WEDNESDAY  | JANUARY 10, 2018
by Bill Fields

Regardless of who wins what in the coming months, the new year of professional golf is certain to include one element of the past year: debate over the distance that shots travel when struck by elite players. Depending on one’s viewpoint, this discussion is either vital and stimulating or pointless and tiresome. These poles of opinion are rigid, although with each 360-yard drive followed by a 170-yard 9-iron – a combination that used to stun but now barely registers – the former camp seems to have recently picked up members.

It’s the ball. It’s the oversize clubheads. It’s the lightweight shafts. It’s how those products are married into a blissful union and utilized by physically fit golfers on courses manicured to amplify the primary factors in the modern-equipment equation. (The run-out on 400-yard-plus tee shots during the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua’s Plantation Course offered a large-print version of what is happening on the PGA Tour.)

 



THE EQUIPMENT INSIDER

One in a weekly series of stories about golf gear to run each Wednesday.

By Gary Van Sickle

Nobody says, “Chicks dig the straight ball.”

There is no World Straight Drivers Championship in golf, either.

Golf’s sexiest word is this: Long.

Golf’s other sexiest words: Longer and longest.

If you play golf, you get the idea. The one thing we golfers share is the desire/fantasy/primal urge to hit the ball farther than we do. We all want PGA Tour length, if not Happy Gilmore length.

 


Compare Woods’ encore to Jordan’s

For those who think Tiger Woods’ return will end in disaster, compare his comeback to another “greatest of all-time”: Michael Jordan.

Jordan retired at age 35, sat out three years and returned to play two more years. During those two years, he averaged more than 21 points per game, including averaging 20 after he turned 40. At age 38, he had a 51-point game. He wasn't the same player he was in his prime, but he still was very good. 

 


5-1

Odds for Jordan Spieth to win this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii, according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Justin Thomas, the PGA Tour’s reigning player of the year, is the second choice at 7-1. Dustin Johnson, who cruised to an eight-stroke victory in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions to strengthen his hold on No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is not entered in the first full-field event of 2018. Play begins Thursday at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

 



RADIO, TELEVISION & PODCASTS

The Grill Room Golf Show powered by Vertical Groove Golf (vertgolf.com)

As 2018 season kicks off, a look at the Sentry TOC and an interview with Dave Shedloski of Golf Digest




FROM THE INDUSTRY

Tiburon Golf Club’s Black Course at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla., reopened recently after a seven-month renovation of the 2001 Greg Norman-designed layout. Norman’s design firm and Jeff Cathey, Tiburon’s director of agronomy, led the project. The renovation included extensive greens, turf, irrigation and bunker work, plus the addition of family tees, allowing the course yardage to flex from 4,000 to 6,949.

 

A runway fashion show will debut during the PGA Merchandise Show, organizers announced Tuesday. More than a dozen apparel manufacturers will display their latest golf and lifestyle fashions at 5:45 p.m. Jan. 25 on the PGA Forum Stage in the Orange County Convention Center.

 

K-Motion will introduce its K-Coach and K-Player 2.0 human-motion training applications during the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 24-26 in Orlando, Fla. The wearable products are designed to help golf professionals measure, understand, coach and train golfers.

 

J.J. Henry signed an endorsement deal to represent the Ben Hogan Golf Equipment Co., officials announced. Henry, 42, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, will be making his 500th Tour start this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He will play a variety of Hogan equipment, the company said. Henry is a resident of Fort Worth, Texas, where the Hogan company is based.

 

Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects will realize another milestone in 2018, the company announced. RTJ II designs will open or be under construction in Argentina, Ecuador, Ireland and Vietnam, bringing the company’s design portfolio to more than 40 countries on six continents.

 

Topgolf announced that its Toptracer brand will be the presenting sponsor of the PGA Merchandise Show’s Demo Day, the Dallas-based sports-entertainment company announced. Demo Day will be held Jan. 23 at Orange County National Golf Center in Winter Garden, Fla.

 


CALENDAR
January 10-13
Women’s amateur: South Atlantic Amateur
Oceanside CC, Ormond Beach, Fla.
January 11-14
PGA Tour: Sony Open in Hawaii
Waialae CC, Honolulu
European Tour: BMW SA Open
Glendower GC, Ekurhuleni, South Africa
January 12-14
European Tour: EurAsia Cup
Glenmarie GC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Celebrity: Diamond Resorts Invitational
Tranquilo GC at Four Seasons Resort, Orlando, Fla.
January 15-19
Women’s amateur: Ione D. Jones/Doherty Championship
Coral Ridge CC, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
January 18-20
Champions: Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai
Hualalai GC, Kaupulehu, Hawaii
January 18-21
European Tour: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) GC
Web.com Tour: Bahamas Great Exuma Classic
Sandals Emerald Bay (Emerald Reef), Great Exuma, Bahamas
PGA Tour: CareerBuilder Challenge
Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif.

      
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