Showing posts from February, 2013

Joy of Six? Golf's First 6-Piece Golf Ball

Maxfli used to be one of the biggest, most prominent, best-selling brands of golf balls in the game. Now, it's a house brand at Golf Galaxy and Dick's Sporting Goods. A house brand? That means that there's no more innovation taking place under the Maxfli name, right? Wrong. That's what "house brand" means for a lot of formerly independent brands, but not, apparently, at Maxfli. Because Maxfli just became the first to market a 6-piece golf ball, the U/6. Man, I'm so old I can remember when a 3-piece ball seemed like a luxury! My first reaction to the news was to think of those 5-blade razors and triple cheeseburgers. If two beef patties are good, why not put three on your burger? If twin blades shave close, why not add three more blades ? If 3- and 4-layer golf balls are selling, let's add ... more ... layers ! Yes! Marketing genius! More, more, more! But Maxfli makes the case that each of the six layers that make up its U/6 ball is ther

How Far Has Michelle Wie Fallen? This Far

Michelle Wie has fallen so far that she is back to needing a sponsor exemption to get into an LPGA tournament. Back when she was young - say, 14, 15, 16 years old - Wie could have any sponsor exemption she wanted. She was an incredible talent, and a huge, huge draw, not just in women's golf but in golf in general. She needed sponsor exemptions because she wasn't yet an LPGA member. But this week Wie needed an invitation from the sponsor to get into the field at the HSBC Women's Champions tournament in Singapore because she's fallen so far on the money list and in the world rankings. Granted, the HSBC is not a full-field tournament, so it's not as bad as it first sounds. But it's still pretty disconcerting for any Wie fans, and probably for Wie herself, that she's back in this position. And for how much longer will it still be easy for Wie to get sponsor exemptions? Wie is still one of the first few golfers trotted out by tournament organizers to prom

LPGA Players In Car Crash In Thailand

Three LPGA stars - Paula Creamer, Ai Miyazato and Suzann Pettersen - were among the people involved in an auto accident in Thailand on Sunday. The three players plus their entourages and a few family members were spread among five cars heading to the airport following the conclusion of the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament. Creamer and Miyazato were experiencing some neck pain afterward, according to Pettersen. Pettersen posted a photo she snapped of the crash aftermath: (Photo: @suzannpettersen / And Pettersen provided some details in a post on her blog: On our way to the airport we were in a car accident! Paula, Ai, my mum and myself with the rest of our entourage! We were driving on the highway pretty fast and at times maybe to ruff. Meaning, no room for errors what so ever! And it was just a matter of time we must say before something actually happend! Don’t know how it all went down, but in a split second the entourage of our 5 cars was all crushed together

Miniature Golfers Have Tested Positive for Doping. Seriously.

Is there doping in professional golf? I'll repeat what I said in an earlier post : Of course there is! Any sport or game in which there is big money and big prestige on the line will have doping; there will always be some players who are willing to try PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) just on the off chance they might help. But miniature golf? Surely there can't be doping in miniature golf? What could doping in minigolf possibly accomplish - help you zip that orange ball past the windmill's blades? help you zero in on that clown's mouth? But guess what: There is doping in miniature golf! Really! A New York Times article today focuses on drug testing in little-known sports, sports that are so little-known that many sports fans are probably not aware they exist. The article focuses on ice fishing - yes, there is drug testing in ice fishing! (What are they testing for, Icy Hot? Old Bay seasoning?) But it briefly mentions a few other sports/games/activities in

Are Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren Back Together?

I'm so old I can remember when all the rumors were about Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn hooking up! But to answer the question in the headline: No, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren are not back together (probably). But they are together again, in a way! The gossip website acquired photos of Woods and Nordegren together at a recent event for their kids. It's the first time the two have been photographed in public together since those infamous incidents around Thanksgiving 2009. Tiger showed up first, Elin arrived about an hour later. They appeared friendly with one another while watching over the kids. Then, someone started snapping photos of them (later sold to TMZ, obviously), and Woods and Nordegren split - leaving together in Elin's vehicle. From this, some are concluding that there must have been some truth to those National Enquirer -fueled rumors a couple months ago about Tiger trying to woo Elin back. (Those rumors actually predated the Tiger-Lindsey Vonn

PGA Tour Players' Photos of Rare Snow Delay at WGC Match Play

The WGC Accenture World Match Play Championship got off to a cold and snowy start this morning in Arizona. Yes, snowy. There was some rain, then there was snow. Want pictures of the PGA Tour's snow delay? PGA Tour player who tweet have that covered: I feel like I should be wearing a lift ticket!… — David Toms (@davidtomsgolf) February 20, 2013 Here's a better pic.… — Zach Johnson (@ZachJohnsonPGA) February 20, 2013 No need for comments...No hace falta decir nada...… — Rafael Cabrera Bello (@RCabreraBello) February 20, 2013 This weather is officially ridiculous!… — Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) February 20, 2013 RT @ marcusfraser I am sure Thongchai is used to this snow!… @ asiantourgolf — Marcus fraser (@Marcusfraser) February 20, 2013 Here's a photo Ian Poulter shared on Instagram: And one from Rickie Fowler:

Lorena Ochoa Breaks the Glass on Big Break Mexico

Big Break Mexico is the name of the next Big Break season on Golf Channel. And given the location, it's only natural that Lorena Ochoa paid a guest visit. Here she is trying her hand at the glass break challenge: Big Break Mexico is the 19th season (!) of The Big Break on Golf Channel. It begins airing on Monday, May 13, with a cast evenly split between guys and gals.

1 Cup, 9 Balls, 9 Simultaneous Putts

The fellas in this video are part of the PGA Golf Management program at Campbell University in North Carolina. (That's the program that trains folks to become club professionals, including all the business, financial and managerial skills.) As part of a school competition, they taped themselves - nine of them - attempting to sink nine putts simultaneously. The idea was based on a similar video that came out last year of six students at the Golf Academy of America in Apopka, Florida, simultaneously striking and making six putts. Obviously, the more golf balls you add to the task, the more difficult the task becomes because you are backing away from the cup with each added ball.

Nike Files Patent for Adjustable Grooves on Irons

One of the most interesting golf blogs out there is , a site run by an intellectual property attorney who scans patent filings looking for new stuff from golf manufacturers. And he often finds amazing things. Such as? Well, Nike Golf has filed a patent for adjustable grooves on irons. Now, filing a patent doesn't necessarily mean that a company is anywhere close to manufacturing the described item. Many companies seek patents as protections of possible licensing fees as much as for protection of a product they hope to make. Or simply to troll other companies. But the golf world is adjustability-crazy, and it's only a matter of time before adjustable irons start showing up in numbers. But adjustable grooves? I have a hard time picturing how that would work. Grooves are manufactured to such tight specifications for sharpness, shape, depth, width. How do you maintain those tolerances with adjustability? Can you adjust grooves enough for 99.9-percent of gol

I Am Not An Animal, I Am a PGA Tour Winner!

John Merrick won the 2013 Northern Trust Open, becoming the first Elephant Man to win on the PGA Tour. I wonder if John Merrick's childhood friends - or enemies - called him "Elephant Man"? I wonder how many readers are wondering what the hell I'm talking about? It's not easy going through life carrying the same name as someone who is famous for his deformities - or infamous, or notorious. (Pity all the guys out there named Jeffrey Dahmer.) In the movie The Elephant Man , the Victorian-era title individual was called "John Merrick." The real-life Elephant Man, however, was actually named Joseph Merrick . And, fact is, to this day nobody can say with certainy what the disease was or diseases were that caused Merrick's deformities. If John Merrick the golfer ever gets the yips, that's what we'll be saying about him, too. But he doesn't have the yips, he has the Northern Trust Open trophy. I am not an animal, I am the King of Rivier

The Life and Times of Metal Spikes (Or: When Phil Called Vijay a Mother******)

Last week, Phil Mickelson fell down on the rocks beside the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach, looking for a wayward drive. Everyone had a good laugh - except, of course, Phil, who probably had a sore bum afterward. But what I thought of when I watched Phil's spill was this: Damn those metal spikes! Mickelson was always one of the pro golfers who stuck with metal spikes (a k a nails) rather than switching to plastic cleats. And metal spikes simply are not designed for walking on slick rock surfaces. Around 25-percent of PGA Tour pros still use metal spikes, according to Golf Digest . In one way, that's pretty surprising: The rest of the golf world has moved on, after all; it's not easy for a recreational golfer to buy metal spikes anymore, and if even one could, nearly all public courses and many private courses ban them. (Some high-end, niche golf shoe makers still offer metal spikes.) But on the other hand: SoftSpikes, which were introduced in 1993, and all the plastic

