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Tour Report: Fowler switches to a TaylorMade putter, JT makes a wedge change

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Tucked within the mansion-laden hills in Pacific Palisades, California, rests a beautiful and historic golf course – named The Riviera Country Club – where Tiger Woods hosts a yearly PGA Tour golf event.

As picturesque and story-filled the course may be, the competitors must properly prepare themselves for a challenging 72-hole test.

In this week’s Tour Report, I discuss the gear changes that the pros have made to properly arm themselves to tackle this week’s difficulties and other interesting findings from inside the ropes.

Enjoy this week’s eight hottest takeaways from the 2022 Genesis Invitational.

1) Kikuyu confusion

The fairways and rough at Riviera are made of Kikuyugrass – a native grass of Africa – that’s quite spongy. While nice to look at, the texture of the grass can cause issues with turf interaction on pitches and simple chip shots around the green.

To deal with the difficulties of Kikuyu, according to Titleist Vokey wedge rep Aaron Dill, players are either adding more bounce to add forgiveness or taking away bounce to allow the leading edge to work through the turf quicker. That means players are going with two opposing strategies to solve the same problem.

“This golf course is unique; this grass is unique,” Dill told GolfWRX. “Kikuyugrass is just weird. It’s a weird grass and in a weird way it makes wedges feel really sticky. It presents some challenges for chipping and wedge play. I’m seeing some guys switch bounces…you got JT, he’s going in with a K-grind this week. He knows that this grass just grabs stuff, so he wants to feel some forgiveness going out. Then you’ll see some guys gravitate to the opposite end, where they’ll say they want to feel the wedge working through the ground fast. And that usually means we have to reduce bounce, so we’ve seen some guys do that, as well.”

Justin Thomas has chosen the higher bounce option this week by adding in Vokey K-grind, a high-bounce wide-sole option to ensure his wedge doesn’t dig too much into the Kikuyu.

2) Rickie Fowler’s first time in a TaylorMade putter

Fowler, who’s most recently used Scotty Cameron and Cobra putters, has switched into TaylorMade’s new Spider GT Black mallet this week. While many versions of the new putter are available to Tour players, Fowler’s version has the following specs:

  • A single sightline on the crown
  • 35 inches in length
  • 3 degrees of loft
  • 70-degree lie angle
  • A fluted shaft
  • TaylorMade rubber pistol grip

The company also says it’s Fowler’s first time ever using a TaylorMade putter in competition.

3) Beverly’s ports

It’s not completely uncommon for pros to use clubs that have holes in their back cavities; this process is also known as “porting.” Something was different about the placement of Beverly’s ports, though, so I had to ask Dill for his insight on the build.

According to Dill, the holes helped reduce his swing weights down to D3-D5, offsetting the weight added from his +0.5-inch lengths. They’re also placed out on the heel and toe portions to avoid intruding on the “Bob Vokey” wings. Now that’s how you pay respect to the wedge legend Bob Vokey himself.

To read the full story about Beverly’s wedges, click here!

4) Rory and DJ iron things out

Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are both switching things up at Riviera in the top end of their bags by removing a hybrid and replacing it with a 3-iron.

For McIlroy, he’s opting for a new TaylorMade P790 3-iron, equipped with an extra stout Fujikura Ventus Black HB 10TX shaft. Check out Rory’s full WITB here!

Johnson, on the other hand, has added in a TaylorMade DJ Proto blade 3-iron, equipped with his usual True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 iron shaft.

5) Hadwin’s Tour Drills

In a new segment called “Tour Drills,” I highlighted Adam Hadwin’s incredibly simple, yet effective, drills that he’s incorporated into his range practice at PGA Tour events. If you’re looking to shape your shots with better control, or you want more speed with the driver, these drills will be for you.

To learn how to conduct these drills for yourself, click here!

6) PGA Tour looper Reynolds Robinson provides real insight

PGA Tour veteran caddie Reynolds Robinson (caddie for Joseph Bramlett) dropped a bunch of gems on this week’s Caddie Corner. Click here for the full 15-question Q&A, and check out my favorite quote from him below regarding his advice for amateurs based on his time working with PGA Tour pros:

“Play within your means,” Robinson says. “Don’t try to hit the hero shot, just focus more on course management than you do on spectacular shots. If I had the swing to go with the knowledge I had now, I’d be a hell of a player. I just don’t have the swing these guys do. The one thing I learn from these guys is that even though they have the shots, they’ve learned how to manage their way around the golf course when it’s not looking good. They won’t take the hero shot. They’ll make the smart play. So for amateurs, play within yourself and don’t make the hero play, just manage the course and you’ll probably save a lot of strokes over the course of a round.”

