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Morning 9: Tiger plays 9 holes at Pro-Am | Goodbye PIP bonuses? | Morikawa on coach split

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Hero World Challenge gets underway.

1. Woods (only) plays 9-hole pro-am (but don’t assume that’s a bad thing)

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…”What Tiger Woods says goes at the Hero World Challenge.”

  • “And Wednesday morning, Woods determined that nine holes – not the 18 that the rest of the field played – was sufficient for him at the pro-am portion at Albany Golf Club.”
  • “Don’t read too much into it. His latest comeback isn’t being derailed by another setback – although with Tiger you can never know for sure. Rather, to borrow a phrase from the pandemic, Woods is taking an abundance of caution and “wants to save himself for the next four days,” business manager Rob McNamara, who will serve as his caddie this week, said.”
Full piece.

2. Goodbye, PIP bonuses?

Adam Wells for Bleacher Report…”Jordan Spieth thinks one of the key changes the PGA Tour made in an attempt to prevent players from joining LIV Golf will go away if the merger between the two companies goes through.”

  • “Speaking to reporters on Wednesday from the site of the Hero World Challenge, Spieth explained the Player Impact Program will likely go away at some point.”
  • “I think that its goal was to help prevent players from accepting high-dollar Saudi offers, LIV offers,” Spieth said. “I think that’s the goal. If you’re going to see numbers that are thrown out at players now, a couple specific players, it doesn’t really do that.”
Full piece.

3. Morikawa on coach split

Our Matt Vincenzi…”Collin Morikawa has parted ways with his longtime coach. Rick Sessinghaus, who he had worked with for over 18 years.”

  • “The 26-year-old revealed the news on Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge, sharing with reporters that the split took place just before this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome.”
  • “Right before the Ryder Cup, I let go of my long-time coach, Rick Sessinghaus for — we’ve been working for just over 18 years, which wasn’t easy,” Morikawa shared for the first time publicly on Tuesday during a press conference ahead of the Hero World Challenge, a 20-man unofficial event held at the Albany Club. “He’s more than just a coach, he’s one of my really good friends. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to, someone that’s been there for every step of my life essentially, not just in golf but just kind of living life, right?
  • “It wasn’t easy, and sometimes things happen like that. But 18 years is a long time. Not many relationships that I can say with a lot of people that I’ve had relationships for 18 years, and real relationships where I’m talking to them every week, right? So that wasn’t easy at all.”
  • “As for the reasoning behind the decision, Morikawa stated that “what I saw kind of over the past two years wasn’t to my expectations.”
Full piece.

4. Zalatoris on surgery, recovery

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”A couple days after his Masters withdrawal, Zalatoris was undergoing a microdiscectomy…”

  • “Zalatoris makes his competitive return at this week’s Hero World Challenge, his first start since the WGC-Dell Match Play in March, after a long and prudent path back from the disabled list.”
  • “It’s been an interesting seven months,” Zalatoris said. “It’s been a patience game. It’s been a grind. You know, I had a lot of really good advice from guys that have had to go through the same thing, and all of them said take your time, no one’s ever come back from an injury taking too long.”
  • “Zalatoris believes his back troubles stem from a shot he hit from the thick fescue during his first round of the 2021 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s, where he withdrew after 18 holes. His “hyperdynamic” golf swing – left heel coming off the ground, huge reverse-C, lots of X-factor – didn’t help matters, either. When Zalatoris re-injured his back at the BMW, though, Zalatoris’ surgeon, Michael Duffy at Texas Back Institute, didn’t recommended surgery at the time. Neither did the over 20 other specialists who reviewed Zalatoris’ MRI results.”
Full piece.

5. Spieth on joining policy board

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Spieth understood that position – he has two children under the age of 3, while also trying to return to the top 10 in the world rankings – but was eager to step up. On a phone call, he said he told fellow board member Patrick Cantlay that he could fill the role, if the others supported that.”

  • “I think this is a pivotal moment in time for professional golf and the PGA Tour,” Spieth said, “and I felt like I could be of help.”
  • “Since officially joining as the sixth board member, Spieth said he’s been “playing a bit of catch-up on what I’ve missed,” with the Tour not only negotiating with the PIF ahead of the Dec. 31 deadline, but also engaging with private equity firms looking to invest in the Tour.”
  • “There’s nothing but optimism among the player directors,” he said. “Collectively, we feel that we’re going to get something done that’s great for our Tour, and hopefully done by the same deadline that we’ve been trying to.”
Full Piece.

6. Shane Ryan: Appreciate Tiger while you can

Golf Digest’s Shane Ryan…”Point being, I spent a large part of Tiger’s prime missing the point of what I was seeing and was forced to spend his resurgence in the digital fetal position. Now, in his state of fading, I have to clutch what I can clutch, here at the last minute, and though I never quite grasped what we had in him, I can now see clearly what we’re going to lose. It’s a thing you can’t replace, and that makes everyone in his shadow look like a pretender.”

  • “It’s a thing called human greatness. Divorced from the complications of personality, behavior, culture, and capital. Plain, undeniable, and human greatness. The time may be coming when technology strips human greatness of its place atop the hierarchy, when we’re no longer, even in our own minds, the most important beings in the universe. The time is definitely coming when the greatest golfer of all time will have lost the last glow of his prime, and we can no longer credibly claim even a wisp of athletic relevancy on his behalf. We will be forced to interact with younger sports fans who know him only as a name, the way you and I might know someone like Bjorn Borg today. He is fading, and there’s nothing we can do about it because we’re fading too.”
  • “With Tiger Woods, we’re standing on the edge of permanence. The ephemeral part was his glory; the eternal part is its absence. This week, and whatever weeks are left, hold on.”
Full Piece.

7. Primer: LPGA Q-Series

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”An abbreviated LPGA Q-Series gets underway on Thursday at Robert Trent Jones’ Magnolia Grove Golf Course in Mobile, Alabama. The event, which has been shortened from 144 holes to 108 holes, concludes on Dec. 5.”

  • “A field of 104 players will compete over the Falls and Crossings courses, with a cut after Round 4 to low 65 and ties. Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Hae Ran Ryu medaled at the 2022 Q-Series.”
  • “Players who finish in the top 45 and ties will earn 2024 LPGA cards. Those who finish in the top 20 and ties will earn the Category 14 status while those who are 21-45 and ties will fall into Category 15.”
  • “Any player who completes 72 holes will receive Epson Tour status.”
Full Piece.

8. Inbee Park in line to represent athletes at Olympics

AP report…”Seven-time Olympic champion sprinter Allyson Felix and seven-time golf major winner Inbee Park are candidates in elections at the Paris Games to represent their fellow athletes at the IOC.”

  • “The International Olympic Committee announced a list of 32 candidates Wednesday for elections to be held during the Paris Games from July 26-Aug. 11, when about 10,500 athletes are eligible to vote.”
  • “Felix, the now-retired American track great, and Park, who took gold for South Korea when golf returned to the Olympics in 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, are among a slew of Olympic champions competing for four places in the 100-strong IOC membership.”
Full Piece.

9. Tiger Woods WITB: Hero World Challenge

Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 LS

Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD VF 6 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (15 degrees @14.25)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees @18.25)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: 2023 TaylorMade P770 (3-iron), TaylorMade P7TW (4-PW)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade MG4 Raw (56-12TW, 60-11TW)

Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS prototype

Grip: Ping PP58

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord 58R

Full WITB.
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Morning 9: Charlie Woods to try tee it up on PGA Tour | Niemann’s Masters invite | Price rips LIV

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as the day one of the Mexico Open gets underway.

1. Charlie Woods to compete in Cognizant (formerly Honda) Classic pre-qualifier

PGATour.com staff report…”Charlie Woods is looking to earn a spot in his hometown PGA TOUR event.”

