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.
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.
Who Will Get The Career Grand Slam First?
Speith or McIlroy?
The big talk after The U.S. Open this year was how Jordan Spieth was one major away from the career grand slam.
However, Rory McIlroy is also only one away, so this sparks a new debate…
Who will get it first? Well, here is my take.
When you look at their last legs of the grand slam, Spieth needs the PGA Championship and Rory needs the Masters.
Let’s look at Rory’s odds.
He doesn’t play terrible at Augusta, but he seems to never be able to get over the hump.
A T7 finish last season and a few more top 10 finishes make one think that he could string a few rounds together in April and finally get a green jacket.
Rory has said publicly that he would not feel complete without a green jacket.
But I think the door is going to shut, just about when it’s open enough to walk through.
This years PGA Championship is at Quail Hollow. Quail Hollow is the usual stop for the Wells Fargo, but it got changed.
Spieth’s lone performance on this course finished T32.
Experts say they have made so many changes and renovations into this course that it’s virtually a new course.
Why am I picking Spieth to not only get the grand slam first, but to do it this year?
Well, he is the hottest golfer on tour right now.
He walked into TPC River Highlands never played that course before and won the whole thing.
Took some time off and people didn’t think Royal Birkdale fit his style.
He went from Sunday meltdown to Sunday heroics and won the whole thing. I see that coming again.
He is top notch on the greens and if he can hit his driver mediocre, he will win the PGA Championship, set himself up perfectly to win the FedEX Cup and earn the career grand slam.
Jordan Spieth On Pace With Jack Nicklaus, Ahead of Tiger Woods
But yet after all his wins, all his majors, all his close calls.
“He is terrible off the tee.”
“He can only putt.”
“He will never be Tiger.”
These takes and attitude towards Spieth are ridiculous.
People are trying to compare a 23-year-old kid who may not have even peaked yet to arguably the best to ever do it…
I have a few theories.
It is almost the Jordan and LeBron argument. I feel that people that watched them at their peaks, have a weird connection and think it is their responsibility to continue their legacy. Not often you meet and older person who watched Jordan in the 90’s say LeBron is better. I think this is the case with Spieth and Tiger. People who watched Tiger come up and dominate people year in and year out, will never admit Spieth is better. Even if he is. For us young golf fans, we need someone to cling on. Spieth’s victory at Chambers Bay brought us in now we love him. But we have old guys telling us to calm down when we see his greatness in front of our eyes because “You were too young to remember Tiger”.
People saw Tiger or heard of how great Tiger was. And that set the bar for them. So as long as people aren’t winning tournaments by double digits, outdriving everyone off the tee and dominating every weekend they wont be great or even close to Tiger.
If we don’t wake up, we may miss the greatness of one of the best golfers of all time, just because of another golfer.
What Type of Putter Should You Be Using?
blade vs mallet Putters
Jordan Spieth and his Scotty Cameron Newport 2 almost go hand in hand.
But at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Spieth put a Scotty Cameron Futura in his bag.
For those of you who don’t know, the Newport 2 is a blade style putter and the Futura is a mallet type putter.
This raises the question, what type of putter should you be using?
Recently we have seen many tour players gaming the TaylorMade Spider, which is also a larger mallet looking putter.
Here is an argument for both styles, and we will let you decide.
Lighter: For the most part this putter has less material so it will naturally be lighter. This may help players who have a smooth putting stroke already.
Lines: There are a lot of sight lines in a blade putter. Some are literally painted on it like a dot on the top of it. But a putter like a Newport 2, it has a lot of natural lines in the design that will help with alignment.
Feel: Because it is a smaller piece of material, it is easier to “feel” the putt. Saying that when you crank a putt you know and can feel it, or if you leave it short. With a mallet it is a bigger piece of material so the feel is lost in the bigness.
Heavier: Some may see this as a downfall, but if you tend to leave putts short, get a big mallet behind that little white ball and it will be flying towards the hole in no times.
Forgiving: Because the material is bigger, if you have a mishit and hit the ball not on the center of the face, it will go almost on the intended line. With a blade, mishits are a lot more exaggerated.
Alignment: Many people say because of the bulk of the putter; mallets are easier to align on your intended line towards the hole.
At the end of the day, the biggest thing with a putter is confidence. Some people don’t like the bulkiness of a mallet and say it looks ugly at address. If you are not confident looking down at the putt, you wont have a confident stroke. Confidence is key when putting. Pick your line and stick to it.
Is It Wrong To Play Music On The Golf Course?
The development of Bluetooth has created the luxury of having a speaker virtually anywhere.
And anywhere includes on the golf course.
But old John Miller at your country club thinks it is completely ridiculous and against golf etiquette to do so.
So the question is, is it okay for millennials to play music on the course?
Yes, but there is a time and a place.
There is a certain area of the course where it is cool. Don’t be the guy blasting music next to the starter booth while the group in front of you is teeing off. Anywhere near the clubhouse should really be a “no music” zone. Be respectful of the first tee box and 18th green.
Once you’re a little deeper into the course, turn it up and enjoy yourself. The big thing is just being aware of where you are. Obviously if you’re pulling up to the green blasting AC/DC and the group is on the next tee box, you may tick off old man Miller.
It really comes down to time and place. It is like talking in elementary school. Be respectful of your peers, wait till it is right and when you do it, do it respectfully. Music is becoming more and more of who we are as people. And with things like Spotify and Apple Music, you can access pretty much every song ever made.
The problem with that is song choice. The slim chance the groups around you can hear your music, you don’t want people to complain about the music.
So be smart about your music, the safest bet is always classic rock, country or todays hits. Eminem, Ludacris or Five Finger Death Punch probably aren’t the best artists to blast on the fairway.
Music is a great way of entertainment and to add some fun into your round. I mean even Jordan Spieth and his, now famous, spring break group was playing music when they hit the fairways on their vacation. So don’t be afraid to charge up your speaker for your next round and play some jams while you shoot in the 100’s.