Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What's In Hunter Mahan's Golf Bag? - 2007 Travelers

Hunter Mahan won the 2007 Travelers Championship this last weekend at TPC at River Highlands Cromwell, Connecticut. Do you want to know what he was carrying in his golf bag during his win?

Driver: PING Rapture 9°
Hybrid: PING Rapture 18°
3 Wood: Taylor-Made R7 TP 15°
Irons: (3-PW) PING S58
SW: Titleist Vokey 54°
LW: Titleist Vokey 58°
Putter: PING G2i Anser
Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Hunter started the final round very much in contention. He needed a birdie on 18 to tie for the lead and he did just that by sinking a 7-footer. Jay Williamson could have won it by making his 12-footer on the same hole, but he missed it.

They both went back to the tee on 18 and put their drives in the fairway. Mahan stuck his approach shot 2 feet from the pin. Williamson hit his to within 7 feet, but missed his putt high. Hunter made his 2-footer for his first PGA Tour victory. Mahan took home $1.08 million for the win.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Golfing In The Heat At PGA West

As promised, here's my review of my weekend of golf playing the TPC Stadium golf course at PGA West in La Quinta, CA.

I think it goes without saying that it was pretty damn hot. I drove out on Friday and arrived in Palm Springs around 4:30pm and the thermometer read 111 degrees. You have to wonder if golfers, including myself, have a few screws loose to want to play golf in that kind of heat. A couple of my co-workers thought I was crazy to hit a little white golf ball around in the desert. I'd have to agree with them ;-)

Anyway, on Saturday I played the PGA West Jack Nicklaus Tournament course and at 9:00am it was already 96 degrees. After about 15 minutes on the golf range, I was drenched in sweat and thinking this was going to be a long day.

The first hole was a disaster. I managed to pull an Aaron Baddeley and took a triple-bogey 7. I pulled myself together and was 1-under for the next 8 holes finishing the front in 38. It was highlighted by birdieing number 9, which is the #1 handicap hole. By this time the temperature was probably around 105 and I was starting to feel it.

I started off the back nine a little rough by bogeying the first two holes. I struggled a little bit and managed a 41 on the back, which gave me a 79 for the day. I was somewhat satisfied considering I had a triple and 2 double bogeys.

Sunday's round was on the TPC Stadium course and it was going to be hotter than Saturday. There was absolutely no wind and a lot more humidity because they were watering the course. I was playing well until I came to the par 5 fifth hole. I crushed a drive and had 7-iron left to reach the green in two. I pulled it and ended on the fringe up against the primary rough about 50 feet away. I ended up 3-putting for my 5 and disappointed that I didn't get birdie.

The next hole was the par 3 sixth hole and I hit a 6-iron to about 35 feet. I hit a really poor first put leaving it 8 feet short just short of the ridge I wanted to make it down. Now I had a tricky downhill putt and I proceeded to run that by 4 feet. Well you probably know what comes next... I missed that and ended up with a 4-putt. I can't remember the last time I 4-putted.

My putting confidence went right out the door and I ended up 3-putting the next 2 holes to card a 41 on the front. I started off the back nine really strong and I was even par on the back until I came the par 5 sixteenth hole. If you haven't played the 16th then you haven't seen what I consider to be the highest bunker. It's called "The San Andreas Fault" after the San Andreas earthquake fault line in California. The bunker has to be at least 20 feet deep or more.

I hit a good drive on the hole, but I had a side hill hook lie for my second shot. With "The San Andreas Fault" on the left side of the green my chance to reach the green in 2 safely wasn't looking to good, especially since I started feeling a little nauseous from the heat back on 15. I decided to go for it and sure enough I landed square in the middle of the 20+ foot bunker.

I took out my 56 degree sand wedge and basically opened it up to the point where the face was laying completely flat. I picked out a spot about 2 inches behind the ball and took a full swing. The ball popped up and just barely cleared the lip and probably clipped a few strands of grass. I was so excited that I made it out that I ran up the step grass side of the bunker to see where I landed and I was only 12 feet from the pin... that was a career bunker shot! I missed the putt, but it was a great par.

I started to feel the affects of the run up the side of the green because I was feeling a little dizzy. I felt more nauseous and as I stood on the infamous 17th hole Island green tee I wasn't sure how I was going to hit the ball. Heat stroke was starting to set in and I took a cool wet towel and put it on my neck, but that didn't seem to do much. Needless to say I hit my tee shot in the water and walked away with a triple bogey. I drank as much water as I could and got up to the 18th hole with my hands shaking. I managed to get my drive out there and finish with a bogey and a back nine of 40... with an overall score of 81.

This was the second time I've had a heat stroke or heat exhaustion and it is definitely not fun to have. I drank about 2 Gatorade's and within 30 minutes I was back to normal. If it wasn't for the heat exhaustion I could have easily finished with a 77. You should really get out there and play any of the PGA West golf courses especially the TPC Stadium.

Have you played the Nicklaus Tournament or TPC Stadium course before?

Have you ever had heat exhaustion while playing golf?

Leave me a comment about your experiences with either one.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A PGA West Golf Weekend

I'm off to Palm Springs/La Quinta for a weekend of golf. A friend at work puts on a friendly stroke play tournament every year at PGA West. You get a room and all the golf you can play for around $250 a night, which I think is double occupancy. You'll have to check that.

On Saturday we play the Nicklaus Tournament Course and on Sunday we play the TPC Stadium Course. I pretty sure that to play the Stadium Course alone costs around $125 in the summer. Yes it's going to be hot. I checked the weather and it looks like it's going to be between 105 and 115 on the golf course.

I was fortunate to win the tournament a few years back. I happened to have my golf game at it's peak and carded a 75 and 73 (gross) on the Nicklaus and Stadium courses respectively. I hit a lot of 2-irons and fairway woods off the tees because being in the fairway was a must to score well on these courses... particularly the Stadium course.

If you've never played PGA West you should really give it a shot... especially the TPC Stadium Course with their infamous signature hole... the 17th island green.

If you have played at PGA West then let me know how you did and what you thought of the course(s). I'll post my results next week after I get back. Let's hope I can bring my "A" game to the course this weekend.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's In Angel Cabrera's Golf Bag? 2007 US Open

Angel Cabrera won the 2007 US Open Golf Championship this last weekend at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. Do you want to know what he was carrying in his golf bag during his win?

Driver: Ping Rapture 7.5°
3 wood: Ping TiSi Tech 14°
Hybrid: Nickent 3DX DC ironwood 17°
Irons:  (3-9) Ping S58 w/ Rifle 7.0 shaft
PW:     Ping S58 47°
SW:     Titleist Vokey spin milled 54°
LW:     Titleist Vokey prototype 60°
Putter: Ping Redwood Anser 35 inch long
Ball:   Titleist Pro V1x

Cabrera started the final round 4 shots out of the lead, but ended up winning the tournament by 1 stroke over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. His final round 69 was very impressive considering he had never won a PGA tour event. He had a lot of pressure with Tiger breathing down his neck, but he handled it very well. Tiger had many chances to take the tournament, but his putter pretty much failed him for the entire tournament.

Cabrera is the first Argentinian in golf history to win the US Open. Also, it was the first time in US Open history that an interpreter was required to help present the U.S. Open Trophy to the winning golfer. Angel took home $1.26 million dollars for the win. In second place both Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk took home $611,336.

Monday, June 18, 2007

US Open At Oakmont Gives Amateur Golfers Hope

The US Open Golf Championship is the one time we amateur golfers get to watch professional golfers struggle to play and score well. I think as an amateur we get some sadistic pleasure out watching these guys hit shots that look like a 30-handicapper would hit.

You watch these professional golfers hitting out of the rough and they're only able to advance it 30 yards sometimes. I think watching these tour pros fluff a 10-yard pitch shot back into the rough makes all of us amateur golfers feel a little better about all the times we've done the same at our local golf course.

Sunday's round was hard to watch at times because you had to feel bad for some of those players... especially Aaron Baddeley. He's got a great game and he seems to be a really great person. Watching him make triple-bogey on the first hole of Sunday's round was tough to watch. He wasn't able to recover from that and ended up carding a 10-over 80 finishing at 12-over par for the championship.

You have to give Angel Cabrera a lot of credit for playing the way he did. He hit some incredible golf shots down the stretch with several of his iron shots finishing only a few feet from the hole for tap in birdies.

Tiger Woods had some many chances to tie and even take the lead during his round on Sunday. We've all become accustomed to seeing Tiger pull of the impossible and we all kept waiting for him to make his move on Sunday, but he just wasn't able to do it. His putter pretty much failed him this weekend especially during Saturday's round. I think he could have put the tournament out of reach on Saturday if he had been putting like he usually does. He hit 17 out of 18 greens and made only 2 birdies (1 birdie was a 2-putt on a par 5) and one bogey to finish with a 1-under 69. He could have easily shot 65 or 64 and put a huge amount of pressure on the rest of the field, but it wasn't meant to be.

Furyk made a late run during Sunday's round by birdieing 14, 15, and 16 to get himself within 1 stroke of the lead. I think he lost the tournament by hitting driver on 17 when he should have hit a lay up iron. Furyk ended up bogeying 17 and his chance for a second US Open was gone. Other players who had a chance on Sunday were Paul Casey, Stephen Ames, Steve Stricker, David Toms, Justin Rose, and a few others. At one point each of these players were only a few strokes out of the lead, but at the end of the day Oakmont Country Club prevailed.

Angel Cabrera's final round 69 was enough to give him a 1-stroke victory over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. He become the only Argentinian in golf history to win the US Open Golf Championship. Congratulations Angel... you were the better golfer this weekend.

As an amateur golfer, we should all feel a little better about our own golf game knowing that even a professional golfer can shoot in the 80's and at times look like a high-handicapper.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What's In Woody Austin's Golf Bag? 2007 St. Jude

Woody Austin won the 2007 Stanford St. Jude Championship this last weekend at TPC Southwind Memphis, Tennessee. Do you want to know what he was carrying in his golf bag during his win?

Driver: Cleveland Launcher Comp 8.5°
3 Wood: Cleveland Launcher Steel 13°
Hybrid: Adams IDEA PRO 18°
Irons:  (3-PW) Cleveland CG1
SW:     Cleveland 588 DSG 56°
LW:     Cleveland 588 60°
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist prototype
Ball:   Titleist New Pro V1x

Woody started the final round 4 shots out of the lead, but ended up winning the tournament by 5 strokes. He took things into his own hands by shooting an 8-under 62, which included an eagle, 6 birdies, and no bogies. He finished with a total 267 at 13-under par. Adam Scott, the leader starting the day, fell apart on the back nine and carded a 5-over 75 to finish at 4-under. Brian Davis was the next golfer at 8-under. Austin took home $1.08 million for the win.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Top 10 Hottest Golf Clubs May 2007

Here are the Top 10 Hottest Golf Clubs for the month of May 2007.

1. Ping Eye 2 Iron set
2. Titleist 905R Driver
3. Ping G5 Driver
4. TaylorMade r5 Dual Driver
5. TaylorMade r7 460 Driver
6. Callaway X-18 Iron set
7. Nike SasQuatch Driver
8. TaylorMade r7 quad Driver
9. Ping G2 Driver
10. TaylorMade r7 425 Driver

Again The Ping Eye 2 Iron set still holds the #1 spot. In fact the top 3 golf clubs are the same as they were last month. The hottest golf club is the TaylorMade r5 Dual Driver, which moved from #8 to #4. The TaylorMade drivers made the biggest move in the top 10 with 4 different drivers. eBay has some really good deals on these TaylorMade drivers, which are the most popular drivers on the PGA tour.

Just in case you missed it, here's my post of The Hottest Golf Clubs Of April 2007, which is how the top 10 clubs finished for the month of April 2007.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What's In K.J. Choi's Golf Bag? - Memorial

K.J. Choi won the 2007 Memorial Tournament last weekend at Muirfield Village GC Dublin, Ohio. Do you want to know what he was carrying in his golf bag during his win?
Driver: Nike SasQuatch Sumo² 8.5°
3 Wood: Nike SasQuatch 2 15°
Hybrid: Nike T100 17
Hybrid: Sonartec MD 23°
Irons:  (4-PW) Nike Blades
SW:     Nike Pro Combo 54°
LW:     Nike SV Tour 60°
Putter: Odyssey Tri-Hot 2
Ball:   Nike One Platinum

K.J. overcame a 5-shot deficit by shooting an impressive 7-under 65 on Sunday to win the tournament over Ryan Moore by one stroke. Choi considered this to be his biggest win because he attributes a Jack Nicklaus book that he read as a child for him pursuing a career in golf. He finished at 17-under 271 and earned $1.08 million