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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.
-- Thanks to European Tour reps Jonathan Loosemore and Guy Smith for this latest update!
The Desert Swing is under way, with the first stop in sunny Abu Dhabi.
5 of the Worlds Top 10 players are in action this week in a stellar field, including FootJoy loyalists Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, SBS Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy and the colourful Swede, Henrik Stenson who has just agreed a multi-year deal to wear FootJoy shoes again. All 4 players will be gracing the fairways in the new FootJoy ICON shoe.
Camillo Villegas and Ian Poulter have also flown over from the US, as they look to grab some early points in the 2010 Race to Dubai.
The new FJ Sport is also catching a few players eyes. Pablo Larrazabal and Peter Lawrie were both wearing the shoe in practice this week. With it's colourful and athletic styling, it is sure to be a hit with the players on Tour.
We welcome a new line-up for 2010 to our FJ collar programme, some of the latest additions include last season Rookie-of-the year, Chris Wood, Robert Rock and Irishman Peter Lawrie. Steve Webster and Ricardo Gonzalez continue with the FJ collar for another season.
Players are placing shoe orders at a rapid pace with the FootJoy tour reps, and there are certainly going to be some funky looking shoes gracing the Tournaments across Europe this season thanks to the fantastic MyJoys offering from FootJoy.
* Special thanks to our European Tour Reps for this entry
This weeks diary entry comes from Penha Longa G.C, Portugal.Monday was an unusually quiet day for the FootJoy Tour team, due to Open Qualifying at Sunningdale Golf Course, taking place. With only 10 spots available for this years Open Championship, competition was fierce. 5 out of the 10 qualifiers (Jose Manuel Lara, Tano Goya, Ignacio Garrido) trusted FJ shoes to deliver the performance they required to join the illustrious field at the Old Course, St Andrews, including the overall winner.This week provided a great opportunity for some of the players who the FJ Team do not get to see on a regular basis, catch up with the team and make use of the TTSV. A lot of the players were coming on board to have their spikes changed and re-new the laces in their FJ's, to keep them performing at their best. Aussie, Scott Hend, took the opportunity to order a couple of new pairs of Icons, choosing 52138 and 52054. Scott has unusually wide feet, so the 52138 Icons will need to be ordered via the MyJoys programme, to accommodate the XW fit.Home grown, FJ Icon wearer, Jose-Filipe Lima, will be looking to make use of his local knowledge, as they manoeuvre their way around the tight, Robert Trent Jones Jnr designed course. Lima, also stated that the wind can really blow around certain areas of the course, and the players will be putting their trust in their FootJoy's, to keep them securely in contact with the ground.With FootJoy accounting for 63% of the field, some 40% more than the nearest competitor, it is clear to see FJ is still the number one choice of the professionals.
*Special thanks to Ryan Hunt and the European Tour team for this update
This week's entry comes from the home of golf, St Andrews. Greetings from Team FJ, at the home of golf, St Andrews. Last time we were here, FJ Ambassador Louis Oosthuizen claimed the Claret Jug in spectacular style. Bodes well for another FJ Ambassador to conquer the Scottish links and lift another piece of silverware. A big congratulations to Team Europe, who came out on top in an amazingly close Ryder Cup in Wales. Many FJ wearers performed key roles for both teams, and it was a fantastic week despite the dreary weather. With this week being a Pro-Am format, the course was buzzing with professionals and celebrities alike. The tour trailor had a former British Wimbledon star, an ex England and Liverpool footballer and one of the greatest spin bowlers of all time, on board, all at the same time!! There were plenty of shoes to pick up this week, and FJ Ambassador Danny Willett, was one of the players who needed to do so. Danny had a pair of the FJ ICONS waiting to be collected. Danny loves the Traditional Saddle Icons as they look 'Stylish'. The young Englishman will be looking to keep up his good form this year, and push into the top 20 of the R2D money list. Scotsman, David Drysdale also picked up 3 new pairs of FJ ICON to keep him looking smart for the remainder of the season, and Indian SSP Chowrasia, also had a pair of MyJoy DryJoy's to pick up. FJ Ambassador, Mikko Ilonen, nearly clinched the title here last year. An untimely meeting with the road at hole 17 ended Mikko's charge up the leader board, but still helped him on his quest to keep his card. Currently sitting at 72 on the R2D standings, Mikko will have no such worries this season. He is using a new FJ glove for 2011 this week, so hopefully that will help Mikko avoid the trouble on 17 this year! Team FJ also launched another new product to the FJ Ambassadors in the field this week. The new FJ Base Layer is a new and innovative under garment that is designed specifically for golfers. The 'Golf Compression' base layer is designed to keep maintain body heat whilst wicking away the moisture from the body, providing thermal protection, an essential for this week! The following players are currently using the Base Layer, keep your eye's peeled for the FJ on the sleeve - James Kingston Peter O'Malley George Coetzee Matteo Manassero Kenneth Ferrie Gregory Bourdy Scott Strange Gregory Havret Pablo Larrazabal Rafael Cabrera-Bello Tano Goya Steve Webster Ignacio Garrido Brett Rumford Paul Waring Gary Boyd Rick Kulacz With over 65% of the field choosing to wear FJ shoes, it is clear to see the number 1 shoe in golf is on top, at the home of golf.
This week’s FJ Tour Diary comes from Leopard Creek Country Club, Malelane, South Africa.Greetings from Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane, South Africa and the start of the 2011 European Tour season!With the 2010 season finished, a week's rest for Team FJ flashed past and before we knew it, we where onboard a plane headed for Johannesburg. Not that we are complaining, leaving the cold, wet and snow behind!Leopard Creek must be one of the most stunning locations on tour. Bordering the world famous, Kruger National park, this 6631m, Gary Player designed course provides breath taking links, and breath taking scenery to match. Boasting a resident Hippo, Harry, and the mysterious and majestic Leopard, the players have to be on their toes in between, as well as playing their shots!With most of the elite European Tour's players taking a well earned rest over the festive period, this event provides the 'newbies' on tour to have a crack at the opening European Tour title of the 2011 season. One of the Challenge Tour graduates, Lee Slattery, got the 2011 season underway with the first tee shot in his FJ ICON MyJoys. Slat's, being the pin up he is, is very particular about his shoes. After a chat to Slat's we recommended he sends us his new colour swatch from his clothing sponsor’s latest range. This will allow us to customise the FJ ICON to match his 2011 clothing range, something Lee was keen to do. Look out for some 'Bobby Dazzlers' during the Desert Swing.Other FJ Ambassadors to 'graduate' include, Bernd Weisberger, Floris de Vries, Daniel Gaunt, Rob Dinwiddie and not to mention, the winner of the Challenge Tour OoM, Alvaro Velasco.The trip to South Africa also allows Team FJ to build relationships with our FJ Ambassadors who play primarily on the Sunshine Tour. J'be Kruger, was seen in the ever stylish 52005, and Justin Harding has a pair of 52187. He was also lucky enough to try the samples of the new FJ SciFlex glove.Welsh legend, and FJ Ambassador, Phillip Price, has expressed an interest in wearing FJ Shirts. Known for their excellent performance in all conditions, the FJ shirts have become a regular site on the fairways of the European Tour. The ProDry fabric wicks away moisture and also provides excellent thermal properties. We will be showing Phillip the 2011 shirt range next week at the South African Open, so he can pick out a few styles to try.FJ ICON advocate, Seve Benson's 2010 season was blighted by a prolonged back injury. This week sees Seve return to action for the first time since May, and he was quick to catch up with Team FJ to place an order for some MyJoys he had designed in his spare time! Part of Seve's order is below -Style: Traditional Style: Traditional Style: Traditional Base: White Smooth Base: Black Smooth Base: White Smooth Saddle: Chestnut Croc 47 Saddle: Black Cayman 604 Saddle: White Patent Laces: Brown Wax Laces: Black Wax Laces: White Wax Scot, David Drysdale, ordered a pair of both 52005 and 52070 ready for the first two South African events in 2011.An interesting bodily reaction for some players, mean their hands swell. This is linked to the humidity around the course, and a by product of this means a lot of players glove size increased. Shouldn't be too much of a problem in the U.K at the moment!With over 75% of the field trusting FJ, the global trust in FJ is clear to see.FJ #1 Shoe & Glove in Golf.
The new face of FJ Apparel across the pond is Austrian, Bernd Wiesberger. Twice a winner in 2012, Bernd looks to take his momentum from last season and really make a splash in the golf world during 2013.
Bernd stated in a recent interview with Sky Sport, "Last year was great and I want to at least match my success of last year and give myself the best chances to win big tournaments and improve my world ranking to enable me to compete in as many Major Championships and World Golf Championships as possible. It's all about winning championships and getting myself into good positions to challenge for big titles this year."
He even went as far to mention his fresh new apparel for the new year, "I really enjoy looking good on the golf course and feeling comfortable, so naturally I am really excited to be one of FootJoy's Apparel ambassadors in 2013. I really enjoy the FJ collection and have just been introduced to the whole line up for the 2013 season, which I am honoured and excited to be wearing this year on tour. It's important that you wear high performing golf apparel so that you can play your best in whatever weather conditions you may face out on the course. Whether it is golf clubs or apparel, a golfer's equipment should be the best fitting for that individual to perform their best and this is where FJ excel."
Bernd, we are just as excited as you are and look forward to having a stellar year with you representing FJ on the worldwide circuit!