Darren Clarke splits with caddy

The reigning Open Champion Darren Clarke has decided to part ways with his caddy John Mulrooney.

Since hoisting the Claret Jug, Clarke's performances have been nothing spectacular. In fact, his best finish since that emotional win was a tie for 10th at the Volvo Golf Champions two weeks ago in South Africa.

After carding rounds of 72 and 81 last week in Abu Dhabi, Clarke's management team, ISM informed Reuters the split was coming.

The split ISM informed was amicable and no hard feelings are felt on either side.

Clarke will now weigh out his options for a new bag man as he prepares for his next event at the World Golf Championship-Accenture Match Play.

Mickelson's mind on daughter at Torrey Pines after seizures

Phil Mickelson's play as of late has raised many heads and questions around the golfing world. Questions of if he still has it or is he losing it.

This week as the PGA Tour headed to what is pretty much a home game for Mickelson at Torrey Pines.

Once again, his play was under a microscope.

'Lefty' opened the 2012 Farmer Insurance Open with a five-over, 77. Not what you would have expected from a guy who has probably hundreds of rounds logged on these courses.

Though his play may have looked 'off', there was more on Mickelson's mind than just golf this week.

It seems Mickelson's 10-year old daughter, Sophia, was recently at a nearby hospital in San Diego, undergoing tests after experiencing a small seizure while at school the previous week.

“It’s been a rough week,” Mickelson's wife Amy said Friday, in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune. “But you get through it. She’s been a trouper. She’s held up pretty well.”

Mickelson had little to say about the events, though he did say, "I just wasn't able to focus."

And who could really blame him considering the recent situations with the health of one of his children.

Fowler moves away from Titleitst clubs to Cobra

Today, young PGA Tour star Rickie Fowler announced that he has changed club manufacturers; switching from Titleist to Cobra.

In 2010, Cobra was purchased by Puma; one of Folwer's main sponsors, from Acushnet.

Fowler's new club brand will be putting him at the front of their marketing campaigns for their new AMP line of clubs. Including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons.

“I am so excited to have the Cobra sticks in my bag and be a full part of the Cobra-Puma Team,” Fowler said in his official release.

“I’ve been hitting the AMP driver great. I’m getting a lot more distance and the orange details look really fresh. I can’t wait to get out at Torrey Pines and put my new Cobra clubs into play.”

Fowler will begin using the new Cobra equipment this week at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Dustin Johnson withdraws from Humana due to lower back

Dustin Johnson, was very excited to begin his 2012 PGA Tour season earlier than expected at the Humana Challenge in LaQuinta, California -- Was forced to withdraw from the event due to issues with his lower back pain caused by his right knee.

Johnson as you may remember, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in November to repair damage to cartilage in that knee.

The long hitting five-time PGA Tour winner had been hitting full shots the past several weeks leading up to the Humana Challenge.

However, he had not yet walked 18 holes prior to this; his first event of the 2012 season.

"My knee is ok. My lower back is really stiff and hurting, which I think is from the way I'm walking or the fact that I have not walked a lot since my surgery. Yesterday was the first time I walked a full 18 holes." Johnson said after he withdrew.

Johnson carded an even-par 72 in the opening round. He made it through just nine holes in round two; which he carded a 40, before withdrawing.

PGA Tour announces partnership with USA Today Sports

The PGA Tour announced today that they have signed a five-year official marketing relationship with the USA Today Sports Media Group through the year, 2016.

Per the agreement, USA Today is to receive exclusive rights to use the PGA Tour logo for print as well as digital extensions of USA Today Sports, in marketing and sales purposes.

President of the USA Today Sports Media Group, Tom Beuss had this to say on the partnership.

“The PGA Tour is one of the premier sports brands in the world, and we’re honored that they’ve selected us as their partner, especially for the long term.”

For the PGA Tour, they will have the opportunity for preferred rates on advertising spots as well as Tour-themed sections in all of USA Today Sports extensions through each year of the partnership agreement.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the USA Today Sports Media Group and look forward to developing our relationship and leveraging this platform to bring added value to our entire family of corporate sponsors.” Said Tom Wade, Chief Marketing Officer for the PGA Tour.

Matt Every's putter draws attention in Hawaii

When many fans tuned in to watch the television coverage of the 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii. They saw something that was pretty hard not to take notice of.

What was Matt Every putting with?

It looked like some sort of kitchen utensil attached to a putter shaft.

The putter is actually called the Black Hawk and is manufactured by Orion Golf -- Designed by David Kargetta.

The principal and design behind the hard to miss putter is that the 440-gram putter, will allow for the ball to be online with it's target every putt.

Promotional media for the putter claims that the 21,000 grams-per-centimeter-squared of MOI, makes it near impossible to hit your putts off line.

How did it work for Every last week?

His putting stats through all four rounds at the Sony Open went something like this.

27, 25, 30 and 31 putts in his four rounds. He was tied for 23rd in that category.

“I wouldn't be doing the putter justice if I explained it to you." said Every on his much talked about putter and Internet searched putter.

"Like I know that it works for me.”

Gary Woodland has a new swing coach; Butch Harmon

A week ago, Gary Woodland announced that he was leaving his old agent [Blake Smith] at Hambric Sports of six years, as well as his swing coach [Randy Smith], to join the team at Excel Sports Management.

The moves continue for Woodland this week, as he announced that his new swing coach is none other than Butch Harmon.

“I’m very excited about it,” Woodland said about going with Harmon. “Butch has taken people where I want to go.”

“Obviously I’m still talking with Fax (Champions Tour player Brad Faxon) on putting, but my game is close." Woodland continued.

"I need to work on driving the ball better. If I do that, if I keep the driver in play, I think I can do really well out here. I think I’ll be able to compete with anybody.”

In 2011, though Woodland was ranked 5th in driving distance. He finished 137th in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour, hitting 58.07% of the fairways.

Quotes courtesy of GolfWeek

Putting a big key for Stricker in Hawaii

Steve Stricker's third round in Hawaii at the 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions began with a five stroke lead -- It ended the same way.

Though he did have challengers throughout the round, Stricker stayed poised and birdied out his round from No. 15 in, to regain his five stroke lead heading into the final round.

His putting performance this week so far in Hawaii has been one of his strong points, and has helped him maintain that lead heading into the rare Monday finish.

Stricker is ranked first this week in: Strokes Gained-Putting, Putts Per Round and Putts Per Green.

In his first three rounds, he has taken 29, 26 and 27 putts per round.

Add that to his T1 position carding birdies (21). No wonder Stricker has a five stroke lead heading into the final round.

Jeff Overton enters guilty plea on disordely conduct charges

In mid-December of last year, you may recall reading that Jeff Overton had been arrested for disorderly conduct in Bloomington, Indiana.

On December 21st, Overton entered a guilty plea to the court on those disorderly conduct charges.

The police report said officers witnessed Overton yelling from his limousine at a group of people as his limo was blocking traffic flow in front of a local establishment on Walnut street -- Kilroy's Sports Bar.

The driver of the limo said they were outside waiting on others to emerge from the sports bar when police instructed him he could not block the flow of traffic.

Later in the evening, the limousine was pulled over after reports of Oveton yelling at several people.Reports say that Overton refused to corporate with police after being asked to present his identification.

The preceding judge of the case Judge Teresa D. Harper ordered Overton to 30 hours of community service and to pay the $165 in court administrative costs.

Paul Casey on the shelf after dislocating shoulder

During his off-season activities, Paul Casey was getting in some snow-boarding time in Vail, Colorado and has suffered a dislocated right shoulder.

The injury; along with is treatment, will keep the Englishmen side lined for the first few months of the 2012 season.

"I am very frustrated as I was really looking forward to getting off to a fast start in 2012. Casey said. "I'm disappointed to miss out on defending my title at the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa in January and also the entire Middle East swing."

"I've always played well in the desert and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship is one of my favourite events of the year so I will particularly hate sitting out that one."

“The good news is that the experts I've seen say I don’t need surgery and, having already started my rehabilitation exercises, I should be back hitting balls in a few weeks."

Kapalua claims another victim before the tournament

Last year it was two-time defending champion Geoff Ogilvy, who cuts his finger on a coral reef while enjoying the water sports near Kapalua.

Which could have led to his bid for a three-peat in the season's opener.

This year it appears to be Lucas Glover.

Glover, while paddle boarding over the weekend, injured his knee as one of his feet become stuck while the other was still on the paddle board -- Moving in the opposite direction.

Later tests would show Glover suffered a sprained ligament in his right knee.

Which of course is not a good thing to have in your golf swing, as it [golf swing] produces a lot of stress on the legs and body transferring weight through the entire swing.

This injury could force Glover to miss the event.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions Round 1 Tee Times

Plantation Course at Kapalua

10:35 - Bryce Molder :: Michael Bradley
10:45 - Harrison Frazer :: Ben Crane
10:55 - Johnson Wagner :: Kevin Na
11:05 - Sean O'Hair :: Scott Pirecy
11:15 - D.A. Points :: Scott Stallings
11:25 - Brendan Steele :: Jhonattan Vegas
11:35 - Chris Kirk :: Lucas Glover
11:45 - Martin Laird :: Rory Sabbatini
11:55 - Mark Wilson :: Bubba Watson
12:05 - Keegan Bradley :: David Toms
12:15 - Gary Woodland :: Steve Stricker
12:25 - K.J. Choi :: Aaron Baddeley
12:35 - Webb Simpson :: Nick Watney
12:45 - Jonathan Byrd :: Bill Haas

Excel Sports Management signs Gary Woodland

Excel Sports Management have announced they have added to their growing stable of golfers, signing Gary Woodland.

Excel, of course has agent to Tiger Woods, Mark Steinburg representing all of their golfing talent.

Woodland will be joining fellow golfers Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar along with other athletes including Paul Pierce, Jason Kidd and Derek Jeter.

New Years baby for Justin Rose and wife

2012 couldn't have started out any better for Justin Rose and his wife Kate.

On 01/01/2012, the couple welcomed their new baby daughter Charlotte Rose into the world.

The Rose's also have a baby boy, Leo, now almost three years old who was born in February of 2009.

"2012 couldn't have started any better! Baby Charlotte Rose was born 01/01/12! She and Kate are doing great." Confirmed Rose via his twitter account on New Year's day.

Knowing the birth of their daughter could interfere with Rose playing in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He decided it best, not make the trip to Hawaii, as the delivery could have happened at anytime.