There are tournaments on the PGA Tour, and then there are events. The Waste Management Phoenix Open, played in the beautiful Arizona desert, is without question an event. As host to some of the largest galleries all season, this is THE place to be in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area this week. In the past, Saturday attendance alone has eclipsed 100,000. There are numerous parties and events happening all week in the area, but the largest party of them all is on the par-3 16th hole here at TPC Scottsdale. The entire hole is encapsulated with grandstands, and Saturday will see more than 25,000 people on that hole alone. There’s really no place like it in all of professional golf!
This week saw a steady stream of tweaks and spec checking. Since this is the third or fourth event for most Cleveland Golf/Srixon staffers in the field, it was about time for many players to visit our Tour Trailer and make sure all of their gear was in order. Typical maintenance work includes checking lofts and lies, replacing worn grips, and ensuring wedge grooves are still in good shape. Our players really like the reassurance of hearing (about once a month) that everything is in order and their sticks are ready to be taken to work.
For whatever reason, we also had more-than-normal fairway wood work this week. We had three or four guys experimenting with new head and shaft combos, or simply tweaking their existing setups. Keegan Bradley and Ted Potter, Jr. both changed the shaft in their Launcher Ultralite FL 3-woods to the Miyazaki Kusala White 83 X-flex, which has a slightly softer tip. Keegan’s change put his fairway wood more in line with his driver setup to give a more consistent feel between the two and also a bit more workability. Ted, who is admittedly “vertically challenged” with his 3-wood, found his new setup easier to hit overall with a dramatic increase in launch angle for shots off the deck. These were two simple changes, but they should pay nice dividends this week and down the road.
Another significant change this week was Jerry Kelly‘s switch to graphite shafts in his irons. We don’t see much of this on the PGA Tour, but two very highly ranked players have been playing them for some time, and Jerry is giving them a shot this week. With the change, Jerry saw a little stronger ball flight while adding some distance. But the biggest factor was the change in feel – he found the feedback and vibration dampening to be much better than what he was previously playing. Keep an eye on Jerry this week and see how he does with the new bats!
Besides Bradley, Potter and Kelly, here are the CG/Srixon staffers in the field: Troy Kelly, Jason Kokrak, George McNeill, Jeff Overton, Rod Pampling, John Rollins, Chris Stroud and Vijay Singh.
Enjoy the action in Arizona. It will be fun!
For a closer look at the Waste Management and a full photo gallery, click here.
‘Til Next Week…