TaylorMades Putter Focus

By March 23, 2010, 10:55 pm

They have dominated the driver category on tour for a number of years but TaylorMade Golf has a new target – the short game. Specifically, putters.

The popular Rossa franchise is getting a boost this year in several ways, via new Kia Ma crafted tour models and the evolution of the Rossa Monza Spider putter line – the Vicino.

TaylorMade Rossa Monza Spider VicinoSet to hit retail on March 25, the Vicino had its first full week on the PGA Tour at the Transitions Championship with a wide number of models ready for player testing and use.

“A lot of people look at it (the Vicino) and the original Spider and says there’s not much difference,” TaylorMadePGA Tour representative Shawn Mullin told said last week on the practice putting green at Innisbrook. “But that’s hardly the case; within the putter there is quite a bit of difference.”

Mullin says the new mallet model is a true evolution based on a lot of study and research. “We’ve spent a lot of time studying things like loft, shaft pitch, and face angle, and so on. One of things we have focused on is having enough loft (the standard loft of the Vicino is 3.75 degrees) with the correct face angle.”

According to Mullin, having enough loft and the right shaft pitch can be hard to maintain when players look to vary the face angle of their putter but they have solved that issue in the Vicino. “In years gone by when we changed the face angle or the loft the shaft pitch would become negative and putter shaft would end up pointing back at your right shoulder, which was not a good thing.” The solution to that was what TaylorMade calls “90 degree shaft angle.”

Using this development they are able to maintain proper loft whether you choose to have the putter sit square, 1 degree open, or 2 degrees open – whatever fits your eye. Adds Mullin, a former PGA Professional, “you will be able to get a fit for your stroke and the look you want with the right shaft pitch and effective loft.”

In a move to create even more options so the golfer can get the putter that fits them rather than having to conform to the putter, TaylorMade is also offering three face options for the Vicino. On top of the regular Titallium AGSI insert there is also an AGSI S insert made of Surlynthat is firmer while a Carbon AGSI insert, the AGSI C, is slightly less reactive. “They each provide a different feel and a different sound, which some players prefer. We have a lot of options to help get players into a putter that fits them.”

As successful as the original Rossa Monza Spider was Mullin feels the Vicino will have an even bigger impact. “We learned a lot from that putter and the process of developing it. We’ve listened to the players and it’s much like NASCAR. As you are developing new product you must listen to the people that are driving it or using it – and the best players in the world, specifically. They are telling us what they see and feel and hear and I think we have been able to do a good job with taking that feedback and getting it in line with the product we deliver to them.”

TaylorMade Kia MaAccompanying the Vicino with a March 25 retail launch date will be three Kia Ma designs. Kia Ma crafted putters are slightly more traditional in shape and the result has been very positive. “Kia Ma has been doing very well. We have some of the best players in the world playing his product right now. Kia does a fantastic job. He’s been in the putter business forever; frankly he’s one of the best fabricators there is. We have guys like Sean O’Hair and Sergio Garcia – some of our bigger name players using the product so we expect it to continue to be successful; on tour and at retail.”

As for how far TaylorMade-adidas expects the Vicino and Kia Ma putter designs to take them on tour they have some well-defined goals. “I think our beginning goal is to try and take over that #3 on tour and slowly close the gap on 1 and 2,” Mullin proclaims with confidence. “Obviously it is going to take time. There are player contracts involved; there are a lot of factors, but the immediate goal is to try and jump into that No. 3 spot.”

He concludes, “I think with this and some other new product; we have another new launch coming out soon, we should be able to make an impact on tour.”

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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.