  • “Woods, son of 82-time TOUR winner Tiger Woods, will compete in Thursday’s pre-qualifier for the Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches. The younger Woods will play at Lost Lake Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida, one of four pre-qualifying sites. Approximately 25 players and ties will advance to the event’s Monday qualifier, from which four players will earn spots in the Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches.”
  • “Woods will tee off at 7:39 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Olin Browne Jr., and Ruaidhri Mcgee. Browne is the son of three-time TOUR winner Olin Browne.”
Full piece.

2. Niemann, 2 other earn Masters special invites

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”Joaquin Niemann is among three players who have accepted a special invitation to play in the Masters.”

  • “Ranked 81st in the Official World Golf Ranking, Niemann’s appearance this year was in doubt after defecting in summer 2022 to LIV Golf, which doesn’t currently award world-ranking points. But Niemann, a former winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship, which is run by Augusta National, remains arguably the best player from the region and recently won the Australian Open (earning a spot in this year’s Open Championship) and LIV’s season-opening event in Mexico. He posted two other top-5s on the DP World Tour…”
  • “Others receiving a special exemption to the year’s first major were Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen and Ryo Hisatsune of Japan.”
Full piece.

3. LIV-OWGR stalemate

Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”One can make an argument that the OWGR board of directors has an obligation to devise a mathematical formula that awards points for LIV Golf’s 54-hole format as it does for other minor tours. One can also make a counter argument that LIV’s largely closed-shop roster, small fields and concurrent team competition skew its results to a degree that compels the OWGR to deny certification.”

  • “With officials from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour recusing themselves from the decision, the remaining members of the OWGR board denied LIV Golf’s request for inclusion in October. Those remaining members are the representatives of the four major championships.”
  • “Presumably this will all be corrected whenever the PGA Tour finalizes its negotiations with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the financial muscle behind LIV Golf. Until that happens, however, we’ll continue to monitor the degrees of consternation or schadenfreude certain factions exhibit as they observe LIV golfers slipping down the board and, thus, losing access to the majors via top-50 standing.”
Full piece.

4. Ferguson: Gap between majors and “other tournaments” grows

The AP’s Doug Ferguson…”All of which leads to the common refrain that all anyone wants is for the best players in golf to be on the same stage.”

  • “The only place for that is the majors, which always mattered more than all the other tournaments. Now the gap is getting larger.”
  • “The PGA Tour already has held three of its “signature events” with a $20 million purse, cold plunges and wild-caught seafood served in player dining. Nothing felt extraordinary about them. LIV Golf had a 59 and a playoff in the dark the first week, and a six-way tie for the lead late on the back nine the second week. The only noise sounded forced.”
Full piece.

5. Fitzpatrick’s interesting, under-the-radar gear changes

Our Andrew Tursky…”At the end of 2023, Matt Fitzpatrick was still using Ping S55 irons, which were first released to the public back in 2013.”

  • “I was starting to wonder if he’d ever change them out.”
  • “Well, last week at the 2024 Genesis Invitational, we noticed that Fitz is now using a set of new Ping Blueprint S irons (5-PW), to go along with a Ping i210 4-iron.”
  • “Pour one out for the S55’s.”
  • “That wasn’t the only noteworthy gear news in Fitzpatrick’s bag, though. We also noticed he had a unique prototype 3-wood in the bag, which appears to have no branding or identifying logos.”
  • “After further review, however, the sole weight designs and placement seemingly verify that he’s using a Cobra Darkspeed X prototype.”
Full piece.

6. Nadal wins mid-am event

Our Matt Vincenzi…”Twenty-two-time champion Rafael Nadal is known for being one of the best ever tennis players, but recently Nadal also became a champion on the golf course.”

  • “While Balearic Mid-Amateur Golf Championship, Nadal not only won the event, but was able to win by a comfortable seven strokes.”
  • “Next, Nadal will focus on training for the Indian Wells tournament after missing some time from tennis due to injury.”
Full Piece.

7. Price hits out at LIV

John Turnbull for Bunkered…”Open champion Nick Price has hit out at former rival Greg Norman’s startup circuit.”

  • “The 67-year-old, who also won the PGA Championship twice, has argued LIV Golf isn’t a very good product, while taking aim at players who defected.”
  • “Speaking on the bunkered podcast, Price admitted that ‘nobody likes’ the fragmented nature of golf as a result of LIV’s emergence.”
  • “Like everyone else, I don’t know what the end game is. The way the game is fragmented, nobody likes it,” he said.
  • “I’ve tried to watch LIV, but I don’t think the product they have is very good. I don’t know why they tried to re-invent the wheel.
  • “I think the IPL [Indian Premier League] in cricket had a lot to do with the decision making and the way they tried to set it up with the franchises – which I don’t think is a bad idea.
  • “But right now, I don’t think the product they’ve got is something people will rush to their TV to watch and it’s sad because they have so many great players.”
Full Piece.

8. Jin Young Ko’s return to action

Beth Ann Nichols for Golfweek…”Former World No. 1 Jin Young Ko returns to competition at the Honda LPGA Thailand. The last time the South Korean star teed it up on the LPGA at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, she was wearing a brace on her left knee. Ko eventually withdrew from the event prior to the third round.”

  • “Ko insists that’s now behind her and said doctors checked her entire body – knees, shoulders, wrists, spine – and reported that she’s healthy for 2024. She flew to Vietnam during the extended offseason to train with her coach and feels confident going into her 10th season as a professional, including time spent on the KLPGA.”
Full Piece.
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Morning 9: LIV Pros head to Asian Tour | Cabrera returns to PGA Champions Tour | Solheim Cup assistants

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco.

For comments: [email protected]

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, as the PGA Tour heads to Mexico this week.

1. Niemann, 21 LIV players set for Asian Tour event

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”In total, 21 LIV members are teeing it up beginning Thursday at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, Oman, including three still ranked in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking – No. 80 Lucas Herbert, No. 81 Joaquin Niemann and No. 95 Dean Burmester.”

  • “With LIV still not able to award world-ranking points, playing in the International Series remains one of few avenues for LIV players to boost their world ranks and potentially earn spots in major championships…”
  • “No. 137 Louis Oosthuizen, No. 141 David Puig (last week’s Asian Tour winner), No. 154 Mito Pereira and No. 165 Abraham Ancer are also entered in the Oman field, which also includes these LIV members all ranked outside the top 300 in the OWGR: Charles Schwartzel, Kieran Vincent, Jinichiro Kozuma, Matt Jones, Eugenio Chacarra, Scott Vincent, Anirban Lahiri, Matthew Wolff, Branden Grace, Carlos Ortiz, Sebastian Munoz, Peter Uihlein, Hudson Swafford and Danny Lee.”
Full piece.

2. Cabrera returns to Champions Tour action

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romain…”Angel Cabrera has already been cleared to play in PGA Tour-sanctioned events. He returned to competitive golf late last year in his native Argentina, and he will make his PGA Tour Champions return this week in Morocco.”

  • “But that’s not all: The 54-year-old Argentine and two-time major champion also is set to compete again in his first world-ranked event in nearly five years.”
  • “Cabrera, who was released from an Argentina prison last August after serving 30 months for gender violence against two former partners, has been extended a sponsor exemption into the Korn Ferry Tour’s 117 Visa Argentina Open, according to multiple reports and confirmed by GolfChannel.com. Cabrera’s invite was allotted by the Argentina Golf Association, and he will have a chance to compete for an Open Championship exemption, which is awarded to the winner.”
Full piece.

3. Beall: Is the PGA Tour in a slump?

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Conversely, the bigger, overarching worry from the past seven weeks is what fans didn’t see. Rory McIlroy was a tour de force in the Middle East but has been so-so in his two tour starts. Reigning FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland has struggled. Max Homa usually feasts on the West Coast but hasn’t posted a top 10 in five appearances. Collin Morikawa hasn’t done much and an expected Sunday battle between Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay at Riv turned out to be a dud. Then there is Scottie Scheffler. The two-time PGA Tour Player of the Year is posting the best ball-striking numbers since in-his-prime Tiger … but that performance has been weighed down by his continued putting woes, which have prolonged to the point they can no longer be classified as a funk. Scheffler knows it too; this weekend alone featured images of Scheffler tossing his putter like a baton after missing a putt and dropping to his knees after another, the normally stoic Texan unable to hide his indignation at his flatstick’s betrayal. The putter has single-handedly kept him from a generationally-great 18-month stretch, and as golf has sadistically proved over and over the present (in this case, Scheffler’s tee-to-green game) is no guarantee of the future.|”

  • “Seven weeks is a small sample size. In that same breath, the tour is nearing the quarter mark of the season, and the very stars tasked with keeping the lights on have been dimmed. Which brings us to LIV Golf. For the first two years of LIV’s existence there has been a general belief from tour headquarters that the tour’s depth was its hydra: When one star leaves he would be replaced by another. Generally, that held true. But Jon Rahm’s defection seemed to be a tipping point of sorts. LIV has now taken both a significant portion of the tour’s frontline firepower (Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Cam Smith) along with a sizable bite out of the second and third-tier rank. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that five of the tour’s seven winners in 2024 were outside the top 50 in world ranking … but maybe it’s not. That Rahm won three times during this stretch last season only exaggerates the perceived power void.”
Full piece.

4. Nantz to amateur rules sleuths…

Golf Digest’s Christopher Powers…“A number of rogue videos of the supposed incident have already been removed from social media. But they had been spreading like wildfire, as all potential rules controversies do. The CBS Sports crew must have known this was the case, because Jim Nantz quickly brought in rules and review analyst Mark Dusbabek explained that there was no foul play from Matsuyama.”

  • “Here was the incredible exchange between Nantz and Dusbabek:”
  • “Nantz: They’re playing a game of ‘gotcha,’ they think, with Matsuyama behind the 17th a moment ago and saying ‘hey that ball moved! This isn’t right!’ Let’s bring in, with some reasoning here, Duse (Dusbabek).”
  • “Dusbabek: Yes Jim, the ball did not move. The ball just shifted a little bit, but it stayed in its same position. The ball has to move to a different position, up, down, to the side, it doesn’t matter. It just didn’t move its position.”
  • “Nantz: Go find somebody else to pick on.”
Full piece.

5. Cannizzaro: Woods should have been at Genesis trophy presentation

The NY Post’s long-time golf writer…Speaking of the champion, Matsuyama and the thousands of spectators ringing the natural amphitheater of the 18th green were deprived Sunday of seeing Woods, whose foundation hosts the event, present the winner’s trophy.

  • Tiger Woods’ withdrawal from own event is golf great’s latest bizarre episode. Woods was nowhere to be found, presumably back home in Florida recuperating from the flu.
  • “I never question an athlete’s injury or illness because only the person who’s injured or ill knows how bad he or she is feeling. But for Woods, two days removed from the flu diagnosis, not to be at Riviera on Sunday to present the trophy wasn’t a great look. The sponsors who pump millions into the event to benefit Woods’ foundation could not have been happy about his absence.”
  • “I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to take a picture with Tiger today,’’ Matsuyama said after he won.
  • “It’s difficult to imagine Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer not powering through the flu to make sure they were on hand to present the trophy to the winner of the Memorial or Arnold Palmer Invitational at the end of the tournament.”
Full piece.

6. Finau feeling ready

Field Level Media report…”Finau, 34, hasn’t missed a cut in five starts this season. He finished T6 at the Farmers Insurance Open on Jan. 24-27 and T19 at the Genesis Invitational last week…”

  • “Yeah, I feel prepared. I’ve done some good work in the offseason with my body just to be strong,” Finau said Tuesday. “This golf course yields some birdies and I can really swing the driver with some freedom out here as there’s a few holes that are pretty lenient as far as hitting areas, so I love that, being able to hit it hard and play this type of golf course. I do feel like I’m prime to go on a run starting this week.”
  • “Finau expects to be a busy man, however. He told reporters Tuesday that he will be playing competitive golf during the day and with his family on the par-3 course at night.”
  • “I think we reserved a tee time there about 8:00 every night and we’ll be there with my boys playing pretty much every evening,” Finau said. “That’s definitely at the top of our list of things we enjoy here at Vidanta.”
Full Piece.

7. 2024 U.S. Solheim Cup assistants revealed

Beth Ann Nichols for Golfweek…”Paula Creamer returns to the Solheim Cup for the first time in seven years in a new role as assistant captain. She’ll be joined by Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Angela Stanford. It’s up to the host captain to determine the number of assistant captains, and for the first time in Solheim history, Stacy Lewis has appointed four women to the job.

  • “This year’s Solheim Cup will be contested Sept. 13-15 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia.”
Full Piece.

8. LIV Golf chief to play PGA Tour pro-am

Ben Parsons for Bunkered…”LIV Golf chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan will tee it up in a pro-am at a tournament sanctioned by the PGA Tour as negotiations to unify golf continue.

  • “Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) bankrolling LIV, has been attempting to broker a deal with the PGA Tour ever since the announcement of a shock framework agreement between the warring factions last June.”
  • “PIF’s involvement in golf’s new landscape has come into question in recent weeks after a group of US billionaires known as the Strategic Sports Group (SSG) invested $3billion into the PGA Tour’s new for-profit company named PGA Tour Enterprises.”
  • “Al-Rumayyan has been listed to play in the Trophy Hassan II pro-am at Royal Golf Dar es Salam in Morocco alongside Indian veteran Arjun Atwal.”
Full Piece.

9. Inbee has no plans to play in 2024

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…”As the LPGA returns to action this week in Thailand, one past champion is notably absent. Inbee Park, who last teed it up on the LPGA in August of 2022 at the AIG Women’s British Open, has no plans to compete this year either, according to her manager.”

  • “Park, 35, gave birth to her first child, daughter Inseo, in April 2023.”
  • “The 21-time winner was announced as one of 32 candidates for the IOC’s Athlete’s Commission. Park, of course, won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She plans to focus on promoting herself for the upcoming elections in the coming months.”
Full Piece.
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Tour Photo Galleries

A mysterious prototype 3-wood and 10 interesting gear photos from the Tour

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If you’re a fan of golf equipment, then last week at the 2024 Genesis Invitational must have felt like the Super Bowl.

Aside from Tiger Woods and TaylorMade teaming up to create a new brand called Sun Day Red, GolfWRX.com also got full WITB photo coverage from top players such as Woods, Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Wyndham Clark, Viktor Hovland, Sepp Straka, Denny McCarthy and Si Woo Kim among others.

It was a huge week for equipment photos, so let’s waste no time getting to the recap below. If you want to check out all of our photo galleries from the 2024 Genesis Invitational, don’t forget to head over to our GolfWRX Forums.

Now, let’s get to the gear.

Hovi’s flatstick is growing up so fast

Now over four years old, Hovland’s Ping PLD “Hovi” putter is starting to show some signs of aging, which makes it that much cooler, in my opinion. As a reminder, Hovi’s custom PLD putter later became the inspiration for Ping’s DS72 head model, and Ping has even sold limited-edition versions of the “Hovi” putter.

To keep his longtime putter safe and secure, Hovland uses a “Hovi” putter cover, with a Viking graphic on top.

See Hovland’s full 2024 WITB here

Matt Fitzpatrick’s mysterious prototype fairway wood, and new Blueprint S irons

At the end of 2023, Matt Fitzpatrick was still using Ping S55 irons, which were first released to the public back in 2013.

I was starting to wonder if he’d ever change them out.

Well, last week at the 2024 Genesis Invitational, we noticed that Fitz is now using a set of new Ping Blueprint S irons (5-PW), to go along with a Ping i210 4-iron.

Pour one out for the S55’s.

That wasn’t the only noteworthy gear news in Fitzpatrick’s bag, though. We also noticed he had a unique prototype 3-wood in the bag, which appears to have no branding or identifying logos.

After further review, however, the sole weight designs and placement seemingly verify that he’s using a Cobra Darkspeed X prototype.

Here’s a photo of a retail Cobra Darkspeed X fairway wood for comparison:

What do you think? Is Fitzpatrick’s new proto fairway wood a Cobra Darkspeed? Or something else?

See what GolfWRX members are saying in the forums

Straka stays strong with the Tuttle

We looked at every club in Straka’s bag last week, and he’s using a set of TaylorMade Qi10 metalwoods, to go along with Srixon irons and Cleveland wedges.

He’s also still going strong with his longtime Odyssey Stroke Lab Tuttle design, which has 3 lines on its bubbly crown for better alignment. With all of the modern-day mallet options on the market, it’s cool to see that Straka is sticking with what works.

Sepp Straka’s full 2024 WITB

Tiger still loves his M3

On Wednesday before the event, Woods confirmed that he’d be switching into a new TaylorMade Qi10 Tour 3-wood, and he also revealed why he still has the old M3 5-wood in play:

“Well, the [new TaylorMade Qi10 Tour] 3-wood is in play. I feel very comfortable with the 3-wood. I had to find the right shaft for it and decided to switch the shafts and go with what I have on my driver. My 5-wood’s different, it’s old, a little beat up, but it still works. But the 3-wood, I wanted to find something I could draw a little bit better and this one is definitely that.”

Read more about Tiger Woods’ clubs from the Genesis Invitational

Rors Proto irons

McIlroy appears to be locked into his WITB setup for 2024, including new TaylorMade Qi10 metalwoods, a mixed set of TaylorMade P-760 and Rors Proto MB irons, MG4 wedges, a Spider Tour X putter, and a new TaylorMade TP5x golf ball.

By all accounts, his Rors Proto irons have to be some of the most famous irons in golf at the moment, and they’ve got the bag chatter to prove they’ve stood the test of time. It’s always a pleasure getting an up-close look at the Rors Protos.

Tommy 2 Drivers

Speaking to the gearheads, if Tommy Fleetwood wasn’t already on your list of top-5 favorite PGA Tour players, then maybe this will help you reconsider: Fleetwood is currently using a TaylorMade Qi10 LS driver (9 degrees), and a TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver (13.5 degrees), and both are equipped with Fujikura Ventus TR 6X shafts.

Tommy Fleetwood’s full 2024 WITB

New shafts spottedAt the 2024 Genesis Invitational, we spotted new Fujikura Ventus Blue shafts, as well as Aretara shafts, which is a new company started by Alex Dee, formerly of Fujikura. Click on the respective links to learn more about each new release.

A special putter for a special exemption

Chase Johnson, one of the recipients of a sponsors exemption at the Genesis Invitational, made the cut using an Odyssey Ai-One Jailbird Mini with white-red-white alignment lines and a knuckle neck construction, to go along with a Cobra Darkspeed Max driver.

Johnson is certifiably equipped with ultra forgiveness, and it helped him make the cut last week.

See Johnson’s full 2024 WITB here

The view for one of golf’s best putters

Denny McCarthy finished first in Strokes Gained: Putting in 2018-2019, first in 2019-2020, and second in 2021-2022, and he still uses this Scotty Cameron Tour-Only GoLo mallet putter currently. This photo shows what he looks down at while he’s making basically every putt he sees.

See McCarthy’s full 2024 WITB here

Are new Toulon putters on the way?

On Tuesday at the 2024 Genesis Invitational, we spotted a slew of new models from Toulon. The putter pictured above, called “Alcatraz,” bears a strong resemblance to Odyssey’s “Jailbird” putters, in both looks and nomenclature.

Is something bigger on the way from Toulon? We’ll keep an eye out for testers and switchers on the PGA Tour next week at the 2024 Cognizant Classic at PGA National.

And, with that, we say goodbye to the 2024 Genesis Invitational, and the 2024 West Coast Swing. We’ll see you next week on the other coast!

Browse all of our photos from the 2024 Genesis Invitational here

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