Golf Buzz

October 30, 2013 - 9:50am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson won the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2009 and is hoping to do so again this week in Shanghai.

Many of golf's biggest stars -- including Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy -- are in Shanghai this week for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International GC.

The 78-player field boasts 36 PGA Tour winners who account for 157 wins overall. Ian Poulter is the defending champion.

The WGC-HSBC Champions is the fourth event of the 2014 season on the PGA Tour.

SCORES: Follow the WGC-HSBC Champions leaderboard on PGA.com

Here's a closer look at five players to watch this week.

5. Justin Rose.
Best finish in 2013:
Winner of the U.S. Open
Reason to watch: Few players were better than Rose in a 2013 season that included his first major championship win. Rose has become one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour (he missed the cut just twice in 17 starts last season) and always seems to be a contender, evidenced by his 13 top-25 finishes during the 2013 season. Rose sports one of the prettiest swings in golf and, as he's proven lately, it holds up well under pressure. After notching that first major, expect Rose to start adding loads of hardware to that trophy case.

4. Jordan Spieth.
Best finish in 2013:
Winner of the John Deere Classic
Reason to watch: Forget the fact that the 20-year-old was the runaway PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2013. Since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August, Spieth has made five starts. Here are those results: playoff loss at Wyndham Championship; T19 at The Barclays; T4 at the Deutsche Bank Championship; T16 at the BMW Championship; and T2 at the Tour Championship. Spieth was also a member of the winning U.S. Presidents Cup team, playing as one of Fred Couples's two captain's picks. Spieth is becoming a force. And, in case he needed any added incentive (he doesn't), there was a funny picture making the rounds on Twitter -- via Spieth's Instagram account -- this week. Spieth's locker at Sheshan identified him as "Jonas" instead of "Jordan." Maybe he'll give the folks in Shanghai a reason to never forget his name again.

READ: The scariest shots in golf | Golf and Halloween photo gallery

3. Rory McIlroy.
Best finish in 2013:
Second at the Valero Texas Open
Reason to watch: Is there any player in the world more looking forward to a new season than McIlroy? Not a chance. The funny thing is, as bad as 2013 was for the two-time major winner, it still wasn't awful. He made the cut in 14 of 16 starts and finished in the top-10 on five of those occasions. The problem was... he wasn't Rory-like. So, he enters the new season (and the remainder of the 2013 European Tour season) feeling like he's got something to prove. I think we'll see McIlroy making it a point to enjoy himself and have a little more fun on the course in 2014 (and starting this week). With this week's event counting toward both the PGA and European Tours, McIlroy has a chance to kill two birds with one stone -- salvage an otherwise forgettable 2013 and jump out to a fantastic start for 2014.

2. Phil Mickelson.
Best finish in 2013:
Winner of the Waste Management Open and Open Championship
Reason to watch: Mickelson tied for 19th at last week's CIMB Classic, where he pretty much said it was the worst he can remember hitting the ball in a long time. In fact, he claims he hit only three shots on the center of the clubface. Is that Mickelson hyperbole? Probably. But it's also a testament to just how scary good Mickelson is. He had far from his best stuff and still grabbed a top 20. Then there's this week. In a Golf Channel interview, Mickelson said he's hitting the ball much better. What will Phil do next? I don't know -- maybe win the HSBC Champions for the second time in four years.

READ: EA Sports, Tiger Woods part ways on popular video game

1. Keegan Bradley.
Best finish in 2013:
Second at HP Byron Nelson Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
Reason to watch: Bradley is itching to get back out for another tournament. He built a healthy 36-hole lead in Malaysia a week ago, but stumbled in the third round with a disappointing 76. Still, he managed a tie for 10th. And, as noted last week, Bradley's probably a little more pumped than usual -- if that's possible -- seeing as his Boston Red Sox have a chance to win their third World Series since 2004 this week.

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

October 29, 2013 - 12:01pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

Not all golf balls are built the same. For very specific reasons -- i.e. your level of ability -- manufacturers make golf balls that fit whatever kind of game you play.

In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Suzy Whaley offers up some advice on how you should go about choosing your golf ball.

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

October 29, 2013 - 11:47am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Lindsey Vonn
Getty Images
On the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night, Lindsey Vonn revealed that she had a hole-in-one the first time she played 18 holes of golf.

Lindsey Vonn, Olympic ski champion and the significant other of world No. 1-ranked golfer Tiger Woods, was a guest on the Late Show with David Letterman Monday night.

During the segment, Letterman had some questions for Vonn about Woods.

How did they meet? Is he a good skier? Stuff like that.

The biggest takeaway was when Letterman asked Vonn if she plays golf. She does... and she had a hole-in-one the very first time she played 18 holes!

You can watch the Tiger-related segment here:

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

 

October 29, 2013 - 9:02am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bobby Jones
PGA of America Archive
The U.S. Amateur Trophy won by Bobby Jones to complete the Grand Slam in 1930 is one of the items a ninja thief has stolen.

There's a thief on the loose who has a taste for significant sporting trophies. And, the thief in question, dresses like a ninja -- swaddled from head to toe.

Yes, a ninja.

The New York Times reports:

His method was neither high-tech nor elegant -- he kicked in doors and smashed glass cases. But his taste was impeccable, and sporting: his haul included the 1903 Belmont Stakes trophy, a silver Fabergé soup tureen and ladle given by Czar Nicholas II of Russia to an American harness horse impresario and the United States Amateur Championship trophy that completed golfer Bobby Jones's Grand Slam in 1930.

Along with the U.S. Amateur Trophy, the ninja thief also made off with the Hickok Belt Ben Hogan received in 1953 as the nation's top professional athlete.

The report says that this thief first came to the attention of authorities in New Jersey in May 2012 when Somerset Hills Country Club reported trophies had been taken from its clubhouse.

Just one week later, the ninja thief broke into the USGA Museum for the golf score.

"We don't discuss value, but we consider it significant," Joe Goode, a spokesman for the United States Golf Association, said of the belt. "And the U.S. Am Trophy is priceless, as it dates back to 1926 and was the trophy that completed Jones’s Grand Slam in 1930."

So far, the elusive ninja is still on the loose.

As far as we know, the suspect wasn't this golf ninja:

 

 

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

 

October 28, 2013 - 10:41pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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EA Sports PGA Tour 2015 golf game
EA Sports
EA Sports says it is working with the PGA Tour "on a new approach'' for future games.

The ''Tiger Woods PGA Tour'' golf game series from EA Sports has been a consistent best-seller for almost a decade and a half, but the company announced on Monday that it and the superstar golfer are going their separate ways.

EA Sports and Woods have made ''a mutual decision to end our partnership, which includes Tiger's named PGA Tour golf game,'' the company said on its official blog. ''We've always been big fans of Tiger and we wish him continued success in all his future endeavors.''

EA Sports gave no reason for the split, and the Woods camp didn't issue any comment, either. However, the end of the partnership doesn't mean the end of EA Sports' presence in the golf game arena. Moving forward, the company will ''continue to work with the PGA Tour exclusively to create groundbreaking golfing titles,'' it said, stressing that their partnership remains strong.

TIGER TAMED: McIlroy tops Woods for second straight year in China exhibition

The company hinted that it is ''working on a new approach'' for future games, responding to gamers' request for ''more choice and customization in how and where they play.'' Without providing any details about future releases, EA Sports said ''we think you'll love it.''

The photo above is the first screenshot of EA Sports' next-generation golf game currently in development. 

The current ''Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14,'' which became available last spring, includes several breakthroughs, including a Legends of the Majors mode that allows players to compete against greats like Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones. With the end of the partnship, 2014 will mark the first year since 1999 that EA will not publish a Tiger Woods golf game.

 

October 28, 2013 - 11:06am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

Long greenside bunker shots -- even the most seasoned of PGA Tour veterans will tell you that the 30-60-yard bunker shot is among the most difficult to hit in golf.

Fear not, friends. In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Bill Murchison offers up some great advice to ensure that this particular shot doesn't need to be nearly as daunting as you make it out to be.

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