Golf Buzz

January 14, 2014 - 5:35pm
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John Holmes
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Matthew Fitzpatrick
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Matthew Fitzpatrick has opted to "dedicate 100 percent of my time to the game and have decided to withdraw from university in the U.S," according to a statement released by Northwestern.
Top-ranked amateur Matthew Fitzpatrick, widely regarded as British golf's hottest prospect, has dropped out of college in the United States to pursue his career back in his native England. 
 
Fitzpatrick, 19, followed the path taken by compatriot Luke Donald by attending Northwestern University in Chicago last year, after a successful summer in which he won the U.S. Amateur and the silver medal in the British Open for being the top amateur. 
 
Fitzpatrick has opted to "dedicate 100 percent of my time to the game and have decided to withdraw from university in the U.S," according to a statement released by Northwestern.  
 
Fitzpatrick's plans "are to remain as an amateur golfer for the foreseeable future" rather than turn professional, England Golf (the governing body for amateur golf in England) said on Tuesday.
 
Fitzpatrick has qualified to play in this year's Masters, U.S. Open and the British Open. 
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report
 
January 14, 2014 - 4:00pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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PUMA Golf
PUMA Golf
PUMA Golf's new BIOFUSION golf shoe will be available Feb. 1.

Today, PUMA Golf introduced the BIOFUSION, the latest Tour shoe from the brand's Pro Collection and part of the PUMA Golf LiteStyle platform. Designed to provide golfers with the ultimate performance, lightweight comfort and style, BIOFUSION combines PUMA Golf's most innovative footwear technologies—developed and tested by Tour players—into one sleek and eye-catching silhouette, while offering a two-year waterproof guarantee.

"The BIOFUSION literally fuses our most advanced and top performing technologies into a system that works together to create a revolutionary golf shoe," said Grant Knudson, footwear manager, PUMA Golf. "Our goal here is to provide golfers with the best of what PUMA Golf has to offer, merging function and fashion to improve their game and increase confidence on the course."

RELATED: PUMA introduces Monolite shoe for on and off the golf course

BIOFUSION is the most recent addition to PUMA Golf's new vision for golf footwear: LiteStyle. PUMA says that after hearing consumers' demand for more options offering lightweight comfort, the average weight of the entire 2014 PUMA Golf footwear line is only 10.4 oz. and the line's lightest shoe -- also the lightest shoe in golf -- is a staggering 6.5 oz. The lightweight nature of the footwear line delivers extreme comfort without sacrificing stability, support or performance.

"Every shoe we have developed for our 2014 collection, including BIOFUSION, began with the LiteStyle vision: lightweight comfort, performance and style," said Tom Manthe, global marketing manager, PUMA Golf. "As the driving force behind the PUMA Golf footwear line, LiteStyle fits perfectly into PUMA Golf’s mantra, 'Look Better. Feel Better. Play Better.' The styles of footwear within the platform can be identified with a LiteStyle stamp; so if you see the stamp, its LiteStyle approved."

Available in four fresh color options, Vibrant Orange/White, Black/White/PUMA Silver, White/Tradewinds/Fluo Yellow and White/Black, each shoe comes with two sets of laces, allowing golfers to customize their look as often as they want.

The BIOFUSION ($170) and BIOFUSION Womens ($110) will be available at golf retailers starting Feb. 1, 2014. Along with the BIOFUSION, PUMA Golf is launching the BIOFUSION Lite, which has the same performance features found in the Tour level shoe, boasts a similar silhouette, and is available at retailers starting March 1, 2014 in three colorways―Black/White/Fluo Yellow, White/Black and White/Vibrant orange―at a MSRP of $120, making it a true performer for players of all levels.

For more information on PUMA Golf's entire collection of products, visit http://www.cobragolf.com/pumagolf/. You can also find PUMA Golf on Facebook and on Twitter, @pumagolf.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

January 14, 2014 - 2:07pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bubba Watson
YouTube
Bubba Watson holed a lengthy putt Monday... on a private jet.

Former Masters champion Bubba Watson has built a reputation of not taking himself too seriously off the golf course (on it is another matter).

Monday, Watson posted a video on YouTube from a private jet where he makes a length-of-the-cabin putt that includes hitting the ball off a bank. Here's the tweet Watson sent out:

"Bubba Watson here, with a Sports Center Top 10 nominee," the video starts.

Here's the video:

Overall, pretty impressive how nonchalantly Watson puts the ball down and quickly hits the putt.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

January 14, 2014 - 12:14am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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John Daly
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John Daly opened his week at the Humana Challenge by winning a car with an ace in the Monday pro-am.
If anybody deserves a good break these days, it just might be John Daly. And he got one on Monday.
 
He made a hole-in-one in a pro-am at the Humana Challenge and won a brand-new $60,000 Hyundai Equus. Even more amazingly, Long John made that ace with his first swing with a brand-new Callaway 9-iron.
 
Yes, his very first swing. 
 
A representative from Callaway had walked out to the 154-yard seventh hole on the Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West to give him the club, which had just been outfitted with a longer shaft. Daly took a cut and, he said, didn't even look at the shot.
 
''I leaned over to get my tee and was telling the Callaway representative that it felt pretty good,'' Daly said, according to PGA Tour officials. ''He said, 'Good, because it just went in the hole. '''
 
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, three of Daly's children were in the gallery and he said, ''Trust me, with three kids I will put the new Hyundai to good use.''
 
The blond bomber's game was coming around last year when he was knocked out of action in mid-seaosn with an elbow injury. 
 
He recently returned to action, and opened last week's Sony Open with a 66 to sit high on the leaderboard. A second-round 73 – which included a triple, a double, three bogeys and an eagle – meant he almost missed the cut at Waialae, but he rebounded with a 64-70 weekend to end up tied for 32nd.
 
Daly's last PGA Tour victory came 10 years ago next week at the Farmers Insurance Open. He isn't in the field at Torrey Pines as of now, but a strong showing in Palm Springs could get him into the field.
 
UPDATE: Just as I was calling it a night on Monday, I saw this tweet from the PGA Tour Media Staff – so maybe this feel-good story doesn't feel so good after all. We'll try to clear it up on Tuesday:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
January 13, 2014 - 3:10pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Lydia Ko
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
Lydia Ko, 16, will play a full complement of Callaway and Odyssey products as she embarks on her first season as a full-time professional on the LPGA Tour.
As has been rumored since before Christmas, teen phenom Lydia Lo has signed an endorsement deal with Callaway Golf, the company announced on Monday.
 
Ko, 16, will play a full complement of Callaway and Odyssey products as she embarks on her first season as a full-time professional on the LPGA Tour. She won her first tournament as a professional – the Swinging Skirts in Taiwan – using a Callaway X2 Hot Pro driver, though the company hasn't yet specified which clubs will be in her bag.
 
''Lydia is an exceptional talent and a great addition to our staff,'' said Callaway Vice President of Sports Marketing Nick Raffaele. ''Last year we had several pros win after successfully transitioning into our products and we're excited to see what Lydia can accomplish on the LPGA with the world's best clubs, balls and putter in the bag.''
 
Ko's deal is just the latest in the busy start-of-the-year period of endorsement agreements. Some of the more notable include:
 
--Adams Golf: Ernie Els, Nicholas Thompson and Josh Teater
 
--Callaway Golf: Henrik Stenson, Pat Perez, Harris English, Matteo Manassero, John Rollins, Matt Every, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Chris Doak, Richard Lee, Jonathan Byrd, Jack Doherty, Yani Tseng, Thomas Pieters, James Erkenbeck and Chase Seiffert  
 
--Cleveland-Srixon: William McGirt, KJ Choi, Bronson La’Cassie, Dave Pelz and Inbee Park (re-signed)
 
--Cobra Golf Lexi Thompson (re-signed) and Jonas Blixt
 
--G/Fore: Jonas Blixt (gloves) 
 
--Hopkins Golf: Vijay Singh
 
--Mercedes-Benz: Martin Kaymer
 
--Ping: PGA instructor Todd Anderson
 
--Puma Golf: Will Mackenzie
 
--TaylorMade: Justin Rose (re-signed)
 
--Wilson Golf: Marcel Siem
 
January 13, 2014 - 12:54pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Harris English
Getty Images
Harris English earned a spot in the top 5 of the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings thanks to his fourth-place finish in the Sony Open on Sunday.

Over the next several months, the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team will really start to take shape. Keep in mind -- for regular PGA Tour events, points are worth just as much now as they will be down the stretch before points close at the PGA Championship in August.

One player taking advantage of the early point-getting is Jimmy Walker. Prior to his win at the end of 2013 in the Frys.com Open, Walker had gone 187 PGA Tour starts without a victory. He won that week -- which counts toward the 2014 season -- and won again on Sunday in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

2014 RYDER CUP: U.S. points standings | How U.S. Points are earned | Team USA | Team Europe

So, after 187 starts without a win, Walker now has two in his last six appearances. Thanks to the latest effort, Walker jumped from No. 8 to the No. 1 spot in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

Remember, the top 9 players in points automatically make the team, while U.S. Captain Tom Watson will make three captain's selections on Sept. 2 to fill out the squad he takes to Gleneagles.

Here's a look at the current top 12:

1. Jimmy Walker
2. Phil Mickleson
3. Jason Dufner
4. Dustin Johnson
5. Harris English
6. Zach Johnson
7. Chris Kirk
8. Ryan Moore
9. Webb Simpson

----------------------
10. Matt Kuchar
11. Brian Stuard
12. Jim Furyk

On the strength of a fourth-place showing at Sony, his third top-10 in the new season, English moved from No. 7 to No. 5.

Interestingly, Walker and English played together for the first three rounds of the Sony Open. In case Captain Watson, didn't notice, Walker's wife, Erin, sent him this cool little stat via Twitter on Monday:

Chris Kirk finished alone in second place in Hawaii on Sunday to move from No. 9 to No. 7.

Kuchar was the only player not previously in the top 10 to sneak in, jumping three spots from No. 13 to No. 10 with his tie for eighth in Honolulu.

Brian Stuard (sixth in the Sony) and Charles Howell III (tied for eighth), moved up four spots apiece. Stuard went from No. 16 to No. 11, while Howell moved from No. 19 to No. 15.

This week, the PGA Tour is back on the U.S. mainland for the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.