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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “2010 has been the stuff of dreams. It's been that kind of year. Not quite sure why.”

ON THIS DAY: In 1969, Arnold Palmer won the Danny Thomas Diplomat Classic in Hollywood, FL.

THREE AMIGOS: TaylorMade Golf is going with a new look as the company announced it has re-imagined and in its opinion, redefined the forged iron with the introduction of three new models: TPMB (Tour Preferred Muscleback), TPMC (Tour Preferred Muscle Cavity) and TPCB (Tour Preferred Cavityback). "Forged irons are typically devoid of performance technologies," said Bret Wahl, senior director of iron, wedge and putter development. "Their compact and solid construction, with thin sole, thin topline, high CG location and little to no offset, forces a very specific type of impact parameters to hit a good shot, with virtually no margin for error. The reward for that sacrifice is unparalleled feel and workability. We took a long, close look into the makeup of forged irons to determine if we could advance the performance with the use of technology, and we found that we could."

The Tour Preferred MB is a muscleback blade expressly designed for the purist in mind, the company said. "This is the iron that many of our Tour Staff pros been waiting for," said Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade's vice president of tour operations. "The lines are clear and clean from every angle, and the pure feel of the ball on the forged face at impact is as good as it gets."

The TPMB incorporates TaylorMade's precision-weighting port in the back of the clubhead. In the past, clubmakers have installed cartridges of varying weight in the hosel to assure that each iron in the set is of uniform swingweight, TaylorMade said. However this can affects the location of the Center of Gravity in terms of its position between the toe and heel, according to the company. The TPMB's precision-weighting port, TaylorMade said, guarantees precise swingweights while ensuring optimal and consistent CG location in every clubhead. "The precision-weighting port proves that it is, in fact, possible to innovate and improve the performance of a true, forged blade," said Brian Bazzel, manager of iron and wedge creation.

The TPMC irons incorporate a compact, shallow cavity for feel and workability. "We worked obsessively with our Tour Staff to shape the TPMC irons into something that looks perfect to the better player's eye, while at the same time incorporating feel, workability and stability," said Bazzel.

The Tour Preferred CB is a multi-material forged cavityback. It features a two-piece head that melds a forged face with a cast body that incorporates an undercut cavity to deliver the feel of a forged iron and the forgiveness of a deep cavityback the company said. "Uniting a forged face with a cast cavity allows us to deliver the best of both worlds: the soft feel of a forging with the stability and forgiveness of a deep undercut cavity," said Wahl. The TPCB irons are the only model of the three being offered in both steel and graphite shafts. The steel is a new, 110-gram, mid-flight True Temper Dynamic Golf XP, which is said to be lighter and promotes higher flight compared to the standard Dynamic Gold steel shaft. The graphite shaft options, developed by Fujikura, are offered in 90-gram stiff flex and 80-gram regular flex. The TPMB standard shaft was chosen with input from TaylorMade Tour Staff professionals, the company said and include True Temper Dynamic Gold shaft. The TPMC is also equipped with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts.

The standard TP set includes eight irons—custom sets will allow combination of any eight irons offered in each models—at a street price of $899. The street price for the TPCB irons with graphite shaft is $1099. The TPMB, TPMC and TPCB irons become available at retail starting in March 2011.

NO: Yes! Golf has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. According to the court documents, the company has in excess of 200 unsecured creditors, including five touring professionals and owes nearly to $2 million that it is unable to pay.

GOTCHA: The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group (the "Anti-Counterfeiting Group") reports that the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) have obtained court orders seizing the domain names of five websites that are accused of selling counterfeit golf equipment and violating U.S. copyright law. The seizure of these sites was part of a wide crackdown by government officials against illegal trafficking in many different types of counterfeit goods. The enforcement action was referred to as “Operation In Our Sites” and announced by federal officials on “Cyber Monday,” November 29th.

The websites that the federal authorities seized for selling counterfeit golf products are:

Following the issuance of the court orders, each website now displays a notice on its home page stating that "[w]illful copyright infringement is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution. Intentionally and knowingly trafficking in counterfeit goods is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to ten years in federal prison, a $2,000,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution."

According to the Anti-Counterfeiting Group, “the enforcement action taken against these websites sends a strong message that counterfeiting is a serious crime with real consequences. It also protects consumers who are defrauded by counterfeiters, as well as U.S. companies who invest substantial resources in developing high quality products.” The Anti-Counterfeiting Group intends to continue to pursue legal action against these and others involved in manufacturing or selling counterfeit golf products and warns consumers who are shopping on-line during the holiday season that there are many other websites that sell counterfeit golf products. These sites frequently ship directly from China at prices that may look “too good to be true.”

A NUMBER OF FIRSTS: Maria Hjorth became the first LPGA Tour player to win with Titleist’s New Pro V1x prototype golf ball. She closed with a final-round 72 at the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship for her first victory since 2007. The win was the fourth of Hjorth's career. On the Japan Tour, Hiroyuki Fujita won using Titleist’s New Pro V1 prototype golf ball to win the season-ending JT Cup 2010. Fujita is the first player on the worldwide professional tours to win with the New Pro V1 golf ball.  Michio Matsumura won the previous week playing the New Pro V1x on the Japan Golf Tour.  The victory was Fujita's second this season (Tsuruya Open) and the 10th of his career.

Remaining on the theme of firsts, Geoff Ogilvy claimed his first Australian Open title with a four-shot victory. He didn’t use either of the new prototype balls from Titleist; instead he relied on the current Pro V1 model. But he did go with Titleist’s recently introduced 910D3 driver (8.5, SureFit setting A-3) and its 910F fairway metal (15.0), which is slated to begin shipping to retail sometime early in 2011.

MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND: Newly-minted PGA Tour Player of the Year Jim Furyk picked a good time to have a good year. In sports business parlance, it was his “contract year,” and now Furyk is set to reap the rewards. His agent, Andrew Whitlieb, confirmed to Golfweek that Furyk would sign a deal to endorse equipment with TaylorMade next season. READ MORE>>>

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE: There are reports that Davis Love III will be starting 2011 with something other than Titleist in his bag. READ MORE>>>


WHO COULD IT BE? It was a big year for European golfers and deciding who was the best of the best turned out to be an impossible task. Lee Westwood ended the year the #1 player in the world. Graeme McDowell won the US Open at Pebble Beach. Louis Oosthuizen became Open champion at St Andrews and Martin Kaymer won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. It was the first major championship for each player. Meanwhile, Ian Poulter, Ernie Els and Francesco Molinari all won World Golf Championship events. The 2010 European Tour Golfer of the Year title has been awarded jointly for the first time. READ MORE>>>

LOOKING FOR MORE: One was good, but two would be great. "Two at the end of the year would be great," Ogilvy said yesterday. "I mean to be fair I was playing really well the last three or four tournaments in the US. I found some form and . . . I think I was pretty happy where my game was at, but to win the last two of the year would be great. So I'll be trying." READ MORE>>>

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ANSWER: Graeme McDowell