Odds ‘n’ Ends – January 16th, 2019

It’s that time again. It’s time to take a quick look at some recent happenings in the golf world. So many things… so little time. Where to begin?

Let’s take a look at a trend that’s starting to develop. I have no issue with following the rules and even bending them sometimes isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Without any semblance of rules… you have anarchy. When it comes to the Rules of Golf they’re in place for a reason. Much like Newton’s First Law of Physics (“For every action… there’s an equal but opposite reaction”). While some of the rules are silly and can hurt you (some of these were addressed on January 1st) some are in place to actually help golfers. Some of the new modernized golf rules put into place the elimination of the “T.C. Chen”. Yes… the double-hit! Now there’s no penalty for doing so and over social media I’ve seen various videos of golfers (including PGA Tour players) practicing or just goofing around from behind a tree executing the “Intentional Chen”. UGH! It nauseates me. Now you’re actually stretching the envelope of the rule thus taking away a little bit of the integrity from the game. Like there hasn’t been enough taken from it already. If a Tour player were to do it… it would be “Bush League”. Period! The rule needs to be re-written to include “not intentionally for the purposes of getting out from behind a hazard etc”. Or at least something to that effect.

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Brooks Koepka escaping trouble. Using the “Intentional Chen”.

We crowned a new winner at the 2019 Sony Open in Hawaii this past weekend. Matt Kuchar played some great golf. He bested the field by 4 shots finishing at -22. Armed with the golf clubs and golf ball below he took home a nice little paycheck of just under $1.2M (yeah… you know where this is headed).

Ball: Bridgestone Tour B X

Driver: Bridgestone Tour B JGR (Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec 6S), 9.5 degrees

3-wood: Titleist TS2, 13.5 degrees

Hybrids: Bridgestone Tour B XD-H (18 degrees); Ping Anser (20 degrees)

Irons (5-PW): Bridgestone J15CB

Wedges: Bridgestone J40 Forged (52 degrees); Cleveland RTX-4 (56 degrees); Cleveland RTX-3 (62 degrees)

Putter: Bettinardi Kuchar Model 1

So this week all over social media we heard about an incident…story…rumour or whatever you want to call it involving his win at 2018 Mayakoba Classic. For this tournament, Kuchar hired a local caddie. Apparently, the parties involved came to an agreement. The caddie would be remunerated $3,000 USD for his work during the week. Sheesh! I’d love $3,000 for a week of work. Crap! I’ll do it for $2,000 USD (always undercut the competition). Anyways, Kuchar would go on to win the tournament and if you believe everything that you read (especially on the internet) the caddie didn’t receive any more than the $3,000 after the victory. To this end I have this to say. With none of us being there firsthand none of us should be so freaking quick to judge Kooch! If that was all of the money that the caddie received then that sucks I guess. If he was given more money than that out of the winnings then good for him. He rendered good services during the week and deserved a payout. You know who didn’t make $3,000 USD that week? Me!

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

As we know, Justin Rose left TaylorMade Golf to sign with Honma. Actually, he didn’t leave them. His contract expired and he was an equipment free agent in a way similar to players on professional sports teams and NASCAR drivers. According to reports, it all started with a putter. But not just any putter. The way that I translate it, is that he tested a putter (Axis1) and consequently rolled the ball well with it. One thing led to another. After testing out Honma products late in 2018 he began to really appreciate the quality of their products. Honma Golf allowed Rose to have input on the design which as it turned out weighed-in on his decision significantly. This is something that I truly appreciate. This meant something to the Englishman.  There were other little things in the contract that swayed Rose to go in that direction including the ability to pick and choose any metalwoods and golf ball of his choosing. For the time being, it’s being reported that Rose will continue to play TaylorMade fairway woods. I expect that to change not too far down the road. Rosey… I like you even more.

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That’s it for Odd ‘n’ Ends for this week. The next time we do this… I’ll have wrapped up my Demo Day experience at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show.

Until The Next Tee!!

