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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.
This summer, FootJoy will set a new standard for luxurious golf footwear with the introduction of FJ ICON. Created with design inspiration from FootJoy's deep heritage in the game while integrating proven technological advancements such as memory foam and a perforated alloy stability bridge, FJ ICON delivers beautiful, traditional style, a comfortable fit and tremendous stability.
We recently spoke with FootJoy's Vice President of Golf Footwear, Jack Erickson, about the research and development of FJ ICON. Jack is responsible for FootJoy’s global footwear development process- from initial concept through final production.
Click here to see all the styles. Click here to see players who wore FJ ICON at THE PLAYERS and click here to see all the styles on FootJoy.com.
What was your role in the development of FJ ICON?
My role was to ensure that our team stayed focused on developing FJ's new ultra-premium golf shoe. I work closely with the Design/Development, Product Management Teams and Tour Department from start to finish.
What was the inspiration behind the FJ ICON?
To be honest, we draw inspiration from every shoe we've developed over the last 100+ years and we believe FJ ICON embodies the best of FJ - finely tailored upper designs, premium materials, performance-infused outsoles and seemingly endless customization options. Like those that came before it, the FJ ICON shoes have been in development for literally years now so it is impossible to pick out a specific time or specific inspiration that triggered the concept. In truth, this project has been a collaboration of the ideas, suggestions, lengthy discussions and debates from our entire product development team, as well as ongoing feedback from Tour players. To simplify, we strive to make great products that will exceed the expectations of those who are most in tune with their feet and require elite performance products: Tour players.
The ultimate goal was to produce elite-level shoes for elite players, period. One of the benefits of having an extensive line of shoes that covers all major pricepoints and satisfies golfers of all abilities, is that when working on a project such as this, we don't have to start from scratch. In fact, we have incorporated several proven features from other categories into the process of creating the FJ ICON line. For example, we have utilized the proprietary waterproof technology from DryJoys as well as comfort and stability features from the tour-proven SYNR-G category. As for the upper patterns, it was a natural progression to draw inspiration from our strong Classics heritage yet have the vision to also create looks that have a contemporary flair. As a result, we accomplished the goal of developing a new premium, high-performance category of golf shoes that exemplifies tradition and performance.
Do you see FJ ICON as a replacement for Classics or the evolution of Classics? How and why?
No. FJ ICON shoes were never meant to replace Classics. They are also not the evolution of our Classics franchise. They are an entirely new category of performance golf footwear with styling that will appeal to a golfer seeking a golf shoe with traditional design.
Explain some of the key features in the FJ ICON shoes?
What is the significance behind the name FJ ICON?
The FJ ICON moniker suits this category perfectly. This collection is our new flagship product– the styles will represent our rich heritage as THE iconic footwear brand in golf. In addition, we already have many of the best players in the world wearing these shoes- several of whom are considered to be today’s icons of the game.
What type of golfer is the FJ ICON targeted towards?
Golfers who demand superior stability, comfort and traditional/contemporary styling.
What's been some of the feedback from the Tour players?
We have been developing FJ ICON shoes for a select group of Tour players for some time now and the response continues to be phenomenal. In fact, the first prototypes we tested with Tour players featured the new FJ ICON outsole with a stock upper pattern and no discernible FootJoy branding. These were made 'under the radar' just to get initial feedback on the performance aspect of the shoes. We were pleasantly surprised to see several of the players, including Camilo Villegas, Ian Poulter, Davis Love, Hunter Mahan and David Toms immediately put these prototypes into play during tournament rounds! It spoke volumes about the confidence players had in the shoes' performance. Overall, the feedback from the tour players has been tremendous - they have expressed excitement about the performance, fit and comfort, upper designs and virtually limitless customization capabilities.
Listen, you don't have to take my word for it, click here to check out some images from THE PLAYERS Championship. This was the first week production-spec FJ ICON shoes were made available to our players and several put them into play right away, including runner-up and fashion icon, Ian Poulter.
The launch of FJ ICON is happening right before your very eyes. You're seeing the new standard in luxurious performance golf shoes at the same time as the world's best players. Many Tour players saw and tested their first pair of FJ Icon at THE PLAYERS Championship. Click on the image below to see some of the many players who put them in play at the first opportunity.
FJ ICON is here. Click on the image below to see the 19 stock styles. Pre-order today for delivery later this summer (depending on the style/size combination). Visit our Dealer Locator to find an authorized FJ reseller in your area.
If you can't find the exact style to suit your unique personality, use your imagination to visualize more than 2.5 million style combinations available through the MyJoys program! Coming late summer 2009.
Click here to read an interview with FootJoy's Vice President of Golf Footwear, Jack Erickson about the new FJ ICON. Click here to see some of the players who put the new FJ ICON in play during THE PLAYERS Championship and click here to view the FJ ICON product pages on FootJoy.com.
*** Please note, the actual cleats in the new FJ ICON line will be Stinger III by Champ, shown in image #20. ***
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