Monthly Archives: July 2008

But does he have Pelz’s software?

Interesting story in the Akron Beacon Journal about Sean O’Hair, who at the time of this post was tied for the first round lead at Firestone, and his love affair with state-of-the-art, golf gadgetry.  Quite the sponsor he has, by the way, in CDW!

Techy

Techy

The 26-year-old PGA Tour pro has a golf room in his home in suburban Philadelphia that might put the mega-retailer’s electronics department to shame.

Living near where his wife grew up, O’Hair can’t play year-round like many of his peers who gravitate to warm-weather climates. So aided by one of his sponsors, CDW, he has outfitted a golf workroom with the latest high-tech equipment.

”Sean has totally embraced technology,” said Mark Gambill, chief marketing officer for CDW. ”He’s got a putting area; he has a software and digital tool that will allow him to track his putting. It tells him if he’s hitting it square on the head, if it’s slightly tilted, speed, angle, approach, and he feeds that into a software system. He also has video cameras where he monitors his swing for his driver and irons. He’ll put that into software and analyze it and shoot that information to his trainer.”

CDW also works with Paula Creamer of the LPGA, by the way.

And speaking of technology, Phil Mickelson divulged during his Wednesday press conference that he and short game instructor Dave Pelz have been using a software program that analyzes tour statistics and applies them to various top venues.

[There is] a computer program that we’ll use to identify what element of the game is more important. If you improve one area by 10 percent, it lowers your score the most. I mean, this is an interesting statistic, I think, that I’ll share with you, that I’ve found is that if you increase any statistical category 10 percent across the board, it lowers scores. Okay, 10 percent fewer putts, obviously lower scores, 10 percent more greens, 10 percent closer to the hole, 10 percent more fairways, every one lowers scores except longer driving distance.

That said, it was a lack of driving distance that caused the driver to go back into the bag on Saturday at Torrey Pines, wasn’t it?

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Filed under Paula Creamer, Phil Mickelson, Sean O'Hair

The Case for Duramed

Lisa D. Mickey may be biased on this subject (she is currently the senior writer of new media and communications manager of the Duramed FUTURES Tour), but nonetheless she makes a very compelling case for why Michelle Wie should not be playing on such big stages quite yet.

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Filed under Michelle Wie

Annika: the Anti-Favre

Im baaaaaaaack!

I'm baaaaaaaack!

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Baldry penned an interesting piece (“On the eve of final major, Sorenstam at peace”) that contrasts Annika’s feelings on impending retirement with Brett’s evident indecision and handling of a sticky situation in Green Bay.

Of particular interest, however, is this tidbit that Baldry relates regarding Annika’s continuing sponsorship deals, in the context of Michelle Wie’s decision to play in Reno (which some speculate is more at the behest of William Morris than Michelle) and moreover in the current environment of dried up sponsorships for LPGA events and players.

Im gone

I'm gone

Many golf observers feel Wie’s participation in Reno has as much to do with pleasing her sponsors as anything else. Sorenstam built up a collection of blue-chip sponsors over the years thanks to 72 LPGA victories. How much did her fine play and impeccable record please the likes of Lexus, Callaway, Merrill Lynch and Rolex? Well, all 10 of her partners are staying on after she steps away. Some are in the middle of contracts, but four are renewing with Sorenstam knowing she will no longer be playing inside the ropes.

That’s impressive considering that so many players out here have zero sponsors, and if they do, make very little money. Inbee Park, the newly crowned U.S. Women’s Open champion, just landed her first major sponsor (SK Telecom) after doing a two-week press tour of Korea.

Does anyone else get the sense that women’s golf is in a lot of trouble?  That it took two weeks for Park to land one deal–a deal that should have been a shoo-in anyway given that its from a major South Korean telecom–speaks volumes.  Add to that Conde Naste’s recent decision to axe Golf for Women, and you have to wonder…

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Filed under Annika Sorenstam

“I feel kind of sad for her”

Dropped the ball on this one

Dropped the ball on this one

Michelle Wie qualified for the Ricoh Women’s British Open this weekend at Sunningdale, but instead of flying across the pond for the LPGA’s final major of the season, she accepted a sponsor’s exemption to play at the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open, her eighth PGA Tour event.  And the decision has drawn the ire of some fairly prominent women professionals:

Annika Sorenstam: “I really don’t know why Michelle continues to do this. We have a major this week and, if you can’t qualify for a major, I don’t see any reason why you should play with the men.”

Helen Alfredsson: “I feel kind of sad for her.  I think she’s a very good person. I feel sad for the guidance that she seems to not have in the right direction.  She was so good a couple of years ago when she finished second a few times.  I’m sure if you put yourself enough times in that position then you can deal with it, and I think it’s how you become better. That’s how you learn to win.”

Paula Creamer: “I don’t know why you’d want to pass up playing in a major, especially the British Open here at Sunningdale.  But she goes a different path and that’s not the path way that I’ve taken.”

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Filed under Annika Sorenstam, Helen Alfredsson, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer

Mickelson, Pelz Begin To Tackle “The Monster”

Much is often made about the intricate and arguably overzealous preparation by Phil Mickelson and short game guru Dave Pelz prior to each of the four majors. And to the amusement of many a golf wonk (and the chagrin of many a golf fan), these practice sessions have lead to such head-scratching “strategies” as two drivers (fade and draw) at Augusta, five wedges, and most recently (at the uber-lengthy Torrey Pines) no driver at all!

Better make it six wedges

Better make it six wedges

AP reports that Team Phil was back at it again today, doing the front nine at an Oakland Hills (dubbed “The Monster” in 1951 by Ben Hogan) layout that is now 400 yards longer than when it hosted the Ryder Cup four years ago.

Remember back then, Phil had just made the curious golf club switch to Callaway (from Titleist), arriving at the Ryder Cup with a new pair of irons that he proceeded to clumsily hack around with for three days. The highlight for many was ‘The Look’ that Tiger gave Phil during their Friday p.m. foursomes match after Phil severely blocked his tee shot on 18 into a thicket of trees (described by the BBC afterwards as “a cosmically poor tee shot” that “even you [the viewer] would have been embarrassed to hit”). Needless to say, the world’s one and two have not been paired together since.

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Filed under Dave Pelz, Phil Mickelson

Now batting for Manny Ramirez…Anthony Kim!

Anthony Kim and Brandt Snedeker are two of the Tour’s most promising young stars, and the duo was in Boston yesterday for a media day to promote the Deutsche Bank Championship (Aug. 29-Sept. 1) at TPC Boston.

Posing

Posing

The Globe’s Jim McCabe had an interesting tidbit on Kim, who at 23 years and ranked 13th in the world is the youngest in the Top 50:

Kim entered the PGA Tour scene late in 2006 and has played in just 44 tournaments as a professional. Here’s how his prize money stacks up against Woods and Snedeker over their first 44:

Kim . . . $5,478,627

Woods . . . $4,310,993

Snedeker . . . $3,189,109

That said, the numbers are a bit deceiving.

Whereas Kim has two victories and 11 top 10s in his first 44 tournaments, Woods’s stash was seven victories and 23 top 10s. (Snedeker had one win and eight top 10s.)

After posing for a few pictures and answering a few mundane questions (i.e., nothing about that bogey-bogey-bogey finish up in Canadia) from reporters, Kim spent some time with the CEO of Deutsche Bank, Seth Waugh, and championship director Eric Baldwin. Then for the coup de grace:

Kim headed to Fenway Park for last night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. “While I’m here, I’m a Red Sox fan,” said Kim with a smile. He was thrilled about the visit, which included a chance to take batting practice.

Now if only Manny could conjure up that boyish enthusiasm for the hometown nine!

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Filed under Anthony Kim, Brandt Snedeker

Gulbis named Hottest golfer; gets involved in essay contest

Credit to Thomas Bonk of the L.A. Times on Monday for this tidbit.

Natalie Gulbis may be better known for her calendars, but she’s branching out to the written word these days. A nationwide essay contest called “Who’s Behind Your Success?,” sponsored by RSM McGladrey and featuring Gulbis is underway.

Whats Behind Her Success?

What's Behind Her Success?


The contest winner and a guest spend a day with Gulbis in her hometown of Las Vegas, work out with her, play nine holes of golf, and then have dinner with her.

This on the heels of another coup for Gulbis–she was recently named the hottest female golfer by Sports Crunch, which undertook the very enviable task of ranking the Top 50.

So much for that brilliant plan to try and shed her image as an ‘athletic babe,’ I guess…

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Filed under Natalie Gulbis