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PGA Tour pros given green light to compete in Saudi International, but with conditions

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The golfers who are set to play in the Saudi International from February 3-6 will now not face punishment from the PGA Tour, who on Monday gave players the green light to compete in the event.

Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson are among the many PGA Tour stars who are planning to tee it up in Saudi. The players needed waivers to play in the event, and according to a memo sent to Tour members, the waivers have been approved.

However, there is a stipulation.

The golfers playing in Saudi will not be playing in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which is also February 3-6, so they will need to play in the event in the upcoming years to fulfill their obligation to the PGA Tour. Some will have to play at Pebble Beach twice, depending on whether or not they have made appearances in the event in the past five years.

It will be interesting to monitor whether the same accommodations are made going forward for the Asian Tour that Greg Norman now has some influence in.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. John Krug

    Jan 7, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    These guys have no need for money, so why are they playing in SA?

  2. Rick

    Jan 5, 2022 at 11:52 am

    Stop already you’d take the money too. You don’t really care about human rights it’s in every part of your life whether you realize it or not. You’d quit watching pro sports or buying most athletic shoes or clothing. Get real

  3. Brian

    Dec 22, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    These guys have absolutely no principles. I have zero respect for the golfers that choose dollars over human rights.

    • John Krug

      Jan 7, 2022 at 2:36 pm

      These guys have no needfor money, so why are they playing in SA?

  4. Rich

    Dec 21, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    And the Headchopper fanatics’ harem grows.

  5. Truesp

    Dec 21, 2021 at 10:56 am

    I love how they manipulate the rules just to be cool to their Players’ images in this world of social media so there’s no backlash. How pathetic. They should be punished and blocked from playing and lose OWGR points for jumping onto the wrong bandwagon as it were. But nah – the PGA Tour caved into money, as usual

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotted: Mitsubishi MMT Putter Concept shaft

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You’ll soon be able to play Mitsubishi’s MMT shafts in all 14 clubs.

As a refresher, MMT shafts combine the best of graphite and steel. Mitsubishi stacks layers of prepreg onto the shaft’s core, placing a Metal Mesh toward the tip for increased stability and thinner walls overall in a highly responsive shaft with plenty of weight in the tip.

We spotted Mitsubishi’s Metal Mesh Technology in putter shaft form at The American Express at PGA West and caught up with Mitsubishi’s Preston Toulon for the inside scoop on the Mitsubishi MMT Putter Concept.

“The putter shaft uses a new application of Metal Mesh Technology called Speed Mesh, which is 75 percent lighter than traditional Metal Mesh you’d fine in iron shafts. What that allows you to do is instead of using it in a small portion of the shaft, because it’s so much thinner and so much lighter, you’re able to use it in the full length of the putter shaft. It’s a big material advancement for us.” 

“It makes the shaft more stable. Through player testing, they tell us it makes milled putters feel like they’re struck with an insert. People are reporting it makes it feel softer. It’s intended to help your start line and improve stability and feel. It helps players release the putter head more fully.” 

“We did a lot of testing versus steel putter shafts, mostly through GEARS motion capture system…we had face-mapping patterns, and in nearly all cases, there was tighter dispersion, tighter impact location (more center face), more consistent feel, and more speed control.” 

“So, we’ve had a lot of early excitement.” 

Available in parallel and taper, the new Mitsubishi MMT Putter Concept weighs in at 135 grams with a 1.6 torque measurement. Right now, it’s only available in plumbers neck, but Mitsubishi indicates additional neck styles will follow.

Available at fitters February 4 with an MSRP of $150.

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.

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Tour Rundown: A tale of 2 nines decides Sony Open

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The second week of 2022 professional golf on the US PGA Tour saw the traveling band remain in Hawaii, albeit only after a move from the island of Maui to the enclave of Oahu. The Waialae Country Club, originally designed by the skilled Seth Raynor, rewards the thoughtful player. Its traditional routing and distance demand the ability to negotiate angles and turns, as well as back off from the long ball. Architect Tom Doak’s restoration of Raynor features and inclinations returned the course to its authentic state. Waialae finds a way to reward the strategist, and it will be no surprise if a true ball-worker hoists the winner’s trophy on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday: Na Leads The Way

Kevin Na, the defending champion, turned up the heat on Thursday afternoon with a stellar round of 61. Na went out in 29, highlighted by a rifled hybrid to ten feet at the ninth hole. He converted the eagle putt to reach six-under on the day. Na added three more birdies coming home, and took a one-shot advantage over Russell Henley and Jim Furyk. Henley’s round was flawless, with the only difference being birdie at nine, rather than eagle. Furyk had a bogey on hole number one, but countered that with a number of birdies and the beauty that you see below at the 17th hole. Five other players turned in rounds of 63, ensuring that low scores in Hawaii will continue for the second consecutive week.

Friday: where’d they go?

Of the three Thursday leaders, only one stood tall on day two of Hawaii’s second PGA caravan stop. While Kevin Na (71) and Jim Furyk (72) each soared 10 strokes higher than his opening round, Russell Henley dropped but one stroke over day one. His 63 on day two was a wild affair. It included a pair of bogeys, and also a pair of eagles. Threes at the 9th and 18th holes melded with five birdies, to give the South Carolina resident a three-shot lead over a resurgent Haotong Li. Li followed his 63 with 65 on day two, to reach 12-under par. Matt Kuchar added 64 to his opening 64, to reach -11. Michael Thompson was the only other contestant at double-digits under par; his 63-67 stood him at minus-ten. The cut fell at five-under par, meaning a pair of 68s earned nothing more than a rescheduled return flight, or a pair of days on the beach.

Saturday: holding on

Round three at Waialae was a game of chess. Russell Henley won the SONY Open nine years ago, reaching 24-under par. His day three was not the stumble that Na and Furyk experienced on Friday, and he escaped moving day with a two-shot lead intact. Making a bold move with his knights and bishops was current Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama. The stalwart from Japan chipped away with birdies and pars, posting seven under par on the day, to move three spaces up the leaderboard. As with last week, a lesser-known, lesser-decorated golfer will spar with a growing legend and current major champion. Cameron Smith was able to hold off Jon Rahm last week in Kapalua. Might Henley repeat the same formula? Poised to pounce if the leaders stumble, is a quartet of challengers at -14. The United Nations of Adam Svensson (Canada), Seamus Power (Ireland), Haotong Li (China) and Matt Kuchar (USA) will need to go 62-low to have a chance on Sunday, and that’s what makes it fun.

By the way, if Henley tosses a day-four 64 to match his 24-under total from 2013, this writer says that he will once again lift the trophy.

Sunday: a tale of two nines

We all know the notion of how the Masters doesn’t really begin until the back nine on Sunday. It’s both a truism and a myth. Tournaments begin in round one, but the nitty-gritty of regular and major events often takes place over a three-hour period in round four. No place was this more in evidence than Waialae on Sunday in 2022. Russell Henley stood at -18 when he teed off, then played the front nine in a sublime 29, including eagle at the 9th. He moved to 24-under par, the same total that won him this event in 2013. Remember what I wrote on Saturday evening (see above) about that number?

Chasing him was playing partner Hideki Matsuyama. The Masters champion played the same stretch in three-under, but found himself five in arrears as they turned to the inward half. Roughly two hours later, Henley had dropped a shot after playing the back in plus-one 36. Matsuyama, meanwhile, made birdie at two of the final four holes to complete a closing 31. Just like that, the five shot lead had disappeared, and Henley found himself in a gut-wrenching playoff. Had Henley finished at -24, he would have won in regulation.

The pair returned to the par-five, closing hole, the one where Isao Aoki holed from 110 yards to defeat Jack Renner in regulation. Well, Aoki’s shot may have been relegated to the second-best finisher on the last at Waialae. From 277 yards out, Matsuyama ripped a three-metal into the setting sun. It moved gently rightward on a cut arc, and settled softly on the putting surface. When it rolled to 24 inches, the tournament was complete. Henley’s six were twice the strokes that heroic Hideki required, and the 8th PGA Tour title of the young champion’s career was secured.

The tour leaves the islands for the mainland, setting down in the California desert this week. Si Woo Kim looks to defend his title at The American Express in La Quinta.

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Photos from the 2022 Sony Open (thanks, pitbull808!)

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Reid, AKA forum member pitbull808 continued his annual rite of mid-Winter this week, attending the Sony Open in Hawaii and taking gear photos.

We’re grateful for the effort in the 50th state!

Check out a few of Reid’s photos and the links to all the galleries below.

And a bonus gallery…via Kenny Harms, Kevin Na’s caddie

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