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Posted: May 31, 2012
"It took me a while to recover from the shock," says Team Titleist member Keith Belshaw. "At first I wondered if it was a joke, but then I saw the email address and realised it was genuine. That's when a big smile spread across my face."
That was the reaction from Keith when he found out that he had won the Team Titleist sweepstakes to caddy for Titleist ambassador and all-round nice guy Rafa Cabrera-Bello in the pro-am at the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club. There's a video of Keith's day at the end of this post or just click here to watch.
Keith, a member at Longhirst Hall near Morpeth in Northumberland, and his guest Graham Chambers drove to Wentworth last Tuesday morning and, after being greeted, were given a tour of the Titleist Tour truck. Some of the afternoon was spent discussing football memories with former player and BBC pundit Mark Bright, who also popped onto the truck to say hello!!
Keith and Batts wait at the first tee for their man
Late in the afternoon Keith was introduced to Rafa and his caddy Mike "Batts" Batty on the putting green and arrangements were made for the following day.
The next morning Keith and Graham watched some of the morning pro-am, before Keith reported to the range to pick up Rafa's bag. Batts talked Keith through the yardage book and what else Rafa would be looking for from his new caddy.
After a quick bite to eat, it was time to go to the clubhouse to be picked up and taken out to the fourth tee where Rafa would join his pro-am team mates - Golf Monthly's senior staff writer Paul O'Hagen and two Golf Monthly prize winners!
Getting ready for the right club selection at the par-3 14th
"I normally use a trolley at home," says Keith. "So as soon as I found out that I was going to picking up Rafa's bag, I started carrying my own in preparation.
"But I'm not sure it was enough preparation," laughs Keith. "I struggled a little to get the bag balanced and the weight is unreal. It's testament to Batts that he's able to meet the physical demands of being on the bag, as well as providing the precision of advice and support that he does during any given round!"
Keith and Rafa check and re-check yardages during the pro-am
What followed was an afternoon filled with laughter, some great golf and an experience that will live with Keith forever more.
"I can't begin to express what a fantastic experience this has been - it's one I'll never forget," enthuses Keith. "Rafa and Batts were phenomenal and couldn't have made me feel more welcome and involved."
Well, we're glad that Keith enjoyed his time at Wentworth and extend our thanks to Rafa and Batts for giving Team Titleist a sight "inside-the-ropes" that most golf fans only dream about!
With sunshine beating down on the Twenty Ten course at The Celtic Manor Resort, spirits were high amongst the players on the lead up to the Wales Open.
The venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup, the Twenty Ten measures 7,378 yards for a par of 71 and should present opportunities for low scoring - the rough isn't too penal and the greens aren't lightning quick, measuring 10'4" on the stimpmeter. Protection for the course will come from water on 10 of the holes and the chance of a weather change towards the end of the week.
The Titleist truck rolled out of Wentworth after the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday afternoon and was parked up behind the range at Celtic Manor near Newport, South Wales, by Sunday evening. This week saw the remaining new staff bags issued to players who weren't in the field at Wentworth, with the Titleist Tour Team busy with some tweaks to a few clubs and some evaluation work with a number of players.
At the time of writing, Titleist ambassador Lee Slattery sits atop the leaderboard at -4 through 13, alongside Pro V1x lyalist Marcel Siem - it's early days, but we wish all the players good luck for the tournament.
To view the slideshow, simply click on the image below:
It's an international field at the Wales Open at the Celtic Manor Resort
Posted: May 30, 2012
Two of golf's best short games took starring roles over the weekend as Titleist Brand Ambassador Zach Johnson and Pro V1x loyalist Luke Donald raised trophies on different sides of the Atlantic.
Trusting a Pro V1x golf ball and bag of Titleist equipment, Johnson captured his eighth PGA Tour victory Sunday evening at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial after a duel with fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Jason Dufner (Pro V1).
Earlier in the day at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Donald broke 70 for the fourth-consecutive round to win comfortably and regain the World No. 1 ranking.
Victories by Pro V1 players Roger Chapman (Senior PGA Championship) and Hiroyuki Fujita (Japan Tour) resulted in a four-win week for Titleist golf ball players around the globe.
Through the first five months of 2012, Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x players have combined for 65 wins across the worldwide professional tours, more than eight times the nearest competitor with eight and more than all competitors combined. A total of 7,953 players have relied on Titleist golf balls for their success in those same events, nearly six times the nearest competitor with 1,332 and more than all other golf balls combined.
Johnson's victory, his second in three years at Colonial, was the masterwork of a short game that currently ranks fourth in the PGA Tour's Scrambling statistic (66.23 percent).
Gaming three Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges, Johnson got his Pro V1x up-and-down 21 of 26 times over the four days on his way to a 12-under 268 victory total (64-67-65-72).
In Round 3, Johnson needed only eight one-putts in a front-nine 31 that also featured a chip-in birdie on No. 2. Only two players in PGA Tour history have played nine hole with less putts.
"My short game carried me," Johnson, 36, said after Saturday's six-birdie, one-bogey 65.
It marked the 16th victory for Titleist golf ball players through the first 23 events of the 2012 PGA Tour season.
Dufner, who had won twice in his last three starts, finished one shot back of Johnson at 11-under 269, as Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x players occupied 10 of the top 12 positions on the final leader board.
Five Titleist golf ball loyalists tied for fifth place at 5-under 275, including Titleist Brand Ambassador Chris Kirk (Pro V1x ), Rickie Fowler (Pro V1x ), Ryan Palmer (Pro V1x ), John Huh (Pro V1 ) and Harris English (Pro V1).
Titleist Brand Ambassador Ben Crane (Pro V1x) tied for 10th at 3-under 277 along with Pro V1x loyalists Jonathan Byrd and Jonas Blixt.
Of the 120 players in the field, 86 relied upon Titleist golf balls for their success, more than seven times the nearest competitor with 12. Titleist also led the field in iron sets (37); sand, lob and approach wedges (126); and putters (51).
Here's a closer look at Zach Johnson's Titleist equipment:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1xDriver: Titleist 910D2 9.5º (Diamana Blue 73)3-wood: Titleist 910F 15º (Motore Speeder VC 7.0)5-wood: Titleist 909F2 18.5º (ZCOM Pro 95)Hybrid: Titleist 909H 21º (Speeder 904HB)Irons: Titleist AP1 (4) and AP2 (5-9) 712 Series (Dynamic Gold)Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 48º, 54º, 60V (Dynamic Gold)
• EUROPEAN TOUR: Luke Donald won for the sixth time in the last 15 months with his second consecutive victory at the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's flagship event.
His trademark consistency into and around the greens at Wentworth resulted in rounds of 68-68-69-68 for a 15-under 273 total and four-shot victory. Donald, who currently ranks first on the PGA Tour in scrambling (67.96 percent), was the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s.
"With his short game and him making 20- and 30-footers, he's tough to beat," one of his opponents said.
Donald played his final 13 holes in 5 under and without a bogey.
"To come and defend and get back to (World No. 1) is very sweet indeed," said Donald, 34. "I just needed to settle down a bit. This is a big week and I felt some of the pressure. I take a great amount of satisfaction. It means I am doing the right things – the hard work is paying off and I have a great team around me."
Pro V1x loyalist Paul Lawrie finished co-runner-up at 11-under 227 after closing in 6-under 66.
A total of 81 players in the field trusted Titleist golf balls for their success, three times more than the nearest competitor with 27 and more than all competitors combined.
• CHAMPIONS TOUR: Pro V1 loyalist Roger Chapman cruised to his first major championship title with a wire-to-wire victory at the Senior PGA Championship.
"It's the greatest day of my professional career," said Chapman, 53. "No question about that."
Chapman posted rounds of 68-67-64-72 at Harbor Shores for a 13-under 271 total, two shots clear of Pro V1 loyalist John Cook.
On Saturday, he rolled his Pro V1 in for five birdies over a seven-hole stretch on the back nine to give himself a five-shot cushion heading into the final round.
"It's the best feeling in the world," he said. "This is what we strive for, this is what we practice and work hard for."
In the end, Chapman topped a leader board that featured seven Titleist golf ball players in the top 10. Of the 155 players in the event, 109 relied upon Titleist golf balls for their success, more than six times the nearest competitor with 16 and more than all other golf balls combined.
• JAPAN TOUR: Hiroyuki Fujita (Pro V1) closed with a 73 to capture the Diamond Cup Golf 2012. Fujita finished at 14-under 274 and won by three shots over Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Pro V1x).
Last week's winner at the Totoumi Hamamatsu Open, Jay Choi (Pro V1x) tied for third at 10-under 278 along with Yauharu Imano (Pro V1x) and Hidezumi Shirakata (Pro V1x) .
The win marks the 13th JGTO victory for Fujita and his second of the year. He also captured the Tsuruya Open in April.
• NCAA DIVISION 1 WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP: Titleist was the golf ball of choice at the NCAA Division 1 Women's Championship, where 115 players trusted the #1 Ball in Golf, more than 14 times the nearest competitor with 8, and more than all other competing golf balls combined.