Golf Buzz

July 17, 2016 - 1:00pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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In a final round loaded with great moments, Henrik Stenson added another on the 15th hole when he nailed this 51-footer for birdie to take a two-shot lead over Phil Mickelson with three holes to play.

Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson have been battling in one of the greatest golf duels in history today at Royal Troon.

It's been like watching two prize fighters go at it.

But after this amazing 51-foot birdie putt that Stenson walked in on the 15th hole to take a two-shot lead with three to play, it appears the 145th Open Championship is now his to lose.

Check out the putt:



From this angle, you can see that he walked it in well before it came within a sniff of the hole:



Just add it to the list of remarkable shots in this final round. It's a shame someone is going to lose. 

July 17, 2016 - 10:10am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Thomas Pieters
Thomas Pieters, disgusted with his play on the 11th hole at Royal Troon on Sunday, took a page out of Bo Jackson's playbook when he snapped his golf club over his knee and then tossed it.

Bo Jackson probably blushed when he saw this one.

Belgian Thomas Pieters wasn't too pleased with a shot near some gorse bush at the 11th hole in the final round of the Open Championship on Sunday. To show his disgust -- perhaps a tribute to Jackson? -- he proceeded to snap his club over his knee and chuck it into the gorse:

Pieters would go on to make a septuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 hole. He was 2 under for the round when he walked up to the 11th tee and then 3 over when he left the green.

So far, Pieters is the clubhouse leader for the day's best club breaking. Rory McIlroy took home the honors on Saturday with this doozy on the 16th hole:



Phil Mickelson
Before teeing off in the final round of the Open Championship as he plays for his sixth major championship victory, Phil Mickelson made it a point to go over and sneak in a kiss with the Claret Jug for some good luck.

Phil Mickelson has a chance today to become just the third player in 30 years to win six major championships.

Before he stepped up to the first tee, Mickelson made it a point to walk over and kiss the casing that was holding the coveted Claret Jug, which he won in 2012 at Muirfield:

Looks like it worked early too. Mickelson stuffed his approach at the first hole to within 3 feet of the hole to set up a birdie to snag the lead by one at 12 under after a Henrik Stenson bogey.

That's not the first symbolic nod -- if you want to call it that -- that Mickelson has made for "luck" in a major. On the 18th hole in the final round of the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol, Mickelson hit his tee shot near a plaque commemorating Jack Nicklaus's famous one-iron to 22 feet in 1967 setting up a U.S. Open win.

Before hitting his approach, Mickelson tapped the plaque with his club for good luck.

Moments later, he captured his second major win.  

July 17, 2016 - 7:51am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jamie Donaldson
Playing-wise, Jamie Donaldson wasn't exactly having a career day at Royal Troon on Sunday. Rather than get mad, he got silly.

If you're going to play golf at the highest level, it sure makes things easier if you have a sense of humor.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson -- who clinched the winning Ryder Cup point for Europe in 2014 -- did just that in the final round of the Open Championship at Royal Troon on Sunday when things just weren't going his way on the par-4 12th hole.

After hitting his shot into some nasty gorse bush, Donaldson went in looking for it. And while he was doing that, he hammed it up for the cameras:

Going for a swim in the gorse? Love it.

Donaldson would go on to make a quadruple-bogey 8 on the hole to fall to 7 over for the day. 

July 17, 2016 - 6:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Andrew Johnston
USA Today Sports Images
Believe it or not, there was a time not long ago when Andrew "Beef" Johnston didn't have that distinctive beard.

Englishman Andrew Johnston -- better known as "Beef" -- has quickly become a golf cult hero.

If there's anyone having more fun on and off the course than Beef these days, we don't know who it is. He'll enter Sunday's final round of the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon alone in fourth place at 5 under, seven behind leader Henrik Stenson.

Beef is most well known for a certain distinctive feature -- that crazy beard.

He's also becoming well known for his high-caliber play, which won him the Open de Espana earlier this season on the European Tour and earned him a spot in both the U.S. Open (T54) and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (T42).

RELATED: Johnston's niece critiques his beard | Johnston moves into top 5 after hole-out

Can you even imagine the party Beef and friends will have should he somehow come from behind to win the game's oldest major?

We're talking about the same guy who went viral on the internet when he said this after winning in Spain in April:



And, as this video shows, he's a man of his word:



Beef took some heat for the "get hammered" quote. Is it the most responsible thing to say? Probably not. But can't you cut a 27-year-old who just had the biggest sporting moment of his life a little slack?

This is a guy who takes his nickname seriously. You can find all kinds of "beef" emblazoned on his wedges:



And how did he get that nickname?

Golf Channel's Will Gray uncovered that answer in this terrific profile:

Ironically enough, the Beef nickname has nothing to do with eating. When he was growing up, one of his friends noted that his bushy mane of hair resembled a slab of meat, and he started calling him “beef head.” The nickname stuck, and now it’s permanently emblazoned on Johnston’s left shoulder – the product of a few too many pints one night as a 16-year-old.

That said, he can eat beef quite well too, evidenced by what he did to this 32-ounce, Kobe tomahawk steak recently in Akron:



Back to that beard, which Beef has been growing since last September.

According to Gray's piece, Beef had every intention of shaving it off following his win in Spain. That's until he read some social media comments like this one: "Your beard is bad for the game of golf."

Beef told Gray he decided in that moment, "Well I’m just going to keep it now."

The look may not be everyone's cup of tea, but how can you knock a guy for being comfortable in his own skin and having a distinctive look?

Keep doing you, Beef. 

July 16, 2016 - 12:42pm
Posted by:
Matt Craig
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andrew johnston, beef johnston, open championship
Twitter / TheOpen
Andrew "Beef" Johnston is a lot of fun off the course, but it's time to start taking him seriously on the course with his play at the Open.

Just hours after posting the greatest Instagram video in the history of the app, Andrew "Beef" Johnston found himself in contention at the Open Championship.

It doesn't take a lot to make Beef smile, but holing out from off the green on the 13th hole to move into the top five at a major championship will certainly do it.



While Johnston usually grabs headlines for his facial hair and selection of cuisine, it's time to start paying attention to his golf game.