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Category: U.S. Open


June 17, 2009

Scotty Cameron 2009 U.S. Open Commemorative Headcover Hits Bethpage

Posted at 8:40 AM by David Dusek

Scotty-Cameron-USOpen-Headcover1 FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- As he has done for previous major championships, Scotty Cameron, Titleist's putter designer, has created a commemorative headcover for the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage.

Inspired by World War II fighter planes, the silver headcover has the snarling teeth of a Spitfire, Cameron's Red Circle T logo on one side and a classic pinup girl on the other.

The limited-edition headcover will go on sale Wednesday at clubcacmeron.com for $72.Scotty-Cameron-USOpen-Headcover2

Update: Ernie Els Sticking with Traditional Driver at Bethpage

Posted at 7:48 AM by David Dusek

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Ernie Els experimented with a significantly-heavier shaft in his driver on Tuesday afternoon at Bethpage, but he has decided not to use it during play at the U.S. Open.

According to Callaway, the company that makes Els' FT-9 Tour Authentic driver, the two-time U.S. Open winner with use a 79 gram, 45 ½-inch Fujikura Speeder 757 shaft.

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June 16, 2009

Ernie Els May Go With a Shorter, Heavier Driver at Bethpage

Posted at 6:09 PM by David Dusek

Ernie Els Calaway FT-9 TA FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – Earlier this season, Phil Mickelson put a unique Callaway FT-9 driver into his bag. Unlike the FT-9 drivers that had previously been released, Mickelson's had a hosel, so the club had to be examined by the USGA and deemed legal for competition.

Maybe Phil was onto something, because Ernie Els and a few other Callaway players have switched to the FT-9 Tour Authentic driver. Because the Tour Authentic version of the FT-9 has a smaller head and different weighting, it allows skilled players to work the ball more effectively off the tee. The standard FT-9 has a higher moment of inertia (MOI) that helps mid- and higher-handicap players hit straighter drives.

On Tuesday morning at Bethpage, I had a chance to speak with Barry Lyda, a PGA Tour rep with Callaway Golf, about Els's driver. He told me that the two-time U.S. Open winner is experimenting with heavier shafts so he can feel where the club is in his swing more easily.

"Ernie is using a 100-gram True Temper Project X graphite shaft in his Callaway X 3-wood," Lyda said. "He said he'd like a driver made with the same shaft, but I told him that I can't make him one with that shaft because I don't have a head light enough to offset the weight."

Els has been playing a UST Mamiya ATTAS 76 in his driver.

To compensate for the extra weight, Lyda cut a full inch off Els's driver, making it 44". Lyda said that should reduce clubhead speed and create a lower ball flight for Els. To offset that lower ball flight, Lyda added loft, making an 8.5° and a 9.5° head for Els to try.

The Callaway FT-9 Tour Authentic driver is currently only available to the public on the company's Tour Authentic Web site. In the video below, Lyda explains the differences between the standard FT-9 and the Tour Authentic model.

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(Photo by Fred Vuich/SI)

Tiger Woods Talks Irons and Driver Loft at Bethpage

Posted at 12:08 PM by David Dusek

Tiger-Woods-Bethpage-Tues FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- At the Memorial, Tiger Woods hit 14 of 14 fairways on Sunday after changing to a Nike SQ Dymo 380 driver with 10.5° of loft (the effective playing loft was 10°). That adjustment got a lot of press, including in this blog.

Another equipment tweak, which didn't get as much attention, was his iron switch at Muirfield Village. Tiger had been playing a set of Nike Victory Red forged blades this season, but he switched to a set that appeared to be the Nike forged blades he'd played with in previous seasons.

In his press conference today at Bethpage, Woods didn't go into much detail about his irons, but he did give some more insights into his driver. Here is his complete answer:

"I went back to an old set that I had played before and had some success with, so I went back to that.

"As far as my driver is concerned, as we all know, loft is your friend. The reason why you hit a 3-wood straighter is because it has more loft, and that helps. My release has changed over the years, and I just need a little bit more loft now. It's working out and I'm driving the ball more efficiently. I still have the same power, but I just need the loft now.

"When I first came out here on Tour, I used a 6.5° driver, and now I'm up to 10.5°. Jeez, I'd hate to see what I'm going to hit when I turn 40. I wonder how that's going to be. Maybe a 46" driver, with about 15° of loft.

"But you know, it is what it is and technology has changed and the ball doesn't spin as much as it used to, and you have to have a little bit more loft than you used to play."

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(Photo by Fred Vuich/SI)

June 15, 2009

Autographed Tiger Woods' 2008 U.S. Open shirts for sale

Posted at 4:34 PM by David Dusek

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- If you still haven't found that perfect something to get your Dad for Father's Day, the folks at Upper Deck have an idea for you. For the first time, the sports memorabilia company is offering the actual golf shirts worn by Tiger Woods during the first three rounds of the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

But unless you are someone who's recently said, "What recession?" you might want to avert your eyes before you read the last sentence from this media release:

In addition to being autographed, each of the three shirts was hand-inscribed by Woods with “2008 U.S. Open” and the corresponding round in which he wore it. Paired with the second- and third-ranked players in the world – Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, respectively – Woods opened with a 1-over-par 72 on the tough Torrey Pines course. In the second round, Woods shot a 3-under 68 with birdies on four of the first five holes. During Saturday’s third round, Woods made two incredible eagles on 13 and 18. The first-, second-, and third-round shirts will be listed for sale at $30,000, $40,000, and $50,000, respectively. 

The shirts will be available starting Tuesday, June 16, at upperdeckstore.com. Below is a video of Woods as he signed each shirt.


Bob Vokey on wedges and water at Bethpage

Posted at 3:55 PM by David Dusek

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — I had a chance to chat briefly with Bob Vokey, Titleist's wedge designer, Monday afternoon at Bethpage. With rain in the forecast for later this week, I asked him how water affects the performance of wedges in the rough. Play the video below to see his answer.

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Kenny Perry Playing a Longer Driver

Posted at 3:07 PM by David Dusek

Kenny-Perry-Driver FARMINGDALE, N.Y.  — Just before the Masters, Kenny Perry switched to a TaylorMade R9 driver. He said it was the straightest driver he'd ever hit and nearly won the tournament using it.

At Colonial a few weeks ago, he switched to the TaylorMade R9 460, which features a larger head and a greater moment of inertia.

According to Wade Liles, a Tour rep for TaylorMade, because the R9 460 resists twisting on impact so well, thanks to that high MOI, Perry was able to go from a 45-inch driver to a 45 ½-inch model without losing accuracy.

That may not sound like a big deal, but a longer driver should help the 48-year-old Perry hit the ball farther. With rain expected here Thursday, Friday and Saturday, those few extra yards off the tee could be precious.

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(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/SI)

May 04, 2009

Tiger Woods Sticking With Old Shaft

Posted at 3:28 PM by David Dusek

Today was media day at Bethpage State Park, home of the Black Course, where the U.S. Open will be played June 18-21. My clubs were in my car, and I was itching for a chance to challenge a course that's so tough that it comes with a warning sign. Instead, we got rained out.

The day was not a total loss, however. After various USGA and government officials spoke, Tiger Woods took questions via conference call. I asked about his driver testing:

You've been experimenting with some different driver shafts. Can you explain where you are in the process of trying to find the right mix for your driver and how important that's going to be as you start your preparation coming here to Bethpage?

"I think I'm going to stick with the same shaft, my old shaft [Mitsubishi Diamana White Board]. The other shaft [an Oban Mach 4 prototype] did not quite work out for me. Wasn't what I was looking for. Felt good in the practice round, but in the tournament, I didn't quite have the same feel for it, so went back to my old driver on the weekend. Hit the ball nice; I wouldn't say great, but I hit it a little bit better. But still, this driver has done pretty well, and that's the one I'll continue working with and hopefully get my swing organized."

As I wrote earlier on Twitter, it sounds like Tiger's shaft experimentation may be over for now. Still, I'll be sure to report on what he's swinging this week at TPC Sawgrass.

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June 15, 2008

What's in Tiger's U.S. Open bag?

Posted at 11:14 PM by David Dusek

SAN DIEGO —Tigersusobag_400x400_2 Torrey Pines South Course was a brutal test this year. The 7,643-yard layout demanded distance while the deep Kikuyu rough put a premium on accuracy.

The clubs that Tiger Woods uses are not designed to be forgiving; he demands the utmost feel and is more concerned with being able to shape shots than straighten a slice.

Unlike Phil Mickelson, who loves to tinker with his set composition, Woods rarely makes changes. When courses are running fast and the rough is not especially wet or deep, he commonly takes out his 19° 5-wood and puts in a 2-iron. As you might recall, he used the 2-iron off the tee on many occasions at Royal Liverpool when he won the 2006 British Open. Here at Torrey Pines, the 5-wood is in the bag under a Kiwi bird head cover (an homage to his caddie, Steve Williams, who is from New Zealand).

Tiger Woods Clubs:
Driver                    Nike SasQuatch Tour (7.5°)
Fairway woods     Nike SasQuatch Sumo (15°, 19°)
Irons                      Nike Forged Blades (3-PW)   
Wedges                 Nike Forged (56°, 60°)
Putter                    Titleist by Scotty Cameron Newport 2
Ball                        Nike One PlatinumTigerdrivershaft_600x400

(Bag photo by Simon Bruty)

UPDATE -- A comment listed below was posted on Wednesday morning that said Tiger uses a steel shaft in his driver. According to Nike, and as verified by photo research, he uses is a Mitsubishi Diamana 83 X graphite shaft that happens to be silver in color. To see it more clearly, click on the photo on the right.

(Woods photo by Al Tielemans/SI)

Lee Westwood's U.S. Open clubs

Posted at 6:05 PM by David Dusek

Westwoduso_600x450SAN DIEGO — After shooting 70 on Saturday to get himself into Sunday's final pairing with Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open, Lee Westwood was asked what he needed to do to prepare for the final round. "If you let it get to you, you have problems. But I'm a fairly calm person and fairly level-headed, so I'll just stick with my own game plan and try to do the things I'm doing."

What he'd been doing was avoiding big numbers, hitting fairways (60% so far this week) and putting very well (1.59 putts per green in regulation).

Westwood missed getting into the Monday playoff with Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate by only one shot. It was his best performance in a major to date.

Here is a list of the clubs in Westwood's bag at Torrey Pines.

Driver                   Ping G10 (9.5°)
Fairway wood     Ping G10 (14° and 18.5°)
Irons                     Ping i10 (3-PW)
Wedges               Ping Tour W (54° and 58°)
Putter                  Ping G5i UG-LE
Ball                      Titleist Pro V1x

(Photo by Fred Vuich)

June 13, 2008

Davis Love turns to older irons at Torrey Pines

Posted at 8:38 PM by David Dusek

Davislovefriopen_450x600 SAN DIEGO — After shooting 72-69 in the first two rounds of the U.S. Open, Davis Love finds himself near the top of the leaderboard at a major for the first time since the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

Love tore tendons in his left ankle when he stepped in a hole during a non-competitive round in September. He's still coming back from the injury, and I asked him if he'd been forced to make any adjustments to his equipment.

"Nope, I came right back to the same old stuff I was using," he said Friday afternoon. "I've hit up at TPI [Titleist Performance Institute in Carlsbad, Calif.] to see if I'm doing the right things, hitting it good and my numbers are all the same, but there weren't any changes."

Love said he expected the computers and 3D models at TPI to show that he was keeping his weight over his right side and falling back slightly as he made his swing. He was right; they did. Jack Lumpkin, a GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher and Love's coach, helped him correct the problem on the range at Torrey Pines on Wednesday. "He said, 'You've got to go ahead and plant it, your left foot, no matter how it feels,'" said Love.

When asked about his set makeup for the U.S. Open, Love lowered his voice and coyly said, "Actually, starting this week, I went back to my old, old irons. So yeah, this week I've got almost the exact same set I had when I got hurt. Except for the putter."

Love's irons of choice are Titleist 680s. "I had a new set of 680s that I had broke out over the winter. I've got a bunch of new stuff to play with, and I tried the AP2s in Los Angeles [Northern Trust Open at Riviera], but ..."

Love would not elaborate on why he chose to use the older set of irons instead of the new set, but players often talk about liking clubs that are slightly broken in before putting them into play in a big event. Maybe, under U.S. Open pressure, he simply wants to go with the clubs he knows best.

Davis Love's Clubs
Driver                 Titleist Pro Titanium 905R (7.5°)
Fairway woods    Titleist prototype (13°, 18°)
Irons                   Titleist 680 (3-9)
Wedges               Titleist Vokey Design 200 series (50°, 55°, 60°)
Putter                 Titleist by Scott Cameron 009
Ball                     Titleist Pro V1x

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

June 12, 2008

Phil Mickelson explains his 'No Driver' strategy.

Posted at 6:13 PM by David Dusek

Phil3woodthur_600x600SAN DIEGO — Phil Mickelson decided not to carry a driver in his bag Thursday at the U.S. Open. Here is what he had to say in his post-round press conference:

Your driver, Phil, not a driver, we talked all about it this morning. What is it? The 11 and a half degree?
"No, no, that's my 3-wood I've been using all year. You noticed that I didn't have a driver today, huh? My game plan was that I only want to hit it a certain distance, I don't really want to hit it past 300 yards on most of the par-4s because it starts running into the rough. And I felt like with the fairways being firm like they were today all I needed was 3-wood on the holes.

Now if it rains or gets softer, I'll certainly pull driver out. But my game plan for months was, if it's firm fairways like I expected, 3-wood was all I needed. And I was able to take advantage of the two par-5s and get home no problem and that's all that, that's the most important thing."

Did you have it in there in the practice rounds as well?
"I carried driver, I just didn't hit it."

Was it to make room for an extra wedge, is that what it was?
"I have four wedges in there. I took out my sand wedge and I teed off with 3-wood and hybrid all day today." [Mickelson is using a Callaway prototype pitching wedge and Forged Chrome Mac Daddy 52°, 60°, 64° wedges.]

Was it disappointing early, having not used driver, and using that game plan, when you weren't hitting the fairway?
"Oh, yeah. When I hit it in the rough — I had been hitting almost all the fairways with this 3-wood in practice rounds and so forth. So when I made some terrible swings and hit in the rough it kind of defeats the game plan because now I'm short and crooked.

But when I started hitting fairways coming down the stretch I made birdies. So I expect to swing a little bit more confidently like I did on the back nine as opposed to the start and I know this happens when I play and don't play the week before a major. I'm always a little rusty on the front nine. And I'm glad that I was able to keep it in check and only shoot a few over and recover on the back."

Is 3-wood a decision you'll make tomorrow just before the round?
"No, it will have to rain. I mean, it will have to rain and soften the fairways in order for me to put in a club that goes longer than that 3-wood."

Phil, how strong is that 3-wood?
"It's just a normal 3-wood. You guys just have not hit our new Callaway FT fairway woods yet, have you? They go a long ways."

15°?
"Yeah."

Can you remember never carrying a driver in a round?
"I don't think I ever have. I know Pelz has been wanting me to play a tournament without hitting driver and hitting 3-woods all the way through, so here you are Dave.

Look, when the fairways run out like this, you can only hit it a certain distance and then the fairway starts tightening up. Of course, they looked pretty tight for me on the first 13 holes too."

(Photo by John Biever/SI)

More Fairway Wood Content:
- ClubTest: Fairway woods for better players
- ClubTest: Fairway woods for multiple player types
- GOLF.com Club Finder: Fairway woods

Robert Karlsson's clubs

Posted at 4:08 PM by David Dusek

Karlsson_400x500SAN DIEGO — Hollywood loves to remake classic comics into modern blockbusters. The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, Superman ... all huge hits.

If there is a film version of Thor on the way, Robert Karlsson might get a call from a casting agent. Standing 6-foot 5-inches tall, the 39-year-old Swede looks like he could be a formidable outside linebacker. But thankfully for Nick Faldo and the European Ryder Cup team, he's a golfer on the rise. Karlsson has tied for third or better in each of his last four events and is now ranked No. 28 in the world.

Thursday at the U.S. Open, Karlsson shot an opening-round 70.

According to Titleist's Web site, here is what Karlsson has in his bag at Torrey Pines:

Driver Titleist 907D Prototype (8.5°)
Fairway woods Titleist 906F2 (15°, 18°)
Irons Titleist Z Muscle Forged (4-PW)
Wedges Titleist Vokey Design 200 Series (49°), Spin Milled (56°, 60°)
Putter Titleist by Scott Cameron Newport 2
Ball  Titleist Pro V1x

John Garrity has also blogged about Karlsson over in the Press Tent.

(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

No. 1's new clothes

Posted at 11:02 AM by David Dusek

SAN DIEGO — For all you Tiger fans out there, Nike says that these are the shirts that Tiger Woods will wear later this week at Torrey Pines.

                                               
Tiger_clothing04_200x282
Thursday: Nike Dri-Fit Dispersed Stripe Polo - Pacific Blue
Tiger_clothing02_200x282_2
Friday: Nike Dri-Fit Ministripe Polo - Green Been
Tiger_clothing03_200x282
Saturday: Nike Dri-Fit Dropstripe Polo - Purple Frost
Tiger_clothing01_200x282
Sunday: Nike Dri-Fit Drop Needle Polo - Carmine

Photos provided by Nike

** After reading the comment by Pete Carter on Sunday, GOLF.com contacted a representative of Nike Golf. Here is what that person said regarding the availability of the clothes Tiger wears.

"We sell all the shirts that Tiger wears in competition. All the shirts he wears are from the current apparel line. Once there is a new season, Tiger wears the new season's shirts. He does not wear the shirts until they are available at retail and has never worn a shirt in competition that you can't buy at a retailer. Golf Galaxy and Golfsmith each carry the Nike Golf Tiger Woods collection which is the collection all of Tiger's shirts are from."

June 11, 2008

Nasty rough calls for sharp grooves

Posted at 7:57 PM by David Dusek

Torrey_pines_roughSAN DIEGO — The kikuyu rough here at Torrey Pines gets deeper the farther your stray from the lush fairways. Miss the short stuff by a few feet and your ball will likely perch in the two-inch-deep grass. Blow your shot 20 yards wide and you'll end  up in a five- or six-inch-deep mess. Click on the photo at right for a closer look.

Since everyone is going to miss fairways and greens, the most popular request in the equipment vans this week is for fresh wedges. "Guys are looking for a little more bite out of this rough," said Wade Liles, TaylorMade's PGA Tour technician. "We're making them some of our Z Groove wedges. It's got a little bit more aggressive groove to give you more bite, more check. And of course at an event like this where the rough is thicker and the greens are quick, that's what you are looking for." TayorMade created new Z Groove wedges for Sergio Garcia before the Players Championship, and another set this week.

In the Callaway truck, company club builders have made about 20 wedges for players. "'Fresh grooves' is a phrase we have been using a lot," said Barry Lyda, Callaway's pro tour representative. "And several of the guys are going to a 62° or 63° wedge and trying them. They have taken them out in practice rounds to see if it is something that they'll need." Michael Campbell, winner of the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, tested a Callaway 63° this week.
Vijays_cleveland_wedges
According to Cleveland Golf's Michael Jolly, Vijay Singh will also be using new Cleveland CG 12 wedges (right) at the U.S. Open. The Big Fijian will have a 54° sand wedge, a 60° lob wedge (bent to 59°) and a 64° wedge too.

On the other side of the spectrum, Bob Vokey, wedge designer for Titleist, said his workload has been lighter than usual. "At first I thought I would get lots of requests, but it's been very few in relation to what I would normally get." Vokey said he's definitely had fewer requests at Torrey Pines than he did at Oakmont or Winged Foot. "Because of the way Oakmont was set up, I made a few new 64° wedges, but not this year. I just did a little work to D.J. Trahan's 64°. That's it."

Still, he made replacement wedges for both Steve Stricker and the 2006 U.S. Open champion, Geoff Ogilvy. Again, both players wanted to have sharp, fresh grooves to help them improve their short-game touch.

Stricker will be using a Vokey Design 60° wedge with 12° of bounce. Ogilvy opts for a Vokey Design 60° T Grind wedge. It's the same style of wedge he played at Winged Foot.




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