I’ve experienced a lot of highs and lows over the last two or three weeks - but they were all good i think.
by Chris Wood on June 12, 2010
At Wentworth it was a new experience, leading going into the final round and dealing with lots of different things
Obviously there was a lot of pressure on me. But there were lots of other different little things you’ve got to do, like seeing your name on the leaderboard and trying not to let it get to you. It’s quite easy to let your mind wander a little bit.
But the more I can put myself into contention then the more I can learn from experiences like that. I played in Majorca the week before and was there or thereabouts all week as well. It might not be as big as the PGA but there were still things I could learn from it.
As far as Wentworth was concerned I don’t feel as though I played that badly. You could say luck went against me on the final day. I thought with some of the bogeys I actually hit quite good shots. I came off the course at the end of the round and said to my caddie Dave ‘What did I do wrong?’ He said to me ‘How many of those shots would you want to hit again?’ When I went through the round I thought: ‘not that many’. I was fairly happy with most of the shots I hit.
The course was playing a lot tougher on Sunday, the pins were a lot tougher and it firmed up all of a sudden. I felt I was only just a yard or two or out on a lot of my shots and got penalised for it. Then in Wales I played very solidly on the first day. I played pretty similarly on the second day but made three double-bogeys out of nowhere really. I probably go quite a few rounds without a double-bogey, so to make three in one round demoralised me a little bit. I was really disappointed Friday night and I found it really hard to lift myself up for the weekend.
Much of my disappointment at the moment is coming with my putting. I’ve lost a lot of confidence. I’m giving myself a lot of chances as well, which is frustrating. I’m coming off thinking I’ve perhaps missed at least three putts which I shouldn’t have missed. That’s the difference in being 10th or whatever and first or second. I just can’t seem to get any momentum with my putting. Once you see a couple going in then the confidence comes back.
My driving’s turned into one of the strongest parts of my game and I’d say my ironplay’s improved this year dramatically. I hardly hit a full iron shot now. I hit a lot of knock-down three-quarter shots, controlling the distance really well. That’s what has set up all my chances on the greens. But I’ve just not been taking them. I’ve been getting fairly decent results but felt I’ve been throwing shots away with my putting.
I don’t feel there is a lot of technical work needs to be done with my putting. But the trouble is you can get lots of bits from other people and end up confusing yourself. Dave sees all my putts, he’s got a view on it. Then my coach sees things. Then someone else will come and say something. I really need to focus on one thing, do what my coach is telling me only. I need a good break to put some work in, rather than do it at tournaments when my mind’s on the tournament.Putting has definitely got to be my priority and the way things have worked out then maybe I’ve got a better chance now I’m not going to be at the US Open.
My manager Chubby Chandler said it wouldn’t be bad for me if I didn’t qualify and he was right. I wanted to be in the US Open. You want to be in every major you can be in. But after Sunday at Wentworth I couldn’t see myself wanting to get up, warm up, and within 12 hours time, play 36 holes. If I did qualify it was probably going to take three weeks out of my schedule and I’ve learned that a run of golf is good for me. Playing the US Open would have broken up my schedule. So I withdrew on Sunday night.
Sometimes good things can come from bad, though. I’ve now got a week to work on my putting. We’ve got some huge tournaments coming up, including the Open. Let’s hope my putting can prove dramatically in time for them.
I had two weeks off after the Masters working really hard on my game with my coach.
by Chris Wood on April 30, 2010
Last year my caddie Dave McNeilly rated my driving two or three out of 10. This year he reckons it's gone up to 7 or 8.
I concentrated on actually playing as competitively as I could because I feel my season has been so stop-start that I’ve not got into any groove. I’m anxious to get into a playing mode. I made sure I played at least nine holes every day. I played 18 holes a day in a four-round tournament format, two rounds at my own club, Long Ashton, and rounds at the Kendleshire in Bristol and Burnham and Berrow.
I’ve been playing a lot better than I’ve been scoring, which has been very frustrating. But it will all come together when I’ve played consistently more. There hasn’t been much for me to work on technically because my coach and I feel I’m hitting the ball OK. It’s just rustiness. In this case you need to do things like sharpening up your short game, working on your putting. It’s important to feel you’re holing one or two more puts here and there – really, getting your eye in, as it were.
I’ve really enjoyed working on my short game with my MP T-10 Black Ni wedges. Varying the bounce a little bit with the wedges has been important. I’ve got four different lob wedges, all with the same loft but all with different bounce.
For somewhere like Augusta, where the greens are very fast and slopey, where you need a lot of spin, you need to play short, little ‘chippy’ shots with lots of spin. I had my heels ground off a little, so I could work the heel a little bit more into the ground, cut across the ball a little bit easier, to create a little bit more spin.
I had a disappointing debut in the Masters, not making the cut, but I actually played some great shots at Augusta, short-game-wise. You have to land the ball on a pin-point and your visualisation has to be spot-on. You pick a spot and land there with spin. Then hope for the best!
I learned so much from my first visit to the Masters. For a start I felt my short game was great there and it will stand me in good stead for the season. The course is so hard. It’s entirely different to playing Open Championships. I had a 20ft putt for birdie on the 17th one day, slightly uphill, slightly right-to-left. I thought I’d hit quite a good putt...15ft past. Walking to the 18th tee I looked back at what was my first putt. It was downhill. I just hadn’t seen that from where I’d looked at the putt. You write that kind of thing down in your planner for next time. It could save you a shot.
I saw Phil Mickelson writing a couple of things down in his book...a chip shot that didn’t quite react the way he’d thought it would, for instance. He’s been there 14 or 15 times – and he’s still learning!
On links courses for the Open Championship, all you need to do really is control your ball flight, especially in the wind. Almost anywhere on a links green in normal conditions is good enough. At Augusta, anywhere on the green could be dead.
Talking about penetrating driving, I’m using the Mizuno MP-630 FAST TRACK now. I used it for the first time the week before the Masters at Houston. I’m absolutely delighted with it. Last year my caddie Dave McNeilly rated my driving two or three out of 10. This year he reckons it’s gone up to seven or eight. It’s setting the holes up for me completely differently. I went through the stats at Houston. I was really surprised. This hole I had only 100 left; that hole only 120...all from the fairway. On the Trackman I’m recording eight yards further off the tee. My driving is turning into one of the strongest parts of my game. I reckon Lee Westwood’s the best driver of the ball in the world at the moment and that’s where I’m looking to get to.
The BMW PGA Championship is the tournament I have my eye on most at the moment. I’ve never played Wentworth, only seen it a spectator. The changes Ernie’s made there have everybody talking. Everybody’s wondering how they are going to get on playing the new layout. I spoke to Thomas Bjorn. He lives there but he hasn’t even played it under its new look.
Everyone’s been used to the old course. Maybe it will be an advantage never having played there before.
During my first (and only) round at the WGC. Didn't quite work out as planned.
by Chris Wood on February 24, 2010
I have one great advantage going to the Masters
Let's start with my equipment. My first year as a pro i wasn't contracted to anyone, so i had a sort of pickamix' set. Towards the end of last year, though, I started using Mizuno irons. Straight away, I got at least half a club’s difference. I was hitting the ball half a club further. I’m using the MP-68s. The three- and four-iron I use are MP-62’s with a smallish cavity.
And I’ve always struggled with fairway woods. The ones I used last year with another company were OK, but I was never really happy with them. I’ve tried a lot of different fairway woods but the MP Titanium 5 wood and MX-700 3 wood (moved a touch open) are the best I’ve ever had. Their flight and consistency of strike...they just feel so good for me. After all the problems I’ve had with fairway woods I’m really surprised that I’ve taken to them so easily.
I’ve been trying the new MP-630 Mizuno driver with the FAST TRACK weights. I started practising with it this winter but I’ve not really quite had good enough weather to really put it through its paces. I’m not one for changing much during tournaments so I’ve not taken it when I’ve gone away. Once the weather warms up and I’ve got one or two weeks at home I can get back to testing. I’ve got four or five versions that I’ve been testing and it all looks promising. I’ve found an extra six or seven yards on the launch monitor. So there’s definitely some potential there.
It's a good time to start up with Mizuno. I was so proud to be Europe’s rookie of the year last year and the plan this year is to kick on from that. My third place finish in the Open Championship pretty well secured it for me. This year, though, I can almost look upon it as ‘playing with the men’. I’ve got into a couple of big tournaments early on and that’s great experience. I’m only in my second year but I feel like I’ve got so much experience already. I’ve already played in three majors and I’m playing in the Masters soon.
It’s all happened very quickly. Two years ago I was preparing for the Spanish Amateur! After my fifth place in the 2008 Open and silver medal, there wasn’t any point in staying amateur. Even though the Walker Cup is hugely prestigious there’s not much of a bigger stage than the Open. And I’d done that. I knew I was ready to turn pro and it proved it when I got my card fairly comfortably at tour school. It was all I’d been working for over the last seven years.
Then last year - coming so close at the Open again, just missing out on the playoff. Whenever anyone mentions it, it’s horrible really. A lot of people have said to me “shame about the bogey on the last...” But it’s not every day you can judge 230 yards for a nine-iron. I hit a great shot right at the flag and the ball just ran through into the thick rough. That left me with a real tough shot. I felt like I took the course apart on the last day and didn’t hit a bad shot. A 67 was the worst I could have expected. It just wasn’t meant to be.
There can be nothing like holding the Claret Jug knowing you’re Open Champion, though. Stewart Cink’s locker was near mine last week in Arizona, so I bumped into him quite a lot. I thought “He’s Open Champion. That could have been me.”
I got another Turnberry reminder by playing Lee Westwood in the Accenture Match-play first round. He could also have won the Open. It was great to have someone like Lee around in Arizona. He’s in the same management group, ISM, as me. He’s a player I’ve talked to a lot since moving up from amateur. It was a little weird playing Lee in the first round. I played OK but just didn’t seem to score at all. I missed a few putts and it didn’t really quite happen. Just getting into the Accenture on my world ranking was an achievement, though. My goal from the ‘Desert Swing’ had been to force myself into the world rankings well enough to get to Arizona.
In between the Malaysia Open and Andalucia Open I’m probably going to take three weeks off and go away with my coach to somewhere like southern Spain. It’s difficult to get the sort of practice you need here at home at the moment. That will be the start of my preparation for the Masters. I’m very excited about it all. I can’t wait for it. I’ve never been to Augusta before so I’m hoping to go out there on the Wednesday a week before the Masters. I don’t think you can be too early going out because, from what I understand, you can never say you’ve learned enough about Augusta. Billy Foster, Lee’s caddie of course, says he went one year and they’d moved a bunker a yard further on. He says they make little changes like that every year, just to try and catch the players out. I played with Chad Campbell in the PGA. He’d lost the playoff at Augusta. He told me that every year he’s gone back to Augusta his results have improved. He said it’s all about the greens, hitting them in the right place but also missing them in the right place, just getting your head around it all. I guess Augusta could be a learning curve that never ends. I hope I get plenty of years learning. I’ll certainly be putting in a lot of time chipping and putting with my coach before Augusta.
I have one great advantage going to the Masters with a great caddie – Dave McNeilly. Dave’s caddied with the best and I’m really lucky to have him. It took me a while to realise I needed a great caddie and Dave ticks pretty well every box. My first tournament with Dave was the Open last year, so that speaks for itself. Apart from his experience he’s great company on the course. I just wish he wouldn’t keep mislaying the laser in the bag during our practice rounds, though.
Apart from the excitement of looking forward to the Masters I’m expecting a lot from myself this season. I feel I’m ready to start winning tournaments and get into the top 50 in the world. I had a taste of it at the Accenture. World events and majors are where you have to be. I feel like I’m good enough to compete at that level now.
It would be amazing to play in the Ryder Cup but there are probably 40 players have got that in the back of their minds. At the moment I’m not seeing myself as one of the top 12 in Europe. The team looks so strong already. A big win could change all that of course.
This week I’m enjoying spending time at home, especially with my girlfriend Bethany. It’s nice being with friends, some of whom I haven’t seen for seven weeks, just doing things 22-year-olds do. Before I go out to Malaysia I’m hoping to have found a new home. I’ve just moved out of the flat I was renting in Clifton. It’s all pretty manic at the moment.
Luke Donald's Diary - 3/11/2010
by Luke Donald on March 12, 2010
Elle Georgina Donald was born on February 25, weighing 5lbs 1oz, having arrived one month early. She obviously couldn't wait to meet her dad!
Elle's early show came because we discovered Diane's blood pressure was dangerously high when she went for a routine check-up. Diane had Pre-eclampsia, and the only way to get the blood pressure down, without fear of the mother having any kind of seizures, is to have the baby. So an hour later Diane was induced and 19 hours after that little Elle was born. Both are doing great.
It's hard to put into words but now everything else, other than the safety and well-being of my wife and daughter, seems to pale into insignificance. Of course I will continue to work hard to be as successful as I can be, but having a child puts everything into perspective somehow. I'm sure, though, that fatherhood can only help with my golf.
Because of Elle's early arrival, I pulled out of the Honda. I may add Houston instead. I don't think it will change my schedule too much. I just think I'll be flying home between events more often so I can at least spend a couple of days with Elle each week.
I was very excited to renew the relationship I had built up with Mizuno. I love that Mizuno don’t have hundreds of players on board, and that way they can really concentrate on giving 100 per cent of their attention to each of their staff. Their irons are still unquestionably for me, the best in the game. Some pros who don't have club deals choose to play the irons for free because they are the best.
I'm still playing the MP-62s this year. I had a little go with the MP-68s, but as I was still not swinging it great in the off season, I decided to stick with what I knew best. It's the same with the driver. I did some testing just after Christmas down at the Bears club. But, as I'm working on this new leg action, I don't want to test too seriously until I feel I'm really swinging my best. That will be when my legs and arms are working together. Only then will I be able to properly compare equipment. This new leg action could take a few months, so I will go back to testing then.
I did put in some different wedges though, with a little bit of different look to what I had been using. They are the MPT10 wedges (with the quad cut grooves) 54 deg and 60 deg. Mizuno gave me 2 versions – a custom grind specifically for me and the standard factory one. In the end I preferred the standard one. Shows that the Mizuno guys have built a lot of tour feedback into their standard shape over the years. I'm currently second in scrambling around the greens and first in up and downs from the bunkers, so they are obviously working well.
I have had a positive start to 2010, with some strong finishes at the Northern trust and Pebble Beach and a reasonable Accenture. In Hawaii I really struggled with my game, driving it poorly. My irons weren't much better. It was frustrating because I was working very hard in the off season on both my game and my fitness, and I felt confident that good things were going to happen. Just before Hawaii, I got together in Florida with my coach Pat Goss and another guy called Dave Alred, who is a performance coach. We worked on lots of different ways to simulate tournament conditions.
After Hawaii, my coach and another teacher at the Bears Club, a guy called Darren May, had a good look at my swing. We decided I needed to work on my leg action more. I tend to get my hips working too up and forward at impact, rather than level and moving left, and when I started working on this, things just seemed to click. In the past, I'd worked hard on the position of the club throughout the swing, but if the legs aren't doing what they are supposed to do, then it's very hard for the club to get in the right positions.
I played decent at Torrey Pines, I just didn't putt very well, then went on to LA and played really nicely there. It was good to feel that pressure again. It was always going to be hard to catch Steve Stricker from six shots back, but hit a lot of solid irons under pressure. If I'd got really hot with the putter, I might have caught Steve.
I played well again at Pebble Beach. It was nice to go there again and see the course before this year's US Open. Other than a penalty shot for picking up my ball (don't ask!!) and hitting it out of bounds on the 18th on the final round, it could have easily have been a top five finish.
The Accenture was more evidence that my swing is really starting to work correctly. In my first match Graeme McDowell and I made 14 birdies in 17 holes. I played really solid against Robert Allenby, again reeling off five birdies, with no dropped shots. I didn't play my best when losing to Ollie Wilson in the third round but when I needed to produce some shots at the end, I was able to do it, making a great birdie on 17, and then sinking a 50 foot putt on the last to take it to extra holes. It shows that the work I'm doing with Dave Alred is paying off.
I did a lot of good work too with my trainer Kam Bhabra in the off-season. My goal was to put on some muscle mass, to build up my strength, so that when the season started I could create more speed in my swing and hopefully a few extra yards. I'm now 10lbs heavier than last season and my swing speed is up about 4mph.
My hopes are like every year, although I must say, I'm quietly more confident about this year than some in the past. When I'm at my best my golf is plenty good enough to win. It goes without saying that the Ryder Cup is on my radar screen. If I keep working like I'm working, the results will come to take care of my Ryder Cup place.
My new caddie John McLaren and I are getting on well. I still miss my brother but Chris has obviously fallen on his feet in style. It was great to see that Paul Casey, who was third in the world at the time, wanted Chris on his bag - even though his only experience was caddying for me. Chris had earned a good reputation and they have already had some success together, so things seem to be working for the best for both of us.
Luke Donald's Diary - 4/22/2010
by Luke Donald on April 22, 2010
Before the Masters, obviously we worked on my short-game, shots around the green. My short game is in really good shape at the moment. Someone told me that I’m currently ranked #1 for both sand saves and scrambling on the PGA Tour this year. A lot of practice and those new T-10 wedges. I thought before that the new groove rules might suit me. Plus with the conforming version of Mizuno’s new Quad Cut groove I’m still getting really good traction.
Augusta is so unique. You need to play shots you don’t play anywhere else in the world. The pin positions are so severe on certain holes that you have to be so precise around the greens: five or six-yard shots where you’re just landing it in the fringe, one bounce up and the ball just has to trickle onto the green. Your bad shots are very much emphasized. A bad chip on a normal green goes to six or seven feet; there it goes to 50 feet.
There was still a tinge of disappointment at my third place in the Verizon Heritage, though, because I felt I could easily have won. I’ve been looking for a win for a good while now and need to take care of that. But I’ve just got to keep giving myself chances, like at Hilton Head.
Obviously, there were a lot of positives again and a good move up the Fedex Cup table. I had a good strong finish and made lots of birdies. I just made a few too many mistakes on the Sunday and that was the difference. When you start chasing it puts pressure on you and the back nine in the final round in the Heritage, the pins were extremely tough. The way the wind blew it was hard to get close to them. Looking back, if I could have the tee shots on 11 and 12 again things might be different. That’s where it got away from me. If I’d made pars there then I think I would have kept the momentum going and had a better shot at it.
The Masters was very disappointing. I’d worked pretty hard on my game. To be honest I left Houston, the week before, and Augusta feeling somewhat positive, though. My game was actually pretty solid. I just wasn’t scoring. The part of the game that really let me down, unusually, was my putting. I drove pretty well but also probably didn’t hit enough greens. Maybe my mid-irons and short-irons weren’t quite as tight as they should have been. Whenever I had chances, though, I couldn’t take them on the greens. This sometimes happens. I came back and obviously putted a lot better. But it was disappointing it happened during the major.
I felt I had to go back to fundamentals with my putting. I checked my stroke, of course, but I found my head was sloping to the right a little bit, so I worked on my eye-line. My right eye was getting too low in comparison to my left eye. That work certainly paid dividends [in South Carolina].
The work I’ve done on my swing I feel is paying off. With this I’ve also gone back to swing fundamentals. My leg action for instance, trying to get my set up a little better. I was tending to aim a little bit too far right and that makes it tough for me to get the club open at the top. I’ve been working on rhythm altogether: my leg action on the downswing, too. Before, it was getting a little bit ‘jumpy’, with my hips pushing towards the ball too much. Now I’m trying to get more stable in my legs. My left hip’s rotating a little bit more to the left as I go down. That gets the club on a better path.
There was obviously a lot of attention to Tiger Woods’s return to action at Augusta. From a selfish point of view, it’s great to see him back. Every sport needs its number one player playing. He generates so much that we need in tough economical times. He’s still the man to beat in majors. I would have loved Lee to have pulled it off but I was happy for Phil. He’s had so much going wrong in his life with his wife and mother suffering from cancer and his win was special.
My attention now turns to the Players Championship. Then I’m going to play three weeks in Europe: Wentworth, Madrid and Celtic Manor. I haven’t played the TwentyTen course at Celtic Manor. Hopefully I’ll be there again for the Ryder Cup.
Little Elle is keeping Di and I on our toes. Babies are hard work. But it’s so very rewarding.
Luke Donald's Diary - 5/25/2010
by Luke Donald on May 25, 2010
I have to take all the positives out of the BMW PGA Championship. My short game was terrific, my bunker play at its highest level and I’ve moved up several notches in the race for an automatic Ryder Cup place.
Of course it’s disappointing, when you have a really good chance to win the European Tour’s flagship event and don’t quite pull it off. With two par fives to come and tied for the lead I fancied myself to do it. I tried to hit a little bit of a draw on 17 and just blocked it out and it cost me dearly. But you have to move on from that shot and learn from it.
One of the positives was that I didn’t play my best golf during the week but I was still contending strongly. I have to think what I can do when I’m really on my game. I was very strong around the greens, did a lot of good scrambling and my putting was good.
You have to be good with your sand-irons and wedges with the changes that have gone on at Wentworth and be very creative around the greens. I was able to do that.
I’ve been very good with my MP T-Series 60 degree lob wedge and 54 degree sand iron . With the new tour conforming Quad-Cut grooves I haven’t found any disadvantage with the old non conforming groove. Mizuno have done such a good job with whatever technology they use, they’ve given me as much spin as I can use that is legal. I’ve had them grind them a little bit for me but they are pretty much standard and I can swap them every six weeks or so and have fresh grooves. That helps, too. I’m top in scrambling and top in sand-saves, so that speaks for itself.
It’s made up for a little bit of weakness in the other parts of my game. I’ve been trying to put on some strength in the gym so that I could do a lot of explosive stuff to find extra yards with my driving. You can do that with various exercises – medicine ball throws and things like that. It all relates to a little bit of increased speed in your swing. I’m definitely three or four mph faster and maybe five yards longer.
It’s good to be back in Madrid. It’s a great city. I’m staying with Sergio and one of his friends. Should be a fun week. Hopefully I’ll have another chance to win again. Then next week it’s Celtic Manor. I played there a long while ago before the changes, so I’m looking forward to seeing the course, hopefully before being on the Ryder Cup team.
Di and Ellie are coming over next week, so I’m looking forward to having them with me in Wales. I decided to play three events in Europe in a row to get some rhythm going. I still think my best chance of getting back in the Ryder Cup team is via the world points, though. I’m now up to fifth on the world points table after the second place at Wentworth, just one spot from automatic qualifying for Monty’s team. The next few weeks, including the US Open at Pebble Beach, are going to be a pivotal part of making sure I play Celtic Manor twice this year.
Luke Donald's Diary - 7/05/2010
by Luke Donald on July 5, 2010
I've put a lot of planning into this year's Open Championship and I'm hoping that is all going to pay off at St Andrews.
People have been telling me I'd be better playing in Europe most of the time.
After playing in JP McManus’s tournament I’m going up to Ballybunion, Lahinch, Waterville and Old Head – all great courses and all great for preparation for St Andrews. I think it’s vital to have links practice. I’ve got a few friends coming up so we’ll have a good time as well.
I did something similar last year in Scotland and had a good Open Championship. So thought I’d try it again. I’ll get to St Andrews on Sunday night and I’m sure I’ll get at least two practice rounds in. Two rounds will probably be enough.
As far as St Andrews is concerned, well my form is very good at the moment, so I’ll be very optimistic of having another good Open.
I’ve played the Old Course a few times and I feel very comfortable around it. It’s a course you have to play several times to know where you are going and what you are doing. I’ve had some very good rounds there, so hopefully I can feed off that and have a good week.
There have been some changes made to the Old Course, so that will be something to take in. The 17th, the Road Hole change is the only one I’ve heard about. I’m not sure if there are other different tees. As far as the 17th is concerned, I’m not sure if that was needed. It’s a tough enough hole as it is! But it will be the same for everyone. I’ll just have to try to figure a way to tackle it.
As far as planning goes for St Andrews, you make up your plan as you go along. You note how the course is playing – what kind of conditions there are on that day. Scoring will be determined a lot on how the weather is. If it’s good weather you are going to have to go out and play aggressively, make as many birdies as you can. If the weather’s poor, you need to rein in at the hard holes, try and stay away from high numbers. And you always try to take advantage of some of the shorter holes.
The recipe for success at St Andrews, though, is staying out of the bunkers. They are like water hazards. It’s a shot lost automatically if you go in one.
My game is thankfully very consistent with the Open looming large. I didn’t quite fire on all cylinders in France and the greens at the National were often tricky to read. But everything in my game is pretty satisfactory. There’s still room for some improvement but I feel I’m working on all the right things. Hopefully in a couple of weeks it will all come together.
A successful Open will be good for me on several fronts. I’m fighting for my Ryder Cup place and at the moment I’m getting two bites of the cherry. I got bumped out of the world list by Graeme McDowell after his fantastic U.S. Open win but my good run in Europe really helped my cause on the European points list. I’m in the team right now and I’ve just got to keep playing the way I have been and the Ryder Cup should take care of itself.
Then there are the world rankings. After finishing third in Wales I moved to the highest I’ve ever been, to number six. After the wrist injury it took a little time being confident on the golf course but I’ve got the confidence back again. There’s always room for improvement but I think I’m playing better than ever.
People have been telling me I’d be better playing in Europe most of the time. I do enjoy being in Europe and I’ve had a little more success here than in the US. But I live in Chicago, my wife and baby are there, my coach is there. So it’s going to be hard to leave America. It would be quite an upheaval. I’ll have to think long and hard about it before I commit more time to Europe. Right now I’m quite happy playing six events or so in Europe and around 18 in the US.
The other big point for me to consider is that I enjoy playing against the best players in the world in the strongest fields and most of the time that’s in America.
Luke Donald's Diary - 9/03/2010
by Luke Donald on September 3, 2010
This was a very hard team to get into. Everyone seemed to be playing great. I’m delighted to be back. We have a very strong squad and I’m looking forward to being part of it again, hoping to help Europe get the Ryder Cup back. I really missed not being in the 2008 team because of the wrist injury and I’m very excited. I thought I had a chance but there were a lot of world-class candidates.
I found out after 10 holes on Sunday at the Barclays, though. I was going along nicely, out in 28, then I found out – and I went to pieces! Talking to the other players, it would have been nice to have the decision made on the Monday. Maybe it’s something that can be reviewed and see if it can be changed. It was definitely a little distracting to the guys playing over in the Barclays. It’s a logical answer for the two captains to pick the teams at the same time, so there’s no advantage, perceived or not.
I don’t want to go on about the qualification system; we have to concentrate now on the guys who are in the team coming together to win. But I think maybe it needs a tweaking or two. I understand the European Tour want to protect their tour and encourage players to play in Europe as much as they can, but at the same time the top players shouldn’t be penalised for wanting to play against the strongest fields and better themselves. It doesn’t seem quite right when the number eight player in the world is not on the team.
I don’t think you can fault Monty on picking Edoardo Molinari,though. The way he won at Gleneagles shows a lot about his character. He truly deserves to be on the team.
I sat down at the beginning of the year and tried to figure out the best way of me getting onto the team. I knew I wasn’t going to play my whole year in Europe, I had PGA Tour responsibilities. I did though, give up some tournaments that I’d previously had good records at in the US and come over to Europe during May, June and July. One of those events was played at Celtic Manor and obviously finishing third there couldn’t have hurt my chances of having a pick.
Monty also said he picked me because of my ability to play foursomes as well as fourballs and one of my main skills is my consistency. I keep the ball in play – that’s a pretty strong attribute in matchplay. Some people think that matchplay is all about lots of birdies, not worrying about bogeys because it’s only one lost hole. I’ve always felt if you can always keep in play you put pressure on. If you make your opponent need at least birdie to beat you, then you’re not going to go too far wrong. I have a good matchplay record, so that must have helped me.
It’s hard to know who I’m going to be paired with. There are some obvious pairings: the Molinari brothers, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, even Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher...we’ll have to figure out what the best fit is. There are some guys I haven’t played with. If Paul Casey had been picked I’d have probably been a good match with him. I think I could play with any of the guys. Lee Westwood, good off the tee, Martin Kaymer, a similar player to Westwood, they are the guys in my thoughts. Obviously we’ll have to have a chat with Monty and see what he thinks is best.
I want to play as much as I can – every player does – and contribute. It’s not fun being left out. It’s a team of 12 and only eight play on the first two days, but I’d love to play all five matches. That’s up to Monty.
The game of golf is very fickle and it depends on how everyone’s playing that week. It changes week to week. We just want to make sure we get 14 and a half points. I’m hoping I can, like Edoardo Molinari showed straight away in Switzerland, go out and show Monty I’m worth the pick. I’m aiming for the Tour Championship and a really good couple of weeks can put me in a great position going into the final US event.
Hard work is paying off. You don’t shoot 28 if you’re not doing something right! I’ve been working hard on my short game. Because I’ve been playing so much, I’ve kind of let practice slip a little bit. During Firestone and the PGA I really struggled around the greens. Chipping and putting is my bread and butter and when I don’t do it well it’s kind of hard to score.
So I’ve been clocking up the hours with the short game more than anything. It’s been nothing really technical, just being diligent, simulating how it would be out on the course. You’re chipping with meaning and then trying to hole out with the putt – over and over again.
On the full swing, I’ve been working hard on really rotating around my spine. I feel like sometimes my right knee gets pushed out a little bit too much on the way back and I sway too much with my head. I’ve been trying to stay very steady and just swing around my spine. That really helps with the consistency of my ball-flight and it’s straightened out my drivers a little bit. I’ve been driving a lot better lately. I’m striking the irons really nicely – Celtic Manor might be too soon for the MP-63’s. It’s more likely that I’ll switch in the close season when I get a little more time to practice - but they seem a very easy transition from my current 62’s, so you never know.
I think Celtic Manor’s going to play a little bit different in October to how I played it in June. The course will play a little bit longer, but, as always on Ryder Cup week, you need to be playing well. I’ll have a good run of events behind me leading up to it. I feel like I’m well prepared and ready to go.
Luke Donald's Diary - 10/18/2010 - Ryder Cup Recap
by Luke Donald on October 18, 2010
I’ve not been to a tournament yet in America to find out what the reaction is to the Ryder Cup. I know my American friends will be just as generous in their reaction, though, as they were on the Monday night when we Europeans celebrated our nail-biting victory.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Celtic Manor. I’ve always said to everyone that I love Ryder Cup. I love that team atmosphere and match play. It was great to get back into the swing of things after missing out in 2008. My game always seems to rise to the occasion of the Ryder Cup. I had a great Ryder Cup, winning three out of four points and joint top scorer of both teams. While I’m proud of an impressive record in the matches, more importantly the team won.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be on three winning teams. This one was a little closer than the other two, but it was still just as satisfying.
I’ll have the memory of two shots for life. Both came when playing with Ian Poulter in the Sunday foursomes. On the 14th the rough was pretty thick but I was fortunate that I was with the grain. The only club that would come out well was my CLK. It was a daunting shot, would have been even if I’d been on the fairway, but the ball came out perfectly. I just carried the water and landed within about eight feet of the flag.
In the end we actually still lost the hole but it was a shot that gave us a chance and it kind of motivated us. We didn’t look back after that and went one-up on 16 with a solid par. Then came the second shot that will live in my memory forever. On 17 I thought “if I can hit this close it will really put the pressure on them”. I didn’t really fancy going down the 18th. It’s always nerve-racking when you go down the last with everything resting on it.
It was one of those shots you know has really come off. I was in between a four and five-iron. The way that green is, decided me. There’s a big bank behind the pin. So I decided to take on extra club, the four-iron. I had 196 yards. I hit a little cut and it came off perfectly. As soon as I hit it I knew it was going to be good. Ian and I were overjoyed to watch it land. It was about two and a half feet.
It was great to clinch my singles against Jim on the Monday. But then I had a couple of hours as a supporter. I think it was harder watching the team trying to get over the line than it was playing!
The celebrations when we pulled off such a thrilling victory will stay in my memory as well. Obviously with everything hinging on Graeme’s win it was very emotional. We had a lot of steam to let off.
Because the singles finished a bit earlier than they would do normally, with the Monday finish, the celebrations started early as well. As soon as Graeme’s match finished there was a lot of champagne. We sang to the crowd, they sang back to us.
We spent a lot of time in the American locker room. They spent a lot of time in ours. It was all very convivial and friendly. That’s how it should be. We are trying our hardest to beat them during the match but when it’s all over we respect each other.
We celebrated until the early hours. We were very happy to keep that cup from going back over the Atlantic.
It had been a heady time for me before the Ryder Cup. I had a great FedEx Cup and nearly took it all at the Tour Championship. There have been a lot of highlights. Of course I’d love to pick up another trophy in the US as soon as possible...other than that, with the Ryder Cup, it’s been a stellar year already.
It’s not a time to stand still, though. I’m meeting up with the Mizuno team this week to do some testing with new three-woods and hybrids. We’ll be checking through the bag. They sent my first full set of MP-63s. I tried those a little bit before the Tour Championship and they felt fantastic. I’ll be continuing to test those and plan to have them in play next year.
I’ll soon be off to Asia for two events. The HSBC WGC is a big one for world ranking points and I’ll be hoping to be moving up from eighth pretty soon. Then I’ll be heading to Dubai for the Dubai World Championship.
I haven’t given up hope of snatching the Race to Dubai at the last minute. If I can win the HSBC event in China then maybe I can put a bit of pressure on Martin Kaymer. He’s quite a way ahead – but two wins might get it done. I’ll give it my best shot.
Luke Donald's Diary - 12/22/2010
by Luke Donald on December 22, 2010
Overall it’s been a very successful season, definitely a step up from last year. Coming off the wrist injury, 2009 was a bit speculative year but 2010 has been much better.
My consistency has really improved, winning again in Europe was great encouragement for me, and to be part of a triumphant Ryder Cup team was a real highlight. I don’t know why but my game seems to elevate to a different level playing in a team atmosphere, right from my amateur days. I’ve been fortunate to be on winning teams and I’ve now gone through three Ryder Cups and two Walker Cups never on the losing side.
Moving back into the top 10 of the world rankings was the product of my 2010 season and that meant a great deal to me. The positive from that I took was that I was actually fourth on points on the overall rankings, a great deal of that the result of a good season on the PGA Tour.
Talking about the world rankings, I understand that some golfing pundits are advocating a move to make them over just one year instead of the system we have in place at the moment. I understand the current system involving making and losing points over two years. I’m not really a great mathematician and I don’t know what the big difference would be over one or two years, but it’s something to consider. You want the world rankings to be something reasonably current. For almost a year Lee Westwood has played the most consistently, but he’s only just caught up to the number one spot.
The only down side of this season was that I didn’t play well enough in the majors.
I didn’t really compete in any of them, never had a chance to win, and that will be a great focus for me, maybe the main one, for next year. Looking at my game and the work I’ve done this year, my prospects have been propelled by my short game. My putting has been good, bunker play fantastic; my scrambling around the greens has been high class. There has definitely been an improvement this year, though, in driving accuracy and hitting greens in regulation, which went up by quite a few percent.
In the last two or three months I’ve really been focusing on getting a good set-up. I tend to get a little bit too much knee-flex in my set-up and I’m getting that a little bit more ‘dialed-in’. This allows me to turn and really post up on my right hip. I have a tendency to not post up quite well enough and that creates a few issues in my downswing. Now I’m getting the club a little steeper as it goes up and getting a little more cock in the left wrist at the top of the swing. That will help me get the plane of the club a little bit better on the downswing.
This has tied in with certain parts of my fitness work. I’ve got a new trainer, Craig Knight. He works with Jeff Banaszek and they have eight or nine players on tour. With Ben Sheer, my conditioning coach, they’ve come up with a programme to get certain parts of my body in peak shape. A lot of mistakes in your swing are related to weaknesses in your body, so I’ve been working hard in this off-season to get those parts stronger. I’ve done a lot of work on my right hip to, as I say, post up better. And I tend to struggle to really keep the angle of the top of my swing with my right shoulder because of inflexibility. Those are the two key areas for me to improve on. Both will help with my backswing and, in turn, help with my downswing.
I’ve a new JPX800 3 wood to test that looks a bit different. Very easy to launch – but doesn’t look like its going to turn the ball left – which I like. I’ll give it a good work out over the break. I’m waiting on the driver, which Mizuno are tweaking. Again – on first looks it’s very different to anything Mizuno has given me before. It looks more of an easy to use type design rather than tour model, but again it sits really square. I’m curious at least.
I’ll have a lot of time to fiddle around with things and I’m looking forward to experimenting a bit more than I normally do because I’m in the throes of a more extended break than I’ve taken in past years. I played a lot this year, coming back from the injury. My start to the year will be in L.A., the second week in February.
Before then, hope you all have a great Christmas.
PGA Magazine Features the Mizuno MP-53 Golf Irons
by Iver Maple on January 20, 2011
Mizuno's new Grain Flow Forged MP-53 golf irons with Diamond Muscle Design made an appearance in the November issue of PGA Magazine as part of their "New Equipment" section. The headline reads "Giving Thanks" and the feature highlights three new high performance products including the Mizuno MP-53 golf irons.
PGA Magazine writes, "Mizuno's MP-53 irons boast a Diamond Muscle design for feel and ball control. The longer irons "V" slot CNC-milled pocket cavity redistributes 14 grams of weight around the cavity, for the largest sweet area ever in an MP iron. Interestingly, the impact sound and feel of these irons was tuned through modal analysis and harmonic impact technology."
MyGolfSpy.com Rates Mizuno's MP-58 Irons an A+
by Iver Maple on February 4, 2010
Following up on their "Editor's Choice" award in Golf Digest's 2010 Hot List, Mizuno's MP-58 irons with Dual Muscle Titanium technology are now making huge waves among the editors of some of the largest Equipment blog sites on the internet. MyGolfSpy.com, well known for giving extremely honest and thorough reviews, is one of the first to post their review of the MP-58s, and to say it is "GLOWING," would be an understatement.
The first couple of sentences really says it all:
"I first have to say that I really did try and try again to find a better set of irons to beat out the new Mizuno MP-58 irons in head-to-head competition...but I just couldn't do it. So after a while lot of testing it was obvious...I had to give them a spot in my bag for 2010. There just too good not to."
They also go on to discuss the unmatched feel of Mizuno's forged irons:
"For many years I have felt that Mizuno has made one of the best irons in golf. And I feel if there were no equipment sponsors on tour and everyone just played what they felt were the best iron for their game that a large % of guys would be playing a set of Mizuno's. Yes...there are a lot of good irons out there...but I have hit almost all of them but the feel from a Mizuno forging is just...well...different. And when I say different I really mean better."
Back to praise for the MP-58s:
"If you are able to test these side-by-side with other competitive irons you will instantly notice how much more feedback you get in your hands with the Mizuno MP-58 irons. You will also notice a much softer feel than other forgings you might have played. And if you are a mid-handicapper, don't think that this set might not be for you. Many of the players we had test these irons were in the mid-handicap range and all agreed that they were improvements on their current irons."
"Although when we pulled them out of the box I instantly felt like this was almost the perfect design for an iron. It was a nice mix of both modern and classic designs. It has a monochromatic color scheme that flowed seamlessly together. And the actual design itself was incredibly sound."
"Hard not to give this one an A+ when it beats out all the other competition we put it up against and all the testers give it an A+ as well.
I think we will be hard pressed to find an iron that we test in 2010 that beats out the Mizuno MP-58's."
Versatile Sole Design
Hmmm...couldn't think of one.
Golf Resorts Magazine Features Mizuno Performance Fitting System and Shaft Optimizer
by Iver Maple on January 20, 2011
Golf Resorts magazine features a two-page article on Mizuno's Performance Fitting System and the revolutionary Shaft Optimizer tool. The article, entitled "THE PERFECT FIT: Mizuno's Performance Fitting System" and gives readers a firsthand look at how Mizuno's system works, and what makes it better than any other custom fitting option out there. There are multiple images of the Performance Fitting System cart, interchangeable heads, Shaft Optimizer, and the new JPX-800 PRO irons, which was the iron that the author was fitted for during his experience.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
"It's conventional golf wisdom that a fitting should accompany any purchase of irons, but does every golfer know that the fitting process varies significantly from manufacturers, professionals and golf club retailers? I had a frustrating experience recently when purchasing and being fitted for new irons that shows that not all club fitters provide the same results, and specifically how a company like Mizuno exceeded my expectations."
"After I had loosened up Al pulled out the Mizuno Shaft Optimizer and asked me to take several swings. At first I was a little intimidated but Al assured me that it didn't matter if I skulled, boned or made perfect contact. The Shaft Optimizer would consider my swing patterns and tendencies and measure my club head speed, tempo, release factor, shaft toe down and shaft kick angle. Al loaded my swing data into the Mizuno software which suggested three shafts based on my swing."
"Next I was measured for length (standard) and we reviewed the club heads on the Mizuno line. Every other fitting I have ever been to started out with me choosing the clubs I wanted to be fit for not what was best for me.
We discussed each club and picked the two best for my swing and skill level. I was amazed to see that the Mizuno cart had every club head and shaft in their line (28 heads and 44 shafts).
"When we put together the shaft with the head that I ultimately decided on, I knew within three swings that this was the right club."
"I squared up with Al and left my appointment feeling like I had just created custom tailored golf clubs, and was the owner of a perfectly fitting suit, as the golf pro had joked. It was a great feeling that inspired the confidence I once had in my swing. Conventional wisdom is correct to say that being fitted for irons is necessary but my experience taught me that not all manufacturers and professionals can offer the same level of golf club fitting. Mizuno's use of technology and the consultant's approach they take to fitting you into clubs makes them a great fit when it comes to purchasing new irons!"
Junior Baseball Apparel and Shoe Guide Highlights Four Mizuno Baseball Products
by Mizuno USA on January 20, 2011
Junior Baseball Magazine features four high performance Mizuno baseball products as part of their 2010 Apparel and Shoe Guide.
Here is what Junior Baseball had to say about our Mizuno baseball products:
"The MzO Micro-fiber Polyester shirt designed specifically for baseball motion. Great for uniforms or under uniform jersey. Available in many colors."
"The BP jersey has a high density for wind resistance. Features a 7'' zipper and half mesh back. Available in many colors."
MzO Tonal Stripe Polo:
"Practical and functional. MzO Polyester. Embroidered logo on back of neck and sleeve. Available in red, royal, navy, and black."
"Mizuno's performance molded featuring a dynamic, lightweight (6.9 oz.) synthetic upper providing comfort and durability for the competitive player. Available in red, blue, and black."
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Corey Hart Featured in ESPN the Magazine
by Mizuno USA on January 20, 2011
The latest issue of ESPN the Magazine has a "Page 2" feature article on Mizuno Brand Ambassador Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers. The article is entitled, "When I Knew...I Had the Power", and is actually written by the Brewers outfielder himself. Hart discusses a pivotal pinch hit appearance he had as a sophomore at Greenwood High School in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that launched his power hitting approach at the plate. Complimenting the article is an action shot of Hart with his Vintage Pro G3 Batting Gloves and 9-Spike Vapor Elite G4 Cleats.
Hart is having a career year for the Brewers, having been named to the National League All-Star Team for the second time in his career, as well as participating and finishing third in the 2010 Home Run Derby. He currently has 23 homeruns, a .288 average, and 72 RBI, which puts him amongst the NL Leaders in most offensive categories. Hart was the center of a lot of trade speculation over the past few weeks leading up to the trading deadline, but just signed a 3-year extension with the Milwaukee Brewers earlier today. We certainly congratulate him on this new contract!
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Scott Rolen Wins National League Gold Glove Award
by Mizuno USA on January 20, 2011
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Scott Rolen wins the 2010 National League Gold Glove award, capturing his eighth career Gold Glove. Rolen, the Cincinnati Reds third baseman, won his first Gold Glove since the 2006 season. This is the third different franchise that he has won the award with, having previously done so with both the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals.
During the 2010 season Rolen recorded a .977 fielding percentage, good for second best overall in the National League. He made just eight errors in 350 chances. Additionally, Rolen helped turn 28 double plays this season.
Rolen is third all-time in Gold Glove awards for third basemen, behind Hall of Fame members Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10). An All-Star for the National League Central Division Champions, Rolen was one of the three Reds to win a Gold Glove award this season.
Mizuno Bats Featured in Junior Baseball Magazine Review
by Mizuno USA on January 20, 2011
Here is what Junior Baseball has to say about the Mizuno MZM271 Youth Maple Baseball Bat:
"What's hot about this product? This mahogany-colored bat is hand selected from premium maple wood. Cupped for balanced swing weight. Higher-end models used by some of the game's premier players."
Here is what Junior Baseball has to say about the Mizuno MZC62 Wood Composite Baseball Bat:
"What's hot about this product? The advanced engineered wood composite bat utilizes multiple pieces of wood for maximum performance and durability.
It has the feel and performance of solid wood but with increased durability. Sanded handle for better grip. Color options: Matte Black, Matte Royal, and Matte Copper. 90-day warranty."
Junior Baseball magazine also features a two-page article on "Fielding the Bunt", with insight from Mizuno Brand Ambassador, Casey Blake. Blake offers his 5 tips to fielding the bunt from third base in great detail.
Three Mizuno Volleyball Shoes Praised by Volleyball Magazine
by Emily Adams Knight on October 2, 2010
Volleyball Magazine has created their 2010 Shoe Review as part of their latest issue. Mizuno crushed the competition in Volleyball Magazine's 2010 Shoe Review by taking home three out of the five awards, including the shoe with Best Traction, Best Shock Absorption, and Best All-Around Comfort. The three high performance Mizuno volleyball shoes that are featured in the review are the Wave Tornado 5, Wave Rally, and the Wave Lightning 6.
Here is what Volleyball had to say about the Mizuno Wave Tornado 5:
"New to the indoor market this year, the Wave Tornado 5 disperses impact uniformly over the length of the foot, thus providing a high level of cushioning. This advanced technology also resists overpronation, therefore relieving stress on the ankle and knee joints. In addition to an enhanced outsole rubber for better traction and AIR Mesh for enhanced breathability, this indoor shoe combines several of the most advanced technologies into one superior sneaker."
"One thing I noticed right off the bat is the strong traction this shoe had on the court. I felt very confident I wouldn't slip or lose my footing. I noticed that I needed a size up, so this pair may tend to run a little small."
Here is what Volleyball Magazine had to say about the Mizuno Wave Rally:
Best Shock Absorption
"Also new this year, Mizuno's lightweight Wave Rally volleyball shoe boasts rubber Wave construction technology that uniformly disperses shock throughout the entire midsole, providing the ultimate in cushioning and support for your feet, ankles, and knees. Mesh uppers offer breathability to keep feet dry as well."
"This shoe is the ultimate shock absorber, so if landing softly on your feet is the last thing you want on your mind during a spike, these shoes are for you. Although I wear a size 8, these shoes are also one of the few available in a size 5, which is a plus. And speaking of pluses, the price can't be beat."
Here is what Volleyball had to say about the Mizuno Wave Lightning 6:
Best All-Around Comfort
"This year's new Wave Lightning 6 offers up a fresh look and new design to the ever-popular line of Mizuno Wave Lightning volleyball shoes. Mizuno Wave technology is like none other, offering superior cushioning and comfort for the midsole, and the VS-1 heel unit absorbs shock on impact.
Available in nine colors."
"Right out of the box, comfort was what struck me as unique about these shoes. Running or walking, on the court or off-no blisters, no hot spots, nothing. They're stable, offer great traction, and mesh uppers are breathable, which keep your feet cool. Plus, we dig the black."
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Shin Soo Choo Honored with Bob Feller Award
by Mizuno USA on January 20, 2011
Cleveland Indians Outfielder and Mizuno Brand Ambassador, Shin Soo Choo won the Bob Feller Man of the Year award given by Cleveland's chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of the America. The award recognizes the club's top player, which Choo won for the second straight season.
Choo hit .300 in 144 games played this year, with 22 homeruns and 90 RBI. He became just the third Indians player to win the Feller Award in back-to-back seasons, joining Mike Hargrove (1980 and 1981) and Carlos Baerga (1991 and 1992).
The Bob Feller Man of the Year award was created in 1946, and is named in honor of the Hall of Fame Pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. Feller, 92 years old, is the franchise leader in several categories, including wins. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year on the ballot.
Congratulations Shin Soo!
Mizuno Signs University of Arizona Wildcats Softball to Multi-Year Equipment Deal
by Mizuno USA on January 20, 2011
Mizuno USA has signed an equipment contract with one of the most prestigious NCAA Fastpitch programs in the history of the sport, the University of Arizona Wildcats. As an "Official Equipment Partner of the Women's Softball Program", the Wildcats will be equipped with our high performance ball gloves, equipment bags, protective gear, and the Frenzy 3.0 fastpitch bats this upcoming season.
The Wildcats have won eight NCAA National Titles, and have been National Runner-Up five times, most recently this past season. Several of the most famous names in the sport have emerged from the Arizona program, including Mizuno Brand Ambassador and two-time Olympic medalist, Jennie Finch. The Wildcats are coached by softball legend Mike Candrea, who has won over 1,100 games since joining the program in 1986. Candrea has also served as the Head Coach of the US National Team, when the team won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Here is what Mike Candrea had to say about signing with Mizuno:
"We look forward to our new partnership with Mizuno, and working with a company that has been instrumental in growing the sport of fastpitch softball. Mizuno's commitment to our game is evident through their excellent product line and visibility at softball events around the country. Our program is eager to work with such a great company that is dedicated to sporting goods innovation and the future of fastpitch softball."
Arizona joins an impressive roster of Mizuno sponsored teams, including the 2009 National Champion Washington Huskies, Nebraska, Nevada-Reno, Oklahoma State, and Southern Mississippi. The Wildcats finished the 2010 season ranked # 2 in the nation, and will open their season on February 10th.
Exciting New Changes for Mizuno's 2011 Footwear
by Rod Foley on January 18, 2011
Mizuno has introduced a full lineup of new running footwear for the Spring of 2011. There are a lot of new features to these latest generations of running shoes, including changes to the fit and improvements in the durability. One question that is often asked, is "why did they change my shoes?". With all these new exciting improvements to our footwear, we thought we would share with you how and why these changes came to life. The real essence of these changes speaks to a Mizuno belief, the "Kaizen" philosophy. From the Japanese word for "improvement" or "change for the better", Mizuno does not redesign or change footwear just for the sake of change, but rather for the continual improvements that are made to our running shoes.
Mizuno invests a great deal of time on advancements to our running footwear, constantly striving for that perfect running experience. We very much value the feedback that we hear from the extended Mizuno family...our runners, which includes all of you. Therefore, we wanted to let our Mizuno family in on what is new for 2011, and most importantly, why? Therefore, we filmed me and Fritz Taylor talking about a variety of topics involving the new fit, the durability, and how there is a Mizuno shoe out there for everyone! As a fun addition, we also provided a special sneak peak of the Wave Rider 15, which will launch this December, and how the Wave Rider franchise is evolving.
This video is now available through the Mizuno Brand YouTube channel or you can watch it below. Please share this video with your family, friends, running clubs, and anyone else in the Mizuno family that you think might be curious about the new footwear lineup.
Jonathan Byrd and his Grain Flow Forged MP Irons Take Home the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
by Iver Maple on January 14, 2011
Jonathan Byrd used his Mizuno equipment to accomplish an amazing playoff victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii, earning the fifth PGA Tour victory of his career. Byrd battled a talented field of the PGA Tour Winners from 2010, finishing the tournament at 24 under par and defeating up-and-coming star Robert Garrigus with a par on the tournament’s second playoff hole using Mizuno MP irons, fairway woods and hybrids.
Byrd’s steady iron play propelled him to victory with four consecutive rounds in the 60s, only the sixth time that has been done in the history of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, hitting 16 out of 18 greens in regulation. He also became the first player to win on the PGA TOUR in back-to-back starts since Ernie Els at the 2010 World Golf Championships-CA Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational. In the last event of the 2010 season, Byrd made history by becoming the first player ever to win a playoff with a hole-in-one at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open.
Congratulations Jonathan on an incredible performance in Hawaii and your back-to-back Tour victories!
Gallery Images of Jonathan Byrd
Mizuno Staff Member Luke Donald Named European Tour's Golfer Of The Month
by Iver Maple on January 11, 2011
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Luke Donald was named the Race to Dubai European Tour Golfer of the Month for May, following impressive performances at both the BMW PGA Championship and the Madrid Masters in consecutive weeks.
The 32-year old Englishman, who splits time between the PGA and European Tours, received the honor after taking home victory at the Madrid Masters, just one week after finishing runner-up by one stroke at the BMW Championship. In just a two week span, Donald catapulted himself from 61st to seventh in The Race to Dubai and also returned to the Top Ten in the Official World Golf Ranking. He also currently holds one of the nine places for automatic qualification for the Ryder Cup, which takes place in Wales in October.
