Golf Buzz

October 31, 2013 - 1:54pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Nike Golf Sport Lite golf bag
Nike Golf
The new Nike Golf Sport Lite golf bag is the company's lightest bag to date at just under 4 pounds.

Nike Golf announced the release of a new golf bag Thursday -- the Nike Sport Lite.

The Nike Sport Lite, weighing in at less than four pounds, is Nike's lightest carry bag to date.

Features on the Sport Lite include Nike's proprietary EquaFlex revolving double strap system, which distributes bag weight evenly across the shoulders through an ergonomic design that brings more comfort to the often tiring task of carrying a bag around the course for hours at a time. A five-way, two full-length divider system with putter well maximizes club visibility and organization.

Six fleece-lined functional pockets, including a full length apparel pocket, provide enough space for athletes to be prepared on the course without creating extra bulk. The Sport Lite also has an integrated GPS loop, pen sleeve and glove patch; custom grip leg end-caps; and a matching rain hood.

The Nike Sport Lite comes in six different color schemes and will be available at retail Nov. 1 at $155.

For more information, visit www.nikegolf.com.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

October 31, 2013 - 11:59am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Simon Dyson
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England's Simon Dyson is facing the possibility of stiff penalties from the European Tour for a rules violation at last week's BMW Masters.

According to a Reuters report, six-time European Tour winner Simon Dyson faces possible expulsion from that Tour for a violation of the rules last week in Shanghai at the BMW Masters.

The 35-year-old Englishman was disqualified from the BMW Masters after TV viewers notified officials that Dyson tapped down a spike mark in his putting line with his golf ball.

READ: Chamblee talks controversial Woods column on Golf Channel

A spike mark -- unlike a ball mark -- cannot be repaired when in the player's putting line.

Here's video of the incident:

 

 

The European Tour has announced that a disciplinary hearing will be held to decide Dyson's fate.

"If, following the hearing, the panel decides that a breach of the code (of behaviour) has been established, it shall impose a sanction that it considers appropriate having regard to the circumstances," the tour said in a statement.

"Such sanctions may range from a reprimand, a censure, a fine, a suspension of Membership, a suspension from participation in one or more tournaments or for a given period, or expulsion from The European Tour, or otherwise as the panel shall determine."

For his part, Dyson maintains he in no way "deliberately broke the rules."

"My action was in no way a deliberate act with the intention of breaking the rules," he said in the Reuters report. "It was simply an accidental mistake."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

October 31, 2013 - 11:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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TaylorMade Golf
TaylorMade
TaylorMade Golf's SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs, will be available Nov. 15. The SLDR driver is available at retail now.

TaylorMade Golf has long been a leader when it comes to golf club innovation.

Most famously, the company took the golf world by storm with its introduction of the white-headed R11 driver in 2011.

It was a risk, but -- as it turns out -- a wildly popular one.

The latest innovation by TaylorMade has the golf world buzzing yet again.

RELATED: SLDR driver features sliding weight on sole

This summer, the company introduced the SLDR driver -- built to help a player hit longer/straighter drives by promoting a high launch angle, lower spin-rate and faster ball speed. That, the company says, is what makes SLDR its longest driver ever.

In addition to the driver, TaylorMade recently announced the SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs, which will be available at retail on Nov. 15.

SLDR fairways woods and rescue clubs combine two of TaylorMade's most recent innovations: Speed Pocket technology and an exceptionally low-and-forward center of gravity (CG) location.

The company says smaller is better; so the new Speed Pocket is smaller (introduced in the RocketBallz fairways and Rescues), which actually makes it more efficient at increasing how fast the face flexes at impact, promoting faster initial ball speed across a wider portion of the face, helping a player get consistently long distance on every swing.

RELATED: SLDR fairway woods, rescue clubs join TaylorMade line

Of course, the most distinguishable feature of the new SLDR driver, is the blue, sliding weight on the sole.

"The SLDR weight slides on the track and never comes loose from the clubhead," TaylorMade says. "To slide the weight to any of the 21 positions on the track, simply loosen the screw, slide the weight, then tighten the screw. It takes as little as 10 seconds. And the sole is marked with the words 'fade' at the toe-end of the track and 'draw' at the heel-end of the track to make it clear where you should position the weight to promote the shot-shape you want."

I had a chance to test out samplings of the SLDR family this week, including a driver, 19-degree 5-wood and a 19-degree 3-rescue.

"We learned with the SLDR driver that a low-forward CG location allows many players to increase their loft to achieve the right combination of high-launch/low-spin that promotes maximum distance," TaylorMade says. "The same thing goes for SLDR fairway and Rescues, which is where our Loft Sleeve technology serves such an important purpose, by allowing you to adjust the loft 1.5 degrees up or down to dial in their optimal launch conditions."

The first thing you feel with the SLDR offerings, is that difference in the center of gravity. The head itself feels slightly heavier than others. And, speaking of the clubhead, it's one of the prettiest you'll ever lay eyes on at address.

RELATED: TaylorMade shows off new SpeedBlade irons

The shocking white was fantastic in previous models, but the SLDR family is more of a classic look -- a pretty charcoal-gray crown with traditional shaping. With its dark crown color and silver-colored clubface, the SLDR family is easy to align accurately at address.

Like most amateurs, it took a few swings to get used to the driver. The natural reaction of holding a beautiful new driver that's advertised as TaylorMade's, "longest yet," led me to swing out of my shoes for those first few range balls.

Once you settle in and realize you can let the club do the work, the results are incredible. At impact, the SLDR is as solid as any driver I've tried previously. You can truly feel that low-and-forward center of gravity the company describes.

At least for my game -- about a 10 handicap -- I typically find the fairway woods and hybrids to be the most difficult clubs in my bag to hit. This becomes particularly frustrating for me when all I ever read about is how easy a hybrid is to hit.

Well, if this SLDR test is any indication, my issues with fairway woods and rescue/hybrid clubs are a thing of the past. The ball absolutely flew off the clubface with ease from a variety of lies. Like the driver, slight misses with both the fairway wood and rescue club were extremely forgiving. Most importantly, the misses stayed in play.

I don't consider myself a big tinkerer. The standard settings on all three clubs worked for me. However, it is nice to know that there are products available out there today (not just from TaylorMade) where -- if you're a little off -- rather than go spend hundreds of dollars on new equipment, you can use a special tool to make an adjustment.

The SLDR driver retails for $399.99. There's also a Tour-Preferred (TP) model (with more customizable options) that sells for $499.99. The SLDR fairway woods (available for shipping Nov. 15) go for $249.99 and the TP version retails for $349.99. The rescue clubs -- also available for shipping Nov. 15 -- are $219.99 for the regular SLDR version and $289.99 for the TP version.

To learn more about the SLDR family and all of TaylorMade's offerings, visit www.taylormade.com. You can also find TaylorMade on Facebook and on Twitter, @TaylorMadeGolf.

 

 

THE VERDICT: TaylorMade isn't kidding with its "longest driver we've made yet" billing -- the SLDR driver is the longest I've ever hit, flying roughly 15-20 yards past where my usual driver lands.

The look you get at address on the entire SLDR family -- at least for me -- just feels right. I don't feel like I'm swinging a frying pan at the ball. These clubs are as forgiving as they are pretty.

For me, longer isn't always better. But, when the misses stay in play, I'm all for a few extra yards with the longest clubs in my bag.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

October 31, 2013 - 10:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Hybrids have been tabbed as the easiest club you can hit. However, too many people play a hybrid like a driver or fairway wood. It's neither of those.

As PGA Professional Rob Labritz illustrates in today's golf tip, how you position the ball in your stance with a hybrid could make all the difference.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

Tim Burke of Orlando, Fla., won the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship on Wednesday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, hitting his fourth shot in the final round 427 yards. 

England's Joe Miller was second. 

FEAT WITH NO FEET: Jamie Sadlowski hits 327-yard drive – on his knees!

The two advanced from the final field of eight that began the night, battling chilly weather conditions, and hitting the ball toward the bright lights of the famed-Las Vegas Strip in the distance. 

Burke and Miller each got six drives, over two rounds of three shots apiece, with the longest shot that stayed within a 50-yard wide grid on the racetrack’s front-straight infield counting toward their final score. Burke, who was second to Ryan Winther in the 2012 event, earned $250,000 for his victory.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 
October 30, 2013 - 6:58pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Brandel Chamblee
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Brandel Chamblee was on Golf Channel Wednesday evening to talk about the fallout from his Golf.com column where he gave Tiger Woods an "F" for 2013.

TV analyst Brandel Chamblee took to the Golf Channel on Wednesday evening to address his controversial column that appeared on Golf.com two weeks ago, in which Chamblee gave Tiger Woods a grade of "F" for the 2013 season.

Woods, a five-time winner in 2013 and the PGA Tour's Player of the Year, was given the harsh grade for, "being a little cavalier with the rules," Chamblee wrote.

Chamblee compared Woods's incidents with the rules -- three in total, one resulting in a disqualification -- to his own cheating incident on a math test in the fourth grade.

RELATED: TV analyst gives Tiger Woods harsh grade for 2013 season

In a sit-down interview with Rich Lerner on Golf Central, Chamblee admitted he crossed a line.

"In offering my assessment of Tiger's year and specifically looking at the incidents in Abu Dhabi, Augusta, Ponte Vedra and Chicago, I said Tiger Woods was 'cavalier' about the rules," Chamblee told Lerner. "I should have stopped right there. In comparing those incidents to my cheating episode in the fourth grade, I went too far. Cheating involves intent. I know what my intent was on that fourth-grade math test. But there's no way that I could know, with a hundred percent certainty, what Tiger's intent was in any of those situations. That was my mistake."

Following Chamblee's column, the longtime agent of Woods -- Mark Steinberg -- said he would consider legal action against Chamblee.

"Brandel Chamblee's comments are shameful, baseless and completely out of line," Steinberg told ESPN.com. "In his rulings, Tiger voiced his position, accepted his penalty and moved on. There was no intention to deceive anyone. Chamblee's uninformed and malicious opinions, passed on as facts, and his desperate attempt to garner attention is deplorable."

RELATED: Brandel Chamblee takes to Twitter to apologize to Tiger Woods

Woods spoke out on the issue in China earlier this week.

"All I am going to say is that I know I am going forward," Woods said in an AP report, before his exhibition match with Rory McIlroy at Mission Hills. "But then, I don't know what the Golf Channel is going to do or not. But then that's up to them. The whole issue has been very disappointing as he didn't really apologize and he sort of reignited the whole situation.

"So the ball really is in the court of the Golf Channel and what they are prepared to do."

Chamblee did take to Twitter to apologize last week, but Woods wasn't buying the apology.

McIlroy even weighed in at a promotional event Tuesday in the run-up to the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions this week.

"Yeah, I think Brandel was completely wrong," McIlroy said. "I don't think he has the authority to say anything like that about Tiger Woods," the two-time major champion and former No. 1 McIlroy said, according to Agence France-Presse. "People wouldn't know who Brandel Chamblee was if it wasn't for Tiger Woods, so I am completely against what he said and I think he should be dealt with in the right way."

RELATED: Brandel Chamblee stands behind 'cheating' implication of Tiger Woods

Lerner asked Chamblee if he had a vendetta against Woods.

"Of course not," said Chamblee, who has long been one of the more outspoken critics of Woods's swing changes. "My job as an analyst on Golf Channel requires me to analyze the golf and offer my opinions. I like to think I'm pretty good at that. Tiger Woods is the best player in the game by miles -- maybe the best player of all time. Over the years, I have said a lot of positive things about Tiger's golf swing and his accomplishments. And, at times, I've been critical. But that's my job and my obligation to the viewer -- to not only talk about when Tiger plays well, but when he doesn't play well and put it in perspective, as well as every other player. At times, I can be a bit forceful with my opinions and some would say too forceful too many times. Fair enough. That was obviously the case in this instance. So much so that even my son chimed in on this issue."

Chamblee went on to explain that on rides to and from school, he and his son had a lot of time to talk about the column and the aftermath -- all of which his son had been reading about on the internet.

"In one of our drives, he said, 'Dad, if you had been more diplomatic in what you wrote, perhaps people would be talking more about the issue than your assessment.' He's a smart kid. It wasn't until after he said that, that I offered my apology on Twitter. Maybe I should have let my son read the column before I hit 'send' on the email."

Chamblee said he believes Woods and Steinberg are, "barking up the wrong tree," for calling on Golf Channel for action against him.

"This column appeared on Golf.com," Chamblee said. "Nobody here at Golf Channel even knew anything about it."

"All of this has made me realize that there's a conflict when you work for one company and write for another company," Chamblee said. "So, going forward, I'm not going to be writing for Golf Magazine. Beginning next year, I'm going to be writing exclusively for GolfChannel.com, NBC.com. That way, if Tiger and his camp have an issue with something I write, they can at least be yelling at the right people."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.