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[by Guy Smith, Acushnet Company European Tour Rep]
With the Race To Dubai really heating up, the two highest placed FootJoy shoe wearers, Rory McIlroy and Ross Fisher, positions 3 & 4 respectively, are sitting out the French Open this week in preparation for the Open Championship at Turnberry in two weeks time. This will open the door to the other 10 FootJoy shoe wearers currently in the Race To Dubai top 20 to catch up to them.
Last year's winner, Pablo Larrazabal is really looking forward to defending the title he won last year. It is turning into a very special week for the Larrazabal family, as Pablo's brother, Alex, has joined him in the French Open field after qualifying for the tournament last week. This is exactly what Pablo did last year before storming to an emphatic victory over the Golf National course to claim his first European Tour title and helped him to become the Sir Henry Cotton, Rookie of the Year. Can lightning strike twice!?
Another player who loves this tournament is FootJoy wearer Soren Hansen, he finished in third place last year. He was in fine form this week and looking to improve on last years finish.
The big story of the week has been the launch of the FJ ICON shoes to the European Tour. Players came to visit the Titleist Tour Support Vehicle to collect their new shoes, and only positive responses were heard. The majority of comments included how light the shoes felt and how comfortable they were. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these on the players this week and the next few weeks. More styles will be released to the players at The Open Championship.
One player already wearing the FJ ICON shoe is Ian Poulter. It was good to see him again in Europe after a long spell across the Pond on the USPGA Tour. Ian will certainly fancy his chances this week as he has been showing some great form and can't be too far away from a win. He is joined in the field by Angel Cabrera, who will be looking to add to his Masters crown earlier in the season and SYNR-G and FootJoy PureTouch wearer, Padraig Harrington.
We've got more photos from our FJ folks onsite at Turnberry! Pretty busy few days for everyone at the Open Championship, especially the players as they make final preparations for tomorrow's opening round. One of my favorite sayings is that you can't win a major on Thursday, but you can certainly lose one! Can't wait to see how this event unfolds, starting tomorrow morning.
Just a quick scan through the field yesterday revealed even more players wearing the new FJ ICON as well as SYNR-G and several other popular FootJoy styles. In fact, 53% of the field at the final major championship of 2009 are wearing FootJoy golf shoes, more than double the nearest competitor. Click on the images below to see some of the FJ players in action on Thursday.
We were on the range Tuesday at the PGA Tour's second playoff event, the Deutsche Bank Championship. We were not only checking in with our FootJoy players but also set up a large display to show them the full line of FJ ICON styles and all the options available through the MyJoys program. In short, the players were thrilled! Check out the pictures from Wednesday and we'll post video next week so you can hear what players such as David Toms, Charley Hoffman, John Merrick and Jason Bohn think of FootJoy's new flagship product and all the custom options!
FootJoy ended 2009 just how it began...as the #1 Shoe and Glove at retail and on professional Tours around the world. Our Tour success featured memorable performances from some of the Tour's biggest stars. We recently caught up with a few FJ players to talk about the year that was and look ahead to 2010.
What was your favorite golf memory this year, either from the professional Tours or in your own game? Click on COMMENTS to share your thoughts.
Steve Stricker (SYNR-G, PureTouch Limited) made a run at Player of the Year honors on the heels of three strong wins throughout the year. After beginning the year with five top 10 finishes, Stricker captured his first win of the year in a playoff at Colonial when he stuck his approach to 3 feet on the second hole of sudden death. He was back for more at the John Deere Classic and set the course record with a 61 in round two before closing with a final round 64 to notch his second win in four starts. Strick then notched arguably the biggest victory of his career when he birdied the final two holes to win the Deutsche Bank Championship during the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Lee Westwood (FJ ICON, PureTouch Limited) finishes the year as the highest placed European in the Official World Golf Rankings having won the inaugural Race to Dubai on the European Tour. He last won the Harry Vardon trophy in 2000, reaching Number Four in the World in the process, and equaled that feat in a momentous 2009 campaign. His superb season, capped by victories in the Portugal Masters and the Dubai World Championship, was one of the many highlights of an outstanding year.
Padraig Harrington (SYNR-G, PureTouch Limited) continued to work on some major swing changes and saw the fruits of his labor towards the end of the season. Beginning with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitaitonal, Harrington reeled off an incredible string of six consecutive top ten finishes, including all four FedEx Cup Playoff events which feature some of the strongest fields of the year.
Zach Johnson (SYNR-G, StaSof) got the year started off right by defeating fellow FJ
players Adam Scott and David Toms in the first full field event of the
year at the Sony Open in Hawaii then successfully defended his title at
the Valero Texas Open.
FootJoy, the #1 Shoe in Golf and #1 Shoe on every Tour Worldwide, announced today that it has entered into a multi-year agreement with Geoff Ogilvy.
Geoff is an international star who excels under the toughest conditions. A six-time champion on the PGA Tour, Geoff has topped some of the best fields in golf throughout his career. He famously won the 2006 United States Open with a chip-in par on the 17th hole and a clutch up-and-down par on the final hole. The victory was Geoff's first major championship and he became just the second Australian to win the tournament. He has also won three World Golf Championship events, which feature only the top ranked players in the world, including the Accenture Match Play Championship twice.
In 2009, Geoff was the first multiple winner of the season. He led wire-to-wire to win the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship, then claimed the second of his two Match Play Championship titles in Arizona where he resides. Geoff is one of only two players to win the event twice.
"Like many Tour players, I grew up wearing FootJoy golf shoes and gloves so putting them on again is a bit of a home-coming for me, said Ogilvy. “I’ve been using the new products and they’re fantastic. I'm really excited to start the season in FootJoy product."
Geoff joins the industry leader at a time when the brand has significant momentum with tremendous new product. The ultra-stable SYNR-G® shoe category continues to be the shoes of choice for many of the game's best players such as Padraig Harrington, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson. In addition, the new flagship shoe category, FJ ICON, delivers the perfect blend of performance and stylish elegance. FJ ICON has quickly attracted a loyal following from elite players like Ian Poulter, Camilo Villegas, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan and hundreds more. As the worldwide leader in golf gloves, Ogilvy will rely on the incredible feel and performance of the legendary StaSof® glove.
"Geoff is a fantastic addition to our staff as he embodies many of the qualities that define the FootJoy brand," said Rob Kelley, Director of Brand Marketing for FootJoy. "He is a global icon who plays the game with passion and integrity and has a proven record of success."
FootJoy®. The #1 Shoe and Glove in Golf
There were two compelling duels over the weekend that featured top international FJ players battling down the stretch to secure tournament victories. Further proof that FJ is the #1 shoe and glove wherever the best players in the world compete. At the Ricoh Women's British Open, Yani Tseng (Women's DryJoys, Women's StaSof) of Taiwan made a 6-foot putt on the 18th hole Sunday to win by one stroke over Katherine Hull (Contour Series style #54158) of Australia.It was the 21-year-old Tseng's third major title and second of the year to go along with the Kraft Nabisco. She has four LPGA victories overall, having won 2008 LPGA Championship and 2009 Corning Classic.Hull came into the round trailing by four strokes but trailed by just one heading into the 18th. But she missed a 20-foot birdie attempt and had to settle for a 70, and Tseng made her par putt to shoot 73 and total 11-under 277 at Royal Birkdale."I was nervous and tired with all the pressure and attention out there today," Tseng said. "Katherine played really well and put me under a lot of pressure. It was the toughest win I've had to date. I usually come from behind to win. I've never won from the front before."------------------------Meanwhile, two FJ ambassadors battled it out in Ireland where Ross Fisher (FJ ICON style #52005, Pure Touch Limited glove) defeated local favorite Padraig Harrington (SYNR-G style #53918, Pure Touch Limited) to win the Irish Open by two strokes. Fisher led by one to start the day and fired a final round 6-under 65 for an 18-under 266 total and his fourth career victory. Harrington was persistent throughout the day and tied Fisher for the lead on three occasions en route to a 7-under 64. One of those ties occurred on the par-5 15th hole where Harrington knocked in a 10-footer for eagle only to see Fisher respond with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th to take the lead for the final time. "I have come close to winning in Ireland a couple of times in the past," Fisher said. "And to get the victory done in front of record crowds and to beat Paddy, who was obviously fighting all the way, is something I will definitely treasure for a long time."
D.A. Points (SYNR-G #53918 and SciFlex #68115) won the AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a 5-under par 67. This is D.A.'s first career victory, earning him a spot in The Masters along with a 2 year PGA Tour exemption. Standing in the fairway on the hardest hole Pebble has to offer, the par 5 14th, Points holed his third shot for eagle giving him a 1 shot lead with 4 to play. Points then holed a 30 foot birdie putt on the par 4 15th to all but assure him the victory. "Pebble Beach may be the most iconic place in America to play golf, and to win here, it's just a dream come true," said Points.
Hunter Mahan (FJ Icon) shot a 66 to finish solo second.
Lee Westwood (Synr-G and SciFlex) celebrated his birthday by reclaiming the top spot on the Official World Golf Rankings with a win at the Indonesian Masters (Asian Tour). Lee Westwood played stellar golf all week at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club and began his final round with a 5 shot lead. Westwood was steady on the outward nine, shooting even par. On the 11th, Westwood faced a tricky 15 footer for birdie and nailed it. Now with some momentum, Lee birdied two more holes to finish the tourney at 19-under par 3 shots clear of second place. When asked about becoming world number one again, Westwood downplayed the feat, "It was about coming here this week and trying to win the Indonesian Masters and I've done that."
On the European Tour, big hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts (FJ ICON) won the Volvo China Open at a staggering mark of 24-under par. This is Nicolas' first European Tour victory coming 10 years after first earning his European Tour card at the age of 18. Colsaerts later said of his victory, "I’m enjoying every second of it...I’m dizzy - my head is going
all over the place. I’ve been waiting for this for a very long time and
I think I did it in the best of manners so I’m really delighted."