Golf Buzz

March 5, 2014 - 11:30am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Victor Dubuisson
Titleist made a special wedge for French golfer Victor Dubuisson.

Two week's ago at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Frenchman Victor Dubuisson lost in the final to Jason Day, a match that went 23 holes.

Though he lost the match, Dubuisson gained fans worldwide for his jaw-dropping Seve Ballesteros-esque short game skills when the match went extra holes.

RELATED: Dubuisson's magical pitch shots | Creamer's 75-foot putt | Your "hero" moments

On the 19th and 20th holes, respectively, Dubuisson made the most unlikely of pars, getting up and down from junk -- or, on the first of those holes, a cactus plant -- to keep the match going.

On Tuesday, to commemorate Dubuisson's unbelievable shots in the Match Play, Titleist presented the 23-year-old golfer with a wedge emblazoned with a cactus plant. See the tweet below from @TitleistonTour:



The idea of this is pretty cool. If Dubuisson chooses to make this a "game" wedge, whenever he finds himself in a difficult spot, facing a tough chip or pitch, he can merely look at the cactus on the wedge and think, "I've seen worse situations and pulled off the shots!"

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

March 4, 2014 - 11:24pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Jessica Korda and Dustin Johnson
Courtesy of USA Golf
adidas ambassadors Jessica Korda and Dustin Johnson joined representatives from adidas and USA Golf in announcing that adidas will provide the clothing for the 2016 U.S. Olympics golf teams.
adidas Golf has been named the official uniform provider for the athletes, coaches and staff of USA Golf – meaning that adidas will clothe the players representing the United States when golf returns to the Olympics in 2016, along with the coaches and support staff.
"We are elated that the game's best players will showcase their talents in our apparel on the world's greatest stage," adidas Golf President Ben Sharpe on Tuesday as the agreement was announced at Trump National Doral in Miami. "The storied history of adidas has long been associated with the greatest athletes in the world, and we're proud to support the athletes of the USA Golf Team as they compete for their place in Olympic history."
The men and women playing for the United States in Rio de Janeiro will receive layering pieces, polos, outerwear and pants that adidas says will be "designed and engineered to the highest levels of innovation the brand has ever developed." 
The Olympic line of apparel has yet to be unveiled. adidas also is creating a USA Golf-branded line of apparel that will be available to the public later this year.
USA Golf is a collaboration of The PGA of America, the PGA Tour, the LPGA and the U.S. Golf Association. It is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Golf Federation as the national governing body that will name the players and manage both the men's and women's U.S. Olympic golf teams. 
PGA of America President Ted Bishop
The PGA of America
PGA of America Ted Bishop was seeking to give recreational amateurs who anchor long putters more time to adapt to the new rule 14-1b.
Last month, PGA of America President Ted Bishop and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem spoke at the U.S. Golf Association's annual meeting, and proposed that the USGA implement a "grandfather" period to provide amateurs with more time to adapt to playing without an anchored stroke. 
Word has come down that the request has been denied, and Rule 14-1b – which bans the use of the anchored putting stroke – will go into effect as expected on Jan. 1, 2016.
After receiving the news, Bishop sent a letter to his PGA of America membership, the body of which is included here:
"I am writing to inform you that the United States Golf Association (USGA) has decided not to extend the implementation date of Rule 14-1b (anchoring) for amateur golfers beyond Jan. 1, 2016. Last month at the USGA Annual Meeting in Pinehurst, N.C., PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem and I outlined our proposal for a “grandfather” period.
"Both the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR have consistently shared strong feelings about this matter with the USGA and we appreciated the opportunity to formally present our views before the USGA’s full Executive Committee.
"While we are disappointed with the USGA’s decision not to extend the implementation date beyond Jan. 1, 2016, I know that all PGA Professionals are committed to helping amateur players choose a permissible putting stroke that will help them continue to enjoy the game well into the future.
"Indeed, PGA Professionals go to work every day knowing that we are the most respected instructors in the game. This is a new challenge and opportunity that we will embrace, and along with helping PGA TOUR players, we will assist golfers of all abilities in advance of the implementation date of Rule 14-1b.
"Finally, we believe that one of the profound outcomes that emerged from the discussion of “anchoring,” is that both the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR have a more meaningful seat at the Rules table for future decisions affecting the game. We strongly believe that such enhanced communication among our respected organizations is essential to the long-term viability of golf."
Bishop and Finchem were seeking to give recreational amateurs who anchor long putters more time to adapt to the new rule, believing that an extension would be beneficial to those golfers.
"The leadership at the PGA of America and the PGA Tour both believe that it would be reasonable to offer recreational golfers who anchor a longer period of time to convert to the approved method of making a stroke," Bishop wrote to PGA members back in January. "For example, when the 'Grooves Rule' was instituted in 2009, the USGA allowed a 15-year 'grandfather period' for amateurs to switch to conforming golf clubs.
"We believe our request for a 'grandfather period' can further assist you, the PGA Professional, in transitioning recreational golfers who do anchor, to the approved method," he added.
Bishop said the request wasn't intended to reignite the debate on anchoring, and that the PGA of America had accepted the USGA decision to invoke Rule 14-1b in 2016. His hope, he said, was that the USGA would simply give amateurs a longer period to make the transition.
March 4, 2014 - 8:15pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
U.S. men's soccer jersey
Courtesy of U.S. Soccer
Saying that the new U.S. Soccer jerseys look like golf shirts is a compliment, not a criticism.
U.S. Soccer and Nike unveiled the uniforms that the men's national team will wear in the World Cup this summer in Rio de Janeiro as well as in other matches. Haters began instantly hating on the jerseys because they look like – the horror! – golf shirts.
"The verdict is unanimous: The top looks like a golf shirt," Brooks Peck wrote on Yahoo's Dirty Tackle soccer blog
"Even the Associated Press went with the headline 'New US World Cup jersey looks like golf shirt' for their report on the matter," Peck noted. But, he added, "this look is just as traditional for the pitch as it is for the golf course."
Andrew Das, an editor who focuses on soccer and other international sports at The New York Times, quipped on Twitter that the new jersey "will also work for the Ryder Cup team," and added the hashtag "#golfshirt". He later tweeted this: "Any truth to rumor that Ukraine backed out [of its game with the United States Wednesday in Cyprus] "after seeing USMNT's fearsome new all-white kit? #FearTheGolfShirt."
Soccer fan Jordan Robbins hopped on Twitter to opine that "The new USMNT jerseys are awful. @Nike assumes we won't make it out of the group so they made it a golf shirt."
Deadspin also got in on the criticism, as writer Barry Petchesky called the jersey a "bland, golf shirt-looking" thing and noted that reaction "has not been kind." The one saving grace, he said, is that, with the all-white shirt, shorts and socks, maybe the team "will have the last laugh when it hits 100" in Brazil.
As a long-time and dedicated golf shirt wearer, I have to laugh at all this. Golf shirts are great – they're comfortable, versatile and good-looking. And many of the modern versions are so awesome that they actively help you keep cool and comfy even when it's stinkin' hot outside. As far as I'm concerned, the only bad golf shirt is one I don't have yet.
I might just buy one of these babies to show my support. If you'd like one, too, here's where to go get it. And if that New York Times guy has you thinking about a Ryder Cup shirt, you can get yours right here. Unlike the soccer jerseys, there's no question that they look great.
March 4, 2014 - 3:33pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
The Perfect Putt
Photo: Courtesy Grantland YouTube Channel
Scoring a 1 is tough enough in putt-putt, but 18 in a row? Rick Baird has done it.

The old adage is: Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. But sometimes, good - or even great - isn't the goal. Perfect is.

Take Rick Baird, a member of the PPA. The PPA - otherwise known as the Professional Putters Association, the orgainization that puts on tournaments around miniature golf - known by many (by the brand name) Putt-Putt.

In 2007, Baird was the PPA Player of the Year. That's pretty good. But it's what he accomplished in 2011 - and only now getting the full press it deserves - that really boggles the mind. Baird acheived perfection. That's right. He scored an 18 in a round of miniature golf. 18 up - 18 aces. It's only been done three times...ever.

Moreover, the story of Baird's perfection is brilliantly told through the lens of a Grantland mini-documentary - which also details how nearly impossible the math says it is to accomplish what Baird did that day. They also use a brilliant animation to show each hole and the putt that went in. Really well done.



I actually tried to imagine the pressure that goes through one's mind as they step up to a geometrically devious golf hole with no real architectual ryhme or reason to it - with the goal being, "let's make history." Every year, someone is going to have a putt to win the Masters. Every two years, a putt at the Ryder Cup will feel like the whole world is watching. But this was really a putt that might not be seen again for a generation. Amazing.

So this is a couple of years old - but it's new to me, so it's news to me. Congratulations Rick Baird. You weren't simply good that day...not even simply great. You were perfect.  

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim

March 4, 2014 - 1:13pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Why golf clubs have numbers
PGA of America Archive
Long before golf clubs had numbers, they had names.

As we all know, golf has many intricacies. One of those comes from the most important pieces of equipment you need to play the game -- your clubs.

Did you know that your clubs weren’t always numbered? Instead, they had names like the "mashie" and the "niblick." In fact, not only that, but clubs didn’t always come in the complete sets that we have come to know today.

We wondered: When and how did the transition from named clubs to numbered clubs come about?

READ: The story behind the hole used for "Tin Cup" final scene

We turned to golf historian Fred Beltz for an explanation.

"Prior to 1850, when the golf ball used was the feather ball, almost all golf clubs were wooden," explained Beltz, a member and Club Historian at Oak Hill Country Club, site of three U.S. Opens, three PGA Championships (including 2013; Beltz is the co-historian of that tournament), one Ryder Cup, a Senior PGA Championship and two U.S. Amateurs. "They were rather delicate, long-nosed and swung with a relatively flat swing; if irons were used at all it would have been as a trouble club where the situation would have damaged the early wooden 'play' clubs."

Right around 1850 and with the advent of the gutta percha ball (a "guttie"), Beltz told us, is when irons began to take on a more important role, "partly because hitting a 'guttie' was akin to hitting a rock and the wooden play clubs were too easily broken. Partly too because of Allan Robertson, a very early golf professional, who developed a highly successful short game using irons which was quickly imitated by other competitors."

PGA.COM VALUE GUIDE: Trade-in your clubs online

At this point in time, clubs were unmarked and neither named nor numbered. Instead, they were referred to more by their usage.

"A 'cleek' for fairway shots and a 'rut' iron for trouble shots," Beltz said. "As irons became more popular and the number of club makers increased, there was a need to differentiate who made the club for marketing reasons and also to differentiate the more subtle differences as the number of irons in the bag (if a bag was being used) multiplied."

At the end of the 19th century, not only were the usually recognized names for clubs (putter, to niblick, mashie niblick, spade mashie, mashie, mid-iron, spoon, brassie and driver) in use, but then all sorts of utility clubs became common -- the jigger, the sammy, the chipper, the lofting iron, the sky iron, semi-putter and many others.

Beltz told us that up until the 1920s, players accumulated their clubs as a collection of what worked for them and obtained them from various club makers. Players bought and used what worked and the club names were more of a guide than a precise statement of loft and weight, with one club maker's mashie more similar to another club maker's spade mashie and so on.

"Back in the day when you might stop at a rummage sale to find a dozen hickories in an old canvas bag there might be three, four or five club makers represented -- there was no such thing as a 'set of clubs,'" Beltz said.

In the early 1920s, Spalding began to market their Kro-Flight brand of “related” clubs where there was a defined relationship of loft, weight and shaft length from one club to the next, Beltz explained.

Quickly other club makers like MacGregor and Wilson picked up on this trend and began selling their version of related -- or "sets" -- of clubs. By 1925, the idea of “matched” sets where the flex properties of the clubs were also matched hit the market and with it the idea of buying a “set” of clubs took hold.

"It was important for club makers to express the differential between each club, as well as to express the cutting edge technology that the matched clubs offered," Beltz said. "Their solution was a numbering sequence for the irons, but not wanting to alienate the more traditional buyer both the club name and number were stamped on the club. It was even a common practice to number the putter as the '10' club. During the quarter century between 1915 and 1940 the named clubs became name/numbered and then just numbered.

"For whatever reason, this phenomenon was even slower with the woods and finding fairway woods labeled as brassie and spoon even into the middle of the 20th century was not uncommon," Beltz added. "There was a clear trend to make the clubs look alike and look like a progression from less to more loft but other than that, the trend with fairway woods was very slow."

Beltz's guess is that brass sole plate on the woods is what helped perpetuate the name. It wasn't until woods became 'metal woods' that the names began to fade away -- with the very popular exception of two particular clubs.

"The driver has always been the driver due to the machismo associated with its name and the putter (except for a short period in the mid-1920) has always been the putter -- no machismo there, Beltz said. "So your guess is as good as mine!"

Fred Beltz resides in Rochester, N.Y. and is host of the Heritage Classic, an annual hickory golf outing at Oak Hill. Beltz is also a partner in the financial services firm Beltz Ianni & Associates.

Check out some of the best irons for 2014: