Golf Buzz

January 4, 2013 - 11:37am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Augusta National
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Augusta National is no longer No. 1 on the Golf Digest lists of America's top 100 courses.

Golf Digest has released its 2013-2014 list for the top 100 golf courses in America.

Here's the criteria used by the Golf Digest panelists to determine the rankings:

1. Shot Values. How well do the holes pose risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse?

2. Resistance to Scoring. How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for a scratch player from the back tees?

3. Design Variety. How varied are the holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?

4. Memorability. How well do the design features provide individuality to each hole yet a collective continuity to the entire 18?

5. Aesthetics. How well do the scenic values of the course add to the pleasure of a round?

6. Conditioning. How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the day you played the course?

7. Ambience. How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?

To arrive at a course's final score, we total its averages in the seven categories, double-weighting Shot Values. A course needs 45 evaluations over the past eight years to be eligible for America's 100 Greatest.

To take a look at the stout list -- and believe it or not, Augusta National dropped a spot since 2011 -- click here.

January 3, 2013 - 11:08pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway X Hot driver
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
In its new X Hot drivers, Callaway is able to boost ball speed without sacrificing optimum trajectory.

The distance gains just keep on coming. In debuting its new X Hot drivers, Callaway Golf engineers say they have achieved gains of 13 yards as compared to their RAZR X Black drivers. These advancements are possible, they said, thanks to a host of design and engineering advancements that make the new drivers faster, hotter and more lightweight than their predecessors.

For the X Hot models, Callaway’s Speed Frame Face Technology increases ball speed, saves weight and optimizes stiffness and stress distribution across the face for more efficient energy transfer from the clubhead to the ball. The new face technology, which is also found in Callaway's RAZR Fit Xtreme driver, promotes more – and more consistent – distance, even on off-center impacts.

"With the X Hot Drivers, we pushed the Speed Frame Face's efficiency to a new standard, producing high ball speeds while maintaining the trajectory and accuracy that discerning golfers demand," said Callaway Senior Vice President of Research & Development Alan Hocknell. "The fast face on X Hot is one piece of the puzzle, though. We went to great lengths to configure the X Hot drivers not only to promote distance, but to progressively optimize performance for various player types."

By decoupling the face performance from the rest of the driver head, Callaway is able to boost ball speed without sacrificing optimum trajectory. And a tighter curvature face on the X Hot Driver (relative to the RAZR X Black) helps to provide more consistent sidespin and dispersion to promote accuracy.

In these new drivers, Callaway has implemented its thinnest casting technology ever in the all-titanium head to create a lighter swing weight and overall configuration, a combination that benefits most players in terms of head speed and distance, especially golfers with an average swing speed. Another benefit is Draw Bias Progression, which changes the amount of draw bias depending on the loft, allowing golfers to better control sidespin and tune their shot shape. Players with higher lofts can take advantage of higher draw bias for straighter shots, while players with lower lofts can utilize a more neutral Center of Gravity that fits their game.

Also featured in the X Hot Driver is the adjustable OptiFit Hosel, which adjusts the face angle in Open, Square or Closed positions to improve accuracy and trajectory, and allows golfers to dial in their preferred look at address. The X Hot Drivers also feature Project X Velocity shafts as the stock offering.

The 460cc standard model will be available in 9.5-, 10.5-, 11.5-degree models along with a 13-degree HT-model, and will feature a lighter overall club weight and a lower swing weight than the X Hot Pro model. The X Hot Pro model, which has a slightly smaller headshape at 440cc, will be available in 8.5-, 9.5- and 10.5-degree models and feature slightly more open face angles than the standard version.

The standard model will be available Jan. 25, 2013, while the Pro version will be available on Feb. 15. Both versions will carry a new product introduction price of $299.

Along with the new drivers, Callaway is rolling out a line of X Hot and X Hot Pro fairway woods. For these woods, Callaway engineered a Forged Speed Frame Face Cup made of high-strength Carpenter 455 stainless steel that is up to 40 percent thinner than last year's fairway wood face – and with a 90 percent larger sweet spot. As a result, Callaway says, the new woods produce significantly hotter responses all over the face.

The standard X Hot Fairway Woods will be available in a 3-Wood, 4-Wood, 5-Wood, 7-Wood, 9-Wood and 11-Wood, and will feature slightly longer shafts and more upright lie angles than the Pro models. The Pro clubs will be available in 13.5-, 15-, 17- and 19-degree models. Both versions will carry an introduction price of $229 per club. 

