Golf Buzz

August 11, 2013 - 5:03pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Srixon Z-STAR golf balls
Courtesy of Srixon
The new editions of the Srixon Z-STAR and Z-STAR XV balls are the most technically advanced tour-performance balls the company has ever produced.

All the marketing in the world can't save a product if it's not very good. Conversely, sometimes a product proves itself so quickly and convincingly that all a company has to do is spread the word.

That's the happy situation Srixon finds itself in as it unveils its new generation of Z-STAR golf balls.

As you might be aware, two players have shot 59 on the Tour in the last month – Will Wilcox at the Utah Championship on July 14 and Russell Knox at the Albertsons Boise Open on July 26. You might not be aware, however, that both did so using a new Srixon ball. Wilcox used a Z-STAR XV Tour Yellow ball – making him the first player to card a 59 with a colored ball – while Knox used a Z-STAR Pure White model.

And presto – there's your marketing campaign!

OK, so maybe there's a bit more to marketing than that. And, in fact, the new balls already have amassed 40 tournament wins worldwide this year. In any case, Srixon is launching its new spheres on a nice wave of momentum.

These 2013 editions – the regular Z-STAR and a hotter Z-STAR XV – are, Srixon says, the most technically advanced tour-performance balls the company has ever produced. The new balls, the company adds, have been re-designed, re-calculated and re-formulated to produce the best balance of high-level performance across all clubs in the bag. 

Both boast enhanced spin control and softness as well as improved flight characteristics. Their covers feature Srixon's new ''Spin Skin,'' a coating the company says is two times softer than any previous Srixon coating, which helps create a 20 percent increase in friction. That enables players to hit approach shots with plenty of backspin, while experiencing a softer feel as the clubface grips the ball.

The Z-STAR model is built around a new, large-diameter Energy Gradient Growth (EGG) core. Its characteristics help provide more contrast between inner softness and outer hardness, resulting in more lift, less spin and longer flight distances. By contrast, the Z-STAR XV features a two-layer Neo EGG core, which delivers more lift and less spin for a quicker launch and greater overall flight distances.

Both balls carry Srixon's new 344 Speed Dimple design, which helps reduce air resistance for a strong, long-carrying trajectory. The new design increases the ratio of dimples to surface area by more than 4 percent, which Srixon says makes it possible to play more aggressive golf under all conditions. 

Both the Z-STAR and the Z-STAR XV carry a suggested retail price of $44.99, and are both available in Pure White or Tour Yellow.

For more information, click here.


August 8, 2013 - 8:35pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Bag by Nick Raffaele of Callaway, coins by Harry Arnett of Callaway
The Callaway staff bags for the PGA Championship feature an oak leaf in honor of Oak Hill, while the each of the four challenge coins for 2013 features a distinctive design element.

I said a few days ago that one of my favorite parts of major championship weeks is the special products that some of the big golf equipment companies create.

Callaway, of course, outfits its staff players with limited-edition bags themed for each major, and you can see Phil Mickelson's oak leaf-adorned PGA Championship bag above.

Also above is something truly unique that Callaway creates – they're called ''challenge coins,'' and there's one for each major of 2013.

This year's designs include a magnolia blossom for the Masters, a star for the U.S. Open, the Union Jack for the Open Championship and, of course, an oak leaf for the PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Callaway mostly distributes to the coins to its employees and staff players, though a lucky few civilians have gotten a few as well.

Challenge coins have a long military history, and I've also seen them created for colleges and companies. Few of them, I have to say, look as distinctive as these. 


August 6, 2013 - 8:14pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade headcover and bag for 2013 PGA Championship
Headcover by Roberto Castro via Twitter, bag courtesy of TaylorMade
The logo on TaylorMade's 2013 PGA Championship headcover and staff bag includes many references to the history of both Oak Hill and Rochester.

In what has become one of my favorite traditions of each major championship week, some of the big equipment companies are rolling out limited-edition gear to mark the occasion. No one does it better than TaylorMade, which has created a special bag and headcover for the 2013 PGA Championship with an Oak Hill theme. The photo on the left is the headcover on the bag of Roberto Castro, and I included it here because it shows off the logo so well.

The logos on the TaylorMade gear are always intricate, and full of detailed iconography. Here, courtesy of TaylorMade, is the full explanation of every aspect of the 2013 PGA Championship logo:

--Oak Hill Country Club is located in Rochester, N.Y., the home of Frederick Douglass, the American social reformer, orator, writer, statesman and abolitionist who escaped slavery as a young man. Douglass lived in Rochester from 1847 to 1872 and is buried in Rochester's Mount Hope Cemetery, and the logo's shape was inspired by a part of his tombstone. The star at the top of the logo represents The North Star, the famous anti-slavery newspaper Douglass founded in Rochester in 1847.

