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5 Questions with Honda Classic winner Matt Jones

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After his win at the Honda Classic on the PGA Tour, we had the chance to catch up with Australian golfer Matt Jones to talk about his propensity for quick play, his equipment, and his excitement for the rest of the year, including the Masters.

RB: One of the first things most people notice about your game is your relatively quick pace of play and preshot routine. Is that something you have always done or did it develop over time?


MJ: A lot of people ask me about my pace of play and preshot routine, and the reality is I have always been a pretty quick player. The whole process plays out in the same order every time before I address the ball: I take 2 to 3 practice swings to support a positive feel, and once I have that I step in and hit the shot.

I’ve worked with some people in the past that have tried to slow me down, but it’s just my natural rhythm that allows me to not think too much and execute.

RB: The final round was a windy one and you hit 17 of 18 greens on a tough course in tough conditions. What allowed you to be so comfortable out there in the wind?

MJ: Growing up in Australia we played in a lot of wind, and I have always been comfortable playing in the type of conditions that call for more flighted shots. My preferred ball flight is a bit lower compared to a lot of golfers on tour, and I find it very easy to see shots move in both directions with the wind. I think that just leads me to be very comfortable.

RB: Did you make any changes to your equipment for the week because of the wind?

MJ: Leading into the week I hadn’t made any changes, and the last change I made was in Phoenix when I worked with the guys on the Titleist van to get a new 3-wood (Titleist TSi3 16.5° – Matt Jones winning WITB). I was struggling a bit and wasn’t seeing the ball flight I really wanted so we built something up, and after playing around with the hosel we dialed in a setting and I was good to go. It won’t be leaving my bag any time soon.

Having a club like that, along with using a Pro V1x, allows me to feel really confident when playing in windy conditions. The thing I love about my 3-wood is I can use it off the tee to really drive it, but off the deck, I can hit it like an iron to have it come in high and soft. Courses aren’t getting any shorter on the PGA Tour, and having a club with that kind of versatility is fantastic.

RB: It has been 7 years since your last win on the PGA Tour, was there something that felt different this week, that you believe helped lead to the win? 

MJ: I feel like all year I have struck the ball well, and this week it was really strong. My distance control with my irons was awesome, and I was hitting a lot of fairways, which certainly helps on a course like PGA National. I think my confidence playing in the wind with my iron play was the difference.

RB: Last but not least, winning on the PGA Tour comes with a lot of perks. What are you most excited to take advantage of with this win?

MJ: Last time I won it was the week before the Masters, and that resulted in the whole experience really feeling like a big blur. This win gets me into a lot of events that I’m really excited about like Kapalua, and it now puts me inside the top 50 in the world, which gets me closer to a goal that I set at the beginning of the year.

I very excited to begin prepping for the Masters and I’m planning on heading there next week to check out the course.

 

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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.

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Tour Rundown: Tavatanakit takes ANA, Spieth ends victory drought

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It’s a splendid fortnight in golf. The first weekend of April brings the first major championship of the year, on the LPGA Tour. It also shines a light on the finest female amateurs in the game as they compete at the Augusta National Golf Club. The PGA and Korn Ferry tours make their final stops before a week off for the men at Augusta. Spring has touched down in most of the lower 48 of the USA, and we are ready to run down more results in this week’s Tour Rundown.

LPGA: ANA Inspiration welcomes Tavatanakit as 2021 champion

Patty Tavatanakit should make the UCLA faithful forget about recent close calls. She is a major champion on the LPGA Tour, and the former Bruin closed out her first win on tour in style. The 21-year old tapped in for par at the 72nd hole for an 18-under total. Tavatanakit was the only golfer to post four rounds in the 60s this week, and she held off a ravenous Lydia Ko, who came charging fast and nearly caught the third-round leader.

Once upon a time, Lydia Ko was the darling and the face of the LPGA Tour. Her teenage years were spent raising trophies and causing all to wonder, how many will she win? From 2012 to 2016, Ko won 14 times on tour; since then, she has one victory, which came three years ago. Ko changed everything in her game, from caddie to instructor to clubs. Now, in 2021, she appears poised to challenge for a place on the podium that once seemed so familiar.

Ko posted five birdies and an eagle on the front nine and turned in 29. Two more birdies at 10 and 11 brought her to nine-under on the day and had fans thinking 59 and another major title. Alas, Ko’s raging run slowed, and she managed one more birdie coming home, at the 15th. She reached 16-under par, but Tavatanaki gave little evidence of capitulation.

The former UCLA Bruin from Thailand debuted on the LPGA Tour in 2020. Her first campaign was one of learning and patience, and she entered the week ranked 103rd in the world, and 17th in the Race to CME Globe. In her first tour around the Mission Hills course, PattyT posted a total of four bogeys on the week. She counter-balanced them with two eagles on the week, one coming at the second hole on Sunday. No bogeys came her way on day four, and she added two birdies to the eagle and remained composed throughout the round. It’s a rare feat for a veteran to play bogey-free golf under the bright klieg lights of a major championship. To do so, essentially, as a rookie, is nearly miraculous.

Amateur: Augusta National Women’s Amateur to Japan in extra time

The first playing of the ANWA, in 2019, featured a two-woman showdown between winner Jennifer Kupcho and runner-up Maria Fassi. The two did battle the entire third day, until Kupcho separated on the back nine, for a four-shot win. The 2021 edition tossed a different twist into the young history of the event: a playoff. Tsubasa Kajitani of Japan made par at the 18th hole, the first in extra time, to defeat the USA’s Emilia Migliaccio, who stumbled with a bogey.

The first 36 holes of the event took place at the Champion’s Resort, in nearby Evans, Georgia. Five players tied for the 30th spot, necessitating a five-for-one playoff at plus-seven. Emilie Paltrinieri made birdie on the first extra hole to earn a spot in the final 18 holes, at Augusta National. On the other end of the leader board, Rose Zhang and Ingrid Lindblad shared the lead at one-under par. Nearly every one of the thirty competitors had a shot at the win, especially when Zhang and Lindblad struggled on day three.

Lindblad had five bogeys on the final day but nearly snuck into the playoff with a birdie at the 17th. She was unable to make three at the final hole and tied for third with five others at plus-two. Zhang had a tenuous lead until the 13th hole, where she hit two balls in hazards and scratched a triple-bogey eight onto her scorecard. She bounced back with birdie at the difficult 14th but made bogey at 17 to join Lindblad in third position.

Making moves on day three were Kajitani (even par) and Migliaccio (two under). Migliaccio was bidding to become the second consecutive Demon Deacon from Wake Forest to win but missed a four-foot birdie at the last, which would have won the tournament in regulation time. Kajitani stood two-under on the day on the 17th tee in first place and proceeded to make double bogey at the penultimate hole. Her par at the last matched her with Migliaccio, and then they waited for the field to decide their fate.

In the playoff, Migliaccio missed the 18th green right and was unable to save par from a dicey position. Kajitani tapped in for par, and the seventeen-year-old lifted the champion’s trophy in delight.

PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open is Spieth’s 12th tour title

Four years ago, Jordan Spieth won the Open Championship in England. It was his third unique major championship, and many expected that he would soon add a PGA Championship to his tally. The Texan went into a tailspin brought on by a chase for more distance (and a previously undisclosed injury), and players like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas jumped up and claimed his place among the winners.

Spieth went through many trials during the ensuing three years, struggling with all facets of his game. He showed signs of a return to his lofty, mid-2o10s stature in early 2021, but was unable to put four rounds together for a title. That changed this week in his home state, as Spieth took the 54-hole lead, then held off a fast-charging Charley Hoffman for a two-shot victory.

When he needed it most, Spieth’s drive came through. Averaging less than fifty percent fairways hit on the week, Spieth nailed 71 percent of the short grass on day four. His lone bogey came at the fourth, where he missed right and was forced to pitch into the fairway. Seven birdies on the day made up for the one miscue, and the UTexas alumnus posted the second-lowest score on the day, a 66.

Hoffman was perfect on the day, posting six birdies and zero bogeys to match Spieth’s number. He simply ran out of holes, but the runner-up finish casts the Californian as an interesting foil for this week’s Masters. Hoffman typically plays well at Augusta National, and riding a wave of great play at the Valero portends possible success for the San Diego native. Spieth would like nothing more than to add a second green jacket to his 2015 model, and his play this year certainly places him in the top five of pre-tournament contenders.

Korn Ferry Tour: Emerald Coast Classic playoff goes to Jaeger

Andrew Novak played the Sandestin course like no other this week. He didn’t win, but goodness, he amassed a passel of birdies. Novak staked himself to a three-shot lead over David Lipsky, courtesy of 14-under play over the first three days. On Sunday, the North Carolina native and Wofford College alumnus scribble six birdies on his scorecard. Unfortunately for Novak, a pair of front-nine doubles and three bogeys joined those birdies. His plus-one was not the kind that anyone wants, and Novak ended the week in solo third position.

No one escaped Sandestin without a bogey on Sunday. Stephan Jaeger, a Korn Ferry Tour legend, posted a 66 and reached 14-under par, one better than Novak. Jaeger once shot 58 on the Triple-A tour, and had completed five prior victories on the prep circuit. David Lipsky had spent years honing his game in Europe, and joined Jaeger at 14-deep with a pair of closing birdies. The duo returned to the watery finishing hole, and each reached the green in regulation. Jaeger was able to two-putt for par, but Lipsky needed three putts to get home. Jaeger earned a return trip to the PGA Tour with his sixth career triumph on the developmental circuit.

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Valero Texas Open Tour Truck Report: Stenson back in Diablo, Rickie’s limited-edition driver, latest AutoFlex-er

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With the Masters next week, players who have punched their tickets to Augusta National will be making the proverbial “final tune-ups” to gear and games at TPC San Antonio.

Those who are without an iconic Masters invitation card have but one path into the field of the first major of the year: a Valero Texas Open victory.

Accordingly, there’s a whiff of desperation blowing in the Texas wind. Even players who can count themselves among the fortunate next week are searching—such as Henrik Stenson, who is returning to his beloved Callaway Diablo Octane Tour 3-wood.

As a reminder, you can check out all our photos from the Valero Texas Open here

Callaway

Phil Mickelson is testing a new prototype version of the PM Grind wedge. Unfortunately, Callaway is mum on any further details!

Also on the Phil phront: Mickelson put a Fujikura Ventus Black 6 TX shaft in his Mavrik driver.

As mentioned in the introduction, Henrik Stenson has shelved his Mavrik 3-wood in favor of his immortal beloved, Diablo Octane Tour 3-wood.

Stenson is also gaming an Odyssey 2-Ball Ten putter.

Branden Grace is testing an AutoFlex shaft.

Titleist

Bernd Wiesberger is testing a new TSi2 13.5-degree fairway wood with a TPT Hi 14 shaft (he’s currently gaming a 15-degree TSi2).

Lanto Griffin moved into a TSi3 (10 degrees, D4 SureFit setting).

Chesson Hadley is testing a TSi3 (10 degrees). He’s seeing better control and increased ball speed. (Hadley is currently in a 10-degree TSi2).

An update, of sorts—and an aesthetically pleasing one—on Byeong Hun An’s 60-T

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Aaron Dill (@vokeywedgerep)


Cleveland/Srixon

Graeme McDowell is testing Mitsubishi MMT iron shafts.

Cobra

Rickie Fowler has the limited edition Cobra Palm Tree Crew (PTC) RadSpeed XB in play.

Jason Dufner is testing Mitsubishi MMT iron shafts in his King Cobra Forged CB irons.

Scott Garrison (SEG Golf)

Brian Gay had a KBS Hybrid shaft installed in his TaylorMade SIM2

KJ Choi added a LAGP shaft to his Cobra RadSpeed driver.

Gary Woodland had new KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 Black wedge shafts installed

Sam Bennett’s Bettinardi BB8 raw putter got a LAGP putter shaft and SuperStroke grip.

Free agents

Charl Schwartzel has his old Nike wedges back in the bag.

Equipment free agent extraordinaire Ryan Moore swapped out his Mizuno MP-18 irons for Ping Blueprint.

As a reminder, you can check out all our photos from the Valero Texas Open here

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Tour Photo Galleries

Most interesting photos from Tuesday at the 2021 Valero Texas Open – Part 2

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This week, the PGA Tour is at TPC San Antonio on the Oaks Course for the Valero Texas Open. GolfWRX was on-site Tuesday to catch a glimpse into the bags of some of the world’s top golfers.

The field of 144 is getting ready to battle starting Thursday for the $7.7 million purse, with $1.386 million going to the winner. The tournament is also the last event where players can qualify for The Masters, just like Canadian Corey Conners did last year.

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

Hunter Mahan going “G”

OSU—Oklahoma State University—is a golf powerhouse. Golfers from OSU who have gone on to great professional careers include Charles Howell III, Rickie Fowler, Matthew Wolff, Viktor Hovland, and of course one of the “OG’s” Hunter Mahan who also happens to by playing a Ping combo set with a new G425 long iron.
Yeah, I shoehorned all that in there.

Charles Howell’s bag is a treasure trove of gadgets

Charles’ bag includes an Orange Whip, alignment sticks, extra alignment sticks, extra driver shafts, and multiple putters. This is why gearhead golfers love CH3.

Phil loves to flex

 

Phil Mickelson will always be a showman, and this week as he tunes up for Augusta National he was flexing all kinds of gear on the range at TPC San Antonio.

  • Three drivers in the bag
  • Custom Callaway alignment stick cover
  • Double launch monitor/iPad set up
  • His own “Air Phil” logo on his shoes
  • And how can we forget those calves?

The second coming of the 2-Ball is upon us

I can remember it like yesterday. It was the summer of 2001, I just got a brand new set of irons, I was working at a golf course and playing every single day, and the Odyssey 2-Ball had just been released. That putter was everywhere, and 20 years later in 2021, I have those same feelings all over again—minus the whole “working at a golf course and playing every day” thing.

The new Odyssey 2-Ball Ten is all over professional golf right now, and we spotted more than one on the putting green in Texas.

Hideki gonna Hideki

Here is your weekly reminder that Hideki Matsuyama “out gears” every other golfer on tour when it comes to the weekly testing of driver shafts and putters.

Branden Grace is looking to go “Auto”

Branden Grace, how sweet the swing,
So flowing and so free,
The AutoFlex shaft, he is trying,
Might be the final key….for him to win for the second time this season.

Branden already won this year at the Puerto Rico Open and in Texas this week he was on the range deep into testing with the AutoFlex shaft in his Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond.

Japan forged Apex MB’s still going strong

The very limited edition “Japan forged” Callaway Apex MB’s which were originally made exclusively for Francesco Molinari have still been finding a place on the tour—and my goodness, they look fantastic.

Fluff is like the Energizer Bunny

Famous PGA Tour caddy Mike “Fluff” Cowan is 73 years young, looking fit, and still an absolute boss!

You don’t always need a staff bag

Luke Donald was seen grinding away on the range, and lucky for his caddie, Luke’s rig has been made a little bit lighter this week by swapping out the traditional staff bag with a tour stand bag instead.

It’s True, seriously

Former Ping staffer turned free agent, turned Scratch Golf staffer and part-owner, turned free agent, turned PXG staffer, turned free agent once again Ryan Moore has been playing a mixed bag that included Ping Blueprint irons, and an ever-changing array of wedges and woods.

The one constant for Ryan is his dedication to his True Linkswear shoes (a company he co-owns with his brother), and his love for his alma mater UNLV. This is why Ryan Moore is a True GolfWRX gear head legend!

It’s BACK!!!

It’s no secret Henrik Stenson has been struggling recently on the course, and like many golfers, it appears that he is looking to right the ship, or at least free it from the banks of the Suez Canal of poor play by going back to his faithful Diablo Tour strong 3-wood.

The mega combo set

Canadian Adam Hadwin isn’t well known as being a gearhead in the traditional sense, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t afraid to mix things up. His iron set is a combo of three different models which include the Apex MB, Apex TCB, and an older model Apex UT.

The graphite godfather is in the field

Everyone made a big fuss when Bryson went to all graphite in his clubs, but the true modern graphite iron shaft godfather is KJ Choi. He has used a variety of graphite iron shafts going back to 2003 and he has a yet-to-be-identified set in his Srixon ZX7’s.

You know, maybe there is something to graphite iron shafts and weight lifting, since it has been well documented KJ Choi was a competitive powerlifter in his teens before turning his attention to golf. So before we give Bryson all the credit for beefing up and using graphite shafts, we should remember KJ was doing it before Bryson was in diapers.

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

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