Golf Buzz

December 3, 2013 - 6:02pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade 14-degree SLDR driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
TaylorMade plans to release a SLDR driver with 14 degrees of loft, giving it several degrees of loft more than standard drivers.

For as long as I can remember, driver lofts have ranged from about 9 degrees to about 11 degrees. Better players usually fell in the lower end of that range, and some big-hitting tour pros even would go as low as 8 or 8.5 degrees to keep their tee shots from ballooning. Many of the rest of us settled in at the higher end of the range, needing that extra bit of loft to make up for our relative lack of swing speed.

Recently, though, TaylorMade has been exploring drivers with higher lofts, and has announced that it will produce a version of its new SLDR driver with 14 degrees of loft. I've never seen a driver with that much loft – heck, most 3-woods I've seen have about 15 degrees of loft.

''We have been chasing a driver that delivers high launch and low spin, a coveted combination off the tee sought after by all golfers,'' says TaylorMade Golf Chief Technical Officer Benoit Vincent. ''Having made significant industry strides with innovation advancements like movable weight, larger faces, adjustable shafts and improved aerodynamics, we are confident that we have cracked yet another code to more distance. And it's through loft.'' 

GOLF BUZZ: TaylorMade unveils SLDR driver with many adjustability options

TaylorMade's SLDR driver, launched in August, features a low and forward center of gravity placement, making it the lowest spinning driver in company history. Because of its construction, TaylorMade says, it is encouraging golfers – including PGA Tour players – to ''loft up.'' And in fact, the company says, several tour pros have raised their SLDR driver loft by a degree or more over their prvious drivers.

''Everything we thought we knew about engineering drivers has been turned on its head,'' says Vincent. ''I have never been more convinced that building a driver with low and forward CG is the future in metalwood construction.''  

TaylorMade's engineers have calculated that 17 degrees of launch and 1700 rpm of spin create the perfect combination for maximizing driver distance. The new 14-degree SLDR driver, they say, is another step closer to achieving the optimal ball flight.   

TaylorMade hasn't yet announced a retail date or a price for the 14-degree SLDR, but the company says it is working to produce enough 14-degree heads to release in the coming months.

 

December 3, 2013 - 11:56am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Everyone wants to hit longer drives. But, wouldn't it be nice if your drives not only went long, but also straight?

In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Kevin Weeks walks you through a couple of drills that are sure to help you hit the ball longer and with more accuracy.

December 3, 2013 - 9:45am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Wayne Rooney, Rory McIlroy
YouTube
A fun new commercial from Nike Golf features Manchester United star Wayne Rooney and Rory McIlroy.

Over the years, Nike Golf has had a knack for creating great golf commercials.

Recently, there's been the Dick's Sporting Goods ad featuring Tiger Woods as a salesman; the "The Sport of Golf" commercial, where Woods hits shots with various other sports (boxing, baseball and more) in the background; the Woods/McIlroy "No Cup is Safe" commercial and more.

RELATED: Rory McIlroy snaps out of funk with Australian Open victory

Well now, there's another brilliant spot thanks to the Swoosh -- this time featuring McIlroy alongside English soccer star Wayne Rooney.

Watch it here:

In the ad, the two sports superstars play a round of golf -- McIlroy with his clubs and a golf ball, Manchester United's Rooney with a soccer ball and his powerful right foot -- matching one another shot for shot (or, shot for kick, if you prefer).

At one point, McIlroy looks over at caddie J.P. Fitzgerald, who is in the process of getting Rooney's autograph. McIlroy stares in disapproval and Fitzgerald responds in a give-me-a-break tone, "It's Wayne Rooney."

It's a fun commercial, but what makes it even better is the tune playing in the background. It's Bing Crosby's, "Straight Down the Middle," which was made for a 1948 short film called, "Honor Caddy" with Crosby, Bob Hope, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. It's believed to be the first ever song written about golf (and might be our new favorite).

You can hear the whole song here:

h/t to Ben Alberstadt (@BenAlberstadt) on the find.

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

December 3, 2013 - 1:43am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Fred Couples at the Seattle Seahawks-New Orleans Saints game
Fred Couples cast aside golf etiquette to rev up the record crowd as he raised the 12th Man flag at the Seattle Seahawks' game with the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

Golf and football are just inseparable these days. The latest example: On Monday night, Fred Couples had the honor of raising the ''12th Man'' flag before the Seattle Seahawks' game with the New Orleans Saints on ''Monday Night Football.''

Couples was a logical choice for flag duty on this night because the Seahawks needed a guy nicknamed ''Boom-Boom'' to fire up the crowd as they set a new Guinness World Record for loudest ''crowd roar.'' The record crowd of 68,387 fans at CenturyLink Field hit 137.6 decibels during the second quarter, breaking the mark of 137.5 decibels set by the Kansas City Chiefs in October. The Chiefs had broken a record set by the Seahawks in the second week of the season.

After he raised the flag, Couples did a quick interview with Tony Ventrella for the Seahawks' website in which he revealed that he's in his second season as a season-ticket holder and expressed his love for the Hawks' game-day experience.

C'MON MAN: Dufner asks Tiger to reschedule event so he can watch Auburn game

''To be honest, this is more fun than golf ever is,'' Couples said. ''This is a blast for me.''

There is no way to embed that video here, but you can see it by clicking this link. Interspersed in it are the scenes of Couples actually raising the flag.

The Seahawks site also has a nice preview video of Couples, showcasing his youth in Seattle and his success as a professional golfer. It is well worth a look, and you can see it by clicking this link.

And finally, there were a couple of noteworthy tweets to mark the occasion:

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2, 2013 - 8:46pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Auburn-Alabama scoreboard

No one was happier than Auburn superalum Jason Dufner after his Tigers shocked the world by knocking off then-No. 1 Alabama on that miraculous last-second field goal runback on Saturday. That victory put Auburn into the SEC title game again against Missouri this coming Saturday.

Uh oh. Dufner is scheduled to play in the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge this week, and the third round of the four-round, no-cut event is scheduled for – 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, just when the bulk of the field will be out on the course. 

Dufner is so desperate to watch his beloved Tigers that he took to Twitter on Monday to beseech World Challenge host Tiger Woods to change the tournament's schedule to meet his viewing needs. Here's his request, and Tiger's answer:

 

 

Speaking of Tiger, he might miss a good chunk of the Pac-12 Championship Game between Stanford and Arizona State, which kicks off at 7:45 p.m. ET. But no worries, boys – you'll all be off the course in plenty of time to catch the big Utah State-Fresno State clash at 10:00 p.m. ET.

UPDATE:  Jason Dufner has now responded back to Tiger's denial
 
And one more for the win:

 

 
December 2, 2013 - 2:56pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jack Nicklaus
Getty Images
Jack Nicklaus with grandson Nick O'Leary -- a star tight end for Florida State -- during the 2011 Masters.

The latest BCS standings have Florida State and Ohio State running No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

Some in the golf world might think this would present a personal dilemma for the great Jack Nicklaus should those two schools meet college football's BCS Championship game.

Nicklaus, the game's winningest major champ with 18 total, is an Ohio State alum. His grandson, Nick O'Leary, however, is a star tight end for Florida State.

RELATED: Jack Nicklaus' grandson walks away from incredible motorcycle crash

For Nicklaus, though, there's no such dilemma.

Here's what he told the Palm Beach Post (h/t Golf.com's Mike Walker):

"I'm an Ohio State guy, but blood is thicker than anything else," said Nicklaus, who along with wife Barbara attended a kickoff cocktail party Sunday night at The Bear's Club for the two-day Celebrities Fore Kids Golf Classic.

So, there you have it.

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