Spring Cleaning Time Already
Hang on a sec.for years now, we've been told that modern golf club technology helps us keep off-center hits in the same zip code. But detractors of the new, thin-faced, 'hot' drivers say the most benefit of those clubs comes on direct center hits. What happened?
On a related subject, Callaway has been saying that recreational use of the ERC II isn't cheating when used in a round turned in for a handicap score. (The U.S. Golf Association disagrees.) After all, Callaway reasons, why would anyone try to hit it farther when being a short-knocker might buy more strokes?
So.are thin-faced drivers the answer to sandbagging?
While we're on this. the World Golf League, a pay-for-play league for recreational players, has decided to adopt the Rules of Golf as promulgated by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, not the USGA, because - you guessed it - the ERC II is legal under R&A rules.
Tom Stites, club design genius, five employees, little workshop in run-down west Fort Worth. Nike Inc., sporting goods giant, thousands of employees, huge campus in granola-heavy Beaverton, Oregon. Someone start the popcorn and click off the lights; this oughta be good.
Speaking of Tom Stites, he likes to tell the story of the day Ben Hogan (Mister Hogan to you, Tom, and everyone who knew him) tried to explain his idea for a gooseneck offset driver. Exasperated, he reached back into his credenza and pulled out a wire flyswatter, and promptly bent it into the shape he wanted. He gave it to Stites to use as a concept model. Tom has it to this day.
The Lady Precept continues to capitalize on its cult-ball status, even among the game's he-men. What next, raspberry visors?
Seriously, though: In what other sport would grown men use equipment branded for women, no matter what the advantage? Such is our game.
Bernhard Langer goes Spalding. Few people in the game have more presence or integrity. Will he capture the imagination of American golf buyers? Despite good play, he never seemed to do so for Wilson.
Seve Ballesteros goes Callaway. Talk about presence. People still crowd around to see Seve pull off magic around the greens. They don't line up on the left side of the fairway, though. By the bye, Seve will play the ERC II driver.
Another front may be opening in the Nike-Titleist war. As if the golf ball battle weren't enough (a solid core product line versus solid and wound, upstart versus market leader), Titleist is coming out this summer with a new forged iron. The 681 will cost about $1,000 per set.
Oh, and the first Nike iron prototypes? They're forged. And so far, Nike has been in no rush to bring them to market.
Better make some more popcorn.
Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.
Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.
Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.
Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.
At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.
Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods
Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.
An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.
"Joe, take the day off." @TGRFound supporter to caddie for Woods Wednesday at #HeroWorldChallenge for $50,000 donation in the #TigerJam live auction. - TGRhttps://t.co/EjoJ2bpRh4 pic.twitter.com/yu2MY2dUGV— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 21, 2018
The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.
NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times
The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.
- Quarterfinals: Alabama vs. Kent State
- Quartefinals: USC vs. Duke
- Quarterfinals: UCLA vs. Arizona
- Quarterfinals: Northwestern vs. Stanford
- Individual stroke play
TV Times (all times ET):
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals
Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win
STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.
The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.
Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.
She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.
Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.
“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”
Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.
Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.
Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.
On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.
Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.