#SeeUOnTheNextTee #FightAndGrind

HONMA GOLF AND JUSTIN ROSE AGREE TO MULTI-YEAR PARTNERSHIP

Honma Golf. While the golf manufacturer from Japan isn’t widely known in North America that’s something that’s about to change. On New Year’s Day, Honma Golf announced the signing of current World Number Two golfer Justin Rose to a multi-year agreement.

The announcement puts an end to the rumors that Rose was leaving his former club manufacturer in favor of Honma Golf. These rumors have been churning since the fall as his previous contract was expiring (some time around the Turkish Airlines Open). The contract involves a 10-club agreement consisting of Driver, Irons and Wedges. Rose can round out the rest of his golf bag with whatever he sees fit. The same goes for his golf ball.

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Honma Golf also happens to have current Women’s World Number Three golfer SoYeon Ryu and former World Number One golfer Shan-Shan Feng in their stable.

Honma Golf has three distinct product ranges available for golfers with three different price ranges. First they have the premium Beres range, covering the middle ground of the market is their Tour World line-up (these are the clubs that Justin Rose will be playing) and last but not least the BeZeal line. All of their equipment is of the highest quality. I visited their booth at the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show (Demo Day) and I was very impressed by my experience. I always figured Honma Golf to be pretentious however I couldn’t have been more wrong about that. As a matter of fact, their booth was probably the most laid back that I visited.

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Photo Credit: Honma Golf

Honma Golf is about a lot more than just golf clubs. They also feature everything from apparel to golf shoes and several models of golf balls.

Thanks go out to Preston Toulon from Honma Golf USA for sharing the press release below outlining the details of the Justin Rose signing.

 

(January 1, 2019 – Hong Kong) Honma Golf Limited (“HONMA”, stock code: 6858.HK), one of the most prestigious and iconic brand in the golf industry, is pleased to announce that HONMA and Justin Rose, 2018 FedEx Cup Champion, have agreed to a multi-year partnership in which Justin Rose would lead HONMA’s worldwide tour presence. The Board sees this as an important milestone in HONMA’s efforts in global professional golf. Founded in 1959 in Japan, HONMA is one of the most prestigious and iconic brand in the golf industry, synonymous with intricate craftsmanship, dedication to performance excellence and distinguished product quality. According to a recent Nielsen research, HONMA ranks as the world’s number one premium golf brand in terms of sales.

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Photo Credit: Honma Golf

Justin Rose, aged 38, is an English professional golfer and the Rio 2016 Olympics Gold medalist. Justin is coming off the strongest year of his professional career in which he captured the coveted FedEx Cup and helped Europe to a dominating Ryder Cup victory in France. He ascended to number one in the Official World Golf Rankings multiple times and is currently positioned as the second-ranked golfer in the world. “I’m extremely excited to be joining HONMA.” said Justin, “Coming off one of my best years professionally, I wanted to make it a point to get better. I believe HONMA equipment and the legendary HONMA craftsmanship can help make me better.” Mr. Liu Jian Guo, Chairman of HONMA Golf, commented, “when we thought about the ideal golfer that aligns with our company values, everything pointed to Justin Rose. Justin is a world-class player, and beyond that, a gentleman and family man. We are ecstatic to have him on the HONMA team. Besides, we strongly believe that with Justin’s local and international influence in the sport and his media coverage and social media following, the partnership will create an immediate and positive uplift of HONMA’s brand image and product awareness in mature markets such as North America and Europe which will in turn accelerate the implementation of HONMA’s growth strategies in these markets.”

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About Honma Golf Limited

HONMA is one of the most prestigious and iconic brands in the golf industry, synonymous with intricate craftsmanship, dedication to performance excellence and distinguished product quality. HONMA Golf was successfully listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited on 6 October 2016 (Stock Code: 6858.HK). The Company predominantly designs, develops, manufactures and sells a comprehensive range of aesthetically-crafted and performance-driven golf clubs, under 3 major product categories for clubs, namely BERES, TOUR WORLD and BeZeal, each targeting specific consumer segments. HONMA Golf also offers customers a complete golf lifestyle experience through an extensive portfolio of golf balls, apparel, accessories and other related products. According to Frost & Sullivan, HONMA ranked among the top ten golf product brands in the world and was the number one brand for premium golf clubs, in each case in terms of retail sales in 2015. It was also the fastest growing brand within the top 10 golf products brands as measured by year-on-year retail sales growth from 2014 to 2015. HONMA Golf’s products are sold in approximately 50 countries worldwide, primarily in Asia and also across North America, Europe and other regions.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

The Top 10 Golf News Stories of 2018

What a crazy, wacky and sometimes wild year it was in golf during 2018. From Major accomplishments to historic moments. We take a look at the top golf news stories of 2018 or at least the way that I see it.

