2018 Honda Classic

Alright this week on the PGA Tour was a very eventful one. There’s a few things to digest here so let’s get right to it.

Let’s start with the golf course. PGA National Resort and Spa is home to the PGA of America and features a five golf courses that include The Champion Course. The golf course designed by George and Tom Fazio later saw a redesign by Jack Nicklaus. While not overly long at 7,140 Yards (7,048 yards Actual Scorecard Yardage) while carrying a slope of 147 and a course rating of 75.2 (Actual Scorecard) it provides a challenge. The course yielded a winning score of 272 (-8) which means that it held up very well against the field. I love ‘The Bear Trap” and like the plaque says “It should be won and lost here”. Most of the holes (14 of them) played a touch over par so it goes to show that if the course is set-up (pin locations on “funny” parts of the green) you can still protect the course versus length. Of course, the winds through the first 3 days helped.

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Photo Credit; USA Today

Golf ball rollback. Well this is a conversation that isn’t going to go away any time soon. Again it became part of the week when Mr. Nicklaus said after having dinner with USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. Is it inevitable that the rollback is going to happen? Honestly, I don’t know and quite frankly at this point of my life it doesn’t impact me. But the way that the world has become I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen. Sure ,the guys on Tour are crazy and yes Mr. Nicklaus had concerns about the golf ball dating back to 1977. I still think that if you just grow out the courses and let the course superintendents and tournament committees have a little “fun” scores will ultimately drop. The drawback however could be upset membership at host clubs. Is the issue with the golf ball the fact that it hinders pace of play (as suggested by Mr. Nicklaus)? In my opinion this might be the case for the top half percent of golfers playing the game.

Justin Thomas!! The young man has been on some sort of roll. He hasn’t seen a finish worse than a T-22 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions since at least October 15, 2017. In that stretch he has two victories and quite frankly he’s playing wonderful golf. He won this week and was cool under pressure coming into the 72nd hole when he had to hit a clutch shot and hit a tremendous wedge shot. He actually thought that he had holed-out the shot. He would end up in a playoff with Luke List and would eventually outlast List as day turned night. Thomas now owns 8 victories on the PGA Tour. But winning the tournament wasn’t the only thing that he did… Thomas also managed to get a fan ejected from the tournament when a fan cheered against wishing his ball to go into a bunker. Thomas was then picked up on a live microphone during this exchange…

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Photo Credit: thescore.com

“Who said that? Who yelled for that ball to get in the bunker? Was that you? Enjoy your day, buddy, you’re gone.”

The “offender” was of course singled out by other spectators. I think JT was ultra-sensitive here. It’s not like the fan said it during his backswing. It never factored in on his shot. If anything, this now has set a sort-of precedent. Maybe we’ve heard the last of “mashed potatoes”, “you da man” and every other stupid remark you hear when someone hits a golf ball. I’m trying to think back to when “that” became a “thing”. Oh yeah… Tiger Woods!

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Photo Credit: Golf Digest

For those that are unaware Tiger Woods played this week and the “Tiger Effect” was obvious at the Honda Classic. Those galleries! Only one person does that to a tournament. Tiger had his best showing in a tournament since… forever and even though I’m not a staunch fan of his it always sucks to see someone great be in a decline. Watching Tiger this week I observed a guy who’s feeling healthy, seems to be in a good place mentally and has a swing that’s working. He was impressive off of the tee and more importantly he led the field in proximity to the pin. I loved that he went for the flagstick on 15. He wanted to win and that’s an even more telling sign of where he is. Again though, I simply ask the golf world (fans, media etc) not to get too high or too low on him. Just let the guy play golf!

Until The Next Tee!!

Aerotech Golf Introduces New TiFiber Driver Shafts

For those golfers out there that aren’t too familiar with the Aerotech name they are one of the leading golf shaft company’s in the golf industry. Their beginnings date back to 1994 when they were originally suppliers for a variety of company’s like Cleveland Golf and Lynx Golf.

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Photo credit: Aerotech Golf

Much time has passed since then and they were the company that brought golfer the Steelfiber iron shaft. Steelfiber is a shaft that has a steel fiber outer layer while the inner section is composed of graphite. As it stands now the Steelfiber shaft is offered as an option by most of the major golf manufacturers today. Brands like Callaway Golf, Srixon Golf, Titleist and many more. The Steelfiber is the number one graphite shaft on Tour.

At the upcoming PGA Merchandise Show Aerotech will be on hand. At that time, and the brand will be releasing their new TiFiber shaft. The new TiFiber shaft will come in two models. The Tour 60 and Tour 70.  Please see the full press release below.

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Photo Credit: Aerotech Golf

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Aerotech Golf, maker of the No. 1 graphite iron shaft in the world, is proud to introduce its all-new TiFiber Driver Shafts. The revolutionary TiFiber shafts feature a high-modulus graphite core with a full surface layer of Titanium Fiber — the only shaft of its kind in the world — that optimizes launch angles and spin rates for increased distance and pinpoint accuracy.

“We’re very excited to unveil the new TiFiber driver shafts at this year’s PGA Show,” says Chris Hilleary, president of Aerotech Golf. “Just as our SteelFiber technology revolutionized graphite iron shafts, the high strength, unprecedented stability and lightweight properties of titanium will forever change driver shafts.”

Hilleary explains TiFiber shafts combine a high-modulus graphite core with 47 miles of micro-thin titanium fiber lacing the entire shaft surface. The high-strength titanium fiber creates unprecedented stability, while at the same time, the titanium’s lightweight properties allow weight to be redistributed to optimize tip stiffness. TiFiber shafts are also a perfect match for modern oversized titanium/composite driver heads.

The TiFiber shafts are currently available in two models — the TiFiber Tour 70 and Pro 60. TiFiber Tour 70 shafts feature a ‘Tour Stiff’ tip section to optimize flight by reducing spin and lowering trajectory. The TiFiber Pro 60 has a slightly softer tip section and benefits players who need a bit more launch and spin, yet who still want the added stability of titanium. The Tour 70 is available in F5 (Stiff) and F6 (X-Stiff) flex options, and the TiFiber Pro 60 is available in F4 (Regular) and F5 (Stiff) flexes.

“TiFiber shafts are designed for players to attain the highest level of performance and optimize launch angles and spin rates for increased distance and pinpoint accuracy,” adds Hilleary. “The ultra-premium TiFiber is a real game-changer.”

Last season, Aerotech Golf’s SteelFiber shafts delivered 20 wins on pro tours around the world as well as won the coveted CME Race for the Globe Trophy and 2016 Money Title on the LPGA Tour. Players with SteelFiber shafts routinely rank high on the PGA Money List, Official World Golf Rankings and the FedEx Cup Season Points. In 2013, for example, SteelFiber players ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the FedEx Cup Season Points and ended overall as No. 3 and No. 5 on the PGA Money List. SteelFiber shafts won the highly prized FedEx Cup in 2012.

Aerotech Golf shafts are available as custom options with many nationally celebrated golf club manufacturers such as PXG, Callaway, Titleist, TaylorMade, Ping, Cobra, Bridgestone Golf, Wilson, Cleveland Golf, Miura, Srixon, KZG and Nakashima Golf. Aerotech Golf shafts are also available through professional golf clubfitters around the world. Aerotech Golf is a proud supporter of the Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals (AGCP) and the International Clubmakers Guild (ICG).

Until The Next Tee!!

Brad Fritsch Suspended

Before I post the press release I just want to make a couple of things clear. I view this unfortunate circumstance involving Brad Fritsch’s suspension as just that… unfortunate. In my opinion, this is so different from purposely taking steroids or other PED’s (Performance Enhancing Drugs). Furthermore, this story is so much different because it doesn’t involve alcohol, drinking and driving, opiates or other hardcore drugs.

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Photo Credit: Twitter

Moreover, for Brad to step forward and accept full responsibility is both admirable and noble. By doing so he kept the gentleman in “Gentleman’s Game”. Please see the press release and his story via his Facebook account.

From The Office of the Commisioner

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA TOUR announced today that Brad Fritsch has violated the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy’s ban on the use of performance-enhancing substances and has been suspended for three months. Mr. Fritsch self-reported this information after discovering that an ingredient in a supplement that he was taking was on the prohibited list. He has acknowledged his inadvertent error and accepted his suspension. He will be eligible to return on February 28, 2018.

The TOUR will have no further comment on the suspension at this time.

Story From The Facebook Account of Brad Fritsch

It has been announced that I have been suspended by the PGA Tour for three months, retroactive to November 30, the day I reported the possible use of a banned substance to the Tour. I want to get my story out there.

“Alright. We start Monday.”

That was a text I sent to my good friend Alex on Saturday Nov 11, the same day I had failed to advance at Second Stage of the Web.com Tour Q-School. Alex is a chiropractor, and he operates a really successful weight loss program out of his office as well. I had seen his commercials that run during the daytime soap operas (my WIFE watches General Hospital, not me; promise), advertising “lose a pound of fat per day.” My wife had done the program once before and lost 25 pounds. It seemed like the perfect time to, finally, lose some weight – I had turned 40 two days prior; I was pretty much the heaviest I’d ever been (242 pounds); and my kids were getting really fast. Plus, it looked like I would have a good two months off. I would lose the weight and simultaneously adapt my golf swing throughout the program with my instructor.

The majority of Alex’s program is low calorie, highly disciplined eating. You eat two meals per day (I did noon and 6pm), consisting of a small protein and whatever vegetables you want. Yes, I almost died in the first two weeks. If it sounds awful, that’s because it was. I tried to drink 120oz of water per day, and then took the supplements that every other program participant takes – a liquid multivitamin, even more vitamin D, a “body detox” solution, a probiotic, and a spray called BioSom.

“Hey, it’s not that spray that got Vijay in trouble, right?”

That was a text from November 30, from one of my brothers. I was telling him and my other brother what I was doing with the weight loss program. It felt like my heart sank into my stomach. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t checked all of the supplements against our Anti-Doping list. I immediately sent a text to Andy Levinson, head of the Tour’s Anti-Doping program.

I should give some background on my feelings about the Tour’s Anti-Doping program, because it has a lot to do with how this has come to this point. I’ve been a huge advocate in expanding its transparency, both in meetings for the Web and PGA Tour and also in private conversations with multiple PGA Tour employees. I like the truth, and I hate rumor and innuendo. I’ve been adamant that we should publicize every offender, no matter the offense. Truthfully, I was mainly thinking of recreational testing when I formulated my opinion, and never for one second considered I would one day be a part of a potential “performance enhancing” violation. The only thing I would ever test positive for is excessive Chick Fil A.

And so it was with my view of the Anti Doping program in mind that I texted Andy Levinson that day. Truthfully, it was 10% my assumption that everything was fine; however, it wasn’t fine. That last supplement ended up containing a substance called DHEA, and it is indeed banned on our Anti-Doping list. But 90% is my dislike of hypocrisy. How could I sit there all those times and say “if it happens, it’s the truth, and if it’s the truth, get it out there,” and when it was my turn, just lie about it?

I couldn’t. It’s not who I am. I believe in the program and if I’m to be suspended, then so be it. It is my own fault that I’m in this position.

I’m just so upset with myself that I didn’t think to question what was in the supplements. But I never did. And in the program rules, it stipulates that a self-report is the same as a positive test. I did know this when I sent the text to Andy Levinson – like I said above, I believe in the program. I’m a proud member of the PGA Tour and I don’t take that lightly. If there is any silver lining, it’s that I thankfully never played a competitive round during all of this. I don’t feel great about this situation, but I’ve had over a month to kind of process my feelings about it. I’m in a good place (and I’ve lost 28 pounds, so I’ve got that going for me). I’m not sure I’d feel exactly the same way if I had competed against my peers while using a banned substance, even if it was out of ignorance.

I just wish I had paid attention to the details. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t pay attention to the details.

I’d like to express my thanks and appreciation to my family, friends, and especially my sponsors, for their unwavering support.

I also want to thank the PGA Tour, Commissioner Jay Monahan, and Andy Levinson for bringing this to a speedy resolution.

To all those who believe in me, who cheer for me, who respect me – I hope those three things don’t change.

Sincerely,

Brad Fritsch

Until The Next Tee!!