US Players Have Fond Memories of Nicklaus

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PresidentTiger Woods was a sophomore in high school when he first met Jack Nicklaus, serving as a warm-up act to the Golden Bear during a golf clinic in Los Angeles. Fred Funk was 37 when they first shared a stage, a third-round pairing at the U.S. Open that left Funk so nervous Nicklaus had to calm him down.
Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus
Tiger Woods seems to play his best when Jack Nicklaus says goodbye.
They both refer to Nicklaus as the greatest golfer of all time. At the Presidents Cup, though, they simply will call him 'Captain Jack.'
This has been a year of farewells for Nicklaus, who played his final Masters in April and ended his incomparable major championship career at the British Open. His final act this year is to lead the U.S. team at the Presidents Cup.
In the weeks leading up to the Sept. 22-25 matches, his 12 players shared their favorite memories of Nicklaus, which invariably involve his children, his presence and a surprising ability to talk smack:
Kenny Perry
Perry figured he was a lucky man to get a practice round with Nicklaus at the British Open this year, the final major championship of his career.
Then he discovered the Nicklaus needle.
'It was me and Tom Watson against him and Mike Weir,' Perry said. 'The whole day, Jack was needling me. If I hit a bad shot, left a putt short, whatever. He'd say, 'Yeah, my mother would have done it like that.' And I was thinking, 'Did he just say something about me?' I felt like a pin cushion out there.'
Any other time, Perry would have given it right back.
But it didn't seem right.
'I looked over at Weir and said, 'Can I say something to him?' But that's Jack Nicklaus. I can't needle that guy,' Perry said. 'It got so bad that Tom Watson finally stuck up for me, because he knew I wasn't going to say anything.'
Perry laughs at the abuse he took, but he'll never forget the end of the round. Nicklaus invited them all onto the Swilcan Bridge for a group photo.
'He sent me the picture with an autograph, and a 5-pound note,' he said. 'That's going to make a good picture.'
Scott Verplank
Augusta National always has honored amateur players, which explains how Verplank got paired with Nicklaus in the first round of the 1986 Masters. Verplank won the 1984 U.S. Amateur, then won the Western Open in 1985 while he was still at Oklahoma State. 'They try to pair amateurs with past champions,' Verplank said. 'I had a decent record as an amateur, and they paired me with a guy who had a decent record as a pro.'
It sure didn't look like that week would be anything special for Nicklaus, who rallied on the back nine just to shoot 74 in the first round. Verplank played college golf against Jack Nicklaus II, who was caddying for his dad that week. Walking up to the clubhouse after they signed their cards, Verplank said to him, 'If your dad keeps his head still on the putts, he could still win.'
'The back nine was flawless,' Verplank said. 'There was still nobody who could hit it like him.'
Verplank missed the cut and doesn't remember much about his round.
He doesn't even recall if he was nervous.
'I had to be dying, because I don't remember a damn shot I hit,' he said. 'Twenty years later, I still remember every shot he hit. It wasn't his best that day, but it was a thrill to play with him. I got back to Stillwater and was sitting in front of the TV that Sunday, having goose bumps just like everyone else.'
Nicklaus shot 65 in the final round and won his sixth green jacket.
'I'd like to think I got it started,' Verplank said with a laugh.
David Toms
Nicklaus appeared to be on his way to a record fifth U.S. Open title in 1982 at Pebble Beach, and a 15-year-old from Louisiana was along for the ride.
'I watched Nicklaus play that whole round,' Toms said.
Tom Watson was playing in the last group and, tied with Nicklaus on the par-3 17th, chipped in from just off the back of the green for birdie, then made birdie on the 18th for a two-stroke victory. 'I was hoping Jack would win,' Toms said. 'Still, I was there for one of the greatest shots ever. I was standing down the fairway on 18, and I could see him running around back there on 17. That was kind of neat.'
Toms was on the PGA Tour for 13 years before he finally got a chance to play with Nicklaus, in the first two rounds at the Memorial this year. He already had 11 victories and a major, but part of him wanted to impress the great one.
'I hit my first drive into a bunker, hit a good shot and made birdie,' Toms said. 'We're walking off the green, and Jack says, 'It was all set up by the drive.' One hole and he was already taking his shots.'
Fred Funk
Funk had met Nicklaus, but they were barely on a first-name basis. Then came the third round of the 1993 U.S. Open, where both needed a good round to have any hopes of contending.
'We're on the first tee and he said, 'Freddie, you look nervous,'' Funk said. 'Well, yeah. I'm in a major. Here I am playing with the greatest player of all time. It's a little intimidating. He said, 'Just relax.''
Funk managed to get his emotions under control for the next 17 holes. He was moving up the leaderboard, while Nicklaus was struggling on his way to a 76.
Then came the 18th at Baltusrol.
'I had a 5-footer up the hill on the last hole,' Funk says. 'Jack comes up to me and says, 'Knock it in. You've got a chance to win this thing.' I was like, 'Oh, man! Why couldn't you tell me that after it was over!''
Funk shot 67, then added a 70 in the final round and tied for seventh.
Jim Furyk and Jack Nicklaus
Jim Furyk won Jack's Memorial Tournament in 2002.
Jim Furyk
Furyk wanted to play nine holes of practice at Doral one year when he found Nicklaus on the first tee and was invited to join the foursome. He drew Nicklaus as his partner, against Ernie Els and Gary Nicklaus.
'Jack hit it down the middle,' Furyk said. 'Ernie heeled one out there, two of us were in the rough. Jack was the longest off the tee by 3 yards, so he's already starting in on us, giving us a hard time about how the old man hit it past the young guys. He birdied No. 1, and now he's crowing on the way to the second tee.'
Furyk birdied the next hole, Nicklaus birdied No. 3.

'We were 3 up through four, and he was just chirping all the way around,' Furyk said. 'I didn't know him well enough to know that side of him. And then on the next hole, Ernie and Gary pressed. I'll never forget what Jack said. His next line was,
'Boys, step into my office.' I got the biggest kick out of him.'
Justin Leonard
Leonard didn't have to think long to come up with his favorite Nicklaus memory.
'I played a practice round with him at Baltusrol in the '93 Open on my 21st birthday,' Leonard said.
Leonard had a tenuous link to Nicklaus, having won the U.S. Amateur the year before at Muirfield Village. Still, he was surprised when the Golden Bear approached him at the Masters that year and set up a practice round on Tuesday at Baltusrol.
Leonard grew up in the presence of greatness, meeting Byron Nelson at an early age.
'Yeah, but I was never playing golf with Byron,' he said. 'This was pretty cool.'
Fred Couples
Nicklaus meant so much to Couples that he delayed his flight home from Augusta in 1986, cleaned out his locker and rushed to his house so he could watch the back nine when Nicklaus won the Masters.
His first encounter also involved a rush to leave the course.
He was paired with Nicklaus for the first time at Doral in 1983. It was Couples' third year on tour, and he was as nervous as he had ever been. Storm clouds gathered over the Blue Monster when they teed off.
'We got in the first fairway -- he'd driven it down the middle, I was in the right side in the rough, just past him -- and it started to rain, then it started to pour,' Couples said. 'There was no horn, no nothing. He just stood there for a long, long time. I mean a LONG time. Guys were playing up 18, and he just stood there.
'We thought it was the greatest thing ever. He was not going to hit in this rain. I bet we waited seven or eight minutes, and he just stood there. Then they blew the siren, he marked his ball and we went inside. They washed out the round and the next day we re-paired in threes. I either didn't get him, or I had someone else with us so I wasn't as nervous about getting in his way.'
Phil Mickleson
Phil Mickelson first played with Nicklaus during a golf course opening in the Phoenix area, but nothing will replace a practice round at Augusta National in
Mickelson won the Buick Invitational earlier that year for his first PGA Tour victory as a pro, getting him into the Masters. He played a practice round with Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
'It was just cool to play with him at Augusta, and see the way the people responded to him,' Mickelson said.
Stewart Cink
Cink and Michael Nicklaus, the youngest of Jack Nicklaus' five children, were teammates at Georgia Tech. Cink first met Jack Nicklaus when parents were invited to Atlanta for a football game. Sure enough, a round of golf was quickly arranged.
'I played with Jack, and I tied Jack,' Cink said. 'I remember on the last hole, I made about an 8-footer for par. I knew exactly what he shot and what I shot, and I knew that was to tie him. And he asked me if I knew that putt was to tie him. And I lied to him and said, 'No, I didn't know.'
'But then when I walked away, I was thinking, 'Why didn't I tell him I knew?' Because if I told him I knew, he would have thought I was better because I made that putt to tie Jack Nicklaus.'
Did he ever go back and tell Nicklaus he lied?
'No,' Cink said. 'But I'll probably tell him at the Presidents Cup. He won't remember that, so me telling him that would be sort of anticlimactic.'
Davis Love III
Love and Jack Nicklaus II were teammates at North Carolina, and he went home with the Bear's son and played golf at Lost Tree in North Palm Beach, Fla.
'It was the first time I ever played with him,' Love said. 'I was maybe a sophomore in college. It was me and Jackie against Jack and another teammate. I was nervous as I could be.'
Love said he wasn't keeping score, but he knows they won the match.
'We played a match for milkshakes,' Love said with a laugh. 'And he never paid off.'
Chris DiMarco
'I was paired with Gary (Nicklaus) in a junior event. We were 16,' DiMarco said. 'I get there, and there's Mr. Nicklaus watching. That was the most nerve-racking round of golf of my life.'
More nerves came nearly 20 years later when DiMarco played for Nicklaus on the Presidents Cup team and was in a singles match crucial to a U.S. comeback. Of course, he didn't realize this until Nicklaus pulled up in a cart.
'He said, 'How are you doing?' I said, 'I'm good, I'm having so much fun,'' DiMarco said. 'He said, `Good. Because we really need your point.' I got up-and-down for birdie and on the next hole, the 17th, I'm tied with Stuart Appleby. Mr. Nicklaus is on the tee helping me out with what club to hit. To me, that was the coolest thing.'
They settled on a 7-iron, which DiMarco hit to 8 feet. He made the birdie and held on to win his match.
'I couldn't even spit,' he said. 'To make birdie there, knowing the greatest player ever to play the game is relying on me to come through, that was the best for me.'
Tiger Woods
Four years after he first met Nicklaus at the golf clinic, Woods played a practice round at the Masters with Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, which was arranged by Butch Harmon.
'I'm this little amateur,' Woods said. 'They said, 'Do you want to play a skins game?' I said, 'Sure, what are we playing for?' They said, 'We'll disclose the dollar amount at the end of the round.' Arnie birdied the last hole and stole all the skins, and Jack says, 'That's typical.'
'So we're leaving, and Jack puts his arm around me and says, 'Are you busy?' I told him I was going back to the Crow's Nest. He says, 'Why don't you join Arnold and myself in a Par 3 contest.' Sweet. I couldn't turn that down.'
The biggest news from that Wednesday afternoon was when Nicklaus came into the press center and raved about Woods, saying his fundamentals were as good as he had seen, and that Woods might win more green jackets than Nicklaus and Palmer combined.
And what did Woods think when he heard about that statement?
'What was he smoking?' he said.

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Presidents Cup
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Watch: Marshawn Lynch's golf game could use some work

    By Grill Room TeamAugust 20, 2018, 8:15 pm

    NFL star running back Marshawn Lynch is pretty great at driving golf carts, but from the looks of a video that surfaced this weekend, his golf prowess starts and ends there.

    "Beast Mode" was in attendance at Klay Thompson's charity event in San Francisco on Sunday, and luckily the Golden State Warriors shooting guard caught Lynch's swing on camera - because it is a sight to behold.

    Dressed in a traditional golf hoodie, the former Super Bowl champion who has been thrilling fans with his raw athleticism and power on the gridiron for more than a decade showed off a swing that would make Charles Barkley blush.

    Lynch was not questioned about the swing by members of media afterwards, although there's a pretty good chance you already know how he would've answered.

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    Stenson (elbow) withdraws from playoff opener

    By Will GrayAugust 20, 2018, 5:41 pm

    Former FedExCup champ Henrik Stenson will start his postseason on the sideline, as he withdrew on Monday from The Northern Trust because of an elbow injury.

    Stenson captured the season-long title back in 2013, when he won two of the four playoff events. At 50th in the current points standings, he's assured of a spot next week at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship and likely to make the field at the 70-man BMW Championship the following week.

    A PGA Tour official confirmed that Stenson cited the elbow injury as the reason for his withdrawal. He was bothered by an injured elbow last month that led him to withdraw from the Scottish Open and limited his prep for The Open, where he tied for 35th.

    The 42-year-old defended his title last week at the Wyndham Championship, tying for 20th place after shooting a 6-under 64 in the final round.

    "It's fine, I can practice and I can play without any problems as of now, but I can't really go after it in the gym fully," Stenson told reporters last week in Greensboro. "The main thing that we can play and practice without having any problems there, so it's getting better."

    The intrigue around Stenson's decision grows when the context of the Ryder Cup is taken into consideration. The Swede has represented Europe in the biennial matches four times, but he's currently 16th in both the European Points and World Points lists with only two weeks remaining in the qualification window.

    Even before skipping this week's event in New Jersey, Stenson appeared likely to need a pick from captain Thomas Bjorn, who will round out his 12-man roster with four selections on Sept. 5. Other notable players who are not currently in position to qualify include Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Russell Knox, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters.

    Stenson becomes the fifth player to withdraw from this week's field, which does not feature alternates and is now down to 120 players. Rory McIlroy opted to rest up this week, while Patrick Rodgers is skipping the tournament to attend a wedding. Both Rickie Fowler (oblique) and Bud Cauley (June car accident) withdrew because of injury.

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    PAC zeroing in on Tour's secondary cut

    By Rex HoggardAugust 20, 2018, 4:29 pm

    The season’s final player advisory council meeting will be held on Tuesday at Ridgewood Country Club, and one item of interest on the agenda appears to be gaining traction among the 16-member panel.

    The secondary cut - introduced in 2008 to address large fields after the 36-hole cut and pace of play - has become increasingly unpopular. In 2014, the PGA Tour eliminated the secondary cut, which occurs if 78 players make the 36-hole cut, at the first two playoff stops. Following a 54-hole cut at this year’s Players Championship, some suggested it should not be used at the circuit’s marquee event.

    The alternative that’s being studied is to reduce the cut at all Tour events from the lowest 70 players and ties to the lowest 65 players and ties. This would allow the circuit to eliminate the secondary cut at all events.

    “I think I’m a fan of it, because I’m a fan of trying to play twosomes on the weekends as much as possible,” said PAC member Paul Casey. “In Europe it seems to work all the time. I don’t like the extra cut on a Saturday, never liked that. A guy could have an amazing Sunday, he could go out and shoot 61 or something and get a top 10.”

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    The PAC requested more information and is expected to address the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting.

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    Finalists Announced for Driver vs. Driver 2, Premiering Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 20, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Wilson Golf Takes Unique Approach to Creating Its Next World-Class Golf Driver Through Innovative Elimination-Style Reality Television Series

     Finalists Range from Inventors, Engineers and Product Designers to College Students, Professional Bowlers and Poker Players

    Winner to Take Home $250,000

    Driver vs. Driver 2 Celebrity Judges: NHL Legend and Avid Golfer Jeremy Roenick; PGA Professional and Expert Golf Equipment Reviewer Rick Shiels and Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke

    Series Trailer: Driver vs. Driver 2 Series Trailer

    Morning Drive Segment: Driver vs. Driver 2 Host Melanie Collins Joins Morning Drive

    Website Links: Wilson Golf's Driver vs. Driver 2 Website

    ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 20, 2018 – Golf Channel announced today the 14 finalists who will present their innovative driver concepts on Driver vs. Driver 2 presented by Wilson, with the hopes of ultimately becoming Wilson Golf’s next world-class driver. Driver vs. Driver 2 premieres Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET, with the seven-episode series airing weekly and concluding Tuesday, Nov. 13.

    Driver vs. Driver 2 will follow the trials and tribulations of these aspiring golf equipment designers in an elimination-style television series where they will compete for the opportunity have their concepts transformed into prototypes, field tested, critiqued and refined. Ultimately, one driver concept will be left standing, with the designer winning $250,000 and the final driver hitting retail stores worldwide.

    Out of the hundreds of concepts submitted through an open call application process, 14 finalists were selected. Each will present their concept to the panel of celebrity judges during the show’s premiere on Tuesday, Oct. 2:

    • Jeremy Roenick – 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst. Also an avid golfer with a single-digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie.
    • Rick Shiels – PGA Professional, expert golf equipment reviewer and online golf personality who has nearly 400,000 subscribers and more than 120 million views on his YouTube Channel.
    • Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf.

    Following the presentations, the judges will deliberate on which finalists’ concepts will advance in the competition. Throughout the seven-episode series, the finalists’ concepts will be field tested and critiqued by some of the game’s best players on the PGA TOUR, celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment, golf industry experts, members of the national golf and sports media, bloggers and social media influencers. Ultimately, one winner’s final design will go on sale at golf retailers worldwide following the season finale.

    The finalists, ages 22-81, are a diverse group from throughout the United States that range from inventors, engineers and product designers to college students, professional bowlers and poker players.


    Chris Adams (32, Denver, Colo.) – A consulting structural engineer from Denver, Colo., Adams works with architects, contractors and developers in designing buildings. On the weekends, Adams can be found on the golf course, where he took up the game at a young age and played competitively in high school. Adams is combining his two passions – engineering and golf – in developing what he hopes to be the winning driver concept, called the Tracer, on Driver vs. Driver 2.

    Juan Biancardi (41), Walter Lund (41, Miramar, Fla.) – Juan Biancardi is taking the motto, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” to Driver vs. Driver 2. Biancardi submitted an idea for the series’ inaugural season but didn’t receive an invitation to present to the judges. Enter Walter Lund, who is Biancardi’s swing coach. When shown the driver idea that was submitted for the first season, Lund immediately went to work with Biancardi to refine and improve the concept for season two. Their idea, Black Hornet, is based on creating the most aerodynamic and adjustable driver on the market.

    Hank Boomershine (48), Victor Marion (34, Perry, Utah) – Victor Marion and Hank Boomershine are bringing their expertise from the world of bowling to golf. Marion is a designer of bowling balls, and Boomershine is a former competitive bowler who heads up sales and marketing for Storm Bowling Products. Their driver concept focuses on how to create more speed for the driver head through innovative technology.

    Jeremy Chell (42, Madison, Wis.) – A mechanical engineer for an aerospace company, Jeremy Chell develops flight hardware for space vehicles traveling to the International Space Station. On the side, Chell is an avid golfer who is enthusiastic about enhancements in golf club technology. Growing up around the game, Chell put the golf clubs away in college and regained interest in the sport early in his professional career. It was during this time that he became fascinated with the technologies in golf equipment, amassing a large collection of golf clubs along the way. Chell’s driver concept, the Launchpad, is, according to him, “A logical progression of current state-of-the-art golf club designs, with technological advantages in creating clubface forgiveness.”

    Peter Dreyfuss (48, Naples, Fla.) – A late bloomer to the game of golf, Peter Dreyfuss is an engineer who picked up the golf bug following great success as a competitive sailor with a national championship on his resume. At the end of his sailing career, he began working full time in the medical engineering field, where he guided the word that resulted in 42 patent for orthopedic surgeries. Golf is a hobby for Dreyfuss, and his design, the Yeti, combines his two passions together – golf and engineering – with the average weekend golfer in mind.

    Scott Haack (48, Chardon, Ohio) – An inventor, entrepreneur, chiropractic physician and medical device and development professional who has more than 20 years in the medical professional field, Haack’s driver concept, Downforce, combines two design ideas that he developed into one unique concept. A golf tinkerer, Haack has developed two golf products that have advanced to the marketplace – a putter and a golf training aid. Haack’s driver concept is inspired by the benefits downforce has on a race car and its ability to provide speed when the car enters the corners of a racetrack. According to Haack, the same is true for the design of his driver and the speed it provides during the downswing and impact phase of the golf swing.

    J.D. Hefferin (27, Orlando, Fla.) – J.D. Hefferin has been in love with the game of golf since a young age, having lived near a golf course his entire life. Fascinated with golf club design, Hefferin who by day is a real estate analyst, an Orlando Magic employee and a professional poker player, can be seen sketching ideas and tweaking golf club designs on the side. His driver idea hopes to revolutionize the square shaped driver, bringing that concept back with a more aerodynamic look and feel.

    Evan Hoffman (27, San Diego, Calif.) – An industrial designer who has a deep passion for the game, Evan Hoffman watched every episode of the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver. When his brother texted him about season two, he immediately went to work. Beginning with sketches, he refined his concept while consulting with his brother, a golfer in his own right. His idea, the Cortex, utilizes a sub frame structure, allowing the weight to be taken out of the center of the club and strategically placed into the skirt, maximizing club head speed and flight control for longer and straighter drives.

    Jimmy Huynh (28, Long Beach, Calif). – A finalist from the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver as part of “Team Long Beach,” Jimmy Huynh has returned with a refined concept. A recent graduate from California State University, Long Beach in the industrial design program, Huynh feels he has a leg up on the competition after going through the process during the first season. His concept, the Magnus 2.0, is based around speed and is customizable, which translates into longer distances off the tee for the average golfer.

    Bob Lockhart (81, Big Spring, Texas) – The oldest designer presenting to the judges at 81 years of age, Bob Lockhart’s career has included work in industrial engineering, computer systems and for the past 25 years, product design. Lockhart’s concept, jokingly titled, “’The No Sex Driver,” is described as a simple design where everything that doesn’t help hit golf balls long and straight is left off of it.

    Tim Slama (22, Salem, Ore.) – Tim Slama, a senior at Oregon State University studying mechanical engineering, feels that Driver vs. Driver 2 would be the perfect internship. Slama, who also has had multiple design engineering internships in college, aims to be a golf club engineer after he graduates. His driver concept, Roswell, “leverages three major technological innovations which together deliver the golfer unprecedented adjustability, distance and accuracy.” A golfer since he was young, Slama plans to continue to work in the golf industry following graduation.

    Samantha Smith – (22, Las Vegas, Nev.) – A recent graduate from the University of Arizona who is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Public Health and pursuing her PHD, Samantha Smith has been involved in the game of golf since a young age, playing competitively through high school. After watching the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver and “totally geeking out about the process,” as she puts it, Smith’s concept utilizes learnings she heard on the show from Wilson’s engineers during the first season. Her idea the Supernova, is inspired by the astronomical term, defined as “a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion.”

    Tim Swiss – (38, Carlsbad, Calif.) – An industrial designer who has a deep passion for the game, Tim Swiss’ driver concept name, the Widowmaker, is inspired from the look of the Black Widow spider. Swiss’ professional career – designing products in the automotive, media and consumer electronics industries, has allowed him to be around the game of golf, but only as a hobby. As a designer, he has wanted to work on golf club for years, incorporating his professional expertise with a personal passion. “I’ve always had an idea, and when I saw the email about season two, I thought, ‘This would be perfect.’”

    Allen Zadeh (50, Brooklyn, N.Y.) – A product designer for over 20 years, Allen Zadeh’s work spans over a wide range of industries, from household products to physical and digital consumer electronic experiences. His career also has allowed him to develop innovations in the sporting goods and the transportation industries. A competitive tennis player growing up, Zadeh learned about Driver vs. Driver 2 via a tennis racquet design blog and immediately went to work on his idea, as the deadline to submit was five days later. Drawing inspirations from his experience designing tennis racquets and watches, Zadeh’s idea focuses on craftsmanship and precision, with the hopes of delivering a ‘Wow Factor’ to the judges.

    MELANIE COLLINS TO HOST: Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season of Driver vs Driver in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

    GRAND PRIZE: The finalists are competing for $250,000 and the opportunity to have their driver design sold at retail under the Wilson Staff umbrella.

    SERIES PRODUCTION: Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the Fall of 2017 and concluded in August, 2018. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-qualityinstruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning documentaries and films.


    Driver vs. Driver presented by Wilson debuted in 2016.  The show, from inception, was designed to utilize the power of crowd-sourcing combined with Wilson LABS’ (the innovation hub at Wilson) deep golf experience and expertise to create a world-class golf driver in a way that had never been done before. Driver vs. Driver also was created to infuse new energy and excitement into the golf equipment conversation, open the game of golf to a broader audience and bring highly innovative products to the marketplace, all while educating golfers on how drivers are designed, developed and manufactured. Eric Sillies, an industrial design graduate from the University of Cincinnati, was crowned the winner of Driver vs. Driver’s inaugural season.