Golf Buzz

September 7, 2016 - 11:04am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods announced on Wednesday that he hopes to return to the PGA Tour for the first time since August 2015 this October in the PGA Tour's 2016-17 season-opening Safeway Open.

The wait is over... we think.

Tiger Woods took to his website,, on Wednesday to announce that he hopes to play in the 2016-17 PGA Tour season-opener Safeway Open, Oct. 13-16, at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California.

This is promising news for Woods, who hasn't played on the PGA Tour since the Wyndham Championship in August 2015 (where he finished T10). Until now, Woods has repeatedly said there was "no timetable" for his return from back surgery.

It appears now, however, that we have a timetable -- at least a tentative one -- for the 14-time major champion.

Before all that, Woods will serve as an assistant captain to Davis Love III in the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National, Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Here is the full statement from Woods:

Tiger Woods said Wednesday that he hopes to play in the Safeway Open, Oct. 13-16, at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California. Woods also intends to compete in the Turkish Airlines Open, Nov. 3-6, in Antalya, Turkey, and the Tiger Woods Foundation-run Hero World Challenge, Dec. 1-4, at Albany in the Bahamas. He will participate in the Tiger Woods Invitational presented by USLI, Oct. 10-11, on the Monterey Peninsula.

"My rehabilitation is to the point where I'm comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do," Tiger said. "Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.

"I'm looking forward to going to California for my foundation event and Safeway. I'm also excited to return to Turkey and Albany. It could be a fun fall.

"It was difficult missing tournaments that are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and didn't rush it. It was great spending time with my children Sam and Charlie, and also working on a lot of projects including golf-course design, the upcoming 20th anniversary of my foundation and my book about the 1997 Masters. But I missed competing. I want to thank all the fans for their kindness and concern. I've been a pro about 20 years, and their support has never waned." 

September 7, 2016 - 10:03am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jimmy McMullen
In an effort to raise money for the Folds of Honor, PGA Professional Jimmy McMullen in North Carolina set out to play 400 holes in a 24-hour period on Sunday and into Monday.

PGA Professional Jimmy McMullen, from Triad, N.C., played more golf on Sunday and Monday of this week than most people will play all year.

In a 24-hour stretch that began at 5 p.m. on Sunday -- right on through the nighttime hours, using a glow-in-the-dark golf ball -- McMullen played a mind-blowing 400 holes... the equivalent of just over 22 18-hole rounds of golf.

It wasn't because McMullen was trying to set any kind fo a crazy record. It was all for a cause.

Each Labor Day in the golf world is also known as Patriot Golf Day, where facilities across the country raise money for the Folds of Honor.

Here's the Folds of Honor mission statement:

"Since 2007, the Folds of Honor has carried forth this singular, noble mission. To stand in the financial gap of the more than one million dependents adversely affected by war, providing educational scholarships to the children and spouses of those killed or disabled while serving our nation."

In that vein, McMullen played his 400 holes in 24 hours with supporters donating money per hole played, or per bogey made. McMullen's goal was to raise $5,000 for the Fold of Honor.

"We don't support the military enough," McMullen said. "We have a limited amount of people who are brave enough to do that."

Here's a video feature on McMullen's noble trek:



european tour, hickory clubs, lee westwood, danny willett
YouTube / European Tour
Lee Westwood, Danny Willet, and Miguel Angel Jimenez faced off with Paolo Quirici, 2013 World Hickory Champion, using the old wooden clubs in a two-hole exhibition.

A lot has been made about the advancements in technology in golf, and the impact they have had on the relative talent level of today's players. Allow me to summarize: modern technology helps.

Many people have imagined what would happen if we had today's players play with hickory clubs of the past. Well imagine no more, thanks to a European Tour event celebrating the 70 year anniversary of the European Masters.

The event included a two-hole exhibition using hickory clubs, with four of the tour's best: Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Danny Willet, and 2013 World Hickory Champion Paolo Quirici.

Personally, my favorite part of the event were the retro outfits.





September 2, 2016 - 9:08pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
@PGATOUR on Twitter
Phil Mickelson is known for many things, including his incredible touch when it comes to the difficult flop shot. But what he managed to do Friday in the Deutsche Bank Championship could arguably his best effort yet.

