After a breakout 2012, Tommy Gainey has struggled to make cuts this year. (Shaw/Getty Images)
By Tim Price, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
SAN ANTONIO -- Tommy Gainey is proving this week that, somewhere deep down beneath that Southern drawl, lies another voice from off the beaten path. If the cowboy Will Rogers claimed he “never met a man he didn’t like,” two-gloved golfer Gainey has never met a tournament he doesn’t like.
Gainey played in 32 PGA TOUR events last year and is on pace to reach that number again this year. And even though his game got drubbed when he showed up last year at the Valero Texas Open -- he shot 80-84 -- he’s back again at TPC San Antonio to try to break through in Texas.
The Valero Texas Open starts Thursday, and Gainey brought his son to watch during his spring break from elementary school.
“It’s about the love of the game for me,” Gainey said, while his wife applied sunscreen to his son next to the practice putting green. “And it’s all about that boy right there, my son, Thomas. I’m just trying to make a good living and support his future.”
Gainey, 37, is never one to forget his past, and playing golf sure beats working on an assembly line in his native South Carolina. So there’s no use for Gainey to go off, take a sabbatical, to some teaching guru to find a game through that break-the-cookie-cutter-mold swing of his.
After shooting that memorable round-of-a-lifetime of 60 to come from seven shots back to beat Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and David Toms in the final round of The McGladrey Classic last fall, Gainey’s game is nowhere close. He did finish sixth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, followed that with making the cut at the Sony Open, but didn’t make another cut until finishing 57th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard two weeks ago.
“Just got into a bad slump,” Gainey said. “I’m streaky. Either I’m good, or bad.”
Sure enough, Gainey followed making the cut at Bay Hill by shooting 77-79 last week at the Shell Houston Open. When he shot an opening-round 63 and had the 54-hole lead at WM Waste Management two years ago, he almost fell out of the top 10 when he triple-bogeyed late on the final day.
“There’s no middle ground for me,” Gainey said, “and I’m trying to correct that and quit some of this bad playing. A couple of bad driver swings a round and I make double, or triple. That stops the round.”
Last year in San Antonio, Gainey was 5 over after his opening four holes in windy conditions. Before it was over he made a 9 on the par-4 ninth hole where Kevin Na needed 16 strokes to complete the year before.
Gainey doesn’t complain. He just shows back up.
“It’s just a tough track,” said Gainey. “We’re the best players in the world, so we just suck it up and play. Out here it’s no excuses (because of conditions). You’ve got 14 clubs, and they should do the work for you.”
Work? Gainey isn’t afraid of it.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: Tommy Gainey, the man who once made his living by wrapping insulation around hot water heaters, showed his determination to play by appearing twice on the Golf Channel's "Big Break" series, then successfully navigated his way through q-school in 2007. Now that Gainey has finally gotten that breakthrough victory, don't think he'll sit back and relax -- the South Carolinian is too much of a competitor for that.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Gainey started the final round of The McGladrey Classic seven strokes off the pace being set by Jim Furyk and Davis Love III. Eight birdies and an eagle later he was the clubhouse leader after shooting a 60 that came within a 19-foot putt of tying for the TOUR's all-time low score. Gainey then had to wait more than two hours to find out whether victory was his as he ended up beating David Toms by a stroke. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Is there a more popular winner on TOUR than Tommy Two Gloves? Some casual golf fans may think of him as, "that guy with the funky swing who wears gloves on both hands," but that's not what his fellow TOUR players think. Tommy's swing is unorthodox, however, it resulted in a tournament win and more than $1.5 million in earnings. Tommy's game is very respected inside the locker room. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: It's hard not to get giddy about a guy that has made 66 starts the last two seasons and capped off that stretch with his first PGA TOUR victory (McGladrey). What I love is his humility. Ignore the baseball influence and "Two Gloves" schtick. He's aggressive, plays a ton and comes across as quite comfortable in his own skin. What's not to love about that? -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||1st||The McGladrey Classic|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 18
Rounds played: 98
Top-10 finishes: 2
Money List rank: 55th
Driving distance: 33rd
Driving accuracy: 165th
Greens in regulation: 158th
Strokes gained-putting: 71st
Scoring average: 156th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for Tommy Gainey in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Just prior to The McGladrey Classic, Tommy Gainey switched irons, going from Callaway’s Diablo forged irons to the company’s Razr X. He also tweaked his driver.
Less than a week later, Gainey shot a final-round 60 to win at Sea Island.
Fast forward to this week’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, and Gainey is in a familiar position: Atop the leaderboard.
Gainey shot a 65 Thursday to share second with Camilo Villegas.
Momentum? Maybe. But Gainey made it a point not to celebrate his first career win.
“It's all about winning again for me,” said Gainey, who hit 10 fairways and 13 greens while taking just 24 putts. “You know, my goal has not been achieved yet. And that is to get to Augusta.”
Even if Gainey goes on to win, however, he won’t qualify for the Masters. He came into the week 56th on the money list. The highest he can move up is to 32nd -- only the top 30 at the end of this week qualify.
Still, Gainey of course wants to keep it going. He went 104 starts on the PGA TOUR without a win and now has a chance for his second straight victory.
And it all goes back to his accuracy off the tee, at least lately.
“I've never hit this many fairways in my life,” Gainey said. “It's a lot easier when you're in the fairways than that rough.”
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The last time Tommy Gainey played, he shot a final-round 60 to win The McGladrey Classic.
Thursday, he was atop the leaderboard again. Gainey opened with a 7-under 65 in the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. He leads by two over Ken Duke and Matt Every.
Gainey had six birdies, an eagle and just one bogey on a windswept morning on the Palm Golf Course at Disney, where he also missed just four fairways and five greens. He also had just 24 putts.
One reason Gainey was able to keep it in the fairway: An adjustment to his Callaway equipment. He recently switched to the company’s Razr X irons and tweaked his driver prior to winning at Sea Island.
While Gainey can’t move inside the top 30 on the money list, which would get him into next year’s Masters, even if he does win, he could become the second player this season to win in back-to-back starts. Rory McIlroy did in two months ago, capturing the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship in consecutive weeks.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The last time we saw Tommy Gainey, he shot a final-round 60 to win The McGladrey Classsic. He said Wednesday he hasn’t had much time to celebrate and has already moved on to focusing on trying to get his second career win. Will it come at this week’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic? Discuss below.
Prior to the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Tommy Gainey meets with the media to discuss being a first time winner on the PGA TOUR.
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012
1 p.m. ET: Jonas Blixt
1:30 p.m. ET: Jeff Maggert
Wed., Nov. 7, 2012
12:30 p.m. ET: Gary Christian
12:45 p.m. ET: Tommy Gainey
1 p.m. ET: Erik Compton
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Following the smashing debut of its RocketBallz metalwoods last year, it was only a matter of time before TaylorMade put some of the same technology – and part of that name – into irons.
On Tuesday the company introduced "RocketBladez” irons, featuring a slot cut in the sole of the iron similar to the slot on the RBZ fairway woods and hybrids. The slot flexes and rebounds at impact, increasing the speed of the face and creating faster ball speed, higher launch angles and higher ball flight, according to TaylorMade.
TaylorMade calls the slot the “speed pocket,” and it is found on the 3- through 7-irons. The two-millimeter slot is protected from the elements by a polyurethane strip. The irons also have a large cavity behind the stainless-steel face to lower the center of gravity and pull it farther away from the face to promote forgiveness and higher launch.
Two editions of the irons are coming to market, the Rocketbladez (arriving at retail on Dec. 3; $799/steel, $899/graphite) and RocketBladez Tour (arriving Feb. 1; $899/steel). The Tour irons have smaller heads, less offset and a less-pronounced cavity.
“We created RocketBladez irons for amateurs, but when our TOUR Staff pros tried it, they wanted it,” said TaylorMade president and CEO Mark King. “We created a Tour version, and they love it. It’s the first distance-oriented iron to be played on TOUR. The genius of the Speed Pocket is that not only does it deliver more speed for more distance, it delivers consistent speed, so shots fly a consistent distance. That combination of speed and consistent distance is what made the eyes of our tour pros light up.”
Sean O’Hair put a set of prototype RocketBladez in play earlier this month at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas, the first of probably many sets on TOUR if the RocketBladez prove as popular as the RocketBallz metalwoods.
STROKES-GAINEY PUTTING: Until last week, the book on Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey was that he was a serviceable putter, not the best on TOUR but not the worst. In 2011 he was 78th in strokes-gained putting, and coming into last week was 86th.
And then the fourth round at The McGladrey Classic got under way.
Gainey, of course, shot the low round of the year on TOUR, a 10-under 60 that vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard. Nearly three hours later, he was a first-time champion. He was plus-5.119 in strokes-gained putting for the round, an amazing figure for an amazing round. (He’s now 66th in strokes-gained.)
He did it with an Odyssey Backstryke Blade, one of the more unusual putters on TOUR from a mainstream manufacturer. The putter has a T-shaped head with a shaft that connects to the rear of the putterhead.
Gainey put the putter in play in 2010 on the Web.com Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am and finished second, and since then has stuck with it. His model is 34 inches in length with four degrees of loft and an XG insert.
BITS: Davis Love III finished T4 at his hometown McGladrey, using a belly putter for the first time. He did not anchor it. … Odyssey presented Brandt Snedeker with a gold putter as congratulations for his FedExCup title. Odyssey has only made two gold putters for non-major titles; the other was for Stuart Appleby’s final-round 59 in winning the 2010 Greenbrier Classic.
WINNER’S BAG: Tommy Gainey at The McGladrey
Driver: Callaway Razr Fit (Aldila RIP shaft, 10.5 degrees)
Fairway wood: Callaway FT-I Tour (15 degrees)
Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro a12 (20 degrees)
Irons: Callaway Razr-X Forged (4-PW)
Wedges: Callaway Forged (50, 54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey Backstryke Blade
Ball: Callaway Hex Tour Black
Even before he fired a 60 to win his first PGA TOUR event on Sunday, Tommy Gainey was easily the biggest success story of the Golf Channel's "Big Break" series.
And in recognition of that win at The McGladrey Classic, Golf Channel is going to re-air past episodes of his participation in 2005’s “Big Break IV: USA vs. Europe,” and 2007’s “Big Break VII: Reunion.” The shows will air Tuesday from 4-6 p.m. ET and Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. ET.
In "USA vs. Europe," the contestants are at St. Andrews where challenges include hitting out of the “Road Hole Bunker” on the 17th hole and putting out of the “Valley of Sin” on the 18th. Gainey stayed alive despite a bogey at the 18th where his ball ricocheted off of a van before ultimately being eliminated in sudden death.
In the finale of "Reunion," Gainey defeated Ashley Gomes in a nine-hole match to be crowned series champion and the recipient of a tournament exemption to the 2007 Cox Classic, as well as $70,000 in cash and prizes and a new Chrysler Aspen.