Golf Buzz

June 30, 2013 - 11:07am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Rory McIlroy vs. Robot
European Tour video
Rory McIlroy does his best to defeat a trash-talking robot golfer.

This is simply outstanding.

World No. 2 Rory McIlroy is known to be a good sport with a strong sense of humor. He's also a mega-talented golfer.

But how can that compete with a perfect swing robot who also talks a very mean game? ("Tiger Woods would have been home with his feet up by now.")

Check out this video from the European Tour to find out. 

 

You can follow John Kim on twitter at @johnkim_10

June 29, 2013 - 8:04pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jessica Korda and Johnny DelPrete at the U.S. Women's Open
Getty Images
Jessica Korda and her boyfriend-turned-caddie traded a high-five after he took over for her regular caddie on Saturday.

Caddies get hired and fired on a regular basis in professional golf, but the transaction usually doesn’t happen in the middle of a round in a major.

It did on Saturday, though, when Jessica Korda got so fed up with caddie Jason Gilroyed in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open that she fired him on the 10th hole. Fortunately for her, her boyfriend Johnny DePrete was following her, and she drafted him to finish out the tournament.

Here’s the full story from Rachel Cohen of the Associated Press:

Jessica Korda turned to her boyfriend and said, "Johnny, grab the bag, let's go." 

The 20-year-old American fired her caddie midway through the third round of the U.S. Women's Open, and Johnny DelPrete instantaneously went from spectator to participant. 

Korda said she and Jason Gilroyed had several disagreements over the first nine holes Saturday. 

"It's a U.S. Open. It's a big week for me," she said after the round. "It's one of the most important weeks for me of the year. I was just not in the right state of mind." 

The switch seemed to work: After shooting 5 over on the front nine, Korda was 1 under the rest of the way. She finished with a 76 and was tied for sixth at 1 over, 11 strokes behind leader Inbee Park. 

"The first few holes I was very shaky, but my boyfriend/caddie kept me very calm out there and kept it very light," Korda said. "And it was kind of funny seeing him fumble over yardage." 

DelPrete is a professional golfer, playing on the Web.com Tour in 2012, but had never caddied for Korda before. He'll be back on the bag for Sunday's final round. 

Her father, 1998 Australian Open tennis champ Petr Korda, is the caddie for Jessica's 14-year-old sister Nelly this week. He caddied for Jessica when she was an amateur, but she said she wouldn't even consider asking him to switch from one child to the other Sunday. Nelly, the youngest player in the tournament at 14, was tied for 61st at 13 over. 

Gilroyed has caddied for Korda for about a year. Asked if they had issues before Saturday, she said, "I think everybody has problems every week." 

She's not sure what will happen after Sunday, but DelPrete isn't a long-term option. 

Korda had never fired a caddie mid-round before, or seen a playing partner do it -- though she'd heard stories of it happening. 

"I care about Jason a lot. He is a great guy," she said. "That's just how it happens sometimes in life. That was one of those things today that it just unfolded. It was very hard for me to do. I'm not that type of person to take these things really easily." 

 

 

 

 

June 28, 2013 - 11:40pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Bob Vokey and Rob Labritz
Vokey Wedges via Twitter
Wedge designer Bob Vokey (l) and PGA Professional Rob Labritz worked on Labritz's wedges a few months before Labritz used one of them to earn a spot in the PGA Championship in very dramatic fashion.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the week has to be PGA Professional Rob Labritz canning a 95-yard wedge shot in sudden death at the PGA Professional National Championship to earn a spot in the PGA Championship. Heck, it was even No. 1 on ESPN's top plays.

As happy as Labritz was with his fantastic feat, someone else pretty satisfied, too – Bob Vokey, the namesake of Titleist's Vokey Wedges and the man who designed the wedge that Labritz used to hit what he called ''the shot of my life.''

On Friday, the Vokey Wedges Twitter account tweeted out a photo from April, showing Vokey and Labritz working on the bounce of Labritz's wedges. ''How'd those wedges work out Rob?,'' Vokey asked in the tweet, and I think we all know the answer.

In case you missed it, you can click here to see Labritz's walkoff wedge as well as his joyous reaction to it. And you can click here to relive all the action from the PGA Professional National Championship.

 

June 28, 2013 - 6:38pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Titleist 714 Series of irons
Courtesy of Titleist
The four models that will make up the 714 Series of irons are now undergoing what Titleist calls the "performance validation process" before being released to the retail market for the 2014 golf season.

Two years ago at the AT&T National, Titleist gave its staff players their first real look at some of its 712 Series of irons. Last year at the AT&T National, Titleist gave its staff players their first real look at the 913 drivers and fairway clubs. 

And earlier this week at the AT&T National, Titleist showed its staff players the forthcoming 714 collection of irons, as a couple dozen sets were shipped to Congressional for some early testing.

Bringing the prototypes for the Titleist CB, MB, AP1 and AP2 irons that will make up the 714 Series is a big part of the development process. “All Titleist golf clubs go through this critical step to validate their performance before being launched to market,” the company says.

Of the four models, the CB and MB underwent the least change. In fact, Vice President of Golf Club Marketing Chris McGinley told PGATour.com that "the one thing we kept hearing from tour players was, 'Don't screw them up. '" 

So Titleist didn't – instead, the club designers chose to keep the makeover minor, focusing mostly on touch-ups to the sole and overall shape of these classic forged blades.

By contrast, the AP1 and AP2 irons received more of a renovation to enhance their forgiveness, starting with making their heads more progressive down through the set to keep the feel more consistent from club to club. Also, Titleist added more camber to the soles and cleaned up the way the hosel blends into the clubhead.

"We made some significant changes to [the AP] irons," McGinley told PGATour.com. "How significant? I'd say this was the largest amount of change we've made since the franchise began."

The new clubs won't be formally introduced until the fall at the earliest, and the final versions will make up Titleist's 2014 iron offerings.

 

 

June 27, 2013 - 9:22pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedges
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedges feature a rough face and aggressive grooves, and come in either a shiny or smoky finish.

Callaway Golf has been teasing us with hints about its new Mack Daddy 2 wedges for a couple of months or so, and now we have the big reveal.

The new wedges are forged from a soft carbon steel for enhanced feel and feature expanded grooves for more spin. They also offer a variety of custom sole grind options. 

''Golfers ask their lob wedges to perform a lot of different shots, so it's important to design these wedges to be extremely forgiving and versatile,'' said Chief Club Designer Roger Cleveland, who created these wedges. ''And that's what we've done with these new grooves and the added custom grind options. The MD2s will be a must for the golfer who wants to perform to his or her best in the toughest of conditions.''

Unique to the wedges with 56 degrees of loft or higher is a new 5V groove pattern, which features wider, more aggressive grooves that increase spin and promote more control around the green. In fact, Callaway says, this new groove pattern is 39 percent larger than on previous models and produces 25 percent more spin on full shots hit out of the rough compared to its 2011 predecessor.

The lower-lofted Mack Daddy wedges also feature the wider grooves, but with a different sidewall in the grooves to tone down the spin just a hair. The new grooves are right up against the USGA limit – in fact, Callaway says, they're actually bigger than the grooves in its models before the implementation of the USGA's 2010 rule – and the clubfaces feature Callaway's Lasered Micro Groove for added roughness across the face.

There are three custom sole grinds available for the 58- and 60-degree clubs:

The U-Grind, which Phil Mickelson inspired and which he has been using for more than a year, has a wide, concave sole and a rounded leading edge to make it easier to stay low and under the ball when opening the face. This grind is versatile in both firm and soft conditions, Callaway says.

The C-Grind is also relieved in the heel and toe to keep golfers from creating too much bounce when they open the face. The depth of the sole is narrow to help facilitate proper contact and to allow the wedge to perform in all situations.   

The S-Grind is relieved in the heel only, and is best suited for firmer playing conditions. This grind, also called the standard grind, is fitting for the golfer who doesn’t want to add loft for a shot and instead play it with a square face.

The Mack Daddy 2 Wedges will be available at retail nationwide on July 12, and will carry a suggested retail price of $119 per club. They will debut with 52-, 56-, 58- and 60-degree options, while 47-, 50-, 54- and 64-degree wedges will come out in November. All will be available in either a shiny Slate finish or a smoky, glare-reducing Chrome finish.

 

 

June 25, 2013 - 8:23pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Ashton Eaton talks golf
The PGA of America
Olympic gold medalist visits with the Golf Channel to talk of his new love of golf.
What makes golf so attractive to so many? It's the simplicity and the challenge - it's a sport that anyone can enjoy but even the finest athletes in the world can never conquer.  
 
So how about THE world's finest athlete?
 
Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in both the decathlon and the heptathlon, Ashton Eaton, paid a visit to the 46th PGA Professional National Championship to watch some of the country's top players compete and to discuss his new found love of golf.  
 
Eaton, who grew up in nearby Bend, Ore., discovered golf recently through a local Get Golf Ready program.  From his first swings, he was hooked - and though having very limited time to devote to anything other than the vast array of track & field events he competes in - Eaton is making time to work on his new found passion.
 
"I was never interested in golf until someone brought up the Get Golf Ready program to me," Eaton said. "They suggested that I just try it - and so I did. And now, yes, I'm very interested."
 
Eaton took up the game at the beginning of June and in three months, has become an ambassador for golf in many ways. During his visit to Sunriver and the PGA PNC, Eaton spent time live with many media outlets, including a live interview on the Golf Channel, to discuss his affinity for the game.
 
"Track and field is tougher physically," Eaton says, "but golf is tougher mentally." 
 
Traditionally, the winner of the Olympic decathlon is referred to as the "World's Greatest Athlete" but Eaton understands that golf is a game that can never be fully mastered.
 
"The thing that attracted me to it was the challenge - and it's still a great distraction from me from the very serious business of my training. I haven't played a full round of golf yet, but I did make two pars my first time out on a golf course. So now that bar has been set and next time, I want to make four pars."
 
There is perhaps no better arbiter of a great challenge and fun time than a world-class athlete like Ashton Eaton. Get Golf Ready inspired him to take up golf - and he has. What can it do for you? Find out at GetGolfReady.com  or PGA.com/playgolf