In light of the big golf news on Tuesday (regarding the anchoring of a putting stroke), PGA of America President Ted Bishop offered some perspective about circumstances that effect people's lives in a more dramatic and serious way.
“There has obviously been quite a bit of golf news today – and it’s news that matters to us because we all love and respect the game. But let’s keep perspective on things and show love and support to all those in Oklahoma and the Midwest that have been affected by these tragic tornadoes.” – Ted Bishop, PGA of America President
Well said Mr. President. Of course, all of us at PGA.com echo those thoughts for all.
Players at the highest level of golf often try out special pieces of equipment in advance of specific tournaments. Jason Day used the HP Byron Nelson Championship to test-drive a 1-iron to see if he might want to use it at the British Open.
That's right, a 1-iron.
Day regularly plays a full set (2-iron through pitching wedge) of TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons, but asked the TaylorMade club technicians for a 1-iron to use in the windy conditions he anticipated in Dallas and at Muirfield. To accommodate him, the club techs got a RocketBladez Tour 2-iron and bent it to down to a 16.5-degree loft.
To further simulate the feel and performance of a 1-iron, they also switched in a 125-gram UST Miyama Recoil prototype shaft that is ½-inch longer than normal. Day tried the club out on the range and even used it instead of a driver on most of the holes during his pro-am round last Wednesday.
In gusts of 10-20 mph, Day consistently carried his new 1-iron 250 yards, according to TaylorMade, and a launch monitor showed him hitting a number of shots in excess of 300 yards with bounce and roll. So he used it during the tournament.
''We were going to try a 1‑iron … here because we know if we have a 1-iron here and it works well in the wind, when we go overseas to the British this year we can have the full confidence that it's going to go the right distance and can come out low and hit different types of shots when I need to,'' Day said last week in Dallas. ''I know that [Four Seasons TPC Las Colinas is] not the British Open course, but the wind is very strong here.''
Day's original thought was to take his driver out of his bag and replace it with a 2-wood.
''We fiddled around with a wood and we couldn't quite get the right configuration with the shaft and the flight,'' explained Day, who said he last used a 1-iron when he was 13 years old. ''So [about a month ago] we were thinking about putting in a 1‑iron and just practicing with it because of the British.''
And while he's definitely thinking about using his new 1-iron at Muirfield, Day said he also might give it a try during the U.S. Open at the relatively short Merion Golf Club next month.
''I think that would be a very good club around there, but I don't know until I get there,'' he said. ''I'm not too sure what I'm going to do with it for Memorial, but I know I'm going to use it at the British.''
For the record, Day shot rounds of 72-68-66-72 for a 2-under total of 278 as he tied for 27th place.
So after the Byron Nelson finished up Saturday evening, I was flipping channels and stopped when I got to the shootout for the pole at the Indianapolis 500.
What caught my eye? The graphic that showed Ed Carpenter on top with just a few minutes to go in the final qualifying session.
And what's so special about Carpenter? As you can see in the photo above, his car is sponsored by Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka – which, of course, is owned by Fuzzy Zoeller.
Winning the pole is a huge deal for Carpenter, who is the owner/driver of his own single-car team. To take the pole for the Indy 500 for the first time in his career, he had to outperform the dominant multicar teams from Ganassi Racing, Penske Racing and Andretti Autosport, which any open-wheel fan can tell you is a tremendous feat.
There's no telling how Carpenter will fare against his goliath competition when the green flag flies on May 26. But one thing is sure – win or lose, he's earned Fuzzy's Vodka a whole lot of great publicity.
College golf is flying a bit under the radar right now, but this week has been one for the record books.
Earlier today, Lynn University rallied to overtake its Sunshine State Conference archrival Nova Southeastern and win the women's NCAA Division II title for the first time since 1997.
And on Friday, the University of Texas-Tyler outdueled Transylvania to win the men's Division III crown, the first national title in school history. The win capped off the career of Head Coach King Campbell in grand style, as he had announced that he was retiring at the tournament's end.
Impressive as those victories were, though, they paled in comparison to the history made Friday at the women's Division III finals, where Mary Hardin-Baylor won its first national title after four runner-up finishes. The real headline isn't that Mary Hardin-Baylor won, but that Methodist University finished third.
Here's why: Until Friday, Methodist was the only school ever to win the women's D-III crown. That's right – the only one.
Up until the year 2000, the NCAA conducted a combined tournament for both the D-II and D-III schools. In 2000, the divisions were separated to give each one its own champion. And every year since 1998 – two years before the split, and all 13 afterward – the Methodist women had prevailed.
Methodist's 15-year title streak was the longest active streak in any NCAA sport, and was the third-longest streak in the all-time history of NCAA athletics. The longest streaks were Kenyon College's 31 straight men's Division III swimming titles and the Kenyon women's 17 straight women's Division III swimming.
Over at USA Today, Craig Bennett assembled these facts to put Methodist's streak in perspective:
--Other than Methodist, the longest streak of NCAA golf titles was nine straight years, by the Yale men's team from 1905-13.
--Methodist's average winning margin in the Division III tournament was 35.7 shots. The only times its margin of victory was less than double digits was six shots over DePauw in 2012 and two shots over Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2004.
--Methodist won the 2007 title by 88 shots. The record victory margin for Division I women is 36 shots (Tulsa in 1982), and for Division II women it's 74 shots (Florida Southern in 2002). The biggest men's victory in any division is 49 shots by Division III California State-Stanislaus in 1979.
--And finally, three different head coaches – Kim Kincer, Vici Pate and current coach Tom Inczauskis – have led the Monarchs during their amazing winning streak.
Giving credit to the Monarchs for their amazing run of success right now feels a little like applauding a pitcher when his no-hitter is broken up in the eighth inning. But the program deserves plenty of applause – as does Mary Hardin-Baylor for its achievement in ending the streak.
After these action-packed few days, the NCAAs take a quick break, and they're right back at it on Monday with the start of the men's Division II finals. The women's Division I finals begin on Tuesday, with the men's Division I finals kicking off on May 28. You can follow all the action over at NCAA.com or on our special landing page.