Golf Buzz

July 26, 2013 - 6:00pm
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John Holmes
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Tom Stites of Nike Golf
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Tom Stites has overseen the development of every major Nike golf club – including the ones in Tiger Woods' bag.

Tom Stites, the chief club designer at Nike Golf since the company entered the club business, is retiring. He will stay with the company as a consultant.

''Officially, Tom has retired,'' Rob Arluna, Nike Golf's global golf club business director, confirmed to Golfweek. ''He is moving into a consultant's role, and we call him the Chief Imagineer.''

Stites made his name as a club designer at Ben Hogan Golf in Fort Worth – under the watchful eye of Hogan himself – and had formed a popular boutique firm, Impact Golf Technologies, when Nike knocked on his door in 2001. Nike Golf's first club launches under Stites came in 2002, and he has overseen the development of every major Nike golf club – including all the ones in Tiger Woods' bag – ever since.

Nike Golf established a research and development facility nicknamed ''the Oven'' in Fort Worth, where Stites has created dozens of clubs, including the recent VR_S Covert line of woods and irons. Stites will continue to work there, but instead of focusing on day-to-day operations going forward, he'll concentrate on conjuring up the clubs that'll make up Nike's long-term future.

Stites' move has been in the works for some months and, late last year, Nike Golf hired Cleveland Golf veteran Nate Radcliffe as director of engineering for golf clubs. Also, Golfweek said, Mario Lafortune, director of the Nike Sport Research Laboratory for the past 15 years, will move to Fort Worth from Nike's headquarters in Oregon.


July 26, 2013 - 5:07pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Russell Knox
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Russell Knox became the fifth player to shoot a 59 on the Tour.

For the second time in two weeks, a Tour event has produced a 59. This time it is Russell Knox, who carded a 12-under 59 in the second round of the Albertsons Boise Open today. His low-low score follows Will Wilcox's 12-under 59 at the Utah Championship on July 15.

The weirdest thing about Knox's 59 is that it came so soon after Wilcox's. I say that because the first two 59s in Tour history both occurred in a two-week span in 1998, when Doug Dunakey and Notah Begay III did it. Aside from those four, there has been only one other 59 in the circuit's history – from Jason Gore in 2005, almost perfectly spaced bwetween 1998 and 2013.

Knox started on the 10th hole at 6,807-yard, par-71 Hillcrest Country Club on Friday, and birdied it. After four pars, he went birdie-eagle-birdie on Nos. 15-17, then parred the 18th hole for an outward 30. He began his second nine with a par and an eagle, then made five straight birdies on Nos. 3-7. Two final pars gave him a 7-under 29 and a 59 total. And if you're counting, that's an 11-under stretch of 11 holes in the middle of his round.

Knox, a 28-year-old from Inverness, Scotland, has won $50,536 in eight starts this season to rank No. 71 on the money list. He's also made 7 cuts in 10 starts on the PGA Tour this year.

UPDATE: Here's an interesting fact from the folks at Cleveland and Srixon -- both Knox and Wilcox shot their 59s using brand-new models of the Srixon Z-Star ball with Spin Skin. Wilcox used a Tour Yellow ball, while Knox used a Pure White model. This new generation of Z-Star balls will be available at retail on August 8.

Here is the list of the sub-60 scores in official events on the world's top-level tours that Knox has joined:

Ryo Ishikawa (-12), 2010 Japan Golf Tour, The Crowns in Aichi, Japan 

Al Geiberger (-13), 1977 PGA Tour, Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in Memphis Tenn.
Chip Beck (-13), 1991 PGA Tour, Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.
David Duval (-13), 1999 PGA Tour, Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.
Paul Goydos (-12), 2010 PGA Tour, John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Stuart Appleby (-11), 2010 PGA Tour, Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphus Springs, W.Va.

Annika Sorenstam (-13), 2001 LPGA Tour, Standard Register Ping in Phoenix, Ariz.

Notah Begay III (-13), 1998 Nike Tour, Dominion Open in Richmond, Va.
Doug Dunakey (-11), 1998 Nike Tour, Miami Valley Open in Springboro, Ohio
Jason Gore (-12), 2005 Nike Tour, Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb.
Will Wilcox (-12), 2013 Tour, Utah Championship in Sandy, Utah
Russell Knox (-12) 2013 Tour, Albertsons Boise Open in Boise, Idaho

Masahiro Kuramoto (-12), 2003 Japan Golf Tour, Acom International in Ibaraki, Japan  

Adrien Mork (-12), 2006 European Challenge Tour, Tikita Hotels Agadir Moroccan Classic in Agadir, Morocco


July 25, 2013 - 7:56pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Colin Montgomerie
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Colin Montgomerie thinks golfers, like chess players, should have a specific amount of time to play each shot or receive a penalty.

The topic of slow play has been much discussed lately. European Tour stalwart Colin Montgomerie has an idea how to stop it once and for all – a shot clock.

Monty, who's now playing the Champions Tour, is one of the faster players in the game. He'd like to see every player timed from first tee box to 18th green, and that one-stroke penalties be applied whether players are famous or not. His reference is to the fact that two young Asian players have been penalized for slow play in majors this year, but no big-name tour player ever has.

"What I would love to see … would be for one of the top players to have that shot penalty and then it would really resonate throughout the rest of the field," he said at the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England. 

"Why do you have to wait to be slow before you are put on the clock?,'' he asked. ''There should be an allotted time to play the game, like chess where you have a certain time to play.

"It has been mentioned about a shot clock and that is interesting,'' he added. "There are 52 referees out there at major championships and they should all have a clock, should be able to put them on the clock on the first tee to ensure they all get around in time."

Montgomerie calls slow play ''the biggest bugbear" in golf.

"If the first two groups take five or more hours to go round, then the day is gone, you can't make it up,'' he said. "But if that first group takes four hours and five minutes then you have a chance.''


July 25, 2013 - 6:13pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Nick O'Leary motorcycle crash
Screen grab from Youtube
Nick O'Leary, the grandson of Jack Nicklaus, went flying after his motorcycle hit a car that had pulled out into his path.

Jack Nicklaus' grandson Nick O'Leary plays football at Florida State, and he is one tough dude. He proved it by walking away from a horrific motorcycle crash. 

The accident occurred in Tallahassee on May 2. Tomahawk Nation, which covers Florida State athletics, got hold of the video footage and recently published it. The wreck was captured by a camera on board a Tallahassee city bus that also was involved.

You can watch the video here.

O'Leary was coming down Mission Road when a car pulled out right in front of him. O'Leary struck the car, sending both him and his bike flying. The bike smashed into the front of the Star Metro Bus, which was stopped on the other side of the road while a passenger got off, shattering its windshield. Fortunately for O'Leary, he missed the bus, and skidded approximately 100 feet down the road.

Also very fortunate was the passenger who had just gotten off the bus. He was retrieving his bicycle from the front of the bus, and the flying motorcycle barely missed him.

Tomahawk Nation discovered the footage, and the accident report, after being tipped off by an unknown source.

Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher referenced the accident at a press conference earlier this month, Tomahawk Nation said, saying that the 247-pound O'Leary was looking ''very good'' after he ''wrecked that daggone scooter and was banged up for about a month.''


July 24, 2013 - 9:22am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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GoPro, golf, TPI
TPI YouTube
Dave Phillips, PGA Professional and founder of the Titleist Performance Institute, prepares to hit a GoPro camera (instead of a golf ball) out of a bunker.
GoPro touts its product as, "The world's most versatile camera."
Goofing around at the the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) last Friday, PGA Professional and TPI Founder Dave Phillips put the versatility of the camera to the ultimate test.
Phillips placed the camera in a bunker -- in lieu of a golf ball -- and proceeded to take a whack at it with a sand wedge. What happens next is nothing short of amazing, as the camera rotates in the air the way a golf ball would before -- incredibly -- dropping into the hole.
The description on the TPI video uploaded to YouTube explains that Phillips attempted the shot eight times before finding the bottom of the cup. 
And -- in case you were wondering -- Phillips used the same camera for all eight tries.
Versatile indeed!
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
July 23, 2013 - 5:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adams Tight Lies fairway woods
Courtesy of Adams Golf
The new Adams Tight Lies fairway woods feature Cut-Thru Slots in the sole to help flex the face.

Back in the 1990s, Adams Golf earned the attention of golfers everywhere with the introduction of its Tight Lies fairway woods, and for years those clubs were among the most prominent in all of golf.

Two decades later, the Tight Lies line is back. The new iteration features many of the same design elements that made those originals so successful, along with the Velocity Slot Technology found in current Adams clubs.

Just like the original, the new Tight Lies line will debut with a 16-degree 3-wood in mid-August, with other loft options to follow later.

''In the ever-present pursuit of maximum distance, today's fairway woods have become mini-drivers – extremely difficult to hit from anywhere other than from a tee,'' said Adams Golf Director of Research and Development Justin Honea. ''The low-profile design places the center of gravity (CG) below the CG of the ball, making it easy to hit the ball in the air.'' 

A hallmark of the original Tight Lies fairway wood was its revolutionary low-profile, upside-down design, and it is back in the new version. This design feature allows for a very low center of gravity – below the ball's center of gravity – making it easier to get the ball up in the air with distance and accuracy.

The Cut-Thru Slots in the crown and sole create extra flex in the face, which helps create faster ball speeds as well as increased forgiveness across the face. And that unique tri-sole design reduces turf interaction to improve performance from the fairway, rough, sand – even, as Adams says, tight lies.

The new club already has made a fan in eight-time major winner and 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson.

''The most important thing for me is to know how far the ball is going to go,'' he said, ''and with the new technology, here with Tight Lies, we can hit it where we want it to go and that's what you want in a golf club.''

The regular Tight Lies woods will come standard with the Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara Eagle graphite shaft, while the slightly hotter Tight Lies Tour edition will feature the Aldila Tour Blue shaft. Both models will feature a matte black finish, while the women's model will have a matte grey crown. All will include the familiar white half stripes low on the shaft that were also featured on the original. 

Along with the 16-degree models available soon for lefties and eighties, the Tight Lies line also will include 14-, 19- and 22-degree models in right-handed, and 19 degrees in left-handed. The Tour clubs will add 14.5- and 18-degree models for right-handers, along with a 14.5-degree model for lefties.

The women's models will come in 3-wood, 5-wood and 7-wood models for right-handers, and 3-wood and 5-wood clubs for lefties.

The standard Tight Lies will carry a suggested retail price of $199.99, with the Tight Lies Tour going for $229.99.