Golf Buzz

Curtis Thompson
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
Curtis Thompson launched a drive 316 yards Tuesday during an exhibition at the Cobra Golf range.

Curtis Thompson may always be Nick and Lexi Thompson's brother, but he might not be "Nick and Lexi's brother" in conversation much longer.

Curtis Thompson understands that after her impressive victory last April in the Kraft Nabisco Championship -- becoming the second-youngest woman to win a major -- his 19-year-old sister Lexi might have a bit more of the spotlight than a guy who announced three months later he was leaving LSU to pursue a professional career.

"I'm used to it, for now," Curtis Thompson said of having a famous pair of siblings. "That's just the way it's been for a while."

RELATED: What's it like to attend Demo Day? | Demo Day photo gallery

But based on the way he handled himself on the Cobra Puma Golf range Tuesday at the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Center, it might not be that long before the roles are reversed. Curtis Thompson teed up five balls in a driving exhibition against his long-hitting sister, and wound up winning with a longest drive of 316 yards. Lexi's longest was 285.

Attendees then had the opportunity to see if they could exceed either drive, with the first one to do so winning a new Cobra Fly-Z driver.

It was Curtis' first time at a public Cobra Puma event, but he signed autographs and posed for photos with fans like he had been doing it all his life. The Coral Springs, Fla., native hopes to make it a habit.

And as far as outdriving his sister? 

"Well, I do have an advantage," Curtis Thompson said. 

With that kind of power -- and winning genetics -- it might not be long before Curtis Thompson can place a trophy or two on the family mantle as somebody more than "Nick and Lexi's brother."





January 20, 2015 - 1:37pm
mark.aumann's picture
Attendees at the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day try out the GolfBoard on Tuesday.

It's a hybrid between a golf push cart and a skateboard, and it was one of the more unusual hands-on displays Tuesday at the PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day.

So what's it like to ride the GolfBoard? We asked some of the people who braved it to give their honest opinion -- and they unanimously agreed it was fun and easier to control than they expected.


Love the @golfboard here at the @pgagolfshows #DemoDay #surfing #for #birdies

A video posted by (@pgacom) on

Penny Holden, Pittsburgh: "It was easier than I thought to turn. I'd like to try it with a golf bag on to see if you could actually maneuever it as well. I really like that it stopped when you let off (the accelerator). You weren't afraid to fall forward, because it did come to a stop. To turn, you have to shift your weight -- and I felt like I had to make a wide arc, but I'm guessing the more you get used to it, the more you figure out how to manuever it better."

Brian Skena, Winter Garden, Fla.: "I'm a surfer/snowboarder, and first getting on it, you have to trust that it's going to carve. But as soon as you figure out that you can lean into it and carve, it rides similarly. Hanging onto the stability bar, I'd be interested in trying it without it. That almost puts a little stress on the forearm. You can lean into it really hard. I tried to make a tight turn and didn't make it, but it might have been because I didn't trust myself and not run over somebody's tent. As soon as you let off the throttle, it slows down. You're not going to run over anybody."

Jerry Stenstrom, Kalamazoo, Mich.: "You have to go back to skateboarding a little bit. It'll take you back to your youth. But it was a lot of fun. I think we'd get out there and have more fun surfing around on this than we would playing golf. I don't know that we'd use it at our course, but it is new."

Phil Allen, Oak Brook, Ill.: "At first, it was a little scary. But after you got the hang of it, it was a lot of fun. We were talking about it -- we're on the board of our club and that's why we're down here. We're trying to get golf rounds up and this might be one of those ways to get the young guys out. It's somewhere in between a little motorbike and a skateboard. It takes just a little time to get used to the acceleration, but once you do, it's pretty nice. Anybody could do it."

Christopher Johnson, Vail, Colo.: "I think it would be perfect for us, with so many snowboarders and skiers and people willing to try outdoor activities. It was similar to skateboarding in a way -- a little scary on the hills -- but it was fun, it was a blast. I'd say you'd be used to it within a few holes. There was a learning curve, even in the 20 seconds I rode it. I got more comfortable, for sure."

