A fellow poster from another site asked me about Todd Hamilton…
When I was on tour, Todd Hamilton was always a good player, but he wasn’t dominating or anything. Just really another guy that if he was playing good that week would be in contention. I played a lot with Todd, and for a fairly big guy didn’t hit the ball very long. I would say I hit it 10 to 20 by him back then with us both on persimmon.
We were at PGA Tour school one year, and were paired together, and he shows up with this high tech driver he picked up in Japan, and now he’s hitting it 20 by me! He was telling everyone how that saved his game, and he was able to win over in Japan with the new gear. It was at that moment I knew that golf was going to change.
I knew that I would be literally forced to have to go the lightweight titanium jumbo heads at some point. The original metal woods, I’m thinking Taylor Made stuff from the 80’s didn’t really do much for distance, guys used to carry them so they could hit driver off the fairway easier, that was really about the extent of it.
Todd Hamilton winning the Open was great to see, we were all rooting for him, as we were for Brian Watts a few years earlier.
All those guys including Rocco came out of the same era I was in.
The guys I would have picked to win majors that I played with in College were Cory Pavin, Duffy Waldorf, Sam Randolph, Billy Ray Brown, Chris Perry, Davis Love, Scott Verplank, Willie Wood, Steve Pate, Louis Brown, VIc Wilk. Those guys come to mind first. I’d have another 10 names if I thought about it again.
You have to remember, that with 144 players teeing off on Thursday, somebody by the weekend is having the best week of their life, every week. There is always some guy who is making everything, holing shots from the fairway, whatever, I mean every week someone is playing way out of their minds! So no matter who you are, if you are going to win, you are going to have to deal with that!
The thing that makes the greats great, is that they DON’T have to be having the career week of their life to win. When Greg Norman was in his prime, he just needed to play average for him to be in contention. If he played good he would win easy, and if he was playing great he would win by 12! Same with Tiger and all the greats.
Todd winning the Open, he was having the best week of his life, and it happened to be the week of the Open! That’s what makes golf great! Now would he have won with persimmon and blades? I would guess not. Of course I might be wrong, but I can tell you that he is a perfect example the new gear really making a difference in his game.
I know some would argue that with the new stuff, it’s the same for everyone, but I would tend to disagree, because some guys don’t really need the extra distance, and some guys that are really pure ball strikers hit it dead solid almost all the time, so making the sweet spot bigger doesn’t help them as much, and may even hurt them if you take into consideration the feel and feedback they lose in their practice sessions, and on the course.
Golf is really a different game now…
I’ve hit the new stuff and I can’t work it like I can with persimmon.
I don’t have the pin point accuracy with the new irons when I am ON.
I will be better on the bad days, but I would rather be better on my good days personally. The new stuff just brings more guys into the game, especially around the cut score.
One thing is for certain, you don’t have to be as good as you used to be to shoot the same score.