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Hi Team Titleist,
There was a lot of action and final preparation leading up to the start of play at The Open Championship and here are some quick notes we received from our team on the ground...
Notes from the tour... It's not often that the 2-iron is considered the most important club in a professional golfers bag, but this week at The Open Championship it just may be. Given the hard and fast course conditions and unusually warm and not very windy weather, course management and patience will most likely win the day - and the tournament. For many of the 156 players teeing it up on Thursday, that means substituting the driver with a 2-iron and keeping the golf ball in play, rather than playing out of the heavy fescue that lines the runways, um, fairways. Team Titleist discussed strategy with Matteo Manassero, among several other of its Brand Ambassadors and the count ranged from four to six drivers off the tee, and even those drivers may be reduced to 3-woods. "Yeah, I was counting them yesterday and I think there are going to be five or six drivers," said Matteo Manassero, who won the Silver Medal as the top amateur finisher at the Open Championship in 2009 - as a 16-year old.
"I will probably be one of the few players that hits the most drivers and I looking at about six, maybe. It will depend on the wind, but just for this week I put a new Titleist 712U 2-iron in the bag that I'm going to use almost as much as my driver, I think. It's got a very flat trajectory and it rolls a lot. It goes about 260 with no wind depending on where it pitches, but it carries like 210 or 220. That's a really good club. The course is right in front of you and it's flat, but the ball rolls a lot." Activity on the Titleist European Tour Support Vehicle was busy early this week and also last week at the Scottish Open where conditions were similar to what the players will face at Muirfield. An early estimate was anywhere between 25-30 712U's in bags this week, with major champions Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy among them. "I'm not even looking at my yardage book this week," said Scott, who arrived in Scotland the previous Tuesday and has played nearly eight rounds at Muirfield in preparation for the Open Championship.
"Distance is not going to be the issue, it is all about controlling your golf ball. It is a fair test, but you don't need to be able to bomb the driver to be successful. I probably see myself hitting five drivers maximum, and maybe even four. I will hit the 712U 2-iron on most of the others." Geoff Ogilvy agreed: "Six at the most," as he ticked off the holes where a driver may be necessary depending on wind conditions. "I love this course. It brings alot of players into the mix which is great. I'll carry a driver and a 3-wood, but that's it. My iron set starts with the 712U and I see myself hitting that more than anything else off the tee."
Brett Rumford, a two-time, back-to-back winner on the European Tour earlier this year, is taking his driver out of the bag altogether.
"I will be carrying two three woods," said Rumford, who captured the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea and the Volvo China Open in successive weeks in April and May.
"Driving accuracy is at a premium and you don't gain anything on most of these holes with the driver because the ball is going to roll out if you land it in the right spots."
As for Manassero, the 20-year old feels like he's going to the wayback machine for this week:
"I'm kind of bringing back that game that I had as an amateur that I had to change a little bit for professional golf because we only play two weeks per year in these conditions at most. So I kind of had to fly the ball a little higher. So the trajectory changed. Things have changed and developed better than before. But I now have to bring those memories back of Turnberry and of '08, '09, in which I was playing a lot of links golf and I was managing my way around links courses quite easily. And I was really enjoying it. So I guess being able to play in links last week (at the Scottish Open) was good because I needed more than three days to prepare for this. That gave me around nine days of links golf heading into The Open. And I think it was a very good move to rewind."
Thanks for the notes Mike!
Great insight on what the players are doing. Goes to show that there is a lot that goes into getting ready for a test like The Open. I am still waiting to get a 712U to demo.
Thanks Mike! That was very interesting, I always enjoy hearing from the pro's.
Great info. Thanks for all the coverage.