Which Bag Is Muy Macho
'Qui es muy macho?,' Billy/Fernando would intone, and then pit Tom Cruise's coolness against, say, Mr. T, or Gerald Ford, or Boy George.
Something similar happens in modern golf, but with less comic results. A common refrain on practice tees and development center ranges from Carlsbad to Croton-on-Hudson, invoked to explain why old club habits die so hard even in the face of proven better technology, goes like this: 'Well, you know how it is...the macho factor and all.'
Most recently, the MF has been seen as the glue that keeps 2-irons in bags whose owners' ability doesn't justify a place among the Elite 14. Hybrids, despite their ball flight advantages and their acceptance at all levels of the game, can't dislodge tradition and ideas of male toughness in every precinct of golf.
There's a good reason for that. Twos, and even the occasional knife, are good for a very narrow pie slice of the golfing population. And tradition is so strong in this game that some people consider a mere sacrifice of trajectory a small price to pay for the privilege of carrying golf jewelry.
But if you're not part of that elite group, and you agree with me that hitting fairways and greens is all the macho anyone really needs, you have to honestly assess your equipment choices. So here's a quick rundown of some macho options versus those that are less so (read: more effective for all but the most skilled players). If you have the game or the desire to go the macho route, there's nothing wrong with that...but my Handicap card and I will be waiting for you on the first tee.
Driver. Macho: About 350 cc's (if you can still find one), 8 degrees loft, stiff shaft. Non-macho: Enormous head, probably right at the 460 cc limit. Eleven, 12 or even 13 degrees loft. Regular flex shaft, maybe an A-flex for seniors whose swing speeds have slowed a bit. Non-macho advantage: Bigger head, bigger effective hitting area for people who can't hit it in the same spot on the face every time like professionals. A shaft that flexes easily and imparts as much energy as possible to the ball. The shaft's low kick point and the increased loft throw the ball up in the air and add hang time. While the ball is up there, it's going forward.
Long-shot clubs. Macho: Four-, 3-, 2-, and (yipes!) 1-irons, complete with their undeniably cool and classic look. Non-macho: A well-thought-out, fitted mix of two to four fairway woods and hybrids. Non-macho advantage: Like modern drivers, today's fairway woods and hybrids have weight low and waaaay back, which drops the clubhead's center of gravity way below the equator of the ball. As a result, impact drives the ball into the air rapidly, which is especially beneficial from rough. As for shots from good lies, see the driver section above regarding what the ball is doing while it's up there. And sole designs these days account for the fact that most of us don't hit down on the ball as much as we should, but rather sweep it a bit. These new soles give a sweet feel through the turf.
Irons. Macho: Player's blades, thinner than a bad alibi, complete with the razor top line and all the panache that comes with. Non-macho: One of the many models of irons available that feature low-and-back mass properties, often artfully hidden in the hitting position beneath a clean top line that has substance without undue width. Non-macho advantage: As with the longer second-shot clubs, the lower centers of gravity found in clubs with cavity backs, undercut channels and cut muscles encourage the ball to get airborne. Perimeter weighting fights dispersion. And here, going non-macho need not involve a cosmetic sacrifice. There are a great many very good-looking iron models out there now, and for all levels of player. Examples from a sea of choices: Titleist's forged line (especially those with precisely engineered cavities or muscle-like weighting features), Mizuno's MP 60s, and Cleveland's TA line.
Golf balls. Macho: A three- or four-piece tour ball with a urethane cover. Non-macho: A two-piece ball with a large, highly responsive core. Non-macho advantage: For people with lower swing speeds, the large-core models tend to go farther; tour-ball distance often comes from a core that is so deep in the ball that only really fast clubhead speeds can take advantage of it.
However, this is one area where the general rules of macho/non-macho don't always apply. Ball performance is so complex, and the demands we make of balls so diverse, that you may be better off going against type. That is to say, if the spin characteristics and distance of a tour ball work better for you (or just please you more) than the ball that fits your swing speed, have at it.
One last note: I don't mean to be sexist, but it's pretty well accepted that the so-called Macho Factor in golf is a phenomenon perpetuated by us men. Women, unconstrained by such primal golf forces, seem much better at building bags that give them the best chance of achieving their golf goals. Anyone in the grip of MF would do well to change his mindset and remember the object of the game: Less strokes, more fun.
And what's muy macho than that?
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”