Topgolfgears Morning 9: Pro-am (and lack thereof) key for Woods, McIlroy | Golf’s winningest putter returns | Titleist TS

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September 7, 2018

Good Friday morning, golf fans. Remember: All that golf isn’t going to play itself this weekend.
1. Tiger! (and Rory, too!)
Returning to his Scotty Cameron Newport 2, Tiger Woods was firing on all cylinders during the first round at Aronimink. Ditto, Rory McIlroy.
  • AP Report…”Tiger Woods had his lowest round since his last victory more than five years ago, an 8-under 62 with birdie chances on all but two greens and only one bad swing all day. All it got him at the BMW Championship was a tie for the lead Thursday with Rory McIlroy.”
  • “It was one of those days where it was out there,” McIlroy said.
  • Woods “had failed to break par in the opening round at 10 of his last 11 tournaments. This was a big exception.”
  • “Woods returned to the same putter he has used to win 13 of his 14 majors — his third different putter in as many weeks — and saw some familiar results. He opened with a 20-foot birdie putt at No. 10, shot 29 on the back nine, and then rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 1 to reach 7 under through 10 holes.”
2. A tale of two pro-ams
Here’s a (potentially) interesting note: Rory McIlroy was lights out in the BMW Championship pro-am. He shot 62 in the opening round. Tiger Woods skipped the BMW Championship pro-am (the first time in his career he’s skipped one). He shot 62 as well.
  • “Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Rory McIlroy joked that his pro-am scoring average is probably 75.7 – “I just don’t try,” he shrugged – but Wednesday’s spin around Aronimink certainly caught his attention.”
  • “On his second nine (the front side), he made seven birdies in a row and then added a birdie on the ninth hole for a 27. In Thursday’s opening round, when his score actually counted, he played his first 14 holes in 9 under par.”
  • “So, including the pro-am, he played a 23-hole stretch in 17 under…”That’s pretty good,” he said.”
3. The return of Excalibur
As you saw during the first round of the BMW Championship, Tiger Woods and his beloved flatstick have ended their separation and are once again an item. The putter, which Woods has used for 13 of his 14 major championship victories, had been on the shelf since the Quicken Loans National in June.
  • We after spotting Woods practicing with both his famed Newport 2 and a TaylorMade Juno. Woods arrived at Aronomink without the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 he’s been using for five events prior to last week’s Dell Technologies Championship.
  • Woods used the Juno at TPC Boston to less than satisfying results: Woods was 36th in the field in strokes gained putting and was particularly poor during the final round when he needed 33 putts and lost 1.352 strokes to the field on the greens.
  • After the round, Woods said: “It felt good. My body remembered the feel of that putter and how it swings. I was just letting it rip on the greens.”
  • Our Gianni Magliocco wrote…”Having come into this week battling issues with the flat-stick over his previous two events, Woods will have been delighted with his performance today with his Scotty Cameron Newport 2. Woods gained over two strokes on the field on the bentgrass greens, taking just one round to validate his decision to return to the putter that won him 13 of his 14 major championships.”
4. X trying to make travel plans
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta...”The reigning Rookie of the Year and would-be defending champ at East Lake opened with a 7-under 63 Thursday at the BMW Championship, leaving him one off the pace set by co-leaders Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.”
  • “Schauffele entered this week 41st in FedExCup points, with the top 30 advancing in two weeks to the Tour Championship. Following the PGA Championship, he missed out on automatic qualifying for the U.S. Ryder Cup team when he finished 12th on that points list. And he admitted Thursday that the pressure of trying to qualify for the team has hampered his play following his runner-up finish at The Open.”
  • “Tony Finau is the consensus front-runner to nab the 12th and final spot on the team, but captain Jim Furyk was clear Tuesday night that a few guys remain in the mix.”
  • “I feel like I need a win,” Schauffele said Thursday. “Might not be enough. Tony is an ATM or top-10 machine, you know. He’s been killing it and playing great golf. I feel like if I were Jim right now, I would pick him, to be completely honest. I could win and he could finish in second or third and, you know, I’d be happy with my win and wouldn’t be disappointed with the year.”
Tony is an ATM!
5. Meanwhile, in Europe…
A round one update from the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre.
  •…”Maximilian Kieffer fired his lowest opening round for five years to take the lead after day one of the Omega European Masters.”
  • “The German birdied three of his last five holes at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club on the way to a 64 that left him at six under, a shot clear of Frenchman Julien Guerrier, Dane Søren Kjeldsen, England’s Andy Sullivan and Japanese Hideto Tanihara.”
