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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Lincicome grouped with two rookies in Barbasol

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 17, 2018, 9:54 pm

Brittany Lincicome will tee it up with a pair of rookies when she makes her first start in a PGA Tour event Thursday at the Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, is scheduled to go off the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET in the first round with Sam Ryder, 28, and Conrad Shindler, 29. They’re off the first tee Friday at 2:59 p.m. ET

Lincicome will become just the sixth woman to play in a PGA Tour event, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.

“The first three or four holes, I’ll be a nervous wreck, for sure,” Linicome said.



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Lincicome thrilled by reception from male pros

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 8:31 pm

Brittany Lincicome wondered how PGA Tour pros would greet her when she arrived to play the Barbasol Championship this week.

She wondered if there would be resentment.

She also wondered how fans at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., would receive her, and if a social media mob would take up pitchforks.

“I can’t stop smiling,” Lincicome said Tuesday after her first practice round upon arriving. “Everyone has been coming up to me and wishing me luck. That means a lot.”

PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, husband of LPGA pro Gerina Piller, welcomed her immediately.

Other pros sought her out on the practice putting green.

She said she was also welcomed joining pros at a table in player dining.

Fans have been stopping her for autographs.

“It has been an awesome reception,” said Dewald Gouws, her husband, a former long-drive competitor. “I think it’s put her much more at ease, seeing the reception she is getting. There’s a lot of mutual respect.”

Lincicome, 32, wasn’t sure if she would be playing a practice round alone Tuesday morning, but when she made her way to the first tee, Domenico Geminiani was there, just about to go off.

He waved Lincicome over.

“He said, `Hey, Brittany, do you want to join me?’” Gouws said. “Come to find out, Dom’s a pretty cool guy.”

Geminiani made it into the field as a Monday qualifier.

“The two of us were both trying to figure things out together,” Lincicome said.

Keene Trace will play to 7,328 yards on the scorecard. That’s more than 800 yards longer than Highland Meadows, where Lincicome finished second at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic last weekend. Keene Trace was playing even longer than its listed yardage Tuesday, with recent rains softening it.

Nicknamed “Bam Bam,” Lincicome is one of the longest hitters in the women’s game. Her 269.5 yard average drive is 10th in the LPGA ranks. It would likely be dead last on the PGA Tour, where Brian Stuard (278.2) is the last player on the stats list at No. 201.

“I think if I keep it in the fairway, I’ll be all right,” Lincicome said.

Lincicome is an eight-time LPGA winner, with two major championships among those titles. She is just the sixth woman to compete in a PGA Tour event, the first in a decade, since Michelle Wie played the Reno-Tahoe Open, the last of her eight starts against the men.

Lincicome will join Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Wie in the elite ranks.

Zaharias, by the way, is the only woman to make a 36-hole cut in PGA Tour history, making it at the 1945 L.A. Open before missing a 54-hole cut on the weekend.

What are Lincicome’s expectations?

She would love to make the cut, but . . .

“Just going to roll with it and see what happens,” she said. “This is once in a lifetime, probably a one-and-done opportunity. I’m just going to enjoy it.”

Lincicome grew up playing for the boys’ golf team at Seminole High on the west coast of Florida. She won a couple city championships.

“I always thought it would be cool to compete against the guys on the PGA Tour,” Lincicome said. “I tend to play more with the guys than women at home. I never would have gone out and told my agent, `Let’s go try to play in a PGA Tour event,’ but when Tom Murray called with this opportunity, I was really blown away and excited by it. I never in a million years thought I would have this opportunity.”

Tom Murray, the president of Perio, the parent company of Barbasol and Pure Silk, invited Lincicome to accept one of the tournament’s sponsor exemptions. Lincicome represents Pure Silk.

Lincicome said her desire to play a PGA Tour event is all about satisfying her curiosity, wanting to know how she would stack up at this level. She also wants to see if the experience can help take her to the next level in the women’s game.

As a girl growing up, she played Little League with the boys, instead of softball with the girls. She said playing the boys in golf at Seminole High helped her get where she is today.

“The guys were better, and it pushed me to want to be better,” Lincicome said. “I think playing with the guys [on the PGA Tour], I will learn something to take to LPGA events, and it will help my game, for sure.”

Lincicome has been pleased that her fellow LPGA pros are so supportive. LPGA winner Kris Tamulis is flying into Kentucky as moral support. Other LPGA pros may also be coming in to support her.

The warm fan reception Lincicome is already getting at Keene Trace matters, too.

“She’s already picked up some new fans this week, and hopefully she will pick up some more,” Gouws said. “I don’t think she’s putting too much expectation on herself. I think she really does just want to have fun.”

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Stunner: Inbee Park steps aside for Int. Crown

By Randall MellJuly 17, 2018, 4:00 pm

There was a big surprise this week when the LPGA announced the finalized lineups for the UL International Crown.

Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park won’t be teeing it up for the host South Koreans Oct. 4-7 in Incheon.

She has withdrawn, saying she wanted another Korean to be able to experience the thrill of representing her country.

It’s a stunner given the importance the LPGA has placed on taking the UL International Crown to South Korea and its golf-crazy allegiance to the women’s game in the Crown’s first staging outside the United States.

Two-time major champion In Gee Chun will replace Park.

"It was my pleasure and honor to participate in the first UL International Crown in 2014 and at the 2016 Olympics, and I cannot describe in one word how amazing the atmosphere was to compete as a representative of my country,” Park said. “There are so many gifted and talented players in Korea, and I thought it would be great if one of the other players was given the chance to experience the 2018 UL International Crown.”

Chun, another immensely popular player in South Korea, was the third alternate, so to speak, with the world rankings used to field teams. Hye Jin Choi and Jin Young Ko were higher ranked than Chun but passed because of commitments made to competing in a Korean LPGA major that week. The other South Koreans who previously qualified are So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim.

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Na: I can admit, 'I went through the yips'

By Rex HoggardJuly 17, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following his victory two weeks ago at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na said his second triumph on the PGA Tour was the most rewarding of his career.

Although he declined to go into details as to why the victory was so gratifying at The Greenbrier, as he completed his practice round on Tuesday at the Open Championship, Na shed some light on how difficult the last few years have been.

“I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, 'I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, 'He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.' I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”

Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Na, who made headlines for his struggles to begin his backswing when he found himself in the lead at the 2012 Players Championship, said he asked other players who had gone through similar bouts with the game’s most dreaded ailment how they were able to get through it.

“It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”

The payoff, however, has steadily arrived this season. Na said he’d been confident with his game this season following a runner-up showing at the Genesis Open and a fourth-place finish at the Fort Worth Invitational, and he felt he was close to a breakthrough. But being able to finish a tournament like he did at The Greenbrier, where he won by five strokes, was particularly rewarding.

“All good now,” he smiled. “I knew I was good enough to win again, but until you do it sometimes you question yourself. It’s just the honest truth.”