The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

Wedge company forges new ground with its RxF forged offering

loop-renegar-forged-wedge-280.jpgFor designer Bob Renegar, it has long been about how the wedge moves through the turf. His clubs use a sole shape with a low leading edge and higher bounce on the trailing edge.

This design is easier to achieve when the clubhead is cast instead of forged. That's why the forged RxF ($209) uses a complex five-step process that Renegar says is "the equivalent of investment casting in precision and consistency."

The difference is that it's forged from soft 1025c carbon steel. The RxF is offered in four stock heads available in lofts from 45 to 60 degrees and sets matched for an array of specs, including elements like component weights and whole club MOI.

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News & Tours

In wake of Poulter comments, PGA of America makes radical decision to remove Ted Bishop from office

Ted Bishop's tumultuous tenure as PGA of America president will not go the full two years. In the aftermath of Bishop's head-scratching comments about Ian Poulter, the PGA announced Friday that its Board of Directors had voted to remove Bishop from office with a little less than a month remaining in his term. Vice President Derek Sprague will take over as interim president until Nov. 22, when a previously scheduled election for Bishop's successor will take place and Sprague is expected to be elected to his own term as president.

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Bishop, outspoken and more visible than any of his predecessors, was involved in a series of controversies during his time in office, from taking a hard stance against the USGA's anchoring ban, to making the bold -- and ultimately ill-fated -- decision to name Tom Watson the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup captain. On Thursday, Bishop injected himself into a quarrel between Nick Faldo and Ian Poulter by calling Poulter a "lil girl". 

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He later apologized, but the PGA of America, citing the "insensitive gender-based statement" apparently had enough.

In a statement released by Bishop on Friday evening, where he again apologized for his comments, he said that the PGA asked him to resign from his post but that he declined, instead wanting to apologize to the Board and "let due process take place in the matter." The Board then voted to remove him from office.

“We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example,” PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua said.

Bishop said that in addition to being removed from office, the PGA of America has told him he would not be allowed to become the Honorary President or be recognized as a Past President. "Today, all I have left is my PGA membership and that will always mean the world to me," Bishop said

The full statement from the PGA is below.

PGA OF AMERICA BOARD OF DIRECTORS VOTES TO
REMOVE PGA PRESIDENT TED BISHOP FROM OFFICE
 
PGA Vice President Derek Sprague Named Interim PGA President
 
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (October 24, 2014) - The PGA of America Board of Directors voted today to remove Ted Bishop, the 38th PGA President, from office for insensitive gender-based statements posted yesterday on social media. The Board deemed the remarks to be inconsistent with the policies of the PGA.
 
“The PGA of America understands the enormous responsibility it has to lead this great game and to enrich lives in our society through golf,” said PGA Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua. “We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it, and everyone at the PGA of America must lead by example.”
 
Under the Bylaws of the PGA Constitution, Vice President Derek Sprague has been appointed the Association’s Interim President until Nov. 22, when the election of new national officers takes place at the 98th PGA Annual Meeting. PGA Secretary Paul Levy will assume the dual responsibilities of Vice President and Secretary until the election.
 
“The Members and Apprentices of the PGA of America must uphold the highest standards and values of the profession, as well as the manner in which we conduct ourselves at all times,” said Sprague, the PGA General Manager and Director of Golf at Malone (New York) Golf Club. “We apologize to any individual or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident.”


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News & Tours

From the looks of it, Ted Bishop's apology tour could get a little bumpy

Ted Bishop has shown during his tenure as PGA of America president he knows how to stoke the flames of controversy. With less than a month left in his two-year term, he now must demonstrate he's also capable of putting out a self-ignited fire if he wants to keep his reputation and legacy from getting torched.

loop-bishop-pga-trophy-fumble-518.jpgWho knew that Bishop's Wanamaker Trophy fumble in August might be one of his better moments from the last few months of his presidency. (Getty Images)


The 60-year-old director of golf at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Ind., tried to begin to undo the damage caused by calling out Ian Poulter with a pair of ill-advised social-media posts by offering an apology of sorts on Thursday.

"Obviously I could have selected some different ways to express my thoughts on Poulter's remarks," Bishop said. "Golf had always been a sport where respect was shown to its icons. That seems to have gone by the wayside."

Bishop originally called Poulter a "lil' girl" on Twitter after hearing that Poulter had lashed out at Nick Faldo in his just released autobiography No Limits. Similarly, via a Facebook post, Bishop claimed that Poulter, "Sounds like a little school girl squealing during recess." Both posts have subsequently been taken down.

Golf World/Jaime Diaz: Ted Bishop's Last Days as PGA president

After hearing of Bishop's comments, Poulter offered a brief, but pointed response.

"Is being called a `lil girl' meant to be derogatory or a put down?" Poulter said in the statement. "That's pretty shocking and disappointing, especially coming from the leader of the PGA of America. No further comment."

The reverberations over the incident were slowly being felt Friday. A story on SBNation took the extreme stance of suggesting Bishop should resign from his post, noting that even though his presidency ends in less than a month, he needed to be removed.

A story in The Telegraph was less extreme but no less cutting, referring to Bishop as "a camera-obsessed buffoon" whose petty insults "invite ridicule."

Certainly there will be more where this came from as those who already held the opinion of Bishop as having overstepped his bounds as PGA president get a chance to pile on. In all likelihood, Bishop's best course of action is to absorb the body blows, as punishing as they might be, and wait out the clock on his lame-duck term. Any more talking, or writing, is liable to only make things worse.

Editor's Note: Later Friday afternoon, the PGA of America Board of Directors voted to remove Bishop as the association's president.

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Books

Book Review: Draw in the Dunes -- The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish that Shocked the World

Each week GolfDigest.com will highlight a golf book that it finds of interest to readers. This week is:

Draw in the Dunes: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish that Shocked the World, by Neil Sagebiel
Thomas Dunne Books, $27, hardback, 320 pages

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There is no more important time in golf than the present to appreciate the game and grow it. But I'm a big fan of golf in the pre-1990s days, which is where Draw in the Dunes, the story of the 1969 Ryder Cup, takes us. Neil Sagebiel's account of the first tie in Ryder Cup history showcases the characters and circumstances that led up to one of the most-discussed and studied moments in golf history: Jack Nicklaus' 18th-hole concession to Tony Jacklin in the final singles match that ensured a tie in the overall score.

Decorum, level heads and extreme sportsmanship don't immediately come to mind when the Ryder Cup is mentioned these days, so anyone who hasn't familiarized themselves with matches of more than just the last few will enjoy this read. In the last few decades, accusations have become frequent, not just toward an opponent but, as we discovered this fall, even to one's own side.

Related: Catch up on other Golf Digest book reviews

But 45 years after "it" happened, people are still talking about the shocking gesture. When Nicklaus conceded Jacklin's birdie putt -- generally thought to be two feet long -- to halve the hole and their match, and finish the Cup knotted at 16, it stirred up a host of reactions, not least of which was an upset U.S. captain, Sam Snead. But the passage of time has elevated the gesture to legendary proportions, and now it's seen as a crowning bit of sportsmanship in the history of the game.

As with most single-match books on the Ryder Cup, Sagebiel leads up nicely to the big moments by providing some non-specific background in the early chapters to set up the actual match. He then he breaks down the competition at Royal Birkdale session by session, letting the drama of the matches naturally unfold.

I particularly enjoyed: The aftermath sections on how the concession was perceived then and now, and what happened to some of the principal players in the years after the '69 match. It wasn't easy to discover how the players on both sides felt about the conceded putt, and I thought the comments quite interesting as they mainly came down in favor of Nicklaus. In addition, another nice touch is Nicklaus and Jacklin providing a foreword.

