Golf Buzz

March 10, 2014 - 9:12pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Patrick Reed
Photo: Courtesy USA Today
Patrick Reed became only the 4th player to win 3 times on the PGA Tour before turning 24 years old.

If you're to believe social media, Patrick Reed - upon winning the WGC - Cadillac Championship at Trump Doral either 1.) expressed a strong belief in his talent and work ethic or 2.) proclaimed himself the greatest thing in golf since graphite shafts and titanium heads. Judging from the reaction on Twitter (and the reaction to the reaction), minds were split 50/50.

Read: Is Patrick Reed really a top five player? 

So how do we know what to make of the young champion's comments? You can either do a lot of guessing, assuming and mind-reading....or you can listen to Patrick Reed himself.

Reed talked with Callaway Golf's Senior Vice President Harry Arnett as part of their weekly "Callaway Talks" feature. Of course, his post round comments where he expressed his belief that he was one of the top players in the game was a topic of conversation.

 

 

 

Reed is currently ranked 20th in the world and is No. 4 in Ryder Cup points for the United States team. 

March 10, 2014 - 12:05pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Adam Scott, Tiger Woods
USA Today
Adam Scott and Tiger Woods are No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, in the Official World Golf Ranking currently.

Patrick Reed defeated the best field on the PGA Tour this season to win the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday.

Moments after his victory, Reed's comments in an interview with Golf Channel NBC's Steve Sands sent Twitter abuzz.

Reed told Sands he was a "top-5 player in the world" and when Sands asked him to explain, Reed offered this:

"I've worked so hard. I've won a lot in my junior career. I did great in my amateur career. I went 6-0 in match play in NCAAs. We won NCAAs two years in a row. I got third individually one year at NCAAs. Now, I have three wins on the PGA Tour. I just don't see a lot of guys who've done that, besides Tiger and the other legends of the game. I believe in myself. I feel like I'm one of the top 5 players in the world. I feel like I've proven myself."

Clearly Reed isn't running low on confidence. While the interview rubbed a lot of people the wrong way -- he was called everything from cocky to arrogant on social media -- he may not have been as far out there as you might think.

RELATED: Reed's Sunday duds no mistake | Reed a big mover in U.S. Ryder Cup standingsTiger's back

For the record, Reed's triumph on Sunday moved him to No. 20 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, up 24 spots from No. 44 a week earlier.

Here is the current top 5:

1. Tiger Woods
2. Adam Scott
3. Henrik Stenson
4. Jason Day
5. Phil Mickelson

Based on the stats, Reed isn't a top-5 player just yet. But, he's certainly trending in that direction.

You can click here for an explanation of how World Ranking points are accumulated. Long story short, points are awarded over a two-year period. That would explain why -- even after a dismal 2013 season -- McIlroy spent much of last year in the top 5 (he's No. 6 now).

Sunday's victory was Reed's third in the last 14 months. He's 23 years old. Only four other players in history have won on the PGA Tour at least three times prior to their 24th birthday: Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

Of that foursome, Woods and McIlroy have commanded the No. 1 spot in the World Ranking. All four have been No. 2 in the World Ranking.

Is it a little cavalier of Reed to compare himself to those guys this early in his career?

Maybe for some people's taste (my own included), but isn't having belief in your abilities a major factor when it comes to your successes?

Sure, Reed may have talked too much in that interview, but who can blame him? This win was against an incredibly talented field. It was the most significant of his three victories to date and made him the youngest player to win a World Golf Championships event. He was jacked up and had hardly taken a breath before the interview. It was raw, honest emotion.

MORE: Unique golf course photos | Share your photos for #PGA365 | Follow PGA.com on Instagram

If you're interested in a top 5 in the world over the last 12 months -- just from an eyeball test -- here are the five I would offer up, along with the reasons why (and sorry, Mr. Reed, but you're not there just yet):

1. Adam Scott: Won both the Masters and Barclays in 2013 and then, on his victory tour in his home country of Australia last November, Scott also won the Australian PGA Championship and Talisker Masters. He teamed up with Jason Day to win the World Cup in December too. Scott also tied for third in the Open Championship and tied for fifth in the PGA Championship. Current Official World Ranking: 2.

2. Henrik Stenson: Forget that shank the Swede hit at Doral last Thursday. In 2013, he won twice on the PGA Tour and both were FedExCup Playoffs events -- the Deutsche Bank Championship and the Tour Championship. That locked up the overall FedExCup title for Stenson. He also won the European Tour's equivalent -- the Race to Dubai -- becoming the first player to win both, and to do so in the same season. Incredibly, not only did Stenson win both those season-long crowns, but he also won the final event of both (Tour Championship on the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour Championship on the European Tour). He's hands down No. 1. Current Official World Ranking: 3.

3. Tiger Woods: So he hasn't played great this season, but over the last 12 months nobody has more wins on the PGA Tour. Woods won five times in 2013, including two World Golf Championships events and the Players Championship. Current Official World Ranking: 1.

4. Zach Johnson: Arguably the best game-manager there is on the PGA Tour, Johnson plays to his strengths -- an impeccable short game -- and the results bare that out. In the last 12 months, Johnson has 11 top-10 finishes, including wins at the BMW Championship and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He lost a playoff in the John Deere Classic and also won the unofficial World Challenge hosted by Tiger Woods. Remember that hole-out on the 72nd hole he had at the World Challenge to force the playoff with Woods that Johnson would eventually win? Current Official World Ranking: 9.

5. Jimmy Walker: During the 2013 season, Walker had a second-place and a third-place finish. In the 2013-14 season, thus far, no one has been better. Walker has had three victories since the new season began last October and has finished in the top 25 in all but two of his 11 starts. Current Official World Ranking: 24.

For me, Reed has been outstanding. However, before he starts mentioning himself among the top 5 players in the world, I'd like to see him play in at least one major. Reed will make his major debut next month at the Masters... in Augusta, Ga., where he won those two NCAA titles at Augusta State.

But he already told you that.

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

March 10, 2014 - 10:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Swing Caddie SC100
Voice Caddie
The Swing Caddie SC100 by Voice Caddie is a great practice tool for those serious about improving their golf game.

It's been a long, cold, snowy winter here in New England. Not that I'm complaining. That's what you sign up for when you live in these parts.

At a certain point though, all this dreary weather makes us long for spring and the start of golf season. This past weekend, we got a hint that perhaps -- just maybe -- spring is around the corner after all. With temperatures in the low 50s, scores of golfers flocked to the local driving range, myself included.

Along with hitting golf balls outside for the first time since November, I was very much looking forward to trying out a new device that caught my eye recently -- a product called the Swing Caddie SC100 from Voice Caddie.

RELATED: What's in the winners' golf bags for the week of March 9, 2014

The Swing Caddie SC100 is a portable launch monitor. Who wants to lug that around, right?

Consider this: This particular portable launch monitor is slightly bigger and weighs about the same as an iPhone. It comes in a small pouch and includes a remote. You can tuck it into the valuables pocket on your golf bag and you won't even know it's there.

Once you're at the range, you simply set the monitor on its stand behind your hitting area and with the tiny remote that clips to your belt loop you can adjust the settings -- the club your hitting, and the mode you're playing.

In just a few minutes, the Swing Caddie changed the way I'll practice going forward. While the Average Joe golfer might wonder: Why do I need a portable launch monitor -- the data is only going to confuse me? Let me tell you, the Swing Caddie is an invaluable practice tool.

Not all of us have the skills to be a world-class player, but that doesn't mean we don't take our golf seriously. The Swing Caddie -- a tiny, standalone device that doesn't require a smartphone app -- will give you the key information you need instead of overloading you with the technical information you don't understand.

The instant feedback LCD display measures the following:

- carry distance
- swing speed
- ball speed
- smash factor

You can select from three different modes, as well -- practice, target, or random.

Have you ever played golf with the person who thinks he or she hits his or her clubs a lot further than they actually do? Are you that person?

After a quick warm up and in about five minutes time, I was blown away by the consistency with which the Swing Caddie allowed me to practice. It takes the "guessing" factor out of the equation and really allows the user to dial in consistent distances at which there ball travels with each club in the bag.

Here's a video showing how the Swing Caddie SC100 works:

 

 

It's one thing to follow the flight of your golf shot and see that you did something wrong -- a hard hook, a massive slice, etc. It's another thing to be able to, instantaneously after hitting that shot, look back at your portable launch monitor to try and make sense of why that shot happened. Was your swing speed a lot faster than your previous shot? Slower?

Based on the swing speed element on the display, you can quickly develop rhythm and tempo to help frequently repeat the swing that bares the best results for you.

The Swing Caddie is not a substitute for lessons from a PGA Professional. It is, however, an incredible practice tool that any player who takes his or her game seriously -- regardless of ability level -- should have as a companion at the range.

The Swing Caddie SC100 retails for $269. You can learn more about the device -- and others offered by Voice Caddie -- at www.voicecaddie.com.

You can also follow Voice Caddie on Twitter, @vcaddie.

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

Tiger Woods at the Cadillac Championship
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods' back has caused him problems in the final rounds of each of his last two starts.
Tiger Woods began Sunday at the Cadillac Championship only three shots out of the lead, and with his best chance so far this year to win a tournament. He ended it with a 78 – his worst Sunday score ever.
 
