Golf Buzz

January 19, 2013 - 4:38pm
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January 19, 2013 - 1:22pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Carl Pettersson
Getty Images
PGA Tour player Carl Pettersson is among the vocal minority of players who has spoken out against the proposed ban.

Are you for the proposed ban on anchoring the putting stroke, or are you opposed?

Since the USGA and R&A announced their plans for the anchoring ban in late November, we've heard every possible opinion from every type of golfer. But with so many competing arguments flying through the air, it's been difficult to get a handle on whether the golfing public as a whole is for or against the proposal.

Now, however, the Golf Datatech research firm has some numbers. Golf Datatech surveyed 1,766 golfers at random from its exclusive Serious Golfer Database, which is made of up golfers who play an average of 68 rounds per year with an average handicap of 14.3. And their finding is:

--almost two-thirds of the golfers surveyed feel the rule change won't impact their game, while only a third of the golfers who use a long putter will continue to play regardless of the ruling.

''This is such an explosive topic in golf that we felt the industry needed a benchmark for evaluating the opinion of the game's most avid players,'' said Golf Datatech Partner John Krzynowek. ''On a practical level, the proposed ruling on anchoring putters has minimal impact on most amateur golfers, as only 5 percent use a long putter, and the majority of serious golfers don't believe long putters aid in the putting process.

''Overall, however, the debate over long putters has far more to do with a few elite professional players and less to do with the game as played by the average golfer.''

The key findings in the Golf Datatech study include:

--Among the respondents who had an opinion on anchoring the putter, 45 percent believe that anchoring makes it easier to putt, while 55 percent believe that anchoring doesn't make it easier.

--60 percent of the respondents believe that golf's governing bodies should ban the anchoring of clubs, while 40 percent believe they shouldn't.

--62 percent of the golfers surveyed don't believe the anchoring ban would cause some amateur golfers to enjoy the game less.

--And if the proposed rule is enforced in 2016 as planned, 31 percent of current long putter users will continue to anchor their putter. Another 31 percent won't anchor their putter and the final 38 percent would switch to a conventional putter.

 

January 18, 2013 - 5:22pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Rory McIlroy
Getty Images
The photo on the left shows the putter Rory McIlroy used Friday (the three circles indicate it's a Scotty Cameron), while the photo on the right shows McIlroy with his Nike putter on Thursday (you can see the Swoosh on the heel).

Is the honeymoon over already?

On Friday, Rory McIlroy reverted back to his old Scotty Cameron putter for the second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship – after playing only one competitive round with his new Nike flat stick.

McIlroy, who was unveiled as Nike's newest brand ambassador in a big news conference on Monday, took 31 putts with his new Nike Method 006 putter on Thursday. On Friday, he went back to his trusty Titleist Scotty Cameron Studio Select Newport GSS – even though he kept it under a Nike putter cover.

The two putters are fairly similar in size and shape, and the switch didn't help much. McIlroy, who used the Cameron putter to win both of his majors and a plethora of other titles, took 30 putts on Friday as he carded his second straight 75 to miss the cut.

After his round, he downplayed the quick change.

''I felt the greens were pretty slow out there,'' he told the Golf Channel. ''The Nike putter that I used is a little light and it was just a weight issue more than anything else.  I feel like the one I used today was a little heavier and I was able to get the ball to the hole.''

He also gave no indication of his future putter plans.

''It's the first week out. I wouldn't look too much into (the new equipment),'' he said. ''If anything, it's more the Indian than the arrow at this point.''

McIlroy isn't scheduled to play again for a month, at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. No doubt all eyes will be on what's in his bag.

 

January 17, 2013 - 11:44pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky
Dustin Johnson via Twitter
Dustin Johnson called Paulina Gretzky "my baby" in a tweet he sent out accompanying this photo of the two of them together.

Well, some of us might have imaginary girlfriends, but Dustin Johnson has the real thing.

Some eagle-eyed golf observers noticed Paulina Gretzky patrolling the grounds during the Hyundai Tournament of Champions two weeks ago, while others said they had seen the Great One's daughter out with Johnson in the evenings at Kapalua. There was no official proof, however, until Johnson himself tweeted out the photo posted above late yesterday.

Johnson's tweet said, ''At The Madison Club [an upscale golf club in LaQuinta, Calif., that is a popular base for several PGA Tour players] with my baby @PaulinaGretzky.''

Meanwhile, however, reports are surfacing that Tiger Woods and ex-wife Elin Nordegren might be getting back together. And Woods, when asked directly about the possibility, didn't deny it.

''I am not going to comment on my private life,'' Woods told reporters on Thursday after his first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.

Apparently, these reports originated in The National Enquirer, though I never found any links directly to a story. I tried to find it on the Enquirer's web site, but never came across it. I did, however, see where Britney Spears has a ''secret sorrow,'' ex-Baywatch star Donna D'Errico has a ''secret life,'' Kelly Ripa has ''secret shame'' and Dwayne ''the Rock'' Johnson has a ''secret he doesn't want you to know.''
  
Anyway, media outlets that are running with the story, such as Fox Sports and The Daily Mail newspaper in England, say that Woods and Nordegren have discussed remarrying. Citing the Enquirer story, they also say that Woods proposed to her over the holidays, and has offered some mega-buck financial guarantees to her if she will tie the knot for a second time.

January 17, 2013 - 3:58pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Spotless Swing golf towels
The Spotless Swing golf towel is as imaginative as the press release being used to tout it.

The PGA Merchandise Show – where thousands of golf companies big and small gather in Orlando for the world's largest golf trade show – is next week, and we are routinely inundated with press releases in these days just beforehand. But one we got Thursday stands out above all the others.

It's from a guy named Scott Salzman, who is the inventor of a pretty cool golf towel called the Spotless Swing. The towel is actually built like a headcover – you can dry your hands on the outside, but you stick your clubs up into it so the dirt stays on the inside.

His press release is titled: ''Oh Great, Another Boring Press Release!''

It leads off with: ''Have you heard about Spotless Swing? Probably not.''

And here is Salzman's sales pitch:

''How will Spotless Swing help your golf game? Will it:

--Get you on the PGA Tour? Doubtful. It's a towel, not a magic wand.
--Keep your clubs, gloves, and grips clean and dry? Absolutely. That's what it does.
--Get you out of bunkers and tall grass? Yeah, right…
--Take strokes off your game? Sure, if you use it. Clean clubs allow for better accuracy and further drives; and from what we hear, those are good things.
--Make you look cool? No, but it may distract from those ugly pants and that sweater vest you're wearing.''

A little later on, he encourages us to stop by his booth, where he'd love to engage us ''in some riveting towel talk, and have you take home a free sample, so you can see firsthand how great Spotless Swing really is, and how it can improve your dismal golf game.''

Can't make the Show? Fear not, he says, he can send you one in the mail.

''Only the media gets them free because you all write great stories about Spotless Swing which helps us sell towels,'' he admits. ''So go ahead and write about us; put us on the cover of your magazine or make us a feature story; share with the world your story of how one simple golf towel saved your golf game ... and possibly your marriage.''

I'm not sure this one blog post will help save anyone's marriage – or golf game. And I should be a little offended by that sweater vest crack. But after a pitch like this one, how could I resist?

I officially encourage you to hop on over to SpotlessSwing.com and check it out.

January 17, 2013 - 1:16pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
YouTube
Tiger Woods moments before topping a tee shot in Abu Dhabi.

Chances are you were sleeping last night when Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods teed it up in the first round of the 2013 HSBC Golf Championship in Abu Dhabi -- nine hours ahead for those of you in the eastern time zone.

The golf from the top-2 players in the world wasn't magnificent by any means. McIlroy, in his first competitive round with his new Nike equipment, turned in a disappointing 3-over 73, while the world No. 2 Woods shot an even-par 72.

However, if you thought there's no way you could possibly relate to arguably the best golfer of all time in Woods, think again.

Playing the first hole -- his 10th of the day -- Woods flat-out topped his tee shot. We've all been there, right?

Alistair Tait of Golfweek actually witnessed the shot in person. Here's what he wrote about the un-Tiger-like tee shot:

Woods hit a drive that would have embarrassed many high-handicappers. He hit an inch behind the ball and watched as it fell short of the fairway. The ball traveled only about 150 yards. Woods' fairway metal approach still came up 20 yards short, and he failed to get up-and-down for par.

"My whole game plan was to hit 3-iron or 5-wood on that hole," Woods said. "I changed my game plan and wasn't committed to the shot. I didn't want to hit it. I was really fighting over that tee shot and should have backed off it."

Kudos to Geoff Shackelford who has video of the Tiger blunder. Click here to see it.

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