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James Achenbach

Stories by James

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Achie's Awards: Mayor, fan club and more

The Masters championship edition of Achie's Awards, closing out a dramatic week at Augusta National, include a mayoral honor, a fan-club fete and a newcomer's notation.

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Achie's Awards: From Mr. Elastic to Mr. Polite

Our James Achenbach gives a tip of the cap to Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker, Thomas Bjorn and Matt Kuchar – most for reasons you would never know by simply watching this tournament on television.

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Winner's bag: Bubba Watson at 2014 Masters

Going into the 2014 season, Bubba Watson made the most extensive changes of his professional career -- switching to Ping S55 irons, leaving behind a model he had used for almost 10 years. This week he won his second Masters.

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Achie's Awards: From a magic caddie to the losing spirit

Brian Tam caddied for amateur Tianlang Guan and led him to making the cut in 2013. What does he do for an encore? He leads another amateur, Oliver Goss, to the weekend as well.

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Achie's Awards: From a 'moron' to brutal honesty

Our James Achenbach reflects on the day that was on Thursday at Augusta National, handing out awards to the likes of Mike Davis, Fred Couples, Craig Stadler and Jonas Blixt.

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Amateur McCoy, 51, posts 78, still hopes to make cut

Mike McCoy isn't just satisfied to be at Augusta National. He set a goal of making the cut and knows he'll need to be more aggressive on Friday if he hopes to accomplish that after a first-round 6-over 78.

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Big Three offer big thrills to open 2014 Masters

The Masters honors golf's greats, as well as tradition, by having Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus kick off the start of competitive action at Augusta National.

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Achie's Awards: Metalwoods to milkshakes

Jim Achenbach's award winners for Wednesday at Augusta National include Gary Player, Jose Maria Olazabal, Billy Payne and more -- dig in for the best in the eyes of a 44-time Masters-week journalist.

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Achie's Awards: 16th hole is spectator heaven

In Tuesday's rendition of James Achenbach's daily awards, the 44-year vet of the tournament reveals his love of the spectacle that has become the 16th hole on Masters Tuesday.

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Achie's Awards: Day to Stricker, a look at Monday's best

James Achenbach is in the midst of covering his 44th Masters and took a few moments to offer up his Monday awards, strictly restricted to the handful of press conferences since play was washed out at Augusta National.

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TaylorMade SLDR MiniDriver spotted at Augusta

TaylorMade’s SLDR MiniDriver already has gotten a workout on Tour, and it might find its way into several bags this week at Augusta National. The small-headed wood becomes available to consumers May 2.

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Adidas Adicross Gripmore

Adidas' Adicross Gripmore uses rubber-like cleats that flex and bend to focus on traction.

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TaylorMade 14-degree SLDR driver

The introduction of the 14-degree SLDR driver has presented one of TaylorMade's biggest challenges, because most golfers identify 14 degrees with a strong 3-wood, not a driver.

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Golf Pride CP2 Pro, CP2 Wrap Grip

Golf Pride's new Control Core is said to be the softest high-performance grips it has ever made.

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Boccieri Secret Grip Midsize

The Secret Grip's new Midsize version, weighing 92 grams, comes in three new colors, that counterbalances the swing weight of any club.

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Iomic Sticky 2.3

Iomic's new version of the Sticky 2.3 is 30 percent firmer, and is used by the winners of 53 professional events.

Champ C8

The Champ C8 is an all-weather golf grip available in five colors, with an anti-shock, anti-vibration wrap for comfort.

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Lamkin Utx

The Lamkin Utx is an all-weather golf grip available in three colors, consisting of three functional layers.

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Winn DuraTech Midsize

Winn's DuraTech golf grip is a durable all-weather model available in midsize and designed to appeal to skilled players.

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TaylorMade Ghost Spider Si putter

The newest member of TaylorMade's Ghost Spider family of putters – the white-headed Ghost Spider Si mallet – is a high MOI (moment of inertia) putter with a counter-balanced grip.

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Callaway X2 Hot Deep fairway woods

X Hot Deep has become X2 Hot Deep for 2014. Along with the slight name change, there are new options in lofts: 12.5 (2Deep), 14.5 (3Deep) and 18.5 (5Deep).

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KBS Shafts succeeding on pro circuits

Looking at the official survey results from the major professional tours for the last six years, it's a matter of record: more than 100 victories for KBS.

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Cobra BiO Cell driver, Masters edition

The newest Cobra collectible driver is a green BiO Cell model in celebration of the year's first major championship, the Masters.

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Fujikura Pro 95i graphite iron shaft

Fujikura is about to introduce a graphite iron shaft called the Pro 95i. The construction of this 95-gram shaft easily will allow clubmakers to build graphite-shafted irons of the same length and swingweight as irons with conventional steel shafts.

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Watson's pink Grafalloy BiMatrx Tour Prototype shaft

Bubba Watson used a pink Grafalloy BiMatrx Tour Prototype shaft in his Ping G25 driver in winning the Northern Trust Open.

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Beware 'Jamzilla,' potentially a Riviera nightmare

Three of five lanes on Interstate 405, the major artery around L.A. that leads to Riviera, will be closed during the day, and all five will be shut at night. The 405 normally accommodates more than 300,000 cars per day, according to LA Metro. Uh-oh.

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Adjustments in store with anchoring on way out

On Jan. 1, 2016, the anchored putting stroke will be abolished under the Rules of Golf. Golfers who anchor their putters will be forced to adopt alternative methods. The big question: What are the options?

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Old Ryder Cup captains never die, they just . . .

We're assuming 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson's age hasn't seriously come into question -- but with young PGA Tour players thriving, here are a few ways that could change for any of us.

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Achenbach: O'Toole recasts mold of USGA president

Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., whose golf chops include caddie, rules expert and course-setup man, was elected as the 63rd president of the USGA.

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Making game more accessible among USGA's goals

Under the new Thomas O'Toole Jr. administration, a third responsibility of the USGA will be greatly emphasized in 2014. In a word, it is accessibility. O'Toole talked about increasing the number of golfers, making the game more enjoyable, and revitalizing the economic health of the sport.

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Payne Stewart named '14 Bob Jones Award honoree

With a ceremony scheduled as part of this summer's U.S. Open at Pinehurst, the USGA announced Friday that Payne Stewart will be honored posthumously this year with the association's highest honor, the Bob Jones Award.

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Achenbach: USGA decision is sign of times

Smartphones once again are front and center in golf, thanks to an announcement Thursday by the U.S. Golf Association that distance-measuring devices will be allowed in all USGA amateur championships.

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Titleist R&D VP Dan Stone talks airplanes to clubs

Dan Stone, Titleist's VP of R&D, shares his transition from airplanes to golf clubs: One day he was designing flight controls for the C-17 military transport plane; the next he was figuring out where to place tungsten in an iron head.

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As Cobra's VP of R&D, Olsavsky in for long haul

Tom Olsavsky, 50, sent a few shock waves through the Carlsbad golf community when he decided in late October to move to Cobra -- yet he isn’t promising immediate changes.

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Schnider drives upgrade to Fujikura's Speeder shaft

Dave Schnider’s story is typical of many young golfers: “I woke up one morning and realized I had to get a job.” That was after four years playing at San Diego State.

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Brown brings metallurgy background to True Temper

Don Brown, with an undergraduate degree in metallurgical engineering and masters degree in materials engineering, was working on a doctorate when he decided to step into the working world with True Temper.

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Full Swing VP Coleman focuses on accuracy

Full Swing is proud of its image quality, and vice president of sales and marketing Chad Coleman likes to focus on accuracy: "How real is it? How much is this like my outdoor game?"

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TaylorMade's Bazzel talks SLDR, JetSpeed drivers

Brian Bazzel, 39, is director of product creation for TaylorMade -- focusing heavily on metalwoods, where TaylorMade's roots began in 1979 as a metalwood company.

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Mitsubishi Rayon's Gunther, Ibuki team up

Mitsubishi Rayon president Tsutomi Ibuki moved to California in 2013 to work closely alongside Mark Gunther, a testament to the importance of the U.S. market and the PGA Tour.

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Admiration, applause for PGA Show's impact

The world of golf needs the energy and ideas and innovation that are part and parcel of the PGA Merchandise Show.

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Miura MB001 forged irons

Miura, the Japanese manufacturer known for forged irons and wedges, has introduced its first new blade iron in nearly seven years -- the forged MB001.

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Putter, ball help Bridgestone make splash

Bridgestone's booth at the 2014 PGA Show stayed consistently jam-packed, thanks to a revolutionary putter named True Balance and a new golf-ball formulation called Hydro Core technology.

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Cleveland 588 Custom, 588 Altitude drivers

Cleveland has expanded its 588 family into metalwoods, with a new 588 Custom driver available Feb. 7 alongside the 588 Altitude driver introduced in November.

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Ping Ketsch putter

Ping introduced its Ketsch putter at the PGA Merchandise Show, a club named after the town in Germany where Ping maintains its headquarters for that country.

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Mickelson uses Callaway X2 Hot Pro hybrid

Phil Mickelson showed up in Abu Dhabi in January with a new 18-degree X2 Hot Pro hybrid in his bag. He tied for second.

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Adams XTD Cross Cavity iron

The Adams Golf XTD Cross Cavity is a multi-material iron. In the middle of the back cavity is a flexible damper that helps shorten the duration of sound waves. This means less vibration.

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Golf Pride Tour Velvet Super Tack

A new member of the Tour Velvet family was released at the PGA Merchandise Show. Called Tour Velvet Super Tack, the grip will be available March 1 in retail outlets.

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King: Bigger cup, larger ball can grow golf

Mark King, chief executive of TaylorMade Golf, says about a dozen golf courses are poised to target growing the game by adding 15-inch cups – more than triple the diameter of the 4.25-inch cups players are used to.

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Hyler secured Pinehurst's place in U.S. Open

Raleigh’s Jim Hyler, who would become the USGA’s president in 2010, was among a visionary, influential group that delivered the first Open to tiny Pinehurst.

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TaylorMade pledges $5 million to grow game

TaylorMade Golf pledged $5 million Tuesday evening to foster the growth of the game of golf in a five-year effort will be conducted under an entity called Hackgolf.

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