The reason? His tender back acted up again, only a week after he withdrew from the Honda Classic midway through the final round with back spasms. 
 
''Just let me get through this day, get some treatment and we'll assess it as time goes on,'' Woods said after gingerly finishing up at Doral.
 
 
Woods struggled at the beginning of his final round, hitting spectators on both the first and third holes. But, he said, the pain really increased after a bunker shot on the sixth hole. He had an awkward stance, with his left foot in the sand and his right foot flexed against the bunker's lip.
 
''That's what set it off, and then it was done after that,'' he said. 
 
"It is back spasms, so we've done all the protocols and it's just a matter of keeping everything aligned so I don't go into that," he added. "It's basically started on six, the second shot out of the bunker, my foot was out of the bunker."
 
 
After that, he said it was a matter of, ''just see if I could actually manage ... keep the spasms at bay.''
 
If he feels good, he can still make "a pretty decent swing," he told Reuters. "You saw it yesterday. I actually can make some good swings and shoot a good score, but if I'm feeling like this, it's a little tough.
 
"I mean, it was just one thing that set it off and as I say, I had a quick turnaround from last week," he added. "Normally things like this, you shut it down for a while and then get back up and get the strength and everything developed around it."
 
Woods will take this coming week off as planned and get more treatment on his back. He is still scheduled to return to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he is the defending champion. The Masters is two weeks after Bay Hill, and Woods enters this final month before the Masters with more questions than answers about his health.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
 
March 9, 2014 - 9:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Patrick Reed at the Cadillac Championship
USA Today Sports Images
Patrick Reed wears red and black clothes on Sundays, just like the player he grew up idolizing.
With his victory on Sunday at the Cadillac Championship, Patrick Reed joined an exclusive club. He became one of only five players to have earned three PGA Tour titles by the age of 24. The other four are Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy – and Tiger Woods.
 
Doral marks the first time that Reed won with Woods in the field, and one similarity you might have noticed was their attire. Reed has worn red shirts and black pants in each of his three triumphs – and that's no accident.
 
When asked about his apparel choice on Sunday, Reed explained that "the best player ever to live when I was growing up wore black pants, a red shirt. I was growing up watching him, I always thought, you know, it would be cool to wear black and red come down Sunday."
 
Reed has worn red and black for his final rounds since his youth – "I did it when I was in juniors, I did it in amateur golf, and you know, it's worked," he said. "Obviously there's something behind it. 
 
 
See this weekSo, has Tiger ever said anything to him about his sartorial selection?
 
He hasn't," Reed said, adding jokingly, "It's one of those things that I don't think he really has any white or black in his shirts; he just has solid red and black pants.
 
"It's one of those things that I've been comfortable wearing it and you know, obviously he's been comfortable wearing it," he added. "Just happens to be that we both wear it on Sunday now."
 
There obviously was a period of time when no other player would have dared to wear red and black on Sundays. Do you consider Reed's choice an homage to Woods or a challenge?
 
Nead custom putters
Courtesy of Nead Custom Putters
Nead Custom Putters is owned by Gene Nead, crew chief of the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing team from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, who began building putters as a hobby.
When it comes to putters there are a few who stand above the rest. While the Scotty Cameron may be the most sought after, there are other companies that deserve a look, especially if you want something that is uniquely yours. One of those is Nead Custom Putters.
 
The Charlotte-based company is owned by Gene Nead, crew chief of the No. 98 Phil Parsons Racing team from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, who began building putters as a hobby during his “quiet time” away from the track.
 
“Building putters is something I have enjoyed doing since I was young  It was sort of like the game of golf.  My quiet time between complete chaos,” he said. “I really never thought of it as business until the last few years… it was just my quiet time.”
 
 
Nead’s “quiet time” activity has turned into a full-fledged artistic endeavor. Nead builds a lot of custom, one-of-a-kind items, but also produced some mass-produced products, such as their best-selling BiTi mallet.
 
“[Our] most popular model over the years has been our BiTi Mallet. It was an original design a few years ago that has a carbon or stainless head with a titanium rear flange,” Nead said. “Every time I make a run of them they aren’t around for long.”
 
Some may think the putters are a tad pricey, but when you consider each one is meticulously hand-crafted in North Carolina, and realize they perform as well as they look, it’s a small price to pay. These putters aren’t just for show.  According to Bunkers Paradise these bad boys perform, too.
 
I don’t think we target any one group, I feel like we just build a great product,” Nead said. “Some of our exotic materials used in our putters will be more for the golf collector-type people… but we also try to keep putters rolling out that are affordable with more of a personalized touch than can be found at your local golf store or national chain.”
 
To get your hands on your own Nead putter, visit NeadCustomPutters.com or WantsAndNeads.com for pre-built putters and Nead accessories.