By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Gary Woodland needs a few more yards like a Corvette needs more horsepower, but he got them last week at TPC Scottsdale with a move from the Titleist ProV1 to the ProV1x.
Woodland, who has been working through swing tweaks with acclaimed teacher Butch Harmon, noticed some increased spin off his irons and wanted to make sure he had the right ball for his updated swing. He had already adjusted some of his clubs, adding one degree of effective loft by moving his Titleist 910 adjustable driver from its C•1 setting (6.75º loft, 57.75º lie) to A•1 (standard; 7.5º loft, 58.5º lie) and making the same move with his Titleist 910Fd 13.5º fairway wood.
He sought out Titleist golf ball R&D specialist Fordie Pitts, who put Woodland through paces on a TrackMan launch monitor with the company’s slightly harder, less-spinning ProV1x. With his short- and mid-irons, the monitor showed a reduction of some 150-200 rpm in spin and an increase of 1-1.5 mph in ball speed. With his driver, Woodland’s ball speed increased some 4 mph with similar spin.
(As PGA TOUR ShotLink radar stats show, Woodland isn’t exactly slacking in ball speed as it is.)
Woodland took the ProV1x to the course for further testing, and found the iron performance he was looking for. With the driver, his carry yardage increased some 14 yards – no joke.
The end of the story? Woodland finished T26 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, closing with 66 on Sunday. He was T4 for the week in Greens in Regulation.
LONG AND SHORT: Tiger Woods held court Tuesday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and explained his disdain for long putters , also proposing a solution. He said he had told Peter Dawson of the R&A that the putter should be no longer than the shortest club in one’s bag – essentially 35 to 36 inches, the length of most players’ wedges.
One side note to that – with a such a rule you wouldn’t see players use a long putter for measuring clublengths for penalties (as someone with a full broomstick putter could conceivably do), nor moments like last week at TPC Scottsdale where Spencer Levin used his belly putter to slap-shot a ball out of a bush.
RUSH TO MARKET: Bridgestone Golf is moving its new B330 ball line into the marketplace ahead of its original March 1 release, citing buzz from the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show and Brandt Snedeker’s come-from-behind win at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Its four new models – the Tour B330, Tour B330-S, Tour B330-RX and Tour B330-RXS – are on sale now in sunbelt states and will be available nationwide soon.
Speaking of Snedeker, he added a Callaway RAZR X Black 3-wood in his bag at the WM Phoenix Open, replacing a TaylorMade Burner 2.0.
DUSTED OFF: Ryan Palmer shot 64 in the opening round at TPC Scottsdale, thanks in part to an old Odyssey Rossie II putter that’s been in and out of his bag since college.
“I've used the exact same putter the last two years, and of course had two of the best years of my career,” said Palmer, who won for the third time on the PGA TOUR at the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii. “But towards the end of the year last year, around the BMW, I just got frustrated with not making anything, so I thought I'd try something different, put a similar style head in play and actually had some success. Had a seventh-place finish at Malaysia with it, 20th place finish at Disney with it, so I knew it was a good putter.
“But my first two weeks out here I could tell I wasn't comfortable when I'd get over the short putts. When I got home from Bob Hope, I pulled it out of the garage and was putting in my living room, then went outside in the backyard on my putting green, and I knew it was time to bring it back out. So it showed today.”
Alas, that 64 would be his only round in the 60s as he faded to T55 on Sunday.
AMBUSHED: TaylorMade’s RocketBallz campaign continued at at PGA TOUR Superstore in Scottsdale, where Johnson Wagner and Pat Perez handed out cash for yards gained with the company’s new RBZ 3-wood. Check out the video to see happy golfers after they got stacks of $10 bills. We’d be happy too.
WINNER’S BAG: Kyle Stanley at the Waste
Management Phoenix Open:
Driver: Titleist 910D3 driver, 8.5 degrees
3-wood: Titleist 910Fd, 13.5 degrees
Irons: Titleist 503i 2-iron, MB irons 4-PW
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 52, 56, 60 degrees
Putter: Scotty Cameron Timeless GSS
Ball: Titleist ProV1x
Johnson Wagner and Pat Perez made some unsuspecting customers at a Scottsdale, Ariz., PGA TOUR Superstore very happy Friday evening.
After their second rounds at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the two TaylorMade staff players showed up at the golf store with a suitcase full of $10,000, ready to hand out to anyone who tested the new TaylorMade RocketBallz 3-wood.
Customers were paid $10 per yard, up to $100, for every yard gained with the RocketBallz compared to their current fairway wood. TaylorMade claims the RocketBallz 3-wood, which went on sale this week, can provide up to 17 extra yards.
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Two players who have history at Torrey Pines are gaining ground on Kyle Stanley.
Pat Perez, who did odd jobs for free golf here as a teenager, has birdied three of his first seven holes to move to 11 under. Perez, whose father is the announcer at the first tee on the South Course during the tournament, made a 4-footer at No. 1, a 6-footer at the third and has just rolled in a 14-footer at the seventh hole.
Perez is tied with Bill Haas, who just tapped in from 2 feet at No. 5 for his first birdie of the day. Haas held a share of the 54-hole lead last year at Torrey Pines but bogeyed two of the first four holes on Sunday on the way to a 75 that left him in a tie for ninth.
Haas also has family ties to the tournament. His dad Jay picked up his breakthrough win on the PGA TOUR at the Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational in 1978.
Should Bill win at Torrey Pines on Sunday it would mark the second time he's won the same tournament as his father. Bill's breakthrough victory came at the 2010 Bob Hope Classic, an event Jay won in 1988.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Pat Perez spent the better part of his teenage years either playing at Torrey Pines or doing odd jobs and picking up balls on the range.
The extra pocket money was great. "But it was the fact that I had free cart and free golf, all the balls I could hit -- and I hit probably all of them," Perez recalled.
It was a family affair, too. Perez's father Tony was a starter at Torrey Pines, and he’s been announcing the players on the first tee of the South Course during the Farmers Insurance Open for about 20 years.
Looks like he could have a lot of good things to say when his son steps to the tee there on Friday. Perez is currently 5 under through 17 holes on the North Course and in a tie for ninth, four strokes off the lead.
When the U.S. Open was played at Torrey Pines in 2008, Perez
reminisced about playing the municipal course as a youngster.
"We had some help in the starter's booth, but we still had to get a number," Perez said. "We'd get here about 1, 2 in the morning and you've got to get a number from the guy. So if you were early you had to wait until someone else showed up and then you got your number and then you could go to sleep and set your alarm for 5:30.
"And then everyone would go in the coffee shop, get a drink or get something to drink.And then everyone would form a line across the top balcony up there. And it was one after another went off, and tee off at 6:30 and that was the kind of day. And then I'd go to work after that.
"I loved it. As a kid, you're getting out of the house, you got more freedom. I loved it. I wouldn't do it now, but it was fun at the time."
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
HONOLULU -- Count Pat Perez as one of the converts to the belly putter.
During a trip to Cabo San Lucas six weeks ago, Perez tried one during a round and, in his words, "putted unbelievable."
"I haven't taken it out of my hands since," Perez said.
He's feeling even better about the switch after two solid putting rounds at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Perez shot a second-round 3-under 67 to go with his opening 66, putting him at 7 under and firmly among the contenders going into the weekend at Waialae.
Perez has been battling a bulging disc in his back that seems to be flaring up since he started getting back to work and walking more.
"It's just tight," Perez said. "I can't get it to loosen up. Between the flight and the new bed and all that stuff, I guess -- hopefully it disappears. But it probably won't because the disc is bulged."
NORTON, Mass. – The wind is already fairly brisk at TPC Boston on Monday and by the time the leaders get on the golf course at 1:45 p.m. the gusts could clock in at 20 mph.
Maybe that’s why no one is going really low early like Phil Mickelson did as he posted a 63 on Sunday. Of the 52 players who have played at least at hole right now, 24 are currently over par.
Pat Perez and Jimmy Walker have the day’s low rounds so far, shooting 67s. Walker, who came into the week ranked 48th in the FedExCup, is 4 under for the tournament and projected at No. 51.
But Perez is 1 over for the tournament and could have just made his final Playoffs appearance. He came into the week ranked 63rd and has dropped to 76th in the projections. Only the top 70 advance to next week’s BMW Championship.
On the opposite end of the ledger, Hunter Mahan is doing his best Charley Hoffman impression. Like Hoffman did in shooting a final-round 62 a year ago, Mahan has gotten off to a good start – making birdie on his first three holes to move to 8 under for the tournament and three strokes off the lead held by Bubba Watson.
Marc Leishman, who came into the week holding down the bubble spot at No. 70, is also 3 under for the day through seven holes. He’s currently projected at No. 57.
The afternoon should remain warm, with temperatures in the mid-80s, and dry although a cold front is slowly pushing through New York and western Massachusetts. Rain could enter the picture in the evening.
EDISON, N.J. – Steve Flesch has become the fourth player to withdraw from The Barclays, stopping after nine holes of his second round while suffering from a sinus headache.
Flesch came into the week ranked 121st and will not earn any FedExCup points. So he will miss next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship and the rest of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Stuart Appleby and Chris Couch withdrew prior to the start of their second rounds, citing back injuries. Pat Perez withdrew on Thursday after his first round.
EDISON, N.J. – Stuart Appleby and Chris Couch have withdrawn from The Barclays prior to the start of their second rounds.
Appleby, who opened with an 81, and Couch, who shot 77 in the first round, both cited back injuries. They are the second and third players to withdraw this week – Pat Perez left Thursday after opening with a 79.
If he’s healthy, Couch should still be eligible for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which begins Friday. He came to The Barclays ranked No. 78 in the FedExCup and was projected at No. 89 when he withdrew. The top 100 in the standings will play at TPC Boston.
Appleby started the week at No. 113 in the FedExCup standings and didn’t earn any points at The Barclays. The Aussie will now have a five-week break from competition to heal.
EDISON, N.J. – Pat Perez has withdrawn from The Barclays after opening with a 79. He did not give a reason for his early exit.
Perez will not accrue any FedExCup points this week, as a result. But he started the Playoffs ranked No. 52 so he should be safe for next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship which features the top 100 in the standings.
Perez’s round included a penalty-induced five-putt at the 17th hole. He was assessed one-stroke after his 13-footer for par horseshoed out of the hole and hit him in the foot.