Hybrids starting to catch on with PGA Tour

By David AllenJuly 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
Five years ago, very few PGA Tour players carried a hybrid in their bag. But changes to the golf ball (less spin and curvature) and tougher course conditions (thicker rough, longer tracks, faster greens) have made it a must-have in players bags today. At last months U.S. Open, 147 were in play, including three by Vijay Singh (Adams Idea A3 hybrids, 19, 22 and 25 degrees). The longest iron in Singhs bag was a 6-iron. Singh added the 22- and 25-degree hybrids to his bag the day before the start of the championship to deal with Bethpage Blacks thick rough and elevated greens.
 
Recreational golfers have been turning to hybrids and utility woods for several years now as replacements for those hard-to-hit long irons, but now the best players in the world are catching on. The 1- and 2-irons are ancient history and the 3- and 4-irons are in danger of becoming extinct thanks to the versatility and high-launch characteristics of the hybrids. Not only are they a good choice out of the rough and on long approach shots where you need to land the ball softly, but they can be used off the tee, from a fairway bunker or chipping around the green.
 
The majority of consumers out there slice the ball and struggle to break 100, so it helps their game more, said Michael Vrska, Director of Product Development for Adams Golf, the leader in hybrids played on the PGA Tour the last two years. But to have one golf club you can do literally everything with but putt, what a blessing to the Tour pro who has only 14 clubs in his bag. We havent given up on long irons, but we have the clubs to replace them.
 
Adams has been integrating hybrids into iron sets since 2002. At first, it was only the 3- and 4-irons being replaced, but now you will see many hybrid-irons sets with four or more hybrids and fewer irons. A set of Idea a4OS Hybrid Irons from Adams features seven hybrids (3-9) and four wedges (pitching, gap, sand, and lob).
 
We encourage people to throw their 3- and 4-irons as far back in the garage as they can and buy hybrids, said Vrska. Theyre moving deeper into the set. Its not just a fad or something thats going to go away, theres going to be more and more hybrids in golfers bags, at all levels.
 
Following are three of the newest hybrids from Adams, Cobra and TaylorMade. You just might see one of them in your favorite players bag soon ' or your own.
 
Adams Idea a7 Hybrid
Adams Idea a7 Hybrid
Adams Idea a7 Hybrid with peanut-shaped sole.
Adams took the best of several generations of Idea hybrids ' the shaping from the Idea Pro, the sole interaction from the Tour Idea Peanut, and the forgiveness of the Idea Pro Gold ' and merged them into one club which Vrska describes as the best hybrid we have ever produced. Intended for mid-handicappers, the a7 has been spotted in the bags of several Tour players this season, including Chad Campbell, Matt Kuchar and Boo Weekley. Adams biggest ambassador, Tom Watson, plays the Idea Pro.
 
The a7 is a close cousin to the Peanut, a prototype hybrid which has drawn quite a following on the PGA and Nationwide Tours since its introduction 18 months ago. The code name PNT is stamped on the sole of the a7, a reference to the rounded camber design which takes on the appearance of a peanut. The shaping of the sole allows the clubhead to perform well from all different types of lies (tight lies, rough, sand).
 
A close look at the sole reveals another interesting feature: a 41-gram rear weight. The extra weight helps lower the center of gravity to create a higher launch angle and more carry distance.
 
The Idea a7 hybrids come in lofts of 17, 19, 22 and 25 degrees and can be purchased both individually ($149; graphite only) or as part of an eight-piece hybrid iron set which includes the 3- and 4-hybrids, a hollow-back 5 transition iron, and 6-iron through pitching wedge ($599 graphite, $499 steel). These are all minimum advertised prices.
 
King Cobra Baffler TWS
Cobra Baffler TWS
Cobra Baffler TWS with Triple Weighting System.
Cobras Baffler, the No. 1-selling utility metal on the market the last three years, has bulked up for 2009 in its bid to four-peat. The 09 Baffler TWS, which stands for Triple Weighting System, added a third internal weight pad to the clubs sole to increase the moment of inertia (resistance to twisting) and position the center of gravity lower and deeper in the clubhead. The new Baffler TWS has a slightly larger face area from heel to toe than the previous DWS (Dual Weighting System) to optimize ball speed and distance.
 
Weve lowered the CG location to create a slightly higher launch angle and increased the MOI for even greater forgiveness and consistency across the entire hitting area, said Tom Preece, Vice President of Cobra Club Research and Development. The face area has also been made slightly larger to drive higher ball speeds on off-center hits.
 
The Bafflers larger face area and contour-sole design allows you to play the club from the rough and a variety of different lies, making it a much easier-to-hit, more versatile option than your long irons.
 

 
The original Baffler, launched in 1975, was the first utility metal sold in the retail marketplace. The 2009 version has a street price of $149. It comes in Mens, Seniors and Womens versions, with lofts reaching as high as 35 degrees in the Womens TWS. Lofts range from 16 to 29 degrees in the Mens TWS.
 
TaylorMade Raylor
TaylorMade Raylor
TaylorMade's Raylor sole is shaped like a ship's hull to help get through the rough.
This prototype made its debut at the U.S. Open in June in the bags of both Kenny Perry and Fred Funk. Perry replaced his 3-iron with the 19-degree Raylor, and managed to make birdie from the rough in the first round after hitting his new hybrid tight from 220 yards out.
 
TaylorMade is hyping the Raylor as the ultimate weapon for escaping the rough. The clubhead is smaller from heel to toe than most hybrids and its sole is shaped like a ships hull, which allows it to glide through the grass with little resistance. A pointed, V-shaped leading edge also helps the clubhead penetrate the grass for better ball-face contact.
 
The Raylor (Price N/A) isnt scheduled to be released until September 14. It comes in two lofts ' 19 and 22 degrees ' and a 65-gram graphite shaft which is one-inch longer than the standard length found in TaylorMades popular Rescue hybrids.
 

 
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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.