TaylorMade R11 a one-stop-shop for tour players

By Rex HoggardMarch 31, 2011, 5:34 pm

Martin Laird put the driver he used at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational in play two weeks earlier at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, but the process that ultimately convinced the Scot to play the TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 model at Bay Hill began weeks before at the Northern Trust Open.

Although it varies widely from player to player – by comparison, Briny Baird was fit into his new TaylorMade R11 driver after just five swings – finding just the right driver, and putter, is best considered a long, familiar dance.

TaylorMade R11 driverGamers, as Tour types call their clubs that make it into the bag during tournament rounds, are similar to golf swings – that is, dug out of the dirt. At least they used to be before TaylorMade unveiled the R11 earlier this year.

“This is the easiest (driver) to get into play since I’ve been on Tour,” said Todd Chew, a member of TaylorMade’s sports marketing. “It’s so adjustable. You just have to get it somewhere close (to what a player wants) and we can dial it in from there on the range.”

It used to be a familiar dance, the techies tinker, the player hits, repeat – sometimes for days or even weeks. But the new R11 technology, an assortment of settings that address everything from face alignment to loft adjustments, has streamlined an often arduous process from days to hours.

“It’s super easy for club fitters,” Chew said. “You still have to know what you’re doing, but you don’t have to run back and forth from the (Tour) van to the range and back. It’s all right there and real technology-savvy players love it.”

The latest version of TaylorMade’s “R” family allows a player to adjust the loft up to 2 degrees via the “Flight Control Technology” system, the face angle from neutral to either closed or open at address as well as the company’s adjustable weight technology that allows flight paths that range from a draw to a fade bias, company officials say.

“The science behind it is awesome,” said D.A. Points, a TaylorMade staff player. “You can find a shaft you like and a head set up you like. You can tinker and tweak and twist and turn it and at the end of the day you will have the best fitting driver.”

Even more encouraging, at least for those without access to a Tour van, is that the same process, and science, that Laird used to win at Bay Hill can now be taken to driving ranges everywhere. What used to take a team of Tour technician, and a truck full of specialized equipment, can now take place on your local practice tee.

An arm-chair tinkerer may not know the “spin rate” of a certain configuration, but if the golf ball is launching too high you have too much spin – too low, not enough – and so on.

“The biggest difference between (the average player) and the Tour player, you and I are not perfectly fit. We’re kind of winging it, whereas a Tour player is dialed in,” Chew said. “With this you can pretty much do it yourself.”

The R11, which launched on Tour at Torrey Pines, currently comes in two standard lofts (9 and 10.5 degrees) and can be adjusted 1 degree in either direction, but the company is currently developing a prototype 8-degree version which is internally weighted for players like Martin Kaymer, who currently plays a 9-degree driver and prefers a certain sound.

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.