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  • Rory McIlroy’s Major Plans for 2013

    10 Dec 2012

    By Dermot Gilleece for GlobalGolfPost

    Wise guidance from respected old hands and the love of a good woman inspired Rory McIlroy – Global Golf Post’s 2012 Player of the Year – to heights this year unimagined even by his lofty standards.

    And without giving hostages to fortune, he has reason to be confident of a similar outcome in 2013.

    Predictably, the majors will be his prime targets once more, having tucked away the significant bonus of the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic.

    “This year, I was out of it for three of them,” he admitted, regarding finishes of tied 40, T95 and T60 in The Masters, US Open and Open Championship. “I’d like to think that I can be in contention for all four next year, while maintaining my position as world number one. They’re the goals I want to set myself.”

    In the meantime, his life is held perfectly in balance by a deepening relationship with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, with whom he traveled to Aspen, Colorado and Sao Paulo, Brazil in the wake of his Dubai World Tour Championship triumph, to watch her in exhibition tennis matches on the run up to Christmas.

    “This is my time off; my time away (from golf),” he said. “And I need it. If I have time, I’ll travel wherever in the world Caroline is, just to see her. That’s what I want to do. That’s what makes me happy.”

    Then he added pointedly: “Obviously, it’s very satisfying to win majors and important golf tournaments, but deep down, what makes me really happy is my life outside of golf and how that is at the moment. It enables me to play great golf because everything is sort of in balance.”

    To my gentle suggestion that most of us have known what it’s like to be in love, he laughed almost apologetically, adding, “I know, I know” by way of acknowledging that his relationship with Caroline, while obviously special to him, is not unique.

    From West Palm Beach, where he enjoys the amenities of The Bear’s Club, the 23-year-old seems happy to travel the world, on and off planes and living out of suitcases.

    “That’s just the way my life has become, but I don’t plan for it to remain this way,” he said. “I’d love in a few years’ time to find a base and settle down. That would be ideal. I don’t think someone can do this for a prolonged period like 10 years, say.”

    Would marriage create that situation?

    “For sure. But I still feel I’d do it anyway.” Meanwhile, Jack Nicklaus, Dave Stockton and Tiger Woods have become serious influences in his tournament career, though boyhood tutor, Michael Bannon, remains his trusted coach.

    A finish of five successive birdies in Dubai prompted comparisons with Woods at his peak, and while not necessarily at odds with the notion, McIlroy insists that they are very different people.

    “For sure,” he emphasised. “I can’t bring the intensity Tiger brings every week. He can sort of turn it on, which is impressive. It’s something that I struggle to do sometimes. Though I can generally bring it to the big events where I really want to do well, I would find it very difficult to do it every week. That’s why I’ll be cutting my schedule to a maximum of 22 or 23 tournaments next year, starting in Abu Dhabi in January.”

    He went on: “Too much competitive golf simply isn’t good for you. That’s where Tiger is very smart, bringing the same level of intensity to 20 tournaments a year. It’s an emotional thing, of course. I had a great end to the summer with the PGA win and two FedEx Cup wins and the Ryder Cup, but you reach such a high that you’ve got to allow yourself get all the way back down again. Then, having got down, I had to build myself up again for a last push towards winning the European money list.”

    A closeness to his father Gerry, to Nicklaus and putting coach Stockton, suggests a respect for older heads.

    “Of course I have,” he confirmed. “I can still be pretty stubborn, wanting to do things my way, but they’ve obviously seen a lot more of the world than I have. It’s great just to see Jack around and have a casual lunch with him and not even talk about golf. Just talk about normal stuff; what’s going on in the world. And Dave has been a great influence on me and a great addition to my team.”

    In late February 2009, the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson marked McIlroy’s professional debut in the US, a few weeks after his first win in Dubai. Ranked 17th in the world, he reacted with remarkable composure to the prediction from Ernie Els that he was set to become the game’s number one.

    With a self-assured smile, he remarked: “You’ve got to believe you’re the best; that no one can beat you.”

    Fascinated observers sensed instantly that this 19-year-old was different.

    And those of us familiar with him, prepared ourselves for what we knew would be a wonderful journey.

    PHOTO: GlobalGolfPost

  • New TaylorMade RocketBladez on WGT

    06 Dec 2012


    You can now get the latest iron technology from TaylorMade on World Golf Tour.

