Golf Buzz

February 19, 2014 - 11:45am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tom Watson
Getty Images
What would you do with the wood from Augusta National's Eisenhower Tree? U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson has a great idea.

According to 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson, "everyone who as played in the Masters has had a run-in with Ike's Tree."

Ike's Tree -- or, the Eisenhower Tree -- which sat 210 yards from the 17th tee at Augusta National down the left side of the hole, was removed over the weekend after it was destroyed in an ice storm.

The tree was named after former President Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower was a member of Augusta National and often had trouble getting around the tree -- so much so he wanted it removed from the grounds. That's something Augusta National co-founder Clifford Roberts refused to do and hence the tree bore Eisenhower's name.

READ: Augusta National loses iconic Eisenhower Tree in ice storm | Augusta National begins cleanup

On Wednesday morning, I had a chat with Watson -- a two-time Masters winner with 15 career top-10 finishes at Augusta National -- and asked him about Ike's Tree.

"It wasn't just Ike's Tree that they lost," he said. "It was also the tree behind that one that was supposed to replace Ike's Tree if anything ever happened. Both had to be removed. Knowing the folks at Augusta National, though, something appropriate will be in place by Masters week."

Indeed.

We asked our PGA.com Facebook friends what they would do with the wood from Ike's Tree in this week's edition of, "A Quick Nine." You can read they great answers here.

With that, I figured it was worth asking Watson as well.

"Oh, I don't know," Watson said. "I guess I'd make tee markers out of it. Better yet, maybe make a bench to put out in front of the Eisenhower Cabin. That would be cool."

The Eisenhower Cabin was built in the early 1950s after Eisenhower's election as U.S. President. It was built to specs provided by the Secret Service, since it was built specifically for the President and Mrs. Eisenhower.

The Eisenhower Cabin, located left of the 10th tee at Augusta National, is one of 10 cabins on the club's property.

Masters.com describes the Eisenhower Cabin as an, "entrancing time capsule":

A trove of family mementos remains in place, including small, framed photographs of homes in which Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, lived over the years, in places as far ranging as Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Paris, France; and the Panama Canal Zone. The White House, too. Given his itinerant life as a military commander, followed by his years in Washington, Eisenhower went decades without feeling as if he had a proper home. Augusta National came to fill that role for him and the first lady.

The cabin has a small kitchen and a spacious living room, where a card table speaks to another traditional passion of Augusta National members – bridge. The dining room sports a sweeping view of Ike’s Pond and the Par 3 Course in back. A photograph shows Ike and Mamie walking together outside the cabin, and an oil painting he made of the par-3 No. 16 hole hangs above a fireplace. There is also a solarium, in which a photograph on the wall shows former Secretary of State George Shultz and National Security Adviser Robert "Bud" McFarlane with President Ronald Reagan, who had come to the club to play golf. Taken in that very room in 1983, it records the moment when a pajama-clad commander-in-chief gave the go-ahead for the U.S. invasion of Grenada.

Based on all the history, it seems Watson's spontaneous answer would be a fantastic idea.

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


 

Tad Moore Signature Series putters from Orlimar
Courtesy of Orlimar
The new Tad Moore Signature Series putters from Orlimar all contain a unique milled face designed to work well with the cover materials of modern golf balls.
Tad Moore has been designing golf clubs since 1963, and he's created numerous drivers, irons and wedges for companies such as Dunlop and Maxfli, along with the putter that Ian Woosnam used to win the 1991 Masters. Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Ray Floyd and Jay Haas are among the other star players who have used his clubs over the years.
 
His latest project is the Tad Moore Signature Series of putters that he is creating with Orlimar Golf. Each of the four putters in this new family of flat sticks combines traditional shapes with a patented washboard face milling.
 
"Washboard-face milled putters improve roll and performance compared to other putter faces," he said. "I have found that new golf balls with different cover materials such as urethane react to the washboard face much better. The ball off of these putters has a better launch and rolls more consistent and accurate."
 
The four putters in the series include:
 
The TMO-1: This is a traditional blade with a carbon steel head and a 45-degree plumber neck hosel that provides a better visual at address. The heel-shafted putter features a cambered sole and a sight line in the flange, and is heel and toe weighted for increased stability through the stroke. 
 
The TMO-2: This blade is slightly wider than the TMO-1, and is made from carbon steel and includes a plumber neck hosel. Its topline is thin and it features a sloping heel-and toe-weighted bumper. The sight line is in the flange with a sound slot that cuts through the cavity to the sole for enhanced feel.
 
 
The TMO-3: A classic design of a wide-sole, heel-shafted blade with a carbon steel head, this model is designed for players who swing the putter on an arced path. The sole utilizes sight lines in the cavity to improve its look and alignment.
 
The TMO-4: Also known as "the Tadpole," This non-traditional perimeter-weighted mallet is T-shaped and features an aluminum head. It is center-shafted, and includes a long topline to aid in alignment. Rear weighting improves performance on mis-hits and the outer circular ring balances the weight on the edges to enhance its stability. 
 
The putters are all 35 inches in length, have a black PVD finish and carry a suggested retail price of $249. Custom loft and lie options are available, and the line will be available at retail in March.
 
February 18, 2014 - 4:17pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Furman University
Furman University
More than 50 former players – including Brad Faxon, the team's most prominent graduate – held a teleconference on Monday with school officials to discuss ways to possibly keep the men's golf team alive.
Shocked and saddened at the news that Furman University is planning to kill off its storied men's golf program at the end of the school year, a number of prominent alumni have begun exploring ways to keep the team alive.
 
More than 50 former golfers – including Brad Faxon, the team's most prominent graduate – held a teleconference on Monday with Athletic Director Gary Clark and Interim President Karl Kohrt, according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press newspaper. Among the topics of discussion were ways to salvage the program for at least one more season and secure its long-term future.
 
Kohrt suggested that the group create an outline and send it to him immediately because the time available to reverse the decision is short, according to the newspaper. He also explained the thought process that went into the Feb. 7 decision to kill the men's golf team as part of a schoolwide plan to save $2 million in costs.
 
And while the situation is dire, a successful rescue isn't unprecedented. The University of California at Berkeley dropped its men's golf team a few years ago, but its alumni banded together and raised enough money to keep the program alive. And now the team's entire budget – for scholarships, coaching salaries, travel and recruiting – is funded entirely through private fundraising efforts.
 
 
Furman's Board of Trustees made the decision to end the program after concluding that its money and athletic department resources could be better used elsewhere. They said several factors – including public visibility, attendance, competitiveness and overall costs – figured in the decision. 
 
"Our Board deliberated at great length over this decision, and it was made after considerable discussion and analysis of our university resources and our priorities in Division I athletics," Kohrt said in a statement posted on the Furman men's golf team page. "It is always difficult to limit opportunities, especially for young men who want to compete in a sport about which they are passionate, but just like every enterprise we have to constantly evaluate where to strategically allocate our resources."
 
No other sports will be discontinued, school officials said, adding that any money saved won't go to other sports. Furman will honor scholarship commitments to current players and those who've signed to play starting next year. 
 
The Furman golf program dates back to 1930, and the Paladins own 13 Southern Conference titles. Faxon was a two-time All-America player for the school in the early 1980s, and has gone on to earn eight PGA Tour victories and two Champions Tour titles.
 
February 18, 2014 - 11:20am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
T.J. Oshie
NBC Sports
T.J. Oshie's game-winning goal in a 3-2 shootout victory over Russia on Saturday.

T.J. Oshie became a household name on Saturday, proving to be the Olympic hockey hero for the United States in a scintillating 3-2 shootout victory over Russia in Sochi during the preliminary round of the Winter Games.

Oshie successfully scored four times in six tries during the shootout win.

As if those goals didn't do enough to endear Oshie to U.S. fans after the game, how about this answer Oshie gave after being asked what it's like to be an America hero?

"The real American heroes are wearing camo," Oshie told reporters. "That's not me."

Great stuff.

RELATED: Ailsa Craig, golf landmark, produces Olympic curling stones

Aside from being an outstanding centerman for the St. Louis Blues in the NHL, the 27-year-old Oshie is also a fan of golf -- and quite the player. So much so, that on February 3, Oshie -- a 2-handicap -- sent the following tweet to 2012 PGA National Teacher of the Year, Michael Breed, host of Golf Channel's "The Golf Fix":

"@MichaelBreed you can come over and work on my golf swing? It's already shaped by past @TheGolfFix episodes. #SB48 #12s" — TJ Oshie (@OSH74) February 3, 2014

Well, on last night's episode of "The Golf Fix," Breed showed viewers what Oshie does on the ice that translates to the golf course and also broke down Oshie's golf swing.

Here's video from last night's segment:

 

 

Oshie has been playing golf since he was 6 years old. According to a press release from Golf Channel, Breed will officially invite Oshie to Golf Channel's Orlando studios for an in-studio lesson on an upcoming The Golf Fix episode.

Until then, Oshie and his U.S. teammates still have a lot to play for in Sochi. Next up is a quarterfinal game on Wednesday at noon EST.

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

 

February 18, 2014 - 11:03am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Toby Keith, Ben Roethlisberger
Courtesy USA Today
Fans have a chance to caddy for Toby Keith and Ben Roethlisberger at next week's Honda Classic Pro-Am.


The Honda Classic has been making some waves in recent years by virtue of attracting the biggest names in golf to compete at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott are just a few of the names that will be teeing it up this year at the PGA Resort's Champions course. In fact, eight of the top ten players in the world are committed to being in the field.

But those aren't the only big names that will be teeing it up that week on the course. Country music star Toby Keith, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens and jazz superstar Branford Marsalis will also be playing some golf at PGA National. On Wednesday, Feb 26th, the power foursome will take part in the Gold Pro-Am presented by Tire Kingdom. Only one small problem - they need some caddies. In particular, as of this writing, Toby Kieth and Ben Roethlisberger are caddy-less. Could you fill that void?

