The 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open
The PGA Tour is headed to Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix OpenJ from January 29-February 4. The tournament takes place at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Stadium Course. This PGA stop boasts the largest attendance on tour and it is an audience participation event, especially on the 16th hole. This hole can be considered the most famous hole on the tour. And the audience? Well to get a better idea of the attendance, consider the 207,000 fans attending last year…just on Saturday.
This year’s field is as talented as its ever been, featuring five of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, including world No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama, who with a victory can become the first player since Arnold Palmer to win the event three consecutive times. It would also make him the fifth three-time winner in the tournament’s history, joining the likes of Palmer, Phil Mickelson, Mark Calcavecchia and Gene Littler. Others include Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas.
The best part about this event?
A live 360 and VR experience will be available for all four rounds of this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Similar to the TOUR’s Live VR events in 2017, this week’s coverage can be viewed globally in “360 video” on Twitter (twitter.com/PGATOUR), as well as through Samsung Gear VR via the “PGA TOUR VR Live” app.
Fans can now watch live in both 360 video and Cardboard VR via the PGA TOUR app on iOS. The “PGA TOUR VR Live” app will also launch on Daydream by Google – available on the Google Play Store – all at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. As the exclusive live virtual reality provider of the PGA TOUR, Intel will produce the live VR experience with Intel True VR technology, providing unprecedented access to areas on the course that can’t be experienced, even by fans on-site.
“The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the most exciting in golf,” said Rick Anderson, PGA TOUR Chief Media Officer. “We look forward to bringing that excitement to our fans who can’t physically be at the tournament through live virtual reality. They will be able to experience all the thrills from home.”
The Golf Channel will carry live coverage on Thursday and Friday from 3 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET. CBS will take over on the weekend beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
The Next Vokey Wedge is Here
In the world of golf, there are a lot of factors that come into scoring well and one of the biggest factors are wedges.
Spinning a ball into the green and putting it close to the pin is vital.
One of the best wedges for years on local courses and the PGA Tour has been Titleist’s line of Vokey wedges.
Bob Vokey has long been designing some of the best wedges to hit this earth.
The Vokey line has grown in popularity year in and year out and you see many people still playing the older Vokey’s.
The newest one is almost here. The Vokey SM7 will be getting its first look on course this week at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open at TPC Summerlin.
These are not the finished product. They are rolling out the SM7 prototypes this week and Titleist loyalists Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and others will have these wedges in their bags.
“We design the best product possible and take it to the tour. If the tour players accept it, then we say this must be awfully good.”- Bob Vokey.
If you own or have seen last years’ version, the SM6 it was a very sleek looking wedge.
But this year, according to prototype pictures, has a different look, but it may be a little simpler and better looking.
This year’s rendition still has the signature gear in the corner, the BV with the wings and the Titleist logo.
One noticeable difference, that may only be on the prototype is the SM7 logo is just below the BV logo and it makes it look very clean and simple. On the SM6 it was off to the side, tucked in the corner.
Another year, another inevitably great Vokey wedge.
Other companies have tried their hand at wedges, but Vokey remains at the top.
The 2017-2018 Season is Rickie Fowler’s Year
Rickie Fowler always seems to be that guy that is right there on Sunday, but can never seal the deal. But I think this is his Justin Thomas like breakout year, and here is why I think so.
A 54-hole golf tournament is a lot on your body. To do that week in and week out, takes a lot out of you. So it isn’t that surprising that he is getting physically worn down, and collapsing on Sunday’s.
I think his new girlfriend is going to help him raise multiple trophies this PGA Tour season. His new girlfriend’s name is Allison Stokke. She is an American track and field athlete specializing in pole vault.
But that is a side note.
Since they have been together, like most couples, they have been going virtually everywhere together. The most prominent was at Fowler’s alma maters, Oklahoma State’s homecoming. Fowler was accompanied by his new lady friend. But that was what the media saw.
Fowler posted a video of the two of them doing sprints on the Oklahoma State’s football in the early hours of the morning. Instead of being hungover, Fowler was out there with her running. Since then Fowler has posted pictures on Snapchat and Instagram of cone setups and him running.
Assuming it is with his new boo.
My theory is that all these early morning workouts will pay off. Not only is he going to be focused on golf, not chasing tail. He is going to arguably be in the best shape of his life.
With that, I believe will come trophies.
He will be able to stay fresh all four days of the tournament and his body will be in good enough shape to keep up and keep the elite level of golf up.
If Fowler wins a lot this year, you heard it here first.
Alignment stick can fix your steep swing
With the golf swing, the smallest thing can make it go very very badly. One of the biggest issues is coming over the top with high handicapper golfers. When this happens your divots are, for a righty, pointing to the left and your ball is slicing badly. Vice versa for lefties. This is frustrating because although your divot is bad the ball starts at the target, but then starts to slice.
Here is a very simple and cheap way to fix this.
You don’t need a lesson, you don’t need a PGA teacher for this one. Go to your local golf store and buy an alignment stick. Alignment sticks are more than just a decoration in your bag, believe it or not they come in handy.
When you get to the range, stick the alignment stick into the ground at a 45. Place the ball under the stick so you have to sweep under the stick as you swing. Make sure the stick isn’t too vertical and not too laid out.
When you are swinging, think about solid contact with the ball, and steering clear of the stick all the way through your swing. What this does is makes you focus on dipping your back shoulder and getting your club on the right plane. This will create and nice straight divot, unlike that nasty left one you have been trying to piece meal for the past couple months.
Now you have hit a bucket, you obviously can’t take this stick onto the course, but through muscle memory, your swing will remember the stick being there and scare it into swinging too steep.
Practice makes perfect, so try getting to the range if you have this problem and fix that steep swing plane.
Thank me later.
Wilfore’s Golf Bucket List
Most people as they get older get a mental idea of a bucket list.
Not many people actually write out this list, but they have it.
For golfers, they have this same list but for golf.
Although I am young, I have a small bucket list that is golf themed already made up.
Here are my few bucket list items.
- Go to The Masters: Thankfully this one will be checked off the list soon. My friend won tickets to The Masters this season so I will be heading down south in April. This is every golfers dream, I imagine, to walk the grounds of Augusta National. It isn’t even the golf you go for; it is the mythical feel you get walking around the place.
- Play Liberty National: Before the President’s Cup I was really intrigued by this course. I always like the location and the whole Statue of Liberty feel. But after watching four days of beautiful golf on the course it is my top “must play” courses before I die. From the gorgeous views, the amazing clubhouse, and the course itself. Holes 10 and 12 seem like some of the most fun holes in golf and most underrated holes in golf. It is a must play.
- Break 70: This may be the hardest one to achieve. 1. Because I suck and I can’t even break 80. 2. It is the one thing on my list that I can’t buy/ isn’t a physical thing. It is easy to buy tickets or pay for a tee time. It will be tough to break 70 but with a few lessons and learning to control my anger after a triple bogey, I am sure I can get there.
Bucket lists are ever growing and I am sure in a few years my list will be a lot longer. And hopefully a few of them will have check marks next to them.
Golfing Is Healthier Than You Think
Remember the other day when you said you were going to golf instead of going to the gym and your wife laughed at you?
Well you have some decent reason to do so.
Here are some of the numbers for you to throw in their face next time they challenge it.
Neil Wolkodoff, director of the Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences in Denver conducted a study to answer these questions.
What he found was good news for all of us fat guys who would rather walk around a golf course and suck, than drag yourself into a gym and lift weights or run on the treadmill.
The other added benefit of sucking at golf is your ball could literally go anywhere when you hit it. So maybe you get to walk a few extra steps through the woods to find your ball.
What Wolkodoff found was that over nine holes of golf, golfers carrying their bag burned about 721 calories.
For example, at about 5 miles per hour on a treadmill you burn about 596 calories an hour.
What Wolkodoff found was very eye opening.
Yes, walking 18 holes of golf is pretty tough, and you will feel it for a few days after the fact. But you are burning about 1,400 calories and having a fun time doing it (if you’re playing well).
Running on a treadmill sucks and you get no breaks. At least when you are golfing you can rest between putts and between peoples tee shots.
So next time you are going to eat some takeout pizza Saturday night and your wife is eyeing you down, tell her you will walk all 18 holes the next day and burn it all off.
Also no gym lets you enjoy a few cold ones on the treadmill.
Justin Thomas is my Player of the Year
Winning the player of the year award in any sport is pretty impressive.
