Golf Buzz

February 5, 2013 - 3:09pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson and his Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver
Callaway Golf / Getty Images
Phil Mickelson enjoyed a record-setting victory in his first week using a Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver.

Back in the good ol' days of NASCAR when the race cars actually looked like street cars, there was a saying: ''Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.'' That meant, of course, that fans would want to buy the cars that prevailed on the track.

There's no similar adage in golf, but the same principle applies. That's why you so often see golf equipment ads touting the success of products on tour.

Seldom, however, is the correlation between tour success and sales as immediate and direct as it was over the weekend.

Phil Mickelson put a new Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver in his bag last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, then went out and shot a 60. Afterward, he spoke glowingly – and specifically – about the new club.

''I finally gave our new RAZR Fit Xtreme a chance,'' Mickelson said after his round. ''And I tell you what, on Tuesday, when I hit it, I kept looking up and I was almost in disbelief at how easy it was, how straight it was, and the misses weren't bad. I put it into play in the pro-am yesterday and I hit it great.

''I drove it phenomenal, and felt really good with it,'' he added. ''And the thing that's so great about it is I can make the same swing with my irons as I do with my driver and the ball goes very straight and easy. … So that was the big thing. I drove the ball much better here.''

Mickelson went on to a wire-to-wire win, tying the Phoenix Open scoring record and barely missing the PGA Tour’s 72-hole scoring record. And because of his performance, and his vocal support of the driver, sales began to pick up – and up!

Over the weekend, Harry Arnett, the senior vice president for marketing at Callaway, sent out this tweet: ''At 2:30pm it was already the most drivers we've sold in one day on our Ecom site. #xtreme #phileffect.''

I asked Callaway for details and, while they wouldn't provide specific sales figures, they did confirm that the weekend – even with the distraction of the Super Bowl – was one to remember.

Callaway sold more drivers on its e-commerce site on Saturday than any previous day, the company said. That record lasted exactly one day, when 20 percent more drivers were sold on Sunday. Sunday also ranked as one Callaway’s top five days ever for web traffic, the company confirmed, and the weekend in total was Callaway's biggest for web traffic.

There are two obvious lessons here:

--For all the recent talk of bifurcation (different equipment rules for tour pros and amateur golfers) last week shows very vividly that everyday golfers still pay very close attention to the gear that the pros play – and that they want to play the same gear that their favorite players use.

--Phil can still move the 'ol needle.

Are you interested in buying the equipment mentoned in this post? Check out the Pro Shops -- a one-stop destination for new and used equipment sourced, inspected and sold by an elite group of PGA Professonals nationwide.

 

 

 

Categories: RAZR Fit Xtreme
February 5, 2013 - 11:35am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Dana Quigley, Craig Dolch
Jim Mandeville/The Nicklaus Companies
Longtime friends Dana Quigley and Craig Dolch talk during a pro-am to raise money for Quigley's son, Devon, who like Dolch's son, Eric, is battling a traumatic brain injury.

You're going to need a box of tissues for this one. Trust me.

Over the weekend at the Floridian Golf & Yacht Club in Palm City, Fla., the most incredible of pro-am tournaments was held for Devon Quigley, son of Champions Tour star Dana and cousin of PGA Tour player Brett.

Devon Quigley was in a horrific car accident Dec. 1, 2011. In that accident, Devon suffered a traumatic brain injury and still cannot talk or walk as a result. As one can imagine, the medical bills are overwhelming.

With that, the legends of the game -- and I do mean LEGENDS -- stepped up in a big way to help one of their own. Dana, who still plays golf every single day, wasn't even eligible for a pro-am set up to help his ailing son.

The criteria? You needed to be a major champion. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player were all there. So were Raymond Floyd, Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Tom Kite, Hal Sutton, Lanny Wadkins, Mark Calcavecchia, Larry Nelson, Jeff Sluman, Steve Elkington and Steve Jones.

"Golfers by nature are a giving bunch," Nicklaus told Golfweek's Jim McCabe. "Devon has been fighting such a battle the last year, and the family celebrates every little victory they can. But Dana and his family have been through a lot. We just hope that what little we are able to do this weekend will help in some way."

Early estimates suggest the event raised close to $1 million.

One person who was there covering the event knows more than anyone what the Quigley family is going through.

Craig Dolch, one of the real good guys in the business, wrote a touching piece following the event on the unfortunate bond he shares with Dana Quigley.

"Our sons may have arrived at their current states by vastly different means -- my then-14-year-old boy Eric suffered an acquired-brain injury when he contracted encephalitis in 2005, and Devon was 27 when he suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a car accident 15 months ago -- but the results are the same," Dolch wrote.

When word was out about Dolch's son, he says Dana Quigley was the first person to call and offer any help he could. The two had become friends with Dolch chronicling Quigley's success on the Champions Tour and the two sharing the same church.

Dolch's piece is one you need to read.

If you'd like to read McCabe's story about the event and how it came together, click here.

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

February 5, 2013 - 11:13am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Dustin Johnson
Getty Images
Dustin Johnson -- already a winner in 2013 -- is understandably a favorite to win at Pebble Beach this week. He's been victorious in the tournament twice before and has finished outside the top 10 just once in five AT&T starts.

