Golf Buzz

December 19, 2013 - 6:08pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
TaylorMade SLDR 430 driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The TaylorMade SLDR 430 driver incorporates the same innovative sliding weight mechanism as in the original SLDR 460, but in a smaller head preferred by better players.
TaylorMade is wasting no time growing its family of SLDR drivers. The original SLDRs made their debut in July, with fairway woods and hybrids following in October and then the 14-degree SLDR driver being announced just a few weeks ago.
Now comes the SLDR 430 – a more compact version of the original SLDR. The ''430,'' of course, indicates that the head has a 430cc volume as opposed to the larger 460cc heads on the original SLDRs. The smaller head, generally preferred by better players, is designed to help shape shots without sacrificing distance.
The SLDR 430 incorporates the same innovative sliding weight mechanism TaylorMade introduced in the SLDR 460. The blue, 20-gram movable weight allows the golfer to shift the clubhead's center of gravity horizontally toward either the heel to promote a draw, or toward the toe to promote a fade. 
The weight slides along a 21-point track on the front of the sole, and never comes loose from the clubhead. To position the weight at any of those points, the golfer simply loosens the screw, slides the weight to the desired point, then tightens the screw – a process that make as little as 10 seconds. The SLDR's adjustability, TaylorMade says, promotes a shot-dispersion range of up to 30 yards. 
The new driver also incorporates TaylorMade's Loft-sleeve Technology, which allows the golfer to easily adjust the loft by choosing from 12 positions within a range of plus or minus 1.5 degrees of loft change. The more loft added, the more the face closes, and vice-versa.
The SLDR 430 comes in lofts of 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees, and is equipped with a Fujikura Speeder 67 graphite shaft and TaylorMade high-traction grip. The Tour Preferred version, called the SLDR 430 TP, combines the same clubhead with the tour-caliber Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 7.3 graphite shaft. A variety of custom shafts are also available. The club carries a suggested retail price of $399. 
December 19, 2013 - 9:39am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Stacy Lewis
Getty Images
Stacy Lewis celebrates with her caddie after an incredible shot into the 17th green at St. Andrews.

LPGA star Stacy Lewis -- the highest ranked American player in the ladies game at No. 3 in the world -- delivered one of the great shots in major championship golf during the final round of the Ricoh Women's British Open on her way to victory.

Playing the 17th hole at St. Andrews -- The Road Hole -- in the final round, Lewis hit her second shot on the par 4 with a 5-iron from 200 yards. The ball settled just 3 feet from the hole, setting up a birdie.

RELATED: Best golf shots of 2013 -- No. 3 | No. 4 | No. 5

Watch the amazing shot here, as well as Lewis' description:

Carrying that momentum to the final hole at the birthplace of golf, Lewis made one last birdie. She finished with an even-par 72 to win the tournament by two shots. It was her second major on the LPGA Tour, ending a record streak of 10 straight majors won by Asian players.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair


December 18, 2013 - 11:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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18 GREENS Apparel
The new GSTAR Track Jacket and an assortment of headwear are among the new offerings by 18 GREENS Apparel.

Earlier this year, we profiled PGA Professional Doug Timmons, who doubles up as a golf instructor and is the founder and designer of a clothing line called, "18 GREENS Apparel."

As noted in that initial piece, Timmons is on, "A mission to take fashion to the fairways at an affordable price."

The pieces -- which are just as fitting and comfortable for the golf course as they are for an early evening stroll on the beach -- include lightweight pants ($75), shorts ($65), polo shirts ($39.50-$49.50), hats ($25) and now, the new "18 GSTAR Track Jacket," which sells for $65.