To get that, you have to do something historic or be the best player in the league by a lot. This season in the NBA we saw Russell Westbrook average a triple double and win the NBA MVP. So you could say that winning five tour events in one season would be a solid campaign for the MVP.
I think it is, and it is not disputable. Starting off the season with a few wins at the early year events seemed cool for JT. Get some wins under your belt and get geared up for a long year.But when he won the PGA Championship it opened a whole new can of worms.
Winning a major compared to a “pre season” event gives you an entire different look to your resume. In a major everybody is playing at the top of their game and the course itself are such a tough setup it takes you’re A game to win. After that, he added yet another win. In the Fed Ex Playoffs even.
To win five PGA Tour events in your life is one thing, but to do it in a year is amazing. I think Justin Thomas had the best year on the PGA Tour.
I would argue he is the unanimous player of the year, but I have Spieth a close second and I think the voters may give him a few votes. Between the unreal Open performance, we will be talking about for years. And not to mention his bunker shot in our backyard in Connecticut that may go down as the shot of the year.
Justin Thomas may not have had the most memorable shot of the year, but he has had the best year and deserves to win player of the year.
Oh and there is two events left, anything is possible.
Millennial Pushing the Envelope on the Course
Changing The Game of Golf
We all grow up being told not to stereotype, but it’s human nature to pair certain qualities with certain groups.
Some may be true; some may not be. One thing golf does have is a very strong stereotype among non golfers around the world.
Rich. Snobby. Proper. No fun. Quiet please.
Those are some of the words that some people associate with golfers.
Rich people who enjoy their weekends at their country club, wearing fancy clothes, only clapping and not cheering and being quiet for most of their four-hour round.
But the millennial golfer may be breaking that mold. Myself included, millennial golfers like to push the envelope.
Instead of wearing a proper polo, we like to wear polos with crazy patterns and colors, untucked with a backwards hat on.
We are still going to hit the golf ball the same.
We like to bring our Bluetooth speakers and play our favorite songs while we play with our friends. We like to prank each other and try trick shots. Golf is a game, lets make it fun.
With all that being said we respect the history and tradition of golf, but with the direction it is heading, we need a drastic change to get todays youth excited and involved.
What better than bright fun clothes, loud music, competition and a whole lot of fun. The older generation may see our loud music as disrespect.
Come on dude, you were going to shank that ball into the woods even if my 50 Cent wasn’t blasting on my speaker. Golf needs to lighten up.
Until the older generation gets their ego and pettiness out, this game may never grow.
Millennials are not trying to ruin golf, we are trying to put our own fun spin on it.
Either join us, or get left in the dust. This is the future of golf.
Pro Clifton McDonald Shoots a 127 at U.S. Open Qualifier
Mcdonald misses cut by 55 strokes
The U.S. Open just passed, and many of you were probably thinking to yourself how cool it would be to play in the tournament.
Well, maybe after seeing how tough Erin Hills was, you may have second guessed that wish, but it would still be cool to play in a U.S. Open.
The problem? You aren’t good enough to qualify.
If you’re on the PGA Tour, you have a good chance of making it, but if you’re not, good luck.
Here is a little perspective:
At local qualifiers around the United States 8,979 people played and only 525 advanced.
So, you have to be pretty good to even get through the local qualifiers.
The local qualifier in Plymouth, Massachusetts was at Pinehills and the top scores were 70 and 72.
So your score has to be pretty low. You should be able to know, before blowing $175 bucks, if you even have a chance to proceed.
That’s where Clifton McDonald comes in. The man, the myth, the legend.
Playing to a 2.4 handicap, McDonald must have been hopeful to make the U.S. Open.
Well, after a 68 on the front which included a 14 on a par 5, his hopes may have been crushed.
Most people would withdraw or no card. Not him though.
He followed up that scorching 68 with a 59 on the back.
That included a rare bogey, three triple bogeys, and a whole lot of double bogeys. He went +29 on par 4’s for the day, not ideal.
That adds up to a 127, +55. Yikes.
You have to commend him for actually sticking it out and finishing. Grinder.
Social media comments relating to McDonald’s performance were both brutal and hilarious.
But I mean come on man, if you suck that bad, stay at the range for another 6-8 months. Pace of play must have been BRUTAL with him around.
I just feel bad for the legitimate golfers who were there. At least they got a good laugh.