The Bend, Ore.-based company won the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show award for best new product. The company claims the GolfBoard speeds up the game, reduces turf wear and attracts a younger audience.

Between those already using the product and those who have orders in, GolfBoard officials said more than 100 courses have signed up so far.

GolfBoard's offical website:

January 20, 2015 - 11:39am
Posted by:
Associated Press
tj.auclair's picture
Robert Allenby
After allegedly being robbed and beaten last Friday in Hawaii, Robert Allenby has withdrawn from this week's Humana Challenge.

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) -- Robert Allenby has withdrawn from the Humana Challenge while he recovers from a beating and robbery last week in Honolulu.

Allenby said Tuesday he is skipping the tournament on the advice of his doctor. He wants to make sure he is fully recovered before returning to competition.

Allenby says he was beaten and robbed Friday night. He doesn't recall many details except being thrown out of a car in a downtown park in Honolulu. He posted photos of his face with a bloodied scrape on the forehead and nose, and a left eye that was swollen and badly bruised.

Police are investigating.

Greg Norman
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
Greg Norman reflects on his successes -- and failures -- Monday during the PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit.

Greg Norman has celebrated some of the greatest victories in the game of golf, and he's suffered some of the greatest defeats. But in both cases, Norman said he learned something he could use to deal with life's ups and downs.

And on Monday at the PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit, Norman credited Jack Nicklaus with instilling that disposition, both from reading his books and knocking on his front door.

Norman first picked up the game as a teenager in Australia, after playing other sports growing up.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2015 PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit

"When I started the game of golf, I was a 27-handicapper and wanted to figure out how I could get better fast, so I read his books," Norman told the audience of more than 900 PGA Professionals. "'Golf My Way' was one of them, and I just absorbed myself in it. I was breaking down and compartmentalizing the process that he had."

In less than two years, Norman became a scratch golfer and began a journey that would take him to the PGA Tour. He burst onto the scene in 1980 with a victory in the Australian Open, then finished fourth in the 1981 Masters. The leading money-winner on the European Tour in 1982, Norman decided to try his hand in America, eventually settling in Orlando, then moving to North Palm Beach.

"I was fortunate enough to move down farther south to Jack's neighborhood," Norman said. "I never had a problem going up and knocking on Jack's door and saying 'Jack, I'm new to your neighborhood. Do you mind if I come over and pick your brain every now and then?' 

"And there would be times when we'd be standing there in his driveway, talking about the game and life and it'd be pouring down rain. And Barbara Nicklaus would come out and say, 'Do you realize it's raining right now?' And we'd look at each other and say, 'No.' Because we were so engrossed in our conversation."

SHARK RETURNS: Norman back on golf course after chainsaw accident

One of Norman's most famous defeats came in the 1986 Masters, when he rallied to tie Nicklaus with one hole remaining, only to bogey the 18th and miss out on a sudden-death playoff. The other came at Augusta in 1996, when Nick Faldo overcame a six-shot deficit on the final day.

Again, Norman learned from both experiences -- and it was Nicklaus who offered guidance.

"Jack taught me to be a great winner," Norman said. "To be a great winner means you're very humble about it. And once you become a great winner, you learn to be an excellent loser. You're going to lose more than you win, and if you think about it, if you just relate it to the game of golf, you're definitely going to lose more than you win.

"If you can learn to become a great winner and excellent loser, you'll become pretty much a well-rounded individual, and that resonates through your life in general."

That's more than just what happens on the golf course, Norman said. It involves not only your private life, but other ventures as well.

"When you go through these ups and downs in life, and you're under the microscope and everybody reports on every little mistake you make, it's no different in business," he said. "We make mistakes in business, too. Just that they're private and nobody sees it or reads about it. So there's no question about it. Jack was a huge influence on me and about my attitude and how I've dealt with things in life."

