Monday, September 15, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Billy Horschel at 2014 Tour Championship - Great Golf Blog

ATLANTA — Brandishing what constitutes a rebellious side in golf, Billy Horschel often turns his cap backward upon holing out at No. 18. He has pondered playing an entire round with that slacker look, even after being advised that the PGA Tour might assess a fine.

Horschel could afford any such levy many times over after hauling away $11.44 million Sunday as the winner of the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup points bonus. He fended off Rory McIlroy early and Jim Furyk late to wind up at 11 under par, with three shots to spare, at East Lake Golf Club.

The season’s climactic round seemed to have been condensed to Horschel versus McIlroy, the presumptive player of the year.

But McIlroy recovered too late after his drive on the par-3 No. 6 was sucked up by the bordering lake for an eventual double bogey. He was the last of 18 golfers — on 15 percent of tee shots over the four days — who were subjected to water torture on what is billed as the nation’s original island hole, though it more resembles a peninsula.

Two of Chris Kirk’s drives were submerged; otherwise, he might have bettered his tie for fourth.

McIlroy retreated further with three straight bogeys, then birdied Nos. 15 through 17 to catch Furyk as runners-up.

“I am tired,” McIlroy said, echoing a theme heard repeatedly at East Lake. “It’s been a long four weeks. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have taken a week off somewhere in this stretch of tournaments.”

Furyk, 44, extended a pattern set after taking the 2010 Tour Championship: dancing around the winner’s circle without penetrating it. Bidding to become the Cup’s oldest titleholder, he completed another outstanding but empty year: no wins among 11 top-10 finishes in 21 events, with four second-place finishes.

He described Sunday’s as less frustrating than the previous three. “Billy was out ahead,” Furyk said, although he had trailed by just one stroke for a while before closing with two bogeys. “I was trying to chase him down all day.”

Horschel elected to doff his hat Sunday and wave it to a gallery that was appreciative, at least until Horschel, a former Florida player, performed an arm-waving Gator chomp in the heart of Georgia Bulldogs country.

Even with a stiff fine for reversing the cap, which he guessed might be considered conduct unbecoming a professional golfer, Horschel would have considerable savings left over for his expanding family. His wife, Brittany, is due to deliver their first child, a daughter, in two weeks. There was no indication from their home in north Florida that the mother-to-be’s celebration hastened that event.

The fashion gesture, he said, showed youngsters that golf could be fun without showing disrespect for the sport.

Another motivation was showing his face to viewers who might be unfamiliar with him, as he made his first splash on the tour last year.

Now, after a sensational finishing stretch of two victories and a tie for second at the last three tour stops, more facial recognition is assured.

“The year I had, I wasn’t sure this was going to happen, but I kept believing,” Horschel said. Without begging pardon for the pun, he added, “To cap it off like this has been pretty unbelievable.”

What's In Billy's' Bag?

Driver: Ping G30 (9 set to 10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue 60X (tipped 1 inch)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing Weight: D4

3 Wood: Ping G25 (15 at 13.9 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Black 75-05 (tipped 1 inch)
Swing Weight: D2

5 Wood: Ping G25 (18 at 17.6 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Black 75-05 (Tipped 1.5 Inches)
Swing Weight: D2

Irons: Ping S55 (3, 5-PW)
Color Code: Black [(3, 5 irons) standard] and Red [(6-PW) 0.75 degrees flat]
Shafts: Ping Z-Z65 / Cushin
Swing Weight: D1
Length: +1/4 Inch

Wedges: Ping Gorge (50, 56, and 60 Degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue
50 (Bent to 52) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie, and D3 Swing Weight
56 SS (Bent to 57) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie and D4 Swing Weight
60 SS (Bent to 61) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie and D4 Swing Weight

Putter: Ping TR B60
Length: 34 inches
Lie: 70 Degrees
Loft: 3.5 Degrees
Grip: SuperStroke Flatso Ultra
Swing weight: D5

Grips: Golf Pride V55 (Full Cord, Rib)
Diameter: .58 (+3 Wraps Right Hand and +2 Wraps Left Hand)

 Titleist ProV1x + (2013)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Billy Horschel at The BMW Championship - Great Golf Blog

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. — Ponte Vedra Beach, you have a problem. The FedEx Cup playoffs, instituted by the PGA Tour to deliver a fabulous finish to the season, has become a dusty stagecoach ride to exhaustion.

