by John Hawkins

Tiger Woods will make his 2019 debut this week at Torrey Pines, and as creatures of habit go, the Dude in the Red Shirt has become Tyrannosaurus rex. It marks the ninth time since 2006 that Woods has begun his competitive calendar year at the San Diego muni, which is the closest thing an eight-time winner at this course has to a home ballpark.

Sorry, Los Angeles. Woods may have been born and raised in nearby Cypress, and though he has committed to playing next month at Riviera Country Club, his legacy is defined to a much greater extent by his accomplishments 125 miles south. Torrey Pines is where Woods began his big comeback last year. It also remains the site of his last major title, the 2008 U.S. Open.


Knee-height drop simply makes sense
Mike Purkey should spend a bit more time analyzing why the drop-from-the-knee rule was put in place and less time regurgitating the knee-jerk (forgive the pun) reaction of a few pros (“Flagstick, drop rules should be reversed,” Jan. 18).

Rory McIlroy’s comment was made in jest, but if one looks at his “complaint” seriously, it supports the new rule. There is far less variability in knee heights from person to person than there is in shoulder heights.


Announced: By the PGA Tour, four featured groupings for Thursday-Friday at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. Foremost among the marquee groups, Tiger Woods will make his 2019 debut with fellow Americans Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau. Schauffele and Finau never have played an official round on Tour with Woods, the 2019 Presidents Cup captain. Schauffele and Finau rank Nos. 2 and 6, respectively, on the points standings.



Number of strokes under par for 25 holes played Monday by Erik Compton, who took the midway lead in the Web.com Tour’s Bahamas Great Abaco Classic. Compton was one of 66 players – half of the field – unable to finish the first round Sunday because of darkness. He completed a 3-under 69 at Abaco Club in Great Abaco, Bahamas, and then added a 7-under 65 for a one-stroke lead over Tyler McCumber. Compton, 39, a two-time heart-transplant patient, lost his PGA Tour card in 2016 after five consecutive seasons on the big tour.



The 66th PGA Merchandise Show, which will be held this week in Orlando, Fla., is expected to attract more than 40,000 golf-industry professionals to the Orange County Convention Center. The annual Demo Day exposition will be held today at Orange County National Golf Center in Winter Garden, Fla., before the three-day show starts Wednesday in Orlando. The PGA Show is not open to the public.


2Undr has signed PGA Tour player Rickie Fowler to an undisclosed endorsement contract, the company announced. Fowler will endorse the manufacturer of men’s underwear. 2Undr will appear at this week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., and exhibit at booth No. 4943 in the Orange County Convention Center.


V1 Sports, which produces platforms for golf video instruction, has developed new financing options for instructors. V1 Sports will work with Ascentium Capital to customize payment options based on budget and cash-flow objectives.


Ecco has appointed Jesper Thuen to general manager of Ecco Golf USA, the shoemaker announced. Thuen, who has worked for Ecco since 2002, has overseen the company’s activities in emerging markets since 2016. He will be based at Ecco USA headquarters in Londonderry, N.H.


Members at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla., overwhelmingly voted to transfer ownership from the developer, The Ronto Group, to the membership. The club reported that 94 percent of members cast ballots, and that 97.5 percent agreed to the transfer. TwinEagles features two courses: The Talon, designed by Jack Nicklaus and his son, Jackie, and The Eagle, a Steve Smyers design.


Club champion has opened a new club-fitting studio in Metairie, La., the company announced. The site is located at 2020 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Club Champion fits, sells and builds custom golf clubs with components from the game’s major manufacturers.


Izon Golf will debut a battery designed for the golf cart fleet GPS market during this week’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., the company announced. The battery, designed to provide up to 16 hours of life, works with gas, electric and lithium carts.


Ping has released the G410 Plus and G410 SFT drivers, the company announced. The clubs, which include movable weights, are available for pre-order today and via custom fitting at Ping-authorized shops in mid-February.


Ping introduced the G410 irons, which the company touts as a high-performance game-improvement model in a compact design. The clubs are available immediately via pre-order and through custom fitting at Ping-authorized shops.


Ping announced that its G410 fairway woods, hybrids and crossovers are available to the public. The clubs can be ordered through Ping or via the company’s authorized golf shops.


Srixon announced the upcoming introduction of the Z-Forged irons, a muscle-back blade model. The clubs will launch in North America on Feb. 1.


Ahead has released its lineup of men’s and women’s apparel and headwear for the fall, the company announced. Ahead will exhibit on Jan. 23-25 in booth No. 4757 at the PGA Merchandise Show in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.


Tom Lehman, who represents Tour Edge Exotics, won the Champions Tour’s season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship on Saturday with two Exotics clubs in his bag. Lehman carried the 18-degree Exotics CBX hybrid and a No. 2 Exotics CBX Iron-Wood.


Golf Life Navigators forecast continued growth in 2019 after a year during which the number of private clubs using GLN’s algorithm doubled, the company said. Golf Life Navigators, which helps connect consumers with private clubs, operates in six states and intends to expand into five more this year.


Garmany Golf will offer a 5-percent commission to PGA professionals as part of the travel operator’s incentive program. Garmany Golf will exhibit in booth No. 3479 at the PGA Merchandise Show on Wednesday through Friday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.


Sunfish will exhibit its golf products this week at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla. Sunfish, which makes golf head covers, scorecard and yardage-book holders and other products, will be based in booth No. 3422 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday through Friday.


TGA Premier Golf has completed a $750,000 investment to help support recreational youth golf programs. TGA Premier Golf’s 58 franchises deliver after-school programs, camps and other events in 22 states.


January 20-23
Web.com: Bahamas Great Abaco Classic

Abaco Club on Winding Bay, Great Abaco, Bahamas

January 22-25
Women’s amateur: Jones/Doherty Women’s Amateur

Coral Ridge CC, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

January 23-25
Industry: PGA Merchandise Show

Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

January 24-27
PGA Tour: Farmers Insurance Open

Torrey Pines (South) GC, San Diego

European: Omega Dubai Desert Classic

Emirates GC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

12700 Sunrise Valley Dr, Suite 300, Reston, Virginia 20191
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