Golf Buzz

December 10, 2012 - 2:38pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade RocketBladez iron, Nike VR_S Covert driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade (left) and Nike Golf
TaylorMade's new RocketBladez irons registered their inaugural competitive victory in Florida, while Nike's VR_S Covert driver got its first tour win in South Africa.

The week just concluded was the next-to-last week of competition in 2012, but it produced a couple of firsts in the world of equipment.

Over at the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa, Scott Jamieson of England chalked up the first competitive victory for the new VR_S Covert drivers from Nike Golf. And in the Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples, Fla., Sean O'Hair (teaming with Kenny Perry) earned the first victory for the new RocketBladez irons from TaylorMade.

"Believe in your driver," tweeted Nike Golf after Jamieson's victory in the first event of the 2013 European Tour season, noting that Jamieson gained seven yards in carry distance with his new driver.

The VR_S Covert driver is the first to bring high-speed cavityback technology to a conforming driver, Nike says. The High Speed Cavity Back leads to more stability at impact, and is visible only from the sole – hence the name VR_S Covert. And by incorporating this new hidden geometry into the driver, Nike is able to move the weight of the club to the heel and toe, increasing Moment of Inertia (MOI) to increase forgiveness and add even more distance to off-center shots.

The VR_S Covert and Covert Tour drivers will be available in North America and Europe on Feb. 8, 2013, and the rest of world starting Feb. 15, 2013.

Meanwhile, "the first PGA Tour professional to play RBladez Tour irons (Sean O'Hair) became the first to win with them," tweeted TaylorMade, who also noted that Rory Sabbatini, who finished runner-up with teammate Charles Howell III.

The secret of the RocketBladez' success is their Speed Pocket, a narrow slot cut in the sole of the 3-iron through 7-iron that permits the face to flex farther and more easily upon impact, particularly when a golfer hits the ball low on the face. The improved flex, says TaylorMade, promotes increased springiness up to the USGA limit for high ball speed. In fact, TaylorMade says, these irons are as hot as many drivers, and could help most golfers add two to five yards per shot.

Higher-lofted clubs like the sand wedge and lob wedge don't include the Speed Pocket, but have redesigned cavities to improve their feel, and feature TaylorMade's ATV (All-Terrain Versatility) sole for improved workability around the greens. In addition, these clubs come equipped with heavier steel shafts to promote better rhythm and control in shorter swings.

RocketBladez irons are available now.

December 10, 2012 - 10:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Peter Senior
Australia's Peter Senior, 53, became the oldest Australian Open champion by 10 years, as the previous record holder was Peter Thomson, who won the title at age 43.

In case you missed it this weekend, Australia's Peter Senior pulled off an amazing feat Down Under, winning the Australian Open at the age of 53, to become the tournament's oldest winner. It was the second Australian Open title for the appropriately named Senior, but the incredible thing about it is that his two wins came 23 years apart -- also a record.

As reported by Martin Blake of emiratesaustralianopen.com.au:

He is the oldest winner of any top-level Australian tour event, having set the previous record himself when he won the Australian PGA at Coolum in 2010 at 51.

"It doesn’t get any better than this," said Senior, a profoundly popular figure in the Australian golf industry over three decades.

Kudos to Senior. It seems all we talk about lately is the supreme talent of players at such a young age. For instance, New Zealand's Lydia Ko became the youngest LPGA winner earlier this season when she captured the Canadian Women's Open at 15 years, 4 months and 3 days. More recently, Guan Tianlang of China -- just 14 years old -- became the youngest player ever to qualify for the Masters after his win at the Asia-Pacific Championship in November.

While it's fantastic to see that the future of the game is in great hands with the performances of these young players, it's also nice on occasion to see someone like Senior get the job done.

To read more about Senior's victory, check out our Australian Open recap here.

December 9, 2012 - 3:34pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tom Watson
Getty Images
Tom Watson led the U.S. Ryder Cup team to victory at the Belfry in England in 1993, and now wants to return at Gleneagles in 2014.

Tom Watson has just wrapped up playing at the Australian Open for the first time since he won it in 1984. Now he's got another "back to the future" target on his mind.

Watson said Sunday in Sydney that he'd love to captain the U.S. team at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland -- 21 years after he led the Americans to victory at the Belfry in England in 1993.

"It would be a great honor if I got tapped on the shoulder," said Watson, who stressed that he hasn’t been approach about the job. "’93 was the last time I've been to a Ryder Cup. I'd like to go back as captain. That would be cool."

Watson, 63, played on Ryder Cup teams in 1977, 1981, 1983 and 1989.

December 9, 2012 - 3:04pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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STX Golf putter
Courtesy of STX Golf
Putters like the Envision TR are examples of the innovation encouraged at STX Golf.

STX, LLC, the parent company of puttermaker STX Golf, has been selected as one of the Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces for 2012.

The award, based on a survey of employees, recognizes Baltimore-area businesses that workers find rewarding, motivating and meaningful to work for. The survey was conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement.

"We are honored to receive this award from The Baltimore Sun and especially from our employees," said STX General Manager Jason Goger. "This award is particularly important to STX because we strive to create a workplace with talented, entrepreneurial-minded professionals who share our commitment to 'Never Stop' innovating."

In the survey, employees were asked about important organization qualities including company leadership, career opportunities, workplace flexibility and compensation.

STX employees said their organization has a clear sense of direction as well as brilliant execution and innovation and makes them feel valued, according to the survey. They also agreed that new ideas are encouraged within the company and that their jobs have exceeded initial expectations.

Along with putters, STX is a leader in lacrosse and field hockey equipment.

For more information, visit www.stx.com.

December 8, 2012 - 12:29pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Palm Beach County home reportedly under contract by Rory McIlroy
Gossipextra
This 10,000-square-foot Palm Beach County home is reportedly under contract by none other than 23-year-old Rory McIlroy. The home has six bedrooms and easy access to open water and the Bear's Club.

According to numerous real estate sources in the Palm Beach Gardens area, Rory McIlroy has signed a contract to purchase a $10 million, 10,000-square-foot home in the Old Gate community of Jupiter across the street from the Bear’s Club where he is a member.

The home, built in 2012 and owned by developer Christian Demers, has six bedrooms, nine baths, a gym, backyard putting green and deepwater dock.

First reported by Jose Lambeit on his website, the home had a listing of $10.9 million and, according to Lambeit’s sources, Rory came "close" to that asking price.

The 23-year-old has already listed his home in Holywood, Northern Ireland, and has been renting a home on the Loxahatchee River for some time. He plays regularly at the Bear's Club, one of Nicklaus' most impressive designs and a favorite of tour players and celebrities such as Michael Jordan.

No word on whether Caroline Wozniaki will be settling in as well, but there will be plenty of room for her if she also makes the move.

December 7, 2012 - 7:06pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Johnny Manziel
Chris Fowler via Twitter
"Johnny Golf? Manziel smooth swing on the range. Does it translate to the course?," tweeted ESPN's Chris Fowler before a round with Heisman Trophy hopeful Johnny Manziel earllier this week.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has rocked the world of college football this season, and is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.

But he might be a better golfer than a football player. And, according to the Houston Chronicle, his introduction to football came through a golf connection.

Manziel was born in 1992 to two dedicated golfers, Paul and Michelle Manziel, who were high school sweethearts in Tyler, Texas, said the Chronicle. And through his love of golf, Paul Manziel became friends with Jacky Lee, a former Texas A&M golfer who also coached a powerhouse Pop Warner football team dubbed the Tyler Hurricanes.

Lee picked up on Johnny's extraordinary athleticism even as a skinny 8-year old, the paper said, but Johnny's mother and grandmother insisted the youngster not play football while in elementary school. Lee finally joined the Hurricanes in the sixth grade and was "immediately the best athlete on the field," Lee told the Chronicle, and his exploits earned him the first of his many nicknames: "Johnny Hurricane."

The youngster also became quite accomplished in baseball and golf, and Lee, who played golf for the Aggies in the early 1980s, said Manziel was playing par golf by the time he was 11.

It's not clear how much golf Manziel gets to play these days, but according to the Dallas Morning News, he played a round with Aggie offensive lineman Luke Joeckel and ESPN personalities Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit earlier this week in Orlando in conjunction with ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards. None of the participants revealed their scores, but Fowler tweeted the photo above from the range before they played.