Golf Buzz

March 11, 2014 - 10:20pm
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John Holmes
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Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods "intends to be at Bay Hill" for the Arnold Palmer Invitational next week, according to agent Mark Steinberg.
Tiger Woods walked gingerly out of the Cadillac Championship on Sunday, leaving many questions about his aching back in his wake – not the least of which is when we might see him in competition next.
 
On Tuesday, his agent provided some guidance.
 
"Tiger is continuing to get treatment and get himself in a good place for next week," Mark Steinberg said in an email to ESPN.com. "He intends to be at Bay Hill" for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
 
 
Bay Hill is one of Tiger's favorite places. He is the defending champion and has won there a total of eight times – he's obviously so familiar with the course that he wouldn't need much prep time there to get ready for the tournament.
 
In the meantime, many questions remain about Woods' health and his future, and Associated Press Golf Writer Doug Ferguson details the history of Woods' injuries and explores his situation in his most recent feature.
 
March 11, 2014 - 8:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Batman at the TaylorMade Speed Pocket World Challenge
Dave Cordero of TaylorMade via Twitter
Batman came out of the Batcave on Tuesday to try out some TaylorMade putters in Gotham City on Tuesday.
Over the past couple of days, TaylorMade has been setting up in iconic locations like Times Square in New York and Canary Wharf in London to stage what it calls its Speed Pocket World Challenge (lots of photos on Twitter). At these events, everyday golfers have the chance to hit TaylorMade's new SpeedBlade irons on pop-up driving ranges.
 
Golfers of all sizes and shapes have been turning out in huge numbers, and the events have been quite spectacular. Amid all the fun, Hank Haney offered lessons in New York, LPGA Tour star Anna Nordqvist hit some shots in San Francisco and European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley took some swings in London. 
 
But, it's safe to say, no one stood out like the caped and cowled duffer who dropped by Times Square to check out some new putters. No word on whether TaylorMade activated the Bat Signal there in Gotham City or Batman ditched Robin and Commissioner Gordon and showed up on his own.
 
 
Also, check out those Bat-golf shoes!
 
 
 
 
 
March 11, 2014 - 7:13pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Two-man trick shot
It took two guys to pull off this one-of-a-kind trick shot.
According to the Rules of Golf, it's a penalty if you hit the ball twice with one swing. But how about when two players hit the ball with one swing each?
 
That's the trick the two guys in this video pulled off. I have no idea if they accomplished this on their first try or their 500th, but it really doesn't matter – it's a cool feat no matter what.
 
Check it out:
 
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March 11, 2014 - 5:50pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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PowerBilt Air Force One DFX driver
Courtesy of PowerBilt
The PowerBilt Air Force One DFX driver has better feel at impact than previous models, but generates a tremendous trampoline effect for increased ball speed.
The newest addition to the long line of Air Force One drivers from PowerBilt is the brand-new DFX (Deep Face Extreme). It boasts the nitrogen-packed clubhead found in some other PowerBilt models, but the face is 5 millimeters taller than on the previous model. That, the company says, allows the face to catch the ball at impact slightly longer and combines with the nitrogen to create reduced spin and more distance. 
 
"We reduced the nitrogen pressure to 80 pounds, for better impact feel," PowerBilt President Ross Kvinge explained. "This new amount of nitrogen generates a tremendous trampoline effect for increased ball speed. In fact, now the trampoline effect is up to the USGA maximum limit. 
 
"Shot dispersion is also the tightest ever in our drivers. And by adding 6 grams low and forward in the clubhead, we moved the Center of Gravity lower and more forward than in any other Air Force One driver," he added. "We did this to appease our clubfitters who requested a better smash factor."
 
BEST GOLF EQUIPMENT PHOTOS: See who made this week's gallery
 
PowerBilt's patented Nitrogen N7 "Nitrogen Charged" technology makes its debut in the Air Force One DFX driver, as well – it's a newly patented method to use compressed nitrogen to reinforce the clubface without adding any weight. The aerodynamically shaped clubhead consists of a forged titanium body with titanium cup face technology to help the ball jump off the face with low spin.
 
The driver is available in both PowerBilt's high MOI and Tour Series, in lofts of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12.5 degrees of loft. The standard shaft length is 45 ½ inches, and several shaft options are available. The suggested retail price is $299.99, with an upcharge for ultra-premium shaft options.
 
March 11, 2014 - 12:45pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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2021 U.S. Open
Getty Images
Pending approval from the San Diego City Council, the 2021 U.S. Open could be headed back to the South Course at Torrey Pines.

According to a report by San Diego Union-Tribune golf writer Tod Leonard, the USGA has chosen the South Course at Torrey Pines to host the 2021 U.S. Open.

However, nothing is official just yet. San Diego's City Council must give its approval to make this official.

From Leonard's report:

Mayor Kevin Faulconer told U-T San Diego on Monday that an item will be placed on the City Council docket this week that asks it to support hosting golf's Super Bowl 13 years after the hugely successful 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

"It's a great win for San Diego," Faulconer said. "The fact that we've been selected again speaks volumes as to how this city came together and put on a world-class tournament in '08. It just shows, from the USGA's standpoint, that we know how to get it done."

