Show Buzz and Busts

By Rex HoggardJanuary 30, 2009, 5:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. ' The Bird's Nest zealots took the time to learn the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College fight song only to find out the institution's most decorated son ' Boo Weekley, who, for the record, attended ABAC for 1 years ' was not playing this week's FBR Open. And Phil Mickelson begins 2009 looking more like a 10 handicap than a Tiger-tamer.
Yet, Scottsdale storylines aside, the real 'Cut Line' action was unfolding back east at the Orange County Convention Center. Welcome to the PGA Merchandise Show edition of the 'Cut Line.'

  • TaylorMade's r9 driver: There was a lot of buzz around the show floor regarding the state of the economy ' although we can honestly say we didn't hear the words 'toxic assets' or 'bailout' uttered once ' there seems to be no shortage of technological leaps and TaylorMade's new r9 driver topped most folk's list.
    Two of our favorite Tour reps lauded the r9 for its versatility and ease of use and it must be pointed out that neither rep works for the Southern California manufacturer. High praise in an ultra-competitive market.
    Last Monday at the Bob Hope Classic Pat Perez was the first player in the TaylorMade truck and received the first r9 on Tour; 90 holes later he was hoisting his first Tour title.
    The 420cc head allows eight different face angle settings and three adjustable weights allow for optimal ball flight. It is, as one Tour rep said, a tinkerer's dream. We would, however, suggest a warning: 'Not for the indecisive.'
  • Boo: The man from Abraham Baldwin has reached one-name status, and just to prove the point Weekley unleashed his own clothing line. 'Boo by Firethorn' features a colorful assortment of greens, oranges and blues splashed with 'duck blind' camo print.
    The line features golf shirts and outerwear. No word yet on if Weekley is going to coordinate something to match those matching tartan jackets he has won the past two years at in Hilton Head.

  • Annika: No, not the recently married Swede who brought grace and power to the LPGA, but the fragrance the recently retired trailblazer is about to unveil. While we claim no expertise in this area, the sample Sorenstam had, well . . . didn't smell.
    Word is Sorenstam sent all the fragrances from her collection for analysis and the chemist concocted an eau de parfum to match her tastes. 'Ms. 59' did offer plenty of tweaks before she went with the final scent.
    'The first one, wow. It was like a teen-ager's apple smell or something,' Sorenstam said complete with yuck face. 'It took a couple of times.'
  • Swing String: There are never any shortages of gizmos on display at the Show and most look like a prop from 'Tin Cup,' but Booth No. 4305 featured the Swing String that was billed as 'your personal driving range.'
    At least that's what the sign said above the Swing String's booth. There was a crowd five deep around the Swing String booth, which means it must be a winner. Of course, the horde may have had something to do with Kara Monaco, the 2006 Playmate of the Year who was in the booth signing autographs.

  • Widgets: Our high school economics teacher told us to find our widgets, but some Show products defy explanation.
    * Teach-n-Towel: Golf towels with footprints for proper putting, chipping, driving and iron shots. When they produce a towel with the proper foot placement for the Chi Chi Rodriguez sword dance, then they will have something.
    * Reinventing the wheel: In the Show guide there are a number golf tee companies listed. One offering claimed to add 10 yards to a player's drive, while another guaranteed straighter shots. We're all for technological advancements, but sometimes it's neither the hammer nor the nail.
  • Phil Mickelson: Rounds of 76-73 are hardly reason to ring the alarm at Camp Phil and he still has plenty of time to find his putting touch before the Masters, but the bigger concern is Lefty's place on the marquee.
    Mickelson has slipped to fourth in the Official World Ranking and is quickly coming up on the one-year anniversary of his Northern Trust Open victory, which will further erode his ranking total. Golf needs an on-form Mickelson almost as much as it needs a healthy Tiger Woods.
    One word ' Bethpage.
    Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - PGA Merchandise Show
  • Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee: