Lets Be Frank - COPIED

By Frank ThomasApril 29, 2009, 4:00 pm

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Stocking Up on Wedges

Dear Frank,
I recently read your article in the New York Times about the new groove rule and how it is unfair to 99.5 percent of the golfing population. I couldnt agree more. That said, it doesn't appear as if the USGA is going to retract the new rule.
That leaves us average golfers with a few choices: 1) We can spend several hundred dollars stocking up on enough of today's model wedges with the square grooves to last us until 2024 (This option doesnt seem plausible to most, especially in the present economic conditions with the price of most wedges being $100 or more.); or, 2) we could keep the same wedges we have now until 2024 (But if we did that, the extra spin of the square grooves would be negated due to wear.); or, 3) we can buy wedges made after 2009 with less groove volume, which would reduce the spin we put on the ball.
Although I don't particularly like any of these options, I am probably leaning toward spending the money. However, I hit a lot of balls on the range as well, as play several times a week, so my grooves wear out quite quickly. If I wanted to keep ideal performance I may need to replace my wedges every one or two years and then I would be looking at spending over $2000. My question is, what would you recommend to someone like myself who hits balls a lot and who wants to keep fresh grooves on his wedges? Should I bite the bullet and spend the money?

I really don't know what advice to give you with regard to your fundamental question. If the USGA is going to ban the existing grooves anyway ' something you believe to be an inevitability ' then we really do have a problem, not with the action but the lack of consideration for the average golfer. There has been a complete lack of transparency regarding the request for evidence that there really is a problem or that the new rule will solve it. This leads to a lack of respect for the body, which purports to represent golfers and the game as a whole. If we (all golfers) don't respect the USGA then the game suffers.
I would suggest that, because you're probably going to need a new set of wedges every three seasons and you have 14 years before you are disqualified for using your existing clubs, that you stock up on at least three sets of irons (specifically, your wedges) before the manufacturers stop making them as of January 1, 2010.
The upside is that if the USGA comes to its senses, and decides that the change is inappropriate ' except, possibly, for the very elite where a local condition of competition can be adopted ' and rescinds the rule, then you will be ahead of the game with sets of wedges to spare. Fortunately, wedge technology is not changing very much so your clubs will still be state-of-the-art in 14 years and will conform then and beyond.
Dan, I sincerely hope that the USGA rethinks this change. Maybe you and your friends should write to the USGA asking them to provide evidence that the game will benefit from the change, and if it is not available rescind the rule change.
I am a firm believer that common sense will prevail; it just takes some time to manifest itself.
' Frank

Make Room for a New Driver

As I looked at your drawing of optimum launch conditions, I was wondering the significance of how high the ball is teed. Does the height the ball is teed affect the launch conditions? If my driver is 9.5 degrees, can I get the same result of using a 13- degree driver if I just teed the ball higher?

Your question about how to get a 9.5-degree driver to perform like a 13-degree driver to get closer to the optimum launch conditions is more complex than I have space for in this answer. I can, however, give you some general idea of the problem you face, if you don't want to admit yourself to a swing hospital for some major surgery.
Let's assume that that you have a swing speed of about 90 mph and are looking for a launch angle of about 13.5 degrees with a spin rate of about 2,500 rpm. With your 9.5-degree driver you are probably getting close to the right spin rate but about an 11- degree launch angle. If you tee the ball higher and the contact point is a little above center (on the clubface) you will decrease the spin rate, because of the vertical gear effect, and increase the launch angle by a degree or so. This will be the best you can do with your 9.5 driver, even with a more flexible shaft.
I don't think that you will be able to achieve what you are looking for with the driver you have, but you'll also overshoot the mark with a 13-degree driver by increasing the launch angle to about 14-plus degrees with a spin rate of 3,500 rpm. These conditions are required for someone with less than 80 mph swing speed. I suggest that, if my assumptions are correct, you should look for a driver with a loft of 10.5 degrees.
Actually, 10 degrees is fine but few of these are made because of the pure marketing reasons I discussed last week. I suggest that you look for a 10.5-degree driver of last year's model which will work very well and cost a lot less than the latest model.
Good luck.
' Frank
Please note: By submitting your question to Frank you will automatically become a Frankly Friend so you can stay up to date with his golf equipment Q&A. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Frank Thomas, inventor of the graphite shaft, is founder of Frankly Golf, a company dedicated to helping golfers. Frank is chief technical advisor to GolfChannel.com. He served as technical director of the USGA for 26 years and directed the development of the GHIN system and introduced the Stimpmeter to the world of golf. To email a question for possible use in an upcoming Let's Be Frank column, please email letsbefrank@franklygolf.com
Frank Thomas
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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.