7) Finau’s arrow

Tony Finau found winning success with this custom Ping PLD Anser 2D putter last year at The Northern Trust, and it still isn’t out of the bag.

Finau’s prototype is unique for two main reasons: 1) It’s made to perfectly match his look and feel preferences, and 2) It has alignment lines drawn on with permanent marker on both the top line near the hosel and on the head below the hosel portion.

In speaking with Ping tour rep Tony Serrano, we learned that Finau uses the lines to help with the position of his hands at setup.

“He uses the arrow and the line on top so when he gets behind a putt, he can get into the right address position,” Ping Tour rep Tony Serrano. “His hands tend to get too forward and drop a little bit, so the permanent marker lines help to get him in position. When he sees them disappear, he knows he’s good to fire.”

Just because he’s a PGA Tour winner doesn’t mean he’s too good for permanent marker lines on his custom putter.

8) Charl Schwartzel’s “Wilson” putter?!

While Schwartzel was testing putters on the putting green, I was confused when he started using a putter with an upside-down Wilson logo in the back cavity.

Upon further inspection, it was actually just a piece of Wilson lead tape that’s made for tennis, which he placed onto his 2007 Scotty Cameron Catalina Classic putter to add weight to the head.

Classic mixup by me. I promise I’ll be better next week as I report in from the 2022 Honda Classic.

See you next week!

Check out the rest of our photos from the 2022 Genesis Invitational here!

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tony Finau’s old Nike driving iron sells for ABSURD money on eBay – GolfWRX

  2. Pingback: PGA Tour, GolfWRX announce agreement – GolfWRX

  3. Pingback: TOUR REPORT: This dominant PGA pro is using hybrids (and irons) from 11 years ago – GolfWRX

  4. ProjectX

    Feb 21, 2022 at 8:05 am

    So Finau just turned his Ping Putter into a Seemore…got it.

  5. Professor

    Feb 19, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    Great read but I believe the Riv is 71 holes…

  6. Joe Intravaia

    Feb 19, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    Missing you on Fully Equipped good luck in the new job.

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Tiger Woods, 2017 Hero World Challenge

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Following a 10-month layoff and his then-fourth back surgery, Tiger Woods teed it up at the 2017 Hero World Challenge. Tiger finished 9th in the event, 10 strokes behind Rickie Fowler, but the 15-time major champion also gave fans some glimpses of his former dominance, including this majestic 3-wood approach shot from 271 yards out on a par 5:

He also had an amazing chip in for birdie on the 17th hole:

Tiger’s driver was also excellent that week, and his overall stats were pretty impressive in his second round: Woods hit 9 of 13 fairways, 13 of 18 greens and 27 putts. 31-37=68.

Woods was expected to return to action at this week’s competition — making his first start since The Open Championship in July where he missed the cut. However, he announced Monday he was withdrawing owing to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Tiger Woods WITB 2017 Hero World Challenge

Driver: TaylorMade M2 2016 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 90TX

Driving Iron: TaylorMade Tour Preferred UDI (18 degrees)
Shaft: Project X PXi 7.0

Irons: “TGR” prototypes (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Nike VR Pro Forged (56 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B XS

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (11/28/22): TEI3 Scotty Cameron Del Mar Long Slant

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At GolfWRX, 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 – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a TEI3 Scotty Cameron Del Mar Long Slant

From the seller (@TaylorMadeHunter1): “Restore completed by the Scotty Shop. New Grip. Shaft band from the Scotty Shop . Includes Scotty Shop box and Club Bag. 34”. I bought this with intentions to game it but life happens and now I need some cash.  You will not find a Long Slant TeI3 in this condition for a lower price anywhere. $700.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: TEI3 Scotty Cameron Del Mar Long Slant 

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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Whats in the Bag

Akshay Bhatia WITB 2022 (November)

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Driver: Callaway Rogue ST (9 degrees @8)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

3-wood: Callaway Rogue ST Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 10 X

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (22 degrees), Callaway Apex TCB (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS $-Taper 125

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (50-10S, 54-10S, 60-08C)
Shafts: KBS $-Taper 125

Putter: Odyssey 2-Ball Ten (long)
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Tour long

Grips: Iomic

More photos of Akshay Bhatia’s WITB in the forums.

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