Golf Buzz

December 4, 2012 - 11:41pm
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John Holmes
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Rickie Fowler at the World Challenge
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His Vibrant Orange driver was one of 12 clubs from the 2013 AMP Cell line of clubs from Cobra Golf that Rickie Fowler played last week at Tiger Woods' World Challenge.

The fourth quarter of the year is a time when many players begin seriously checking out new gear to see what they might put in play next season. Rarely, however, does a player field-test a whole new bag of clubs in tournament play.

Rickie Fowler, however, did just that at Tiger Woods' World Challenge last week. A total of 12 of the 14 clubs in his bag at Sherwood Country Club came from Cobra Golf's brand-new 2013 AMP Cell line.

"Rickie and I have been working together with the R&D team all year," said Cobra Puma Golf Tour Manager Ben Schomin. "Rickie has been giving feedback on shape, design and performance, and he was extremely excited and pleased with the final results."

According to Cobra, here's what Fowler played:

--AMP Cell Pro driver, 7.5 degrees of loft in Vibrant Orange with MyFly
--AMP Cell 3+ fairway wood, in Vibrant Orange with MyFly
--AMP Cell 3-hybrid, in Vibrant Orange with MyFly
--AMP Cell Pro MB 4-9 irons
--Prototype Tour Trusty Rusty Wedges in 47-degree, 51-degree and 55-degree lofts

MyFly, by the way, allows golfers to change between six different trajectory settings. The driver, fairway woods and hybrids come in a choice of four different colors, and it’s no surprise that Fowler selected Vibrant Orange. The AMP Cell line will be available in the United States next February, though some clubs in the line are already out in Australia now.

Fowler tied for fourth at 9-under 279, deadlocked with Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, at Sherwood. He makes his final start of the year this week at the Franklin Templeton Shootout, where he will pair with fellow youngster Bud Cauley in the three-day, two-man competition. Presumably, he'll give those dozen sticks another workout.

For more on the AMP Cell line, visit www.cobragolf.com

December 4, 2012 - 12:57pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adam Scott at the Australian Open
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Adam Scott practiced his putting Tuesday at the Australian Open using a claw grip with his bottom hand but keeping his top hand separated.

Adam Scott is playing the Australian Open this week, and he spent part of Tuesday practicing with a "normal" putter.

Scott was spotted on the practice green working with a traditional putter that had a slightly extended shaft, according to British news service PA Sport, and then used it during his practice round.

As you can see in this photo from Getty Images, Scott used a claw-style grip with his right hand, but kept his left hand slightly separated toward the top of the grip to produce a stroke similar to the one he's used with his broomstick putter for the past 18 months or so. However, there was a clear gap between the end of the putter and his body, meaning the stroke would be legal under the anchoring guidelines proposed by the USGA and R&A last week.

Judging by the photo, the putter appears to be a shorter version of the Titleist Scott Cameron Studio Select Kombi he usually plays.

Scott – who won the Australian Masters on Nov. 18 with his broomstick putter -- had said that he planned to keep using his long putter next year, but now looks to be changing his mind. We haven't heard from him yet, and it'll be curious to see if he uses the shorter putter during the tournament itself.

December 4, 2012 - 2:12am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tom Watson
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When Tom Watson thinks of the Olympics, he says, he doesn't think of golf.

Who’s against golf in the Olympics? Apparently Tom Watson is.

''I still think of Olympics as track and field and not golf, to be honest with you,'' the eight-time major winner said Tuesday in Sydney, where is playing the Australian Open. ''I don't want to pour cold water on it, but I don't think it should be in the Olympic Games.''

Golf has its four major championships, Watson added, and they should remain its pinnacle events.

Golf was played in the 1900 Paris Olympics and the 1904 St. Louis Olympics, but then was dropped. It will return at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics after a huge effort from golf organizations around the globe.

December 4, 2012 - 12:33am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Graeme McDowell at the World Challenge
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Graeme McDowell became the seventh member of the European Ryder Cup team to pick up a trophy in the past two months.

Is there such thing as a Ryder Cup bounce? It sure looks like it.

Since the European team made that miraculous comeback to retain the golden chalice at Medinah a little more than two months ago, seven members of that victorious squad have gone on to win tournaments. They are:

--Graeme McDowell at the World Challenge in California on Dec. 2
--Martin Kaymer at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa on Dec. 2
--Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Challenge in Dubai on Nov. 25
--Luke Donald at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan on Nov. 18
--Ian Poulter at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China on Nov. 4
--Peter Hanson at the BMW Masters in Shanghai on Oct. 28
--Justin Rose at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final on Oct. 12

And on top of that, Vice-Captain Miguel Angel Jimenez won the UBS Hong Kong Open on Nov. 18 

Meanwhile, no member of the U.S. team has managed a victory since the Ryder Cup.

Golf clap for Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel, who pointed this out. You can follow her on Twitter at @KellyTilghmanGC

December 3, 2012 - 11:08pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Courtesy of Golden Horseshoe Golf Club
Golf at the Golden Horseshoe in Colonial Williamsburg is a father-son affair, thanks to the course-design genius of Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his sons Robert Trent II and Rees.

Few names in golf course architecture are as recognizable as that of the Jones family: The late, great genius Robert Trent Jones and his equally renowned sons, Robert Trent Jones II and Rees Jones. Together, the three industry giants have designed or remodeled nearly 1,000 courses around the globe.

Now, golfers can play the Robert Trent Jones-designed Gold Course and the Rees Jones-designed Green Course at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, and also stay onsite at Colonial Willamsburg's Woodlands Hotel. In addition, they can add a round at the nearby Rees Jones-designed Club at Viniterra, for a two-night, three-round package starting at $399 per person.

The Jones Collection package is available through the end of 2013 – yes, 2013.

Fittingly for a family destination, golf at Golden Horseshoe is a father-son affair. Trent Jones Sr. designed the Gold Course in 1963 and Rees came along to build the Green Course nearly 30 years later. The Gold Course is both an enduring example of traditional golf course architecture -- walkable and free of surrounding real estate development – and an excellent counterpart to the Green Course, which at 7,120 yards plays a little tougher than its sibling.

Located just off I-64 in New Kent toward Richmond, the Club at Viniterra opened in late 2009 as an amenity to help sell real estate, and once the golf course fully matured, the developers elected to open for public play earlier this year. Built on nearly 1,200 acres of wooded and rugged terrain, Viniterra can stretch to nearly 7,800 yards from the tips and flies against the grain of your typical Tidewater design.

With massive fairways and run-ups to nearly all of its green complexes, combined with the strategic placement of various grass, sand and water hazards -- Viniterra is enjoyable for golfers who select the proper set of tees, as some holes offer up to a dozen different teeboxes. Viniterra's routing incorporates many of the site's diverse natural features, including frequent elevation changes, multiple wetland areas and sections of mature, deciduous forest.

For more information, click here.

December 3, 2012 - 9:36am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Keegan Bradley
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Keegan Bradley, winner of the 2011 PGA Championship, was called something on Saturday that no golfer ever wants to be called.

Former PGA Champion Keegan Bradley -- who also proved himself a match-play force in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah -- was the victim of some unwarranted, distasteful heckling at Tiger Woods's World Challenge on Saturday.

Bradley, who famously uses a belly putter, was called a, "cheater," by a spectator as he played the final hole of his third round at Sherwood Country Club.

"It's very disrespectful, but it's fine with me," Bradley told the press. "I've got to try to look at it as motivation to help me try to win this tournament."

Just last week, the USGA and the R&A proposed a new rule to ban anchored putters -- a rule that would take effect in January 2016.

Three of the last five major champions, starting with Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship, used a belly putter. The proposed change was likely the reason -- among other things -- for the vitriol Bradley received on Saturday.

Being called, "a cheater," is the worst imaginable thing you can tag a golfer. Especially when he's done nothing wrong, which is the case with Bradley. Long putters have been legal for years. To its credit, the USGA responded to the Bradley incident with the statement below:

Far Hills, N.J. (December 2, 2012) -- The United States Golf Association (USGA) today issued the following statement regarding yesterday's incident at the World Challenge in which a spectator called Keegan Bradley's use of an anchored stroke as "cheating." The incident follows the Nov. 28 announcement by the USGA and The R&A proposing changes to the Rules of Golf that would prohibit anchoring the club in making a stroke. The proposed Rule change would take effect on January 1, 2016, in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf.

"This is a deplorable incident, and there is no place in our game for this kind of behavior. As we noted when announcing proposed Rule 14-1b, it has been and remains entirely within the Rules of Golf for players to anchor the club while making a stroke. There should not be a shred of criticism of such players or any qualification or doubt about their achievements, and we think that it is inappropriate even to suggest anything to the contrary. Rule changes address the future and not the past. Up until now and until such time as a Rule change were to be implemented, golfers using an anchored stroke will have been playing by the Rules of Golf."

"We are sorry that Keegan had to experience this unfounded criticism from an obviously uneducated spectator. Instead, Keegan and other PGA Tour professionals should be commended for their maturity and grace in managing through a proposed change to the Rules of Golf."

"While we understand that the proposed Rules change would cause some short-term angst, we believe the new Rule would serve the long-term best interest of the game."

Here's to hoping Bradley -- or anyone else using a long putter while it's still legal, for that matter -- is spared the nonsense from the peanut gallery.

PGA of America President Ted Bishop issued the following statement after the USGA and R&A announced its proposed long putter ban:

"The PGA has long supported the USGA in its role of establishing the Rules of Golf governing play and equipment. We have representation on the Rules of Golf Committee and we have tremendous respect for the USGA in regard to their critical role in writing and interpreting the Rules of Golf. As our mission is to grow the game, on behalf of our 27,000 men and women PGA Professionals, we are asking them to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people's enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game."