Check out the top five shots of the week from the PGA TOUR, Web.com Tour and Champions Tour with highlights from Keegan Bradley, J.J. Henry, Ben Kohles, Louis Oosthuizen and Arnold Palmer.
How famous is Arnold Palmer? Even his his own signature drink -- half-lemonade, half-ice tea – is now immortalized in a pair of sneakers unveiled by none other than NBA superstar LeBron James.
James, fresh off his Miami Heat's win in the NBA Finals, tweeted a photo this week of his new Nike shoes, which he calls the LeBronold Palmer 9 lows. The shoes feature palm leaves in typical Floridian pastel colors, while on the insole of the shoe is a picture of the Arnold Palmer drink.
No word yet on if, or when, these shoes will hit the market. Wonder if there are any plans to put golf spikes on the bottom?
Check ‘em out below.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
With the getup Sergio Garcia wore, he wouldn’t have looked out of place in a video game shoot or a Hollywood special effects studio.
Instead, he was in a clubfitting bay. But no ordinary one.
Tuesday at TPC Sawgrass, TaylorMade Golf officially opened its “TaylorMade Performance Lab” on the west end of the range in a building shared with the TOUR Academy, one of just a handful of flagship fitting facilities nationwide, with dazzling capabilities.
In a two-and-half-hour full fitting session, players can go through a putter fitting in a special room equipped with six cameras, tracking every nuance of a stroke, and a full-swing session in a bay where the swing is turned into a 3D image.
That’s what the 2008 PLAYERS champion went through Tuesday, wearing 34 reflective pins all over his body that were picked up by the cameras to build his 3D doppelganger. The pins were fitted on shoe coverings, knee pads, around the waist on what looked like a weight belt, around the chest, on Garcia’s elbows and hat and – weirdest of all to him – on a wristwatch-like band.
Garcia doesn’t wear a watch when he plays.
With just a few swings of a generic wedge, 6-iron and driver, computers build a 3D image and measure all the usual clubfitting data – clubhead speed, launch angle, yardages – plus a few new ones like hand speed, which can help determine the right shaft.
In this type of fitting, there’s no sampling of club after club, tweaking lofts and shafts and other elements. The computer determines every facet of the stick you should be hitting – naturally, recommending TaylorMade clubs and balls (eventually it will even recommend shoes, based on footwork) – and a session outside on the grass is used to confirm the computer’s finding.
“The feel is important, but sometimes you can feel something you can’t see,” Garcia said. “This (system) tells you what’s going on.”
The computer had Garcia’s swing circa-2003 saved, and the move Garcia made Tuesday was laid directly over it for a comparison.
“I can totally see how the swing has the same signature move, but it’s gotten tighter, not as much movement,” Garcia said, satisfied.
Amateurs that go through the fitting can have their own swing put on top of Garcia, Dustin Johnson and several other TOUR pros from the Nationwide, Champions and PGA TOUR.
A full fitting costs $350, and TaylorMade officials say that amateurs that go through the fitting then buy an average of $900 worth of clubs, which are also built at the facility with all the same equipment used in traveling vans that follow the PGA TOUR.
As TaylorMade’s director of global business development Todd Fraser said, it’s “instant gratification.”
ARNIE’S ARSENAL: In a special exhibition at last week’s Insperity Championship on the Champions Tour, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player teamed up in an 18-hole scramble. Palmer put an exclamation point on the day with a 25-foot birdie putt at 18, using an original Odyssey White Hot 2-ball putter.
GoLo TIME: Rickie Fowler scored a long-awaited first win on TOUR at the Wells Fargo Championship with a rather mixed bag (see below), plus a putter that has only been in the bag for three months.
Fowler visited the Scotty Cameron Putter Studio in California before the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in February and switched to a Cameron Select GoLo putter, believing it helped his aim on putts inside 15 feet and allowed him to just “aim and fire”, as he told Titleist reps.
At Quail Hollow, he tied for 21st in putts per green in regulation.
WINNER’S BAG: Fowler at the Wells Fargo
Driver: Cobra AMP (Mitsubishi Diamana Whiteboard shaft, 9.5 degrees)
Fairway wood: Ping i20 (15 degrees)
Hybrid: Adams 9031 Pro Black (20 degrees)
Irons: Cobra AMP Pro Prototype (4-9)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (PW, 50, 55, 59 degrees)
Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron GoLo
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Check out the top five shots of the week from the Wells Fargo Championship and the Insperity Championship featuring highlights from Steve Flesch, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Arnold Palmer, and Webb Simpson.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
All it took was a little green to bring the hottest pink club to the public.
Bubba Watson’s all-pink Ping G20 debuted in January as a part of a fundraising initiative in which Ping donates $300 for every 300-yard drive Watson unlaunches – and considering he’s the PGA TOUR’s longest driver at 313.1 yards on average, the donations are adding up quick.
As the pink club got more face time during the season, Ping heard from plenty of fans who wanted to buy their own pink G20 (Watson’s driver last year had a pink shaft but a standard black clubhead). But the word was no, special for Bubba only.
Then he won a Green Jacket.
Tuesday, Ping announced the sale of 5,000 limited-edition pink G20s similar to Watson’s, at $430 each (available June 1). The company will donate 5 percent of proceeds to Watson’s chosen charities.
The drivers will be offered in 9.5-, 10.5-, and 12-degree lofts for righthanded players; 10.5 degrees for lefthanded – alas, no 7.5-degree lefties like Bubba’s gameday model. A women’s model will be 12 degrees with a ladies flex shaft. All come with a matching pink headcover and “Bubba Long in Pink. Driven by PING. Limited Edition 2012” script on the shaft.
BIG THREE: Think there’s still competition between Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus? The living legends – owners of a combined 13 Green Jackets -- kicked off the Masters on Thursday with the ceremonial first tee shots, and Player used a tuned Callaway Razr Fit to hit the long drive in the trio.
Player and a Callaway rep switched to a higher loft and adjusted the weights to dial in a draw, and the result was a 236-yard drive to outpace Palmer (another Razr Fit player) and Nicklaus, who used a driver from his self-named line.
MORE COLORS: Callaway is upping the ante in the increasingly popular customizing trend at udesign.callawaygolf.com, where players can build a Razr Fit driver in eight different colors (there’s red, but no pink), with dozens of grip options and more than 100 custom shaft options. Callaway says more than 70,000 combinations are possible. At the very least, it’s a fun site to click through.
NUMBERS GAME: Titleist is offering its industry-leading Pro V1 and Pro V1x in special double-digit numbers. Players may choose numbers 00 or anything from 10 to 99 (six dozen minimum) through custom orders at Titleist-authorized dealers.
WINNER’S BAG: Watson at the Masters:
Driver: Ping G20, 7.5 degrees with a Grafalloy Bi-Matrix shaft
Fairway Wood: Ping G20, 16.5 degrees with a Project X 8A1 shaft
Irons: Ping S59 (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
Wedges: Ping Tour-W (52, 56 degrees) Ping Tour-S Rustique (64 degrees)
Putter: Ping Redwood Anser
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Between them, they’ve played in 147 Masters and won a combined 13 Green Jackets.
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player got things started at Augusta National when the three honorary starters teed off early Thursday morning. They did so to a large gallery that included three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson, who was dressed in his own Green Jacket.
“I've been wanting to do that every year and this worked out great because I had the last tee time,” Mickelson said after his round. “I think that it's an experience that I really enjoyed watching those guys hit it, what they have meant to the game of golf. They are what this game is all about.”
Said Player: “I thought it was remarkable.”
The three tee shots were just as remarkable. All three found the fairway on the first hole -- not that any of them could tell who drove it the farthest.
“I don't think any of us can see that far,” Nicklaus cracked. “We can hear them all land, though.”
Palmer led off, hitting his tee shot down the middle before grinning and saying "How'd I do that" to the delight of an army of fans surrounding the tee box.
Just two weeks ago, the 82-year-old was hospitalized because of a blood pressure scare.
“They switched some medicine on me,” Palmer said. “I got a little reaction with the pressure going up, and they just wanted to be cautious. That's normal when you have that kind of a situation.”
Player teed off next, followed by Nicklaus.
"Now let's get out of the way," Nicklaus said, smiling.
There was a time when the honorary starters here played nine holes. That was a long time ago, though, and Nicklaus is fine with keeping it that way.
“We all would love to still be able to play,” Nicklaus said. “ But if you go out and look at where our tee shots were, I think you would understand why we aren't.”
AUGUSTA, Ga. – During his pre-tournament news conference on Tuesday, Tiger Woods told the story of playing Augusta National’s Par 3 course with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in 1995, when Tiger – still an amateur – made his first start in the Masters. Here’s Tiger’s account:
“I said, ‘Well, I don't have any cash.’ He says, ‘Don't worry about it. Just play hard.’
‘I said, all right, here we go.
“We go and play. We have a great time. I'm pretty chatty out there. I'm trying to gain as much intel as I possibly can, and I'm asking them on every hole, what do you do here, what do you do here, what do you do here, and I'm pretty sure they got sick and tired of me.
“We get to 18, and Arnold makes a nice putt for birdie on 18 for all the skins, basically. And I could see Jack is over there, a little ticked about it. He says, ‘Enough of this. Why don't we go get him on the par 3 course?’
“I said, ‘Well, Jack, I don't have ‑‑ my tee time is much later.
"Just come with me.
"Yes, sir. How are we going to get on there?
“He says, ‘Don't worry about it." We walk over there, we are on deck, just out of the blue. OK, this is nice. We get around and play the par 3 course, and probably the most nervous I think I had ever been was the last hole on the par 3 course.
“You think it's just a simple 9-iron shot, no big deal. Arnold almost holed it, Jack almost holed it, and now it's my turn. I was just trying to go for dry land, and somehow I was able to hit on dry land and I was pretty stoked about it.”
According to the Facebook page of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard, tournament host Arnold Palmer was released from Dr. P. Phillips Hospital early Monday and was home resting.
Palmer, 82, was taken to the hospital shortly before the end of his tournament on Sunday. The golf legend had been taking a new medicine and having some issues with his blood pressure, so doctors were monitoring it throughout the day.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ORLANDO -- Arnold Palmer wasn't at the 18th green at Bay Hill on Sunday, as is his custom, to congratulate Tiger Woods on his seventh victory at tournament that bears the legend's name.
Instead, the 82-year-old Palmer was at the nearby Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and will remain there overnight. He has been taking a new medicine and having some issues with his blood pressure, so doctors were monitoring it throughout the day.
About 15 minutes before the competition ended, Palmer had undergone another routine test. During that test, though, the doctors decided he should head to the hospital.
"It wasn't anything to do with any ailments or any discomfort he felt," Alastair Johnston, the COO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises said. "The blood pressure was at a level where the doctor involved suggested that he go immediately to get more intensive evaluation at the hospital."
Johnston met with the media after Tiger Woods' press conference. He said he had just talked with Palmer's daughter, Amy, and the outlook was positive.
"I think the blood pressure situation is starting to ameliorate and improving," Johnston said. "And nobody is overly concerned about the prognosis, although he is going to remain in the hospital overnight for observation."
Graeme McDowell, who finished second to Woods and was playing with him in the final group on Sunday, said he was looking for Palmer when the two walked up to the 18th green.
“I was surprised to see him not around, and when we just heard the news on the side that he had been taken to the hospital, of course we were very upset and certainly praying that everything is going to be okay,” McDowell said. “That really puts a little bit of a dampener of the spirits on 18th green when Tiger is going to pick up his trophy.
“There's going to be a lot of thoughts going out to Mr. Palmer. … He is what is special about this tournament, himself, being the great host and MasterCard being great sponsors. Between them they put a fantastic events on and I love it and say I say, our prayers are with Mr. Palmer right now.”
Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders, thanked his Twitter followers for the positive thoughts they sent the family’s way. “For all concerned my granddad is doing fine and will be good to go tomorrow. Thank you for all of your nice comments and concern,” Saunders tweeted at 8:20 p.m. ET>
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Sang-Moon Bae is in the midst of a sensational rookie season on the PGA TOUR, with zero missed cuts in seven stroke-play starts, a quarterfinals effort at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and a spot in the Transitions Championship playoff last week won by Luke Donald.
Fans of the 25-year-old South Korean might have trouble building a bag like his, however. Bae’s driver isn’t available in the United States, a rarity considering equipment manufacturers love to promote TOUR players’ equipment to consumers.
Bae used a Callaway Legacy Black driver at the Copperhead course, finishing T19 in driving distance. The Legacy Black is one of the company’s high-end offerings in Asia and Australia, with a forged titanium face and traditional pear shape.
KINGSPEAK: Arnold Palmer had his annual session with the media Wednesday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, and offered his two cents on the belly putter.
“Well, you're opening up a big subject there. Of course, I don't think there's ever been a club made that I know of that has not been in my bag,” Palmer said, drawing laughs. “May not stay long, and the long putter is one of them. I'm not a fan of long putters.
“I suppose that if I were playing, and a long putter, being totally legal, and would help my game, I might use it. But I'm opposed to it personally. I just think that there shouldn't be a place in the game for anchoring a club against the body, which is what the long putter does.
“So, technically, and principally, I am against it. But would I use it if it were going to enhance my game in the competition? I might.”
COMING BACK: For Jim Furyk, another part of the playoff at the Transitions, the event marked his highest finish since winning the 2010 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and FedExCup title.
He credited a pair of Callaway products for helping get him back on track, the Razr Fit driver and Hex Tour ball.
“I switched drivers at the end of last year in December. Started working with a Callaway driver right before Chevron (World Challenge) and enjoyed -- I liked what I saw. Started working with a different golf ball with actually Phil (Mickelson), when I played with him at The Presidents Cup, started using his golf ball and really liked it.
“Basically what I was seeing was a combination of the two products, I was creating more spin on the golf ball, and I got away from that a little bit last year. The ball launched a little bit higher and had a little less spin; I could hit it far, but I'm not a high-spin guy and because I'm a guy that wants to hit a lot of shots, hit it right-to-left, left-to-right, hit it low, hit it high, and I need spin to do that and that's how you control the golf ball.
Last year he played with a TaylorMade ball and driver, saying multiple fitting sessions and product demos simply didn’t stick and that the parting with the company was “amicable”
“I had made some mistakes and in what I was doing with my equipment and I made mistakes fitting myself equipment that I could have done better. And it was a product of maybe trying to get a little bit longer, maybe trying to find new ways to improve and maybe then hurting my strengths, if that makes sense. Trying to make my weaknesses better but in doing so, hurting your strengths, which is rule No. 1. You don't do that.”
WINNER’S BAG: Luke Donald at the Transitions
DRIVER: TaylorMade RocketBallz (9.5 degrees) with a UST Mamiya Accra XC65 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade Rocketballz (15 degrees)
HYBRID: Mizuno Hi Fli CLK (17 degrees)
IRONS: Mizuno MP-59 (3-PW)
WEDGES: Mizuno MP T-11 (54, 60 degrees)
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot XG #7
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x