Monday, August 29, 2011

Woods to play Frys.com Open


PGATOUR.COM is reporting that Tiger Woods has committed to play in the Frys.Com Open in Northern California in October.

The Frys.com Open is Oct. 6-9 at CordeValle Golf Club, about 45 minutes south of his alma mater at Stanford.

“I always enjoy competing in my home state, and this tournament fits my schedule perfectly,” Woods said Monday on his website. “I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends.”

Friday, August 26, 2011


Fred Couples, president of the 2011 U.S. Presidents cup team named Tiger Woods as one of his captain picks today. Couples had until August 26th to make his choices but decided to go ahead and name Woods as a member of this years team despite his poor play as of late.

"I've told him that he's going to be on the team," Couples said just before a practice round preparing for the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. "There is no reason for me to wait till Sept. 26 to pick Tiger. He's the best player in the world forever."

Couples will recieve some critisim for making this pick but who can really blame him. It's no secret that Woods and Couples are freinds but I am of the opinion that Couples has faith that Woods will provide a spark to this years team and despite his recent play, Tiger will perform well and help the U.S. Team win. Kudos to Fred Couple for making a a hard and somewhat unpopular decision.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Ray Charles Memorial Library in Los Angeles Goes Public In Near Future






The Ray Charles Memorial Library, officially opened in September 2010 on the 80th anniversary of Ray Charles’ birth. Initially, it was open to school groups only, but the general public will be welcome to visit beginning later this year. The library/museum is located on the ground floor of the Los Angeles building Charles designed for his offices and recording studio.

The library/museum is operated by the nonprofit Ray Charles Foundation that Charles established in 1986 to focus on needy and underprivileged children, especially those with hearing difficulties. Charles, who was blind, considered deafness a greater handicap.

Seeking to fill a void left by the decline of arts and music programs in public schools, the museum's curators hope the exhibits will open up a world of possibilities to youngsters after they see how the musical icon transcended socioeconomic, musical, and racial boundaries during a career spanning more than 50 years.

The library/museum contains seven galleries on the ground floor of a two-story building that Charles had built in 1964. It is located in the historically designated RPM International building at 2107 West Washington Boulevard in the Harvard Heights neighborhood. It houses his offices, wardrobe, an archive of master tapes and memorabilia, and his recording studio. The first album recorded here, in 1965, was "Country & Western Meets Rhythm and Blues."

Alongside educational interactive displays and plenty of film and audio footage, the museum contains mementos such as costumes, gold records, a selection of Charles' dark glasses and one of the customized chess boards on which he regularly defeated his sighted opponents.

Charles began the Ray Charles Foundation with a $50 million grant, and its assets currently are valued at close to $100 million, according to a foundation spokesperson. His entire estate was turned over to the foundation after he died of cancer in 2004, at age 73.

The foundation's investments have done well and now makes grants averaging about $5 million annually to a broad range of educational institutions and programs. The foundation has a licensing arm, the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles Charles' post-1960 recordings. Through its joint venture with Concord Records, it recently released an album of previously archived recordings, "Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters," Among the tracks is a duet with Johnny Cash of Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me, Lord?"

For further information see http://www.raycharlesmemoriallibrary.org/




James Weaver
GolfWiz Blog
Senior Travel Writer

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mercedes Experience: 2011 PGA Championship
































































































































Tiger Woods Video



Tiger Woods on the Driving Range at the 2011 PGA Championship.


video





Monday, August 15, 2011

Bradley Claims 93rd PGA Championship





Keegan Bradley battled back from a 5 shot deficit to defeat Jason Dufner in a playoff at the 93rd PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club on Sunday.


Dufner seemed to have the championship in hand when he reached the par-3 15th hole holding a 4 shot lead. He then proceeded to dump his ball in the water and even after a miraculous bogey save, his lead continued to diminish. Bradley battled back after what seemed to be a tournament ending triple bogey on the 15th hole to win a 3 hole playoff by a shot over Dufner.

“I can’t believe this thing is sitting next to me,” he said, looking at the Champions Wannamaker Trophy. Bradley earned his first career win earlier this year at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio and this win marks the first Major championship win of his career.

Congratulations to Keegan Bradley on becoming the 2011 PGA Champion.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Has Tiger Woods Hit Rock Bottom

Tiger Woods plummet from grace has reached terminal velocity. Woods not only struggled this week at the 93rd PGA Championship he looked downright awful. I walked a round and a half with him and after viewing his wide array of good and bad shots, mostly bad, I decided to retire to the media center and watch the rest of the Tiger Woods tragedy on television.

Fans clamored for a glimpse of Woods with the expectation of seeing the Tiger of old. The Tiger that hit amazing shots sank miraculous putts and energized galleries with earth shaking roars. But instead they say a broken man struggling with his swing and his confidence. Woods labored around the Atlanta Athletic Club like a prisoner on a chain gang. He went through the motions knowing deep in his mind that his chances of even contending this week were slim to none.
My sources close to Tiger said that he was working on his swing and learning to rust his new mechanics and if this week is any indication of that then Tiger is still a work in progress. At times he showed that he still had some command of his game, but at others he looked as raw and unsure as ever. After outing in his first round Tiger blamed his poor play on “going away from a mechanical swing and relying on feel.”

My question is if the mechanical swing got you to 3-under par after five holes, then why change it in the middle of the round? Why not just go with what works, take what the course gives you and live to fight another day. After his double bogey at the 15th hole on Thursday, the wheels came off of the Tiger Woods machine and he ended up in the pits in need of serious repair.
But, despite the fact that Tiger’s PGA Championship was over long before the second round was officially in the books, he showed the courage and class of a champion. He grinded it out until the very end and he never gave up. I hope that all the critics and naysayers that take this opportunity to kick Tiger while he is down, also mention that in order to win like a champion you must first learn how to lose like one.

Has Tiger hit rock bottom? Who Knows? It’s clear that he has some serious challenges to address both on and off the course. He simply isn’t the players we have grown accustomed to seeing. But one thing Tiger hasn’t lost is the love of his fans. It’s doesn’t matter if Tiger Woods loses by ten strokes or wins by ten strokes his fans will still stick by his side through thick and thin.

I pray that Tiger Woods comes back, finds his game and starts winning again. The game needs him, the fans want him and he needs to see that he can still get the job done. The scary thought is that if Tiger Woods has hit rock bottom then compared to other players on tour his bottom would be a hall of fame career.

Edward Wanambwa
GolfWiz Blog

Photo: (getty images)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: GOLFWIZ and GOLFCLUBS.COM Discount Program

The GolfWiz Blog is excited announce a new partership with golfclubs.com.

Simply visit http://www.golfclubs.com/ and enter the discount code GOLFWIZ to receive your 15% discount!"

We look forward to having a long-term relationship with golfclubs.com and passing on the savings to our readers.

Chattanooga Honors A Musical Icon At The Bessie Smith Cultural Center



In the early years of the 20th century, Chattanooga, Tennessee, was a industrial giant and major railroad center. There was plenty of wealth here and some poverty too, particularly
in the segregated black neighborhood along 9th Street where Bessie Smith was born and spent her childhood. Despite the extreme poverty of her early years (or maybe because of it) Smith would go on to become one of the iconic blues singers of all time.

In 1982 a group of community leaders founded the city’s African American Cultural Center.
Located in an area once dubbed as the city’s black enterprise zone, (the famed 9th Street District) now known as Martin Luther King Boulevard, the museum’s original goal was to present the many contributions African Americans made to the development of Chattanooga.


Four years later, a newly renovated building became the home of the Chattanooga African American Museum and the Bessie Smith Performance Hall. The facility, established to pay homage to the late “Empress of the Blues”, Bessie Smith, has become well known in the Chattanooga community as an educational center and outstanding venue for performances and other events. In 2009, the institution was renamed the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. It’s affectionally called “The Bessie.”

