Golf Buzz

January 6, 2013 - 2:16am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Colin Montogmerie and Padraig Harrington
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Colin Montgomerie's stellar Ryder Cup reputation could be tarnished if he were to lose as captain in 2014, says Padraig Harrington.

After The PGA of America rocked the golf world by anointing Tom Watson as U.S. Ryder Cup captain for 2014, observers immediately began speculating that Europe would need to respond with an equally large presence.

Paul McGinley of Ireland and Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland are considered the front-runners for the job, which the Europeans are set to discuss during the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship later this month. But in the wake of Watson’s appointment, Colin Montgomerie’s name began cropping up.

Despite what can best be described as a lack of respect from many golf fans in the United States, Monty has one of the all-time great Ryder Cup records, amassing a 20-9-7 record that includes an unblemish slate in the singles. He trails only Nick Faldo on the European career points list, sank the putts the clinched the golden chalice in both 1997 and 2004, and captained the Europeans to victory in 2010 at Celtic Manor.

Even so – or perhaps because of all that – one very interested observer believes there's no chance that Monty would accept a return engagement as captain.

"It would be madness for him," said Padraig Harrington in an interview with Reuters. "He's had a great Ryder Cup playing career, he's been a successful captain. Why risk all that?

"I can't see in any shape or form him agreeing to do it again," added Harrington, who believes that Montgomerie would be risking his golf legacy by coming back.

"I had a long chat with Monty the evening we won the Ryder Cup in 2010," he said. "I could see the relief Colin had when he won. I don't think he quite realized until then the enormity of being captain for him. Most players who take the captaincy, whether they win or lose, it doesn't change people's perception of their overall career.

Montgomerie's reputation, however, is based on his eight European Tour money titles and his Ryder Cup performances, explained Harrington, who has played on six Ryder Cup teams.

"By taking the captaincy he's putting far more on the line than anybody else because it would be hard to mention that he's unbeaten in the singles in the competition but, oh, he's also a losing captain as well," he said. "That would take the shine off his great record."

For his part, Harrington hopes his fellow Irishman McGinley gets the captaincy for 2014 in Scotland and Clarke is in charge for 2016 at Hazeltine.

"I think Darren would be a better captain in America because of his stature over there. McGinley would be a better option to go up against Watson," he told Reuters. "He can't match Watson in terms of his stature in the game -- nobody can do that. The only way McGinley would tackle a Ryder Cup is to knuckle down and do his own business and organize things. He would be ideal for Gleneagles."

January 4, 2013 - 3:19pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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J.J. Henry
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J.J. Henry, a Connecticut native, will pay tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook this week at the Tournament of Champions.

Golfweek's Jim McCabe reports that Connecticut native J.J. Henry will pay tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy with the letters, "S.H.E.S." (short for, "Sandy Hook Elementary School," of course) emblazoned on his hat this week in Maui at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

"Whether you come from the area or not, just the devastation and the unthinkable that happened," Henry said.

But here's the thing. Henry is from the area. He grew up in Fairfield, Conn., about 20 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. When the massacre occurred Dec. 14, he was like nearly every other person who heard the news. He was frozen with fear. Twenty young children and six teachers and administrators gunned down.

"It's almost too hard to talk about," he said.

But it's something that needs to addressed. More to the point, the families need to be honored, and so Henry thought he would do something. "Sitting at home (in the Fort Worth, Texas, area), I thought if I could be a small part in honoring those families, I wanted to do that. I went to that school system. I've always remembered where I came from."

To read McCabe's piece on Henry, click here.

January 4, 2013 - 11:37am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Augusta National
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Augusta National is no longer No. 1 on the Golf Digest lists of America's top 100 courses.

Golf Digest has released its 2013-2014 list for the top 100 golf courses in America.

Here's the criteria used by the Golf Digest panelists to determine the rankings:

1. Shot Values. How well do the holes pose risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse?

2. Resistance to Scoring. How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for a scratch player from the back tees?

3. Design Variety. How varied are the holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?

4. Memorability. How well do the design features provide individuality to each hole yet a collective continuity to the entire 18?

5. Aesthetics. How well do the scenic values of the course add to the pleasure of a round?

6. Conditioning. How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the day you played the course?

7. Ambience. How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?

To arrive at a course's final score, we total its averages in the seven categories, double-weighting Shot Values. A course needs 45 evaluations over the past eight years to be eligible for America's 100 Greatest.

To take a look at the stout list -- and believe it or not, Augusta National dropped a spot since 2011 -- click here.

