Random Notes and Giving Thanks

Tiger drives a Buick no more.

Bag DropIt’s a slow week on the equipment front although I have a few releases to share with you before the end of the year. With that, I’ve found a couple of entertaining nuggets from the golf equipment and business world to hold you over on this shortened holiday week.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve listed a few golf-related items as well that I’m thankful for. Notably missing from that list is $100 plus greens fees, being forced to take a golf cart, and square-shaped drivers. So push away from the table for a few minutes and join me for this week’s edition of the Bag Drop

Volume One Hundred Seventy

Annika retires two days earlier than expected

Hittin' the LinksThe weather in many places is turning inhospitable, the PGA Tour season is officially over, and many people are beginning to turn their attention to the upcoming College bowl season, but never-the-less Hittin’ the Links is still on the job finding what remains out there for the true golf fan. So read on golf nuts, there’s still actually quite a bit going on in the world of golf.

In this volume of HTL we first look at Annika’s farewell which came a couple of days too early, find out why they still drug tested her, and check out the phenom 14 year-old. Also, we check in on Daly in China, see how Seve is doing, and investigate yet another story that demonstrates why golf is such a honorable sport.

Nine Holes with Sergio Garcia

The world’s new #2 is also the best golfer never to win a major… for now at least.

ProFilesSergio Garcia became the number two golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings this month with his win at the HSBC Champions tournament. Since Phil Mickelson won his first Masters, Garcia has been among a small group of poor souls that are tagged Best Never to Win a Major. Today, he is the nearly undisputed holder of that title.

All that may be about to change. Every time a major rolls around, one or more media pundit pick him to win. Eventually, one of these folks is going to be right about him. He’s got too much game from tee to green to keep coming up short. His putting has been his Waterloo, but he’s getting better. All he has to do is put together four good putting rounds at the right time. His ball striking is rarely an issue. He just needs to find a way to get the ball in the hole.

Nike Golf Releases Victory Red Irons

Nike wants to put a little victory in your golf game.

Bag DropThere is no mistaking the impact that Nike has had on the golf world and having a tour staff featuring Paul Casey, Trevor Immelman, Stewart Cink, Suzann Petterson, Anthony Kim, and oh yeah, some guy named Tiger certainly gives them a testing ground for new products that few companies can match.

Admittedly, Nike Golf hasn’t had too many products in the past that I would have contemplated adding to my bag. That might be changing with the release of their new Victory Red line of irons.

Boasting a little something for a wide array of golfers, the Victory Red line very well could be the lineup that make’s Nike Golf as synonymous as some of the other big names on the better player’s irons spectrum.

Join me as we take a quick peak at the latest from the folks at Nike.

Volume One Hundred Sixty Nine

Alright, who stole Poulter’s driver?

Hittin' the LinksIs it Monday again already? Well then it must be time for yet another edition of Hittin’ the Links. So join us, oh golf junkies and squanderers of company time, as we peruse what’s up in the world of golf.

In this edition of HTL we investigate what happened to Ian Poulter’s driver, take a look a John Daly’s new line of wines, and take note of the 2009 PGA Tour schedule. Also, we see why Mickelson has decided to stay stateside, find out why it will soon be easier to go from the Nationwide Tour to the PGA Tour, and check out the toughest courses on the PGA Tour. Read on!

Range Rats!

Some people can drive you to shoot chile peppers at Lee Janzen.

Trap Five LogoAh, the range! It’s the place where most of us work on our games. If you’re like me, you go through a jumbo bucket or so every week… sometimes two when the game necessitates it.

I’ve had some great experiences at ranges. Once, back when the LPGA used to come to town, I found myself hitting shots next to Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, whose best career finish is T2. Now, as a top-level professional, I’d have expected any LPGA player to be pretty consistent. But hitting balls there beside her, I quickly learned just how consistent these players are. She was hitting irons to a target green, and every shot was landing within a circle about ten feet in circumference. Not only that, but each consecutive shot seemed to follow the hole in the air punched by the shot before it. It was amazing… and humbling. But it also taught me just how consistent you have to be to play really good golf.

Something’s Missing, For Better or For Worse

There’s a specter haunting both David Feherty and the PGA Tour – it’s Tiger Woods.

Thrash TalkRecently, in his monthly contribution to Golf Magazine, David Feherty made reference to an interesting dynamic which he has seen at work in the world of golf this year.

“In Tiger’s absence,” the iconic (and perhaps iconoclastic) Irishman writes, “I’ve noticed that more and more people have started referring to him as you-know-who, as if he is golf’s equivalent of Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels.” For those of you unfamiliar with the Dark Lord, Feherty’s description is more compelling than any I could hope to produce: “Voldemort is the all-powerful dark wizard whose black magic is so terrifying that saying his name out loud can induce involuntary brown magic in ones Fruit-of-the-Brooms.”

Callaway and Titleist’s Legal Battle, Round 38

Short answer: you’ll still be able to buy Pro V1s this year. Don’t believe everything your buddies at the club tell you – there’s a lot of misinformation about this lawsuit. Here are some of the facts.

Recently Callaway celebrated a minor victory in their long-running legal battle with Titleist over patents related to the manufacturing process used to create Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls. A few weeks back, Titleist celebrated their own small victory when the U.S. Patent Office ruled the four applicable patents invalid.

Despite the now invalid patents, a Delaware judge recently granted Callaway a permanent injunction against Titleist for the sale and distribution of Pro V1 golf balls manufactured under the patents in dispute in the U.S.

However, Titleist quickly responded to point out that since September, they’d shifted their manufacturing process to a new one clear of these patents, and that production, distribution, and sale of Pro V1 and Pro V1x will not be hindered. This shift in manufacturing has been planned for quite some time and is not the result of the lawsuit. Please see paragraph two of Titleist’s official response (below) for more on that. If you were wondering whether there would be new Pro V1s in 2009, you’ll also want to read the response.

Titleist Boxes

For those deeply interested – or for those who are as confused as I am about how what are now invalid patents can be used to form an injunction – I recommend you check out David Dawsey’s golf-patents.com in the coming weeks.

UST Releases Proforce AXIVCore Shaft Series

Time to hit the launch monitor!

Bag DropGraphite shaft technology seemingly grows by leaps and bounds with each new release from the various manufacturers. There is some exciting, cutting-edge technology being used for the making of the next generations of graphite shafts and it will be very interesting to stay abreast of what is available now and what is coming down the road.

With that, the folks at UST have just come out with their new Proforce AXIVCore Shaft Series which will give you at least 30 extra yards of distance and pinpoint accuracy with your woods and hybrid. Okay, I made that claim up but they do utilize some pretty neat technology to give you a graphite shaft that fits you like a glove and provides performance that you’ve come to expect from UST.

Join me as we take a look at the Proforce AXIVCore Shaft Series.