Read: Toby Keith: I love this par

The opportunity comes from our friends at Caddy for a Cure. Golf fans (or fans of the individuals playing!) have an opportunity to bid on the right to caddy for the golfer for the entire round, walking inside the ropes and conferring with the player on course strategy, club selection and song lyrics (okay, maybe only Roethlisberger takes you too seriously on that one.)

We know that Toby Keith loves golf. So does Big Ben. What better way to share your love of the game (and these stars) than to spend the day with them on the course?

You can bid on the opportunity to caddy for Toby Keith here.
You can bid on the opportunity to caddy for Ben Roethlisberger here.

**********************

Below is the official release from Caddy for a Cure

February 5, 2014 - Coral Springs, FL) The Honda Classic will be the site of one of the most spectacular opportunities in all of golf with the celebrity group in the Gold Pro-Am presented by Tire Kingdom. Baseball Legend and 7-Time Cy Young Award Winner Roger Clemens, Country Music Legend Toby Keith, Jazz Superstar Branford Marsalis and 2-Time Super Bowl Champion Ben Roethlisberger will headline this prestigious group at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

The unique charitable program will be raising funds in support of multiple local causes, including wounded warriors, Fanconi anemia and the Children's Healthcare Charity. In honor of our military, escorting the celebrity golf group will be four retired wounded Navy SEALS and a double amputee Special Operations Bomb Specialist.

The 2014 Honda Classic will be played again at the famous PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The tournament dates are February 24th through March 2nd and the caddy experiences will be Wednesday, February 26th during the Gold Pro-Am presented by Tire Kingdom.

"We love participating at the Honda Classic each year, because we always have exciting golf superstars and celebrities to offer to golf fans as caddy opportunities. There is no better way to be in the middle of it all on this type of stage anywhere in the world of golf," Caddy For A Cure CEO and program founder Russ Holden said. He continued, "While the Honda Classic is a premier TOUR event filled with exciting activities and entertainment for the entire community, they are indisputably committed to supporting charitable causes and our military. This will be the opportunity of a lifetime for a committed fan of Clemens, Keith, Marsalis or Roethlisberger to spend an entire day with them 'on stage.'" Holden concluded, "It's also incredibly exciting to know that we will have four retired wounded Navy SEALS and a severely injured Special Ops warrior walking with the group. This is a great way for golf fans to help support children, warriors and others in need while having a once in a lifetime experience they can't get anywhere else."

The online auctions for these celebrity players are currently available on the Caddy For A Cure website caddyforacure.com and will run through February 19th.

Caddy For A Cure has been offering PGA TOUR caddy experiences for charity since 2003. Benefiting charities from this event include the Children's Healthcare Charity and Caddy For A Cure. All program caddy experiences may be found from the Caddy For A Cure website at www.caddyforacure.com or you may contact Caddy For A Cure directly for more information.

CONTACT:
Russ Holden
Caddy For A Cure
954-341-4600
russ@caddyforacure.com 

February 18, 2014 - 10:22am
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Ailsa Craig with Lucas Glover
Getty Images
With the Ailsa Craig looming in the background, Lucas Glover lined up a putt during the 2009 British Open at Turnberry.
Back in December, we ran a blog post on the Ailsa Craig – that big dome-shaped rock that dominates the Firth of Clyde about 10 miles off the southwestern Scottish coast near Turnberry. The uninhabited island, covering 220 acres and the result of an ancient volcano, is a staple of photographs whenever the British Open is played at Turnberry – on the Ailsa Course at Turnberry, to be precise.
 
And despite having ''no inhabitants, no electricity, no fresh water and no arable land,'' as The New York Times described it, the Ailsa Craig is making news for not one but two reasons:
 
--First, it is the source of the distinctive strain of microgranite used to make most of the stones used in the Olympic sport of curling. In fact, all the stones used in every Olympics since 1924 (and including the current 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia) have been made from granite mined on the Ailsa Craig. The Ailsa granite – prized in curling circles because the melting ice can't penetrate it – is transformed into 44-pound curling stones at a factory in Mauchline, about 25 miles away. 
 
Second, the Ailsa Craig was for sale. 
 
 
The rock has been controlled by the same landowning family for more than 500 years, but – in true "Downton Abbey" fashion – its owner, the eighth Marquess of Ailsa, has been dealing with dwindling financial resources for several decades. The family actually put the craig up for sale in 2010 with an asking price of $4 million. But nobody has bitten, so the price was reduced to $2.4 million.
 
Since we posted that original item, a British environmental trust with a special interest in birds has begun the process of purchasing the craig. So, potentially, good news all around.
 
Ailsa Craig is a Scottish icon – it's been featured on Scottish bank notes (just like Jack Nicklaus), was memorialized in a sonnet by Keats and now serves mainly as a seabird sanctuary. And, the newspaper story explained, ''with Scotland approaching a referendum on independence from Britain next September, it remains an icon in the country's national consciousness, redolent of the rugged, stand-alone character many Scots pride as their birthright.''
 
The Times story has much more on the craig's colorful history and the efforts to sell it. And The Guardian newspaper has the latest update on the sale.
 
Finally, here's a video from the BBC on how chunks of granite from craig are converted into those Olympic curling stones: