Titleist Brand Ambassador Bill Haas has already won once this year on the PGA TOUR, firing four consecutive rounds in the 60s to edge four players by one shot at the Humana Challenge in January. He enters this week with confidence having won the 2012 Northern Trust Open in a three-way playoff, followed by an impressive T-3 finish in 2013. It is clear that Bill considers Riviera CC one of his favorite layouts on Tour.

"I really enjoy this course because anybody in the field can win," said Haas.  "It is not necessarily a bombers course, although long hitters have won. But like most every week, the key to winning success is putting. Putting becomes even more important here given the speed and undulation of the greens."

Haas, the 2011 FedEx Cup champion, would know a little bit about putting on the Riviera greens, as he drained a 43-foot birdie putt for his win in 2012 on the second extra hole (10th) of the playoff. 

 "I remember I putted really well that week, and the players that have the hot putters this week will most likely find themselves in the hunt. The two holes that stand out from that win were the birdie I made on 17 in regulation and then, of course, the putt to win it on the second playoff hole."

"I think the best part of this course is that it doesn't change much over the years. It's all right in front of you. If I had to pick a stretch of holes where players can pick up ground on the field it would would be numbers 12 through 15. If I am even par through that stretch at the end of the week, I would be satisfied."

That stretch includes three of the longest par 4's on the card, including the 479 yard 12th, the 459 yard 13th and the 487 yard 15th.

"You don't have to be real long on this course, but you do have to position your shots to give you the best approach into the greens," said Haas. "It's not tricked-up or unfair and it's a great test of golf."

And the final key to success for Bill Haas this week? Being here for the duration of the tournament. His wife is due to have their second child a week from Friday.

"I certainly showed up here thinking I could compete. Pretty much when I tee it up on Thursday, I'll be focused on the task at hand. The only instruction my wife gave me was not to unpack my suitcase. So I'll keep my phone on and my suitcase packed and ready to go just in case. But I will be playing at 100 percent."

Team Titleist Member Spotlight: Vern U.

In the latest edition of the popular Team Titleist member spotlight series we catch up with longtime Team Titleist member Vern U. Among other things, we learned Vern picked up the game from his parents, always marks his Pro V1 with a distinctive "V" and his all-time favorite gift would be an endless supply of Pro V1 golf balls.

Check out the Q&A below to learn more about Vern...

Team Titleist (TT): How did you get started in golf? Who introduced you to the game?

Vern U. (VU): I got started in golf like most kids. My parents Joan and Vern Sr. introduced me to the game at a young age and taught me the basic fundamentals. I’ve never really taken any formal lessons, I take bits and pieces of advice from a friend or do some research on You Tube and formulate my own swing and game plan. I like figuring things out for myself, it’s more satisfying and gratifying.

I grew up in Grand Blanc, Michigan with my two younger brothers, Dave and Joe and two older sisters, Sue and Ann. We lived on the first hole of the famed Warwick Hills Golf and C.C.  The Buick Open was played as far back as I can remember and I loved to go out and watch the pros every summer with my friends.

I played junior golf every summer and just loved it, I knew my heart and passion was always golf.

Our house burned down when I was 11. My family lost everything, including my middle brother, Joey. We all lived with friends and relatives for a while until we rebuilt across the course on the 15th hole. When I was in my early teens, I shot a 75 in a multi-state, regional tournament, losing by one stroke to my neighbor, of all people. I had dreams like all kids of being a professional golfer, but that dream died when I was in a severe accident at 19. It was 25 years before I picked up a golf club again.

TT: How do you mark your Titleist?

 VU: I mark my ball with a metallic, oil based Sharpie pen because it stays on the ball longer. I love gold and silver, but also use purple or red. I write “V” for Vern under the number and my favorite number is “7,” for my birthday, or “1,” for first place.  

As far back as I can remember, the Titleist golf ball possessed magic and power when I held it, looked at it and stood over it. The feel of a Titleist ball elicits an emotion that is hard to describe. I loved the black on black, 100 compression when I was a kid and today it's the Pro V1. If there is ever a gift I would love to receive, it’s boxes and cases and truck loads of Pro V1’s. When I find a Pro V1 ball, it’s like Christmas morning! Pro V1’s are a gift that keeps on giving!

TT: What’s your favorite Titleist club in the bag?

VU: My favorite club in the bag used to be my 19 degree hybrid. It was my go-to club, but now, to my great relief and satisfaction, it’s my driver. There is nothing like booming a big drive down the middle of the fairway with a nice, baby draw on it. I can wait to get fitted for the 915 set of metals. I’ve been sidelined because of injuries most of the year, but I’m back in action. I saw my Team Titleist friends hitting the 915 at the Team Titleist event in San Diego and I was drooling over the look, sound and feel of the 915’s.  

TT: How often are you thinking about your golf game and getting better? What are you currently working on?

VU: The question shouldn’t be, “How often I think about golf,” but rather, “How often DON'T I think about golf?”, and that answer is hardly ever. When I’m not playing and practicing, I watch the golf channel in the morning and the first thing when I get back at night. I am consumed by my passion for the game. It never gets old and it never gets boring. I can’t wait to get on the course, I hate to leave. I love to chip and putt in the dark with my golf cart lights illuminating my practice area. I practice until the sprinklers slap me in the face!  

TT: Can you recall the best golf shot you ever hit?

 VU: The best shot I ever hit was this year on the first tee at Maderas Golf Course in San Diego for the Team Titleist Invitational event. I am usually very nervous, as most people, on the first tee, especially since I hadn’t played for over 10 months this year. I had only a few weeks playing time before this great event, but it was “Go,” time. Being a professional actor helps dealing with crowds, but this was golf, not Shakespeare. Golf is much more difficult than memorizing four hours of Hamlet! Almost everyone from the TT staff and TT members were watching and I was fortunate to hit a beautiful shot down the middle. When I heard my friends and mates from TT call out my name and congratulate me, it was a great feeling! What’s a great shot if you can’t share it with your friends?

TT: What’s the best piece of golf advice you ever received?

VU: The best piece of golf advice is one I give to others. Enjoy the game, enjoy the time and enjoy your friends. I’ve had things taken away forever in my life, but I am so grateful I can still play the greatest game ever invented. Golf humbles you, keeps you honest, and whether you like it or not, helps you learn about yourself. What more can you want or ask for?  It's a great journey...

Titleist Brand Ambassador Andrew Dodt claimed his second career European PGA Tour victory on Sunday, relying on a Pro V1x golf ball and Titleist golf clubs green-to-tee as he closed with his third consecutive 5-under-par 67 at Black Mountain Golf Club to secure a one-shot win at the True Thailand Classic.

Let's take a closer look at the winning setup that the Australian used to outlast the field in Thailand.

WHAT'S IN ANDREW DODT'S BAG

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x golf ball

Driver: Titleist 915D3 driver (9.5º) w/Graphite Design Tour AD DI X shaft

Fairway:
Titleist 915Fd fairway metal (15.0º) w/Fujikura Speeder Motore X shaft

Irons: Titleist CB 714 irons (2-9) w/True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges:
Vokey Design SM4 pitching (46º), sand (54º) and lob (60º) wedges

Putter:
Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Select

Congratulations, Andrew!

#TeamTitleist

Titleist Brand Ambassador Andrew Dodt posted a one-shot win at the True Thailand Classic. It marked the third career victory for the 29-year old Dodt, who closed with three consecutive 5-under-par 67’s en route to a 16-under-par 272 victory total. The victory was especially meaningful for Andrew. 

"I went home last year, spent 12 months at home, played the Asian Tour again, found myself again, found my game and to be in the winner’s circle again – it’s unbelievable.”

 On the Australasian Tour, Titleist Brand Ambassador Aaron Townsend won the Victorian PGA Championship by one shot in dramatic fashion over fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Scott Strange. Townsend holed his bunker shot for birdie on the 72nd hole to close with a 6-under-par 66 en route to a 13-under-par 275 victory total.

"I played great today. I couldn't have asked for a better start (6-under through 10 holes). It's nice to get a win so early in the season. Hopefully I can build on it," said Townsend.

TITLEIST BY THE NUMBERS

In total, 2,336 players have teed up Titleist golf balls in competition on the 2015 worldwide professional tours, more than five times the nearest competitor with 381 and more than all competitors combined.

With three wins this week, Titleist’s victory count in the young 2015 season advances to 17. That's three times the nearest competitor with 6 and more than all competitors combined.

THE TITLEIST LEADERBOARD  |  WEEK ENDING February 15, 2015

TourEventTitleist Golf Ball PlayersNearest Competitor
PGA Tour AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 96 21
European Tour True Thailand Classic 97 22
Champions Tour Allianz Championship 52 9
Australasian Tour MBZ Victorian PGA Championship 79 11

PGA professional and Titleist Staff member Ray Cutright has spent nearly 40 years working in the golf industry. Over that time he has taught, mentored and guided thousands of golfers, helping them reach their goals while exemplifying an extraordinary respect and honor for the traditions of the game. His commitment to his club and, most important, it's people, has earned him the honor of 2014 PGA Golf Professional of the year. 

Ray's passion for the game led, in 1981, to a position at the Sea Island Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga., as the PGA Director of Golf, a title he would enjoy for 11 years. In 1992, Ray accepted the Director of Golf position at Idle Hour Golf Club, where he continued to develop his passion and skills for teaching. 

"Our mission statement here is that we want you to play better golf...," Ray says.  "It's a journey, it's not about how many lessons you take, but how you progress," 

At the core of Ray's teaching philosophy is a belief that enjoyment is a critical factor in your success. Having fun and playing more are the key components to improving ones game.

"Play more golf, think less, understand your fundamentals and you will have more fun. That's what it's all about."

Congratulations on your 39 years of dedicated service to the game. And thank you for your continued support of Titleist.

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