Phil Mickelson has long been the undisputed "King of the Flopshot."

That said, what the five-time major champion did on the 18th hole at TPC Boston in the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship on Friday was just absurd.

Over the green and just outside a lateral hazard in two shots on the par 5, Mickelson faced an incredibly delicate third shot over a bunker with virtually no green to work with.

Check out what he did with it:

Are you kidding me?

Just a ho-hum up-and-down for birdie 4.

Mickelson shot a 4-over 75 in Round 1 and he's currently T93 in the 97-man field. Even on a day when he struggled, it's amazing to see the shot he pulled off on his final hole.  

golf ball
USA Today Sports Images
Would changing golf balls for particular shots improve your score? Brian Mull polled some experts and the results may surprise you.

Imagine this scenario: On a 510-yard par-4, Jordan Spieth tees off with a high-launching, low-spinning golf ball. For his approach shot he replaces the ball with a lower-launching, higher-spinning golf ball more likely to land soft near the pin.

The USGA Rules of Golf prohibit such switching in the middle of a hole, of course. Rule 15-1 clearly states that a player must hole out with the ball used from the teeing ground.

The logic behind the rule is clear. Changing balls mid-hole would harm the integrity of the game, eliminating the ability to play the ball as it lies. Attempting to recreate lies in the rough or, say a bunker, could slow the game to a snail’s pace and in some cases require supervision or advice from a playing competitor.

The PGA Tour, like most organizations that run tournaments for skilled amateurs or professionals, takes the rule a step further by enacting the “One Ball Condition” -- which states players must use the same brand and type of golf ball throughout the round.

But for the sake of discussion, let’s assume the governing bodies tweaked the rules. Would allowing Tour pros to switch balls in the middle of a hole automatically lead to lower scores? And if so, how many strokes lower would they shoot?

The consensus from industry experts is most pros would try it. All players are looking for a competitive edge within reason. But those who play, teach and build equipment for those at the highest level also agree that eventually all would return to playing the same golf ball for all shots.

“There’s not enough difference in the golf balls for it to make any difference,” said Paul Dickens, PGA professional at Raleigh (North Carolina) Country Club.

Dickens played college golf at N.C. State with Carl Pettersson and Tim Clark, who have enjoyed successful PGA Tour careers. During those college days in the 1990s, the answer may have been different.

CBS sports announcer Gary McCord played the PGA Tour in the 1970s before the one-ball condition was in effect. According to a source, McCord kept a Pinnacle, Top Flite or similar hardcover golf ball in his bag in case it was needed to reach the green on a long par 3. At the time, a Tour player with average swing speed hit a hardcover ball 15-20 yards farther.

But when the Titleist Pro VI hit the PGA Tour at the Invensys Classic in Las Vegas in October 2000, it changed golf-ball technology forever.

It was the first solid core golf ball to receive widespread use on the Tour. Most pros hit it 10-20 yards farther than whatever wound core ball they were playing without sacrificing the soft feel. After 100 Titleist pros tested the ball, 47 put it in play in Las Vegas and shortly thereafter the rest followed suit. Not only did the ball fly farther with the driver and irons, it spun slightly less on wedge shots, giving the Tour players supreme control rather than violent backspin.

Billy Andrade used the ball to shoot 28-under par and win the Invensys Classic. According to, six of the top 11 finishers played the ball the first week.

Pretty soon, every golf ball manufacturer had a product similar to the Pro VI. The gap between all golf balls on the market has narrowed significantly in the last 15 years as technology has grown.

Data backs up Dickens’ assessment.

Gene Parente is the president of Golf Laboratories, an equipment testing company in San Diego, and is also a member of the Golf Digest Technical Advisory committee. His robot has hit thousands of shots with every club and ball manufactured since 1989.

“Based upon testing data my opinion is the overall scoring would not change, there are too many negatives that would mitigate any potential negatives,” Parente said.

Besides, pro golfers have to trust their golf ball. They choose a brand and type based on how it performs from the green backward and are unwilling to sacrifice performance on approach shots or around the greens. Also, once they make the choice they use that specific ball at home with friends, on the range at Tour events, everywhere.

