Maxfli’s BlackMAX

The Maxfli BlackMAX is the newest challenger to Titleist’s dominating Pro V1/V1x. Sporting a unique dimple pattern, the ball should be available March 15, 2005.

Black MAXMaxfli‘s got a new ball, and they say it’s got the distance of the Pro V1x and the feel of the Pro V1. Scheduled for a March 15, 2005 release, the Maxfli BlackMAX should MSRP for about the same as the Pro V1, and players can expect a street price of $39.95.

The BlackMAX is currently being played on every major tour, though it may be some time before big-name players switch to the new ball. This includes TaylorMade/Adidas staff player Sergio Garcia, who continues to play Titleist’s Pro V1x (second source) last year despite Sergio’s 2002 deal with TaylorMade/Adidas (second source). Most professional golfers prefer to switch balls only at the beginning of the off-season, and the Black MAX missed that window by a month or two.

Mickelson Sails through Pebble Beach

After three days of torrid scoring, Phil Mickelson coasted to become the first wire-to-wire winner at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

phil_mickelson_att.jpgPebble Beach showed its teeth today with strong winds, cold temperatures, and light rain. However, none of this phased Phil Mickelson whose one-over-par round of 73 was enough to allow him to capture the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title. Alternating between his old “go for broke” and new “play it safe” strategies, Mickelson showed flashes of brilliance and questionable choices throughout the round, placing his seemingly insurmountable lead in jeopardy. Fellow lefty Mike Weir fought hard to challenge Mickelson, shooting a 67 despite the poor conditions. At one point, Weir trimmed the lead down to 4 strokes. However, some crucial putts were left short and some lipped out which prevented Weir from coming back. Mickelson’s win was his first back-to-back win on Tour and marked the first wire-to-wire winner at the AT&T Pro-Am.

The Green, by Troon McAllister

The book is a fantasy disappointment through and through.

Despite what the glowing reader reviews found on Barnes & Noble and lead me to believe, The Green, by Troon McAllister, is a disappointing book at best.

The story is narrated by Alan Bellamy, “Player of the Year” and Ryder Cup captain. After being defeated for $20,000 by a public links hustler named Eddie Caminetti, Bellamy names Caminetti the 12th man to the US Ryder Cup team. Heavy underdogs this year, the US team members witness Eddie’s play and agree to pay him $100,000 if he helps them to win or keep the Cup.

The first page promises that things eventually go “haywire,” but the expectation remains sadly unfulfilled throughout the book’s 289 pages.

Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Round 3

Mickelson extends his lead to seven, firing a second consecutive 67 and setting a new three-round record at 196. Oh, and Bill Murray made the cut.

phil_mickelson_in_black.jpgDue to the prominence of mid-handicap celebrities, the third round at the Crosby Clambake is often referred to as “hit and giggle day,” and today’s round certainly lived up to its billing.

The weekend rounds of the AT&T are aired on CBS nearly every CBS actor was featured in Saturday’s telecast. Viewers saw Kevin James promote his movie Hitch, then flub a flop shot. They saw Ray Romano lament the ending of his television series before blading a bunker shot. And of course they saw George Lopez ham it up with a dog on a leash.

And in what has become a Pebble Beach Pro-Am third-round staple, Bill Murray stopped joking long enough with the crowd to hit some pretty spectacular shots, going -2 for three consecutive holes before falling apart towards the end of the round.

Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Round 2

Phil Mickelson shows determination and heart during and up and down day two.

Phil MickelsonIf Phil Mickelson could set a course record at Spyglass Hill on day one of the Clambake, why not set another record on day two? After setting a 36-hole scoring record at Poppy Hills with a 62, Phil scrambled his way to a 5-under 67 at Poppy Hills. His current total of -15 breaks the previous 36-hole tournament record by two.

If Phil’s highlight reel from today did not include flawless execution, it did include great recoveries. He holed a 30-foot putt for par on the tenth and hit a 7-iron through the trees to the green on the par-5 12th, finishing the hole with a two-putt birdie. His birdie was impressive after hitting a tree off the tee. Phil did what it took to get the job done and sits four strokes ahead of his nearest competitor, Mike Weir.

Demo Days: Wilson 2005

Although not often considered among the top golf brands, Wilson Staff has some very good products for 2005.

Wilson Px3Ahh demo days, they’re almost like a rite of spring. Along with warmer temperatures and snow melting, golf companies emerge like bears out of hibernation, eager to let consumers try out their products. Today I tried products from Wilson Staff a company eager to break out of the “weekend warrior” mold and into the ranks of mid to low-handicappers. Wilson has some interesting new products: a combo set of forged irons, composite metal woods, new golf balls, and putters to round out a complete golf bag. Along with new products, Wilson has also bolstered their tour presence by endorsing Padraig Harrington and Jesper Parnevik. So just how much has Wilson improved?

Clambake Round 1: New Week, Same Leader

David Duval shoots +13 and Phil Mickelson shoots -10. Just another day on the PGA Tour, eh?

Phil MickelsonWhat will Phil do next?

How about tying or setting a second course record within a week. His 60 tied the course record last Friday at the FBR Open, and now he’s beat the previous course record at Spyglass Hill by 2 with a blazing 62. Some 62s had been shot in the past, but only under lift/clean/place provisions. Phil’s 62 beats the old course, a 64 by David Berganio in 2001, by two.

The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, or “The Crosby Clambake” for all you ol’-timers, is contested on three courses: Pebble Beach, which hosts two rounds for those who make the cut, Poppy Hills, and Spyglass Hill. Historically, Spyglass Hill plays the hardest, making Phil’s feat – and his resulting leap to the top of the leaderboard – all the more astounding.

Nike Dri-Fit Socks

Eighteen holes of golf equates to about 4½ miles, make sure your feet are comfortable.

nike_dri_fit_socks.jpgMost golfers don’t give their feet much thought. While many golfers buy expensive shoes, they often just throw on an old pair of socks and neglect the impact socks can have on comfort.

I’ve tried several different types of socks, and I always felt like I’ve had to sacrifice either cushioning or comfort with any brand I’ve tried. Some have been great at cushioning my feet, but they were too hot to get through a full round in leather golf shoes. Thinner socks kept my feet dry, but weren’t as comfortable over the long haul. On a recommendation from a friend, I tried out Nike’s Dri-FIT socks and I realized I can have the best of both worlds.

David Gunas Jr.’s Barefoot Challenge

Big Break II contestant David Gunas Jr. has organized a putting challenge to benefit Brilliant Minds.

David GunasThroughout the Big Break II, David Gunas Jr. was known for two things: his bare feet and clutch putting. Gunas has now combined those two trademarks into the Barefoot Putting Challenge. This is a nationwide putting contest with the proceeds benefiting Brilliant Minds, an organization dedicated to treating and helping children with autism and other developmental disorders.

According to the website, the format of the tournament is an 18-hole putting contest with putts ranging from 5 to 25 feet away. There is a men’s and women’s division along with a junior’s division. Several regional tournaments will be held across the country from April to June. The regional winners will then fly to Angel Park Golf Club in Las Vegas to compete for the grand prize: a 2005 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. Barefoot Putting Challenge is a fun competition for a very admirable cause, those who watched Gunas on the Big Break II would expect nothing less from him.