Empowering deserving military families with educational support and opportunities.
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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.
Trailing by a shot to start the day, Kenny Perry (SciFlex glove) fired a bogey-free 7-under 63 to run away with the Travelers Championship on Sunday. He set the tournament scoring record with a 22-under 258 total (61-68-66-63), including a course record-tying 61 on Thursday, to win by three shots over David Toms (SYNR-G style #53883) and Paul Goydos (ReelFit style #53918, SciFlex glove).
Perry has now won five times in just over a year, the most of any player on TOUR, and 14 times in his career. His 258 tied the fourth-best 72-hole score in TOUR history and beat the old tournament record of 259 set in 1982.
The 48-year old Perry, the new leader in the Chase for the FedEx Cup, shot a 32 on the front nine and then birdied the tenth and eleventh holes. He was up by five strokes heading to the par-4 15th and put the tournament away by making birdie on No. 17 after hitting a 164-yard approach to within 8 feet.
"I knew that I had to keep making birdies," he said. "I wasn't going to let up. I wasn't going to play defensive golf. I learned something from that (Augusta) mistake."
It's Sunday night of U.S. Open week and there's still a lot of golf to be played before the champion is crowned. Players completed the third round early Sunday morning and all the groups were out on the course playing the final round when play was suspended at 7:58 ET due to darkness. The players will be back out on the course Monday at 9am...barring any weather delays, of course!
Click on the images below to hear what Ross Fisher (-2), Hunter Mahan (-2) and Bubba Watson (E) had to say following their third rounds. Will you be watching the final round on Monday?
Click on COMMENTS to let us know.
Ross Fisher (2-under par)
Hunter Mahan (2-under par)
Bubba Watson (Even par)
This U.S. Open is becoming known for the luck of the draw. It's not how you play, as much as when you play. Players, like Ross Fisher, who were slated for an afternoon start time on Thursday didn't actually begin their round until Friday afternoon. By that time, most of the rain had cleared and conditions were very receptive for scoring. As luck would have it, that same wave of players also got the better conditions Saturday morning and many have taken advantage. This "afternoon" group (72.86) has a scoring average two shots better than the wave that played in pretty miserable conditions Thursday and Friday (74.76). Click on the image below to hear Fisher's take on the situation and how he's preparing for the final two rounds.
Wednesday was the final practice day at Bethpage before the competition really begins on Thursday. And apparently that's not all that begins on Thursday. Word is rain will be the story this entire week and the course is already completely saturated from a very wet month in the northeast. It's already pouring here Thursday morning and the wind is whistling, but it was gorgeous on Wednesday so we headed out to take in the action!
What strikes you after you spend some time on the Black course at Bethpage is just how tough of a walk it is. The routing is pretty good with most tees and greens close together, but the elevation changes are what wear you down. It seems like every hole has an elevated tee and green but you're not only walking up and down all day, most of the time you're walking on the side of a hill. One upside to all the rain the course has received is everything is very lush and green. One downside, of course, is that includes the rough. It's not the height that strikes you (it's probably about 3-4 inches deep) but just how thick it is. From the tee you may think you have some room to land your ball off the fairway before the fescue comes in to play but when the rough swallows your golf ball, you'll quickly realize how vital it is to be in the fairway.
The players seemed pretty relaxed although it wasn't very busy in the afternoon as most headed out early to get some rest. Rain or not, this is the U.S. Open and it demands near perfection in every aspect of the game. Get ready for an exciting, grueling week of championship golf.
We want to know, have you ever played Bethpage Black? If so, what was your experience? What do you remember the most and what was your most memorable hole? Click on COMMENT and let us know!
We spoke with Ian Poulter, David Toms and Ben Crane this week about how they prepare for a U.S. Open and what they think of graduated rough as part of the course set-up. Three fairly different answers, one common theme...this will be the most difficult test of golf they face all year.
Photo: Barton Silverman, The New York Times
With only one week remaining until the world's best tee it up at Bethpage Black for the U.S. Open, we read this article in the New York Times about the unique process that allows amateur golfers to play the same course the pros will play. While the rules can be somewhat confusing, ultimately, the best way for you to secure a tee time on the Black course is to spend a night, maybe more, in your car to snag one of the walk-up tee times. You don't have to "know someone," you don't have to empty your bank account...you just have to be dedicated and maybe a little lucky.
So we want to know...would you do it? Would you sleep in your car for the chance to play a U.S Open course? If you have done it, we would love to hear about it. Just click on COMMENTS.
Mark Wilson shot a second round 2-under 70 and sits just one shot of the lead at 6-under. (Please visit the site to view this video)Steve Marino is following up his second place finish last week at the Colonial with another strong showing this week. He sits just three shots back at 4-under.(Please visit the site to view this video)
Lastly, it's great to see Chris DiMarco near the top of the leaderboard entering the weekend. Following a bogey-free 5-under 67, he's tied with Marino at 4-under and could be a threat over the next few days.
(Please visit the site to view this video)
— From Guy Smith, Acushnet Company European Tour Rep
After last weeks wet and windy conditions, the players were greeted
by more wind at Wentworth, (the venue for the BMW PGA Championship) and
the odd shower, so the rainwear was back on for the practice days.
Titleist and FootJoy staff player, Martin Erlandsson could be seen
wearing the FootJoy Sport rainshirt in orange, whilst past winner of
this tournament, Anders Hansen wore a short sleeve version in white and
orange. Fingers crossed the sun will come out for the tournament days!
FootJoy shoe wearer Lee Westwood will be looking to challenge this
week along with Henrik Stenson who is fresh from his victory at the
Players Championship. Henrik was wearing the new FootJoy SYNR-G shoe
whilst Lee could be seen sporting a pair of Custom Classics. Stenson
also collected a special pair of custom SYNR-G shoes for the week
ahead. Another player back on home soil for the week is FootJoy Classic
wearer Luke Donald.
FootJoy collar wearers David Horsey, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Mark
Foster, Michael Hoey and Steve Webster are all in the field this week
and have all be working hard on the range during the practice days.
Rafael and Michael were in the new SYNR-G shoes whilst the other plays
put their trust and their feet in FootJoy Classics.
Just catching up on all the news around golf this week and wanted to share some links:
Any other golf sites you like to visit that we should check out? Let us know in COMMENTS.
A day after matching the course record with a 10-under 60, Zach Johnson (SYNR-G style #53870, SciFlex) made a 12-foot birdie on the first playoff hole to repeat as the Valero Texas Open champion Sunday.
Seven months after winning for the first time at La Cantera Golf Club when the tournament was part of the Fall Series, Johnson’s even-par 70 was good enough for a 15-under 265 and forced the sudden-death playoff. Johnson now leads the FedEx Cup standings following his second victory of the season.
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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Ian Poulter has been playing terrific golf ever since the Masters where he finished T20. In his three tournaments since then, he's finished T13 (Zurich Classic), T5 (Quail Hollow), and second yesterday at THE PLAYERS. Poulter finished four shots back of fellow FJ player Henrik Stenson who fired a bogey-free 6-under 66 to put the championship just out of reach. After a week off, Ian will look to continue his momentum at the Byron Nelson Championship.
Click on the image below to hear his post-round interview.
Ian Poulter (2nd; 8-under 280)