Gaining similar confidence with a new golf ball would be difficult, especially if the reward is only 5 to 7 yards off the tee (for a golfer with a 120 mph swing speed) and accuracy is sacrificed.

The many variables in golf would also deter pros from wanting different balls for different portions of their game, one PGA Tour equipment representative said. What if a player put a high-spinning ball into play and then three inches of rain softened the greens overnight. Or the wind direction changed unexpectedly? Tour players and their caddies chart distances and details in meticulous fashion. Throwing even more variables into the mix would complicate matters and lead to six-hour rounds.

Todd Anderson, the director of golf at Sea Island, works with a number of Tour professionals. He sees little room for improvement with the modern ball and minimal difference from brand to brand.

"I could see where maybe if you could have a ball for each club, where it was designed for that club's loft, spin and launch conditions it might get a little bit better," he said. "But the ball we have now is unbelievably good."


September 2, 2016 - 9:32am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Golf gear
The best season for golf -- the fall season -- is just around the corner. Here's a look at 12 items you'll want to put on your golf wish-list.

For a lot of us around the country, summer is winding down.

That means one thing: Prime golf season is just around the corner. Sure, you’ll still get those occasionally blistering hot days, but for the most part, the fall season is when everything is the most comfortable and the courses are in the best shape.

Chances are you’ve been playing golf for several months at this point and – if you’ve been doing it right – you’re probably playing your best golf.

Why not take a closer look at a bunch of items that could help you look your best, play your best and get around traveling with ease to that late-season golf getaway?


Yoga Smoga: If you’re not familiar with Yoga Smoga, think “high-end workout clothes.” For the golfer, you might ask, “what does that have to do with me?” Well, Yoga Smoga recently released a “Golf Inspired” line of clothing that includes polo shirts, shorts and pants.

The polo shirts, known as the “Montauk,” utilizes Yoga Smoga’s newest proprietary fabric development, Sona Pique, with high-end functional details, a modern athletic fit and advanced bonded touches.

The polo shirts ($150) are incredibly light and there’s none of that undesired “sticking” during a round on a hot day at the course. It’s like wearing a polo that feels like you’re wearing nothing at all.

The pants (Newport, $185) and the shorts (Pentagon, $155) are both made from 4-way stretch D’OR 1024 fabric that allows for a full-range of motion with engineered recovery. They’re anti-microbial and sweat-wicking features make them the ultimate multipurpose pants and shorts.

The sweat-wicking on Yoga Smoga’s bottoms are key for a golfer. We’ve all been there, playing in the heat, wearing cotton or other materials, that put our undesirable sweat marks out there as visible as an electronic billboard in the middle of Times Square. That doesn’t happen with Yoga Smoga.

While the offerings look to be on the pricey side, just remember: You get what you pay for. The comfort and style are second to none and they’re going to last you a long time.

All of Yoga Smoga’s golf-inspired offerings can be worn on the golf course, in the clubhouse or for a night out on the town… or even to the gym.

For more information, visit

18 Greens Apparel: Over the last couple of years, 18 Greens Apparel has become one of my favorite companies in the golf business.

Owner Doug Timmons – a PGA Professional – has created some of the sharpest tops and bottoms you’ll find roaming the fairways today. But, best of all, the comfort level is off the charts.

The shorts and pants from 18 Greens feature a casual fit with built-in casual water technology. The 4-way stretch material is water and wrinkle-resistant. The Heathered textured fabric is also a step away from your run of the mill slacks.

These are the lightest, thinnest pants ($75) and shorts ($65) I've ever worn. Timmons got the idea for the materials when he thought up a way to combine his love of boarder shorts with his passion for golf. Incidentally, your 18 Greens shorts -- with mesh inner lining on the pockets -- can also double up as boarder shorts if you want to go from the course to the ocean.

Timmons also recently released arguably the coolest golf belt ($39.50) on the market today recently with his "Aiming Fluid Belt." The buckle is so much more than just a buckle. It's also a 2.5 oz stainless steel flask with a custom holster that keeps it in place between swings... or swigs.

To check out all 18 Greens Apparel has to offer, check out

Southern Tide: This southern-prep style of clothing has been making waves in the golf world lately, as it’s worn by Wesley Bryan of Bryan Brothers golf trick-shot fame, who recently earned a performance promotion onto the PGA Tour for winning three times this season on the Tour.

Southern Tide’s T3 Collection, includes the Admiral Packable 1/4-zip Pullover ($99.50). It can literally be folded small enough to fit into your back pocket – perfect to bring along while spectating a golf tournament, or for a round in the fall when there might be just a little chill in the air.

The Technical Club shorts ($87.50) feature a quick-dry fabric and hint of stretch keep you comfortable all day. The material is paper thin and light as a feather.

Southern Tide’s Driver Stripe Performance Polo shirts ($85) don’t just look good, but also add some great benefits thanks to the fabrics used. With UV protection, moisture-wicking technology and open sleeves, this polo is made from soft jersey fabric that feels fantastic.

For more information, visit

Bradley Allan: A newcomer to golf apparel, Bradley Allan is making a splash with polos, sweaters and pullovers, pants, shorts and accessories.

For the purpose of this review, we tried out the Pilot Polo ($79) made from Pima cotton/Polyester. The color ways offered on the polos are refined, which give them sophistication – it’s all class, you’re not going to get anything loud with Bradley Allan.

The tailored fit allows you to look just as good with the polo tucked or untucked (perfect to wear with your favorite dress pants, shorts, or even jeans). If you decide to get one for yourself, I recommend ordering one size up because of the tailored fit.

To check out all of Bradley Allan’s apparel, visit


Callaway Apex Irons Black: These, quite arguably, could be the sharpest-looking set of irons ever made.

Callaway took its wildly popular Apex irons and simply made up a black set that looks tremendous at address with the black-white contrast from club to golf ball.

It’s not all about the looks with these irons, however. Using its industry-leading, category-defining 360 Face Cup technology, Callaway gives the player exceptional, consistent ball speed across the face and playability in a forged players iron.

The Satin Black PVD finish turns heads. You can get more personal with your iron set, selecting from a long list of premium shaft and grip options at no upcharge.

And we’ve added a sleek all black look with a Satin Black PVD finish and premium shaft options, with a vast no upcharge list to customize your set.

Thanks to the black finish, these Apex irons from Callaway ($1,299, steel) are the most distinctive looking I’ve ever seen. They look great, they feel great and they’re wonderfully forgiving for a player’s iron with such a small cavity.

For more information, visit

TaylorMade TPX golf balls: Golfers want two things when it comes to a golf ball -- maximum distance and maximum control. No big deal, right? Well, it's not quite that easy. The golf ball -- not everyone realizes -- is the single most important piece of equipment you use on the course. It's pretty simple to understand why when you think about it: It's the only piece of equipment you use for each and every shot.

TaylorMade has delivered in a big way with its new Tour Preferred X golf ball ($47.99/dozen). The cast urethane cover on the X is now slightly thicker for more greenside control, and the ball's five-layer construction delivers lower spin with the driver and irons. With a compression of 87, players can expect a ball that feels firmer than the Tour Preferred, and they can also expect less spin and lower launch conditions on full iron shots with the X compared to its stable mate.

Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia all have the ball in play on the PGA Tour.

The Tour Preferred X does everything it advertises. Your going to get your distance without sacrificing that all-important feel around the greens.

For more information, visit


Club Glove TRS Ballistic: If you spend a good amount of time on the road traveling for work – and hopefully sneaking in some golf along the way – you know how important it is to have some quality luggage.

When it comes to quality luggage, especially in the golf world, it doesn’t get any better than Club Glove’s TRS Ballistic line ($2,248.00 for a three-piece ensemble). The TRS Ballistic luggage debuted in 2011, but underwent a big-time upgrade for 2016.

“We wanted to come up with a more traditional style luggage that would be able to withstand the rigors of travelling on the PGA Tour,” said Club Glove President, Jeff Herold. “Our original duffels, though incredibly well built, with an almost military style were wonderful for our exclusive niche of clients; however, we needed to come up with something that appeared a little more mainstream in terms of style and appeal to the frequent traveler.”

Club Glove’s Train Reaction System allows travelers to connect their rolling luggage with straps in a perfectly balanced train, providing an effortless and almost weightless movement around airports and cities.

"The reason I went with more traditional structured luggage is that because people were asking," Herold told "I got into the design world there. I design everything. I pencil drew it out and made prototypes. It's been refined to what you see now. We were the first ever to create the Train Reaction System. It balances and rolls all your pieces together at a 45-degree angle. Now we have adjustable straps, so you can tighten or loosen the connecting strap and it allows one to raise or lower the retractable angle for your height."

One of my favorite features of the luggage is the positioning of its zipper for the main compartment. Traditionally, you find the zippers for luggage either right down the middle or on the far edges. With the TRS Ballistic luggage, the zippers are almost “indented” into a looped shape, which means no more having to stuff items in and pushing down with all your might to zip the bag shut.

Each piece also includes packing modules for nearly wrinkle-free clothing organization, which also save space.

"PGA Tour players are all trending toward the TRS Ballistic and the more traditionally structured luggage, it caught on immediately," Herold said. "We have a list of names on the site -- everyone from Rory McIlroy to Bubba Watson -- that use our gear. We had all four major winners and all Olympic medal winners use our new TRS Ballistic this year. We're the heavyweight champions of luggage.

"It's a unique category, the travel side of golf. It's one of the only pieces in the game handled by more people than the actual user. We've gotten really good at handling and creating products that can take a beating." 

Visit for more information.

Bushnell Neo iON: Remember years ago when golf GPS devices started popping up and how they were pretty much the coolest thing in the world?

What wasn’t cool, however, were two things in particular: They were expensive and pretty much ALL they did was give yardages (you couldn’t use it for a watch off the course, etc.); Also, you usually had to pay for a yearly subscription (also not cheap).

Thankfully, technology has gotten better and that has benefitted the golfer in a big way both in cost and practicality.

Enter the NEO iON ($199) from Bushnell – a company that has long set the standard in golf measuring devices. The NEO iON is a wearable offering that comes preloaded with 35,000+ courses in 30 countries around the world. You can actually play three full rounds between charges too.

On the course, the NEO iON will give you yardages to the front, middle and back of the green, as well as distances to hazards and layup yardages.

If you’re walking the course, there’s even a built-in pedometer so you can track your steps.

Set the device to golf mode five minutes before your tee time and the NEO iON will automatically recognize the course you’re at, which makes it simple to use.

Another cool feature that I tested was the NEO iON’s “Tee Time” mode. You can actually plug in your tee time up to seven days in advance. Once you’re at the course that day, the device will automatically flip into golf mode seven minutes before your scheduled tee time.

Off the course, which is a huge value-add, the NEO iON can also serve as your everyday watch, displaying time, day of the week and day of the month.

The perfect accessory for when you’re sneaking out of the office for an emergency nine with its Inspector Gadget-like features.

To learn more, visit

TRX FOR GOLF BUNDLE: If you take your game seriously – or you’re really about fitness – TRX is something you should really consider.

It’s basically a full gym, full-body workout that you can take anywhere.

The Rip Trainer (which includes a workout guide) is for those looking to strengthen the core. With its resistance cord system, the Rip Trainer allows you to develop core strength, explosive power, flexibility and endurance -- all important to get the most out of your game.

The TRX Pro Suspension Training Kit ($249.95) includes a suspension anchor, door anchor, Xtender, mesh carry back, wrench and pro wristband. The entire kit can be set up virtually anywhere. And, free on the TRX website, you can look through hundreds of exercises to try with your kit.

The greatest aspect of the TRX is its portability. You can take it anywhere – even pack it in with your luggage if you’re headed out for a business trip since it takes very little space.

With the TRX, you don’t need to find the time to make a trip to the gym anymore.

For more information, find TRX online at

T.I.N. Box Partners: I’ve said many times in this space that one of my favorite aspects of the golf industry these days are the products available to the public that make you feel like you’re getting the experience that seemed to be reserved for touring professionals for so many years.

That description fits “T.I.N. Box Partners” to a T.

Specializing in customizable yardage-book covers, T.I.N. Box Partners can create an exceptional accessory for you, or make for an amazing gift for the golfer in your life.

Not all of us use yardage books, but this product can also make for the ultimate scorecard holder.

T.I.N. Box Partners are creating the official yardage book covers for Ryder Cup USA this year – and you can purchase that very cover. Or, if you want to get personal, you can choose from thousands of designs to be sewn onto the cover that bring out your personality, you can use initials, your name – pretty much whatever you can imagine, they can create.

The inside of the yardage book cover is no exception. Words of wisdom, names of loved ones, etc., can be etched into the high-grade leather.

T.I.N. Box Partners’ customer service is second to none. They walk the customer through every step of the process, routinely sending sample proofs of your desired design to insure that it is perfect when it arrives at your doorstep. The only thing that will surprise you when it arrives is the fact that the quality is even higher in hand than what you see on the website.

From start to finish, your yardage book cover will take approximately 30-40 days. Again – this is an unbelievable gift for the golfer in your life.

T.I.N. Box Partners yardage book covers start at $49 and go up from there based on levels of customization.

For more information, visit

Waterfield Bolt Backpack: As someone who travels, I’m always in search of the perfect bag to store my laptop, iPad, camera and other stuff. I take all of those electronics with me even if I’m going on a golf trip.

The reason? I love taking photos on special courses I get to play. I think I took about 1,200 total on a trip to Bandon Dunes a couple of years back. Even more fun than taking the photos is settling down at the end of the day before bed and looking through them on the laptop or iPad.

Well, it’s taken years, but I think I may have just discovered the perfect bag for all this and more in the Bolt Backpack from Waterfield ($329).

Made from a durable waxed canvas material with premium full-grain leather accents, the Bolt gets better -- character -- with age. It features two padded compartments -- one for a laptop, one for tablet -- both easily accessible through a separate waterproof zipper for easy access at airport security. There's an additional waterproof zipper to access main compartment contents. There are also two open-topped, interior hand pockets for storing chargers, cords, pens, etc.; Two exterior side pockets for water bottle or other quick-access items; a front zippered pocket with rain-guard flap for stashing sensitive documents; Two additional front pockets with leather tabs and magnetic closures; an anti-sweat mesh cushion also slides over rolling suitcase handle for breezing through airports; the ergonomically-designed straps distribute weight evenly; and the thick, leather bottom boot provides structure and enhances water-resistance and longevity.

There's also plenty of room within the bag for a pair of shoes and an extra outfit should you need it (maybe some golf clothes and shoes to slip in upon arrival so you can change on the fly to the course?).

On a recent 2-day trip to New York City, this was the only bag I packed for clothes and electronics. It made getting around so much easier.

You can learn more about all Waterfield has to offer at

Orbitkey: Maybe this isn’t a big deal to a lot of people, but it’s a big deal to me. When I’m out on the golf course, there are a few items I keep in a valuables pouch that’s easily accessible in my golf bag. Those items are typically my watch, cell phone, wallet and keys.

The keys, my friends, are the biggest pain in the you know what to keep in there. Over the course of the round, they naturally move around. They scratch up my phone, put nasty scratches on my wallet and – basically – get in the way of my wallet when I’m trying to grab it to pay for a drink or snack on the course.

A few weeks ago, however, I stumbled upon a company called “Orbitkey” which changed all of that. Rather than having all your keys on a keychain dangling around everywhere, Orbitkey created a slim loop – available in leather or rubber – that houses up to seven keys, stacking them.

When you need one of the keys, you then open the Orbitkey similar to the way a Swiss Army knife works. You open the key you need while all the other’s stay in place.

What makes the Orbitkey even cooler is that it offers a couple of well-thought-out accessories that will prove to be very helpful – a bottle opener and a USB drive.

Now instead of all those keys messing up my valuables pouch and the valuables in it, I have everything I need packaged in something that’s roughly the size of a stick of lip-gloss.

Leather Orbitkey’s are available for $39.95 and the rubber version sells for $29.95. Both are available in a variety of colors.

Visit for more information.