For more on Callaway Golf, visit www.CallawayGolf.com or see the Callaway brand pages on PGA.com.

 

 

January 3, 2013 - 4:26pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jaime Ortiz-Patino
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Jaime Ortiz-Patino (center, holding the Ryder Cup), played a significant role in getting the Ryder Cup to Spain in 1997.

Jaime Ortiz-Patino, the man who created Valderrama in Spain which hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup, passed away this morning at the age of 82.

According to the Reuters report:

Born to Bolivian parents in Paris in June 1930, Ortiz-Patino created the Valderrama course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, in the mid 1980s and was able to lure the Ryder Cup there in 1997, the first time the competition had been held outside the British Isles.

The course was the home of the Volvo Masters between 1988 and 1996 and from 2002 to 2008 and has also hosted the Amex World Championships and the Andalucia Masters.

Known as "Jimmy" to his friends, Ortiz-Patino, whose grandfather was a fabulously wealthy Bolivian tin magnate, amassed a collection of golfing memorabilia that captured the history of the game over 500 years.

The 1997 Ryder Cup was won by Europe under captain Seve Ballesteros.

To read the full report, click here.

January 3, 2013 - 2:05pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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TRUE Linkswear
Courtesy True Linkswear
TRUE Linkswear's 2013 line include updated outsole, women’s and children’s offerings

My friends at TRUE Linkswear shoes have been leaders in bringing the minimalist movement to golf. Their philosophy of efficient design to utilize the anatomical features of the foot as opposed to highly structured and engineered footwear has proven to be a big commercial success. So that's a fancy of way of saying - they design shoes that make you feel as if you're barefoot, but give you the support you need for your golf swing. Tour player Ryan Moore is a part owner of the company - but also wears them while competing. So now they've come out with their 2013 line. Very cool. Here's the release.



SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - In just over two years, TRUE linkswear has established itself as the leader in the minimalist footwear movement in golf.  With the launch of its 2013 line - including a new women's shoe and its first children's shoe - TRUE further solidifies its position as one of the game's premier footwear companies.
 
"As the only brand one hundred percent dedicated to spikeless and minimalist golf footwear, we are very excited about launching TRUE's 2013 line, which is our broadest and most innovative yet," said Rob Rigg, co-founder and president of the company.  "The addition of several new styles and platforms makes us confident that there is now an extremely comfortable and versatile TRUE linkswear product for every consumer."
 
Updates from the Ground Up
The heart of the TRUE brand still resides in the minimalist movement emerging in the athletic footwear world. TRUE was the first company to build a golf shoe on a barefoot platform and has become the trend-setter in the minimalist movement in golf. 
 
TRUE is introducing two barefoot platforms in its shoes - the ninja outsole and sensei outsole. The ninja outsole is similar to TRUE's previous Ergo-Traction 2.0 platform, but with added feel and flexibility along with a more technical spike pattern. The sensei outsole, first used in the sensei shoe, features a profile and spike configuration that provide enhanced traction and stability, while maintaining the thinnest sole in golf.
 
New for 2013
TRUE's 2013 line features four new shoe models as well as additional updates and color offerings to its five current styles. 
 
Available this month, the TRUE chukka ($209) features the ninja outsole and comes with a mid-top waterproof leather upper that provides additional protection from the elements along with a leather liner and. It is available in two colors.
 
The TRUE tour ($149) and TRUE stealth ($199) both receive the new ninja outsole for 2013 and they both have a supple premium waterproof leather upper to ensure maximum comfort in all conditions. The stealth comes with leather lining while the tour has a 3-D anti-microbial mesh lining.
 
The TRUE jade ($99) is modeled after the men's TRUE sensei and joins the TRUE isis ($99) in the women's line. Both the jade and isis have women's specific lasts to provide the benefits of barefoot comfort with a slightly narrower toe box and heel. The jade will be available in three color combinations while the isis will be available in seven.
 
TRUE will release the proto, which Ryan Moore wore to victory at the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Open, in February. The TRUE proto ($169) features waterproof leather upper, a 3-D anti-microbial mesh liner, memory foam heel and the sensei outsole. The proto will be available in five color combinations. 
 
In March, TRUE will release the TRUE padwan ($59), the first shoe built on its TRUE barefoot kid's platform. The padwan will have all of the features of the sensei and jade, but will come in children's sizes and two color combinations.
 
The TRUE phx ($99) and TRUE sensei ($99) are back for 2013 in several new color combinations.
 
Ryan Moore will start 2013 wearing the TRUE proto and TRUE sensei at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, HI. 
 
About TRUE linkswear
TRUE linkswear, a Scottsdale-based footwear and apparel company, created the first golf shoe built on a barefoot platform, allowing the golfer to truly "Feel the Course," while enabling them to walk 36 holes right out of the box in total comfort.  TRUE was inspired by the emerging minimalist trend in running, where many shoes have shifted away from highly-engineered structures, such as arch supports and heavily-cushioned heels, to a shoe that better utilizes the anatomical features of the foot. TRUE brings this nature-engineered approach to golf by creating a shoe built on a barefoot platform feature a wide-toe box so toes can function naturally through the swing, which encourages proper weight transfer, balance and natural stability. Only TRUE offers the thinnest sole in golf (2.5mm), while still providing the durability to stand up to the most avid player.  TRUE products are now available at many national retailers, including Golfsmith, PGA TOUR Superstores, Golf Galaxy and GolfTown in Canada.  For more information, visit www.truelinkswear.com. 
January 3, 2013 - 12:34pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Rory McIlroy
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Rory McIlroy knows that hard feelings are likely to result no matter which flag he chose to play under in the Olympics.

It's still several years before golf makes its return to the Olympic Games in 2016, but already world No. 1 Rory McIlroy is giving serious thought to staying home.

Why? McIlroy might skip the Olympics to avoid the controversy already being generated by the decision over which country he would play for. As a native of Northern Ireland, he – and compatriot Graeme McDowell – are eligible to play for either Ireland or Great Britain, and hard feelings are likely to result no matter what.

"I just think being from where we're from, we're placed in a very difficult position. I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK," McIlroy told the BBC for an upcoming documentary about his 2012 season.

"If I could and there was a Northern Irish team, I'd play for Northern Ireland," he said. "Play for one side or the other, or not play at all because I may upset too many people… Those are my three options I'm considering very carefully."

Back in 2009, McIlroy said he would "probably play for Great Britain," but he and McDowell both have been treading carefully around the issue since the day golf was voted back into the Olympics.

"People tune in to watch me play on TV and feel like they are connected to me in some way," McIlroy told the BBC. "I don't want to repay them for their support with something they don't want me to do."

Also in the documentary, he discusses what happened on the Sunday morning of the Ryder Cup, when he almost missed his tee time and had to hitch a ride with a police officer to make it on time.

"I have never been as worried, as nervous or as panicked going to the golf course," he said.

January 2, 2013 - 3:50pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Karen Stupples
Karen Stupples via Twitter
LPGA Tour player Karen Stupples kicked off her 2013 by revealing the results of her recent weight-loss program.

I'd venture a guess that many of us woke up this morning thinking about the pounds we ought to shed after our holiday season (or year or lifetime) of indulging. Not LPGA Tour player Karen Stupples.

Stupples tweeted a photo of herself today showing us in dramatic fashion how much weight she's lost.

"I look a bit tired in this picture but these trousers I wore in the Solheim Cup...bit of a size difference!," she said in a major understatement. That Solheim Cup, by the way, was in September of 2011, meaning she's lost all that weight in the span of a year and a half or so.

"I want it to give hope to everyone who made a resolution to get in shape," tweeted Stupples, a native of England who will turn 40 in June. "For 4 and a half years I struggled to lose a pound but finally got my head together and started to make the right choices wasn't easy but it's very possible :-) good luck everyone."

Stupples didn't specify how much weight she's lost or how she went about it, other than her comment about making the right choices. Whatever she did, she is to be commended for her effort and diligence, especially considering she's the mother of a five-year-old son.

Fitness experts often say that keeping weight off after a dramatic loss can be as difficult as taking it off in the first place. But it can be done – LPGA Tour fans see it regularly in Cristie Kerr, who was overweight in her younger days but dropped something like 60 pounds and has successfully kept it off for more than a decade, all the while becoming one of the world's top female players.

And now I feel like absolute crap for all the goodies I scarfed down over the holidays. I'll start exercising again, I promise – as soon as I finish off that box of peppermint bark that keeps calling my name. Meanwhile, Karen, can I borrow your fat pants?