Golf Buzz

Miguel Angel Jimenez at the Bridgestone Invitational
PGA Tour via YouTube
Miguel Angel Jimenez' reaction to sinking a big putt Friday brought back memories of Chi Chi Rodriguez.

Miguel Angel Jimenez – golf's "most interesting man in the world" – was at it again on Friday.

The 50-year-old newlywed, known around the globe for his gut-busting warm-up routine, his awesome ponytail, his ever-present cigar and, most of all, his joie-de-vivre outlook on life, was facing a tricky 27-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole in the second round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

He lined it up, made his stroke – and watched the putt roll right into the bottom of the cup. To celebrate the big make, he "sheathed" his putter like a sword – just like Chi Chi Rodriguez – another of golf's great characters – used to do. 

Not sure if Jimenez's gesture was an on-purpose homage to Rodriguez – who, of course, used to wield his putter like Zorro wielded his saber. If so, that's fantastic. If not, it was still pretty darn cool.

And, by the way, Jimenez went on to post his second straight 69 and is tied for 18th place heading into the weekend. En garde!

Here's his putt: 

 

And here is Chi Chi doing his sword dance (it's at 1:30 in the video):

 

TaylorMade counterbalanced putters
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The new versions of TaylorMade's counterbalanced Spider Mallet, Spider Blade and Daddy Long Legs feature new cosmetics and are designed to improve their stability even more.
TaylorMade is rolling out new editions of its counterbalanced Daddy Long Legs, Spider Blade and Spider Mallet putters, all designed to increase their stability through the stroke even more.
 
"The new tour-inspired cosmetic is visually stunning, while also delivering the ultimate in stability and performance," said Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade's director of iron, wedge and putter creation. "Each of these putters promote an extremely stable putting stroke, to help golfers deliver a consistent roll time after time."
 
All three of the new flatsticks feature a heavy steel frame and tungsten weights in the heel and toe, all designed to promote distance control on off-center hits and resistance to twisting during the stroke. They have an enhanced color scheme, with the white tungsten weights that frame the ball at address, along with a black frame, matte-black shaft and high-polish sole.
 
The Daddy Long Legs has the biggest head and is the most stable model of the new trio. Its high-MOI design resists twisting at impact to protect ball speed on off-center hits, promoting a reliable roll regardless of where the ball is struck on the face. 
 
 
By contrast, the Spider Blade boasts the stability of a mallet in a blade shape. In fact, TaylorMade research indicates that the Spider Blade is 50 percent more stable than traditional blade-style putters. 
 
The original Daddy Long Legs and Spider Blade, released a year ago, were the first counterbalanced putters from TaylorMade. Later, TaylorMade added the Spider Mallet and the ultra-stable Ghost Spider Si to the family. Among the players who contributed to the development of these new putters are Jason Day, Boo Weekley, Troy Matteson and Sergio Garcia, who tied for second at the British Open with a new counterbalanced Spider Mallet.
 
To optimize its counterbalance technology, TaylorMade explained, golfers should assume their normal address position and grip the club two to three inches below the top end of the grip. By doing so, more weight is above the golfer’s hands, which is key for increasing stability. 
 
Because players should grip down, each new counterbalanced putter is offered in two lengths: 35 and 38 inches. The 38-inch putter is for players who traditionally use a 34- to 36-inch putter, while the 35-inch option is for players who traditionally use a 32- to 34-inch putter.
 
The new Daddy Long Legs carries a suggested retail price of $249, while the Spider Blade and Spider Mallet retail for $229. Each model is offered in a single bend 35- or 38-inch shaft, and all are available at retail now.
 
Kevin Streelman
PGA Tour via YouTube
Kevin Streelman's tee shot on Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitationalsomehow got hung up in the loose bark of a tree.
In all my years as a golfer, I've hit many trees with golf balls. Many, many trees.
 
But none of my many, many tree shots ever ended up like Kevin Streelman's on Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The Man of Streel teed it up on the par-4 third hole at Firestone Country Club and took a mighty swing – and his ball somehow got hung up in the loose bark of a tree.
 
 
Not in a branch or a bird's nest – in the bark, about six or seven feet off the ground, almost like somebody placed it there. How bizarre.
 
Now, it if was me, I would've taken a whack at it in the tree. I mean, why not? 
 
Streelman, however, consulted a rules official, pondered the situation, plucked his ball out of the bark and took a drop. Unfortunately, that didn't make things a whole lot better – he bogeyed the hole en route to a 78.
 
Take a look:
 
 
Nike MM Proto irons
Thorbjorn Olesen via Twitter
Thorbjorn Olesen tried a set of Nike MM Proto irons earlier this week and decided to put them immediately into play.
Rory McIlroy won the British Open with a 2-iron from Nike Golf's brand-new MM Proto line, and other Nike players including Thorbjorn Olesen have been spotted working with a full set at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this week.
 
Nike Golf has said nothing official about the long-term plans for these irons – we don't even know what the "MM" stands for yet – but have announced that 40 sets of them will be available to the public starting next week. That's right, just 40 sets – they'll sell for $1,500 per set.
 
 
Each set of these forged blades includes 3-iron through pitching wedge, and is available in right-handed only. Each club will be laser-engraved with individual numbering and Nike's Oven logo on the hosel, and each buyer will be custom-fit for his or her set by working with a Nike Golf concierge. 
 
McIlroy and Tiger Woods collaborated with Nike club experts over the past few years to develop the MM clubs, the company said, adding that players including Seung-yul Noh and Russell Henley have been testing them. Olesen indicated on social media that he tried them earlier this week and is using them at the Bridgestone.
 
The sale begins at 10:00 a.m. ET on Aug. 4 and ends at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 6. For complete information, click here.
 
Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar
Getty Images
Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar, paired together today at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, will see each other again at the Ryder Cup in September.
It's hard to watch the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this afternoon and not think of the Ryder Cup, which is now just less than two months away. Why? Because several of the high-profile pairings at Firestone Country Club feature players that we'll see at Gleneagles, perhaps even playing against each other.
 
Let's take a look, with the pairings listed by their tee time today:
 
Webb Simpson-Luke Donald. Simpson, a former U.S. Open champion, made his Ryder Cup debut in 2012 and is 15th on the U.S. points list. Donald, shooting for his fifth Ryder Cup (he owns an admirable 10-4-1 record), currently holds the final guaranteed spot on the European World Points List. 
 
Jimmy Walker-Lee Westwood. Walker has locked up his first Ryder Cup berth by virtue of his three wins this season. Westwood is one of Europe's most experienced Ryder Cup stars – having played in the last eight matches – but is 16th on the World Points List and his participation at Gleneagles is in doubt at the moment.
 
Jordan Spieth-Victor Dubuisson. Spieth is seventh on the U.S. points list and will make his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles. Dubuisson has been a revelation this season, and also will play his first Ryder Cup in September as he's second on the European Points List behind only Rory McIlroy.
 
 
Graeme McDowell-Hunter Mahan. McDowell, of course, defeated Mahan in singles to clinch the 2010 Ryder Cup for Europe. McDowell hasn't yet nailed down his spot at Gleneagles, but will be in the mix for a captain's pick if he doesn't get an automatic spot. Mahan is 34th on the U.S. points list, and needs two good weeks to claim his spot. 
 
Keegan Bradley-Miguel Angel Jimenez. Bradley, the 2012 PGA Championship winner, is currently 16th in the U.S. standings and looking for his second berth. Jimenez, at age 50, is trying his hardest to make one final European squad after playing three times but missing out on the last two events, and is 13th on the European Points List.    
  
Phil Mickelson-Sergio Garcia. Phil the Thrill currently sits 11th on the points list and seems likely to make his 10th Ryder Cup appearance – he's played in every one since 1995. Garcia's play has been much improved this year and, at third on the World Points List, will certainly be at Gleneagles for his seventh Ryder Cup appearance.     
  
Matt Kuchar-Rory McIlroy. Kuchar is sixth on the points table and can plan playing in his third Ryder Cup. McIlroy, well, you know. 
  
