We’re ready to dive into all the big Callaway stories for this week at Merion, starting with potential equipment news and how the course will play. To kick things off, we’ve got our Tour Rep Mike Sposa on board to share his thoughts on the course setup and the equipment players might rely on this week.
We’ve got the podcast and the interview transcript right here for you! Enjoy!
Hey everybody it’s Jeff from the Marketing Zoo Crew, welcome to our special major championship preview podcast.
The major’s almost here, we can’t wait and today we want to talk a little about the course setup, some equipment changes we might see and what it’s going to be like in the Callaway Tour Trailer.
One of the guys who’s going to be right in the middle of it all is our Callaway Tour Rep Mike Sposa, and we’re excited to have him right now on the X Hot hotline. Mike, how’s it going?
Mike Sposa: Alright guys, everything’s going great. Thanks for having me.
Hey it’s great to have you on. First question, what do you think the energy is going to be like in the trailer on a week like the U.S. Open?
MS: You know it’s always pretty electric in there. We’re going to see some guys who have qualified through the local and sectional qualifying who don’t play the PGA Tour and this may be their first major, so obviously they’re going to be very excited.
Like with really any major, guys are just getting a feel for a major championship golf course. I haven’t been up to Merion yet but having read quite a bit about it and the changes that they’ve done to the golf course that Lee Trevino won (on), I think they’ve added about 500 yards to it.
Supposedly it’s a very tight golf course which, like most (major championships) driving the ball is going to be a premium.
I think some of the doglegs at Merion, the fairways actually may slope to the opposite side of the doglegs.
So they’re going to have those fairways tight, I’m guessing 23, 27 yards wide and if Mother Nature cooperates than that course can be firm, approach shots are going to be brutal, and you better be in the fairway.
With a course setup like this, is that going to dictate some of the equipment changes that the players might want to work on Monday through Wednesday to get ready for the week?
MS: Absolutely, there are going to be guys coming in on Tuesday I’m sure saying, “Hey, there (are) a handful of holes that I’m going to need some type of a low lofted hybrid that flies 230, 240 just to get this thing in play or depending on how high the rough is.” And I’m not sure if they’re having an intermediate, primary rough.
I’ve heard that they may only have a primary cut, but assuming (that players can advance it) out of there guys may be looking for 7-woods, maybe even 9-woods. You never know.
So I’ve stocked the truck with plenty of those options so guys coming in there looking for a driving iron, or a hybrid of whatever loft or these different fairway wood options and high lofts, they’re going to have them and we’re going to build them.
So do you think the 7-woods and those types of clubs are probably going to be the hottest item that guys are going to be looking at on Monday through Wednesday?
MS: Yeah, it could possibly very well be our hot item. You just have to come in and see how the course setup is, and how firm it is, or it might even be soft. So I don’t know. If the course is soft, the greens are receptive, than it could be more of the low lofted hybrid or maybe our X Utility Prototype Iron, even more off of the tees and into the longer par-3s.
But if we go there and we start seeing some firm conditions with rock hard greens than they’re going to need a little altitude going in their launch, there’s nothing better to do that than a 7-wood or the 9-wood. So I’m going to have them built up and I’m going to be walking with them on the range. They don’t let us put demo bags on the range, so I’m just going to carry a couple with me, as are our other reps.
And hey they’re just going to be test clubs and if we have to go tweak them a little bit or maybe make them player specific, we’ll go do that and hopefully we’ll get some of these things in play.
And since it’s a major and there’s going to be so much movement going on and so much media attention does that change your schedule or routine compared to a normal PGA event?
MS: Well that’s more for the bigger players. I’ve played in a few (U.S. major championships) and you know nobody’s looking to do interviews with me. And 90% of the guys that are in the field this year aren’t going to be hounded by the media early in the week. That’s more for the Phil Mickelsons and Ernie Els of the world.
So our guys that are there to learn the course, our Brian Stuards and those kind of guys, they’re going to fly under the radar and it’s only after rounds 1, 2, 3 or going into the final round.
And if they are in the hunt, than they’re going to be hounded and time management becomes critical. And relaxing when you’re not at the golf course is a huge necessity.
Jeff: Awesome. Well it should be a fun week and hopefully we can cap it off with a Callaway win on Sunday. Mike, thanks so much for joining us and have a great week out there.
MS: All right, man. Thanks for having me and hopefully one of our boys can pull through with a win.
Jeff: Sounds good, thanks a bunch. All right, that’s it for us this week, thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you all soon.