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Business

Shigeki Maruyama's house for sale at a bargain price: $16.5 million (down from $19.8 million)

Here is more proof — not that any was necessary — that we’re in the wrong line of work: Shigeki Maruyama’s house in Los Angeles’ Bel-Air neighborhood is up for sale. Asking price: $16.5 million.

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Now, Maruyama, 44, has had a nice career — three PGA Tour victories, 10 Japan Golf Tour wins, $13.8 million in career earnings on PGA Tour, but a $16.5 million, 13,339-square foot house?

Should he get that price (reduced from its original price of $19.8 million), he’ll turn nearly a $9 million profit from the purchase price of $7.6 million (in 2004), according to the Los Angeles Times.

If you’re interested, Kurt Rappaport of the Westside Estate Agency is his realtor and the property, which features views of downtown Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean and the Stone Canyon Reservoir, can be viewed here.
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Style

A slip-on golf shoe that, well, actually looks like a golf shoe

Derived from the Greek word bios, for "life," Biion seeks to bring new life to the golf-shoe industry. The brainchild of Toronto fashion entrepreneur Rick Buchanan, the slip-on shoes are made of a lightweight yet sturdy EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) material that is anti-microbial, odor-resistant and washable.

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The company offers shoes in five styles—classic, patterns, saddles, brights and wingtips—and 36 colors. Each features a dual-density midsole and honeycomb-pattern spikeless tread to provide stability and comfort.

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Unique to Biion's design is my favorite feature: aeration holes. Not only do they help keep your feet cool and dry, but they allow you to wear the shoes with or without socks. Retailing for $100, these shoes provide a definite style statement whether worn on or off the course.

Interested in more stories on apparel? 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 fashion.

 

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News & Tours

Exclusive: PGA Tour to release new "strokes gained" statistic after the Barclays

If you like statistics, brace yourself, because the golf world is about to get a little more wonderfully wonky.

PGA Tour officials confirmed this week it will launch the new strokes gained/tee to green statistic on Monday following the Barclays, adding to their already growing repertoire of online metrics.

Strokes gained/tee to green will sit alongside the tour's current stats like greens in regulation and fairways hit, and like strokes gained/putting, the metric was developed in conjunction with Columbia University professor Mark Broadie. The tour has been gathering this data since 2008 through its ShotLink system, and will publish the statistic starting from that year on its website.

"This is the next step of our evolution," Steve Evans, the tour's head of Information Systems and overseer of the ShotLink system, which is underpinned by CDW, said. "But we're trying to create new performance metrics that are more telling than some of the current statistics."

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Evans said the PGA Tour plans to expand on its strokes gained/putting statistic with metrics like strokes gained/driving and strokes gained/approach shots sometime in 2015. But with those formulas still being devised, the tour didn't want to wait to introduce the new, simpler metric. 

The way strokes gained/tee to green works is relatively straightforward: Let's say the field's scoring average for Sunday at the Barclays is even-par 72. Imagine, then, that Keegan Bradley shoots 70 and his strokes gained/putting stat for the day is one -- meaning that he gains one stroke on the field through his putting. In that scenario, Bradley gained the other stroke on the field from tee-to-green, so his strokes gained/tee to green figure that day would be one.

A statistic like greens in regulations, which Evans says will remain a useful metric, can be swayed in ways that strokes gained/tee to green can't. If Adam Scott, for example, only plays in the toughest events -- events where it's harder to hit greens in regulation -- his greens-hit percentage will likely be lower than someone who only plays in events where it's easier to hit greens. That essentially masks the fact that Adam Scott is the superior ball-striker of the two.

"It's not perfect," Evans said. "But I think we're going to reveal some things people didn't expect, sometimes we're going to confirm what they were thinking, and hopefully explain why certain players are winning."


Below is the top ten leaders with the highest strokes gained/tee to green average from the start of the season, through the WGC-Bridgestone.

Rank Player Average
1 Sergio Garcia 2.160
2 Rory McIlroy 1.936
3 Jim Furyk 1.639
4 Hideki Matsuyama 1.622
5 Bubba Watson 1.511
6 Justin Rose 1.465
7 Graham DeLaet 1.267
8 Charl Schwartzel 1.263
9 Ryan Moore 1.239
10 Matt Kuchar 1.223

 

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News & Tours

Missing Links: A budding McIlroy-Fowler rivalry? And doubt prevails for Cameron Tringale

Stories of interest you might have missed…

The search for a rival for Rory McIlroy begins with Rickie Fowler. “I definitely have some work to do but there is a potential of him and I being able to play against each other for a long time to come, both being the same age,” Fowler said in this column by Tara Sullivan of the North New Jersey newspaper the Record.

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(Getty Images photo)

Cameron Tringale still isn’t sure about the stroke in question at the PGA Championship, but chose to err on the side of integrity and disqualified himself days later for having signed an incorrect scorecard. “I didn't want the way I play this game or my integrity questioned,” he said in this story by ESPN’s Bob Harig. He “eventually came to the decision that there's enough doubt that I want to take myself out.”

“As Jimmy Walker stood on the tee at the fifth hole at Ridgewood Country Club, sun peered through the clouds, and a refrain popped into his head: reapply, reapply. So out came the sunscreen, and a smattering quickly smeared its way across Walker’s chin and cheeks.” Zach Schonbrum in the New York Times recounts Walker’s recent surgery to remove a small basal cell carcinoma on his left cheek, skin cancer.

Gunn Yang’s U.S. Amateur victory was a surprise to most, but not to his instructor Glen Daugherty. “I’ve told Gunn for two years, ‘You don’t know it yet, but you’re as good as any amateur out there,’” Daugherty told Tod Leonard of the UT-San Diego. “‘You’re going to be somebody who will do well on the [PGA] tour someday. These college kids are beating you now, but they won’t be for long.’”

Web.com Tour player Harold Varner III asks a reasonable question in this Businessweek story on him: “I don’t understand why people still think along those terms, like, ‘Man, he’s the only black kid out here.’ Why can I not just be a kid?”

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Health & Fitness

Is the late season golf schedule really that grueling? Yes, and there's science to prove it

It seems you can't have the FedEx Cup Playoffs without hearing how the frenetic PGA Tour schedule takes its toll on players. And it's true, by professional golf standards, this is a busy time. Dating back to the Open Championship in July, many top players will end up playing seven times in nine weeks through the Tour Championship. That is indeed a lot of high-stakes golf, with a lot of pressure, and a lot of time away from home -- even for guys who can afford a team of full-time nannies. 

Still, is it really that grueling? Let's look at the science.

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In 2004, Harvard Medical School released a study ranking the physical exertion of various activities, with calories burned as the comparative metric. For starters, it said a 185-pound person carrying his own clubs would burn roughly 1,100 calories over a four-and-a-half-round (or 244 calories per half hour). By comparison, a person using a cart for the same time period would burn roughly 700 calories (155 calories per half hour). Now since we know professional golfers don't carry their own clubs but do walk, the number is actually closer to 1,000 calories for a typical round. 

But of course, we also know that pro golfers don't just play four rounds of 18 holes each week. They usually play a pro-am round, and at least another practice round, so that's another 2,000 calories right there. Plus, they practice and warm-up before each of those round, for an average of at least 90 minutes each day (we'll use golf in a cart as a baseline there since there's not much walking involved), so that works out to an additional 2,790 calories over the six days on site at a golf tournament.

And let's remember, golfers also exert themselves away from the golf course. On the tour, it's common for players to work out for at least an hour a day as well, three or four times a week. Harvard puts high-impact exercise at upwards of 900 calories an hour, which works out to another 3,150 calories a week.

That covers the really physical demanding stuff, but there's still plenty more to a tour player's week. Unless they're flying private and they're spared such indignities, traveling means having to stand in line (56 calories per half hour). While they're waiting at the gate, they might choose to sit and read (50 calories). And heaven forbid they brought their kids with them, because that introduces all kinds of taxing stuff like "Child-care: bathing, feeding, etc." (155 calories) or "Playing with kids: moderate effort" (178 calories). Even sleeping a square eight hours can burn 448 calories. And since we're assuming most players aren't celibate, we should probably factor in sex, which a separate study by the University of Montreal puts at 100 calories per session. 

So there you have it. A tour player's week can add up to about 16,000 calories burned over the course of seven days. And that doesn't even cover certain outlier activities. Matt Kuchar, for instance, recently admitted he hurt his back driving around looking for a Slip 'N Slide for his kids. As far as we know, Harvard doesn't have a measurement for that.

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Gear & Equipment

Mizuno has 'lofty' ambitions with its new MP-T5 wedges

Despite the USGA's rollback on groove performance, we've seen there's more to wedge technology than how deep and sharp the scorelines are cut. One company that has continually made advancements is Mizuno, which first introduced the idea of varying groove geometry to match performance requirements of specific lofts.

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Its latest offering, the MP-T5 ($130), takes this thinking to its extreme. Through its custom program there are 25 options, including at least one bounce for every loft from 49 to 62 degrees. Mizuno also offers five sole grinds matched specifically to subsets of those lofts and two finishes (white satin and black ion).loop-mizuno-mpt5-wedges-Black-518.jpg

The MP-T5 features the company's carbon-steel forging, and the groove design is again loft-specific: narrower and deeper on the lower lofts to improve full-shot spin and wider and shallower on the higher lofts for better partial-shot spin.

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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Celebrity

5 things to talk about with your buddies on the course this weekend

From sports to TV to politics (OK, so mostly the first two), we offer five hot topics that are sure to liven up your round of golf:

1. Tiger & Rory: Golf's most famous besties had quite a Monday when they plugged Nike equipment and appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon together. They also took turns dumping cold water on each other for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and then Rory told everyone that Tiger said he's not going to let him win a green jacket next year. We can only hope this friendship turns into a friendly rivalry. Oh yeah, Rory also nominated actress Meghan Markle and then did the ice dumping on her personally. Apparently, Rory is a huge fan of the show "Suits" -- apparently, huge fans of that show exist. At least, that's his story. Don't be too jealous, Tiger!

Related: Rory and Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

2. Mo'ne Davis: What a phenomenon this 13-year-old girl has become. She became the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series and her success landed her on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Nearly five million people tuned in to watch her next start! It didn't go very well, but it doesn't diminish what this incredible girl has done this summer. Show me the Mo'ne!

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3. FedEx Cup Playoffs: Speaking of being shown the money, you guys realize that the golfer who comes out on top of this four-week bonanza gets a $10 MILLION bonus, right? Think about that the next time you're shaking over a four-footer to halve your $2 Nassau.

Related: The top 10 earners in FedEx Cup history

4. Johnny Manziel: We are still about two weeks from the NFL's regular season kicking off, but football -- in particular, Johnny Football -- has already taken over the sports news. It seems like there's more Manziel coverage on a typical ESPN SportsCenter than there are highlights of all 30 MLB teams combined. When he flipped the bird at an opposing team's sideline in a preseason game, it became the week's top story. And he's only been named the Cleveland Browns' BACKUP quarterback! Don't worry, though, you can buy "Johnny Clipboard" shirts now to help get your Johnny Football fix. Enough about this guy already! (OK, so those shirts are pretty awesome.)

Related: Why this has been the least exciting season of majors since 2000

5. Popstars paying to play: The NFL is so powerful, it's reportedly narrowed its choices of prospective Super Bowl halftime show acts to Coldplay, Rihanna, and Katy Perry -- and it's asking them to pay for the honor of performing. To be fair, we can think of a few songs Rihanna should pay us to listen to. Sorry, but I'm Team Katy all the way! I mean, (*deeper voice*) Team Coldplay! Yeah, Team Coldplay. . .

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Golf equipment

David Feherty: "I guess the idiots at the USGA don't consider [Jack Nicklaus] enough of an expert"

David Feherty was as candid as ever in a recent interview in Men's Journal. When the subject of how golf can stay relevant with young people, the CBS on-course reporter and Emmy award-winning talk show host on Golf Channel didn't hold back his opinion of golf's governing body.

Related: Golf World's profile on David Feherty

"The people running the game should think more about the average amateur. Unlike football and baseball, golf is watched by people who still play the sport. So change the rules and make the ball bigger to slow it down, which will help the amateurs on the greens and attract more players. Twenty-five years ago, Jack Nicklaus said they should do this. I guess the idiots at the USGA don't consider him enough of an expert."

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To be fair, Feherty spent most of the interview being just as tough on himself for, among other things, being "stupid" in school, losing control with alcohol and drugs, and failing his family. He says it's being open about that stuff that makes him talk so freely on the air.

"I'm at an advantage -- all of my skeletons are out of the closet," he said. "I'm as f----- up as they come. I have to take 13 pills a day to be this normal."

