Golf Buzz

January 27, 2014 - 7:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Smart Body Golf
Courtesy of Smart Body Golf
The equipment in Smart Body Golf's Performance Pack helps golfers increase rotational power, flexibility, balance and stability.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the third one:
I get older and stiffer every year – heck, every day – so I'm more interested in the fitness aspect of golf than ever, especially in the winter. There were tons of fitness-related products at the PGA Show, but I was intrigued by the Performance Pack from Smart Body Golf.
Smart Body Golf is committed to ''innovation in golf performance and instruction to help golfers of all ages and levels live well and play better,'' says company spokesman Randy Myers, the director of fitness at Sea Island. Specifically, its gear is designed to help golfers improve their core, stability and overall strength.
The Performance Pack includes four pieces of equipment:
--the Swing Ball Pro is a six-pound medicine ball-like orb outfitted with handles to use in building core strength and rotational strength. The slots and handles allow golfers to hold the ball lightly and swing it without tension, while the alternating grips can help promote either draw or fade motions. The ball's two colors represent both sides of your body, the company says, to help balance the force generated from the left and right sides through the swing.
--the Inside 80 is a vest that promotes resistance training and helps improve stretching, synchronization and distance control. It is made with elastic tubing to allow arm extension while adding resistance to engage the core, and it synchronizes the upper body and core for better swing control. Its cross-handle system allows one handle to pull on the opposite shoulder to create maximum shoulder turn for increased torque.
--the Leverage Discs are big air-filled doughnuts designed to improve stability, leverage and rotational movements. You stand on them, and the hole in their middle helps to optimize the swing sequence and stability as well as develop the toe- and heel-based movements unique to the golf swing. The discs can help prevent swaying and improve weight transfer while enhancing stability.
--the Smart Toner is a resistance tube designed to help develop consistent, explosive movement. It comes with a foam door anchor and is available in three different resistance levels. The tube itself is covered by a sleeve to protect both it and its users, and the company says it will last far longer than traditional tubing.
As you can see in the photos above, you use this equipment to help increase your rotational power, your flexibility, your balance and stability, and your overall body awareness throughout your swing. Exercising with this equipment also can help improve your overall fitness level and help prevent injury.
You can use these pieces individually or use some of them in combination with each other – like the standing on the Leverage discs while swinging the Swing Ball Pro or using the Smart Toner. 
The individual pieces can be purchased separately, but the best deal is to buy everything in the Performance Pack at once. The Pack retails for $199.95 and is available at
January 27, 2014 - 5:37pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson
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Pihl Mickelson is hoping to defend his Phoenix Open crown this week after getting treatment from a back specialist.
Phil Mickelson didn't sit around the house after dropping out of the Farmers Insurance Open late Friday. Instead, he flew to Georgia to visit a back specialist and is hoping to defend his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week.
Mickelson said some of his facet joints had locked up and that specialist Tom Boers restored his mobility, according to the Associated Press. He plans to fly to Phoenix on Wednesday with hopes of playing, but noted that he still has some inflammation that will take a week or two to subside.
Normally, Mickelson said, he'd sit out this week, but as an Arizona State alum he considers Scottsdale a second home and wants to play. He will have a light practice session, he said, and will consider playing if everything feels good.
Mickelson made the cut at Torrey Pines last Friday, but withdrew before the third round because he feared that the muscle pain in his back might encourage him to get into bad habits by altering his swing. After Phoenix, he is scheduled to play the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am next week, but isn't planning to play the Northern Trust Open at Riviera or the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship because his children have spring break at two schools.
If he were to miss these two weeks, that would mean he would have played only 36 holes on the West Coast Swing, where he has won 19 of his 42 events on the PGA Tour. 
''I have the entire year. I've got majors coming up. I've got other tournaments coming up and I don't want to get in bad habits,'' Mickelson said last Friday. ''My game is pretty sharp getting ready to start the year and I could tell I'm making terrible swings out there relative to the way I've been swinging.''
The Associated Press contrbuted to this report.
January 27, 2014 - 3:48pm
Posted by:
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Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter on Instagram
Ian Poulter in a much more clean-cut and dressed mode.

This isn't much of a story - I have no details on the the Why, the When, even the Where. But I do know the basic Who and the What. And it's compelling - I guess. In a way.

So Ian Poulter, who is no stranger to causing a stir with his Twitter account, is apparently (was?) shaving and decided to show a before and after - at the same time. Did I mention it wasn't his face - but his chest?  Was it for laughs? Was it for boredom? Was it to promote his Instagram account? Only the fiery Englishman knows.

Regardless, in all of its glory, I submit Poulter's selfie for your viewing entertainment.

You can follow Ian Poulter on Twitter at @ianjamespoulter or on Instagram at ianjamespoulter

January 27, 2014 - 11:46am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Scott Stallings
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With his win in the Farmers Insurance Open, Scott Stallings moved from No. 104 to No. 11 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

Surprisingly, despite all the stars that teed it up last week in the Farmers Insurance Open, there was no movement in the top 10 of the latest U.S. Ryder Cup points standings.

Notably, Tiger Woods -- making his first start of the 2014 season -- tied for 80th and dropped two spots from No. 23 to No. 25. Woods did not play on Sunday, missing the secondary, 54-hole cut after a 7-over 79 in the third round. It was the first time in his career that Woods had an "MDF" -- made cut, did not finish.

2014 RYDER CUP: U.S. points standings | How U.S. Points are earned | Team USA | Team Europe

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, withdrew from the tournament on Saturday morning before the third round, citing a back pain. Even so, he remained No. 2 in this week's standings.

Here's a look at the current top 12 (remember, the top 9 after the PGA Championship in August automatically qualify, while U.S. Captain Tom Watson fills out the team with three captain's picks)

1. Jimmy Walker
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Jason Dufner
4. Zach Johnson
5. Dustin Johnson
6. Harris English
7. Webb Simpson
8. Chris Kirk
9. Ryan Moore

10. Brian Stuard
11. Scott Stallings
12. Patrick Reed

While there was no movement in the current top 10, Farmers Insurance Open champion Scott Stallings made a massive move up the points list, rocketing from No. 104 to start the week, to No. 11 after winning Sunday.

The only other mover of significance in this week's top 20 was Charley Hoffman. He jumped nine spots from No. 29 to No. 20 thanks to a tie for seventh.

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


January 27, 2014 - 9:53am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
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For the first time in his career Saturday, Tiger Woods finished with an MDF -- missed cut, did not finish.

If you were confused as to why Tiger Woods played in the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Saturday, but not in Sunday's final round, here's why:

For the first time in his career, Woods was a victim of the PGA Tour's "MDF" or "made cut, did not finish" rule.

In 2008, the PGA Tour instituted a rule known as, "Rule 78." Basically, the top 70 players and ties made the 36-hole cut. That is until the rule change in 2008, where the top 70 and ties made the cut unless that number was higher than 78 players (to this day, that only includes regular PGA Tour events and does not include majors, World Golf Championships or other short-field events).

If the number of players making the 36-hole cut was higher than 78, then the cut was made with the next bunch of players closest to 70. The players who were among the top-70 ties were then sent packing for the weekend with the designation "MDF."

Players were unhappy with the new rule and -- one month after it was put in place in 2008 -- the Tour made a change so that rather than a 36-hole cut when more than 78 players were tied among the top 70, there would instead be a 54-hole cut with the same rule: top 70 and ties, unless there are more than 78 players.

When Woods shot a shocking 7-over 79 on Saturday at Torrey Pines, where he's won eight times as a professional and was the defending champion, he was tied for 80th -- one spot out of last place of the players who advanced after 36 holes.

As a result, Woods, along with eight others, missed the 54-hole "secondary cut," for the first time in his career. The 79 matched Woods's third-highest score in his career on the PGA Tour. His highest round was an 81 at the 2002 Open Championship at Muirfield in a brutal third round.

Woods also shot a 79 at the Memorial last year.

Players who "MDF" still receive official money and FedExCup points. Woods, despite missing out on the final round, banked $10,919.00 and one FedExCup point. Woods is 1,232 points behind leader Jimmy Walker.

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


January 26, 2014 - 6:12pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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The Game camera from iON America
Courtesy of iON America
The compact Game camera from iON can be used to easily record, play back and upload golf swings.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the second one:
By now, we're probably all familiar with the kind of wearable POV (point-of-view) cameras popularized by companies like GoPro. At Demo Day before the PGA Merchandise Show, I ran across what seems like a perfect match for golfers – The Game camera, by a company called iON America.
iON already has a big presence in action sports like BMX, surfing and snowboarding, thanks to its Air Pro, a small, cylindrical camera that easily mounts on a helmet or bike handlebars or even goggles. By contrast, The Game is a small rectangle that golfers set on the ground in front or behind them or off to the side (though it also can be mounted to various things). It captures video in 1080p HD, can take still photos and has time-lapse and slow-motion options.
Built into it is a 2.4-inch LCD color screen, so you can film your swing and instantly play it back. And via its built-in Shoot/Share Wi-Fi capability, The Game camera easily transmits to iON's iOS and Android apps to allow golfers to upload their swings to their phones or other devices.
Golfers also can take advantage of iON's recent purchase of PowerChalk, which specializes in web-based analysis software for motion sports such as golf, tennis and baseball. iON now bundles The Game camera with its PowerChalk online service, creating what the company says is the industry's first camera-software solution that includes a coaching marketplace (they say they're looking to grow their roster of golf instructors). 
In golf, a player would shoot his swing from various angles and upload it to the service, where an instructor could analyze it and provide feedback by voiceover or actually annotating the video – what iON calls its "chalk talk." The PowerChalk service already has a large user base of amateur coaches and players, and also hosts private video analysis servers for professional baseball teams and sports organizations.
The Game camera carries a suggested retail price of $299.99 and is available at select retailers like Best Buy and at .