Golf Buzz

March 8, 2013 - 11:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tiger Woods' old house in Isleworth
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Tiger Woods' old house in Isleworth (left) will soon be home to Bubba Watson and his family.

The PGA Tour rolls into Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational the week after next, but Bubba Watson plans to arrive sooner. He won’t be there for an early peek at Bay Hill, though – he and his family are relocating to Orlando and looking to move in next week. And, he revealed Friday, their new house just happens to be Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren's old house at Isleworth.

"It's true," Watson said at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. "We closed last summer and we're moving in next Thursday or Friday."

Woods, of course, has decamped to his oceanfront mansion on Jupiter Island, Fla.

Watson and wife Angie looked at dozens of places before they even checked Woods' old digs out. And in the seven months since they made the purchase, they have overseen a complete renovation of the property.

"We ended up changing everything. We probably saved maybe five percent of it," Watson said. "We built it all around Caleb. There are like three playrooms."

At Isleworth, Watson's neighbors will include fellow PGA Tour players including Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.

"The one I've talked to the most is Charles Howell," Watson said. "He has two kids and talked about how family-oriented Isleworth is. They got programs for kids, tennis camps, golf camps, family night every Wednesday night for dinner. They were all things we wanted to be involved in, and the golf course is really good, too, for me to practice."

March 8, 2013 - 9:30am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Augusta National
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Could the famous leaderboard at Augusta National one day feature the names of the top women golfers?

 

It's certainly not imminent, but LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan still has hope that one day Augusta National Golf Club will open its doors to an LPGA event.
 
In a report written by Erik Matuszewski on Bloomberg.com, Whan explains that each year since becoming commissioner in 2010, he's reached out to Augusta National about potentially hosting a women's event in addition to the Masters.
 
“I don’t know anybody who loves the game who wouldn’t view Augusta National as maybe the best golf platform in the world,” Whan told Bloomberg.com. “Would I like to see the best female golfers in the world on that stage? Of course.”
 
From the Bloomberg.com report:
 
LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan has hope that Augusta National Golf Club may one day open its gates to an event for the sport’s top women’s tour after the Masters Tournament host added female members last year.
 
Whan, who took over as LPGA commissioner in 2010, said he contacts the club in Augusta, Georgia, every year about hosting a women’s tournament in addition to the Masters, the first of golf’s four annual major championships for men. This year’s Masters is scheduled for April 11-14.
 
Whan, 48, said he’s not discouraged about being rebuffed by Augusta National officials and said he understands why “it’s not the right time and may never be the right time.” Augusta National spokesman Steve Ethun didn’t return an e-mail message seeking comment.
 
 
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March 8, 2013 - 8:21am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Nick Price
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Nick Price will be the captain of the 2013 International Presidents Cup team.

 

The Presidents Cup -- the biennial team competition that pits the U.S. against the Internationals (players from everywhere but Europe are eligible) -- has been incredibly lopsided since its inception in 1994.
 
In nine matches, the U.S. has won seven times, lost just once and famously tied at the 2003 matches in South Africa.
 
Let's face it, with the U.S. dominance in the event -- pretty much the opposite of its Ryder Cup results lately -- you'd think it'd be time to make a change.
 
At least that's what 2013 International Team Presidents Cup Captain Nick Price and International star Ernie Els thought.
 
Price and Els proposed a plan to PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem to try and making the playing field a bit more even.
 
Golfweek.com's Alex Miceli explains:
 
DORAL, Fla. -- It seems the Presidents Cup will retain the format some say is skewed toward a U.S. victory when the International and U.S. teams make the September trip to Muirfield Village in Ohio for the 10th Presidents Cup.
 
While captain of the International team, Greg Norman said that the format needs to be changed to make the International 12 more competitive. Since then, he and current captain Nick Price, as well as Ernie Els and others, have pitched an amended format to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and U.S. captain Fred Couples. Price finds the rejection to be clear.
 
"The issue to all of us is dead and buried," Price said.
 
Because of the International team's lack of depth, Price has advocated more of a Ryder Cup format with four matches in the alternate shot, rather than six on day one and five on day two.
 
“Our team doesn't quite have the depth that the American team has,” seven–time participant Els said Wednesday, a day after a meeting on the subject. “Their last player in is about where my (world) ranking is, 25, 26 in the world. Right now I'm like No. 4 on the team.
 
"The more points we play for, the worse off we are. The Ryder Cup, they play for 28 points; we play for 34.”
 
 
Follow T.J Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 8, 2013 - 8:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Greg Norman
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Greg Norman didn't win the bid to design the 2016 Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro, but he'll still play a role in the Games.

 

Bradley Klein, a senior writer for GolfWeek, reports that Greg Norman will work to help develop China'a Olympic golf team ahead of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
 
Klein wrote:
 
Greg Norman didn’t get to design the golf course for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. But now, through an arrangement with the China Golf Association, he will help shape that country’s golf program in preparation for those games.
 
Norman, 58, a World Golf Hall of Fame member, will work closely with the CGA in developing a training regimen for junior golf generally in China and for identifying candidates to play on Chinese teams in Rio. With golf now slated to return to the Olympic Games in 2016 for the first time since 1904 in St. Louis, many countries are expected to use the occasion to spawn development of their junior golf programs. The terms of any competition in the Rio Games have yet to be announced – other than it will involve separate men’s and women’s events on a course, as yet unbuilt, to be designed by Gil Hanse.
 
To read Klein's entire report, click here.
 
Follow T.J Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 7, 2013 - 7:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade-adidas Golf caps
Dustin Johnson via Twitter
TaylorMade staffer tweeted this photo of the #IER caps he's wearing at the Cadillac Championship.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf has been the biggest success story in golf – and I would argue one of the most notable success stories in all of business – in recent years.

The latest proof of that came Thursday, when TaylorMade announced that it achieved record sales in 2012, bringing in more than $1.7 billion. With sales of golf clubs, balls, footwear, apparel and accessories up 20 percent on a currency-neutral basis, the company said, last year was its best ever.

In 2012, the company said, TMaG further strengthened its position as the world's best-selling metalwood brand with a 21 percent increase in that category, which consists of drivers, fairway woods and rescue clubs. The company also grew its iron category by 32 percent. In the United States, which accounts for about half its global sales. TMaG's metalwood market share in dollars was 4 percent and its iron share was 25 percent.

Rounding out its portfolio of growth categories, TMaG saw significant sales gains in footwear (+19 percent), golf bags (+47 percent) and other golf hardware (+48 percent).

The company attributes its 2012 success to the popularity of its adjustable R11S driver and its distance-generating RocketBallz line of clubs. In fact, TaylorMade called the demand for its RocketBallz clubs ''extraordinary.''

Anecdotal evidence so far this year indicates that 2013 will be another strong year, with the second-generation Stage 2 RocketBallz fairway clubs, the RocketBladez irons and the new R1 driver taking the baton from their predecessors. The company also is continuing its relentless marketing pace – this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, for example, TaylorMade staffers are sporting bags and apparel with the #IER hashtag to promote the official tour launch of the RocketBallz Stage 2 clubs (they're ''RocketBallz-ier'').

March 7, 2013 - 7:28pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
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Phil Mickelson hit a spectacular pitch shot from a cart path on the 17th hole at Doral on Thursday to set up a birdie on his way to a 5-under 67.

Hitting a shot off the cart path is a lot easier than it looks... at least that's what Phil Mickelson thinks.

Playing the 17th hole in the first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral on Thursday, Mickelson elected to play a 50-yard shot from the cart path, deciding it was the cleanest lie he'd get.
 
In typical, magical Phil fashion, Lefty clipped the ball off the concrete and nestled it to within six feet of the hole. He then knocked down the putt for what many of us probably thought was an amazing birdie.
 
Mickelson, however, wasn't as impressed.
 
In an interview with Golf Channel's Steve Sands following his 5-under 67, Mickelson broke down the shot for those of us at home. The explanation was every bit as funny as it was informative and instructional.
 
"This is actually a very easy shot here," Mickelson told Sands as the video highlight played. "Here's the deal on the cart path -- there's two things: 1. You'd have to be an idiot to open the club face because you're adding bounce. There's no way you're going to get the club underneath the ball, right? So, I square up the face, that's one; and No. 2 is, the ball is going to come out five yards longer than normal."
 
 
 
Follow T.J Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.