Try this question on your golf partners: Who was the first player on the PGA TOUR to win with a Titleist Pro V1 ball?
We’ll answer that in a bit, while offering one hint – the win was in Las Vegas in 2000. At that year’s event, now the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Titleist changed the game with a high-performance solid construction ball. Since then, many companies have followed with their own editions, but nothing has matched the popularity of the Pro V1 among pros or amateurs.
Every few years Titleist comes out with new versions of the ball, and last week in Las Vegas – symmetry, anyone? – was time for the 2013 model.
“It’s like Christmas, what are we gonna get?” said Charley Hoffman of the unmarked white boxes that were waiting for Titleist ball loyalists at TPC Summerlin.
A total of 18 players put the new balls in play at Shriners Hospitals, with 14 playing the Pro V1x and four playing the Pro V1. Bill Lunde was the highest finisher with the new ball, taking fifth with a Pro V1x. Ryan Moore won the tournament with the present-day Pro V1 that’s available in stores.
“It’s the best-feeling ball I’ve played, ever,” said Hoffman, who missed the cut with a new Pro V1.
When the Pro V1 first hit the PGA TOUR in 2000 at Las Vegas, 47 players used it immediately (the Pro V1x arrived a couple years later). Billy Andrade won the tournament with the ball, becoming the answer to a golf equipment trivia question.
NEW FLATSTICKS: Fredrik Jacobson, surprisingly 132nd this year in strokes gained-putting (he was sixth last year), switched from an Odyssey Black Series I No. 1 to an Odyssey ProType ix No. 4 HT (high toe) at Las Vegas.
The ProType ix, with a black PVD finish and a slightly firmer White Hot insert, is only available for purchase in Japan but has proved popular over here. J.B. Holmes, Matthew Goggin and Gavin Coles all put the putter in play at Shriners Hospitals.
FRESH APPLES: Stuart Appleby got new wedges with tungsten slugs from the Callaway trailer in Las Vegas. He uses 52- and 58-degree X-Forged wedges, with personalization unique to him. Check out the photo.
WINNER’S BAG: Ryan Moore at the Shriners
Hospitals for Children Open:
Driver: TaylorMade RocketBallz (Fujikura Motore, 8.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: TaylorMade RocketBallz (15, 19 degrees)
Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro a12 (20 degrees)
Irons: Ping S56 (4-PW)
Wedges: Cobra Trusty Rusty (55 degrees), Titleist Vokey Design (60 degrees)
Putter: Yes! Sandy 12
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
NORTON, Mass. – Early in Monday’s final round, Charley Hoffman was on fire. He posted three birdies in his first five holes and was projected to finish 35th in FedExCup points.
But then he started leaking oil. Lots of it. He dropped eight strokes – including a quadruple 7 at the 11th hole when his ball found a tree-- in the next 11 holes. He came to the par-5 18th needing par to advance in the FedExCup Playoffs.
He made the clutch par putt from 11 feet, 5 inches to survive. It was shaky but he’s in.
“Shooting 42 on the back nine, I don’t deserve to play next week,” Hoffman said. “… Little disappointed but I guess there’s a little lining on top, getting to play next week.”
Had Hoffman bogeyed the hole, PGA TOUR rookie Jonas Blixt would have claimed a spot inside the top 70. After Hoffman’s second shot on the 18th finished in area left of the hole, he barely chipped onto the green, then rolled his birdie putt past the hole – forcing him to sweat out the long par putt.
Hoffman finishes 69th in points, with Blixt at 71. Dicky Pride was the last man in at No. 70.
The top 70, in fact, is now completed. Players who played their way into the BMW Championship include:
Jeff Overton (was 83rd coming into week; projected
Bryce Molder (was 93rd coming into week; projected to 45th)
D.A. Points (was 72nd coming into week; projected to 54th)
Troy Matteson (was 78th coming into week; projected to 59th)
Matt Every (was 75th coming into week; projected to 63rd)
Chris Kirk (was 81st coming into week; projected to 66th)
Charl Schwartzel (was 71st coming into week; projected to 68th)
Charley Hoffman (was 86th coming into week; projected to 69th)
Dicky Pride (was 96th coming into week; projected to 70th)
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
For those players currently not inside the top 70 in FedExCup points, this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston represents a last chance to move up and secure a spot at the third stop in the Playoffs, next week’s BMW Championship.
Here’s a closer look at five players who I think could move from outside the top 70 in the FedExCup standings to inside the top 70 and advance to Crooked Stick. Fill out the form below and let me know if you agree or disagree with my picks.
Charl Schwartzel (No. 71): The biggest reason I think Schwartzel moves on? He’s just one spot outside the magic number. The South African doesn’t have much of a Playoffs history -- last year was his one and only year in it -- but he’s missed just one cut since April. If that trend continues, he should move up at least one spot and advance. Three of Schwartzel’s last four finishes have been in the top 25.
Roberto Castro (No. 80): The 27-year-old already busted the bubble once, tying for 24th at The Barclays to move up 20 spots in the FedExCup standings and advance to TPC Boston. Prior to that, the rookie had missed his last three cuts. But in the two starts before that, he finished seventh and 18th. More to like about Castro: He’s 19th in total driving and 13th in greens in regulation.
Charley Hoffman (No. 86): After missing his fourth consecutive cut last week, Hoffman fell from 67th to 86th. On the bright side, a return trip to TPC Boston should conjure up some good memories and hopefully good play. Hoffman won the Deutsche Bank Championship two years ago and earlier this year he finished second at the nearby Travelers Championship. Whatever the reason, the Californian seems to play well in the New England area.
Jason Day (No. 88): Like Castro, he tied for 24th at The Barclays to make it to the Deutsche Bank Championship. Last year, Day tied for third at TPC Boston. Of course he was also playing a lot better then, too. The Aussie has good history there, however, tying for second in 2010 and 19th the year before.
Jonas Blixt (No. 97): A rib injury derailed what was a successful rookie campaign for Bilxt, who was sidelined two months. Prior to getting hurt, Blixt had strung together three straight top 10s at the Wells Fargo Championship, HP Byron Nelson Championship and Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. He also tied for 13th at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. He’ll need a similar performance to advance, but as one of the game’s best putters he certainly has a chance.
SILVIS, Ill. -- Tee times have been released for the first two rounds of this week’s the John Deere Classic. Here’s a look at some of the notable and more intriguing groups.
Which groups are you most interested in following this week? Fill out the form below and let us know.
Scott Piercy, Rory Sabbatini, Charley Hoffman: Piercy is coming off a top 15 finish at Greenbrier. Sabbatini and Hoffman both have top-five finishes recently -- but no wins.
Ted Potter Jr., Zach Johnson, Nick Watney: One week after his unlikely win at The Greenbrier, Potter finds himself paired with a couple of A-listers at TPC Deere Run. Johnson already has a win this season, and the Iowa native badly wants to win this event.
K.J. Choi, Jonathan Byrd, Stewart Cink: These three veterans all have multiple PGA TOUR wins -- but Choi's 2011 PLAYERS win remains the most recent. Byrd won this tournament in 2007.
Kyle Stanley, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas: Already with a win this season and three previous John Deere titles, Stricker is the favorite this week. He is paired with Kyle Stanley, whom he beat with a birdie on the 72nd hole last year.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- With two holes to play in the Travelers Championship, it looked like Charley Hoffman, leading by as many as three at one point, was breezing toward a third career win.
Then he was reminded how difficult it can be to win on the PGA TOUR.
Hoffman hit his tee shot in the water on the 17th hole, sent his approach shot sailing over the green and made double bogey.
He still had a share of the lead with clubhouse leader Marc Leishman at 14 under, but things went from bad to worse one hole later.
“What I did on 18 was pretty pathetic,” Hoffman said. “Pretty easy drive for me and fanned it out to the right. Pretty poor second shot, pretty poor bunker shot and even worse putt, so when it's said and done obviously a bad finish and bad taste in my mouth.”
Hoffman bogeyed the final hole after hitting into the right rough off the tee, then into a greenside bunker. He failed to get up-and-down to save par, missing a 16-footer to shoot 66 and finish one shot back of eventual winner Marc Leishman in what was an otherwise flawless round.
For the first 16 holes, Hoffman didn’t make a bogey. He went out in 31 and seized control of the tournament with birdies on three of his first four holes on the back nine.
Then came the 17th.
“I don't think 17 sets up visually well for anybody,” Hoffman said. “It's a tough tee shot and I'm not the first person to hit it in that water. I'm not going to be the last person to hit it in the water. I just hit a bad shot.”
Afterward, Hoffman tried to find the silver lining in the dark cloud of a finish.
“Anytime you're in contention you've played good golf,” Hoffman said, trying to find the positive. “I played pretty good golf for 72 holes.”
Well, 70 anyway.
Charley Hoffman had been cruising on Sunday at TPC River Highlands, perhaps on the way to a win. Standing on the 17th tee, he had a two-shot lead.
Then that tee shot found the water.
Hoffman took a drop and hit his third shot over the green at the par 4. He was unable to get up-and-down, and the double bogey erased his lead and left him in a tie with Marc Leishman at 14 under.
Leishman is done but Hoffman will have a chance at 18.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
CROMWELL, Conn. -- Charley Hoffman wishes play didn’t get suspended in the second round of the Travelers Championship.
For good reason.
Hoffman had just made his fifth straight birdie to move within a stroke of the lead when the horn sounded signaling a second and what turned out to be final stoppage in play Friday.
“It was a nice five-hole run,” said Hoffman, who was 5 under through his first six holes on the back nine at TPC River Highlands. “Any time you can make a bunch of birdies, no matter at the beginning of the round, end of the round, middle of the round, it's a good feeling.”
Hoffman, like several players, experienced a couple of delays Friday. He’d hit just two shots on No. 10 when the horn sounded just before 1 p.m. because of dangerous weather in the area.
A little more than an hour later play resumed, and Hoffman started his charge.
He hit his approach to 10 feet on the par-3 11th and made his first birdie of the day before sinking another 10-footer on No. 12.
Hoffman reached the par-5 13th in two and two-putted from 30 feet for a third straight birdie before making two more the next two holes.
When Hoffman resumes his round at 7 a.m. Saturday, he’ll be on the par-3 16th, where he made par in the opening round.
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the Valero Texas Open below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|K.J. Choi vs. Matt Kuchar||These two technicians are each seeking first win of year|
|Brendan Steele vs. Johnson Wagner||Defending champion takes on No. 5 in FedExCup points|
|Justin Leonard vs. Harrison Frazar||These two Texans have played together for almost 30 years|
|Charley Hoffman vs. Kevin Chappell||These two finished a shot behind Steele here last year|
|Bud Cauley vs. Harris English||It's an SEC battle (Alabama vs. Georgia) between rookies.|