Golf Buzz

September 11, 2013 - 12:44am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson's putter, Jason Dufner's box
Roger Cleveland via Twitter (left) and Jason Dufner via Twitter (right)
Phil Mickelson and Jason Dufner received small but significant souvenirs of their major wins.

The equipment companies that support many of golf's biggest winners often create keepsakes to celebrate their golfing glory. On Tuesday, we saw two of the latest creations.

On the left of the photo above is a gold Odyssey Versa putter commemorating Phil Mickelson's victory in the British Open. On the bottom, it says ''Phil Mickelson, 2013 Champion, The Open Championship.'' Callaway Golf club design guru Roger Cleveland tweeted out the photo, and I'm presuming that's his hand holding the magic wand.

On the right side is a box from Titleist marking Jason Dufner's victory in the PGA Championship. Up top is Dufner's signature in gold, and the box contains a golden Titleist #1 ball and more commemorations of Oak Hill. Jason Dufner tweeted out this photo on Tuesday as well, and Titleist added another shot that proved that Dufner didn't get his souvenir for free – no, the other shot showed him hard at work signing pin flags in the Titleist trailer at The BMW Championship!

Major champions get an awful lot for their victories – historic trophies (and sometimes green jackets), a ton of money, years' worth of exemptions, and more fame (and marketing opportunities) than they know what to do with. I bet, however, that these personal keepsakes, created and presented to them by people so intimately involved in their on-course success, mean as much to them as anything.

 

September 10, 2013 - 10:36am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bridgestone Golf
Bridgestone Golf
Bridgestone is now the official licensee of collegiate teams logo golf balls.
Last week, we asked PGA.com Facebook Nation to offer up some of the best locales across the country to take in golf and a college football game in the same day.
 
If you missed it, check it out here. There's certainly a lot of school pride whenever you're talking college athletics. With Bridgestone, you can now take your school pride a step further... to the golf course.
 
Here's the release from Bridgestone this morning announcing it is now the official licensee of collegiate teams logo golf balls:
                                                                           
COVINGTON, Ga. -- Just in time for football season, Bridgestone Golf, the #1 Ball Fitter in Golf, announced today that on September 10, it will kickoff a college team logo golf ball program.  Bridgestone has entered into an agreement with 19 major colleges and universities to produce officially licensed team logo golf balls.  Under the agreements, Bridgestone has been granted the right to manufacture and sell golf balls and golf ball packaging bearing the official team logos. Financial terms and length of the agreements are undisclosed at this time.
 
Bridgestone’s collegiate team logo offering will feature Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Louisiana State, Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, West Virginia and Washington. The team logos will be available on any model of Bridgestone Golf’s robust golf ball lineup through its Custom Logo department. Also, a Special Edition Custom Team Package of Bridgestone’s award-winning e6 ball will be available at retail locations around the U.S.
 
“College football brings out passion in people like few other things, so we’re excited to offer golfers the ability to show that team pride on the golf course this fall,” said Corey Consuegra, Golf Ball Marketing Manager - Bridgestone Golf, Inc. “With more than 190 million college sports fans across the country, we believe our college offering will be a great addition to Bridgestone’s already successful collection of industry-leading golf products.”
 
For information on Bridgestone Golf’s entire portfolio of award-winning golf balls, that will now be available with collegiate team logos, visit www.bridgestonegolf.com.    
 
September 9, 2013 - 11:57pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Nick Faldo and Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters
Getty Images
Greg Norman's loss to Nick Faldo in the 1996 Masters remains one of the most infamous moments in golf.

Greg Norman's loss to Nick Faldo in the 1996 Masters remains one of the most famous – or infamous – moments in the history of golf. Norman has spoken very little about that devastating defeat over the years, but recently offered up something of an explanation for his poor play that fateful Sunday to the Australian TV network ABC.

''The result was in my hands basically,'' he told the network for a two-episode program called ''Driving Greg Norman'' that aired as part of the biographical series ''Australian Story.'' The second part, which aired Monday night in Australia, deals with the Masters loss and other aspects of Norman's life.

''Again, there's more to it than people realise. Um, cos I did have bad back issues that morning and I tried to walk it off but I couldn't,'' Norman is quoted in a transcript on the ABC site. ''I told my coach; today's not going to be easy.''

And, of course, it wasn't. Norman, who had led after each of the first three rounds, struggled to a final-round 78 while Faldo carded a 67 to turn his six-shot deficit into a five-shot victory. The win was Faldo's third at Augusta National and sixth overall major, while Norman suffered a third heartbreaking loss in his quest for a green jacket.

"I disappeared down to the beach after the U.S. Masters and lay on the beach and cried, because I felt like I'd completely screwed up winning a tournament that I wanted to win," Norman told ABC. "That would be about the only time that I would have brought the emotion of a golf tournament back home."

Norman doesn't elaborate on his back issues in the program. After some comments from Australian golfer and golf writer Mike Clayton and 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, the program quotes Norman as saying that ''I really don’t go back and relive you know, good or bad, because the next step in life is your first step in life, so you just got to keep advancing forward.''

Click here to watch Part 1 of "Driving Greg Norman," which aired Sept. 2, and click here to watch Part 2.

 

 

September 9, 2013 - 10:37pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade SpeedBlade iron
Dustin Johnson via Twitter
TaylorMade staff player Dustin Johnson took to Twitter to show off the back of a SpeedBlade iron, which boasts a brushed silver finish with blue accents.

TaylorMade took a deep breath during the PGA Tour's off week, and kicked off BMW Championship Week on Monday night with an event to take the wraps off its latest creation – SpeedBlade irons.

The SpeedBlades continue the TaylorMade trend of cutting Speed Pockets into their clubheads, as found in such clubs as the RocketBladez irons and RocketBallz woods. The Speed Pocket is a deep slot that runs from heel to toe on the sole just behind the clubface that allows the face to flex and rebound faster. 

That, TaylorMade says, increases ball speed and elevates the launch angle to boost distance, and provides more control because shots land on a steep angle. In addition, TaylorMade lowered the SpeedBlade's center of gravity to further increase the launch angle and to put more power behind shots hit low on the clubface – which the company says happens almost three-quarters of the time.

The new irons will be available in October.

 

September 9, 2013 - 3:44pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Most people go to the golf course to relax. That will likely never be the case again for Long Island, N.Y., golfer Edward Lunger.
 
Lunger was recently on vacation in Cancun, Mexico, when he decided to take in a round at the Iberostar Cancun Golf Club. 
 
After hitting a bunker shot, Lunger was attacked by a crocodile.
 
 
The 50-year-old engineer took a couple of practice swings and then chipped out of the bunker. He heard leaves rustle.
 
“All of a sudden, his arm went back, and his head went back,” pal Mark Martin recalled. “I saw the crocodile leap up.”
 
The angry female chomped down on Lunger’s left arm up to his elbow, using its tail and claws to drag Lunger to the sand, the men said.
 
“She pulled me back and flipped me, and I went to the ground,” Lunger said.
 
The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Holtsville resident managed to brace himself by getting a knee on the ground.
 
“The crocodile was holding me down, and I pulled myself out,” he said. “I don’t remember even doing that.”
 
Lunger is suing the resort as a result of his ordeal.
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
 
September 9, 2013 - 2:10pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
18 GREENS Apparel
18 GREENS
The 18 GREENS collections consists of fresh golf-inspired designs, sporty fits and functional fabrics that can be worn on and off the course.
Doug Timmons is a PGA Professional from southern California. 
 
Well, that's his day job anyway. When Timmons isn't on the practice tee, he's busily working on his apparel company, 18 GREENS. The vision of 18 GREENS, according to Timmons, is this: "A mission to take fashion to the fairways at an affordable price."
 
So far, the company is doing just that with clothing that certainly blends a SoCal look with a fairways feel -- and not a single item is over $75. The stylish men's polos, pants and shorts offered by 18 GREENS work just as well on the golf course as they do at a casual dinner afterward.
 
We recently had a chance to sit down with Timmons for a little Q&A about his double life, which as you'll see, is 100 percent golf. 
 
PGA.com: Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get into golf? At what age did you fall in love with the game?
 
Timmons: I got into golf at age 15. My grandpa always wanted me to play. So, I broke my leg playing baseball and wanted to play a sport for my school team so I tried out for the team with a cast on my leg. I picked up the game fairly easy at the beginning and then I fell in love with it and was hooked. 
 
I didn't realize it then, but it was awesome to be able to spend so much time with my grandpa and his buddies on the course. They played every 9 for coffee and I would get a Dr. Pepper. Soon I was drinking Dr. Peppers on the boys. 
 
PGA.com: One aspect of your story that I love is the fact that you're a PGA Professional. Chances are, you've spent a lot of time in pro shops and around golf clothing. Is that where your idea for 18 GREENS was born? Was it something you wanted in your golf clothes that you just couldn't find?
 
Timmons: I love the game and love to help the game grow. I love to get kids and adults excited about golf. It's such an amazing game. Getting a club in a kids hands for the first time and watching them make contact is pretty cool. 
 
The concept for what eventually became 18 GREENS was born in 1996, when I noticed there needed to be a huge shift in the market or golf was going to get stale. So making a crossover brand that related to a different demographic is where I started. I love design, business, fashion, people and golf. I really don't require a lot of sleep, so it's pedal to the metal at all times!
 
PGA.com: You've got a great concept with 18 Greens. The clothes are fantastic -- all of them. But your "Casual Water" pants and shorts are unique. Can you talk a little about the Casual Water line and what separates them from other golf pants/shorts on the market today?
 
Timmons: I actually developed the fabric. It took awhile to get it right but I think I nailed it. I have some friends that rep in the action-sports world. I took a board short, added two another materials and then heathered the fabric to make it look a little more formal. I wanted the casual to blend with formal so I named it "Casual Water Technology." You can wear the shorts from the beach to the first tee. The pants you can wear from the boardroom to the first tee. 
 
I'm really happy with the way they turned out and they're extremely comfortable to travel in.
 
PGA.com: Professional golfers -- for the most part -- have to wear pants to play even when temperatures approach or are in the triple digits. For many years, that meant wearing uncomfortable polyesters or cottons that may as well have been like wearing a snowsuit. Clearly fabric technology has evolved. With the 18 GREENS materials, the pants are truly like wearing shorts. Was that your goal?
 
Timmons: Funny you say that. I was playing golf in Vietnam once and after the first hole it looked like I had an accident in my pants because the sweat was so bad and I don't even sweat much. 
 
So that's when I started messing around with tech fabrics to make something lightweight and functional. When I was messing around with the board short hybrid I hit on this fabric and man did it make a comfortable pair of pants in any temperature. Of course, I'm biased, so you'll have to check them for yourself!
 
PGA.com: On your website, along with all the great products, you also have a link to your Golf Academy out at Encinitas Ranch Golf Course. How important is it to you to stay close to the game -- the playing and teaching aspects -- as your clothing company grows?
 
Timmons: I will never stop teaching, I hope. I started learning from Carl Welty. He is an amazing mentor and also Jim McLean -- Carl and Jim work closely together. I'm a student of the game and I love to study film. I was lucky that Carl gave me a job in 1995 at La Costa Golf School. It changed the course of my life. I love to teach people how to enjoy the game. I truly feel they work hand in hand. I try and make everything I do affordable so I do not keep people away because of price.
 
PGA.com: You're a golfer who is making clothes with the golfer in mind. What kind of feedback have you received from your peers on 18 Greens?
 
Timmons: So far so good. I really like feedback so everyday I keep my ears open. I'm always looking for what the new trend could be, studying the history of golf fashion and fashion itself. 
 
I love to look at what guys like Jimmy Demaret wore and how you can make it relevant in today's world. I hope I bring little things to the market that are done just a little differently at an affordable price. I am always open to suggestions.
 
PGA.com: What, so far, has been the most rewarding part of starting your own clothing line?
 
Timmons: Seeing other people that I don't know wearing it. When I first started I used to go up to everyone and ask where they go, it but as it grew I stopped. I like to get feedback from customers and buyers -- that's how I grow as a designer and developer.
 
PGA.com: If you would, please tell our readers where they can go to buy 18 Greens clothing.
 
Timmons: Check your local pro shops, ask for it please if they do not carry it, the more they hear the more chance I have getting it in the shop. You can go to www.18greens.com and get it there if you cannot find it in shops.
 
I love to do high school uniforms and all high schools that get their uniforms from 18 GREENS have the opportunity to sell apparel for fundraising with a promo code and I dontate a big percentage back to the program. I also love to do logoed shirts for tournaments and charity events and I can beat most any price out there. I just want to get the product out there.
 
To see the great products 18 GREENS has to offer, visit www.18greens.com.
 
You can also check 18 GREENS out on Facebook or on Twitter, @18GreensApparel.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.