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He’s making it look easy: Tiger admires Mickelson’s resurgence, says he’s bullish about own chances in 2019

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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Winning on the PGA Tour is hard. Winning on the PGA Tour by three strokes is really hard. And winning on the PGA Tour by three strokes at 48 years old, as Phil Mickelson did at Pebble Beach on Monday? Yep, really, really hard.

“He’s making it look easy,” Tiger Woods told GOLF.com on Monday afternoon at Riviera Country Club, site of this week’s Genesis Open. “To see him winning a World Golf Championship and at Pebble at the age of 48, it’s impressive to see because it’s not easy to do.”

Phil Mickelson captures 44th PGA Tour title at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Woods would know. His comeback victory at the Tour Championship last September came three months shy of his 43rd birthday.

Before Mickelson’s triumph over Justin Thomas in a playoff at last year’s WGC-Mexico event, Mickelson hadn’t won since the 2013 British Open. But tightening the screws on a couple parts of his game have helped him regain his form. “There are two areas that guys tend to decline when they hit about mid-40s,” Mickelson said at the Desert Classic last month. “One is [swing] speed and one is putting. The last two years I’ve done a good job of improving my putting. I’ve actually putted better the last few years than I ever have in my career.”

Indeed, Mickelson ranked 13th in strokes gained: putting in the 2016-17 season and finished 9th the season before that. “He’s making more putts than I’ve ever seen him make,” Woods said. “He’s been driving it a little better but has really changed his putting the last year and a half.”

Woods has long enjoyed needling Mickelson about how he owns him in the record books, particularly his 80 Tour wins to Phil’s 44 and his 14 majors titles to Phil’s five. But does watching Mickelson beat Paul Casey by three at this year’s U.S. Open site add any motivation for Woods to hoist a trophy of his own this year?

Woods cracked a smile. “I think Phil and I can both attest to this and we’ll both say the same thing: Each of us winning has motivated one another throughout our entire career,” he said. “We were both vying for [the World] No.1 spot for virtually 18 years or so, we were both trying to jockey for who is the best player in the world. Each win by the other person always motivated the another.”

Woods will make his second Tour start of the year at Riviera; he also is serving as host of the Genesis, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. Since finishing 20th at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last month, he has been practicing at home in Florida and says he is confident of improving on his missed cut at the 2018 Genesis.

Nine things to know about Riviera Country Club, the home of the Genesis Open

“The game is good,” said Woods, who will play the opening rounds at Riviera alongside Thomas and Rory McIlroy. “I was just rusty at Torrey after taking quite a few months off prior to that event. I got better each and every day. To play well on Sunday, I felt that’s how I should be playing. Now, my schedule going forward is to try get myself ready for April.”

Woods says his body is responding well to long hours in the gym during the off-season, where he targeted building strength in his legs.

“I’ve got my legs and my body back to where I should have them,” Woods said. “That’s one of the things I was missing towards the end of the season: I was struggling because I didn’t have my legs. Being able to work on my legs as hard as I have in this off-season is going to pay dividends as we start to kick the season on here.”

Woods has not announced where he will play next after Riviera.

Players have until 5 p.m. EST on Friday to commit to the WGC-Mexico. From there, the Tour heads to Florida for the Honda Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, which are immediately followed by the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

He's making it look easy: Tiger admires Mickelson's resurgence, says he's bullish about own chances in 2019 was originally posted at https://www.golf.com/news/2019/02/12/hes-making-it-look-easy-tiger-admires-mickelsons-resurgence-says-hes-bullish-about-own-chances-in-2019/ by Evin Priest

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Kuchar's Caddie Controversy

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February 12, 2019

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Kuchar's Caddie Controversy was originally posted at https://www.golf.com/golf_video/kuchars-caddie-controversy/ by

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Game Improvement Irons

Expert Picks: Best Game Improvement Irons of 2018

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Arguably, the advancement of technology in golf clubs has been no more evident than in game improvement irons. In contrast to players irons, which typically are forged from a single piece of steel, game improvement irons are cast so manufacturers can pack in the technology.

In 2018, game improvement irons design repositioned weight to the perimeter and lower in the club head to further reduce variances in ball speeds between off-center strikes and shots that impact the sweet spot.

From filling hollow club head cavities with foam to selecting higher strength steel alloys that thin out the face and produce a greater trampoline effect, as well as creating game improvement irons that boost forgiveness while mimicking a manufacturer’s players irons, companies are employing all sorts of techniques to accomplish this goal.

An interesting development has been the advent of the players distance category. This category is blurring the lines between players and game improvement irons. A lot of clubs on the market look like a players iron, but feature many of the forgiveness and technology-laden characteristics designed into game improvement irons.

Game improvement irons have seen an expanded range of usage by players due to the recent blending of these categories. A more skilled player could elect to include a game improvement iron or two on the low end of their iron set, transitioning into players irons in the scoring irons, while the novice or improving player may put a full set of game improvement irons in their bag for added forgiveness and increased consistency throughout all their irons.

In general, the stock shaft for game improvement irons tend to have characteristics that promote a higher ball flight and are typically lighter in weight as well. Though, if you’re a strong player with a higher swing speed, most manufacturers will have a no-upcharge option to fit your swing characteristic, too.

Another benefit to game improvement irons is the cost, oftentimes game improvement irons are more economical than their players irons. I should note, while that may be the general trend, as manufacturers spend more time on research and development for game improvement irons, some sets will carry a premium cost.

With that, these are the best game improvement irons for 2018:

Cobra King F8 Irons

Straight out of the gate, a club that rivals the category of players distance iron is the Cobra F8 irons. When I first had the opportunity to test these at a demo day I was blown away by the distance and the feel.

Cobra’s forged PWRSHELL technology face pairs with a carbon fiber medallion for smooth feel and fast ball speeds. The progressive set features hollow body construction in the long and mid irons and a cavity back design in the scoring irons.

PWRSHELL Technology is a thinner face that produces maximum flex across the entire face. The carbon fiber badge reduces vibrations while enhancing feel and sound.

The hollow head design promotes weight being moved to the perimeter but more importantly it lowers the CG. Cobra also shortened the hosels in order to free up some weight to redistribute lower in the club head.

Of all the game improvement irons, visually the F8 irons are one of my favorite! I thought the carbon fiber badge balanced nicely with the chrome, giving it a sophisticated look. The CNC milled grooves produced a wonderful consistent shot shape. Don’t be fooled by the appearance, these irons are long!

The last feature to these irons that makes them a top pick for the game improvement irons category is the inclusion of Cobra Connect powered by Arccos.

It’s important for all players to track stats on their game, but the value of the data for an improving player or a player just beginning is incredible. To give players a full season’s worth of data on the house that helps players better understand how far their actual distances are will give them a big leg up in making proper club.

As to be expected there was a little bit of a click it impact, but it wasn’t egregious and in no way detracted from the feel. They look good, they feel good, they go a long way. There is a lot to like about the Cobra F8 Irons.

Srixon Z 585

While most manufacturers are looking to build game improvement irons around distance and increase ball-speeds through larger club head sizes and ultra-thin faces, one company took a radically different path. In my opinion, Srixon’s Z 585 irons are the most complete package for the game improvement category in 2018.

So, where do you start if you’re a mid-teens or even a high single-digit handicap players who doesn’t need help with distance? You want a compact club, but also some forgiveness to neutralize your swing inconsistencies. Look no further than the Srixon Z 585 irons.

The Z 585 irons are designed using many of the same features as the players Z 785 irons and maintain a consistent feel. Many players find some blend of the Z 585 and 785 irons together is right for their game. Most commonly, the more forgiving 585 irons will be used in the long irons and the fully forged Z 785 in the scoring irons.

Srixon paired a SUP10 maraging steel face insert with a forged 1020 carbon steel body on the Z 585 irons. Using the softer alloy to forge the body reduces vibrations and gives this game improvement iron a feel of a players iron.

Other premium design features include a laser milled face, the forgiveness-oriented Speed Groove that sits behind the face to allow for greater face-flex at impact and the same Tour V.T. sole that the Z 785 has.

This is a premium option for players who need some forgiveness in their irons, but demand the sophisticated feel of forged irons.

Callaway Rogue Irons

2018 was a year that saw quite a few golf clubs filled with foam. And, while PXG may throw their arms up in the air and shout, “You’re all copying us!”, foam-filled irons are hardly a new innovation. As early as 1993, TaylorMade had produced a set of irons (Burner Midsize) that were filled with foam.

Variations of proprietary foam composites were found in a wide range of clubs this year. Clubs like the hybrid driving-iron GAPR, the P790 players distance irons and UDI driving iron, the PXG Gen 2 irons as well as the game improvement Callaway Rogue irons all had some form of fill in the hollow cavity.

The reason manufacturers use foam is two-fold. The first objective is to thin the face right up to the legal limit for thickness and COR. The second objective is to improve both sound and feel. The thinner face produces greater vibrations, so the foam assists in dampening vibration and reducing any hollow click sound at impact.

Callaway’s proprietary Urethane Microspheres fill the hollow-head of the Rogue irons. To make room for the foam fill the Rouge irons have a confidence-inspiring shape with a thicker top line and generous hitting area.

Considering the Rogue irons are a hollow game improvement iron, the microspheres do a good job smoothing the feel and reducing the clicky sound at impact. I found it a cinch to elevate the ball and much to my surprise they even have a decent amount of workability.

The Callaway Rogue irons (including the Rogue X) are probably the most popular set of game improvement irons of the year in terms of total sales, and based off of their performance during my testing it’s not a wonder why.

Ping G400 Irons

Prior to passing the testing torch over to me, Bob Gomavitz produced a review on the G400 series of clubs. The G400 irons were one of his favorites, if not his outright favorite game improvement iron of the year.

Similar to the other game improvement irons, the g400 irons are built for distance. In terms of technology, Bob mentioned that the G400 irons are a lot like the Ping G irons that preceded them, but had a few design features that improved the feel and sound.

PING states, “COR-Eye technology generates 18% more flexing for hotter ball speeds and a higher peak trajectory for better stopping power. Hyper 17-4 stainless steel is stronger to allow for a thin face.”

PING’s Top Rail Cavity is a unique top rail design combines with COR-Eye Technology to increase flexing, ball speed and height. The co-molded 3-piece cavity badge helps provide a powerful sound and feel.

He wrote that the Core-Eye technology dramatically increases ball speeds and height, assisting players in stopping the ball on greens quicker. Most of the other features are designed to improve consistency. The hydrochrome finish normalizes spin in wet conditions, reducing the chance for a flier or chunked shot, and the top rail cavity increases face flex to increase ball speeds and forgiveness across the entire face.

Bob has been in this business for a long time, so if he says something is his number one recommendation, it’s wise we all listen to his sage advice.

The following two tabs change content below. Keith Schneider Keith Schneider Age: 33 Handicap: 6.3 Introduction to golf: Age 14 Playing years: 19 Rounds per year: 75+ Hole in Ones: 1 WITB Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero 10.5° Project X Even Flow Blue 75 X-Stiff 3 Wood: Tour Edge CBX T3 15° Project X HZRDUS Black 75 6.5 2-Iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi KBS Tour C Taper Lite Stiff 1° weak 1.5° upright Irons: Mizuno MP-68 (4-PW) +1/2″ Dynamic Gold X100 2° upright Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM7 51° 8° bounce Dynamic Gold S400 F Grind Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge Works 56° 14° bounce Dynamic Gold S400 F Grind Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge Works 60° 6° bounce Dynamic Gold S400 K Grind Putter: Wilson Staff 8802 35″ Balls: Titleist ProV1x, TaylorMade Tour Preferred X or Callaway Chrome Soft X Latest posts by Keith Schneider (see all)

Expert Picks: Best Game Improvement Irons of 2018 was originally posted at https://www.golfdiscount.com/blog/reviews/expert-picks-best-game-improvement-irons-of-2018/ by Keith Schneider

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WITB: Brian Harman & Patton Kizzire, QBE Shootout

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PGA Tour – QBE Shootout

Twenty-three men and one woman teed it up in the QBE Shootout at the Tiburón Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, in Naples, Florida. The event teams up players in pairs for three days of competition. The format for this team event changes daily.

Friday’s scramble round brought ultra-low scores. No team scored worse than a 9-under 63 on Friday, and three teams, including the winning team of Brian Harmon and Patton Kizzire, shot sub-60 rounds.

Players were put to the test during Saturday’s modified alternate shot format. The best round of the day belonged to third place finishers Charley Hoffman and Gary Woodland who fired an impressive 8-under 64.

The lone female, Lexi Thompson, returned to the competition for a second straight year, putting the band back together with long-hitting Tony Finau. The pair were in contention heading into the final day, but (relatively) faltered in Sunday’s Four Ball round shooting 7-under 65 and finishing middle of the pack.

The top 6 teams separated themselves from the bottom half of the leaderboard on Sunday. Harold Varner III and Bubba Watson shot the low round of the day, 12-under 60, but ultimately fell 3 shots short.

Harman and Kizzire’s 11-under 61 on Sunday was good enough to fend off Grillo and McDowell by one stroke. After Kizzire ran his chip shot well under the hole on the 18th green, Harman coolly rolled his putt to a couple feet, almost holing out for birdie and the win. A short tap in later and the team was victorious.

Both players have won twice on the PGA Tour and this post-season win nets them each a nice end of the year bonus of $422,500 each. These are the golf clubs Brian Harman and Patton Kizzire used to win the QBE Shootout.

(As reported by PGATOUR): Brian Harman

Putter:
TaylorMade Spider OS CB
Patton Kizzire
Hybrid:
Titleist 913H, 19°

Shaft: UST Mamiya Axiv Core 100

South African Open

Louis Oosthuizen poses with his trophy on Dec. 9 after winning the South African Open Championship played at the Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg. (Catherine Kotze / EPA)

The European Tour made the first of two stops in South Africa last weekend for the South African Open. The field, heavily dominated by native South Africans, took on Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg.

Louis Oosthuizen, who had not played in the South African Open since 2011, returned to the event to accomplish a feat that few players have ever done. He wanted to add his name to the short list of players who have won both the Open Championship and the South African Open.

Entering the final round with a 3-stroke lead, Oosthuizen saw it all but evaporate after bogeys on hole 2 and 3. However, he managed to right the ship and rattled off four birdies to close the opening 9 at 2-under 33.

Oosthuizen began to pull away from the field after the opening nine, but it wasn’t until the par-5 14th hole where he truly had things under control. Following a big drive, Louis stroked a 9-iron to 2 feet and converted the putt for eagle and a six-shot lead. He would not be caught, Oosthuizen secured his first victory since 2016 and cemented his place in South African golf history.

The following two tabs change content below. Keith Schneider Keith Schneider Age: 33 Handicap: 6.3 Introduction to golf: Age 14 Playing years: 19 Rounds per year: 75+ Hole in Ones: 1 WITB Driver: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero 10.5° Project X Even Flow Blue 75 X-Stiff 3 Wood: Tour Edge CBX T3 15° Project X HZRDUS Black 75 6.5 2-Iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi KBS Tour C Taper Lite Stiff 1° weak 1.5° upright Irons: Mizuno MP-68 (4-PW) +1/2″ Dynamic Gold X100 2° upright Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM7 51° 8° bounce Dynamic Gold S400 F Grind Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge Works 56° 14° bounce Dynamic Gold S400 F Grind Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM7 Wedge Works 60° 6° bounce Dynamic Gold S400 K Grind Putter: Wilson Staff 8802 35″ Balls: Titleist ProV1x, TaylorMade Tour Preferred X or Callaway Chrome Soft X Latest posts by Keith Schneider (see all)

WITB: Brian Harman & Patton Kizzire, QBE Shootout was originally posted at https://www.golfdiscount.com/blog/news/witb-brian-harman-patton-kizzire-qbe-shootout/ by Keith Schneider

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