By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Did Tiger Woods’ dominance on the PGA TOUR impact his past performances in the Ryder Cup? David Feherty thinks so.
“He's been sort of trained and has always been so focused on being by himself and feeling that he's apart, that sense of I am better than them and I will win,” Feherty said during a conference call on Tuesday. “That doesn't lend itself to suddenly you've got somebody who's playing alongside you that you may have to depend on.”
Woods is just 13-14-2 in six appearances in the biennial matches. His 14 matches lost ranks as the fourth-most in U.S. team history.
“He was so focused on getting his own ball into the hole, and not just winning but winning in a crushing sort of a get-them-down-and-step-on-their-necks,” Feherty continued. “[It’s] that absolute killer instinct that having someone on board with you, I think it’s taken him a while to get used to that.”
In Woods’ defense, he has been better lately, going a combined 6-3 in his last two Ryder Cups in 2010 and 2006 (he missed 2008 due to injury). He’s also boasts a career 4-1-1 record in singles play with his last loss coming in 1997.
Feherty also believes Woods’ era of dominance on TOUR isn’t over.
“I don't think we've seen the end of that sort of golf,” Feherty said. “You've got to remember that we haven't seen him play well yet. [He’s No. 2 in the world] and he's done it with what seems like mediocre golf. When Tiger Woods plays well -- and he will play well again -- I would predict that he'll win by 8 or 10 again when he does.”
Woods has three victories this season, having ended a more than two-year winless drought with a victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard back in March.
But is Rory McIlroy, the current world No. 1, better than Woods? “At the minute I think so, yes,” Feherty added.
McIlroy and Woods are both playing in the Ryder Cup at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, where Feherty said the Americans have an advantage playing on home soil.
“I think it's a fascinating contest this week,” Feherty said. “We're seeing a changing of the guard with these new, younger faces coming up and continually contending it seems every week.
“This is as hard a Ryder Cup to pick as I can remember in recent years. It really is sort of a pick 'em -- you've got Brandt Snedeker, who has come into tremendous form, and it may well boil down to captain's picks and rookies and not so much the established players.”
And what will happen should Woods face McIlroy in Sunday’s singles play?
“I think it'll be a fascinating contest,” Feherty said. “Tiger has been very up front about what he thinks about Rory, and he would be the first to say that's probably the toughest match that he could imagine.
“But Tiger being Tiger, he would want Rory. Rory is the sort of kid that he wants to play the best.”
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
The talk of the golf equipment world last week at the Sony Open in Hawaii was that thing in Matt Every’s hands on the greens of Waialae. It worked very well as a putter but depending on who you watched on TV or followed on Twitter or read on equipment blogs, it was an ashtray, shoebox, VHS tape, dustpan or radar detector – to cite a few of the many nicknames.
It was a mystery then, and in many ways it still is now.
Every’s putter is called Black Hawk, by a company named Orion Golf. Not that you’d know that from looking at it; the black clubhead has no identifiers. Nor would you learn anything else about it by visiting a major golf retailer or 99.99 percent of the country’s pro shops. They won’t have the Black Hawk.
The club is for sale, but serious legwork is required to buy one.
Josh Anderson, PGA Professional at Magnolia Point Golf and Country Club outside Jacksonville, Fla., has fielded calls in the last few days from around the United States and as far away as Germany. Golfers want to buy one, yet he won’t sell them one.
The club’s founder, David Kargetta of Daytona Beach, Fla., has asked Anderson and a select few other pro shops in Florida – the only places where the putter can be found – to not make any sales by mail.
For starters, it’s a putter that must be custom-fit to be used properly. The putter, with its wide and heavy clubhead, can stand by itself and is meant to be held parallel to the ground by a player. But to use it properly it must be fit so the heel or toe is not raised.
“The fact is if you get fit for it, it guarantees your hands are in the exact same spot every time. It takes out that variable,” Anderson said. “The putter has no loft on it, so it takes that bias out of the equation. And the sweet spot is three balls wide – you can’t mis-hit it.”
Kargetta is a mechanical engineer and has all the data behind his invention, plus holds a patent on it, but has been reluctant to talk about it even as golf writers have clamored for more information. Instead, he has sold a few PGA pros like Anderson on the product’s merits, and has earned their loyalty by reimbursing for the time it takes them to fit the clubs to consumers.
The Black Hawk costs $259 while its sister Black Swan, featuring a cutout semicircle in the rear of the clubhead for alignment aid, costs $299. Neither model comes with a headcover.
Had Every held on to win the Sony, word is a website for the company would have launched that night. But he didn’t, so the Black Hawk is still largely under wraps. Orion Golf also won’t have a booth at next week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, where the golf industry gathers to see what’s new in the game.
Instead, the putter will be on display at a few nearby courses, still largely a mystery.
STANDING PAT: With breakout 2011 that included two wins and second-place finishes in the FedExCup and money race, Webb Simpson could have shopped his bag over the offseason and cashed in big. But it never crossed his mind.
“I'm old school in my thoughts of switching equipment; as long as I'm feeling good with what I'm using and its ability to perform well, then I won't switch,” Simpson said last week at the Sony. “I've used the same irons now for ten years, the same ones or I've got newer sets but the same exact model and driver I've used for three years.
“I don't want to change. I've seen players do it over and over again, and they struggle the next year; it takes them a few years to figure it out again. I would rather go win $2 million on the course and make nothing off than win half a million on the course and make 4 off. The way we are wired, we want to play good golf and it doesn't matter the other way.”
CUTTING EDGE: TaylorMade got the last laugh from a golf blogger who was unmoved by the company’s claims of significant yardage gains from its new RocketBallz 3-wood.
The writer said if he gained the 17 or more yards advertised by TaylorMade, he’d shave the company’s logo “T” into his head and dye it green.
The company, not one to miss a marketing opportunity or an offer to back up its products, flew the blogger from upstate New York to its Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters. The blogger picked up some 40 yards Tuesday in a comparison test of the RocketBallz to his old 3-wood, and a hired barber was on hand to help the blogger pay off his bet.
NEW WINNER: Johnson Wagner won at Waialae with TaylorMade’s new R11S driver. The company touts the driver’s “3D Tuning” capability, where golfers can adjust loft up to 1.5 degrees, face angles in five different configurations and tune the club’s center of gravity toward the heel or toe.
Greg Norman, playing at this week’s Humana Challenge, had an R11S built in the TaylorMade truck this week with eight degrees of loft.
COOK’S UTENSILS: John Cook, a winner three times last season on the Champions Tour, revealed last week on the Tour’s Facebook page that his longtime Nike allegiances are over. He’s playing the TaylorMade R11S driver, a Titleist ball and "everything else is whatever I feel I need to have in my bag.” He also said he’ll be wearing clothing from Leisure Society.
ETC: Brian Gay, T6 at the Sony, has a new driver, hybrid and 3-wood and said he’s hitting it farther . … Justin Leonard, previously with Nike is the newest face in the TaylorMade stable. He was among nine players at the Sony with the company’s new Penta TP5 ball. … Ross Fisher signed with Nike Golf for a club and clothing deal, the company announced Wednesday.
QUOTABLE: Bridgestone signed TV personality and former touring pro David Feherty to a multi-year deal. In the company’s press release, Feherty provided his own material:
"Not a lot of people know this, but I am a huge ball expert. In fact, over the years I played for a living, my balls took a lot of punishment in the form of tops, shanks, cuts, scrapes, and I've even lost a couple. As it turns out, I was playing with balls that should have been hit by someone else in the first place! Well, you live and learn.”
WINNER’S BAG: Johnson Wagner at the Sony
Open in Hawaii:
Driver: TaylorMade R11S, 8 degrees (Aldila RIP NV shaft)
3-wood: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0, 13.5 degrees
Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro a12, 18 degrees
Irons: Titleist CB 3-9
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled PW, 54, 60 degrees
Putter: Scotty Cameron Prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. – Tuesday was a big day in the parallel worlds of entertainment and golf.
At 7 p.m., the first “Golf Boys” video was released – featuring Ben Crane, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson dancing and rapping. You can click here to watch the sure-not-to-be Grammy-nominated performance.
An hour later, David Feherty – one of golf’s premier broadcasters and without question its pre-eminent comic – debuted several elements of his new Golf Channel show at a Washington, D.C., theater.
The show, which is aptly titled “Feherty,” debuts at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21. It will feature conversations with players like Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller and Tom Watson, Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle and former NBA great Charles Barkley.
Fred Funk, who turned 55 Tuesday, and Rickie Fowler, the 22-year-old phenom, took time from their U.S. Open preparation to appear with Feherty. In the “Caddy Knows Best” segment, Funk’s wife Sharon and son Taylor, who is toting his bag this week, easily got the upper hand.
Judging from Tuesday’s performance, you can expect “Feherty” to be, well, Feherty -- at times irreverent, strikingly funny and surprisingly touching.
The Belfast native, who became a U.S. citizen several years ago, is a passionate supporter of the American military. Those of us in the audience expected to be entertained, but likely didn’t think we’d be laughing through tears during the last half of the hour as Feherty interviewed two wounded veterans.
“Humor is the last defense of the human soul,” he said, explaining his bond with soldiers and sailors who have such searing sacrifices.
Toward the end of the program, Division Commander Sargent Major James Champagne of the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army and Sargent Major David Santos of the First Troops Foundation took the stage. They presented Feherty with a bronze statue of an angel soldier watching over another in combat.
This time, Feherty was the one shedding tears.