Poppy Hills To Be Replaced for AT&T?

Poppy HillsBad news if you’re a fan of the famed Poppy Hills course in California, it looks like it might be on its absolute last leg when it comes to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.  Word is, it could be replaced, and replaced soon and completely taken out of rotation.  You might be upset if you love the course, but if you’re Tiger Woods or any number of other pro’s that have never liked playing the course.

Woods and Others Loathe Poppy Hills

If you were unaware, and I must admit I was, Poppy Hills actually was the replacement for another course back in 1991.  Poppy Hills came in and replaced Cypress Point Golf Club due to some questionable membership policies, but quickly fell out of favor.  According to reports:

“..the course quickly became known for a lack of seaside vistas, an abundance of doglegs, and too many six-hour rounds…Poppy may soon be replaced in the AT&T rotation by Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore course, a gem by the ocean that has more in common with AT&T tournament courses Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill.”

Offer Rejected in 2005…Now?

Given the current economic climate, Monterey might want to reconsider their rejection of this offer that was present in 2005 as it’d be an amazingly productive move to lure new members into the club.  The other great news, if the switch does occur, is this switch might actually be the bait that Tiger Woods needed to come and play next year’s AT&T Pro-Am, considering that the U.S. Open will be held at Pebble Beach’s rotation in 2010.

Bye Bye Poppy?

Whatever the case may be, Poppy Hills might soon find itself extinct from the rotation, and we might be seeing a lot more beautiful, a lot more scenic, and a lot more exciting play at Monterey.  Stay tuned.

Taylormade R9 and R9 Max Driver FCT Sleeves

fctsleevesSince the R9 Max launched here in Japan I’ve gotten tons of questions and inquiries about the Flight Control Technology sleeve that allows for the adjustments on the new R9 and R9 Max drivers. In order to make sure the sleeves are interchangable between models, including US models we decided to pick up US spec R9 driver for comparison.

First we pulled off some sleeves to check the sizes and determined that stock shafted FCT sleeves are 0.350″ diameter and TP and upgrade shafted FCT Sleeves are 0.335″.

We then began interchanging the sleevees into different heads and are happy to report that the R9 Max FCT sleeve does fit in a US model R9 and the R9 FCT sleeve does fit in the Japan model R9.

We also contacted TM here in Japan to nudge them a bit to see if they would be selling FCT sleeves which of course they said they would not be.  Not to worry though as there appear to be lots of sleeves available online and on various auction sites. One member at TSG already has 5 different shafts for his R9 driver. This is definitely every enthusiasts dream!

Check out the R9 Driver in the Pro Shop!

Henrik Stenson’s Players Championship Clubs

StensonThe tournament is over, the win is in the bag, rumors are spreading that Henrik Stenson might be buying the beach house he rented during his stay in Ponte Vedra, Florida for the tournament and people are still wondering what the heck happened to both Alex Cejka and Tiger Woods.  One thing people are also wondering, is exactly what clubs Henrik used to roll to such an impressive, and commanding victory over the rest of the field.  One thing is for sure, his three-wood was his best friend and I’m sure Callaway will be seeing a boost in business after people see how well he hit it!

3-Wood Dominated Sawgrass

During his 4 rounds at TPC Sawgrass, Stenson was reluctant to ever pull his driver out of his bag, instead relying on the accuracy of his 3-wood to put him exactly where he needed to be on each hole.  I suppose if you’re hitting your 3-wood over 315 yards after roll, the need for a driver is a bit less.  So what were the other clubs he used to put that trophy in his hands?  Check it out, according to Golf.com:

“DRIVER: Callaway FT-3 (9.5°) with Grafolloy Blue shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Callaway Big Bertha (13°, 19°) with Grafolloy Blue shafts
IRONS: Srixon I-506 (3-PW)
WEDGES: Callaway X Tour Vintage (52°, 58°)
PUTTER: Yes! Donna
BALL: Srixon Z-Star”

When asked about the decision to hit 3-wood instead of driver, Stenson had this to say:

“It’s a course that sets up nicely for my 3-wood, I didn’t hit many drivers here this week, and I don’t think I really had to.  It’s 13 degrees, and I hit it far…I hit a good one down 18 the other day, and I think [ShotLink] said 318 or 313 or something like that. When you get one going on these fast, firm fairways, it can run on.”

Great Win for Stenson, Callaway & Srixon

With his stock 3-wood going about 270, it’s clear he was getting a bit extra on the ball this weekend.  Nevertheless, great win for Stenson, Callaway and Srixon.  Congratulations!

(Photo by Robert Beck/SI)

Henrik Stenson Takes The Players Championship

StensonIt wasn’t Tiger, it wasn’t Phil, it wasn’t Sergio or Vijay.  Heck, it wasn’t even Round 3 leader Alex Cejka that took home top honors at this weekends The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, instead it was Swedish player Henrik Stenson that rose up out of the crowd and put together 4 impressive rounds, capped off with a dominating 66 on Sunday to win it, making him the first Swede to win a PGA event of this size.

Cejka & Tiger Fell Apart

At the start of Round 4, Alex Cejka was sitting on an impressive -11 but before he even reached the turn he’d dropped all the way to -7 and went on to shoot a disappointing closing round of 79.  Many doubted his ability to hold onto the lead he’d acquired, as he’s still yet to take home his first PGA tour victory and had never been in that position before.  Paired up with Tiger Woods might have affected his play as well, but then again, Tiger Woods lost his hope of winning the tournament right along with him, notching a final round 73 to add to his first and second rounds that were also in the 70’s.

Great Final Round

When asked about his performance, especially in the final round, Stenson was eager to sound off.  Here’s what he had to say:

“It’s definitely up there, if not the best final round I’ve done…It’s just going to give me a lot of confidence to go out there and control myself and play as well as I did today on the last day at TPC Sawgrass and to hold off such a strong field…It’s just going to give me a lot of confidence going into the majors, and obviously if I can play as well as I did today, I surely can do it on a Sunday at the majors.”

We’ll be watching his upcoming performance with interest, as he was an entertaining and impressive player to watch on Sunday.

What Happened to Tiger?

Unfortunately, despite the impressive nature of his win, the question many people were left wondering was what happened to Tiger Woods?  It’s too early to make any judgement calls yet, but one thing is clear, he’s not the player he was.  Yet.

(image via Squire/Getty Images)

Cejka & Na Playing Through Pain Today

Kevin NaToday, when Alex Cejka and Kevin Na tee off, they’ll be doing so in some noticeable pain and how that will affect both of their runs at victory this time around should be interesting.  While neither have teed off yet, Na waiting to tee off at 2:25 and Cejka to follow at 2:35, today should be a wild ride as some people are already making early moves.

Cejka Looks to Hold Onto Lead

At the close of Round 2 yesterday, German Alex Cejka had held on and fought off challengers to keep a two stroke lead at -11.  Many are wondering if he can hold onto this lead as he’s never been in this position before, he’s still waiting to notch his very first PGA Tour victory.  Will The Players Championship be the venue?  We’ll see.

Injuries Plaguing Na

As far as playing through pain goes, Kevin Na certainly looks to be facing down that enemy.  Reports are saying that it was a shoulder injury that caused him to withdraw from the Quail Hollow Championship last week, and now leg and back issues that are causing him distress.  Na was quoted as saying:

“I’ve been practicing a lot and I did take the week of New Orleans off and I practiced a lot in Florida and I think I over practiced a little bit…Even right now, my right quad is really stiff and I’ve been massaging it myself, putting some freeze cream on it, and the back is a little stiff…I’m 25 years old and my body is falling apart.”

We’ll see how injury and pressure affect both Na and Cejka as Round 3 continues right now.  Quite a few changes on the leaderboard, Woods being 7 off the lead, Phil Mickelson being nowhere near the top, and a huge number of players still waiting to tee off.

Turn it On!

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times, Tune In…it’s getting good.

Couples Holds First Presidents Cup Meeting

CouplesLooks like things are starting to line up for the Presidents Cup this year, as Fred Couples has held his first meeting with potential players on this years Presidents Cup Team.  The first meeting did one thing for certain, showed how different Couples will be as Captain this time around.

Top 30 Invited

While some players were noticeably absent, Tiger Woods most of all, the PGA Tour invited the top 30 players currently in the Presidents Cup Standings for a meeting Wednesday afternoon inside The Players Championship clubhouse.  Apparently assistant coach Jay Haas was also on hand and even gave a brief speech.  As far as speeches are concerned, Couples kept his short and reportedly apologized for wasting their time, as a whole lot of golf stands between them and the Presidents Cup, including three Majors and a World Golf Championship.  Time will tell who the Top 10 players will be.

Tiger Woods Misses Meeting

As far as Tiger Woods being absent, reports were saying that Couples and Woods exchanged text messages on the subject after the meeting took place.  Here’s what was said:

Couples: “You hurt my feelings.”
“I’m on the boat. You should have had the meeting on the boat.”
“You’re right. We could have fit 40 (players) on the boat.”
“I’m watching a movie with my baby on my lap.”
“OK. That’s a good spot for you to be.”

There is indeed a whole lot of golf to go down between now and The Presidents Cup, seeing as though the first matches don’t even begin until October 8 in San Francisco.  Nevertheless, the earlier the better I suppose.

Until Then…Stay Tuned

Stay tuned for more info on the Cup as it comes in.

(image via golfdigest.com)

Round Two of The Players Championship Rages On

57380215Round One of The Players Championship ended yesterday with some lesser known names atop the leaderboard and so far in Round Two things are continuing in much the same way.  While all eyes are still on Tiger Woods for him to make his trek back to the top of the Sawgrass leaderboard, so far he’s hovering just above the projected cut line that looks like it could be Even par.

Cejka In First, Three-Way Tie for 2nd

Currently sitting a very healthy 11 strokes ahead of that cut-line is the current leader Alex Cejka.  He blasted through the course at Sawgrass yesterday shooting a first round 66 and stayed almost identically on form today shooting an impressive second round 67 to take him to eleven-under-par.  Following behind Cejka, but a full 4 strokes off his pace we have a tie for 2nd place between Kevin Na, Angel Cabrera and Richard Johnson.

Where Is The Tiger We Know and Love?

The question that is lingering in everyone’s minds, however, is what exactly is going on and going wrong with Tiger Woods lately?  It’s clear he’s not playing up to the same potential he ordinarily plays with and it has many people wondering why.  According to reports on PGATour.com:

“…there’s no question he’s a bit of a changed person and as a result a little bit different of a player…Woods misses being at home with his wife Elin and their two kids — though the family is with him this week — and his intense focus isn’t quite what it once was. That’s not to say he’s distracted, it’s just that kids change yor life and Woods admitted to as much earlier in the week…The other end of the equation is that Woods is frustrated that he hasn’t been able to get his game and his body back to what they once were, at least not yet. And he doesn’t know when it will happen. There are signs of progress, but when you’re the No. 1 player in the world it can be difficult to be patient.”

Whether or not he comes back to his old form remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, his comeback to golf hasn’t been filled with excitement and fanfare as many people were hoping for.

(image via Squire/Getty Images)

Sean O’Hair’s Quail Hollow Winning Quiver

Sean O'HairAs you well know by now, we here at Golf to Impress love knowing what pro’s are playing what, when, and why.  The tools each of these golfers use to acheive their wins is always of interest as the equipment pro golfers choose can be the deciding factor between their scores.  That said, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peak into Sean O’Hair’s bag and the clubs he used to take home top honors at the Quail Hollow Championship.

TaylorMade Notches Big Win

For the first time in a long time, each and every single thing in his bag stayed true to his sponsor.  O’Hair is and has been sponsored by TaylorMade and with the victory at Quail Hollow became the third person this year to win using the new TaylorMade R9 driver.  Nevertheless, here’s what O’Hair used to slay the giants and win the Quail Hollow Championship:

DRIVER: TaylorMade R9 (10.5°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 74 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade R9 (13°) with Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 83 shaft; r7 TP (17.5°) with Mitsubishi Fubuki Tour shaft
IRONS: TaylorMade Tour Preferred (4-9)
WEDGES: TaylorMade RAC (48°, 50°, 54°), Cleveland CG 12 (60°)
PUTTER: TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza
BALL: TaylorMade TP Red with LDP

A bag full of TaylorMade and Sean O’Hair takes home the top prize and the huge purse that accompanied it.  Apparently TaylorMade is having one heck of a start to the season with three victories under its belt in the driver end of the spectrum.

Players Championship Rages On

Who will take home the Players Championship and what they accomplished it with remains to be seen, as they are all currently battling it out at Sawgrass.  If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 100 times, tune in, it’s getting good.

(image via golf.com)

The Players Championship Kicks Off

john_mallingerNext to the Masters, one of the events that golf fans look most forward to each year has to be The Players Championship.  Emotions always run hot, players always show up ready to roll and to put up impressive scores, and yes, we’ve been waiting since 2001 for Tiger Woods to break the spell and re-enter the Top 10 and win it again.  Will it happen, we don’t know but the players are officially off and some scores are already rolling in as the first day of play rolls on.

Big Names Behind Unknown Names

This year, some surprising names have found themselves at the top of the leaderboard, and while the first day of play isn’t over, some of the biggest names in golf find themeselves situated substantially behind some names many people are unfamiliar with.  As of right now and the time of writing, American John Mallinger and Swede Richard Johnson are tied for the top spot after both putting up impressive first round 6-under-pars.

Woods & Mickelson Look to Make Splash

Speaking of Tiger Woods, he started off on the back nine and continued an unfortunate streak of not being able to break 70 on his first round.  He’s in the clubhouse right now after shooting a -1 71 to kick things off.  Another big name, Phil Mickelson had a late tee time today but so far so good as he’s already finding himself 2-under-par after only 3 holes.  Could this be the tournament Phil turns things around?

Not Watching?  You Should Be

If you’re not watching, you should be.  All eyes will be on Tiger over the next few days as rumors of swing problems and issues with consistency have been plaguing him.  According to reports:

“Woods has four top 10s in his last four events, including a win at Bay Hill, but has been wildly inconsistent in different parts of his game throughout the year. When he’s driven it well, he’s putted poorly. When he’s putted well, his ballstriking was off. That seemed to be the case again…”

Tune in.  It’s getting good.

Sergio Garcia Going with New Putter at Sawgrass

monza_corza_mid_largeIf things just aren’t working out, you have to do something to fix that.  That’s the exact mentality Sergio Garcia has right now as he’s gearing up for the Players Championship.  As you know, Garcia’s biggest win last year came at this very tournament, and going into today’s round he’ll be using some new equipment to try to pull off a repeat performance.

Three Putters in 3 Months

That’s right, reports are coming in that Garcia is changing putters, away from his old staple that he actually kissed after winning last year’s championship, and adopting a brand new, highly customized putter.  According to reports:

“At the Masters, Garcia arrived wielding a 44-inch TaylorMade Spider belly putter. He tied for 38th that week and was never a factor in the tournament…Garcia, still trying to break out of his putting funk, has now switched to a unique new putter. It is 35 inches long, and the head is from an extended-length TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza. “

Garcia has had a rough start to this season, and despite hitting the ball extremely well, being in the top of the class for ballstriking and greens in regulation, but his putting has taken him all the way to 173rd for putts per round and a disappointing 155th for putts per green in regulation.  Yikes.

Putter Will Solve Problems?  Time Will Tell…

Will this new putter be the answer to his problems?  Time will tell.  Bottom line is that the Players Championships at Sawgrass should be a great testing ground.  He’s won this tourament before, and he’ll be looking to win it again.  Whether this will be the deciding factor or not remains to be seen, it could be a bigger issue and the putter could be the scapegoat.  What do you think?

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