Golf Buzz

October 25, 2013 - 9:15pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jose Maria Olazabal at the Prince of Asturias Awards
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Jose Maria Olazabal received the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for Sports in front of an audience that includes the Spanish Royal Family on Friday in Oviedo, Spain.

The accolades for Europe's 2012 Ryder Cup victory just keep coming to the victors. The latest: On Friday, winning captain Jose Maria Olazabal received the 2013 Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, Spain's most prestigious sports award.

Describing Olazabal as "one of the greatest golfers in history," the award jury pointed to Olazabal's two Masters wins and four Ryder Cups, "a competition in which he also demonstrated his leadership ability when captaining the European team to an epic comeback in 2012."

Olazabal, 47, is the first golfer to win the prestigious award since his friend and hero Seve Ballesteros received it in 1989. Olazabal got his award – in total, eight were presented in fields ranging from science to literature – from Crown Prince Felipe in a ceremony in the northern city of Oviedo.

REMEMBERING PAYNE STEWART: TJ Auclair reflects on one of golf's great trajedies

''It's very difficult even to get nominated for the award, so I never thought I'd win it, to be honest,'' Olazabal said. ''Without question this is the most prestigious award I've ever received, so it's a real honor. I don't feel like I deserve it necessarily, but it's very nice to receive it. I didn't expect to win it, but now that I have I couldn't be happier. I've always tried to conduct myself in the right way both on and off the course, and hopefully this is recognition of that.''

The Sports Award is bestowed upon the individual, group or institution whose lives are not only examples to others, but who have also reached new heights in mankind's struggle for excellence, and who have contributed by their efforts to perfecting, nurturing, promoting and disseminating sport. 

And if you're wondering why Olazabal is only now receiving this award when the Ryder Cup was last year, it's because the annual honorees are announced each summer – so the 2012 winners were chosen before the Ryder Cup.

Here's a video interview feature with Olazabal:

 
 
 
October 25, 2013 - 11:39am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tin Cup
Tin Cup
Tin Cup golf ball stencils make your golf ball easily identifiable.

Whether you're a high-handicapper, or a perennial contender in the club championship, one common denominator should be this: you should mark your golf ball so that it's easily identifiable and leaves no question as to whose it is.

That's where a company called Tin Cup comes in.

Tin Cup makes -- well, "Tin Cups" -- that fit around your golf ball and serve as a ball-marking stencil. There are more than 130 existing designs offered by Tin Cup, including college logos, shamrocks, flags, animals and more. 

And, if you don't see one that sticks out to you, Tin Cup can even customize a design (think initials, tournament logo, course logo, etc.).

If you're a mustache kind of person, November -- or "Movember" -- is right around the corner. Tin Cup offers a 'stache design so that you can stencil a mustache on your golf ball.

Tin Cup ball marking stencils retail for $19.95. You can purchase a Tin Cup package for $30, which includes a leather pouch, Sharpie marker, clip and poker chip. Customized Tin Cup stencils with up to six characters cost $75, while a logo or your own design run at $125.

Select marks can also be used as alignment/game improvement tools. Tin Cups are 100 percent Made-in-the-USA and the stainless steel cup construction carries a lifetime guarantee.

To learn more, visit www.tin-cup.com. You can also find Tin Cup on Facebook and on Twitter, @TinCupMarker.

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

October 25, 2013 - 11:34am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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You hit a great approach shot that comes up just short, just long, or just wide of the green. No problem, you think, I'll get up and down from there and save my par.

But, as you get up to your golf ball, you notice it's not pretty. You have a lousy lie and suddenly you're hoping to just scramble for a bogey.

That doesn't have to be the case.

In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Quinn Griffing demonstrates how to best get your ball out of a bad lie near the green.

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

October 25, 2013 - 10:54am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Imperial Headwear
Imperial
Imperial Headwear's new building for its designers in Bourbon, Mo., will be known as The Incubator.

You've heard of a "think tank" -- a place to gather and come up with great new ideas. Well, the people at Imperial Headwear have taken that a step further with the opening of "The Incubator" at the company's corporate headquarters in Bourbon, Mo.

So, what exactly is "The Incubator?"

RELATED: Imperial Headwear redefines its classic look

"The Incubator is a brand new space we built for Imperial designers and CSR's to dedicate themselves to servicing our customers," said David Shaffer, Director of Marketing at Imperial. "We gave it this name because it's a place where we will brainstorm ideas, develop concepts and process orders. Everything Imperial does will start here."

Paramount Apparel International acquired Imperial in late 2012. The Incubator office in Bourbon, along with two nearby manufacturing plants are the new home to Imperial Headwear, which previously called Denver, Colo. home.

"This is another step in our commitment to servicing the golf industry," said Mark Rubenstein, Chairman & CEO of Paramount Apparel International. "We wanted to devote our attention and resources to making sure we take care of our customers, and the Incubator is a place for our people to do just that."

To learn more about Imperial, click here.

You can also find Imperial on Twitter, @ImperialHats, on Facebook and on Instagram.

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

October 25, 2013 - 9:49am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Payne Stewart
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Payne Stewart celebrates his incredible win in the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 over a then major-less Phil Mickelson.

It's hard to believe, but today marks the 14th anniversary of the tragic passing of one of golf's most charismatic figures, Payne Stewart.

Stewart, an 11-time PGA Tour winner and three-time major champion, perished in a LearJet plane accident on Oct. 25, 1999, when the cabin lost pressure. All on board died of hypoxia -- a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply.

The plane, still on auto-pilot, crashed in a field in Mina, S.D., when it eventually ran out of fuel. Stewart's agents Robert Fraley and Van Ardan, and pilots Michael Kling and Stephanie Bellegarrigue, along with Bruce Borland, a highly regarded golf course architect with the Jack Nicklaus design company, also perished.

Stewart was 42 at the time of his death. He was just four months removed from what would prove to be his final major championship victory, the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, an incredible tournament where Stewart outlasted a then-majorless Phil Mickelson.

Watch highlights from that '99 U.S. Open here:

 

 

The plane incident happened just one month -- nearly to the day -- after Stewart was part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that mounted a then record-setting, final day, come from behind victory in the 1999 matches at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

That was Stewart's last public appearance and, if ever there was an everlasting way to remember someone, that was it.

Stewart had always been known for two things -- his distinctive clothing (plus-fours and tam-o-shanter hat) and his intensity. Before those 1999 Ryder Cup matches, Stewart mixed things up a bit when he suggested that based on the strength of the European team -- or perceived lack thereof -- they should be caddying for the U.S. team not playing against them.

Harsh, no doubt, but that was Stewart's personality. He loved dishing it out, but also had a heart the size of the Wanamaker Trophy that he won in the 1989 PGA Championship.

In his Sunday singles match, Stewart displayed the type of sportsmanship he'll forever be remembered for. His opponent Colin Montgomerie was having a horrible week with the Boston galleries heckling his every move. With the Ryder Cup already secured late that afternoon for the Americans, Stewart picked up Montgomerie's golf ball on the 18th hole and conceded the match out of courtesy.

It was mature, it was classy, it was the right thing to do. It exemplified the person Payne Stewart had come to be.

To understand just how long Stewart has been gone, here are a few things that have happened since he left us far too early:

- Tiger Woods had just two major championships on his resume before Stewart's passing. Woods has had 12 since.

- Phil Mickelson, major-less before Stewart's passing, has won five of them since.

- Woods (2000, 2002 and 2008) and Retief Goosen (2001, 2004) joined Stewart, Willie Anderson, Alex Smith, John McDermott, Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Ralph Guldahl, Ben Hogan, Cary Middlecoff, Julius Boros, Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Andy North, Hale Irwin, Curtis Strange, Ernie Els and Lee Janzen as the only winners of multiple U.S. Opens.

- Six Ryder Cups have been played. The U.S. has gone 1-5 over that time, with the lone victory coming in 2008 at Valhalla, when Stewarts dear friend, Paul Azinger, was the U.S. captain.

- And, for the younger crowd, Twitter, Facebook, iPhones and blogs didn't even exist until well after 1999.

Stewart has been missed and will continue to be missed. Unfortunately, we'll never have the chance to see him captain a U.S. Ryder Cup team -- something that surely would have come to fruition.

Though he passed so young, Stewart left us with so many great on-course memories.

Even still, it's hard to believe it's been 14 years.

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

October 24, 2013 - 7:17pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Lydia Ko
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Lydia Ko worked the register as part of her participation in the rollout of the new iPhones in New Zealand.

Lydia Ko turned pro earlier this week, but golf's latest child prodigy didn't race right out to the course. Instead, in typical teenage form, she stayed up past midnight last night to get a new iPhone 5S as soon as they went on sale in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ko, though, didn't have to wait in line for her new phone. Instead, she joined New Zealand Telecom to help launch the new phones. She even sold the first iPhone 5 to customer Dion Zhang, who had waited in line for much of the day to get it.

KO GOES PRO: Teenage phenom joins the paid ranks

And when she wasn't behind the register, Ko ''treated customers to an informal Q&A session on all things technology and her recent YouTube announcement on going pro,'' according to a report on TVNZ.com, New Zealand's national broadcaster. ''She also gave a number of customers a run for their money in friendly games of interactive golf and indoor putting. ''

"The iPhone launch is always an exciting time and we were especially excited to have Lydia come along to the event and spend the evening with us,” said Telecom Retail Chief Executive Chris Quin. "She is a great ambassador for how extraordinary Kiwis are using technology to do great things, in their own way – like using social media to make a global announcement about her golfing career." 

And speaking of her big announcement about going pro, be sure you check out the amazing video she released to mark the occasion. It is a lot of fun.