! Your just a hater, period!

        • Alex Taylor

          Aug 13, 2019 at 8:05 am

          Well, I’m not a hater but I do hate it when people are unable to use proper grammar…..”Your just a hater, period!”…..Really??? Try this next time: “You’re just a hater, period!” People whill taik yew moor ceereslee wen yoo yeus guud grammer.

        • JThunder

          Aug 14, 2019 at 12:15 pm

          Leading a “perfect life” is not a prerequisite for what I wrote. Nor would I expect it of Tiger. I did manage to divorce my wife without cheating on her with 300 women (not even one woman)… and I haven’t frequently yelled string of expletives with thousands or more kids watching me.

          With his great stature and ludicrous income come some responsibility. With promises made to his (ex) wife and implied to his children come some responsibility. As I said, simply, “there are better role models”.

          Yes, his golf talent is one of the greatest the game has seen. There are many, many other great players in good health worthy of watching. Golf will survive his departure just as it did Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, et al. And some future generation will see records broken again. (Assuming the world survives).

    • Chris Leadbetter

      Aug 10, 2019 at 7:52 am

      And I bet you voted for our President

      • Alex Taylor

        Aug 10, 2019 at 9:38 am

        Nope……nice try.

      • Cody

        Aug 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm

        I voted for this pres. And will miss tiger…

      • JThunder

        Aug 14, 2019 at 12:10 pm

        I hope you don’t mean me, as I most absolutely, certainly, vehemently did not.

    • Scott Bangerter

      Aug 10, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      Stop thinking athletes should be counted as “moral” role models. They are just as human as anyone else; and as such have failings. Tiger is and always will be a GOLF role model. Tenacious. Dedicated to his craft. Unrelenting. Intimidating. And at the end of the day (read career) will have accomplished more than most could ever dream of. Broke more records. Held world number for most number of weeks consecutively and cumulatively. And, ultimately transformed the game more than any other golfer during his or any other generation. *drops mic*

    • Shaun

      Aug 11, 2019 at 2:17 am

      So your a famous celebrity with super models trying to get that notch . I’ve never cheated but I can solely say it would be damn hard as the most famous athlete on the planet for 20 years

    • Mike

      Aug 11, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Wow, still holding on to that? It’s been 10+ years ago. Enlighten us, how did Tiger’s philandering personally affect you to the point where you’re still ‘hating’? I didn’t like the Tiger ‘person’ back then but he’s been humbled so much that exactly what in his lifestyle now is “wrong”? He’s a single dad w/ back issues trying to get out & play golf. Sounds like millions of other guys. And regarding ‘role models for kids’, I’m my kid’s ‘role model'(as every dad s/b).

      • JThunder

        Aug 15, 2019 at 11:52 pm

        Enlighten me; why do I have to like Tiger? Because *you* do? Because the golf media insists that I do? Am I not allowed to like and dislike what I choose? What if I disagree that he is “humble” now?

        Yes, “sound like millions of other guys”, expect that the entire sports world has elevated his status to hero, role model, legend, “Greatest of All Time”. AND, the entire sports world has financially compensated him for this status and worship FAR, FAR beyond any reasonable amount for smacking a golf ball.

        “I’m my kid’s role model”. A lot of dads think that. I wonder how many are correct? I hope you indeed are – moreover, I hope you’re worthy of it! I’d be willing to bet, unless you keep them locked in the basement, that they have other heroes and role models. If one is Tiger, I hope they know the difference between his work ethic and his dating ethics.

    • Sean

      Aug 11, 2019 at 11:11 am

      Tiger was the role model for most of these role models you speak of…

    • Brandon H

      Aug 12, 2019 at 8:40 am

      So should we all stop idolizing Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as well? While we’re at it, should we try and dig up all the dirt on all of our favorite players in every sport? People idolize him for his golf ability and philanthropy, not because of what he did/does in his personal life. He failed as a spouse, but by all accounts, he has been a great Dad. He is the GOAT for a reason.

      • JThunder

        Aug 15, 2019 at 11:43 pm

        So you believe that even young kids are smart enough – and/or their parents are engaged enough in their lives – that they carefully pick and choose which specific things about their “heroes” that they emulate, while carefully disregarding others?

        I can think of at least one major country where the leader’s followers are certainly spending a LOT of time (and ammunition) emulating the worst of his behaviors (and words).

        I wonder how many people making this argument for Tiger would accept the same argument about Ozzy Osbourne? Yeah, forget the decades of drugs and decapitated animals – he’s a talented signer and songwriter! Kids know the difference!

  22. No fan ????

    Aug 9, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    I am also so sick of this Tiger ???? train, makes me sick he can be 7 shots back and the announcers say man if he can just birdie the last 8 holes he will when….give me a break. GWRX is also obsessed with Tiger , all this discussion about his decision to use lead tape on putter vs using a heavier putter. Believe me there’s a lot more exciting things in the golf world right now than TW ……smh

    • Monty Hall

      Aug 9, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      So let me get this straight, you are sick of Tiger talk on GolfWRX. So why are you here? My guess is you enjoy complaining about people that talk about Tiger on GolfWRX otherwise you would not be here. Remeber ignore the noise, focus on what you are interested in and everything else is “ghost”!

      • Aj

        Aug 9, 2019 at 9:55 pm

        No I’m just sick of the constant attention he is given while other golfers who are more deserving are ignored there is plenty of young talent on the tour without having to dwell on what he done 20 years ago move on

        • Brandon H

          Aug 12, 2019 at 8:43 am

          So are you mad that we still constantly talk about Michael Jordan? That’s what happens when you’re the GOAT, you get talked about FOREVER!!!!!

  23. Aj

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    I will be glad when he’s done for good I am so tired of hearing about tiger tiger tiger if he’s playing in the tournament you see the all of his shots whether or not he’s in last place or first when he’s not playing in the tournament you still hear tiger did there’s tiger did that here please retire

    • Manny Upshaw

      Aug 10, 2019 at 2:00 am

      There are only 4 majors a year he has won one of them but your tired of a winning golfer????

  24. NICK

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    TIGER WOODS WILL WIN AGAIN!

  25. Golf al

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Thank Tiger

  26. Brad Flacco

    Aug 9, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    You literally just copied this concept from the Mygolfspy owner post. Wow.

  27. JP

    Aug 9, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Sucking up a little too much…

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Opinion & Analysis

The death of the 3-iron and what it means for your bag setup

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The 3-iron is almost extinct. It sounds like an odd statement, but it’s very true. Don’t believe me? Go try and buy one in a set. They are not easily found.

As we evaluate this topic, I’ll refrain from specs from “players” clubs as these are not the irons normally purchased. Yeah, it might skew the data, but even the players capable of playing the long irons are opting out of the 3 iron. And let’s be honest, should any of us be playing a blade 3-iron?

Mizuno only offers 4-PW in the JPX line now. Titleist only offers a 3-iron in T100s, while the rest are void of 3-irons. TaylorMade provides 4-PW in the P790, P790Ti, and P770. Callaway has done the same, only offering a 3-iron in the “players line” of clubs, while the rest is again void of the-iron. Cobra golf has also followed suit.

So are 3-irons just too hard to hit? Is that why no one is buying them, thus causing the OEMs to stop making them? The only ones left to buy are the “players” 3 irons, and those aren’t even reasonable unless you’re a professional.

What if I told you we were being deceived? What if I told you the 3-iron is still very much alive in all the iron sets available but under the guise of a different number?

Let’s hop into the “wayback machine” and take a quick look at the history of iron lofts.

The year is 1970, and the vast majority of irons available are blades. You know, the razor-sharp leading edges that are ready to break your wrist with a deep divot.

The image above is an actual snippet from a catalog from the ’70s. At this point, the 1-iron was virtually extinct, and in 1975, Lee Trevino was immortalized by his joke about how God couldn’t hit a 1-iron, which typically fell in the 18-degree range at the time. 2-irons were standard issue in the set, and the lowest loft you might find is 20 degrees.

Then the ’80s came, and things started to progress. As you might expect, lofts started to decrease. It wasn’t because of flight windows, or launch numbers, because they didn’t have that kind of technology readily available to measure those attributes. It was simply a quest for distance.

Then in the ’90s, you’d pretty much see all iron sets with 21-degree 3-irons, down to 48-degree PW’s, and 21 degrees being the norm for the lowest lofted 3-iron. 2-irons at this time were typically 18 degrees and available by request only.

Then came the 2000’s, an era we all should be familiar with. This is where things started to get interesting. Not only because lofts continued to be strengthened, but because the hybrid became a new option to replace the long irons. Adams Golf made a killing as it perfected this golf club, creating the Idea line that was in the bags of most of the senior tour players and many of the PGA Tour players. These were a fan favorite at retail too. The hybrid was an easy long iron to hit and quickly started to replace 3-irons in golf bags across the country and even on tour.

By this time the pitching wedge lofts started to get pushed to 46 degrees, which was a big jump, to be honest. In the 1970s, MacGregor was making pitching wedges with 49 degrees of loft. So, for the 90’s to be around 48 degrees, it wasn’t too much of a shock. But in the 2000s, we now saw PW’s drop to 46 degrees; a half club stronger. This is where the downfall began, in my opinion.

The first decade of the 21st century needed the gap wedge, also known as the approach wedge or utility wedge or just plain old “wedge.” Now, keep in mind, this club wasn’t anything new. The gap wedge existed ever since the beginning because at 50-52 degrees it was simply a pitching wedge from the ’70s. But it became a necessary element for the bag since the lofts of every iron were starting to move farther and farther away from the sand wedge.

