Golf Buzz

November 13, 2013 - 11:30pm
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John Holmes
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Daniel Chopra
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Daniel Chopra said playing the Manila Masters this week was "an easy decision" because he wanted to show his support for the relief efforts after Typhoon Haiyan.

As I write this Wednesday night, the first round of the inaugural Resorts World Manila Masters is under way as scheduled – despite the fact that the Philippines is still reeling from Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated several southern parts of the island nation a few days ago.

"We feel for the people affected by this unfortunate tragedy and hope that through the staging of this tournament and through our support of aid and relief programs, we will be able to help in whatever way possible," said Asian Tour Chief Executive Mike Kerr. 

The decision to proceed with the $750,000 tournament at the Southwoods Golf and Country Club was made, Kerr said, after "careful consideration and consultation with the local golf associations, authorities and relief agencies." 

The Asian Tour and the tournament's sponsors have pledged to support the Philippines Red Cross in its efforts to provide aid and assistance, Kerr said. In addition, the tournament held a minute of silence Thursday afternoon (Wednesday night in the United States) as a show of respect for the storm's victims.

Among the players on hand in Manila is two-time PGA Tour winner Daniel Chopra, who decided to come to the Philippines instead of the PGA Tour's OHL Classic partly to show his support for the relief efforts.

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''I thought the Philippines needs help right now. It was an easy decision for me to make between playing here or back on the PGA Tour in Mexico,'' he said in a story on the Asian Tour website. ''We've got the Red Cross here this week, so hopefully some of the players here can provide some sort of support financially to help the victims.''

Chopra, by the way, built the foundation of his pro career in Asia, and got his breakthrough victory at the 1993 Johor Open in nearby Malaysia.

Veteran Filipino golfer Frankie Minoza said he's aiming to win this week so he can make some money to donate to the victims of the worst typhoon ever to hit the Philippines. 

"Filipinos have very strong heart. We are used to typhoons hitting our country, but it was unusual this year," Minoza said. "We'll get over this as we are survivors and we help each other." 

If you're interested in helping out, you can make a donation through the Philippines Red Cross website at http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

November 13, 2013 - 4:34pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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The Islandpacket.com out of Hilton Head, S.C., has the sad story of Lawrence Monroe Slovin -- an 86-year-old man who drowned after falling into a golf course pond on Sunday.

Slovin was said to have been reaching for a golf ball when he fell into the pond on the three-hole Cypress of Hilton Head course near his home in Hilton Head Plantation at about 2 p.m. Sunday. Slovin's golf partner told deputies Slovin had only recently begun playing golf again after a hospital stay.

READ: Man needs 200 stitches after golf course croc attack

From the report:

Slovin hit his golf ball back onto the fairway from near the water hazard when he spotted another golf ball closer to the water, the report said. The man said Slovin's recent health issues prevented him from bending down to grab the ball, so he tried to knock it toward him with his golf club.

Slovin lost his footing trying to hit the ball, falling backward into the water hazard. The man tried to grab his feet, but Slovin began to thrash in the waist-high water and went under, the report said.

The man said he couldn't immediately find Slovin in the muddy water. He located Slovin's body about five minutes later, pulling him to the bank of the water hazard to wait for members of the Hilton Head Island EMS to arrive, the report said.

When emergency crews arrived at the scene, they were unable to detect Slovin's heartbeat and he was pronounced dead.

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

 

November 13, 2013 - 3:38pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Lara Baldesarra
CNN
Lara Baldesarra will be leaving Golf Channel to join CNN.

CNN announced today that Lara Baldesarra is joining the network's sports unit in Atlanta.

Baldesarra moves to CNN after having spent much of the last two years with Golf Channel, where she anchored Golf Central and hosted the weekly interview show, Grey Goose 19th Hole.

Starting in December, she will anchor World Sport, the flagship sports news program on CNN International, and contribute to sports-related event coverage across all CNN platforms.

READ: Golfers save friend from jaws of 12-foot crocodile in Mexico

"We're thrilled with Lara's addition to CNN's global sports operation," said Bill Galvin, senior vice president of sports programming and development for CNN. "Her expertise as a leading voice in the sports world aligns perfectly with CNN's commitment to providing a thoughtful perspective across a broad range of news and events."

Born and raised in Toronto, Baldesarra previously worked at Canada's national sports network, Sportsnet, covering a number of sports including soccer, tennis, rugby, cricket, American football, Formula 1 and boxing. She also spent time at Fox Soccer Channel, where she anchored the network's flagship nightly news and highlights show, Fox Soccer Report.

