Great Sadness Surrounded the End of a Remarkable Season
by Luke Donald on December 21, 2011
The loss of my father came at what was supposed to be a time of great joy for Diane and I. My dad died at the birth of our second daughter, so that produced a wide range of emotions. It was something you can never prepare for.
Dad was immensely proud of my achievements. The year 2011 has been a break-out year for me, an amazing year – a season that, as a golfer, you always aspire to. It was nice for everything I have worked for to come to fruition. Sometimes that hard work doesn’t always pay off but this year it did.
It all started with my win at the Accenture Matchplay. That gave me great confidence and then I was able to get to the top of the world with my win at Wentworth. Another great win in the Scottish Open showed that I was where I belonged and then the win in the Disney might just have been my most satisfying win – the manner in which I did it and what was on the line.
I’ve had so many positives this year and now a lot of awards are coming in at the end of the year: US and European Player of the Year and the Golf Writers award.
It’s hard to pinpoint when I moved up another level. I guess I just needed that one big win for proof. It was probably the Matchplay that opened the doors. Winning is very important because it breeds a lot of confidence. I could probably even go back to the previous year’s Madrid Masters. Just winning that smaller event was huge for my confidence.
To consolidate this, I have good people around me: my coach Pat Goss and also Dave Alred, my fitness coaches Ben Shear and Craig Knight and my caddie John McLaren. All of them are looking at ways for me to try and improve. And I have a very loving a supportive family. That’s all helped me get to the level I’ve achieved.
I don’t believe I’ve changed that much. It’s just been a case of constant improvement and trying to get everything a little sharper. But at the beginning of this year I certainly spent a lengthy time on the range before I began my season. I had six full weeks of good, hard work. In previous years I didn’t have as much time as that. I’d always started the year off earlier and that way it’s always hard to ingrain any improvement in your swing. That six weeks was very key.
I was able to really get the club, at the top of the backswing, in a neutral position. It wasn’t quite as shut. That has helped my driving, for sure. My accuracy on the US Tour went up and I led the driving accuracy stats in Europe. Everything starts with that. Get the ball on the fairway and it makes everything a little bit easier. I’ve always said the short-game is the key to scoring and I’ve maintained my strengths in that over the last year, but I’ve certainly improved my long game enough to where it’s shaved off a few strokes here and there. That is the difference between a decent year like I had in 2010 and a break-out year this year.
If you’re playing well, too, you can play well at any course. I think I showed that with some of the wins I had. The Matchplay was on one of the longest courses we play all year; Wentworth’s quite a narrow course; Castle Stuart is quite a wide-open course. But the key to winning both money-lists has been an amazing amount of consistency. I still think there is room for improvement but all parts of my game are reasonably consistent.
I’m looking for an even better year next. There are certain things in my career I haven’t achieved yet – winning a major, obviously. In the modern game pros are judged on how they do in the majors and how many they’ve won. Jack, Tiger, Nick Faldo, Seve...they were able to win multiple majors. At the same time, though, what I’ve proved this year is that I was able to pick up awards without winning a major. The golf writers’ award, from the people that really know golf, told me a lot. It said, well you didn’t win a major but you still played the best of anyone this year.
I’ve got the prospect of a new start clubs-wise next year. For the last couple of months I’ve been given some MP-69s and 59s to try. I did a Master Class shoot for Mizuno and I used the 59s during that shoot. They felt quite nice. I’m going to take a few weeks off without playing any golf and then when I pick up the clubs again next year there’s a good chance I’ll put the 59s in play. I’ll be starting my year in Abu Dhabi, have a couple of weeks off and then start again in L.A.
Next year’s Ryder Cup will be another matter to concentrate on soon enough. There’s talk of me reporting back to Ollie about the course for a start. I live only 30 minutes away from the Ryder Cup course, Medinah. I’ve played it quite a few times but they have just re-designed it and I haven’t played the new design. I will be going there a few times over the summer and maybe that will help Ollie with his captaincy. Obviously I’ve got to make sure I’m on the team. If I keep playing the way I am playing, it shouldn’t be a problem.
World Cup by Ryan Millar
by Brynn Murphy on December 21, 2011
The World Cup is over and now it is back to our professional teams. Some guys actually flying from Japan to their respective clubs. The tournament did not go as we all would have liked unfortunately. We ended up losing some costly matches early in the tournament against Brazil, Russia, and Italy. Those losses pretty much sealed our fate of not being able to qualify for the Olympics there. The tournament was long and grueling as expected. Each day becoming more difficult than the next. We ended the tournament with a few wins against some good teams like Argentina and Cuba. So what is next in the qualification process for us? We will play in our zone qualifier in May in Puerto Rico. The teams that we will compete against are Puerto Rico, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, etc... We must WIN this tournament to qualify. It is obviously very important for us to do so.
Back to our professional teams, means back to the grind and rigors of playing overseas. The long practices and lots of travel, especially for the many guys participating in this year’s European Cups. I am currently in Istanbul Turkey. We played against the Turkish Champion Fenerbache here and came out victorious 3-0. We now are going directly to our next Russian League match in Surgut Russia. They are in the same region of the standings as we are so it will be important for us to come out with a win.
LUKE DONALD NAMED 2011 PGA TOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
by Iver Maple on December 13, 2011
Mizuno’s own Luke Donald was announced as the 2011 PGA Tour Player of the Year by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem following a vote by PGA Tour players. Donald earned the honor by capturing the PGA Tour money list title on the strength of two PGA Tour victories and a Tour-leading 14 top-10 finishes. This prestigious honor is the perfect cap to a spectacular 2011 season for the World’s #1 Player.
Donald’s wins at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic helped solidify his PGA Tour Player of the Year title. His come-from-behind victory at Disney concluded his finest year on the PGA Tour by earning $6.68 million and his first ever PGA Tour money title. Donald was also the PGA Tour’s leader in adjusted scoring average at 68.86, earning him both the Vardon Trophy and Byron Nelson Award. Donald led the PGA Tour with 14 top-10 finishes in 19 events.
For the 28thconsecutive week Donald sits atop the World Golf Rankings, which apart from Tiger Woods run at number one from 2005 to 2010, is the longest stretch since Greg Norman’s 96 weeks from 1995 to 1997. Donald made more history this past weekend as he became the first player in history to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in the same year, as he finished third at the Dubai World Championships. Mizuno is extremely proud of all that Luke has been able to accomplish in 2011 and we can’t wait to see what he does in 2012!
Luke Donald Continues His World Domination With History Making Money List Sweep
by Iver Maple on December 12, 2011
Mizuno PGA Tour Staffer Luke Donald capped off an incredible 2011 season by capturing the European Money List Title with his third place finish at the Dubai World Championships, completing the first-ever money list sweep on the PGA and European Tour. With four victories worldwide, including The Accenture WGC Match Play Tournament, The European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the Barclays Scottish Open, as well as the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Donald completed the most successful season of his career.
Utilizing his high performance Grain Flow Forged MP irons, MP T-11 wedges, and Mizuno CLK Fli-Hi, Donald completed a spectacular weekend of golf at the Dubai World Championships with consecutive rounds of 6-under 66, including birdies on the final three holes to finish the tournament in third place and cement his legacy as the PGA Tour and European Tour money list title winner. Donald, who only missed two cuts all year, finished top-10 in 20 out of 26 events entered and went an incredible 449 holes without three-putting. He can now add this history making accomplishment to the PGA of America Player of the Year award and Vardon Trophy, which he has already secured for 2011.
Cover Story on Bob Puccini in Smart Business Atlanta Magazine
by Mizuno USA on December 7, 2011
The December issue of Smart Business Atlanta magazine features a cover story on Mizuno USA President Bob Puccini. This multi-page article discusses the transformation of the Mizuno Brand from a company chasing revenue when Bob arrived in 1996, to a company with a premium perception that achieved record profits in 2010, and how that was accomplished through the development of remarkable product, and personalized brand experiences (Run With Us, Performance Fitting System) for our consumers and customers.
Bob talks with the publication about his best business practices, including being honest with yourself and playing to your strengths, bringing in the right people who have tangible consumer products experience and can embrace the challenger spirit of the Mizuno culture, and the importance of improving your processes by listening to the pulse of the organization.
Smart Business is a management journal providing insight and advice for top decision-makers. Each edition includes features articles on management strategies of CEOs of leading local companies. In addition, Smart Business partners with leading service providers to deliver expert advice to their senior management audience.
Here is a link to the story:
The Baseball Zone: Building Tradition
by Rick Johnston on December 5, 2011
It is our passion for baseball that led to the creation of The Baseball Zone. Our elite, indoor baseball training complex provides and fosters an understanding and love for this game like no other. It is designed to be a welcoming home for baseball and softball players of all ages and playing levels. We employ the very best training philosophies, equipment and staff to fully assist our athletes to reach their goals. We maintain a sporting atmosphere that will add to the enjoyment of baseball for everyone that comes through our doors. We will also make your every visit to The Baseball Zone a friendly, invigorating experience that the team, the youth and the elite athlete will be challenged by, learn from and want to return to again and again.
The Baseball Zone is entering its 9th year in the baseball training industry. The BaseballZone roots began in 2003 with the opening of a 15,000 square foot building located in Mississauga, Ontario. Principle owners Mike McCarthy and Rick Johnston have spent countless hours over the last 9 years developing and enhancing programs that can be tailored to the needs of every player that walks through the doors. The program offerings have expanded from the early years of basic instructional clinics, team programs and private lessons to High Performance Programs that operate year round.
Additionally, in 2007 The Baseball Zone added a Strength and Conditioning service to our business portfolio, Sports Specific Training (SST), that is a provider of programs for functional strength that all aspiring athletes need to get to their optimal level of performance. Similar to the High Performance Baseball Programs that operate year round, the strength and conditioning, SST Canada program does the same. Their athletes are not just aspiring baseball players, college or professional players, they also synergize with athletes in many other sport disciplines such as hockey, soccer, volleyball and basketball.
The relationship with the Mizuno Brand goes hand in hand...Mizuno is considered the worldwide leader of baseball products, research and development, while The Baseball Zone strives to continue to be the industry leader in the commitment to teaching of the game. The Baseball Zone would like to thank Mizuno Canada for its support and sponsorship of Mizuno product, apparel and footwear. If you have not used Mizuno product then you haven’t used the best. Please follow us at www.thebaseballzone.ca review our baseball blogs, check for upcoming events and programs. In addition, for info on Sports Specific Training please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Baseball Zone
My 4th World Cup by Ryan Millar
by Brynn Murphy on November 8, 2011
This month has been about gearing up and getting ready to begin the qualification process for the upcoming Olympic Games. That will begin on November 20th in Japan at the World Cup. The top 3 teams out of the 12 participating will qualify. Personally this will be my 4th World Cup with Team USA, the previous 3 we have finished in 4th place. We have finished one spot away from qualifying each time. I am definitely looking forward to breaking that streak this time. We had our first practice today and it was great to get back into the gym after being in Russia. We tried to work out the kinks of long travel and recently played matches with all the many club teams we are playing for. We are trying to get everyone on the same page so we can hit the ground running when we arrive in Japan. The qualification process is not easy by any means. Like I already stated, trying to qualify at the World Cup is tough enough. If that doesn’t happen, you must win your zone qualifier which will be held in May. If you do not win your zone qualifier, you are put into random pools of the remaining teams trying to qualify and you must win that to qualify. We have three chances to get to London. I look forward to making that process as short as possible. Wish us luck! Go Team USA
World Cup by Alisha Glass
by Brynn Murphy on November 2, 2011
Greetings all! The team is back in Japan and getting ready for World Cup, the first attempt at Olympic qualification. We came to Japan a little bit early in order to acclimate ourselves with time change, climate change, etc. We trained and competed hard against each other in order to prepare for the tough schedule ahead. This will be our last venture together as a team before we head to our professional teams. We first stayed in a beautiful city called Otsu. Our hotel overlooks the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. Although we prepared ourselves for a colder climate than Southern California, we found this place to be sunny and beautiful for the time we were there.
Our next destination is Nagano, Japan. It’s supposed to be a little colder than the last place. It’s also a 5+ hour drive from the last city we were in. The bus was pretty quiet, everyone was either tuned into their ipods, watching a movie on their laptop, or reading. It was my goal of the trip to finish my book. I was reading, “Long Walk To Freedom”, by Nelson Mandela. It’s a wonderfully inspiring book that I recommend to all. It also had taken me quite a long time to read, so it was nice to accomplish my goal.
It’s November 2nd, and we play on the fourth against Brazil. It’s going to be a tough start to play such a strong team right off the bat, and we also face Serbia and Korea, so there won’t be much of a let up. It is World Cup, there isn’t really such a thing as a weak team at this point! Our practices have been really competitive and we’re playing high level volleyball on a consistent basis. I see no reason for that not to continue throughout this tournament.
Keep us in your thoughts as we represent our country and we work to secure a trip to London in 2012. We’ll take all the support we can get! Thanks!
Luke Donald Wins the PGA of America Player Of The Year Award And The Vardon Trophy
by Iver Maple on November 1, 2011
Coming off his recent victory at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Mizuno Brand Ambassador Luke Donald’s remarkable year continues as he has received the 2011 PGA of America Player of the Year Award and the Vardon Trophy.
Donald becomes the second native of England to win the PGA of America Player of the Year award, joining Nick Faldo (1990); and he is the second Briton to capture the Vardon Trophy, first presented to “Lighthorse” Harry Cooper in 1937.
The PGA Player of the Year, first presented in 1948, and the Vardon Trophy, which originated in 1937, are The PGA of America’s premier season-ending awards for excellence by a PGA Tour professional.
In dominating the Vardon Trophy race, Donald registered 73 complete rounds with an average of 68.86 to garner the award that is presented to the player with the lowest adjusted season scoring average. Runner-up Webb Simpson averaged 69.25 based upon 98 rounds, and Steve Stricker was third with 69.36 after 70 rounds.
The PGA of America has honored the game’s best players with The PGA Player of the Year Award since 1948. The award is presented to the top touring professional based on a point system for tournament wins, official money standings, and scoring averages. The PGA Tour also recognizes its annual Player of the Year, with the winner determined by a vote of the membership. The PGA Tour Player of the Year, who receives the Jack Nicklaus Trophy, will be announced by the Tour in December.
Since 1948, The PGA of America has honored the game's best players with The PGA Player of the Year Award. The award is currently presented to the top touring professional based on a point system for tournament wins, official money standings, and scoring averages.
JPX-800 Swing to Win Challenge Recap
by Mizuno USA on October 31, 2011
Meet the winners of Mizuno's national sweepstakes, the JPX-800 Swing to Challenge, and relive their experience of playing a dream round of golf with Mizuno PGA Tour Stars Luke Donald and Charles Howell III.
The Baseball Zone: RIck Johnston Talks Mizuno
by Rick Johnston on October 26, 2011
Rick Johnston is the Co-Founder and Director of Baseball Operations at the highly successful Baseball Zone (www.thebaseballzone.ca) in Mississauga Ontario. Rick is one of Mizuno's biggest supporters and is truly someone who believes in the Mizuno Brand. Rick has worked with some of the best talent Canada has produced in the game of baseball. Whether it is big leaguers coming home in the off-season or a youngster just picking up the game, Rick demonstrates a unique ability to teach any skill level and get the best out of each player. Rick is also an avid golfer and loves his custom Mizuno irons! Rick will be blogging for Mizuno Canada , this is his first entry. Rick also blogs for the Baseball Zone and his entries can be found here: http://www.thebaseballzone.ca/baseball-instructors-rick-johnston-toronto.html. - Adam Vella Mizuno Canada
"I was first introduced to the Mizuno Brand Baseball product line in 1987 as I prepared to play for Canada and compete in the Pan American Games in Indianapolis, USA. It was then, that I absolutely fell in love with the Mizuno Brand of gloves, shoes, pullovers and batting gloves. My first Mizuno glove was a GOC 6 World Win that I used for the remaining summer and subsequently at the University of British Columbia as I played with the National Baseball Institute. The next year while playing for Canada in the 1988 Olympics, I had the opportunity to use the Mizuno World Win GOC7. I truly cannot speak enough about the quality of each glove. The only significant difference with the gloves was the actual size. The shape, finger slots and lacing were virtually seamless from each other. When I retired as a player and subsequently inducted into the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame, I donated the GOC7 glove as part of my contribution to the Hall.
Why then do I believe in the Mizuno brand of baseball product? First and foremost, the quality of the workmanship put into each piece of equipment is top drawer. The Mizuno manufacturing group spends countless hours in their research and development of every piece of equipment that leaves the assembly line. Their gloves are manufactured with the best leather making for the best feel and durability of any glove on the market. Similarly, the Mizuno baseball or coaching shoes are made with each foot in mind, with soft breaking in material that allows for maximum performance and comfort. Professional baseball players are not unlike the amateur player, in that, when a piece of equipment feels right on their hand, on their feet or on their body, it is expected that performance will be as good as the equipment feels or looks.
Recently Mizuno came out with a new revelation to the glove industry that has become paramount to how gloves are broken in. Many consumers purchasing gloves fail to understand the importance of a really how stiff a good glove is when it leaves the Mizuno factory. Thus, the Mizuno Steamer, that is, a machine that the consumer can place the glove into and have it essentially moulded to the shape of their hand, but more importantly allow the glove to break in the way it is designed to break in. It is highly recommend that when purchasing a Mizuno glove, if the opportunity arises that you have this opportunity to steam your glove, go ahead and do it. It will do wonders to the break in period and overall feel of the glove.
The Mizuno bat line, all I can say is WOW. From Ash to Maple to Bamboo, a great selection of wood that meets the needs of different players in both ability and strengths. The Mizuno line of bats performs with the MLB players in mind but they have the look and style that meets the needs of any aspiring player. The cool RUNBIRD logo stands out amongst its competitors in aesthetics, performance and durability. After all, aren’t these three items most important?
Mizuno, without question is the industry leader in the product line of baseball worldwide. Check with your nearest dealer to get fit to the Mizuno product that best fits your needs."
Men's National Baseball Team Looking for Gold Vs. USA
by Adam Vella on October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Courtesy of baseball.ca and Adam Morissette (Media and Public Relations Coordinator)
Lagos de Moreno, Mexico-A 5-3, semi-final win over host Mexico has propelled Canada into Tuesday’s gold medal contest at the Pan Am Games. Canada will take-on the Unites States and attempt to win the countries first ever gold medal in a major international baseball event at the senior level.
Over 5,000 raucous Mexican fans were sent home disappointed as the Canadians celebrated the victory.
“It feels great,” said Canadian Manager, Ernie Whitt of the win over Mexico. “Our goal at the beginning of the tournament was to win gold and we’ve put ourselves in a position to do so.”
Things did not start well for Canada as Mexico took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on the strength of a three-run homer off Canadian starter, Shawn Hill (Mississauga, ON).
“You hate to get behind that early, but we had the confidence to come back,” explained Whitt. “We knew that we had eight more innings left to play.”
Canada answered back in the top of the second with two runs to cut the lead to one. With two runners on, Jamie Romak (London, ON) ripped a double to left field to bring in a run and a wild-pitch followed that scored Brock Kjeldgaard (London, ON) from third base.
Hill shook off the homerun he let up in the first and settled in nicely allowing only two base runners during the remainder of his outing. Hill threw five innings total and fanned three batters along the way.
“Pitching is about throwing a hitters timing off and Shawn did that tonight,” said Whitt.
Before Hill’s outing was complete, Canada had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth. Chris Robinson (Dorchester, ON) and Tim Smith (Toronto, ON) hit back-to-back singles and Jimmy Van Ostrand (Richmond, BC) walked to load the bases.
Mexico decided to make a pitching change and Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) greeted the new pitcher with a single to centerfield to score Robinson with the tying run. With Smith now standing on third, a wild-pitch allowed him to score the go ahead run to quiet the Mexican crowd.
Canada added another run in the sixth when Skyler Stromsmoe (Bow Island, AB) belted a solo homerun over the fence in right field.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit so it was nice to get that one,” said Stromsmoe. “It gave us a little momentum and shut theirs down.”
Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK) came on in relief of Hill and provided Canada with two solid innings on the mound. Molleken worked his way out of a jam in the sixth where runners were on the corners with two out by getting an infield pop-up that was caught by Bowman.
After Molleken threw a scoreless seventh Chris Kissock (Trail, BC) came on and pitched a three-up, three-down eighth that saw Stromsmoe make a defensive gem for the second out of the inning that saved a sure hit.
In the ninth with the Mexican crowd at their feet, the lead-off hitter reached first base when Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) committed an error at shortstop. Malo redeemed himself on the very next play as he fielded a ball and flipped to Stromsmoe to start a double play.
Kissock then caught a comebacker to the mound, threw to first to end the game and send Canada to tomorrow’s gold medal final.
Canada will now turn their focus towards the United States who defeated Cuba 12-10 earlier today.
“The US has been swinging the bat extremely well lately,” commented Whitt. “We’re going to have to pitch well, play sound defence and hopefully our hitters will come through.”
Notes: It is expected that Andrew Albers (North Battleford, SK) will start for Canada in the gold medal game which gets underway at 7pm CT…Unfortunately there is no television coverage or live streaming of the gold medal game in Canada…The following link: http://deportesmx.terra.com.mx/rumbo-a-2012/guadalajara-2011/ will have a live stream of the gold medal game, but is not available in Canada…Live scoring can be found by visiting www.usabaseball.com…You can also receive LIVE in-game updated by following Baseball Canada on Twitter: www.twitter.com/baseballcanada
Luke Donald Wins PGA Tour's Final Event and Money Title
by Mizuno USA on October 24, 2011
Mizuno PGA Tour Staffer and World #1 Golfer Luke Donald finished off his remarkable 2011 PGA Tour season in grand fashion, winning the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Trailing by five shots entering Sunday, Donald fired an 8-under 64 in the final round, starting off the back nine with six consecutive birdies. He went on to finish 17-under for the tournament, winning by two shots.
"After the eighth hole, it wasn't looking good," said Donald. "My caddie and I talked Saturday night that I hadn't really gotten on a run yet this week. What better time to get on a run than the back nine on Sunday. It's nice to do it under pressure when I need to."
With this victory at the CMNHC, Donald earned the 2011 PGA Tour money crown, netting $864,000 for this win, and bringing his season total to $6,683,214. This is Donald's second PGA Tour victory of the year, having also won the WGC Accenture Match Play in February. Donald led the PGA Tour in scoring average with 68.86, earning him the Vardon Trophy. He also had 14 top 10 finishes out of 19 total events played in 2011, making a clear statement to become the 2011 PGA Tour Player of the Year.
"This was a tremendous year for me," said Donald. "A lot of critics questioned whether I should be No. 1 in the world. To play well under this kind of pressure is great."
Now, Donald sets his sights on the Race to Dubai, the European Tour's money title, where he leads by 1.3 million Euros. Donald is trying to become the first player to win both money titles in the same year.
Tops Volleyball's Jeff Chung
by Adam Vella on October 21, 2011
Jeff Chung will be blogging online for Mizuno Canada in efforts to grow volleyball in the GTA. Jeff runs the very successful TOPS Volleyball Academy and has a serious passion for Mizuno. Jeff was a 4-time ALL-CANADIAN during his time at U of Toronto. Jeff competed both on the national level and international level as one of the nations best amateur and professional players. We're very excited to have Jeff on board with Mizuno to offer his insights online for our passionate readers, thanks Jeff!
Founder & Director
TOPS Volleyball Academy
TOPS Volleyball Academy is entering its fourth year with the Ontario Volleyball Association providing elite volleyball camps for athletes across Ontario. The philosophy of this academy derives from the name itself, T.O.P.S, which stands for Toronto Ontario Player Skill development camps. It has been a passion for Jeff Chung and his staff to give back to the volleyball community while implementing a high performance-training atmosphere to challenge athletes and advance them to the next level of play. TOPS has grown beyond traditional camps and now offer specialized setting and passing clinics along with personalized tutoring for individual athletes and club teams.
The reputation that the TOPS Academy has established would not have been possible without the branding and sponsorship of Mizuno Canada. TOPS strives to be one of the best volleyball academy for young athletes. The fusion with Mizuno has accelerated the academy’s success and TOPS is extremely proud that they are under the Mizuno culture providing a commitment to excellence for athletes across our province and the nation!
TOPS Volleyball Academy would like to extend its great appreciation to Mizuno for believing in us and helping our program enrich the lives of our volleyball community. Please follow us at www.topsvolleyball.comfor updates and upcoming events.
Ian Kinsler Sparks 9th Inning Rally for Rangers in World Series Game 2
by Mizuno USA on October 21, 2011
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Ian Kinsler started the rally for the Texas Rangers in the top of the ninth inning in Game 2 of the 2011 World Series. Trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 entering the inning, Kinsler led off with a bloop single into shallow left field, then stole second to get into scoring position. Kinsler would eventually score the first run of the game for Texas on a sacrifice fly, and then watched from the dugout as his teammates tacked on another run to take a 2-1 lead. The Rangers held on for the win over the Cardinals, and tied the series at 1-1. The World Series now shifts to Texas for games 3, 4, and 5. Kinsler plays with the Mizuno Pro Limited GMP41 Ball Glove, wears custom 9-Spike Vintage G6 Cleats and 5 inch Mizuno Wristbands, uses the Global Elite Batting Gloves, and swings the Mizuno Pro Maple MZM243 Bat.
Q&A with PGA Tour Staffer Charles Howell III
by Mizuno USA on October 20, 2011
Below are a series of interview questions from Mizuno PGA Tour Staff Member Charles Howell III. Charles reflects upon his 2011 PGA Tour Season, talks about his mental preparation for golf, and how he works to improve his game.
Charles reflecting upon his 2011 PGA Tour Season.
Charles talking about how he mentally prepares for the game of golf.
Charles discusses how he works to improve his golf game.
Norceca's by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on October 20, 2011
This last month has been a wild ride but a good one! We ended up going undefeated and winning Norceca's. It was a great all around tournament for us. We continually got better as the tournament went on and we proved why we are #2 in the World. It was fun to go back to Puerto Rico to see everyone. I played there my first season overseas and it was great to go back and see all the wonderful people that I met and played with. As with every tournament it brings its challenges. It was my mom's two year anniversary since her death on the 16th of September. The 16th of September was also the most important day in the tournament. We had to play Cuba to go to the finals and qualify for World Cup. Cuba is a very dangerous team because they can turn it on and become unstoppable. On this day I struggled with remembering my mom but also being there for my team. I wanted to reflect on the memories I had but I knew that she would want me to focus on the game. She never wanted me to worry about her when she was here and I know she would not want me to worry about her now but just know that she is with me wherever I am. I felt like she was with me that night guiding my heart and giving to my teammates.
After winning Norceca's we got a week off!!!! Yes I SAID IT! ONE WEEK OFF! :) This was a much needed break both physically and mentally for me. This week started out right with a trip to Omaha with the besties! We were able to shop a little and grab lunch. Two of my best friends were also my teammates and former senior captains of the 2008 Nebraska Volleyball team. Every chance I make it back to Nebraska I try and see these two lovely ladies. We have shared in a lot of important things in each other's lives such as winning a national championship, participating in each other's weddings and now Rachel Schwartz (Culwell) is pregnant and we can not wait to spoil her little girl. Getting to spend some good quality time with family and friends was amazing.
