Golf Buzz

October 7, 2013 - 10:29am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Stacy Lewis
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You've got to be kidding me. That's how Stacy Lewis felt after the shot her opponent Shanshan Feng hit to set up a win in China.

To call the finish at the LPGA's Reignwood Classic -- the tour's first tournament in Bejing -- dramatic would be the understatement of the year.

In case you missed it on Sunday, China's Shanshan Feng was battling with American Stacy Lewis for the title. On the final hole, Feng took an incredibly aggressive line with her second shot into the par 5. All indications were that the ball sailed too far right and drowned into the water hazard. But, in a split second, the ball shot out of the hazard, onto the green and hit the flag stick. Amazing stuff. See it for yourself:

 

 

That shot -- arguably the luckiest you'll ever see in golf considering the circumstances -- set up a tournament-winning eagle for Feng. It seemed everyone in China was over the moon with the home victory... everyone, that is, except -- understandably -- Lewis.

Lewis, the No. 3-ranked player in the world, was none too pleased with the way the tournament went and Feng's miracle result on 18 was just the icing on the cake.

"I feel like it was just taken from me," Lewis said later. "You’d like to win on a good shot, but, obviously, it wasn’t a good shot. It’s very frustrating. It was a frustrating day just with the crowds and dealing with all that. It was hard to play today."

VIDEO: How to hit your drives farther

Lewis wasn't done there. Later she took to Twitter to voice her frustrations on the Reignwood Classic, where players had to deal with heavy smog and eager fans snapping photos all week.

Here were the tweets Lewis send out before she decided hours later to take a break from Twitter:

Congrats to Shan Shan on the win, crazy shot at 18. Very disappointed in the fans in China this week. -- @Stacy_Lewis

Between all the cameras and cheering when I missed putts. It was just really hard to have fun out there. On to the next... -- @Stacy_Lewis

Btw what till you see the shot on 18 that won it! Lets just say it involved a rock and the flag stick... -- @Stacy_Lewis

And, one final tweet after receiving a lashing from folks on Twitter:

For those whose were actually supportive on twitter, sorry to say I will be signing off of here. I'm sorry I say what I believe. -- @Stacy_Lewis

Some will look at it as sour grapes from Lewis. But put yourself in her position -- you're about to win a tournament when what was clearly a bad shot from your fellow competitor suddenly turns into the shot of the tournament.

It's too bad Lewis has decided to take a break from Twitter for stating the facts.

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

 

October 6, 2013 - 10:12pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Fred Couples
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U.S. Captain Fred Couples led his side to another Presidents Cup victory on Sunday.
The 2013 Presidents Cup will go down as an 18 1/2-15 1/2 victory for the U.S., and the narrow margin was perhaps a little deceiving
 
The U.S., led by captain Fred Couples, entered Sunday's singles competition with a remarkable six-point advantage at 14-8 and needed just 3 1/2 points in singles to secure the victory. 
 
The International squad, with captain Nick Price, went down swinging. They won the singles session, 7 1/2-4 1/2, but the damage had already been done. 
 
 
With a 1-up victory over South Africa's Richard Sterne, Tiger Woods claimed the clinching point for the Americans in the third consecutive Presidents Cup. 
 
Since the Presidents Cup's inception in 1994, the U.S. is now an astonishing 8-1-1.
 
So what have we learned from the Presidents Cup that could help the U.S. at the 2014 Ryder Cup next September at Gleneagles in Perthshire Scotland? What else will we remember from this past week?
 
Let's take a closer look.
 
TIGER'S GOT A NEW PARTNER: One great challenge for U.S. captains in team competitions over the years has been finding a playing partner for Tiger Woods. While Woods -- you'd think -- can play with anyone, not just anyone can play with him.
 
In recent years, the fit seemed to be Steve Stricker or Jim Furyk. Those two players have matched up the most with Woods. Stricker has compiled a 6-5-0 combined record with Woods in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup pairings, while the Woods/Furyk team has gone 5-3-1.
 
 
Furyk missed out on the Presidents Cup team this year -- the first time since 1996 he hasn't been on a Presidents Cup team (he's been on every Ryder Cup team since 1997). While Stricker seemed like the obvious candidate to join Woods again, it was hard to get past the 0-3-0 record the pair compiled in the 2012 Ryder Cup.
 
