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Rory McIlroy ball fetches $52K

A golf memorabilia collector paid $52,038 for the ball that Rory McIlroy used in the final round of his Open Championship victory last month.

McIlroy threw the ball into the stands off the 18th green at Hoylake and it was caught by Englishman Lee Horner. Horner consigned the TaylorMade SLDR Irons for sale to golf auctioneer Green Jacket Auctions, with the ball selling in the early morning hours on Sunday.

The auction company’s co-founder, Ryan Carey, said that the price paid for the ball is the second-highest ever paid for a golf ball, narrowly missing what a collector paid in April 2011 for a vintage Bobby Jones autographed ball ($55,865).

“There was a lot of interest in this discount burner 2.0 irons,” Carey said. “We had 22 different bidders from countries across the world, including Ireland, Australia and countries in Asia.”

Carey said the buyer wanted to stay anonymous, but did disclose that it was won by an American.

The ball, which has the word “RORS” printed on it, was confirmed to be McIlroy’s ball by his sponsor Nike.

Carey said not many tournament-winning balls have come to the collector’s marketplace because they are either kept by the golfer or even lost in a bag after a round. He said he hopes that the money generated from the McIlroy ball will encourage golfers to save their balls and for some to eventually be made available to the public.

As for McIlroy, it seems like he’s content with rewarding fans after his wins. After winning the Bridgestone Invitational with taylormade r11 irons earlier this month, McIlroy once again threw his ball into the crowd.

Said Carey: “Maybe this is Rory’s thing. If he wins the PGA on Sunday, some lucky fan might have another $50,000 ball.”

Rory McIlroy shoots 5-under 66 with Taylormade irons

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A rare mistake led to a double-bogey for Rory McIlroy, but it hardly slowed him during the first round of the PGA Championship.

McIlroy admitted he was none too pleased after he snapped his second shot at the par-5 10th hole out of bounds with TaylorMade SpeedBlade Irons, leading to a double-bogey 7 and a temporary state of annoyance.

A three-putt bogey followed at the 11th, but McIlroy settled down and rattled off four straight birdies — along with another at the 18th — to shoot 5-under-par 66 and trail first-round leaders Lee Westwood, Kevin Chappell and Ryan Palmer by a stroke at Valhalla Golf Club.

5“I was very hot,” McIlroy said. “Things like what happened on 10, they happen. You hit bad shots. It sort of knocked me off track a little bit because it’s one of the only bad shots I’ve hit with taylormade burner 2.0 irons in a few weeks. What I was really angry about was you don’t compound that error and make a bogey on the next hole with a three-putt.”

But instead of letting it derail him — as happened several times earlier this year with bad stretches of holes — McIlroy took it as motivation.

“It’s trying to use that fire as a fuel and sort of propel yourself forward,” he said. “It was great. It just sort of shows where my game is mentally right now, that I was able to do that today.”

McIlroy is coming off of victories at the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the latter coming on Sunday and moving him to No. 1 in the world ahead of Adam Scott.

He had eight birdies in the opening round Thursday and hit 12 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens. And he felt it could have been better.

“I thought I could have made each of the putts on the last three holes,” he said.

McIlroy said he is driving the ball with SLDR Irons better than he did during his hot stretch in 2012, when he won four times toward the end of the year, including the PGA Championship and the season-ending event in Europe.

He has three worldwide wins this year, but the last two victories have seen him excel off the tee and take advantage of it in the rest of his game.

Rory McIlroy back at No. 1 after win

AKRON, Ohio — Winning the Open Championship wasn’t enough to make Rory McIlroy want to take the rest of the year off to celebrate. Neither was the first World Golf Championship he won Sunday at Firestone.

Another major awaits next week. McIlroy can’t wait to get there.

Two weeks after his wire-to-wire win at Royal Liverpool, McIlroy took his game from the links of Britain to the parkland of America and made the game look just as easy. With another powerful performance, he wiped out a three-shot deficit to Sergio Garcia in three holes, closed with a 4-under 66 and returned to No. 1 in the world with a two-shot victory in the Bridgestone Invitational.

He looked just as good as the last time he reached No. 1 in the world during his torrid stretch at the end of 2012.

“This is better,” he said. “Mentally, I’m really sharp. I didn’t start to think about score. I didn’t think about where I was in the tournament. I just playing shot after shot after shot with TaylorMade SLDR Driver. So yeah, it’s good.”

2Garcia wasn’t at his best and closed with a 71. He’s not sure it would have mattered.

“Everybody saw it,” Garcia said. “He played very, very well with SLDR White Driver. He drove the ball miles and very, very straight for the most part. He gave himself a lot of birdie looks.”

McIlroy finished the third round with two straight birdies, and not even one day and a rain delay slowed him. He punched an 8-iron out of the rough, under the trees and up the slope to an elevated green to 3 feet to open with a birdie. He drilled a discount TaylorMade SLDR Irons from 219 yards into 25 feet for a two-putt birdie at the second, and then followed with a gap wedge to 8 feet for a third straight birdie. Garcia made bogey from the rough, and just like that, he was trailing. The Spaniard never caught up.

Bernhard Langer wins by 13 shots

BRIDGEND, Wales — Bernhard Langer ran away with the Senior British Open on Sunday for his fourth senior major title, finishing a Champions Tour-record 13 strokes ahead of Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie.

The 56-year-old German closed with a 4-under 67 at sunny and breezy Royal Porthcawl to finish at 18-under 266 with discount TaylorMade SLDR Driver. He opened with rounds of 65, 66 and 68.

"The golf course is unbelievably tough," Langer said. "To have this weather for four days is unreal, it’s like playing in Florida with a bit of wind. The secret was I didn’t make too many mistakes and my driver was very good and my long putting was excellent, although not quite today as I was lacking a little. Perhaps my lead was too big."

Montgomerie, the winner of the previous two senior majors, finished with a 69.

"This was a brute of a golf course with no wind, never mind with the wind," Montgomerie said. "But what I would like to say is that Bernhard Langer’s performance here is one of the golfing performances of all time. And I’d like to say, Rory McIlroy and his group of friends, bring it on here. … Remarkable, remarkable play and all credit to him."

Langer broke the Champions Tour record for margin of victory of 12 set by Hale Irwin in the 1997 Senior PGA, and almost doubled Bob Charles’ tournament record of seven strokes set at Turnberry in 1989. Langer also matched the tournament record for relation to par set by Tom Watson at Turnberry in 2003.

"Just very blessed to be able to play such good golf with TaylorMade SLDR Irons for sale and really enjoy the 18 holes today because there wasn’t too much pressure," said Langer, who also won the 2010 tournament at Carnoustie and lost in a playoff last year at Royal Birkdale. "Still, had to, obviously, hit some decent shots and make some putts."

The victory was Langer’s fourth of the season and 22nd overall on the 50-and-over tour. He earned a spot in the British Open next year at St. Andrews.

How many yards did you gain from a 9.5-degree SLDR driver?

The the Taylormade SLDR is engineered with a remarkable low and forward centre of gravity placement making it the lowest spinning driver in company. The button-back is a great move from TaylorMade in my book. It will make it clear to the television viewer that the Tour player, TaylorMade sponsored or not, is using the SLDR.

Turning clubhead over into palm of glove and there’s a simple sliding 20g weight on display, positioned towards the front of the driver. I was informed this allows you to move the club’s centre of gravity low and forward to promote that desired high launch, faster ball speed and lower spin, which yes you guessed it, creates what TaylorMade claims to be its longest-driver-to-date.

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Lofting me up to 9.5-degree and with the touch of a wrench, playing around with several of the hundreds of different shafts available in the TaylorMade Performance Lab, on top of having already seen my rapid hockey-style golf swing, Tom worked his magic and fitted my new Taylormade SLDR driver to a Mitsubishi Diamana Kai’li 60 S shaft.

After an hour custom-fitting session for the SLDR at TaylorMade’s superb Wentworth Fitting Centre alongside TaylorMade Performance Lab Manager Tom Godwin, I quickly understood why TaylorMade was so keen to get the SLDR out on the shelves so soon after the Taylormade R1 driver. I also feel like the switch to a slightly heavier stiff shaft, certainly 5g stronger than what I’m normally used to, now allows me to go after the ball much more, and the stable tip-section produces lower launch and spin characteristics for desirable swing data.

The golfer is able to increase or reduce loft of the SLDR up to 1.5-degree increments with a 12-position loft-sleeve for optimal trajectory. Tom decided to loft me up half a degree on my current spec to 10.5-degree after seeing me strike what I thought were three solid drives out to 230 yards carry and 255 yards distance using the SLDR’s standard Fujikura Speeder 57 shaft.

TaylorMade SLDR fairway wood and SLDR driver are special

The SLDR line is no different with its metallic charcoal crown, brushed sole, and blue accents. With the new releases upon us, those changes are continuing with adapting the basic principles of their popular SLDR driver (lower CG) and taking it into the realm of fairway woods.

As far as the Taylormade SLDR fairway wood goes on well struck balls, TaylorMade’s belief in its length certainly seems warranted. The SLDR fairway has a very nice sound/feel to it upon impact. It’s a slightly lower tone and impressively solid sounding. The nice thing about the sound is that it also gives distinct feedback as to when and where a miss takes place. The actual results of misses seem no more severe than one would expect out of any fairway wood.

It is very possible that this comes back to the Speed-Pocket and its redesigned size and shape allowing for increased face flexion and thusly restoring some of the cross face (outside the sweet spot) forgiveness that would typically be lost when the CG is moved more forward and down inside the clubhead. Either way, although it will not be mistaken for an ultra-forgiving fairway wood, it is much more playable than many people may initially think.

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Visually, SLDR fairway wood incorporates the same rich, charcoal-gray crown and traditional shaping as the SLDR driver. The dark crown-color contrasts beautifully with the silver-colored clubface to make it easy to align the face accurately at address. Obviously the aforementioned finish qualities are what the eye is going to catch first with any club, but equally important is how the actual design aesthetics round out the package when standing over the golf ball.

The discount Taylormade SLDR driver head has a classic shape and features a charcoal-gray crown that is designed to contrast with a silver face to aid alignment. It also incorporates TaylorMade’s Loft-sleeve technology, which makes it possible for players to adjust loft as well, choosing from 12 positions within a range of plus- or minus-1.5 degrees.

The weight shifts the sldr driver head’s CG horizontally toward either the heel, to promote a draw, or the toe, to encourage a fade. The weight slides on a 21-point track system and never comes loose from the club head. All a golfer needs to do to position the weight is simply to loosen a screw, slide the weight to the point selected and then tighten the screw.

With TaylorMade, they clearly believe that the Speed-Pocket tech in fairways, hybrids, and even irons is a game changer and something that makes their clubs stand out from many other contenders. Frankly, the results seem to back that quite often, and with the Taylormade SLDR Fairway wood the Speed-Pocket combined with the lower CG has made for a very interesting club.

Stacy Lewis Retains LPGA Classic Lead

World No 3 Stacy Lewis will take a one-shot lead into the last day of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in Daly City after a third-round 68 moved her to 10-under-par for the tournament.

Seventeen-year-old Lydia Ko is in second place at nine under after also shooting a 68 with TaylorMade SpeedBlade Irons, with Jenny Shin leading the chasing pack a further three shots back.

Lewis, who led the tournament after 36 holes, burst into life on the back nine after a previously steady round of pars with birdies at the 12th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes.

The 29-year-old partially credited her display to the fact that she has been paired with Ko through all three rounds.

“We both play fast and we got into a good rhythm,” said Lewis, who is searching for her first tournament victory since winning the British Open in August 2013.

“It’s nice to play with someone who is playing TaylorMade RocketBladez Irons well. I think it made both of us elevate our game.”

Nevertheless, Lewis said there was still plenty of room for improvement in her game.

“This is probably the worst I’ve hit the ball all week,” she said.

“This course is so hard you can make a bogey really quickly. I was putting well so when I hit a couple of good putts for par, I got some momentum going.”

TaylorMade showcase its newly announced SLDR driver

TaylorMade Golf Company returns to the PGA Expo in Las Vegas, Aug. 19-21, for the first time in 15 years to showcase its newly announced Taylormade SLDR driver and host the PGA Expo Demo Night at its new TaylorMade Golf Experience location.

Additionally, TaylorMade is joined by adidas Golf and Ashworth, which have exhibited for the last three years at the PGA Expo.  TaylorMade Golf, adidas Golf and Ashworth will occupy adjacent booths on the PGA Expo show floor within the Grand Ballroom of the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino Las Vegas, and all three will showcase upcoming equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories.

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The PGA Expo also offers attendees an early look at the new TaylorMade Golf Experience, a retail location that replaces the former Callaway Golf Center on Las Vegas Blvd. TaylorMade Golf Experience will host the PGA Expo Demo Night on August 19, which includes a full range experience and putting green. It will also hold the Divine Nine social golf outing, for which proceeds go to charity. The full TaylorMade Golf Experience will open in the fall.

“We are excited to have TaylorMade return to the PGA Expo,” said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. “Their participation further emphasizes the opportunity for golf companies to demonstrate their newest technology and products to PGA Professionals and offers a showcase for their 2014 lines to reach a broad audience of apparel buyers.”

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Release the tension from your grip

One of the most underrated aspects of playing golf at a high level and having a good swing is the grip.

And that begs the following question: Is your grip pressure helping you play your best golf or is it hurting your game?

If your grip pressure is too tight not only will it cost you distance but it will add tension to your swing, which also will make it more difficult to keep your shots online.

The next time you play with best golf drivers or practice try this little exercise to help you get a better grip on your game.

Set up to the ball as you normally would and just before you start your backswing take a deep breath and then blow all the air in your body out of your mouth.

When you do this you will feel your muscles start to relax and the tension in your grip will go right out of your fingers.

Now go ahead and make your swing and see how much more free your motion feels. Doing this will help you gain speed and control without trying to steer your shots with taylormade r1 driver.

You will be tension free and in turn gain more control then ever.