Golf Buzz

E-Z-GO sponsored NASCAR race car
Brandon Jones via Twitter
The No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro will be driven by Brandon Jones and is owned by Richard Childress Racing, one of the sport's powerhouse organizations.
 
Phoenix is one of the nation's top golf markets, and is also the home of this weekend's races on the NASCAR schedule. And golf and racing will come together at Phoenix International Raceway as golf cart maker E-Z-GO will sponsor a car in the Xfinity Series race on Saturday.
 
The No. 33 Chevrolet Camaro will be driven by Brandon Jones and is owned by Richard Childress Racing, one of the sport's powerhouse organizations. Jones is an Xfinity Series rookie, but is fourth in the standings after the first three races of the new season – so there's a good chance the car will contend and get a lot of TV time for E-Z-GO.
 
The company, a division of Textron, also makes a variety of utility vehicles and personal transportation vehicles. E-Z-GO has been involved in motorsports off an on over the years, having sponsored cars and even races in various NASCAR series.
 
You can see the paint scheme above. That car looks pretty cool – but there's no trunk or passenger seats, so where do you put your golf clubs?
 
Lydia Ko and Stepehn Curry
Lydia Ko via Twitter
"So cool to meet you," Lydia Ko said on Twitter of her meeting with Stephen Curry. She also said, "I'll give you a couple shots a side when we tee it up."
 
The LPGA Tour is off this week, so world No. 1 Lydia Ko is up in the Bay Area for a little work and a little play. The work is doing some promotion for the upcoming Swinging Skirts Classic, which will be played in San Francisco in late April.
 
The play – goofing around with the NBa Champion Golden State Warriors at their pre-game shootaround. She also plans to attend their game tonight against the Utah Jazz. 
 
 
We're not sure how much practice the Warriors got in before everyone took a break to watch Ko show off her putting – on the court, with Curry and another avid golfer, Andre Iguodala. We've haven't seen much video yet, but the photos look like everyone was having a lot fun – though maybe not quite as much fun as Curry and Iguodala had when they played Augusta National last week – in their full-court putting contest.
 
One funny moment: Curry was asked about playing golf with Ko, and he replied that "I don't want that beatdown!"
 
Here are some photos and video:
 
 
 
 
Jason Dufner
Jason Dufner via Instagram
Jason Dufner judged his batting practice session as "a pretty good effort on my part," considering he hadn't swung a bat "in probably 10 years."
 
Jason Dufner was born in Ohio and lives in Alabama – so naturally, he's a Toronto Blue Jays fan.
 
Okay, well, maybe the Jays aren't necessarily near and dear to his heart. But the 2013 PGA Champion has become friends with fellow Auburn Tiger alum Josh Donaldson, the Jays' All-Star third baseman and reigning American League MVP.
 
Donaldson is also a golfer, and played in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last month, where he hung out with Dufner and another good ol' southern boy, Justin Timberlake. So Dufner dropped by Jays camp in Dunedin, Fla., this week, where he shagged some flies and took some cuts.
 
"We've been talking about it over the years," Donaldson said of Dufner's day at Spring Training. "It's fun to experience something different – to play Pebble Beach was a one-in-a-lifetime experience for me."
 
 
Dufner, who played a lot of baseball as a kid, judged his batting practice session as "a pretty good effort on my part," considering he hadn't swung a bat "in probably 10 years." The wind was blowing in, Donaldson said, and that prevented Dufner from hitting any home runs, and Donaldson added that he wanted to get Dufner up to the Rogers Centre in Toronto for another session in the cage.
 
At age 39, Dufner admitted that his window for playing professional baseball has long been closed. But Donaldson, at age 30, has plenty more years to make it as a professional golfer. So would he consider trading his bats for golf clubs on a full-time basis?
 
"I'm not even close to how good those guys are," he said. "I go out and hack it around out there."
 
Speaking of hacks, you can see some photos of Dufner taking his hacks here, and here's an Instagram video:
 
 
 
 
Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler via Instagram
Rickie Fowler was mobbed by spectators and his fellow players when his ball dropped into the hole for an ace on Monday.
 
Not often can you say that the biggest golf shot of the week happened on a Monday, but that is definitely the case today – Rickie Fowler made a hole-in-one at a pro-am tournament for the Els for Autism Foundation, and that triggered a $1 million donation to the charity from software maker SAP.
 
The event, which took place at the Old Palm Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens – just catty-corner from PGA National, home of the Honda Classic – featured a number of prominent PGA Tour players. But Fowler stole the show with a most unlikely ace – a one-hopper into the cup on the 113-yard, par-3 "bonus" 19th hole after the pro-am had ended.
 
In fact, as Tim Rosaforte reported on the Golf Channel later, Fowler had already changed shoes and thought he was done for the day when his opportunity for the $1 million prize arose. He borrowed a wedge from Luke Donald, got a ball and swung away.
 
 
Fowler's ball dropping into the hole touched off a riotous celebration among the players and spectators. Event host Ernie Els lifted Fowler into the air as Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen and many others rushed into congratulate him.
 
Rickie's reaction: "Pretty cool."
 
Later in the day, Fowler posted a photo of the celebration – that's it at the top of this page – on Instagram, and captioned it: "Epic Monday! One of the coolest moments in my life making a hole in one earning $1,000,000 for @ernieelsgolf #ElsForAutism."
 
We certainly can't argue with that. What a shot, what a day, and what a fantastic way to help the Els for Autism Foundation continue its work in autism research.
 
Here's one of the better videos we've seen of the shot, as well as some other reactions:
 
 
 
 
 
 
PGA Tour/YouTube
Jimmy Walker holed out for eagle Sunday on the par-4 17th at Trump National Doral.

Jimmy Walker's had a stretch of forgettable Sundays this winter. He shot 77 in the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open to fall out of contention, then struggled to a 72 at Pebble Beach two weeks later. He missed the cut at the Northern Trust and after a third-round 79 at the Honda Classic, was able to salvage a 72 on Sunday at PGA National.

But Walker's game returned to a sharper focus at Trump National Doral in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He put together one of the best rounds of the day, making five birdies and capping things off with this sterling shot from 83 yards out on the par-4 17th.

 

 

 

Walker finished with a 6-under 66, including 32 on the back nine, as he gained 11 positions on the field.

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