Golf Buzz

January 14, 2014 - 7:09pm
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John Holmes
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Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
Phil Mickelson's Big Bertha Alpha driver from Callaway Golf has a ''gravity core'' that fits in a carbon tube in the head that connects the crown and sole and allows golfers to adjust the center of gravity location.
Phil Mickelson opens his 2014 campaign this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship after a nice, long break. But instead of kicking back and putting his feet up, Mickelson spent a lot of time doing what he does better than perhaps anyone else on tour – tinkering with his clubs.
 
Mickelson, well known for his creative use of various drivers and fairway woods over the years, has a brand-new driver in his bag, and he was raving about it in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
 
"As I look back on 2013, I played some of my best golf and had some huge breakthroughs, but I did most of it without a driver," he said. "This year I have the best driver I've ever hit that lowers my spin rate just like my 3-wood. I drive it longer and straighter with my driver than I did with my 3-wood."
 
The object of Phil's affection is the brand-new Callaway Big Bertha Alpha, one of two Big Bertha versions that Callaway has recently introduced. The Alpha model that Mickelson is using contains a ''gravity core'' that fits in a carbon tube in the head that connects the crown and sole. It has a glass fiber-reinforced body that weighs in at 1.5 grams connected to a tungsten end weighing 10.5 grams. 
 
Either end of the core can be inserted into the clubhead, allowing golfers to raise or lower the center of gravity and thereby alter their spin rate. When the heavy tungsten end is closest to the sole, it lowers the center of gravity and reduces backspin; when the tungsten end is closest to the crown, it raises the center of gravity and increases spin.
 
 
Mickelson has positioned the gravity core in the low center of gravity position, according to Callaway.
 
Generally speaking, players with above-average head speeds or those trying to prevent excessive spin will benefit from that lower center of gravity, which a creates a flatter, more penetrating trajectory accompanied by more rollout, Callaway explains. Golfers looking for a more controlled and workable ball flight and less roll, they add, might be better served by using the higher center of gravity.
 
How much difference can the center of gravity placement make? Player testing has shown as much as a 600 rpm spin differential between the two settings without a change in loft, Callaway said.
 
The Big Bertha Alpha also enables golfers to adjust its center of gravity bias, which helps influence shot shape. The driver has screw ports in the heel and toe, and comes with four interchangeable weights of 1, 3, 5, and 7 grams that provide a lot of flexibility in controlling both shot shape and overall head weight. The 1g and 7g screws are installed as standard and deliver a D3 swingweight, but the swingweight can be adjusted from D0 to D5.
 
"It's a whole different weapon in my arsenal now," Mickelson said in Abu Dhabi. "And if I drive the ball well, like I have been in practice and in the off-season, heading into this 2014 season it could be the best year of my career for that simple reason."
 
January 14, 2014 - 5:35pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Matthew Fitzpatrick
Getty Images
Matthew Fitzpatrick has opted to "dedicate 100 percent of my time to the game and have decided to withdraw from university in the U.S," according to a statement released by Northwestern.
Top-ranked amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick, widely regarded as British golf's hottest prospect, has dropped out of college in the United States to pursue his career back in his native England. 
 
Fitzpatrick, 19, followed the path taken by compatriot Luke Donald by attending Northwestern University in Chicago last year, after a successful summer in which he won the U.S. Amateur and the silver medal in the British Open for being the top amateur. 
 
Fitzpatrick has opted to "dedicate 100 percent of my time to the game and have decided to withdraw from university in the U.S," according to a statement released by Northwestern.  
 
Fitzpatrick's plans "are to remain as an amateur golfer for the foreseeable future" rather than turn professional, England Golf (the governing body for amateur golf in England) said on Tuesday.
 
Fitzpatrick has qualified to play in this year's Masters, U.S. Open and the British Open. 
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report
 
January 14, 2014 - 4:00pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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PUMA Golf
PUMA Golf
PUMA Golf's new BIOFUSION golf shoe will be available Feb. 1.

Today, PUMA Golf introduced the BIOFUSION, the latest Tour shoe from the brand's Pro Collection and part of the PUMA Golf LiteStyle platform. Designed to provide golfers with the ultimate performance, lightweight comfort and style, BIOFUSION combines PUMA Golf's most innovative footwear technologies—developed and tested by Tour players—into one sleek and eye-catching silhouette, while offering a two-year waterproof guarantee.

"The BIOFUSION literally fuses our most advanced and top performing technologies into a system that works together to create a revolutionary golf shoe," said Grant Knudson, footwear manager, PUMA Golf. "Our goal here is to provide golfers with the best of what PUMA Golf has to offer, merging function and fashion to improve their game and increase confidence on the course."

RELATED: PUMA introduces Monolite shoe for on and off the golf course

BIOFUSION is the most recent addition to PUMA Golf's new vision for golf footwear: LiteStyle. PUMA says that after hearing consumers' demand for more options offering lightweight comfort, the average weight of the entire 2014 PUMA Golf footwear line is only 10.4 oz. and the line's lightest shoe -- also the lightest shoe in golf -- is a staggering 6.5 oz. The lightweight nature of the footwear line delivers extreme comfort without sacrificing stability, support or performance.

"Every shoe we have developed for our 2014 collection, including BIOFUSION, began with the LiteStyle vision: lightweight comfort, performance and style," said Tom Manthe, global marketing manager, PUMA Golf. "As the driving force behind the PUMA Golf footwear line, LiteStyle fits perfectly into PUMA Golf’s mantra, 'Look Better. Feel Better. Play Better.' The styles of footwear within the platform can be identified with a LiteStyle stamp; so if you see the stamp, its LiteStyle approved."

Available in four fresh color options, Vibrant Orange/White, Black/White/PUMA Silver, White/Tradewinds/Fluo Yellow and White/Black, each shoe comes with two sets of laces, allowing golfers to customize their look as often as they want.

The BIOFUSION ($170) and BIOFUSION Womens ($110) will be available at golf retailers starting Feb. 1, 2014. Along with the BIOFUSION, PUMA Golf is launching the BIOFUSION Lite, which has the same performance features found in the Tour level shoe, boasts a similar silhouette, and is available at retailers starting March 1, 2014 in three colorways―Black/White/Fluo Yellow, White/Black and White/Vibrant orange―at a MSRP of $120, making it a true performer for players of all levels.

For more information on PUMA Golf's entire collection of products, visit http://www.cobragolf.com/pumagolf/. You can also find PUMA Golf on Facebook and on Twitter, @pumagolf.

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

January 14, 2014 - 2:07pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bubba Watson
YouTube
Bubba Watson holed a lengthy putt Monday... on a private jet.

Former Masters champion Bubba Watson has built a reputation of not taking himself too seriously off the golf course (on it is another matter).

Monday, Watson posted a video on YouTube from a private jet where he makes a length-of-the-cabin putt that includes hitting the ball off a bank. Here's the tweet Watson sent out:

"Bubba Watson here, with a Sports Center Top 10 nominee," the video starts.

Here's the video:

Overall, pretty impressive how nonchalantly Watson puts the ball down and quickly hits the putt.

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

 

January 14, 2014 - 12:14am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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John Daly
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John Daly opened his week at the Humana Challenge by winning a car with an ace in the Monday pro-am.
If anybody deserves a good break these days, it just might be John Daly. And he got one on Monday.
 
He made a hole-in-one in a pro-am at the Humana Challenge and won a brand-new $60,000 Hyundai Equus. Even more amazingly, Long John made that ace with his first swing with a brand-new Callaway 9-iron.
 
Yes, his very first swing. 
 
A representative from Callaway had walked out to the 154-yard seventh hole on the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West to give him the club, which had just been outfitted with a longer shaft. Daly took a cut and, he said, didn't even look at the shot.
 
''I leaned over to get my tee and was telling the Callaway representative that it felt pretty good,'' Daly said, according to PGA Tour officials. ''He said, 'Good, because it just went in the hole. '''
 
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, three of Daly's children were in the gallery and he said, ''Trust me, with three kids I will put the new Hyundai to good use.''
 
The blond bomber's game was coming around last year when he was knocked out of action in mid-seaosn with an elbow injury. 
 
He recently returned to action, and opened last week's Sony Open with a 66 to sit high on the leaderboard. A second-round 73 – which included a triple, a double, three bogeys and an eagle – meant he almost missed the cut at Waialae, but he rebounded with a 64-70 weekend to end up tied for 32nd.
 
Daly's last PGA Tour victory came 10 years ago next week at the Farmers Insurance Open. He isn't in the field at Torrey Pines as of now, but a strong showing in Palm Springs could get him into the field.
 
UPDATE: Just as I was calling it a night on Monday, I saw this tweet from the PGA Tour Media Staff – so maybe this feel-good story doesn't feel so good after all. We'll try to clear it up on Tuesday:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
January 13, 2014 - 3:10pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Lydia Ko
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
Lydia Ko, 16, will play a full complement of Callaway and Odyssey products as she embarks on her first season as a full-time professional on the LPGA Tour.
As has been rumored since before Christmas, teen phenom Lydia Lo has signed an endorsement deal with Callaway Golf, the company announced on Monday.
 
Ko, 16, will play a full complement of Callaway and Odyssey products as she embarks on her first season as a full-time professional on the LPGA Tour. She won her first tournament as a professional – the Swinging Skirts in Taiwan – using a Callaway X2 Hot Pro driver, though the company hasn't yet specified which clubs will be in her bag.
 
''Lydia is an exceptional talent and a great addition to our staff,'' said Callaway Vice President of Sports Marketing Nick Raffaele. ''Last year we had several pros win after successfully transitioning into our products and we're excited to see what Lydia can accomplish on the LPGA with the world's best clubs, balls and putter in the bag.''
 
Ko's deal is just the latest in the busy start-of-the-year period of endorsement agreements. Some of the more notable include:
 
--Adams Golf: Ernie Els, Nicholas Thompson and Josh Teater
 
--Callaway Golf: Henrik Stenson, Pat Perez, Harris English, Matteo Manassero, John Rollins, Matt Every, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Chris Doak, Richard Lee, Jonathan Byrd, Jack Doherty, Yani Tseng, Thomas Pieters, James Erkenbeck and Chase Seiffert  
 
--Cleveland-Srixon: William McGirt, KJ Choi, Bronson La’Cassie, Dave Pelz and Inbee Park (re-signed)
 
--Cobra Golf Lexi Thompson (re-signed) and Jonas Blixt
 
--G/Fore: Jonas Blixt (gloves) 
 
--Hopkins Golf: Vijay Singh
 
--Mercedes-Benz: Martin Kaymer
 
--Ping: PGA instructor Todd Anderson
 
--Puma Golf: Will Mackenzie
 
--TaylorMade: Justin Rose (re-signed)
 
--Wilson Golf: Marcel Siem