Big Bertha Diablo A driver with an attitude

By David AllenMay 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
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The original Callaway Big Bertha driver was as synonymous with the word power as John Daly was in the early 1990s. Made of stainless steel and named after a World War I German howitzer, it was larger in volume, lighter and stronger than any persimmon-wood driver which preceded it, and helped spawn the 460cc super-sized driver heads we see today.
 
Over time, Callaway Golf spun the Big Bertha into the Great Big Bertha, Great Big Bertha II, Biggest Big Bertha and other similar names, with the hope that the line would maintain its heavyweight status among drivers. But in recent years, the feeling among Callaways innovation and marketing team was that the Big Bertha brand was starting to lose some of its luster; that it was becoming more synonymous with forgiveness and game improvement than power. They needed a brand name with more attitude.
 
Enter the Big Bertha Diablo driver. The word diablo means devil in Spanish; it also happens to be the name of Greg Sabellas high school mascot. Sabella is Callaway Golfs director of marketing for woods products.
 
We thought that in some ways the Big Bertha got soft, said Luke Williams, Callaway Golfs director of innovation. We wanted to make sure this driver had a broader appeal and a little more edge to it.
 
Since hitting stores in mid-March, Callaway has had a devil of a good time marketing the Diablo. Print and television ads have run such slogans as, Release your inner Diablo, Get medieval on your foursome, and Play with Fire. It helps that Callaways poster boy for the Big Bertha Diablo is Rocco Mediate, one of the most popular players on the PGA Tour. Mediate first tested a prototype of the Diablo driver last September, three months after he gave Tiger Woods all he could handle in a 19-hole Monday playoff at the U.S. Open.
 
The first ball I hit with it, I pretty much said, Okay, Im done for the year. This is the one, said Mediate. Its the best driver Ive ever hit in my life. I absolutely love it.
 
At the FBR Open in February, Mediate averaged 296 yards off the tee with the Diablo, an increase of 18 yards over the previous year. For the year, hes averaging 282 yards per drive, a jump of almost 3 1/2 yards from 2008.
 
It reminds me of the Biggest Big Bertha, said Mediate, referring to the first Callaway driver he played back in 1996. I cant believe how good it is, how quickly it has become part of me. I can hit it up, down, fades or drawswhatever. I can really make this sing.
 
The crown helps you visualize the proper inside path.

 
Mediate is known for his sweeping right-to-left draws, and the Big Bertha Diablo comes in draw and neutral clubhead shapes to help golfers create the ball flight of their choosing. The crown on the draw head is skewed toward the heel of the club so that as you look down at address, the head looks to be pointing right of the target. This helps you visualize the proper path on the takeaway, which is to the inside. Most slicers tend to take the club back to the outside and then swing down into impact from outside-in. The shape of the Diablo promotes the proper inside track into the ball.
 
At the same time, the face of the draw head is slightly closed, to help reduce the possibility of hitting a slice. The shaping of the head also allows more mass to be moved toward the heel of the club, which helps create a draw.
 
For a player who slices the ball, were trying to do as much as we can to help them get the clubface back to square, said Williams.
 
The neutral head is more symmetrical, and the weight more in line with the center of the clubface. The face is also less curved, to give golfers the ability to shape the ball in both directions. A weight chip is inserted in the head to allow the engineers to move weight toward the heel (draw-bias) or the center of the face (neutral-bias) and bring the center of gravity back, farther away from the face.
 
A titanium cup face helps increase ball speeds.

 
One of the other unique features to the Diablo is what Callaway refers to as Hyperbolic Face Technology. A raised X-like pattern, made of cast titanium, is welded onto the inside of the clubface to help maintain more consistent ball speeds across the face. The X-pattern is thickest in the center region and tapers off as it stretches toward the perimeter of the clubface, which changes the way the face flexes and allows ball speeds to remain fairly high even on off-center hits.
 
Like most Callaway drivers, there is no hosel on the Big Bertha Diablo (except in the Tour Authentic model), which allows engineers to move more mass toward the perimeter of the clubhead to lower the CG and increase MOI (Moment of Inertia). The result is an all-titanium driver that is forgiving, yes, but also very powerful, and devishly delicious.
 
The draw version of the Big Bertha Diablo driver comes in lofts of 9, 10 and 11 degrees; the neutral version 8, 9 and 10 degrees. The street price is $299.
 
Leftys choice of 3-woods
 
The Big Bertha Diablo line also extends to fairway woods and hybrids. The fairway woods ($179 steel, $199 graphite) feature two heads (draw and neutral), just like the driver. The neutral head is slightly smaller than the draw head and is designed for better players and Tour players. Phil Mickelson carries a 13-degree neutral 3-wood.
 
The face on both heads is relatively shallow, and designed so that the leading edge sits very close to the ground. This gives off the appearance that the head is sitting below the ball, which gives the average golfer more confidence that they can get the ball up in the air.
 
Phil says its the best 3-wood hes ever had, said Williams. He uses it a lot as a second driving club because he can hit it miles, but he also feels he has more control with it on tighter holes.
 
The hybrids ($139 steel, $159 graphite) dont have the similar shaping properties of the Diablo driver and fairway woods. The emphasis is on the Dual Runner Sole of the club, which is designed to work well through a variety of different surfaces ' off the tee, tight lies, and out of the rough ' and helps lower the leading edge to make the sweet spot more accessible.
 

 
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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.