Players looking for vulnerability

By Randall MellApril 6, 2010, 10:18 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Graeme McDowell said players will be looking to see if Tiger Woods appears vulnerable upon his return.

“There’s no doubt we’re wondering about that,” McDowell told me at Doral. “If he doesn’t come back and win quick, there’s no doubt his force field’s gone a little bit. All of a sudden, he’s more human.”

I asked Luke Donald about that Tuesday after his practice round at Augusta National.

“I don’t think he’ll lose his game, but when you have difficulties in your personal life it certainly can affect your life on the golf course,' Donald said. 'I’m sure about that. You’d have to be somebody very cold-hearted for it not to affect you. I think it has affected Tiger and will continue just little bit, but the more he plays and gets in a groove the easier things will get.”

Woods was showing vulnerability even before he disappeared following his accident and reports of marital infidelity. He lost a lead in the final round of a major for the first time when Y.E. Yang beat him at the PGA Championship late last summer and Phil Mickelson beat him head-to-head in their final round pairing at the HSBC Championship in November.

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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.”

The European Tour utilizes a 65-and-ties cut, as does the Tour, which had 78 players or more make the cut in just three of 23 events this season.

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.

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Monday Scramble: Moving on and wrapping up

By Mercer BaggsAugust 20, 2018, 3:30 pm

A 59 leads to a win, seasons come to an end, and you get a card and you get a card and you get a card. These stories and more in this week's edition of Monday Scramble:

There wasn't a lot of movement along the FedExCup demarcation line, with two players jumping inside the top 125 on the points list ahead of the playoffs. Only one outsider cracked the top 25 on the Tour money list in its regular-season finale. But the battle for postseason spots and future playing privileges makes this past Sunday one of the most exciting in the sport. There is something gladiatorial – perhaps a bit extreme – about an individual fighting for his professional existence. Granted, players have had an entire season to NOT be in this position. But somebodies have to be on the bubble. And while some rise and other choke, we are entertained.

1. We'll get back to Maximus and Co. in a bit, but let's first pay off the Wyndham champion. Brandt Snedeker started the week becoming the ninth different player to break 60 on the PGA Tour and ended it with his ninth career Tour victory. A golf maxim is that it's very difficult to back up a low round. So how impressive is it to shoot 59 on Thursday and keep it going for three more days? Snedeker's wire-to-wire win moved him to 30th in the FedExCup standings and 50th in the world rankings - and possibly onto Jim Furyk's radar.

2. Sneds for a captain's pick? He finished 37th on the final U.S. Ryder Cup points list and wasn't even an afterthought - at least among media and public - as a potential wild-card selection. But that's the point of delaying the picks, to see if anyone catches fire over the next few weeks. Safely assuming Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson occupy two of those four slots, Snedeker just fired the opening salvo in the final push for one of the other two.

3. Sticking with the Ryder Cup theme, the European team still has two weeks remaining before its top eight is finalized. Thanks to his fourth-place showing at the Nordea Masters, Thorbjorn Olesen is currently among that inner group; Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, neither of whom played this past week, are not.

Also on the outside: Sergio Garcia. The Ryder Cup stalwart concluded his miserable PGA Tour season by failing to advance to the FedExCup Playoffs. That means, unless Garcia plays next week's Made in Denmark event (he's not slated for this week's Czech Masters), Euro captain Thomas Bjorn is going to have to choose between Sergio's past and present.

4. Garcia finished 128th in FedExCup points but, of course, the 2017 Masters champion doesn't have to worry about his schedule for next year. Here's the way the chips fell around the 125 cut line after the Wyndham Championship:

Regular-season finish Wyndham result Entering event
119. Nick Taylor T-8 129
120. Sam Saunders T-45 120
121. Sean O'Hair MC 119
122. Bud Cauley DNP 121
123. Jhonattan Vegas MC 122
124. Harris English T-11 132
125. Seamus Power MC 123
126. Martin Piller MC 124
127. Tyrone van Aswegen MC 125
128. Sergio Garcia T-24 131

Nick Taylor shot 7-under 63 in the final round at Sedgefield Country Club to bust through, while English closed in 68 to sneak in. Piller and van Aswegan had little chance after missing the cut.

The top 125 in points get PGA Tour cards for next season. Nos. 126-150 will have conditional status. And Nos. 126-200 can compete in the Tour Finals in a bid to claim one of 25 additional Tour cards for 2018-19. 

5. The Tour wrapped up its regular season on Sunday at the WinCo. Portland Open. Sungjae Im won the event, becoming the first player in tour history to lead the money list wire-to-wire. Im also won the season-opening tournament and, with over $534,000 in earnings, nearly doubled up No. 2 on the money list.

