November 6, 2012
Barack Obama in the swing of things
By JON McCARTHY, QMI Agency
Is it fore more years?
There is no story that we can’t spin into a golf story and that includes Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election. Forget the economy, forget foreign policy. All I want to know was if there will be practice putts rolled in the Oval Office? Mitt Romney-backers in the media and on the Internet have gone out of their way to point out that Barack Obama has played more than 100 rounds of golf over the past four years. There is even a website dedicated to tracking his trips to the links as president.
Not much is known about Obama’s golf game. Photographers are almost never allowed near the course while he plays and his handicap is a state secret, although Golf Digest estimates it to be about 17. We do know that Obama is a lefty and according to a recent ESPN Magazine article plays Nike VR-S irons.
How can anyone bash Obama for golfing? We all know that golfers are honest, even-tempered people who enjoy spending a peaceful few hours with Mother Nature competing against themselves and the golf course.
“It’s the only time that for six hours, I’m outside,” Obama told CBS News. “Where you almost feel normal ... you’re out of the container.”
That’s what we’re talking about. Outside, feeling normal, out of the container. Exactly.
Wait a minute. Did he say six hours?
Somebody get this man off the golf course.
So, we know that Obama uses Nike irons but the big swoosh is still mum on rumours that Rory McIlroy will join Tiger Woods in the Nike camp with a mega-deal worth north of $200 million.
What the company did unveil on Monday was its newest driver, the VRS Covert. The club is sure to stand out, if for no other reason, because it has a fire red head complete with a white Nike swoosh on top. The company is marketing it as the first high-speed cavity backed driver. Apparently, there wasn’t much of a market for low-speed drivers. The club’s loft adjusts separately from it’s face angle which is a step forward compared to the competition. Francesco Molinari was raving about the driver through Twitter on Tuesday: “I’ve retweeted some of the pictures of the new @nikegolf VRS Covert driver. Played it today on the course 1st time and... WOW #believeit”
As for the McIlroy-to-Nike rumours, even though nothing is confirmed, his pal Graeme McDowell is already coming to his defence against criticism that McIlroy is simply chasing the money.
“Whoever Rory turns to, that company will be able to provide him with a certain level of equipment. But he’s not going there if he doesn’t like the equipment and he didn’t think he could compete,” McDowell told the U.K.’s Daily Record. “Rory is now 23, so he’s got 20 years left of trying to win Majors and he’s not going to go to an inferior technology company.”
Since we’re on the topic of new clubs and equipment makers, Phil Mickelson’s golf bag was full of intrigue last weekend at the HSBC Champions in China. Lefty was turning heads after hitting all but one fairway during his opening round 66. He accomplished this feat by leaving his driver in the bag and using a 3-wood. Nothing strange about that, but Phil was out-hitting his playing partners’ drivers with what looked to be a new club. Golf geeks guessed that it was a 2013 Callaway prototype 3-wood. Turns out the new weapon in Mr. Callaway’s bag was a Taylormade RBZ painted matte black. This was confirmed by Callaway marketing exec Harry Arnett on popular golf website GolfWRX: “About two weeks ago, Phil said that the HSBC at Mission Hills isn’t a course where he can hit driver at all. He doubted he would hit driver on any of the holes. He wanted to play a high COR fairway wood there because he wanted a club that went farther than his current 3 wood but not as far as his driver. He knows we have one coming and he asked to play one of our prototypes. Unfortunately we are not ready to launch this product yet and didn’t have the right lofts in left-handed for him.” Arnett went on describe the specs of Mickelson’s new toy in his GolfWRX forum post: “That, gentlemen, in Phil’s hands, is a modified RBZ 13 degree, bent to 11.5, ‘driving 3-wood.’ Phil painted her up matte black because he thought that looked cool.”
Something tells us Phil didn’t paint it black “because he thought it looked cool,” but watching him smoke it more than 320 yards definitely was cool.
Just think of the new TaylorMade commercial: “Even Phil can hit fairways with Rocketballz.”
OK, maybe not. R.I.P.
Legendary golf coach Jim Flick died Monday after his battle with pancreatic cancer. Flick was best known for coaching Jack Nicklaus and Tom Lehman. Lehman spoke to Flick Sunday before securing back-to-back Charles Schwab Cups with a win at the season-ending Cup Championship. “The last hole, I know that he was probably watching today,” Lehman said Sunday. “I felt quite certain that that was probably the last driver he was ever going to see me hit and I wanted to make it a good one. And the last 7-iron he will ever see me hit, and I wanted to make that a good one. And the last putt, and I wanted to make that putt. I didn’t want to make it simply because I want to win by six. I wanted to make it for him.”