Golf Buzz

February 13, 2013 - 3:01pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Riviera
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Riviera may be one of the shorter courses on the PGA Tour, but it's also one of the most special.

 

What should you be looking out for this week as the PGA Tour heads to legendary Riviera Country Club for the Northern Trust Open?
 
BleacherReport.com featured columnist Mike Dudurich has you covered.
 
Dudurich wrote:
 
Going back to 1929, when the Los Angeles Open was first played at Riviera Country Club, the early-season stop on the PGA Tour quickly grew into a must-play for the best players in the world.
 
In the middle of the century, Riviera became known as Hogan's Alley after Ben Hogan won two Los Angeles Opens and the 1948 U.S. Open on the course.
 
The PGA Tour comes calling this week to Riviera and the course will provide one of the compelling storylines throughout the week.
 
Among the storylines Dudurich highlights is the fact that stars Luke Donald, Adam Scott and Ernie Els are all making their PGA Tour season debuts this week.
 
To check out all of Dudurich's storylines, click here.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 13, 2013 - 8:33am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Daniela Holmqvist
Daniela Holmqvist Twitter
Daniela Holmqvist of Sweden (center) finished an LPGA qualifier after being bitten on the fourth hole by a back widow spider on Tuesday.

 

Have you ever gutted out a round of golf while fighting blisters on your feet? Maybe you've fallen ill on the course, but sucked it up and plugged along to finish?
 
If you have, LET (Ladies European Tour) rookie Daniela Holmqvist of Sweden probably never wants to hear your lame, pathetic story.
 
Holmqvuist was playing in a pre-qualifier on Tuesday for the LPGA's ISPS Handa Australian Open in Yarralumla. After hitting her second shot from the rough on the fourth hole, Holmqvuist was bitten by a black widow spider on her ankle.
 
 
She felt a sharp stab in her ankle. When she looked down, she saw a large, furry, black creature with a red spot on its back just above her sock line. After quickly swatting it away, she doubled over in pain.
 
"When I told the local caddies in my group what had happened, they got very upset and said it was a Black Widow, and immediately started looking for their phones to call the medics," Holmqvist told Karin Klarstrom of Svensk Golf.
 
As Holmqvist's leg started to swell and the pain became intense, she made the quick decision to take matters into her own hands (she'd just been informed that a Black Widow bite can kill a child in as little as 30 minutes). She pulled a tee out of her pocket ("it was the only thing I had handy," she told Svensk Golf) and used it to cut open the wound so she could squeeze out the venom and keep it from spreading inside her body.
 
"A clear fluid came out," she said. "It wasn't the prettiest thing I've ever done, but I had to get as much of it out of me as possible."
 
As it turns out, the quick-thinking Holmqvist helped her cause in a big way with the self-surgery. 
 
Playing through severe pain and anxiety, Holmqvist miraculously finished her round and shot a 74 -- which left her out of the tournament. 
 
Holmqvist gave post-round updates via her Twitter page, @DHolmqvist:
 
"So I went to see a doctor... On a double dose of antibiotics and some other stuff 4 times per day. Also the wound needed some attention."
 
"I asked the doctor if I could do a workout today... Her response "the death-stare"."
 
The moral of the story: next time you want to whine about some ailment on the course, think of Daniela Holmqvist who played 14 more holes after a black widow bite and ensuing do-it-yourself surgery with a golf tee!
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 13, 2013 - 2:00am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Luke Donald and Michael Jordan
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Luke Donald believes Michael Jordan's love of golf and success in basketball's most pressure-packed situations can help him earn a breakthrough major title.

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."

February 12, 2013 - 7:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Odyssey White Hot Pro putters
Courtesy of Odyssey Golf
The face of the new White Hot Pro putters from Odyssey Golf features an upgraded insert, wwhile the sole includes a series of dashes to be used with the new EyeFit fitting system.

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.

 

February 12, 2013 - 4:32pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Players Towel
Players Towel
The Players Towel isn't just for golf. You can use it for any sport.

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?

 
We've got just the thing for you. Check it out...
 
It's a fact: people who take their golf seriously want to use what the pros use. 
 
Believe it or not, that even trickles down to the towel used to clean their clubs. Trust us... not all towels are created the same. And until 2009, unless you played on a major golf tour, you couldn't get your hands on the aptly named, "Players Towel."
 
Patrick Le Vine, President and Founder of Players Towel, is a former LPGA caddie and he has experience with lousy towels.
 
For many, many years, it was a running joke amongst the professional golf ranks that caddies would, "borrow," towels from the hotel or motel they were staying at on a given week to bring to the course and keep their players' clubs clean. Le Vine was no exception.
 
"I was one of those guys who got caught 'borrowing' the white towels with the blue stripe, because the tournaments did not provide adequate towels," Le Vine said.
 
As a result, Le Vine did something about it and created one of the highest quality sports (not just “golf”) towels you'll ever come across -- the Players Towel.
 
"Players Towel are made from the finest microfiber available," Le Vine said. "The towels can hold over 300 times their weight in water. The unique waffle pattern is designed specifically to clean the grooves of a golf club. The high grade microfiber is durable enough to clean mud and dirt from your clubs, yet gentle enough to clean your sunglasses."
 
For a more personal touch, Le Vine can embroider whatever it is you want on the Player Towel -- initials, your name, an expression, a logo, etc. -- which comes in a variety of colors and retails at $24.95 (personalization is free for either a name or logo -- both can be added for a small fee). 
 
You can also have a, “putter slit,” added to the middle of your towel to give it a place to hang on your golf bag so you never have to worry about losing it.
 
"Combined with unlimited personalization options via embroidery, sublimation or screen-printing, Players Towel has quickly become the preferred towel of touring professionals worldwide," he said.
 
To back that up, Le Vine told us that the Player Towel has been on the winner's bag of 20 PGA and LPGA pros in 2011 and 22 in 2012. Webb Simpson had one on his bag for his 2012 U.S. Open victory at Olympic Club, while Phil Mickelson and Charl Schwartzel also had a Players Towel while playing their way to green jackets in the 2010 and 2011 Masters, respectively.
 
Now, you can get a Players Towel of your own.
 
"From 2006-2008 we were designing and only making the towels for tour players, while we refined our product and made it ready for the world," Le Vine said. "In 2009 we began selling to the public."
 
The towels are available in an ever-growing number of golf shops worldwide, or you can create your own without even leaving your house by visiting PlayersTowel.com.
 
You can also follow Players Towel on Twitter, @PlayersTowel.
 
Finally, you can like Players Towel on Facebook here.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
February 12, 2013 - 9:19am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Blayne Barber
Getty Images
Blayne Barber, who disqualified himself from q-school last fall after signing an incorrect scorecard, has qualified to play in this week's Northern Trust Open.

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. 

 

So who, you ask, is Blayne Barber?
 
Barber is a former Auburn golfer who made headlines during last fall's q-school, when he disqualified himself for an infraction that only he witnessed.
 
It all happened on the 13th hole at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., during the first stage of q-school. AL.com reported at the time, there was a tiny leaf in a bunker behind Barber's golf ball and he knew his club nicked it on the backswing even though his brother and caddie, Shayne, didn't see it and still doesn't think it happened. 
 
According to rule 13-4, a golfer in a bunker cannot touch a loose impediment before impact, not even on the backswing, without incurring a penalty.
 
Barber immediately informed his playing partners and took a one-stroke penalty. 
 
Long after the round, however, Barber's roommate informed him the infraction might actually be a two-stroke penalty, meaning Barber would have signed for an incorrect score -- an automatic disqualification.
 
Barber finished the first stage and qualified for the second stage of q-school. 
 
However, the thought that he may have signed an incorrect scroecard was too much for Barber to bear. He called in the infraction himself and was deemed disqualified. 
 
That opened the door for several players who thought they had missed out on second stage to advance.
 
Barber shouldn't be hailed as a hero. After all, he did the right thing. Golf is a game of honor. 
 
But, it is nice to see that he's played his way into a PGA Tour event. Solid players can always use good karma.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.