10 Facts About Lydia Ko

Lydia Ko is young teen phenom tearing it up in women's golf right now, only 15 at the time of this writing but already a multiple winner in pro tournaments. Here are 10 facts about Ko: 1. Lydia Ko was born in South Korea, but her family moved to New Zealand and she now competes under the New Zealand flag. 2. She was introduced to golf by an aunt; neither her mother nor her father played golf at the time Ko took up the game. 3. When she was young (!) - as in before she started gaining notice in the golf world - Ko idolized Michelle Wie. 4. She told Golf Digest in early 2013 that her dream foursome is Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy. 5. Her coach since age five is Guy Wilson, golf pro and owner of a pro shop in Auckland, New Zealand. 6. When Ko won the ALPG Bing Lee/Samsung Women's NSW Open in 2012, she became the youngest-ever winner - male or female - of a pro tournament on a world-rankings-recognized world golf tour. (Some people now cite Brooke Hend

Some Courses Use Dogs to Chase Away Old Coots

Don't worry, senior golfers, you're not the old coots we're talking about! We're talking about the migratory waterfowl. Coots and other migratory birds can descend on golf course ponds and waterways in huge numbers, causing all kinds of problems. Problems such as: "... the fowls can really screw up a course. They tend to eat the grass seed and mature grass, too, he said. "Droppings are a nuisance, of course," he said. "They tend to gum up the equipment and also the golfers' shoes. And during mating season, they can attack golfers." Coincidentally, human coots can also attack golfers, although it's doubtful mating season has anything to do with it. A local columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal was suprised on a recent golf outing to find the superintendent driving around with a dog in his cart, a dog he trained to chase coots and other waterfowl off the course: "Leroy is my dog," he said. "He's an Aust

Golfers Do the Harlem Shake

Important questions you might have: 1. What is the Harlem Shake? 2. Does the Harlem Shake cause the yips? We have some Harlem Shake videos for you, because, according to the bylaws of blogging, we are required to share any social media/YouTube memes when they touch golf. And thanks to the following golfers, the Harlem Shake has come go golf.The Villanova men's golf team doing the Harlem Shake: University of South Dakota's men's golf team: Guilford College men's golf team: At the Minnesota Golf Show: From Callaway Golf Interactive (the Callaway Pre-Owned folks): Here's one from (nice Rickie Fowler homage): Random people on a golf course:

The Championship the USGA Forgot: Senior Women's Open Is Long Overdue

You probably saw the news a couple days ago about the USGA dropping two long-running championships in favor of two newly created national championships. The United States Amateur Public Links Championship (founded 1922) and the Women's Amateur Public Links Championship (founded 1977) got the kibosh. And in their place, the USGA is launching the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship and the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Whatever. I don't really care one way or the other about this change. But notice that in both cases, there are two versions of the same event: the Public Links has a men's tournament and a women's tournament; the four-ball will have a men's tournament and women's tournament. Go down the list of USGA championships and that's true of them all (almost). The Opens? Men's open, women's open. U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women's Amateur. Boys Amateur, Girls Amateur. Mid-Amateur, Women's Mid-Amateur. Walker Cup, Curtis Cu

This Is a Real Photo of a Golfer Next to Yao Ming

It almost looks fake, doesn't it? The size disparity is just huge. But it's a real photo. That's former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming next to professional golfer Frances Bondad. Yao, just to be clear, is the big one. Frances plays on the ALPG tour and LET. We spotted this photo when Frances made it her Twitter background, but she actually posted it a while back, with this message: The Legend and the Leprechaun..… — Frances Bondad (@Francesbondad) October 18, 2012 Yao, by the way, does play golf. At least, he attempts to - he's a good sport, taking part in charity events when his swing make Charles Barkley look like Sam Snead. Not sure what we mean? Watch this .