LAST-MINUTE SHOPPER?: Check out our holiday gift guides for ideas

"One of our favorite clothing articles at 18 GREENS is a comfortable, functional and stylish jacket," Timmons said. "I think everyone needs the go to jacket to play and lounge in, we hope this is going to be one of those for our new customers. The cotton, polyester and spandex blend makes it soft, holds the shape and has just the right amount of stretch in the fabric to make it very easy to move in. One of the most important things about making a jacket or any piece is getting the weight correct. It needs to be just heavy enough to stay warm, but light enough to not get too hot. The patch work on the sleeves and the woven label on the back neck makes it ours. We also ride motorcycles so it is very essential to have zippers for the side pockets so stuff doesn't fall out when we are cruising down the road. Most track jackets use 100 percent polyester. We wanted a cotton-based jacket for style and comfort. The goal is always to make product that is versital, functional for the course and stylish for the everywhere else."

And, if you're waiting to see the offerings for 2014... wait no more. Timmons is so excited about what's new at 18 GREENS that he released it all early.

"We have some pretty cool stuff coming for 2014," he said. "We couldn't wait so we released them a little early. But we designed a hybrid fabric Casual Water Technology that some jumped in on early. Pants and shorts with 4-way stretch that are wrinkle resistan. The shorts have mesh pocket lining and a side pocket zipper so you can wear them in the water too. They have to be one of the most comfortable bottoms out. We got so excited that we couldn't wait and brought them in 5 months early!"

Along with the track jacket, pants and shorts, Timmons is also excited about the company's headwear.

"We have some fresh new hats that are custom made," he said. "The front panel is unlike any other. We are adding cotton-based blends and 100 percent cotton into the collection for 2014. We have a very cool hidden pocket design that we think people will really like. The line is growing and I'm hoping everyone tries it out."

And if you'd like to try out 18 GREENS, Timmons is offering a 30-percent discount if you use the code "PGA18" at checkout.

To learn more about 18 GREENS, visit

You can also find 18 GREENS on Facebook and on Twitter, @18GreensApparel.

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

December 18, 2013 - 9:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
One of the best golf shots of 2013 belonged to Phil Mickelson during a playoff at the Scottish Open.

Whenever Phil Mickelson has a significantly lofted club in his hands, you get the feeling something special could happen.

Well, that's precisely what happened in a playoff with Branden Grace at Castle Stuart in the Scottish Open.

RELATED: Best golf shots of 2013 -- No. 4 | Best golf shots of 2013 -- No. 5

Short of the par-5 18th green in two shots, Mickelson was left with an extremely difficult, uphill pitch shot from a fairway beaten down like hard pan where he could only see the top of the flag.

After thinking through the shot, Mickelson stepped in. This wasn't going to be one of those signature Mickelson flop shots. Instead, Mickelson hammered his club into the ball, sending a medium-trajectory pitch toward the flag.

The ball hit the green, took a couple of bounces before biting hard and spinning back within inches of the hole to set up what would be a winning birdie.

Check out the shot here:

As phenomenal as the shot was, the confidence gained at the Scottish Open on a links-style course that week convinced Mickelson -- for probably the first time in his career -- that he could win the Open Championship.

And that's what he did one week later at Muirfield.

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


December 17, 2013 - 2:34pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Jason Dufner Dufnering
Photo: Courtesy Twitter account of David Watkins
Jason Dufner momentarily "checks out" - but a moment was all that was needed.

It started innocently enough: A Tour pro, a classroom full of kids and a stiff back from sitting on the floor for an extended time. What happened next led to a yearlong social phenomenon and series of gags that helped "Dufnering" remain a trending topic.

Even without that fateful March day, Jason Dufner's star was on the rise. Having worked his way up through the mini-tours, Dufner - who was once most most notable for losing a four-shot lead with three holes to go at the 2011 PGA Championship - had rebounded in spectacular fashion in 2012 including wins at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and the HP Byron Nelson Championship.  

His play even earned him a spot on the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team where he was lauded for being a great teammate and a clutch performer.

But it was a promotional appearance he made as defending champion of the HP Byron Nelson that made him a household name in the most viral way possible.



"I just kind of checked out," Dufner said about the infamous photo. "My back was hurting. They had us sitting cross-legged. My hips were killing me. I was like, this wall is going to be a good place to lean. I just did what was natural. I was there for an hour, and that was the only picture that surfaced."

But that picture, taken by a local news reporter and uploaded to Twitter, became an instant sensation.


Dufner's good friend Keegan Bradley (who incidentally, was the one who defeated Dufner in the 2011 PGA Championship playoff) posted it to his Twitter account. When Rory McIlroy saw it, he not only laughed, he mimicked the pose with a copycat pose of his own.

That started the trend of "Dufnering". To paraphrase an old Seinfeld line: The trend was real ...and it was spectacular.

Everybody in golf, in sports, in the world (animals too!) joined in on the trend: Gallery of Dufnering stars

Tumblr joined in on the fun at "Duff Don't Care".

Jason Dufner's star was on the rise and it had nothing to do with his game. He was now an Internet sensation, a viral star, a walking meme if you will.

Then August came around. The PGA of America wasn't going to let the rest of the golf world have all the fun - as even the PGA Officers got in on the act.



As if it were fated by the golf gods, the year of Dufnering was capped off by the ultimate Dufner moment - winning the PGA Championship.



I was fortunate enough to have a chance to accompany Jason Dufner and his wife Amanda on a tour of New York City during a media blitz after his win. Of course, one of the main topics of discussion - Dufnering.


See photo gallery of Dufner takes New York

Since then, Dufner has continued to take the world by storm. He has remained an active and passionate supporter of his beloved Auburn Tigers. An early season pep-talk to the football team helped propel them into a fantasy season like no other.  He even addressed the team and fired them up for a win over Texas A&M.  

Watch: Jason Dufner talks to the Auburn football team

The school returned the favor by naming a local street after him.

Is there no end to the Dufner magic? At the Tour Championship, Keegan Bradley celebrated an eagle from the fairway by - what else - Dufnering.

I mean, here we are in December and the trend is still going strong - even in the NFL.



So what will 2014 hold for the world of golf? Could it possibly top the "Dufnering" trend of 2013? I'm not sure. I think I'll have to think about it for awhile. Just relax and let my mind wander. Maybe sit down against this wall right here.....

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim.  You can follow Jason Dufner on Twitter at @JasonDufner (though you probably already do).

December 17, 2013 - 10:34am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rob Labritz
PGA of America
Rob Labritz punched a ticket to the 2013 PGA Championship in stunning fashion.

For my money, the PGA Professional National Championship -- year in and year out -- is one of the best tournaments in professional golf.

Why? Because, among other things, you get a deep appreciation for just how good and how talented the PGA Professionals who help to improve our game are with their own respective game.

BEST SHOTS OF 2013: No. 5 -- Kenny Perry's eagle chip at the Senior PGA Championship

Oh yeah -- there's also always a lot of dramatic moments when it comes to the ultimate goal for all 312 of the PNC competitors: finishing in the top 20 to earn a spot in the PGA Championship.

Case in point: Rob Labritz, PGA Director of Golf at Glen Arbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y.

In the 2013 PNC -- played at the Sunriver Resort in Oregon -- Labritz found himself among a six-man playoff for the final three PGA Championship spots available after 72 holes. On the first hole of the playoff, two players advanced.

That left Labritz vying for the final spot with three others.

Labritz looked to be out of the mix after drawing an awful lie with his tee shot in a fairway bunker on the 457-yard, par-4 11th hole. Forced to punch out while the others played onto the green, Labritz proceeded to miraculously hole out for birdie from 95 yards with a 53-degree gap wedge. After none of the others matched the birdie, the 42-year-old Labritz was in his fourth PGA Championship.

"I don't have many words," Labritz said. "It's been an emotional week, but a great ending to it. What a way to go back to the PGA at Oak Hill."

Here's video of the shot, which also received top honors on ESPN's SportsCenter top-10 plays:



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