While at home I also got to help celebrate my cousins 21st birthday. We went out to dinner and then followed and finished the night off with heading downtown. It was great to spend time with them and help celebrate this momentous occasion. Happy birthday Megan! So glad I got to spend it with you and your friends! :)
My husband Luke and I got to help celebrate our friends wedding that weekend. Luke was in the wedding and got to stand a long side one of his great friends. We could not be happier for them, and it was great to get out on the dance floor with everyone and let go a little. We Love you Katie and Nick and wish you many years of happiness together! :)
To top the weekend off I made a trip up to my home town, Hooper. I do not make it back often because I am usually only home for quick weekends at a time. I went back to the church that I went to as a child. They were doing a special dedication to my mother who had been a member for many years. After her death the donations received were given back to the church because we knew that is what she would have wanted. They had bought eight beautiful banners that they will display for holidays and or special occasions. It was great to go back to see everyone from my childhood and to see the impact my mom had on people. I was very emotional that day because Sunday church was something my mom and I would always do together. I actually sat in the same pew as her. I did not realize it until after I was sitting there for a while but I felt like she was with me that day. I miss her, but know she made me the person I am today and I am so proud to call her my mother.
This was quite the eventful week for me, but it filled me so full of joy and makes me thankful for the people I have in my life. I could not be happier and more blessed. So this is for everyone in my life who has impacted me and made me the player and person I am today, I could not have done it without you and even though I may not see a lot of you or talk to you often you mean the world to me. :)
Dream Big & Never Settle
Q&A with PGA Tour Staffer Luke Donald
by Mizuno USA on October 18, 2011
Below are a series of interview questions from Mizuno PGA Tour Staff Member Luke Donald. Luke reflects upon his 2011 PGA Tour Season, his relationship with his equipment manufacturer Mizuno, and the true inspiration in his life, his daughter.
Luke talking about his 2011 PGA Tour Season
Luke talking about his relationship with his equipment manufacturer, Mizuno
Luke's true inspiration, his daughter
Mizuno Ambassador Stacy Lewis Lewis spreads message on early detection of scoliosis
by Iver Maple on October 17, 2011
The Clubhouse shares a story on Mizuno Ambassador Stacy Lewis and her journey to spread the word about early detection of scoliosis.
Read the full story here: http://www.theclubhouse.com.my/2011/10/lewis-spreads-message-on-early-detection-of-scoliosis/
Mizuno MLB Ambassador Postseason Performer - Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers
by Mizuno USA on October 10, 2011
Ian Kinsler and the Texas Rangers moved one step closer to returning to the World Series by taking the first game of the American League Championship Series. Kinsler smacked a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 2nd inning off Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. That put Texas in front 2-0, and they would hold on for a 3-2 victory. Kinsler plays with the Mizuno Pro Limited GMP41 Ball Glove, wears custom 9-Spike Vintage G6 Cleats and 5 inch Mizuno Wristbands, uses the Global Elite Batting Gloves, and swings the Mizuno Pro Maple MZM243 Bat.
I thought I had a great chance to win the Fedex Cup.
by Luke Donald on October 1, 2011
Going into the week,I knew if I’d won the Tour Championship, the Fedex Cup was mine - one of my big goals for this season. I played well the first day, got myself into a great position but just struggled a little from there on. I didn’t really take my best game to Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I did a good job of keeping myself in with a chance come the end. A lot of the guys in the top five weren’t playing well, so it was vital that I stayed in contention. The birdie on the last I was very proud of. I thought it might have done it for me. In the end, though, I was a shot behind.
That putt extended my lead on the world rankings as well as put me top of the American money-list, so I was really happy that I’d stayed determined and holed a very important putt under a great deal of pressure. I’m very proud to be still on top of the world rankings. I think every golfer wants to get to number one. But to stay there is another matter altogether.
My key goal now is to win the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic in the same year. It would be a great accomplishment. No-one has ever done it before. It’s pretty tough playing both tours but to win them both would be a great achievement.
I can go back to that birdie on the last at East Lake again. It gave me a high enough finish to leap over Webb Simpson on the U.S. money-list. We’ll have to see if he keeps playing and goes back above me. Hopefully I can hang on though.
I have a healthy lead on the Race to Dubai, but this week in the Dunhill Links is a very big week for prize money. Things can change quickly. I’m playing next week in Madrid but, with Diane expecting our second child, I’m going to have to miss a few tournaments. A big week in the Dunhill would be nice.
In between the Tour Championship and here in Scotland, I’ve been checking fundamentals. I think my ball position was getting a little bit too far forward. I’ve been doing some more work on quieting the legs down. They tend to get a little bit active throughout the swing. This week, though, will be a little less thought-related in terms of my swing and more just having a bit of enjoyment.
I’m playing with Jamie Redknapp again. We met Jamie and his wife when we were on honeymoon and we’ve become good friends for the last four years. It will be great playing side-by-side with Jamie, he’s a pretty good golfer. He’s a seven-handicapper and on a good day he’s perfectly capable of shooting 72.
I’ve been trying out some new equipment, testing the MP-59s and 69s. Both sets felt solid and will be an easy switch. Just need to figure which set to go for.
Even better - I did some testing with Mizuno’s new MP fairway woods and drivers and got some very positive results. I’ll try and Tweet some pictures of the woods if I get the all clear from Mizuno. For me it’s a big move to change anything in my bag – only goes in if the equipment’s better than what I’ve got. That’s as simple as it gets.
But any testing and practicing will go by the board in five or six weeks’ time. We’re expecting another girl – this time Diane especially wanted to find out the sex of the baby – and mid-November is the due date.
Mizuno MLB Ambassador Highlight Performance - Corey Hart
by Mizuno USA on October 3, 2011
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Corey Hart and the Milwaukee Brewers started their 2011 Postseason with back-to-back wins at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks. In Game 2 of the National League Division Series, Hart was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, as the Brewers defeated the D'backs 9-4 to open up a 2-0 lead. The Brewers will now head west to Arizona, needing only one win to win their first playoff series since 1982.
PGAtour.com highlights the new Mizuno Tour Workshop
by Iver Maple on October 3, 2011
Mizuno technician Michael Sowerby gives a tour of the brand new state of the art Mizuno equipment truck that is making its debut at the 2011 Tour Championship by Coca-Cola. Check it out on PGAtour.com
Jennie Finch’s Blog: The Final Countdown
by Jennie Finch on June 18, 2011
Is today the day or is tonight the night?
Now that we are down to the wire, these are my daily thoughts as we try to prepare for our sweet Baby D’s arrival. Crazy how time has flown by. I am 39 weeks already!
I think having Ace during this pregnancy has truly made it fly. Being a mommy already, this time around there was much less “me time” — and of course it’s all about him, as it should be! My days are filled with keeping up with an active 5 year old boy and I think I love it just as much as he does!
The End Is In Sight! People.com
by Jennie Finch on May 20, 2011
My due date is fast approaching — it seems like this blog is weekly and not monthly the way time is flying by! I keep coming across things that I should have and be prepared, for such as a birthing plan. Well, I’m not that organized and really am used to living on the fly. However, I do need to get myself and all the things we’ll need together because Baby Daigle will be here before we know it.
It’s a little strange because we are living on the road this time. With Ace we were so blessed to be in our home in Arizona. Casey was with the Diamondbacks last time around, and I was able to be in our house and have everything right there.
by Jennie Finch on May 8, 2011
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.” Abraham Lincoln
When I think of my Mother I think of my rock, my go to, to backbone, and so much more. I am so blessed to have the Mother I do. She is always there and always has been. I cannot think of a time where I didn’t have her there. The many games she has sat through, the many tears she has wiped and the many tears that have fallen from her beautiful green eyes, the many sacrifices, the love she has always shown me, I cannot express my gratitude for my mama! I praise God for the woman and example she is and has helped me become. I look back and she has not once put herself before us, constantly giving and giving. The many back rubs, the patience, the understanding, the many hugs, the constant prayers, she has given me way beyond anything I can put on paper. You have given me and shown me wings so that I could fly! Today and everyday we should all celebrate our Mother’s and the many amazing Mother’s of this world.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Thank YOU! I love You!
Happy 5th Birthday Ace!
by Jennie Finch on May 4, 2011
5 years ago today our world was rocked, turned upside down, scattered around, and we were blessed with the greatest gift of all- Our Ace! Our hearts were ripped up and placed inside this 8 lb 11 oz angel. We were blessed with this love that we’d never felt or had before.
So many emotions, joy, excitement, worry, elation, responsibility, happiness, anxiousness- I became a better woman, Casey became a better man. Our dream had come true we were parents, a mom and a dad! Each day our love has only grown. Just when you thought you’ve loved to the moon and back all of sudden its to infinity and back. These last five years have been more than we could of ever hoped for or imagined. May 4, 2006 our lives became more meaningful! It seemed like it was just yesterday Casey and I were handing him off in the middle of the night,that my mom and I were packing him up at 3 months old and heading to China for the World Championships, he was getting his first tooth. And all of a sudden he is reeling in and catching his own fish with his daddy and big ones I have to add!
We love you Ace with every piece of us and are so proud and grateful for each and everyday and moment with you! Time spent with you is never enough… Happy whole hand Big #5 Birthday!