January 3, 2013 - 11:08pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway X Hot driver
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
In its new X Hot drivers, Callaway is able to boost ball speed without sacrificing optimum trajectory.

The distance gains just keep on coming. In debuting its new X Hot drivers, Callaway Golf engineers say they have achieved gains of 13 yards as compared to their RAZR X Black drivers. These advancements are possible, they said, thanks to a host of design and engineering advancements that make the new drivers faster, hotter and more lightweight than their predecessors.

For the X Hot models, Callaway’s Speed Frame Face Technology increases ball speed, saves weight and optimizes stiffness and stress distribution across the face for more efficient energy transfer from the clubhead to the ball. The new face technology, which is also found in Callaway's RAZR Fit Xtreme driver, promotes more – and more consistent – distance, even on off-center impacts.

"With the X Hot Drivers, we pushed the Speed Frame Face's efficiency to a new standard, producing high ball speeds while maintaining the trajectory and accuracy that discerning golfers demand," said Callaway Senior Vice President of Research & Development Alan Hocknell. "The fast face on X Hot is one piece of the puzzle, though. We went to great lengths to configure the X Hot drivers not only to promote distance, but to progressively optimize performance for various player types."

By decoupling the face performance from the rest of the driver head, Callaway is able to boost ball speed without sacrificing optimum trajectory. And a tighter curvature face on the X Hot Driver (relative to the RAZR X Black) helps to provide more consistent sidespin and dispersion to promote accuracy.

In these new drivers, Callaway has implemented its thinnest casting technology ever in the all-titanium head to create a lighter swing weight and overall configuration, a combination that benefits most players in terms of head speed and distance, especially golfers with an average swing speed. Another benefit is Draw Bias Progression, which changes the amount of draw bias depending on the loft, allowing golfers to better control sidespin and tune their shot shape. Players with higher lofts can take advantage of higher draw bias for straighter shots, while players with lower lofts can utilize a more neutral Center of Gravity that fits their game.

Also featured in the X Hot Driver is the adjustable OptiFit Hosel, which adjusts the face angle in Open, Square or Closed positions to improve accuracy and trajectory, and allows golfers to dial in their preferred look at address. The X Hot Drivers also feature Project X Velocity shafts as the stock offering.

The 460cc standard model will be available in 9.5-, 10.5-, 11.5-degree models along with a 13-degree HT-model, and will feature a lighter overall club weight and a lower swing weight than the X Hot Pro model. The X Hot Pro model, which has a slightly smaller headshape at 440cc, will be available in 8.5-, 9.5- and 10.5-degree models and feature slightly more open face angles than the standard version.

The standard model will be available Jan. 25, 2013, while the Pro version will be available on Feb. 15. Both versions will carry a new product introduction price of $299.

Along with the new drivers, Callaway is rolling out a line of X Hot and X Hot Pro fairway woods. For these woods, Callaway engineered a Forged Speed Frame Face Cup made of high-strength Carpenter 455 stainless steel that is up to 40 percent thinner than last year's fairway wood face – and with a 90 percent larger sweet spot. As a result, Callaway says, the new woods produce significantly hotter responses all over the face.

The standard X Hot Fairway Woods will be available in a 3-Wood, 4-Wood, 5-Wood, 7-Wood, 9-Wood and 11-Wood, and will feature slightly longer shafts and more upright lie angles than the Pro models. The Pro clubs will be available in 13.5-, 15-, 17- and 19-degree models. Both versions will carry an introduction price of $229 per club. 

For more on Callaway Golf, visit www.CallawayGolf.com or see the Callaway brand pages on PGA.com.

 

 

January 3, 2013 - 4:26pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jaime Ortiz-Patino
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Jaime Ortiz-Patino (center, holding the Ryder Cup), played a significant role in getting the Ryder Cup to Spain in 1997.

Jaime Ortiz-Patino, the man who created Valderrama in Spain which hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup, passed away this morning at the age of 82.

According to the Reuters report:

Born to Bolivian parents in Paris in June 1930, Ortiz-Patino created the Valderrama course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, in the mid 1980s and was able to lure the Ryder Cup there in 1997, the first time the competition had been held outside the British Isles.

The course was the home of the Volvo Masters between 1988 and 1996 and from 2002 to 2008 and has also hosted the Amex World Championships and the Andalucia Masters.

Known as "Jimmy" to his friends, Ortiz-Patino, whose grandfather was a fabulously wealthy Bolivian tin magnate, amassed a collection of golfing memorabilia that captured the history of the game over 500 years.

The 1997 Ryder Cup was won by Europe under captain Seve Ballesteros.

To read the full report, click here.

January 3, 2013 - 2:05pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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TRUE Linkswear
Courtesy True Linkswear
TRUE Linkswear's 2013 line include updated outsole, women’s and children’s offerings

My friends at TRUE Linkswear shoes have been leaders in bringing the minimalist movement to golf. Their philosophy of efficient design to utilize the anatomical features of the foot as opposed to highly structured and engineered footwear has proven to be a big commercial success. So that's a fancy of way of saying - they design shoes that make you feel as if you're barefoot, but give you the support you need for your golf swing. Tour player Ryan Moore is a part owner of the company - but also wears them while competing. So now they've come out with their 2013 line. Very cool. Here's the release.



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - In just over two years, TRUE linkswear has established itself as the leader in the minimalist footwear movement in golf.  With the launch of its 2013 line - including a new women's shoe and its first children's shoe - TRUE further solidifies its position as one of the game's premier footwear companies.
 
"As the only brand one hundred percent dedicated to spikeless and minimalist golf footwear, we are very excited about launching TRUE's 2013 line, which is our broadest and most innovative yet," said Rob Rigg, co-founder and president of the company.  "The addition of several new styles and platforms makes us confident that there is now an extremely comfortable and versatile TRUE linkswear product for every consumer."
 
Updates from the Ground Up
The heart of the TRUE brand still resides in the minimalist movement emerging in the athletic footwear world. TRUE was the first company to build a golf shoe on a barefoot platform and has become the trend-setter in the minimalist movement in golf. 
 
TRUE is introducing two barefoot platforms in its shoes - the ninja outsole and sensei outsole. The ninja outsole is similar to TRUE's previous Ergo-Traction 2.0 platform, but with added feel and flexibility along with a more technical spike pattern. The sensei outsole, first used in the sensei shoe, features a profile and spike configuration that provide enhanced traction and stability, while maintaining the thinnest sole in golf.
 
New for 2013
TRUE's 2013 line features four new shoe models as well as additional updates and color offerings to its five current styles. 
 
Available this month, the TRUE chukka ($209) features the ninja outsole and comes with a mid-top waterproof leather upper that provides additional protection from the elements along with a leather liner and. It is available in two colors.
 
The TRUE tour ($149) and TRUE stealth ($199) both receive the new ninja outsole for 2013 and they both have a supple premium waterproof leather upper to ensure maximum comfort in all conditions. The stealth comes with leather lining while the tour has a 3-D anti-microbial mesh lining.
 
The TRUE jade ($99) is modeled after the men's TRUE sensei and joins the TRUE isis ($99) in the women's line. Both the jade and isis have women's specific lasts to provide the benefits of barefoot comfort with a slightly narrower toe box and heel. The jade will be available in three color combinations while the isis will be available in seven.
 
TRUE will release the proto, which Ryan Moore wore to victory at the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Open, in February. The TRUE proto ($169) features waterproof leather upper, a 3-D anti-microbial mesh liner, memory foam heel and the sensei outsole. The proto will be available in five color combinations. 
 
In March, TRUE will release the TRUE padwan ($59), the first shoe built on its TRUE barefoot kid's platform. The padwan will have all of the features of the sensei and jade, but will come in children's sizes and two color combinations.
 
The TRUE phx ($99) and TRUE sensei ($99) are back for 2013 in several new color combinations.
 
Ryan Moore will start 2013 wearing the TRUE proto and TRUE sensei at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, HI. 
 
About TRUE linkswear
TRUE linkswear, a Scottsdale-based footwear and apparel company, created the first golf shoe built on a barefoot platform, allowing the golfer to truly "Feel the Course," while enabling them to walk 36 holes right out of the box in total comfort.  TRUE was inspired by the emerging minimalist trend in running, where many shoes have shifted away from highly-engineered structures, such as arch supports and heavily-cushioned heels, to a shoe that better utilizes the anatomical features of the foot. TRUE brings this nature-engineered approach to golf by creating a shoe built on a barefoot platform feature a wide-toe box so toes can function naturally through the swing, which encourages proper weight transfer, balance and natural stability. Only TRUE offers the thinnest sole in golf (2.5mm), while still providing the durability to stand up to the most avid player.  TRUE products are now available at many national retailers, including Golfsmith, PGA TOUR Superstores, Golf Galaxy and GolfTown in Canada.  For more information, visit www.truelinkswear.com.