The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

Ernie Els isn't just major winner. He's also a club designer

By Mike Stachura

Some were surprised when Ernie Els signed an endorsement contract with Adams Golf in January, but the real surprise might be that Els helped design the iron he has played since the spring.

loop-adams-iron-518.jpgThe XTD Tour uses the same cross braces in the cavity found in the company’s more game-improvement-style XTD iron, plus a slightly smaller sole slot to increase the face’s ability to flex at impact. The cross braces deepen the center of gravity for extra stability on off-center hits.

Els helped refine the shape on his more compact version of the XTD, including a squarer toe on the short irons. The XTD Tour will be available in September ($700, seven irons).

Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

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Fantasy Golf

Fantasy Fix: Do the golf gods owe Hunter Mahan in Canada?

By Alex Myers

The last time Royal Montreal held the RBC Canadian Open it was the Bell Canadian Open. The year was 2001, and Scott Verplank was the winner (Royal Montreal also hosted the 2007 Presidents Cup). In other words, looking back isn't going to help much. Instead, we'll focus more on current form. Oh, and you're welcome for those Rory and Sergio picks for the British Open. We'll try to keep the momentum going with this week's fantasy lineup:

The Grind: Jagermeister in the claret jug and DJ/Paulina on the beach

Starters -- (A-List): Matt Kuchar. We pick him almost every other week (although we're running dangerously close to using up all his starts). Why not here?

(B-List): Jim Furyk. Fresh off a fourth-place finish at the British Open, Furyk missed the cut the last time he teed it up at Royal Montreal. However, that was 17 years ago. We'll weigh his two other wins in this tournament more heavily.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

(B-List): Hunter Mahan. You probably remember Mahan hastily leaving this tournament last year despite holding the 36-hole lead to be with his wife, Kandi, who was having the couple's first child. The golf gods owe him this week, don't they?

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(C-List): Graeme McDowell. G-Mac's last three tournaments? T-6 at the Irish Open, a win at the French Open and a T-9 at the British Open. This is another OPEN.

Bench/Backups: Brandt Snedeker, Graham DeLaet, Jerry Kelly, Charl Schwartzel.

Related: 11 sleepers to watch in 2014

Knockout/One-and-done pick: Hunter Mahan. Two words: golf gods.

Previously used: Keegan Bradley (Doral), Tim Clark (Sony), Jason Day (Congressional), Graham DeLaet (Phoenix), Luke Donald (Valspar), Rickie Fowler (Honda Classic), Jim Furyk (Heritage), Sergio Garcia (British Open), Bill Haas (Farmers), Charley Hoffman (Travelers), Billy Horschel (Zurich), Charles Howell III (Humana), Freddie Jacobson (Valero), Dustin Johnson (Northern Trust), Zach Johnson (Colonial), Matt Kuchar (U.S. Open), Martin Laird (Kapalua), Graeme McDowell (Bay Hill), Ryan Palmer (Memphis), Justin Rose (Memorial), Adam Scott (Masters), Jordan Spieth (Houston), Henrik Stenson (Players), Jimmy Walker (Pebble -- winner!), Gary Woodland (Nelson).

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News & Tours

Ankle injury 48 hours before match is a good thing for Stacy Lewis

By Keely Levins

Here’s all you need to know about the kind of year the LPGA Tour is having in 2014. The No. 1 player in the world suffers an ankle injury days before the tour's newest flagship event is set to debut, and it might actually be a good thing.


stacy lewis international crown.jpg

In a Tuesday practice round for the inaugural International Crown, a competition between teams from eight different countries being held at Caves Valley G.C. outside of Baltimore, World No. 1 Stacy Lewis rolled her right angle while stepping on a sprinkler head she said was set pretty deep into the ground.

A few hours after the practice round, Lewis had the ankle taped up, and in her usual resilient manner, assured everyone the injury isn't going to affect a thing. "If anything, it's helping me stay down and not jump in front of the ball, which I've been trying to work on for two weeks,” Lewis said, “so maybe it's a good thing."

Lewis is on the four-person American squad and will be paired with Lexi Thompson in a four-ball match against Chinese Taipei with the International Crown beings Thursday.



(Photo by Getty Images) ... Read
Celebrity

Stephen Colbert on 'Wozilroy': "Breakups are the ultimate performance-enhancing drug"

By Alex Myers

Attributing the weekend success of Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki to their recent breakup is nothing new. But when Stephen Colbert tackles any subject on his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report," he's bound to give a fresh take.

Related: Rory and Jager: An unauthorized history

On Sunday, McIlroy won the British Open -- his third major, but first in nearly two years -- and Wozniacki won the Istanbul Cup, her first win in nine months. On Tuesday, Colbert noted that the two were in a "sixth stage of grief: winning an international sports tournament." He then declared, "Breakups are the ultimate performance-enhancing drug." Tiger Woods and others might disagree.

Here's the full clip:

(h/t Back9network.com)

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Courses & Travel

It's Play 9 Day, which means we should all skip work and go play golf

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

It's Play 9 day! Does your boss know? You should tell your boss.

In case you're not already familiar, "Play 9" is a joint USGA-PGA-Golf Digest initiative that aims to bring more people into the game by encouraging them to play nine holes more often. Not having enough time is undoubtedly one of the biggest obstacles to people playing more golf, and nine holes is a pretty handy way around that. You may remember those Rickie Fowler commercials about it around the time of the U.S. Open.

blog-rickie-usga-518.gif
Rickie also talked about it on CNBC's morning show, Squawk Box, on Wednesday.

 

As part of the initiative, the USGA is hosting a tournament through its website. And if this post has suddenly inspired you to leave work and go play a quick nine, here's a list of the country's most nine-hole friendly courses, many of whom are offering special rates as part of the initiative.

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News & Tours

Why the key to Rory McIlroy completing the career Grand Slam might be an amateur golfer

By Alex Myers

Remember when Rory McIlroy played with an amateur marker at the Masters -- and lost? The recent British Open winner certainly remembers, but instead of being embarrassed or bitter, McIlroy seems intent on using the experience to his advantage.

blog-rory-mcilroy-jeff-knox-0723.jpg

With the claret jug next to him on the podium in his post-tournament press conference, McIlroy, now a winner of three of golf's four major championships, was asked about trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National.

Related: 19 things you should know about Rory McIlroy

"I've always been comfortable from tee to green at Augusta," said McIlroy, who wound up shooting 69 the day after his Saturday pairing with amateur Jeff Knox "And it's taken me a few years to figure out the greens . . . if I can just figure out the greens a little bit more. What really helped me last year was playing with Jeff Knox in the third round. He's my amateur marker and he's the best I've ever seen on Augusta's greens."

Of course, Knox isn't just any amateur. The longtime member of Augusta National has played in two U.S. Amateurs, is a two-time mid-amateur champion in Georgia, and holds the Augusta National course record from the members tees with a 61. He has been a noncompeting marker if there has been an odd number golfers to make the cut in the tournament since 2002 and reportedly upset Sergio Garcia by beating him in the final round in 2006. In this year's third round, Knox shot 70 to McIlroy's 71, but McIlroy reacted much differently.

On Tuesday, the Augusta Chronicle reported McIlroy hopes to learn more from Knox, who said he received a letter from McIlroy asking to play a couple practice rounds with him before the 2015 Masters. The 51-year-old Knox said McIlroy reaching out to him "says a lot about the young man," and that he'd be happy to play with him.

Of course, it also felt good to be singled out by one of golf's great players in the wake of his latest major championship triumph.

Related: Rory and Jager: An unauthorized history

"It was quite an honor for him to say that," Knox said. "I don't know if shocked is the right word, but it was quite an honor. I happened to play good that day; I guess that helped."

With more expert help on the greens to come and potentially decades of future trips to Augusta in April, the odds of McIlroy achieving golf's modern career Grand Slam -- something only five players have accomplished -- are looking pretty good.

(h/t Augusta Chronicle)

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News & Tours

Golf World goes all digital

By GolfDigest.com Staff

As part of the new strategic vision for Golf Digest and Golf World that began this spring with the introduction of the Golf Digest video channel, the relaunch of GolfDigest.com and the redesign of Golf Digest magazine, Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde and President Peter Hunsinger announce today a news division that combines the best of both Golf Digest and Golf World to expand our collective digital presence. With the sports news cycle demanding immediate access to quality content, we now will offer more of what our audience wants, when they want it and where they want to get it. To that end, beginning July 28, we’ll be making the following enhancements to both our golf brands.

  • Golf World will now be available exclusively on digital platforms. Instead of 31 times a year delivered in print, a week after tournaments are completed, Golf World will be delivered 50 times a year on Mondays at 7 a.m. EST, accessible on all digital devices.    
  • Readers of Golf World will receive the quality content free of charge, and we will honor the value of their current Golf World print subscription with Golf Digest.
  • Golf World Editor-in-Chief Jaime Diaz will lead the new news-division team that will encompass contributors from both Golf Digest and GolfDigest.com. Video reports will be added to our coverage, including “The Rosaforte Report” in video with chief correspondent and columnist Tim Rosaforte. Golf World content will feature weekly bonus “Long Reads” as well as “10 Things We’re Talking About,” stats packages, and Mike Johnson’s exclusive equipment coverage from the pro tours.        
  • Golf World will be instantly viewable from GolfDigest.com with daily updates on the latest golf news and tour coverage.
  • Digital designs will be enhanced to provide more ad spreads, and mobile designs will be upgraded to provide improved functionality for fans on the road. We recognize this is a big change from how we have operated and delivered the printed Golf World magazine in the past. But this evolution allows us to increase frequency, improve delivery time, and add video reporting to better meet the expectations of today’s readers. 
  • We are also announcing today the launch of Golf Digest Mexico, a new licensee for a monthly print publication and website, and eventually for multimedia channels, as well as events. Golf Digest’s worldwide network now includes 29 editions in 17 languages and is the No. 1-distributed sports magazine in the world.
We want to acknowledge the many talented people who have brought us to this point. We also want to recognize those who are working on making this conversion as seamless and successful as possible, pushing boundaries to serve your needs.  

For more than 67 years, Golf World has been the standard bearer in golf media, and with these changes, we are confident Golf World and Golf Digest will continue to be the go-to source for passionate golfers and fans around the world. 
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Health & Fitness

Add a little spice to your core workout

By Ron Kaspriske

fitness-friday-paulina-planks.jpgStrengthening the muscles around your mid-section is so important if you want to play well—not to mention protect your back from injury. The core muscles have a number of chores when you swing the club including generating and delivering power to your rotation through the ball. They also help you maintain your posture, which is important if you want to make solid contact. One of the best, if not the best, exercise for safely building a strong core is the plank. It looks like a push-up except you rest on your forearms, and try to hold the position for as long as you can. It's a much better exercise for your abdomen than sit-ups or crunches since it puts very little stress on your spinal chord. The only knock on planks are that they can be a little boring. The stronger your core gets, the longer you have to hold the position to gain any real benefit from doing them. That's why many people stop doing planks. Before you give up on this wonderful exercise, I suggest you spice up the plank.

Click on the video below to see me do a version of this move that adds an element of cardiovascular training and makes them more interesting to do.



Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.


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Tenuous golf connection

Drop what you're doing and check out this incredible golf-themed video parody of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

By Alex Myers

The problem with parody songs? Unless you're "Weird Al" Yankovic, they usually come across as cheesy, unfunny, and they are generally not well done.

Not this one.

The Grind: Watch Lee Westwood sing and a very dangerous trick shot

Nigel Tait's annual golf buddies trip to Australia has a tradition of featuring parody songs. We're going to assume this rendition of Queen's famed "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the group's best. Check it out:

Tait had help from his golf mates with the lyrics and in the video, but it appears that he was responsible for all instruments, lead vocals, harmonies and sound effects. Very impressive.

"Golfing really matters, anyone can see. Golfing really matters. Golfing really matters to me . . ." Tait swoons near the end of the song.

Related: Rory & Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

We can tell, Nigel. We can tell.

(h/t GolfChannel.com)

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Golf & Business

Baby, You're a Rich Man: What Winning Another Major Means for Rory's Finances

By Peter Finch

What does a golfer get for winning a major championship, beyond the prize money?

Even more money.

Rory McIlroy’s win at Hoylake earned him nearly £1 million, or $1.7 million. But paydays like those pale next to what he makes off the course. His contract with Nike is worth an estimated $10 million to $12 million a year. And that’s just one in a package of endorsements that placed him at No. 5 on Golf Digest’s most recent ranking of the game’s 50 biggest earners.

You can safely assume McIlroy will be even higher on our list next time. While Nike declines to comment on specifics of its endorsement deals, it’s common for golfers to have incentive clauses that reward them with bonuses for wins and major championships. 

loop mcilroy.jpg"Almost all contracts have bonuses tied to winning, and to winning majors," agent Mac Barnhardt of Crown Sports LLC told Golf Digest’s Ron Sirak earlier this year. "And the bonus for winning a major is two to four times higher than for a regular win. So we're talking bonuses from $100,000 to $500,000 per contract."

Sirak continued: “According to one agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity, [Justin] Rose's $1.2 million TaylorMade deal doubled in value after his Open victory. The same agent says [Phil] Mickelson got a $1 million bonus from Callaway for winning the British Open. A second agent says Rose and Masters winner Adam Scott will earn an extra $3 million to $5 million annually for winning a major."

McIlroy’s other sponsors include Bose speakers, the Spanish bank Santander and Omega watches.

On top of all that, McIlroy’s appearance fees are likely to climb too. At the moment, he collects $1 million per appearance in South Korea and China, according to the Irish Times. He is said to have asked for $2 million to appear in the Australian Open two years ago -- an amount equal to Tiger Woods’ fee -- but was turned down, Australian Golf Digest reported. Next time he asks for $2 million, he might well get it.



Photo: Getty Images ... Read
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