#10 – Farewell Abbey??

Don’t mind me waving the maple leaf for a few moments to get started. This story may not be big news anywhere else in the world. However, this is a story that’s significant for the Canadian golf fanbase. The “House That Jack Built”. Mr. Nicklaus’ first solo design Glen Abbey is a course in nearby Oakville, Ontario. A course that’s historic in many ways. The most poignant detail is the fact that it’s hosted the Canadian Open a record 30 times. When Dustin Johnson closed out the victory on that Sunday it might have been the last time that the venue will be used. There’s been a massive fight between a real estate developer that wants to turn the property into high-priced GTA (Greater Toronto Area) condos and those that want to turn Glen Abbey into a heritage site. The latter would save the iconic Canadian course. I’m trying to refrain from singing “Sound of Silence” but it makes me sad.

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#9 – Bradley Back

In a way this story sort of ties in with the previous one. I was watching Keegan Bradley during the Tuesday practice round for the 2018 Canadian Open. He was looking real good out there and he had a decent finish. Bradley would finish 4th in the tournament (four strokes back of DJ). Earlier in the year, there were glimpses of his former brilliance. It was a lifetime ago it seems when he won his Major. Then during the FedEx Cup Playoffs… it finally happened. After an exciting playoff with Justin Rose the Cleveland/Srixon Golf staffer won and snapped a 6-year winless drought. Who doesn’t love a good comeback story?

#8 – Revolving Door At The Top

Parity. It’s all over professional sports. On any given day any team can win. In golf it’s individuals. While some people think golf is lacking some “hoospah” these days I think it’s an exciting time for the game. Look at all of the young gun’s they’re all fearless. Look no further than the Official World Golf Rankings. This year seemed like there was always constant movement at the top. A proberbial “revolving door”. Currently, Brooks Koepka (who got the ESPN snub) is the World #1 on the men’s side. In no particular order Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson both were #1 at certain points in 2018. Say… wasn’t Justin Thomas there as well?

#7 Reed Wins The Masters

Love him or hate him (the majority hates him) Patrick Reed won the 2018 Masters Tournament. In what will go down in golf history as the most disliked champion of all time the reality is that Reed has his place in the rich history of Augusta National. Reed has long been known for a strong opinion and I sort of like him because he isn’t… you know… “finished”. It’s never a dull moment when he’s in front of some sort of media. By the way… he’s going to be placing the Green Jacket on Tommy Fleetwood in 2019 at the Butler Cabin.

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#6 – Lexi Wins CME

The final event on the LPGA Tour is the CME Group TOUR Championship held annually at Tiburon Golf Club in lovely Naples, Florida. Lexi Thompson had a tough 2018 season. The personable 23 year-old withdrew earlier in the year from the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Following that withdrawal she would take some time off to “recharge” her “mental batteries” as she described it on Instagram. Later on, it came out that she was struggling with “body image” as well. Taking the time off from professional golf to focus on herself was a sign of poise and maturity. The time off paid dividends as Lexi won the final event of the year. Welcome back Lexi. #FightAndGrind

 

#5 – DeChambeau Breaks Out Big Time

He’s a genius. Literally! If anyone truly had a breakout season in 2018 it was DeChambeau. As nice as social media can be it can also be a place of misery. You see, I’ve watched the idiots on his Instagram feed berate and downright bully the 25 year-old DeChambeau. whether it’s ever bothered him I don’t know. Isn’t it amazing how brave people are from behind a laptop or similar? His naysayers over social media said that he was “shit” and so on (actually much worse things were said). 2018 was a year in which DeChambeau silenced his critics and gave them all a collective “middle finger salute”. He didn’t win once or twice this year. No, instead he won 3 times. As it stands right now… DeChambeau is #5 in the OWGR.

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#4 – “The Match”

There was no way that I would leave this story out. “The Match” featuring Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. You know? The PPV event that cost viewers $20 to purchase. The only thing was that there were so many technical issues that refunds were doled out like samples at Costco. You could almost hear Oprah saying “You get a refund… you get a refund… you get a refund… EVERYBODY gets a refund”. I hated everything about it. First, it was 15 years late in the making. Then there was the obvious. Two rich guys betting away other people’s money in sidebets. Although, some money found its way to charity. Oh yeah… then there was the “reverse crescent-kicking” Mickelson trying to look all “gangsta” behind the pile of money. Nauseating! It was so horribly done that they’ve now planned two re-boots of ‘The Match”. I laugh because it’s an attempt to recuperate the money lost. They won’t say it.. .I will. I’ll watch zero of these as well.

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#3 – Tiger Wins #80

It’s no secret. I’m not a Tiger fan but it isn’t like I dislike him for personal reasons. Believe it or not the media or shall say the Golf Channel has a lot to do with it. Always stuffing him down our throats… even when he misses a cut or isn’t playing at all. I appreciate the fact that Tiger Woods is the best player of this generation. Some will contend that he’s the best of all-time but the era’s in golf are so different through the ages. But that’s a debate for another time. Granted, it’s unlikely that I’ll “beat that dead horse”. Fact… Nobody moves the needle like Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. He’s had his issues with injuries, a 9-iron wielding wife (well ex-wife) and a run-in with the police (DUI). Everybody said he was done. Well maybe not everyone but there were more pundits and golf analysts that made the remarks than who didn’t. Believe it or not.. I was not one of them. You could see the progress (2017 Hero World Challenge notwithstanding) and the results were starting to come all year long. Then finally it happened. Tiger came all the way back from golf’s “Bowels of Despair”. The same day Keegan Bradley found his way back so to did Tiger Woods. He won the TOUR Championship at East Lake his 80th career victory.

#2 – Koepka Captures Two Majors

Brooks Koepka just might be the “Rodney Dangerfield” of professional sports. No respect! Or maybe at least according to golf juggernaut ESPN. You see, they don’t see him as a dominant athlete. Are you kidding me? Have you seen the guy in person? Not only is he a tank but the last time that something looked that formidable on the golf course it was… Tiger Woods. Koepka is freakishly long, has the finesse to go with that power and he can putt. As a matter of fact, if I were playing “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004” I would make my character like him. Dude’s a video game character. Actually, I think that I created a player just like him in retrospect. Anyways, not only is he #1 in the world but all he did was win two measly Major Championships in 2018 (U.S. Open and PGA Championship). But he’s not dominant? ESPN… stick to The Espy’s and 30 For 30.

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#1 – 2018 Ryder Cup

The 2018 Ryder Cup. It was amazing… For Team Europe! After Day One the American side was in pretty good shape and then ever so slowly the wheels fell off of the “Stars and Stripes”. The Euro’s decimated their competitors at Le Golf National (Paris, France) and as much as that was a story… it was the fallout afterwards. If you recall, there was fallout a few Ryder Cup’s ago in which the American team was embarrassed so badly at the hands of the Europeans that a special task force was developed (by the USGA as I recall). Just to ensure that it never happened again but… It did…in 2018. Between a reported dispute between DJ and Koepka in which they had to be separated at an after-party (incident denied) and the “affable” Patrick Reed doing what he does best… err or worst (open his mouth… his wife chimed in too). Heck, Tiger and Phil went winless in their matches too (almost like “The Match” itself). The 2018 Ryder Cup unfortunately will not be remembered for good golf or for that matter the margin of victory for Team Europe. Instead, it will be remembered for the dysfunctional drama that was Team USA.

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There you have it… the Top 10 Golf Stories of 2018. I bet 2019 will be even better yet. Let me know what you think.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee