Welcome to the first Catching Up With Callaway of the new PGA Tour season. As the joke goes, what a LONG offseason it has been. This month, we look at what is going on with Callaway on and off the course. There were Tour cards earned, one new (and one unsurprising) signing, plus something to do with baseball. We begin with who’ll play on the PGA Tour in 2017-18.
Callaway On and Off The Course
Players earning their Tour Card for 2017-18
Jonathan Byrd, the 39-year old journeyman, has had an up and down career. His roller-coaster first full season on Tour, 2002, ended with a bang, winning the Buick Challenge that October. He sprinkled 4 more wins from 2002-2015. Perhaps no win is as famous as his 2010 win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. On the 4th playoff hole, Byrd aced the par-3 17th hole to beat Martin Laird and Cameron Percy.
Byrd lost full exemption status after the 2015 PGA Tour season. He put together a decent season on the Web.com Tour in 2016, with 3 top-10 finishes. Unfortunately, he finished just outside the cut line to earn back his card, something he remedied in 2017.
Determined to make it back to the “Show,” Byrd rode the wave and won the Web.com Tour Championship. The victory vaulted him to 3rd in the standings and secured his card for the upcoming PGA Tour season.
From a seasoned vet like Byrd, we move now to rookie Talor Gooch. In his first season on the Web.com Tour, Gooch had 5 top-10 and 9 top-25 finishes. His 2 best finishes of the year came in back-to-back weeks, finishing runner-up before winning the News Sentinel Open. Those performances, combined with the rest of his play throughout the year, was more than enough to earn him his card for the 2017-18 season. At the season-opening Safeway Open, Talor held his own, making the cut and finished T54.
Wise turned pro after helping win the 1st National Championship for his alma mater, Oregon, in the 2015-16 season. He played well the rest of that calendar year, making 5 of 8 cuts on the PGA Tour before the full Web.com Tour schedule started. Wise was off and running, with 2 top-5 finishes in his first 8 starts of the year. His win at the Air Capital Classic, which we touched on in an earlier post, propelled him to full status for the 2017-18 PGA Tour season.
Two big names have signed on to play Callaway equipment next year (and for the foreseeable future). Maverick McNealy, former #1 World Amateur, played his college golf at Stanford, a traditionally Nike school. With the company’s exit from the hard goods industry in 2016, McNealy decided on Callaway. He currently plays a GBB Epic driver, Mack Daddy Forged Wedges, and the Chrome Soft X ball, with irons to come. He used that equipment at his first pro tournament, the Safeway Open, where he finished one shot better than fellow rookie staffer, Talor Gooch.
The next signing isn’t much of a surprise. Phil Mickelson joined the Callaway team in 2004. Half of his career victories and all but 1 of his majors have some using Callaway equipment. Therefore, it’s no surprise that his new deal keeps the Chevron in his bag for the rest of his competitive playing career.
Cool Off The Course Callaway Happenings
This year marks the 3rd year for The Links at PetCo Park. This event converts the San Diego Padres baseball stadium into a fun 9-hole golf course. Players tee up at various spots around the stadium, aiming at “holes” set up on the field. Besides the golf, the event also raised money for some different charities, like K9s for Warriors.
The other cool thing Callaway is doing off the course is their “Golf Lives” series. The series chronicles how non-professional golfers came to start playing golf and how they’re trying to get better. The first episode of the series focused o the rapper, Scarface. The following 2 episodes added former NFL running back, Arian Foster, to the mix. It’s enjoyable to watch each man progress in their game.
Closing Up Shop
Thanks for checking out what’s going on with Callaway on and off the course. Stay tuned for next month’s edition, where we’ll look at some new equipment out this fall and cover the first few events of the 2017-18 PGA Tour season.
Past Catching Up With Callaway Editions: