The Local Knowlege

Gear & Equipment

TaylorMade's welcome dilemma

It must have been an interesting afternoon for executives of TaylorMade Golf as they watched the final match of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Sunday. One finalist was Martin Kaymer, the soon-to-be-annointed No. 1 player in the world, reigning PGA Champion and full-line TaylorMade staff player. The other was Luke Donald, a Mizuno staff player who happened to be wielding TaylorMade's flagship product, the white R11 driver.


Luke Donald:R11.JPG
Donald gave TaylorMade's R11 driver its first PGA Tour win. Photo: J.D. Cuban

So which player was the company rooting for?

On the surface the theoretical question would appear to be a no-brainer. Kaymer is a TaylorMade guy and as the new No. 1 he is someone the company can ride in terms of exposure for the brand. But fact is TaylorMade has pretty much bet the ranch on white clubs -- and the R11 in particular -- becoming popular. Company president and CEO Mark King even went so far as to recently tell Golf Digest the goal was "to make black drivers obsolete." 

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News & Tours

Ga. Tech's White, LSU's Ernst claim weekly honors

College players of the week: Feb. 21-27
MEN

James White.jpegJames White, Georgia Tech
A closing 68 at Rio Mar CC's River Course gave the junior from Acworth, Ga., a one-stroke victory over Alabama's Bud Cauley at the Puerto Rico Classic, his second win of the 2010-11 season.

"I didn't start off so quick, but I kept telling myself that things would turn out, and I'd have a chance at the end," said White, who posted a 10-under 206 total. "I felt like right around the turn there were some good chances to make birdies. The holes for 11 to 15 you could bank on. I tried to get one or two in the beginning and stay steady."

White's triumph was perhaps predictable. In his previous six rounds on the course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, he had shot no worse than 71, finishing T-6 in the tournament in 2009 and T-15 in 2010. White maintained he record with opening rounds of 69-69.

Austin Ernst.jpgWOMEN
Austin Ernst, LSU
The freshman from Seneca, S.C., won her first college event, shooting a three-under 213 at the Central District Invitational to beat TCU's Brooke Beeler by one stroke. Ernst shot a final-round 72 at River Wilderness GC in Parrish, Fla., to rally from three shots off Beeler's second-round lead. In the process, she became the 14th player in school history to win an individual title. ... Read
Instruction

Martin Kaymer: The new No. 1

Even though he lost his first match as the new No. 1 player in the world to Luke Donald--in yesterday's final of the Accenture Match Play--Martin Kaymer proved this week that he will be a major force for a long time to come. He clearly has what it takes to add more major titles to his PGA Championship from last August.

His mental toughness--as exhibited by coming back from an early 3-down deficit to Donald to square the match by the turn--shows he can hold it together even when his A game doesn't show up. And when his A game does show up, watch out. That's when he dominates in the old Tigerlike fashion, as noted in my blog post and video of four weeks ago. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more on Kaymer's game and how it can help your game. And remember to follow me on Twitter @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest

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Courses & Travel

Wild Winter: Snow Days At Bandon Dunes

The circle.jpg
No one plays more rounds at Bandon Dunes than Mother Nature--especially in February--but she rarely closes the course. Last week was an exception.

“On Thursday at 5 o’clock, the course was clear,” says Marie Krebsbach, guest-appreciation coordinator at Bandon Dunes. “By 9 o’clock, it got cold, and there was snow everywhere.”

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News & Tours

Golf World Monday: Donald's workout regimen

From the Feb. 28 issue of Golf World Monday:

Luke Donald, one of the stalwarts of Europe's last three winning Ryder Cup sides, has been the bridesmaid in America more often than his talents should have allowed, so much so that the wags in his native England hung the epithet of "Luke Donald Disease" on players who couldn't close the deal.

donald_300.jpgWell, Donald finished it off at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship against the world's No. 1 player, Martin Kaymer, and did it in a most steely fashion, winning 3 and 2. Donald was clearly the player most on-form all week. He never trailed, not once. He got to the championship match playing fewer holes than anyone else ever has, including Tiger Woods at the height of his power. And he never saw the 18th hole except in a practice round.

After jumping out to a 3-up lead early, Donald allowed the reigning PGA champion to push back to square the match through nine holes. If Luke Donald Disease was ever going to strike, that was the time. But Donald didn't blink.

For the last year and a half Donald has been working with Dave Alred, considered the world's best kicking coach (rugby and soccer), who works both in and out of sports, "raising performance levels within pressured environments."

Obviously, they've raised Luke's.

--Jim Moriarty

To subscribe to Golf World Monday, click here.
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Gear & Equipment

Kaymer in the Buff

Here's the lowdown on Martin Kaymer's weekend fashion statement that resembled a scarf wrapped around his neck for warmth.

Kaymer.jpg

It wasn't a scarf and it wasn't designed for warmth (though it no doubt provided some). It's called a Buff, designed for sun protection for fishermen. It came from Vaughn Cochran's Black Fly Outfitter in Jacksonville, Fla. Cochran, admirably wasting no time in marketing Kaymer's use of the Buff and the ensuing publicity it generated, now has this on the the company's website:

"Martin Kaymer's neck wear in the recent WGC Accenture Match Play is a Vaughn Cochran Black Fly Buff. You'll find them worldwide used in golfing, soccer, biking, racing, skiing, fishing and hiking."

TarponFly.jpg

Kaymer's Black Fly Buff was the Tarpon Fly UV Fishing Buff from the Angler Series. It sells for $23.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

Watson undone by trademark sweeping cut

MARANA, Ariz. -- Martin Kaymer had to make a putt of just under eight feet to close him out but the go-for-broke style of Bubba Watson may be what cost him a spot in the finals of the Accenture Match Play Championship. When Watson and Kaymer came to the drivable 15th all square, Watson pulled out the pink-shafted driver.

That came as no surprise. But, with the pin back left, Bubba decided to go to his stock-in-trade shot--the massive banana cut. The wind, however, was blowing stoutly from right to left across the hole, meaning Watson's tee shot would have to ride it. The ball finished in the left desert in the middle of a bush and Watson had to take an unplayable, losing the hole to Kaymer's birdie. He lost the par-three 16th to the German's par and Kaymer, the newly anointed, World No. 1 held off the American to make it into the Sunday final against Luke Donald.

-- Jim Moriarty

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News & Tours

Holmes tastes bitter end to surprising run

MARANA--Eventually J.B. Holmes is going to be reasonably content with getting to the quarterfinals of a tournament he wasn't even supposed to be in but, after being 5 up on Bubba Watson with eight holes to play, it may take a while to get there.

"It happens every year to somebody," said Holmes. "It hurts a little bit but I'll get over it." This is the second time it's happened to Holmes who was 3 up on Tiger Woods with five to play in the '08 Accenture Match Play Championship and lost when the then-No. 1 Woods went birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle to overtake him.

It began to slip away against Watson when Holmes made trips to the desert on the 11th and 13th but it was the interesting end to the match that caught everyone's attention. Still with a 1 up lead, Holmes drove it into the rough on the 18th and hit his approach short of the green in a desert bush. The ball was against a sprinkler, sort of wiry desert spritzer, from which he got relief. His drop, however, put him in a spot where his follow through would have hit yet another little black plastic spritzer. He got a re-drop but, even so, couldn't get the ball up and down, losing the hole to Watson's par.

On the first extra hole, both players found the desert. Watson had a swing at his and managed to put it up by the green. Holmes had to take an unplayable, going all the way back to an adjacent fairway. His third came up short and he lost the hole to Watson's par.

"I got lucky," said Watson. "He hit a 3-wood that went almost 400 yards and into the desert and I won 11. Then I birdied a couple of holes coming down and just caught him."

-- Jim Moriarty
 
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Instruction

Saturday Morning Tip: Escaping a steep bunker

It wasn't a Saturday morning; it was a Monday morning. And I remember it like it was yesterday morning, even though it was in 1983 at the U.S. Open at Oakmont. Due to severe weekend weather, the final round of the tournament was finishing a day late. Tom Watson was in a fierce battle with Larry Nelson, who was playing ahead. On the short par-4 17th, the pin was cut on the right side of the green, and Watson fired at the flag. His ball ended up short-sided in a steep bunker to the right of the green. I was standing nearby, just inside the gallery ropes, and from my great vantage point I could see no way for Watson to get his bunker shot close. But Tom hit a miraculous shot, the ball floating out softly, then spinning to within a few feet of the hole. He had a tricky sidehill putt, which he lipped out, losing the championship to Nelson.

But I'll never forget that shot. Interestingly, Tom clearly remembers it as well. He referred to it ... Read
Courses & Travel

Gamble Ranch: "...The Next Sand Hills."

GambleRanch.jpgI was beginning to think Tom Doak and Bill Coore were the only active course builders on U.S. soil. Then I caught up with David McLay Kidd, who was taking a break from meetings and skiing in central Oregon on a Friday afternoon.

“The U.S. is quiet,” Kidd says, “but I’ve got a project in central Washington that might be the next Sand Hills.”

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