AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A year after the train wreck that was the 2012 Open Championship, it remains easy to sympathize with Adam Scott.
Scott bogeyed the final four holes at Royal Lytham and lost the Open by one stroke to Ernie Els. It was a major meltdown on a world stage. Lesser men have seen their careers permanently derailed by such disasters.
But perhaps Scott is different. Perhaps he is made of more resilient stuff. In the only major since that fateful Open, he tied for 11th in the PGA Championship with the likes of Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Graeme McDowell. Not bad for a recovering bogeyman.
The questions for 2013: Will he score a major bounceback? Can he win the Masters? Can he win any of the major titles so liberally predicted for him?
“I don’t think about it that much,” he said. “You’ve just got to get on with it. There was no time to sit and feel sorry for myself that I didn’t win the Open. I didn’t dwell on it at all. I really just took the positives – that it was great for me to play so well in the Open Championship ...
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Padraig Harrington, playing a game of musical chairs with his driver, will go into this week's Masters with a TaylorMade R1 driver and an abundance of confidence.
In March, Harrington fractured his TaylorMade R11 driver head while playing in Thailand. At the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio last week, he played the first three rounds with a TaylorMade R1 driver and the last round with his backup R11.
One broken driver, one abandoned driver. That doesn’t sound like a man overflowing with confidence.
Yet Harrington says, “I am driving the ball as well as I ever have.”
Harrington’s problem in recent years has been putting.
According to Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade's vice president of tour operations, Harrington received a new R1 driver this week in Augusta and is producing superb launch-monitor numbers. The driver is 45.5 inches in length with neutral weighting in the head.
Harrington previously used a toe-weighting scheme to prevent wayward drives from going left with a draw or pull. In the new driver, however, he went with a stock weighting configuration and is “very pleased” with the results. Harrington, whose five PGA Tour victories include the 2007 and '08 ...
Scoring a Masters badge is not easy, and neither is nabbing a commemorative Scotty Cameron headcover. The putter guru at Titleist creates numerous special-edition putter covers throughout the year, but the ones he makes for the major championships are the most coveted by collectors.
For this year's Masters, genuine alligator skin was used to make the dog design that adorns this putter cover, and several Titleist staff players were given the covers at Augusta National this week. However, the 500 that were made available to the public on clubcameron.com for $195 each sold out in 10 minutes Tuesday.
Laird goes long, straight at Texas
Valero Texas Open winner Martin Laird, with his rhythmic swing, is averaging 290.7 yards in official driving distance this year on the PGA Tour. At Texas, though, he turned it up a notch with a 298.2-yard average.
He also drove the ball straight, hitting 66.07 percent of the fairways. That gave him the coveted weekly double – top 20 in driving distance (20th) and driving accuracy (tied for 8th).
Laird’s driver is a TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 model (45 1/4 inches, 9 degree) with a Matrix Ozik 8M3 Black Tie shaft. This low-spin, low-launch shaft is the first to be introduced in the new Matrix Flight System family of shafts. The Ozik 8M3 Black Tie shaft also is used by PGA Tour players Justin Rose, Jason Gore, Colt Knost, David Mathis, Henrik Norlander, Tim Petrovic and Chris Stroud.
Looking closely at Laird’s clubs, there is another lesson: It is not necessary to carry a 3-wood. Laird’s strongest fairway wood was a RocketBallz Stage 2 Tour HL 4-wood (16.5 degree) with a Mitsubishi Diamana B-Series shaft.
The rest of Laird’s bag: TaylorMade R9 5-wood (19 degree, with ...
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Phil Mickelson’s supercharged Masters 2-wood is really a driver disguised as a fairway wood, Mickelson divulged Tuesday during a press conference.
The Callaway X Hot Phrankenwood (check out details here), inspired by the X Hot 3Deep fairway wood, has 8.5 degrees of loft, according to Mickelson. The design of the new club was suggested by Mickelson to Callaway chief designer Alan Hocknell. What Mickelson wanted was more rollout on his drives.
And that’s exactly what he is getting, he confirmed.
“It knocks the spin off the ball,” Mickelson said. “My tee shots on 9 are getting down to the bottom of the hill, and I haven’t been able to do that in years. My tee shots on 10 are going another 15 to 20 yards, giving me a club or two less than I’ve had in years. My tee shots on 15 are getting down to where I have one or two clubs less.
“The ball comes off (the clubface) fast, as well as low spin. It’s running, which is exactly what I wanted here.”
Mickelson practiced Friday, Saturday and Sunday here at Augusta National instead of playing in the Valero Texas ...
Though neither has a green jacket in his closet, Rickie Fowler and Luke Donald are stylish players and threats to win this season's first major championship. Here is a quick look at what Fowler, who is sponsored by Puma Golf, and Donald, who wears Polo Ralph Lauren's RLX apparel, will be wearing at Augusta National.
To commemorate the season's first major championship, TaylorMade began designing a unique, Masters-themed logo in 2003 and putting it on golf bags, hats, club headcovers and other memorabilia that are given to staff players. In the beginning, the logos mimicked the badges patrons use to gain entry into Augusta National, but in recent years they've been designed with hidden symbols and meanings. Take a walk down Magnolia, er, Memory Lane in this gallery.
AUGUSTA, Ga. Two weeks ago at the Shell Houston Open, Phil Mickelson talked about a “special club” for the Masters. Many journalists and golf fans have been looking for additional clues ever since.
The club was revealed Monday when Golfweek stumbled across a new 2-wood called Phrankenwood in the Callaway tour van. Because Augusta National Golf Club does not allow tour vans on its property, the Callaway van was parked in a lot across Washington Road from the Augusta National front gate.
Callaway officials confirmed this was the club referenced by Mickelson. However, they do not know whether he will carry Phrankenwood in the Masters.
“Honestly we don’t know,” said Nick Raffaele, Callaway’s vice president of sports marketing. “Everybody knows that Phil does things his own way. So we’re waiting just like you.”
The official name of the new club is X Hot Phrankenwood. It has 12 degrees of loft and is similar to Callaway’s 13-degree X Hot 3Deep 3-wood, already in use by Mickelson. If Mickelson decides to play Phrankenwood, it is speculated he will keep the 3Deep 3-wood in his bag and remove the 9.5-degree Razr Fit Xtreme driver.
This would make Phrankenwood ...
Rickie Fowler has a bold sense of style and is known for wearing some flashy clothes on the course. That sense of style also extends to Fowler's equipment. Fowler plays an orange Cobra AMP Cell driver and at this season's Masters, that club is covered by a Limited Edition Monoline headcover ($40 while supplies last), which on Monday, matched the hat Fowler wore on his head.
How do you fit the King for golf clubs?
Answer: With enthusiasm, because the King loves golf clubs. This is 83-year-old Arnold Palmer we’re talking about, and the job of fitting him has been bestowed on Jeff Opheim, Callaway Golf’s tour rep for the Champions Tour.
Opheim has plenty of experience working with royalty. He has been a Callaway employee for 16 years, including a run of 10 years as Callaway’s LPGA Tour rep alongside the ruler of women’s golf, Annika Sorenstam.
Now that Opheim is with Palmer on a regular basis, he has a message for Mr. Gary Player and Mr. Jack Nicklaus: Watch out, because the King has been practicing for the official opening ceremony at the Masters, where the Big Three will hit tee shots on the first hole.
“He really wants to hit it past those other guys,” Opheim said, without reflecting on the fact that the 77-year-old Player is six years younger and the 73-year-old Nicklaus is just a kid, comparatively speaking.
To get ready for the Masters, Palmer has been experimenting with longer drivers for more clubhead speed and more length. “Some of those drivers are 46 inches, and some ...
Whether they've won a green jacket or are driving up Magnolia Lane for the first time, for the game's best players, simply being a part of the Masters means a lot. In this video, produced by Titleist, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson and other stars talk about what Augusta means to them.
(Click the photo above to play the video)
The sight of a 25-yard hook would make a lot of golfers cringe, but for Bubba Watson, shot shaper extraordinaire on the PGA Tour, that’s nothing.
Watson, 34, has been one of the Tour’s longest hitters off the tee since his rookie season of 2006, but it’s his ability to curve shots, to hit them high or low, to bend the ball in ways that physics shouldn’t allow, that really sets him apart from his peers.
Since 2004, when he parted ways with his Ping i3+ irons, Watson has depended on Ping S59 irons to hit those shots. According to Matt Rollins, Ping’s senior PGA Tour manager, the cast S59 irons are the most unforgiving, blade-like clubs the company has produced. They have a thin topline, little offset and were designed to allow better players to maneuver the ball around the course. Watson always has used True Temper X100 shafts in his set.
There is a good reason why you won’t see S59 irons on the wall of your local pro shop. Though they still are available by special order, the S59s had a two-year life cycle and were succeeded in Ping’s line ...
Phil Mickelson, a three-time winner of the Masters, won a green jacket using one driver in 2004 and 2010. He also won the tournament in 2006 using two drivers.
At the Shell Houston Open, where Mickelson pulled his driver before Friday's second round and decided to go with his new Callaway X Hot 3Deep fairway wood off the tee, he teased regarding his Masters strategy for this year. "We have a special club we're making that I'll be hitting on Monday," he said. "So, we'll see."
Now we see this club on the USGA Conforming Driver list, the Callaway X Hot Phrankenwood. Could this be what Mickelson was referring to? Golfweek.com will update you with more details as they become available.
A look inside the bag of 2013 Valero Texas Open winner Martin Laird:
DRIVER: TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 Tour (9 degrees) with a Matrix 8M3 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 Tour HL (16.5 degrees) and TaylorMade R9 (19 degrees) with a Mitsubishi Diamana B-Series shafts
IRONS: TaylorMade Tour Preferred (3-4), TP MC (5-PW) with Rifle 7.0 shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design (54, 60 degrees) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shafts
PUTTER: TaylorMade Ghost Tour DA-12
BALL: TaylorMade Lethal
Jim Furyk is using two drivers this week at the Valero Texas Open, but he can't be categorized as an expert on the subject.
One of Furyk’s drivers, a 9.5-degree Callaway Razr Fit Xtreme, is euphemistically called the “Bomber,” an intriguing choice of names for a guy whose official driving distance average for the year is 273.7 yards. The other driver is a 10.5-degree Callaway Razr Fit Xtreme.
In a weekend game among amateurs, 273.7 yards would be extremely impressive, but consider that it ranks no better than 166th on the PGA Tour. In the driving-distance category, the Tour goes to 180 golfers and stops, meaning Furyk is 14 spots from last place.
This is not a criticism of Furyk. Actually it is a compliment. A short hitter by Tour standards, he has won 16 tournament titles and more than $53 million in prize money. He is one of the most consistent players in modern golf.
But, the real king of the two-driver strategy is Phil Mickelson. Here’s what he has done:
• In 2006, Mickelson unveiled a new strategy by carrying two drivers at the BellSouth Classic. He won by 13 strokes.
• Mickelson ...
Recent The Toy Box Videos
Our David Dusek breaks down Billy Horschel's winning bag from the Zurich Classic.
Our David Dusek breaks down Graeme McDowell's winning bag at the RBC Heritage.
Our David Dusek breaks down what was inside Adam Scott's bag at Augusta National this week.
Golfweek's Pregame Primer: Alex Miceli breaks down Phil Mickelson's work with Dave Stockton, as well as Brendan Steele's conventional grip on his belly putter.
Our Alex Miceli offers up this pregame equipment primer heading into the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla.
Our Alex Miceli previews two equipment changes by Louis Oosthuizen and Geoff Ogilvy at this week's Tampa Bay Championship.
Our David Dusek spent time in the Ping trailer learning how Bubba Watson likes his driver to be gripped.
TaylorMade's Chris Piniarski talks about his love affair with surfing and its similarities to golf.