Luke Donald is ranked No. 3 in the world, won three times around the globe in 2012 and in 2011 captured the money list titles on both the PGA Tour and European Tour. Still, he's feeling unfulfilled because, despite all his success, he's yet to win a major.
So he's made what can only be described as an unusual – but possibly inspired – choice for help with his mental approach.
Donald, an Englishman who has lived in Chicago since his college days at Northwestern, has turned to his fellow Windy City resident: Michael Jordan, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. The introverted 5-foot-9 golfer and the extroverted 6-foot-6 hoopster didn't get close, however, until both relocated to South Florida and started spending time together at the Bear's Club.
"Michael's a really nice chap who I’ve got to know really well recently," Donald told the Daily Telegraph newspaper in England. "His fiancée [Yvette Prieto] is good friends with my wife [Diane] and we've begun to play a lot together. I'm always happy to empty his wallet."
Jordan, as we all know, is also an accomplished golfer – if occasionally a fashion scofflaw – who, as the paper points out, is good friends with Tiger Woods and America's biggest cheerleader at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
"He's good for the mind. He's been making sure I'm ready mentally," Donald said, not revealing the specifics of what they've talked about. "It's been good to pick Michael's brains and find out what he was thinking about when he was playing basketball. He's always trying to play mind games, he doesn't like to lose."
Donald's last tournament was the DP World Championship in Dubai almost three months ago, and he took a five-week break from golf over the winter. He's been working on his game for the past six weeks, though, and makes his 2013 competitive debut this week at the Nothern Trust Open.
"Although I was content with how I played last year – I won three times on three different continents – I was once again disappointed with how I performed in the majors," said Donald who at age 35 is feeling more urgency to finally capture a major title. "I've got to figure out a way to be competitive at the majors – that's the main aim this year."
Odyssey putters with a White Hot insert claimed more than 30 victories on tours around the world in 2012, so the company has expanded its White Hot offerings.
The new line of White Hot Pro flat sticks represents the next step in Odyssey's development of putter face inserts, as these new ones are better formed to match the shapes of the faces on which they’re installed. This is done, Odyssey says, with a new laser milling cutting process that helps make the inserts fit more perfectly and provide more consistent sound, feel and reaction across the face.
"The White Hot insert was pivotal in catapulting Odyssey to No. 1 in wins, top-10s and usage across the world's professional tours,'' said Odyssey Golf Principal Designer Austie Rollinson. ''At Odyssey, we are always striving to give the elite and amateur golfer more ways to sink putts more often, so we took our most popular insert on tour and engineered it for better overall performance and consistency. The result is the White Hot Pro line of Odyssey putters.''
A full line of styles is available, including Odyssey's #1, #7, #5, #2 Center Shaft, #9, 2-Ball, D.A.R.T. and Rossie. The Odyssey team also has developed new head shapes for 2013, including a high MOI mallet – with a modified High Definition alignment system called V-Line – and a smaller version of the D.A.R.T. putter called D.A.R.T. Mini.
The White Hot Pro D.A.R.T. and D.A.R.T Mini models, along with the 2-Ball – which, incidentally, is Odyssey's best-selling model – feature an adjustable weighting system that allows golfers to change the headweight of the standard-length putter from 350 grams to 360 or 370 grams. The weights and a wrench are included in the headcover for these models.
All the new White Hot Pro putters come with a Gun Metal PVD finish that creates a non-glare look. These new putters carry a suggested retail price starting at $129.99 for most models. The 2-ball and D.A.R.T. puttersretail for $179.99, while belly and long models of the 2-Ball and CS mallet retail for $189.99.
And in conjunction with the release of the White Hot Pro putter line, Odyssey has introduced a new retail fitting system called EyeFit that helps golfers select a proper head shape based on their general setup to the ball. EyeFit is based on the premise that your set-up dictates the shape of your putting stroke, and uses mirrors to help you see where your eyes set up to the ball.
The closer a golfer is to the ball (eyes over the ball), the more likely he will have a straight back-straight through stroke, Odyssey says, while the farther away a golfer is from the ball, the more likely he will have an arced stroke. Each White Hot Pro putter has a series of dashes on its sole that correlate to the fitting system. Odyssey’s new Versa line of putters features the EyeFit fitting system as well.
Are you scrambling to find a last-minute, quality, golf-related gift for that special someone in your life this Valentine's Day but don't want to break the bank?
It caught my eye this morning when I saw that Blayne Barber fired a 7-under 65 to earn medalist honors in a Monday qualifier for this week's Northern Trust Open on the PGA Tour, which will be his first Tour start.
Craig Ferguson, the host of the ''The Late Late Show'' on CBS, is Scottish – as he never lets anyone forget, ever. And Scotland, as we all know, is the home of golf. Somehow, though, Ferguson never got the golf bug – until now.
Ferguson revealed that he's recently taken up the game during an interview with guest Julie Andrews on Monday night. Out of the blue, he asked ''The Sound of Music'' star if she played golf.
No, she said, explaining that her stepfather was a left-handed scratch player. But, she noted, her mother was a golf widow, so golf never appealed to her that much.
To that, Ferguson replied that he was hooked. ''It's like crack,'' he said.
The appeal of golf, Ferguson joked, is that ''it's all walking around in odd outfits.''
“Do you wear knickerbockers and things like that?,'' Andrews asked him. ''The big socks?''
''Yes, sometimes -- and even when I play golf sometimes,'' Ferguson joked. ''And a nice hat. I have to distract you from how I'm playing the game.''
Andrews asked if she'd ever see Ferguson playing ''in some of the big golf tournaments.''
''Yes,'' Ferguson said, ''I'm gonna try to get good enough so that I can be in those pro-am things, with all these show business hacks.''
''I can’t wait to see it,'' Andrew said.
''Oh,'' Ferguson replied, ''it'll be dreadful.''
I'm not sure anyone at USGA or PGA of America headquarters would appreciate Ferguson's comparison of golf to crack. And I suspect not many of the celebrities who played in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-am last week would appreciate him referring to them as ''show business hacks.''
But his enthusiasm seemed quite genuine. And in fact, he brought golf up again with his next guest, ''Hawaii Five-0'' star Grace Park. Park joked that she didn't play because there already was a golfer named Grace Park, so she couldn't.
Hey Grace – TV Grace, that is – we have some good news for you. Your LPGA Tour doppelganger retired from competition last summer, so you're free to take up the game after all. So call your local PGA Professional, get a few lessons, and soon you and Ferguson both can play in those pro-am things like all those other showbiz hacks.