Category Archives: Golf

Tiger Woods Inks Equipment Deal with TaylorMade Golf

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Nike Golf made one of the biggest headlines in 2016 when they announced that they would no longer make golf clubs and balls, therefore making two of the game’s biggest stars free agents.

After Rory Mcilroy announced last week he was going to play Callaway woods and irons at the start of 2017, Tiger Woods has also changed equipment, signing a deal with TaylorMade Golf.

Woods has not purchased a majority stake in the company, as was initially reported. Woods has instead inked a deal to play TaylorMade woods, irons, and wedges.

Woods will make his 2017 PGA Tour debut in the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday alongside Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. Pretty good for TaylorMade to have their top three athletes playing together.

The equipment contract is not for the full bag. Woods will continue using the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter that won 13 majors and Bridgestone B330S golf ball. His bag will feature Monster Energy logos while his apparel will remain branded with Nike and his TW brand.

While Woods has a 13 club contract, he will not use TaylorMade irons and wedges this week.

“For irons and wedges, I’m going to work closely with the team at TaylorMade,” Tiger said in an email distributed by TaylorMade. “For my irons, we will be developing a new custom set. Over the coming months, we will take you along the development journey, from the initial design concepts all the way through the process until they make it into my bag. Finally, the new MG Wedge is absolutely beautiful, and we’re working to dial in the exact grind for me. There’s no doubt it’s fun to have some new weapons, and the confidence I have in my new TaylorMade equipment makes me excited for the season.” (quote taken from Golfwrx.com)

Full specs on Tiger’s new woods (also from golfwrx.com):

Driver: TaylorMade 2016 M2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 70TX
Specs: 44.5 inches, D4 swing weight

3 Wood: TaylorMade 2017 M2 Tour (13 degrees)

Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 90TX
Specs: 42.5 inches, D4 swing weight

5 Wood: TaylorMade 2017 M1 Tour (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 90TX
Specs: 41.5 inches, D4 swing weight

What I Saw: Tiger’s Return

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf on Thursday in his first round since finishing T10 in the 2015 Wyndham Championship and in what was by far the most publicized December round in the history of professional golf.

It was a perfect venue for his return, a wide open course at an event where he is the host. The crowds are also significantly smaller than typical Tiger crowds due to the event’s location in the Bahamas. Woods hit the ball better than I expected, distance control on his irons was very solid, and he hit some great shots. However his score was about what you’d expect for his first competitive round in 15 months, a one-over par 73.

While the score leaves Woods in 17th place out of 18 players (one ahead of Justin Rose who shot 74), there were a lot of positives to take from the round. The main question coming into the day centered around Woods’ touch around the greens. While Woods’ highly publicized chipping struggles don’t seem to be gone completely, he hit some excellent pitch shots on Thursday.

However Woods also struggled around the greens, he hit a pitch shot well past the hole on the 16th, leading to a double bogey.

Another thing we were all wondering coming in was how would Woods fare with the driver. Woods surprised me by hitting almost exclusively draws on Thursday. I can’t remember the last time I saw Woods’ path so far in to out on the downswing. It looked to me like he was having trouble controlling the club face, he was closing the club face too much, causing him to pull the ball to the left.

Before the long layoff, I had grown accustomed to seeing Woods aim very far to the right and hit a big cut in order to keep the ball in play. It looked as if Woods switched to more of a draw shape in an effort to gain more distance.

Woods missed the fairway to the left on numerous occasions on Thursday, including on the 18th hole where he found the water, which led to yet another double bogey.

Many of us including myself were wondering what Tiger would say about a round that had a lot of positives, but was a mixed bag in many ways.

“I hit the ball in three bushes and a water ball today. It could’ve been something really good today. I made some mistakes, I didn’t play the par 5s well in the middle of the round and got it going the wrong way,” Woods told Golf Channel’s Damon Hack after the round.

“All in all I feel pretty good and I’m looking forward to three more days,” Woods said.

We are too Tiger, we are too. Tiger will be back at it tomorrow at 11:12 AM alongside Justin Rose, we’ll all be watching.

Mcilroy Switches to TaylorMade Woods at HSBC Champions

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Photos from PGA Tour equipment insider Jonathan Wall confirm that Rory Mcilroy is beginning to change out of his Nike clubs after Nike chose to discontinue its golf equipment lines.

The world number 3 was spotted with a TaylorMade M2 driver, 3 wood, and 5 wood at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai this week.

Mcilroy’s driver is an M2 head at 9.5 degrees of loft (set to lower) with a Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver 70XTS prototype shaft.

Mcilroy was previously gaming a Nike Vapor Fly Pro with a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ 70 X-flex shaft at 45.5 inches. However multiple skeptics suggest he was using the Kuro Kage shaft all along, and that Nike had painted the shaft to look like its stock offering for consumers.

Mcilroy had gamed the Kuro Kage shaft previously when he used Nike’s VRS Covert line of drivers and many suggest he simply never switched shafts.

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Mcilroy has also put in play two M2 fairway woods at 15 and 18 degrees. The shafts are MRC’s Kuro Kage Silver 90XTS prototypes. McIlroy had previously used Fujikura’s Rombax Pro 95X shaft in his 15-degree Nike Vapor Speed fairway wood.

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The rest of Mcilroy’s clubs remain the same, he is sticking with the same Nike Vr Pro blades, Nike Engage Wedges, and Scotty Cameron M1 Protoptype that he used to win the 2016 FedEx Cup. However, Mcilroy is debuting a sweet new pair of Nike Golf shoes this week.

Weekend Roundup: Cubs Make World Series, Wild College Football Saturday, Patriots Earn Tough Road Win, Thomas Defends in Malaysia

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

What a wild weekend of sports, instead of writing multiple pieces let’s just combine it all into one.

Cubs Make First World Series Appearance Since 1945

Well Chicago, it finally might be your year. The Cubs have a stacked roster, a manager willing to do whatever it takes to win, and possible destiny on their side.

The only team standing between the Cubs and their first title in 108 years is the Cleveland Indians. Cleveland comes into the series as the underdogs for the third series in a row, but that hasn’t stopped them so far and it won’t stop them now. They’ve gotten hot at the right time, have an otherworldly bullpen, one of the best managers in the game, and LeBron James on their side. Don’t count the Indians out, they definitely have a chance.

For the third series in a row, I’m going to pick against the Cleveland Indians, we’ll see how this goes. Cubs in 6.

Auburn Crushes Arkansas, Puts SEC and the Nation on Notice

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I told everyone to bet the house on Auburn this week, playing at home against an Arkansas team that everyone knew was mediocre.

This game was over even before the opening kickoff. The Razorbacks decided to hold their pregame pump-up huddle on the AU logo at midfield, and everyone knows you don’t step on the logo.

I thought Auburn would beat Arkansas, but I didn’t think they would win by 53 points. The Tigers racked up an SEC record 543 rushing yards on Saturday. Both the offense and defense are firing on all cylinders, as Auburn has made its way into the top 15 in the polls.

Alabama better start worrying, the Iron Bowl should be one hell of a game. WDE.

Alabama Wins Another Statement Game

Unfortunately, there’s no questioning who the best team in the country is right now, its the Alabama Crimson Tide.

The Tide faced a top ten ranked SEC opponent for the second straight week, and both weeks came away with statement victories.

After going on the road and laying a shellacking on the Tennessee Vols last week in Knoxville, the Tide returned home to face the Texas A&M Aggies.

The Aggies were in it for three quarters, but Bama dominated the fourth quarter to pull away.

Don’t look now, but the Tide found themselves a QB, Jalen Hurts is looking pretty damn good so far.

Penn State Upsets Ohio State, Causes Potential CFP Chaos

I don’t care how good you are, going into Happy Valley and beating the Penn State Nittany Lions is always a difficult task, and Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes found this out first hand Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions played an excellent game top to bottom, returned a fourth quarter blocked field goal for a touchdown that was the difference in the game, and held on at the end.

The season certainly isn’t over for the Buckeyes, but things just got a lot more interesting, this loss definitely makes the Michigan game now a must win.

Thomas Defends CIMB Classic Title

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Well I picked Justin Thomas to win the CIMB Classic for the second straight year after he took the 36 hole lead.

After shooting a mediocre 71 on Saturday to fall three shots behind, Thomas came out firing on all cylinders Sunday.

Motivated by his Alabama Crimson Tide after waking up at 4 AM Malaysia time to watch the Tide beat the Aggies, Thomas fired an 8 under par 64 to secure his second PGA Tour title.

The victory makes Thomas the first player since Matt Every at the 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational to defend a title on TOUR, and vaults him to a career high in the OWGR at 21.

Patriots Find a Way to Win

Despite the Steelers being decimated with injuries, going into Heinz Field and winning is always a tough task for opposing teams.

The Patriots relied heavily on their run game to help them earn a road victory, and LeGarrette Blount more than did the job, turning in a career day to lead his team to a much needed road win.

It certainly wasn’t pretty, but for the second straight week the Patriots struggled, and still found a way to not just win, but win by double digits.

Watch out NFL, because this team isn’t playing anywhere close to their best, and they’re still dominating.

It’s on to Buffalo, who no matter how good we think they are, somehow find a way to be mediocre. It looked like the Bills could contend for a playoff spot this year, then they somehow found a way to give up over 200 yards to Jay Ajayi and lose to the lowly Miami Dolphins. Do they still think Rex Ryan can lead them?

