Drivers Enter MOI Generation

By Brian HewittJanuary 25, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 PGA Merchandise ShowORLANDO, Fla. -- Remember the Me generation?
Golf driver technology, is now in the middle of a movement of its own. Call it the MOI generation.
MOI stands for moment of inertia. And the latest urgency among club manufacturers is to maximize MOI which in turn optimizes the resistance to twisting on off-center hits. The maximum MOI allowed by the USGA is 5900 gram-centimeters squared.
Dont worry. There wont be a quiz on this. But it has caused a bit of a buzz in the industry.
Until recently, the bigger the golf club manufacturers made the heads on their drivers, the more the jokes proliferated about size and how much it mattered.
Now, it appears in this new era of MOI awareness, shape matters. And once you get past those inevitable jokes you begin to understand how radical this latest departure in driver design may really be.
The full name of The Show that opened Thursday in Orlando is the 54th PGA Merchandise Show. And once again, thanks in large part to the MOI generation there is a lot to talk about.
Revolution is a strong word, says Jeff Colton, the Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Callaway Golf. But it will bust open the markets acceptance of new shapes.
The it Colton refers to is the square-shaped FT-i his company makes that was once, in prototype, called SpongeBob. Then there is Clevelands HiBORE XL that is longer from front to back. And there is Nikes SQ Sumo2 with a head nearly five inches square. Titleist is marketing a driver with a triangle-shaped head.
You dont see many square shaped jet fighter planes, says Chris McGinley. Theyre all triangular. McGinley is Titleists vice-president of golf club marketing.
Cobra is coming out with a SPEED LD driver head that stretches 4.7 inches from face to back.
Its not so much shape as it is about the MOI numbers, says Jeff Harmet, President of Cobra Golf. Cobras PGA TOUR staff pros include long hitters J.B. Holmes, Geoff Ogilvy and Camilo Villegas.
Meanwhile at TaylorMade, a consistent leader in driver counts on the PGA Tour, execs have been forced to shape a rebuttal. Not that their arguments arent compelling. And not that the company is sitting on its R&D hands.
New geometries in drivers have been the talk, says Mike Ferris, TaylorMades senior director of product marketing. What youll see at The Show from us deals with shape vs. benefits. Is a different shape something thats going to benefit the player?
And its sure to be a lively debate. TaylorMades r7 Superquad driver maxes out size and has four movable weight screws. But the shape is not radically different. TaylorMade is also debuting this week a new iteration of the Burner line that has no movable weights and is all about enhancing ball speed.
Its for the bomber, Ferris says.
What does all this mean to the consumer this week now that the equipment industry and its buyers have beaten a path to the doors of Orlandos Orange County Convention Center?
It means its time to study up on your MOI. More sales and performance answers will be available by the end of the year. In the meantime the February issue of Golf Digest has put out a comprehensive 56-page special section called The Hot List. Its a must read.
Nothing in golf changes lives more than an obliterated tee shot, says the magazine. For you, its a walk-off home run, buzzer-beating fadeaway-jumper, get-the-girl kind of good. For your opponent, its a blindside tackle, sudden-uppercut-to-the-solar-plexus, have-a-LifeSaver kind of bad. Golfers walk taller when theyve outdriven members of their foursome. They should. After all, is there a greater sense of self-worth an individual can experience than to stand on the tee box of a difficult driving hole and blast one to flip-wedge distance? No, there is not.
Enough said.
Not to be forgotten, meanwhile, are the new developments in fairway woods and hybrids.
Once reserved as an attack weapon solely for the warrior class, todays fairway woods offer improved stability, new heat off the face and even the occasional creative space-age material, says Golf Digest. In these bottom-line times, that means theyre easier to hit than ever. Fairway woods just need a better PR campaign.
Titleist lumps fairway woods and hybrids together and calls them the long game category.
You need to be sure you have the proper yardage and trajectory spacing at the long end of your set, says McGinley.
John Daly recently took the 2-iron out of his bag and replaced it with a TaylorMade rescue club. Tour players may have been surprised. Clubmakers were not.
The 2-iron is a dinosaur, says Callaways Colton. His company is out with what it calls the X-Hot 3-wood. Its an oversized 3-wood and attractive especially to longer hitters who have had to dial back from the tee on golf courses that dont play as long as they used to play.
Adams, Bobby Jones, Cleveland, Ping and Nike remain major forces in the fairway woods category. In hybrids the Adams Pro got Golf Digests coveted Editors Choice award. All the top manufacturers are active in hybrids as well Nickent which features a three-dimensional weighting system.
Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200-plus for a reputable hybrid. Fairway woods worth trying range from $150 to $230 on the street. Drivers top out at around $500. On the other end of the driver range you can get a Tour Edge Bazooka Geomax with a nice selection of high lofts for closer to $200.
In the end, with drivers, its what feels comfortable to you. Most of the top manufacturers now have sophisticated fitting systems. And most regions of the country have launch monitor options available in brick and mortar shops that optimize spin rate.
Whats the next frontier? MOI came into vogue after manufacturers pushed up against the 460 cc size limit for driver heads. Now its all about geometry and making sure changing current geometry is the right thing to do.
I think you are going to see more radical designs going forward over and above basic squares and circles, says McGinley. It will be interesting to see what kind of tolerance golfers will have in terms of what they are willing to look at in the playing position.
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

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    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

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    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.