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News & Tours

Why it's worth watching the Asia-Pacific Amateur this weekend

When the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship was created in 2009 -- dangling the carrot of an invitation into the Masters for the winner -- the belief was that Australian golfers would be the biggest beneficiaries. The presumption came based on the fact that the country had the most developed amateur program among the 30-some nations eligible for participation in the event. Yet in the first five years of the event, golfers from South Korea (Chang-won Han and Chang-woo Lee), Japan (Hideki Matsuyama, twice) and China (Tianlang Guan) have claimed the title or its coveted perk while the men Down Under have been shut out.

loop-antonio-murdaca-518.jpgThat, however, could change this weekend as Australians Antonio Murdaca and Todd Sinnott sit atop the AAC leader board after 36 holes at Royal Melbourne. A 69-68 start from the 19-year-old Murdaca leaves him a stroke ahead of Sinnott, 22, who claimed the first-round lead with an opening 67. Four other Australians -- Ryan Ruffels, Cory Crawford, Jarryd Felton and Geoff Drakeford -- are also within six strokes of the lead.

Betting on an Aussie to pull out the title makes sense given the home-course edge they have playing at Royal Melbourne, the first time the course or country has hosted the championship. That's particularly the case for Sinnott, who is from the Melbourne suburb of Williamstown and has played Royal Melbourne at least 30 times, including the last four years in competition at the Master of the Amateurs event that the course hosts.

The Australian locale makes it convenient for American golf fans to follow the action, with the third and fourth rounds being shown live on ESPNNews from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. EDT Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.

And why should you put in the time for the late-night viewing? The winner is likely somebody you'll see playing over the weekend this coming April at Augusta National. Three of the last five winners of the AAC have made the cut in the Masters the following year. By comparison in that same time frame, no winner of the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Public Links or U.S. Mid-Amateur has made the cut in the same time period.

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Two easy core exercises you can do at home

Many people think of the core as solely the abdomen muscles. But there are literally dozens of muscles that help stabilize the body and allow it to move powerfully and athletically. It's better to think of the core as a belt of muscles that wraps around the body from the hips to the chest. To play golf effectively and safely, you need to train more than just your abs.

Two exercises that work other parts of your core come from former PGA Tour trainer Ralph Simpson (@mostpt). The beauty of these moves is that you can do them in front of the TV or just about anywhere with a comfortable floor. All you need is about five to 10 minutes.

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1. Side planks (three reps, each side, hold for 15 to 60 seconds): These strengthen the obliques, abdomen and hips. They also help prevent lower-back pain and increase your ability to rotate your trunk powerfully when you swing. To avoid injury, make sure your propped arm is stacked directly under your shoulder.


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2. Bird dogs (four reps, each side, hold for 15 to 60 seconds): These strengthen the muscles that support your vertebrae including the erector spinae and the smaller muscles that allow your back to bend and rotate. They also help stabilize the lower back reducing the stress placed on it when you swing a club.

WORLD GOLF FITNESS SUMMIT
The Titleist Performance Institute (@mytpi) is playing host to the fifth World Golf Fitness Summit starting on Sunday in Carlsbad, Calif. The three-day event features lectures from dozens of experts in golf and fitness. Among those speaking this year include former NFL head coach Dick Vermeil, major league baseball pitching coach Tom House, PGA Tour veteran Brad Faxon, strength coach and fitness expert Dr. Charlie Weingroff, and one of my favorite fitness experts, Mike Boyle (@bodybyboyle). Look for a summary of the event next Wednesday and more detailed information over the next few months.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

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News & Tours

PGA president Ted Bishop defends Faldo, calls Poulter ‘lil girl’

PGA of America president Ted Bishop, no stranger to controversy, entered another one via Twitter on Thursday, lashing out at Ian Poulter and calling him “lil girl” for comments he made about Nick Faldo in his new autobiography, “No Limits.”

The Tweet has since been deleted, but here's a screenshot: Bishop.jpg

In the midst of the Ryder Cup last month, Faldo, the last losing European Ryder Cup captain, in 2008, called Garcia “useless” in the ’08 matches and said that he had “a bad attitude.”

Poulter wrote, among other things:

"It makes me laugh. Faldo is talking about someone being useless at the 2008 Ryder Cup. That's the Ryder Cup where he was captain. That's the Ryder Cup where the Europe team suffered a heavy defeat.

"And he was captain. So who's useless? Faldo might need to have a little look in the mirror. I have always got on great with Faldo in the past and I have a great deal of respect for everything he has achieved but this feels like sour grapes. It feels like a guy who is still bitter that he lost in 2008.Bishop

"Faldo has lost a lot of respect from players because of what he said. There were plenty of things a lot of the players were unhappy with at Valhalla but none of us criticised him. He may find that begins to change now.”

Poulter has yet to respond to Bishop, but he has responded to other critics of his Faldo comments.

"I guess we can only have opinions if you won a major or 6," he Tweeted.

Bishop has largely been held responsible for selecting Tom Watson as U.S. Ryder Cup captain.

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Celebrity

Bill Murray's newest pair of outrageous golf pants have Ellen DeGeneres' face on them (really)

Bill Murray's outlandish wardrobe has become part of his celebrity persona, one he likes to push the limits with whether making public appearances promoting his movies or out on a golf course enjoying his favorite pursuit. If Murray could wear a Jackson Pollock painting while on the links, we're guessing he'd sign-up quicker than you could say, "So I got that going for me, which is nice."

Recall these beauties he wore at a celebrity outing during the 2012 Ryder Cup: 

loop-bill-murray-pants-518.jpgAnd here he is at a recent AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

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Oh, and another from Pebble. No, we're not sure what this actually is either.

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Knowing full well, then, Murray's penchant for wearing crazy golf outfits, Ellen DeGeneres surprised the famous "Caddyshack" star when he appeared on her talk show to promote his new movie, "St. Vincent." At the end of his segment, she told him she had a gift for him, and then pulled out a pair of modest grey slacks . . . dotted with Ellen's face all over them.

As you can see on the video, Murray played along superbly, trying them over the pants he was already wearing and doing his usual Bill Murray hijinks.

Unlike other actors, who would probably would have tossed the pants in the dumpster once the cameras turned off, we're guessing Murray not only kept this pair but will indeed show up on the first tee some day at a celebrity golf event actually wearing them.

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Video

Watch this guy make the longest four-foot putt ever (you'll see what we mean)

As far as viral stunts go, there is still nothing better than your basic “how did he do that” putt. In this case there are the usual YouTube commenters suggesting fakery and, more legitimately, gripes about the vertical framing.

Either way, according to the golfinguniverse.org posted clip, “Greg” reached Elie Golf Club’s long, difficult par-4 ninth green and had a four-footer for birdie. But because golfers never want to take the easy way out he belted his putt up a slope and appeared to cover about 100 feet of fescue green to make his birdie. 

Looks real to us:


 

As a side note, The Golf House Club, Elie, as it’s formally known, sits in the “East Neuk” of Fife and is one one of Scotland’s quintessential “hidden gems.” The 6,273-yard course features a tremendous golf experience offering stellar ocean views, a connection to the quaint town of Earlsferry and the kind of satisfying challenge that makes you understand why golf prospered in Scotland.

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Photos

This viral golf photo speaks volumes about the separation of two worlds

Golf often is a place to escape life’s realities, but a Spanish course couldn’t avoid them as it became the backdrop for a dramatic photo making its way around the Internet Thursday.

The image shows several African migrants trying to enter Europe from Morocco by climbing a nearly 20-foot-tall, razor-wire fence adjacent to the Club Campo de Golf in Melilla, Spain. The migrants had been living for months in makeshift campgrounds near the fence, waiting for an opportunity to cross the border and seek asylum as Spanish officers (hidden by the bushes) attempted to keep them from coming over.

The photo was taken by Jose Palazon of the human-rights group PRODEIN, and posted on Twitter.

According to a story in The Guardian, roughly 200 migrants tired to scale the fence with 20 successfully making it over. As many as 70, meanwhile, remained stuck on the fence for several hours.

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