It’s clear the PGA Tour’s yellow-brick road is in dire need of repairs when the reigning Tour Championship winner, Henrik Stenson, does not qualify to defend his title and expresses relief. Stenson, who posted a wire-to-wire victory over Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker at last year’s event to pocket $11.44 million, tied for 23rd Sunday at the BMW Championship, won by Billy Horschel, to finish 52nd in the standings.

The top 30, minus Dustin Johnson, who is on a voluntarily leave of absence to deal with personal issues, will compete to be the top dog this week at East Lake Golf Course in Atlanta. That group includes Morgan Hoffmann, who carded the low round of the day at Cherry Hills Country Club, a seven-under-par 63, to jump to 21st, from 68th, in the points standings.

Stenson finished 11 strokes behind Horschel, who closed with a 69 for a 72-hole total of 14-under 266, two strokes better than Bubba Watson, and then described his situation as “win-win.” He explained: “East Lake is a really great golf course, and I would really like to come back and defend and to play it again. But I finally get a bit of a break.”
To the fans who come to the playoff events expecting the greatest show on grass, Stenson offered his heartfelt apologies. “I think it’s hard for the crowds sometimes to understand what we go through with the schedule,” he said. “Again, if you want to perform at the very highest level, at your peak, you’ve got to get the rest and practice in. You can’t play every week.”

The Australian Geoff Ogilvy, who was 151st in the FedEx Cup standings on July 27, parlayed a miler’s closing kick into a spot in the Tour Championship. After tying for 36th at one over on Sunday to finish 25th in the points race, Ogilvy said, “To be honest with you, I’m not a 100 percent excited about playing golf next week, but I’m really excited about what making the Tour Championship does for you.”

The players blessed/cursed to be continuing on to East Lake earn exemptions into the first three majors of 2015. “I’ll be happy when I’m not so tired,” said Ogilvy, who has played six of the last seven weeks.

The unintended consequence of a bottom-heavy schedule, in which two majors, a World Golf Championships event and four playoff events are crammed into the season’s final nine weeks, is that it is going to hurt the top. Don’t be surprised if players disappear between October — when the season starts anew — and the Florida swing in March.
“You’re going to start seeing some of the best players rarely between next week and March,” Ogilvy said.

He added: “No one wants to feel sorry for us, because this is an amazing thing we get to do. But if they want us to play our best in six or seven or eight of the biggest tournaments of the year in a 10-week stretch, it’s just too much.”

Ernie Els closed with a 67 to finish tied for 16th at five-under. Els, 44, missed qualifying for the Tour Championship by 11 places, but he could not summon the energy to be disappointed. This was his ninth consecutive tournament, dating to the Scottish Open.
Looking ahead, Els said, “We need a break somewhere because next year is the Presidents Cup in Korea, the majors, the Olympics are coming up ...”

His voice trailed off. Just talking about the schedule exhausted him. “If someone comes up with a good plan, hopefully they’ll listen,” he said.

At 25, Rory McIlroy, the world No. 1, is nearly half Els’ age and he considered taking this week off to steal some rest. Though he showed up, his concentration went missing. The cumulative fatigue McIlroy experienced from contending in nearly every tournament he has played since the start of July caused him to make mental mistakes that cost him dearly.
McIlroy four-putted the par-3 No. 12 on Saturday and again on Sunday when he closed with a 66 to finish tied for eighth at four under. “On the third putt, I’m actually thinking, O.K., you don’t want to 4-putt again,” McIlroy said.

He could laugh about it because he is fourth in the points race, which means he can win the FedEx Cup, and the $10 million bonus, outright with a victory this week.
McIlroy was checking his watch repeatedly as he finished his press-related obligations. The Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had given him tickets to the team’s season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, and McIlroy was anxious to make it in time for the opening kickoff.

The PGA Tour has a problem when its No. 1-ranked player sees fit to praise the N.F.L. for the sanity and sensibility of its schedule.
“I think the great thing about football is how short the season is,” McIlroy said Thursday. “So it’s always in demand. People want it. Once the Super Bowl finishes, they can’t wait for football season to start up again.”

If Horschel looked fresher than most, it could be because this was his fifth tournament since he missed the cut at the British Open in mid-July. On the PGA Tour nowadays, that kind of schedule practically qualifies as bankers’ hours.

“Hopefully this win will give me some more confidence and shoot me up there into an upper echelon player,” Horschel said. “I want to be where the Rory McIlroys are, the Tigers are, the Phil Mickelsons, the Bubba Watsons, the guys that are winning majors.”
Perhaps Horschel should be careful what he wishes for, because where the top players were on Sunday was beyond exhaustion.

