Titleist in Madeira

Whilst some of the European Tour's most recogniseable names are engaged in Match Play duals at Finca Cortesin this week, a host of talent has also headed to the beautiful island of Madeira for this year's Madeira Island's Open. The cliff-top links of Porto Santo Golf Club again welcomes the players for the event, and what a poignant moment for the European Tour to be visiting a venue designed by the late, great Seve Ballesteros.

The world of golf is very much in mourning over the loss of one of the most talented, inspirational and colourful characters ever to grace the game and, as you can see from the accompanying slide-show, the tournament organisers have paid their own tribute to Seve with flowers that mark out his name on one of the course's most prominent areas. It's easy to see why Seve would have chosen to design the par-72 layout at Porto Santo; not only is it a spectacular piece of terrain providing magnificent vistas over the Atlantic, but the blustery conditions that can be created on the small island of Madeira would have been a perfect fit for his legendary shot-making skills. One thing is for sure, all those players arriving in Madeira for this week's event have Seve at the very forefront of their thoughts - the great man will be sorely missed by everyone on the European Tour.

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With two events taking place in Europe this week the Titleist Team face a logistical challenge to ensure that all the players are catered for. Titleist Tour Representative Mattias Jelver has headed down to Finca Cortesin to work with the players at the Volvo World Match Play whilst fellow Tour Representatives Guy Smith and Phil Dimmock took the Madeira event. With Madeira so isolated, it's an impossibility to have the Titleist Tour Support Vehicle (TTSV) on site for the event so product has to be shipped from Titleist's European HQ well in advance to ensure that our Team have product to work with when they arrive. It's quite the logistical operation to make sure everything runs smoothly but the Titleist 'dream team' had everything under control and, as you can see from the slideshow, did it all whilst remaining cool, calm and collected!!!

Amongst those in the field this week in Madeira are two Stevens; namely messrs Tiley and Lewton. Titleist golf ball loyalist Steven Tiley has recently made the switch to the 2011 Pro V1x having used a previous generation version of the ball and is continuing to familarise himself with the product. The 28-year old from Herne Bay, England will be looking to make the most of the absence of some of the European Tour's leading lights to post a strong finish in Madeira, and the improved aerodynamics and consistent flight of the 2011 Pro V1x will certainly be of benefit in potentially windy conditions. Fellow Englishman Steve Lewton will also peg it up in Madeira looking for a strong finish to really kick-start his season. The big-hitting Titleist Ambassador will undoubtedly be looking to utilise his power at Porto Santo and if his hitting on the range is anything to go by the course should be rather worried. Steve is more than capable of generating ball speeds of 180mph with his Titleist 910D3 driver.

Good luck to all our Titleist loyalists in action this week at Finca Cortesin and Porto Santo.

Rory returns with a new weapon

Titleist Ambassador Rory McIlroy is one of an elite field of players teeing it up at Finca Cortesin Golf Club for the 2011 Volvo World Match Play Championship. The event is back on Spain's Costa del Sol after a short hiatus and Rory is just one of the players who will be looking to wrestle the title away from Titleist Ambassador Ross Fisher, who won the first playing of the event at Finca Cortesin back in October of 2009.

22-year old Rory is now established as one of the game's top performers and currently occupies sixth spot in the Official World Golf Rankings. The sweet swinging Ulsterman is widely regarded as one of the most talented players in world and he will undoubtedly prove a formidable match play opponent for anyone in the field at Finca Cortesin. Despite his tender years Rory is no rookie when it comes to match play having represented Great Britain and Ireland at the 2007 Walker Cup during his time as an amateur and, more recently, played a vital role in Team Europe's victory over the USA at the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

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Rory hasn't been seen on European soil since the Maybank Malaysian Open back in mid-April due to defending his Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow on the PGA Tour and taking some well earned rest. A trip to the US can often result in a player arriving back with some new equipment and Rory was no exception. Titleist Tour Representative Mattias Jelver caught up with Rory at Finca Cortesin to find an interesting looking Scotty Cameron headcover in the bag alongside his regular 'gamer'. The headcover was created by Scotty to commemorate Cinco de Mayo (translates literally to 'Fifth of May'), a day which annually celebrates Mexican pride and heritage. The headcover, which draws on the Mexican passion for Lucha Libre wrestling, is undoubtedly another creative masterpiece from the Scotty Cameron studio, but was quickly usurped by what lay beneath. A quick rip of the velcro revealed a stunning new Scotty Cameron putter which Rory has recently added to his arsenal; namely a tour issue Studio Select Newport featuring a deep-milled face and dull chromatic bronze finish. It remains to be seen whether the putter will go in the bag for the World Match Play this week but don't be surprised to see Rory hit the links with it in the near future.

Check out Rory's new putter in the accompanying slide show.