U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III has withdrawn from the Shell Houston Open.
The development was not entirely unexpected. Love withdrew prior to the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard after hurting his rib on Friday “swinging too hard at buried lies,” he later tweeted. Love said he was having a bone scan on Monday.
Late Monday evening Love tweeted congratulations to Tiger Woods for breaking a 30-month victory drought at Bay Hill and his long-time friend Fred Couples, who won on the Champions Tour Sunday.
“And I am out with a cracked rib, hopefully not too long,” Love tweeted.
Marco Dawson replaced Love in the field at Redstone Golf Club.
ORLANDO – U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III has withdrawn from the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard.
Love, who shot 74 on Saturday, cited a rib injury for his early exit. About an hour before he was scheduled to tee off with Camilo Villegas on Sunday, Love tweeted: “Had to withdraw, hurt rib Friday swinging too hard at buried lies! Bone scan tomorrow...”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Davis Love III took advantage of benign conditions, and a hole-in-one, to post a course record-tying 6-under 64 early Thursday at PGA National then watched as everyone else tried to catch him.
No one did.
Love, who will captain the U.S. Ryder Cup team later this fall, has talked openly about trying to play his way onto his own team. If he can play the rest of the week anywhere near the way he did in the opening round, he just might. The 47-year-old added five birdies and made just one bogey in a flawless round in near windless conditions.
As the wind increased in the afternoon wave, so did the scores.
Tiger Woods shot a 1-over 71 in breezy conditions, taking 34 putts along the way.
That only told half the story for Woods, however, as he rarely had a look at birdie from inside 15 feet all day.
“I just didn't get a lot out of my round,” said Woods, who hit 10 of 14 fairways and 15 greens in regulation but only hit two approach shots inside 10 feet. “I felt like I played a lot better and I putted a lot better. I just didn't score.”
Woods was frustrated enough with his putting that he spent 35 minutes after his round working on it with coach Sean Foley in the fading South Florida light.
Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, hardly struggled at all. He is one of eight players tied for second two strokes behind Love.
“It was pretty stress-free out there,” said McIlroy, who like Love teed off in the morning. “I hit quite a few fairways and a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of chances, and that's sort of what you need to do around this golf course. “
Justin Rose is also among that group at 4 under, as is rookie Harris English, who crept to within a stroke of Love before he dropped a shot with a bogey on the par-3 15th hole.
Two players -- Bobby Gates and Colt Knost -- failed to finish their round when darkness fell at PGA National. They will return at 7:30 a.m. ET to finish their rounds.
Following his opening-round 64, Davis Love III talks about his play in The Honda Classic with Bob Stevens from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Davis Love III hasn’t talked to any past Ryder Cup captains about what it would like to be a playing captain, but if he keeps playing like this he might have to.
Love shot a course record-tying 6-under 64 Thursday at PGA National, where he holds a two-shot lead after a round that included a hole-in-one and five birdies to just one bogey.
“It just takes one week to jump right in there,” Love said of the Ryder Cup standings, in which he is 39th.
That’s what Kyle Stanley did. After a win and a second place earlier this year, the rookie moved to third in the standings.
There’s still a lot of golf to be played between now and the Ryder Cup this fall, but a playing captain might not be out of the question. “We begged [Tom] Kite to pick himself and he wouldn't do it,” Love said of the 1997 team.
The opportunity has certainly provided motivation for Love, who has gone from thinking about all the duties that go with being the captain to focusing on playing.
In his last start, he carded a 30 over his final nine holes at Pebble Beach. That momentum seems to have carried over to this week.
“I need to be ready for every week right now and do my best to move back up,” Love said. “I told my son the other day I want to play in the Match Play next year. I'm not in the Match Play and I'm not in Doral. If I'm close to making the Ryder Cup Team and don't make it, that means I'm going to be in the Match Play next year. I have to win to get in the Masters. So there's a lot of reasons to come out and play well other than just to earn points.”
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Earlier in the week U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III said he would consider playing on his own team should he qualify. Well, he’s certainly off to a good start at The Honda Classic, where he aced the par-3 fifth from 197 yards with a 5-iron.
It was the fifth hole-in-one of Love’s career on the PGA TOUR.
The ace put Love within one of leader defending champion Rory Sabbatini, who teed off on the back nine and birdied three of his first five hole.
This is Love’s fourth start of the year. He has two missed cuts and a tie for 20th at Pebble Beach.
All interviews will be streamed live on PGATOUR.COM. You can also check Twitter @PGATOUR.
Tuesday, Feb. 28
Rory Sabbatini: 8:30 a.m.
Davis Love III: 1:30 p.m.
Lee Westwood: 5:00 p.m.
Jack Nicklaus: 5:30 p.m.
Keegan Bradley: TBD
Wednesday, Feb. 29
Hank Kuehne: 9:30 a.m.
Tiger Woods: Following 6:45 a.m. Pro-Am
Mark Wilson: Following 8:35 a.m. Pro-Am
Rory McIlroy: Following 8:45 a.m. Pro-Am
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. – Titleist dominates the golf ball market, led by its iconic ProV1. This year, the company is taking a renewed run at the part of the market it doesn’t have.
And by its standards, Titleist is getting a little crazy in the process.
The company launched a revamped line outside the unchanged ProV1 and ProV1x this week at the PGA Merchandise Show, including a pure distance ball and – hold on tight – two offerings in yellow.
The NXT line includes a new NXT Tour and NXT Tour S (for soft), with the latter available in white and yellow. The SoLo is also available in white and yellow.
Titleist has sold yellow balls in Japan for a few years but it hasn’t had such an offering in the U.S. in at least 15 years. The company tested many shades of yellow with customers and the colors used on the NXT Tour S and SoLo are slightly different.
The company’s other new offering is the Velocity, a pure distance ball. A high-speed solid core is enveloped in a NaZ2 cover (two parts zinc, one part sodium) with a 332 icosahedral dimple design. Its price point is between the SoLo and NXT, and available with double-digit orange numerals – 00, 11, 22, 33.
For those not quite ready to go so crazy, the Velocity also is offered with regular 1-4 numbers.
MORE BALLS: Bridgestone is releasing updated versions of its popular B330 series on March 1. The company is heavy into ball fitting, with more than 40,000 fittings in 2011 and hundreds more on-site at the Show this week, and slots customers into one of four B330 models.
The B330, used on the PGA TOUR by Davis Love III, Brandt Snedeker and Fred Couples, is their Tour-style ball for swing speeds of 105 mph or more. The B330-S is a spin model, preferred on TOUR by Matt Kuchar and Billy Hurley III.
For swing speeds under 105, Bridgestone offers the B330RX and B330RX-S (the 330 refers to number of dimples; and all models feature new dual-dimple technology), and the B330RX is offered in white and yellow. Bridgestone estimates that in other models offered in both colors, yellow is preferred 30 percent of the time.
ADAMS MAN: Robert Karlsson, second in a playoff at last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, switched allegiances from Titleist to Adams Golf over the offseason. On a trip to the company’s test facility in Dallas, he took an immediate liking to the new Speedline Fast 12 driver. He signed a contract with the company, then later bought Adams Golf stock.
CAR CLUBS: Callaway has touted an allegiance with Lamborghini to develop materials for its drivers, but a new company on the Show floor takes the car relationship even further.
Mercedes AMG Formula One Team (that’s the entire name) has released a complete line of clubs, balls, clothes and accessories, targeting buyers who want the prestige of a racecar team on their golf bag. The prestige comes at a price – a driver’s suggested retail price is $499 and a set of irons with graphite shafts is $1,299.
With the price comes technology inspired by the actual Formula One team. The driver features a “Venturi Channel” on the sole, an aerodynamic cavity that disperses air and increases swing speed.
But make no mistake, the Mercedes AMG Formula One Team buyer wants to show off the name. On the company’s driver, the words “Mercedes AMG” appear six times.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sam Snead often practiced full shots while barefoot, to better feel his connection with the ground and maintain balance.
Golf shoe manufacturers aren’t going to endorse that anytime soon, but they’re fighting each other to create the closest things to barefoot. Like the hot drivers and clothing fabrics on the floor at the PGA Merchandise Show, lighter is better.
Adidas Golf showed off its new Crossflex, weighing in at a scant 10.6 ounces. Most golf shoes come in closer to a pound or more.
“It’s a supernova-rising category,” said adidas Golf product manager Grant Knudson of the light-shoe segment.
Several startup companies are trying to, um, get a foothold in that segment with shoes that look closer to Crocs with spikes or surf shoes. Barefoot B.E.R.B.S. (standing for better energy recovery balance stability, of course) showed off their product at Wednesday’s Demo Day and invited customers to try on a pair and smash drivers.
But all is not lost for golfers still looking for anchors. FootJoy’s XPS1 has a sole that flares out at points around the bottom of the shoe, adding stability. Gary Woodland, the kind of player who would need maximum stability with his fierce swing speed, wears the XPS1 on the PGA TOUR.
SIGHTINGS: Jack Nicklaus spoke at a Golf 2.0 program for the PGA of America. … Davis Love III signed autographs at Bridgestone’s booth … Brad Faxon drew a crowd while giving putting tips for a synthetic green company … CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz, the longtime voice of Titleist on commercials, emceed a Thursday morning gathering for the company’s PGA professionals. … Dave Stockton and his sons were on hand to offer putting tips and sign Stockton’s new book, “Unconscious Putting.”
PUTTING PROWESS: Ping reps stayed busy on a putting green running a contest using the company’s iPhone putting app. Attendees were fit for a Ping putter with the company’s new “Fit for Stroke” system, which measures golfers onto one of three swing paths – strong arc, slight arc or straight. Golfers then hit five putts with a correctly fit putter, and those putts’ data were measure with the iPhone clipped to the putter.
The 32 players with the most consistency from their set are invited back Friday for a competition, and the four left standing after that will compete Saturday morning in a $5,000 skins game.
The Ping putting app has had more than 100,000 downloads since its release last summer, and when the company pushed its iPhone cradle (the device attaching the iPhone to the putter) as a stocking stuffer, that proved to be a hit too. More than 3,000 downloads were recorded on Christmas morning.
AROUND THE FLOOR: TaylorMade’s area (along with sister companies adidas and Ashworth) filled the east end of the convention hall, and Thursday night featured a concert with George Thorogood. His song, “Who Do You Love?” is used in the company’s commercials for the new R11s driver. … Cobra Puma Golf’s two-story booth featured a slide into a pit of plastic orange balls. The weight limit to ride it? Under 195 pounds. … An indoor testing range is expected to have some 250,000 balls hit over the three days of the Show. … For more pictures from the show, click here .
SMART STUFF: Golf Buddy has a new GPS device called “The Voice” which is beeper-sized and tells you the distance to the hole with a push of a button. … A new company called iWanamaker is offering free scoring software for smartphones that allows golfers in outings to keep tabs on each others’ scores, creating a live leaderboard. … There’s no shortage of companies offering golf simulators, either for recreation or instruction, but Guru Training Systems offers a twist – a 3D trainer that is a “markerless motion capture system” according to the company. It works with a depth-sensing camera mounted atop a TV, meaning it could be used in one’s living room without moving the furniture.