Golf Buzz

February 6, 2013 - 7:11pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Paula Creamer
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Paula Creamer will head to Thailand for her first LPGA Tour start of the season after a dominating developmental-tour victory.

Pitchers and catchers are reporting to Major League Baseball camps, but Paula Creamer went through her own version of Spring Training this week.

With the beginning of her 2013 LPGA Tour season not scheduled for another couple of weeks, the Pink Panther decided to knock some of the rust off by playing in a Suncoast Ladies Series event this week. The 54-hole event kicked off on Monday, and this afternoon Creamer wrapped up an 11-stroke victory.

''The reason I played is I'm not going to Australia next week, and I wanted to get a scorecard in my hand and get a tournament under my belt before starting the LPGA season, '' Creamer told the Golf Channel. ''It was a good golf course,'' she said of host venue Orange Tree Golf Club in Orlando.

The 2013 LPGA Tour season begins next week at the the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. Creamer is planning to start her campaign the following week at the Honda LPGA Thailand event.

Creamer pocketed a check for $2,100 for her victory. She led by five after the second round, then closed with a 65 to establish her 11-shot victory margin.

Despite the beatdown, Creamer's presence was a positive for her young competitors, said Suncoast Ladies Series Director Scott Walker.

''It's nice to see a player of her stature in our event, '' he told the Golf Channel. ''It's good for the players who aren't as established to play with her and see how they compare.''

February 6, 2013 - 2:11am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Cleveland 588 Altitude iron
Courtesy of Cleveland Golf
The heads of Cleveland Golf's 588 Altitude irons contain internal weights that create a lower, deeper Center of Gravity to improve both forgiveness and a higher ball flight.

What are the 588 Altitude irons from Cleveland Golf built for? Their name gives that answer away.

Designed for mid- to high-handicap players and other golfers with slower swing speeds, these super game-improvement irons are a blended hybrid-iron set. Every club in the set is engineered to get the ball up into the air easily for both playability and performance.

The clubs feature what Cleveland calls Full Hollow Construction. In essence, the clubheads are hollow, with the exception of internal weights that create a lower, deeper Center of Gravity to improve both forgiveness and a higher ball flight.

Each club in the Altitude set has a forged face to enhance feel and ball speed, along with a bendable hosel. To fit different swing types, the hosels can be bent up to 3 degrees upright or 2 degrees flat and the loft can be bent 2 degrees weaker or stronger.

And finally, the 588 Altitude, 588 Mid Trajectory and 588 Tour Trajectory irons can be easily interchanged to customize a set with the preferred combination of ball flight, feel and forgiveness.

The standard Altitude set includes a 4-iron through ''D'' wedge (a D wedge is a 50-degree wedge that works both a pitching wedge and sand wedge), though a 3-iron and standard sand wedge are also available. They carry a suggested retail price of $699 for an eight-piece set with steel shafts and $799 for an eight-piece set with graphite shafts. There is also a women's set.

Categories: 588 Altitude
February 5, 2013 - 3:09pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson and his Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver
Callaway Golf / Getty Images
Phil Mickelson enjoyed a record-setting victory in his first week using a Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver.

Back in the good ol' days of NASCAR when the race cars actually looked like street cars, there was a saying: ''Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.'' That meant, of course, that fans would want to buy the cars that prevailed on the track.

There's no similar adage in golf, but the same principle applies. That's why you so often see golf equipment ads touting the success of products on tour.

Seldom, however, is the correlation between tour success and sales as immediate and direct as it was over the weekend.

Phil Mickelson put a new Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver in his bag last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, then went out and shot a 60. Afterward, he spoke glowingly – and specifically – about the new club.

''I finally gave our new RAZR Fit Xtreme a chance,'' Mickelson said after his round. ''And I tell you what, on Tuesday, when I hit it, I kept looking up and I was almost in disbelief at how easy it was, how straight it was, and the misses weren't bad. I put it into play in the pro-am yesterday and I hit it great.

''I drove it phenomenal, and felt really good with it,'' he added. ''And the thing that's so great about it is I can make the same swing with my irons as I do with my driver and the ball goes very straight and easy. … So that was the big thing. I drove the ball much better here.''

Mickelson went on to a wire-to-wire win, tying the Phoenix Open scoring record and barely missing the PGA Tour’s 72-hole scoring record. And because of his performance, and his vocal support of the driver, sales began to pick up – and up!

Over the weekend, Harry Arnett, the senior vice president for marketing at Callaway, sent out this tweet: ''At 2:30pm it was already the most drivers we've sold in one day on our Ecom site. #xtreme #phileffect.''

I asked Callaway for details and, while they wouldn't provide specific sales figures, they did confirm that the weekend – even with the distraction of the Super Bowl – was one to remember.

Callaway sold more drivers on its e-commerce site on Saturday than any previous day, the company said. That record lasted exactly one day, when 20 percent more drivers were sold on Sunday. Sunday also ranked as one Callaway’s top five days ever for web traffic, the company confirmed, and the weekend in total was Callaway's biggest for web traffic.

There are two obvious lessons here:

--For all the recent talk of bifurcation (different equipment rules for tour pros and amateur golfers) last week shows very vividly that everyday golfers still pay very close attention to the gear that the pros play – and that they want to play the same gear that their favorite players use.

--Phil can still move the 'ol needle.

Are you interested in buying the equipment mentoned in this post? Check out the Pro Shops -- a one-stop destination for new and used equipment sourced, inspected and sold by an elite group of PGA Professonals nationwide.

 

 

 

Categories: RAZR Fit Xtreme
February 5, 2013 - 11:35am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Dana Quigley, Craig Dolch
Jim Mandeville/The Nicklaus Companies
Longtime friends Dana Quigley and Craig Dolch talk during a pro-am to raise money for Quigley's son, Devon, who like Dolch's son, Eric, is battling a traumatic brain injury.

You're going to need a box of tissues for this one. Trust me.

Over the weekend at the Floridian Golf & Yacht Club in Palm City, Fla., the most incredible of pro-am tournaments was held for Devon Quigley, son of Champions Tour star Dana and cousin of PGA Tour player Brett.

Devon Quigley was in a horrific car accident Dec. 1, 2011. In that accident, Devon suffered a traumatic brain injury and still cannot talk or walk as a result. As one can imagine, the medical bills are overwhelming.

With that, the legends of the game -- and I do mean LEGENDS -- stepped up in a big way to help one of their own. Dana, who still plays golf every single day, wasn't even eligible for a pro-am set up to help his ailing son.

The criteria? You needed to be a major champion. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player were all there. So were Raymond Floyd, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Tom Kite, Hal Sutton, Lanny Wadkins, Mark Calcavecchia, Larry Nelson, Jeff Sluman, Steve Elkington and Steve Jones.

"Golfers by nature are a giving bunch," Nicklaus told Golfweek's Jim McCabe. "Devon has been fighting such a battle the last year, and the family celebrates every little victory they can. But Dana and his family have been through a lot. We just hope that what little we are able to do this weekend will help in some way."

Early estimates suggest the event raised close to $1 million.

One person who was there covering the event knows more than anyone what the Quigley family is going through.

Craig Dolch, one of the real good guys in the business, wrote a touching piece following the event on the unfortunate bond he shares with Dana Quigley.

"Our sons may have arrived at their current states by vastly different means -- my then-14-year-old boy Eric suffered an acquired-brain injury when he contracted encephalitis in 2005, and Devon was 27 when he suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a car accident 15 months ago -- but the results are the same," Dolch wrote.

When word was out about Dolch's son, he says Dana Quigley was the first person to call and offer any help he could. The two had become friends with Dolch chronicling Quigley's success on the Champions Tour and the two sharing the same church.

Dolch's piece is one you need to read.

If you'd like to read McCabe's story about the event and how it came together, click here.

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

February 5, 2013 - 11:13am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Dustin Johnson
Getty Images
Dustin Johnson -- already a winner in 2013 -- is understandably a favorite to win at Pebble Beach this week. He's been victorious in the tournament twice before and has finished outside the top 10 just once in five AT&T starts.

Ben Alberstadt, a featured columnist on BleacherReport.com, put together a fun list of predictions for this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Writes Alberstadt:

We go from one colorful event on tour to another. Even though the fans from Waste Management Phoenix Open are still nursing their hangovers, it's time to move on to Pebble Beach.

The pro-am format and the abundance of celebrities combine with the incredible beauty of three fantastic golf courses along the California coast to create one of the PGA Tour's unique events.

Here are 10 bold predictions as to what golf fans can expect at the tournament this week.

Unfortunately, an additional heat of caddy races isn't one of them...

Among Alberstadt's predictions:

- Phil Mickelson will win for the second consecutive week (after all, he is the defending champ at Pebble)

- Bill Murray will be... Bill Murray (you know the antics -- expect to see them again this year)

- Dustin Johnson will finish in the top 10 (he's only been outside the top-10 once in five AT&T starts)

To read all of Alberstadt's piece, click here.

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

February 4, 2013 - 2:57pm
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