The equipment companies that support many of golf's biggest winners often create keepsakes to celebrate their golfing glory. On Tuesday, we saw two of the latest creations.
On the left of the photo above is a gold Odyssey Versa putter commemorating Phil Mickelson's victory in the British Open. On the bottom, it says ''Phil Mickelson, 2013 Champion, The Open Championship.'' Callaway Golf club design guru Roger Cleveland tweeted out the photo, and I'm presuming that's his hand holding the magic wand.
On the right side is a box from Titleist marking Jason Dufner's victory in the PGA Championship. Up top is Dufner's signature in gold, and the box contains a golden Titleist #1 ball and more commemorations of Oak Hill. Jason Dufner tweeted out this photo on Tuesday as well, and Titleist added another shot that proved that Dufner didn't get his souvenir for free – no, the other shot showed him hard at work signing pin flags in the Titleist trailer at The BMW Championship!
Major champions get an awful lot for their victories – historic trophies (and sometimes green jackets), a ton of money, years' worth of exemptions, and more fame (and marketing opportunities) than they know what to do with. I bet, however, that these personal keepsakes, created and presented to them by people so intimately involved in their on-course success, mean as much to them as anything.
Greg Norman's loss to Nick Faldo in the 1996 Masters remains one of the most famous – or infamous – moments in the history of golf. Norman has spoken very little about that devastating defeat over the years, but recently offered up something of an explanation for his poor play that fateful Sunday to the Australian TV network ABC.
''The result was in my hands basically,'' he told the network for a two-episode program called ''Driving Greg Norman'' that aired as part of the biographical series ''Australian Story.'' The second part, which aired Monday night in Australia, deals with the Masters loss and other aspects of Norman's life.
''Again, there's more to it than people realise. Um, cos I did have bad back issues that morning and I tried to walk it off but I couldn't,'' Norman is quoted in a transcript on the ABC site. ''I told my coach; today's not going to be easy.''
And, of course, it wasn't. Norman, who had led after each of the first three rounds, struggled to a final-round 78 while Faldo carded a 67 to turn his six-shot deficit into a five-shot victory. The win was Faldo's third at Augusta National and sixth overall major, while Norman suffered a third heartbreaking loss in his quest for a green jacket.
"I disappeared down to the beach after the U.S. Masters and lay on the beach and cried, because I felt like I'd completely screwed up winning a tournament that I wanted to win," Norman told ABC. "That would be about the only time that I would have brought the emotion of a golf tournament back home."
Norman doesn't elaborate on his back issues in the program. After some comments from Australian golfer and golf writer Mike Clayton and 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, the program quotes Norman as saying that ''I really don’t go back and relive you know, good or bad, because the next step in life is your first step in life, so you just got to keep advancing forward.''
TaylorMade took a deep breath during the PGA Tour's off week, and kicked off BMW Championship Week on Monday night with an event to take the wraps off its latest creation – SpeedBlade irons.
The SpeedBlades continue the TaylorMade trend of cutting Speed Pockets into their clubheads, as found in such clubs as the RocketBladez irons and RocketBallz woods. The Speed Pocket is a deep slot that runs from heel to toe on the sole just behind the clubface that allows the face to flex and rebound faster.
That, TaylorMade says, increases ball speed and elevates the launch angle to boost distance, and provides more control because shots land on a steep angle. In addition, TaylorMade lowered the SpeedBlade's center of gravity to further increase the launch angle and to put more power behind shots hit low on the clubface – which the company says happens almost three-quarters of the time.
The new irons will be available in October.