New For 2008 From Titleist

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 10, 2008, 5:00 pm recently had the opportunity to take a look at the upcoming 2008 lineup of Titlieist Advanced Performance irons, the AP1, AP2, ZB, and ZM . It was a rare peek into the technology, design, and fitting factors which are driving the next generation of Titleist irons.
The 2008 crop is definitely not your Father's 681s or DCIs.
The initial reaction from seeing pictures on the forums, make most take a double look, and beg the question, 'What is Titleist thinking?' The typical Titleist player may not be used to seeing thicker top lines, multi-color paint fills, or grooved badges; however, they all have a purpose. Titleist seems very intent on expanding their core market and to prove their approach to today's accomplished golfers has been simplified without sacrificing performance.
The 2008 crop of irons were designed and built around the concept of pure feel. The typical Titleist player loves the look of a 'Player's Iron' but at the end of the day all that matters is performance and being in the Winner's Circle. The AP1 is a multi-material, dual cavity cast iron versus the AP2 which is a multi-material, dual cavity 'contemporary' forged iron. The AP1/AP2 is aimed at those players who are currently playing 775 and 755 irons who are looking for a better shot control, forgiveness, and that typical Titleist feel. These irons will be well positioned against competitors like the Callaway X-20s, TM R7, Mizuno MX-25, and Ping i10 iron.

The AP1 is an attempt to focus on the 5-15 handicap of aspiring golfer who seek better feel and shot control for their game. Feel is the driving factor 2008 lineup and that is achieved with multi-material construction. The AP1 body is made by casting 431 stainless steel while the AP2 is forged from 1020 mild carbon steel. Both have sole plates that are compromised of tungsten nickel to achieve extreme perimeter weighting. Within each head is also an elastomer cushion. All these components work in conjunction to deliver that muted click feel traditional players love. The AP1 has a semi-under slung hosel which aides in bounce and forgiveness. The AP2 has a traditional blade-like hosel junction which allows for a relieved trailing edge for shotmaking.

The AP 1 will be strong loft and play off of a PW of 45*. The AP2 will be set at Tour lofts with a PW of 47*. Irons are slated for availability in March of 2008 and will have the typical Titleist custom options available. Project X 5.5 will be standard on the AP2 and Dynamic Gold HL for the AP1. No 2 iron specs were seen at this point but will be available for leftys. These irons should start showing up in stores in early spring of 2008. Pricing has not been officially announced yet.

Didn't get much time to hit the AP1 and AP2 in depth but, from the few shots that I did take, they did deliver on the feel promise. For those who are used to thin top lines, the transition to a thicker top line may very well be worth it because of the performance benefit involved. The sole versatility is also quite evident and those who like to shape their shots will not be disappointed. Titleist has had very good feedback from all its Tour Staff and believes that most of them will move to the AP2 irons by next season. These should definitely be on every one's list to try out who's looking for a player's cavity back for the 2008 season.

Look for these and other new additions to the '08 line at the PGA merchandise show later this month!
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.