FEBRUARY 1, 2017

By Gary Van Sickle

The new Vertical Groove driver didn’t have a name yet when I tried it out late last summer. It was an unpainted, untitled prototype, so it felt a little like riding in an unmarked police car.

However, it was thrilling to be among the first to try a club whose revolutionary design left me to wonder, How has no one thought of this before? (Merit Golf tried something similar 15 years ago, but it was an epic fail.) There are 17 groove patterns on the now-aptly named Vertical Groove driver, and they run vertically (up and down) on the face instead of the traditional horizontal pattern (side to side). 

By Alex Miceli

For the first time since Nov. 2, the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking has changed. Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama enters the rankings stratosphere for the first time in his career on the heels of a four-victory stretch that started 3½ months ago at the Japan Open.

The move pushed out former World No. 1 Jordan Spieth, who entered the top 5 in late March 2015.

The top 5, in order: Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Matsuyama.

From the industry

John Easterbrook Jr., the executive vice president and chief operating officer at Troon, has been named the first chief membership officer of the PGA of America. Easterbrook will oversee the core PGA member-focused areas of the organization, including education, employment, member services and section business operations. 

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Golf Association will award co-winners of the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award. Kevin Robbins, author of "Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf," and Peter Lewis, who wrote "Why Are There Eighteen Holes?: St. Andrews and the Evolution of Golf Courses, 1764-1890," will receive the award Saturday in Washington.

February 2-5
European Tour: Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Emirates Golf Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
PGA Tour: Waste Management Phoenix Open
TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Ariz.
February 3-5
Amateur: Jones Cup
Ocean Forest Golf Club, Sea Island, Ga.
February 4-9
Golf Industry Show
Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.
February 7-11
Club Managers Association of America World Conference on Club Management and Club Business Expo
Orlando World Center Marriott, Orlando, Fla.
February 9-12
PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links
European Tour: Maybank Championship
Saujana Golf & Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tour: Club Colombia Championship
Bogota (Colombia) Country Club
February 10-12
West Michigan Golf Show
DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Champions Tour: Allianz Championship
The Old Course at Broken Sound, Boca Raton, Fla.
February 16-19
LPGA: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open
Royal Adelaide Golf Club, Grange, Australia
European Tour: ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth
Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Perth, Australia
PGA Tour: Genesis Open
Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, Calif. Tour: Panama Claro Championship
Panama Golf Club, Panama City, Panama
February 17-19
Champions Tour: Chubb Classic
TwinEagles Golf Club (Talon), Naples. Fla.
February 23-26
European Tour: Joburg Open
Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa
PGA Tour: The Honda Classic
PGA National (Champion), Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
LPGA: Honda LPGA Thailand
Siam Country Club (Pattaya Old), Chonburi, Thailand
February 24-26
Chicago Golf Show
Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Ill.
Toronto Golf And Travel Show
The International Centre, Mississauga, Ontario
February 27-28
Northern California Golf Rep Show
Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Pano Hall Lincoln, Calif.
February 28 - March 2
Philadelphia Golf Merchandise Show
Embassy Suites Valley Forge, Chesterbrook, Pa.
February 28 - March 3
Scottish International Golf Course Architects Conference
Inverness, Scotland

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