  • “Scot David Drysdale, Spaniard Nacho Elvira and South African pair Erik van Rooyen and Justin Walters were then two shots off the lead.”
A glance at the leaderboard: With Kieffer yet to tee off in round two, Tanihara has moved into the lead at 9 under.
6. Casey the leader?
Paul Casey, never at the forefront of European golf, not thought of as a particularly commanding presence, and not often on Ryder Cup squads, is prepared to step up in Paris.
  • Writes Alistair Tait…”Casey makes his return to the competition following a 10-year absence after being handed a wild-card pick from European captain Thomas Bjorn. The 41-year-old Casey is ready to chaperone the five rookies around Le Golf National in Paris to help Europe win back the Ryder Cup. He already has some experience of that from helping Bjorn’s European team win the EurAsia Cup in January.”
  • “Having tasted that experience in Malaysia with Thomas at the helm has given me a sense of the role I can play on and off the golf course,” Casey said. “To play sort of the role that I did in the EurAsia Cup along with Henrik (Stenson), a senior role, is one I’ve obviously never done before. It was great to sample it and get some exposure to it and kind of test myself in that role. I’m relishing that opportunity.”
  • “It’s very satisfying, actually, because I didn’t have that ability in the past. One, I wasn’t old enough and experienced enough. Two, I didn’t need to play that role because we had such great leaders in the team room for the teams I played.”
7. TS launch
In case you missed it, Titleist officially launched the TS drivers and fairway woods yesterday. The artillery as been a minor sensation on Tour, with the majority of staffers having already made the switch-if you recall, for Justin Thomas, TS stands for the s**t.
  • A few morsels from WRX’s pieces introducing the clubs…”To summarize, the TS2 and TS3 drivers have a 20 percent thinner titanium crown than the 917 drivers, allowing weight to be placed lower and deeper for lower CG (center of gravity) and higher MOI (moment of inertia, a measure of forgiveness). The faces also use variable thickness for faster ball speeds across the face, and this year, the faces have been made 6 grams lighter.”
  • “According to Titleist, the faces are so thin now that the scoring lines have to be lasered onto the faces instead of etched, as with previous generations. With the combination of weight savings from the face and crown, Titleist says these drivers have the lowest CG ever for a Titleist driver, and MOI is 12 percent higher than the 917 drivers.”
  • “Additionally, for more club head speed, Titleist says that enhanced aerodynamic shaping of the club heads that reduces drag by up to 20 percent.”
  • “The “Titleist Speed” fairway woods, each measuring 175cc, are made for faster ball speeds with higher launch, lower spin rates and increased MOI (moment of inertia, a measure of forgiveness), according to Titleist
  • “To achieve those results, Titleist designed the crowns of the new fairways to be 27 percent thinner than the previous 917 fairways, thus allowing engineers to move weight lower and deeper in the club heads. Also, a new variable thickness face helped to save weight from the face, and helps to deliver faster ball speeds across the face. With the weight savings from the crown and face, Titleist says MOI is up 11 percent compared to its 917 predecessors.”
  • “While Titleist took the Active Recoil Channel out of the driver, the company put a new Active Recoil Channel in the TS2 and TS3 fairways, made to launch the ball higher; Titleist says  since fairways need to hit the ball off the turf, and thus, lower on the face, the Active Recoil Channel remains a “crucial technology.” The new channel in the fairways is designed to be “higher” for more face flexibility to increase ball speeds.”
Full articles and .
8. A (tenuous) Burt Reynolds golf connection
Credit to Golfweek’s Bill Speros for unearthing this gem featuring the recently departed Burt Reynolds.
  • He writes…”ESPN used Burt Reynolds as the Almighty Himself in a spot promoting the-then Senior PGA Tour back in 2009. In this spot, “God” explains why he used his divine powers to create the every man, cigar-smoking pro golfer . This clip was part of a campaign promoting the Senior Tour as “Heaven on Earth.”
RIP, Mr. Reynolds.
9. Coach K and the Cuppers
The U.S. Ryder Cup squad went out for dinner Wednesday in Philadelphia. Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Kzrzyewski was photographed with 11 of 12 team members, Jim Furyk, and his vice captains. Presumably, Coach K had some words of wisdom for the team, reprising the motivational role he played ahead of the U.S. Cup win in 2016.
As a former Philly resident, I’m keen to know where they dined. Anyone heard anything?
GolfWRX Morning 9: Pro-am (and lack thereof) key for Woods, McIlroy | Golf’s winningest putter returns | Titleist TS

GolfWRX Morning 9: Pro-am (and lack thereof) key for Woods, McIlroy | Golf’s winningest putter returns | Titleist TS

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