Golf Buzz

February 24, 2013 - 2:21am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer
courtesy of the LPGA Tour
There's no mistaking who Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer will be cheering for at the Daytona 500.

Who says golfers can't multi-task? Despite being halfway around the world for the Honda LPGA Thailand, several of the LPGA Tour's finest have been keeping up with the happenings leading up to the Daytona 500.

Why, you ask? Come on, you know the answer – the LPGA Tour players aren't just sports fans; they're cheering on Danica Patrick, who made history by winning the pole for Sunday's Daytona 500. And they're not just cheering her on – stars like Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Natalie Gulbis made signs and even a good-luck video in support of their speed-racing sister.

Surprisingly, at least to me, the most enthusiastic "go-get-'em" came from Taiwan's Yani Tseng. Maybe we should have figured out that Tseng loved racing by the way she sped up the women's world rankings.

To see the LPGA's video for Danica, click here.

February 23, 2013 - 3:12pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Cobra AMP Cell iron
Courtesy of Cobra Golf
Red is just one of the accent colors available to help golfers create a personalized set of Cobra AMP Cell irons.

When it came to creating a set of irons to round out its new line of AMP Cell drivers, fairway clubs and hybrids, Cobra didn't hesitate to go bold. So, when choosing a set of AMP Cell irons, golfers can pick from four different accent shades, allowing them to color-match them with other AMP Cell clubs or create a personally mixed set. For traditionalists, silver irons are the stock option, while the other choices are the Vibrant Orange, Directoire Blue and Barbados Red that are also available in the AMP Cell drivers, fairways and hybrids.

Color choice isn't all the AMP Cell irons have going for them, though. They also feature a metalwood face-weld construction, E9 Face Technology and AMP Cell technology as well as a V-Skid sole design, vibration management system and speed channel to help provide enhanced distance, forgiveness and accuracy.

The AMP Cell 4- through 7-irons feature a metalwood construction with a thin, high-strength steel face that is welded to a softer 431 stainless steel body. This optimizes the irons, says Cobra, and helps to generate faster ball speeds for improved distance and forgiveness. E9 Face Technology helps to expand the sweet spot across nine spots on the face and improve distance, feel and forgiveness regardless of where on the face the ball is struck.

The internal cell weighting in the AMP Cell irons enables precise Center of Gravity placement, while the V-Skid sole combines a higher-bounce leading edge with heel-toe relief, resulting in a sole that is versatile for better players, yet forgiving for mid- and higher-handicappers. This works with the vibration management system to reduce unwanted impact shock and sound for exceptional feel.

The new irons (3-iron through lob wedge) come in right- and left-handed models in both steel and graphite shafts. Eight-piece sets (4-iron through gap wedge) carry a street price of $699 for the steel set and $899 for the graphite set. The steel irons feature True Temper Dynalite 90 shafts and the graphite irons use Cobra MRC AMP Cell shafts. All irons feature Lamkin REL .600 grips designed specifically for them.

February 23, 2013 - 1:44am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Shredder
Charlie Tour via Twitter
The world ranking might be in for a shredding after all the upsets in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship this week.

It's been a long couple of days for me, so maybe you won't find this as funny as I did. But I thought this photo tweeted by the TaylorMade rep known as "Charlie Tour" on Friday was pretty funny.

After all the upsets in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship over the first couple of days, he tweeted out the photo shown above, with this caption: ''A live look from Wentworth, where they just wrapped a meeting tabulating OWGR [Official World Golf Ranking] for the week of Monday, February 25.''

Seriously, though, almost every edition of the Accenture Match Play produces a ton of upsets, prompting lots of discussion about the validity and/or absurdity of the world ranking that establishes the seedings. My own take is that the upsets really don't reflect poorly on the ranking. Instead, the Accenture Match Play shows how closely bunched all the top players are.

You can argue that the two-year period that the ranking includes is too long, but then the question becomes how short of a period do you measure? One year? Six months? Three months? There's no right answer, and no perfect way to rank the players. But the cream rises to the top over the long run, and that's what, I believe, the world ranking reflects fairly accurately. 

February 22, 2013 - 8:13pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Ping G25 driver
Courtesy of Ping Golf
The Ping G25 driver meets the USGA volume limit of 460cc and its face is even larger than that on the previous Ping G20 model.

The new G25 driver from Ping has something to help every from from PGA Tour players to everyday amateurs.

For starters, it's Ping's second adjustable model – golfers can add or subtract one-half degree of loft from the standard 8.5-, 9.5-, 10.5- and 12-degree settings to optimize your launch conditions. The adjustability resides in the hosels, and the changes are made using a lightweight titanium screw and aluminum hosel sleeve.

The 460cc titanium clubhead, says Ping, has the same diameter and mass as Ping's traditional fixed hosels, so the G25 provides benefits of adjustability without sacrificing the performance that can be lost with a larger, bulkier hosel. In fact, Ping calls the G25 its longest and most forgiving driver to date.

The face on the G25 is even larger than that on the G20 model that preceded it, and variable thickness across the face helps the ball jump at impact. The clubhead's thinner crown and a deeper profile allow Ping engineers to relocate the saved weight lower and farther back in the head to optimize its Center of Gravity position and enhance ball flight. Specifically, this head configuration helps produce a higher trajectory and more forgiveness on shots hit slightly off-center.

The G25 driver, which serves as the flagship of an entire line of fairway metals and irons, comes with a charcoal, non-glare matte finish. It carries a suggested retail price of $385.

February 22, 2013 - 12:42pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson is a three-time Masters champion. Will he make it four in April?

 

Sure, it's only February, but it isn't too soon to already be thinking about the Masters.
 
For many, the start of the Masters spells the start of spring. The thought of the gorgeous azaleas, dogwoods and magnolia trees just make you feel warm ad fuzzy, right?
 
So, since we're all thinking about the Masters, who do you think will win?
 
The season is off to a fantastic start with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson having already won once. Rory McIlroy is still working through his equipment change (he had a missed cut in Abu Dhabi and was knocked out of the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play in his only two starts so far), but he's still the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
 
Could it be someone other than those three?
 
Mike Dudurich, featured columnist on BleacherReport.com, examines this very debate:
 
It's still nine weeks until the azaleas will be blooming, the grass will be the greenest you'll see all year and the Masters will be held at Augusta National Golf Club.
 
So it's a perfect time to start looking at who are the guys most likely to win the 2013 Masters.
 
This list could change a lot as February turns to March and March turns to April.
 
But hey, that’s what makes it fun, right?
 
Check out Dudurich's list here... it's a list that even includes a few guys who haven't yet won a major.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 22, 2013 - 11:54am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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St. Andrew's Golf Club
Photo by Jim Krajicek Photography

We celebrated the Presidents' Day holiday a few days ago, but today is actually George Washington’s birthday. It's also a significant day in the history of golf in the United States.

On this day in 1888, a small group of hearty golfers staged the first known exhibition of golf in America – over three holes laid out by John Reid and John Upham in a cow pasture in Yonkers, N.Y. And on Nov. 14, 1888, these golfers formally established The Saint Andrew's Golf Club, which remains the oldest continuously existing golf club in the United States.

That makes 2013 the club's 125th anniversary year, and it is going all-out to celebrate. Among the big events on its calendar are the Folds of Honor Golf Tournament (June 4) to support the families of deceased and disabled members of the military; Celebrating Women in Golf (June 5), marking the history and growth of women's golf in America; the 125th Anniversary Celebrity Golf Tournament (June 7); and the Gala 125th Anniversary Dinner Dance (June 8) at the Waldorf Astoria in midtown Manhattan.

Its age isn't the club's only claim to fame. Here is a list of some other firsts achieved there:

--the first photograph of golf in America (1888)

--the first recorded mixed foursome, played on March 30, 1889, when Upham teamed with Mrs. John Reid to defeat the team of Reid and Miss Carrie Law

--the first American ''clubhouse,'' including a rudimentary 19th hole, was the famous apple tree where Reid and his friends hung their coats while playing in the apple orchard that became the club's second course

--the first U.S. Amateur Championship, at match play, was hosted by St. Andrew's in 1894 – and won by St. Andrew's member L.B. Stoddart

--the first U.S. Open was hosted by St. Andrew's, also in 1894

--Saint Andrew's member Henry O. Tallmadge suggested and organized the Dec. 22, 1894, meeting of five golf clubs that resulted in the creation of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

--St. Andrew's published the first Yearbook (or Handbook) in America containing a club's list of members, officers, and committees, as well as its constitution and by-laws in 1895

--St. Andrew's also organized and funded the first U.S. Public Links Championship. The tournament, for players who didn't belong to a USGA club, was held at Van Cortlandt Park, the nation's first public course, in 1896

--Saint Andrew's member Charles E. Sands won the first Olympic gold medal for golf in 1900.