Golf Buzz

October 22, 2013 - 12:54pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jason Dufner
YouTube

We came across video today of a pep talk Jason Dufner gave to the Auburn University football team shortly after his PGA Championship win in August.

Here's the talk:

Unfortunately, there's no Dufnering in the video, but it was interesting to see Dufner at least crack a smile while he imparted some words of wisdom on the Tigers. As we've come to learn, there's no bigger Auburn fan than the reigning PGA Champion, who attended school there.

Dufner also attended the Auburn game at Texas A&M on Saturday and Twitter user @owensco79 tweeted this picture of the Duf giving a pregame speech in the Tiger lockeroom:

In case you missed it, Dufner's pep talk must have worked. Auburn took down Johnny Manziel's Aggies, 45-41 on the road.

At 6-1 overall, Auburn debuted at No. 11 in the first BCS standings released on Sunday.

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

October 22, 2013 - 11:46am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

If you live on a golf course, it's reasonable to assume that your house may be the recipient of an errant shot every now and again.

That's what happened at the 16th hole at Lakeridge Golf Course in Reno in September 2012 to the home of a man named Jeff Fleming.

What happened next is where things got crazy.

READ: Your favorite games to play on the golf course

The unidentified golfer who struck Fleming's house -- breaking a window -- took a drop and was attempting to play his next shot when Fleming allegedly fired a shotgun at the golfer, who suffered minor injuries to an arm and both legs.

According to a report, the 53-year-old Fleming pleaded guilty to a felony charge last week. Fleming entered the plea to battery with a deadly weapon last Thursday in Washoe County District Court. He faces from probation to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine when he's sentenced Dec. 12.

In exchange for Fleming's guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop an assault with a deadly weapon charge and to go along with the Division of Parole and Probation's recommended sentence for him.

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

October 21, 2013 - 6:59pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade SLDR fairway wood and rescue club
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The new TaylorMade SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs share the SLDR driver's Loft-Sleeve technology, which allows golfers to adjust the loft, as well as its gray and silver color palette.

Two months after the release of the SLDR driver, TaylorMade Golf is giving it some company. Five SLDR fairway woods and four SLDR Rescue clubs are joining the family.

The new fairways and rescues don't share the SLDR driver's signature sliding weight on the sole, but they do have TaylorMade's Loft-Sleeve technology, which allows golfers to adjust the loft 1.5 degrees up or down. Better players are sometimes reluctant to play higher-lofted metalwoods because of their increased spin rate, but TaylorMade says the SLDR clubs have a low and forward Center of Gravity that reduces spin and generates greater distances, even with the higher lofts.

GOLF BUZZ: TaylorMade SLDR drivers feature sliding weight on sole

Another TaylorMade trademark found in the SLDR fairways and rescues is the Speed Pocket, which is also found in the RocketBallz woods and RocketBladez and new SpeedBlades irons. The Speed Pocket is essentially a slot cut into the sole that allows the face to flex more and faster to help generate greater ball speed. Unlike the open slots in RocketBallz woods, the SLDRs' slots contain a polymer fill to keep grass and debris out. 

Like the SLDR driver, the new clubs feature a traditional head shape with a shallow face, charcoal-gray crown and silver clubface. And just as the SLDR quickly became the most-played driver on the PGA Tour, the fairways and rescues are already being used by players such as Justin Rose and D.A. Points.

GOLF BUZZ: TaylorMade SpeedBlade irons boast Speed Pockets

The SLDR fairway woods come in five models: Tour Spoon (14 degrees), 3 (15 degrees), 3HL (17 degrees), 5 (19°) and 5HL (21 degrees), all of which come stock with a Fujikura Speeder 77 graphite shaft. They carry a suggested retail price of $249 per club, or $349 with an optional Fujikura Motore Speeder TS 8.3 shaft.

The rescue clubs come in four models: the 2 (17 degrees), 3 (19 degrees), 4 (21 degrees) and 5 (24 degrees), with a stock Fujikura Speeder 82 shaft. They carry a suggested retail price of $219, while an optional TP version, equipped with the Fujikura Motore Speeder TS 9.3 shaft, has a suggested retail price of $289. 

All the new SLDR fairways and rescues will be available at retail in mid-November.

Here's a TaylorMade video with more info on these new clubs:

 
October 21, 2013 - 12:34pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
SuperStroke
SuperStroke
SuperStroke offers a variety of oversized grip sizes that will fit over the shaft of any conventional putter.

These days, you've probably seen a number of top touring professionals -- PGA Champion Jason Dufner for example -- sporting an oversized grip on their putter.

If it didn't work, they wouldn't be using it, right?

Chances are that grip you're seeing is one made by a company called, SuperStroke.

VIDEO: See how SuperStroke works | PGA.com

So what makes a SuperStroke oversized grip so special? With a smaller grip, a golfer has a tendency to squeeze too tightly, which can be cause for unnecessary wrist action that can undoubtedly throw your golf ball off its intended line.

SuperStroke oversized grips take "the hands out of it" so to speak. It promotes even grip pressure with both hands, creating a smoother, more consistent putting stroke.

According to SuperStroke, "Electromyographic testing of golfers at the Milwaukee School of Engineering found a 32 percent reduction in grip tension with the SuperStroke versus a conventional smaller putter grip."

RELATED: PGA.com's 2013 golf grips page

In layman's terms, an oversized grip produces a more-square face at impact, leading to better putts and a better feel for distance.

SuperStroke offers several different sizes, and the grips will fit any conventionally shafted putter.

If you're looking to improve your putting, you may want to give SuperStroke a try. Depending on model, the grips range in price from $11.99-$24.99.

To learn more, visit www.superstrokeusa.com. You can also find SuperStroke on Twitter, @SuperStrokeGolf.

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

October 20, 2013 - 8:02pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Webb Simpson
Getty Images
Webb Simpson's victory in the 2013 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open was the fourth of his PGA Tour career and first since the 2012 U.S. Open.

Webb Simpson won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Sunday, his first victory on the PGA Tour since the 2012 U.S. Open.

The 28-year-old Simpson was outstanding all week at TPC Summerlin, with a 72-hole total of 24-under-par 260 -- six shots better than runners up Jason Bohn and Ryo Ishikawa -- to tie the tournament scoring record.

Watch Simpson's fantastic final putt to close out the win in Las Vegas:

READ: Webb Simpson wins Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Simpson began the final round with a four-shot advantage over Chesson Hadley. The closest anyone would get to Simpson was Bohn, who pulled within three shots after birdies on Nos. 11 and 12. With birdies on three of his final six holes, however, Simpson never had much to worry about.

Sunday's victory was the fourth of Simpson's PGA Tour career. His best finish in 2013 was second at the RBC Heritage, where Simpson lost in a playoff to Graeme McDowell.

RELATED: Check out all the clubs this week's winners used

For Ishikawa, the co-runner up finish in Las Vegas matched the best finish on the PGA Tour for the 22-year-old Japanese sensation.

Ishikawa -- a 10-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour -- has struggled to adjust to life on the PGA Tour. He made the cut just 10 times in 25 starts during the 2013 season with only one top 10 (a tie for 10th at the HP Byron Nelson Championship).

This second-place finish in Vegas, along with last week's tie for 21st at the Frys.com Open, might be a sign that things are looking up for the talented Ishikawa.

MORE: Insider's Take -- TPC Summerlin PGA Head Professional Mike Messner

This week, the PGA Tour travels to Malaysia for the CIMB Classic.

OTHER TOURS...

ASIAN TOUR: Rory McIlroy was the headliner at the Kolon Korea Open, hoping to find some form in what has been -- by all counts -- a frustrating 2013 season.

McIlroy, a two-time major winner, finished among a five-man tie for second, one shot behind winner Sung-hoon Kang.

"A little frustrating, but I'm happy with how I hit it," said McIlroy, who shot a disappointing 75 in the third round before Sunday's 4-under 67. "I hit the ball really well off the tee and my iron play was very solid as well. I feel like my game is in good shape going into the next few weeks, and that's a good thing.

