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Video: Tour players on their holiday plans

By GolfDigest.com Staff

Offseason? There's a golf offseason? True, it may be measured in weeks instead of months, but there is indeed a pocket in the schedule that features no golf of consequence. So with Tiger Woods' World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousands Oaks, Calif., serving as most tour players' season finales, we asked a few what they had planned for their brief time away from the tour.


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Gear & Equipment

Odyssey offers 1st anchor alternative

Just two days after golf's ruling bodies proposed a ban on the anchored style of putting, the No. 1 putter company in golf announced it was launching a line of putters designed to work within the letter of what could be the new law.

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Odyssey will expand its Metal-X line of putters with two new versions of what it's calling the Arm Lock. The Arm Lock will feature specs optimized for an overlength putter with a grip designed to extend up the inside of the lead forearm. Available in both the popular two-pronged No. 7 and the D.A.R.T. mallet, the putter seems designed to utilize the style of putting employed currently by Matt Kuchar, a style specifically illustrated in Wednesday's press conference when the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews announced the proposed ban on anchored strokes.

"At Odyssey we were adamant about offering alternative solutions to golfers who might change their current technique based on the recent anchoring proposal," said Austie Rollinson, Principal Designer, Odyssey Golf. "We have more Tour players around the world playing and winning with Odyssey putters than any other company; we worked closely with many of them to dial in the new Arm Lock Putters to ensure they perform at the highest level."

A key element of the putter, which features a specially weighted 400-gram head, is a four-degree forward lean on the shaft angle. The idea is to put the hands and body in a position to make the putter an extension of the left arm.

The Arm Lock Putter ($190) is expected to be available at retail in January.

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Supplemental insurance

By Ron Kaspriske

Golfers often ask about the benefits of taking supplements in terms of improving their health and their golf games. Would talking an energy drink during a round help back-nine stamina? Do protein supplements help improve driving distances? Do anti-oxidant supplements speed recovery from injuries and soreness? Can beverages infused with electrolytes quickly hydrate the body?

My answer to these types of questions is always the same: If you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and drink enough water, you're just wasting your money buying supplements. Sure, someone who lives in Alaska in the winter could develop a severe deficiency in vitamin D, and that person could take a pill to help offset the effects of 20-plus hours of darkness. But that is an extreme case. And besides, that person also could recover some of that vitamin D by eating omelets with mushrooms. Yum.

The point is that many nutrition stores and websites have made a killing selling everything from fish-oil capsules to vitamin-C boosters by telling the average person that supplements will make them healthier and perform better. But research often doesn't support those conclusions.
 
An example of how supplements are a waste of time will be published in December's International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Whey protein supplements had no impact on untrained young adults who consumed it in a test conducted by University of Regina in Canada.

I'll spare you the details of the study, but suffice it to say that a group of young adults consumed a whey protein powder mixed with water before and after each set of nine different strength exercises. Another group of untrained young adults consumed a placebo. They did this four days a week for eight weeks. At the end of the study, both groups were considerably stronger. There was no difference between those who drank the whey protein powder--which can cost roughly $30-60 for a month's supply--and those who took the placebo.

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(Photo by Getty Images)

So if you're a golfer looking to pick up 20 yards off the tee, you're much better off if you eat nuts, lean meat, fish, beans, some whole grains and high-fiber vegetables. Combine that with some training, like my 20-in-20 exercise program (Get started here >), and your golf swing and stamina will improve. And with the money you save on the whey protein supplement, you can buy more golf balls when you start hitting it off the map.

Ron Kaspriske is fitness editor for Golf Digest
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Instruction

Drop the anchor: There's a better way

By Jeff Patterson

As golf's governing bodies propose a ban on anchoring, we propose you copy the pros who've putted just fine, thank you very much, without getting any dirty looks. Arnold Palmer, Mark O'Meara, Steve Stricker and Luke Donald have won 95 PGA Tour events between them, but each one has a distinct bit of personal putting advice that can help even the most dependent of anchorers get weaned off their likely-to-be outlawed approach. Some of these adjustments are so subtle you might not have even realized they were there. While these four have stacked the deck in their favor by tweaking conventional golf instruction and even their equipment, their
methods have and still conform to the rule book. maar01_arnie.jpg

Palmer's proprietary double-overlap grip, as he described in a 2008 interview with Guy Yocom, "always seemed to knit my hands together just right." As if that weren't enough to get his putterface consistently returning to impact, he would jury-rig the grip so he'd always have his hands on the same way, "including running the wire from a coat hanger under the grip to serve as a reminder." When a coat hanger wasn't enough, he used hacksaw blades because "they were nice and flat."

O'Meara cut his number of three-putts down with the help of a different kind of saw. A grip that puts his right hand on the club "like the way you use a handsaw. If that image doesn't work for you," he offered, "the way I explain it to most people is that my right hand is in a similar position to how it would be playing shuffleboard. It helps that the goal of both motions is pretty similar: Smoothly propelling an object the correct distance along a certain path." After winning the Masters and British Open in 1998, O'Meara had "started to develop a little yip in my stroke, with my right hand." He needed a way to regain the fluid motion that had made him one of the world's best players. The Saw was the answer and "saved [his] career."


inar01_mark_omeara_feel.jpg
inar01a_steve_stricker_putting.jpgStricker's reminder, unlike Palmer's, is a natural one, the lifeline on his left palm. As he told Ron Kaspriske, "This gives me a feeling of unity between the putter's shaft and my left arm." Because Stricker grips the putter at "a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10," there isn't much wiggle room for the grip or the face to twist. And with the club always held the same way, there's no additional variables to contend with. An important distinction because the same thing can't be said about reading greens, playing break and dealing with wind.

Donald would argue your grip and hand motion pales in comparison to the importance of how you swing the putterface. That is, after all, what hits the ball. He told Peter Morrice that by swinging his arms, it "allows me to swing the head of the club without moving the handle as much." Too often the anchoring-style of putting keyed so heavily on what went on above the waist, when really the true measure of skill on the greens is how well you roll the ball by getting the putterhead to do what it was designed to.



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News & Tours

ESPN film tackles "The Arnold Palmer" drink

By Alex Myers

Golf was pretty much forgotten during ESPN's critically-acclaimed series of documentaries, dubbed "30 For 30." In the network's second go-round of films, though, the sport is finally in the spotlight. Well, sort of...

A new "30 For 30 Short" on Grantland.com tackles the topic of Arnold Palmer, but more specifically, the drink that bears his name. With comedian Will Arnett as a host and interviews with Palmer, other pro golfers and random people in the street, the video addresses the history of the iced tea-lemonade concoction.

Related: Arnold Palmer's timeless tips

Some interesting tidbits come from the video, including when Arnie first thought up the drink and how it started to "spread like wildfire." And then there are the stats concerning the drink that has been distributed by AriZona Beverage Co. since 2002 -- something that has only added to Palmer's wealth. For 10-straight years, sales have increased by more than 10%, and the company will sell 400 million units in 2012.

And because it never gets old, here's the classic ESPN commercial in which SportsCenter anchors Scott Van Pelt and Stuart Scott watch in awe as Palmer makes one of his signature drinks in the company's cafeteria:

In recent years, an "Arnold Palmer" mixed with vodka has become known as a "John Daly." Unlike Palmer, however, Daly has not embraced having a beverage in his name.

Of course, Palmer probably wasn't the first person ever to think mixing iced tea with lemonade would be a good idea, but he clearly made it popular. He's also very clear on how he thinks it should be made.

"Oh, iced tea has the dominant side. That dominates the drink," Palmer says at about the 3:30 mark of the film. "If it doesn't, then it really isn't right."

Hey, when The King speaks, you listen.

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Gear & Equipment

USGA/R&A propose ban on anchored putting

Golf's ruling bodies are ready to put an end to the style of putting that has been used by the winners of three of the last five major championships.

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Less than a year after announcing they were going to take a fresh look at the topic, the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews announced a proposed rule change today that in 2016 would prohibit the anchored style of putting, the same style that was used by the winners of both the U.S. and British Open this year. The proposed rule would not ban belly or long putters, but it would ban any stroke where the grip or hand is anchored "directly" to any "anchor point" on the body. 

The ruling bodies are seeking comment from golfers and the golf industry over the next three months before making a final decision. Assuming the timeline remains unchanged, the rule will be approved by both the USGA and the R&A this spring, and the anchored stroke ban would go into effect with the next official revision of the rules in January 2016. 

"It's been a polarizing issue, and for many years you've had people who genuinely care about the game sit on both sides of it," USGA Executive Director Mike Davis told GolfDigest.com. "It's been fairly divisive and it's only gotten more so in the last year, but this decision gets back to the USGA and R&A feeling that fundamentally golf for 600 years has been about picking up the club, gripping it with two hands and making a free swing away from the body.

"We don't write rules to make the game easier, but we don't write rules to make the game harder, either. We write them to define the game, clarify the game, and in this case, the game has always been about swinging the club freely, and the anchored stroke is really a diversion from that."

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News & Tours

Michael Jordan causes stir at private club by wearing cargo pants

By Sam Weinman

What did Michael Jordan do to fall out of favor with the high-end La Gorce Country Club in Miami Beach? Take a divot out of one of the greens? Toss his clubs into a lake?

No, according to the New York Post, the basketball great was wearing cargo pants, which was in violation of the club's dress code of collared shirts and Bermuda shorts. Given the opportunity to change, Jordan apparently refused, and now the newspaper quotes a club source saying the Hall of Famer won't be invited back.

Related: Gof's Most Debatable Rules

A Jordan rep confirmed that Jordan opted against changing his outfit, but was unaware that Jordan is out at La Gorce for good. "I guess it's their loss -- as MJ is a great golfer, and a great guest," the rep told the Post.

jordan_jeans.jpgThis is not Jordan's first run-in with the golf fashion police. A passionate player who has been a constant at U.S. team events the last 15 years, Jordan was criticized for walking inside the ropes at  Medinah Country Club this past Ryder Cup in jeans.

Related: 10 Rules from Michael Jordan

But while most clubs are consistent in their opposition to denim, cargos remain a point of contention, even when it comes the President of the United States. What do you think? Are they really that bad? Do those extra couple of pockets make a difference?




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News & Tours

Video: Tim Rosaforte hands out his "Rosies" on Golf Channel

What's bigger than winning a Wanamaker Trophy and a Ryder Cup in the same year? How about throwing in a year-end "Rosie" from our own Tim Rosaforte as well?

Perhaps that's overstating it. Nonetheless, the Golf World senior writer saw fit to include Rory McIlroy among his honorees in his 2012 edition of The Rosies on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" -- and not just for the world No. 1's exploits on the golf course.

See for yourself in the video below:


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News & Tours

Golf World Monday: Hawaiian fields remain sparse

From the November 26 issue of Golf World Monday:

By Dave Shedloski

European players might be signing up for PGA Tour membership in increasing numbers, but some U.S. events aren't in a position to benefit. Case in point are the two Hawaii stops, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the Sony Open.

The 2013 season opener at Kapalua Resort, in particular, has struggled for several years to attract top international players, and with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship scheduled to begin Jan. 17, there are indications there won't be many more players in Maui than the 27 who showed up in 2012.

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Photo by Getty Images

We're told that the world's top two players, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, won't be going. Neither are Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia -- and that's surprising since each has won at Kapalua's Plantation Course.

Related: Who were the biggest turkeys in golf this year?

It doesn't help when the top two American draws, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, have been long-time Maui no-shows. Hyundai's sponsorship expires with the completion of the 2013 edition, though secondary sponsor SBS is still on the hook for an additional six years.

What's a sponsor getting for its money? Good U.S. players but not the full complement of qualifiers. What a shame.


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News & Tours

'Woohoo!': The curly one's great year and what it portends

By John Strege

The curly one, as his tennis star girl friend Caroline Wozniacki routinely calls him, punctuated his remarkable year with an exclamation point on Sunday. Or rather she did. Three of them, in fact, none superfluous. "Woohoo! Great year from the curly one! Amazing finish!" she wrote on Twitter.

It was Tiger-like, chillingly efficient, Rory McIlroy closing his round and his season with five straight birdies that gave him a two-stroke victory in the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

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(Photo by Getty Images)

The payoff was Tiger-like, too. He previously had clinched the Race to Dubai, for which he received a $1 million bonus. The tournament victory pushed his Sunday take to $2.4 million, and he earned nearly $12 million for the season.

Comparisons to Woods are unavoidable, given McIlroy's ascent to No. 1 in the World Ranking and the dominance with which he is flirting. Context advises caution, however, notwithstanding the similarities: At 23, each won the PGA Championship, the second major for both, and each was named the PGA Tour player of the year.

Related: A side-by-side comparison of McIlroy's and Woods' swings

McIlroy might be close to matching strides with Woods at a similar age, but Tiger had located a gear that separated him from history. In 1999, at 23, he won eight times. The following year, he won 10, including three major championships. The curve rapidly got steeper.

But context is no fun, unlike McIlroy, who exudes an infectious joy. In this regard, McIlroy has separated himself from Woods. Tiger's unsurpassed talent gave us a multitude of reasons to admire him, but none to embrace him. He steadfastly refused to let the outside world in, even for a glimpse. He named his yacht "Privacy" for a reason.

The curly one, conversely, has no aversion to allowing the outside world in. There was the photo he posted on Twitter of Wozniacki, head on arms, asleep, presumably in the clubhouse, during a long day at the Barclays Singapore Open a few weeks ago. She in turn posted a photo of McIlroy asleep on a Dubai beach the following week. "Just getting my revenge," she wrote.

Early last week, Wozniacki, a welcome interloper in a McIlroy news conference at Dubai, asked, "If you win this week, am I going to get a really nice Christmas present, and what am I going to get?" The banter that followed bespoke a man comfortable in a spotlight that is burner brighter by the week.

Related: The similar career paths of Tiger and Rory

McIlroy won three of his last five starts on the PGA Tour and one his last four on the European Tour (finishing second and third in two of the other three). He also defeated Woods in an exhibition match in China.

Tiger's aversion to losing is second only to that of his surrendering preeminence. Keep that in mind moving forward. The next few years promise to be interesting, thanks to the curly one's emergence as a bona fide rival and threat. Woohoo! indeed.


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