Golf Buzz

February 18, 2014 - 12:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
T.J. Oshie
NBC Sports
T.J. Oshie's game-winning goal in a 3-2 shootout victory over Russia on Saturday.

T.J. Oshie became a household name on Saturday, proving to be the Olympic hockey hero for the United States in a scintillating 3-2 shootout victory over Russia in Sochi during the preliminary round of the Winter Games.

Oshie successfully scored four times in six tries during the shootout win.

As if those goals didn't do enough to endear Oshie to U.S. fans after the game, how about this answer Oshie gave after being asked what it's like to be an America hero?

"The real American heroes are wearing camo," Oshie told reporters. "That's not me."

Great stuff.

RELATED: Ailsa Craig, golf landmark, produces Olympic curling stones

Aside from being an outstanding centerman for the St. Louis Blues in the NHL, the 27-year-old Oshie is also a fan of golf -- and quite the player. So much so, that on February 3, Oshie -- a 2-handicap -- sent the following tweet to 2012 PGA National Teacher of the Year, Michael Breed, host of Golf Channel's "The Golf Fix":

"@MichaelBreed you can come over and work on my golf swing? It's already shaped by past @TheGolfFix episodes. #SB48 #12s" — TJ Oshie (@OSH74) February 3, 2014

Well, on last night's episode of "The Golf Fix," Breed showed viewers what Oshie does on the ice that translates to the golf course and also broke down Oshie's golf swing.

Here's video from last night's segment:

 

 

Oshie has been playing golf since he was 6 years old. According to a press release from Golf Channel, Breed will officially invite Oshie to Golf Channel's Orlando studios for an in-studio lesson on an upcoming The Golf Fix episode.

Until then, Oshie and his U.S. teammates still have a lot to play for in Sochi. Next up is a quarterfinal game on Wednesday at noon EST.

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

 

February 18, 2014 - 12:03pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Toby Keith, Ben Roethlisberger
Courtesy USA Today
Fans have a chance to caddy for Toby Keith and Ben Roethlisberger at next week's Honda Classic Pro-Am.


The Honda Classic has been making some waves in recent years by virtue of attracting the biggest names in golf to compete at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott are just a few of the names that will be teeing it up this year at the PGA Resort's Champions course. In fact, eight of the top ten players in the world are committed to being in the field.

But those aren't the only big names that will be teeing it up that week on the course. Country music star Toby Keith, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens and jazz superstar Branford Marsalis will also be playing some golf at PGA National. On Wednesday, Feb 26th, the power foursome will take part in the Gold Pro-Am presented by Tire Kingdom. Only one small problem - they need some caddies. In particular, as of this writing, Toby Kieth and Ben Roethlisberger are caddy-less. Could you fill that void?

Read: Toby Keith: I love this par

The opportunity comes from our friends at Caddy for a Cure. Golf fans (or fans of the individuals playing!) have an opportunity to bid on the right to caddy for the golfer for the entire round, walking inside the ropes and conferring with the player on course strategy, club selection and song lyrics (okay, maybe only Roethlisberger takes you too seriously on that one.)

We know that Toby Keith loves golf. So does Big Ben. What better way to share your love of the game (and these stars) than to spend the day with them on the course?

You can bid on the opportunity to caddy for Toby Keith here.
You can bid on the opportunity to caddy for Ben Roethlisberger here.

**********************

Below is the official release from Caddy for a Cure

February 5, 2014 - Coral Springs, FL) The Honda Classic will be the site of one of the most spectacular opportunities in all of golf with the celebrity group in the Gold Pro-Am presented by Tire Kingdom. Baseball Legend and 7-Time Cy Young Award Winner Roger Clemens, Country Music Legend Toby Keith, Jazz Superstar Branford Marsalis and 2-Time Super Bowl Champion Ben Roethlisberger will headline this prestigious group at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

The unique charitable program will be raising funds in support of multiple local causes, including wounded warriors, Fanconi anemia and the Children's Healthcare Charity. In honor of our military, escorting the celebrity golf group will be four retired wounded Navy SEALS and a double amputee Special Operations Bomb Specialist.

The 2014 Honda Classic will be played again at the famous PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The tournament dates are February 24th through March 2nd and the caddy experiences will be Wednesday, February 26th during the Gold Pro-Am presented by Tire Kingdom.

"We love participating at the Honda Classic each year, because we always have exciting golf superstars and celebrities to offer to golf fans as caddy opportunities. There is no better way to be in the middle of it all on this type of stage anywhere in the world of golf," Caddy For A Cure CEO and program founder Russ Holden said. He continued, "While the Honda Classic is a premier TOUR event filled with exciting activities and entertainment for the entire community, they are indisputably committed to supporting charitable causes and our military. This will be the opportunity of a lifetime for a committed fan of Clemens, Keith, Marsalis or Roethlisberger to spend an entire day with them 'on stage.'" Holden concluded, "It's also incredibly exciting to know that we will have four retired wounded Navy SEALS and a severely injured Special Ops warrior walking with the group. This is a great way for golf fans to help support children, warriors and others in need while having a once in a lifetime experience they can't get anywhere else."

The online auctions for these celebrity players are currently available on the Caddy For A Cure website caddyforacure.com and will run through February 19th.

Caddy For A Cure has been offering PGA TOUR caddy experiences for charity since 2003. Benefiting charities from this event include the Children's Healthcare Charity and Caddy For A Cure. All program caddy experiences may be found from the Caddy For A Cure website at www.caddyforacure.com or you may contact Caddy For A Cure directly for more information.

CONTACT:
Russ Holden
Caddy For A Cure
954-341-4600
russ@caddyforacure.com 

February 18, 2014 - 11:22am
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Ailsa Craig with Lucas Glover
Getty Images
With the Ailsa Craig looming in the background, Lucas Glover lined up a putt during the 2009 British Open at Turnberry.
Back in December, we ran a blog post on the Ailsa Craig – that big dome-shaped rock that dominates the Firth of Clyde about 10 miles off the southwestern Scottish coast near Turnberry. The uninhabited island, covering 220 acres and the result of an ancient volcano, is a staple of photographs whenever the British Open is played at Turnberry – on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry, to be precise.
 
And despite having ''no inhabitants, no electricity, no fresh water and no arable land,'' as The New York Times described it, the Ailsa Craig is making news for not one but two reasons:
 
--First, it is the source of the distinctive strain of microgranite used to make most of the stones used in the Olympic sport of curling. In fact, all the stones used in every Olympics since 1924 (and including the current 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia) have been made from granite mined on the Ailsa Craig. The Ailsa granite – prized in curling circles because the melting ice can't penetrate it – is transformed into 44-pound curling stones at a factory in Mauchline, about 25 miles away. 
 
Second, the Ailsa Craig was for sale. 
 
 
The rock has been controlled by the same landowning family for more than 500 years, but – in true "Downton Abbey" fashion – its owner, the eighth Marquess of Ailsa, has been dealing with dwindling financial resources for several decades. The family actually put the craig up for sale in 2010 with an asking price of $4 million. But nobody has bitten, so the price was reduced to $2.4 million.
 
Since we posted that original item, a British environmental trust with a special interest in birds has begun the process of purchasing the craig. So, potentially, good news all around.
 
Ailsa Craig is a Scottish icon – it's been featured on Scottish bank notes (just like Jack Nicklaus), was memorialized in a sonnet by Keats and now serves mainly as a seabird sanctuary. And, the newspaper story explained, ''with Scotland approaching a referendum on independence from Britain next September, it remains an icon in the country's national consciousness, redolent of the rugged, stand-alone character many Scots pride as their birthright.''
 
The Times story has much more on the craig's colorful history and the efforts to sell it. And The Guardian newspaper has the latest update on the sale.
 
Finally, here's a video from the BBC on how chunks of granite from craig are converted into those Olympic curling stones:
 
 
February 18, 2014 - 11:02am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
Getty Images
Rory McIlroy makes his first start on the PGA Tour in 2014 this week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

This week, the PGA Tour takes a break from the grind of stroke play and moves on to one of the most exciting formats in golf -- match play.

The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship tees off at Dove Mountain just outside Tucson, Ariz., on Wednesday with a 64-man field. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott are all notably absent, but the field is still loaded with stars.

A hot putter is crucial in a match-play setting and -- as we've often seen in this event -- it's not uncommon for top seeds to have a short week.

Galleries: Top equipment photos | Course photos by Tour players | #PGA365

Here are five players to watch.

5. Billy Horschel
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Tied for sixth at the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: For some players -- not all -- intensity can be a could thing when it comes to match play. Few players on Tour are as intense as Horschel. He's fun to watch and truly locked in. This will be his first start in the Match Play Championship and something you can be sure he's looking forward too. The last time Horschel was a part of a match=play situation was at the 2007 Walker Cup where he went 3-1. The new season hasn't been anything particularly special for Horschel just yet. Maybe a change of format is just what he needs to get a kick start.

4. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Second at Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: Spieth has made seven starts in the new season. One was a missed cut at the Sony Open. His next-worst finish? A T19 at the Farmers Insurance Open. If there's just one little knock on Spieth lately, it's been his difficulty with closing out tournaments when he's in contention. Keep in mind this is the same guy who had no status on Tour at the start of last season. He's come a long way in a short period of time. Spieth got a taste of match play on the professional level late last season in the Presidents Cup, where he was a member of the winning U.S. team. He's aggressive and a birdie machine -- two huge assets to command in this format.

