Golf Buzz

January 9, 2015 - 2:22pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Jason Dufner golf bag
Jason Dufner | Twitter
Jason Dufner put the patch on his bag before last year's Open Championship.

With another season on the horizon for Jason Dufner, chances are you'll notice the No. 43 patch on his golf bag. It's not there because of any superstition -- it's there as a tribute to a lost friend. 

Philip Lutzenkirchen was a tight end for the 2010 Auburn football team that won the BCS title. With Dufner being a big Auburn supporter, the two became friends, especially after an injury to Lutzenkirchen's hip caused him to miss time on the gridiron. 

On June 29 of last year, Lutzenkirchen died in a car crash outside of La Grange, Ga.

Shortly thereafter, Dufner debuted the patch on his golf bag. 

"I wanted to let (Lutzenkirchen's) real-close friends and family members know that people in the Auburn family were thinking about him, and that we weren't going to forget him," Dufner said in a recent interview with the Golf Channel. 

Take a look at the full video from the Golf Channel: 

 

January 9, 2015 - 11:10am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
In a tweet and on his website, Tiger Woods has confirmed he will make his 2014-15 PGA Tour season debut in three weeks at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Tiger Woods has confirmed -- via his website and a tweet -- a Golf.com report from this week that he will be making his 2014-15 PGA Tour debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Jan. 29-Feb. 1).

It will be Tiger's first start in the tournament since a tie for fifth there in 2001.

"It will be great to return to Phoenix," Woods said on his website. "The crowds are amazing and always enthusiastic, and the 16th hole is pretty unique in golf."

Woods also revealed that he will be playing the following week as well in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (Feb. 5-8) -- a venue where he has won an astounding eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open.

"Torrey is a very important place to me," said Woods, who won the Farmers Insurance Open for a seventh time in 2013. 'My pop took me there when I was younger, and I have a lot of special memories of watching the Tour play there when I was growing up." 

Jack Nicklaus' first pro check
Jack Nicklaus via Instagram
Jack Nicklaus began his historic career with a tiny check for tying for last place in his first pro start.
One of the people I really enjoy following on social media is Jack Nicklaus. The Golden Bear – and his staff, of course – do a fine job of noting many of the prominent days throughout his storied career.
 
Today is one of those days, but not for the reason you might think. No, Jack didn't win a major on January 8, 1962 – instead, he received his first check as a professional golfer on that day. And it was a whopper – $33.33 – beause the Bear tied for last place.
 
That's the real check pictured above. Nicklaus shared the photo on Instagram, and it's awesome that he still has it.
 
Back in the early 1960s, the Los Angeles Open was the PGA Tour's season opener, and the 21-year-old Nicklaus made his first pro start at Rancho Park Golf Course, a prominent public course in west Los Angeles that hosted the tournament 18 times over the years.
 
 
He made the cut in his first start, but shot 289 and finished up in a tie for 50th and last place with Billy Maxwell and Don Massengale. His check was for $33.33 – and, as he noted on Instagram, he always wondered what happened to the extra penny.
 
Phil Rodgers, 23 years old at the time, won the tournament – according to the Golf Historical Society, Rodgers finished nine shots ahead of the field and 21 shots ahead of Nicklaus.
 
Nicklaus played again at Rancho Park in the 1963 Los Angeles Open. He improved seven shots, posting a final score of 282, and finished 24th, eight shots behind winner Arnold Palmer. And, of course, he went on to win a few tournaments hmself.
 
January 8, 2015 - 9:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Golf.com is reporting that Tiger Woods will make his 2014-15 PGA Tour debut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

In case you missed it, Golf.com is reporting that Tiger Woods will likely make his 2014-15 PGA Tour season debut at in the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, Jan. 29-Feb. 1.

Golf.com reported that one source close to WMPO organizers said Woods has reserved his courtesy car for the event, "which has officials cautiously optimistic that he intends to play."

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Rob Myers, a spokesman for the Thunderbirds organization that hosts the WMPO, wouldn't confirm if Woods would in fact be in the field.

"We have heard the rumors, but as of yesterday he is not on the confirmation list," Myers told Golf.com on Wednesday.

After this week, there are only two events on the Tour's schedule before the WMPO -- the Sony Open in Hawaii and the Humana Challenge. Woods would have to commit to the Sony Open by late Friday afternoon (a tournament he has never played in). Woods has until late next Friday afternoon, Jan. 16, to commit to the Humana Challenge (another event in which he has never played). 

Another source told Golf.com that Woods has reserved rooms at Scottsdale's Four Seasons Resort, but a spokesperson for the resort declined comment to confirm whether Woods had a reservation or not.

Woods has not played in the WMPO since 2001 when he tied for fifth.

In 1997 -- his rookie season on the PGA Tour -- Woods famously made a hole-in-one on TPC Scottsdale's raucous par-3, 16th hole, regarded as the biggest party on the PGA Tour:

 

If he does play at TPC Scottsdale, it would be the first PGA Tour start for Woods since his missed cut at the PGA Championship last August and decided to take the remainder of the season off to recover from a back injury that plagued him throughout 2014. 

Jack and Barbara Nicklaus
Getty Images
Barbara Nicklaus has teamed with her husband Jack to raise millions of dollars for junior golf and children's charities.
Barbara Nicklaus, Jack Nicklaus' wife for more than half a century, will receive the 2015 Bob Jones Award, the U.S. Golf Association announced Wednesday. 
 
Presented annually since 1955, the Bob Jones Award is the USGA's highest honor. It recognizes an individual who demonstrates the spirit, personal character and respect for the game exhibited by Jones, winner of nine USGA championships. 
 
"Barbara's generosity of spirit and deep respect for the game have touched the lives of countless families throughout the world," said USGA President Thomas J. O'Toole Jr. "Her dedication to support players and spouses, and advocacy for multiple causes, are worthy of our highest honor. She has been the rock for arguably one of the game's greatest champions, while raising a family and devoting her heart and soul into what she believes in."
 
Mrs. Nicklaus has a long history of generating attention – and funds – for a variety of youth-related charitable causes and volunteerism. Among her most prominent efforts is the Barbara and Jack Nicklaus Junior Golf Endowment Fund, which supports junior golf programs at the local, state and national level for children who otherwise might not be introduced to the game.
 
She also serves as the chairman of the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, which promotes the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood diseases and disorders. The foundation, which also supports not-for-profit programs and projects aimed at pediatric health care and health-related services, has raised more than $32 million since its inception in 2004. 
 
 
In 2010, the foundation became the lead charity of the Memorial Tournament, which Nicklaus created in 1976. To date, the Memorial has generated more than $23.5 million in donations to Central Ohio charities, including more than $13 million to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
 
In addition, her involvement as co-chairperson for the charity that organizes the Honda Classic has helped raise considerable money for the Nicklaus Outpatient Center in partnership with Miami Children's Hospital, which is designed to meet the healthcare needs of children and adolescents from birth through age 21. 
 
"Golf has not only given us an incredible life, it has provided us a vehicle and a means to make a difference in the lives of young boys and girls, and the families who love them," she said. "I don't think our life's work could ever compare to or repay what the game has given to us."
 
Mrs. Nicklaus joins a list of winners that includes champions such as her husband (1975), Francis Ouimet (1955), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1957), Arnold Palmer (1971), Ben Hogan (1976), Annika Sorenstam (2012) and Payne Stewart (2014), as well as those who have contributed to the fabric of the game in other meaningful ways, including Richard S. Tufts (1967), Joseph C. Dey Jr. (1977), Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (1978), P.J. Boatwright Jr. (1993) and President George H.W. Bush (2008). The Nicklauses are the first married couple to receive the accolade.  
 
She will receive the award during the 2015 U.S. Open, set for 15-21 at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.
 
Odyssey works putters
Courtesy of Odyssey Golf
The Odyssey Works 2-Ball Fang mallet (left) has curved "fangs" for extra stability, while the #7 has weighted alignment wings. Both have Odyssey's new Fusion RX mesh and Versa alignment stripes.
The best way to describe the new line of Odyssey Works putters from Odyssey Golf? Let's just call them Odyssey's version of a greatest hits album.
 
The faces of the 11 putters in the Works family feature a thin (0.406 millimeters) stainless steel mesh laid across a White Hot insert – the insert found in some of Odyssey's best and most popular putters over the past several years. The mesh, called Fusion RX, is similar to the insert in the company's recent Metal-X line of putters, helps get the ball rolling straight and true.
 
The idea behind blending these two elements in one face is to combine the mesh's skid reduction with the feel provided by the White Hot insert, and Odyssey says the new Works putters reduce skidding even quicker than the Metal-X models.
 
This new impact zone is housed in 11 putter heads outfitted with Odyssey's popular Versa color scheme – the bold black and white stripes that serve as very distinctive alignment aids.
 
Two of the putters stand out from the group – the Versa 2-Ball Fang mallet and the heavier Tank Versa 2-Ball Fang mallet. Both contain Odyssey's 2-Ball alignment system with a pair of "fangs" – curved bars arcing from front to back that add perimeter weight to increase their stability through the swing.
 
The 2-Ball Fang has a 360-gram head with a full shaft offset, while the Tank model has a slightly heavier 380-gram head and is counterbalanced by a weight in the butt of the shaft to improve its stability. It also has a full shaft of offset. The 2-Ball Fang retails for $199.99, while the Tank version goes for $219.99.
 
MORE FROM CALLAWAY AND ODYSSEY: Big Bertha Alpha 815 drivers | Versa Jailbird putter
 
The other Odyssey Works models are the:
 
--#1. A 350-gram heel-toe weighted blade with a crank-neck hosel and a full-shaft offset. $179.99. 
 
--#1 Wide. A 350-gram blade with a wide flange, double-bend shaft and full-shaft offset. $179.99.
 
--Tank #1 Wide. A 380-gram blade with heel-toe weighting and a wide flange, it also has counterbalancing weight in the butt of its double-bend shaft and a full-shaft offset. $199.99.  
 
--Arm Lock #1 Wide. A 400-gram blade with heel-toe weighting and a wide flange. It has a full-shaft offset and its double-bend shaft is 43 inches long to "lock" into the golfer's arm for more stability and control. $199.99.
 
--Tank Rossie #1. A 380-gram face-balanced mallet with counterbalance weighting in the butt of its double-bend shaft, and a full-shaft offset. $199.99.
 
--V-Line. A perimeter-weighted mallet with a new "Big T" version of the Versa alignment system and a full-shaft offset. $179.99.
 
--#7. A modified 350-gram mallet with weighted alignment wings, a double-bend shaft and a full-shaft offset. $179.99
 
--Tank #7. A modified 380-gram mallet with weighted alignment wings and counterbalance weighting in the butt of the double-bend shaft, and a full-shaft offset. $199.99.
 
--#9. A 350-gram flanged blade with toe weighting, a heel shaft, a long hosel and a half-shaft offset. $179.99.
 
All the putters except for the Arm Lock model can be outfitted with an oversized SuperStroke grip for an extra $20. They're all available for pre-order now and will be in stores on Jan. 30. 
 
Here's a quick introductory video from Odyssey: