The biggest names in golf will take the stage this weekend in TPC Scottsdale Arizona for the second stop of the West Coast swing. Even Tiger Woods will be competing after a “not so good” season last year with back surgery and a complete remake of his game. With the announcement of Tiger playing this year, the crowd expectancy is due to triple or quadruple over last year’s turn out. Rory and Tiger will be in full swing with their new complete Nike Vapor series of golf equipment that has officially launched in-stores this weekend. Find a store near you.
Here are a few of the new products you will see in play at the Waste Management event:
Tiger Woods was seen lacing up his new Nike Golf TW15 shoes during a practice round (Available soon at www.worldwidegolfshops.com)
Callaway Chrome soft – Phil Mickelson recently announced that he has changed his golf ball. Phil has never been afraid of making equipment changes and says the new Callaway Chrome Soft is the ball for him.
Rory McIlroy wins 2014 Open Championship (Getty Images)
The last time something this hot came out of Liverpool was 50 years ago when John, Paul, George and Ringo left town for the states and 3 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Hmmm, 3 appearances on Ed Sullivan for the Beatles, 3 major championships for Rory. That transitions nicely into our own “Fab Four” thoughts that can be taken away from this week at Hoylake.
Thought #1 – The professional firm of “Garcia, Fowler and McIlroy” – Who says you have to be 6’3”/220 to physically dominate a golf course? Shorter and lighter than most in stature, these three guys flat moved it out at Royal Liverpool. And although they did not win, Fowler and Garcia were most gracious in defeat. Rickie said, “to see him (Rory) win was pretty cool,” while Garcia’s best qutoes were probably non-verbal, when he blew kisses and touched his heart while pointing to the fans on #18. In just a few years, he’s gone from the major villain in the movie to one that most of us are pulling for to get the girl, that being HIS first major.
Thought #2 – No Thrill from Phil – Although a repeat wasn’t in the cards for Lefty, he battled back from an opening 74, with rounds of 70, 71 & 68. Watching Phil putt can drive you crazy. He’ll miss a few in the throw up zone and then, when you’ve written him off, drop in a bomb to make you think he’s on. A renowned expert said that going to the SuperStroke grip would help him eliminate his signature forward press, but it looks at times that he’s forward pressing past his right knee. In any case, a mighty “thank you” from Phil to Rory for taking the “Win the Next Major to Achieve a Career Grand Slam” out of his yard and placing it directly on McIlroy’s front porch.
Rickie Fowler lines up his putt at Royal Liverpool (Getty Images)
Thought #3 – Tiger’s Back, or is he? – After an opening round of 3 under and getting more ESPN airtime than LeBron James, Woods followed with 77-73-75 to finish 23 shots behind McIlory. Only 3 players making the cut had a worse score than el Tigre’, and with only 2 tournaments on his schedule (WGC Firestone and the PGA Championship) before Ryder Cup qualifying ends, Tiger puts some interesting decision making in the lap of Captain Tom Watson. When told during interviews that Tiger was +4 and still in the course, the Captain replied, “That’s not very good.” Watson wasn’t chosen for an encore as the U.S. Captain to just compete, but to bring the Cup home. At age 64, he closed with a final round 68 to clip Woods’ total by 5 shots; +1 for the Captain to +6 for possible Captain’s Pick who boasts a career Ryder Cup record of 13-14-2.
Thought #4 – A Club and Apparel Manufacturers’ Dream – NIKE/TaylorMade-Adidas/Cobra-Puma – These guys couldn’t be happier with the top three representing their brands going “head to toe, bag to ball” in the final 2 groups at Hoylake. Look for sales of Nike Covert 2, Cobra Bio Cell and TaylorMade SLDR drivers, along with apparel sales, to take a jump this week.
Rickie and Rory, then and now (Twitter)
Ahhh, but back to Rory. The boy champion of Congressional and Kiawah has lost the baby fat and has morphed into a three-time major winner. He didn’t dodge the questions about pressure, and went out and took care of business on Sunday. He even handled a heckler professionally. And he’s the 3rd youngest player in history to capture 3 different majors.
The Beatles were approaching 25 years old when they left for a tour of the states in 1964 and BeatleMania got even bigger when Liverpool was in their rear view mirror.
Rory is 25 years old.
One more major win next April, and RoryMania will officially be in full swing.