What's In Billy's' Bag?

Driver: Ping G30 (9 set to 10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue 60X (tipped 1 inch)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing Weight: D4

3 Wood: Ping G25 (15 at 13.9 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Black 75-05 (tipped 1 inch)
Swing Weight: D2

5 Wood: Ping G25 (18 at 17.6 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Kiyoshi Black 75-05 (Tipped 1.5 Inches)
Swing Weight: D2

Irons: Ping S55 (3, 5-PW)
Color Code: Black [(3, 5 irons) standard] and Red [(6-PW) 0.75 degrees flat]
Shafts: Ping Z-Z65 / Cushin
Swing Weight: D1
Length: +1/4 Inch

Wedges: Ping Gorge (50, 56, and 60 Degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue
50 (Bent to 52) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie, and D3 Swing Weight
56 SS (Bent to 57) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie and D4 Swing Weight
60 SS (Bent to 61) Degrees Loft, Standard Lie and D4 Swing Weight

Putter: Ping TR B60
Length: 34 inches
Lie: 70 Degrees
Loft: 3.5 Degrees
Grip: SuperStroke Flatso Ultra
Swing weight: D5

Grips: Golf Pride V55 (Full Cord, Rib)
Diameter: .58 (+3 Wraps Right Hand and +2 Wraps Left Hand)

Titleist ProV1x + (2013)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Chris Kirk at The Deutsche Bank Championship - Great Golf Blog

NORTON — Fed up with his game and the way he was playing — not only at TPC Boston, but for the past month — Chris Kirk reached his tipping point on Friday, after opening the Deutsche Bank Championship with a sloppy 73.

Instead of doing what would be expected of a PGA Tour player struggling with his swing, Kirk shunned a trip to the range and did the unexpected. He headed to the Kids Zone at TPC Boston on Friday afternoon with his 2-year-old son and played a little putt-putt.

Three days later, it was hard to say what role, if any, that youthful detour played in Kirk’s unlikely tournament turnaround, which ended with him raising the Deutsche Bank Championship trophy Monday. But this much we know: Kirk putted lights-out the final three rounds, when there wasn’t a windmill or clown’s mouth to be found.

The less-heralded player in the next-to-last twosome by a mile — he was paired with Rory McIlroy for the second straight day — Kirk took it to the top-ranked player in the world, and everybody else. He played his last 37 holes without a bogey, and grabbed his third career win on the PGA Tour. It paid him $1.4 million from an $8 million purse, vaulted him from 17th to first in the FedEx Cup points race, and just might land Kirk on the US Ryder Cup team. Two wins this season is bound to get the attention of Tom Watson, the US captain who announces his three selections Tuesday.

“I’m still just in such shock that I actually won this tournament,” said Kirk, a 29-year-old from Atlanta. “This is definitely the biggest win of my career against the strongest field under the biggest spotlight. So I’m very proud of that and I’m very excited that I was able to accomplish this.”

It wasn’t easy, and came down to one of the last full swings of the tournament, made by someone else. Kirk did his part, shooting a bogey-free 66 Monday, which gave him a 66-64-66 bounceback after his first round, which now becomes the highest opening round by a winner in DBC history.

But a missed birdie putt at the 18th hole left Kirk at 15 under par, opening the door for Billy Horschel, who stood in the middle of the 18th fairway, trailing the leader by one shot. Holding a 6-iron for his second shot to the closing par-5, Horschel was a birdie away from forcing a playoff. An eagle would have given him a one-shot win.

Instead, Horschel dumped his approach into the hazard fronting the green, and when his fourth shot settled long and right of the hole, Kirk was the champion.

He got there by playing flawless golf over two days with McIlroy (think Watson will take that into account when making his Ryder Cup captain’s selections?): Kirk made 24 pars and 12 birdies while paired with McIlroy the final two rounds. The struggles that recently had frustrated Kirk — he missed the cut at the PGA Championship, and sandwiched a T41 at the Bridgestone and T53 at Barclays around it — seemed to float away when McIlroy appeared.

Kirk was still in chase mode Monday. Starting the final round two shots behind Russell Henley (the two both played at the University of Georgia, but didn’t overlap), Kirk caught up with a birdie at No. 9, when he rolled in an 11-foot putt.

