Golf Buzz

February 4, 2013 - 10:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Should Phil Mickelson have won more to this point in his PGA Tour career? Probably. But if he did, would he have been as fun to watch? Probably not.

It sounds like a cruel question, but it's one posed by BleacherReport.com's Fred Altvater: has Phil Mickelson underachieved in his PGA Tour career?

Let's take a brief look at the resume...

With his win on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Mickelson earned his 41st career PGA Tour victory. The last time he went an entire season without a PGA Tour "W" was 2003 (his best finish that year was third at the Masters). Lefty is a four-time major winner with three Masters triumphs and one PGA Championship. He's been a runner up at the U.S. Open five times and has five, top-3 finishes at the Masters -- not including the three wins.

Mickelson has played on a record nine consecutive U.S. Ryder Cup teams. He's arguably the most exciting player in golf to watch given his risk-reward nature. His incredible game coupled with his appreciation of the fans have him labeled by many as a modern-day Arnold Palmer.

Yet, still, harsh as it seems, a debate could be had about whether or not he has underachieved. Imagine being the second-best of your generation at something (which Mickelson was to Tiger Woods through the late 90s and most of the 2000s), but still be called an underachiever? That's either the biggest slap in the face, or the biggest compliment a person could get.

Altvater makes his case:

Is it fair to compare Mickelson's career to Woods'?

While Woods is respected among golf fans Mickelson is beloved for his go-for-broke style and aw-shucks smile.

He will turn 43 in June and was diagnosed with a form of arthritis three years ago, which has certainly affected his play.

Another bump in the road has been the highly publicized battles with cancer for both his wife, Amy, and his mother.

By any standard, Phil Mickelson has had a marvelous, Hall-of-Fame career, but somehow the putt that executed the severe 360 degree lip-out to prevent him from posting a 59 on Thursday could be a metaphor to his golfing career.

To read all of Altvater's piece, click here.

Based on what he wrote, it seems Altvater answered his own question with a resounding, "No!"

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

February 3, 2013 - 1:53pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade Ghost Spider S
Courtesy of TaylorMade

The Ghost Spider S putter from TaylorMade is big – and big on stability.

The oversized mallet delivers a Moment of Inertia (MOI) measurement of 6,030, dramatically higher than previous TaylorMade mallets like the Ghost Manta (4,900) and Corza Ghost (3,830). This high MOI makes the Ghost Spider S extremely stable, even on off-center hits, and makes it easier to control the head and square the face to the ball at impact. That's a key benefit, as articulated by the tour pros who have put it in play.

"Ghost Spider S isn't an evolution in mallet performance, it's a revolution," said Michael Fox, TaylorMade's product line manager for putters and wedges. "To create it, we started with the DNA of our most successful putter franchise and applied more than a year of obsessive feedback from our toughest customers, our Tour Staff professionals. In terms of the two most critical aspects of putting -- alignment and stability -- Ghost Spider S is the complete package."

The putter's multi-material head (aluminum and steel) combines a white-colored steel frame perimeter and top line with a new, non-transition black crown. The contrast between the white leading edge and black crown makes it easier to focus your eyes on the top line, TaylorMade says, making it easier to aim accurately.

In addition to the standard hosel, the Ghost Spider S is also available in a tour-inspired "short slant" hosel designed for the player who swings on an arc. Unlike the standard hosel, which promotes a straight back-straight through swing path, the short slant is toe-weighted to broaden the scope of players who can benefit from the Ghost Spider S.

"Mallet putter use on the PGA Tour has grown during the past decade to where, today, more than 30 percent of PGA Tour pros use a mallet," added Fox. "We're confident that tour pros and amateurs who favor a mallet will want to explore Ghost Spider S because the performance benefits are impossible to ignore."

The standard Ghost Spider S carries a suggested retail price of $179, and $199 for a belly model.

Categories: Ghost Spider S
February 3, 2013 - 12:50am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Gail and Allen Wronowski
The PGA of America
Allen Wronowski (and wife Gail) enter the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Ryder Cup.

 

I got some news this weekend -- and it's so exciting I wanted to share it (maybe a bit early, but I don't care). However, before I do, please allow me to provide some background. 
 
One of the first tasks I ever had when I came to PGA.com in the fall of 2006 was cutting images and pasting bios of new officers. It's the less glamorous side of working in golf - but it's the painstaking type of duty that makes a website work. (Hey, we can't do reviews of Pebble Beach every week...can we?)
 
A few months later I found myself at Demo Day in Orlando, leading up to the 2007 PGA Merchandise Show. I was the new guy, had no idea what I was doing nor knew anyone amid the thousands of people there -- but determined to make an impression nonetheless. Armed with a giant audio recorder (laughable when compared to today's smaller digital recorders) I noticed a large, silver haired man ambling by with a big smile.  He knew everyone. Laughing, shaking hands, posing for photos -- he was obviously someone of note. I wanted to record something with him. Not knowing that the proper protocol was to arrange interviews with the PR & Communications department of the PGA, I just walked up to him and asked in my very elegant way -- "Hey, aren't you Allen Wronowski?"
 
It indeed was the new Secretary of the PGA of America and our first encounter was a clumsy new web producer trying not to look stupid in front of the man just elected to one day be president of the largest working organization in sports. That meeting was the first of many. But it never felt awkward again.  
 
Allen quickly became renowned in the golf community for his thoughtful answers to difficult golf questions, his always-present PGA pins he gave out liberally, the big bear hugs he greeted virtually everyone with and perhaps the biggest smile in golf. He's always been a special friend to me -- but there are at least a thousand other people who say that about him.  And it's all 100% sincere. 
 
There are far too many Allen stories to recount -- but here's a guy who, as president, was 'regular guy' enough to drive me around in his cart at the Ryder Cup ("If anyone asks, I don't know you or how you got in this cart,") but was composed enough to speak in front of tens of thousands (millions on TV) a few minutes later welcoming the world to the greatest event in golf. He's the same guy at Hillendale Country Club and its members (his home course since 1979) as he is at the PGA Championship amid Tiger, Phil and Rory. 
 
If you follow Allen on Twitter (and if you don't, you should: @AllenWronowski), you may have seen his announcement that he's been told he'll be inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame (March 2013). I'm so NOT surprised, no one deserves it more. But I know I share the excitement of the entire golf world. 
 
I'll allow the official announcements and bio info to tell his story more when they come out -- they'll do a better job of it. This post is just from my perspective.
 
I used to kid Allen that everytime he went to give a speech to a PGM program or a PGA Section meeting, I'd notice dozens of new Facebook or Twitter profile pictures changed to that person's photo with him.  I bet he's posed for more photos than Justin Bieber. (Sings better too). But every person I've ever met thinks as highly of him as I do. No kidding.
 
So seven years later, I'm still the guy at the website and Allen has gone from newly-elected secretary to vice president to president to now enjoying a less stressful role as honorary president. And he's about to become a Hall-of-Famer.  However, I still have the ability to post things about him on this website. 
 
So while I still have the platform, I want to speak on behalf of thousands of golf professionals and milliions of golfers in saying to my friend..."Congratulations Allen! Proud of your legacy -- even prouder to call you friend!"  And I never told anyone about riding around with you at the Ryder Cup.  Until now. 
February 2, 2013 - 9:35pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Mizuno MP-T4 wedge
Courtesy of Mizuno Golf
The MP-T4 wedges were engineered to enhance playability and turf interaction, as is evident by their new sole design, which provides more toe and heel relief.

Designed with insight from short-game superstar Luke Donald, the MP-T4 wedges from Mizuno are among the most versatile high-spin wedges on the market. Created with Mizuno's patented Grain Flow Forging process and 1025E "Pure Select" mild carbon steel, these new wedges provide a soft yet solid feel.

The MP-T4 wedges were engineered to enhance playability and turf interaction, as is evident by their new sole design, which provides more toe and heel relief. These new wedges also feature a CNC milled face along with Mizuno's exclusive Quad Cut Groove technology, which enables precise control of the width, depth, draft angle and shoulder radius of each groove to enhance spin control and ball-stopping ability in all playing conditions.

These new wedges are available in two exotic finishes – White Satin and Black Nickel. And combined with a True Temper DG Spinner shaft, they deliver increased spin and a lower launch at impact with an average of 250+ RPM as compared to True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts.

"Nobody knows how a wedge should perform better than Luke Donald, and he was instrumental in the design of this wedge," said Dick Lyons, vice president and general manager of the Golf Division, Mizuno USA. "With Luke's help, we have designed the MP-T4 to optimize every facet of wedge play. From feel to spin to shot versatility, no wedge can do more for your short game than the MP-T4."

The MP-T4s come in right-handed models with lofts of 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees, as well as left-handed models in lofts of 52, 56 and 60 degrees. And for the first time, Mizuno is offering golfers the ability to personalize their MP-T4 and MP-R12 wedges with up to six characters, letters and/or numbers, in 12 different colors. This customization is free, and requires only a two-week wait after an order is placed.

They carry a suggested retail price of $129.99 per club.

February 1, 2013 - 7:55pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Titleist 913D2 and 913D3 drivers
Courtesy of Titleist
The 913D2 driver (l) features a 460cc full-pear shaped head with a slight draw bias, while the 913D3 has a slightly smaller 445cc classic pear shape that is forgiving with no flight bias.

Titleist calls its 913D2 and 913D3 drivers the fastest, most consistent the company has ever designed. They are also Titleist's most playable and forgiving drivers, primarily as a result of improved launch conditions from a lower, more optimal Center of Gravity position, a new rear SureFit Tour weight and the fitting precision provided by the SureFit Tour adjustable hosel.

"The new 913D2 and 913D3 drivers offer the highest performance of any adjustable drivers on the market, particularly when it comes to speed and forgiveness," said Titleist Vice Preisdent of Research and Development Dan Stone. "Every serious golfer, from tour players to amateurs of all skill levels, will experience more distance potential and better driving performance with 913."

The 913D2 driver features a 460cc full-pear shaped head designed for maximum forgiveness and a slight draw bias, while the 913D3 has a slightly smaller 445cc classic pear shape that is forgiving with extra workability. Unlike the 910 series, both D2 and D3 models now offer the same launch and spin characteristics to provide maximum fitting flexibility.

"Golfers can now choose their 913 model based on size or shape preference, amount of forgiveness or workability, and amount of draw bias," said Stone. "They can then dial-in their launch and spin settings precisely using the SureFit Tour hosel."

The 913D2 and 913D3 drivers deliver faster, more consistent ball speeds across the face due to a new forged, variable thickness face insert that is the fastest face insert ever designed by Titleist.

The 913's 6-4 Titanium face insert has a thick central portion that mirrors the outer face profile. As you move out from the center, however, the insert is thinner and tapered so that it matches up with the body thickness at the edge of the face. It is also 2 grams lighter than the 910's face insert, and that mass is redistributed to the SureFit Tour weight low on the head.

"We are always engineering our center face ball speed to the maximum, but the new insert allows for a more consistent deflection across the whole face, which gives us more ball speed and more distance across a larger area of the face," Stone said. "The face insert is not a symmetric geometry, it's a complex structure and it required us to really think outside the box. We had to invent a new process just to produce it."

The new insert has increased the maximum ball speed area up to 11 percent from Titleist's previous 910 drivers. That, Titleist says, results in upwards of 2 mph of additional ball speed in certain hit locations, which translates to up to 4-6 additional yards.

While past generation D2 and D3 models each featured different launch and spin characteristics, the new 913D2 and 913D3 drivers have equivalent launch and spin because their Center of Gravity positions are equally low. To accomplish this, the Center of Gravity in the 913D2 was lowered to produce similar launch and spin to 913D3. To do this, Titleist engineers improved the casting and polishing process to produce an ultra-thin crown that allowed for more mass to be redistributed low and deep in the head.

The 913 drivers also feature a lower, flatter sole profile than the 910, and the new SureFit Tour weight on the rear sole further optimizes the Center of Gravity for speed and forgiveness. This weight has a new, flat geometry with a screw that holds the weight in place but doesn’t extend up into the driver head. Also, the standard SureFit Tour weight has increased from 7 grams to 9 grams, taking the 2 grams of weight saved from the new forged face insert and reapplying it in this lower, better position.

The SureFit Tour hosel, which debuted on the 910 drivers, allows golfers to set their loft and lie independently – higher or lower, and for more draw or fade – for improved shot control and maximum distance.

"We call it 'Tour Van-in a hosel' because that was our inspiration for designing SureFit Tour in that it provides all the power of a tour van – the ability to bend for loft and lie, and interchange shafts – right on the tee at the point of fitting," Stone said.

The dual angle SureFit Tour hosel features a sleeve and ring, each with four settings. The sleeve settings are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 and the ring settings are lettered A, B, C, D. In total there are 16 settings, each creating a unique loft and lie combination.

The 913s featuring an improved toe profile, and the head retains its black PVD finish with a new black body paint.

The 913D2 drivers come in lofts of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees of loft in both right- and left-handed models, and a 7.5-degree right-handed model. The D3 also comes in a 7.5-degree right-handed model, along with right- and left-handed models in 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees. They carry a suggested retail price of $449 per club.

Categories: 913D2 913D3
February 1, 2013 - 5:05pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Royal Sydney Golf Club
Don't take too deep a divot at Royal Sydney, say two historians, because a bomb might be buried under there.

To most of us, bombing away on the golf course is a good thing. Unless, that is, you’re playing at Royal Sydney Golf Club.

After researching a new book, historians Terry Jones and Steven Carruthers believe that an unexploded Japanese World War II shell might be buried under the eighth hole of the Centenary Course at the prestigious Australian golf complex.

Japanese submarines shelled Sydney back in 1942, and the researchers unearthed a photo of a golf course superintendent holding the live nose fuse of a Japanese shell discovered at the course in 1996, according to the Wentworth Courier newspaper. However, the paper said, bomb disposal records indicate that the search for the shell was abandoned.

"That's what triggered our research, our journey," Carruthers told the newspaper. "If the nose fuse is there, where's the shell?"

Club officials notified the explosives ordnance division of the Australian Defence Department, but they said no action was needed at this time.

"The club has sought expert advice in this matter," Royal Sydney said in a statement. "If the club is advised that underground exploration should be undertaken, the club will act immediately."

Carruthers, a navy historian by trade, agreed that the odds of anything happening with the shell, should it be buried on the course, are small.

"There is no reason for people in the eastern suburbs or for the club to be panicked about this research work," he said. "The chances of anything happening with that shell are incalculable."