6. So, 25 players already have their Tour cards for next season. But all is not equal. The higher you are on the money list, the higher your priority ranking, and the better chance you have of getting into a PGA Tour field. Players among the top 25 on the regular-season money list can improve their priority ranking during the Finals.

7. Viktor Hovland has had quite the year while at Oklahoma State. He won his first collegiate event, earned All-America status, helped lead the Cowboys to the NCAA title, and just won the U.S. Amateur. The 20-year-old Norwegian defeated UCLA's Devon Bling, 6 and 5, in the 36-hole final. It was an emphatic finish to a dominating week. This according to senior writer Ryan Lavner:

The fifth-ranked amateur in the world, Hovland never trailed during his final 86 holes and was 1 down only once in six matches. His 104 total holes tied the fewest played by a U.S. Amateur champion since 1979.

8. Sung Hyun Park defeated Lizette Salas in a playoff at the Indy Women in Tech Championship. It's Park's third win of the season, two of which have come in playoffs. She also reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Rolex rankings. This week's LPGA event is the CP Women's Open in Canada ... where Park is the defending champion.

9. Lexi Thompson competed for the first time since taking a "mental break" from competition. Despite a rules violation in the third round, Thompson finished tied for 12th.

Who's got two thumbs and loves golf? Not this guy below.

This from an Associated Press story:

A man has bitten off another man’s finger during a fight at a Massachusetts golf course.

WCVB-TV reports a 47-year-old man was arrested at the Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth Friday after he apparently got into a fight with another golfer and bit off a part of his thumb.

The station reports the victim’s thumb had been bitten off to his knuckle and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident happened around sunset.

The attacker was arrested and charged with mayhem. A police dispatcher declined to comment Saturday and Chief Michael Botieri didn’t immediately return a call seeking more information.

Mayhem, man.

This week's award winners ... 

Playoff Fever: Maybe that's what Rory McIlroy has. He's skipping the first playoff event, this week's Northern Trust. At 21st in the standings, he's not a lock for the Tour Championship.

Heckle and Hide: Tiger Woods' caddie, Joe LaCava, told a story this past week about how he paid a heckler $25 to get lost at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. It takes a special kind of ass to be that grating.

A Win to En Joie: Bart Bryant made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the Dick's Sporting Goods Open. It's his second career PGA Tour Champions title, both of which have come at this event (2013). During a week in which PGA Tour players paid tribute to Jarrod Lyle, who recently lost his battle with leukemia, Bryant won this event in memory of his late-wife, Cathy, who died last year of brain cancer.

High Honor: Bernhard Langer was named this year's Payne Stewart Award recipient. The honor is presented annually by the PGA Tour to the golfer who best exemplifies the values and character of the three-time major champion who died in a 1999 airplane crash.

Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: T. J. Vogel. He may have Monday qualified for a record eighth time in a Tour event, but he also missed his fifth cut in said eight tournaments. Sigh.

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Snedeker returns to OWGR top 50 with Wyndham win

By Will GrayAugust 20, 2018, 1:57 pm

Last December, Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world to Indonesia in an effort to crack the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings in time to qualify for the Masters. This winter, he can leave the ambitious travel itinerary to someone else.

After shooting a 59 in the opening round, Snedeker hung on for a three-shot win at the Wyndham Championship in the final event of the regular season. It marked his first win since January 2016 and ensured he'll have a spot next spring at Augusta after missing the Masters this year for the first time since 2010.

The victory also propelled Snedeker up 38 spots to No. 50 in the latest OWGR, marking his first return to the top 50 since November.

Click here for the full Official World Golf Ranking

Snedeker's victory came over another former Wyndham champ in Webb Simpson, who tied for second after a final-round 62. Simpson moved up four spots in the rankings to No. 16, his highest standing since October 2013. C.T. Pan, who was tied for the lead before hitting his final tee shot out of bounds, moved up 60 spots to No. 134 after his T-2 finish.

Korea's Sungjae Im cracked the top 100 at No. 90 following his win at the Tour's Winco Foods Portland Open, capping a season during which he led the money list every single week. Thorbjorn Olesen's fourth-place finish at the European Tour's Nordea Masters moved him into Ryder Cup discussion and also helped him jump three spots to No. 38 in the world.

The top 10 remained the same this week, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson trailed by Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Jon Rahm. Open champ Francesco Molinari remains at No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day rounding out the top 10.

There was no change to the ranking of Tiger Woods, who will begin The Northern Trust this week at No. 26 in the world.