Golf Buzz

January 10, 2013 - 11:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
GolfCentralDaily.com
The GolfCentralDaily.com blog seems to have uncovered pictures of Rory McIlroy's new Nike gear.

One of golf's worst kept secrets seems to have been revealed -- Rory McIlroy was spotted in Dubai with a Nike golf bag filled with Nike clubs.

The official announcement of McIlroy's switch from Titleist to Nike is expected to come at a press conference ahead of the world No. 1's 2013 season debut in Abu Dhabi next week.

GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner found the tidbit via the blog GolfCentralDaily.com.

Lavner wrote:

The blog notes that there are 15 clubs in the bag, including two putters – his usual Scotty Cameron and then a new Nike Method model. It is unclear which flatstick he will use when he opens his season next week in Abu Dhabi.

According to the site, it appears that McIlroy will use the Nike Covert driver, VR II Pro blades, and will have to choose between a Pro Combo cavity back long iron and a 3- and 5-wood. He also has 46-, 50- and 54-degree wedges, with "Rors" stamped on the back.

GolfCentralDaily.com snapped a couple of pictures of McIlroy's new gear, which you can find here.

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

January 10, 2013 - 9:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Action News in Jacksonville, Fla. (ActionNewsJax.com), broke a story early this morning on the discovery of an active meth lab found on one of the upper floors of the Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa.

This isn't really golf news, other than the fact that the Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa sits at the entrance to PGA Tour Headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach and the world-famous TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course, which plays host to the Players Championship.

From the Action News report:

Sgt. Chuck Mulligan (a spokesperson for the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office) tells Action News a man and a woman checked into the resort. The the credit card they used made security suspicious that there could be a fraud issue.

Security went to investigate more, that's when deputies say a security guard noticed equipment that is used for cooking meth. Mulligan says the security guard is a former law enforcement officer who knew the signs of a meth lab and called the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say the lab was in the process of actively cooking drugs when it was discovered.

Five rooms near the meth lab were evacuated as HAZMAT crews went in to begin the cleaning process. Mulligan says the cleanup was difficult, because the room is on an upper floor and crews had to bring in pipes to pump out potentially hazardous air and chemicals.

Investigators described the lab as a small "one-pot" operation. While the size of the operation may have been small, Action News has learned the danger posed by one of these devices is still high. Small units similar to the one discovered in the resort have the power to blow a hole through a wall. Sgt. Mulligan estimates the cost of the cleanup could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

To read the complete story, click here.

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

January 10, 2013 - 1:49am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Ryo Ishikawa
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
New Callaway staff professional Ryo Ishikawa was the youngest player ever to break into the top 100, and then the youngest to break into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The signings have been coming fast and furious since the calendar flipped to 2013, and Callaway has made the latest splash.

Late Wednesday night, Callaway announced the signing of Ryo Ishikawa. The 21-year-old sensation remains overwhelmingly popular in his native Japan and across Asia, and is a fast-rising star in the United States, where he will play a full PGA Tour schedule this year.

Ishikawa, who has won 10 times on the Japan Golf Tour, will play Callaway equipment – including the company's new RAZR Fit Xtreme Driver and the Odyssey putters he has used for nine of his victories, the company said. He also will wear Callaway-branded apparel, caps, gloves and footwear.

Ishikawa played several events on the PGA Tour in 2009, and caught the broader public's interest at the 2010 U.S. Open with his pink attire and low scores. He tied for 20th in the 2011 Masters – about a month after he announced that he would donate his 2011 tour earnings plus an additional 100,000 yen for every birdie he made to the Japan earthquake relief efforts.

In May of 2007, Ishikawa became the youngest golfer to win a Japan Golf Tour event, capturing the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup at 15 years and eight months of age. He turned professional in 2008 and, by the end of that season, became the youngest player to break into the top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings.

He went on to dominate the 2009 season in Japan with four wins to become the leading money winner and be named the circuit's MVP. Also that year, he became the youngest golfer to ever reach the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings.

He officially became a member of the PGA Tour last March, and had two top-10s in 18 starts while amassing $727,051 in official earnings. He will make his debut as a Callaway staff professional at the Humana Challenge next week in La Quinta, Calif.

 

January 10, 2013 - 12:30am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Vijay Singh's putting stroke
Alex Miceli via Twitter
Vijay Singh is working on a new putting grip that maintains a pendulum putting stroke without actually being anchored to his body, says Alex Miceli of the Golf Channel.

We've all been talking about the proposed ban on anchoring putting strokes for the last couple of months, but one man is doing something about it.

It's no surprise that our man is wily veteran and inveterate hard worker Vijay Singh. As our friend Alex Miceli of the Golf Channel notes, Singh has been spending hours on the putting green out at Waialae Country Club in advance of the Sony Open.

Not only is he working on his stroke, Miceli noticed, Singh is also testing out an interesting new grip – he's using an anchoring stroke without the anchor.

As you can see in this photo that Miceli posted on Twitter, Singh has his left hand low on that oversized grip, while his right hand holds the top of the club as if he were going to anchor the butt of the club into his belly. Except that he doesn't – he holds the club an inch or two away from his body throughout his stroke, which would be perfectly legal under the proposed rule change.

It'll be curious to see if Singh putts this way during the tournament itself. But whether he does or doesn’t, we have to agree with Miceli's assessment that this is "just the beginning of odd strokes we will likely see."

For more from Miceli, follow him at www.twitter.com/alexmiceli. And, of course, you can follow us at www.twitter.com/PGA_com.

January 9, 2013 - 10:09pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson
Getty Images
Where do Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson fit in Dan Talintyre's forecast of the year's best storylines? Check out his piece to find out

The 2013 season will be a huge one in golf, says Dan Talintyre, a featured columnist over at Bleacher Report. In fact, he says, 2013 is shaping up to be even greater than 2012, which of course, was bookended by Bubba Watson's amazing victory at the Masters and that record-setting European comeback at the Ryder Cup.

Why is he so enthusiastic about the year that's just begun? Well, he tells all in his column on the most exciting storylines of 2013.

At the top of his list is what he believes it'll take for Rory McIlroy to truly establish himself as the man to watch out for over the next decade. And, he wonders, who might break out of the pack to challenge McIlroy? He mentions Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia as possibilities, but has one specific player that he believes McIlroy really ought to keep an eye on.

Who might be the breakout star of 2013? Who will be the biggest flop? Talintyre has some interesting thoughts on those storylines, and his choices are certainly different from mine.

He also offers us some early previews of the majors, and even some preliminary predictions. Even with the Masters still three months away, it's not too early to give his thoughts some consideration. If nothing else, it'll get you even more fired up for golf's new season.

I encourage you to click on over, take a look at Talintyre's column and tell us what you think.

January 9, 2013 - 4:04pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Colin Montgomerie
PGA of America
Could Colin Montgomerie be the surprise captain for Europe at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland?

Listen to anyone and they'll tell you: the European Ryder Cup captaincy for 2014 at Gleneagles is a two-horse race between Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and Ireland's Paul McGinley.

In fact, some have suggested that when the announcement is made by the European Tour in the coming weeks, it will make its selection for both 2014 and 2016, with Clarke and McGinley captaining one or the other.

But, as college football analyst Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend!"

Colin Montgomerie, captain of the winning European side at Celtic Manor in 2010, has said that if he were ever asked to take the reigns for Europe again, he wouldn't turn it down... especially in 2014, in Scotland, where he's from.

Will Gray from GolfChannel.com reports:

The leading candidates for the 2014 job have long been Irishman Paul McGinley and former British Open champion Darren Clarke. It wasn't until recently that Montgomerie's name re-entered the discussion.

"I thought it was between Darren and Paul until Darren said something, then my name was mentioned," the Scot explained to reporters. "I've never canvassed, as I didn't last time. I've not spoken to anybody about this. But I've always felt that if I was asked I would do it, and that's still the case."

In what could be an awkward meeting of the minds, the 15-man tournament committee – of which Montgomerie, Clarke and McGinley are all members – will meet next Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, after which a captain for 2014 (and possibly 2016) is expected to be announced. The timing of Montgomerie's sudden surge in consideration is eerily similar to 2010, when his name was put forth by Henrik Stenson and the Scot was confirmed as captain shortly thereafter.

"We were asked to keep quiet, but the rumor mill spread and I became 1/50 from 50/1," he recalled. "Nothing to do with me – I don't know how to place a bet."

Montgomerie's name gained traction after comments last month from Darren Clarke, who noted following the U.S. announcement of Tom Watson as its leading man that the European counterpart would need a "huge presence."

Will that huge presence be Monty? If it is, it would surprise a lot of people.

To read the rest of Gray's report, click here.

You can follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.