Ben Alberstadt, a featured columnist on BleacherReport.com, put together a fun list of predictions for this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Writes Alberstadt:

We go from one colorful event on tour to another. Even though the fans from Waste Management Phoenix Open are still nursing their hangovers, it's time to move on to Pebble Beach.

The pro-am format and the abundance of celebrities combine with the incredible beauty of three fantastic golf courses along the California coast to create one of the PGA Tour's unique events.

Here are 10 bold predictions as to what golf fans can expect at the tournament this week.

Unfortunately, an additional heat of caddy races isn't one of them...

Among Alberstadt's predictions:

- Phil Mickelson will win for the second consecutive week (after all, he is the defending champ at Pebble)

- Bill Murray will be... Bill Murray (you know the antics -- expect to see them again this year)

- Dustin Johnson will finish in the top 10 (he's only been outside the top-10 once in five AT&T starts)

To read all of Alberstadt's piece, click here.

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

February 4, 2013 - 2:57pm
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February 4, 2013 - 2:50pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
David Duval
Getty Images
Nike Golf has re-signed David Duval, who used Nike gear during the most successful portion of his career.

Around the first of the year, Nike Golf made a big marketing splash by unveiling a series of new signings – first, Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley, then Thorbjorn Olesen and Seung-yul Noh, and finally Rory McIlroy.

Almost a month later, the Swoosh has announced that it has re-signed David Duval. This is noteworthy in that Duval and Tiger Woods were Nike Golf's first big stars – and, in fact, Duval was the first player to win a major using Nike clubs at the 2001 British Open. His original deal with Nike ran out many years ago, though, and he recently has been endorsing clubs from boutique clubmaker Scratch Golf.

Now 41, Duval was on top of the world – even ranked No. 1 for a while – with 13 PGA Tour titles, three Ryder Cup teams and three Presidents Cup teams, but in recent years he has struggled to stay on the PGA Tour. He's been back to Q-School a couple of times – a broken toe kept him out of yet another trip to Q-School last fall. He apparently took a big hit when the housing market crashed, and couldn't even get an exemption into the Humana Challenge last month despite giving that tournament its defining moment by shooting a 59 there several years ago.

He had a miserable 2012 campaign, making only three cuts in 17 starts, and earning only about $32,000. As the new season dawned, though, Duval expressed excitement over his chances for 2013, but it's taken him this long to even get a PGA Tour start – he'll make his season debut this week at Pebble Beach. He has said he'll play anywhere, anytime – even the Web.com Tour if that's what it takes. And he said on Twitter at the beginning of the year that he was returning to the Nike stable, but stressed that, at the time, he hadn't signed anything with the Swoosh.

Well, the Swoosh just made it official, and that's got to give Duval some kind of a boost, even if the financial terms are nowhere near those of some of Nike's other big offseason signings. Tiger and Phil have dominated the PGA Tour headlines the last two weeks. It'd be nice to see Duval make a headline or two of his own this year.

Here's the gear he will play:

Driver: Nike VR_S Covert (8.5 degrees, Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73X shaft)
3-Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition (15 degrees)
2-9 Irons: Nike VR Pro Blades
48-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro Blade
53-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro
58-Degree Wedge: Nike VR Pro
Putter: Nike Method 006 prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Footwear:  Nike Lunar Control

February 4, 2013 - 10:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
James Hahn
PGA Tour/YouTube
PGA Tour rookie James Hahn breaks out into the, 'Gangnam Style,' dance after holing a birdie putt at the par-3 16th during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday.

In case you live under a rock -- which isn't likely the case if you're reading this -- you know that there's no bigger party in professional golf than on the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. The atmosphere is that of a frat party. If you think a good shot is going to be greeted with a slow, "golf-clap," here, you're going to be extremely disappointed. This is the PGA Tour's version of Animal House.

Players that simply hit the green are given the loudest standing ovation they'll hear all year. Players that miss the green... well, they get rained upon with boos.

Over the years, No. 16 has gone from hectic to downright chaos -- the good, fun kind. Players have embraced it, endearing themselves to fans with various antics, whether it be handing out free hats, sunglasses (which Hunter Mahan did on Saturday), or actually getting on a microphone and singing like half of the golf, boy-band, "The Golf Boys" Bubba Watson and Ben Crane did after hitting their respective tee shots in 2012. The fans eat it up.

Sunday was no exception. And, if you didn't know who James Hahn was before Sunday, chances are you do now.

Hahn, a 31-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour, shot a magnificent round of 9-under 62 in the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday to jump from a tie for 42nd after 54 holes to a tie for 16th. Remarkably, it was Hahn's second, final-round 62 of the season, matching the mark he had at the Humana Challenge a few weeks back, where he tied for fourth.

On Sunday, Hahn made five birdies over his final six holes to leapfrog loads of players. But, it was one birdie in particular that will live in Phoenix Open lore for years to come.

With a revved up crowd packed into the totally enclosed par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale, Hahn electrified the spectators by holing a 19-foot birdie putt. To celebrate, Hahn -- who was born in South Korea -- paid tribute to South Korean rapper Psy, who became famous worldwide in 2012 for his smash hit and accompanying dance, "Gangnam Style."

As soon as Hahn's putt dropped, he put the putter down and did the 'Gangnam Style' dance. Whether you like the song/dance or not, you have to admit -- Hahn did a darned good job!

Check out the funny video for yourself here.

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