Born in Chattanooga in 1894, Bessie Smith was a popular singer during the 1920s and 30s. Raised in poverty, she ran away as a teenager to join a traveling show as a dancer. In 1912, Smith began performing in the same show as blues vocalist Ma Rainey “Mother of the Blues”. Rainey became Smith’s close friend and mentor. Smith continued to perform at theaters around the country on the black vaudeville circuit, but her career took off once she started recording.

Signed by Columbia Records in 1923, Bessie Smith’s first recording “Down Hearted Blues” was a big success. Her rich, powerful, and clear voice, made her a successful recording artist and she toured extensively for the rest of her life. Smith had a great rapport with her audiences.
As a blues artist, Bessie Smith deliver her songs with great emotion. She knew firsthand about struggle and heartbreak.

During her recording career, Bessie Smith worked with many important jazz performers, such as saxophonist Sidney Bechet and pianists Fletcher Henderson and James P. Johnson. With Johnson, she recorded one of her most famous songs, “Back Water Blues.” Smith also collaborated with the legendary jazz artist Louis Armstrong on several tunes, including “Cold in Hand Blues” and “I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle.”

Tragically, Bessie Smith was killed in an automobile accident in 1937. Since her death, her music has continued to win new fans and collections of her songs have sold well over the years. Smith influnced many later singers like Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. Joplin purchased a headstone for Smith’s grave in 1972. You can enjoy Bessie Smith performing many of her songs on YouTube.

The museum at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center
effectively traces the history of the black community in Chattanooga in photos, documents, and artifacts. In addition, there is a small art gallery which presents works by contemporary black visual artists. “The Bessie” is a premier interdisciplinary cultural center for cultural, educational, and artistic excellence and fosters research and education of African and African American heritage.Learn more at http://www.bessiesmithcc.org/. Also see http://www.chattanoogafun.com/.

James Weaver
GolfWiz Blog
Senior Travel Writer








Germany’s Franconian Region Is a Leading Producer of Fine Wine

Germany is famous for its great beer, but its also one of the world’s great locations for growing grapes and producing fine wine. The wine region of Franconia is located midway between Frankfurt and Munich in central Germany. One of its principal cities in Wuerzburg. Arriving in Wuerzburg by train from Frankfurt. I was aware that every square meter of cultivated land within sight (and beyond) was covered with vineyards -- hundreds of thousands of vines growing grapes for some of Germany’s finest wines. The grapes grown here are predominately Silvener and Reisling, that produce some of the world’s leading white wines.

I had my first taste of Silvener wine at the noon meal a short time after arriving in Wuerzburg. It was very pleasing and I had more at dinner. I have enjoyed German Reisling wine for many years and find it unmatched for flavor among white wines. I believe Reisling from the Franconian region is among the finest.

Wuerzburg is a very old city. Records show
there was a Celtic settlement here as early as 1000 BC. In the 18th century it was ruled by
a series prince bishops who were both the
head of the provincial government and head of the Catholic Church here.

Wuerzburg Residence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an impressive complex of buildings on the eastern edge of the city, It was commissioned by two prince bishops and built between 1720 and 1744. Although some of it destroyed during World War II, it has been completely rebuilt. It is widely known for its spectacular Baroque staircase decorated by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo with one of the biggest ceiling frescos in the world, showing an allegory of the four continents.

As the story goes, the prince bishop(s) would greet arriving guests from the staircase. For important guests, they would descend the stairs fully or partially depending on the guest’s status. Guests with not standing, were greeted at the very top. The main portico at the Residence was large enough for a six-horse carriage to enter and turn around. When Napoleon Bonaparte visited here, arriving in his eight-horse carriage, it was necessary for him to get out and walk in. A social/political “faux pas” no doubt.