It has to do with competitive drive, something Norman rarely lacked. But as he got closer to his goal of becoming the No. 1 player in the world -- something he held for more than six years -- he realized a significant truism. Many athletes have the physical skills to be the best, but not many have the mental attitude required.
"The more successful you become, the more alienated you feel like you are," Norman said. "Because you are getting into a stratosphere where very few other people have been before. So who do you turn to above you when you get to the very top? If you don't have someone you can trust, you're in big trouble.
"So a lot of individuals have a hard time stepping out of their comfort level to really push themselves upwards and outwards. Believe me, there are so many other talented players but what makes that person become No. 1 is their ability to take the whole shooting match, keep it in perspective and stay focused."



January 19, 2015 - 5:18pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Bubba Watson
Blue Wahoos | Twitter
Bubba Watson grew up about 20 miles from where the Pensacola Blue Wahoos play their home games.

According to Bubba Watson, his father wanted him to become a professional baseball player. Of course, Watson stuck to golf, which in turn has turned him into a part owner of a baseball team. 

Watson took to Twitter on Monday to announce that he is now a part owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the AA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. 






Watson has been involed with the team before recently buying a share. Last August, he reportedly took batting practice at the stadium during a trip to his home. 

Watson grew up in Bagdad, Florida, which is about 20 miles from where the Blue Wahoos play their home games. 

It's been a busy week for Watson. Last week, he sold a car for $410,000 at a charity auction. He is also scheduled to make a few appearances at the PGA Show in Orlando, starting on Wednesday. 

David Leadbetter
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
David Leadbetter outlined the history of golf instruction Monday during the PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit.

One of the themes of this year's PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit has been ways to use technology to understand the golf swing, whether through high-speed video, shot trackers, launch monitors and pressure plates that measure center of mass and center of pressure.

It's just the latest in a series of advances in golf instruction that go back almost to the beginning of the game, according to legendary golf instructor David Leadbetter, who detailed the way teaching has evolved since movie cameras captured the swings of Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2015 PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit

But he cautioned PGA professionals in attendance during Monday's session not to rely so much on today's technology that they use it as a crutch in teaching students about the game.

"Technology plays a major role in our lives, not just in golf," Leadbetter said. "I really admire that everybody is taking technology on. I think it's very important though to use technology wisely."

How to do that? Leadbetter, who worked with Nick Faldo and Nick Price, said it's important to not lose sight of what technology can contribute to the overall teaching experience.

"Instinct plays an awfully big role," Leadbetter said. "I think as teachers, it's very important to sort of rely on instinct. It's great that we all know all these (advances in technology), but golf is still about getting the ball in the hole. Remember, all this stuff is just a tool. Hopefully, we won't be out of a job. We have to be there to interpret those numbers."

SWING MAKEOVER: How Jason Dufner became a major winner

What's happened, in Leadbetter's opinion, is that with advances in technology, the focus on instruction has evolved away from helping beginning players.

"So much of golf instruction today seems to be geared to the good player," Leadbetter said. "And let's face it, that's fine, it's fascinating, it's great. I and many other teachers have established a living teaching good players. But we're talking about the masses -- the 15-to-30 handicappers. We need to grow this game. We can't make it more complicated. We need to have all this knowledge so we can make it simpler, not more complicated."

Complicating matters is a change in consumer habits. The world moves at a much faster pace than it did even a generation ago, and golf instructors have to adapt to a clientele that neither has the time or patience to work on their golf game the way they might have 20 or 30 years ago.

"Today, people have less time to play and practice," Leadbetter said. "Time is a huge factor in everybody's lives. You can see that by the numbers. There are less people playing golf. They don't have the time to play golf.

SECRET WEAPON: Nancy Lopez talks about staying positive

"If you bombard them with information, is that going to make it simpler? In many cases, it makes it more complicated. So we have to be very judicious in how we hand out that information. And get to the point very, very quickly. It used to be 'Did you want a quick fix or work on it over a period of time?' We have to do both. People want to see instant results."