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5 things we learned Thursday at The Players Championship

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As school districts closed in Ohio, and New York shut down major events across the state, the band played on at Sawgrass. The season’s first nearly-a-major teed off early, under delightful skies and little wind. It’s a shame, really, that major-championship golf is an all-or-nothing proposal.

The Players deserves better, but it doesn’t deserve major status. It lies on the wrong side of history, as it was born three generations too late. Let it be said, however, that it will identify a champion of the highest quality, and its champion will value the title as career-defining. With that Janus-faced lead-in, let’s have a look at the five things we learned on Thursday at The Players Championship.

5. As Hideki putts, so Hideki goes

Your first-round leader, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, made 8 birdies and an eagle on day one. Never mind that he bogeyed the easiest hole (16) on the course; the number that mattered most was his strokes-gained: putting tally: 4.25 on the field. As Hideki putts, so Hideki scores. Matsuyama is easily the most talented golfer on the planet with putting woes. Week in and out, fans hold their breath as he takes the flat stick back. No putt, of any length, is ever safe. On this day, Matsuyama was stellar. Should he maintain that stature, the tournament is over.

4. Si Woo Kim asks, “Remember me?” 

In 2017, the young Korean posted a marvelous 69 on Sunday to outdistance Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter by 3 strokes. Since that magical day, his victory total has yet to advance. On Thursday, Kim overcame a bogey at the 6th with 6 birdies and an eagle. He sits in a 2nd-place tie with Harris English and Christian Bezuidenhout, two strokes back of Matsuyama. What Kim did best on Thursday, was scramble. He missed 7 greens, but got up and down for par or better on 6 of them. He certainly would take a few more GIR the next few days, and let his putter go head to head with Matsuyama’s flat stick.

3. He shot what?

No expected the following numbers from the following golfers:

  • 78 from Tommy Fleetwood
  • 76 from Rickie Fowler and Francesco Molinari
  • 73 from Patrick Reed
  • 72 from Rory McIlroy (to his credit, he birdied the final three.)

The reality of all those numbers is, they are at least 9 strokes behind the leader. We know that Matsuyama won’t back up his 63 with another low number. If he does, power to him. These golfers, and anyone else at par or higher, are effectively out of the running for the baubles and accolades that will accompany the title of 2020 Players champion. Now, if Matsuyama were to putt like Matsuyama, things would certainly change in a hurry.

2. Bezuidenhout the perfect

Only the South African navigated the swamp with zero bogeys. After 16 composed holes, Bezuidenhout nearly came undone at the final two. He missed both greens in regulation, but was able to scramble for par at both holes. No matter what happens this week, the European-Tour winner will learn a lot from the pressure at TPC. What he won’t learn, is how heavy the trophy is. Put him in the same spot on Sunday, and his tee balls at 17 and 18 will both find the wet stuff.

1.  The band plays on, but the fans stay home

Beginning on Friday’s round two, the PGA Tour will play without fans for 15 rounds. The final three days at Sawgrass, followed by the Valspar, the WGC Match Play and Corales, and the Texas Open, will see golfers play with no sounds from outside the ropes—indeed, there will be no need for gallery ropes at all.

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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.

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (05/06/21): “Classic” Titleist 915 Fairway wood

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a highly desirable Titleist 915 fairway wood (wiener dog not included).

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Titleist, Odyssey, and Nike gear!
This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules
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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (05/05/21): Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond driver shafted with a Fujikura Speed 661.

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Callaway triple diamond Epic Speed driver

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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Tour Photo Galleries

Interesting photos from Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Championship

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This week, the PGA Tour is at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the Wells Fargo Championship. GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to spy a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers where the field is getting ready to play starting Thursday for the $8.1 million purse, with the winner going home with just over $1.45 million dollars and the important 500 FedEx Cup points.

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

New Ping irons and wedges spotted

It’s a big week at the Wells Fargo for Ping, with the official tour launch of the new i59 irons and Glide Forged Pro wedges. We are still seeking out the full tech, and potential release info, but you can join the discussion about the new gear in the GolfWRX forums: Ping i59 irons – 2021 Wells Fargo Championship

That’s one way to make a site line

Although he is still one of the better ball-strikers on tour, Lucas Glover’s difficulty with the putter has been well documented. We spotted him on the putting green at Quail Hollow making an improvised site line on his Scotty Cameron Newport 2. Those Sharpies are good for more than just signing autographs!

Very unique hosel on this Odyssey

This Odyssey widebody putter has its plumber’s neck hosel very close to the center of the topline to reduce toe hang and offer a one-of-a-kind view in the address position.

Bettinardi prototype high toe mallet

This Hexperimental Proto from the folks at Bettinardi looks like the milled steel lovechild of their Studio Stock 17 and a Queen Bee 11. It combines the high-toe look with a bumpered mallet.

Jason Day working with a new putter

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the Bryson effect is real. This week, it looks like Jason Day has moved to a SIK putter paired with an LA Golf putter shaft after a very long run with a TaylorMade Spider.

Speaking of Jason Day and new gear…

The new SIK putter was seen in the bag with no backup in sight and a new wedge (under plastic). Super bonus points for the Augusta National pro shop (only for Members and guests) accessories bag Day is using—that’s serious golf drip.

Wyndham Clark PXG irons confirmed

IMG_9688.jpeg

After some speculation about their existence, we now have confirmation that the irons being used by Wyndham Clark are a yet-to-be-released PXG Gen 4 0311 ST (Super Tour) blade. You can see more pictures of the iron here: GolfWRX Forums In hand Gen4 0311 ST irons

Xander’s got a lot of headcovers in there

Xander Schauffele must be on the lookout for some new fairway woods, because he had five different options under headcovers on the range at Quail Hollow. Maybe he has a few of those Triple Diamond Epic Speeds under there? GolfWRX Spotted: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond fairway wood

Rickie working on a lot, including his tempo

Rickie had a lot going on at the range on Tuesday and one of the more interesting things of note was an iron shafted with a Fujikura MCI tempo trainer.

Dufner with new Cobra putter

The search for a putter seems to be nonstop for Jason Dufner at the moment and after some time with an oversized Cobra mallet, it looks like he has moved onto something a little smaller and with a bit more toe hang.

Smiling assassin Sungjae Im

If you were inside the top 25 on the FedEx Cup and playing as well as Sungjae is right now, you’d probably be smiling too.

Rafa is rolling one very nice Scotty Cameron

When it comes to Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, the “Timeless” Newport 2 style stands alone and Rafa’s custom looks really good from here.

You can check out all the pictures from Tuesday of the Wells Fargo in the links below

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #1

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #2

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #3

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #4

2021 Wells Fargo – Tuesday #5

Bettinardi putters & covers – 2021 Wells Fargo

Ping i59 irons – 2021 Wells Fargo Championship

New Ping Glide Forged Pro wedge – 2021 Wells Fargo

Behind the scenes on the PXG truck – 2021 Wells Fargo

PXG Gen 4 0311 T & 0311 ST irons – 2021 Wells Fargo

Jason Day testing a SIK putter with LA Golf shaft – 2021 Wells Fargo

Scotty Cameron T2 putter – 2021 Wells Fargo

KH Lee’s Odyssey putter – – 2021 Wells Fargo

Patrick Cantlay’s Cameron T-5 – 2021 Wells Fargo

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