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WOTW: Nick Faldo’s Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 500 Fathoms Titanium at The 150th Open Championship

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The 150th Open Championship this week was one that we will never forget. Cam Smith played an unbelievable final round but decided to keep his wrist bare while accepting the Claret Jug. Thankfully Sir Nick Faldo was on location and wearing a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 500 Fathoms dive watch on his wrist.

WOTW Specs

Name: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 500 Fathoms Titanium
Reference: 50015-12B30-52B
Limited: Yes, 500 Pieces
Date: 2009
Case: Titanium
Bezel: Titanium Saphire Crystal
Dial: Black
Size: 48mm
Movement: Blancpain Calibre 1315, 35 Jewels
Power Reserve: 120 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 10,000 Feet
Bracelet: Sail-Canvas Strap
Price: $24,700 (~$15,000)

Blancpain is not the most common name when it comes to watches but they have been making timepieces for over 280 years. Jehan-Jacques Blancpain started the company in 1735 in Villeret, Switzerland. Introduced in 1953, the Fifty Fathoms line is one of the most popular lines in the Blancpain lineup. Sir Nick’s 500 Fathoms was a limited edition of just 500 pieces for the entire world. It is a larger dive watch, clocking in at 48mm, but built from titanium so it is still lightweight. The titanium case has the traditional screw-down crown at 3 o’clock and then a decompression valve at the 10 o’clock location. The 500 Fathoms is waterproof rated to a wild 10,000 feet and the decompression valve helps to ensure no damage to the watch when diving to extreme depths. The back of the case screws down and contains a very large display back window to view the beautiful automatic movement. On top of the case is a large uni-directional bezel that features an easy to read diving scale. The bezel is crafted out of lightweight titanium and contains a diving scale that is covered in luminescent material. The bezel is then covered with sapphire crystal that is domed for a special look that also is extremely scratch resistant.

The dial on the 500 Fathoms is black and grey but as you look closely textured in a unique pattern. The base of the dial is a dark grey and then black sections are actually raised to contain the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock Arabic numerals. Those numerals are very large and filled with luminescent material for very easy reading in low light or dark water during dives. The hands on the watch are finished in matte black and the date window sits at the 4 o’clock position. Inside the titanium armor is a Blancpain self-winding automatic movement, the Calibre 1315. The 1315 features a beautiful winding rotor that is styled after a ship’s propeller. A triple balance wheel design gives the wearer almost 120 hours of power reserve while running smoothly on 35 jewels. A glucydur free sprung balance is made from beryllium bronze for added precision since it does not expand or contract much with temperature change.

The fabric strap is made from woven sail canvas that is extremely durable and contains a rubber backing for comfort on the wrist. At 24mm wide and held to the lugs on the case with hex screws, the strap is extremely durable. A double deployant clasp cannot be accidentally released, you have to press down the twin triggers in order to release the clasp. The market for Blancpain watches is not near as strong as some of the bigger brands so you are able to get this watch at a good discount. The retail price for one of these 500 pieces was $24,700, but you are now able to get one on your wrist for around $15,000 on the secondary market.

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I have been an employee at GolfWRX since 2016. In that time I have been helping create content on GolfWRX Radio, GolfWRX YouTube, as well as writing for the front page. Self-proclaimed gear junkie who loves all sorts of golf equipment as well as building golf clubs!

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ken

    Jul 22, 2022 at 10:19 am

    48mm? Wow, a dinner plate. Won’t age well.

  2. Baker

    Jul 19, 2022 at 10:18 am

    Blancpain = whitebread.

    Wow.

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The Open Championship 2022: Cameron Smith claims his ear of corn

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A daimen-icker in a thrave
          ’S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
          An’ never miss ’t!

Thus wrote Robert Burns, god-poet of Scotland, in his “To a Mouse,” third stanza. Thus did Cameron Smith claim his ear of corn, never to be missed, something of a small request. If this 150th celebration of The Open Championship were truly a loss, it will take us many a year to determine what sort of loss it was.

Golf is a game of dualities, duos, and duels. For each yin, there is a yang. For each Webb, there is a Sorenstam; for each Mediate, a Woods. For each Turnberry 1977, there is a Whistling Straits 1998. Golf could never be, without the one and the other. Thus it was in 2022, when the pair we thought would dominate round three, instead became the pair that dominated round four.

When Hovland and McIlroy stole the show on Saturday at the Old Course, we 100% expected them to do the same on Sunday. When Messrs. Smith and Young, aka The Camerons, drifted away along the crests of the North Sea, we mostly anticipated that they would be footnotes on Sunday. As it is with golf at Old Tom’s front lawn, it was precisely the opposite. As Hovland foundered and McIlroy struggled to find the inspiration to a 68 that would have won this gem outright, Cameron Smith and Cameron Young battled history and the present, each other and their own selves, and gave us the final major championship for younger males that we craved. For this, we must be grateful.

The temerity of Cameron Young, to open and close his front nine ’round the Old Course with bogeys, and still manage a 34. To add three birdies and an unscriptable eagle at the last, for 31 coming home, for 65 on the day, for minus-19 strokes on the week. The Old Course makes 19 under seem what it is: a feat and an achievement. Cameron Young’s third-place finish at May’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills was a marvel. His work over the links this week was more special.

You see, Young led this tournament after round one. He stayed the course during round two, and held steady during round three. His bookends of 64 and 65 are scorecards that he should nail to the wall of every home he occupies. Whether they lead to greater things, or are the greatest thing, they are more than any of us deserves, and they are to be cherished.

Even more brazen was the work that Cameron Smith put in over the final day at St. Andrews. Young was at least human with his bogeys. Smith was immortal with his eight birdies and ten pars on the day. He turned, like Young, in 34 shots. He then posted four consecutive birdies as he passed the loop, making a ridiculous one at the toughest hole on the week, the 13th. This was the hole that Bob McIntyre confessed, offered no plan to he and his caddy. And then, Smith held steady over the next three holes, somehow conjuring a par save from a place not known to the faint of heart on Road, the 17th hole.

Then did Smith drive his ball into the valley of sin on Home, where deceased remains lie beneath the putting surface. Summoning his inner Costantino Rocca, Smith calmly navigated the churning soils of the green and surrounds, and putted from what seemed like forever, to a manageable 28 inches. He holed for three, a total of 20-below par, and an ear of corn more than the other Cameron.

Recalling what was written earlier about duality, Smith is now the second mullet to win over these hallowed grounds. He joins John Daly, now known as Old Saint Nick, in the Business In The Front, Party In The Back brigade. Somehow, it’s fitting. Raise your hands to the champion golfer of the year for 2022, Cameron Smith of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

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5 things we learned Saturday at The Open

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Saturday was fresh again at St. Andrews’ Old Course. Scores were low and high, depending on whom you asked. Neither of the Camerons produced the type of round needed to separate from the chasers. In fact, both were surpassed by two golfers hungry for a major title in 2022. It’s a pity that only one of the many contenders will return home with the Claret Jug as champion golfer of the year. The entertainment and thrills are ours, so it’s time to run a third day down, and look ahead to one last early rise for wondrous golf from the kingdom of Fife. Here are the five things we learned on Saturday at The Open Championship.

1. Two golfers will battle on Sunday for the year’s fourth major title

Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland did their countries and their selves proud on Saturday. Each produced a score of 66 on the championship’s third sunrise, and each earned a spot in Sunday’s final game. McIlroy has been down this road before, and won. Hovland has not done true battle for a major title, and Sunday will reveal just how much character the Norwegian linksman has in reserve.

McIlroy produced the only bogey among the duo. It came at the 17th, where he drove into the left rough, then approached over the green, onto the road that gives the hole its name. From there, the northern Irishman recovered to 30 feet, from which he took two putts to get down. Better are the memories from the five birdies and one eagle that he posted across the rest of the scorecard. At the tenth, from the deepest championship tee, the 2014 Open champion at Hoylake drove into a bunker, but recovered into the hole for an unexpected, eagle two. On the hole called Bobby Jones, McIlroy preserved his place atop the leader’s board.

Hovland surrendered a clean card, and zero shots to the old dame on this day. His birdies came early, with five in the bag before the 11th tee. He added one more at Home, and set a tee time with McIlroy for 2:50 pm Heaven Standard Time.

2. Four golfers are in contention for CGOTY

It’s not an EGOT, but CGOTY is equally as coveted by professional golfers. The two Camerons (Smith and Young) had a finger or two around the Claret, but neither one did much of anything on Saturday. Smith struggled early, while Young stumbled late. Each has the game to post 64 on Sunday, and each will need it to have a shot at victory.

One of the co-leaders might struggle on Sunday, but it’s long odds that both will. Young had two bogeys through 15 holes, then made a clumsy double at the 16th. Smith was simply adrift on the breezes. He had two bogeys and two birdies, and that was all. On a tough weather day, he’d have gained advantage. On this day, he was fortunate to remain in the hunt. Beginning four shots in arrears, the Camerons have work to do.

3. A sextet of golfers will battle for glory on Sunday

If we must include Si Woo Kim and Scottie Scheffler as possibilities for glory in the 150th Open Championship, it will come with a record round. Both are in the antepenultimate game, five shots behind the leaders. Both golfers have shown a penchant for reeling off birdies. Chances are that someone will have set the tone early in the day, perhaps going out in 29 or 30 strokes. This pairing will need to take every risk and leave nothing and everything to chance. Have stranger things happened in the storied history of the Open Championship? Certainly, such as the consecutive eagles turned in by Shane Lowry today. There’s plenty of room for more.

4. English hearts will break again

Either Matt Fitzpatrick or Tommy Fleetwood will post 65 tomorrow, and his total of 16-under par will end up one or two shots shy of the CGOTY. Fleetwood posted 66 today. He began the day with four birdies in six holes, then went stale through the middle of the round, before posting three birdies in his final five holes. He’ll need 63 on Sunday to have a shot. Fitzpatrick stood five birdies against two bogeys, and lost ground to McIlroy and Hovland. He’ll need something special and low on Sunday to hoist the hardware.

5. So…who’s it going to be?

Nearly as demanding as selecting the shot of the day, is predicting the winner of a tournament. If we take the safe bet, it’s McIlroy. If we take the daring route, it’s Hovland. If redemption is our flavor, one of the Camerons regains the magic wand and soars beyond the challengers. If we’re bonkers, we pick someone more than four shots back. Since we are bonkers, we’re going with Si Woo Kim, who becomes the first Korean golfer since Y.E. Yang to win a men’s major title.

 

 

 

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3 gear changes Rory McIlroy made for The 2022 Open Championship (plus full WITB)

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Rory McIlroy, the No. 2-ranked golfer in the world and four-time major champion, hasn’t won a major since the 2014 PGA Championship, and his lone Open Championship victory also came in 2014 at Royal Liverpool.

Eight years later, with 18 holes left to play in The 2022 Open Championship, McIlroy finds himself tied for the lead with Viktor Hovland, and in prime position to become Champion Golfer of the Year once again. This time at The Old Course at St. Andrews.

What would this win mean to McIlroy?

“That’s a moment you dream about, especially being from this part of the world,” McIlroy said in his press conference prior to the event. “This was the major championship, it was the first one I ever attended as a kid. Yeah, it just means a little bit more…to hear your name and winner of the gold medal, Champion Golfer of the Year, it’s what dreams are made of. I still remember that pretty vividly. I’d love to replicate that on Sunday evening.”

St. Andrews, as McIlroy discussed earlier in the week, is a different beast compared to most other events throughout the year, even ones that are also hosted at St. Andrews.

“I think everyone’s seen how firm and fast the fairways are,” McIlroy said after his first round at The Open. “The weather looks pretty similar for the rest of the week…I’ve played this course mostly in, like, September, October time for Dunhill, where it plays completely differently. Then, it’s sort of hit driver everywhere, get it as close to the greens as you can, and then take your chances from there. I think this week you’re going to maybe see guys laying back a little bit…laying back, giving yourself full shots into some of these greens, playing the angles a little bit more, I think that’s going to be really important this week. It’s definitely a lot more of a strategic golf course when it plays like this…if you hit a lot of drivers, you may get close to some of these greens, and it would be advantageous to lay back and give yourself fuller wedge shots into some of these greens.” 

In preparation for a tournament that means something different, in course conditions that are extremely firm, fast and windy, McIlroy made 3 unique changes to his gear setup this week.

1) Rory changes out his 5-wood for a 2-iron

Throughout most of his career, McIlroy has opted to use a 5-wood at the top-end of his bag. This week, though, McIlroy benched the 5-wood for TaylorMade’s newly launched Stealth UDI 2-iron (18 degrees), equipped with a Project X HZRDUS 105 6.5-flex shaft.

As McIlroy alluded to above, blasting driver everywhere isn’t necessarily the most sound strategy at St. Andrews this week. He’s playing more of a chess game, and keeping the ball under the wind with his lower-launching Stealth UDI has proven effective thus far.

See more in-hand photos of Rory’s new 2-iron

2) A pitching wedge switch-up

Typically, McIlroy uses a set of TaylorMade Rors Proto blade irons through his pitching wedge. He’ll then usually go with two traditionally shaped wedges; at the recent RBC Canadian Open in June, for example, he opted for 54- and 60-degree TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 (MG3) wedges.

Rory McIlroy’s new pitching wedge (photo credit: Mike Esse/TaylorMade)

This week, however, GolfWRX spotted McIlroy with a 46-degree MG3 Raw wedge in the bag. His Open Championship pitching wedge is a “standard bounce” MG3 Raw model with 9 degrees of bounce.

3) A low-bounce lobber

 

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During most events throughout the year, McIlroy uses an HB (High Bounce) TaylorMade lob wedge. When he came to the firm conditions at St. Andrews, however, McIlroy switched into a TaylorMade MG3 Raw LB (Low Bounce) 60-07 wedge.

McIlroy spoke about the switch earlier in the week:

“I’m using a lob wedge with less bounce than I usually do,” McIlroy said. “Even still, I don’t know if — I think I could do with using even less bounce. Again, the fairways are so firm. And some of the lies are so bare that…I felt like if I had a full lob wedge there [on the 17th hole in the first round] and I didn’t get it quite right, then I could have thinned the thing…you’re worried about hitting a lob wedge out of bounds because of a bare lie off the fairway. It’s tricky.”

Below, check out McIlroy’s full WITB as he looks to capture his 5th major championship victory at The 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews.

Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80 TX

Driving Iron: TaylorMade Stealth UDI 2-iron (18-degrees)
Shaft: ProjectX HZRDUS 105 6.5-flex

Irons: TaylorMade Rors Proto (3-9 iron)
Shaft: Project X 7.0

Wedges: TaylorMade MG3 Raw (46-09, 54-13 and 60-07)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Hydro Blast

Ball: 2021 TaylorMade TP5x (#22)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

More photos of McIlroy’s setup at The 2022 Open

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