Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Miura's New $2,275 Iron Set

Miura Golf used to routinely price iron sets in the $2,000-plus range for the American market. But in recent years, the upscale Japanese forged irons leader has been offering iron sets much closer in price to the mainstream companies that dominate the American market.

But not it's latest offering! The Miuru irons pictured above cost $325 per club, or $2,275 for a set. The high price is for two reasons: The Miura "Black Boron" irons have a finish that is, well, black boron, and that requires switching the usual nickel-chrome finishing production line over to this finish; and Miura says only about 10 sets a month will be available. That's what we call "limited edition."

They do look sweet. But, in addition to having lots of money to burn on a new set of irons, you need to be a very good golfer to make the most of them. The Miura Black Boron irons are not game-improvement sticks. They are players' clubs.

Also note that the Black Boron name simply describes the finish; these are already engineered Miura irons re-done with the Black Boron finish, so you'll be getting, for example, CB-501 irons or Passing Point 9003 irons. If you're interested, check MiuraGolf.com for nearby authorized dealers/fitters, or email info@miuragolf.com.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Deaths on the Golf Course

People die on golf courses. It's not that uncommon, really. Lots of people die, lots of people golf, it's bound to happen. Sometimes it's a heart attack or some other medical issue; more rarely, it's the result of the actual playing of golf - someone gets hit in the head by a golf ball, for example. Other times it involves criminal activity - assault, murder.

And sometimes the person who dies on a golf course is a celebrity or a famous golfer.

Kidd Kraddick is the latest celebrity golf course death. Kraddick was a radio DJ who started in Texas, then went into syndication. He later was added to the television show Dish Nation. Kraddick died during his own charity golf tournament in New Orleans; cause of death has not yet been released. He was 53 years old. At the time of his death, his Kidd Kraddick In the Morning radio show was carried on more than 100 stations in the United States.

The most famous celebrity to die on a golf course was surely Bing Crosby. The legendary crooner dropped dead on October 14, 1977, at La Morajela golf course near Madrid, Spain. He was on the putting green following the completion of a round of golf when a massive heart attack felled him. According to legend, his last words were "That was a great game of golf, fellas."

Gene Sarazen died on a golf course. So did Tony Lema, killed in a plane crash when the plane tried to make an emergency landing on a golf course. Former PGA Tour Mike Reasor apparently died of a heart attack while playing a regional PGA golf tournament.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Inbee Park's $300,000 Ferrari

Inbee Park is having one heck of a season on the LPGA Tour. Three majors, three wins. And how does someone in her early 20s celebrate? Drop a major wad of cash on a cool car. Here is Inbee with her new Ferrari FF in a pic she posted to Twitter:

Good for you, Inbee, you deserve it. According to Golf Digest, the 2013 Ferrari FF starts at $300,000. Yowzah.

But as amazing as the car is, I think the most amazing thing about this photo is that Inbee is not wearing white pants.

New Loud Designs from Loudmouth

What's in store from Loudmouth Golf for fall? The designer of very loud, very garish golf apparel - what most golfers used to call "ugly" but now prefer to think of as "cool" (but crazzzzzeeee any way you look at it!) - has multiple new patterns ready.

The Loudmouth Fall 2013 collection includes:

  • "Crak!" - Inspired by 1960's pop art, Loudmouth has designed a golf themed comic book drama.
  • "Paint Balls" - After the runaway success of Drop Cloth, Loudmouth has released a new colorway that is sure to make a splash.
  • "Cheezburger" - This print is phat. 'nuf said.
  • "Bent Grass" - Named after the smooth putting surface, coveted by a low handicapper.
  • "Cowz" - What inspires pant design more than a holstein out in the pasture chewing on cud?
  • "Blue & Gold Splash" & "Merlot & Chardonnay" - Designed specifically for the collegiate market, these prints are too good not to share with our fanbase. Go team!

Below are, in order, the Paint Balls, Crak! and Cowz patterns. If you want to see more, or want to check out prices, you can shop for Loudmouth Golf on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Did Phil Mickelson Have an Affair and Spawn a Love Child? No!

No. The answer to the question in the headline is no.

But many people apparently think otherwise, or at least have heard rumors to the contrary. It's a lesson in the power of social media to create very unsocial behavior on the Web by trolls who believe they are safe from having their identity revealed.

Here's what happened: Back in mid-November of 2011, a commenter on Yahoo! Sports posted a series of comments attacking Mickelson. The commenter said, among other things, that Phil's wife Amy had an affair with Michael Jordan; and that Phil himself had an affair and was the father of a child with the alleged lover. (These attacks actually go back farther, at least as far back as 2006.)

None of that was true, but this commenter on Yahoo! Sports said it was. And that is how salacious rumors are born in the Internet age. From there, it was a short leap to posting on other sites, by both commenters and sometimes bloggers, "reporting" the "rumors" that were floating around.