--The trophy image represents the Wanamaker Trophy, named for Rodman Wanamaker, a department store magnate who in 1916 hosted the exploratory meeting of the Professional Golfers Association, at which the idea for the PGA Championship was conceived. Wanamaker also provided the trophy for the first championship, which is still used today.

--The yellow-colored honeycomb pattern is a nod to the YellowJackets, the name of the University of Rochester's athletic teams. Oak Hill swapped the land it was originally located on with UR, giving the country club a piece of land large enough to eventually build two 18-hole courses, the East Course and West Course, the former of which has hosted U.S. Opens, a Ryder Cup and three PGA Championships (including 2013).

--The six oak leaves refer to the six different prominent tournaments that Oak Hill has hosted during the past 60+ years, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Matches, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Senior Open and Senior PGA Championship.

--The plaque with 2013 on it is a nod to Oak Hill's ''Hill of Fame,'' a series of bronze plaques located on the hill leading up to the 13th green, which are emblazoned with the names and faces of numerous golf luminaries, including past winners at Oak Hill.

--''Gloria Ultimus'' is Latin for ''Glory's Last,'' a reference to the nickname the PGA of America has given to the PGA Championship, ''Glory's Last Shot,'' which alludes to the tournament's position in the schedule as the last Major Championship of the year.

--R stands for the last name of the East Course's highly respected architect, Donald Ross; W stands for the last name of Dr. John R. Williams, the member who, in 1926, planted tens of thousands of oak trees on the grounds.

If you're interested, you can buy the headcover directly from TaylorMade.


August 3, 2013 - 7:01pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Rough at Oak Hill
Rob Labritz via Tiwtter
The rough at Oak Hill is best to be avoided, as Rob Labritz shows us.

So, you ask, what's the rough looking like at Oak Hill for the PGA Championship?

Well, you're in luck. PGA Professional Rob Labritz is already on site, and took these photos of the long grass.

The rough at Oak Hill is ''brutal,” Labritz tweeted. ''Need to hit them straight.''

Yeah, Rob, no kidding.

Labritz, by the way, will have a unique honor at Oak Hill. He'll hit the first tee shot of the tournament on Thursday morning. Congrats, Rob, and here's hoping you heed your own advice.

And, of course, we encourage you to hang out with us all week on the official site of the PGA Championship, where we'll have live scoring as well as an unprecedented array of coverage.


August 2, 2013 - 6:55pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tony Kornheiser
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
Tony Kornheiser spoke to the Junior PGA players to start the week, then saluted the winners on Friday.

So, did you see who won the Junior PGA Championship today?

Tony Kornheiser did. At the end of ''Pardon the Interruption,'' the show he hosts on ESPN each afternoon, Mr. Tony gave one of his patented shout-outs to brand-new champions Tyler McDaniel and Amy Lee.

Kornheiser's salute actually put a bookend on a memorable week for many of the nation's top junior players – he was a featured speaker at the Junior PGA Championship's Welcome Reception before the talented teens took on Trump National Golf Club-Washington, D.C. in Potomac Falls, Va.


August 1, 2013 - 1:39pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
Nike Golf
Here's a sneak peak at what you can expect to see Tiger Woods wearing at the PGA Championship next week.
As has become standard with the major championships these last few years, manufacturers are releasing their respective "scripts" or clothing that their players will be wearing during the PGA Championship at Oak Hill next week.
Here's a press release we received from Nike Golf today, describing what its players will be wearing:
BEAVERTON, Ore. (August 1, 2013)– With August’s typical humidity ranging from 51 to 94 percent in Rochester, NY, home of the 2013 PGA Championship, Nike Golf is outfitting its athletes in innovative Nike Dri-FIT fabrications to beat the heat.
Nike designers pioneered the use of technical fabrics in golf apparel and continue to focus on moisture management, cooling and stretch and lightweight performance.  In the final Major Championship of the season, Nike athletes will show off designs from the Fall 2013 Collection including Dri-FIT UV for sun protection and Dri-FIT Stretch for increased range of motion. The apparel was developed to keep athletes cool even when wearing a range of bright, statement-making colors grounded in black.
“Since becoming a Nike athlete this year, I’ve been absolutely blown away by every detail that goes into apparel design and development,” said Nick Watney. “Whether it’s Dri-FIT, no-sew technology or a perforated collar that reduces weight, it is this kind of detail that helps me to perform better.”
At the PGA Championship, some Nike athletes will wear stripes or graphic color-blocking designs on Saturday, including the Bold Stripe Polo ($65), the Mobility Stripe Polo ($75), and the Lightweight Colorblock Polo ($65), all available in a full array of seasonal 
- The Mobility Stripe Polo has the most stretch in the Nike Golf line and is extremely lightweight.
- The Bold Heather Stripe Polo, also lightweight, is incredibly breathable and features engineered jacquard ventilation through the stripe pattern. 
- The Lightweight Colorblock Polo utilizes a lightweight stretch woven front panel that inherently resists moisture and a full mesh back panel for maximum ventilation.
Thirteen Nike Athletes will compete at the 2013 PGA Championship: Scott Brown, Paul Casey, Kevin Chappell, Russell Henley, Scott Jamieson, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Thorbjorn Olesen, Carl Pettersson, Charl Schwartzel, Kyle Stanley, Nick Watney and Tiger Woods.   
Tiger Woods
Woods will highlight proven innovations from Nike Golf’s Fall 2013 Tiger Woods Collection. Every style is lightweight, breathable and has perforated ventilation to keep Woods cool in the hot conditions at Oak Hill. Throughout the tournament, Woods will wear the TW Designer Print Polo in Light Armory Blue ($95), the TW Emboss Polo in Gamma Green ($85), the TW Print Polo in White/Black ($95) and the TW Engineered Polo in Hyper Red ($95). These lightweight polos utilize a laser-perforated collar for increased ventilation to keep Woods cool while also reducing overall weight. These styles feature both the iconic posture performance kimono chassis and the mobility chassis to allow Woods an increased range of motion throughout his swing. Woods will finish his look with Nike TW’14 footwear.
Rory McIlroy
The defending champion will sport looks from the Nike Fall 2013 Tour Performance collection, featuring the most innovative technical fabrics that focus on lightweight and breathable performance. McIlroy will start off his first competitive round in the Fashion Bold Stripe Polo in White ($70) with pops of Game Royal that coordinate with his Modern Tech Pants in Game Royal ($80). On Friday, McIlroy will wear the Fashion Gradient Polo in Gamma Orange ($70). On Saturday, he will wear the Mobility Stripe Polo in Black/Gamma Green ($75), which is packed with stretch and is incredibly lightweight. For his final round, McIlroy will wear the Light Weight Tech Polo in Gamma Blue ($65). He will complete his look with Nike Lunar Control footwear.
Charl Schwartzel
Schwartzel will compete in refined looks from the Fall 2013 Tour Premium Collection as well as a classic look from the Tour Performance Collection on Saturday. For his opening round, Schwartzel will wear the Nike Premium Precision Polo in black ($85) and on Friday, he will wear the Nike Premium Precision Polo in Cherrywood Red ($85). On Saturday, he will go with the Team Nike look of color grounded in black with the Bold Stripe Polo in Distance Blue ($65) from the Tour Performance Collection. And on Sunday, Schwartzel will switch to dark colors in honor of the Black Knight, wearing the Nike Premium Tartan Pocket Polo in Light Gridiron Heather ($100). He will finalize his look with Nike Lunar Control footwear.
Nick Watney
Searching for his first Major Championship victory, Watney will be relying on the Tour Performance Collection to stay cool and comfortable in the New York heat. He will kick off tournament week with a bold look pairing the Light Weight Tech Polo in Sonic Yellow ($65) with the Nike Flat Front Tech Pant in Light Armory Blue ($80). On Friday, Watney will wear the Embossed Pattern Polo in Gamma Orange ($75), the Mobility Stripe Polo in Black/Orange ($75) on Saturday, and the Light Weight Heather Polo in Black on Sunday ($60). Watney will complete his looks with the Nike Flat Bill Tour Cap and Nike Lunar Control footwear.
Thorbjorn Olesen
Olesen will be hunting for his first Major Championship victory wearing styles from the Fall 2013 Tour Performance and Sport Collection. The Dane will sport vibrant trousers for his first round, wearing the Lightweight Tech Polo in white ($65) paired with the Flat Front Tech Pant in Game Royal ($80) on Thursday, and the Sport Stripe Pocket Polo in Brave Blue ($75) with the Nike Flat Front Tech Pant in White ($80) on Friday. Come Saturday, he will sport Gamma Green grounded in black with the Lightweight Colorblock Polo ($65). And on Sunday, Olesen will wear the Iconic Polo in Gamma Green ($65). He will finish his look with Nike Lunar Control footwear.