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Big Break III – Women in Williamsburg

Jan. 6, 2005     By     Comments (3)

BBIII is almost upon us; go over to about.com and learn a bit about the contestants for the Ladies Only installment of our favorite reality game show.

Big Break III's Danielle AimeeWith Big Break II wrapped and finished, The Golf Channel is preparing to air the next round of challenges and episodes of the Big Break series: Big Break III. After watching the season premier of Alias (mmm… Jennifer Garner…) last night, this is the perfect time to catch my attention with a photo montage of the BBIII contestants over at about.com.

And, best of all BBIII was filmed in Williamsburg at Kingsmill Resort; as much as I can, I'll try to provide some local insight into the course and the area. Kingsmill also hosts the Michelob Ultra Open, where the winner of BBIII will earn an exemption.

The Big Break III: Ladies Only premiers on February 8 on The Golf Channel.

Posted in: TV/Media Comments (3)

Free Two-Week TOUR Pass

Jan. 6, 2005     By     Comments (0)

TOURCast is offering a two-week special promotion. We think…

TOURCastI'm a TOUR Pass subscriber (hey, it was on sale!), and today I got an email that says:

For the next two weeks, PGATOUR.COM will be running an early-season free access promotion of TOUR Pass.

Currently, the TOURCast site mentions the 20% off annual pass ($59.95 down to $47.95), but no mention of the free pass. If you can find the two-week free trial, well, congratulations.

For those of you on Mac OS X, TOURCast runs only in Internet Explorer. Safari, Firefox, iCab, OmniWeb, and Camino all fail. Some pop up an empty window, others load empty regular TOURCast pages, and all manner of anomalies. Only Internet Explorer - a browser that has not been substantially updated within the last four or five years - works.

Posted in: PGA Comments (0)

Justin Leonard Signs with Nike

Jan. 5, 2005     By     Comments (6)

Nike announced today that they have signed Justin Leonard to their tour staff.

Justin LeonardNike Golf announced today that they have signed Justin Leonard to their tour staff. Although specific numbers were not in the press release, Nike quantified it as an, "exclusive multi-year relationship." Leonard adds another big name to the Nike camp which has worked hard to sign new stars such as Paul Casey to complement their headliners like Tiger Woods, Grace Park, and David Duval.

Leonard's first start on the PGA tour season is scheduled to be the Buick Invitational on January 20, 2005. Leonard will be playing with Nike's 410CC Ignite driver, Forged Blade irons, Forged Pro Combo wedges, and One Black ball. He will also sport Nike Dri-Fit apparel and should be working with Nike to help design eye-wear in the future.

Posted in: Clubs Comments (6)

Natalie Gulbis and Big Ben, Sittin’ in a Tree

Jan. 5, 2005     By     Comments (20)

Big Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers is dating one of the hottest LPGA players?

Natalie GulbisThe Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie Ben Roethlisberger has won thirteen straight games. And now he's apparently won the heart of one very hot, hot LPGA Tour player: Natalie Gulbis. ESPN has the story.

Gulbis, soon-to-be 22 years old and called "The Anna Kournikova of Golf" (it's true: neither Kournikova nor Gulbis has won much of anything professionally, and both are blondes, and both have their own calendars), has been dating Roethlisberger for five weeks or so. She may fly to Pittsburgh this weekend to hang out with Ben, but she'll "definitely" be there the weekend after that.

And that's all there is to that. But hey, because we can, here's another Gulbis shot:

Natalie Gulbis Swimsuit

Posted in: LPGA Comments (20)

Those “Swing Change” Years

Jan. 5, 2005     By     Comments (1)

A comparison of Tiger's 1998 and 2004 stats leads to some interesting conclusions.

Tiger Woods fans, we've heard your worries. "When will he win again?" "Will he be able to catch Jack now?" Last year's Japan win and Target Challenge victory may have assuaged your anguish somewhat, but you know those weren't your typical full-field PGA Tour event. We know you know they weren't Majors.

Tiger Woods

Well, here's our attempt to make you feel better: a comparison between Tiger's 1998 and 2000 seasons:

            1998     2004
Events        20       19
Wins           1        1
Top-5          8        9
Earnings     4th      4th
Driving    67.9%    56.1%
GIR        67.6%    66.9%
Scoring    69.21    69.04

How's that? If that doesn't settle you down just a wee bit, well, I suppose only a Tiger victory in the Masters will calm you down. Here's to that!

Posted in: PGA Comments (1)

Feet Together for Balance

Jan. 5, 2005     By     Comments (1)

This drill is perhaps one of the purest drills for improving your golf game.

Feet TogetherWhen my swing feels rushed or I sense that I'm out of balance, I always revert to one very simple drill: I put my feet together and hit shots. The steps?

  1. Put your feet together
  2. Swing
  3. Don't fall over

Start slow, and build up to faster swings. With your feet together, you'll be forced to make a smoother, more balanced swing. Your tempo may improve, as any sudden changes will result in a loss of balance. Your head will stay more centered (if it sways, you'll topple!) and you'll use your shoulder and hip turn to generate power. You should be able to hit most of your shots at least 80 to 90% as far as normal.

This drill is perhaps one of the purest drills for improving your golf game.

Mercedes News and Notes

Jan. 4, 2005     By     Comments (1)

Random scraps of info about the first PGA Tour event of 2005: The Mercedes Championships.

A random smattering of notes leading up to this week's first PGA Tour event of 2005, the Mercedes Championship.

  • Here's our preview. And, uhh, well that's all we have to say about that one.
  • Vijay Singh is going with a new caddie, having run into problems with Dave Renwick. Said Renwick, home in Scotland, "I'm not retired. I spoke to Vijay the other day and said I would call him the first week in March. If I don't come back with Vijay, I'll look for someone else." Singh will use his trainer, Joey Diovisalvi, for now.
  • Todd Hamilton doesn't like golf? Said Hamilton, "I didn't like golf as much as I thought I did" said the British Open champion when asked about his busy silly season in which he played in India, Japan, Hawaii, South Africa and California.
  • Thank you to the commenters on the Grouchy Golf blog. We appreciate the kind words, and also think highly of Grouchy Golf and many of the other good golf blogs that are out there.
  • When the first person tees off, your chance to join our 2005 Fantasy League comes to an end! Instructions have been posted here in our forum.
Television Coverage
Thursday, 7-10:30 pm ET, ESPN
Friday,   7-10:30 pm ET, ESPN
Saturday, 7-10:30 pm ET, ESPN
Sunday,   7-10:00 pm ET, ESPN

Easy enough to remember. I'll be watching quite a bit this weekend as my Steelers have the week off.

Posted in: PGA Comments (1)

Ian Baker-Finch Contemplates Return

Jan. 4, 2005     By     Comments (3)

After eight years away from competition, Ian Baker Finch is considering a return to competitive golf.

Ian Baker-FinchAsk golf fans which professional has had the greatest fall from greatness and immediately names such as Duval, Beem, or Micheel come to mind. However, few people remember the name Ian Baker-Finch. Although it was only fourteen years ago that Baker-Finch hoisted the Claret Jug high over his head, it might has well been a century ago. After Baker-Finch won the Open title at Royal Birkdale in 1991, he attempted to re-tool his swing which lead to him losing confidence. In an interview in the January 2005 issue of Golf Digest, Baker-Finch described the frustration of playing well in practice rounds, but during competition simply hitting snap hooks off the tee and duffing chips on the green. These problems forced Baker-Finch to leave competitive golf and take up a career as a commentator on the ABC sports team.

Posted in: PGA Comments (3)

Understanding Bounce

Jan. 4, 2005     By     Comments (3)

Do you know what bounce is and how it applies to your game? Choosing the right bounce is important in every iron, not just your sand wedge.

BounceThe sand wedge is perhaps the most famous model, but every club has bounce. Bounce is defined as "the measurement, in degrees, of the angle from the front edge of a club's sole to lowest point on the club (which rests on the ground)." Players have worried about bounce in their wedges for quite awhile, but it's important in your other clubs as well.

For example, compare the Titleist 680 and 670. The 680 7I has 3° of bounce, while the 670 has 7.5°. Titleist describes the 680 by saying the "narrow sole, moderate camber and bounce angle are designed for players who like to pick the ball off the turf." Titleist describes the 670 as by saying "the slightly wider sole with more bounce and camber is designed for players with a more aggressive, steeper swing, and is excellent in softer conditions."

In other words, your swing shape has a lot to do with the proper bounce, and bounce matters in more than a sand wedge.

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