Golf Buzz

July 16, 2013 - 8:19pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Odyssey White Damascus #1 putter
Ian Poulter via Twitter
Ian Poulter has chosen an Odyssey White Damascus #1 putter, which features an unusual face insert.

The great Ian Poulter putter audition is over – and the winner is an Odyssey White Damascus #1 blade.

''My putter is selected for the week,'' Poulter said on Twitter Tuesday from Scotland, where he is playing the British Open. ''It is an Odyssey White Damascus. Rolling it very nice. Testing over for now.''

Never heard of it? That's because it's not available in the United States, or many other places, at least not yet. 

Odyssey is showing it off in Japan this summer, and it apparently will be available at retail in Japan this fall. It's an Anser-style blade with an unsual face insert containing an inner urethane layer and an outer layer of Damascus steel for soft yet solid feel upon impact. 

Damascus steel is popular in Asia, and is created by melting materials such as iron and charcoal with steel pieces to create a metal that is hard yet also flexible. It has been used for 1,000 years or so from India to the Middle East to Japan to create long-bladed weapons with rare strength and eye-catching design patterns. As you can see, the sole of Poulter's putter has a cool-looking white sword.

The White Damascus blade is listed on www.rakuten.co.jp, a big Japanese online retailer, which says the putter comes in 33-, 34- and 35-inch models with a silver PVD finish. The price before tax is listed at 17,800 yen, which works out to about $180.

Poulter, of course announced last week that he was retiring his Odyssey White Hot XG #7 putter, the one with which he putted so well at the 2012 Ryder Cup. He solicited new putters to try out via social media, and received quite a few. 

Poulter also used Twitter to announce some other changes to his bag this week. He's carrying a Cobra AMP Cell 2-hybrid that he says carries 240 yards, along with a 3-iron and 4-iron instead of higher-lofted hybrids. He's also got new 56- and 62-degree Titleist Vokey wedges ''for extra spin.'' These newbies join his incumbent Cobra ZL Encore driver and Amp Cell 3-wood.

''A lot of you are thinking I've changed too many clubs. Every club in the bag I have used before. Even putter shape I've used before,'' he tweeted, adding the hashtag #Relax.

 

Nike Hyperadapt Storm-FIT jacket
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The new Hyperadapt Storm-FIT Jacket from Nike Golf features an impenetrable outer layer for protection combined with the stretch capabilities of a sweater for increased range of motion.

With the world's best players convening at Muirfield this week, a lot of us have the British Open – and British Open weather – on our minds. 

That also includes Nike Golf, which is rolling out its new Hyperadapt Storm-FIT Jacket. This brand-new jacket features an impenetrable outer layer for protection, the company says, combined with the stretch capabilities of a sweater for increased range of motion.

Nike's designers worked closely with some of the company's staff players, including Paul Casey, who wore the jacket last month at the Irish Open, which he won during a week of sunshine, heavy downpours and winds gusting up to 35 mph. Casey and other Nike players are outfitted with the new jackets at Muirfield this week.

''Inspired by our athletes who demand the best in performance, our team set to work to create a jacket built to change the way golfers feel in unfavorable weather conditions,'' said Vice President of Global Golf Apparel Merritt Richardson. ''We are always working to minimize distractions. From reducing sound to enhancing stretch, the Hyperadapt Storm-FIT jacket is the ultimate in protection and performance.''

With no-sew technology throughout the garment's inner layer, designers minimized the potential for chafing. They also added a four-way stretch system to the shoulders and arms that maximizes mobility and eliminates restrictions during the swing. This woven, stretch knit laminate combination reduces noise during the swing and, the company says, provides a sweater-like feel for comfort and protection. 

''Often, athletes will add a size to their rain jackets because they don't want to feel restricted by the fabric,'' said Richardson. ''This leads to a distracting, oversized jacket that is not optimal for competitive play. The Hyperadapt jacket eliminates this issue by providing athletes the protection they need without sacrificing the performance benefits of a stretch pullover.''

Outiffted with adjustable cuffs, the new Hyperadapt jacket is breathable and, Nike says, seam-sealed for 100 percent waterproof protection.

It is available at retail now. Half Zip versions retail for $240, and come in Black, Cool Grey and Game Royal. The Full Zip models retail for $280 and come in Black, Cool Grey, Game Royal and Armory Slate.

 

 

July 16, 2013 - 9:21am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods, Muirfield, The Open
Getty Images
Tiger Woods showed up too early for a practice round at Muirfield on Monday and had to wait to tee off.
Tiger Woods has always been known as an early riser, who likes to take in extra early practice rounds.
 
At Muirfield on Monday, that extra early round wasn't an option... even for the world's No. 1 player.
 
Woods showed up to the 10th tee at Muirfield at 6:40 a.m. hoping to set out for a practice round. However, a security guard alerted Woods that he'd have to wait 20 minutes to tee off. There are signs at Muirfield that clearly let players know they can't tee off until 7 a.m. (so that fans can take in as much play as possible and the grounds crew has time to prepare the course).
 
In his press conference later in the day, Woods conceded it wasn't a big deal at all and he "totally understood" the rule.
 
"I like getting up early, especially when the sun comes up at 4 in the morning here," he said. "It's hard to sleep in. And I don't sleep much to begin with. It's light early. I've always liked coming out here. The golf course doesn't change much; from five in the morning to seven at night, nine at night, it's virtually the same."
 
"Peter was explaining that he's having the grounds crew cut it from No. 1 through 18 as a routine, to get them accustomed to that pattern for the championship. That's one of the reasons why he wants us to tee off at 7 on the first tee. I totally understand it."
 
Kudos to the security guard who had the nerve to tell Tiger he had to wait! Imagine being that guy?
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
July 15, 2013 - 11:43pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Hammacher-Schlemmer hovercraft golf cart
Hammacher-Schlemmer
The hovercraft golf cart is perfect for anyone in search of a head-turning way to levitate around the links.

Jammed in my usual stack of junk mail today was a catalog from gadgeteer extraordinaire Hammacher Schlemmer. And on the cover – a golf cart hovercraft.

Yes, a golf cart hovercraft like the one Bubba Watson zooms around in on YouTube, and the ones soon to be available for rent at Windy Knoll Golf Club in Ohio – one that you can buy for your own self.

''This is the golf cart that glides over sand traps and water hazards on a cushion of air as easily as it does over fairways and the rough,'' the Hammacher Schlemmer website says. ''Powered by a 65-hp twin-cylinder Hirth engine, its nine-blade axial-flow ducted fan propels the craft up to 45 mph and 9" off the ground without harming grass, allowing immediate crossing of a pond or stream to follow-up a cross-water shot. 

''The fan's streamlined design minimizes noise, speeds up an 18-hole outing, and conveys four passengers beneath a lift-up roof and two golf bags in an open rear compartment,'' it adds, though I'm not sure why they'd make one that could hold four people but only two bags.

Anyway, the site says the hovercraft's ''low-profile, aerodynamic design minimizes air drag to maximize stability in crosswinds while its innovative skirt system employs individually handmade segments to provide optimal anti-plow and -scoop performance. The craft's fiberglass composite and urethane foam composite hull meets United States Coast Guard standards for reliable hovering over water.''

The hovercraft weighs 600 pounds when sitting unloaded on the ground. And it retails for a mere $58,000 – pretty expensive for a golf cart, but a bargain for anyone in search of a head-turning way to levitate around the links, or anywhere else for that matter.

If you're interested, check it out here. But remember, I call shotgun.

 

July 15, 2013 - 12:34pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rickie Fowler
YouTube
This new ESPN commercial featuring Rickie Fowler is worth 30 seconds of your time.
OK, so by now everyone knows Rickie Fowler's favorite color is orange. 
 
Or is it? This great new, "This is Sportscenter," ESPN commercial, suggests that maybe Fowler isn't wearing all that orange in honor of his Oklahoma State University Cowboys after all. 
 
 
h/t Steve Elling, @EllingYelling on Twitter.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
July 15, 2013 - 1:35am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Will Wilcox
Getty Images
Will Wilcox became the fourth player in Web.com Tour history to card a 59 on Sunday, going 12 under on the par-71 Willow Creek Country club course in the final round of the Utah Championship.

Will Wilcox became the fourth player in Web.com Tour history to card a 59 on Sunday, going 12 under on the par-71 Willow Creek Country Club course in the final round of the Utah Championship. Unfortunately, he came up one shot short of making the playoff that Steven Alker won over Ashley Hall.

Wilcox began his final round tied for 38th place, 10 shots behind 54-hole leader Chad Collins. 

''It's huge, obviously,'' Wilcox said afterward. ''It's something every golfer dreams of, and on a par 71, it seems a little more attainable.'' 

Because the weather-delayed third round didn't end until Sunday morning, Wilcox began his final round on the 10th hole and birdied his first four holes.

''I teed off in front of a few people who had gathered on No. 10, and I noticed as my round progressed that the spectator size was growing a little,'' he told Web.com Tour Media Official Laury Livsey. ''I haven't really gotten much TV time out here, but even the cameras didn't bother me. I was hitting it fine, so the added attention wasn't a big deal.'' 

As he worked his way down the home stretch, Wilcox said, he missed what he called ''a really easy birdie putt'' on No. 7, his 16th hole. 

''It was probably no more than two-and-a-half, maybe three feet. I hit just a terrible putt. So if I was nervous during the round, it came at my 16th and 17th holes,'' he said. ''When I missed that short one on 16, I was nervous because I had three feet coming back for par. I also knew I needed to bury the putt on 17 to give myself a chance at 59 on my closing hole. But I made it, and that set me up for the finish.''

It what might have been an ominous preview, Wilcox had double bogeyed No. 9 (his final hole on Sunday), in the third round. But it proved to be no problem for him as he closed out his 59.

''For me, No. 9 at Willow Creek is a 7-iron off the tee and a pitching-wedge par 4. That's a pretty nice combination,'' he said. ''If you can't hit the fairway with a 7-iron, I don't know what to tell you. I hit the fairway, and then it was a front-left pin. So it was the perfect number for me with a wedge in my hand. I had perfect numbers all day. It was awesome.'' 

Wilcox described his final birdie putt as right-edge, six or seven feet, and said he wasn't really nervous.

''A few players came out to watch me on my last hole, including Jason Gore, who shot a 59 on this tour himself. I appreciated that,'' he said. ''There were a lot of hugs, and everything got really busy, even a little crazy. I had to do a Golf Channel interview, and I almost gave away the ball I made the putt with. The media official told me to put it in my pocket. He also gave my caddie, Tyler Olson, permission to keep his caddie bib as a memento.''

Speaking of the ball, Wilcox used a Srixon TourYellow ZStar XV, making it the first yellow ball to join the 59 club.

Here is the list of the sub-60 scores in official events on the world's top-level tours that Wilcox has joined:

58:
Ryo Ishikawa (-12), 2010 Japan Golf Tour, The Crowns in Aichi, Japan 

59:
Al Geiberger (-13), 1977 PGA Tour, Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in Memphis Tenn.
Chip Beck (-13), 1991 PGA Tour, Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.
David Duval (-13), 1999 PGA Tour, Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.
Paul Goydos (-12), 2010 PGA Tour, John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Stuart Appleby (-11), 2010 PGA Tour, Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphus Springs, W.Va.

Annika Sorenstam (-13), 2001 LPGA Tour, Standard Register Ping in Phoenix, Ariz.

Notah Begay III (-13), 1998 Nike Tour, Dominion Open in Richmond, Va.
Doug Dunakey (-11), 1998 Nike Tour, Miami Valley Open in Springboro, Ohio
Jason Gore (-12), 2005 Nike Tour, Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb.
Will Wilcox (-12), 2013 Web.com Tour, Utah Championship in Sandy, Utah

Masahiro Kuramoto (-12), 2003 Japan Golf Tour, Acom International in Ibaraki, Japan  

Adrien Mork (-12), 2006 European Challenge Tour, Tikita Hotels Agadir Moroccan Classic in Agadir, Morocco