PHOTO GALLERY: Golf around the world October 2013

Back to winner Kang Sung-hoon... afterward he said he felt horrible for Kim Hyung-tae, one of the five players who finished second.

You see Kim stood on the 17th tee with a two-shot lead. Then, he was approached by rules officials who informed the pair that Kim had grounded a club in a hazard on the 13th hole. What Kim believed to be a bogey-4 on the par-3 13th ended up being a triple-bogey 6.

Kim and Kang finished the round, but before signing their cards (Kim bogeyed 17 and parred 18; Kang finished par-birdie), they spent nearly two hours on the 13th hole in discussion with officials.

According to a report, Kim argued he had never grounded his club, but was eventually persuaded to sign for a six by the Korean Golf Association rules committee, who had voted 5-3 against him after repeatedly consulting TV footage of the incident.

After his win, Kang felt badly for his pal Kim, telling reporters, "I'm a really good friend of his, so at the moment it doesn't feel great. Even though I won the tournament, I just feel really sorry for him. I was actually out there to celebrate for him, but... I don’t know... I don't know what to say. It's horrible.”

EUROPEAN TOUR: Sunday was a big day in Australia for South Korea's Jin Jeong.

The 23-year-old Melbourne-based Jeong, formerly the world's top-ranked amateur, made par on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to defeat England's Ross Fisher in the ISPS Handa Perth International.

READ: Jin Jeong wins Perth International in playoff over Ross Fisher

Prior to Sunday's showing, Jeong's best finish since turning pro in 2011 was a fifth-place showing at the 2012 New Zealand PGA Championship.

The victory was huge for Jeong, who has spent time on the Challenge Tour this season and had recently made it through the first stage of European Tour Qualifying School. With the victory, however, there's no need for second stage of Q-School for Jeong -- he now has a two-year exemption on the European Tour.

The next stop on the European Tour is Shanghai this week for the BMW Masters.

LPGA TOUR: This weekend was a massive success for South Korean golfers. Along with Jeong's win in Australia, fellow South Korean Amy Yang picked up her first win on the LPGA circuit, nailing a 15-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff to defeat countrywoman Hee Kyung Seo in the KEB HanaBank Championship.

READ: Amy Yang wins KEB HanaBank Championship with birdie in playoff

"I've been waiting for this championship for a long time, and I'm really happy to get it in my home country," said Yang, who has been a member of the tour since 2009. "I still can't believe it."

The 24-year old Yang began the final round one shot out of the lead.

Michelle Wie finished in a tie for third after firing the low score of the final round, an impressive 6-under 66 to surge 19 spots up the leaderboard. It was Wie's best finish on the LPGA Tour since a tie for second at the CN Canadian Open more than two years ago. She was clearly delighted with the effort:

The LPGA Tour stays in Asia this week for the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Michael Allen picked up his second win this season and fifth overall on the Champions Tour, defeating Olin Browne with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff in the Greater Hickory Classic on Sunday.

READ: Michael Allen outlasts Olin Browne at Greater Hickory classic

Allen shot an impressive 5-under 65 in the final round to earn his spot in the playoff with Browne, who shot a 64 on Sunday. Allen made his 10-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole after Browne missed his birdie try from 40 feet.

This week, the Champions Tour heads to San Antonio for the AT&T Championship at TPC San Antonio, AT&T Canyons.

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TIGER'S AGENT MAY SUE CHAMBLEE: Late last week, we told you about the harsh grade -- a "F" -- that Golf Channel analyst and former PGA Tour player Brandel Chamblee gave to Tiger Woods for the 2013 season in a recent Golf Magazine column.

It was strange considering Woods is the No. 1-ranked player in the world, had five wins (three more than anyone else) and won Player of the Year honors for the 11th time in his illustrious career.

But, that's not why Chamblee gave him a failing mark. Chamblee's last line on Woods in that piece was this:

"I remember when we only talked about Tiger's golf. I miss those days. He won five times and contended in majors and won the Vardon Trophy and ... how shall we say this ... was a little cavalier with the rules."

READ: TV analyst gives Tiger Woods harsh 2013 grade

With that last line, many felt Chamblee was clearly calling Woods a "cheater" -- the worst thing you can call a golfer.

That didn't sit well with Woods' longtime agent Mark Steinberg, who told ESPN.com he might consider legal action against Chamblee.

"Brandel Chamblee's comments are shameful, baseless and completely out of line," Steinberg told ESPN.com. "In his rulings, Tiger voiced his position, accepted his penalty and moved on. There was no intention to deceive anyone. Chamblee's uninformed and malicious opinions, passed on as facts, and his desperate attempt to garner attention is deplorable."

Steinberg went on to say there's nothing worse than calling a golfer a cheater.

"This is the most deplorable thing I have seen. I'm not one for hyperbole, but this is absolutely disgusting," Steinberg said. "Calling him a cheater? I'll be shocked, stunned if something is not done about this. Something has to be done.

"There are certainly things that just don't go without response. It's atrocious. I'm not sure if there isn't legal action to be taken. I have to give some thought to legal action."

Chamblee denied calling Woods a cheater via his Twitter account after being called out by sportwriters Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports and Rick Reilly of ESPN.com:

We'll keep an eye on where this all goes, but one thing is certain -- it's already gotten ugly.

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ARNOLD PALMER ON A MOTORCYCLE: Has there ever been anyone cooler than Arnold Palmer? We didn't think so.

On Saturday, the 84-year-old golf legend led his alma mater's football team -- Wake Forest -- out onto the field for a game against Maryland riding on the back of a motorcycle driven by the Demon Deacon mascot. Seriously. See:

On Friday, Palmer was in Winston-Salem, N.C., for the unveiling of his statue at the Arnold Palmer Golf Complex and stuck around for Saturday's football game.

Palmer, a seven-time major champion, won NCAA individual titles for Wake Forest in 1949 and 1950, as well as the first ACC title in 1953.

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THE NICKLAUS FAMILY HAD AN EXCITING WEEKEND TOO: Palmer wasn't the only legend enjoying college football on Saturday. Nick O'Leary, grandson to Palmer's good friend and longtime rival Jack Nicklaus, was the leading receiver for Florida State in a big-time 51-14 win over Clemson University.

O'Leary had five receptions for an impressive 161 yards. After one of those catches on a pass from quarterback Jameis Winston, O'Leary absolutely crushed Clemson safety Travis Blanks as you can see in the video below.

With the win, O'Leary's Florida State Seminoles improved to 6-0 and sit at No. 2 in the first BCS standings, two spots ahead of Grandpa Jack's Ohio State Buckeyes.

Before the FSU/Clemson game, ESPN's College GameDay crew was at Clemson, where actor Bill Murray -- star of Caddyshack (the greatest golf movie ever made) -- made a guest appearance.

Murray loosened up for his appearance by hitting a few golf shots (see below), before tackling/body-slamming Lee Corso when the two disagreed on the outcome of the game. Corso picked FSU, while Murray was pulling for Clemson.

There was no Cinderella story in this one for the Clemson Tigers.

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

 

October 19, 2013 - 5:07pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Arnold Palmer
Courtesy Cori Britt's Twitter
The King enters on a special Wake Forest chariot
Arnold Palmer is beloved the world over, but certainly the folks at Wake Forest University have a special affection for "The King."  Palmer first became a golf star while a student at Wake Forest and has been a proud ambassador of the school ever since. The love affair between the two continued on Saturday as Palmer, in town for an unveiling of a statue in his honor on campus, was on hand to watch Demon Deacons take on Maryland.
 
But Palmer didn't just come to the game and cheer.  He drew one of the loudest cheers as he entered in a fashion befitting The King. 
 
His long-time assistent Cori Britt captured the moment as it happened via Twitter
 
Palmer won the NCAA individual titles in 1949 and 1950 while at the school won the first ACC title in 1953. Palmer also helped redesign the state-of-the-art Arnold Palmer Golf Complex in 2010.
 
Follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim