Monday, June 22, 2009

NFL great Jim Brown: Tiger, Michael not doing enough to help black youth

HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" returns Tuesday at 9 p.m. and features a segment with NFL legend Jim Brown and NBA legend Bill Russell.

Brown, especially, is concerned that the two biggest black sports figures of the moment, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, aren't socially active enough.

In a segment called "Legends," Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel sits down with two icons of the 1960s. Brown and Russell were hall of fame athletes who were outspoken figures in a turbulent period of racism, social activism and profound change.

Brown was asked if he was surprised or disappointed by a similar lack of activism in today's top athletes.

“There are one or two individuals in this country that are black that have been put in front of us as an example," Brown said. "But they're basically under a system that says, ‘Hey, they're not gonna do a certain thing.’ Yes, that disappoints me because I know they both know better.”

Bryant Gumbel: “Tiger and Michael?”

Jim Brown: “ Yeah, I know they both know better, okay. And I know they both can do better without hurting themselves.”

Jim Brown on Tiger Woods: “You know what’s so interesting about Tiger to me? If it was just a matter of me looking at an individual that's a monster competitor, this cat is a mamajama, he is a killer. He'll run over you, he'll kick your ass, but as an individual for social change, or any of that kind of (stuff). Terrible. Terrible. Because he can get away with teaching kids to play golf, and that's his contribution. And in the real world, man, I can't teach no kids to play golf and that's my contribution, if I got that kind of power.”

Bill Russell: “We’re losing a whole generation of kids. And, I for one, would not give up on them. And Jim will not give up on them because we know that when we were kids, there were certain influences that made our lives livable.”

Bryant Gumbel: “Why did you choose to get so intimately involved with helping young black men who were engaged in gang warfare?”

Jim Brown: “Because simply, it’s the most devastating culture to come along that affect black people in a long time. How can we act like we don’t see young black men killing each other? Rome is burning and so there can be no education, there can be no economic development, there can be no family structure. There can be nothing as long as we allow this particular culture to exist.”

Exotics fairway helps David Duval rally at US Open

David Duval was using a Tour Edge Exotics 3 wood in his otherwise all-Nike setup during his return to prominence at this week's U.S. Open.

Duval finished at minus-2 for the tournament, just two shots behind champion Lucas Glover from Greenville, S.C.

It was his first top-10 since the Invensys Classic in Las Vegas in 2002.

For Tour Edge, it was another strong showing.

This year’s top-10 finishes include:

US Open T2

PGA St. Jude Classic 1st

PGA The Memorial Tournament T5

PGA Northern Trust Open T6

PGA Buick Invitational T7

PGA FBR with T6 (two players)

PGA Sony Open T5

PGA Mayakoba Classic T3

PGA Verizon Heritage – 1st and T2

SPGA Senior PGA Championship 3

LPGA Honda in Thailand T4

LPGA State Farm Classic T3

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nike expands research center

Seven years ago, Nike got serious about the golf business by opening a huge research and design facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

The company continues to be bullish about golf.

It recently expanded the facility, which it calls "The Oven" for the second time in three years. The Oven is now 49,100 square feet, nearly 18,000 square feet bigger than when it opened.

The Nike Oven is dedicated to research and design for the development of performance golf clubs, testing of both clubs and golf balls, as well as working with Nike Tour athletes like Stewart Cink and Tiger Woods.

The most significant component of the expansion is the addition of a 129,000 square-foot short game area that includes three synthetic greens, one natural grass green, bunkers and practice holes. The practice holes and hitting areas are designed for the purpose of providing various distances for short irons so that iron and ball testing is both extensive and constructive for Nike engineers and Nike athletes. The short game area also is enhanced by a water feature that runs through the middle of the short game course.

The other standout enhancement to “The Oven” is Nike Golf’s research building which has almost doubled in size and houses offices and a new large auditorium for meetings and presentations.

“The Oven” is the idea tank where Tom Stites, Nike Golf's Director of Product Creation for Clubs, and his staff of engineers and technicians develop, research and test the innovative technology that has helped Nike Golf to become one of the fastest growing companies in the history of the golf industry. Rock Ishii, Nike Golf's Product Director for golf balls and his staff of engineers and technicians also utilize the facility as the primary location for ball testing. In conjunction with club testing, the ball team obtains launch parameters, track trajectory and measures actual carry, roll and dispersion.

The Nike Oven features technologically advanced equipment that takes Nike Golf’s research to the next level. This equipment includes a computer controlled mechanic golfer, state-of-the-art putting lab, track man, launch monitors, assembly room, club milling and grinding laboratory as well as other test areas for conducting:

- Numerous proprietary instruments for golf club analysis.

- Shaft testing for flex, frequency, torque and durability.
- Cannon testing for durability and COR compliance.
- COR Pendulum for metal wood COR compliance and performance.
- Mass moment of inertia testing process and center of gravity measurement process.


New women's sportswear line launches

Activewear designer Linda Hipp and her company, LIJA, announce the Garden of Eden collection is now available at country clubs, resorts and golf-specialty retailers throughout North America, as well as online.

With the confident colors of Jungle and Black supported by the soft tones of Opal and Putty, Garden of Eden features a blend of runway styling and distinctive silhouettes. Unique fabrics are found in an array of tops and bottoms, including polos, vests, jackets, pullovers, cardigans, skorts, capris, shorts and pants.

"Our aim is to design functional, fashionable pieces that can be worn from one activity to the next," says Hipp. "Garden of Eden is designed to help women, exude their own individuality and style on the golf course this summer."

Hipp's personal favorites are highlighted by special hang tags. Among these is the Weekender Bag, which showcases a bold "Matisse" graphic print and is perfect for a weekend golf trip or day on the town. Other key items are the Windchill Empire Vest -- boasting a longer silhouette, vintage feel and wind-blocking stretch lining -- and the Tweed Harpo Skort.

Retailing from $32 for some tops to $72 for select outerwear, Garden of Eden is the first of LIJA's Fall 2009 golf and sportswear collections. Twilight in Italy and The Sun Also Rises will ship July 15 and November 1, respectively.

True Temper Project X Shaft winning raves

After winning the BMW Italian Open even before its public debut, the all-new graphite Project X Tour Issue shaft prototype delivered multiple Top 10 finishes, including second-place at the recent St. Jude Classic on the PGA Tour. More than 50 of the shafts were in play on the PGA and Nationwide Tours last week.

The 12-time winner on the PGA Tour and runner-up at the St. Jude Classic, David Toms, played the new graphite Project X shaft in his driver and hybrid clubs. Also, the Project X graphite made up 20 percent of the driver shafts in the Top 10 in its first official week of launch. The new precision-engineered Project X Tour Issue shaft will be available for purchase by golfers worldwide later this summer through True Temper’s dealer network.

“After more than two years in development, True Temper introduced the new Project X graphite prototypes to the Tours in 2008, and we have been working closely with the players to dial in the final shaft specifications to meet their needs,” says Bob Montgomery, manager of tour operations for True Temper. “The new Project X shafts have delivered outstanding performance on Tours worldwide and we continue to see the popularity of the shafts increase each week among professional players.”

Incorporating eight different premium composite materials and five of the most advanced fiber types in the world, the all-new graphite Project X shafts deliver superior cross-sectional stability and maintain the designed performance characteristics throughout the swing for consistent shot patterns. The Project X driver and hybrid shafts features Zonal Design Theory (ZDT) with three distinct zones utilizing unique and separate technologies to optimize performance in the butt, mid and tip sections. In addition, the new graphite Project X shafts provide optimized launch profiles by matching frequency to specific weight, torque and ball flight for maximum player performance.

Buy a set of Clevelands and get a free set later

That's right. Free.

As part of a neat Father's Day special, Cleveland Golf is doing what a lot of other cash-strapped golf companies are doing: making it hard to say no.

If you buy any set of Cleveland irons from now to New Year's Eve, you can trade them in for any of the company's next line of irons at no charge.

It's almost like leasing -- but without the fees.

You have to buy a 7-piece set but you can trade them in, for free, for any Cleveland irons introduced between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2011.

For a complete list of rules, click here.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

College player of the year from Duke signs with the swoosh

Three-time women's national college player of the year Amanda Blumenherst of Duke has joined Nike's tour staff.

Blumenherst, winner of the 2008 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, signed a multi-year agreement and will sport Nike clubs, balls, apparel, footwear, glove, bag, headwear and accessories.

Blumenherst will be making her professional debut at the Michelob Ultra Duramed Futures Players Championship this week.

“Amanda is a tremendous addition to the Nike Golf staff,” said Kel Devlin, Global Sports Marketing Director for Nike Golf. “Every facet of her game is impressive. She’s an inspirational athlete who already has proven her talent through an illustrious amateur career.”

Blumenherst, who is from Scottsdale, Arizona, was named the National Player of the Year in her first three years at Duke University while leading the women’s team to two NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007. Recently, Blumenherst received the Dinah Shore Trophy by the LPGA foundation for the second consecutive year.

The Dinah Shore award is presented to the female collegiate golfer who excels in both academics and athletics. Blumenherst graduated magna cum laude from Duke with a degree in History and a minor in English and Theatre Studies.

Although this week marks her debut as a professional, Blumenherst has competed in professional tournaments as an amateur in five LPGA events in the last three years, including the U.S. Women’s Open in 2006 and 2007 where she finished tied for 10h and 50th.

Tour Edge launches Exotics SCG-V Tour Spec fairway

Tour Edge Exotics has released a mouthful of a new fairway wood, the SCG-V Tour Spec Fairway. We've not tested it but in the past, the Exotics line was the longest fairway we'd tried. For some testers, it flew farther than a driver on some swings.

The new fairway is designed for better players and the company hopes it will keep it in the headlines. Recently, Tour Edge Exotics was used by a top five player the Memorial Tournament and a third place finisher at the LPGA State Farm classic.

So far this year, the brand was used by 10 golfers on the PGA, Senior or LPGA tours who finished in the top 10.

To keep those kinds of stats, Tour Edge engineers built the new fairway by focusing on reducing weight and optimizing weight distribution to create what the company says is the longest-hitting, best-feeling fairway wood in golf.

The Tour Spec features a purpose-built titanium cup face, an ultra-light magnesium crown, and a heavy, high-density steel sole plate – a unique combination in club design. The magnesium crown and titanium cup face allow more of the club head’s weight to rest in the heavy steel sole. In fact, the Tour Spec’s smaller pear-shaped head design, taller face, and perfectly executed weight distribution move the CG location closer to the face for a more penetrating ball flight and tour-preferred trajectory.

The result? Lower spin rates and a more penetrating ball flight.

The heavy, high-density steel sole plate and its unique v-shape shift more weight to the heel and toe. This creates a deeper CG angle and CG point that help the club face square at impact with more force for a quick launch and longer, hotter, more accurate shots.

Retailing for $369.99, the XCG-V Tour Specs is in stores now.

Keri Golf extends partnership with Se Ri Pak

Golf designer Keri Murschell and her company, keri golf, have extended its relationship with LPGA Tour star Se Ri Pak, who will continue to use the line's golf bags in competition and debut a new design in upcoming tournaments.

Crafted to Pak's specifications by keri golf, the 32-year-old's latest custom tour bag combines a body of high-grade red leather with black trim and distinctive script in white and silver. It is adorned by the logos for keri golf and Big Horn Golf Club, as well as the icon of her sister Yoo Ri's apparel line, which the five-time major winner wears on-course.

"I get comments all the time on my keri golf bag and am looking forward to turning heads with this new design," Pak said. "When I look my best, I feel and play my best. Keri thinks about both fashion and function when she designs. Her ability to combine the two makes the line one-of-a-kind -- and ensures I'm always setting trends on the course."

Since joining the LPGA Tour in 1998 and becoming the youngest winner in U.S. Women's Open history, Pak has 23 Tour victories. In 2008, she became the first South Korean to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. In honor of the ceremony, keri golf partnered with Pak to create a special-edition bag, which now resides in St. Augustine, FL, as part of the Hall of Fame's permanent collection.

keri bags retail $85 to $375 and are exclusively made with premium fabrics that bring personality to the course.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The best bag money can buy

If you play golf regularly, you tend to see the same golf bags alot. A lot of my buddies carry the same type bags that you see on TV. These are called "staff" bags. Sometimes you'll see folks carry bags that are lighter and have those "legs" on them.

These are stand bags.

I'm more into the staff bags, like my buddies, mainly because you can get more stuff in them and they're easy to get clubs in and out of. I wouldn't recommend walking with one of these loaded puppies on your back...unless you want to be a little sore tomorrow.

But as I was saying, you see the same bags a lot. I like being a little different. That's the thing I liked about the new adidas staff bag you see pictured above. You don't see it often (and I may be ruining that for the few of you who do carry it) and it is the best looking bag on the market right now.

The black adidas is carried by Sergio Garcia on the PGA Tour. Most TaylorMade/adidas staffers carry the white, black and red company issue below. That TaylorMade is the one that and several of my buddies carry. It's a solid bag, too.

The adidas bag has brushed synthetic leather construction and reminds me a little of a golf bag version of the old Air Jordan patent leather sneakers. The bag is shiny, black and beautiful. It's got a 9.5 inch top (I would only change to make this a full 10.5 top) and a six-way divider to get clubs into.

It's got all the pockets, including an insulated water bottle sleeve that works a whole lot better than just sticking your Diet Coke into the cart cup holder. An integrated umbrella holder is nice and the rubber feet get a good grip, so your staff bag doesn't go blowing onto its side on the range because of the slightest gust of wind.

Happened to you, too?

Bottom line, for me, there are two great looking staff bags out there right now.

This great adidas product is one and the new Callaway (pictured below) is the other. For me, the adidas gets the edge, because like choosing another sedan instead of an Accord or Camry, you won't see one like it on every other hole.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Big demo day at Birkdale Saturday

Edwin Watts Golf will have a demo day at Birkdale Golf Club Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Golfers will be able to try the latest products from TaylorMade, PING, Adams, Mizuno and Nickent golf. Staff professionals from each company will be on hand for fittings and advice.

Kids prefer the swoosh

At last week’s NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, Nike led the field in shoe count with 66 players wearing Nike golf shoes. The closes competitor was 53. The next closest was 37. There were 156 players in the field and a total of 30 teams.

Titelist was the ball of choice, but the kids seem to like the Swoosh.

Keri golf offering free gifts with purchase

keri golf will offer a set of matching head covers valued at $85 as a free gift with any cart or stand bag purchase through July 31.

Designed to both protect clubs and accent the line's uniquely feminine bags, keri golf's head covers feature a zippered system that easily fits oversized club heads to create a tailored look. Each set of six includes head covers denoted in a distinctive script for a driver, 3-wood, 5-wood, X, Y and Z (hybrids).

Influenced by modern American style, keri golf's 2009 matty golf bag collection combines a chic color palette of red, black and white with exaggerated prints in nine designs. Retailing from $85 to $375, keri golf's high-end, fashionable women's bags and accessories are exclusively made with premium fabrics that bring personality to the course. The line's sleek, modern looks are created through unmatched craftsmanship using durable water-, stain- and piling-resistant materials.

"Train Reaction'' makes traveling with clubs easier

Club Glove's new Train Reaction is a three-piece luggage system that the manufacturer claims "drastically reduces the amount of effort needed to pull or push gear by creating a perfect center of gravity which makes bags feel weightless."

To work, Train Reaction eliminates 100 percent of downward and upward force on luggage handles, even when bags are not perfectly packed. This ensures travelers of all ages and sizes can bring as much as they want without stressing about how to get it all from one place to the next.

"We call it 'outsmarting the Smarte Carte,' because even petite people can move heavy gear such as golf clubs in any direction with hardly any effort," says company President Jeff Herold. "Best of all, there's absolutely no assembly or external hardware needed to connect everything, so you can grab and go on the fly. Add in the fact that each bag can function as a separate piece of luggage and you’ve truly got the ideal system."

Made in the USA, Train Reaction retails from $667-$757 at the Club Glove website. It is available in six different, three-piece luggage set combinations -- four of which incorporate the company's industry-leading Last Bag and Burst Proof golf travel bags -- with 17 different color options and unlimited embroidery possibilities.

The Train Reaction system is built with a lifetime of use in mind, using single-piece burst proof construction, and they are made from Invista CORDURA -- the world's highest-quality nylon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Project X Shafts get another PGA Tour win

PGA Colonial at Crowne Plaza champion Steve Stricker played Project X shafts in his irons and the top 7 money winners all trusted Project X or Rifle shafts. The playoff featured laser accurate shots from Project X and Rifle iron shafts and 300+ yard drives from a driver shafted with the new graphite Project X wood.

“Project X continues to set a high standard for shaft performance and we plan to raise the bar even higher with the new Project X driver and hybrid shafts,” says Don Brown, product development manager and designer of the new shafts. “These new shafts will make their official Tour debut at next week’s St. Jude Classic, though more than 30 top pros are playing the prototypes on tours worldwide.”

In 2009, Project X and Rifle shafts have claimed ten tournament victories, including world-class events such as the Mercedes-Benz Championship, Northern Trust Open, World Golf Championships (WGC) Accenture Match Play, The Honda Classic, Doral Invitational, the Masters Tournament, and now the Crowne Plaza Invitational.

