The Bag Drop is on the way to the Super Bowl of the golf industry. The PGA Merchandise Show opens this week, running from Jan. 26-29 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. In addition to the thousands of equipment, apparel, accessory and gee-gaw manufacturers showing their wares to club professionals and golf shop buyers, us media types will also be kicking the tires of the gear you'll be buying this year.
More people were following Michelle Wie on Thursday and Friday than any other golfer at the Sony Open. They were more intrigued with the 16-year-old girl who can drive a golf ball upwards of 275 yards than tried-but-true PGA Tour player Jim Furyk, the guy with the funky swing. Both battled the same windy conditions and both golfers live and play in Hawaii but today Furyk headed into the clubhouse in the lead while Michelle headed home.
Michelle took issue with the weather and Jim played through it. The struggle took its toll on Wie at the beginning of the first round causing amateurish mistakes which, when Michelle replays the tape, should reveal that she has much more work to do on both the physical and psychological aspects of her game. It looked as if two different Michelle Wies came to play between the first and second days of action. I'm still wondering if the shaky, unsteady youngster who scored horrendously on the first nine holes of play is the same one who scored seven birdies in second-round action.
Will the real Michelle Wie please stand up?!
Golf Digest and USA Today (via the AP) are reporting that television network ABC has walked out of negotiations with the PGA Tour for carrying tournament coverage beginning in 2007. This leaves only CBS and NBC at the table with Tour Commish Tim Finchem.
The current PGA Tour contract runs through the 2006 season. In 2007, the PGA Tour will feature a revamped schedule, a playoff system, the "FedEx Cup," and a "Fall Finish". Apparently, the ol' Finchy is still asking for too much money, and ABC simply decided they'd heard enough. Despite having found success with Paul Azinger and Nick Faldo in the announcing booth, both players may need to hone their game for the Champions Tour come 2007 if they'd like at least a semi-regular paycheck.
Rarely are a set of irons so lusted after as Titleist's Forged 735.CM irons. The 735s - Titleist's first foray into "combo" or cavity-to-muscle "progressive" irons - were a rumor in March, reality in August, and had already earned a place in my bag by the time the Newport Cup rolled around in October.
If you don't read past the first two paragraphs, take one thing away from this review: these clubs were worth the wait. It takes a lot to knock a set of irons out of my bag, but these irons effectively replaced the irons I was playing (Titleist's Forged 680) by the turn the first time I played with them. The 680s are a forged, muscleback club with a great amount of feel and feedback, which I had always deemed important to improving my golf game. I never thought a cavity-back club could replicate the feel of a finely crafted muscleback. Until I tried the 735s. They felt so good, I came up with a phrase that I'd rather not repeat here… (but you could find it in the forum quite easily).
They're that good.
The Target World Challenge has come and gone, and the 2006 PGA Tour season doesn't start for a few more weeks. That being said, I'm taking a break from the usual PGA Tour discussion this week. Instead, I'm going to talk about some of the things that bother me when I go out and play. I've selected eight things that really get under my skin when I go play by myself or with friends.
Today's interview is with Matt Killen, Swing Coach for PGA Tour standout Kenny Perry. Matt has known Kenny nearly his entire life and grew up playing golf with Kenny and his son, Justin. He and Justin are best friends and were roommates in college at Western Kentucky University.
Kenny introduced Killen to Ron Gring when he was a freshman in high school. Ron helped him with his game but eventually helped him branch over in to teaching. Over time he became extremely interested in how the golf swing worked and began teaching as a sophomore in high school. He took him under his wing, and studied with him and tried to learn as much as possible about the mechanics of the golf swing.
Read on to find out more about Matt.
Mark Hensby isn't one to keep his mouth shut. First he ran his mouth about Michelle Wie, saying "I don't think a 15-year-old girl who's done nothing at all should get a sponsor's invitation to a PGA Tour event." A lot of articles start the same way this one does, "Australian golfer Mark Hensby has slammed (fill in the blank)."
This week, the tiny Australian's target is none other than the gigantic Greg Norman. Norman's fault, which Hensby can't resist pointing out? The Great White Shark, recently voted Australia's golfer of the century, apparently doesn't do enough to support Australian golf.
According to an AP article, the LPGA will beat the PGA Tour to the punch in offering a season-ending "playoff" system. New LPGA Commish Carolyn Bivens today announced the 2006 LPGA schedule. That schedule included details on a playoff system that will be the first of its kind in golf.
Instead of the top 30 players on the money list qualifying for the season-ending ADT Championship, the field will be comprised of 30 players who have racked up points throughout the year along with two wild cards for a total of 32. The field will be cut to 16 players after 36 holes and to only eight players after 54 holes. The eight remaining players will start the field at even par, leading to a $1M payout for the winner of the 18-hole shootout.
Just two days ago, the Bag Drop brought you the skinny on Callaway Golf's new 2006 lineup. Now our operatives have come through with information on one of golf's other equipment heavyweights: TaylorMade.
Given TaylorMade's ongoing success with the r7 Quad driver, it is no surprise that the company's four major upcoming new products all bear the r7 badge. Read on to learn more about two new r7 drivers and two sets of r7 irons.