Jason Kokrak jumped inside the top 125 with a T2 at Frys.com. He played a new Titleist Pro V1x.Laberge/Getty Images
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Jason Kokrak is one of the PGA TOUR’s big bombers (11th in driving distance) but had virtually nothing to show for it this year – until the Frys.com Open.
Kokrak finished T2 at CordeValle, getting a crucial big payday with just two events left on the schedule to crack the top 125 in money. The rookie came into the week at 167th on the money list but left 117th, a livelihood-saving week. He had only one finish higher than T34 in 24 previous starts in 2012.
How did he do it? As usual, Kokrak was near the top in driving distance (ninth) but also led the field in greens in regulation and was eighth in strokes-gained putting, all with the new Titleist Pro V1x prototype. The Frys.com Open marked the second week in which the new Pro V1s were available for TOUR pros.
The Pro V1x offers lower spin than the Pro V1 and is preferred by most pros seeking more distance while not sacrificing control around the greens.
HOT ODYSSEY: The Odyssey ProType ix No. 1 is the company’s most popular putter among TOUR players, after just two weeks in players’ hands.
“Players are using the interchangeable weights to match a specific swing weight and to create a specific toe swing feel,” Odyssey rep Johnny Thompson said. “Players are asking for blank No. 1s so they can have their particular sight line -- sight dot, blank, topline, etc.”
Rookie Danny Lee finished a season-best T16 at Frys.com with the putter.
OLDIES: Remember the TaylorMade Bubble Shaft? The Great Big Bertha? The first Top-Flite solid-core surlyn ball? (OK, we won’t ask your age for that one.) Check out this fun list from Golf Digest about memorable equipment launches.
The time is nearing when equipment companies start to roll out new products – or at least new product hype. TaylorMade, to name one, has been touting a new release next Tuesday. Promotional materials say it is supposed to make Sergio Garcia “freakishly longer.” (Irons, perhaps?)
Are any highly touted products of yesterday still in your bag? Tell us in the comments below.
WINNER’S BAG: Jonas Blixt at the Frys.com
Driver: Cobra ZL Encore(8.5 degrees)
Fairway wood: TaylorMade RocketBallz (15 degrees)
Hybrid: Cobra Baffler T-Rail (18 degrees)
Irons: Cobra S3 Pro MB (3-PW)
Wedges: Callaway X-Forged (52, 60 degrees)
Putter: Yes! C Groove Donna II
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Titleist is debuting some new firepower this week at the AT&T National, namely its 913 series of drivers.
The company hasn’t introduced a new driver in two years, but the 913 is the next step in the “900” family (with “9” being its designation for metalwoods and “13” for the model year), with a few subtle differences from the 910 series.
Titleist loyalists will notice the striping on the sole and new markings on the face, as well as a weight cartridge at the rear of the club. The cartridges can be swapped out to optimize launch conditions, and like the 910 models the new 913 has the SureFit Tour hosel to adjust lie and loft.
Like the 910, the 913 has a D2 and D3 model, with the D2 being slightly bigger.
Bobby Gates took the first swings with the club on Monday at the range at Congressional Country Club, with Titleist players Seung-Yul Noh, Jimmy Walker and Brendan Steele also getting licks in. Rory McIlroy has one in Ireland this week, where he’ll play in the European Tour’s Irish Open.
The clubs will go on sale to the public sometime in the fall, retailing for around $399.
MR. 59: After dalliances with several flatsticks, Stuart Appleby returned to the Odyssey White Hot XG 330 mallet that he shot 59 with at The Greenbrier Classic in 2010.
“I really had to assess what was going on in my game and where I had to improve,” he said. “I was chasing around, moving putters. Didn’t know when I was going to hit the hole. It just started sapping the energy.”
Sure enough, he finished T18 at the Travelers for his first top-20 finish of the season.
COLORFUL: More of Callaway’s udesign-inspired Razr Fit drivers are making the rounds on the PGA TOUR. At the Travelers, J.J. Killeen used a purple one in honor of his TCU roots, while Danny Lee used a blue driver that was actually built for Fredrik Jacobson, but the Swede declined to use it in play so Callaway reps gave it to Lee.
WINNER’S BAG: Marc Leishman at the Travelers
Driver: Titleist 910D3 (UST Mamiya AXIVCore, 7.5 degrees)
Fairway wood: Titleist 910F (13.5 degrees)
Hybrid: Mizuno Fli-Hi (18 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP2 (3-4), MB (5-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (PW, 54, 58 degrees)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Mid-slant T10
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Eight PGA TOUR rookies have stepped off of the golf course and into the world of high-end fashion for the new issue of ForbesLife magazine .
Tommy Biershenk, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, Gary Christian, Harris English, J.J. Killeen, Danny Lee and Jamie Lovemark had the opportunity to demonstrate their modeling ability in designs by some of the world’s most renowned fashion manufacturers -- including Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Rolex and Audemars Piguet, among others.
The photo shoot took place at the Fairmont Princess Hotel, adjacent to TPC Scottsdale during the week of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, with acclaimed French photographer Antoine Verglas capturing the images that were styled by Joseph DeAcetis, the magazine’s style editor.
The 10-page spread, entitled Clubhouse Confidential ( click here for more ), coincides with the relaunch of ForbesLife , which for the first time will be offered on newsstands across the nation and also be available in replica-form for nooks, kindles and iPads.
Verglas, who is based in New York, is recognized for introducing the “Verglas Signature” to glamour photography in the 1990s, an intimate style of capturing a personality of his subjects. His work has appeared in all the leading fashion magazines.
“I think it's fun,” Verglas said of the rookie photo shoot. “They could be models, you know. They did great. They have good looking personalities and are great looking guys and the pictures were really good.”
DeAcetis noted that ForbesLife was going under a redesign and that the idea behind the photo shoot was to reach a new, younger audience. “These athletes transcend any economic level,” he said. “They're great players, and this is what men are interested in. We have a high standard here at ForbesLife that we have to convey and I think that these guys did an amazing job.”
DeAcetis said they worked extensively on matching colors and sizes, and then matching them to ideal locations at the Fairmont Princess. “The shoot is shorter jackets and tighter pants; it's more modern, the cut,” he said. “And that's what these guys are, 21st century men. So it has a little more life to it than a traditional suit or traditional jacket. And that's what these guys embody … the next expectations, they're the next big players.”
Cauley said he had a lot of fun participating in the shoot. “It definitely was my first experience with something like that,” he said. “They dressed me up in really nice clothes and did my hair a little bit differently. We’ll see how it turns out, but I trust what they were doing and I’m sure it will all look great.”
English agreed. "It was crazy, I've never done the modeling experience before,” he said. “It was cool. These are pretty sweet clothes and it was fun. I could definitely do it again; it wasn't bad at all."
Christian, the oldest among the participants at age 40, added, “I enjoyed the experience and would definitely do it again. It was interesting to me as an arty guy how the photographer set up shots and how much of a perfectionist the stylist was.”
PGA TOUR Entertainment was on hand to film the photo shoot and will feature it on an upcoming edition of Inside the PGA TOUR on Golf Channel in early April.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Most of the focus Thursday was on the 2012 PGA TOUR season debut of Tiger Woods, who opened with a solid but unspectacular 4-under 68 at Spyglass Hill -- the toughest of the three courses in the rotation here. At the end of the day, though, Dustin Johnson, Charlie Wi and Danny Lee were the ones sitting atop the leaderboard at 9 under.
Lee and Johnson did their damage on the par-72 Pebble Beach, while Wi, who flirted with a 59 much of the day, shot a course-record 61 on the par-70 Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
Johnson of course has some pretty strong history here with wins in 2009 (rain-shortened) and 2010. Both years he opened strong with a 64 and 65, respectively. Thursday was ahead of that thanks to a 6-under start through his first six holes.
“Today I would have liked any golf course,” Johnson said. “but I love being out here. I love the courses. They all set up very well for me.
“I feel comfortable on them, especially off the tees. All the greens out here I’m really comfortable with reading them. I think I see the putts very well.”
To that point, Johnson took just 24 putts while hitting 14 greens in regulation.
Lee and Wi putted well, too, needing just 24 and 22 putts, respectively.
The 63 by Lee, a rookie this year after spending last season on the Nationwide Tour, was the lowest of his career. But he’s had success in AT&T events before, tying for seventh in the 2009 AT&T National.
“I was struggling for a couple of years on how to make low scores, especially out here,” Lee said. “I kind of learned to play a little bit better the last four weeks. I was playing good the last four weeks; it just didn’t really happen for me.”
As for Woods. he felt he left some shots out there, but he was generally happy with his play, especially the way he drove it with 11 of 14 fairways hit.
“I didn’t give myself enough looks when I had wedges in my hand,” Woods said. “I have to do a better job of that.
“This is generally the harder of the courses. Hopefully I can get it going over there Monterey and over to Pebble. [Friday] will be an important day to put it together and make some birdies.“
Charlie Wi had already shot 61 on the PGA TOUR -- he did it at the Humana Challenge in 2009 -- but he had a shot at history on Thursday.
Wi arrived at the 16th tee at Monterey Peninsula at 9 under on the par-70 course. If he could birdie two of the last three holes, he'd become the sixth player to shoot 59 on TOUR.
Alas, Wi parred the next two holes. After parring the 500-yard par-4 16th, his birdie putt on the par-4 17th just burned the cup. He parred the 18th to finish at 61, but set the all-time tournament record in the process. The previous low at Monterey Peninsula was Jeff Maggert's 62 in 2011.
Over at Pebble Beach, rookie Danny Lee just missed a birdie putt on the par-4 ninth that would have tied the course record.
PGA TOUR rookie Danny Lee is 9 under with two holes to go at Pebble Beach, but since he teed off on the back nine, he faces two of the toughest holes on the course. After missing a short birdie putt on the par-5 sixth, lee birdied the seventh to become the first player at 9 under.
Moments later, Charlie Wi hit 9 under on the Monterey Course, which is playing just a tick easier. He needs two birdies on the last three holes -- all par-4s -- to become the sixth player in TOUR history to shoot 59.
Lee, a former U.S. Amateur champion, has missed three cuts in four starts this season.
Danny Lee hits his tee shot to two feet on the par-3 16th hole and taps for birdie.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Rocco Mediate has withdrawn from the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a tournament he won in 1999.
Mediate was replaced by PGA TOUR rookie Danny Lee. Lee, who was born in South Korea, grew up in New Zealand and now has a home in Texas, will be playing in his fourth PGA TOUR event.
The first alternate is now Jarrod Lyle.
Danny Lee cards a one on the 140 yard par-3 17th hole.
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Danny Lee just made the fourth hole-in-one of the week at the Humana Challenge. There has now been an ace in each round.
The New Zealander used a pitching wedge at No. 17 on the Palmer Course, which his eighth hole of the day. The hole was playing to 141 yards.
John Rollins made the first ace of the week at No. 7 on the Nicklaus Private Course, using a wedge on the 128-yard hole during the first round to notch the second hole-in-one of his PGA TOUR career. Rookie Miguel Angel Carballo then aced No. 11 at the Nicklaus Course with a 7-iron on Friday.
Arnold Palmer’s grandson Sam Saunders accounted for the week’s third ace at No. 5 on the Palmer Private Course, using a 3-iron on the 228-yard hole. No word on whether his grandfather, who was on the property that day, was in his gallery at the time.