Brendon Todd-Mikko Ilonen. Surprised that this pairing is on our list? Don't be. Todd is 12th on the U.S. points list, while Ilonen – a Finn who won the British Amateur – is hanging around the top 20 on both of the European points lists. Both players would be making their first appearances.
 
 
Russell Henley-Jonas Blixt. This is a pairing of long shots looking for their first Ryder Cup berths. Henley is 33rd on the U.S. points list, while Sweden's Blixt is also hanging around the top 20 on the European points list.
 
Rickie Fowler-Justin Rose. If the pairing above is long shots, this one has a pair of sure things. Fowler, on the strength of his three top-5s in majors this season, is fourth on the U.S. list and guaranteed to go. Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, is fourth on the World Points List and will play in his third Ryder Cup.  
  
Zach Johnson-Ian Poulter. The down-to-earth son of the Midwest currently holds the ninth and final automatic berth, while the flamboyant Englishman is seventh on the European Points List. Poulter's spot isn't yet guaranteed, but his previous success makes him a likely addition if he doesn't qualify automatically – in four previous appearance, he's amassed a jaw-dropping 12-3-0 record.
 
Tiger Woods-Martin Kaymer. Woods' situation has been hashed and rehashed at this point. Kaymer, who won the U.S. Open in June, is fifth on the World Points List and is certain to be at Gleneagles for his third straight Ryder Cup.
 
Steve Stricker-Thomas Bjorn. Stricker, playing a limited schedule for the second straight season, is down in 39th place on the U.S. points list. Bjorn, meanwhile, is also a 40-something but seems to be pushing as hard as ever, and is fifth on the European points list.
 
 
Tom Glavine's Hall of Fame golf balls
Photo by Michael Abramowitz
"Nobody laughed harder than Tom Glavine" when he received a box of golf balls emblazoned with the number of his losses he recorded in his Major League career.
By Michael R. Abramowitz, The PGA of America
 
When former Atlanta Braves and New York Mets pitcher Tom Glavine plays a round of golf, he doesn't have to look too far for a not-so-gentle reminder to remain humble.
 
Glavine, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, won 305 games during his Major League career. What isn't as well known is that he also lost 203 games during his 20-year stint in the big leagues.
 
After Glavine received the phone call from the Hall of Fame that he would be a first-ballot inductee, his friend, Jack Kennedy, decided to mark the occasion with some good-natured ribbing, courtesy of a gift of six dozen customized golf balls. So, on one side of Glavine's Titleist Pro V1s is his old uniform No. "47," and on the other is "Tom Glavine 203 losses." 
 
 
"When I opened up the package, I saw 47 on one side, and I thought, 'That's cool.' And when I turned the ball, and it had my 203 career losses on it. I thought that was pretty funny," said Glavine, who carries a 3 handicap and used to play "all the time" during Spring Training at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., when he was with the Mets. 
 
"I knew him before he was good," said Kennedy. "With all this talk about Tom having 305 wins and [former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee] Greg Maddux having 355, nobody ever mentions that they also had 430 losses between them. So, I figured I'd have these made for Tom through a golf professional friend in Chicago. Nobody laughed harder about it than Tom Glavine."
 
"When I play at Country Club of the South [near Atlanta] with my normal group of buddies, I might leave a few that I hit in the woods for some of the members to find," said Glavine, who takes lessons from PGA Professional David Potts. 
 
Yet, when Glavine played at Leatherstocking Golf Club in Cooperstown, N.Y.,  during Hall of Fame Weekend, he sported another set of balls that merely displayed the date of his induction. "I think," he said, "Jack softened up a little bit for the induction ceremony."
 
 
In a number of ways, golf has served as a grounding experience for Glavine.
 
"During my career, [Braves Manager] Bobby Cox recognized that we needed an outlet, and golf was the perfect way to get away from baseball," he explained. "Still, we'd have a lot of conversations on the course centered around baseball, individual things, who we were facing next and ways to approach different hitters."
 
Spoken like a very humble Hall of Famer with 203 losses and 305 wins!
 
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