Some speculated that Woods would perhaps match up with rookie Jordan Spieth or even PGA Champion Jason Dufner. Instead, it was Woods and Matt Kuchar. And after a brilliant 3-1-0 effort at Muirfield Village, you can be sure the Woods/Kuchar pairing got the attention of 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson.
 
Woods and Kuchar put on a clinic. In the fourball format, if one player was off on a hole, the other was on. In foursomes, if one player hit a wayward shot, the other would bail him out. It was the perfect "ham-and-egg" partnership.
 
And, not only that, but rare for any Woods duo in team competition, it looked like the two were actually having fun.
 
This video in particular from Day One -- the Fresh Prince/DJ Jazzy Jeff handshake got a lot of play:
 
 
Bottom line: Woods/Kuchar is a pairing you'd better get used to.
 
ROOKIES RISE UP: The U.S. team included four rookies this year -- sensation Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker and PGA Champions Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley. Spieth was the only "true" rookie from a team competition standpoint, as Snedeker, Dufner and Bradley were all a part of the last Ryder Cup team.
 
All told, the foursome accounted for nine of the 18 1/2 points the Americans put on the board. This was a great introduction to team competition for Spieth, who projects to be a stalwart for years to come. 
 
 
"It will be fun to watch Jordan Spieth too. What a wonderful story he is. He's the type of player I've talked about wanting to have on the team -- he's passionate and he excels when the pressure is on. I hope he plays well in the Presidents Cup. There are young players, like Jordan, who add a welcome dimension to the Ryder Cup. You want them to play well and experience that added pressure that comes in a team event. It can only help if he qualifies for the Ryder Cup."
 
Spieth went 2-2-0 in his Presidents Cup debut. He played alongside Stricker in fourballs twice (1-1), foursomes once (1-0) and lost his singles match to Canadian Graham DeLaet, 1 up.
 
 
Snedeker went 2-2 in team play, winning and losing two matches apiece with playing partners Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson. Snedeker was dominated, 6 and 4, by Jason Day in singles.
 
Dufner went 2-1 with Zach Johnson and won his singles match.
 
Finally, there was Bradley, who went 2-2 with Phil Mickelson in team play and lost 2 and 1 to Charl Schwartzel in singles. Like the Woods/Kuchar pairing, Bradley/Mickelson is another to look for at Gleneagles in 2014 at the Ryder Cup. The duo also paired up for a perfect 3-0-0 team record together at the 2012 Ryder Cup.
 
DON'T SLEEP ON ZACH JOHNSON: He's certainly not the longest hitter and far from the most intimidating, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a bigger bulldog than Zach Johnson. An argument could be made that he's the most gritty grinder on the PGA Tour today. 
 
And, with a wedge in his hands, few in the world are better than Johnson. Need proof? How about this shot from 117 yards on No. 15 in foursomes on Saturday evening that closed out the match for Johnson and Dufner over Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman:
 
 
Again, Johnson is far from the flashiest player in the world. However, he always plays to his strengths and plays within himself. Steady and smart is a great combination in team play.
 
Furthermore, if you can pump up a flatliner like Dufner... need we say more?
 
BEST POST-PRESIDENTS CUP TWEETS: We loved this adorable picture Hunter Mahan tweeted out of his infant daughter shortly after the win:
 
 
And, of course, what would a victory be these days without a #Dufnering pose? Here, Johnson and the man himself do the honors:
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair. Follow PGA on Facebook.
 
October 6, 2013 - 7:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Angel Cabrera, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson at the Presidents Cup
Cabrera by the PGA Tour via Twitter, Dufner and Johnson from Johnson via Twitter
Angel Cabrera was looking for some new hair-wear after the Presidents Cup, while Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson got down and did some dufnering.

So how do you celebrate your victory in the Presidents Cup, or salve your wounds in defeat?

Well, Angel Cabrera – who won his singles match against Phil Mickelson on Sunday – decided to check out the wigs that teammates Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel wore to the first tee on Thursday after their notorious haircuts earlier in the week. And we have to agree, El Pato looks much better as a brunette than a blonde.

Meanwhile, over at Team USA headquarters, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson – a duo as formidable as it was laid back all week – celebrated the only way they knew how: by Dufnering with the Presidents Cup. Man, are those two guys party animals or what?

If you somewhow missed our coverage of the Presidents Cup, you can catch up on all the happenings right here.

 

October 5, 2013 - 9:20pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Davie Golf & Country Club
Courtesy of Davie Golf & Country Club
Davie Golf and Country Club just north of Miami is offering furloughed federal employees half-price green fees as long as the government shutdown continues.

Hey, all you federal employees in South Florida looking for something to do while you're out on furlough, check this out.

Davie Golf and Country Club just north of Miami is offering furloughed federal employees half-price green fees as long as the government shutdown continues.

''There are thousands of laid-off federal employees in South Florida, sitting home with no pay,'' Dave Harris, director of marketing at Davie Golf, told WFOR-TV, the CBS affiliate in Miami. ''So we decided to do something to show our support for them. Hopefully a relaxing game of golf will help our federal employees get through this difficult time.''

Both full-time and part-time federal employees can qualify for the discounted rate by showing their current federal employee ID and stating their furlough date. The discount deal is valid on weekdays only, though, so you'll probably have to spend Sunday watching golf on TV.

Davie G&CC, by the way, used to be known as Arrowhead Golf Club, which closed a few years ago and then was taken over by the Town of Davie. In the interim, the course was redesigned and regrassed, and the new course management is promoting the facility as a fun and economic golf experience.

Green fees range from $19 to $49 depending on the time of day and season, and the club says the 50-percent discount will average out to about $15 per player.

 

October 4, 2013 - 11:10pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Getty Images
Jack Nicklaus dropped the puck between Brandon Dubinsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets (l) and Mark Giordano of the Calgary Flames before the start of the Blue Jacket's opening game of the 2013-14 NHL season.

At the Presidents Cup Friday night, the players gulped down their dinner and went to bed early. The tournament staff puzzled over how best to handle the remainder of the event after not one but both of the first two days were interrupted by rain. And unofficial host Jack Nicklaus went to a hockey game.

Specifically, the Golden Bear – well known as quite the sportsman – dropped the ceremonial first puck at the Columbus Blue Jackets' opening game of the new season against the Calgary Flames. Dublin, Ohio, where Muirfield Village is located, is just outside Columbus.

FRIDAY RECAP: USA leads by 1 after second rain-interrupted day
PRESIDENTS CUP SCOREBOARD: Follow all the action from Muirfield Village

Alas, the Blue Jackets couldn't perform like Nicklaus in pursuit of a green jacket, as they fell to the Flames, 4-3. That result, no doubt, was more popular with International team member Graham DeLaet, who's a huge Flames fan.

The best part of the night, though, had to be the jersey that that Jackets bestowed upon Nicklaus. Instead of the usual tradition of giving a celebrity a jersey with 00 or the year on it, the Golden Bear's jersey boasts the number 18. So even with the Jackets' loss, that made the evening a major success.

 

October 4, 2013 - 7:37pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Davis Love III and Sammy the Squirrel at the Presidents Cup
Davis Love III via Twitter
Davis Love III took to Twitter Friday to show us that he put Sammy the Squirrel in a tree at Muirfield Village. Sammy, however, didn't stay there for long.

Sammy the Squirrel stole the show on Thursday at the Presidents Cup, and on Friday it became evident that he didn't want to give up the spotlight.

As we all know by now, U.S. Assistant Captain Davis Love III found the baby squirrel on the second hole at Muirfield Village, and the little guy quickly decided to spend the whole day with Love. The two traveled all over the course together, with Sammy nestled contentedly in Love's lap or pocket. He even spent a little quality time with several team members and their wives and girlfriends – it was Steve Stricker's wife Nicki who named him – as the U.S. team took the first-day lead.

VIDEO: See Davis Love III with Sammy the Squirrel
STORY: Read all about Davis Love III with Sammy the Squirrel

On Friday morning, Love put Sammy back in a tree at Muirfield Village. The only problem was, Sammy wasn't so eager to go – he quickly jumped onto the shoulder of a TV cameraman. 

Enough was enough, though. Love said that Sammy eventually was taken to a wildlife shelter where, hopefully, they'll keep the Presidents Cup on TV so he can see if his new friends on the U.S. team can finish what he started.