Hitting Into a Net Just Not As Fun
So with that in mind, one of the biggest demo days ever was staged at an Orlando course - Orange County National. It was the first to be held in accordance with the PGA Merchandise Show, and was a project of show owner Reed Exhibitions, the PGA of America and the golf course.
The massive 360-degree driving range was a perfect fit for such a large gathering of the world's golf equipment retailers. Though a bit out of the way from the convention center where the show is held, the overflow of cars from the parking lot proved that this was one idea that was worth the undertaking.
With some 40 manufacturers set up side-by-side, the thousands in attendance were able to give the products a go, one right after another. And with no hitting nets to hold back the people trying the equipment, the buyers and retailers thoroughly enjoyed watching golfers swing the clubs and hit the balls.
'This is a fantastic idea,' said an obviously delighted retailer from California. 'Getting a chance to see the whole shot is a big plus and great selling point. My customers have always had the same complaint when buying clubs at my store. They just wish they could be outside, and I now understand that a little more.
'The problem I now have is going to be coming up with the money to buy a golf range,' he said with a laugh.
Noticeably absent from the numerous tents were both Ping and Titleist, who decided to forego this year's show, but might rethink that idea next year after the overwhelming support this demo day brought.
We came here to show our new clubs to as many people as possible, mentioned one of the salesmen at the Spalding tent, and that's exactly what is happening. This outdoor part of the show is a great bonus.'
Though just a fraction of what will be on hand inside the gigantic Orange County Convention Center, this nonetheless was the perfect opportunity to see much of the equipment that is on display at the show.
Many are probably wishing they could stay out on the range for the entire weekend, but it's back to business, and unfortunately, back inside.
Where there aren't any wildlife and wildflowers.
Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head
But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.
One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.
It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.
And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.
Hey, whatever works.
Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'
AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.
Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.
The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.
“I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”
Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.
“I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”
Curry jokes about Romo's 77: 'Got him by a stroke'
This just in ... professional athletes are competitive. Even when they're playing their secondary sport.
Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption Thursday, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo started hot with an even-par 36 on his opening nine holes, but faded down the stretch to open with a 5-over 77.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry couldn't help but crack a smile when informed of the score, saying, "I got him by a stroke."
Just told @StephenCurry30 that Tony Romo finished 5-over in PGA Tour event in Dominican Republic. Curry smiled and said, "I got him by a stroke." He shot 4-over (twice) in https://t.co/gZ56s2K2Mk start last August.— Ron Kroichick (@ronkroichick) March 22, 2018
Curry was referencing his brief foray into pro golf last August, when he shot back-to-back 4-over 74s at the Web.com's Ellie Mae Classic.
So just in case Romo needed another reason to go low tomorrow when he tees off at 1 p.m. in the second round, he's got one.
Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4|
|(1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0||(2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0||(3) J. Rahm: 0-1-1||(4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0|
|(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1||(21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0||(28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0||(19) P. Reed: 2-0-0|
|(38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
||(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0||(43) C. Reavie: 1-1-0||(34) H. Li: 0-2-0|
|(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
||(60) L. List: 0-1-0||(63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1||(49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0|
|Group 5||Group 6||Group 7||Group 8|
|(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0||(6) R. McIlroy: 1-1-0||(7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0||(8) J. Day: 1-0-0|
|(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
||(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1||(20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0||(25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0|
|(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0||(44) J. Vegas: 0-1-1||(41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0||(42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0|
|(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0||(51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0||(62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0||(56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0|
|Group 9||Group 10||Group 11||Group 12|
|(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0||(10) P. Casey: 2-0-0||(11) M. Leishman: 0-2-0||(12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0|
|(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0||(31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0||(23) B. Grace: 1-1-0||(22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0|
|(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0||(45) K. Stanley: 1-1-0||(35) B. Watson: 2-0-0||(36) B. Steele: 1-0-0|
|(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0||(51) R. Henley: 0-1-0||(64) J. Suri: 1-1-0||(55) A. Levy: 0-1-0|
|Group 13||Group 14||Group 15||Group 16|
|(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0||(14) P. Mickelson: 1-1-0||(15) P. Perez: 0-0-1||(16) M. Kuchar: 1-0-1|
|(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0||(17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-1-0||(24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1||(27) R. Fisher: 1-1-0|
|(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0||(40) S. Kodaira: 0-2-0||(37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1||(47) Y. Ikeda: 1-1-0|
|(61) K. Na: 0-2-0||(59) C. Howell III: 2-0-0||(50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1||(54) Z. Johnson: 0-1-1|