Golf Buzz

March 26, 2013 - 8:44pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade Spider Blade and Callaway Versa putters
TaylorMade Spider Blade (TaylorMade) and Odyssey Versa blade (Callaway)
The TaylorMade Spider Blade putter (left) unveiled in Houston on Tuesday, immediately caught the attention of Callaway, whose Odyssey division is marketing its Versa (right) putters.

No one has been releasing more compelling new equipment and marketing it more aggressively this year than Callaway and TaylorMade. So maybe what happened on Tuesday was inevitable.

On the practice green at the Shell Houston Open, TaylorMade unveiled its new Spider Blade putter. The TaylorMade rep who goes by the Twitter handle @CharlieTour tweeted out a photo of it, and said, ''Here's a first-look @TaylorMadeGolf's new Spider Blade putter - coming soon - from the practice green @ShellHouOpen.''

Clearly, the introduction didn't escape the notice of Callaway Golf, whose Odyssey division has been actively promoting its new Versa putters this spring. An hour after the TaylorMade tweet came a reply from Callaway Senior Vice President Harry Arnett, who responded: ''Just got pictures sent to me by our guys @ Houston event. The Versa knockoffs have made their way to Tour already! #thatdidnttakelong.''

The putter on the right is the Odyssey Versa #1 blade, one of several putters in the Versa line whose dominant feature is the striped head – the thick black and white stripes running laterally down the head to make alignment easier.

The putter on the left is the TaylorMade Spider Blade. We don't know much about it yet, but it also has a distinctive black and white color scheme.

TaylorMade didn't respond to Arnett's tweet, but we have a feeling this discussion is just beginning.

March 26, 2013 - 10:56am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
YouTube
Phil Mickelson hits a flop shot over Roger Cleveland's head.

 

Don't try this at home, friends.
 
 
The video is a must-see. Mickelson, with Cleveland standing the length of a sand-wedge in front of him, explains and executes a flop-shot that travels just over Cleveland's head.
 
Mickelson explains before hitting the shot:
 
"Well you've probably seen this on the Golf Channel with Dave Pelz. You're not quite as tall as Dave, so this shot is not as hard. But I put you a sand-wedge away in front of me. The key to this shot is keeping the leading edge low. If my hands stop and I try to flip it up like a lob shot, the leading edge is going to go right into the ball, I'm going to blade it and you're going to feel the effects."
 
A nervous laugh from Cleveland ensues, before Mickelson proceeds.
 
Man... that guy is good! Suddenly, that flop-shot wall on Golf Channel's Big Break looks like a piece of cake.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
Lindsey Vonn
Twitter
Lindsey Vonn celebrated her boyfriend Tiger Woods taking over the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking on Monday with this tweet.

 

 
You know, like Facebook and Twitter official. Because in this social media era, it's not official unless it's tweeted or FB'ed.
 
Well, fast forward to Monday when Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational for an incredible eighth time in his illustrious career and reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.
 
Vonn, delighted with her boyfriend's accomplishment, sent out a simple tweet to her 200,000+ followers to recognize the occasion:
 
@lindseyvonn: "Number 1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!"
 
Indeed.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 26, 2013 - 9:13am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Matt Kuchar
Getty Images
Matt Kuchar is among a long list of great players who have yet to win a major. Could that change in two weeks at the Masters?

 

Rod Crowley, a contributor for BleacherReport.com, offers up a list of five golfers who could claim their first major title in two weeks at the Masters.
 
 
Tiger Woods has hit his form at the perfect time as he aims to secure his fifth Masters win in a couple of weeks.
 
His win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Monday and a subsequent return to the number one spot in the World Rankings have been enough for bookmakers to expect him to finish atop the leaderboard in the opening major of the year.
 
Woods odds to win his 15th major are just plus-350 (7/2), giving him an 18 percent chance to be on top when the final round concludes on April 14 at Augusta National.
 
However, a strong field will assemble in Georgia, with the likes of Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson among the favorites to add to their trophy cases. There is also the usual multitude of top players who will be looking to make a name for themselves on golf's biggest stage.
 
Here are five PGA challengers ready to make their presence felt on the Augusta leaderboard as they look to end their wait for glory in a major.
 
 
For reference, four of the last six Masters champions (Zach Johnson, 2007; Trevor Immelman, 2008; Charl Schwartzel, 2011; and Bubba Watson, 2012) claimed their first major title at Augusta National.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 25, 2013 - 11:09pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Paula Creamer's dog, Studley
Paula Creamer via Twitter
Paula Creamer's dog, Studley, looks as thrilled to go through airport security as his human counterparts.

As you might suspect, Mondays are usually hectic travel days for professional golfers. And when I'm home, warm and dry, I get a kick out of following all their various travails via social media.

Today seemed like a pretty typical Monday, judging by some of the tweets that rolled by throughout the day. Here are some examples:

--Former ''Big Break'' winner Carling Coffing Nolan was a little miffed at AirTran as she tried to get out of Orlando. For one thing, her Sunday flight was cancelled, keeping her around an extra day. For another thing, her diabetes pump earned her a patdown from the TSA crew. And for a third, her flight was delayed yet again. ''I feel like Dorothy trying to get home," she tweeted.

--Former Oklahoma Sooner star and current Symetra Tour player Kendall Dye also was trying to get out of Orlando. But first, she tweeted, she had to complete ''Operation stop puking before a 5 hour flight.''

--Champions Tour player Roger Chapman, meanwhile, was sweating his connections from Gulfport, Miss., to Dallas to Chicago to London after a delay getting off the ground. Good luck!

--LPGA Tour player Karin Sjodin found herself seated next to a guy all decked out in "Team Glock" gear. ''Hope he has his 'tools' in the checked luggage,'' said tweeted. And before getting on the plane, she admitted: "First I booked a room by the wrong airport. Then I went through security at the wrong terminal... Really hope I'll board the correct flight!"

--European Tour player Mikko Ilonen was trying to fly from the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur to the Hassan II Trophy in Agadir, Morocco, via Istanbul and London. Total trip time: 30 hours. Oof!

One tweet made me laugh, though – in the photo above, Paula Creamer showed us Studley, her perky pup and frequent traveling companion, as he waited to go through security in California after the Kia Classic late Sunday. The expression on his face looks exactly like how I feel every time I have to endure those ridiculous airport lines. Fortunately for all involved, Studley and Paula both made it home to Orlando safe and sound – and pretty much on time.

March 25, 2013 - 3:04pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
AP
Equipped with a stand bag and a pair of shorts, Rory McIlroy worked on his game alongside hackers like you and me at a muni driving range in Miami last week.

 

Rory McIlroy, who was bumped from No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking to No. 2 after a win by Tiger Woods earlier today at Bay Hill, was photographed on Friday hitting golf balls at the Miami Municipal Golf Course.
 
McIlroy was in Miami to watch girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki compete in the Sony Open tennis tournament.
 
It's not really news -- one of the world's top golfers working on his game. But, it's pretty cool that McIlroy decided to pound some rocks at an every man's kinda place. Especially when you consider that McIlroy could probably roll up to any posh country club in the world and head to the range, no questions asked.
 
Here's to hoping McIlroy didn't get -- or take -- any unsolicited advice from an onlooker, as so often happens on a muni driving range.
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.