The Patriots should bring in a new kicker for a workout this week, show Gostkowski he’s replaceable. He’s not doing his job well enough.

Bills Mafia better watch out this week, TB12 is coming out for revenge.

 

Thomas Leads, Huge Snake Invades Green at CIMB Classic

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

The PGA Tour began its fall Asian swing this week with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. The idea of these events is to grow the game in golf’s fastest growing market, and apparently to screw up player travel and mess up everyone’s golf-clock as much as possible.

The rounds are being played a day behind due to the time change (third round being played on Friday night in the US) and its driving me insane. Anyway… On to the actual golf.

Justin Thomas comes in as the defending champion, and through two rounds looks poised to do something no one in the 2015-16 season was able to do, defend a title on the PGA Tour.

The University of Alabama grad jumped out to a two shot lead through two rounds with rounds of 64 and 66 respectively on Thursday and Friday. India’s Anirban Lahiri is in second after two straight 66s while Russell Knox moved up to third place after a Friday 63.

Many Asian golf fans have been eager to watch the best in the world duke it out in their home country, perhaps none more so than this Python.

WordPress wouldn’t let me put the photo directly on the blog, so here’s a link. 

There should be some riveting golf this weekend, and most of it will happen while we’re sleeping. But here’s hoping JT can net himself another victory. He had the longest drive on Tour last year and certainly has the talent to get it done. Plus, maybe if he wins more we’ll get more awesome Spring Break photos like these.

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I can’t believe I’m rooting for an Alabama guy to win, but I am. Bring it home JT!

 

 

Steele Steals Safeway Open

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

While a vulnerable golfer named Tiger Woods bailed on the event at the last minute, there was certainly plenty of talent gathered in Napa, California for the season-opening Safeway Open.

And while all of America was watching football, there was an excellent battle down the stretch between Patton Kizzire and Brendan Steele to keep us golf fans entertained.

Kizzire lit the Web.com Tour on fire two years ago, bagging multiple wins and finishing first on the money list to earn a promotion to the PGA Tour. After a rookie year in which he played well enough to make the Deutsche Bank Championship and keep his card, it appeared Kizzire was ready to make his move on the game’s biggest stage.

Playing with a new hat after giving his to me at the Deutsche Bank, the Auburn alum lit it up at Silverado, making 19 birdies thru 54 holes. The way Patton was playing, it appeared as if his first win would come on Sunday.

However there were two things we didn’t account for, a guy named Brendan Steele, and the realization of just how difficult it is to win for the first time on Tour.

Steele made all the birdies Kizzire needed on Sunday, including birdies on 16, 17, and 18 en route to a Sunday 65 and the victory. When Kizzire’s chip shot at the 72nd hole didn’t fall, Steele had bagged his second PGA Tour win, and his first since the 2011 Valero Texas Open.

While Steele definitely went out and won this golf tournament, Kizzire could’ve put him away on the back nine. While Steele was birdieing the easy holes on the back side, Kizzire was struggling to make par. This kept him from playing the aggressive golf he needed to play in order to win.

Even though he didn’t get it done this time around, there is plenty to learn from and we can all see that Kizzire has plenty of upside, there is no question he has what it takes to win on the PGA Tour. WDE!!!

As for Brendan Steele, good for him for finally getting it done on Sunday, the guy deserved this win.

Tiger Woods Withdraws from Safeway Open

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Well as if mondays weren’t hard enough, the golf world was greeted with some tough news this morning. Tiger Wood’s return to the PGA Tour would have to wait, as a few days of practice in California determined that he wasn’t quite ready to return to golf’s biggest stage.

The news was first reported by Tim Rosaforte and later confirmed by Wood’s close friend and Golf Channel commentator Notah Begay III.

Begay said that he had spoken to Woods by phone this morning and they talked about why he was withdrawing. What was surprising to most is that Wood’s reason for withdrawing was reported as “performance based” as opposed to injury based. It was quickly determined that Woods indeed is healthy enough to tee it up, and that he is forgoing the opportunity because he believes his game simply isn’t ready.

Some are viewing this as a smart move, as Tiger himself has said that he has rushed back from injuries in the past and that has hurt his career. This step makes it appear at least that he definitely won’t make that mistake again.

However others are viewing this as nothing more than an ego trip for TW, suggesting he thinks that since he knows he won’t be as dominant he is choosing not to play.

Another thing that was alarming about this report was that Wood’s struggles with his game and the reason he isn’t playing this week is related to his short game. This is a worrisome sign after the terrible chip yips Woods showed last season.

Whatever your opinion, there is no question he is good for the game of golf and that as a sport we need him. As of right now, the plan is for Woods to return at his Hero World Challenge event in December. Here’s hoping the Big Cat returns soon.

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