3. Graeme McDowell
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Third at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: Based on past Ryder Cup performances, I just feel that whenever McDowell is in a match-play competition, he's someone you need to watch out for. Since winning the U.S. Open at Pebble in 2010, McDowell has proven himself a fairly regular major contender (six top-14 finishes since that win). Granted, this isn't a major, but McDowell and his putter can get the job done in tough situations. Speaking of Pebble... that was McDowell's last start on Tour two weeks ago and his finished in a tie for seventh. He's feeling good about his game right now.

2. Justin Rose
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Third at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: Rose missed some action the last couple of months due to a shoulder injury after tossing his golf ball to his caddie from a long distance. He appears to be back to full strength now and played at last week's Northern Trust Open, where he finished in a tie for 45th -- his first start on the PGA Tour since November. Whenever I think Justin Rose and match play now, I think back to the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup and his singles match against Phil Mickelson. Rose was incredible down the stretch and a key factor in the amazing comeback the Europeans made that day. This tournament is far from the Ryder Cup, but over the last several years, Rose has established himself as one of the best players in the game.

1. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T6 at World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: This is McIlroy's first start on the PGA Tour since the calendar flipped to 2014. With a couple of top-10 finishes already under his belt on the European Tour -- including a T2 in Abu Dhabi -- it's looking like we can expect big things from McIlroy in 2014 after a disappointing 2013. McIlroy was the runner up in this tournament back in 2012. This truly serves as his first chance to make a big splash in 2014 and he's clearly the marquee name in the field.

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

 

February 17, 2014 - 10:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Nike Hyperadapt Wind jacket
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The Nike Hyperadapt Wind jacket features a four-way stretch laminate through the back, shoulders and upper arms to maximize range of motion while the lightweight outer shell provides protection and comfort.
Though it might not seem like it in many parts of the country right now, spring is coming. Promise, it is.
 
For those brisk days on the course, Nike Golf has come up with the Hyperadapt Wind jacket – the follow-up to last year's Hyperadapt Storm-FIT jacket. The new outerwear piece features the same four-way stretch technology and sweater-like feel that the Hyperadapt Storm-FIT jacket pioneered, but in a lighter, windproof and rain-resistant version.
 
''With the Hyperadapt Wind jacket, there's no need to 'size up' – it's designed to fit and move with your body,'' said Merritt Richardson, Nike Golf VP of Global Golf Apparel. ''The four-way stretch laminate through the back, shoulders and upper arms maximizes range of motion and eliminates distractions, and the lightweight outer shell provides superior protection from the elements for all-day performance and comfort on the course.''
 
 
Inspired by a car with a see-through, engine-exposing hood one of the designers saw in a parking lot on Nike’s Beaverton, Ore., campus, the HyperAdapt Wind jacket incorporates a half-zip, transparent outer shell that showcases the jacket's technical details inside and out. A V-shaped panel underneath incorporates bonded mesh within the Hyperadapt construction for added breathability and mobility where golfers need it most.
 
This new jacket is sustainable, too – Nike used recycled coffee grounds to make the windproof coating on the outer shell, which also helps reduce odor from perspiration and assists in UV protection. It also features elastic cuffs to keep the sleeves from moving up and down during the swing, as well as an adjustable waist and a back pocket for storage.
 
The jacket comes in Black/Black, Light Base Grey/Black and Venom Green/Black, and is available at retail now with a suggested retail price of $100.
 
 
February 17, 2014 - 12:28pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Mizuno Play Famously
Photo: Courtesy Mizuno.com
Mizuno is offering a sponsor contract for twelve higher handicap amateurs.

Oh, the life of the Tour player. The free clubs, the free clothes, being treated like royalty...all because you're pretty good at hitting a golf ball.

Well what if you didn't need to have that talent in order to be a club company endorser. What if a club company, in fact, gave you the royal treatment because you weren't that good? No, seriously.

Wouldn't that be awesome? Of course it would. But it would never happen, right? Well, actually.

Check out Mizuno's "Play Famously" here

Mizuno is looking for higher handicap golfers to "Play Famously." That is, be a brand ambassador for their JPX EZ clubs they claim have "the largest sweet spot in golf". To become one of their twelve brand ambassadors, they are asking that you demo their clubs, register at the demo location and then they will announce winners throughout the spring and summer. They did this promotion last year with great success. With a new line of clubs, they are hoping to replicate and improve on that model.

It's a pretty sweet gig if you ask me. Winners get (taken directly from their website:

A set of custom fit JPX EZ irons, JPX EZ woods, and JPX wedges
A Mizuno staff bag personalized with your name
A season's worth of high performance Mizuno apparel, headwear, gloves and accessories
An all-expenses paid trip to play in the second annual JPX Invitational, an exclusive "tour level" experience for average golfers

I'm pretty sure I'm not eligible to win. But the twelve people who will have a really sweet gig ahead of them. Whoever you are...I'm jealous. 

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim