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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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.