Golf Buzz

October 24, 2013 - 7:17pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Lydia Ko
Getty Images
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.

 

 

October 24, 2013 - 6:39pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Don Padgett II and Mike Davis
Pinehurst Resort
Pinehurst President and COO Don Padgett (l) and the USGA's Mike Davis will collaborate on the U.S. Open next summer, before Padgett retires next fall.

All eyes will be on the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in 2014 as the world-famous North Carolina golf facility hosts both the men's and women's U.S. Opens in back-to-back weeks next summer. That unprecedented double-header also will serve as something of a grand farewell party for Pinehurst President and COO Don Padgett II, who recently announced that he'll retire next fall.

Padgett – a longtime PGA Professional and the son of former PGA of America President Don Padgett – will be succeeded by Tom Pashley, who is currently Pinehurst's executive vice president.

In addition to his duties at Pinehurst, Padgett serves as the general chairman of both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open. After his retirement, he will remain at the resort in an emeritus capacity.

PINEHURST RESORT: Is it truly the home of American golf?

''With the upcoming U.S. Opens and exciting plans for the growth of our membership, I felt this was the right time to begin the transition for the future leadership of Pinehurst,'' Padgett said in a statement.

Padgett was named president at Pinehurst in 2004 after a 25-year career with ClubCorp, moving to North Carolina after serving as general manager of Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Pinehurst hosted the 2005 U.S. Open soon after his arrival, and he oversaw the major renovation of the famed No. 2 Course by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw that will be in the spotlight during the U.S. Open.

Among his many honors and accolades, Padgett has been inducted into both the Ohio and Indiana Golf Halls of Fame, and received the PGA's 1993 Bill Strausbaugh Award for excellence in club relations. He graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in marketing, and played on the PGA Tour from 1972-1974. His competitive accomplishments include the Indiana State Open Champion in 1972 and 1975; Ohio Open Champion in 1988; and Northern Ohio PGA Section Champion in 1981, 1984, 1987 and 1994. He was a member of the U.S. PGA Cup teams in 1976, 1981, 1982 and 1984.

 

October 24, 2013 - 9:05am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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You've probably heard this before, but we'll tell you again -- you should have hybrid clubs in your golf bag.

Why? They're easy to hit from a variety of lies and also easier to control than your longer irons. In today's golf tip Laird Small, PGA Director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy, explains how hybrids are designed to help your game and demonstrates the proper way to hit them in several different situations.

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

Categories:
October 24, 2013 - 8:44am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bubba Watson
Rickie Fowler's Instagram
Bubba Watson doesn't look too sure about this whole "fish spa" thing.

Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and many other PGA Tour stars are in Malaysia this week competing in the CIMB Classic.

Early Monday morning -- early evening in Kuala Lumpur -- Fowler sent out a tweet that featured an Instagram video compilation of himself, Watson, Fowler's caddie Joe Skovron, Aaron Baddeley, Keegan Bradley and others receiving what is known as a fish spa.

Here's the video:

 

 

The reactions on the faces of those taking part are priceless. It's easy to understand why, too, once you learn exactly what a "fish spa" is (it's also one of those items you can file under "things I never thought I'd look up for PGA.com").

A fish spa -- as the video sort of shows -- involves sitting around a small "pond." You put your feet in the pond while "doctor fish" -- tiny, gross looking fish that almost look like tadpoles -- feed on your skin. Yes, feed on your skin!

Basically, it's meant to clean your feet like some kind of weird pedicure.

What does this have to do with golf? Absolutely nothing, other than the fact that golfers are featured in Fowler's hilarious compilation.

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

October 23, 2013 - 1:51pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson is making his 2014 PGA Tour season debut this week in the CIMB Classic.

The PGA Tour descends on Kuala Lumpur G&CC West in Malaysia this week for the CIMB Classic -- the third event on the new 2013-14 wraparound schedule.

If you're a golf enthusiast who watches some of the tournament on TV this week and thinks, "I feel like I've seen this place before," it's because you have. The LPGA completed the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia on the same course just two weeks ago.

Nick Watney returns to the CIMB Classic, where he's the defending champion after flirting with a 59 in the 2012 event, contested at The Mines Resort & GC.

SCORES: Follow the CIMB Classic leaderboard on PGA.com

This week marks the first time that the CIMB Classic is an official event on the PGA Tour schedule. The field of 78 competitors also includes the likes of Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson.

Here's a closer look at five players you should keep an eye on this week.

5. Russell Henley.
Best finish in 2013:
Winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii
Reason to watch: Henley turned heads in January when he became the first PGA Tour rookie in 12 years to win in his Tour debut. Since then, Henley hasn't had anything to truly write home about. He did record two more top-10 finishes, but there was nothing else that really jumped out. Henley is in Malaysia a week after missing the cut in Las Vegas. So why then, you ask, is the 24-year-old University of Georgia product someone to watch this week? It's just a hunch. Henley is a fearless putter who ranked ninth in the Tour's "strokes gained putting" category. If he can find the dance floor, look out.

4. Keegan Bradley
Best finish in 2013:
Runner up at Byron Nelson Championship; T2 at WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
Reason to watch: You've seen the intense enthusiasm of Keegan Bradley before. Well, trust us when we tell you he's going to be even more jacked up this week. Why? His beloved Boston Red Sox are playing in the World Series. Moreover, in Bradley's six 2013 starts since that tie for second at the WGC-Bridgestone, he's only once finished outside of the top 19 -- and he hasn't missed a cut since the U.S. Open. It's been over a year since the 2011 PGA Champion's last win too, so he's itching to hoist some hardware.

READ: 20 Twitter accounts you're not following, but should be

3. David Lynn
Best finish in 2013:
Runner up in the Wells Fargo Championship
Reason to watch: The Englishman enjoyed a fairly successful first full season on the PGA Tour in 2013 with six top-10 finishes in 22 starts. The 40-year-old heads to Malaysia riding high after his victory at the Portugal Masters just two weeks ago. That win was Lynn's second on the European Tour and his first since 2004. It's got to be a good feeling as he embarks on his first start of the 2014 PGA Tour season (while, by the way, he's concurrently wrapping up the 2013 European Tour season. Weird).

2. Bo Van Pelt.
Best finish in 2013:
Third at the Crowne Plaza Invitational
Reason to watch: How is it possible that this guy has only won one time on the PGA Tour? In no way, shape or form are we playing down that accomplishment. It's just hard to believe that a player like Van Pelt -- an absolute top-10 monster (though just one such finish in 2013) -- only has that lone Tour win at the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship... But, his game travels well internationally. Van Pelt won the CIMB Classic in 2011 (it was still an unofficial Tour event then), tied for second last year and also won the 2012 Perth International. For some reason, he clearly plays well this time of year. Temperatures are expected to be brutally hot in Malaysia this week. For Van Pelt, who makes his home in Tulsa these days, it shouldn't be an issue. Van Pelt is also coming off a 2013 season in which he missed out on the Tour Championship for the first time since 2009. There's a little added motivation.

1. Phil Mickelson
Best finish in 2013:
Winner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Open Championship
Reason to watch: It's Phil Mickelson. Do you really need a reason? Here are a few -- he's coming off one of the best season's of his career, which is saying something. Recently, Mickelson said he'd be making far fewer starts than usual in an effort to play his best golf when he tees it up (and, of course, with a focus on the majors). Any time Mickelson is in the field he's a pre-tournament favorite. This week is no different, as he's the highest ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world.

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

 

October 23, 2013 - 11:43am
Posted by:
John Kim
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Golf and Twitter
Photo: PGA.com
Twitter has changed the way the world communicates - including the golf world.
The world of communication is changing fast and Twitter seems to be leading the way. This holds true in golf as it does in every other facet of life. But are you using Twitter to best enhance your golf life? Sure, you're probably following all the "big" names - but great Twitter streams are not limited to those with six figure followings.  Some of the best, most informative and most entertaining are putting out a lot of great information to a relatively smaller audience. 
 
Thus, I present to you 20 great golf accounts - hidden gems of Twitter - that all golf fans should be following. My requirements for this list were 1.) a professional connection to golf 2.) have less than 10,000 followers and 3.) is not a verified account (Twitter's designation for 'official' accounts that have been authenticated).  Other than that, if they are informative, insightful, unique and entertaining, they were fair game.  This list is by no means comprehensive. It's more illustrative of the many great under-followed accounts out there. 
 

Life on Tour:  The best insight about life inside the ropes aren't just from the guys/gals swinging the clubs.

  • Erin Walker - Wife of PGA Tour player (and recent Frys.com Open winner) Jimmy Walker, Erin brings her love of family, golf and horses (both show and the Broncos) in a fun and 'inside the ropes' way. She may be the only Tour player wife that has more Twitter followers than her husband. Even if that's not the case much longer, I'm sure she'll continue to add some unique and interesting perspective to a side of life most of all only think we know. (@TourWifeTravels)
  • Josh Dickinson - Josh Dickinson is a long-time Tour caddie who shares some great thoughts about life on the bag and on the road. Several caddies share great tweets about what life on Tour is like through their eyes, but Josh adds enough funny anecdotes and a dash of personal thoughts that make this a good account to connect with. (@TourCaddieJD)
  •  Nick Flanagan - The 29-year-old from Australia is a four-time winner on the Web.com Tour and was that Tour's 2007 Player of the Year. What makes him a great follow? He's honest and open about everything. Meatheads at the gym? Flanagan doesn't like 'em. Time back home with family? Flanagan posts pictures showing he can't wait to see 'em. (@4flanagan)

  • James Nitties - The 31-year-old Aussie won the 2011 Midwest Classic on the Web.com Tour. He often gives movie reviews, flirts with the ladies via Twitter, posts funny videos, photos and more. All in all, Nitties is just a funny guy's guy. (@Nitties23)
  • Jane Park - LPGA Tour pro, foodie, class clown. Sometimes not in that order. Jane's one of the most entertaining and engaging pros out there. Well worth a click of the follow button. (@TheJanePark)

 

Media: These people work in covering golf - and they do it really really well.

  • Dave Shedloski - (Golf World) 'Shed' has seen it all working for a variety of golf outlets and is a supremely talented scribe. He knows the game and the audience as well as anyone. If it's a big event, Shed is probably there. And he can surmise a complex thought into one tweet. Huge help as you watch an event. (@DaveShedloski)
  •  Ryan Ballengee - (Golf News Net) Ryan's ability to look at any golf event/moment and find a unique angle to it makes him a must follow. Was the first to secure an interview with the Presidents Cup streaker. Pretty sure he coined the hashtag #59Watch. Has worked at a variety of golf outlets. Pretty good player too I'm told but he keeps ducking me. (@RyanBallengee)

  • T.J. Auclair - (PGA.com) A bit self-serving here as he is PGA.com, but as one of the main producer/writers of "The Golf Buzz"; T.J. consistently finds more interesting and unique golf stories than anyone on the web. There's the occasional tweet rooting for his beloved Patriots and Red Sox, but no one's account is perfect, right? (@TJAuclair
  • Beth Ann Baldry - (GolfWeek) So I'm breaking my own rule here a little bit, but Beth Ann is worth it.  She has slightly over 10,000 followers, but she should have over 100,000. I follow a number of people who promote and cover women's golf - at every level. But in truth, if you had to pick only one to get all the info you could want...she would be that one. She's fun, she's engaging and she's seemingly everywhere. (@Golfweek_Baldry)
  • Matt Adams - (Fairways of Life, Back 9 Network) One of the real 'stars' of radio row, Matt (host of the "Fairways of Life" on Sirius/XM radio) can talk about any Tour player, any piece of equipment, any venue and pretty much any topic you can come up with. And do it better than pretty much anyone you know. A scholar and a gentleman. Hard to beat. (@MattAdamsFoL)

 

Industry: Whether you want to know about equipment, the business side or the history of golf; this group will have you covered.

  •  HackersParadise - One of my favorite sites for talking golf equipment, they consistently tweet out links to the discussions their forum members have about new equipment. Invaluable info there. (@hackersparadise)
  • Dottie Pepper - She's pretty much a golf icon. Two-time major winner, current ESPN broadcaster, PGA of America board member, passionate about growing the game, etc. How she qualifies for this "hidden gems" list (Number of followers, twitter verification) is beyond me. But no real explanation needed - she's obviously a great follow for golf fans. (@DottieandBogey)
  • Bob Denney - Bob's handle (@pgahistorybug) tells the tale pretty well. Senior writer at The PGA of America, he knows and shares more great nuggets of golf history than any other source I know of on Twitter. 

  • We Are Golf - I love the business side of golf. We Are Golf offers some great figures, stats and interesting stories about why golf is more than a game. If you want to learn about the industry and why it's so impactful to our economy, they are a must follow. (@WeAreGolf)
  •  Harry Arnett - The Senior VP of Marketing at Callaway Golf. He and his crew (affectionately known as The Zoo Crew) made a conscientious effort to use social media (and in particular Twitter) to redefine the way a golf brand engaged with an audience. It's worked. He's smart, engaging, funny and sincere. On the flip side, the long-suffering native Atlantan will share his love for the Bulldogs, Falcons and Braves on occasion. So those tweets are depressing. (@HarryArnettCG)

PGA Professionals: The experts in the game and business of golf also have Twitter covered pretty well. These names are among the many that can teach, promote and grow the game - 140 characters at a time.

  •  John Graham - (Rochester, NY) - First used Twitter to promote his involvement in the AimPoint theory of putting instruction but has evolved it into great analysis on all kinds of golf science as well as a tremendous networking platform. (@JohnGrahamGolf)
  • Sara Dickson - (The Stanwich Club (Conn.)/Stonebridge Club (Naples, Fla)) - One of my favorite Twitter stories. Young pro who graduated with no full-time job, no computer, no tv. Used her smartphone and Twitter to network and learn the business side of golf. Now sharing great inspirations, great golf photos and fun 'growing the game' stories with the world. (@Sara_PGA)
  • Mike Fay - (Monument Course, Boyne Falls, MI) Incredibly passionate about teaching and growing the game but most well-known for hosting the weekly (every Sunday night) "Ask the Pro" feature on Twitter. In that, he moderates a fun following of golf pros; asking a variety of golf questions and getting an interesting diversity of answers for the public to consume via the #AskThePro hashtag. Part teacher, part facilitator, total golf nut. (@MikeFayGolf)
  • Brad Redding - (Grand Dunes Golf Club, Myrtle Beach, SC) Highly lauded teaching professoinal that has embraced Twitter as a great tool to connect, teach and engage. He doesn't need Twitter to establish himself by any means, he just enjoys using it. And it shows. Great golf advice and good stories to boot. (@BradReddingGolf)
  • Ted Eleftheriou (MetroWest Golf Club, Orlando, Fla.) - A constant stream of golftips, Ted is all about offering short nuggets of advice that will inspire non-golfers to take up the game and help beginning golfers enjoy the game a little more. (@CreateGolfers)

 

John Kim was named 2012 CableFax "Social Media Facilitator" of the Year for all digital media and was designated a 2013 "15 to Watch" by CableFax as a 'rising star of digital, technological and social innovation.' He is not as interesting or entertaining as the names listed above but you can still follow him on Twitter at @JohnKim.  Oh, and you should follow PGA.com (@PGA_com) too.  Because it's the best.  And we all tweet there like it's our job.