Posted: June 21, 2012
When you speak with Jack Seltzer and his son, John, about their upcoming trip to the West Coast, your first reaction is to reach for a bottle of bubbly.
What is there to celebrate? Oh, everything. A wedding, too.
On Sunday morning, Jack and John, both Titleist PGA Staff professionals from the Michigan PGA Section, will tee off in the first round of the 45th PGA Professional National Championship, being contested this year at the Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses on California's Monterey Peninsula. (The top 20 finishers will play in the 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.)
Jack is 61 years old. An accomplished player who's played in five PGA Championships and eight Senior PGA's, he will be playing in the PGA PNC for the 16th time – but also the first time in a long time.
The last time, John was 13 years old. Last month, John celebrated his 32nd birthday.
"This is probably…," Jack says, pausing to collect his thoughts. "I've just wanted this for, I can't tell you how long."
Never before have a father and son competed in the same PPNC, a unique place in golf's history books that can never be erased. It's a proud moment for the Seltzer family, no matter which family member is the more proud.
"This whole thing is more of a testament to my father than anything else," says John, the head PGA professional at Polo Field Golf and Country Club in Ann Arbor. "I'm very happy to be playing it, but him at 61 is a real accomplishment.
"Plus, it's interesting how it all kind of happened."
It began about 30 years ago, a two-year-old John hitting balls on the range with a cut-down club. (There are videos to prove it.)
"He'd ask almost every day to hit balls and if we didn't, he'd cry," says Jack, currently an instructor at the Kendall Academy at Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti.
As he got older, John would spend his summers heading to work with his father. He'd hit balls, pick up balls, help with the golf carts, sneak in as many holes as he could.
"I would stay at the club all day," John says. "He'd throw me on the range, tell me stay out of trouble and don't bother anyone."
At 15, John beat his dad for the first time, even though he doesn't remember much about the day. Jack, on the other hand, can recount the proceedings shot-by-shot, including those three birdies on 15, 16 and 17 that were done in by his son's 15-footer for birdie to win the match on 18.
"Trust me, as happy as you are, I'm 10 times happier," Jack told his son that day.
There would be countless rematches to follow, of course, with John eventually following in his Jack's footsteps and becoming a PGA Professional, playing in the same state and section tournaments as his father.
Never, in all those years, however, had they played together in a competitive round.
Until last summer.
It was last August when Jack and John found themselves playing in the same group on the final day of the Michigan PGA Championship at Eagle Eye GC in Bath Township.
Both players started the day several shots back of the leaders, who were teeing off later in the day. Sixty-eight, they thought, might give them an outside chance to jump into the top 11 and qualify for the PGA PNC.
John did one better, catching fire with his new Scotty Cameron Select GoLo putter and rolling his Titleist Pro V1x in for five birdies on his way to a bogey-free 5-under 67. John was in for sure.
Jack battled to a 1-under 71, and was thrilled for his son, admittedly having paid more attention to his son's swings than his own. It wasn't until after doing a video interview with a local website that they realized Jack might also have a chance.
They sat and waited for three hours. The course was playing tough. The scores were coming in higher than expected.
Finally, the news: He made it, by a shot. Nineteen years after the last time. Over 50 years after first falling in love with the game as a boy in Flint, Mich., playing the local course all day for just 60 cents.
"It was just unbelievable," Jack says.
"I can't even tell you what it means to me."
"Fate was definitely smiling upon us," John says. And there is another example.
John and his fiance, Amanda, had been talking about having a destination wedding later this year. With the PGA PNC being played on the picture-perfect Monterey Peninsula, they made the decision to pack both the golf clubs and the wedding rings.
Amanda will also caddie for John during the tournament, while John's sister, Stacey, will caddie for Jack.
The wedding is scheduled for that Friday, two days after the final round.
"So we've really turned it into very something special," Jack says. "I don't even care if I finish dead last."
He'll be playing, but paying more attention to his son's scores anyway.
Posted: June 18, 2012
Going into the final round of the U.S. Open, Titleist Brand Ambassador Webb Simpson knew Olympic was going to continue to challenge the field.
“This place is so demanding, and so all I was really concerned about was keeping the ball in front of me and making pars.”
Trusting his Pro V1x and bag full of Titleist equipment, that is just what Webb did en route to a final round score of 2-under, 68 - capping off a stellar weekend of back-to-back 68’s and a winning score of 1-over, 281 (72 – 73 – 68 – 68).
Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x players have now won 79 times across the worldwide professional tours in 2012, nearly eight times the nearest competitor with 10 and more than all competitors combined.
Simpson's U.S. Open Championship victory makes it 2-of-2 for Titleist Pro V1x golf ball loyalists at the 2012 majors, as he follows Bubba Watson's winning performance at the Masters in April. Simpson's win also marks the 17th for Titleist golf ball loyalists on the 2012 PGA Tour, more than five times the nearest competitor with 3.
