Golf Buzz

November 17, 2013 - 3:37pm
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John Holmes
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Wen-chong Liang
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Wen-chong Liang won the inaugural Manila Masters in a playoff Sunday, then donated half his earnings to help victims from Typhoon Haiyan.

Wen-chong Liang won the inaugural Manila Masters in a playoff Sunday, then donated half his earnings to help victims from Typhoon Haiyan. 

Liang, 35, earned $135,000, and said he was giving half of it away to relief efforts. 

"Before coming over to the Philippines, I was really affected by what I saw of the damage and victims suffering from the aftermath of the typhoon on television," he told the Asian Tour's website. "I've decided to donate 50 percent of my winnings to do my part and support the relief efforts." 

Asian Tour officials thought about postponing or cancelling the event in the wake of the storm, which devastated a swath of the Philippines south of the Manila area. They decided to go through with the tournament at the Southwoods Golf and Country Club after consulting with local golf associations, authorities and relief agencies. 

Chief Executive Mike Kerr said the tour felt the best way it could help was by staging the competition and supporting aid and relief programs. Several players participated just to try to raise money and otherwise help the relief effort.

Liang is best known as a pioneer of Chinese golf, and is the first player from China to have made it into the top 100 in the world ranking. Among his other breakthroughs: He was the first Chinese player to win the Asian Tour of Merit (2007); the first to play in the PGA Championship (2007); the first to play in the Masters (2008); and the first to make the cut in a major (2008 British Open). In addition, he set the course record at Whistling Straits with a third-round 64 in the 2010 PGA Championship, when he went on to tie for eighth place.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Jason Dufner at the Georgia-Auburn game
Courtesy of Auburn University
Jason Dufner, with wife Amanda, received several awards at halftime of the Georgia-Auburn game. One of them was the naming of a street 'Jason Dufner Drive.'

Saturdays in November are focused on college football for many of us, but golf was front and center in Southeastern Conference country today.

Jason Dufner was honored at halftime of the Georgia-Auburn game for his PGA Championship victory. Dufner, of course, is an Auburn graduate and War Eagle megafan. He and wife Amanda still live in the Auburn area – where they are building a new house accented by oak trees from Oak Hill, the site of his Wanamaker win – and he can often be spotted at Auburn athletic events.

For the run-up to today's game, Dufner was a special guest on ''This Week in SEC Football, '' where he talked about Coach Gus Malzahn, the upcoming Iron Bowl game with Alabama, and plenty more.

In case you missed it, Dufner has visited the Auburn football team a couple of times this year. He even gave a pregame speech before the Texas A&M game, which obviously had the desired effect as the Tigers upset the Aggies that day.

Here's the video of Dufner's appearance on ''This Week in SEC Football:''



November 15, 2013 - 2:04pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
Golf Channel
Phil Mickelson talks with Morning Drive co-hosts Gary Williams and Charlie Rymer.

Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson joined co-hosts Gary Williams and Charlie Rymer on Golf Channel's Morning Drive Friday.

Mickelson covered many topics during his appearance, including his win at the Open Championship in July, which he called, "the greatest feeling to accomplish winning this Open Championship, because I would go there each year, but I would only play a couple of weeks each year to try to really perfect links golf and the shots that are needed. Having that trophy there with Bones and going through a 20-year process to try to achieve that, it was the greatest, most fulfilling moment of my career, because I was never positive that I would win this tournament."

You can watch Mickelson talk about the Open here:

Mickelson also talked about returning to Pinehurst No. 2, site of the 2014 U.S. Open. Mickelson famously finished second to the late Payne Stewart when the U.S. Open was held at Pinehurst in 1999 -- one of Mickelson's record six runner-up finishes in the national championship.

The U.S. Open is also the lone major that still eludes Mickelson.

"1999 is a tournament I will always remember, and I will actually cherish, too, because a lot of great things came from that event, even though it was a heartbreaking loss," Mickelson said on Morning Drive. "It just turned out the way it was supposed to, and hopefully I will be able to go back there next year and take some of that emotion and apply it to my game and play well and capture my first U.S. Open."

Here's Mickelson on Golf Channel, talking about heading back to Pinehurst and his U.S. Open preparations:

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

November 15, 2013 - 1:50pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Steve Long demonstrates the proper way to set up to the ball before your swing to ensure correct balance and improve your consistency.



November 15, 2013 - 12:47pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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TaylorMade Golf
TaylorMade Golf's new JetSpeed family of clubs.

TaylorMade today announced the release of JetSpeed, touted by the company as, "a breakthrough line of metalwoods that includes the company's first driver to feature Speed Pocket technology."

In addition, JetSpeed fairway woods and Rescue clubs combine an enhanced Speed Pocket, an extremely low-forward center of gravity (CG) location and extremely light overall weight to promote faster swing speed, clubhead speed and ball speed for more distance.

"We expect 'low and forward CG' to represent the next great innovation in metalwood performance," said Sean Toulon, Executive Vice President. "With our SLDR and JetSpeed products, we're giving golfers of all types the opportunity to increase their launch angle and reduce their spin-rate, which ultimately leads to more distance."

Initially, the Speed Pocket was designed to increase the speed at which the clubface flexes and rebounds to promote faster ball speed. TaylorMade engineers discovered that incorporating a Speed Pocket into the JetSpeed driver promotes less spin, as well as greater ball speeds on shots struck below the center of the clubface. TaylorMade reports that research suggests 72 percent of all golf shots are hit below the center of face, so the JetSpeed driver is designed to minimize the ill effects of shots struck below center.

"With most drivers, low impact generates too much spin, making the ball fly too high and land short," said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade's Senior Director of Metalwood Creation. "JetSpeed's Speed Pocket is engineered to dramatically reduce that added spin to promote more distance on that very common type of mis-hit."

The JetSpeed head features a matte black crown with a unique decal that promotes accurate face alignment at address. The matte finish also reduces glare and provides a stark contrast to the silver clubface, further making face alignment easier.

JetSpeed fairway woods and Rescue clubs each incorporate a radically redesigned Speed Pocket that's smaller and accounts for less weight, while remaining just as efficient at boosting the speed of the clubface.

READ: TaylorMade's SLDR family of driver, fairway woods and rescue clubs impress

The improved Speed Pocket is filled with a polymer that keeps debris out, improving turf interaction while absorbing unwanted vibration without slowing down the clubface.

Equipped with the Matrix Velox T 49 shaft (46"), the JetSpeed driver is available in three lofts -- 9.5, 10.5 and HL (13). Loft Sleeve Technology allows golfers to easily adjust their loft +/- 1.5 degrees to find their optimal launch conditions. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $299 per club. An upgraded TP shaft, the Matrix Velox 60, is also available for a $100 upcharge.

The stock JetSpeed fairway wood shaft is the Matrix Velox T 69 shaft. At 69 grams, it's a heavier shaft than TaylorMade has used in previous fairway wood models, which promotes better club control during the swing. Five fairway wood lofts are available: 3 wood (15 degrees), 3HL (17 degrees), 5 wood (19 degrees), 5HL (21 degrees) and 7 wood (23 degrees). Each fairway wood retails for $229.

Matrix's Velox T shaft powers the JetSpeed Rescue Clubs, with the weight determined by shaft flex: S/75 grams, R/65 grams, M/55 grams and L/45 grams. There are four lofts available: 3 (19 degrees), 4 (22 degrees), 5 (25 degrees) and 6 (28 degrees), each retailing for $199.

JetSpeed metalwoods will be available at retailers nationwide starting December 13.

For more information, visit

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

November 15, 2013 - 10:14am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jarrod Lyle
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Two-time cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle accomplished his goal of making the cut in the Australian Masters -- his first start in 20 months.

Australian Jarrod Lyle accomplished an incredible feat that should be a late entry for "golf moment of the year" honors, if such a thing exists.

Lyle, after 20 months away from professional golf to battle a second bout with myeloid leukemia, made the cut in the Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne on Friday.

This week has been emotional for Lyle, but for all the right reasons.

RELATED: Jarrod Lyle's emotional opening tee shot

Following a 1-over 72 in Round 1, Lyle shot an even-par 71 in Round 2. He's at 1-over 143 through 36 holes and in a tie for 39th.

"I've done it," Lyle, smiling, told reporters after his round. "I came here and achieved my biggest goal."

Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard is in Australia for the tournament and had this nugget in his Friday column on Lyle:

Stamina was Lyle's greatest concern this week as he recovers from last year's bone-marrow transplant and he said he had little trouble sleeping after Thursday's round. The weekend promises to be even more physically demanding, but Lyle said the hard part was over.

"If I have to crawl those last 18 holes, I'll crawl," he said.

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