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Is nicknaming irons the PGA Tour's next equipment trend?

By Alex Myers

blog-luke-list-clubs-0731.jpgLuke List is known as one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour. Now, he'll also be known as that guy who doesn't have numbers on any of his irons.

As you can see by the picture tweeted by Chad Coleman (@HashtagChad), Head of Social Media for Callaway Golf and Odyssey Golf, List's new sticks will all feature nicknames instead of digits. We just hope he and his caddie will have the key written down somewhere on his golf bag in case they forget which name corresponds with which loft.

Related: Golf Digest's interview with Luke List

We've seen many players customize wedges in recent years (List calls his 60-degree wedge "Chet," a name he describes as his "alter ego."), but List appears to be the first tour pro to stamp names on all of his irons while getting rid of the numbers on the clubs altogether. We'll have to wait and see when List puts these in play (He's in the Reno-Tahoe Open field this week, but doesn't have the clubs in his bag) and if any fellow players will follow suit.

"Fireball"? "Lean on it"? "Rack Em"? "'Merica"? Good stuff. But how could he not go with "Be The Right One!" for any of them?

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News & Tours

Bids top $100,000 on Snead's Masters trophy, Claret Jug

Masters Trophy.jpeg

By John Strege

Do you want a Claret Jug or a Masters trophy in your trophy case? They're yours, provided you're willing to ante up in excess of $100,000 per item and to do so by the end of the day.

Claret Jug.jpeg

Bidding closes today on an auction featuring some of the late Sam Snead's most valuable memorabilia, including the trophy he earned for winning the Masters in 1954 and the Claret Jug awarded him for his victory in the British Open in 1946.

The Masters trophy bidding has reached $110,000, while bidding on the Claret Jug has reached $100,000. The pieces are available through Heritage Auctions, but Internet bidding closes at 11 p.m. (EDT) Wednesday.

Among other items available are the Wanamaker Trophy Snead received for winning the PGA Championship in 1951 ($47,500 is the high bid), his Ryder Cup trophy from 1959 ($35,000) and his PGA Championship Gold Medal for winning the tournament in 1942.

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Gear & Equipment

GangGreenGolf apparel: 'Don't be afraid. It's only pink'

By John Strege

Anything, apparently, goes in golf fashion these days, to wit the octopus-pattern pants Billy Horschel wore at the U.S. Open, Rickie Fowler's colorful wardrobe and Loudmouth Golf's wild array of colors and patterns.

GangGreen Golf.jpg

The newest player is a Toronto-based company called GangGreenGolf, started by Don Lang, an avid golfer and clothes horse who "couldn't buy the kind of clothes I wanted to wear on the course," he said. So he began to design his own.

"I have the sales and marketing background, I love golf and I'm a big fashion guy," he said. "I just decided to put all my passions together and try to create a line of pants and shorts that I want to wear, with the hope that there are enough like-minded guys out there that I could turn it into a viable venture."

The pants shown here are called Paisley Pink ($109.99 and available at the website), about which Lang's website says, "Don't be afraid. It's only pink."

"I tried to add a little humor to it," he said. "It's just a color. The same guys who wear pink golf shirts should be good wearing paisley pink pants."

Most of the material is sourced in the U.S. and the pants and shorts are manufactured in Toronto. They feature a European cut or "a little more contemporary lean fit, a little more of a slimmer fit," he said.

White pants have become more prevalent in tour golf, and they're often paired with colorful shirts. "I'm trying to flip that a little bit on its head and have the bold-colored pants instead of shirt and a more neutral colored shirt," he said.

As for the company name, the club at which Lang has been a member for 40 years, Summit Golf and Country Club outside Toronto, has an end-of-season tournament, the GangGreen Open. "So it's kind of a nod to my course," he said. "I liked the way the name rolled off the tongue and it has sort of a fun connotation to it."

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News & Tours

Johnny Football throws more than the pigskin. He throws a lot of golf clubs

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

In case you missed it, Wright Thompson penned a phenomenal piece about Texas A&M's Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, better known as Johnny Football, which we highly recommend reading. The piece was published on ESPN.com on Tuesday, and will be featured in the issue of ESPN The Magazine that hits newsstands next week.
 
It's fair to say that Thompson puts Manziel's life under a microscope in the piece; his most glaring flaws and his greatest gifts are examined, as well as the toll fame and expectations take on a 20-year-old kid.

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(photo by Getty Images)

Interestingly, golf plays a prominent role throughout Thompson's article.
 
Maziel's father, Paul, is a failed mini-tour professional who now uses Hollytree Country Club, the golf course where he and Johnny play, as a site to teach his son life lessons. For Johnny Football, the golf course is a place that's fun in theory, but once the game starts, transforms into a constant source of frustration. He throws clubs and shouts angrily when he hits a bad shots, and can never muster the one thing he want's to do the most: Beat his father.

 
Thompson describes one such round that he witnessed:
 
Nothing is going right. Putts come up a turn short, or lip out. His distance control is off...On the fifth hole, he snaps. He flings a wedge through the air. The club helicopters, spinning so fast it hums, bouncing off the nearby cart path. 'F---,' he says under his breath."
 
As Paul Manziel describes, golf with his son is more an ordeal than a refuge.
 
"I don't enjoy playing golf with him because I don't want to see that temper," he tells Thompson. "I honestly do not. I cringe when he wants to play golf. I don't want to do it, but I know I have to do it. Because he still needs love. He still needs guidance. He still needs to see he's wrong -- and how to control his temper. And if I give up on him, who's gonna take over? The school sure the hell isn't gonna do it."

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Gear & Equipment

TaylorMade reinvents movable weight with new SLDR

SLDR Driver_3_4.jpg
When you first get a look at TaylorMade's new SLDR driver (as in "slider"), you notice right away the adjustable slot mechanism on the sole. You might notice, too, that the clubhead isn't white like TaylorMade's last five drivers. You might even notice that it comes in multiple lofts, a departure from the single head, variable-loft configuration on this year's R1.

You might notice all of those things, but it's what you can't see that's the real story behind TaylorMade's latest driver innovation. 

When the company introduced the r7 Quad in 2004, it launched the modern era of movable weight technology. At the time, movable weight came about by rearranging four weighted screws on the sole of a driver to change the location of the center of gravity and thus influence or even correct consistent misses to the left or right. More weight toward the heel meant shots could have more of a draw tendency (or less of a slice tendency), while more weight toward the toe would give shots more of a fade bias or less hook. The company that invented the modern era of movable weight in drivers almost a decade ago believes they've now found a better idea.

Just unveiled to the public on the company website through an extensive online tutorial and already generating buzz and success on tour (Brandt Snedeker used it during his winning week at the RBC Canadian Open), SLDR will be in stores in less than two weeks. It features a 20-gram mechanism in a slot in the sole that can accommodate 21 possible center of gravity (CG) locations across a spectrum from draw to fade. Combined with its 12-position rotating hosel, the SLDR can be adjusted to 252 unique configurations.

The distinct sliding track design not only is more user-intuitive (with clear labels of "DRAW" and "FADE"), it's also better technology, says Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation.

"We're not only moving more weight, but we're moving it a greater distance, and that's having a greater effect on how much we can move the center of gravity," he said, indicating the CG on SLDR moves as much as six millimeters or 50 percent more than on the R1. "One millimeter sounds very small but it makes a pretty big difference."

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The hidden benefit of the SLDR's movable weight element, though, is its location, not just from heel to toe, but in its relative position front to back. Set in a position more forward of center, the slot and weight on SLDR yield a CG that's slightly forward and low. It continues a trend TaylorMade's engineers have been developing in recent years with clubs like the R1 driver and the RocketBallz fairway woods. 

"A forward and low CG is the holy grail for creating maximum ball velocity and optimizing launch conditions," says TaylorMade's chief technical officer Benoit Vincent, pointing to how a low and forward CG creates a larger area of the face that will produce higher launch angles and lower spin. Higher launch with lower spin leads to a longer carry on tee shots combined with the potential for a more aggressive and shallower landing angle that can lead to more roll.

Vincent makes the point that trying to position the CG farther away from the face often ends up with the CG relatively higher with respect to the center of the face, not lower, which can lead to higher spinning tee shots that do not produce efficient launch conditions. Vincent says this idea should work for all players because a low, forward CG makes it easier for higher-lofted drivers to launch shots with less spin.

TaylorMade believes the new club could become the No. 1-played driver as early as this week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and already 14 players have put the club in their bags. 

The SLDR will be available in four lofts (8, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees) and each loft is adjustable by a range of plus/minus 1.5 degrees. The range of lofts better allows players who prefer higher lofts without a closed face angle or lower lofts without a more open face angle to settle on a preferred loft and face angle combination. The club is due in stores Aug. 9 ($400) and will feature a sub-60-gram Fujikura Speeder 57 as the stock shaft. A TP version also will be available, featuring the Fujikura Tour Spec 6.3 shaft.
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News & Tours

Video: Behind the September cover shoot with Jason Day

From GolfDigest.com Staff

Few golfers are able to summon their best golf when the stakes are highest, but Jason Day has made a habit of it. The 25-year-old Australian has just one win on the PGA Tour, but boasts five top 10s in major championships, including two this year.

It's a reason many believe Day, who turned pro at 17, is a future major champion, and why he's featured this month on the cover of Golf Digest. In this behind-the-scenes video of his September cover shoot, Day discusses his career path, and why he feels like there's plenty of room for growth.

"I still feel like there's so much more to be learned in my game," Day told us. "As the years go on, hopefully I keep improving and moving up."



For more from Day, including his cover story and video on "Simple Power," download the September issue of Golf Digest, available now on your tablet.
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Gear & Equipment

Hunter Mahan's shades: Under Armour Drive

By John Strege

A ubiquitous part of Hunter Mahan's golf course wardrobe are his sunglasses, the Under Armour Drive, from his Signature Series.

Under Armor.jpg

The UA Drive feature ArmourSight lenses with MultiFlection coating. They are designed to enhance the clarity of what the wearer sees across the entire lens, while also repelling water and resisting scratching. They come with AirFlow Technology as a hedge against fogging and ArmourFusion frames that flex, but still retain their shape. The sunglasses retail for $134.99.

Mahan will play next at the PGA Championship next week. He made news when he withdrew while holding the lead in the RBC Canadian Open, when he learned wife Kandi had gone into labor prematurely back home in the Dallas area. She gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl, Zoe. Mahan also withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this week.

Under Armour has been increasing its presence in golf, having signed PGA Tour rookie Jordan Spieth to a contract to wear its apparel and shoes earlier this year.

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News & Tours

The Grind: Mahan's big week, Snedeker's big break & Bridgestone predictions

By Alex Myers

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we have babies on the brain. First, it was the royal baby dominating the British tabloids during the Open Championship. Then, the Mahan baby took center stage at the Canadian Open. Even on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, co-host Lauren Thompson announced she was expecting a baby boy. Here's hoping my mom wasn't paying too much attention to golf recently. Otherwise she's going to start pestering me for a grandchild.

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Hunter Mahan and his wife, Kandi, with their baby girl.

WE'RE BUYING

Hunter Mahan: OK, so it wasn't like he left the British Open, but Mahan still walked away from a potential PGA Tour win and another million-dollar payday to be with his wife, Kandi, for the birth of their first child. Kids are expensive! Mahan has now vaulted over Phil Mickelson for the PGA Tour's Parent of the Year Award.

Brandt Snedeker: For a second time in three weeks, we picked the correct WINNER on the PGA Tour. Sure, we had an assist from Hunter and Kandi Mahan, but we're still going to pause to give ourselves a big pat on the back. Now if only we could pick a major champion one of these days. . . Oh yeah, Snedeker played pretty well to win his second PGA Tour title of 2013. We guess he deserves a pat on the back as well.

Related: 9 reasons why we love Phil Mickelson

Mark Wiebe: The 55-year-old picked up his first major championship on the Champions Tour at the Senior British Open by taking out Bernhard Langer in a playoff at Royal Birkdale. Not too shabby for a guy who missed the cut in his only two British Open appearances during his PGA Tour days.

Mike Strantz: Sadly, this former protege of golf architect Tom Fazio died of throat cancer in 2005 at 50, but not before he created seven stunning golf courses. I've been fortunate enough to play three of them, including Caledonia (glorious!) and True Blue this past weekend on a trip to Myrtle Beach. If you haven't played either (Caledonia is No. 1 and True Blue is No. 3 on Golf Digest's ranking of Myrtle Beach's 60 best courses), do yourself a favor and get down there sometime.

WE'RE SELLING

Kenny Perry: Some things never change. Perry often skipped going to the British Open during his days on the PGA Tour and this past week he decided not to make the trip abroad for the Senior British Open. Even after coming off winning two consecutive Champions Tour majors. What a gamer.

Bernhard Langer: The two-time Masters winner appeared on his way to a third major title on the Champions Tour until a double bogey on the final hole of regulation at Royal Birkdale. That opened the door for Wiebe to beat Langer in a playoff, harkening Jack Fleck's famous playoff win over Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open. Eh, not so much.

Kandi Mahan: She couldn't have held off on going into labor a couple more days? Just kidding. We're a big fan of the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Congrats to her and Hunter on the birth of Zoe Olivia. She'll be walking around in a snazzy all-blue Under Armour getup in no time!

Related: Get to know Kandi Mahan and other PGA Tour wives

Steve Elkington: More from the Champions Tour! Elkington caused a stir with a couple tweets directed at Southport, England and Pakistani people. Elk is known for being a bit controversial on Twitter, but he took it too far this time.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads back to the U.S. for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, aka that tournament Tiger Woods once hit a legendary shot in the dark to close out a win.

Related: The PGA Tour's surprising winners of 2013

Random tournament fact: Craig Parry won this event in 2002. By four shots. And Fred Funk and Robert Allenby finished T-2. Uh, did all the big names forget to show up that week?

WEEKLY YAHOO! FANTASY LINEUP

Starters -- (A-List): Brandt Snedeker: Thanks, Sneds, for making us look good last week. We see no reason not to ride the hot hand here.

(B-List): Keegan Bradley: Struggling of late, but we like the defending champ to get back on track this week.

Related: Who is the best current player without a major?

(B-List): Matt Kuchar: Why does it seem like this guy is in contention on a weekly basis? Oh yeah, because he is.

(C-List): Adam Scott: It's tough not to pick this guy anytime he plays. He's our choice to win.

Bench: Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Bo Van Pelt and Jason Day.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Natalie Gulbis being Natalie Gulbis:

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THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY DISPLAYS OF PUBLIC AFFECTION

blog-dustin-paulina-0730.jpgYou'd be amazed by how many people contacted us to say they missed this segment last week, but guess what? They're back! Paulina posted this picture of the two lovebirds at her father's restaurant during the Canadian Open. A few days later, DJ had a chance to win the tournament until a late triple bogey doomed him. Afterward, he tweeted "Thanks for all your support when I had a rough finish. I love you @PaulinaGretzky." Very sweet.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

-- Inbee Park will play the Old Course at St. Andrews with one hand tied behind her back and still win the Ricoh Women's British Open: 1,000-to-1 odds.

-- Phil Mickelson will warm up by putting balls into his claret jug: 10-to-1 odds.

-- Brandt Snedeker will get the Mahans an awesome baby gift: LOCK

THIS AND THAT

blog-fin-roks-0730.jpgThere were plenty of other noteworthy events over the weekend. Scottie Scheffler captured the U.S. Junior Amateur and Gabriella Then won the U.S. Girls' Junior. . . . Michael Hoey won the Russian Open for his fifth career European Tour title. Yes, the Russian Open is a real event. . . . Karrie Webb won the Ladies European Masters for her third win of 2013. . . . And finally, Tom Roksvold won the 20th annual H.G.G.A. Championship in Myrtle Beach, his second major title. I finished runner-up. As usual. Sigh. Pictured is Tom being presented with our version of the green jacket by tour commissioner and last year's champion, Mark Finegan, in the parking lot of TPC Myrtle Beach following the final round. Classy!

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Why do buddies golf trips go so fast?

Was Hunter Mahan still wearing his golf shoes in the delivery room?

If the Mahans need a babysitter, is Brandt Snedeker on call?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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Gear & Equipment

Mizuno expands its forgiving players iron line with new MP-54

MizunoMP54.jpg Mizuno's reputation for bringing innovation to forged irons gets another boost this week with the unveiling of the new MP-54. Built on what the company is calling a "traditional yet aggressive" platform, the MP-54 features a players-iron style size and shape, while adding a milled pocket cavity in the mid- and long irons to improve launch angle. 

But while the cavity's effect seems obvious, it's the "step muscle" design on the back of the iron that's engineered to enhance feel by making the lower portion of the face thicker. The milled pocket removes an average of 16 grams that is repositioned to the blade's center section in an effort to make the face react more consistently at impact, mimicking the feel in a traditional blade.

"We know from our analysis that the higher frequency modes are giving you that soft feeling," says David Llewellyn, golf club research and development manager at MIzuno USA. "With these designs, our goals are to improve the quality and duration of feedback." 

Set to arrive in stores Sept. 9, the MP-54 will retail for $1,000. It is one of two new players forgings from Mizuno. The second, the MP-4 (also available Sept. 9 at $1,000), is a classic muscleback blade, but like the MP-54, there is a thicker center section that tapers as the irons get longer. The effort is to produce a longer, softer sense of impact and was developed through MIzuno's painstaking modal analysis of distinct iron impact vibrations and how they equate to the sometimes elusive idea of feel. The MP-4's variable muscle thickness is aimed at creating more playable longer irons through a lower center of gravity while producing short irons with more mass directly behind the center face impact zone.
 

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Gear & Equipment

Winner's Bag: What Brandt Snedeker used to win the RBC Canadian Open

By E. Michael Johnson

brandt-snedeker-canadian-open.jpgBy winning the RBC Canadian Open, Brandt Snedeker took home his sixth career PGA title and second of 2013. He joins Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar as the only players with multiple Tour wins this year. The victory also moved him up to third in FedEx Cup Standings. Here's a look at the clubs Snedeker used to capture the Canadian Open:

Driver: TaylorMade SLDR prototype (Fujikura Motore Speeder), 9.5 degrees
3-Wood: Tour Edge Exotics CB4, 13 degrees
Hybrid: Ping Anser, 17 degrees
Irons (4-PW): Bridgestone J40
Wedges: Bridgestone J40 Forged (52, 56 degrees); Titleist Vokey TVD K-Grind (60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie
Ball: Bridgestone Tour B330


[Photo: Hunter Martin/Getty Images]

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