"I'm passionate about sports and journalism, so I could not be more excited about joining an organization that values and excels in both of these things," said Baldesarra. "CNN is a world-class operation, and I look forward to hitting the ground running."

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

November 13, 2013 - 12:37pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Briny Baird
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After a tie for second at the McGladrey Classic, is Briny Baird poised to win on the PGA Tour for the first time this week?

The final official PGA Tour event of the calendar year -- the OHL Classic at Mayakoba -- takes place in Mexico this week.

The tournament is the sixth event of the Tour's new 2013-14 wraparound schedule, but the last one until the first week in January when the schedule resumes with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.

Here's a look at five players to watch at the 7,039-yard El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, designed by Greg Norman.

SCORES: Follow the OHL Classic at Mayakoba leaderboard on PGA.com

5. Fred Funk.
Best finish in 2013:
Played exclusively on Champions Tour with exception of a missed cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii.
Reason to watch: Silly pick, you say? What, because he's 57? Age is just a number and that's especially true for Funk. He's missed the cut at the Frys.com Open and the McGladrey Classic, but on Thursday he tees it up at a place where he's got good vibes. Funk one the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in 2007 -- his last PGA Tour win, in fact. This season, Funk will be using his one-time exemption for being in the top 50 on the career money list. If he's going to make money out on the young tour, this is the place to start.

4. Harris English.
Best finish in 2013:
Winner of the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Reason to watch: There's just nothing not to like about this guy's game. The 24-year-old snagged his first PGA Tour win this past summer in the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Along with that, English had three other top-10 finishes on the season, but none since the win until a tie for seventh in Malaysia at the CIMB Classic a few weeks ago. Listen to a lot of PGA Tour veterans talk and they'll tell you -- English is a star waiting to shine.

WATCH: Niece of Tiger Woods has golf ball-juggling tricks too

3. John Huh.
Best finish in 2013:
Tie for third at the Wyndham Championship.
Reason to watch: This 23-year-old returns to Mexico this week at the defending champion. That's got to feel good. But, because of the Tour's new wraparound schedule, Huh's title came nearly two years ago in February of 2012. He was PGA Tour Rookie of the Year that season. Huh missed a lot of cuts in 2013 -- 11 in all out of 28 starts -- but still finished in the top 25 on eight occasions, highlighted by a tie for third at the Wyndham Championship. I like Huh's chances this week because it's a place where the highlight of his career took place.

2. Briny Baird.
Best finish in 2013: N/A
Reason to watch: Baird did not make a single start during the PGA Tour's 2013 season, as he continued his recovery from double-shoulder surgery in 2012. Now that he's healed, Baird looks primed to capture that elusive first win. Perhaps making up for lost time, this week's appearance in Mayakoba will mark Baird's fourth start of the 2013-14 season. In his previous three events, Baird made the cut each time, highlighted by a tie for second a week ago in Sea Island. He's hungry.

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1. Tim Clark.
Best finish in 2013:
Second at the Sony Open in Hawaii
Reason to watch: This South African's name always seems to be lurking on leaderboards... Which is why it's so hard to believe that he's only won one time on the PGA Tour. Granted, that one triumph was a big one -- the 2010 Players Championship. But still, he's a guy you might expect more from in the way of the win column. Clark enters this week after a tie for second last week in Sea Island. Playing one of the shorter courses on the Tour's schedule this week, you've got to like Clarke's chances (which isn't to say he's not strong on long courses -- he made out just fine at TPC Sawgrass).

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

November 13, 2013 - 11:45am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Have you ever found yourself in the rough with a less than desirable lie and wondered what type of shot you should hit to limit the damage on your scorecard?

In today's golf tip, 2003 PGA Teacher of the Year Laird Small shows you how to read the rough by demonstrating that the grass between club face and ball reduces spin and control of ball flight. He goes on to explain that the ball will run further if you have a flatter lie and that you should play the ball back in your stance with your hands firm on the club.

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

November 13, 2013 - 10:33am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Cheyenne Woods
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Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, reenacted her uncle's famous golf ball-juggling commercial in an Instagram video this week.

Remember that cool Nike commercial years ago, where Tiger Woods is juggling a golf ball with his wedge? He bounces and stops the ball on the clubface, juggles through his legs, behind his back... you remember, right?

Well, it turns out Tiger isn't the only one in the family with golf ball-juggling skills.

RELATED: A list of your favorite golf commercials through the years

Cheyenne Woods, Tiger's 23-year-old niece who is also a professional golfer, reenacted her uncle's famous commercial and posted the video to her Instagram account.

It might not be quite as smooth as Uncle Tiger, but it's still pretty cool. Watch it here:

And, in case you wanted to relive the original, here's that one too:

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