Hey You Gotta Adjust

By Adam BarrMarch 19, 2005, 5:00 pm
The ability to adjust ' the very quality that leads to success in golf; indeed, to happiness in life ' is neatly boxed in by regulation, at least as far as equipment is concerned.
 
But never fear. Lets go to The Law.
 
b. Adjustability
Woods and irons must not be designed to be adjustable except for weight. Putters may be designed to be adjustable for weight and some other forms of adjustability are also permitted. All methods of adjustment permitted by the Rules require that:
(i) the adjustment cannot be readily made;
(ii) all adjustable parts are firmly fixed and there is no
reasonable likelihood of them working loose during a round; and
(iii) all configurations of adjustment conform with the Rules.
(The Rules of Golf, 2004-2005 ed., Appendix II(b), page 114. Far Hills, N.J., U.S. Golf Association)
 
Callaway Itrax PutterOne close reading, and you can see how TaylorMade-adidas Golf carefully worked its revolutionary r7 Quad into the statutory niche left by the Rules. Its adjustable only for weight (notwithstanding that TMaG claims the weight affects ball flight in certain ways), its not easy to make the adjustment right on the course, the parts are designed to hold firm, and any way you screw it in, the r7 conforms.
 
Still, that didnt stop Steve Flesch from joking on TGC last year that he would check his ball flight on No. 1 and get the toolbox out on the second tee. Of course, he never would, no more than any other real golfer (that is, one who respects the Rules of Golf) would. But Fleschs good-natured comments touched on our fascination with adjustable clubs, with the idea of taking the toolbox to a rigid club to bend it to the fluid demands of a rigid game.
 
The tool of choice lately seems to be the Allen wrench. That L-shaped bit of hexagonal rod can be used to change many kinds of new putters, all of which stay clear of rules problems. And if it increases the fun in the game, why not?
 
Check out Callaways new I-Trax, which features vision strips that can be changed out by working four little screws. Here, the weight profile of the putter doesnt really change much, but what you see does, which is Callaways acknowledgement that optics and aiming are as important as swingweight.
 
B3 Heavy PutterThe Heavy Putter, which operates on the theory that extra heft negates the twitchy action of the little muscles of the hands and makes your more reliable shoulders and chest perform the stroke, weighs 885 grams, compared to the average 490 grams for most putters (454 grams equal a pound). Part of that total weight is a 250-gram fixed insert in the butt of the shaft. The Heavy also comes with aluminum and copper-tungsten head weights of between 20 grams and 70 grams (28 grams is an ounce) that can be used to fine-tune the perimeter weighting and correct chronic misses.
 
SeeMores Money (word is the tour pros love the name) lets you screw in new back weights through the sole plate, noticeably changing the feel of the club. And theres more: SeeMores under-grip weight, which resembles a shotgun shell, can be removed with a bigger Allen wrench. Mess with both, and its like having eight or so different putters ' and that requires some care, because if you overdo it, you can unscrew your way to screwing up your stroke.
 
The solution? With any adjustable putter, move slowly, incrementally, until you find a weight that makes your stroke and ball path make sense. Its more like tuning a guitar or riching up the fuel mixture in your classic Chevy than moving furniture or tossing sacks of flour. A couple of grams either way can make a lot of difference over the entire journey of ball to hole.
 
If you need more convincing than that, look at the semicircular weight bar on the back of Scotty Camerons new Futura Phantom putter (which, by the way, has screws, but they're not meant to be user-removed). It says 35 on the back if its the right weight for a 35-inch overall putter length. If it said 34, it would be all wrong for that user of a longer putter. Inches, grams, millimeters.it all adds up to more putts made ' or missed.
 
Of course, the new crop of adjustable putters (and this is only the beginning, believe me) is hardly the first generation of changeable clubs, or even putters. But every incarnation gets better as technology improves. Bringing a bit of subjective design to something as personal as putting makes sense. Just take the medicine in small doses, and experiment patiently ' and adjust yourself into a better game.
 
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Getty Images

Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

Getty Images

Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

Getty Images

Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

Getty Images

Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.