Golf Buzz

Callaway Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond drivers
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The new Great Big Bertha driver (l) has a sliding weight around the sole's perimeter, while the Big Bertha Alpha 816 DBD has two gravity cores.
Callaway made a great big splash last year with the release of a brand-new generation of Great Big Bertha drivers – the Great Big Bertha, the Great Big Bertha Alpha 815 and the Great Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond. This week, the company unveiled the 2016 editions of these clubs.
The new drivers are the result not only of technological advances but also of Callaway's study of thousands of golfers that it custom-fits each year. The company's research shows that many golfers are forfeiting considerable distance off the tee because of three specific factors: Low ball speed, poor direction, and poor launch angles and spin rates.
So, Callaway designed its new drivers to address these shortcomings in golfers' swings. In fact, the company says these 2016 clubs have more distance-enhancing features and technologies than any they've ever created – and that the new Great Big Bertha drivers have a blend of aerodynamics and multi-material construction unlike any other drivers they've ever  built.
The standard Great Big Bertha – which Callaway says is best for the vast majority of golfers – features a 10-gram sliding weight that moves on a track around the perimeter of the sole. Golfers can set the weight wherever they prefer along the track, giving them the most options yet for dialing in their shot shape. The Bertha also features Callaway's Optifit Hosel, which provides eight different configurations to fine-tune loft, lie, and face angle.
In its studies, Callaway discovered that the one area where most golfers have the greatest room for improvement is the "smash factor." To help golfers generate more ball speed, even on mis-hits, Callaway's R•MOTO clubface technology employs a system of internal ribs that run from the center of the interior sole to the clubface, adding strength to the perimeter of the face. The heads also have Callaway's Variable Face Thickness, in which the face is thinner in strategic places to expand the area in the middle of the face that delivers fast ball speed.
The Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond – Callaway's Top-Fuel dragster – doesn't have the sliding perimeter weight because golfers good enough to handle this club don't need that. Instead, it features what the company calls Dual Distance Gravity Core Chambers.
Callaway pioneered the gravity core in the original Big Bertha Alpha. One end of the core – essentially a small stick – has a heavier weight while the other has a lighter weight; golfers can move the club's center of gravity up or down depending on which way they insert the gravity core into the head. 
The new 816 Alpha DBD has two gravity cores, one in each hemisphere of the sole. This, the company says, provides even more options for golfers looking to fine-tune their ball flight to increase their ball speed and distance along with their shot shape. The DBD also features the standard Big Bertha's upgraded R•MOTO Face and Opti-Fit Hosel, buthas a deeper face and a low center of gravity for a blend of forgiveness and workability that elite golfers are seeking. 
Callaway is offering a wide variety of custom shaft options to help golfers find their optimal blend of swing speed and control. These shafts range in weight from 295 grams to 325 grams, and come from such prominent shaftmakers as True Temper, Mitsubishi, Matrix and Aldila.
The new Big Bertha driver will be available for pre-order beginning August 14, and will arrive in stores on August 28 with a suggested retail price of $449.99. The Big Bertha Alpha 816 DBD also will be available for pre-order on August 14, and will hit stores on September 18 with a suggested retail price of $499.99.
Here's a video on the Alpha 816 DBD driver:
August 5, 2015 - 12:58pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rickie Fowler
USA Today Sports Images
Is it time for another Rickie Fowler win after a runner-up showing last week at Quicken Loans National?'s T.J. Auclair thinks it could be.

Before we turn our full attention to the final major of the season next week -- the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits -- there's a large event taking place in Akron this week.

The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone C.C. has an incredible roll-call of past champions, including Tiger Woods (an eight-time winner at the course) and defending champion Rory McIlroy.

RELATED: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tee times | McIlroy posts encouraging workout video

Unfortunately, neither of those two players -- winners of the last two WGC-Bridgestone Invitational's played, respectively -- will be teeing it up this week. For Woods, his current world ranking number is keeping him out, while McIlroy is sidelined to nurse his left ankle injury.

But even without arguably the two biggest names in golf, the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational has quite the field.

Let's take a look at the five players you should be keeping an eye on this week.

5. Keegan Bradley
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 at the Northern Trust Open
Reason to watch: To this point, it's been just a so-so season for Bradley with three top-10 finishes in 19 starts, but none since a T8 in the Memorial at the beginning of June. He has missed the cut on three occasions, including his last start at the Open Championship. So, why then should you give him a good look this week? Because his worst finish at Firestone in four previous starts is a T15. He also won the event in 2012, tied for second in 2013 and finished T4 a year ago. You know that saying, "horses for courses?" Well, it most certainly applies here.

4. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the U.S. Open
Reason to watch: Scott hasn't played a whole lot this year -- just 11 PGA Tour starts total. When he does play, however, Scott has played well. Still, there are no wins to show for the efforts, just a season-best T4 at both Doral and Chambers Bay. Scott's last start resulted in a T10 at the Open Championship, where -- as it so often seems -- he had a chance in the final round. Scott is another player with a solid track record at Firestone, including a victory in 2011.

3. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Valspar Championship, the Masters, the U.S. Open and the John Deere Classic
Reason to watch: Really? Where have you been?

2. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Players Championship
Reason to watch: He's electric. Coming off a second-place showing last week at Quicken Loans National, Fowler is clearly on top of his game as we hit this incredibly grueling stretch on the PGA Tour schedule. Fowler was a runner-up at Firestone in 2011. He was a fantastic golfer then, but has become even more sensational since.

1. Jason Day
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Farmers Insurance Open and the RBC Canadian Open
Reason to watch: A case could be made that Day has been the best player on the PGA Tour not named "Jordan Spieth" this season. Following another heartbreaking finish in a major -- his T4 at the Open Championship -- Day went out and won the very next week in Canada. Nice bounce back. Half of his 14 PGA Tour starts this season have resulted in a top-10 finish, including his last three in a row. Day is firmly establishing himself as a leaderboard "first-pager" almost every time he tees it up. That should continue this week at Firestone.

Here's how my five to watch fared last week at the Quicken Loans National:

5. Bill Haas -- T4
4. Jimmy Walker -- T21
3. Sang-Moon Bae -- Missed cut
2. Rickie Fowler -- 2nd
1. Justin Rose -- T4 

August 5, 2015 - 9:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
rorymcilroy on Instagram
On Wednesday morning, Rory McIlroy posted a clip of his workout to Instagram, showing him put his full weight on his injured left ankle. If nothing else, it seems the recovery is going well.

Whether he defends his PGA Championship next week at Whistling Straits or not, this is a great sign for the physical health of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy:


Working hard every day to come back stronger #dontmindthegrind

A video posted by Rory McIlroy (@rorymcilroy) on

McIlroy posted the video to his Instagram account on Wednesday morning. While his status for next week is still up in the air, it is nice to see the 26-year-old, four-time major winner working out without any support on that left ankle where he suffered "a total rupture of an ankle ligament" while playing soccer in early July.

RELATED: Freak soccer injury sidelines world No. 1 Rory McIlroy

Due to the injury, McIlroy has not played since a T9 at the U.S. Open. He has won twice on the PGA Tour this season -- at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and the Wells Fargo Championship.

Novak Djokovic and friends
Novak Djokovic via Twitter
Novak Djokovic (back row, right) are clearly inspired by their discovery of this European Ryder Cup golf cart.
It's not like the Europeans exactly need to cast a wide net for Ryder Cup players. I mean, their record over the last two decades shows that they're doing just fine with who they have.
But that doesn't mean some other athletes don't want to get in on the action. Just today, in fact, world No. 1 men's tennis player Novak Djokovic announced his interest. And from the sounds of his response below, European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke is open to the idea.
Djokovic loves golf – he once pulled a golf club out at Centre Court at Wimbledon, and he's been known to join Rafa Nadal for a round or two in Palm Springs – but I'm not sure how he'd fare under the intense Ryder Cup spotlight. Just in case, though, maybe I'll suggest that U.S. Captain Davis Love III start making friends with Serena Williams.
Kangaroo boxes flagsticks
Daniel Popovic via Twitter
One round with a flagstick wasn't enough for this kangaroo, so he took on a second flag before calling it a day.
Daniel Popovic was just trying to get in a little short-game practice when he was rudely interrupted. Make that "kanga-rudely" interrupted.
Yes, a kangaroo was also on hand at Heritage Golf & Country Club in Wonga Park, Australia, but it wasn't so worried about its short game. Instead, as you can see in the video below, the kangaroo was much more concerned with getting in a few rounds of boxing with some of the flags on the practice green.
The roo sees red at first, then decides maybe a blue flag would put up more of a fight. After throwing a left and a right and a left and a right and a left – and, whoo!, even a two-legged kick – it settles for a draw against the resilient flagstick and hops away.
Popovic, by the way, won the 2012 Australian PGA Championship. No word on whether the kangaroo wants to go a few rounds with him next.
August 3, 2015 - 11:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
Back in June at PGA Championship Media Day, Rory McIlroy teamed up with the Bryan Bros. for a trick-shot video at Whistling Straits.

Our favorite trick-shot duo -- the Bryan Bros. -- had a very special guest for their latest video... world No. 1, Rory McIlroy.

The Bryan Bros. and McIlroy joined forces at Whistling Straits in mid-June during Media Day for the 2015 PGA Championship, which tees off next week (before McIlroy's injury, of course).

RELATED: PGA Championship coverage | Tour Whistling Straits | PGA Championship gear

While there weren't any "new" tricks in this video, which doubles up as an ad for McIlroy's sponsor, Bose, it was still pretty neat to see McIlroy partake.

See it for yourself here: