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WOTW Time Machine: Danny Willett’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore From The 2016 Masters

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Danny Willett unfortunately lost the Fortinet Championship in brutal fashion with a 3 putt on the last hole. Those putts gave Max Homa the 1 stroke victory, but lets flash back to happier times for Danny Willett. Danny won the 2016 Masters and was wearing what looked to be an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore in forged carbon while receiving the Green Jacket.

WOTW Specs:
Name: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph
Reference: 26400AU.OO.A002CA.01
Limited: No
Date: 2013
Case: Forged Carbon Fiber
Bezel: Black Ceramic
Dial: Black Méga Tapisserie
Size: 44mm
Movement: Calibre 3126/3840, 59 Jewels
Power Reserve: 50 Hours
Glass: Saphire Crystal
Waterproof: 100 Meters
Bracelet: Black Rubber Strap
Price: ~$33,000 (~$28,500)

Audemars Piguet has been one of the most respected and coveted watch making brands for over 100 years. The brand was founded in 1875 by Jules Audemars and Edward Piguet in Vallée de Joux, in the Swiss mountains. Audemars Piguet was struggling in the late 60’s and 70’s, along with every other Swiss luxury brand, with the introduction of the quartz watch. Quartz watches run on batteries and were far more accurate and cheaper than the mechanical watches before them. So in 1972 Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak, a large stainless steel sport watch that the public absolutely loved. Twenty years later the Royal Oak Offshore came to life as the bigger brother to the legendary Royal Oak. The Offshore models feature larger cases and bezels, while being more water resistant. Danny looked to be wearing a large, 44mm case, Offshore that was originally introduced in 2013.

The case is made from forged carbon fiber for its lightweight and ability to be produced in more intricate shapes. Forged carbon fiber is different than its more famous woven carbon in the way that it looks and is created. Carbon fibers are chopped up into irregular shapes and then placed in a compression mold with resin to create the part. The case features titanium pushpiece gaurds on the right side and a black screw-down crown to set the watch. The back of the Offshore is matching titanium and contains a display window to view the automatic movement. On top of the case is the iconic Royal Oak bezel in all of its octagon-shaped glory. The bezel is made from black ceramic and held down with 8 hex screws. The dial is another famous Audemars Piguet design, Méga Tapisserie. The Black Méga Tapisserie is a texture pattern that is made up of raised squares. Surrounding the dial is an inner bezel containing a Tachymeter scale showing units per hour. This Offshore is a chronograph and contains 3 subdials with the small seconds hand at 12 o’clock. The date window sits at 3 o’clock and has a magnifying cyclops lens. The hour markers and hands are made from white gold and filled with a luminescent material for a bright glow in low light.

Inside Danny’s Offshore has an automatic, self-winding movement inside that runs this impressive machine. The Calibre 3126/3840 contains 365 parts and offers the wearer 50 hours of power reserve. Fifty nine synthetic sapphires, or jewels, are used as bearings and a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module runs the timing in the subdials. A black rubber strap is connected to the case with 4 titanium intermediate links. A titanium pin buckle bring both sides of the strap together.

Most Audemars Piguet watches are highly collectable and carry bigger price tags. I couldn’t find the exact retail price but I think it was in the $33,000 dollar range. Currently you can get this one on a slight discount on the secondary market, look to pay around $28,500 for one in good shape.

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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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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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Photos from the 2022 Presidents Cup

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GolfWRX was live for the “United States vs. Everyone (except Europe)” showdown, otherwise known as the Presidents Cup.

Contested this year at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, from an equipment standpoint, the Presidents Cup offers the opportunity to get an up-close look at the wares of the best golfers in the world and always provides for some interesting custom equipment — like Justin Thomas’ wedge, below (and Max Homa’s in the featured image).

Check out all our galleries from the Presidents Cup, below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Album

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Photos from the 2022 Fortinet Championship

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GolfWRX is live this week at the Fortinet Championship as the 2022-2023 PGA Tour season gets underway in Napa.

Plenty of general galleries to fill your cup with this week, as well as WITB looks — including Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler. We also have a limited-edition Odyssey putter cover and new drivers from Wilson and Srixon.

Check out Rickie discussing his new irons in this PGA Tour x GolfWRX video.

 

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Also featured this week: An in-hand look at Greyson Sigg’s Mizuno JPX923 Tour irons (the long-rumored and already widely discussed successor to 2020’s 921).

Check out links to all our galleries after the photo of Hideki Matsuyama doing Hideki Matsuyama things, below.

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WITB Albums

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