Golf Buzz

December 20, 2012 - 2:54pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway Golf X Hot and X Hot Pro irons
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
In both the X Hot (left) and X Hot Pro irons, Callaway incorporated a Deep Undercut Cavity Design and its powerful Speed Frame Face Technology to strike a balance of high ball speed and great feel.

Callaway Golf set out to deliver measurable distance gains with its two new, aggressive iron sets, the X Hot and X Hot Pro.

"The X Hot Irons have been meticulously engineered – both in terms of physical characteristics and club configuration – to increase ball speed and promote overall distance optimization," said Callaway’s Senior Vice President, Research and Development Alan Hocknell. "And in doing so, I think we have raised the bar and created the standard in distance for the irons category."

In both of the new sets of irons, Callaway incorporated a Deep Undercut Cavity Design and its powerful Speed Frame Face Technology to strike a balance of high ball speed and great feel. The deep undercut design allowed Callaway to precisely position the Center of Gravity and move the hottest – and most compliant – part of the face lower, where more golfers make contact with the ball.

And for the first time, Callaway has incorporated Speed Frame Face Technology from such drivers as the RAZR Fit and RAZR X into the X Hot Irons. Doing so optimizes stiffness across the face – essentially creating a larger sweet spot – for more efficient energy transfer. This produces more ball speed and consistent distance, even on off-center contact, and saves weight that can be redistributed to the perimeter of the clubhead for more stability.

Rounding out the X Hot Irons is Feel Management Technology, a dual material medallion that fine-tunes sound by promoting a crisp, dynamic feel at higher ball speeds. The stock shaft offering is a True Temper Speed Step 85 Lightweight Steel Shaft.

The X Hot Pro Irons feature Callaway's 20-degree Close Spaced V Grooves, which are typically reserved for forged irons. They're included in the X Hot Pro Irons to offer up to 1000 rpm more backspin out of the rough (in comparison to their predecessor). These are Callaway’s most precise grooves, improving performance in an iron for better players.

The new irons will be available at retail on Jan. 25, 2013. The X Hot set will carry a new product introduction price of $699 with steel shafts and $899 with graphite shafts, while the X Hot Pro clubs will have a new product introduction price of $799 with steel shafts and $999 with graphite shafts.

For more information, visit


December 20, 2012 - 11:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Getty Images
Gleneagles is the site of the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Early this morning, while most of us were still sleeping, the European Tour sent out a press release announcing that the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will not be a part of the European Tour's 2014 international schedule, "due to the venue's staging of The Ryder Cup that year, but will return in the summer of 2015."

"With regret we have accepted that we have no option but to postpone the Johnnie Walker Championship for a year," Graeme Marchbank, Johnnie Walker Championship Director, said. "The Johnnie Walker Championship is a major highlight in the calendar for Diageo and a key commercial platform for the promotion of the world’s number one Scotch whisky, so we are naturally disappointed to miss a year.

"However, as the owner of Gleneagles and as an Official Partner of The 2014 Ryder Cup, Diageo is also working closely with our partners at The European Tour to help deliver a fantastic event. We are also working closely with the Scottish Government on maximising the wider benefit of The Ryder Cup to Scotland. Over the next two years we will be focusing all of our efforts on the goal of delivering the best possible Ryder Cup in 2014.

"We are delighted that in 2015 the Johnnie Walker Championship will return to Gleneagles in partnership with The European Tour."

The move makes sense, seeing as most venues that host big events close down in the year leading up to that event. However, it's a punch in the gut to any potential U.S. team members who were hoping to go on a scouting trip and see Gleneagles in tournament condition.

In case you were thinking, "that's OK. A potential U.S. team member can go play the Gleneagles event in 2013," well, they probably won't do that either.

The 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship is scheduled for Aug. 22-25 -- the same week as the opening event of the PGA Tour FedExCup Playoffs, The Barclays at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J.

Richard Hills, European Ryder Cup Director, said: "We are very grateful to the management of both Diageo, the owners of Johnnie Walker, and The Gleneagles Hotel for agreeing to postpone the Johnnie Walker Championship so that preparations for The Ryder Cup can begin as planned in July 2014. The magnitude of The Ryder Cup is such that trying to host the Johnnie Walker Championship in the same season would have compromised both events."

December 19, 2012 - 5:10pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
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If it weren't for a ride to the course by a state trooper, Rory McIlroy may have cost Europe the Ryder Cup.

It's easy for Rory McIlroy to laugh about it now, but when he nearly missed his tee time for the Sunday singles matches in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, the two-time major champion and No. 1 player in the world admits that he thought he may have cost Europe a shot at winning.

Europe entered the final day of the Ryder Cup trailing the U.S., 10-6. But, miraculously, Europe stormed back on the final day for an incredible come-from-behind victory -- including a win for McIlroy in his match against Keegan Bradley, where he showed up to the tee just in time.

In an exclusive interview with RTÉ’s Greg Allen, McIlroy said he would not have made it to the course on time if it were not for state trooper Pat Rollins, who got him to the course with just minutes to spare.

Here's what McIlroy told Allen:

"On the Saturday night, before I went to bed, I was watching the Golf Channel and they posted the tee-times (for Sunday). But they posted them in Eastern time and we were in Central time in Chicago, so 12:35 Eastern is 11:35 in Chicago.

"Next morning I get up and get out of the shower at 11am. I get a phone call from Conor, my manager, and he says 'Are you at the golf course?', and I tell him that I'm not.

"He says 'You should be, you've got half an hour to your tee-time'. "And I say 'No, I've got an hour and a half, I'm off at 12:35. He says 'You're not. You are off at 11:35'.

"I have never been so scared going to a golf course. It was such a mad rush. Luckily there was a state trooper waiting for me and if it was not for him, if I was not in that car, I would not have made my tee-time.

"I actually played my best golf of the whole week on that Sunday!"

December 19, 2012 - 5:00pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bill Haas
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Count Bill Haas as one of the many players who have benefited from an anchored putter.

Bleacher Report featured columnist Mike Dudurich explains that there are many misconceptions that come along with the proposed ruling by the USGA and R&A to ban the anchoring of putters beginning in 2016.

So, what exactly are those misconceptions?

Click here to see Dudurich's report.

December 19, 2012 - 4:46pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson
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Phil Mickelson gave no reason for his decision to walk away from an ownership stake in the San Diego Padres.

Phil Mickelson has pulled out of the new owership group of his hometown San Diego Padres.

"I think to be involved with the Padres you have to be fully committed to the long term," Mickelson said on Tuesday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I've been born and raised here, but at this moment I'm not able to make that kind of long-term commitment to the city and to the team."

Mickelson teamed up with an ownership group led by Peter O'Malley last May in a quest to buy the Padres, and the group finalized its purchase in August. Mickelson had said he was “really excited” about working with the ownership group as recently as mid-October, according to the newspaper. But, the story said, Mickelson notified the Padres group “within the last six weeks” that he wouldn’t be coming aboard after all.

Mickelson gave no explanation for what happened, said the paper, and didn’t elaborate on the reasons for his change of heart.

December 19, 2012 - 3:26pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Harmon's Heroes Golf Classic
Courtesy of Harmon's Heroes Golf Classic
The money raised at the recent Harmon's Heroes Golf Classic helped two wounded soldiers secure their own homes.

A pair of wounded warriors have been able to secure homes of their own, thanks in large part to golf instructor Buch Harmon and his Harmon’s Heroes charity effort.

Harmon, who is a Vietnam veteran, created Harmon’s Heroes in 2009 as a way to reach out directly to soldiers wounded in combat and provide financial assistance to those with a qualifying need. On Veterans' Day, Harmon hosted a group of wounded soldiers and other golfers in his annual Harmon's Heroes Golf Classic at the Bali Hai Golf Course on the Las Vegas Strip.

The golfers playing with the veterans donated between $10,000 and $25,000 per foursome, with 100 percent of the funds raised going to the Harmon's Heroes Foundation. As a result, two veterans have been able to secure homes, one in Boston and the other in Texas. And plans are under way to help a veteran from Las Vegas get his or her own home next.

"Many of us have no idea what these veterans face once they get home," said Harmon, whose father, Claude Harmon, was a longtime PGA Head Professional at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York and also the winner of the 1948 Masters.

"Dealing with physical wounds is bad enough, but the financial hardships they face are absolutely mind-boggling and we want to help," he added. "And assisting them in owning their own home is one of our priorities."

In addition, a portion of the sales of Harmon's two-DVD set, "Butch Harmon About Golf presented by Titleist," is donated to the Harmon's Heroes Foundation.

For more information, visit

The golf industry, of course, is blessed with a number of charitable efforts dedicated to help veterans and their families. Some of the other ones worth checking out are:

--Patriot Golf Day stages golf fundraisers nationwide over the Labor Day holiday weekend, and you can participate either by playing or volunteering to help out. It is jointly supported by The PGA of America and the U.S. Golf Association.

--The Folds of Honor Foundation is funded primarily through the proceeds from Patriot Golf Day, but you can make a donation anytime. Folds of Honor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides college scholarships for the children and spouses of military men and women disabled or killed while serving our great nation.

--The Salute Military Golf Association is another 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and it provides golf equipment, lessons and access to courses nationwide for wounded servicemen and women. Since ts creation in 2007, its volunteer golf professionals have given, free of charge, hundreds of lessons and clinics to our wounded warriors.

--Birdies for the Brave was created by Phil and Amy Mickelson to support troops injured in combat, and it is now a part of PGA Tour Charities. Golf courses nationwide stage a variety of fundraising events that have raised millions of dollars for military homefront groups that serve the specialized needs of wounded warriors and military families. Birdies for the Brave fundraising events provide golfers the chance to participate in golf tournaments on top courses nationwide.

--Tee It Up For the Troops helps wounded warriors get out on the course and uses golf events to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an independent non-profit thar provides financial support for the families of military personnel lost in service to our nation, and for severely wounded military personnel and veterans.

Many other groups and events nationwide also support this effort. And while they’re not charitable organizations, many of golf’s most prominent equipment companies – Bridgestone, Callaway, Cleveland, Ping and TaylorMade, among them – donate a lot of golf clubs, balls and other gear, and work diligently to promote many of these great causes with no regard for credit or publicity.