Golf Buzz

September 27, 2013 - 9:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
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The 2013 season proved to be a frustrating one for two-time major champion and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
It's been one of golf's worst kept secrets, but the details are finally official -- the world's No. 6-ranked player, Rory McIlroy, has left agent Conor Ridge's Horizon Sports Management to start his own business, Rory McIlroy Incorporated. 
 
The new structure was revealed on McIlroy's website, www.rorymcilroyinc.com, Friday morning.
 
Here are the details:
 
Rory McIlroy today (27th September '13) confirmed he has terminated his contract with Horizon Sports Management and that the details of the termination are in the hands of a legal team led by A&L Goodbody in Dublin, Ireland.
 
The golfer’s business interests will from now on be managed by Rory McIlroy Incorporated. CEO of RMI will be Donal Casey, an actuary by profession with many years of CEO experience. 
 
The Rory Foundation for charity will be run by Barry Funston, a business leader and longtime  friend of the McIlroy family. Both men will serve on the RMI Board, together with Gerry McIlroy.
 
Media relations for the golfer and his management company will be handled by a team from The Communications Clinic, led by Terry Prone. 
 
The 2013 season proved to be the most tumultuous of McIlroy's professional career yet. Riding high off his second major championship victory in two years at the 2012 PGA Championship, McIlroy had soared to the No. 1 ranking and had high expectations for 2013. 
 
In the offseason, McIlroy switched equipment brands, which led to the demise of many rising stars before him.
 
Whether or not the equipment was the singular reason for McIlroy's struggles in 2013, we'll likely never know. He did admit there was a transition period, however, and that certainly showed in his results -- zero wins and five top-10 finishes in 16 starts on the PGA Tour. Just a year earlier, McIlroy won four times in 16 starts, including the PGA Championship.
 
With McIlroy's rise to fame came many more sponsor commitments that had him globetrotting.
 
McIlroy's decision to start up his own management team -- with a heavy influence from his father, Gerry -- seemed to be a long time coming. 
 
In 2011 after leaving the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda, McIlroy told then manager Andrew "Chubby" Chandler that he would be leaving Chandler's International Sports Management (ISM) to join Ridge. The relationship with Ridge didn't last long.
 
This move for McIlroy is expected to give the two-time major champion more control over his career and commitments. 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair
 
 
September 26, 2013 - 9:37am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jason Dufner
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PGA Champion Jason Dufner is undoubtedly one of the best to follow on Twitter.
For the third consecutive year, Sports Illustrated has released its list of, "Top-100 Sports Must Follows on Twitter."
 
Three golfers made the list: PGA Champion Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson and the LPGA's Christina Kim.
 
At PGA.com, we asked you a while back who your favorite golfers to follow on Twitter were -- you can check that piece out by clicking here.
 
Coincidentally, Dufner and Watson came in No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on our list so it was no surprise to see them make SI's list.
 
Here was the criteria for the SI list:
 
Which Twitter accounts are essential to your daily routine for finding news, information and entertainment from the sports world? That’s always the guiding question for our annual Twitter 100 list. For the third consecutive year, we polled Sports Illustrated and SI.com staffers to come up with a group of recommended follows. We received hundreds of worthy suggestions but whittled down the list to our Top 100, presented here in alphabetical order. Of course, we know this list is subjective and we want to hear your feedback on @SINOW. Who did we leave out? Where did we screw up? The list intentionally does not include any SI-related feeds, but we encourage you to follow SI’s staffers as well as our main feed.
 
Below are the reasons SI gave for why these three golfers are great follows.
 
Dufner (@JasonDufner):
 
The 2013 PGA Championship winner may be a stoic figure on the course, but off it, he’s extremely engaging (despite his demeanor in the photo that launched the Dufnering meme). When he tees it up on Twitter, Dufner comes across as an everyday guy sharing his opinions on football and current events.
 
Watson (@bubbawatson):
 
The 2012 Masters champion isn't the most prolific of athletes on Twitter, but that doesn’t diminish the pleasure of the Florida native’s sunny, laid-back and always irreverent feed. Sharing a look inside his life on the green and as a father, Watson also engages with his followers through his #BubbaTalk hashtag.
 
 
With candor, style, irrepressible charisma and honesty, Kim lets you in on the life of a professional golfer. She tweets from everywhere – and tweets often – about her life, her game, her losing luggage and whatever else is on her mind. She’s also well-connected to players on the PGA Tour, and it’s fun to follow her stream of consciousness (and instructional takes) during a PGA event. A must-follow for any golf fan.
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
September 25, 2013 - 10:09pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adams Golf New Idea Hybrid Irons
Courtesy of Adams Golf
Adams Golf's New Idea Hybrid Irons are designed to help mid- to high-handicap players by cutting slots around more of the clubheads to help increase face flex, even on mis-hit shots.

While researching golfers' swings, Adams Golf discovered that players with handicaps of 15 or higher make the majority of contact nearly not in the sweet spot of their clubfaces but rather about a half-inch toward the toe. To help these mid- to high-handicap players, the company has created its New Idea set of hybrid irons, which are designed to improve the clubface's performance in the area where those players need it most.

Specifically, the heads of these new clubs feature wraparound slots, which the company says helps to generate higher ball speeds and provide more forgiveness, especially on off-center shots.

"With a concentration on developing technology that golfers really need, we created these industry-first wraparound slots on the toe to compensate for a very common mis-hit,” said Justin Honea, Adams' senior director of research and development. “New Idea irons are definitely our easiest to hit, with measurable improvements in ball speeds and forgiveness where players require it most."

The new slot design creates a spring-like effect across the entire face, expanding the sweet spot. Compared to its popular Idea a12 OS Hybrid Irons, Adams says, the New Idea Hybrid Irons provide 44 percent more ball speed on off-center hits and 24 percent more ball speed on flush shots because of increased flex from their unsupported faces.

The standard set of New Idea clubs starts with 3-, 4- and 5-hybrids that feature Adams' Cut-Thru sole slots that run behind the face and are visible on the crown and sole. The refined design of this slot helps to generates increased fast speeds, higher launches and additional distance, most notably on off-center shots.

The hybrids also feature Adams' patented ''upside-down'' shape that puts more surface area lower on the face, where golfers generally make contact with the ball. This creates a lower center of gravity that helps the ball launch higher, while reducing spin, for better distance results.   

With the transitional hybrid irons (6- and 7-irons) in the set, these clubs bridge the gap between the hybrids and short irons. The 270-degree slots start in the heel area and run through the sole around the clubhead to the topline to help the face to flex for higher ball speeds and more forgiveness, no matter where the ball is struck.

''There's tremendous emphasis put into transitional hybrid irons, particularly with the addition of the toe slot, '' Honea added. ''The wraparound slots allow us to seamlessly replicate the hot faces of our industry-leading hybrids.''

Completing the set are three scoring irons (8-iron through pitching wedge) that provide the benefits of traditional cavityback irons, with the additional advantage of the wraparound slots.

The men's New Idea set includes a 460cc titanium driver designed for maximum forgiveness and distance; 3- and 5-woods featuring Cut-Thru slots; the New Idea Hybrid Irons; a Yes! mallet putter; and a black and white cart bag with blue trim and matching Idea headcovers.

The women's set is available in four distinct colors with technology and set configurations specific to female golfers. The 12-piece package contains a titanium 12.5-degree driver; three fairway woods (3, 5 and 7); New Idea Hybrid Irons (5-iron through sand wedge); and a Yes! putter.

The New Idea Hybrid Irons will be available at retail in mid-October with a suggested retail price of $799.99 per set with Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara Eagle Series 65-gram graphite shafts and $699.99 per set with True Temper Dynalite 85-gram steel shafts. The New Idea Hybrids be available at the same time with a suggested retail price of $169.99.

The New Idea complete sets for men will be available in early November. The New Idea complete sets for women will be available in early November in Almond color, while the Blackberry, Raspberry and Melon options will come out in early December. All the full sets will carry a suggested retail price of $999.99.

 

September 25, 2013 - 6:21pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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David Toms 265 Academy
Courtesy of the David Toms 265 Academy
The David Toms 265 Academy occupies 60 acres in the center of Shreveport.

David Toms has had a pretty good run lately. First, the 2001 PGA Championship winner salvaged a disappointing PGA Tour season with three strong showings in recent weeks to cement his fulltime status for the upcoming season. 

And now, he's opening his own golf academy in his hometown of Shreveport, La. Even better is that it looks like the blueprint of what a modern golf facility ought to be.

The David Toms 265 Academy covers 60 acres in the center of Shreveport, and Toms bills it as a golf practice facility and youth academy. Its mission, Toms says, is to provide a world-class training and practice facility to help golfers at every level and enhance the golf experience – and, he stresses, to ''enhance a child's character, self-esteem, and career possibilities through growing the game of golf in the lives of underprivileged children.''

Toms only got shovels in the ground last January but, amazingly, the facility already includes a nine-hole Par 3 course, an 18-acre driving range, eight putting and chipping greens, and three regulation holes (par 3, 4, & 5). Within a year or so, it also will have a full-service clubhouse, three indoor hitting bays, video equipment and teaching technology, fitness center, indoor putting studio, professional clubfitting, and the Humana Youth Achievement Center. 

Humana is one of Toms' partners in the facility, along with John Deere and donors to the David Toms Foundation – which, by the way, has donated more than $3.6 million to children's charities. There is also a full teaching staff led by PGA Professional Shaun Webb, who's coming over from Orange County National in Orlando.

''Like any new golf course, it won't be perfect on Day 1, but I feel like we built a product that everyone can enjoy,'' Toms said. ''We are starting with a soft opening for our members only, but we will begin with First Tee and other youth programs very soon.''

The Par 3 Course was created to help golfers work on their short games. ''The holes are intended to mimic approach shots to par 4s or a third shot into a par 5. Each hole has a shot value that we wanted to give our members to work on,' Tom said on his website. ''For example, we have a green with water on the left, one with water on the right, we have a narrow green that is deep and we have a wide green that is shallow. 

''Every curve, hill, tree and bunker is in place for a very precise reason,'' he explained. ''This area will give our members a unique 'course' to work on their short game while also trying to post a score. Golfers can practice a variety of shots from 120 yards and in and have a lot of fun doing it.''

In the practice area, Toms created more than 2.3 acres of tee space alone. ''First and foremost, I wanted to make sure we had ample teeing area so that we always have pristine turf to hit from,'' he said. ''Our main tee box is bigger than a football field, and we have more than one tee box, so I feel like we will always have plenty of great grass to play from. The target greens have zoysia grass which offers a color contrast from the surrounding Bermuda grass. In addition we are cutting the grass in a certain way to have fairway corridors to promote accuracy.''

Tom has spent several years working on the facility's plan, and that included some serious pondering over its name. He wound up with a number: 265.

So why 265? Well, 265 was Toms' winning score at the 2001 PGA Championship – and it remains the lowest aggregate total in major golf championship history. Coincidentally, 265 was also his winning score for his first PGA Tour win (the 1997 John Deere Classic) and his most recent win (the 2011 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial).

Click here for more information on the David Toms 265 Academy, and click here for more on the David Toms Foundation.

 

September 24, 2013 - 7:59pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway Golf Apex irons
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The Callaway Apex irons are the first forged irons that provide the soft, responsive feel for which forged clubs are known, as well as extra distance, Callaway says.

Golfers of a certain age no doubt remember – or even owned – Hogan Apex irons, which debuted back in the early 1970s. Over three decades or so, the Ben Hogan Co. rolled out more than a dozen iteration of Apex irons, whose classic forged blades were, at their finest, among the best better-player irons on the market.

Callaway Golf bought Hogan about a decade ago, sold the apparel side of the business to Perry Ellis last year, and now is resurrecting the Apex name for its latest set of irons, which will debut at retail in December. Both the original Hogan Apex models and the Callaway versions are forged from carbon steel, but that's about where the similarities end.

Callaway calls the Apex irons a ''longer, more attractive cousin to the Diablo Forged iron,'' which Callaway says originated the category of high-performance forged cavityback irons. They won't replace any current irons in the Callaway line-up, and are designed to appeal to a broad range of golfers seeking the best of forged players' irons and cast game-improvement sticks. 

The new Apex clubs are the first forged irons that provide the soft, responsive feel for which forged clubs are known, as well as extra distance, Callaway says. A big reason for this, they explain, is that the new clubs contain a thin, 455 Carpenter high-strength steel face insert that is the same material Callaway uses in the forged cup faces of its X Hot fairway woods to help the ball jump off the face.

The lightweight face insert also means that Callaway could reposition weight low in the head. Using a tungsten insert in the sole to lower the center of gravity helps increase launch angles in the low irons (3-5 irons) and improve forgiveness. This composition, Callaway says, creates a clubhead with the performance properties normally found in game-improvement irons, and helps golfers launch the ball at appropriate angles and spin rates throughout the set.

The heads are slightly larger than the X Forged irons, and the faces feature wide-spaced (30-degree) grooves. These are the first Callaway irons to use these grooves, Callaway says, adding that they provide increased spin out of the rough for average golfers. In addition, the heads boast a satin chrome finish that's consistent with the look of Callaway's muscleback irons. 

The Apex irons will come with two shaft options. The True Temper XP95 steel shaft will help deliver high launch angles with a controlled ball flight, while the UST Recoil is a lightweight graphite shaft with higher flex points for better feel and workability. The company hasn't yet released a suggested retail price.

 

September 23, 2013 - 11:03pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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President Obama
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President Obama is a frequent golfers, and former President Bush says, "I think he ought to play golf."

President Obama has played more than 140 rounds of golf since moving into the White House. And while some people have voiced their objections, one very prominent person who can relate to the pressures a president faces says all those golf outings are quite alright with him.

In an excerpt from "In Play with Jimmy Roberts," which debuts Tuesday on the Golf Channel, President George W. Bush says that playing golf is a good outlet for the men who hold the nation's highest office.

"You know, I see our president criticized for playing golf. I don't – I think he ought to play golf," Bush says in the interview. "Because I know what it's like to be in the bubble. And I know the pressures of the job. And to be able to get outside and play golf with some of your pals is important for the president. It does give you an outlet." 

Bush was an avid golfer for years, but quit playing in the fall of 2003, saying it was inappropriate for the commander in chief to be seen on the course while Americans were fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has resumed playing in retirement, and has participated in the last several Patriot Golf Day events near his new home in Dallas.

Fifteen of the last 18 presidents have played golf, and two are in the World Golf Hall of Fame – Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bush's father, George H.W. Bush. Eisenhower was a member at Augusta National.

When Roberts suggested that golf is a good release, Bush agreed. 

"I think it is," he said. "And I think it's good for the president to be out playing golf." 

You can see a clip from the interview with President Bush here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.