This week Titleist puts their new 2021 driver in the hands of tour pros at the Safeway Open and the Portugal Masters. Following suit of the TS2 and TS3 models, the TSI2 and TSI3 are the first to be seen with no word yet if we’ll see a 1 or 4. At first glance, it looks like the brand is returning to the trademark pear-shaped head, and while both are 460cc in size, the TSI3 appears to have a touch smaller of a footprint. The TSI2 contains a fixed weight at the back of the crown which can only make one assume has something to do with a low and deep center of gravity and a high MOI. The TSI3 features an adjustable weight track in the rear, which can alter the club to be draw or fade bias. Returning to both models is Titleist’s unbelievably efficient and simplistic SureFit hosel setting system. Yes, I’m laying that sarcasm on pretty thick. You need an engineering degree and the included chart just to increase the loft 1° and have it sit a hair open. Where most companies present you with a simple “D” for draw and “+1” to add a degree, Titleist hits you with something nothing short of a Bingo card. C-1 I believe was my setting of choice. Thanks to Ian Poulter’s tweeted pics from the practice range, the face is stamped with the initials “ATI”, which could elude to a new face technology or material like Jail Break or Twist Face. There’s not a lot of details or tech out on the sticks as of yet, nor is there an official launch date for retail. It’s been a strange year with COVID-19, and manufacturers are still feeling the effects from being behind all season while catching up on orders with the incredible boom in the game that we witnessed. So Titleist actually kicked around the idea of delaying the release until winter or even after the first of the new year. But the theme of doing 2-year cycles with woods and a fall release continues. Look for more release info on the TSI line this fall.
Restore the drama Since it debuted in 2008, the FedEx Cup Playoff format has incurred many changes and tweaks, all in the interest of fairness, competition, and good tv of course. I hope the latest tweak, which began last year, is short-lived. Since its inception, there have only been 2 players to win the cup more than once, Tiger and Rory. So there has been plenty of parody. But what the tour committee strived for was to achieve the scenario where the player who won the Tour Championship was also hoisting the FedEx Cup and the additional $10 million. It didn’t always play out like that. The first year Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup, Phil Mickelson won the Tour Championship. And when Tiger shocked the world and returned to the winner’s circle at East Lake in 2018, Justin Rose claimed the FedEx Cup. In other sports, the team that wins the season ending championship, is just that…the champion. Golf has made strides to get there, but it’s still not perfect. Before, guys could play well and win one or two of the first playoff events and have such a big lead that they could finish last at the Tour Championship and still win the cup. Of worst yet, take a week off. How in the hell could you skip an actual playoff event and still have a chance to claim the ultimate prize? Well in golf it was possible. That is no longer the case.
As it sits right now, the top-30 who qualify for the Tour Championship begin the first round with a segmented score and points reset. For instance, the leader in points, Dustin Johnson, sits at -10 before he even hits a shot in the first round. This gives him a 3 shot advantage over the next guy and the best chance to win the event and the cup. So unless the guy in 30th shoots 4 straight 61’s, he probably doesn’t have a chance. But last place pays $400k and there’s a world of perks and exemptions for even making the Tour Championship; like a spot in all 4 majors the next season. While much improved, I still don’t love it. And with much thought, here is how I would change it for the better. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan…give me a ring.
I propose a format where the top-30 all start the Tour Championship at Even par, and the bottom 5 at the end of round 1 are eliminated. The top-25 move on to round 2 and you eliminate the bottom 5 again. At the end of the 3rd round you cut the field in half and the top-10 go on to play for the $10 mil and the FedEx Cup on Sunday. If there’s ties for the bottom spot each day you head to a playoff. Boom…drama every day. I would keep the score accumulative until the 4th round however. Everyone begins Sunday at even par. Winner take all. They say match-play is the purest form of golf. This is pretty pure as strategy could change every day. The hottest and best player in the world, Dustin Johnson, won this year. So the current format worked, but I feel my proposal would be more fun and offer dramatic entertainment each day.
Fantasy Picks Holy crap the 2020-2021 PGA Tour season begins this week and we still have 2 majors to play. We kick it off at the Safeway Open at Silverado in Napa, California. Winner Patrick Rogers Silverado is not the longest track on tour at 7200 yards, but it requires accuracy. Rogers drives it long and straight and putts well on poa greens. Finished 6th in 2015. Will contend Phil Mickelson Feeling fresh and new after his debut win on the Champions Tour and feels very comfortable here with multiple top-10 finishes. Sleeper Zac Blair Has made 4 of 5 cuts here in his career and finished 4th last year.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Written by Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional
Design and Published by Craig Michael