In this week’s edition, Tiger Woods returns to the Big Show at Torrey Pines, the PGA Merchandise Show rolls out all of the game’s newest toys, and the redesigned North Course shows well on Day 1 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
Best in Show. Perhaps the most apropos new gadget Cut Line was able to test drive this week at the PGA Show was the SkyCaddie Linx GT.
Although the GPS watch, which syncs with a smartphone application, is a robust distance-measuring device, it also doubles as an odometer to track steps, calories burned, etc. Cut Line’s one-day toll around the Show floor: 16,800 steps.
For buzz, we give a nod to Callaway Golf, which recently unveiled the GBB Epic driver. The company set up a pair of fitting bays in its sprawling booth to allow Show-sters to see the numbers for themselves and the two bays might have been the busiest range in America last week.
Oska Pulse earns a kudo for most intriguing pain relief device. According to the company, Oska uses pulsed electromagnetic field therapy to help relieve minor aches and pains. Although wildly anecdotal, after a single day on the Show flow (16,800 steps) we were intrigued by the Pulse’s results.
North-ern exposure. Players took their first turns around the new North Course at Torrey Pines this week with largely positive feedback.
The Tom Weiskopf redesign added nearly 200 yards to what is normally the more user friendly of the two Torrey Pines layouts, but the scoring average on Day 1 at the Farmers Insurance Open (70.75) was actually lower than it was for two rounds last year (70.93).
The biggest improvement appears to be the putting surfaces and even Phil Mickelson, who was excluded from bidding on the redesign project because of bizarre government rules, offered a relatively positive take on the makeover.
“My idea [for the redesign] was different, but Tom's got a great track record. He's a wonderful designer. He's done a lot of great courses and the course certainly is a good challenge,” said Mickelson, who shot a 1-under 71 on the North Course on Thursday.
Not exactly a rousing endorsement, but Weiskopf will take it.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Hail to the Chief. Earlier this month new PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was asked how Donald Trump’s presidency could impact golf.
“We see president-elect Trump as being probably the best golfer to ever sit in office and probably the most golf knowledgeable,” Monahan said. “For the game, that’s a tremendous thing.”
On Wednesday, Monahan’s counterpart at the PGA of America had his turn to envision what having an avid golfer in the White House could mean to the game.
“When you have the leader of the country as a golf fan that’s got to be good for golf,” said Pete Bevacqua, the PGA’s CEO. “We all know that President Trump loves the game.”
The PGA came under fire during the presidential election because two of it’s future championships, the 2022 PGA Championship and ’17 Senior PGA, are scheduled to be played at Trump-owned courses, but Bevacqua said the PGA takes no vindication in the outcome of the election.
“We are not a political organization as far as getting involved in presidential politics, that’s not the role of the PGA of America. I happen to think sports transcends politics,” Bevacqua said. “We said regardless of the outcome of the election, we were going to conduct our championships at those courses either way.”
Tweet of the week: @TigerWoods “Big decision made. Find out tomorrow. –TW”
Nothing can set off the Twitter-verse like a vague promise of big news, and Woods’ missive on Tuesday threatened to break the Internet.
The world learned the next morning that Woods had signed an endorsement deal to play TaylorMade golf clubs, but the reality in his bag was a little different.
Although the deal is for Woods to play the company’s driver, fairway woods, irons and wedges, the 14-time major winner had only a TaylorMade driver and fairway woods in the bag when he teed off on Thursday at Torrey Pines for his first official start on Tour in 522 days.
It should have been no surprise that Woods, who also switched to a new golf ball (Bridgestone) this season, is taking a measured approach to his new toys, he needed nearly a decade to make the full transition to Nike equipment.
It may have been big news, but it’s clear Woods is in no big rush for a wholesale change.
Life on the cutting edge. It’s been a confusing few weeks for Bryson DeChambeau, the forward-thinking Tour player who hopes to change the game for the better with ideas on equipment and the swing.
On the eve of last week’s CareerBuilder Challenge, DeChambeau was informed the “face on” or sidesaddle putter he’d been given initial approval to play may not be conforming. He played another, conforming version of the putter, but the confusing episode is another example of how golf needs to be simplified.
The USGA and R&A are closing in on a makeover of the Rules of Golf, a move that is reportedly aimed at simplifying what is an exceedingly esoteric rulebook. Although those changes won’t necessarily focus on the rules that govern equipment, it may be time to give that section of the rulebook a facelift as well.