Now in 2020, the average loft of the PW is 43.5 degrees, and the average 4-iron loft is 20.6 degrees. Turns out, the 4-iron from 2020 is .3 degrees stronger than the average 2-iron (20.9 degrees) from 1970. We have come full circle! Instead of maintaining those classic numbers, of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, the new sets are labeled 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, P, G.

I wonder how many golfers out there carry a 4-iron thinking it’s a club they can hit? Probably too many! Obviously, the 3-iron is dead at this point, since it would actually carry the loft of the elusive 1-iron Trevino claimed was unhittable!

Now, it’s time to discuss how we got to this point. You’ll hear a lot of companies talk about “flight windows” or “launch angles” and how it was changed by engineering, lowering CG’s, and increasing speed through thin faces. Some will talk about how the ball has changed, and it just launches higher, and it requires the lofts to be strengthened, or it will just go too high!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that is all a bunch of baloney, and here is why: They started making gap wedges as part of the set. If the launch was too high or the window was too different, why make a matching gap wedge with the same technology and have the loft of a pitching wedge from the 1990s? Wouldn’t that launch or window then be too high for that club too? And yet you still need to buy another gap wedge to fit the 52-degree range. If the average golfer bought a 2020 game improvement set today, they would find the set make up to be 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW (43.5 degrees), Gap #1 (48.6 degrees), Gap #2 (52 degrees). That means if you happen to carry a 56 and a 60 degree, you now have the same amount of label wedges (5) as you do irons (5)!

Five wedges in the bag! Does anyone think this is weird?

Furthermore, when was a higher launching iron shot a bad thing? Wouldn’t average golfers benefit from a steeper angle of descent so the golf ball stops quicker on the green?

I conducted a study where I tested a Titleist 716 MB 8-iron with 39 degrees of loft to a TaylorMade P790 9-iron with 40 degrees of loft. All the data was captured on the Foresight GC2 launch monitor. It wasn’t a perfect test since they didn’t have the same shaft or loft, but my findings were surprising none the less. They went the same distance, almost down to the decimal. The Titleist went 165.2 yards, and the TaylorMade went 165.1 yards. Launch was only .6 degrees different while peak height was less than four feet different. So, unless you are Tiger Woods, you are not noticing a difference out on the golf course.

Some of you might think, “so, the label on the bottom of the club changed, it’s all going the same distance. So, what’s the big deal?” To me, it’s the confusion it creates more than anything. By decreasing the lofts, you’re just making the numbered iron go farther, and you are creating even bigger problems by having large gaps with the sand wedge when all amateurs need those clubs. It’s also putting clubs into the hands of golfers when they have no business hitting, like the 4-iron with 20 degrees of loft. Titleist has already made a T400 5-iron with 20 degrees of loft, and that’s just silly.

There also is the argument that golfers love distance, and when they start playing and can hit a 7-iron relatively far, it helps grow the game. Growing the game isn’t a bad thing, but if they are new to the game, they shouldn’t have any preconceived notions of how far to hit a 7-iron, and that means loft at that point becomes irrelevant.

I will not refute that a 40-degree lofted game improvement iron will be slightly longer than an identical lofted players club, but I think you’d be surprised to see the actual difference is a maximum of about three yards longer. The technology works, but by no means is it so substantial that we need to change the label on the bottom of the golf club.

The bottom line is that loft is king, regardless of the technology involved, and I have seen, but one equipment company make a change backwards! This is TaylorMade with their P770 irons. In comparison the P790, they increased the loft by one degree in the short irons and up to two degrees in the long irons, to add height and spin to the irons to improve performance. Imagine that, more spin and height are an advantage! And that was backed by their testing and their data.

Now to even further nail down my point, it is worth noting that TaylorMade Golf offers the highest lofted Pitching Wedge in the industry at 49 degree, which are in the Tiger lofts of the P7TW irons. That same iron set has a 22.5-degree 3-iron. At 22.5 degrees, it is typically the lowest-lofted iron in the golf bag of the best iron player on the PGA Tour in 2019. Of course, he has the skill to play an iron with lower loft, but the point that history reveals to us is that the effective loft of playability for an iron is about 22 degrees and higher. Anything lower lofted than that is typically replaced with a hybrid. This is not just a trend for the amateur golfer either, and it is even happening on tour with the best players in the world.

We will probably never see the lofts rolled back, but the least we can do is update Lee Trevino’s quote, “if you ever find yourself in a thunderstorm, lift up your 4-iron, because not even God can hit a 4-iron.”

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The Gear Dive: Going scorched earth on Tiger documentary

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On this episode of TGD, Johnny goes in hard on the HBO documentary Tiger.

 

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: My favorite G425 driver? Reviewing Ping’s NEW G425 lineup!

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Ping’s new G425 line of clubs was just released this week and I have had them out on the range! Comparing the G425 LST driver to the Max and what one worked best for me. The rest of the lineup is just really easy to hit and very forgiving. Ping has crafted a great lineup of clubs that are easy to hit and will make the game more enjoyable for those who play them!

 

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