Titanium Graphite and Steel - Oh My

By Adam BarrJanuary 21, 2002, 5:00 pm
The swing purists ' and here I mean the wrinkle-free, never-worried teaching pros who pure every 8-iron 157 yards and think you should, too ' tsk-tsk and shake their heads at the idea of bolstering ones game by purchasing the latest in equipment.
 
Cant buy a game, theyre likely to say, as they club-toe another ball into place, take their stance, and pure it once again.
 
In the strictest sense, theyre right. Without a sound swing, any advantages equipment offers will be only temporary.
 
On the other hand, golf is a hard game. We should no more play with substandard gear than a carpenter should make do with outdated tools.
The premium golf equipment industry couldnt agree more. This year, as they have every year in recent memory, the top companies are offering a veritable smorgasbord of science at the end of graphite shafts.
 
Since persimmon gave way to steel and titanium in drivers, the name woods for the bigger clubs in the bag has been largely ceremonial. With its new C4 driver, Callaway Golf gives us a look at what may be beyond metal. The name stands for Compression Cured Carbon Composite. Thats right, graphite has moved from the shaft into the clubhead. Its not the first time weve seen composite clubheads (remember models by Kunnan and Yonex?), but Callaway says its new club takes the genre a step further.

Callaway designers placed tungsten-loaded urethane weight strips in the clubhead to move the weight away from the center of the clubface, resulting in a more forgiving hit. Theres plenty of room, too: The clubhead is 360 cc, one of the biggest on the market. And because its mostly graphite instead of metal, the clubhead is very light. So expect to get it going faster, Callaway says ' and enjoy the extra yardage. The C4 will be available in February; the suggested retail price will be $540.
 
Metal certainly hasnt been abandoned. Callaway offers the third generation of its dependable Steelhead line. The Steelhead III drivers and fairway woods feature larger heads ' theres that forgiveness again. The clubs also incorporate the companys variable face thickness technology, which allows metal faces to be thinned and remain strong, so more mass can be moved to the outside edges of the clubhead. The new design also extends the clubhead from heel to toe, to make a bigger hitting area.
 
Titanium golf club prices still cause a lot of sticker shock, so major companies have used their steel lines to keep potential customers from fleeing the pro shop. TaylorMade-Adidas Golf is doing that with its new 200 line of metalwoods. The clubs offer all the advantages of the companys successful 300 titanium line, which was the talk of the PGA Tour in 2001, but in a less costly steel version. And the clubs have the highest coefficient of restitution (spring-like effect off the face) ever in a TaylorMade club on the legal side of the U.S. Golf Association limit, the company says.
 
The 200 Series is out now. Suggested retail prices are $329 per club with graphite shafts; $249 with steel shafts.
 
Of course, cost consciousness can be quickly forgotten in the search for a long drive, so titanium is still a big seller. Ping is updating its popular TiSI driver into the TiSI Tec, keeping the enormous head but adding weight pads inside the sole plate to distribute the mass just right. Ping also employs its own variable face thickness knowledge to move weight around a stiff clubface.
 
And that ET number on the club isnt loft, but effective trajectory. Thats the loft of the clubhead at impact, once that shaft bends and stores up all that energy youll use to out-drive your foursome compadres. ET is 1.5 degrees less that the static (at-rest) loft. The whole idea is to reduce spin. Less spin on the drives equals more distance.
 
The TiSI Tec is available now. The suggested retail price - $515.
Some companies like to keep the wraps on their latest and greatest until the PGA Merchandise Show, the big golf industry confab set for Jan. 24-27 in Orlando. The biggest mystery on golf gearheads minds is what the new Nike golf clubs will be like.

The worlds largest sporting goods company has grabbed a foothold in the highly competitive golf ball market, and got the worlds No. 1 player to use its products. Presumably hell do the same with Nike golf clubs. But what will be available to us mortals?
 
Two forged titanium (read: expensive) drivers will be in the line, along with forged, muscle-back irons and a collection of wedges. The drivers will be available in February, with the other clubs to follow in the spring. Some tour pros, most notably David Duval, have had prototype irons in their bags already.
 
Forged clubs, with their sweet feedback but small sweet spot, are usually the province of better players. But its unlikely that Nike would cut itself off from a big segment of the golf market by making clubs only the experts could hit. And Nikes clubs were designed by Fort Worth, Texas, club master Tom Stites, whose clubmaking pedigree goes back to working with the great Ben Hogan.
 
This is only a sampling of a multitude of offerings from an industry thats hoping for a big year in 2002. And no matter what the swing purists say, theres likely to be new equipment out there that can help you tune up your game ' or at least have a darn good time trying.
 
For more from Adam Barr, LIVE from the PGA Merchandise Show, catch Golf Central every night at 7:30 p.m. ET during Tune Up Your Game Week Jan. 21'27.
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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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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.

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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.

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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.