Topgolfgears Morning 9: Bellerive’s greens will be a story | Tiger’s life-changing drive | JT’s game-changing driver

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August 7, 2018

Good Tuesday morning, golf fans.  
GolfWRX Morning 9: Bellerive’s greens will be a story | Tiger’s life-changing drive | JT’s game-changing driver
1. Bellerive’s greens will be a story
Oh, good. But really, it has to be tough to get it right in St. Louis in August, and the PGA is doing everything in its power.
  • According to Golfweek’s Forecaddie, “The Forecaddie has been hearing about the struggles with Bellerive’s greens for nearly two years and finally got a first-hand look Monday. In a nutshell, the 2018 PGA Championship course will feature slow and tender greens that by Sunday may resemble a war zone.”
  • “Adding to Bellerive’s issues: Recently resodded zoysiagrass collars transition briefly to dirt on most greens before plunging down huge and healthy short-grass areas. The various stages of struggling turf leads The Man Out Front to comfortably declare that Bellerive is no putters’ paradise. Scoring, however, should be excellent given the softness of greens, immaculate fairways and dense zoysiagrass short-grass surrounds conducive to spinning lob-wedge recoveries.”

 

2. The solo car trip that changed Tiger’s life
  • Tiger Woods, as most know, made the 1,000-mile drive home to Florida after the 2001 WGC event at Bellrive was cancelled due to the September 11 attacks. Famously, it was during this drive that Woods decided to reconfigure his foundation and develop learning centers.
  • Golf Digest’s Joel Beall filed an excellent look at this moment in time
  • “Tiger Woods wasn’t sleeping because no one could. The country had been sucker-punched, and it was dazed, disoriented. So instead of enjoying the comforts of a bed before a World Golf Championship at Bellerive Country Club, Woods found himself at a gas station in the dark of night on Sept. 12, 2001, hours away from St. Louis, civilization and cell phone service. He had set off for Isleworth, his home, welcoming the 1,000-mile drive-against the horrific reality that was setting in-as a distraction.”
  • “Only it wasn’t. The road, as it can often be, was cathartic. And Woods didn’t like what it revealed. “I just felt that if I was the one in one of those buildings or on one of the planes, what would be left behind?” Woods said about the experience, years later. “And I basically thought I hadn’t done anything. Yeah, I can hit a golf ball wherever it may be, but that’s entertainment. I hadn’t done anything impacting.”
3. Dialing in his driver was key to Justin Thomas’ dominant Firestone performance
It’s always interesting to see how players transition into new equipment; even more when they do so to massive success.
Titleist Tour Rep J.J. VanWezenbeeck had this to say about Justin Thomas’ move to the new TS3 driver.
  • “During a fitting in May prior to The PLAYERS, we found the TS3 9.5 gave him better ball speeds, with excellent launch to spin ratio, and preferred sound, feel, and look. He practiced with it over the next few weeks and put in at the US Open, the first week it was available for competition.  At the Open Championship, Justin had his shaft shortened an 1/8″ to help with centering the hit and maximizing control with the higher ball speeds seen with TS.”
  • Thomas said this  at Firestone about the process of getting dialed in…”I  switched to a new driver at the U.S. Open, the new Titleist TS3.  Yeah, I liked it right away. It was a little bit faster, which everybody likes.  For me, my struggles with the driver’s always been strike, hitting a toe ball because I like to cut the ball with the driver.  So when you’re setting up for a cut and you toe it and it goes left, that’s never good. So we’ve really been working hard trying to figure out why that is.”
  • “We got together with the (Titleist) guys at the French Open and we were talking and then again at the British. It doesn’t make any sense, but it worked, by making the shaft an eighth of an inch shorter.  And we obviously had to change the weight a little bit. It’s made a huge difference.”
According to Golf Digest’s E. Michael Johnson, “The numbers were so good Thomas even gave the driver its own code name, playing off the TS designation. Thomas referred to the driver as “The S**t,” which in golf slang is high praise, indeed.”

 

4. Speeder Evolution V spotting
On Monday at the 2018 PGA Championship,a new Fujikura Speeder 757 Evolution V shaft – the fifth generation Speeder Evolution.
  • But more than just photos, we also spotted a full spec sheet with a description of the shaft.
  • “All Evolution models incorporate a Multiaxial Reinforced Mid-Section, 90 Ton Carbon Fiber, Maximum Fiber Content, MCT, and Phantium finish. EVO V utilizes T1100G and Outer Bias Technology for superior feel and control. EVO IV will be the lowest launching and spinning, EVO 3 will launch slightly higher with similar spin, and EVO 5 will launch the highest with slightly increased spin.”
  • Does this mean the Evolution 5 is actually the replacement for the Evolution 2? It seems the wording of the spec sheet implies that, but we will have to see when Fujikura releases its press materials regarding the new shaft.
5. Is Tiger running out of gas?
Rex Hoggard begs the question: “Just how much gas does Woods have left in the tank?”
  • “At the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, at one of his personal playgrounds, at a tournament he desperately wanted to win, Woods looked lethargic. In many ways, that’s understandable. He’s nearing the end of a long season. He played poorly Saturday and plummeted down the leaderboard, dashing any hopes of title No. 9. And he’s 42, with a brittle body that last year underwent a Hail Mary back fusion to prolong his career.”
“Statistics backed up the fatigue factor, as his measured swing speed continues to decrease:
* 122.6 mph (Quail Hollow)
* 119.4 mph (Players)
* 118.5 mph (Memorial)
* 118.0 mph (Quicken Loans)
* Sunday at Firestone, he clocked in at 117.7 mph
6. Smylie on social
Smylie Kaufman, once one of the most active and revealing pros on social media, has had enough amidst a terrible season.
  • “Social media doesn’t help,” Kaufman told Golf Digest. “That place sucks. It was so great for me for so long, but it was never anything good the last six months. When I go to Twitter, it’s like reading the newspaper for me. Well, I don’t wanna see Tom or Joe telling me how bad I suck when I read the newspaper.”
7. ZJ x 2
Here’s an interesting (or perhaps not) bit of trivia ahead of the PGA Championship: there will be two Zach Johnsons in the field…creating the opportunity for you to wager on the low Zach Johnson (probably not).
  • AP report…”The other? Well, he’s not quite a household name. He’s Zach Johnson of Farmington, Utah, who works as the assistant pro at Davis Park Golf Course in the suburbs of Salt Lake City. He’s one of 20 club pros who qualified into the 156-man field, and will be, for at least two days, on the same playing field with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and, yes, Zach Johnson.”
  • “Tournament organizers called the club pro recently and asked him if it was OK for him to go by ”Zach J. Johnson” for the week to eliminate confusion. “I don’t think they called and asked him first,” Zach J. said of his namesake. ”It was more like: ‘Here’s what you’re going by. Hopefully you’ll like it.”’
8. The cricketer and the golf mishap
England bowler James Anderson saw his shot cannon into a tree root and hits him in the face. Indeed, he saw it up close.
Glad he’s OK.

 

9. Who wears (short) shorts?
Blasphemous as the site of male professional golfers’ legs may be to some, they were on full display at Bellerive, as the PGA permits shorts in practice rounds.
  • Here’s a shorts-wearing Jordan Spieth, below. A quick glance at the shots of the players who elected to bare their lower legs revealed what it always does: longer, looser shorts look sloppier on the golf course (for fit/average body types) than something along the lines of what Mr. Spieth donned.
GolfWRX Morning 9: Bellerive’s greens will be a story | Tiger’s life-changing drive | JT’s game-changing driver

GolfWRX Morning 9: Bellerive’s greens will be a story | Tiger’s life-changing drive | JT’s game-changing driver

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