Mickelson, as you can imagine, was not pleased. His team started investigating those original comments on Yahoo! Sports, which, in court filings, they termed "vicious" and "highly defamatory."

The Mickelson legal team filed in San Diego Superior Court to force Yahoo! to reveal the commenter's IP address. With the IP address in hand, the Mickelson team determined that the commenter was using Canadian cable provider Videotron as his ISP.

So they they filed suit in Quebec Superior Court in early 2012, seeking to force Videotron to reveal the identity of the commenter.

The Quebec court ordered Videotron to do so, and the company complied.

What happened after that is unclear. The story drops from the news at that point. But how surprised do you think that troll must have been when the Mickelson legal team came a'calling?

Just remember, if you're one of those people who've heard scandalous gossip about Phil or Amy Mickelson, those rumors were created out of thin air by some schlub with too much time on his hands and some very bad manners. The Mickelson love child rumors simply aren't true.

(If you're wondering why we brought this topic up again, it's because every time Phil does something big - such as winning the 2013 British Open - it spawns a ton of web searches for the allegations. Those searchers need to know that the rumors are spurious.)

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Mercedes-Benz's 'Golf Cart of the Future'

What happens when Mercedes-Benz asks golf fans and auto fans to suggest innovations to golf carts, in order to create a "golf cart of the future"? This happens:

You can click on the image to enlarge and read the type, as you can on the other two images below.

The German automaker calls this the "Vision Golf Cart," and Gorden Wagener, Vice President Design Daimler AG, said this of its unveiling: "The Mercedes-Benz Vision Golf Cart has a refined, simplified yet functional shape that fits well into our 'Sensual-Purity' design philosophy. The flow shapes create a 'sculpture on wheels' impression. I was very inspired by the idea of designing a golf cart, giving it a new shape and new sorts of meaning. Why not treating a golf cart like a car, and making it a 'Golf Car'?"

That's all well and good, but where do your golf clubs go? Here's the rear view:

OK, so it has places to secure the golf bag. But what's even more important than golf bags for a round of golf? That's right - brewskis! Cold beverages! Here's the interior, complete with cupholders that warm up or cool down drinks:

One of the (many) cool things about this design is that there is no steering wheel. The Mercedes-Benz golf cart is controlled by a joystick in the center console, which means either passenger can drive it. Another feature: "One wish that came up time and time again, irrespective of country or language, was the possibility of being able to use a telephone. The cart thus also features Bluetooth, so allowing telephone calls to be made via the loudspeaker system while on the move."

This cart also changes the nature of "yelling" fore: "The so-called 'fore button' can be used to quickly warn other players of a mis-placed shot. Pressing this button sends a warning to all other golf carts within the danger zone so that they, too, can issue a warning signal."

It would be silly to ask if you want one. Of course you do! But how can you buy one, and how much do they cost? That's the bad news: this cart is not actually being manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. It's just a design concept, based on a contest for Mercedes fans. Those golfers or gearheads who submitted designs that informed the final concept got to spend time at the just completed Open Championship.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Graeme McDowell Calls Steve Elkington a 'Twitter Troll'

Graeme McDowell has had enough of Steve Elkington's potshots against other golfers on Twitter. During G-Mac's second round at the British Open, Elkington tweeted this:

McDowell was not amused:

G-Mac quickly added this:

I say: Good for McDowell. Yes, what Elkington wrote that set off Graeme seems pretty tame. But Elkington has a long history of sniping at fellow golfers. He did it before there was Twitter, now he does it publicly because of Twitter. Elkington is someone who says exactly what he's thinking; he's brutally honest, he doesn't pull any punches, he talks (or types) spontaneously without much thought for those he's spouting off about - even when speaking (or tweeting) publicly about a peer. In other words, he's a jackass. McDowell finally had enough.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On the Origins of the Word 'Choking' In Golf

How long would you say that "choking" has been part of the golf vocabulary, in its present sense? (Its present sense, of course, being that a "choking" golfer is one who loses his nerve under pressure, dropping shots and losing a tournament.) Johnny Miller likes to take credit for turning "choking" into a common term, since he started using it - to much controversy - early in his tenure with NBC Sports. Then again, Johnny Miller likes to take credit for lots of things, doesn't he?

I was paging through one of Peter Alliss' many books recently, one published in the early 1980s. Writing about a golfer named Count John de Bendern (a k a, John de Forrest, the name under which he won the 1932 British Amateur Championship), Alliss said this:

"He was a somewhat eccentric player, an extreme oddity of his play being the condition known as 'choking,' in which the afflicted player cannot take the club away from the ball, but waggles the clubhead to and fro an eternity, or remains rigidly immobile."

In Alliss' vocabulary of the early 1980s, choking was used sparingly enough that it required quotation marks. And the meaning is different. What Alliss describes is, indeed, a loss of nerve, but one that results in a constant waggling or re-gripping of the type from which Sergio Garcia suffered several years back. Today we might be more likely to refer to this as the full-swing yips, or yipping ones irons. We wouldn't call it choking.

But Alliss' words do provide a clue from where the term choking comes. If that example - the inability to pull the trigger on a shot resulting in interminable waggling - was the common meaning at one time, then the term "choking" probably originated in golf as a reference to "choking up" or "choking down" on the club grip. The readjusting of ones hands on the grip during the waggling. Ala Sergio's troubles.

Alliss also included a funny story about Count de Bendern. At The Masters one year, his ball found water on the 13th hole. De Forrest could play the ball by putting one foot into the water, with one foot on the bank out of the water. So he removed one shoe and one sock, and then stuck the foot on which he'd kept on his shoe into water.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rickie Fowler's Outstanding 'This Is SportsCenter' Promo

One of the best "This Is SportsCenter" promos in a long time, and it features orange-clad Rickie Fowler:

Is Howard Stern Really Hitting 300-Yard Drives?

So this came across the Twitter transom today:

Really? Howard Stern? First, the dude is pretty old now. Second, he's never, in his life, demonstrated anything resembling coordination, balance or strength.

But, luckily, we don't just have to take Stern's word for it. He posted a short clip of himself on a driving range. And so now we know that the answer to the question, "Is Howard Stern really hitting 300-yard drives?" is a resounding, "no."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Don't Be That Group

I like to play golf on cool, drizzly days, or just outright rainy days. I'm a fast player, and on these days I head out as a single to courses that are mostly empty and I play a quick 18, then head back to work.

Of course, sometimes I'll run into other groups on the course. The links aren't always deserted. And most of the time, a group will quickly wave me through when they see a single rolling up in a cart behind them, and there's plenty of wide-open spaces ahead of them.

But not always. Sometimes I run into that group. You know the type. Perhaps yours is the type. The group that never offers to let anyone play through, no matter the circumstances.

This happened to me yesterday, as a matter of fact. There were two groups on the front nine - myself (a single), and four holes ahead of me when I teed off, a threesome.

I caught the threesome when it was on the No. 6 tee. I finished on No. 5 green, and drove up behind them as the last of the threesome was heading back to his cart. They all three looked my way. One said hello. Then all three drove off.

No, "Hey, want to join us?" Not, "Want to play through?" A slow threesome just getting off the tee - and with nobody in front of them for at least four or five holes - neglected to offer to let a single play through.

That's inexcusable.

I know what some of you - some of you who make up groups like this - are thinking. You're thinking, "yeah, but the rules say a single has no standing on the golf course, so I don't have to let you play through."

Two problems with that: First, it's idiotic and asinine and just plain rude to take that attitude when there's nobody in front of you for several holes. A slower group should always let a faster group play through, when it is possible to do so.

Second, the rules don't say that. It's true that the Etiquette section of the Official Rules of Golf once included a section on "priority on the course" that said that twosomes always have priority, followed by foursomes and then threesomes, and that a single "has no standing on the course."

But the Rules don't say that anymore. Besides, see point No. 1. In fact, the rules probably don't say that because of point No. 1 - because too many morons were using that part of the rulebook as an excuse to act like jerks.

What the rulebook says now in its etiquette section is pretty straightforward:

If (a group has a clear hole ahead of it) and is delaying the group behind, it should invite the group behind to play through, irrespective of the number of players in that group.

So don't be that group on the golf course. Don't be that group of morons, that group of jerks, who can't take a few minutes of its time (time it's using up in huge quantities already with its slow play) to do the courteous thing, the right thing, and offer to let faster groups play through.

Do the right thing. Golf is always a better game when you do.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Natalie Gulbis is Getting Married

Congratulations to Natalie Gulbis who, she revealed to Golf World, is getting married later this year.

Natalie is engaged to Josh Rodarmel, who was once a quarterback on the Yale University football team. We already knew Natalie likes quarterbacks, since she had a high-profile romance with Ben Roethlisberger a few years back. (Gulbis had another high-profile something with Dustin Johnson, a bizarre, short-lived, well, something, whose nature neither of them could agree on.)

But Gulbis managed to keep this relationship quiet, and now they are planning a wedding for later in the year.

The two met because of a business relationship Rodarmel once had with Natalie's hometown Sacramento Kings. Rodarmel was once co-owner of Power Balance, which at one time was the title sponsor of the Kings' arena. You know what I think of Power Balance (hint: it was a scam). But let's not bring bad thoughts into this happy moment. Congratulations to both.