Feherty also recently addressed taking his pills on Twitter following comedian Robin Williams' suicide.

In the grand scheme of things, debating the dimensions of a golf ball seems trivial, but it's part of Feherty's job -- and we're glad it is. Whether you agree with him or not, such discussions could have a huge impact on a game that has been in the news a lot recently for not growing enough.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

Feherty's "idiots" line probably won't make him any friends at the USGA, but it raises important questions about the future of the game. The more experts we hear from, the better.

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News & Tours

Explainer: The varying reactions to President Obama's golf

If you've been following the news, you'll know that President Barack Obama has been under fire recently for what his critics say is too much golf. We'll let the left-right politics sites debate whether that's fair or not, and instead attempt to put the whole thing in context.

How did this all start?

Obama's critics have long derided the president for the amount of golf he's been playing while in office, but the recent outrage has less to do with his number of rounds (although that is playing a role), and more to do with when he's playing them. He played golf after giving a statement on the continuing racial tensions in Ferguson, Mo., and then again shortly after an emotional statement on the ISIS murder of American journalist James Foley. While British Prime Minister David Cameron chose to suspend his vacation, pictures began circulating of Obama smiling and fist-pumping friends on the course, provoking strong reactions from the right's Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, and even some left-leaning voices, like Vox's Ezra Klein.

Klein brings up presidential vacations. How does all Obama's golf compare to other presidents?
 
According to CBS News Correspondent Mark Knoller, the leading authority in counting this stuff, Obama plays more golf than other presidents -- almost 200 rounds since January 2009 -- but that doesn't necessarily mean more vacation time. Knoller compared Obama's time away to his predecessor, George W. Bush, and found that Bush played a lot less golf (24 rounds over the same time period) but took more vacation days (381, compared to Obama's 129). Either way, it's generally agreed that criticizing any president's vacation time is a little silly, which is why people are more upset by the timing.

Is Obama being singled out more than his predecessors?

Not really. It's not necessarily the fairest thing to do, but taking on a president's leisure activities is such low-hanging fruit that the opposition usually can't resist. You may remember Democrats ridiculing George W. Bush in 2002 for his "watch this drive" gaffe seconds after a strongly worded message on terrorism. But that's not to suggest this is a recent phenomenon. On the contrary, this line of criticism is practically as old as politics itself. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a largely beloved president and glorified war hero, was targeted in a 1956 attack ad by his Democrat opponent Adlai Stevenson for going quail hunting during the Dien Bien Phu Crisis.

So is this the end of it?

Probably not. Golf is still the best sport ever (obviously), but even Obama insiders have confided the timing of his round so soon after the Foley murder was problematic. Nevertheless, this is all really about the 2016 presidential election. Candidates will start campaigning next year, and Republicans are ideally trying to paint the Democrats as a party unfit to run the country. If it was a Republican in office -- as there may be after the next election -- Democrats would be doing the same thing.


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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Training for better hip rotation

Muscular symmetry is paramount to staying injury free, and you should always exercise muscles on the left and right sides of the body—as well as the back and front—similarly. However, when it comes to synchronizing the downswing and creating clubhead speed, a key ingredient is generating good internal hip rotation on your dominant side (right hip for right-handed swingers). What does having good internal hip rotation mean? If you're sitting as you read this, with your butt on the edge of the chair and feet on the floor about shoulder-width apart, you should be able to touch your left knee to your right and vice versa—or at least come very close—without having to move the other leg inward.

the-loop-fitness-hip-rotation-300.jpgAlthough much of the lower body is active at the start of the downswing, rotating the right hip internally, meaning toward the target, is often cited by golf instructors as the key move if you want to hit solid shots. If you can fire that right hip toward the target as you start down, it's going to cure a host of swing flaws including poor timing and swing path. So how do you train your right hip? The folks at SuperFlex Fitness (@superflexfit), trainer Dave Herman and golf instructor Andrew Park (@theandrewpark), have developed a cool way to do it using a stretch band while you work on your swing.The concept is make you work harder to rotate the hip and really feel what it has to do through resistance.

Watch the video below to see Andrew and one of his students demonstrate it.




And if you're interested in more ways to improve your swing using flex bands, their SuperFlex Golf Swing Kit ($69.95) comes with a variety of bands and how-to instructions. You can buy it at superflexfitness.com. A single band costs $5 to $36 depending on thickness and function.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

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