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Rife rolls on as Champions Tour journeyman claims win at Royal Troon

You gotta figure that when a small boutique brand like Rife shows up in both bags during a playoff in a Champions Tour major, they must be doing something right.

Such was the case last weekend as Bruce Vaughan, a journeyman pro and former fireman who was mourning the recent death of his mother, squared off against John Cook in a sudden-death match-play showdown at the Senior British Open at Royal Troon.

Both Vaughan and Cook were rocking Rife putters, which the company claims are the No. 1 choice of players on the senior circuit despite the fact none of them collect a dime to play the product. It’s the first time, as noted below, the Champions Tour has seen an “all-Rife playoff.”

Meanwhile, we can’t seem to get our 2-Bar Hybrid (scroll down for last month’s review) out of the official Gear Head tour bag. Ungainly shape notwithstanding, the 2BH continues to impress, providing a degree of stability and ease of alignment that’s hard to find in other, more traditionally shaped putters.

A friend of mine who continues to play the original 2-Bar agrees that there’s only one downside: a definite lack of feel on testy short putts. My solution is the same as Tiger’s: play less break and firm it to the back of the cup. It’s not perfect, but I’m definitely taking fewer putts per round since switching to Rife.

Here’s a segment of Rife’s weekly Champions Tour report, with the model name of the putter used in brackets behind the player’s name.

Bruce Vaughan rolled in a 20 footer on the first playoff hole of sudden death to beat out John Cook (Cayman) and claim the Senior British Open Title at Royal Troon. This was the 2nd Major Championship for RIFE Putters in the past 14 months and their 6th win on the Champions Tour this year.

Vaughan (Antigua) took home $315,600 and it was the first victory of his career on the PGA or Champions Tour.

“Money is great but until you win, you’re just another player. It’s all about winning. You only get a few of these,” said the former firefighter, whose mother Maxine died in a car crash seven weeks ago after returning from watching him play a tournament in Iowa.

RIFE had 23 putters in play this week at the Senior British including an astonishing 13 of the top 27 players with Vaughan, Cook, Phil Blackmar (Aussie,) an Andy Bean (Cayman) all finishing inside the top 10. The playoff between Vaughan and Cook was the first all RIFE playoff in history and both players have worked exclusively with Champions Tour Rep/CEO Jim Barfield. RIFE continues to be the # 1 Putter on The Champions Tour without paying a single player.

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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