    The new RocketBladez Irons are the hottest clubs on the PGA Tour. TaylorMade has added a Speed Pocket in the sole of these irons, and the slower WGT swing meter helps you ding more shots, helping you hit longer and straighter shots.

    This virtual iron set is available in the WGT Pro Shop.

  • Bags, Bubbly and Bladez

    05 Dec 2012

    Lots of fun new stuff on World Golf Tour for the holidays. Enjoy!

     

    New WGT Virtual Golf Bags

    Get the new WGT Stand Bag and complete your virtual look. The new golf bag features a WGT logo and comes in your choice of black, white or pink. Makes a great holiday gift.

    Bags are visible in all game types, but only on your tee shots, and while bags don't impact your game performance, they look great on the tee to you and other players.

    (Note, there's a bug with not being able to un-equip bags, which we'll fix ASAP)

     

    New Korbel Champagne Ball

    WGT welcomes new sponsor Korbel Champagne, who has launched a free WGT tournament, the Korbel Holiday Classic.

    Thanks to Korbel, everyone who enters gets a free Korbel Champagne virtual golf ball, which features the first-ever "bubbly" champagne vapor trail. 

    The free Korbel tournament is limited by law to WGT players over 21 years old from the USA, but the new ball is also available in the Pro Shop and makes a great virtual gift to celebrate any occasion.

     

    New TaylorMade RocketBladez Virtual Irons

     

    The latest distance technology from TaylorMade, featuring the new Speed Pocket and upgraded with a slower WGT swing meter, for more dinged long iron shots.

    The new RocketBladez irons unlock at Level 15 and Level 79, and are upgrades to the Burner 2.0 irons.

     

    New MAX Control Putter for Top Players

    Based on comments from top WGT players, we've added a third MAX Control Putter, unlocking at Level 80, and with swing meter increments that tend to be preferred by top players: 10, 15,30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 200 and 300 feet.

     

    Game Improvements

    These changes are based on all the great player feedback and requests on our Forums, Facebook and community chats. Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

    • Improvements to the Completion Percentage display for multi-player games
    • Improvements to Tier Scoring calculations to help prevent sandbagging
    • Country Clubs can now run multi-round closest-to-the-hole tournaments
  • Featured Golf Course - WGT Best-Of Water

    05 Dec 2012

    Our featured golf course on World Golf Tour this month is actually a lot of great courses. It's the "Best Of Water" course, a virtual mash-up of some of the best water golf shots on WGT. Try your luck on this fun closest-to-the hole course!

    WGT Best Of Water Course

    1 - Celtic Manor #3, 171 yard tee shot with water very tight on the left


    2 - Bali Hai #6, 176 yard tee shot to an island green

    3 - Wolf Creek #17, 169 yard tee shot over water

    4 - Congressional #3, 173 yard challenging second shot on Par 5 with water to the right

    5 - Kiawah Ocean #17, 184 yard tee shot, all water carry

    6 - Bethpage Black #8, 183 yard downhill tee shot over a lake

    7 - Edgewood Tahoe #18, 142 yard approach shot over small lake with view of Lake Tahoe

    8 - Harbour Town #14, 169 yard tee shot over large creek

    9 - Wolf Creek #8, 221 yard extreme downhill tee shot to green surrounded by creek

    Play Free Tournament

    If you're not already a member of WGT, sign up free here

  • The "Anchored Putt"

    03 Dec 2012

    By Mike Purkey for GlobalGolfPost

    The real question is: Why was the anchored putting stroke perfectly acceptable five years ago and now, all of a sudden, it’s not?

    Is it because you can putt remarkably better with that method and it is clearly an unfair advantage? The data collected by the ruling bodies comes to no conclusion that there is a statistical advantage. In fact, the top 20 putters on the PGA Tour all use conventional putting strokes.

    So, then it must be that so many people are using it that it is threatening to take over the game. Not exactly. The USGA says that about 15 percent of PGA Tour players are using an anchored putting stroke. And that number changes from week to week. But 15 percent is average. And only a small, unknown percentage of elite amateurs – from juniors to seniors – are using an anchored stroke. The evidence there is entirely anecdotal.

    Well, then, what?

    The USGA and the R&A have jointly decided to dodge those questions and, instead, proposed Rule 14-1b to “define the stroke.”

    “Anchored strokes have very rapidly become the preferred option for a growing number of players, and this has caused us to review these strokes and their impact on the game,” said R&A chief Peter Dawson. “Our conclusion is that anchored strokes threaten to supplant traditional strokes, which with all their frailties, are integral to the long standing character of our sport. Our objective is to preserve the skill and challenge, which is such a key element of the game of golf.”

    Did we understand that correctly? “Very rapidly become the preferred option for a growing number of players...” Is that what he said? What consists “rapidly” and “growing number of players?” If you go from five percent to 10 percent over five years, that’s a 100 percent increase. But it’s still only 10 percent of the whole.

    “Essentially, it boils down to two things; that in the last 18 to 24 months, we have seen a significant increase at all levels of the game of people using anchored strokes,” said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA. “I’ll start out with the PGA Tour. For years, we saw two, three, four percent of players at PGA Tour events using anchored strokes, mostly with the long putters back in the 80s and 90s. And, all of a sudden, we get to 2006 through 2010, and it jumped to an average of six percent.

    “Then, last year, it almost doubled, and it goes to 11 percent. This year, it’s jumped to 15 percent. And some events have over 20, 25 percent using anchored strokes.”

    So, the USGA did collect data on the PGA Tour on anchored strokes. Just wanted that to be clear.

    Listen, an anchored putting stroke won’t make a bad putter a great one. What it does is allow the struggling player the opportunity to be a “normal” putter, allowing himself or herself a chance to compete. Many players who use anchored strokes struggle so badly with a conventional stroke that putting would otherwise force them out of the game, or at least out of competition.

    And, apparently, as long as the anchored stroke was limited to those afflicted players, the ruling bodies had no problems. Even when the likes of Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els won major championships with belly putters, there was no panic. But when it was discovered that elite juniors were using anchored strokes – especially 14-year-old Guan Tianling, who won the Asia-Pacific Amateur armed with a belly putter – the ruling bodies threw up their collective hands and cried, “Enough.”

    The bottom line is that this proposed ban is not performance based. No one can say whether it makes the playing field lopsided. Instead, the anchored stroke is going away because the ruling bodies don’t like the way it looks. They maintain that the other 13 clubs are designed to be swung and that long and belly putters, because they have an anchor point, are not swung. That’s it.

    They are also quick to point out that this is not a ban of longer putters. They can still be used, just not with an anchor point. But try and use a putter from 42 to 50 inches by holding it away from your body and swinging with both arms. Whoever says they can use a long putter without anchoring, well our hats are off to them because most of the rest of us can’t.

    So what’s next? What if someone wins a major championship or, worse yet, the U.S. Junior, with a side-saddle stroke with a long putter? Short-game guru Dave Pelz says that method, according to his research, is the most effective way to putt. Will rulesmakers look to ban that stroke because it doesn’t look right, either?

    There are so many other issues that threaten the game, both on the elite and recreational level, that the ruling bodies could have taken on rather than this issue, which affects such a small percentage of the 60 million worldwide golfers.

    Instead, they have made a decision that inexplicably asks so many more questions than it answers.

    PHOTO: GlobalGolfPost

  • WGT Holiday Gift Guide 2012

    29 Nov 2012

    It's that time of year again, Starbucks has pulled out the red cups, stores are filled with holiday decorations, and the weather is changing...the holidays are here and it's time to figure out what to get everyone on your list.

    Don't forget all your friends on WGT, as you may spend more time with them than with your friends in the real world. Seriously, think about it.

    Gifting on WGT is easy. Just go the Pro Shop, find an item, click the big GIFT button and enter the WGT username. Note that you can only gift items to players if that item is unlocked based on their level or tier. You also can't gift the few items that unlock at tiers for Tour Pro thru Tour Legend players.

    Here are some gift ideas for the virtual golfers in your life...

    FUN GIFTS

    For friends with the yips...

    PUTTER PAL
    Help out your friends who just can't seem to get their putting right. Putter Pal breaks down the swing meter into smaller increments making it easier to more accurately set the power of putts. 
    (10+ credits)

    For your slow friends...

    SPEED-UP BOOSTS
    Have a buddy who seems to slow down your multi-player rounds? Maybe one that likes to play in a hurry? Get them a Speed-Up Boost so they can play WGT games 2-4 times faster. Boosts don't affect your shots, distance or roll at all, just makes the display faster.
    (75+ credits)

    For your countrymen/women...

    COUNTRY AVATARS
    Show off country pride with an avatar from any of our available country avatar collection, including USA, Canada, UK, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, Italy and more!
    (800 credits)

    For the fashionista...

    FUNKY AVATARS
    Help your friends and family look stylish on the golf course by getting them a fancy new avatar! There's something for everyone so have some fun picking out the perfect look.
    (400 credits)

    PERFORMANCE GIFTS

    Slowest meter...

    MAX METER BALLS
    Give the gift of a slow meter, in the form of these sleek new MAX Slow Meter golf balls. They offer good overall distance and spin, but the maximum amount of feel to ding more shots. And now with colored vapor trails!
    (450+ credits)

    Most distance...

    NIKE 20XI-X BALLS
    Thanks to the revolutionary RZN core, get the most distance with these Nike golf balls. You're friends will definitely thank you for these as they're crushing their drives!
    (400+ credits)

    Best spin...

    CLEVELAND WEDGES 
    Get the best spin and back up your approach shots just like the pros with Cleveland Wedges.
    (475+ credits)

    Best hidden weapon...

    TAYLORMADE R11S HYBRID 
    Level 43+ | Level 96+
    Add a top-performing Hybrid on WGT to complete any set. It's longer and more forgiving than the original R11, making it the perfect pairing for the R11S Driver and 3 Wood for top WGT players.
    (695+ credits) 

  • McIlroy Breath Of Fresh Air For Golf

    27 Nov 2012

    By Lewine Mair for GlobalGolfPost

    Some bemoaned the fact that there was not a tighter finish to the Race to Dubai; rather more saw the week of the DP World Championship as a celebration of a thrilling young talent.

    On or off the course, the 23-year-old Rory McIlroy is never dull. His every round is lit with a couple of believe-it-or-not recoveries while, when it comes to his press conferences, he always laces diplomacy with a delicious – if inadvertent – touch of the unexpected.

    In which connection, his proud father, Gerry, will tell you that not too much has changed. While watching his offspring last week, he recalled one of those precious Sundays of 15 or so years ago when he would take a rest from juggling the three jobs which helped him to fund Rory’s golfing sorties.

    On the Sabbath in question, he had played his usual nine holes with the child and accompanied him to the driving range before finally slumping in his chair. That was when Rory approached and insisted they return to the range – he had more work to do.

    “No, Rory,” protested Gerry. “We’ve done enough.” To which Rory hit back with an unanswerable, “Don’t you want me to get better?”

    McIlroy’s coach, Michael Bannon, threw in a favourite old story of his own. It concerned how, when he handed Rory a scorecard for one of his first nine-hole children’s competitions at Holywood GC, he noticed that the little lad had labeled himself “Rory Nick Faldo McIlroy.”

    Bannon, the Holywood professional for 15 years before moving on to Bangor GC, mentioned in passing that any jealousy towards McIlroy in those early days was short-lived; the culprits recognised almost at once that they were not in his league. “The jealousy would switch to awe,” he remembers.

    It has been much the same across McIlroy’s triumphant first five years on the European Tour. Listen to Anders Hansen on the subject: “If anyone feels anything in the way of resentment after what Rory’s done for the Tour, they would have to be mad,” suggested the Dane.

    Everything about McIlroy startled Hansen at the outset. “I first saw this curlyhaired kid on the putting green at a British Masters and didn’t have a clue whether it was a boy or a girl,” he began. “Long before I saw Rory hit a shot, I could see he was something special. Everything came so naturally to him.

    “What makes him even more admirable,” he continued, “is that he’s one of the nicest guys out here. I wouldn’t say that of a lot of them but he really is that nice. Where he has it over Tiger is that he’s more approachable. He’s a good boy who carries his stardom better than anyone I know in any sport. I can’t think of anyone who comes close.”

    McIlroy interacts with spectators during his practice rounds – and always they return for the tournament days. Again, he is friendly with the photographers. They can snap him and he never snaps back.

    Dave Cannon, the supremo among cameramen, cites a day at the Open when his state-of-the-art-camera went off on its own on the 18th tee as McIlroy was about to hit. McIlroy pulled out of his drive and waited patiently for him to sort things out. “Are you ready now, Dave?” he asked.

    Matthew Harris, another photographer par excellence, said that McIlroy passes the ultimate test: “Even if he’s had a 76, he’ll stick with arrangements. Others, after a bad round, will give you a brief ‘Not today’ at best.”

    When, at the start of last week, George O’Grady awarded McIlroy – a five-times winner this season – his gold money-clip for 2013, no-one could have responded more graciously. “I’ll always be loyal to the European Tour,” he promised.

    He carried on saying all the right things and it was only when someone hit on the theme of how his wrapping up of The Race to Dubai had stripped the tail-end of the season of its excitement that he slipped up a tad. Asked if he would find it tough to get motivated for the week, he came up with an engagingly truthful, if rather too forthright, explanation as to why that would not apply.

    “Obviously, I’ve got to hang on till the end (to collect his Race to Dubai winner’s loot) so I might as well make the tournament count by winning a second trophy.”

    Another moment to savour came when he was asked about his switch – allegedly for $250 million over ten years – to Nike. Was he at all wary of changing clubs?

    The answer was in the negative.

    “Today’s clubs,” he began, “are all much the same and they’re mostly all made up at the same factories.”

    Warming to his theme, he added that he could probably get by with a hockey stick and an orange.

    You had to feel for those Nike club-makers who might even then have been working on the finishing touches to the world No. 1’s new set. Mind you, the chances are that they would have given a knowing nod to what the young man was saying.

    He is that gifted.

    PHOTO: Global Golf Post

  • Virtual U.S. Open Flashback - Round 2

    26 Nov 2012

    Round 2 of the Virtual U.S. Open Flashback tournament has started for all the players who posted a score in Round 1 that closed yesterday, 11/25.

    The current cut line is 154, requiring players to shoot an average of 77 in each of the first 2 unlimited-play rounds, in order to qualify for the final 2 single-play rounds.

    Remember, you need to post your Round 2 score by Sun, 12/2. Good luck!

    Tournament Schedule:

    • Round 1 - Oakmont: site of 2007 U.S. Open, play Mon 11/12 thru Sun 11/25, unlimited stroke play
    • Round 2 - Bethpage: site of 2009 U.S. Open, play Mon 11/26 thru Sun 12/2, unlimited stroke play
      • Cut - Top 50% combined scores advance to Round 3
    • Round 3 - Congressional: site of 2011 U.S. Open, play Mon 12/3 thru Sun 12/9, single-play stroke play
    • Round 4 - Olympic: site of 2012 U.S. Open, play Mon 12/10 thru Sun 12/16, single-play stroke play

    The overall leaderboard champion, plus one lucky sweepstakes player will each win a $500 USGA Shop gift card to use online for real golf equipment and USGA gear. See tournament rules for eligibility.

    See Tournament Leaderboard

  • Get Free Nike Balls on Cyber Monday

    26 Nov 2012

    Another big sale today for Cyber Monday... Get 3 free Nike 20XI-X virtual vapor balls when you buy $30 or more WGT Credits. 

    These top-performing Nike virtual golf balls don't unlock until Level 75, but are yours free with today's offer. Just buy $30 or more WGT Credits as many times as you want on Cyber Monday, 11/26 to get more Nike balls.

    Stock up for the winter with these top-performing golf balls, yours free with today's offer!

    Get WGT Credits

    Use your WGT Credits to upgrade your WGT virtual equipment, enter online tournaments, or send gifts to your WGT friends for the holidays!

    *Unlimited offer available to WGT players who buy $30 or more WGT Credits on 11/26/12, get 3 free Nike 20XI-X virtual vapor golf balls (L75+) with each purchase.

  • Free WGT Club Rental Weekend

    24 Nov 2012

    This weekend, rent any virtual club on World Golf Tour for FREE!

    We're thankful for you, our WGT players, so this Saturday thru Sunday you can rent virtual clubs for free in the Pro Shop.

    Rent Free Clubs

    Rent any virtual club that you have unlocked for a 24-hour period free. Try the latest TaylorMade R11S woods, the popular PING G20 clubs, the top Cleveland wedges, or the new MAX Control Putter.

    *Offer available to WGT players renting virtual clubs (not applicable to balls, avatars or boosts) 11/24/12-11/25/12, receive free virtual club rental for 24-hour period, and clubs can be re-rented during that time.



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