Winning a major championship is never easy and Simpson started the final day four shots off the lead. After two early bogeys on holes two and five, he found himself six shots back.
“I was 2‑over through 5, but I didn't think anything of it because I knew I had 7 coming up and a few other birdie holes in the back,” he said. “I definitely thought about winning and wanted to win, but I was just trying to keep my mind focused on the hole that I was playing and just somehow make pars.”
After his second (and final) bogey of the day on the fifth hole, Simpson kicked it into high gear and rattled off four birdies through a five-hole stretch including three birdies in a row starting at the difficult 489 yard sixth hole.
“We weren't trying to hit it close. We were trying to hit it left of the hole,” said Simpson. “But it ended up about five feet and made birdie. That hole all I wanted to do was make par. The birdie was an added bonus...”
Carrying that momentum, Simpson started the trip back to clubhouse with a birdie at 10 and then went on to par the final eight holes. Highlighting the clutch performance down the stretch was a key up-and-down on the closing hole that proved to be the difference in the tournament. From a dicey lie, Webb trusted his 58º Vokey Design wedge and rolled his Pro V1x to just outside four feet.
One putt later, he was in the clubhouse as the leader of the 2012 U.S. Open. Roughly 45-minutes later, as the last putt fell, Simpson’s clubhouse lead was still standing and he was crowned the 2012 U.S. Open champion.
This marks Simpson’s first major title and his third PGA Tour career victory. He finished one shot clear of two players, including Pro V1 loyalist Michael Thompson, who shot a Sunday-best three-under par 67. Thompson also shot the lowest round of the tournament with a four-under 66 on Thursday.
Five players tied for 4th place another shot back, including Titleist Brand Ambassadors Jason Dufner and John Peterson, and golf ball loyalists Padraig Harrington (Pro V1x) and David Toms (Pro V1). Six of the eight players who finished among the top four and ties relied upon Titleist golf balls for their success.
Titleist was the top choice of more players in U.S. Open field of 156 where 103 players trusted a Titleist golf ball, more than six times the nearest competitor with 17 and more than all other golf balls combined. Titleist was also first in iron sets (44); sand, lob and approach wedges (146); and putters (54).
What’s in Webb Simpson’s bag?
Ball: Titleist Pro V1xDriver: 909D3 10.5º (Proforce AXIVCore Tour Black 69)3-wood: 910F 13.5º (Proforce VTS)5-wood: 910F 17º (Proforce VTS)Hybrid: 910H 21º (Tour AD DI-105 Hybrid)Irons: Titleist 680 MB 4 – P (Dynamic Gold)Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled C-C TVD 53.5º and 58º (Dynamic Gold)
• • •
• EUROPEAN TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist Darren Fichardt withstood windy conditions at the Saint-Omer Open to claim his third career European Tour title.
Fichardt started the final round with a five-shot lead and his 5-under 279 victory total was three shots clear of runner-up Gary Lockerbie (Pro V1x), and four better than Simon Wakefield (Pro V1x). The three Pro V1x golf ball loyalists were the only players to finish under par for the tournament.
Fichardt's previous two victories came at the 2001 Sao Paulo Brazil Open and the 2003 Qatar Masters.
A total of 125 players in the field played Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls, more than 10 times the nearest competitor with 12. Titleist also led the field in iron sets (45) and wedges (206).
Fichardt's win is the 14th for Titleist golf ball loyalists on the 2012 European Tour, more than three times the nearest competitor with 4.
• SUNSHINE TOUR: Titleist Brand Ambassador Justin Harding carded a final round 5-under 68 to capture the Indo Zambia Bank Zambia Open. Harding's victory total of 12-under, 280 was two shots clear of Titleist golf ball loyalist Divan van der Heever (Pro V1x).
Two players tied for 3rd place a further shot back, including Des Terblanche (Pro V1x), as three of the top four finishers relied on the #1 ball in golf for their success.
What’s in Justin Harding’s Bag?:
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1xDriver: 910D33-wood: 910FIrons: CB (3 - P)Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 50º, 54º and 60ºPutter: Scotty Cameron GoLo
A total of 100 players in the field of 144 teed up a Titleist Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball, nearly three times the nearest competitor with 34.
• ASIAN TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand captured the Queen's Cup in his home country to secure his record tying 13th career crown on the Asian Tour.
The 45-year-old Wiratchant won the event in style with an eagle on the par 5 final hole to close with a final round 3-under par 68. His 7-under par 277 victory total was three shots better than 2011 Order of Merit winner Juvic Pagunsan (Pro V1x) and Rahman Siddikur (Pro V1x).
A total of 90 players in the field of 144 trusted Titleist golf balls, more than three times the nearest competitor with 26. Each of the top five finishers relied upon Titleist golf balls for their success. Titleist was also first in iron sets (36) and wedges (109).
Posted: June 14, 2012
The sun and wind of Tuesday turned into fog and drizzle Wednesday morning at The Olympic Club, where Titleist Brand Ambassador Morgan Hoffmann was practicing on the range. The 22-year-old, who enjoyed a successful three years at Oklahoma State University and played on the 2009 Walker Cup team, took an eventful route to this year's U.S. Open.
Last week, Hoffmann secured a spot in the Sectional Qualifying Round in Columbus, Ohio, as an alternate. After arriving in town on Sunday night, however, there was a mix-up about whether he was actually in the field. The confusion was straightened out quickly, but as Morgan said, “It was scary, although I can laugh about it now.”
He made the most of his opportunity by shooting a 69 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course and a 72 at Scioto Country Club. That performance earned him a spot in a four-way playoff for the last three qualifying positions. Morgan became the first player to survive the playoff with a birdie on the second extra hole to secure his spot in the field at Olympic. The playoff was the same one in which Titleist Staff Professional Dennis Miller earned the final position when his 20-foot birdie putt dropped into the hole after sitting on the lip for several seconds. The video has exploded on the internet.
Morgan played his final practice round Wednesday morning with former OSU teammate and Pro V1x loyalist Rickie Fowler and OSU alum and Titleist golf ball loyalist Bo Van Pelt.
The Olympic Club is no stranger to Morgan, who played in the 2007 U.S. Amateur as a 17-year old, missing match play but shooting a one-over 71 on the Lake Course, which will host the U.S. Open. "I feel like I know it pretty well," he said.
What's in Morgan Hoffmann's Bag?: Golf ball: Titleist Pro V1x.Driver: Titleist 910D3 8.5º.Irons: Titleist MB (4-9).Pitching Wedge: Titleist CB.Wedges: Vokey Design SM4 gap (52º), sand (58º) and lob (64º).Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport SS.
Posted: June 12, 2012
How do you win the U.S. Open?
Get up-and-down from inside 100 yards (almost every time), according to Titleist Brand Ambassador Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champ. (For Geoff's full answer, watch the above video.)
"Three, four, five times a day at worst you're going to have an up and down from 20 or 30 or 40 (yards) for par," he told Team Titleist recently. "I got almost all of those up and down for a whole week…"
In 2006, Geoff closed out the final round of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot with perhaps the best two pars of his life.
On the par-4 17th, he holed his Pro V1x golf ball from 30 yards from a nasty bit of rough. On 18, he got up-and-down from in front of the green (after a tough break), pitching his Pro V1 to 6 feet and making the putt.
"I think anybody who wins the Open, that's what they're doing," Geoff said.
Team Titleist is on the ground at the 112th U.S. Open Championship and long-time Titleist Staff Professional Dennis Miller was the center of attention for most of yesterday morning. The Director of Golf at the Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, Ohio, Dennis became an online sensation when his remarkable winning 20-foot putt in a sudden death playoff during June 4th qualifying was caught on tape. Just when it looked like his Pro V1 golf ball would stop short of the cup, it dropped in after approximately five seconds and after Miller looked away.
What makes the story even more interesting, is that Miller was debating whether or not to even go to the event because he was the third alternate. He never played a practice round and had never even played the course before the 36-hole qualifier. He decided to go because it was a good opportunity to play historic Scioto Country Club, in suburban Columbus, Ohio. In fact, he went to a Cleveland Indians game on Sunday, the night before the tournament. He had entered U.S. Open qualifying 11 times prior with his best finish being four shots out.
"There has been a tremendous outpouring of love and support from my community, my family, my friends," said Miller. "I received over a thousand text messages and emails, and I'm trying to get back to everybody. If I haven't, I apologize. But it's been a whirlwind since last Monday. But, you know, the community really embraced me. They stepped up. Some of my sponsors and things of that nature. It's been fantastic. Quite a journey so far."
"You could not script this story," said the 42-year old Miller. "If I birdied one of the final holes in regulation, I'm probably the same story as many of the other great stories ... Mill Creek Metro golf professional, made it to the U.S. Open. But to do it with the cameras rolling, the ball hanging on the lip. I can't tell you how excited my family is."
Reality set in for Miller on Tuesday, the morning after the excitement.
"I still have a job to do back in Mill Creek," he said. "And we actually had a Chamber of Commerce golf outing the next day. We had 300 golfers out there and I worked about 14 hours that day. That was my preparation up to this week. It's been a whirlwind. We're trying to enjoy it."
In case you missed, you can check out the putt that landed Dennis in San Francisco below:
Posted: June 11, 2012
It's been 14 years since the U.S. Open was last contested at Olympic Club in San Francisco.
That was 1998, before Luke Donald, Adam Scott or Geoff Ogilvy first played in a PGA Tour event. Before Rickie Fowler and Kyle Stanley had even teed it up in the American Junior Golf Association.
In other words, not many players in the field are used to racing around this Olympic track, especially not under U.S. Open conditions.
Which means it's time to hit the books. Team Titleist recently caught up with Luke, Adam, Geoff, Rickie and Kyle to talk about their U.S. Open prep and forming a game plan for the year's second major.
Check it out in the above video.