Golf Buzz

August 31, 2013 - 9:13pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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Phil Mickelson flop shot
courtesy YouTube/PGATour
Phil Mickelson's flop shot at the Deutsche Bank left the crowd and fellow players in awe.
So the thing about the best players in the world - they really are the best players in the world. Not only are they consistently good, even when they struggle, they are ridiculously good.  
 
Let's talk about, arguably, the most exciting player in the world to watch - Phil Mickelson.  His ability to get on birdie streaks is tremendous, but it's his fearlessness and daring when he's not in the middle of the fairway is what really make him "must see tv."  
 
Consider what happened on Saturday, during the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship.  Mickelson, who had flirted with a 59 the day before, was the exact opposite of his opening Phil. He was all over the place, driving it left and right, missing greens, finding bunkers, etc. But do you know what he shot on the day? Even par. How?  Well, shots like the one he hit on hole No. 11.
 
In short, it was a flop shot from a tough lie in the rough. 
 
In long, it was a shot that had Tiger Woods and Adam Scott laughing at how good it was. It was a shot that Phil himself noted, "I've not seen anybody else hit that shot...it sure looks good."
 
It was mostly indescribable - even Mickelson said he couldn't describe the mechanics of the shot in a way that people could understand. But it doesn't matter if you can see how great and fun a shot it was.  And you can.  Watch it here. 
 
You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
August 31, 2013 - 8:26pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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William Campbell, a former U.S. Amateur champion who played on eight Walker Cup teams and later served two years as president of the U.S. Golf Association, died Friday, the USGA has announced. He was 90 years old.

Campbell was USGA president from 1982-83 and served on its executive committee for 10 years. In 1987 he became only the third American to be elected captain of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, and the only man to have led both of golf's governing bodies. 

Campbell served in the Army during World War II, graduated Princeton in 1947 and remained an amateur golfer his entire career. He competed in the U.S. Amateur for 33 straight years, winning in 1964. He also won the U.S. Senior Amateur twice and the North & South Amateur four times. 

He played on eight Walker Cup teams from 1951 to 1975, never losing a singles match and never playing on a losing team. He was the playing captain in 1955. As an amateur, Campbell played in the U.S. Open 14 different times and played in the Masters an amazing 17 different times.

"Mr. Campbell was one of the game's great champions and finest gentlemen," said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. "His contributions to amateur golf and to the USGA have been many and profound." 

Campbell was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1990, and you can read much more about his career in his official Hall of Fame biography. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 
August 30, 2013 - 11:06pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Sophie Gustafson
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Sophie Gustafson is retiring after five LPGA Tour titles and 13 crowns on the Ladies European Tour.

Sophie Gustafson of Sweden retired from the LPGA Tour on Friday after missing the cut in the Safeway Classic. 

"It's with mixed emotions that I'm now choosing to step away from the LPGA," tweeted Gustafson, who has battled a severe stuttering problem. "Thanks for all your kindness over the years." 

She gave no indication of how long she'd been considering retirement, or what her future plans might include.

Gustafson, 39, won the last of her five LPGA Tour titles in 2009. She also won 13 times on the Ladies European Tour and topped that circuit's money list three times. She entered the week ranked No. 131 on the LPGA Tour money list.

The long-hitter played in eight Solheim Cups, going 13-12-6. She was 4-0 in Europe's 2011 victory in Ireland and made an inspirational statement at the event by doing a lengthy television interview.

Ron Sirak of Golf World wrote an excellent profile on Gustafson, detailing her lifelong battle with stuttering, back in early in 2012. If you're not familiar with her story, I encourage you to check it out.

UPDATE: Beth Ann Baldry over at Golfweek reported Saturday that Gustafson plans to return to the Ladies European Tour, where she dominated early in her career. You can read her story here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 
August 30, 2013 - 6:07pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade Ghost Series putters
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The Daytona 12 (upper left), Maranello 81 (upper right), Monte Carlo 12 (lower left) and Sebring 62 (lower right) illustrated several of the different head shapes in the new Ghost Tour Series of putters from TaylorMade Golf.

After making a splash with new counter-weighted, high-MOI putters like the Ghost Spider S and Daddy Long Legs earlier this year, TaylorMade Golf is rolling out a new collection of Ghost Tour Series putters for golfers who prefer traditional shapes and weighting.

The new ensemble includes three blade-style putters – the Daytona 12, Daytona 62 and Sebring 62 – along with four mallets – the Maranello 81, Fontana 72, Monte Carlo 12 and Corza 72. As you can easily see, many of these putters join the long list of TaylorMade putters named for prominent race tracks around the world.

''We spent a full year perfecting every detail on our Ghost Tour putters, making each one a thing of beauty, elegance and excellence,'' said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade's director of iron, wedge and putter development. ''Golfers will be blown away when they set each of these putters down for the first time, and again when they experience the performance.''

The new putters feature a black ion plating on the sole as well as a coat of durable white paint to provide contrast against the green. Black parallel lines on the trailing edge form the first- and second-read alignment system to further aid in alignment. 

Each new flatstick includes a multi-material 8020 PureRoll insert (80 percent Surlyn and 20 percent aluminum) to promote smooth roll, distance control and enhanced feel. Each model also features a rubber TaylorMade grip and a stepless chrome shaft – and, for the first time, golfers can upgrade to the same shaft in matte black finish that some PGA Tour players use to help reduce glare.

The Ghost Tour Series putters are priced at $149 each, with the optional matte black shaft going for an extra $40. They come in lengths of 33, 34 and 35 inches, and will be available at retail on Sept. 1 (except for the Corza 72 model, which will be out in November).

For more information, visit www.taylormadegolf.com.

 

August 30, 2013 - 4:14pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Bernard Gallacher at the 1995 Ryder Cup
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Bernard Gallacher led the Europeans to a shocking victory at the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill.

In the second piece of bad news for the European golf community this week, Bernard Gallacher has been hospitalized in Aberdeen, Scotland, and is listed in critical condition.

No details about his situation were released, but The Scotsman newspaper is reporting that Gallacher is suspected to have suffered a heart attack at a speaking engagement. He was admitted to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

"I understand that he is critical but stable," said his nephew, European Tour player Stephen Gallacher, in a statement on Friday. "My family is in disarray at the moment and it is obviously a worrying situation. We are all anxious." 

Gallacher, 64, played in eight Ryder Cups and served as captain in 1991, 1993 and, most notably, 1995, when he led the European side to a stunning come-from-behind victory at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.

Gallacher won the 1967 Scottish Amateur Open Stroke Play Championship, turned pro and then won the European Tour's rookie of the year award in 1968. He won the British PGA Championship in 1969 and, at age 20, became the youngest player ever to represent Great Britain and Ireland in the Ryder Cup that year. He amassed another 10 European Tour victories and finished in the top 10 on the European tour Order of Merit five times.

He also served as the professional at the Wentworth Club for 25 years, and has regularly served as a golf commentator on BBC Radio Five Live.

On Tuesday, Dave Thomas died at the age of 79 at his home in Spain after a long career in which he played in four Ryder Cups and went on to design more than 100 golf courses.

 

August 29, 2013 - 2:09pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley/Instagram
2011 PGA Champion Keegan Bradley tweeted out this image of his new Cleveland wedge this morning, emblazoned with, "Baba Booey."
We all know where Englishman Ian Poulter stands when it comes to fans screaming nonsensical things on the golf course -- he doesn't like it.
 
At all.
 
Especially "Baba Booey," which ultimately led to a playful, mini Twitter war between Poulter and the "King of All Media," Howard Stern, recently.
 
Baba Booey is the nickname of Stern's longtime Executive Producer, Gary Dell'Abate. It's fun to say -- we guess -- and it's now heard virtually on a weekly basis at PGA Tour events nanoseconds after a player makes contact with the ball.
 
Not everyone feels the same way as Poulter. In fact, 2011 PGA Champion Keegan Bradley -- who counts himself as one of Stern's biggest fans -- loves it.
 
To pay homage (we guess), Bradley tweeted out the photo you see above Thursday morning -- his new Cleveland wedge emblazoned with the name Poulter loathes, "Baba Booey."
 
You can be sure Bradley and Poulter will be hearing some, "Baba Booeys" this week at TPC Boston.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.