Golf Buzz

February 2, 2014 - 12:51pm
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Phoenix Open fans
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A PGA Tour record crowd of 189,722 attended Saturday's third round of the Phoenix Open.

Saturday's crowd at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was announced at 189,722 -- a new PGA Tour one-day record. Perhaps that doesn't seem like much of a big deal. But just think about it in different ways, and it's a very big deal indeed.

Sunday's Super Bowl will be held at MetLife Stadium, which has a listed capacity of 82,500. That means the folks at TPC Scottsdale on Saturday could have filled MetLife twice -- and there would have been 24,722 people still trying to buy tickets from scalpers outside.

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How about something a little closer to home? Combine the seating of all four of Phoenix's professional home venues -- University of Phoenix Stadium (63,400), Chase Field (49,033), US Airways Center (18,422) and Arena (17,125) -- and you still come up nearly 42,000 seats shy. The 10 Cactus League spring training stadiums hold a combined 107,565 -- 57 percent of what would be needed for Saturday's attendance. Scottsdale's estimated population is 223,514, only 33,792 more than what piled into TPC Scottsdale in one day.

That's a pretty good-sized city right there, bigger than Salt Lake City (189,314), Tallahassee, Fla. (186,971), or Huntsville, Ala. (183,739). In fact, the crowd at the Phoenix Open would have been the fourth-largest city in Scotland, just slightly smaller than the population of Dundee (195,021).

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Let's say you wanted to pack everybody up and take them to next week's AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. The largest passenger jet in the world is the Airbus A380, which has seating for 525 people. So you'd only need around 362 A380s stacked up at the terminals at Sky Harbor International to handle everybody, not including all that lost luggage.

What about the world's largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas? It has cabin space for 6,296 passengers, which means you'd need 31 ships of that size to ferry every Phoenix Open fan to another port -- although the Salt River is probably not particularly navigable for anything bigger than a kayak. And don't forget to tip your servers and cabin stewards.

And what if you offered to treat everybody to a free round of golf? That's 47,431 foursomes. If your course can handle a foursome every nine minutes, starting at 7 a.m. and having the last foursome off at around 4 p.m. (with no weather delays), it'd take approximately 790 days to get the last group back in the clubhouse. That's two years and two months worth of greens fees. I hope there are a lot of rental clubs and golf carts available. 

Almost 190,000 fans on one golf course? That's a pretty big deal, when you sit down and think about it.

February 1, 2014 - 7:34pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adams Golf Tight Lies fairway woods
Courtesy of Adams Golf
The new Tight Lies fairway woods from Adams Golf contains the originals' low-profile face along with new-generation slanted slots cut into the crown and sole.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the eighth one:
The second half of 2013 saw the return of several venerable brands of golf equipment, few more eagerly welcomed among club aficionados than Tight Lies fairway woods from Adams Golf. The original Tight Lies, which debuted in the mid-1990s, were revolutionary for their ''upside down'' head shape that made getting the ball up in the air easy.
Since then, of course, drivers have gotten significantly larger, and fairway woods have followed suit – many of today's fairway woods have heads as large as the drivers of a generation ago. And while they're great for hitting off the tee or good lies, their larger heads make them more challenging to hit well from the rough or a waste bunker or anywhere else that has less-than-perfect turf conditions. 
This development created a perfect opening for the reintroduction of Tight Lies fairway clubs and now, almost two decades after the originals debuted, Adams has reinvented its most famous and successful stick. The new Tight Lies fairway clubs feature a modernized version of the ''upside down'' head shape, and boast a significant improvement in generating ball speed and, therefore, distance, while maintaining the low profile and shallow face that made the original models so distinctive.
The heads of Tight Lies clubs were always smaller and lighter than most of their competitors, and Adams' engineers have thinned away even more weight in the new versions by carving slots in both the crowns and soles. Some other recent Adams clubs also contain this Cut Sole technology, but the slots in the new Tight Lies heads are slanted back toward the face to enhance the spring off the face on both pure and mishit shots.
In fact, Adams says, the new Tight Lies clubs provide as much as 10 percent more firepower off the face than recent clubs. That means that the new clubs can maintain their low and deep center of gravity – which helps get the ball up in the air – without losing much oomph. They also boast the tri-sole design from the original to reduce the amount of turf interaction during the shot.
The standard Tight Lies fairway club comes in 14-, 16-, 19- and 22-degree versions (essentially 3-woods to 7-woods), while the Tour model comes in 14.5- and 18-degree editions. The standard models carry a suggested retail price of $199.99, while the Tour clubs go for $229.99. They're available at select retailers and at
Phil Mickelson at Phoenix Open
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Phil Mickelson gets ready to throw a football Saturday to the Phoenix Open crowd surrounding the 16th hole.

Phil Mickelson's back must be feeling a whole lot better, based on the form he exhibited Saturday while tossing footballs to the boisterous crowd at No. 16 during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Mickelson, who plays golf left-handed but throws with his right, had quite a bit of zip on his first toss. It was a head-high frozen rope that would have made Joe Montana proud. He then showed some pretty good distance by throwing at least two balls into the upper deck boxes that surround the par-3 hole, which is playing at 126 yards during Saturday's round.

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The balls were donated by Mickelson's brother, who just happens to be the golf coach at Arizona State. Mickelson signed them and decided he'd toss them into the crowd after his tee shot.

Unfortunately for Lefty, he turned out to be a better quarterback than golfer on that hole. His tee shot missed the green, short and left of the flag. He then wound up in a sand trap when his chip shot failed to make it to the putting surface. Adding in a couple of putts, Mickelson carded a double-bogey 5.

Perhaps Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning ought to take notes ... on how not to get up and down for par.

Watch Phil wind up and let fly here:











January 31, 2014 - 7:24pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Fred Couples at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic
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Fred Couples stretched his back, and his stay in Dubai, by making the cut on Friday. Unfortunately, he'll have to miss the Super Bowl even though he has two 50-yard-line tickets.
Anybody need two 50-yard-line tickets to the Super Bowl? 
Fred Couples is the lucky owner of that pair of prized ducats – but he can't use them.
Couples, an avid Seattle Seahawks fan – he even raised the 12th Man flag during the Hawks' Monday night game against New Orleans in December – bought the tickets last fall when he thought his hometown team might make it all the way to the Big Game.
But on Friday, he birdied the final two holes of the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic to make the cut. That left him with a tough choice, and he's decided to play the final two rounds. He's playing in Dubai as a past champion (he won in 1995) as the Middle East's flagship event celebrates its 25th anniversary.
"Call me stupid,'' Couples joked to Bob Harig of "I tried to bogey [No. 16] and I did. I tried to bogey 13, the par 5, and I did. I just couldn't butcher enough holes.''
With his tender back always a concern, Couples wasn't even sure he could play this week. In fact, he'd already explored Saturday flights from Dubai to New York. But after making the cut, he said his decision was easy.
"There's no way I would ever not try,'' Couples said. "So I'll watch it on TV. That's the next best thing.''
If passing up the game to watch on TV makes Couples sounds like he's not a superfan, consider this. He'll catch the game at the airport – where the kickoff is set for 3:30 a.m. Dubai time.
January 31, 2014 - 6:35pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Nevr Looz golf bags
Courtesy of Nevr Looz
The Nevr Looz golf bags prevent your clubs from spilling, even when turned upside down.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the seventh one:
There were golf bags almost from end to end of the Show floor at the PGA Merchandise Show, but there was no mistaking the ProClip-SCT golf bags from Nevr Looz.
At first glance, they look unfinished, like somebody forgot to put the skin on the skeleton. Upon closer inspection, though, it's clear that these bags – there are both cart and carry models – are unlike any other. 
As you can tell by the company name, these bags are designed to help prevent golfers from losing their clubs. They accomplish this with Nevr Looz’s Pro-Clip technology, which uses 15 Club Clips to keep your clubheads securely in place, even when the bag is turned upside down. And while the clubs are secured, they're not completely enclosed from shaft to head – as you can see, the bags' ''open style'' make the clubs more accessible than ever.
The bags in the Nevr Looz collection are made of durable nylon and weigh in at 4 ½ pounds. They've got nine front-facing or side pickets along with a cooler pocket, velour-lined valuables pocket and a full-length pocket. They also come with putter tubes, padded straps, umbrella holders, towel clips and rain hoods.
These bags are available at and carry a suggested retail price of $249.
January 31, 2014 - 4:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Kristen Stewart
E via YouTube
Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame learned to play golf with her dad, and teed it on the set of her latest movie.
I was at the PGA Merchandise Show most of last week, so I'm still behind on my Sundance Film Festival news. And as I was catching up on the happenings from Utah, I ran across a tidbit I had no idea about: Actress Kristen Stewart of ''Twilight'' fame is apparently quite the little golfer. 
In fact, she proudly proclaims that she ''can spank a golf ball.''
In an interview at Sundance, where her new movie, ''Camp X-Ray,'' premiered, Stewart explained that she learned to play golf with her dad. In keeping with her slacker persona, though, she called golf ''a dorky activity'' and recoiled at the suggestion that she might wear golf outfits. 
''No,'' she said, ''I'm way too cool for that.''
In a subsequent interview, her ''Camp X-Ray'' co-star Lane Garrison confirms that while Stewart is a good basketball player, she's an even better golfer. And, he noted, the cast and crew built a little driving range on the set so everyone could blow off some steam in between filming some of the more intense scenes.
''She's got an amazing swing,'' said Garrison. ''She needs to do a golf movie.''
That got me thinking what kind of golf movie she'd be most suited for. Given that by far her biggest success has come from her ''Twilight'' role, I'd suggest that her golf movie should have a similar theme. But instead of having the conflicted heroine Bella choose between vampire Edward or werewolf Jacob, in a golf movie she'd have to decide between vampire Tiger or werewolf Phil.
Oops, my wife reminds me that the youthful moviegoing audience might want younger male leads. So, okay, how about vampire Rory and werewolf Rickie?
There you go. That, I believe, would be box-office gold. Or maybe not. Either way, here's the video of the interview with Stewart and Garrison: