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Tour Rundown: WGC to new world No. 1, Werenski, Kang, and more

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Six tournaments in one week! We can all be forgiven for thinking (for just a moment) that things are as they were. The world’s golf tours have taken an uber-conservative route to the restart, and the extreme effort has allowed competition to continue. From England to Ohio, from Tennessee to Michigan, from Nebraska to California, golf was played, champions lifted trophies, and most of the competitors walked away thinking what if and if only. That’s our game, and here’s the rundown of this week’s six-pack. Check out these abs!

World Golf Championship #2 to Thomas 

Justin Thomas did that thing over the closing holes at Memphis that great champions do: he broke away. World Golf Championships have the perquisites that make contenders sweat. Daniel Berger, Tom Lewis, even the four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, sweated away a chance at victory on Sunday at TPC-Crosswinds. Not Thomas. His three-stroke victory was his second in a WGC event, following a 2018 triumph at the Bridgestone at Firestone. The victory was Thomas’ second of the campaign, his first since the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Brendon Todd was the 3rd-round leader, with visions of a third title in the wraparound season in his view. Five bogies and zero birdies on Sunday dashed his hopes. Tom Lewis, an unheralded Englishman, threw his hat in the ring when he reached 11-under par at the 15th. A missed wee putt for birdie on 16 was his undoing but, just in case, he proceeded to three-putt the 17th to drop another shot. He ultimately ended in a tie for 2nd with three others. Next came Berger, who also reached -11, but needed one more over the closing two holes. Berger made bogey at the watery 18th, and glance at victory went elsewhere. He tied for 2nd, as well.

Finally, it was mighty Koepka, who stood on the 16th tee with the lead. He bombed driver right…into the trees. Five shots later, he had an unthinkable bogey on an easy par five hole. He responded with grit, making birdie at the par-four 17th. Needing one more shot, the Florida man bit too much water off his tee ball, and splashed away his hopes. Guess what? Yep, tie for 2nd, along with the ageless Phil Mickelson.

As for Thomas, birdies at 16 and 17 not only brought him tour victory number 13, but also stamped him as one of the favorites for the upcoming PGA Championship, in San Francisco. The 2017 winner of the event would doubtless love another major title, and TPC Harding Park should fit his game well.

Barracuda title to…not Merritt? 

Moved away in 2020 from the uber-dramatic Montreux course, to the oxymoronic Old Greenwood course in high California, the Barracuda Championship listened in as a miced-up Troy Merritt made an attempt to become the first to win a PGA Tour event while on full audio. Chasing him down was Austria’s Matthias Schwab, who reached 38 points on the week, helped immensely by a 14 points in the final round. Oh, didn’t we mention that Barracuda week means modified Stableford? Here’s a primer:

Par equals zero points. Birdie gets you two points. Eagle counts for five, and a double eagle/albatross is worth a whopping eight points. Going the other way, bogey is minus one point, and anything worse deducts three points from your tally. For one week all season, the higher the reckoning, the better. Got it? Gooood.

Back to the action. Aaron Wise came in early with 19 points on Sunday. He moved inside the top ten, thanks to that effort. More importantly, he let the field know that a high score was on the course, waiting for the taking. Remember Schwab from before? He stood at 38, until he made bogey at the last, dropping into a tie at 37 points with Argentina’s Fabián Gómez. It was left to Miced-Up Merritt to close the door on a third tour win.

Richy Werenski had other ideas. While Merritt made 10 pars to close his round at 38 points, the former Georgia Tech golfer blazed through the back nine. Birdies at 12 and 14 were followed by a preposterous pitch at 15, that barely cleared a bunker, then rolled into the hole for an eagle 2 and five points. With victory in his sight, Werenski buried a 12-feet putt at the last for one more birdie, jumping to 39 points, to claim his first PGA Tour title.

Just my opinion, but why would you move a tournament predicated on low scoring, to a course where the final four holes averaged over par (that means negative point values)? Double Eagle was always in the mix, at the 18th at Montreux. Werenski was the exception to the norm in 2020. Here’s hoping that it’s one and done for this course. #MoreMontreux

DriveOn signals LPGA’s return and a win for Kang

Speaking of geography lessons, is there ever a better one than the LPGA? The flags of the top six finishers this week were USA, France, Australia, Japan, England and Scotland. Three of those flags began the day in a tie for the lead at five deep, but just one was able to add two more strokes and finish atop the pyramid at seven under par. Here name? Danielle Kang, and what better place to earn tour victory number four, than the recently-restored Inverness Club, site of previous major championships.

Kang, Celine Boutier of France, and Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England fashioned a strong final group on Sunday. After 10 holes, Kang stood three-under on the day, and held that advantage over Shadoff, and a four-shot margin against Boutier. Then, things got complicated. The Englishwoman went away in a stunning, three-hole stretch. Bogies at 13 and 14, followed by a double at 15, dropped her to solo fifth and frustration. Next came Boutier, who made birdies at 11, 12, and 14, just as Kang stumbled with bogey at 13. Just like that, Boutier and Kang were tied once more.

And just like that, part two: Boutier dropped a shot at 15. Kang once more had the lead. Pars all around over the closing triumvirate of holes meant that Boutier would have to wait longer for her first stateside victory. As for Kang, the title was her first since October, and perhaps, a portent of things to come as the season begins to heat up. Australia’s Min Jee Lee closed with 70, and moved from sixth spot to third. Japan’s Yui Kawamoto finished fourth alone.

It almost got away but didn’t is Horsfield’s song at European Tour’s Hero Open

You can’t really say that Sam Horsfield looked like the winner this week, but neither can you say that he didn’t. Horsfield was always in the mix, after opening 68-63 to own the halfway lead. Each of those rounds was punctuated by an eagle, and he certainly appeared comfortable on the Forest of Arden course. Next came the doubts of Saturday, when the Englishman made three bogies and a double on his inward half, to give nearly all of his sizable lead away. What could Sunday possibly bring? That’s when the interest level rose.

Horsfield came out as a man on a mission, with five birdies against one bogey, over the first ten holes. The closing eight were a holding pattern, as he added one more of each, to finish on 68 for the day, and 19-under on the week. Playing partner Rasmus Højgaard of Denmark could not keep pace, and dropped to a tie for sixth. The man on even more of a mission than Horsfield, was Belgium’s Thomas Detry. The 27-year old piled 9 birdies onto his card on day four, yet came up one shot shy of the top. Detry’s problem was not the material in the book, but the cover. He bogeyed 1 and he bogeyed 18. While the former served to ignite his desire, the later doused the flame of victory, and kept him from earning European Tour victory the first.

Oh what might have been is theme for PBC on Korn Ferry Tour

If it’s Sunday on the Korn Ferry Tour, Taylor Pendrith is lurking, somewhere. For the fourth time this season, the Ontario native cavorted with victory, only to come up shy of the final dance. Pendrith has four top-three finishes on the season, and currently sits in second spot on the tour money list. He won’t receive a promotion to the PGA Tour in the fall, but he certainly gained enough of a taste for victory to eventually break through this year.

If not Pendrith, then who? Answer: Seth Reeves. The Georgia Tech alum went haywire on Sunday, signing for 64 and winning in the most unlikely manner. How unlikely? Consider that Reeves stood at 74 on Thursday evening, and had dreams of … simply making the cut. He did that on Friday, with 67, then came back on Saturday with 66, to move inside the top 30. Certainly a decent week, but not the stuff of dreams. After opening par-par-bogey, Reeves could be forgiven for considering an early flight to the next destination. At that unlikely moment, destiny intervened. Birdies at four, six and seven aroused his interest, and another pair at 10 and 11 served to caffeinate his day. Third-round leader Ryan Ruffels was struggling, and no one had risen up to seize control.

What did Reeves do next? How does eagle at 15, followed by birdie at 18 sound? Finishing on -11, Reeves had to wait and see if his tally would be matched or exceeded. Five golfers came to the last with a chance to tie him. Pendrith made par. The aforementioned Ruffels, wobbling from bogies at 16 and 17, made par. Australia’s Nick Voke and China’s Carl Yuan also made par, as did Tyson Alexander. And just like that, Seth Reeves had his first Korn Ferry tour title, and a load of confidence nearly equal to Pendrith.

The Ally Challenge sees a winning debut on the Champions Tour 

Many thought that Ernie Els would be the fellow to debut with victory on the 2020 Champions Tour. The Big Easy came close, but it was Jim Furyk, in August of this year, who achieved the rare distinction. The 2003 US Open titleist went toe to toe with Retief Goosen and Brett Quigley, and came out on top. Quigley held the overnight lead at 11-under par, thanks to a wondrous, Saturday 64. Furyk nipped at his heels, while Goosen lurked in the gloaming. On Sunday, the Goose sizzled with seven birdies and an opening eagle, to insert himself fully into the conversation. Unfortunately for the South African, bogey waited at the 4th, 10th and, crushingly, at the 18th, and he would settle for a second-place tie with Quigley, at minus-twelve.

It was Quigley who suffered the greatest heartbreak of the day. Tied with Furyk through 52 holes, coming off a birdie at 16, the Rhode Islander lost shots at each of his final holes. Coupled with additional bogeyed at 10 and 12, the inward half was a plus-two affair for Quigley, precisely the number of strokes he needed to forge a tie with Furyk.

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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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  1. WILLIAM J RIEGER

    Aug 3, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    The Barracuda was moved because the membership at Montreaux (in Reno) chose last year to stop hosting.

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WGC-Workday Championship Tour Truck Report: New putter for Rory, more AutoFlex experiments

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First and foremost, prayers and love to Tiger Woods and his family.

TaylorMade

Rory McIlroy is going back to an older model putter this week at Concession swapping his Spider X for a TP Juno.

Robert McIntyre AKA “Bobby Mack” put a new TaylorMade Rescue ’21 Hybrid ([email protected]) in the bag with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black Hybrid 100 6.5 TX.

Matthew Wolff put a new TaylorMade (19) UDI in the bag with a Mitsubishi MMT 125TX.

Collin Morikawa was testing SIM2, SIM2 Max hybrids this week with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX shafts.

Dustin Johnson alongside TaylorMade’s Keith Sbarboro was testing SIM2 drivers with Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X, Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661 and an LAGP Proto.

Callaway

Jon Rahm made adjustments to his Mavrik Sub Zero 5-wood to optimize launch. The 5-wood has 16.4 degrees of loft and a Black Graphite Design Tour AD DI 8X. The adjustments were to the lie of the club going from 59.8 to 58.9 and weight distribution from 12g Front/6g Back to 10G Front/6g Back. Dialed.

Min Woo Lee put a new Epic Speed ([email protected]) with a Fujikura Ventus Red 7X. Lee also debuted his new logo which is on fire.

Titleist 

Genesis Invitational champion Max Homa tested TSi2 5-woods to give him some options for some of the tee shots at Concession. It’s equipped with a Graphite Design Tour XC 8 TX.

Lanto Griffin swapped into a shorter driver going from 45 to 44.5 in his TSi3 (10). Griffin’s driver has a Project X HZURDUS Smoke Black 70 6.5TX

Justin Thomas put a TSI3 (9) in the bag this week. The new set up is powered by a Mitsubishi Diamana ZF TX

Ping

Cameron Champ switched back into a shorter length Ping G425 LST this week going from 45 to 44.25 inches. The shaft is a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 70 6.5 TX (@44.25 , Tip 1.5, D4 SW).

Louis Oosthuizen did something interesting. He had a Ping build him a G425 LST (10.5 @ 9.4, Small -) with the company’s lightweight Alta Slate CB 55 stiff shaft. The 2010 Open Champion was looking for a softer feel with the driver, which isn’t surprising, considering he was seen taking a hard look at Adam Scott’s TSi with an AutoFlex. The whippy lightweight plot thickens…

Ping released a bunch of new putters this week for seeding. Multiple staffers tested them and we will see on Thursday if any go in play.

Cobra

Cobra’s Ben Schomin (and king of the mullets) is doing something to Bryson’s driver—wanted to post this because of the respect for Ben’s hair. Hair aside, Bryson did put a new LAGP Axis Blue 6X in his driver and was also testing new Rad Speed 3 Woods.

Misc/Free Agents

Tommy Fleetwood swapped out his Callaway MD5 Jaws wedges for a set of Titleist Vokey’s (52M, 56M, and 60T) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts.

Adam Scott (Titleist staff) was testing long center shafted Odyssey Two Ball 10.

 

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Interesting photos from WGC-Workday (plus links to all 9 galleries)

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This week, the PGA Tour is at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida, where we were on-site Tuesday and Wednesday to spy some interesting things from the grounds and on the range as players were getting ready to battle for a $10.5 million purse at the WGC-Workday Championship.

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

Frankin 2-Ball

There is a lot going on with the center-shafted 2-Ball Ten. It has weight plugs epoxied into the sole cavity, a hand-drawn marker line on the alignment discs, and a White Hot OG insert—and did I mention it has a long grip?

Speaking of 2-Ball…

The aforementioned 2-Ball Ten caught the attention of Adam Scott, and he was spotted messing around with it around the putting green.

Iron covers: the new trend?

Before you start thinking Bubba Watson was the trendsetter, it was actually Aaron Rai who has been using iron covers longer. Indeed, he won while using them at the 2020 Scottish Open.

JT’s putter cover flex

JT with the full flex on his fellow players as he has his own “Inspired by” Justin Thomas cover in the bag.

Santa?

Does Santa moonlight as a caddy on the PGA Tour?

Xander: Always working

A few weeks ago it was a Quintic. This week, it’s an iPad on a very clever stand. Xander is always working hard on his putting!

Louis Loves that Callaway wedge

Louis Oosthuizen has been a long-time Ping guy, but the one club he can’t seem to shake is his Callaway PM grind wedge.

A couple of guys talking putters

Collin Morikawa—with his TaylorMade FCG Spider—was spotted talking to Rory McIlroy, who looks to have gone back to a TaylorMade Juno blade putter from his Spider.

Fleetwood hanging onto his TVD Vokey wedge

Tommy Fleetwood has transitioned almost his entire bag to TaylorMade, but a couple of the holdout include a classic Vokey TVD wedge.

More Autoflex testing on tour?

Adam Scott looks to be more than just a fashion influencer out tour. Louis Oosthuizen was spotted talking with Mr. Scott about his Autoflex shaft and even gave it a few wiggles.

DJ testing all kinds of shafts

Look at this action!

As reported last week in the Genesis Invitational Tour Truck Report, DJ was testing a new LA Golf shafts DJ Proto, and this week at the WGC, it looks like the testing continues. He was spotted hitting his tried-and-true Fujikura 661, a Ventus, and the LA Proto. What will go into play Thursday, nobody knows (I mean we will, of course…).

Testing looked to have continued on Wednesday—DJ was rotating through three different drivers on the range, along with some prototype putters on the green.

Laurie Canter with Honma blades

Although not a household name (yet), Laurie Canter is inside the top 100 in the official world golf rankings and has a very interesting bag of clubs—including Ping woods, Honma blades, and both Callaway and Titleist wedges.

New Ping putter line spotted

Ping loves to seemingly randomly drop new putters, and although we don’t have the tech story on these yet, we can conclude that there is some sort of insert technology to go along with some sort of heavy (likely tungsten) heel and toe weights to boost MOI.

Check out all of our galleries below

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Tiger Woods recovering after surgery for multiple leg injuries following single-car accident (Update)

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Update, 2/25, 8:50 p.m.: According to a statement released Thursday, Tiger Woods has been transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles “for continuing orthopedic care and recovery.”

Update: Tiger Woods is currently “awake, responsive and recovering in a hospital room” after undergoing major surgery.

The surgery followed a single-car accident which left Woods with “comminuted open fractures” to both the upper and lower portions of his tibia and fibula in his right leg, as well as damage to the ankle bones.

Per a statement from the Woods camp on his social media sites, Woods’ right leg was stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia, while screws and pins were used to stabilize the bones in the foot and ankle. A surgical release of the muscle covering was also performed to relieve pressure due to swelling and trauma.

Update: On Wednesday, LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva spoke during a Q&A on Facebook where he confirmed that the incident was an accident and that there was “no evidence of any impairment whatsoever”.

“There was no evidence of any impairment whatsoever. He was lucid, no odor of alcohol, no evidence of any medication, narcotics or anything like that. That was not a concern so no field sobriety test and no drug expert needed to respond. This is what it is – an accident.”

Then asked if Woods could face charges, Villanueva continued: ‘No. A reckless driving charge has a lot of elements to it. This was purely an accident. ‘

In a statement on Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said

“I think that the only thing that really matters now is his well-being, his recovery, his family, the level of support that we provide to him.

When Tiger wants to talk about golf, we’ll talk about golf, but I think right now the entirety of our efforts needs to be around the support. When you’re going to overcome what he needs to overcome, I think the love of all of our players and everybody out here, it’s going to come forward in a big way and across the entire sporting world.

I think he’ll feel that energy and I think that’s what we should all focus on. We’ll all be talking about (the PGA Tour without Woods) at some point down the road, but right now that’s not what we should be talking about.”

GolfWRXers are discussing Tiger’s accident and surgery in the forums.


Tiger Woods was involved in a single-car rollover accident a little after 7 a.m. in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and is undergoing surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center after suffering multiple leg injuries, according to reports.

Lt. Michael White of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has since told KCBS-TV in LA that Tiger Woods’ injuries are “non-life-threatening.”

Per the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, the vehicle sustained major damage and Woods was extricated from the site by the L.A. firefighters and paramedics.

In the original L.A. County Sheriff Department statement below, it is said that the jaws of life were used. However, in a media briefing this afternoon the Department told media that this was not the case and that an axe and hand tools were used to pry Tiger Woods from his SUV.

In the same briefing, officials told media that Woods had serious leg injuries and that he was conscious while being removed from car, reiterating that there were “no signs of impairment.”

Here is the original statement:

A spokesman for the L.A. County Fire Department told the L.A. Times that “because of the situation and the way that you found the vehicle, he wasn’t able to open the door and come out. We extricated him, we helped assist him out of the vehicle.” Per the L.A. Times, Woods was removed from the vehicle through the windshield.

In a statement given to Golf Digest, Mark Steinberg disclosed that Woods had sustained multiple leg injuries and is currently in surgery.

“Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”

TaylorMade has issued the following statement after the accident

“We are shocked at the news of Tiger Woods’ accident earlier this morning and are sending our thoughts and prayers to him, his family and his team as they support him through his surgery and recovery.”

Per Golf Digest, Woods remained in California following the Genesis for a two-day content shoot with Golf Digest/GOLFTV. Despite photos surfacing on social media with Woods with David Spade at Rolling Hills Country Club on Monday, he did not hit balls or play any holes.

The report also notes that Tiger “was in good spirits on Monday but did not arrive to the course for the second day of shooting.”

We will continue to update this post as soon as more details emerge.

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