With Veteran's Day approaching, please make a note to yourself to tune in this week to watch highlights of The Patriot Cup 2011, a golf tournament that benefits the families of our nation's fallen and wounded service members.

 The event, hosted by the Folds of Honor Foundation, features PGA and Champions Tour pros, PGA Professionals and the nation's top military golfers and donors.

Several Titleist players competed in this year's event on Memorial Day weekend at The Patriot Golf Course in Owasso, Okla., including Gary Woodland, Brad Faxon, Bo Van Pelt, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler.

Coverage of the event on Golf Channel is as follows (all times EST):
• Monday, Nov. 7: 9 p.m. & 12 a.m.
• Tuesday, Nov. 8: 3 p.m.
• Friday, Nov. 11: 6 a.m.
• Saturday, Nov. 12: 2:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Nov. 13: 7 a.m. & 10 p.m.
• Monday, Nov. 14: 2 a.m.

Folds of Honor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides postsecondary educational scholarships for the children and spouses of military men and women disabled or killed while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Acushnet Company, through its Titleist and Pinnacle golf ball brands, is a proud supporter of the Folds of Honor Foundation and its flagship fundraiser, Patriot Golf Day.

For more information on the Folds of Honor Foundation, Patriot Golf Day and The Patriot Cup, please visit http://www.foldsofhonor.org.

Jay Don Blake relied on a Pro V1x golf ball to hold steady down the stretch and capture the Charles Schwab Cup Championship Sunday in San Francisco, highlighting a four-win weekend for Titleist Pro V1x players around the world.

Blake's final-round even-par 71, in which he hit 12 of 14 fairways and made two key sand saves on the back nine, resulted in an 8-under 276 total and two-shot victory over a group of four players at TPC Harding Park.

On the par-4 18th, Blake, also a winner at the Songdo IBD Championship in September, rolled his Pro V1x in from 6 feet and celebrated his second victory in as many months with a couple of fist pumps.

 Blake was one of 21 Titleist golf ball players in the season-ending event,  seven times the nearest competitor with three and more than all competitors combined. Titleist also was first in hybrids (10); iron sets (10); sand, lob and approach wedges (22); and putters (9).

"I was nervous, tense, stressed, the whole thing," Blake told PGATour.com. "But I still tried to stay patient and play my game and just hoped that I could make some birdies and stay out on top."

Titleist golf ball players have combined for 162 wins across the worldwide professional tours so far this season, more than seven times the nearest competitor and more than all competitors combined.

A total of 20,129 players have teed up Titleist golf balls in those same competitions, more than six times the nearest competitor with 3,187 and more than all other golf balls combined.

This season on the Champions Tour, Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x players won 15 of 23 events.

Pro V1 loyalist Tom Lehman also secured the Charles Schwab Cup season points title and its accompanying $1 million annuity, capping a season that featured three victories and 20 top-25 finishes.

 • SOUTH AFRICA: Titleist Brand Ambassador Shaun Norris won the Nashua Masters for his second-career victory on the South African Sunshine Tour, leading a 1-2-3-4-5 finish for Titleist golf ball players.

Trusting a Pro V1x golf ball and bag full of Titleist equipment, including new Titleist MB (712 Series) irons, Norris closed in 5-under par 65 for a 9-under par 271 total and one-shot victory.

He tapped in for par on the 18th hole at Wild Coast Sun Country Club to edge fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Tyrone Mordt (Pro V1x).

Pro V1x loyalist Darren Fichardt finished solo third at 5-under par 275, while Ulrich van den Berg and Brandon Pieters each relied upon Pro V1x golf balls to tie for fourth place, another shot back.

Titleist was the top choice in golf balls at the Nashua Masters with 97 players, nearly three times the nearest competitor with 26 and more than all competitors combined.

• ASIAN TOUR: Playing on his home course, Pro V1 loyalist Lu Wei-chih won the Mercuries Taiwan Masters for his second victory in four weeks.

 “The feeling is always different when you win so close to home. This is a fantastic victory and I’m glad to be on top after four tough days,” Lu, who finished with a 2-over 74 and 10-under-par 278 total at Taiwan Golf & Country Club, told AsianTour.com.

It marked Lu's second win in four weeks and his third career Asian Tour title.

Lu also won the event at the same course in 2005.

Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 82 players, more than five times the nearest competitor with 14 and more than all other golf balls combined.

Titleist also was first in iron sets (24); and sand, lob and approach wedges (85).

• CANADIAN TOUR: Byron Smith rolled his Pro V1x golf ball in from 15 feet on the final hole of the Desert Dunes Classic to close out a two-shot victory in the Canadian Tour's season finale.

 Smith's final birdie capped a 6-under 66  closing round and 16-under 272 total at the Desert Dunes Golf Club in Hot Springs, Calif.

The win marked Smith's fourth career Canadian Tour title and his first since the 2009 Times Colonist Open.

Fellow Pro V1x loyalist Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, who won the Times Colonist Open and the Mexican PGA Championship this season, finished at the top of the Canadian Tour money title.

Titleist golf ball players won nine out of the tour's 12 events in 2011.

• PGA TOUR: Titleist Brand Ambassador Rory McIlroy moved to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking with yet another high finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Last month, McIlroy finished second at the European Tour's Dunhill Links after putting new Titleist MB (712 Series) irons and Vokey Design SM4 wedges in his bag for the first time.

He followed with another runner-up finish at the Korean Open, and then a playoff victory at last week's Shanghai Masters.

On Sunday at the WGC-HSBC Champions, McIlroy closed in 3-under 69 for a 15-under 273 total at Sheshan International GC to finish in a three-way tie for fourth place.

That result moved him to No. 2 in the world ranking, behind only Pro V1x loyalist Luke Donald.

Titleist was the No. 1 golf ball of choice at the WGC-HSBC Champions with 49 players, more than five times the nearest competitor with nine and more than all competitors combined.

Titleist also was first in drivers (24); hybrids (25); iron sets (22); and sand, lob and approach wedges (76).
 
• LPGA: At the Mizuno Classic, 36 players relied on Titleist golf balls for their success, more than twice the nearest competitor with 16 and more than all competitors combined.

• AUSTRALASIAN: Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 100 players, more than three times the nearest competitor with 33 and more than all other golf balls combined.

Earlier this month, Team Titleist member Scott Melton stood on the first tee at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas with perhaps a slight expression of disbelief.

It was his first time at the course. First time in Vegas. First time standing inside the ropes at a PGA Tour event wearing a caddie bib with "WATNEY" on the back.

A couple weeks earlier, Scott, who lives in Memphis, Tenn., had received an e-mail from Team Titleist notifying him of an opportunity to fly to Las Vegas to caddie for Titleist Brand Ambassador Nick Watney during the Wednesday Pro-Am at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open.

 "I thought it was a joke at first," said Scott, one of Team Titleist's most active members. (You might better recognize him by his username, "memphisunited.")

"I thought maybe someone had hacked into the Titleist e-mail servers," he said.

Fortunately, that wasn't the case.

Scott and his wife soon found themselves on a plane headed to Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, and then inside a car on its way to TPC Summerlin.

Once at the course, Scott was given a tour of the Titleist FittingWorks Van, where he was able to spend some time picking the brains of our Tour Reps.

And then it was time for work.

Scott was introduced to Nick, as well as Nick's everyday caddie, Chad Reynolds (who wasn't exactly disappointed to be getting an 18-hole break under the Las Vegas sun).

At 8:20 a.m., they were off.

"It was a once in a lifetime experience to get an up close look at how those guys interact and think on a golf course," Scott said.

For more on Scott's loop, check out his Team Titleist Q&A at the bottom of the page.

You can view pictures from the day (thanks to Scott's wife) in the following slideshow and hear what Nick had to say about his new caddie in the video below. 

 


TEAM TITLEIST: What was it like being inside the ropes at a PGA Tour event?


SCOTT MELTON: It was a once in a lifetime experience to do that. Nick and Chad are just normal guys that are really, really good at what they do. And they were having a lot of fun out there too. You could tell that they enjoy what they do. It was fun to see how they approach the game on the course and to hear some of their conversations.  In some respects, it was just like playing with your golf buddies on a Sunday morning. But prior to hitting the shots, they were really focused and talked about the situation/shot.

TT: How will the experience help your game going forward?

SM: Well, I’m not sure I will ever be hitting a 300-plus yard tee shots, but it was great to see how Nick approaches the game. Obviously it was a pro-am, but he didn’t really get too high or low about any shot. Nick and Chad seem to be laid back and easy going – and that’s something that could benefit most guys trying to play this game. Plus, the difference with those guys is the short game. The touch around the green is what separates golfers at any level. Nick has a great short game.

TT: Did Nick give you any advice or tips?

SM: Yeah, don’t quit my day job. Just kidding.

TT: Do you have a newfound respect for Tour caddies?

SM: I definitely have a new respect for caddies. Nick and Chad had been on the road for something like six or seven straight weeks. That kind of schedule could be both physically and mentally draining. I was surprised to see them finish so well in Vegas (Nick finished runner-up). Speaking as “caddie for a day,” that was one big staff bag – and it was missing an umbrella, rain gear and a few other things. I can walk 18 holes with my lightweight Titleist carry bag without a problem, but it took me a few holes to get used to carrying that monster of a staff bag. The thought actually crossed my mind walking to the second tee that I may not be able to go all 18 holes. But then I got used to it and I was OK the rest of the way.

Of course, carrying the bag is only a small part of a caddie’s job. For a real caddie, there’s a lot more to it than just “show up, keep up and shut up.”

TT: Did Chad enjoy his break?

SM: It was funny because Chad kept asking me if I was OK or if I needed him to take the bag. I’m not sure if he was concerned about me passing out or just felt weird without the bag on his back. It was fairly hot out there in Vegas, but Memphis is hot and humid, so the heat didn’t bother me too much. Plus, I would never hear the end of it from my golf buddies, the Golf Nuts, if I couldn’t go the entire round.  

TT: You did great. Thanks for representing Team Titleist so well!

I want to thank Team Titleist for the opportunity to be Nick’s caddie for the day. It was truly a great experience and I had a lot of fun doing it. Words can’t express my gratitude. As an avid golfer and a Titleist guy, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I liked Nick Watney before this experience, but I’m definitely a big fan now.

I was trying to get Nick to come to Memphis for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. If he does, I’ll be happy to take the bag again for a day. Also, the famous Memphis BBQ is on me if he makes it to the tournament.

A few weeks ago at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, Titleist Brand Ambassador Rory McIlroy was crouched on the practice range, his eyes fixed on a laptop computer.

On the screen was ball flight data from his fitting session with new Titleist MB (712 Series) irons. The numbers were exciting.

He would soon take the new irons out to the course for further testing, along with his new Vokey Design Spin Milled 4 (SM4) wedges.

A couple days later, Rory arrived at Kingsbarns for Round 1 with both the new MB irons and SM4 wedges in the bag, ready for action.

He would go on to shoot rounds of 70-67-66-65 for a 20-under total and finish second in the Dunhill Links. At the Koren Open the following week, Rory shot a tournament-best 6-under 64 in the final round to rally for another runner-up finish.

 And last Sunday in China, Rory got up-and-down from a greenside bunker on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the Shanghai Masters and cap a spectacular opening month for his new Titleist equipment.

For the majority of 2011, Rory gamed Titleist MB irons with Project X 6.5 shafts.

But during the fitting session in Scotland, Titleist Tour Technician Mattias Jelver noticed that Rory was swinging harder and faster than ever, a result of the U.S. Open champ's escalated fitness regimen.

Accordingly, Mattias suggested Rory test a stronger version of his current shaft in the new MB irons, moving from the Project X 6.5 to Project X 7.0.

Rory said he really liked the look and feel of the new MB irons. The Project X 7.0 shafts only gave him more confidence, resulting in a stronger ball flight with slightly reduced spin. The data on the computer showed an increase of 2-3 mph in ball speed and five yards of added distance with each iron.

Rory was just as pleased with his new Vokey Design SM4 wedges, the new tour extreme grooves and additional scorelines providing him with increased spin and control on his scoring shots.

The new Titleist AP1, AP2, CB and MB (712 Series) irons and Vokey Design SM4 wedges begin shipping to golf shops worldwide Nov. 18.

Below are the specs of Rory's new clubs:

Model: MB (712)
Composition: 3-9
Shaft: Project X 7.0
Length: Standard (#6 iron @ 37.5”)
Loft: 1° Strong (#6 iron @ 30°)
Lie: Standard (#6 iron @ 62.5°)
Grips: Golf Pride Multi-Compound Black/Yellow .580 (+1/64”)
Swingweight: D2

Model: Vokey Design SM4 (Raw Finish)
Loft / Bounce: 46•07º, 54•08º, 54•11º, 60•04º
Shaft: Project X 6.5
Length: Standard
Lie: Standard
Grips: Golf Pride Multi-Compound Black/Yellow .580 (+1/64”)
Swingweight: D5 (46.07 @ D3)

It's official – Titleist Brand Ambassador Mark Anderson will be a rookie next year on the PGA Tour.

Mark, who graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2008, received his 2012 PGA Tour card Sunday evening at the Nationwide Tour Championship at the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, S.C., following what had to be his best three performances of the season.

 Earlier this month at the Miccosukee Championship in Miami, Mark posted rounds of 65-72-66-68 to finish runner-up and move from 53rd to 25th on the Nationwide Tour money list, on the bubble for a Tour promotion.

The following week, he shot a final-round best 5-under 67 at TPC Sawgrass' Dye's Valley Course to finish T-7 at the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open and move to 19th on the money list.

After a solid showing Sunday at the Nationwide Tour Championship (T-29), including an eagle on the final hole, he was soon shaking hands with PGA Tour commissioner TIm Finchem and holding on to his first PGA Tour member's badge.

Team Titleist checked in with Mark last week in South Carolina to get the inside scoop on his Titleist equipment, as well as one of the recent changes to his setup that paid big dividends the last few weeks. Check it out in the above video.

Here's a closer look at Mark's Titleist equipment:

BallTitleist Pro V1x
DriverTitleist 910D2 7.5º (True Temper Project X X7B3)
Fairway metalTitleist 910Fd 15º (Aldila VS Prototype 95)
HybridTitleist 910H 19º (Aldila Hybrid VooDoo XVS9)
IronsTitleist AP2 (712 Series) 4-PW (True Temper Project X 6.5)
WedgesVokey Design SM4 52º,  58º & 60º (True Temper Dynamic Gold S400)
PutterScotty Cameron Kombi Long

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