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With the 2018 season now up and running we now know "What's In The Bag" of TaylorMade staffer Rory McIlroy.

Rors started the season with the new M3 driver set up with both weights in the forward position.  He averaged 311.9 yards in Abu Dhabi but pumped out several 340 plus yard drives last week.

Rory also is going with a mix of P730, P750 and P790 irons.  The new Hi-Toe wedge is also in the bag along with new variation of the Mullen 2 putter with a red insert.

Rory McIlroy WITB 2018
What's in the Bag 2018 Rory McIlroy
Here are the complete specs.

What's In The Bag 2018 Rory McIlroy

Driver: TaylorMade M3 driver 8.5° with Kuro Kage XTS 70X shaft.
Fairway: TaylorMade M3 15° with Tensei Pro White 80TX shaft.
Driving Iron: TaylorMade P790 UDI 2 iron with HZRDUS Black 105X shaft.
Irons: (3-4) TaylorMade P750, (5-9) P730 RORS Proto irons with Project X 7.0 shafts.
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind 47, 54°, Hi-Toe 60° wedges with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Mullen 2 with red insert
Ball: TaylorMade TP5X #22 ball

Original pic tnx: plauder twitter

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I'm packing my bags today and heading off to the annual PGA merchandise show which kicks off on Tuesday in Orlando Florida.  It's the biggest golf convention in the world featuring a who's who of stars and legends from the golfing world and everything else including equipment, apparel, agronomy, accessories and that's just the "a's."

I'll be there all week in my capacity as Golfbidder equipment reviewer and interviewer and trawling the halls for some cool content for GolfCentralDaily.

Make sure to stay up to date with daily posts from the show on my GolfCentralDaily Facebook and Twitter and keep an eye on Golfbidder's Facebook page and YouTube Channel to see interviews with the top equipment designers.

If you would like something covered, please get in touch via facebook or the email form on this site

I'll also be doing my bit for Golf Ireland and helping the North and West Coast Links guys out at the Irish Golf Day.

Will I be doing the Stormtrooper again? You'll have to wait and see!

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One of the highlights of the first round of the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship was when a kid stepped out onto the 15th tee to take on Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood in a Nearest The Pin Challenge during their round.

Oscar Murphy Interview Abu Dhabi
Oscar Murphy and Rory McIlroy smiling after the nearest the pin challenge.

The challenge featured 13 year old Abu Dhabi based (but sounding very Northern Irish) golfer Oscar Murphy trying to get his red ball closer to the pin than his heroes.

Though he admitted to being a little weak at the knees Oscar hits a beautiful "buttery fade" to take down World Number One DJ.

Afterwards Oscar was interviewed by Nick Dougherty on Sky Sports.  I hope the guys don't mind me posting this; but it was a lovely little interview and great to see kids interested in the game. I didn't want to see it go to waste.

Remember the name!! Oscar Murphy!!

Oscar is already a champion having won the Under 12 Masters category at the 2017 Irish Junior Open Series.  The great work put in by championships organiser Michael Gallagher is paying off!!

Oscar Murphy receiving his Junior Masters trophy from Michael Gallagher.

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Following news of a minor heart issue, Rory McIlroy unveiled his new cardiac falcon in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

The highly trained cardiac falcon named "Clear" was commissioned by Nike and will fly overhead Rory at all times during the 2018 season via a piece of raw turkey meat taped behind his ear.

"Clear" comes equipped with a defibrillator and paddles and is fully trained in their use.

Related Post:   2018 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Betting Preview and Tips

Rory McIlroy Funny
Rory McIlroy with his new cardiac falcon "Clear" yesterday. 
More as it emerges.

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Tim Rosaforte must spend his life hiding in bushes wherever Tiger Woods is and always has all the latest gossip about him.

Tim Tiger Claude and the lady from the Golf Channel.
Like these quotes Tim had from esteemed teacher Claude Harmon who saw the new Tiger up close a few days ago.

Related Post:   2018 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Betting Preview and Tips

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2018 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship Betting Preview and Tips

January 18th – 21st, 2018
Abu Dhabi G.C., Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,583
Purse: $3 million with $533,302 to the winner
Defending Champion: Tommy Fleetwood
Last week: Brian Harman T4 Sony Open

Favourite Watch

No Chances To Be Taken If You're Paired With Rory!

Dustin Johnson is in Abu Dhabi to collect a wheelbarrow load of appearance money (most probably treble what the winner will receive) and at 5/1 he's untouchable in the betting. Imperious at the Tournament of Champions a couple of weeks back and was T2 on his debut here last year.  The other big news is that Rory is back, and possibly gaming a new putter.  He's 8/1 and trying to seal a win after six podium finishes on this course.

Doc's Top 5 Best Bets

Henrik Stenson 18/1

Henrik got some competitive golf in last week as part of a winning EurAsia Cup team as he bids to finally win on the only desert swing course to elude him.  T8 here last year and T 3 in 2016 and he'd love to get one over on DJ Rory and Rosey!

Latest Parody Post: Rory McIlroy Entourage To Carry Defibrillators From Now On Just In Case

Branden Grace 20/1

Beaten into second by Chris Paisley last week at the SA Open  but that was a valuable warmup for Branden.  Four top-20's from his last five visits to Abu Dhabi and 60 birdies in the last three say a big hitting and in-form Grace can contend.

Martin Kaymer 30/1

It's early season but you know Martin Kaymer has been looking after himself during the Winter break and he absolutely loves this course.  And why wouldn't he with three wins (2008, 2010, 2011) along with a more recent solo third in 2015 and T4 here last year.  Finished 2017 solidly  and sure to be in the frame.

Latest Parody Post: Jesus Christ Signs Deal To Use TaylorMade M4 Driver

Rafa Cabrera Bello 33/1

Finally got his first win in five years at the Scottish Open last year and ended 2017 on super solid form with four top-11 finishes in Malaysia (T10) , Korea (T11) , China (T5) and Hong Kong (T2).  Rafa has nine appearances here in Abu Dhabi, missing the cut only once and with a best of T4 in 2014. A solid six pack each way pick!

Tyrrell Hatton 22/1

It's hard to leave Tyrrell off your betslip this week and it will be interesting to see how he fares in some stellar company. Winner of the Alfred Dunhill and Italy in 2017 and finished out the year with a further nine top-20's including a T8 at the Tour Championship.  Tommy Bjorn will have been looking at him closely at the EurAsia Cup last week where he was paired with Ross Fisher and (possibly more tellingly) Paul Casey.  Having also won his singles match against Lahiri on Sunday, Hatton travels to the desert for a fifth time having been T13, T46, T6 and T10 in his previous four respectively.

Long Odds Glory Shots

George Coetzee and Dean Burmester are both widely quoted at 110/1 with the bookies and have the big hitting game to capitalize on the par-5's.  George had three top-10's between 2012 and 2014 and Dean was solo 7th here last year.  Pablo Larrazabal is also 110/1; he won 2014 and was T2 last year.

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Rory McIlroy dropped a line about a heart irregularity last week that put the heart of his fans crossways.

“I have a flat T-wave and I’ll have to get an echo [cardiogram] on my heart every six months and an MRI scan every year,” McIlroy told The Telegraph.

Rory McIlroy Heart Funny
Rory McIlroy with his entourage yesterday.

But it wasn't just Rory's fans that were worried.  Sponsors and others with a vested business interest in Rory's welfare also became very nervous.

That prompted Rory to go on Instagram as you do when you want to clear things up.

Get well soon Rors from being perfectly healthy. I think!

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A Yorkshire man who watches golf on Sky Sports religiously said today he was struggling to give a shit about the 2018 Eurasia Cup.

In a shock admission David Stokes told GolfCentralDaily he really couldn’t give a flying fuck about this weekends Europe versus Asia showpiece, and urged friends on Twitter not to be tweeting the scores every five seconds and and clogging up his feed for the next three days.

Stokes upset in his TV room earlier

“Sure it'll be on the middle of the night anyway and who do Asia have playing for them except a bunch of shite lads I never heard of?” Stokes told GCD.

Several of Stokes mates have expressed dismay the remarks and urged their friend to rethink his stance.  "It might be a laugh to watch for a while after the niteclub on Saturday when we are all pissed," offered best friend Kevin Coyle.

“I mean who in the name of Jesus is Yuta Ikeda?” Stokes questioned. “World number thirty feckin six and he's their best player? Give me a break.  It'll be a shite sweat-fest out in Malaysia, it will piss down rain every five minutes and the Asians will get slaughtered.”

"I'll watch any old shite on Sky including that crap Jack Nicklaus documentary they show every day but I draw the line at this," added the indignant 34 year old.

More as it emerges.

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Just say you bought a 2017 TaylorMade M1 driver six months ago and now you see the new M3 being released. Panic ensues.  What if this driver hits it further and straighter? Oh my God am I suddenly standing on the tee at a major disadvantage to my playing partners?

TaylorMade M3 Review Golfbidder
Honestly comparing the new TaylorMade M3 Driver To The 2017 M1.

Everybody calm the hell down; I've explained everything and debunked some myths in my latest video for Golfbidder.

Should I Get Rid Of My TaylorMade M1 To Buy An M3?

First and foremost, if you bought the 2017 M1 driver, rest assured you are not being disenfranchised in any way.  You are really talking marginal differences between it and the M3 driver despite what you hear in the marketing and forums.

The M3 Has Some Tweaks But No Driver Is A Magic Wand

Yes, the M3 has a new incarnation of the moveable weight track, a snappily titled hammerhead slot and the much heralded twist face but trust me when I say this….. the average golfer's swing, path, grip, stance, speed, torsion, hips, rotation, physique play an exponentially greater role in hitting straight drives than any twist on the clubface or hammerhead behind it.  You can duck hook a ball out of bounds with the M3 in exactly the same way as you could with the M1.. It's not a magic wand.

Having said that, newer versions of clubs pretty much always feature refined technology and improved production processes and there's no getting away from the numbers that say we are all driving further now than ever before.

M3 Versus M1 Head To Head

So let's get into the nitty gritty and put the new M3 head to head with the 2017 M1.

Looking down at the carbon crown of both, the white section of the 2017 M1 has been slimmed down and changed to silver in the M3,  kindof of like the colour of the SLDR-S from a few years back.  There's a little rounded bump on the M3's crown too but that's really just cosmetic and the same plus or minus 2 degree loft sleeve is in both.

Now  the "twist face", which I mentioned earlier, is new to the M3 as opposed to the traditional bulge and roll face of the 2017 M1.  I've gone into detail on the theory of the twist face in our M3 and M4 preview videos so check those out but in essence the theory of having the twist face is to help correct off centre hits high in the toe and low in the heel by directing them back towards the centre of the fairway.  The twist face sample picture you'll see in lots of the marketing is a dramatization, the actual twist on the face is hardly noticeable to the human eye.

It is really on the underside you'll find the biggest difference between the new M3 and the 2017 M1.  The two weight tracks that are in a T-shape in the M1 has now become one Y-shaped track.  For me it doesn't look as tidy as in the M1 but the new system in the M3 is extremely clever in that it allows even more permutations and combinations for the player who likes to tinker with their set up.

The M3 also features that Hammerhead or Power Slot which the 2017 M1 doesn't have.  The slot  is broken into three sections, again very cleverly done, leaving two ribs in the middle to brace the face. If there is a distance gain to be argued for the M3 over the 2017 M1 you feel it could be here. The M3 is really the first fully weight adjustable driver to feature a power slot, and the theory that such slots help these ever thinner faces to flex more and increase ball speed is pretty much irrefutable.

So Should I Change?

So if you are asking the question…..should I trade in my less than a year olf 2017 M1 for the new M3 and expect to see a big difference? The answer is "No".
Should I trade in my 3,4 or 5 year old driver to Golfbidder to invest in the very latest technology in the form of the M3? Yes.
And should I trade my 3, 4 or 5 year old driver to Golfbidder then buy a pre-owned 2017 M1 safe in the knowledge that I'm still getting a driver right at the cutting edge of technology.  Absolutely! In a heartbeat!

I hope this all helps your decision making process and for more information make sure also to check out all our TaylorMade 2018 product previews on the Golfbidder YouTube channel and and stay up to date with the very latest on Golfbidder Facebook and Twitter.

See you next time !

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In a shock move today TaylorMade Golf have announced they have captured the signature of Jesus Christ as a brand ambassador for the 2018 season.

Just days after Dustin Johnson hit a 431 yard drive in Kapalua, the only son of God has put pen to paper and signed a deal to use the new M4 driver.

Jesus showing his off his new M4 driver earlier.

The 12 month deal sees Jesus move from a PXG000011011 driver to the new M4.
“I've only really taken up golf about 200 years ago so I'm still learning about club technology,” Christ told reporters at a press conference in Dubai today. “But when I saw Dustin Johnson with his new M4 driver and that twisty face thingy I said I have to have that. I paid a fortune for a PXG driver last year but its totally shit. Maybe Dad could use it on the Champions Tour or something rather than throwing it out in the shed.”

Spokesman for TaylorMade Billy Bazzler said "We are blessed to have Mr. Christ joining the likes of Johnson, Day, Rahm and McIlroy in our stable, no pun intended. Aside from Tiger Woods, Jesus Christ is about as big as a signing as their is in golf right now."

“As you can imagine I’ve been flat out busy over the Christmas,” Jesus continued to reporters. “But the worst of it is over now and I'm really looking forward to spending a couple over weeks out here in Dubai resting and dialling in my setup with my M4 for the coming season.  Dad, Peter and Judas are all out here too and we are trying to get Donald Trump out for a round.”

Speaking from his luxury Burj Khalifa apartment Jesus also urged golfers to "always forgive and to love thy neighbour as themselves, including those godless PXG heathens who rip people off."

"There is a lot of golf to be played between now and Easter!" Jesus joked with reporters as he headed out to the range.

More as it emerges. Amen.

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2018 Sony Open Betting Preview and Tips

January 11th – 14th, 2018
Waialae C.C., Honolulu, Hawaii
Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,044
Purse: $6.2 million with $1,080,000 to the winner
Defending Champion: Justin Thomas

2018 Sony Ope Fantasy Picks
Jordan, Justin and Zach will be at the 2018 Sony Open this week.

It's always tough tippage after the Christmas break,  when we don’t fully know who's been on the mince pies and who's been on the practice ground but you don’t want to hear that!  Of course we'll still win some money but my advice this week (and for the next few) is restraint on the betting until everyone is up and running and some form patterns emerge.  For those of you into Fantasy Golf have a look at these guys for your gameweek too and if you are a golf stats nerd like me make sure to also check out Steve Bamford's excellent preview on Golf Betting System where you'll get a tonne of extra info on the tournament.

Favourite Watch

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas top the betting at ridiculous odds of 5/1 and 8/1 respectively but with Dustin Johnson not playing and the lads having warmed up at Kapalua last week, they are the class of the field.  JT defends, Spieth was solo 3rd in 2017.

As always I'm looking for each way value and never (well very rarely) tip anyone of odds under 10/1 so let's go.

Doc's Top 5 Sony Open Each Way Bets

Tip1: Zach Johnson 33/1

Zach. Split with Jesus in 2015.

With all the testosterone and exuberance that will be around Waialae this week you'll need someone with an old experienced head on your betslip.  Enter Zach Johnson with three top-10's in his last four visits here.  Zach was winless in 2017 but ended the year with his arrow on the up. Winner here in 2009 and T6 last year which included a Friday 61.  If the wind kicks up, Zach's share price goes up. As solid a tip as you'll get.

Tip 2: Brian Harman 20/1

Love Harman's terrier like approach to every event and if there is a guy who looks to have carried his end of year form over to 2018 it's him.  Was T5 at the CJ Cup, 8th at the WGC HSBC and T4 at the RSM to finish 2017 then started 2018 with a solid 3rd at the TOC last week with T6 driving accuracy and T1 greens in regulation stats.
T20, T13, T13 on his first three visits to the Sony Open, I expect him to contend this time around.

Tip 3: Kevin Kisner 20/1

Kisner aka Podrig.

Must have hated coming to Hawaii for years but finally got the hang of it with a T5 in 2016 and followed it with a T4 last year which included a 60 on moving day.  Finished 2017 well with a T3 in the Tour Championship and T4 at the RSM and played into December at Tigers event and QBE Shootout (shot a 61 opening round there).  Warmed up with a T17 at Kapalua last week.

Tip 4: Cameron Smith 33/1

I'm going to give Cam Smith the nod this week at odds of 33/1 because, unlike the rest of us, his body clock says its bloody Summer time and it's all systems go!  Top 5's at the CIMB and CJ Cup were followed by a win at home in the Aussie PGA in December.  T17 in the TOC last week and scuppered by a rusty opening 75 but I think he can do better this week.  T27 here last year.

Tip 5: Jamie Lovemark 50/1

Lovemark. Never had one?

Scanning down the odds for some better value I see Jamie Lovemark at 50/1 with most bookies.  A giant of a man who drives it miles and this annual birdie fest seems to have become a favourite of his with a T7 in 2016 and T4 in 2017.  Rounded out 2017 with a T5 at the CJ Cup so will be eager to start well.

Long Odds Glory Shot

Peter Uihlein 55/1

Peter graduated from Hogwarts to the PGA Tour this year.

It's almost like we regard Peter as one of our own having spent so many years on the European Tour and we wish him well back home this year.  He'll be a debutant at the Sony Open but we know he has the skillset to contend.  Huge promise at the end of 2017 with a T5 at the WGC and T10 at the Tour Championship, it will be interesting to follow his progress.

Lost In Conversation

I also had a look at Daniel Berger at 35/1. His T11 at the TOC included some super driving and greens hit stats and a good recovery from an opening 73 but a best of T13 in Hawaii 3 years ago dissuaded me.  I also consdiered Gary Woodland at 35/1, a player very much in the same mould as Lovemark and who is T6, T13, T3 on his last three starts at this event.

Best of luck to you all.

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If TaylorMade needed any extra marketing push for their new TaylorMade M4 driver, Dustin Johnson provided it by almost holing out his drive on the 433 yard 12th hole.

Johnson gamed the new TaylorMade M4 set to 9.5 degrees with Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution 2.0 Tour Spec X-Flex shaft.

But Jon Rahm showed just how fine the tolerances are now with ultra thin faces and crowns bracing against huge swing speeds and impacts when he noticed a crack in his new M3 Fairway wood prior to starting his final round.

What's In The Bag Dustin Johnson

Driver: TaylorMade M4, 9.5 degrees with Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution 2.0 Tour Spec X-Flex shaft.

3 Wood: TaylorMade M4 HL, 16.5 degrees with Project X HZRDUS Black 6.5 (95X) shaft.

Irons: TaylorMade P-790 (3 iron), TaylorMade P-730 DJ Proto (4-PW) all with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts.

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52 and 60 degrees), TaylorMade Hi-Toe (64 degrees) all with KBS Tour Black 130X shafts.

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Black with T sight line.

Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x.

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The Ryder Cup matches at Le Golf National in Paris are one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the 2018 golfing calendar but the question everyone is asking after Brexit is will Team Europe still be a  competitive force without its stars from Britain and Northern Ireland?

Following the British public voting to leave the European Union and subsequent triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by British PM Theresa May, no players from Britain or Northern Ireland can play for Europe in Ryder Cup matches.

So how does this affect the 2018 European Team.

Given that the 8 players with automatic qualification are made up of 4 players from the European Points list and 4 players from the World Points List the unlucky players who would be in the team as it stands but are now ineligible to play include Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick.  Of course Rory McIlroy is also no longer allowed to play for Europe as Northern Ireland is also part of the United Kingdom.

As it stands, qualifying automatically for the 2018 European Ryder Cup Team are Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, Paul Dunne, Victor Dubuisson, Sergio Garcia, Rafa Cabrera Bella, Lucas Bjerregaard and Henrik Stenson.

As it stands. The Team Europe points table without UK players

European Captain Thomas Bjorn also has four picks, but again cannot pick any players from the UK.

More as it emerges.

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A fully fit and ready Tiger Woods has just announced the schedule for his second coming and world domination.

Woods will first play The Farmers Open at Torrey Pines on January 25th and then in the Genesis Open at Riviera on February 12th.

Tiger Woods 2018 Farmers Open

Related Post: The Bookies Odds Say They Are Certain Tiger Woods Will Win Again In 2018

A statement on the Genesis website read:

Tiger Woods announced today that he will play in the 2018 Genesis Open to be held February 12-18 at The Riviera Country Club. The 2018 Genesis Open will be Woods’ first tournament at Riviera since 2006.

“I’m very excited to be back at Riviera,” Woods said. “I haven’t played at Riviera in a tournament in a very long time. To be able to play in an event that I used to come to as an amateur, as a junior and now as the tournament host, that is on one of the most historic sites in all of golf, it’s a dream come true.”

Woods, most recently played in the Hero World Challenge where he finished 8-under in the elite 18-player field. The Hero World Challenge was Woods’ first tournament following nearly 10 months away from competitive golf. He shot 69-68-75-68 (280) as he tied for ninth.

The Riviera Country Club is the site of Woods’ first PGA TOUR event in 1992, competing on a sponsor’s exemption as an amateur. Woods’ TGR Live manages the Genesis Open and proceeds from the tournament benefit his foundation.

Tiger also tweeted

Best news we've had all day!

What We Can Look Forward To in 2018!

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With Chief Parody reporter Tobias Skeet in San Francisco

A motion is to be filed against golf equipment giant TaylorMade, whose "Twist Face" in their new drivers is at the centre of accusations of copyright infringement made by snack giant Pringles.

"Our clients believe TaylorMade intentionally made the M3 and M4 driver faces the exact same shape as a Pringle in a clear attempt to profit from the sense of fulfilment and savoury snackness of our products," lawyer for Pringles, Saul Veenger said in his pre-submission submission to the court in San Francisco.

TaylorMade Twist Face Funny
The new "Twist Face" from TaylorMade is remarkable like a Pringle, say Pringles lawyers.

“Your honour it wouldn't surprise us at all if TaylorMade now market the driver with the tagline 'Once you pop one out there 300 yards dead straight, you can't stop,'" continued Veenger.

A motion of discovery has also been filed to examine CCTV footage of the parking lot at TaylorMade in a bid to ascertain if any staff at the company could be seen eating Pringles around the time the driver was designed.

Related Post: This 7 Minute Video Of Seve On The Practice Ground Is Mesmerising.

TaylorMade's legal team are expected to challenge all of the claims made in court on the basis that their drivers are not edible, are made of high grade steel and not potato and since elliptical shapes have been around since time began nobody really owns any of them.

TaylorMade are also in the middle of legal proceedings with PXG, a golf manufacturer specialising in equipment nobody can afford.

The trial continues.

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Top Tour players competing every week for huge sums of money could turn into even bigger more moany bastards than they already are, new research has revealed.

Doctors working at the Paris Institute say that the stress and exhaustion associated with continually jetting around the world to collect massive appearance and prize money could affect the sub haemo-neural cortex of the World's top players' brains, switching on a chemical that increases their moany bastard levels by up to 20 times.

French researchers trying new Playstation VR kits during their break.

The new research, commissioned by French 2018 Ryder Cup organisers, comes after a high profile player sacked his caddie for not wiping his bum properly during the 2016 matches at Hazeltine, leaving the player stranded and soiled in the toilet for over two hours.

"We've looked in depth at the top 25 players in the world and found, while they all are moany bastards to begin with, of those that played Rolex series and/or Fed Ex Cup during the 2017 season, 85% became six times moanier with 15% of those becoming intolerable c*nts altogether," Dr Jean Eude explained.

"What we would ideally love to see come September is two teams of fresh fit and rested billionaire moany bastards battling it out at Paris National with nobody left in the loos," concluded Eude.

More as it emerges.

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