Golf Buzz

March 17, 2013 - 5:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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2016 Olympic golf course
International Olympic Committee
The course is being built at Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca, the district of Rio de Janeiro that will contain the largest number of Olympic Games venues.

The International Olympic Committee tweeted out a peek at the course that'll be used when golf returns to the Summer Games in 2016.

The course is being built at Reserva de Marapendi in Barra da Tijuca, the district of Rio de Janeiro that will contain the largest number of Olympic Games venues. It will be "a unique Olympic Games venue," says the IOC, located approximately three miles from the Athletes' Village and about five miles from the Main Press Center and the International Broadcast Center.

After the Olympics, the IOC says, "the course will be used as a public facility with the chief purpose of promoting golf in Brazil and the globe, representing one of the most important Olympic Games legacies for sport development in the country."

The  course, which was designed by American course architect Gil Hanse – who was chosen for the job almost exactly a year ago – boasts a number of sand and water features, including a large lake surrounded by several holes on the left side of the layout. Several holes border the northern shore of Lake Marapendi, sort of, but none seems to really dramatically interact with the large lake.  

If you know Rio, the course is south of the Avenue of the Americas, and a few miles west of the famed Copacabana neighborhood.

March 16, 2013 - 7:18pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tom Watson
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
Tom Watson wants his Ryder Cup team to be full of players whose games are on the upswing heading to Gleneagles.

Tom Watson has only been the U.S. Ryder Cup captain for three months, and the 2014 Ryder Cup is still a good year and a half away. But Watson has been thinking hard about what he wants his team to look like when it arrives at Gleneagles Resort in Scotland in late September of next year.

The key to making Watson's team as a captain's pick, he said this week at the Toshiba Classic, is to be playing as well as possible in August of 2014.

''You know, it will be easy for you to determine who I'm going to pick on September 9th, 2014, or whenever it is. You'll say Watson is going to pick this guy because he just told me back 17 months ago how he's going to make his decision,'' he said. ''Well, I'm telling you how I'm going to make the decision right now.

''And the way I look at it, I want somebody on the upswing when they're going to the Ryder Cup,'' he explained. ''They're playing well, they've got some momentum going into the Ryder Cup.''

Watson is pleased that he won't have to make his picks until just a few weeks before the Ryder Cup.

Back when he previously served as captain in 1993, Watson said, ''you picked those picks in the second week of August and then you played at the end of September, so you had maybe six weeks of time for … their games to fall off. Now we do it the Monday after Labor Day, pick the picks, and now I have a better chance of seeing how these guys are playing.

''Are they on the upswing or downswing? That's how I assess who I'm going to be playing, putting in there,'' he said. ''If I have some players that are playing on the upswing, showing that they can play in the heat of competition and bad conditions, which we're going to have over there, those are the qualities I'm looking for in players.''

March 16, 2013 - 6:31pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Barber Pole Golf putters
Courtesy of Barber Pole Golf
The Portrush blade (left) has a classic plumbers neck design, while the Waterville mallet has a thicker crown between the face and the rounded-off back cavity.

When you hear the name Barber Pole Golf, it'd be natural to think it's a red-blooded American clubmaker. Truth is, Barber Pole is based in Dublin, Ireland.

The boutique putter company makes its flatsticks in the United States, though, and is bringing them to the American market this spring.

Barber Pole specializes in solid brass putters with Radius Face Technology, which the company says helps each putter produce topspin immediately upon impact to get the ball quickly rolling on line. In essence, Radius Face Technology removes the loft found on many modern putters and, the company says, makes Barber Pole putters a good choice for putting out of the fringe as well.

"Radius Face Technology is designed to stroke the golf ball above the equator," says Barber Pole Putting Technologist (yes, that’s his title!) A.J. Crinion. "The connection produces immediate topspin and a true, forward roll for improved control and accuracy."

Each putter face is carved from a block of solid brass, which the company says eliminates dead spots or air pockets, which can happen with cast putters. By using CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling technology, Barber Pole guarantees the quality and integrity of each putters.

Barber Pole is bringing the four models in its Irish Links series, all of which conform to USGA and R&A standards, to the United States:

--The Ballybunion mallet features a double-bend shaft to help align the shaft with the center of the face, making the putter face-balanced. The crown contains a single alignment dot, and the putter retails for $369.

--The Portrush blade has a classic plumbers neck design. It features a single alignment dot on the crown and an alignment line on the flange to help square the face up. It retails for $349. 

--The Waterville mallet has a thicker crown between the face and the rounded-off back cavity for a solid feel. It also contains both an alignment dot and line, and retails for $369.

--And the Lahinch blade has a flow-neck design for a clean view of the ball at address. The overall design has a touch of the old ''Bullseye'' in it and the crown also contains a single alignment dot. It retails for $349.

All four putters come in 33-, 34-, 35- and 36-inch lengths, and can be bought with either a standard tour grip or a red and white striped Barber Pole grip.

For more information, visit


March 15, 2013 - 11:27am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Ogio golf bag
The Ogio Straight Jacket, Recoil Stand Bag and Shoester (all in the Madrid color style above) make up the perfect combination for the traveling golfer.


Ogio, known for its collection of innovative bags and apparel, is making a splash in 2013 with its Recoil Stand Bag, Straight Jacket golf travel bag and Shoester shoe bag.
Have you ever owned any kind of Ogio bag? I've had several Ogio backpacks, which are fantastic for a number of reasons -- for me, it was travel. There were so many pockets for so many different things. Rather than have all your stuff scattered over one or two compartments in a backpack, Ogio made finding things easy. There was a place for sunglasses; a dedicated pocket for valuables; a pocket for your iPod; a pocket for your laptop; etc. Easy access is what it's all about when you're traveling.
Well, we've come to learn, that's pretty much the mantra for all things Ogio. 
Here are the particulars on the Recoil Stand Bag bag:
- 14-way Diamond Performance stand top with full length club dividers
- ZBP™ (Zipperless Ball Pocket)
- TORQ™ Strap
- Load equalizing SHOXX™ X4 full suspension system for extreme comfort
- Advanced molded XX shoulder pads
- Low-profile OGIO Ball Silo™
- Cart strap channel
- 6 pockets (5 zippered)
- Weather-resistant fleece lined valuables pocket with cell phone sleeve
- Walking accessible insulated water bottle holster
- Weight: 7.8 Lbs.
For those of you who love to walk, this is a fantastic golf bag. The straps are incredibly comfortable and you have easy access to everything you could possibly need. The Recoil retails for $259.99 and comes in three colors: Madrid, Charcoal and Acid.
The Straight Jacket is Ogio's smaller, sleeker, more compact golf travel bag. It features the following:
- Large main compartment
- Smooth rolling urethane wheels
- Easy entry opening with internal cinch-down straps
- Twin outer pockets for accessories
- Fully padded top
- Fits tour bags and stand bags
- Tip-resistant
- Dimensions: 50" H x 15" W x 15" D
- Weight: 5.8 Lbs.
The Straight Jacket retails for $159.99 -- a steal for a quality golf, travel bag -- and comes in three colors: Madrid, Chrome/Acid and Black.
The best thing about the Straight Jacket is this -- if you're like me and able to travel to some great golf destinations with your clubs in tow, you've probably nocticed once you get to baggage claim, a lot of the golf travel bags look the same. That's not the case with the Straight Jacket. It's easily recognizable, easy to maneuver and it's not bulky like other golf travel bags.
Finally, there's the Shoester shoe bag, which retails for $39.99 and comes in the colors Madrid, Acid and Black. 
The Shoester features a carbon-based, anti-microbial interior and can easily be cleaned with a quick wipe down, or thanks to the material inside, a hose even.
Much like the Recoil and Straight Jacket, the Shoester has a sleek look. 
All three items are highly recommended for any traveling golfer. 
You can follow Ogio on Facebook and on Twitter, @ogio.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 15, 2013 - 10:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy, Nike VRS Covert
Nike's new commercial featuring Rory McIlroy is all about the VRS Covert Driver.


Today, we bring you the latest Nike VRS Covert driver featuring Rory McIlroy.
Unfortunately, there's no humor in this one -- it's all about the driver. Still a decent commercial, but we've come to expect the LOL-variety from Nike these days.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 15, 2013 - 9:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
Getty Images
Rory McIlroy was expected to partner up with Michael Jordan in this week's member-guest tournament at Medalist. Instead, the world's No. 1 player has decided to withdraw.


We're not sure if it's ever before been reported that a PGA Tour player has withdrawn from a member-guest tournament... until now.
But, we suppose, that's life when you're the No. 1-ranked player in the world and always under the microscope. Rory McIlroy, who was scheduled to team up with Michael Jordan in the Medalist Golf Club member-guest tournament this week, has decided instead to withdraw.
Keegan Bradley will replace McIlroy as Jordan's partner. Tiger Woods is playing in the event with good friend Ahmad Rashad.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy won’t be going at it this week in the Medalist GC member-guest tourney after all. Seems the world No. 1 has withdrawn from the foursome that will include Michael Jordan and Ahmad Rashad in favor of Keegan Bradley.
McIlroy’s decision to play a friendly round with the guys created a Twitter tumult, according to’s Rex Hoggard, who said critics were displeased that the top-ranked golfer would tee it up with His Airness and not at next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.
When you're No. 1, you can't please everyone. These days, McIlroy is learning that the hard way.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair