Golf Buzz

Haydn Porteous
European Tour via Twitter
Haydn Porteous kept his clothes mostly dry at the Tshwane Open, and his score mostly good.
 
Most of us learned about Haydn Porteous when he seemingly came out of nowhere to win the European Tour's Joburg Open a couple weeks ago. The 21-year-old South African might not win this week in the Tshwane Open, but he certainly had a couple of highlight-reel moments in his opening round.
 
And both involved him shedding some, or almost all, of his clothes.
 
First, Porteous hit his second shot on the par-4 fourth hole into a swampy hazard just off the green. Wanting to keep his clothes clean and dry, he stripped off his shirt, shoes and socks, and rolled his pant legs up above his knees. He took a big, wet whack at the ball, but it wasn't quite big enough – his ball popped up into the air but didn't have enough oomph to clear the bank in front of the green, and he wound up with a double bogey. 
 
 
Amazingly, he followed that up with three straight birdies before finding himself in a somewhat similiar situation on the par-3 eighth hole. This time, he shed his shoes and socks, and took his swing – this one not only made it up onto the putting surface, but it hit the pin with a resounding thwack and stopped a foot or so away. Porteous strolled up in his bare feet and tapped the shortie for a not-so-routine par.
 
Despite the "watermarks" on his scorecard, he managed an even-par 70 and is tied for 23rd heading into Friday's second round. Here's his stripdown and scramble:
 
 
Chevron CEO John Watson
PGA Tour via YouTube
Chevron CEO John Watson celebrated a long-distance eagle on the iconic 18th hole at Pebble Beach on Thursday.
 
The field at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am this week is pretty stacked – Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are just some of the stars on hand out on the Monterey Peninsula. So it makes perfect sense that the best shot we've seen so far has come from an amateur.
 
John Watson, the CEO of oil giant Chevron, knocked in a gorgeous wedge shot from out in the fairway on the iconic 18th hole at Pebble Beach. His shot is just perfect – nice, high, and even cooler because as the camera pans up the ball bisects an airplane contrail. It lands softly on the green, spins smartly to the left and rolls right into the cup.
 
 
A lot of the amateurs at Pebble Beach are verrrry amateur, if you know what I mean. Watson most definitely is not. He plays to a handicap of 2, is a member of Augusta National, and was the captain of the golf team at California-Davis back in his college days. I'm not sure whether the current low gasoline prices are good or bad for his golf game, but he was certainly dialed in on that shot today.
 
Take a look:
 
 
February 10, 2016 - 5:53pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Davis Love III
PGA.com
The time is now for potential U.S. Ryder Cup team members to start rallying around one another. U.S. Captain Davis Love III said the team building has already begun and will continue in the months leading up to the matches at Hazeltine in September.

The 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn., is just 33 short weeks away.

On the eve of his 29th AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am start on Wednesday, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III talked about the playbook he is building for the American side that will have the team as relaxed as possible, as it tries to win the Ryder Cup for just the third time since 1999.

"We're grabbing ahold of these guys early on," Love said. "Once they're solid (looking like a lock to make the team), we can start talking about practice and team building. I've already done that with Jordan Spieth, Zach and Dustin Johnson... And at the Honda Classic in March, we're going to have a dinner with a bunch of guys. This is all part of our team building. We're not going to wait until the clothes fitting at Memorial to get together for the first time."

RELATED: Watch Love's presser from Pebble Beach | Latest U.S. standings | Full coverage

Love said that unlike his first go around as captain, he finds himself paying close attention to the points standings much earlier.

"There's been a lot of movement already," he said. "I've been watching from the start of the year -- Jordan got off to a great start. Jason Dufner, who I've talked about before, that was a great win for him (at CareerBuilder Challenge) to go from 32nd to eighth. Kevin Streelman, Harris English -- it's good to see them playing well and moving up. Rickie Fowler has been playing great wherever he plays. And I get to play three rounds with Brandt Snedeker this week like I did at the Sony... These guys are motivating me to do a good job."

Love is hoping this early investment in the team from the top right on down to the players will pay big dividends seven months from now.

He knows that -- as it always does -- the outcome will come down to putting, an area where the Europeans have excelled in recent history.

Love seemed poised for victory with his team at Medinah taking a healthy 10-6 lead into the Sunday singles, but the Europeans made a remarkable comeback to shatter those dreams.

"When the pressure gets on, it's harder to make putts," Love said. "That's what it comes down to. We're going to prepare the best we can and try to be relaxed this time."

After a lopsided defeat at Gleneagles in 2014, Love is hoping this year's team goes into the matches not just as prepared as possible, but also as cool and collected as possible.

"I don't think the players look back -- they look at it as an opportunity," Love said. "Dufner said it best to me at the PGA last year: 'I want to play on a winnning Ryder Cup team. It's a goal of mine.' They don't care about the past. These guys have maybe played in one or two and I know they're looking forward to winning one.

"I like what I'm seeing. Their attitudes are great," Love added. "They're not looking backwards. They're looking forward. They want to win." 

 

February 10, 2016 - 2:57pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Davis Love III
USA Today Sports Images
Today at 5 p.m. ET, live from Pebble Beach, Calif., the U.S. Ryder Cup Facebook page will stream 2016 U.S. Captain Davis Love III's press conference.

Be sure to tune in to the Ryder Cup Team USA Facebook page at 5 p.m. ET today for a live press conference from Pebble Beach, Calif., with 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III.

Just seven months away, the 2016 Ryder Cup will be played at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn.

The U.S. is looking for its first Ryder Cup win since 2008 at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky.

It's anticipated that Love will talk about the recent play of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler -- who look to be locks at this point -- as well as Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson and others.

You can see the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings here.

 

PGA Junior Golf Camps
PGA of America
After a successful inaugural season last year at 20 locations nationwide, the PGA of America’s PGA Junior Golf Camps for boys and girls ages 6-17 will expand to more than 75 locations in 2016, and debut its Competitive Edge overnight camps for advanced junior golfers this summer.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Feb. 10, 2016) -- After a successful inaugural season last year at 20 locations nationwide, the PGA of America’s PGA Junior Golf Camps for boys and girls ages 6-17 will expand to more than
75 locations in 2016, and debut its Competitive Edge overnight camps for advanced junior golfers this summer.

Half- and Full-Day PGA Junior Golf Camps

All PGA Junior Golf Camps are taught by PGA Professionals and designed for juniors of all skill levels. The camps’ curriculum allows kids to learn the game in a fun, supportive environment. This follows a unique progression development tract that focuses on promoting fundamental golf skills, including full swing, putting and chipping—as well as life and character skills, such as good sportsmanship, camaraderie and integrity.

Competitive Edge Overnight PGA Junior Golf Camps

New for 2016, the Competitive Edge camps are focused on intense game improvement for co-eds ages 12-18 preparing for tournament play and collegiate golf. Camps include the advanced study of all aspects of the game, the use of the industry’s most advanced instruction technologies, and daily on-course instruction to hone course management skills. These advanced camps will also incorporate fitness and conditioning sessions, nutrition seminars, and evening sessions, featuring notable experts within the junior golf space. Three Competitive Edge camp locations have been announced, including Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis., the home of the 97th PGA Championship; Silverado Resort & Country Club in Napa, Calif.; and Pauma Valley (Calif.) Country Club just outside of San Diego. An additional location in South Florida is slated to be announced mid-month.

“PGA Junior Golf Camps’ focus is on both golf and character skill development,” said PGA President Derek Sprague. “That, combined with the fact that they are all led by PGA Professionals, is what makes them so successful. As the PGA celebrates its Centennial in 2016, we remain steadfast in our commitment to growing the game of golf, and these camps will help ensure the future of our sport.”

“Whether a child wants to pick up a new skill and learn to play a round with mom and dad, or is interested in competitive tournament play and earning college scholarships, PGA Junior Golf Camps are teaching a game that can be enjoyed for a lifetime,” said Marc Haddad, founder and CEO of PGA Junior Golf Camps. “We look forward to building our network of PGA Junior Golf Camps across the country with the PGA of America brand, which represents the best in golf instruction.”

Camps registration is now open. To find camps by state and to register online, visit PGAJuniorGolfCamps.com or call 888-PGA-PLAY (888-742-7529). 

February 10, 2016 - 10:57am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker
USA Today Sports Images
In Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker, you're looking at two of the favorites this week at Pebble Beach.

Many of the most impossibly beautiful, most iconic holes in all of golf will be on full display this week with the playing of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

As usual, a who's who of celebrities will be on hand for the event, but there's also an all-star line up of PGA Tour professionals teeing it up too, led by none other than world No. 1 Jordan Spieth.

Whether it's the gorgeous par-3 seventh hole, the cliffhanger par-4 eighth hole, or the risk-reward par-5 18th hole, players can't get swept up in the scenery. As always, birdies are a must.

RELATED: Pebble Beach Pro-Am tee times | Hahn ready to be a household name

Here are the five players to keep a close eye on this week:

5. Jason Day
Best finish in 2015-16 season:
T10 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: In two starts this year, Day has a T10 and a missed cut. I'm not going to read much into the missed cut, however. That came at Torrey Pines, where Day was the defending champion, but very much under the weather and it was questionable as to whether or not he'd be able to tee it up at all. Like a pro, he did. But, it was far from his best stuff. His last three starts at Pebble have yielded two top-6 finishes. With Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler all playing so well right now, it's time for Day to turn it up a notch too.

4. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2015-16 season:
Won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: On a world tour lately, this will be Spieth's third start of the season on the PGA Tour and the first since winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. If he's rested up -- and hopefully he is -- Spieth has made himself a factor whenever and wherever he plays. A T7 at Pebble a year ago was near the start of his amazing season. That finish at Pebble was one of seven top-10 finishes in nine starts that Spieth strung together. Fantastic stuff.

3. Brandt Snedeker
Best finish in 2015-16 season:
Won the Farmers Insurance Open
Reason to watch: Snedeker is enjoying one heck of a start to his PGA Tour season -- a great sign for both him and U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III with the matches headed to Hazeltine in September. In seven starts, Snedeker has a win, a playoff loss and a third-place showing. All those came in three consecutive starts. What else do I like about Sneds this week? He's the defending champ at Pebble and has won two of the last three played there.

2. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2015-16 season:
T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open
Reason to watch: Walker, the 2014 champion at Pebble Beach, comes into this week riding high after a season-best T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open in his last start two weeks ago. That win in 2014 came after three consecutive years with a top-10 finish at Pebble. In his title defense a year ago, Walker finished in a tie for 21st. The course fits his eye well and his length is a huge asset. If the putter is dialed in, he'll be a factor again.

1. Dustin Johnson
Best finish in 2015-16 season: T
5 at the WGC-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: Two of Johnson's nine PGA Tour victories have come at Pebble Beach (2009, 2010) and he seemed poised to also win the 2010 U.S. Open there until he blew up with an 82 in the final round to finish tied for eighth. Outside the two wins, Johnson also has four other top-10 finishes in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, including last year's T4 and a T2 in 2014. Given his track record, it's impossible for Johnson not to be the favorite this week.

SLEEPER: Pat Perez
Reason to watch:
It's been a rough start to the 2015-16 season for Perez. In eight starts, he's made the cut just twice and neither of those finishes -- 63rd at the CIMB Classic and T81 at the Sony Open in Hawaii -- were particularly pretty. But he loves Pebble Beach. He tied for fourth there a year ago, tied for seventh in 2014 and was the runner up in 2002. Maybe this week gives him a spark he desperately needs to get this season going in the right direction.

Here's how my five to watch fared last week in the Waste Management Phoenix Open:

Sleeper: Missed cut
5. Ryan Moore -- T11
4. Ryan Palmer -- T24
3. Bubba Waston -- T14
2. Brooks Koepka -- T41
1. J.B. Holmes -- T6