Project X steel shafts feature a unique variable taper design with a dedicated taper rate for each shaft in the set. Longer taper rate results in more energy transfer to the ball for a faster and flatter penetrating trajectory. The introduction of Project X driver and hybrid shafts will allow golfers to benefit from Project X technologies from driver through wedge.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stricker wins on PGA Tour with bag of TItleist

Titelist ambassador Steve Stricker won a sudden-death playoff victory at the Crowne Plaza Invitational using a Pro V1 golf ball and Titleist equipment Sunday.

Stricker's victory marks the 13th for Titleist players on the 2009 PGA Tour, more than three times the nearest competitor with 4.

Titleist was the most played golf ball at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial with 82 players, compared to 18 for the nearest competitor. Titleist was also first in iron sets (32), wedges (109) and putters (42), and second in drivers (31).

WHAT’S IN STEVE STRICKER’S BAG?: Titleist Pro V1 golf ball, 909D3 driver (8.5), 906F2 fairway metal (13.0), 585.H utility metal (17.0) , 755 irons (3-P) , Vokey Design sand (54) and lob (60) wedges.

WORLDWIDE WINS: With Stricker’s win this week, Titleist advances its 2009 worldwide win count to 57, more than three times the nearest competitor with 15, and more than all other golf balls combined.

Titleist ball of choice at 2009 NCAAs

At the 2009 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships, the majority of players used Titleist golf balls. At the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship contested at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, 124 players in the field of 156 relied upon Titleist golf balls, more than seven times the nearest competitor with 16.

Titleist also was the overwhelming favorite of more players in drivers (60 vs. 28), iron sets (65 vs. 26), fairway metals (103 vs. 39), utility metals (39 vs. 17), sand, lob and approach wedges (186 vs. 45) and putters (72 vs. 27).

At the NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship in Owings Mills, Maryland. An overwhelming 118 of the 126 players relied upon Titleist golf balls. That was over 93% of the field and more than 29 times the nearest competitor with 4. Titleist Vokey Design sand, lob and approach wedges (106) and Scotty Cameron putters (46) were also the top choice among contestants at the event. In addition, the individual Women’s champion relied upon the Titleist Pro V1x golf ball for her success, as did all five members of the championship team.

TaylorMade adidas staffers grab wins

TaylorMade-adidas Golf Tour Staff Professionals Christian Cévaër and Kevin Johnson grabbed wins on the European and the Nationwide Tours Sunday.

Cévaër, No. 449 in the Official World Golf Rankings, had a one-shot win in The European Open, one of the most prestigious events on the European Tour Schedule.

While several of his challengers fell victim to the 471-yard par-four 18th hole on the final day, which played to an average of almost 4.7 for the week, Cévaër negotiated it in par, par, birdie, par. His four on 18 on Sunday was particularly critical: Tied for the lead with two others, Cévaër, playing a TP Black LDP golf ball, drove safely with his R9 driver then used a Rescue TP hybrid to hit the green safely in regulation. His pursuers, meanwhile, drove off-line and failed to make four.

Cévaër's two-putt par gave him the title, which carries a five year exemption on the European Tour. With the win, Cévaër moved up more than 300 spots in the world rankings to No. 129.

In Raleigh, at the Rex Hospital Open, Johnson bested fellow TMaG Tour Staffer Jeff Gallagher on the first playoff hole to earn his fifth career win. Like Cévaër, Johnson too played a TaylorMade TP golf ball.

TaylorMade's LDP technology promotes improved distance on the most common driver off-center hits and helps make TaylorMade TP balls (including TP Black™ and TP Red™) exceptionally resistant to the effects of headwinds and crosswinds. Learn more.

The wins were the 12th worldwide for the TaylorMade TP golf ball and the 16th for the Tour Preferred irons in 2009.

In Cévaër's winning bag*:

Driver: R9™ 9.5°

Fairway wood: Tour Burner® 13° 3-wood
Hybrid: Rescue® TP 17° and 21°
Irons: Tour Preferred® 3-9
Ball: TaylorMade TP Black golf ball with LDP Technology
Footwear: adidas Golf

In Johnson’s winning bag**:

Driver: r7® SuperQuad™ 8.5°
Fairway wood: Tour Burner® 14.5° 3-wood
Hybrid: Rescue TP 16° and 21°
Irons: Tour Preferred® 4-9
Wedge: rac™ 48°
Ball: TaylorMade TP Red golf ball with LDP Technology
Footwear: adidas Golf