The City Council will hear the item -- the details of which have not been made public -- in its regularly scheduled public meeting either Monday or Tuesday, the timing of which will be decided by Council President Todd Gloria, who was in close communication with city staff regarding the U.S. Open negotiations during his time as interim mayor.

Faulconer, the former councilman who took office as mayor on March 3, said he believes the council will be "strongly supportive" of holding another U.S. Open.

The 2008 U.S. Open, of course, ended in dramatic fashion, with eventual champion Tiger Woods going 91 holes before defeating Rocco Mediate. The two were knotted after 72 holes of competition, forcing an 18-hole Monday playoff -- unique to the U.S. Open. Those 18 holes weren't enough. Woods eventually won on the 19th hole that Monday, or 91st hole overall.

The reason San Diego's City Council needs to be involved with this decision is because unlike most courses that host major championships, Torrey Pines is public, not private.

Should the City Council approve -- and it's expected it will -- the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines would be just the third in history contested in Southern California. The other, aside from 2008, was the 1948 U.S. Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

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

March 11, 2014 - 11:56am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rose & Fire
Rose & Fire
Rose & Fire headcovers are 100 percent made in the USA.

Golf fashion, these days, isn't limited to the clothes you put on to hit the links.

Golf fashion comes in a number of other forms now -- your glove, your bag, the color of your golf ball and even your headcovers, just to name a few.

In November 2013, Mike Buchfuhrer officially opened the doors for his business Rose & Fire, a company that specializes in high-end headcovers.

READ: Swing Caddie SC100 portable launch monitor -- perfect practice companion

Like many, Buchfuhrer's reason for starting his headcover business came about out of the desire to fill a void he saw in the industry. All of these golf manufacturers -- especially those building handcrafted putters, another business Buchfuhrer dabbled in for a time -- were making expensive clubs that consumers would buy, but, "a special headcover was needed to compliment the craftsmanship of the putters," Buchfuhrer said. "Nothing available worked."

With a family background in fashion, Buchfuhrer got to work in 2010 designing his first headcover. It quickly became a passion and an obsession.

"There came a point where I decided that if I wanted to make truly great covers and achieve my dreams, I needed to open my own shop," he said. "I bought all the proper sewing machines, sourced amazing materials, created the designs, sewed prototypes, and found some of the most incredible craftsmen. That was the birth of Rose & Fire."

The name "Rose & Fire" carries particular significance too.

"Rose" pays homage to Buchfuhrer's grandmother, the first designer in the family, while "Fire" is a play on the second part of Buchfuhrer's last name.

"She was the matriarchal designer in the family and always told me that I could do whatever I wanted to do if I worked hard enough," Buchfuhrer said. "Hearing that and knowing she and other members of my family were able to succeed in fashion gave me the confidence -- and guidance -- needed to get going. I'm incredibly lucky to be in the this position. I get to design and create my dream covers for golfers, boutiques, pro shops, and the best putter manufacturers in the world. It feels great to improve what is out there and make something amazing that otherwise wouldn't have existed."

So what separates a Rose & Fire headcover from the stock headcover that comes with your expensive new driver, fairway wood, hybrid or putter?

For starters, Rose & Fire headcovers are 100 percent made in the USA.

"The number one thing that I tell all my sewing machine operators is that our quality must be the best in the world," Buchfuhrer said. "Made in USA needs to mean something, and not be a plea for charity. We have to back it up with exceptional products -- ones that are undeniably the best. Slight advances aren't enough. We need to shake things up. There's a reason why our logo is a lit match -- we're starting something new."

Buchfuhrer said he uses special materials that are sewn together in a way that respects their quality and heritage. He said industry people often insist the materials Buchfuhrer is using are overkill or unnecessary because consumers won't notice something of lesser quality.

Buchfuhrer disagrees. And that's why he's not willing to compromise the quality of his headcovers.

"I'm here to make covers as if each one was for my personal use," he explained. "Aside from using quality materials, it's important that our constructions compliment them. Our ballistic nylon cover, for example, is constructed very differently from our denim covers. The level of sophistication is also a point of separation. For example, if you look at other companies, embroidered vinyl seems to be the accepted material of choice for putter covers. As headcover makers it's time to step things up and give golfers the quality and material selection they deserve."

Quality craftsmanship can come at a price. At Rose & Fire, though, that price is on the reasonable side.

Buchfuhrer's headcovers -- made from materials including denim, leather, waxed canvas and more -- sell for between $40-$60 per piece.

"Golfers who buy a Rose & Fire covers are really paying for the time, skill, and materials that went into making it, not hype," Buchfuhrer said. "We're here to stay and know that in order to do that we have to treat people fairly by providing the best quality at a fair price."

One aspect of Rose & Fire headcovers that truly sticks out from others is that each cover includes a zippered pocket (or, a regular "jean" pocket on the denim pieces). On drivers, this is a great place to store tees, or even a little cash you may need when the beverage cart comes around on the course. On the putter cover, it's a perfect place to store your ball marker and divot tool.

If you're interested in learning more about Rose & Fire, visit www.roseandfire.com. You can also find Rose & Fire on Facebook, or follow Rose & Fire on Twitter, @RoseandFireUSA.

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