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WOTW: Joohyung Kim’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph “Panda”

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The Wyndham Championship gave a young pro, Joohyung Kim, his first PGA Tour win! Kim shot a 61 in the final round to win by five strokes at Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina. Kim was presented with the silver trophy that he held high while wearing a discontinued Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph “Panda.”

WOTW Specs

Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph
Reference: 26331ST.OO.1220ST.03
Limited: No
Date: 2017 – 2022
Case: Stainless Steel
Bezel: Stainless Steel
Dial: Silver Toned Grande Tapisserie
Size: 41mm
Movement: Calibre 2385, 37 Jewels
Power Reserve: 40 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 50 Meters
Bracelet: Stainless Steel Royal Oak
Price: $24,500 (~$60,000)

Audemars Piguet, sometimes referred to as just AP, was founded in 1875 by Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet. As one of the largest and most respected names in luxury watchmaking, they are still family owned to this day. Paul-Edward Piguet is the great-grandson of Edward and on the board of directors, ensuring the 147-year-old company holds true.

Audemars Piguet was in rough financial shape back back in 1970 with quartz movement watches taking over the industry. Quartz movements are more accurate and far cheaper than mechanical ones, offering precision timepieces to the masses. In 1972, Audemars Piguet looked to one of the most famous watch designers, Gerald Genta, to create a piece that would save the company. Genta did not disappoint, creating one of the most iconic watches ever in the Royal Oak. Introduced in 1972, the Royal Oak was larger and more expensive than any other stainless steel sports watch in history.

The Royal Oak Chronograph that Kim is wearing was introduced in 1972 and looks like it was discontinued earlier this year. The case is made from stainless steel and measures in at 41mm across. On the right side of the case is the crown and 2 pushers to run the chronograph sub dials. The caseback is solid stainless steel, with an etched Royal Oak logo, and held down with 8 screws. On top of the case is the iconic 8-sided Royal Oak bezel, crafted in matching stainless steel. The top of the bezel has a brushed finish and contains 8 hex screws that hold it in place.

The dial is again a legendary AP design, the Grande Tapisserie texture. Grande Tapisserie is raised squares with some texture that looks like very fine milling marks on it. That dial is done in a Silver Tone that looks more white in the light. White gold hour markers and hands add some more luxury to the watch and should keep its color for years to come. Three black sub dials are arranged at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock for timing minutes and hours along with the pushers on the side.

Inside the Panda is a self-winding automatic movement designed and built in house by Audemars Piguet. The Calibre 2358 is based off of a Frédéric Piguet caliber 1185 that was originally designed in 1988. The 2358 features 40 hours of power reserve and contains 37 jewels. The 2358 has been used in quite a few timepieces and could be considered a workhorse for Audemars Piguet.

The bracelet was designed to flow perfectly with the case when Genta first designed it. The Royal Oak bracelet is crafted from stainless steel and the full width lugs are held together with 2 smaller links. The outside of bracelet is finished in a brushed look while the beveled edges are polished to a mirror-like look. The clasp features a twin trigger release with and thick steel swing arms for durability. An AP logo on the claps is the only way you can really tell it is there, almost invisible.

The Panda looks like it was discontinued this year and prices have been slowly increasing since then. If you would like one of these very popular watches, expect to pay around $60,000 in the current 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!

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Five Things We Learned: Day Two of the 2022 Presidents Cup

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The reports of Team World’s death are exaggerated. Will the international squad storm back from its day-two deficit to win on Sunday? Probably not. However, the team found its legs on Friday, and pushed every match to the 16th hole. With mainstays and anchors gone from the honorable International squad, younglings like Mito Pereira, Taylor Pendrith, and Tom Kim will take their lumps this week, but will emerge as stronger players for 2024. Don’t be surprised if a few of those halved matches fall the way of the World on Saturday, and if the visiting squad pulls out a few wins on day three. Let’s digest the five things we learned on day two of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

Match 1: Buzzsaw Number One wins for second consecutive day

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth don’t lose. To boot, they are from the same generation, and they share that camaraderie and kinship. The partners won holes 4 and 5 to gain an early, 2-up advantage over elder statesmen Adam Scott and his countryman, Cam Davis. The Aussies fought all day long, but the Americans twice reached a 3-up advantage, and closed their opponents out on the 17th hole, 2 and 1. Captain Davis Love III shows no signs of separating the duo, so Team World will have to contend with Jussy and Jordy again on Saturday

Match 2: Im and Muñoz saw Scheffler and Burns

What’s the deal with Scottie? When you’re number one in the world, people expect you to win every time. All that competitors see is a bull’s eye on your back. For the second consecutive day, the Scheffler-Burns pair underperformed, and allowed the World to grab a precious half-point. Scheffler won the fifth hole with a birdie, but that was the end of his heroics. It was up to Burns to win another three holes, to manage a tie with the pride of Korea and Colombia. If Scheffler-Burns is together again on Saturday, then Captain Love deserves a bit of second-guessing. All in all, a tie is better than a loss, for both sides.

Match 3: Second match halved by two impressive sides

In match three, Cameron Young won three holes for the USA. Christiaan Bezuidenhout won two (and Mito Pereira, one) for the World team. First grade match tells you that neither side had the upper hand. Kevin Kisner never got on track for the tri-color, and left the heavy lifting to his young partner. Young was up to the task, and nearly stole a win with a long birdie putt at the final green. If I’m the World captain, I keep Mito and Cristo together on Saturday. Just saying.

Match 4: Xander and Patty keep taking them down

Hideki and Tom had to feel like a couple of high-school sophomores, paired against the two-time defending conference champs, who just happen to be seniors with fast cars. When Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are your number two team, that’s trouble for the opposition. No one has found a way to defeat Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, and the more matches they win, the more formidable they become. The Americans from Cali came out blazing. Five wins on the opening nine got them to a five-up-with-seven-to-play cushion. To Tom Kim’s credit, he didn’t give up. He won three of the next four holes on his own, but without any help from Hideki, the match ended in a 3 & 2 win for Team USA.

Match 5: Homa-Run on final green wins final match for hosts

For the second consecutive day, the World team had an opportunity to secure a half or full point on the final green. For the second time, they were unable to do so. Max Homa traded Tony Finau for Billy Horschel, but remained in the anchor spot for the American side. The Canadian pair of Pendrith and Conner never led, but never trailed by more than two holes. The Maple Leafs had their opportunities, but could not gain the upper hand on the Red, White, and Blue. When Homa buried the twelve-feet putt at the last, the host squad secured an 8-2 advantage, headed into round three.

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Five Things We Learned: Day One of the 2022 Presidents Cup

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The 2022 Presidents Cup, like so many other aspects of golf, fell victim to the shadows that currently threaten the professional game. Players from both sides were ineligible to compete, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. Rewind a year or so, and it’s safe to say that neither Mito Pereira nor Taylor Pendrith imagined that he would be part of a final-hole resolution of a first-round match. As a high school coach, I know that players transfer, and I also know that opportunity then knocks for others. With that optimistic outlook as our hood ornament, let’s break out the five things that we learned on day one of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

1. Mixing it up is good for a golf course

It takes a great mind to reroute a golf course known for its three-hole, closing stretch. The Green Mile consists of the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes at Quail Hollow, and features more water than a storm cloud. Since the Presidents Cup features match play as its format, the potential existed that those holes might be missed in a route. The set-up committee put its collective heads together and found a way to set the triumvirate as holes 13, 14, and 15, ensuring that they would play a bigger role in match outcomes. The next time you visit your home course, stop by the superintendent’s office and ask about alternative routings. Could be fun!

2. Cam Davis and Si Woo Kim earn the World Team’s only point

It’s not the heading that anyone wanted to write, but alas, it’s a fact. The mildly-decimated World team was able to secure but one point on Thursday. Kim and Davis won the last four holes to turn a two-hole deficit into a two-hole victory. It’s difficult to pinpoint what compelled Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns to play the closing quadrilateral in three strokes over par, but that’s precisely what happened.  On Friday, Scheffler and Burns will return to make amends, while Davis will partner countryman Adam Scott. Kim will watch from the sidelines, before returning in a subsequent round.

3. Young and Younger take match three for USA

Collin Morikawa is officially three months older than Cameron Young, but in terms of golf, the Californian is a sage, with two major titles. Not that Young is that far off, mind you, but Morikawa seems to wear the mantel of decorated veteran quite well. The pair matched up well on day one of the matches. Facing the Korean pair of Tom Kim and K. H. Lee, the USA pair took a 2-up lead into the back nine. A streak of malaise brought the match all square through twelve, but the Americans regained the lead at 13, then closed out the match with another birdie at 17. On Friday, Young will pair with Kevin Kisner in fourball, while Morikawa will sit the morning round out. Kim will partner Hideki Matsuyama, while Lee will rest for his next match.

4. Cantlay and Xander obliterate Scott and Hideki

The tee shot below was about the only imperfect thing that Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele did all day. Their 6 & 5 annihilation of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama was a resounding bell call for the sons of the Red White and Blue to ready, aim, and fire. The American team won 7 of the 13 holes played, against one for the pair of Masters champions. The bad news for Team World is that Patty and Xander will join forces again on day two. Scott and Matsuyama will find new partners, in an effort to steady the ship.

5. Where does the World get its Friday wins?

The Canadian duo of Connors and Pendrith needs to close out the anchor match against Horschel and Burns, but wait ~ we’re getting ahead of things. Adam Scott must play like a young Adam Scott, and Cam Davis must again set fire to the course, in order to derail the featured USA pair of Spieth and Thomas. If Im and Muñoz can upset Scheffler and Burns, the USA pair that everyone expected to dominate, will wonder what do they need to play well. In match three, Christian Bezuidenhout must motivate PGA Championship runner-up Mito Pereira, and Young and Kisner need to play less-than-stellar match play. Team World doesn’t need to win all five matches, but it does need to secure a minimum of 3.5 points, to make the host team sweat.

 

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The Wedge Guy: A defense of blades

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One of the longest-running and most active conversations in all of golf equipment is the subject of blades versus game improvement irons. Over the nearly 20 years I’ve been writing this blog as “The Wedge Guy,” I’ve addressed this in various ways and always stimulated a lively discussion with my readers.

I hope this angle on the conversation will do the same, so all of you please share your thoughts and observations.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have always played some kind of blade-style irons, with only a few detours along the way. But I always come back to my blades, so let me explain why.

I grew up in the 1950s and 60s when blades were all we had. As a teenager with a developing skill set, I became a devotee to those models from the old Ben Hogan Company, and played the “Bounce Sole” model, then several iterations of the Apex line after it was introduced. Those few sets served me well into my 30s, when I became involved in the golf equipment industry. Having Joe Powell Golf as a client, I switched to his pure muscle back model called the “PGI.” They were certainly sweet.

In the late 1980s, I was handling the marketing for Merit Golf, who offered a cavity back forging called the Fusion, which was inspired by the Ben Hogan Edge irons, but offered a more traditional face profile. So, I switched to them.
Playing to a low single digit handicap at the time, I really didn’t see my scores change, but I just wasn’t making as many birdies as I had before. Openly pondering why my golf felt different, a regular golf buddy noted, “You’re not knocking down pins as often as you used to,” and I realized he was right. I was hitting just as many greens as before, maybe one or two more, but I wasn’t getting those kick-in birdies nearly as often. So, I went to the closet and broke out the old Joe Powell PGI irons and had an epic day with three birdies inside five feet and a couple more in the 5-10 range.
Those blades stayed in the bag until I developed my first iron design, the “RL blades” by my first company, Reid Lockhart. By this time, I had seen enough robotic testing prove that the most penalizing mishit with a blade was a toe impact, which mirrored my own experience. So, I sculpted a pure muscle back blade, but added a bit of mass toward the toe to compensate for that deficiency of all such designs.

I played those irons for 20 years, until I created the “FT. WORTH 15” irons for the re-launch of the Ben Hogan brand in 2015. In that design, I further evolved my work to very slightly add a bit of modified perimeter weighting to a pure forged blade, taking inspiration from many of Mr. Hogan’s earlier personal designs in the Apex line of the “old” Ben Hogan Company. Those are still in my bag, going on eight years now.

So, why do I think I can make a solid defense for playing blade irons? Because of their pinpoint distance control, particularly in the short irons — those with lofts of 35 degrees or higher.

I’ll certainly acknowledge that some modern perimeter weighting is very helpful in the lower lofts . . .the mid- and long irons. In those clubs, somewhere on or near the green is totally acceptable, whether you are playing to break 90 or trying to win on the PGA Tour. [Did you know those guys are actually over par as a group outside 9-iron range?] That’s why you see an increasing number of them playing a conservative game-improvement design in those lofts. But also remember that we in the golf club design business deal with poor “hits” only . . . we have no control over the quality of your swing, so the vast majority of bad golf shots are far beyond our influence.

But what I’ve seen in repeated robotic testing and in my own play, when you get to the prime scoring clubs – short irons and wedges – having a solid thickness of mass directly behind the impact point on the face consistently delivers better distance control and spin. In my own designs of the SCOR wedges in 2010, and the Ben Hogan FT.WORTH 15 irons and TK15 wedges, I created a distribution of mass that actually placed a bit more face thickness behind the slight mishit than even in the center, and the distance consistency was remarkable.

I’ve carried that thinking to the Edison Forged wedges by positioning much more mass behind the high face and toe miss than any other wedges on the market. And in robotic testing, they deliver better transfer of energy on those mishits than any other wedge we tested.

So, back to that experience when I switched back to my Joe Powell blades from the Merit cavity back forging, I can sum it up this way.

If your pleasure from your golf is derived more from how good your worst shots turn out, then a game improvement iron is probably the way to go. But if your golf pleasure is more about how good your best shots are, I think there is a very strong case to be made for playing some kind of blade iron design, at least in your scoring clubs.

Alright, fans: sound off!

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