Golf Buzz

October 10, 2013 - 11:50am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Erik Compton
Getty Images
Erik Compton has been named the inaugural recipient of the PGA Tour Courage Award.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced Wednesday at the season-opening Frys.com Open that Erik Compton is the inaugural recipient of the PGA Tour Courage Award.

Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, is beginning his third season on the PGA Tour at CordeValle this week.

The PGA Tour Courage Award is presented "to a player who, through courage and perseverance, has overcome extraordinary adversity, such as personal tragedy or debilitating injury or illness, to make a significant and meaningful contribution to the game of golf."

Follow Compton and all your favorites at the Frys.com Open with the PGA.com leaderboard

Clearly, Compton was a logical choice.

The Courage Award includes a $25,000 charitable contribution to be distributed to a charity of the award recipient’s choice; this year’s contribution will be shared by the Cardiovascular Institute of Miami and the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation at Compton’s request.

“Erik’s story is a remarkable one in the fact he has overcome extraordinary odds to not only survive, but thrive,” said Finchem. “In recent years, he has started a family with wife Barbara and daughter Petra, won a Web.com Tour event and played two years on the PGA Tour. With Erik’s show of perseverance and courage, along with his charitable work to encourage organ donation, he is a very fitting recipient of the inaugural PGA TOUR Courage Award.”

RELATED: Erik Compton, on third heart, showing lots of heart in FedExCup Playoffs

“Through the help of family, doctors and friends, I have gone from being someone lying on his back in recovery to someone walking the fairways of the PGA Tour,” said Compton. “Not only has playing on TOUR been a dream of mine, but it has also served greatly in the healing process. It has given me something to work toward, but also something to hope for. I’m incredibly grateful for this award and blessed to have the opportunity to be playing on the PGA Tour.”

Compton's best career finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for fourth at the 2013 Honda Classic. Compton won the 2011 Mexico Open Presented by Banamex on the Web.com Tour.

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

October 10, 2013 - 11:06am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Mizuno
Mizuno Golf
The new Mizuno MP-54 irons.

I recently had the chance to take a sparkly, brand new set of Mizuno's MP-54 irons out to the driving range for a test spin.

This beautifully crafted Grain Flow Forged set features a Tour-player like look at address -- a thin top line -- but with its "STEP-Muscle" design and small cavity-back, this blade-style iron provides the type of forgiveness you'd expect from a game-improvement iron.

"This iron tasked our R&D team to improve upon an already winning formula from our previous model -- the MP-53," said David Llewellyn, Manager, Golf Club R&D. "We took a deep look into the intricacies of the club design, the physics of the golfer’s motion and the desired performance on the range. The result is an inspiring iron with sleek design that is still MP, still traditional, yet aggressive.”

WATCH: Mizuno's JPX Invitational with Dr. Gary Wiren

Traditional and aggressive is a perfect description of this iron.

Check out this video, where the folks at Mizuno describe the new MP-54 along with PGA Tour star Charles Howell III:

 

 

The 3 through 7-iron feature the Milled STEP Muscle design at the center of the MP-54. In simple terms, the position of the weighting increases stability on off-center hits allowing for more forgiveness.

The slightly thicker sole of the MP-54 is made from mild carbon steel and with rounded out Harmonic Impact Technology, a vibration management technology, the club gets through the ball and the turf with ease, playing more like a blade sole.

RELATED: Mizuno invites average Joe to 'Play Famously'

"Over the past several years Mizuno’s MP iron category has expanded to a point where consumers expect a 'player' iron look and feel with the forgiveness of today's technologically advanced equipment," said Chuck Couch, VP of Product Management, Golf Division. "Golfers will quickly start to embrace the MP-54 philosophy after experiencing what this iron can do."

Personally, I'm a big fan of the sound that the ball makes as it comes off the clubface. The sound from the MP-54 is as good as any I've heard. It's crisp, solid and even the off-center hits sound flush. At the same time, the feel coming off the club is soft, which provides excellent feedback.

The MP-54 became available at retail in September. They cost $999 for a set of eight clubs. The beauty of Mizuno is that all clubs are available on a custom-order basis. If you have a personal preference when it comes to shaft or grips, Mizuno can create the set you desire.

THE VERDICT: While lower handicap players will love the MP-54 irons thanks to the incredible feel they've come to expect from Mizuno, this is also the perfect club for those avid golfers who are thinking about -- but my have been afraid -- to take the step up from a deep cavity iron to the blade category. In the MP-54 irons, you get the Tour-look without sacrificing the forgiveness. It's the best of both worlds.

To learn more about the MP-54 and all of Mizuno Golf's offerings, visit www.mizunousa.com/golf.

You can also find more about Mizuno on PGA.com, Facebook, or on Twitter, @Golf_Mizuno.

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

October 10, 2013 - 9:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Lydia Ko
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As an amateur, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has already won four professional events. All indications are that Ko is ready to turn professional.

Lydia Ko, the teen star from New Zealand and No. 1-ranked woman amateur in the world (she's also No. 5 in the world among all female golfers), is ready to make the jump to professional golf.

The 16-year-old, who turns 17 next April, has decided that her next start in a professional event will be as a professional, according to a report by GolfChannel.com's Randall Mell.

PGA Professional's amazing hole in one feat during round

Mell wrote that Ko's mother, Tina Hyon, told GolfChannel.com Wednesday that Lydia will make the trip to Naples, Fla., for the LPGA's season-ending CME Group Titleholders next month and is also considering a possible spot in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico the week before.

“If she plays any pro events now, she will play as a pro,” Hyon wrote GolfChannel.com in an email.

Here's a fun video from New Zealand Golf showing Ko as an 8-year-old on the golf course and tracking her rise to fame:

 

 

Ko is already well-versed in the professional game with four professional wins as an amateur, including a successful defense of her CN Canadian Women's Open in August on the LPGA Tour. When Ko won the event in 2012 at age 15, she became the LPGA's youngest winner.

The LPGA requires its members be at least 18 years old, but Ko's mother told Golf Channel that the family has officially filed a petition seeking a waiver to the rule.

Mell writes: "As a non-member winner of a tour event, Ko is entitled to claim tour membership. She could seek to claim immediate membership for the rest of 2013 and through 2014. Or, she could defer membership to next year. However, Ko can’t do either without first obtaining a waiver of the tour’s age restriction. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan holds the power to grant or deny such petitions."

Lexi Thompson won the Navistar Classic in September of 2011 at age 16. She petitioned a for a waiver of the Tour's age restriction -- deferring to the 2012 season -- and was granted the waiver shortly thereafter.

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

 

October 9, 2013 - 6:16pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Craig Thomas
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
If Craig Thomas' practice round at the Southworth Senior PNC on Wednesday is any indication, he's a red-hot favorite this week.

How do you warm up for a tournament? Well, if you're PGA Professional Craig Thomas, you don't just make an ace in your practice round. You make two aces. 

Not only that, you make both of those holes-in-one in the span of three holes.

Had a hole in one? Register your hole in one at the official PGA.com hole in one database

Thomas, the PGA head professional at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains, N.Y., aced both the 15th and 17th holes at Creighton Farms in Aldie, Va., on Wednesday during his final warm-up for this week’s Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship. Thomas, who turned 50 in August, is making his debut in this event, the biggest for PGA club professionals age 50 or older.

SOUTHWORTH SENIOR PNC: Follow all the action along with us

Thomas used a 7-iron on the 169-yard, par-3 15th at Creighton Farms, and holed out a 5-iron on the 205-yard, par-3 17th hole. Unfortunately for him, he didn't see either go in. 

''My eyes are going, so I tell my playing partners that I haven’t seen a ball even land in a year,'' Thomas told Randy Stutzman of The PGA of America. ''Brett Upper told me the ball bounced once and went in on 15. And on 17, Mark Mielke said that 17 is an easy par 3. He said, 'You hit it left and the ball will go down to the hole, or hit it right, and it works about the same way.' 

''Mark said that I hit it 15 feet short and left and the ball trickled toward the hole. I thought there's no way this could happen again. But it did.''

The practice round itself is kind of unique - score isn't kept and pros will sometimes putt multiple times on the green, but Stutzman said both aces were legit. One ball on each. 

There are several sources that cite odds, but for a Tour caliber player, the odds range at about 3,000 to 1 for a hole in one. Two aces in a round and the odds go to 1 in 67 million.And if you think making two aces in one round is amazing, check this out.

Before Wednesday, the most recent of Thomas' nine career holes-in-one came on the 17th hole at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis. – during a practice round for the 2004 PGA Championship.

 

 

 

October 9, 2013 - 3:19pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Muirfield Village
www.Dispatch.com
This golf ball sculpture was stolen from just outside the gates of Muirfield Village on Monday.

Thieves have until Sunday to return an oversized golf ball and tee to the folks at Muirfield Village -- site of the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament and last week's Presidents Cup -- or else.

Columbus Dispatch writer Randy Ludlow reports that Dublin police announced an amnesty offer Tuesday after the giant golf ball, decorated with the Memorial Tournament logo, disappeared on Monday.

Ludlow writes, "The stand, tee and ball are about 5 1/2 feet tall and weigh more than 200 pounds. The ball is 3 feet wide. Suffice it to say, no one stuffed it into his or her pocket."

RELATED: Man, dressed as dog, wins new car after hole in one

Dublin police say no questions will be asked, and no charges filed, if the $2,500 sculpture is returned, undamaged, before midnight Saturday. After that time, those responsible will face felony charges.

Ludlow's report also states that 18 of these golf-ball sculptures, "sold for $1,500 each to sponsors who then paid artists to decorate them for the '18 Drives Through Dublin' public art exhibit that began before the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

"The giant golf balls are scheduled to remain on display throughout Dublin until June 2014, after next year’s Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village is completed."

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

October 9, 2013 - 2:10pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
James Driscoll
Getty Images
Throughout the new season, James Driscoll will be wearing clothes from a number of different designers.

PGA Tour golfer James Driscoll will be making a fashion statement on the fairways this season after signing a deal with TRENDYGOLF USA -- America's leading online retailer of designer golf-lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories.

In most cases, touring pros either endorse a clothing company or their clothing is also a part of their respective equipment deals. For example, Nike equipment-sponsored players also wear Nike clothing and footwear.

That won't be the case for Driscoll, who will routinely be wearing different names.

RELATED: Five players to watch in this week's FRYS.com Open

As part of this relationship, the 36-year-old Boston native will carry a custom-made TRENDYGOLF staff bag in competition. Included in the program will be a diverse range of pieces from Aquascutum, Armani, Chervo, Colmar, Dunning, Elevee, Gabicci, Galvin Green, Golfino, Hugo Boss, J.Lindeberg and others.

“This relationship with James is a major step forward in how we communicate our belief that the way you dress definitely affects your game,” says Adrienne Cass, Managing Director of TRENDYGOLF USA. “He’s a fantastic player, has a very athletic build and will embody how trends should be worn by choosing outfits that properly fit his body type and the climate conditions.”

Driscoll will work with TRENDYGOLF on a weekly basis to choose outfits that best suit his look, mood and location. Aside from the arrangement being unique -- Driscoll wearing a different name regularly -- the deal is also unique because his looks will always be available for immediate purchase to fans on TrendyGolf.com.

“Getting to mix and match all the brands from day to day over the course of the season is going to be a really cool opportunity,” says Driscoll. “Essentially, TRENDYGOLF will be my personal stylist and help to make certain I have the same sense of confidence inside the ropes that I get off the course when I wear clothes that look great and fit well.”

To learn more about TRENDYGOLF USA, visit www.trendygolf.com. You can also like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, @TRENDYGOLF.

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