15-Year-Old Lydia Ko Is the Best Teen Golfer Ever

There have been a lot of phenoms in women's golf over recent decades. So many phenoms, at such a young age, that although they are making their marks in women's golf, they themselves are still girls. Teen-agers. And among these golfers, Lydia Ko is the best of all-time. Wait, let me clarify: I have no idea if Ko has an amazing career as a pro golfer ahead of her. (OK, actually I have some idea.) But if we look at the teen girls who've practically fallen out of the womb and onto the LPGA Tour recently, which accomplished the most before turning pro? No question about it: That's Lydia Ko. And that's what the headline of this post refers to - Ko, who is 15 years old and an amateur as I write this - has already accomplished more than any other teen girl golfer ever. She's won plenty of important amateur tournaments, including the 2012 U.S. Women's Amateur. And - what spurred me to type these thoughts - she just her third pro tournament, the New Zealand

Let's All Laugh at Phil Mickelson Falling on His Backside

Phil Mickelson fell down: Ha ha, hee hee! There's always something funny about seeing someone fall on their butt - so long as they don't get hurt in the fall, of course. And the only thing Mickelson hurt with this slip is his pride. And, indirectly, his score, since he was walking on those slippery rocks in spikes in search of his golf ball (didn't find it) on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. And that is not a place a golfer wants to be on the 18th hole at Pebble Beach. Mickelson wound up making an 8 on the hole. Which, coincidentally, is the same score he received from the Russian judge for his dismount.

Lindsey Vonn? She's Got a Ticket to Ride ... Tiger's Plane

( Update 3/18/2013 : Tiger and Lindsey confirm they are dating .) The latest evidence of a Tiger Woods-Lindsey Vonn romance? Tiger sent his private plane to Austria to give Lindsey a lift back to the United States. TMZ originally reported it. You might have heard that Vonn was involved in a serious ski accident that will keep her out of competition the rest of the year. Vonn's crash happened during the Alpine World Championships in Schladming, Austria. She is returning to the U.S. for the necessary surgery. And she's flying on Tiger Woods' plane. Woods' plane picked Vonn up in Austria on Friday. Related posts: • Woods, Vonn pass up chances to deny romance • Are Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn dating?

Jiyai Shin Goes Skydiving

Couple photos shared on Twitter by LPGA star Jiyai Shin: Shin is in Australia ahead of the LPGA season opener there, and went skydiving over Gold Coast. Shin is one of my favorites on the LPGA; her bright, smiling face is always nice to see. But she's also, almost certainly, going to be another golfer like Lorena Ochoa: A star who leaves the LPGA early to start a family. Jiyai has made it clear that's what she wants.

You'll Need Some Scratch for this $1,000 Putter

How much scratch does it take to buy the new special-edition putter from Scratch Golf? Nine-hundred and ninety-nine dollars worth of scratch. But that's still $49,000 cheaper that the cheapest implements regularly made by Scratch's partner in the production of the Scratch Golf by James Ingles handmade putters. Charles Hellis and Sons Firearm Company in London, England (which is owned by the James Ingles whose name is on the putter), hand-makes shotguns and rifles for the luxury market. None of the company's firearms sell for less than $50,000. The company's craftsmen bring the same attention to the new weapon for golfers, shaping, engraving and finishing each putter head by hand. That attention is a big part of the $999 price tag. Something else is, too: "... there is no paint fill in the putter. Instead, all the markings are filled with precious metals like 24k gold, sterling silver and copper." Scratch Golf started taking orders for the James Ingles

Phil Mickelson's Backwards Shot

Phil Mickelson is never in over his head, but he sometimes hits a golf ball over his head - as in backwards. Phil's famous backwards flop shop was spotlighted in Mickelson's Secrets of the Short Game instructional DVD set (more info about the DVD) . Here's the clip from that DVD in which Phil demonstrates the backwards shot: Lefty is mighty enthusiastic in that clip, isn't he? He must have been hopped up on In-n-Out burgers on the day of the shoot. Mickelson didn't invent this shot; the backwards golf shot has been part of golf trick-shot artists' routines for many, many years, and it's not a difficult shot to pull off for very skilled golfers (assuming the circumstances are right for it, of course). An interesting nugget from the above clip is when Phil explains that he has had to use the backwards shot in competition before. Here's another look at Phil's over-the-head shot, in which he blames the ball not going in on the grain of the gre

The First 'Gangnam Style' Video in Months That You'll Enjoy

That's James Hahn going "Gangnam Style" after a birdie on No. 16 during the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Now let us resolve that this is the last "Gangnam Style" video ever posted anywhere.

