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James Achenbach

Stories by James

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Knowing rule on divot leads to pair of birdies

On Emerald Valley's third hole, two players launched drives that ended up in the fairway just two inches apart during U.S. Open sectional qualifying -- when one marked, the other created a divot affecting his position.

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Skarbo leads early at sectional qualifier in Oregon

At Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Ore., professional Joel Skarbo of Seattle leads three other pros: Jarred Bossio of Olympia, Wash., Zac Blair of St. George, Utah, and Clayton Rask of Otsego, Minn.

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Winner's Bag: Rory McIlroy, BMW PGA Championship

Check out our exclusive interview with Rory McIlroy, who talks about his winning gear at the BMW PGA Championship.

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Nippon N.S. Pro Zelos 7

Nippon's new shaft is called N.S. Pro Zelos 7, and it is a lightweight steel shaft that may address the desires of many amateur golfers.

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Golf balls in colors no longer just quick splash

Many golfers have a love-hate relationship with colored golf balls. Three ball manufacturers have been particularly aggressive with colored balls in the U.S.: Bridgestone, Srixon and Volvik.

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Volvik Vista iV golf ball

The four-piece Volvik Vista iV has emerged as a player’s ball with optimal distance. Used by a handful of male touring pros, including Craig Stadler, the golf ball also is popular with female touring pros on the Volvik staff.

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Volvik White Color S3

The four-piece Volvik White Color S3 is new for 2014 -- and is Volvik’s first golf ball utilizing soft and durable urethane in the cover.

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Volvik Pro Bismuth golf ball

Volvik's Pro Bismuth golf ball is a versatile three-piece ball aimed at golfers with higher swing speeds.

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Volvik Vista iS golf ball

Volvik's Vista iS golf ball is designed to offer more greenside spin while feeling softer than its Vista counterpart.

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Volvik Crystal golf ball

The Volvik Crystal, a three-piece ball intended for golfers with slow to medium swing speeds (60 to 95 mph with a driver, according to Volvik), is the company's most famous offering.

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Volvik Lady 350 golf ball

Because low trajectory is an obstacle faced by many women, the design and placement of the dimples in the Volvik Lady 350 golf ball should help most women hit the ball higher.

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Volvik DS77 golf ball

The concept of the Volvik DS77 golf ball is to focus on extra distance for golfers with medium swing speeds.

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TaylorMade SLDR irons

TaylorMade predicts its new SLDR iron will appeal to a wide spectrum of golfers, from touring pros to average amateurs, joining a successful line of drivers, fairway woods and hybrids.

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TaylorMade SLDR S woods

TaylorMade has a new version of its SLDR woods on the way to market, called the SLDR S and available in drivers, fairway woods and rescue hybrids.

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Cobra BiO Cell Pro Driver

With the May 1 release of its new BIO CELL Pro driver, Cobra expands the BIO Cell family to three clubs. Each is intended for a specific level of play.

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Mark King leaves big shoes to fill at TaylorMade

Mark King became president of TaylorMade in 1999 and quickly launched a series of decisions and mandates that raised TaylorMade's visibility and profitability.

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Watson's growth transcends his rise as a golfer

Our James Achenbach on Bubba Watson: At 35, Watson has reached a point in his life where he can clearly and thoroughly explain his feelings and emotions. He can talk about his principles and beliefs. He has joined hands with a world far beyond golf.

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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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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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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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Lamkin Utx

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

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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.

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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.

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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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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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.