For 90 years Germany’s oldest Mozart festival has taken place here. Actually, Mozart had no personal association with the city, but for four weeks each summer thousands of visitors from Germany and all over the world enjoy the intimate festival atmosphere and the unique architecture of the Residence for 50 classical concerts. The Residence has one of the largest wine cellars in Europe. Remember, this is wine country.

My venture into Franconian vineyards took me to the neighboring city of Volkach. On a hilltop on the edge of town is the historic Chapel of St. Maria of the Vineyard A favorite pilgrimage site
in past centuries, there is a series of shrines (in small stone buildings) along the steep pathway leading to the church. There is a very old and much revered wooden sculpture of the Madonna suspended above the alter. In the 1960s, it was stolen and remained missing for several years. It eventually turned up at an antique market where it was recognized and return to the church.

Volkach holds an annual wine festival each summer that draws thousands of wine lovers from all over Germany and beyond who enjoy great Franconian wines. Many local wines are bottled in a destintive style bottle - short and
onion shaped. Some say in achient times the wine was stored in goat scrotums, thus the shape.

The Max Mueller wine estate is housed in a farm building built by the prince bishops of Würzburg in 1692. The estate has been run by Rainer and Monika Mueller since 1991. The vineyard is planted with the white grape varieties Silvaner, Mueller-Thurgau, Riesling and Bacchus, and red varieties Pinot Noir, Domina and Pinot Meunier. The white wines are fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the red wines are matured in large oak barrels. At the 2011 London International Wine Fair, Mueller Riesling won the gold medal (first place) in the International Wine Challenge. Max Mueller has an attractive tasting room and retail shop just off the town square in Volkach. See for further information.

Divino Winery is located in nearby Nordheim. One of the leading vineyard cooperatives in Germany (250 growers), Divino wines have received many awards at various international competitions. Many Divino wines are exported, and I was interested to learn that most go to China, Japan, and Mexico. The winery has a attractive tasting room and retail shop, a museum tracing the history of wine production in Franconia, and a lovely restaurant. Learn more at .

I had my first taste of Silvener wine at the noon meal a short time after arriving in Wurtsburg. It was very pleasing and I had more at dinner. I have enjoyed German Reisling wine for many years and find it unmatched for flavor among white wines. I believe Reisling from the Franconian region is among the finest.

Wurtsberg is a very old city. Records show
there was a Celtic settlement here as early as 1000 BC. In the 18th century it was ruled by
a series prince bishops who were both the
head of the provincial government and head of the Catholic Church here.

Wurtsburg Residence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an impressive complex of buildings on the eastern edge of the city, It was commissioned by two prince bishops and built between 1720 and 1744. Although some of it destroyed during World War II, it has been completely rebuilt. It is widely known for its spectacular Baroque staircase decorated by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo with one of the biggest ceiling frescos in the world, showing an allegory of the four continents.

As the story goes, the prince bishop(s) would greet arriving guests from the staircase. For important guests, they would descend the stairs fully or partially depending on the guest’s status. Guests with not standing, were greeted at the very top. The main portico at the Residence was large enough for a six-horse carriage to enter and turn around. When Napoleon Bonaparte visited here, arriving in his eight-horse carriage, it was necessary for him to get out and walk in. A social/political “faux pas” no doubt.

For 90 years Germany’s oldest Mozart festival has taken place here. Actually, Mozart had no personal association with the city, but for four weeks each summer thousands of visitors from Germany and all over the world enjoy the intimate festival atmosphere and the unique architecture of the Residence for 50 classical concerts. The Residence has one of the largest wine cellars in Europe. Remember, this is wine country.

My venture into Franconian vineyards took me to the neighboring city of Volkach. On a hilltop on the edge of town is the historic Chapel of St. Maria of the Vineyard A favorite pilgrimage site
in past centuries, there is a series of shrines (in small stone buildings) along the steep pathway leading to the church. There is a very old and much revered wooden sculpture of the Madonna suspended above the alter. In the 1960s, it was stolen and remained missing for several years. It eventually turned up at an antique market where it was recognized and return to the church.

Volkach holds an annual wine festival each summer that draws thousands of wine lovers from all over Germany and beyond who enjoy great Franconian wines. Many local wines are bottled in a destintive style bottle - short and
onion shaped. Some say in achient times the wine was stored in goat scrotums, thus the shape.


The Max Mueller wine estate is housed in a farm building built by the prince bishops of Würzburg in 1692. The estate has been run by Rainer and Monika Mueller since 1991. The vineyard is planted with the white grape varieties Silvaner, Mueller-Thurgau, Riesling and Bacchus, and red varieties Pinot Noir, Domina and Pinot Meunier. The white wines are fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the red wines are matured in large oak barrels. At the 2011 London International Wine Fair, Mueller Riesling won the gold medal (first place) in the International Wine Challenge. Max Mueller has an attractive tasting room and retail shop just off the town square in Volkach. See for further information.

Divino Winery is located in nearby Nordheim. One of the leading vineyard cooperatives in Germany (250 growers), Divino wines have received many awards at various international competitions. Many Divino wines are exported, and I was interested to learn that most go to China, Japan, and Mexico. The winery has a attractive tasting room and retail shop, a museum tracing the history of wine production in Franconia, and a lovely restaurant. Learn more at .

To learn more about Wurtsberg and the Franconian Wine Country of Germany, view www.wuerzburg.de/en/index and www.germany-tourism.de/ENG/culture_and_events/german_wine_country_franconia Planning a trip to Germany should begin at www.germany-tourism.de/ENG


James Weaver
GolfWiz Blog
Senior Travel Writer

New Product: Adidas 360 ATV

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Review Coming soon !

Edward Wanambwa
http://www.thegolfwriter.com/






Conversation With Bob Vokey: Wedges and your game

I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Titleist Master Clubmaker Bob Vokey on the practice range at the 2011 PGA Championship. Bob Vokey is worldly renowned as one of the top wedge crafters in the business and we discussed how proper wedge selection can benefit players of all levels.
The rules of golf allow a player to have a total of 14 clubs in their bag for tournament play and according to Bob Vokey 4 of those should be wedges. That might seems like a lot but when you really look at it over 70% of players shots come from 125 yards and in; so having a good selection of wedges can really help lower your score. “There are 3 key points in selecting the proper wedges for your golf bag and your game” says Vokey.

1. Know your Gap Distances:
Each wedge should have at least 4 to 6 degrees separation in loft. For example, if you have a 48 degree Pitch Wedge, your gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge should be 52, 56 and 60 degrees. This gives you enough separation to create a wide variety of shot options and distances with each club.

2. Know you wedge options:
Knowing your wedge option relate to the bounce and degree of your club. High bounce works better for longer fairways and soft sand, while lower bounce works for tight lies and hard sand. Your local club fitter or golf professional can assist you in selecting the proper bounce and degree for your wedges.

3. Do I need a Lob Wedge:
Many golfers see tour players hit amazing flop shots with a 60 or even a 64 degree wedge and run out and put one in their bags hoping to duplicate what they see. But in reality it’s not as easy as it looks to effectively use a Lob wedge. According to Vokey, “it takes a lot of hard work and practice to use a Lob wedge in the right way. A player needs to realize that it is a great club for high shots around the green and out of bunker, but you have to really practice with it to hit quality shots”.

If you want to lower your score and improve you game look at the wedges that in your bag and select a combination that works for you. Shooting better scores makes for more enjoyable rounds and wedges are a great place to start.

Titleist Vokey Wedges: http://www.bobvokey.com/

Bob Vokey is a true master craftsman and has developed relationships with some of the world’s greatest players by watching and listening to what they seek in wedge performance, looks and feel. By combining the feedback he receives from these players with years of research and experience, Bob creates wedges that perform under the most challenging course conditions


Edward Wanambwa
http://www.thegolfwriter.com/

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Day at the 2011 PGA Championship



I had the pleasure of spending the day with my close friend and golfing buddy Ron House at the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club:












Monday, August 8, 2011

Steve Williams: Takes the Low Road

(getty images)

Steve Williams became the focal point of the week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational after Adam Scott claimed the winner’s trophy and his first World Golf Championship title on Sunday. Williams was fired by former world number one Tiger Woods amid a storm of controversy and speculation as to how and why it happened. Williams was quick to point out that he was far from happy with his dismissal and remind the audience that he is a world class caddie and that his record speaks for itself.

I have no problem with a Steve Williams and I think that he is one of the best caddies in the game but to say that this week’s win on Adam Scott’s bag was the “greatest win” of his career is a joke! It was clear that his comment was a not so subtle dig at Tiger Woods made by a disgruntled employee. Williams made sure that he took full advantage of his newfound fame and in front of the cameras he went on and on about his 145 career wins and his 31 years of caddying for the best players in the game. However, he failed to mention that 72 of those wins were with one player, Tiger Woods. That equates to 49 percent of his wins including 13 majors.

Anyone in the golf business knows that the caddie player relationship can be a unique and dynamic one. Most players and caddies have a verbal agreement as it relates to their tenure on the bag. So if things aren’t working out a caddie knows that he can be let go at any time and Steve Williams is no different. During his time with Tiger, Steve became a very popular and wealthy man and Woods benefited from his experience and knowledge as a caddie and as a friend. However, launching verbal jabs in the media is poor way of showing his displeasure with his firing.

I walked inside the ropes for the entire 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines with Williams and Woods and in my mind it stands out as one the greatest performance by a single athlete in any sport. So it’s inconceivable that Williams actually considers this week’s win with Adam Scott as the greatest of his career. I spoke to several caddies and players alike at the PGA Championship and almost everyone I spoke to agreed that Steve William’s comments are completely without foundation.

I can't ever remember Williams ever granting a post round interview while he was Tiger’s caddie. The unwritten but well known rule is that Tiger is the only person that speaks publicly in his world about his affairs. But now that Steve has some breathing room,he has decided to make up for lost time by throwing Tiger Woods under the bus. I guess the best time to kick a man is when he is down and this is a perfect example of that.

The sad part of this entire story is that Adam Scott got lost in the shuffle. Scott played a brilliant round of golf on Sunday and won the tournament by 4 shots. Scott was reduced to a footnote on Sunday by his caddie and I don’t remember Steve hitting a single shot or draining a crucial putt.


Adam Scott is one of the nicest and most mild mannered players on tour and I am sure that the media attention directed to Steve Williams doesn’t really bother him, but I will be the first to say that I don’t think that having a star caddy is a good thing in the long run. Steve’s post round comments were classless and rude plain and simple.


Edward Wanambwa
http://www.golfwriter.com/
(GETTY IMAGES)




Tiger Woods made his return to competitive golf this week at the Bridgestone WGC in Akron, Ohio. Woods had a roller coaster tournament and managed to finish with a T-37 at 1-over par for the championship. Tiger said after the round that he was encouraged heading into the 2011 PGA Championship in Atlanta this week. “ I had my game in spurts this week” said Woods after the round on Sunday “ It came and went and I found my putting stroke towards the end of the round”.

Woods heads in the PGA Championship this week having slipped to # 30 in the world rankings and with questions lurking about the state of his game. Hopefully Woods can shake of the rust from his 12 week layoff and contend this week at Atlanta Athletic Club against the 2nd toughest field of the year. Based on last weeks performance that might be wishful thinking but after all we are taking about Tiger Woods and when it comes to Tiger making predications is a foolish man’s game.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Woods Returns to Action

Getty Images


Tiger Woods made his much awaited comeback to professional golf today at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Golf Club in Akron, Ohio. Despite driving the ball poorly Woods shot a 2-under par 7o and finds himself 5 shots back of day one leader Australia’s Jason Day (-7).






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