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Archive: March 2010

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March 29, 2010

Acushnet wins latest legal decision in patent dispute with Callaway

Posted at 4:09 PM by David Dusek

According to a release sent by Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist, the company has won the latest jury verdict in a long-running legal dispute with Callaway regarding golf ball patents and the technologies used in previous versions of the popular Pro V1 family of balls. Here is the complete release:

Acushnet Company, the golf business of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), and manufacturer of Titleist, the #1 ball in golf, announced that it won a jury verdict in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware in its golf ball patent dispute with Callaway Golf Co.. Callaway asserted that previous generation Titleist Pro V1 golf balls had infringed on four patents originally owned by Spalding and subsequently purchased by Callaway Golf. The jury agreed with Acushnet's position that the patents in question are invalid.

"We are extremely pleased with the court's decision, and we hope that this finally brings this long standing dispute to a close," said Joe Nauman, Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal, Acushnet Company. "We have explained throughout this process that Acushnet independently developed the technology in question. The Titleist Pro V1 family utilizes technology from 74 Acushnet patents and was first introduced to our PGA TOUR players in October 2000, well before any of the Spalding patents were issued in 2001 and 2003. We appreciate the jury's careful consideration of the facts and the time they devoted to these proceedings. This verdict affirms our view that all claims in these patents are invalid - just as the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) has repeatedly found."

In January 2006, before Callaway filed this litigation, Acushnet petitioned the PTO to reexamine the four patents in the suit. Since then, the PTO has repeatedly found that all claims of all four patents are invalid. During this process, seven separate PTO examiners were involved in evaluating the validity of these patents and all seven concluded that they are invalid.

Acushnet Company has a comprehensive product and process Research and Development staff and the Pro V1 golf ball franchise represents the accumulation of technology developed by Acushnet over a 20-year period. As the worldwide golf ball performance and technology leader, Acushnet currently holds over 715 of the nearly 2,000 active patents related to golf balls - more than any other manufacturer.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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Winning Clubs: Ernie Els at Arnold Palmer Invitational

Posted at 1:16 PM by David Dusek


DRIVER: Calaway FT-9 Tour Authentic (8.5˚) with Project X shaft
FAIRWAY: Callaway X Tour (14˚, 19˚) with Project X shafts
IRONS: Callaway Tour Authentic Proto X (3-PW) with KBS Tour shafts
WEDGES: Callaway X Forged (54˚, 59˚) with KBS Tour shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Ice #5
BALL: Callaway Tour (i)s

March 21, 2010

Winning Clubs: Jim Furyk at 2010 Transitions Championship

Posted at 8:59 PM by David Dusek

Jim Furyk Srixon Equipment

DRIVER: Callaway FT-9 Tour Authentic (9.5°) with an Oban Devotion 70 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade Burner TP (14.5°) Mitsubishi Diamana White Board shaft
HYBRID: Srixon Hybrid (20°) with a Fujikura Speeder 904HB shaft
IRONS: Srixon Z-TX (3), Srixon I-506 (5-PW) with Nippon Pro 950 shafts
WEDGES: Cleveland CG15 (50°, 56°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist prototype
BALL: Srixon Z-Star X

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway, Cleveland, TaylorMade, Srixon and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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March 19, 2010

Video: Nike Pros on the ONE Golf Ball

Posted at 10:04 AM by David Dusek

In this video provided by Nike Golf, Stewart Cink, Paul Casey, Michelle Wie and other staff pros talk about the Nike ONE ball.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | See-Try-Buy: Nike clubs and GolfTEC custom fitting

March 18, 2010

Nike thrives despite Tiger Woods scandal

Posted at 11:29 AM by David Dusek

Nike-logo1Since Tiger Woods admitted having extramarital affairs, major sponsors like Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade have decided that the world's No. 1 golfer was no longer the appropriate pitchman for their products.

However, the company that most associates itself with Woods, Nike, released three statements supporting the embattled golfer

If you thought that loyalty might hurt Nike, think again. The company reported Wednesday evening that its third-quarter revenues were up 7% and that it earned $4.73 billion of revenue.

Nike doesn't break out the performance of the Nike Golf division on its balance sheet. Instead it is included in "Other Businesses," which includes Nike Golf, Cole Haan, Converse Inc., Hurley International LLC, and Umbro Ltd. That group's performance increased 13% to $656 million for the quarter. also reported today on a study that showed little change in Nike Golf sales despite the scandal:

Believe or not, Tiger Woods' hiatus from professional golf did little to dent corporate sponsor Nike's(NKE) golf product sales, and may not make much difference on those figures when he returns to golf, according to a recent study.

The study, performed by SportsScanInfo, seems to indicate a disconnect between what shareholders of Tiger's corporate sponsors experienced after his fall from grace -- that is, a Tiger-induced shareholder value reduction in sponsor companies by 2.3%, or up to $12 billion, that was noted by a UC Davis study -- and what corporate sponsors like Nike actually experienced.

In fact, sales of Nike golf products were little changed in the 13 weeks between Tiger's car accident outside his Orlando, Florida home shortly after Thanksgiving Day and his televised public apology, when he revealed to the world that he had been cheating on his wife, according to SportsScanInfo data cited by Bloomberg.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | See-Try-Buy: Nike clubs and GolfTEC custom fitting

March 14, 2010

Winning Clubs: Ernie Els at WGC-CA Championship

Posted at 8:09 PM by David Dusek


DRIVER: Calaway FT-9 Tour Authentic (8.5˚) with Project X shaft
FAIRWAY: Callaway X Tour (14˚, 19˚) with Project X shafts
IRONS: Callaway Tour Authentic Proto X (3-PW) with KBS Tour shafts
WEDGES: Callaway X Forged (54˚, 59˚) with KBS Tour shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Ice #5
BALL: Callaway Tour (i)s

March 11, 2010

Phil Mickelson Playing Two Drivers at Doral

Posted at 1:10 PM by David Dusek

Phil Mickelson Callaway Driver Doral MIAMI – With the wind gusting well over 30 miles per hour, defending WGC-CA champion Phil Mickelson has decided to add a second driver to his bag.

Butch Harmon, Mickelson's swing coach, told me on the driving range, "One hits it higher and the other hits it lower; that's really the only difference." However, he added that the lower-hitting driver is also slightly shorter.

Mickelson has been playing a Callaway FT-9 Tour Authentic driver with a Mitsubishi Fubuki shaft for more than a year. The driver he added today is a Callaway FT-5 Draw with a Mitsubishi Diamana White Board shaft (right).

According to Harmon, the two-driver strategy is being employed because of the windy conditions. "The lower-hitting one is more for crosswinds and into the wind. The high-hitting driver he probably won't hit as much. Maybe on 1, 2 and 5 because he can carry the bunkers with it."

Harmon said that the lower-hitting driver doesn't go as far, but Mickelson controls the ball very well with it.

"He was asking me about it when we got started," continued Harmon, "and I said, 'Hey, you won the Masters using two, so that's fine with me.' Then I told him that it’s a lot better than using any!"

Chuckling at his reference to Mickelson's decision not to play a driver in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, he said, "I won't tell you what he said to me after I said that, but it started with an F."

Photo by David Dusek

March 10, 2010

Acushnet Selling Cobra Golf to Puma

Posted at 10:38 AM by David Dusek

MIAMI — The Acushnet Company, makers of Titleist and FootJoy products, is selling the third piece of its golf business, Cobra, to Puma.

In a release sent to members of the media this morning, Wally Uihlein, chairman and CEO of Acushnet, said:

"With the sale of Cobra, we have the opportunity to devote all of our resources to the global growth of our industry-leading Titleist and FootJoy brands. At the same time, Cobra is a strong brand with a heritage of innovation, and we wish the quality associates guiding the brand future success. Golfers and our valued partners will remain the key focus throughout the impending sale and we are confident that our customers will continue to be serviced to our high standards"

According to the release, Acushnet will continue to produce and distribute Cobra Golf products for an undisclosed period of time past the final date of the sale. Acushnet will also provide customer service and sales support during that time.

With the deal, Puma will assume ownership of Cobra's inventory, intellectual property and endorsement contracts. Camilo Villegas, who won last week's Honda Classic, is on Cobra's staff. Ian Poulter, winner of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, is also a Cobra staff player.

Barring regulatory issues, the anticipated sale is expected to be completed by June.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Cobra and Titleist clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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March 09, 2010

Ping's New Forged Anser Irons Being Released in Japan

Posted at 11:37 AM by David Dusek

Ping-Anser-Iron_600x450 MIAMI — Two weeks ago in Phoenix, before the start of the PGA Tour's Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale, several Ping staff players had a chance to see, hit and learn about the new Anser irons.

Matt Rollins, a Ping tour representative, said Monday, "The clubs are as forgiving as our i15 irons, but they are a little sleeker looking and they've got the word 'Forged' on the back, which we've never had."

For gearheads and Ping fans, that single word, forged, will raise eyebrows.

Ping has always made cast irons, a process that involves creating extremely-detailed molds and then filling them with liquid metal to create the clubheads. (Click here to see a video showing how Ping casts clubs.)

To make forged irons, a piece of metal is heated and then hammered or pressed into shape.

"We've been talking about making a forged iron for while," Rollins said. "But for our guys, it's kind of funny. Once we put chrome on a cast club, people thought it was forged.

"They are only available in Japan right now," Rollins said. "They might release it in the United States later, but I don't know." He explained that in the Japanese market, irons need to be forged in order to be perceived as high quality. Irons that are not forged simply don't sell well.

While not a super game-improvement iron, the Anser irons feature plenty of perimeter weighting and tungsten in the sole to help players get the ball into the air more easily. The PING badge on the back of the club is a weight that can be changed as part of the fitting process.

As more information about the Ping Anser irons becomes available, we'll pass it on.Scroll down for more images of the clubs.





See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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(Photos by David Dusek)

March 08, 2010

Ping and PGA Tour Agreement Puts an End to Eye2 Controversy

Posted at 2:06 PM by David Dusek

MIAMI — The loophole that allowed Ping Eye2s with nonconforming grooves to be played on the PGA Tour has been closed thanks to an agreement between Ping Golf and the tour.

John Solheim, Ping's chairman and CEO, announced in a joint release with the PGA Tour that the company will waive its right to prevent the tour from prohibiting the use of pre-April 1990 EYE2 irons and wedges. Those clubs—which have been used this season at various times by Phil Mickelson, John Daly and Hunter Mahan—do not meet the 2010 USGA groove rules.

Starting March 29, players on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour will no longer be allowed to use the pre-1990 Eye2 irons and wedges. In addition, Ping is also waiving its legal rights that would have made the clubs legal for the U.S. Open.

"John Solheim and Ping had a terrific opportunity to do something very positive and significant for the game of golf and we very much appreciate his willingness to take this action," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

"We're thankful for Commissioner Finchem's understanding of our position and his role in helping bring about this resolution. We all believe it is in the best interests of golf," said Solheim. "It levels the playing field on the PGA Tour and resolves a very unfortunate situation that we predicted would happen when the USGA first proposed the new groove rule more than two years ago. It keeps in place all of our other rights established in the 1993 PGA Tour settlement and the 1990 USGA settlement, including ensuring amateurs will continue to be able to play their pre-April 1990 EYE2s at all amateur events played under the USGA Rules of Golf."

Pros who still want to use Eye2 irons or wedges can continue to use clubs that the company has made with updated grooves.

This development does not affect amateur golfers who use pre-1990 Ping Eye2 irons and wedges. The clubs are still legal for play and will continue to be, according to Ping.

"We've heard from a lot of loyal Ping Eye2 owners who were concerned that a resolution of the tour's issue might also keep them from playing their Eye2s that were grandfathered as a result of the 1990 USGA settlement. I want to reassure those golfers that their clubs remain conforming in all amateur events played under the USGA Rules of Golf," said Solheim, who negotiated the original agreements together with his father, Karsten Solheim. "The problem is solved on the PGA Tour and the integrity of the original agreements is unaffected."

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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March 07, 2010

Winning Clubs: Camilo Villegas at 2010 Honda Classic

Posted at 11:22 PM by David Dusek

Camilo Villegas Honda Classic Putter

Here is a complete list of the clubs that Camilo Villegas used to win his third PGA Tour event, the 2010 Honda Classic:

DRIVER: Cobra S9-1 (10.5°) with a Matrix TP7 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Cobra Speed LD (15.5°, 18°) with Grafalloy Prolite X shafts
HYBRID: Titleist 909H (24°) with True Temper Project X HC1 shaft
IRONS: Cobra Pro CB (5-PW) with Project X 7.0 shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (54°, 58°, 60°) Project X 7.0 shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Circa 62 No. 6 prototype
BALL: Titleist Pro V1

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Cobra clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC.

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March 02, 2010

Gear Notes: Trevor Immelman's New Nike Driver, Hunter Mahan's Day at Ping, and TaylorMade's Vecino Spider Putter

Posted at 3:35 PM by David Dusek

Mathew Goggin, who tied for fourth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, had a great week on the greens. Last season, Goggin averaged 29.53 putts per round, ranking him 142nd on the PGA Tour. But last week at TPC Scottsdale, using a new Odyssey White Ice 2-Ball Blade putter for the first time, the Aussie was more than one stroke better, needing just 28.3.

Adding those four strokes to Goggin's final score would have dropped him into a tie for 24th and cost him more than $200,000 in prize money.

Trevor Immelman made his 2010 debut last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and he did it with a new driver. Immelman, who won the 2008 Masters using a Nike SQ Dymo STR8-Fit prototype driver, played at TPC Scottsdale with a new SQ Machspeed STR8-Fit.

Hunter Mahan Ping Man Ping
Hunter Mahan went to Ping's factory in Phoenix last Tuesday to meet with the company's engineers, club builders and tour department. To say thanks for all the work they have done for him, Mahan even brought lunch for 30 people.

While at Ping's headquarters, Mahan worked with a master club builder and tour rep to improve the performance of a new EYE2 lob wedge that he started using during the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Unlike the EYE2 lob wedge he'd previously been using, Mahan's new wedge has grooves that conform to the new USGA standards. He felt the ball was rolling up the face too much on full shots, so material was welded to the sole and 3° of bounce were added to the club. The result for Mahan was more control and a flatter trajectory while keeping the 59° of loft.

On Sunday, en route to winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Mahan had to overcome a problem with his Ping Rapture V2 driver.

"My gamer had a little crack in it on 2," he said Sunday evening. After talking with officials and confirming that he could take the club out of play and replace it with a new driver, Mahan's girlfriend, Kandi Harris, ran back to his car and got his back-up.

Monza_Spider_Vicino"Luckily the rules staff ran her out to the car and she got it and I got it before the next tee shot, which was nice, because the next hole is a par 5," he said. "I really didn't want to hit a 3-wood off the par 5."

The new Vecino Spider (right) arrived on tour last week at TPC Scottsdale. Both Martin Laird and Joe Ogilvie immediately put the new putter in the bag, and according to the company, J.B. Holmes, Kenny Perry and Scott McCarron all requested that Vecino Spider putters be made to their specifications for testing.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway/Odyssey, Nike, Ping and TaylorMade clubs, and schedule your fitting with GolfTec.

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