Golf Buzz

April 4, 2013 - 2:03pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Pebble Beach Golf Links
Getty Images
Pebble Beach Golf Links is a staple of top 100 golf course rankings.

There are plenty of golf course rankings out there – probably the best known to most of us are the Golf Digest 100 Greatest Courses and the Golf Magazine Top 100

Pretty soon, though, there'll be a new kid on the block. Golf Course Architecture magazine is working now to create its own ranking of golf courses, to be called Architects' Choice Top 100. The voting for this ranking is being done exclusively by professional golf course architects.

''With most professional golf course architects having visited a large number of golf courses throughout the world, and having a very specific eye for quality that comes from their full time work on golf design, we believe these rankings will be the most insightful evaluation into golf course design quality there has ever been,'' says Golf Course Architecture.

The course designers get to decide their own criteria for their ranking – factoring in merits such as strategic value, beauty, fun and history – and then they'll weight those attributes as they see fit to create their individual top-10 lists. These lists then will be combined to produce the full GCA Top 100 ranking.

And in addition to creating this full top 100 list, the magazine plans to analyze data to deliver more insight on the architects' selections, looking at regions, types of golf course, prevalence of particular architects' work and the balance of modern and historic designs.

Voting is taking place now, and GCA plans to release its inaugural Top 100 list in its July issue. It'll be very interesting to see how much difference there is between this list and the existing ones.

 

April 3, 2013 - 1:54pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade Lethal golf ball
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The success of such TaylorMade balls as the new Lethal has prompted the company to construct a new golf ball plant.

TaylorMade will build a new golf ball manufacturing plant, company officials announced Wednesday. The 120,000-square-foot facility will occupy 25 acres in Liberty, S.C., about 28 miles east of TaylorMade's current facility in Westminster, S.C.

The company expects to break ground on the new plant in May and open up next January. The transition from Westminster to Liberty will be complete by July 2014, they said.
 
''The innovation by our R&D team, the passion of our work force in South Carolina and the rapid adoption by the best players in the world have dramatically improved our position in the golf ball category,'' said TaylorMade Executive Vice President John Kawaja. ''The byproduct of this success was the need for a new ball plant that will improve our unit production, quality and margin position.''

The new Liberty plant is expected to be more energy efficient and require less maintenance than the current Westminster plant, TaylorMade said, while also allowing the production process to be revamped to be more efficient.

The current plant turns out about 72,000 balls per day (6,000 dozen) and 24 million balls per year (2 million dozen).

TaylorMade currently markets close to a dozen models of golf ball across the price spectrum, including the RocketBallz, SuperDeep (white and yellow), Burner (white and yellow) and Noodle (white and yellow). Its newest ball, which debuted earllier this year, is the Lethal, a premium five-piece sphere that TaylorMade says is the second-most popular ball on the PGA Tour as well as its best-selling high-end ball ever.

April 3, 2013 - 10:54am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Masters
Getty Images
A ticket to the Masters is going to cost you.

 

In a recent story filed by Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Dan Groob, something you probably already knew was confirmed: short of the Ryder Cup, a ticket to the Masters is the most cherished in golf.
 
As if a ticket to the Masters weren't already appealing enough, consider the start that Tiger Woods has had to the 2013 season. In four PGA Tour starts, the 14-time major champion has collected three victories.
 
Woods, a winner of four Masters Tournaments, last slipped into a green jacket in 2005 and is a big-time favorite to grab his fifth green jacket next week.
 
Groob writes:
 
Compounding the effect of Woods’ resurgence on Masters ticket prices is the fact that Augusta National is golf’s most storied course, and The Masters golf’s most storied event. This year, a single-day pass for any of the four days of tournament play will run no less than $1,215, and that would be for a pass to Friday’s round. Comparatively, the average single-day passes for this year’s U.S. Open range from $182 to $295, depending on the day. The PGA Championship checks in between $203 and $234. All other days of Masters play run over $1,000...
 
For the tournament itself, a four-day badge will run a whopping $4,486 dollars, but is certainly less expensive than purchasing tickets for each day of the tournament. 
 
Tournament ticket prices check in as follows:
 
Practice Rounds:
Monday $403/$362
Tuesday $529/464
Wednesday $1,118/$833
 
Tournament Rounds:
Four-Day Badge: $4,486
Thursday $1,786/$1,282
Friday $1,215/$955
Saturday $1,397/$1,063
Sunday $1,226/$1,068
 
Believe it or not, as high as those prices may seem, a trip to the Masters is worth every penny.
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
April 3, 2013 - 10:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Mizuno JPX
Mizuno Golf
The new Mizuno JPX game-improvement irons were built to help the Average Joe play like a pro.

 

Mizuno has long been a brand name associated with only the most elite golfers. 
 
Though that may be the perception, it's not actually true. With its new campaign dubbed, "Play Famously," Mizuno sets out to prove just that. 
 
Here is the email that was sent to me describing the campaign:
 
Mizuno Golf -- world renowned iron manufacturer and global leader in golf technology and innovation -- announced the Play Famously campaign which will add “average Joe” golfers to its stable of PGA pros, including world No. 4 Luke Donald, Charles Howell III, Jonathan Byrd and 2012 Rolex LPGA Player of the year, Stacy Lewis. The campaign aims to build the company’s momentum in the game-improvement category by championing the legions of “amateur” golfers who are supporting the golf industry through their passion for the game and meticulous quest to improve.
 
An absolutely average player sporting a 16 index, Lee Baughman from Pittsburgh, Pa. was announced the first member of “Team JPX.”  The 12-man “game-improvement” roster will be filled with everyday golfers who will be treated as famously as Mizuno pros. 
 
If the name Baughman doesn’t ring a bell, it shouldn’t; you didn’t miss him during last Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tournament or even on the Web.com Tour. He possesses arguably no legitimate strengths, but Mizuno will supply him and 11 other “Team JPX” members with the JPX-825 game-improvement irons and the other necessary tools to elevate his game and “play famously” with the help of Mizuno’s superior design and performance.
 
In addition to being swaged out like the pros with Mizuno irons, drivers, woods and apparel, “Team JPX” will receive tips and instruction from PGA Master Instructor Dr. Gary Wiren.  Additionally, each member of the team will receive the chance to compete in September’s inaugural “JPX Invitational” at Country Club of the South in Atlanta.
 
To kick-off the “Play Famously” campaign, Mizuno, Luke Donald and the Mizuno Golf team welcomed Lee Baughman as the latest member of their crew during a press conference.   
 
I love the idea of this campaign -- it's a lot of fun.
 
 
To get all the details for this campaign, click here to visit the Mizuno Golf Play Famously page.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
April 3, 2013 - 9:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
eBay
The police car that got Rory McIlroy to Medinah just in time for his final-day tee time at the 2012 Ryder Cup is now up for auction on eBay.

 

Remember that time when Rory McIlroy nearly missed his tee time for the Sunday's singles match at Medinah in the 2012 Ryder Cup against Keegan Bradley because he somehow forgot that he was in the Central Time Zone?
 
Luckily for McIlroy and his European teammates who made a record-tying comeback that afternoon, a police escort got McIlroy to the course just in time.
 
Well now, the Lombard Crown Vic Police Car that got McIlroy to Medinah could be yours!
 
Huh?
 
Believe it or not, the car is available on eBay. The description reads as follows:
 
You are bidding on the unmarked Village of Lombard police car that was used to rush pro golfer Rory McIlroy to the Ryder Cup. Rory was staying at the Westin hotel in Lombard, IL and had thought his tee off time was an hour later than it actually was on the final day of the Ryder Cup being held at Medinah Country Club. Lombard’s Deputy Police Chief Pat Rollins used this car to rush McIlroy to the tournament with only minutes to spare. The Europeans went on to win the tournament largely due to McIlroy’s play. Don’t miss this opportunity to own a piece of sports history not to mention a darn fine automobile. Vehicle is in good running condition with only 88,900 miles on it!
 
The eBay listing includes a link to the video footage of McIlroy arriving to the course in the car (which you can watch here), as well as a link to the Daily Herald story about the incident and the eBay listing (which you can read here).
 
The auction closes on April 8. At the time of this posting, the leading bid was $3,050.00.
 
I'm all for unique sports items, but I'm not sure where you would put this thing.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
April 2, 2013 - 3:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Steve Kroft and Pete Dye
Courtesy of 60 Minutes Sports
'60 Minutes' correspondent Steve Kroft caught up with course architect extraordinaire Pete Dye at Harbour Town.

I suspect we're all familiar with the ''Real Sports'' program that's a long-running staple on HBO.

Recently, HBO rival Showtime has gotten into the act with a program called ''60 Minutes Sports'' that is, as its name suggests, a sports magazine show based on ''60 Minutes'' and produced by the ''60 Minutes'' production group.

The fourth episode of this program debuts on Wednesday, and will feature a segment on golf course designer Pete Dye.

''In golf circles, the name Pete Dye is synonymous with difficult,'' says a promo. ''Steve Kroft tells his story and shoots a round with the legendary Dye, who still plays so well, he can score below his age.''

I don't know what kind of golfer Kroft is, but he's one of ''60 Minutes''' better news correspondents, so I have high hopes that this segment might really give us an insight into Dye and his outlook on golf and the golf course industry at this stage of his career.

The program with Dye also includes segments on soccer star Lionel Messi, the under-new-ownership Los Angeles Dodgers and ESPN’s Chris Berman – why am I not surprised to see that he has a George Costanza-like overstuffed wallet. The show debuts at 9:00 p.m. ET on April 3 and repeats frequently.

To see a brief preview, click here.

And to read an excellent column by our own Steve Eubanks on his recent chat with Dye down at Casa de Campo, click here.