That turned out to be a sign of things to come. Almost every tournament includes a handful of clutch putts made by the winner. Kirk made three of note on the back nine: A 23-footer for birdie at No. 13 to put him in the lead, a 15-footer at the 15th to save par and maintain his one-shot lead, and a 13-footer for birdie at No. 16, which temporarily gave Kirk a two-shot lead.

“I think looking back on it my par save on 15 will probably be the biggest one,” Kirk said. “My birdie putt on 13 definitely kind of got me going, but to pour that one right in the middle [on 15] kept my momentum going, for sure.”

Horschel answered with a birdie at No. 15 to climb within one, but couldn’t pull off the shot when he needed it most. The closing bogey capped a 69, and left Horschel tied for second at 13 under, with Henley (70) and Geoff Ogilvy, who was trying to pull off the improbable. Ogilvy, who missed the cut at the Barclays, assumed he would fall out of the top 100 on the points list, which would have made him ineligible for the DBC. Instead, he was the last man in, then put together a 65-65 finish to almost walk away with the victory.

“I had a really good last 27 holes. I was packing my bags 27 holes ago, now I’m on my way to Denver [and the third playoff event, reserved for the top 70],” said Ogilvy, who played his last 27 holes bogey-free, and 12 under par. “I missed the cut last week and I thought I was completely gone. I didn’t even think I was going to get here. I got a start here, played great on the weekend, and now I’m good to go next week.”

So is Kirk, who is guaranteed to make it to the season-ending Tour Championship, played in his Atlanta hometown. He might be asked to play some more golf after that, if Watson ends up adding Kirk to the Ryder Cup team.

On Friday, with Kirk stewing over that 73, mentioning the Ryder Cup to him likely would have been met with a snicker or sneer. But neither Kirk, nor anyone else, knew what was coming.

“I told my caddie [on Friday], ‘This isn’t any fun. I don’t feel like going to hit balls. I’ll see you tomorrow,’” Kirk said. “Shows you how ridiculous this game is. To come out and play three rounds, 66-64-66, to win, is beyond belief.”

What's In Chris' Bag?

Driver: Callaway Big Bertha V-Series (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana D+ Series 62X

3 Wood: Callaway X2 Hot Pro (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana ‘ahina 80X

Hybrid: Ping Anser (17 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana D+ Series 92HY

Irons: Callaway RAZR X Muscleback (3-9 iron)
Shafts: KBS Tour (X-Flex)

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 (47-11S, 54-14S, 58-10S)

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1X 

Mizuno Sends Shockwaves Throughout The Industry With Their New 2015 Woods.

Move over TaylorMade and Callaway, there's a new golf club innovator in town. 

The new Mizuno JPX-850 fairway woods and hybrids utilize a new "Shock Wave" sole that is designed to contract and expand on impact and transfers energy back into the ball which will produce a longer and more consistent shot.

Mizuno's research showed that most golf shots off of fairway woods and hybrids are hit lower on the face so they designed these woods with the COR and center of gravity (CG) lower on the face for less twisting at impact which produces a more penetrating ball flight.

The accordion-like Shock Wave sole help create extra speed by rebounding energy into the ball caused by the contracting and expanding clubhead.   

In addition to the shock wave sole, Mizuno has added a "waffle" crown which has variable thickness throughout the crown to maintain power and rigidity while at the same time reduces weight so it could be placed lower in the Shock Wave sole. 

Mizuno JPX850 Fairway Wood

Mizuno say the JPX850 fairway is a classic looking fairway at address with a generous footprint to inspire confidence. The design creates a low penetrating flight and allows players a high level of workability.
The JPX850 fairways also feature Mizuno's Quick Switch adjustable hosel system giving four loft options for each of the 3, 5 and 7 wood heads in the range.
Mizuno JPX850 Hybrid

The JPX850 hybrid also features the Shock Wave sole and provides a profile at address that features the neutral lines favoured by Mizuno's Tour players but unlike the fairway wood the hosel on the hybrid is not adjustable.

Retail prices for the fairway woods are $249.99 and $199.99 for the hybrids and they are scheduled for release in early November.  

This is by far the most exciting product that Mizuno has come out with in years and it's nice to see them come out with new, innovative products that should shake up the industry.  Do yourself a favor and check these out while you consider your 2015 bag makeup. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Hunter Mahan at The 2014 Barclays - Great Golf Blog

Hunter Mahan displayed a lot more skill at winning the tournament than he did at handling the trophy!

After winning The Barclays golf tournament by two strokes, Hunter Mahan posed for several photos with officials, volunteers, his wife and daughter and many others. Before leaving the 18th green for the victorious press conference, he posed for one last photo with David Finn of Ramsey.

As he knelt next to the 21-year-old Finn, who has muscular dystrophy, Mahan set the trophy down hard on the ground and broke it in two pieces. As Finn laughed, Mahan said sheepishly, "David did it!"

A few minutes earlier, Mahan's one-year-old daughter Zoe nearly pushed over the trophy after it was presented to her father.

In the media tent, when he was asked what happened to the trophy, Mahan smirked.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said.

What's In Hunter's Bag?

Driver: Ping G25 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue 70X
Length: 45.25 inches (tipped 1 inch)
Swing Weight: D4

3 Wood: Titleist 913 F.d (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder 757 X

Hybrid: Ping i25 (17 degrees with 18 degrees of actual loft)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana White Board 90X
Length: 40.75 inches
Swing Weight: D3

Irons: Ping S55 (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue
Swing Weight: D2

Wedges: Ping i25 (54 and 59 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100
Swing Weight: D4 (54), D5 (60)

Putter: Ping Scottsdale TR Anser 2
Length: 34 inches (2-degrees flat)
Loft: 3 degrees

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Camillo Villegas at The 2014 Wyndham Championship - Great Golf Blog

Greensboro North Carolina:  Camilo Villegas won the Wyndham Championship by a single stoke on Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory since 2010.

Villegas shot a 7-under 63 and finished at 17-under 263. He earned $954,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points in the final regular-season event.

The Colombian had four birdies and an eagle on the front nine, added a birdie on the par-5 15th and took the lead into the clubhouse. He then watched the rest of the field stumble late, giving him his fourth PGA Tour title and first since the 2010 Honda Classic.

Bill Haas and Freddie Jacobson tied for second. Haas had a 64, and Jacobson shot 66.

Jacobson needed a par on the final hole to force a playoff, but he rolled his 11-foot putt inches past the hole.

What's In Camillo's Bag?

Driver: TaylorMade JetSpeed (13 degrees, HL)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik TP7 X-Flex

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade SLDR (3HL, 17 degrees/5HL, 21 degrees)
Shafts: Matrix Ozik Code-8

Hybrid: TaylorMade SLDR (5 hybrid)
Shaft: True Temper Project X HB6

Irons: TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB (5-9)
Shafts: Royal Precision Rifle FCM 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Tour Preferred ATV Grind (48, 52, 58 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: Royal Precisoin Rifle FCM 6.5

Putter Scotty Cameron SB+ Tour Only

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's In The Winner's Golf Bag: Rory McIlroy at The 2014 PGA Championship - Great Golf Blog

Louisville Ky:  In a fantastic finish in the final major of the year, the favorite and number one golfer in the world pulled out a win in what was one of the most exciting final rounds of golf ever seen.


The PGA Championship made up for a major championship season devoid of drama with one waterlogged and wonderful Sunday.

That it ended with McIlroy making history, and rushing to beat darkness after a rain delay of 1 hour, 51 minutes, made it all the more memorable. Not that his shotmaking didn’t already do so.

Posting his third straight victory overall, McIlroy became the first since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win consecutive major championships. And, at 25, McIlroy became the third-youngest to win his fourth major overall behind the terrific twosome of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

McIlroy shot a 68 to finish 16-under overall, one stroke better than runner-up Phil Mickelson and two better than Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson.

The afternoon tee times got pushed back after a downpour soaked Valhalla with an inch of rain in less than an hour and workers scrambled to clear the course of casual water.

This delay created an almost unprecedented scene on the 72nd hole. McIlroy and Bernd Wiesberger got permission from officials to hit their tee and second shots on the par-5 18th as the next-to-last group of Mickelson and Fowler walked to their shots so that the round could be completed.

This almost-staggered foursome gave McIlroy a bird’s eye view of Mickelson almost chipping in for eagle. McIlroy then two-putted for par in near-darkness after blasting out of a bunker to win.

What's In Rory's Bag?

DriverNike Covert Tour 2.0 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage Silver TiNi 70TX

3 Wood: Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax Pro 95 (X-Flex)

5 Wood: Nike VR_S Covert  (19 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Rombax Pro 95 (X-Flex)

IronsNike VR Pro Blades (4-9)
Shafts: Royal Precision Project X 7.0

WedgesNike VR Forged (46, 52,56 and 59)
Shafts: Royal Precision Project X 7.0