2008 PGA Merchandise Show

By January 23, 2008, 5:00 pm
Last week the focus of the golf world was set square on Orlando, Florida for the 2008 PGA Merchandise show.
With over 1,200 companies in attendance and thousands of new products to cover, it's almost impossible to condense it into one place. However, GolfWRX has managed to cover just about every product in attendance. On the heels of the USGA's recent rule amendment opening golf clubs to new forms of adjustability, many OEM's were showcasing new interchangeable fitting systems which may now be used in play. Throw in recent club introductions for 2008 along with a few new surprises and you begin to understand why last week was so exciting for golfers everywhere.
As mentioned, adjustable clubs were the big story at the PGA Show. Included in the program was a special Adjustable Club Symposium which featured panelists from the USGA, manufacturers, club fitters, and retailers who discussed the effect the new rule will have on the golf retail landscape. But the discussion didn't stop there. In addition to the new Callaway I-Mix line which we recently covered, Nike, Nickent, and Ping also had new adjustable systems to introduce. Exactly how this adjustability rule will be accepted by the public is still very much in the air. As a result, companies seem to be embracing it in different ways. Ping and Nike seem to be using this system for now as a practical fitting tool which allows golfers to quickly change head and shaft combinations as well as provide more demo opportunities among retailers. Both have fitting carts loaded with metal wood heads, iron heads, and shaft options for golfers to try. Callaway, which has had a similar Opti-Fit system in place for a year is banking on the fact that golfers are ready to take this technology to the course full time with their I-Mix line. Nickent also has their Evolver 4DX series ready to play.

There were a few noticeable introductions among the driver and fairway wood category. Among the most impressive were the new Nike SQ Sumo drivers which has already been widely adopted by Nike's tour staff. The new Sumos will come in a traditionally shaped Tour model and a super-forgiving Square. The new models both offer even greater MOI than before, but with more traditional feel and sound. Many people at the demo day were especially amazed at just how much Nike improved the sound of the SQ Sumo Square model.

Although not the largest OEM, Tour Edge has earned major buzz with their Exotics fairway woods which boast ridiculously high ball speeds thanks to their inventive chemically bonded cup face technology. Tour Edge has finally incorporated this technology into a line of drivers with two models - the XCG which is a traditional round shape, and the high MOI XLG which has a hexagonal shape. There is also a newly updated XCG fairway wood which will provide a more forgiving option for golfers looking for Exotics performance with a bit more forgiveness than the Exotics CB2.
One of the big surprises of the PGA Show was the announcement of Cleveland's CG Tour blade iron. Form forged from 8620 carbon steel with fully milled faces, the CG Tour promises to be a very exciting entry into the player's club market. With its low muscle, slightly thicker top line and sole compared to most other blades on the market, this looks to be a great model for golfers looking to transition to a more playable blade or more confidence inspiring blade.

Also the long awaited MacGregor MT series has finally launched. The new line has been completely reworked and has an iron design to fit every golfer out there. The Pro M and Pro C are true tour inspired clubs that will give accomplished golfers all the control they need. The MT is a slightly larger iron with a full cavity and undercut channel that still retains a look, even better players will easily love.

Wilson's Pi7 irons helped Padraig Harrington win the Open Championship last year, and now they're available to everyone. The compact head and thin sole give it the traditional player's cavity look. However, the perimeter weighting and elastomer insert combine to give it forgiveness while still maintaining a very soft feel.

The PGA Show is a mecca for putter enthusiasts. Several of the boutique brands were there in force along with some of the larger ones. Although Titleist was not at the show, Scotty Cameron was there to support his friends at Table Rock who were showcasing some of his collectible models.
One very interesting introduction was Kevin Burns and his new Kustomized fitting stations. The kiosks allow a golfer to take a few putting strokes on a computer based putter and then calculates the best putter to fit their stroke. The kiosk then sends the information to Burns who mills the putter and in a week your custom putter is in your hands ready to use.
Without a doubt, the PGA Show is dominated by accessories. Some are incredibly useful, others may never again see a golfer's hands. However, one thing the PGA is not short of are accesories intended to make a golfer's life a little easier. From teaching aides to apparel, to head covers, just about every brand was at the PGA Show.
The following was just a small sample of all there was to see at the PGA Show. This description could literally continue for hundreds of pages and still not capture the depth of equipment available at the show. If the show made one thing abundantly clear, it is that the number of quality products in the golf industry has never been higher.
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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

“Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.