What’s In the Bag 2015

Well, I got to play a few times when I was in Myrtle Beach a couple of weeks ago, but I’m finally going out up here in northern NY tomorrow morning for the first time this year. So, I figured I’d post my WITB.

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So obviously, I still have some updating to do, first of which would be a new driver. I just can’t seem to find anything that I’m as confident and consistent with. I’ll be trying out the new products in a couple weeks and hopefully I’ll be able to find something then. My RBZ 3 wood is my first TaylorMade club I’ve ever had. I’ve always been a Callaway guy, but I hit that a couple times and fell in love. That thing is crazy long. The hybrid has become my go to club. I had trouble hitting hybrids for awhile, but this one is so easy to hit and the way it looks at address just makes me confident that I’ll make a good shot. After my driver, irons are next on the upgrade list. I’ve had the same problem with them as my driver. I can hit a nice little draw with every shot. The problem is, I hit a nice little draw on every shot. It’s very hard to work the ball with them, especially left to right. Every iron I’ve tried to replace them with, that has a little more wokability, is less forgiving and I hit more bad shots than I do with my current ones. I need to find an iron with the perfect balance. Wedges need an upgrade too, but not as immediately. They’re nice, but they’re no Vokeys. My putter is my favorite club in my bag. It rolls better than any putter I’ve ever tried, including Scottys. Well, the Scottys roll just as well, but the #9 suits my eye better. And there it is. My WITB for the year. I’ll update with reviews of clubs I try and obviously my additions to my bag. Here’s hoping they have a good year!

Masters Perspective

Well, I hate to say I told you so, but…just kidding, I love to say I told you so. I said that Spieth would defy history and win the Masters and as you all know, he did. That means I’m either psychic, the best golf analyst of all time, or Jordan Spieth is just really really good. I don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow and I also thought Anthony Kim was going to be the next Tiger, so I’m going to go with the latter.

To start, here’s an interesting stat that I came across: Spieth ranked 52nd in Driving Distance out of the 55 that made the cut, thus proving my theory that I stated on Thursday night that being long isn’t a pre-requisite for winning at Augusta.  The intricacies of Augusta highly outweigh the necessity for power. It undoubtedly helps, but is in now way the primary factor.

Spieth’s multiple record-breaking performance was well-deserved and utterly fantastic, but was not the best ever. Tiger’s performance in 1997 is certainly still the best ever and I’d say Nicklaus’ in ’65 and arguably even Raymond Floyd’s wire to wire in ’76 were better than Spieth’s. Augusta was setup to play quite easier than usual this year. Greens were soft and responsive. If you hit a good shot, you were rewarded, rather than practically holing out and having the ball careen 20 yards off the green and balls staying up on ledges that they never do. Let’s also not forget that Tiger won by 12 strokes, while Spieth only won by 4. Nicklaus won by 9 with Arnie and Player in second and Floyd won by 8. Another thing that annoyed me was Spieth not holing his putt to break the record for the lowest Masters score ever. I can’t even remember a time Tiger or Jack missed a makeable putt to win a major tournament. I’m sure they did, but it always seemed like they would put them away so they didn’t have to tap in to win. It might sound nit-picky, but I think it’s necessary when you want to compare someone to the bests ever.

Let’s talk about comparing Spieth to Tiger and where Rory fits in now.  The similarities are certainly there for Jordan in those statistics we’ve all seen of their first 6 rounds at The Masters and their age and whatnot, but it goes further than that. He’s a grinder. There were many times in the 3rd and 4th rounds where I was watching and said to myself “Uh-oh, here’s where he’s going to mess up and fall back a bit.” But he never did. He’d hit a poor shot and then pull off a great recovery in the same fashion we’ve seen from Tiger an uncountable amount of times. Now, when Rory came onto the scene we were calling him the next Tiger too, but I’d say he’s more of the next Phil. He’s unbeatable when he’s on his game, but when he doesn’t have it that week, he’s not going to win. Tiger has made his living more out of winning when he shouldn’t have than dominating, which he’s done his fair share of too.

So, is Spieth the next Tiger? No. What I’ve learned from trying to figure out who is going to be the next Tiger over and over again for these past few years is that I don’t think there will be another Tiger for a long time, if ever. Tiger already brought golf to the mainstream and Spieth is nowhere near the the personality that Tiger was, but he’s as close as we’re going to get for now.

Jordan Spieth will still win the Masters

We saw a much more human-like Jordan Spieth today, which leaves the door open for a possible come from behind victory from Phil, Rose, or Hoffman, but it’s not going to happen.

Spieth had 3 bogeys and a double today (his first of the tournamnet), but he also birdied 4 of his last 7 holes.  Sure, he’s been in the final group before and lost, but he’s also been in the final group before and lost.  He already has that experience under his belt and plenty of winning experience since. He hasn’t shown any sign of a potential mental hiccup (he’s parred every hole after a bogey and birdied the next hole after his double).  If he was playing with Phil, I might say he could have a hint of intimidation heading into Sunday, but with no disrespect to Justin Rose, he’s no Phil.

I don’t see Spieth playing out of his mind tomorrow like he did on Thursday and Friday and running away with it. I expect at least one of the 3 to challenge him, most likely Phil, but this is Spieth’s tournament. I guarantee he’ll make some clutch shots down the stretch and be able to pull away. He shows maturity beyond his years and it’s his time to take the first step in trying to become that ever elusive “next Tiger.”

Why Jordan Spieth Will Win The Masters

Everyone knows that you can’t win a tournament on Thursday, but with the way Spieth played today, it’s hard to believe that Bubba won’t be slipping that green jacket around his shoulders on Sunday.

It sounds crazy that I have to justify why he’ll win given his fantastic performance today on his way to an almost record-breaking score of 64, but history says he won’t. In the past 30 years the first round leader has only won the tournament once, which was Trevor Immelman in 2008.

Clearly Augusta is a true test of every aspect of a player’s game, but what really sets people apart here is putting (winners average around 3 three-putts for the whole tournament) and Spieth has been incredible this year. He leads the tour in putts per round and average putting, is 2nd in putting inside 20 feet, 3rd in putts made over 20 feet, 4th in one-putt percentage, 4th in one-putts per round, and 7th in three-putt avoidance. This fact alone is enough evidence that Spieth will win, but I can already hear you yelling “BUT, BUT, YOU HAVE TO BE LONG AT AUGUSTA! THAT’S WHY BUBBA DOES SO WELL!”

It’s true that being long certainly helps at all courses, so it obviously makes Augusta somewhat easier, but it’s not a necessity. There are many recent Masters winners that have been in the middle of the pack in driving distance. In 2007, Zach Johnson won with only being longer than 3 other players. He averaged 265 yards! I can do that!

You also can’t ignore his form coming into the tournament. Win, second, second in his last 3. With golf being such a mental sport, you have to believe he’s incredibly confident in his game right now, which only breeds success.

While history dictates that you can’t be leading after the first round, you also have to be in the top 10. While Els, Hoffman, Day, Rose, and Garcia all looked impressive today, there’s just something intangible about Spieth that makes me think he has what it takes to finish the job this year. Maybe it’s his Tiger-like confidence at such a young age.

Oh, that reminds me. Who was the last winner that wasn’t in the top 10 after the first round? Tiger. Just something to think about.