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.
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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.
For the fifth consecutive week, a FootJoy player claimed victory on the PGA TOUR as Steve Stricker (SYNR-G style #53883, PureTouch Limited glove) closed with a 1-under 70 Sunday for a two-shot victory over fellow FJ player Luke Donald (FJ ICON MyJoys) at the Northern Trust Open.Stricker finished with a 16-under 268 total and won for the eighth time in his career and the fourth time in his last 15 starts. He also moved up to No. 2 in the world golf rankings for the second time in his career. Stricker didn’t make it easy on himself, having to grind for pars as Donald kept pouring in birdies. But after Donald missed two short birdie attempts, Stricker fired off two straight birdies to restore a comfortable margin. “It was hard today,” Stricker said. “I aged a lot out there. It was a grind from the get-go.”Stricker seemed to struggle all day, missing several greens to the left but he had five consecutive one-putt greens and continued to get himself out of minor jams.Half of Stricker’s eight career victories have come in the last eight months dating to his playoff win at Colonial. He turns 43 later this month, and shows no sign of letting up.
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."
Padraig Harrington closed with a 3-under 69 to win the Iskandar Johor Open on Sunday, securing his first victory in two years. The three-time major champion, who trusted SYNR-G #53918 and Pure Touch Limited, finished the week with a 20-under 268 total for a three shot win at the Asia Tour event."There's no doubt that it was my week to win," the Irishman said. "If you had followed me for the four days, I don't think anyone would have questioned that my name was written on the trophy before the tournament started ... I hit some good shots and had a few breaks."
Harrington last won in 2008 at the PGA Championship. The 39-year-old was making his debut in the event.It was Harrington's third Asian Tour title after previous wins in Taipei and Hong Kong."Two years is a long time, especially when you're reminded every week you play," Harrington said. "It's nice and very important for me to win. It's somewhat a monkey off your back."* Excerpts taken from an Associated Press story