Donald trusts his Grain Flow Forged Mizuno MP-62™ golf irons, MP T-10 golf wedges and CLK hybrid to deliver the unmatched consistency, precision, and feel he needs to play at his best around the globe. View Mizuno's full line of high performance golf clubs or learn about Mizuno's Performance Fitting System and revolutionary Shaft Optimizer tool at www.mizunomatch.com.
Mizuno Adds FOUR Gold Medals in Golf Digest's "Hot List"
by Iver Maple on January 26, 2011
Mizuno has done it yet again, as FOUR more golf irons can now call themselves Golf Digest "Hot List" GOLD Medal winners! The JPX-800 and JPX-800 Pro golf irons each took home the top prize in the Game Improvement category, while the MP-53 and MP-63 scored GOLD in Player's Irons. Mizuno now has a total of SIX Gold Medal irons in their award-winning 2011 golf iron line-up, as the MP-58 won GOLD and 'Editor's Choice' in the 2010 Hot List, and the MX-1000 was also GOLD in the Super Game Improvement category in 2010. Accolades such as these are a testament to Mizuno's unmatched Global R&D resources, superior designs, and patented manufacturing processes.
Mizuno JPX-800 Golf Irons
Gold Medal - Game Improvement Irons
- "The JPX-800 is an attempt by Mizuno to go beyond its "player iron" heritage, and the company has succeeded. The iron has plenty of pop and more than a hint of forgiveness." - Hot List Judge
- "As good a cast club as I've ever hit. It has a medium-high ball flight that is workable and repeatable." - Player Comment
Mizuno JPX-800 PRO Golf Irons
Gold Medal - Game Improvement Irons
Category Leader and 5 out of 5 stars for "Look/Sound/Feel."
- "The ball flight is a little lower than other irons in this category. It's also easier to maneuver than a lot of players irons I've hit." - Player Comment
- "It's a game-improvement club that you can fool your friends with; It looks like a players iron, but middle-handicappers can play well with these." - Hot List Judge
Mizuno MP-53 Golf Irons
Gold Medal - Players Irons
5 out of 5 stars in "Innovation" category.
- "I've been waiting for this set. Whatever sole grind this is, it makes a perfect divot." - Player Comment
- "I felt like I could detect the weight in every sequence of my swing. Mis-hits weren't as painful as I probably deserved, and that's just what you want to see." - Player Comment
- "The company continues to take classic designs and make them more versatile without compromising the feel it's known for. The MP-53 is the more forgiving of Mizuno's two players irons, and there are plenty of custom options available to help you find what you're looking for." - Hot List Judge
Mizuno MP-63 Golf Irons
Gold Medal - Players Irons
Category Leader and 5 out of 5 stars in "Performance" and "Look/Sound/Feel" categories.
- "I thought the best synergy of sod and steel was in the MP-62s, but these beat that. I caught a couple heavy, and the impact and flight were barely affected." - Player Comment
- "Mizuno's sound research led to one of the company's sweetest sounding irons yet." - Hot List Judge
Mizuno's MP T-11 wedges with Quad Cut Groove Technology and innovative "DG Spinner" shaft also made the 2011 "Hot List," scoring a Silver in the wedge category.
Mizuno MP T-11 Golf Wedges
Silver Medal - Wedges
- "The sole grind will help you hit any kind of shot." - Player Comment
- "Beautiful, classy club. Easy to hit from any sand lie. The ball comes out like you were throwing it out." - Player Comment
Mizuno Launches New and Improved Frenzy 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bat
by Mizuno USA on December 22, 2010
Mizuno launches the new and improved Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bat Series. The Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bat is more balanced and offers one of the fastest and most consistent swing speeds of any bat on the market. Several NCAA teams, including the 2009 NCAA Champion Washington Huskies, relied on the Mizuno Frenzy™ 3.0 for their 2010 return to Oklahoma City for the Women’s College World Series.
Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpictch Softball Bats are uniquely made with Black Onyx Carbon™, a state of the art carbon fiber. This carbon fiber is made in Japan, and is the same material used in the Boeing ‘Dreamliner’ 787 jets. Black Onyx Carbon™ provides maximum distance, ultimate control, and superior durability. The Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bat is made from stronger materials for more consistent wall thickness for the most durable Mizuno bat ever.
Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bats utilize Mizuno’s Techfire™ Technology, which is a unique threee-tiered layer of materials that maximizes performance through an enlarged sweet sort area. The outer layer consists of Black Onyx Carbon™, with the middle layer comprised of a carbon fiber piping, and the inner most layer made of a carbon piping. These tri-axial composites increase the sweet spot of the Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch resulting in stronger and more desired performance.
Another advanced technology in the Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch is Anti-Shock Construction™. Mizuno’s research and development team created this innovative technology, which is designed to reduce vibration on all “miss-hits.” To control stiffness of the Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bat from top to bottom, Mizuno’s research team added additional Black Onyx Carbon™ “flags” to the bat. There are about twice as many “flags” on each Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bat, giving 38% less vibration than previous models.
During the production process, Mizuno utilizes a revolutionary air molding inner wall system designed to create a more consistent carbon frame. From there, all Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bats are tested for quality control prior to becoming available for purchase. Using X-ray scanning technology, Mizuno inspects each Frenzy™ 3.0 bat for cracks, wrinkles, and pipe separations in the carbon “flags” to ensure the quality and durability of the bats, along with the desired performance.
The Mizuno Frenzy 3.0 bat line offers the most advanced Fastpitch Softball Bats ever produced and they will quickly become the bat of choice for any player at any level looking for maximum power, superior feel, and ultimate durability, in an outstanding looking bat,” said Dick Grapenthin, Vice President and General Manager of Diamond Sports, Mizuno USA. “The Frenzy 3.0 has been upgraded from top to bottom from the popular Frenzy 2 softball bat.
The Buzz about the Mizuno Frenzy™ 3.0:
“We have been really impressed with the way the Frenzy 3.0 bats have performed. The durability and the performance is unreal. Our kids really enjoy the way the bats feel in their hands. They feel like they have a little bit of an advantage. We have seen our power number increase and our batting averages increase.
-- Howard Dobson Head Coach, University of Southern Mississippi
“We won the conference and positioned ourselves in the Top 25 using the bat. The Frenzy 3.0 has allowed us to be able to do everything that we have set out to do. The sweet spot produces hits up and down the bat. Mizuno’s commitment to excellence always comes through. Every year you know you are going to get a better product from Mizuno, and we know that we are going to have an advantage because of that.”
-- Matt Meuchel Head Coach, University of Nevada-Reno
Frenzy™ 3.0 Fastpitch Softball Bats are available in two different Fastpitch styles, the Fastpitch (-8) model, and a (-10) model. The (-8) model is available in two sizes (34 inches, 33”) and the (-10) model is available in five sizes (34 inches, 33”, 32”, 31”, 30”).
Sports Nutrition: The Best Foods for the Marathon
Carbo-loading: Important or not?
Q: I'm doing my first marathoner this winter and I've heard so much about the carbo-loading dinners everyone has the night before the race. Are these as important as everyone suggests? And if they are, what are the best foods for me to eat?
-Glenn Harbor, San Jose, California
A: Yes, carbohydrate-loading before a marathon is important so that your muscles are fully fueled with carbs (called muscles glycogen). Your muscles will rely on this glycogen for fuel during the marathon. Glycogen depletion—also known as “hitting the wall” — is associated with fatigue. Needless to say, not a lot of fun.
I suggest you carbo-load every day during your training. Eat cereal and whole grain bagels for breakfast. For lunch, try sandwiches made on hearty whole grain bread. Snacks can be dried fruits, flavored yogurt and granola. Dinners should be based on pasta, potato, rice and other grains as well as lot of veggies. You can say this same diet the week before the marathon.
I recommend that you run very (if at all) the two days pre-marathon. This gives your muscles the time they need (48 hours) to become fully loaded with carbohydrates.
On the morning of the marathon, enjoy an easy-to-digest pre-race breakfast (300-600 calories, as tolerated) of tried-and-true foods, such as bagel + peanut butter, oatmeal+ raisins, energy bars + banana. This will fuel your muscles and also boost your blood glucose, which fuels your brain. You’ll need a well-fueled brain to have the mental energy you need to get through the 26.2 miles.
Finally, during the marathon, you should fuel with about 200-350 calories per hour (after the first hour), as tolerated. (The faster you run, the less you are likely to consume.) You should have practiced this fueling during training, so you know which foods and fluids work and those that don’t. Some popular choices include: sports drink (50 calories/8 ounces), gels (100 calories/packet) and gummi candy (100 calories for 7 gummi bears).
Sports drinks or Gels?
Q: I have trouble ingesting energy gels during a marathon. Is drinking a sports drink such as Gatorade or PowerAde just as good?
-Joseph Camp, St. Paul, Minnesota
A: Yes, sports drinks are just as good as gels--if not better. Here’s why:
During a marathon, your body needs carbs and water. A sports drink supplies that in a concentration that enhances the absorption of the carbs so they can quickly get absorbed and used for fuel. On the other hand, a gel supplies concentrated carbs that you need to dilute with water to optimize absorption. Some runners fail to drink enough water with gels and end up with a stomach ache, diarrhea or dehydration because they fail to drink enough water along with each gel (16-ounces of water per 100 calories of gel).
Commercial sports candies, gels, bars and drinks are convenient, but not necessary. I recommend you experiment with a variety of foods and fluids to learn what works best for your body (and also to figure out how to carry them with you during the race). Also check out your marathon’s website to learn which products will be available and train with them.
Q: Every time I do a marathon, I put on weight during my final week’s taper. I don't eat differently, but always put on four or five extra pounds that I don't want.
What can I do?
-Frank Cordera, Tempe, Arizona
A: Don’t do anything at all. You are supposed to gain weight before a marathon. It’s a good thing. That’s because for each one ounce of carbohydrate you store in your muscles as glycogen, you also store about three ounces of water. Gaining weight means you are well carbo-loaded. The water-weight gets released during the marathon, and helps provide water to replace sweat losses.
I advise you worry less about weight gain, and simply listen to your body’s appetite in the week before the marathon. Once your muscles are carbo-loaded (this can take two days), you’ll likely feel less hungry and have little desire to eat too many calories that contribute to fat-gain.
Carbo-loading for a half
Q: I have never run a marathon, but of course heard about carbohydrate-loading. I’m doing my first half marathon in Dallas this spring and wondering whether there are there any benefits to carbohydrate-loading before a half marathon?
-John Lucas, Plano, Texas
A: Yes there is a very real benefit. But we need to define what “carbo-loading” means. Here’s my take: Rest your muscles before the half-marathon by taking a few days off from running. This allows your muscles enough time (24-48 hours) to become fully fueled. Then, simply eat carb-based foods at every meal so you are “carbo-loading” every day. (I define “carbo-loading” as eating a carb-based diet.) If you do this, you’ll be fueled and ready for your half marathon. Good luck.
Pizza lover’s lament
Q: My final pre-race meal is always the same: Pizza. I love pizza before a marathon, but I tend to feel sluggish in the morning. Is pizza a good choice or should I try something else?
-Nancy Anne Franklin, San Diego, California
A: It depends. If you inhale a high-fat pizza the night before the race, it’s perfectly understandable why you feel sluggish the next morning. High-fat foods not only sit longer in the stomach, but they also fail to fuel your muscles. You are fat-loading, not carbohydrate-loading. Pizza with extra cheese, pepperoni, sausage and other greasy meats (on the high-fat pizza) just fill the stomach and abate your hunger. Not a good pre-race meal.
But, if you want to enjoy pizza the night before a race, you can eat healthy. I recommend you choose thick-crusted pizza with veggie toppings (and preferably a whole-wheat crust). If the pizza is a bit greasy, use a napkin to blot off the grease, so you can fill-up on carbs, not fat. You might also consider trading your pre-race pizza for a pasta dinner (spaghetti with tomato sauce and a few meatballs, for protein).
For more detailed information, please refer to Nancy Clark’s “Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions” or visit Nancy Clark's websites at: www.nancyclarkrd.com and www.sportsnutritionworkshop.com
Mizuno's Wave Ronin 2 Featured in Running Times Lightweight Shoe Review
by Rod Foley on October 1, 2010
The October issue of Running Times magazine features the Mizuno Wave Ronin 2 running shoe as part of its lightweight running shoe review.
Here is what Running Times has to say about the Mizuno Wave Ronin 2 running shoe:
"Perhaps somewhere between a lightweight training flat and a minimalist racing flat, the Ronin 2 running shoe is a fast-and-light shoe with significant heel cushioning. In other words, it runs like a racer but feels more like a cushioned trainer. It features Mizuno's energy-transferring Wave technology in the heel, which is a little higher off the ground than some similar models, but the shoe has only a 9mm heel-toe ramp angle, so the heel doesn't get in the way of an efficient stride.
And while the Ronin 2 is capable of running shorter and faster (including long intervals), our testers found it excelled on long training runs, and as a half marathon/marathon racer. The fit is snug in the heel and midfoot, but comfortably relaxed in the toe box. Like other shoes in this category, the outsole has an array of semi-firm knobby lugs for optimal traction."
See the Mizuno Wave Ronin 2 running shoe for men >
Mizuno's Wave Alchemy 10 Takes Home the Best Update Award from Women's Running Magazine
by Rod Foley on December 7, 2010
Women's Running magazine has compiled their 2010 Winter Shoe Review as part of their most recent issue, and the Mizuno Wave Alchemy 10 women's running shoe has taken home the "Best Update" Award.
Here is what Women's Running has to say about the Mizuno Wave Alchemy 10 women's running shoe:
"Mizuno's unique Wave plate provides stability without being overbearing. It offers a smooth, flexible ride with moderate pronation control that appealed to a wide range of testers. We liked the responsive feel of the midsole cushioning. It was neither too soft, nor too firm which made us reach for this shoe for long, slow runs and faster efforts, too. Testers with narrow heels wished for a more secure fit, but all appreciated the secure midfoot and wider toe box for comfort mile after mile."
Mizuno Wave Rider 13 Wins Shape Magazine's "Best for Speed" Award!
by Rod Foley on November 30, 2010
In addition to featuring the Mizuno Echo MP3 Running Tee, the April issue of Shape magazine also includes their Spring 2010 Shoe Awards, in which the Mizuno Wave Rider 13 running shoe was recognized as the "Best for Speed." Shape Editor Sarah Bowen Shea is famous for conducting some of the most thorough and intensive shoe reviews, so being recognized in this publication is a very high honor for Mizuno!
Here is what Shape Magazine has to say about the Mizuno Wave Rider 13 running shoe:
Who needs it: Runners intent on picking up their pace What is offers: This neutral shoe offers a smidgen of pronation control. "It's light and stable, which made me feel fast," said one racer. The upper has "lots of mesh" to improve ventilation and provide "some give in the toe box." Nubs on the front half of the outsole enhance traction, which "makes hill climbing easier."
Mizuno Wave Precision 11 Running Shoe Wins "Best Renovation" Award from the Running Network
by Rod Foley on September 2, 2010
The Running Network has published their 2010 Fall Shoe Review, in which both the Mizuno Wave Precision 11 and Wave Alchemy 10 running shoes are prominently featured. Both of these high performance Mizuno running shoes received excellent reviews from Running Network Shoe Guru, Cregg Weinmann, as well as tremendous wear-tester comments. In fact, the Wave Precision 11 running shoe was so well received, that it was awarded the "Best Renovation" Award from the Running Network.
Here is what the Running Network has to say about the Mizuno Wave Precision 11 running shoe:
"The Precision has had a faithful audience through 10 updates and the Precision 11 may be the best yet. The upper is lightweight and the open mesh breathes well. The newly designed eyestay connects to three separate internal straps to cinch the upper where it needs to conform to the foot. A soft, sueded liner wraps the ankle and instep and an Ortholite innersole adds cushioning and comfort. The midsole is AP+, providing a much-improved ride to the shoe that's further enhanced by an articulated version of the Wave Plate, a re-beveling of the heel, and an additional deflection zone in the midfoot to accommodate a variety of footstrikes and gaits. The outersole has more flex grooves to improve flexibility while maintaining durability in the high-wear areas thanks to the carbon rubber. The performance is perfect for fast running-tempo, speedwork, even some long races-yet durable enough for day-to-day use for the biomechanically efficient, earning it honors as our Best Renovation."
Here are the wear-tester comments on the Wave Precision 11 running shoe:
"They fit snug mid-foot and have ample toe room. They feel comfortable and have good cushioning for their light weight."
Here is what the Running Network has to say about the Mizuno Wave Alchemy 10 running shoe:
"The Alchemy continues to be Mizuno's most consistent motion stabilizing shoe. The midsole now features the AP+ foam formulation, adding noticeable responsiveness. The forefoot area of the midsole unit has been slightly broadened for better stability and the midsole sculpting allows better articulation with both the ground and the Wave plate. The medial forefoot flex grooves in the outersole have been greatly reduced without inhibiting the transition from heel to toe and the outersole has been even more differentiated by gender: The women's lateral forefoot is more flexible, while the men's is a bit stiffer, accommodating average weight differences. New overlays supporting the eyestay wrap the foot better, while the top lateral eyelet is hinged for better customization. The interior sports a new sueded material made even more comfortable by the memory foam ankle collar. The stability, cushioning, and comfort features make the Alchemy 10 Mizuno's motion stabilizing MVP."
Here are the wear-tester comments on the Wave Alchemy 10 running shoe:
"It has a very nice balance of padding and 'feel' of the road. My foot feels well protected. After 100 miles, these shoes look and feel brand new. I am pleased to notice the dark gray collar (lining) around the ankle is a bit more durable than I have seen on most running shoes."
View the Mizuno Wave Alchemy 10 running shoe for men >