Golf Buzz

March 31, 2014 - 10:33pm
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John Holmes
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Nike golf TW '14, lunar control and lunar clayton golf shoes
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The new TW '14, Lunar Clayton and Lunar Control golf shoes from Nike Golf feature premium white uppers and colorful design details.

The Masters isn't until next week, but the Nike Golf staff players already know what they'll be wearing at Augusta National. They'll be modeling the 2014 editions of the TW' 14, Lunar Control and Lunar Clayton shoes.

All three models feature premium white uppers and a range of colorful design details, from the outsole to the lace eyelets to the Swoosh. All three designs blend Nike's performance technology with pops of iconic color.

"Last year we released a limited-edition version of the TW' 13, and it was a huge success," said Nike Golf Footwear Product Director Lee Walker. "For 2014, we wanted to expand that unique offering to include three of our most popular models – the TW' 14, Lunar Control and Lunar Clayton – featuring an infusion of color in a trio of powerful yet understated designs."

GAME CHANGERS: Check out our feature on Nike Golf VR_S Covert 2.0 irons 

For the TW' 14 footwear, Tiger Woods collaborated with Tobie Hatfield, Nike’s Athlete Projects Innovator in the company's Innovation Kitchen, and Nike Golf footwear designers. The natural-motion engineered outsole is designed to mimic the innate movement of the foot while delivering all the protection and traction of a lightweight performance golf shoe. These shoes also feature Nike's Dynamic Flywire technology, which moves with the foot to provide stability and mobility during the swing.

The Lunar Control Limited Edition footwear features Nike's proprietary full-length Lunarlon technology, a lightweight cushioning system that is highly responsive to provide enhanced comfort and support. Nike Flywire, another proprietary technology, wraps from the midfoot to the heel for targeted support in a lightweight structure within a premium full-grain leather upper.

To create the Lunar Clayton shoes, Nike Golf footwear designers combined a handcrafted, waterproof leather upper with lightweight Nike Lunarlon technology underfoot to maximize responsive cushioning. A leather welt joins the upper to the outsole while protecting the foot from the elements. The molded rubber outsole makes this model wearable both on and off the course.

The TW '14 shoes carry a street price of $180 per pair, while the Lunar Control models have a street price of $160 and the Lunar Clayton shoes have a street price of $250. They're available at retail now.

 

Taco Bell
Kris Blanks via Twitter
Kris Blanks celebrated his Chitimacha Louisiana Open victory with dinner at Taco Bell.
Kris Blanks won the Web.com Tour's Chitimacha Louisiana Open in a three-hole playoff on Sunday, earning a cool $99,000.
 
So how did he celebrate? Champagne for everybody at Le Triomphe Country Club? A big steak dinner with family and friends?
 
Well, not exactly.
 
 
Blanks, being a down-to-earth kind of guy, hung out for a while, then grabbed a victory dinner at – Taco Bell. With his stomach and gas tank full, he drove from Broussard over to Houston, where he will play in this week's Shell Houston Open on the PGA Tour.
 
The trip was even more satisfying for Blanks because of how his week played out. He began the week as an alternate for the Valero Texas Open, and flew into Houston to wait to see whether he'd be heading a few hours west to San Antonio or a few hours east to Louisiana. He rose as high as first on the Texas Open alternate list, but decided to go to Lousiana because he was guaranteed to play.
 
That turned out to be exactly the right call. The victory dinner at Taco Bell, well, I’m not so sure. But congrats anyway, Kris – good luck and happy eating in Houston.
 
 
March 30, 2014 - 9:46pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Magnolia Lane at Augusta National
Luke Donald via Twitter
Luke Donald got a look at Magnolia Lane, and passed along this photo.
Just a couple months ago, we all marveled over the images of Augusta National in the snow, then fretted over the damage caused by a freak winter storm.
 
Now, though we have proof that Magnolia Lane came through the winter in fine shape. Luke Donald traversed golf's most famous club entrance on Sunday, and shared this photo on Twitter and Instagram.
 
I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty more of Magnolia Lane and Augusta National over the next two weeks, but it's good to get this first look. Thanks to Luke for sharing – click the Instagram link in the tweet to see his orignal, slightly larger, photo.
 
 
 
 
Jason Day
USA Today Images
Jason Day is the only one of the top seven players in the Official World Golf Rankings to have won a tournament in 2014.

We’re less than 12 days away from the traditional “grand champions” start to the Masters, and at this point, it’s usually pretty easy to figure out who the favorites might be.

MASTERS: Projected 2014 tournament field

That’s not the case this year, as the top seven in the Official World Golf Rankings are struggling, either physically or mentally. Only Jason Day, at No. 4, has broken through with a victory in 2014 — and he’s currently battling a thumb injury.

Here’s a breakdown of each player’s current situation heading into Augusta National:

1. Tiger Woods

Last won: Bridgestone Invitational in August.

2014 events: zero top 10s in four starts

Currently battling back spasms which hampered him at the Cadillac Championship and forced him to withdraw from the Honda Classic.

MASTERS: Woods unsure if ailing back will allow him to play  

Missed fourth-round cut at Farmers Insurance Open.
Tied for 25th at Cadillac Championship.
Tied for 41st at Dubai Desert Classic.

2. Adam Scott

Last won: Tallsker Masters in November.

2014 events: Three top 10s in five starts

Built seven-shot lead at Arnold Palmer Invitational, only to shoot 76 in final round to finish third.
Tied for 25th at Cadillac Championship.
Tied for 12th at Honda Classic.
Tied for eighth at Sony Open.
Tied for sixth at Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

3. Henrik Stenson

Last won: DP World Tour Championship in November.

2014 events: One top 10 in seven starts

Suffered right wrist/forearm injury in second half of 2013.
Tied for fifth at Arnold Palmer Invitational with final round 68.
Tied for 16th at Cadillac Championship.
Lost in round of 32 at Accenture Match Play.
Missed cut at Honda Classic.
Missed cut at Abu Dhabi HSBC.
Tied for 28th and tied for 29 in two European Tour events.

4. Jason Day

Last won: Accenture Match Play in February.

2014 events: Two top 10s in three starts

Currently battling thumb injury, which forced him to withdraw from Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tied for 64th at AT&T Pebble Beach
Tied for second at Farmers Insurance Open after first round 66.
Won Accenture Match Play.

5. Phil Mickelson

Last won: Open Championship in July.

2014 events: One top 10 in six starts

Withdrew Saturday from Valero Texas Open with pulled side muscle.
Withdrew from Farmers Insurance Open with back issue.
Missed cut at Honda Classic.
Tied for 16th at Cadillac Championship.
Tied for 19th at AT&T Pebble Beach.
Tied for 42nd at Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Tied for second at Abu Dhabi HSBC, took penalty drop in final round.

6. Justin Rose

Last won: U.S. Open in June.

2014 events: One top 10 in five starts

Missed all of January with shoulder tendinitis.
Missed cut at Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tied for eighth at Valspar after shooting final round 74.
Tied for 34th at Cadillac Championship.
Lost in round of 32 at Accenture Match Play.
Tied for 45th at Northern Trust Open.

7. Rory McIlroy

Last won: Emirates Australian Open in December.

2014 events: Three top 10s in five starts

Tied for second in playoff at Honda Classic after final round 74.
Tied at 25th at Cadillac Championship.
Lost in round of 32 at Accenture Match Play.
Tied for ninth at Dubai Desert Classic.
Tied for second at Abu Dhabi HSBC after two-shot penalty. 

Steven Bowditch
Steven Bowditch is all smiles Saturday after chipping in for eagle on the second hole.

If you want a perfect illustration of why Steven Bowditch is currently leading the Valero Texas Open, you only need to watch this video.

Coming off rounds of 69 and 67, Bowditch started Saturday's third round by chipping in for birdie on No. 1. He found a fairway bunker with his drive on the second hole, but made a nice swing to leave himself about 84 feet shy of the flag.

VALERO TEXAS OPEN: Third round leaderboard

Putter? Who needs a putter when you have this kind of a short game?

That's Bowditch's fifth eagle of the year. Oh, by the way, Bowditch holed out from 83 yards for an eagle on the par-4 12th the day before. So don't even try to play the "lucky" card.

 

March 28, 2014 - 7:28pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jimmy Fallon and Samuel L. Jackson
YouTube
Jimmy Fallon, with avid golfer Samuel L. Jackson, might wear silly golf clothes on TV, but he is becoming more dedicated to his game.

For decades, "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson punctuated his nightly monologue with a pantomimed golf swing. Ironically, Carson came to prefer tennis as his go-to game.

Now, 22 years after Carson retired, the "Tonight Show" is again being hosted by a golfer – and this time one dedicated to the game.

Yes, it turns out, Jimmy Fallon has playing since childhood. He did a number of golf-related segments on "Late Night" over the years and, now that he's got his hands firmly on the wheel at the "Tonight Show," he wants to get into the game even more.

"Golf is gonna be my thing" now that he's graduated to the "Tonight Show," he said in a recent interview with Jada Yuan in New York Magazine – conducted while they hit balls in a simulator. 

"I have to be a rich old white guy, that's what I have to become," quipped Fallon, who counts Michael J. Fox and chef Mario Batali among his regular playing partners. "It's so sad, but I gotta play the part, man. I've already got my cardigan."

Fallon joined his high-school golf team, he explained, because he heard a school announcement saying, "'Uh, hey, if there's anyone interested in joining the golf team, we need one more player or else we can't have a team.' So I was like, Well, so I'll definitely make this team if I try out."

MORE: Craig Ferguson is golf's latest convert | Kristen Stewart can 'spank' a golf ball

And high-school golf provided Fallon – a self-described non-athlete – with his greatest sports triumph, when he sank a long-distance putt to clinch a team victory.

"Sun's setting, it's quiet, everyone's watching, pressure's on," he recalled. "Oh my God, it was crazy. I go" – he pretends to putt and clicks his tongue – "and I'm just watching it, it's so slow motion, and it fell into the hole, and we won, and everyone’s like Whaat!? 

"If there is a 'Rocky' of golf moments – it was so awesome I'll never forget that," he added. "You'd think a hole-in-one is people's dream. For me, it was just finishing and not being a loser."

Despite all his joking, Fallon is serious about his golf game. He's gone through a personal clubfitting, and is taking weekly lessons. Off the course, he's reading golf books, watching "Caddyshack" and doing calisthenics. 

"I twerk for about 25 minutes. There's a lot of hip motions.

"Shakira," he observes, "is probably very good at golf."

And on that note, here are videos of some of Fallon's golf antics over the years: