Golf Buzz

April 10, 2014 - 7:36pm
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John Holmes
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Fashion Thursday
Getty Images
Arnold Palmer, Jonas Blixt and Sergio Garcia topped our fashion leaderboard on Thursday at the Masters.
Here at the ol' Golf Buzz, we don't just care about who's playing well at the Masters. We also care about who looks good as they stroll the pristine fairways at Augusta National.
 
We put together a photo gallery of our 10 standout looks, but I am gonna take it a step farther and declare my three favorite fashion statements from today. I urge you to take a look at our gallery and chime in with your choices:
 
 
1. Arnold Palmer. The best look I saw all day made its debut just as the sun rose. Honorary starter Arnold Palmer looked fantastic in a green sweater that was just bright enough to bring a little color to the early-morning festivities and contrast nicely with the darker green of both the turf and Billy Payne's green jacket. In my view, the King reigned over the fashion parade today.
 
2. Jonas Blixt. Puma Golf likes to dress its players in eye-popping outfits, but Blixt's get-up was cool and refreshing. His white pullover with a series of stripes in cascading colors down the left sleeve was fashion-forward but not too extreme, and it looked great with his sky-blue trousers.
 
3. Sergio Garcia. El Nino stood out with his white shirt featuring a broad rose-purple stripe across the front and a bold block of the same unique color on the back. I love all the green and white that we see at the Masters, but it's great when someone can make a nice statement in colors on the other side of the color spectrum.
 
So there are my three faves. What say you?
 
 
Adam Scott
USA Today Images
Adam Scott's opening 3-under 69 on Thursday matches the number he opened with on his way to winning the Masters in 2013.

As the old adage goes, you can't win the Masters on Thursday, but you can lose it.

Defending champion Adam Scott seems intent on winning, evidenced by his opening 3-under 69 that -- at the time of this post -- left him tied for third and just one stroke behind clubhouse leader Bill Haas.

Interestingly, 69 is the same number Scott shot in the first round when he won in 2013.

RELATED: PGA.com's Masters leaderboard | Complete coverage | Masters by the numbers

If he's able to win again this year, Scott would become just the fourth player in history to successfully defend his Masters title.

Tiger Woods (2001, 2002), Nick Faldo (1989, 1990) and Jack Nicklaus (1965, 1966) are the only players to accomplish the rare feat. While there's still a long way to go in this, the 78th edition of the Masters, Scott certainly didn't do anything to hurt his chances.

He had five birdies on Thursday and one double bogey, which came on the par-3 12th hole, when he found Rae's Creek with his tee shot. He also had three-putt pars on the par-5 13th and 15th holes.

The 33-year-old Scott became the first Australian-born Masters winner a year ago and has finished in the top 10 in each of the last three years. Four of his last six major championship starts have yielded top-5 finishes.

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

 

Craig Stadler
USA Today Images
Craig Stadler, winner of the 1982 Masters, shot a 10-over-82 on Thursday, while his son -- Kevin -- fired a 2-under 70.

Today, Craig Stadler and his son, Kevin, became the first father-son duo to tee it up in the same Masters.

The younger Stadler -- playing in his first Masters -- recorded the first sub-par round of the day with an impressive 2-under 70. His father, the 1982 Masters champ, struggled to a 10-over 82, matching his highest score at Augusta National.

Kevin Stadler admitted he was nervous, but found his way after the first hole in a round that included four birdies and two bogeys. He explained afterward that he really didn't get much advice from his dad, who is making his 38th Masters start this week.

RELATED: PGA.com's Masters leaderboard | Complete coverage | Masters by the numbers

"I think he was wanting me to find my own way," Kevin Stadler told reporters. "He stressed the fact that you can’t really learn where not to hit it until you’ve been there."

It was a rough day all around for Craig Stadler. He had nine bogeys, a double bogey and just one birdie in what he has said will likely be his final Masters.

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

 

Ryder Cup
PGA of America

There's still a long way to go when it comes to accumulating points toward Team USA for the 2014 Ryder Cup.

However, if recent history is any indication, the team could take some shape at the conclusion of the Masters. This isn't a huge surprise, as major championships provide the opportunity to earn double points in a Ryder Cup year. Two points are awarded for every $1,000 earned in the majors this year and all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.

In 2012, here is what the top 20 looked like at the conclusion of the Masters:

1. Bubba Watson
2. Phil Mickelson

3. Hunter Mahan
4. Keegan Bradley
5. Tiger Woods

6. Bill Haas
7. Steve Stricker *
8. Brandt Snedeker *

9. Kyle Stanley
10. Johnson Wagner
11. Mark Wilson
12. Matt Kuchar
13. Jason Dufner
14. Dustin Johnson *

15. Ben Crane
16. Kevin Na
17. Bo Van Pelt
18. Robert Garrigus
19. Jim Furyk *
20. Webb Simpson

Of that top 20, 11 players were on the 2012 U.S. team at Medinah -- the names in bold print above (asterisks indicates 2012 captain Davis Love III's captain's selections).

Again, there's a long way to go, but there's a good chance we could see a handful of this year's eventual squad among the top 10 come Sunday night. Points officially close at the conclusion of the 2014 PGA Championship.

Here is the current top 20, which includes nine members from the 2012 team (click here for the entire points list):

1. Jimmy Walker
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Patrick Reed
4. Bubba Watson
5. Jason Dufner
6. Phil Mickelson

7. Harris English
8. Zach Johnson
9. Webb Simpson
10. Matt Kuchar

11. Ryan Moore
12. Chris Kirk
13. Matt Every
14. Jordan Spieth
15. Will Mackenzie
16. Kevin Stadler
17. Keegan Bradley
18. Kevin Na
19. Jim Furyk
20. Ryan Palmer

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

Errie Ball
The PGA of America
Errie Ball is the only living competitor from the 1934 Masters, the first played.

In case you missed it, Golf Channel had a fantastic feature on PGA Professional Errie Ball this week.

Ball, 103 years old, is the oldest living PGA member and the only living participant from the first Masters in 1934.

In the feature -- narrated by Rich Lerner -- Ball reads the letter sent to him by the legendary Bobby Jones, dated Feb. 7, 1934, inviting him to play in the Augusta National Invitational (it didn't become "The Masters Tournament" until 1939).

RELATED: PGA.com's Masters leaderboard | Complete coverage | Masters by the numbers

"I feel lucky that I was invited," said Ball, a PGA of America Hall of Famer. "And I feel lucky, definitely, that I'm still alive. When I stepped on the first tee at the Masters, I said, 'Boy, this is something.'"

Ball, originally from Wales, actually worked as an assistant professional under Jones at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta. Ball has been a PGA Professional since 1932.

Watch the feature here and try not to get chills when Ball mentions all the legends he's played golf with:

 

 

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

 

Tiger Woods
USA Today Images
Until this year, Tiger Woods had played in every Masters since 1995.

For the first time in his professional career, Tiger Woods is missing the Masters.

Woods, a four-time Masters champion, made the announcement on April 1, explaining that he was healing from a "successful microdiscectomy" for a pinched nerve that had been hurting him for several months.

RELATED: PGA.com's Masters leaderboard | Complete coverage | Masters by the numbers

While Woods is certainly missed by patrons at Augusta National this week, he's also feeling a little empty about being sidelined.

On Thursday morning, Woods took to Twitter to tweet this about Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, the honorary starters:

 

It was Tiger's first tweet since his April 1 message, which read: "Sad to say I’m missing the Masters. Thanks to the fans for so many kind wishes."

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