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Opinion & Analysis

Team U.S. will blow Europe away at the Ryder Cup (and 4 other predictions for 2021)



1. Tiger wins PGA Tour title 83

2020 wasn’t the year Tiger was looking for, primarily down to a floundering short game. However, the unpredictability of the year and the untypical state of the schedule this year would not have helped. Tiger is a man who has been prudent and wise about the events he wants to play each year, and that has only increased as the years have gone by. With a fixed schedule, Tiger will already know the events he has in mind to play, and when on it, he is still the best iron player in the world.

Woods will put himself into contention in 2021 at courses that have been kind to him all through his career, and the best closer of all time will push himself clear of the rest and confirm himself as the greatest winner in PGA Tour history.

2. Justin Thomas will end the year as World Number One

It’s as competitive as it gets up the top of the World Rankings right now, but there’s plenty of reasons to believe that JT can get to the top and stay there until the end of 2021.

JT has won 13 events on the PGA Tour, but over half of these have come at ‘off-season’ tournaments (between the Tour Championship and the Farmers Insurance). Yes he’s thrown away the odd event he should have won, but for someone as prolific as JT has been, it appears primarily to be a case of the 27-year-old just peaking at the wrong time for World Ranking points.

At the end of the 2019-20 season, Thomas said that he was “a couple rounds away in a short season from winning five or six times.” When you look at the state of his game, there isn’t a significant weakness, and it’s only a matter of time before JT turns those swing season wins into victories at the biggest events.

3. Team U.S. will blow Europe away at the 2021 Ryder Cup

The U.S. has lost seven of the last nine Ryder Cups and put them in Europe with a course set up to counter the bomb and gouge mentality, then I’d fancy Team Europe. However, there are two factors behind my belief that next year’s Ryder Cup will be a blowout. 

Firstly, the caliber of players. The U.S. simply has a far superior pool of players, backed up by the World Rankings, with double the number of men currently inside the top-20 in the world. Secondly, course setup. When you have better players and the ability to tailor a course to suit their strengths, it’s akin to stacking the deck.

Forget the records over the last 20 years and look at the last time the U.S. hosted the Ryder Cup back in 2016 winning 17-11, and expect a similar scoreline at Whistling Straits.

4. Rickie Fowler will return to form

Rickie Fowler’s World Ranking has been in freefall after a shocking 2020, which saw him miss a plethora of cuts along with a failure to record a top-10 finish since January.

The 32-year-old now sits outside the top-50, thanks in part to seemingly suffering one blowup hole per round. However, watching him closely at this year’s Masters tournament, Fowler is nearer to putting a run of form together than people think and has the advantage of possessing perhaps the purest putting stroke on tour. 

Fowler finished T60 in 2020 for Strokes Gained: Putting – the first time he finished outside the top-50 in this department since 2016. This year has been an outlier, and a return to his best on the greens in 2021 will see Rickie get back inside the world top-25.

5. Abraham Ancer wins at least once on the PGA Tour

Only English duo Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood rank higher in the world without winning on the PGA Tour than Abraham Ancer.

What many people overlook with Ancer, is that despite no wins yet on the PGA Tour, he did win the prestigious Australian Open back in 2018. Since then, the Mexican has excelled at the Presidents Cup in 2019 winning as many points as anyone and backed it up with a stellar year on tour where he came close on numerous occasions to winning his first PGA Tour title.

With another year of experience logged on tour (at 29, 2021 will be just Ancer’s fourth season on tour), his progression will result in victories. If he plays as heavy a schedule as he did in 2020, then multiple wins await the Mexican in 2021.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito



  1. Paulo

    Dec 31, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Gianni is a bot. Perhaps even an early form of skynet

    • Some other Italian name

      Dec 31, 2020 at 8:26 pm

      Would explain why he’s such a bad journo…

  2. Robert Fitton Scott

    Dec 31, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Pointless Journalism at its worst.

  3. PSG

    Dec 31, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Wow, what incredible predictions!

    1. The best golfer of all time will win another tournament, somewhere (where and when not specified).

    2. One of the best golfers in the world who has flirted with #1 for three years will get there (for some stretch of time, how long and when not specified).

    3. The team with the much better players and home field will win the Ryder Cup.

    4. A guy who had a bad year but has an eleven year history of solid play on tour will bounce back (how much of a bounce back, when and why not specified). Bonus points for the really solid use of “as much as people think” which is a go-to for authors who do zero research as it actually means nothing.

    5. The top-ranked guy in the world without a win has a good chance at getting a win.

    Man, people have mailed it in on this site before, but this is a new bar.

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Opinion & Analysis

The future of club fitting is going virtual



Thanks to technology, you can buy everything from custom-made suits to orthotics online without ever walking into a store or working in person with an expert.

Now, with the help of video and launch monitors, along with a deeper understanding of dynamics than ever before, club fitting is quickly going virtual too, and it’s helping golfers find better equipment faster!

What really took so long?

The real advancements started in the coaching world around a decade ago. What used to require heavy cameras and tripods now simply requires a phone and you have a high-definition slow-motion video that can be sent around the world in a matter of seconds.

Beyond video, modern launch monitors and their ability to capture data have quickly turned a guessing game of “maybe this will work” into a precision step-by-step process of elimination to optimize. When you combine video and launch monitor elements with an understanding of club fitting principles and basic biomechanics, you have the ability to quickly evaluate a golfer’s equipment and make recommendations to help them play better golf.

The benefits of virtual fitting

  • Any golfer with a phone and access to a launch monitor can get high-level recommendations from a qualified fitter.
  • Time and cost-saving to and from a fitter. (This seems obvious, but one of the reasons I personally receive so many questions about club fitting is because those reaching out don’t have access to fitting facilities within a reasonable drive)
  • It’s an opportunity to get a better understanding our your equipment from an expert.

How virtual fittings really work

The key element of a virtual fitting is the deep understanding of the available products to the consumer. On an OEM level, line segmentation makes this fairly straightforward, but it becomes slightly more difficult for brand-agnostic fitters that have so many brands to work with, but it also shows their depth of knowledge and experience.

It’s from this depth of knowledge and through an interview that a fitter can help analyze strengths and weaknesses in a player’s game and use their current clubs as a starting point for building a new set—then the video and launch monitor data comes in.

But it can quickly go very high level…

One of the fastest emerging advancements in this whole process is personalized round tracking data from companies like Arccos, which gives golfers the ability to look at their data without personal bias. This allows the golfer along with any member of their “team” to get an honest assessment of where improvements can be found. The reason this is so helpful is that golfers of all skill levels often have a difficult time being critical about their own games or don’t even really understand where they are losing shots.

It’s like having a club-fitter or coach follow you around for 10 rounds of golf or more—what was once only something available to the super-elite is now sitting in your pocket. All of this comes together and boom, you have recommendations for your new clubs.

Current limitations

We can’t talk about all the benefits without pointing out some of the potential limitations of virtual club fittings, the biggest being the human element that is almost impossible to replicate by phone or through video chat.

The other key factor is how a player interprets feel, and when speaking with an experienced fitter recently while conducting a “trial fitting” the biggest discussion point was how to communicate with golfers about what they feel in their current clubs. Video and data can help draw some quick conclusions but what a player perceives is still important and this is where the conversation and interview process is vital.

Who is offering virtual club fittings?

There are a lot of companies offering virtual fittings or fitting consultations over the phone. One of the biggest programs is from Ping and their Tele-Fitting process, but other companies like TaylorMade and PXG also have this service available to golfers looking for new equipment.

Smaller direct-to-consumer brands like New level, Sub 70, and Haywood Golf have offered these services since their inception as a way to work with consumers who had limited experience with their products but wanted to opportunity to get the most out of their gear and their growth has proven this model to work.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Why wedge mastery is so elusive



I have conducted numerous surveys of golfers over my 40-year golf industry career, because I have always believed that if you want to know what people are thinking, you simply have to ask them.

As a gearhead for wedges and a wedge designer over the past 30 years, most of my research and analysis is focused on these short-range scoring clubs and how golfers use them. What this research continually tells me is that most golfers—regardless of handicap–consider the wedges the hardest clubs in the bag to master. That’s because they are. I would even go so far as to say that the difficulty of attaining mastery even extends to the best players in the world.

Watching the Genesis Open this past weekend, for example, it seemed like these guys were hitting wedge approaches on nearly every hole. And while there were certainly many shots that covered the flag—like Max Homa’s approach on 18–there were also a great number that came up woefully short. Not what you would expect when a top-tier tour professional has a sand or gap wedge in their hands.

The simple fact is that wedges are the most difficult clubs in our bags with which to attain consistent shotmaking mastery, and that is because of the sheer design of the clubhead itself. For clarity of this article, I’m talking about those full- or near full-swing wedge shots, not the vast variety of short greenside shots we all face every round. To get mastery of those shots (like the tour pros exhibit every week), you simply have to spend lots of time hitting lots of shots, experimenting and exploring different techniques. There are no shortcuts to a deadly short game.

But today I’m talking about those prime opportunities to score, when you have a full- or near-full swing wedge into a par-five or short par four. We should live for those moments, but all too often we find ourselves disappointed in the outcome.

The good news is that’s not always all your fault.

First of all, you must understand that every wedge shot is, in effect, a glancing blow to the ball because of the loft involved. With 50 to 60 degrees of loft—or even 45 to 48 degrees with a pitching wedge—the loft of the club is such that the ball is given somewhat of a glancing blow. That demands a golf swing with a much higher degree of precision in the strike than say, an 8-iron shot.

I have always believed that most golfers can improve their wedge play by making a slower-paced swing than you might with a longer iron. This allows you to be more precise in making sure that your hands lead the clubhead through impact, which is a must when you have a wedge in your hands. Without getting into too much detail, the heavier, stiffer shaft in most wedges does not allow this club to load and unload in the downswing, so the most common error is for the clubhead to get ahead of the hands before impact, thereby adding loft and aggravating this glancing blow. I hope that makes sense.
The other aspect of wedge design that makes consistent wedge distance so elusive is the distribution of the mass around the clubhead. This illustration of a typical tour design wedge allows me to show you something I have seen time and again in robotic testing of various wedges.

Because all the mass is along the bottom of the clubhead, the ideal impact point is low in the face (A), so that most of the mass is behind the ball. Tour players are good at this, but most recreational golfers whose wedges I’ve examined have a wear pattern at least 2-4 grooves higher on the club than I see on tour players’ wedges.

So, why is this so important?

Understand that every golf club has a single “sweet spot”–that pinpoint place where the smash factor is optimized—where clubhead speed translates to ball speed at the highest efficiency. On almost all wedges, that spot is very low on the clubhead, as indicated by the “A” arrow here, and robotic testing reveals that smash factor to be in the range of 1.16-1.18, meaning the ball speed is 16-18% higher than the clubhead speed.

To put that in perspective, smash factor on drivers can be as high as 1.55 or even a bit more, and it’s barely below that in your modern game improvement 7-iron. The fact is—wedges are just not as efficient in this measure, primarily because of the glancing blow I mentioned earlier.

But–and here’s the kicker–if you move impact up the face of a wedge just half to five-eights of an inch from the typical recreational golfer’s impact point, as indicated by the “B” arrow, smash factor on ‘tour design’ wedges can be reduced to as low as 0.92 to 0.95. That costs you 40 to 60 feet on a 90-yard wedge shot . . . because you missed “perfect” by a half-inch or less!

So, that shot you know all too well—the ball sitting up and caught a bit high in the face—is going fall in the front bunker or worse. That result is not all your fault. The reduced distance is a function of the diminished smash factor of the wedge head itself.

That same half-inch miss with your driver or even your game-improvement 7-iron is hardly noticeable.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Breakthrough mental tools to play the golf of your dreams



Incredibly important talk! A must listen to the words of Dr. Karl Morris, ham-and-egging with the golf imperfections trio. Like listening to top athletes around a campfire. This talk will helps all ages and skills in any sport.



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