The Fastest Rounds of Golf on the Pro Tours

Thomas Levet celebrated his 500th European Tour event on Sunday by finishing up the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in just 2 hours, 9 minutes. Here, the Euro Tour confirms it: @ thomaslevetgolf , playing on his own in 1st group out this morning, has flown around in 2hrs09mins for a 73. #fastplay #DubaiDesertClassic — The European Tour (@European_Tour) February 3, 2013 Levet, alas, was in last play entering the final round, which meant he had the first tee time. And because there was an odd number of players starting the final round, Levet played alone. Which meant he could go as fast as he wanted. Levet let the European Tour know that he could have gone even faster: @ european_tour 2h09mn cos i had to play 2 provisionals.....just walked quick but line up every shot.... — thomas Levet (@thomaslevetgolf) February 3, 2013 I love playing fast myself, starting a round alone first off the tee. And like Levet, I've run into this problem: @ jeehaeda @ ellingyelling i took it

Picking Up Water Balls, Put 'Em In a Basket

Here is an ESPN piece about golf ball divers - the guys and gals who jump into the water on golf courses and retrieve golf balls. If you've golfed, you've probably, at one time or another, bought a few golf balls off one of these guys. The piece points out that by some estimates 300 million golf balls a year are lost in the United States alone. I did some golf ball diving myself back in my high school days - but nothing as advanced as what we see in the video. No wetsuits, no snorkel. Just a scrawny kid in jean shorts going into the water. Our tactic was to stick to the shallow waters and use our feet to feel the balls. That meant walking barefoot through the muck. Which also meant choosing our ponds carefully. Snapping turtles? No thanks, I like my toes. The golf course we worked used effluent water in all its ponds. Which is pretty disgusting thinking back on it. At the time it didn't bother us. We'd fill up a pillow case with balls, then walk the course offer

Dustin Johnson Wants to Make Sure Everyone Knows He's Tappin' That

Ah, young love (or lust, anyway) in the age of social media. Enjoy engaging in public displays of affection? With Instagram, Twitter, Facebook,, you can take your PDAs to a whole new level of "P." (Hmm, wonder what Vine will add to this dynamic ...) Dustin Johnson is into Paulina Gretzky. And if you were Dustin Johnson, you would be, too! Just a few weeks ago we learned that Wayne's not-so-innocent little girl was dating DJ when she showed up - in high heels and tight, low-cut dress - in Dustin's gallery at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Now Dustin is sharing makeout and snuggly-wuggly pics through his Instagram account ( @djohnsonpga ): Johnson is breaking new ground in golf here. Golf doesn't normally see these kinds of made-for-TMZ couplings. But Paulina Greztky - who has always used her Instagram ( @pmgypsy ) to show off - is sharing plenty of her own pics of DJ & Paulina. Such as: And yes, Paulina Gretzky plays golf:

No Hope for the Tournament of Hope?

The Tournament of Hope was supposed to be one of the richest tournaments in golf, and it was supposed to be the centerpiece of a global AIDS awareness effort led by the South Africa-based Sunshine Tour. It was originally supposed to be the fifth World Golf Championship. And it was supposed to be played for the first time in November 2013. Now, none of those suppositions are coming to fruition. Will they ever? Depends on who you ask, depends on how optimistic you are. Our guess is: No. The Tournament of Hope was originally announced a couple years ago, to great fanfare, because it was supposed to be the fifth tournament with the WGC designation, and because it was planned to offer an $8.5 million purse. It lost the WGC designation early on, however, when the tournament couldn't meet its 2012 launch date. Its debut was pushed back to 2013, and now that debut has also been canceled. The International Federation of PGA Tours press release says that the event "has been

Best Golfers to Follow on Instagram

The "Extra Mustard" section of (the website of Sports Illustrated ) recently published its ranking of the 60 best athletes to follow on Instagram . Did any golfers make the list? Yes, five of them, including one in the Top 10. Here are those five golfers, along with two samples of the types of images they post to Instagram: Michelle Wie ( @themichellewie ): Ranked No. 7 on the Extra Mustard list Rickie Fowler ( @therealrickiefowler )Ranked No. 20 on the Extra Mustard list Paula Creamer ( @paulacreamer1 ): No. 44 on the Extra Mustard list Anna Rawson ( @annarawson ): No. 48 on the Extra Mustard list Ben Crane ( @bencranegolf ): No. 57 on the Extra Mustard list Who are some of your favorite golfers to follow on Instagram? Who else would put on a list of the best golfers on Instagram?