Golf Buzz

July 11, 2014 - 8:14am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
europeantour.com
Phil Mickelson hits a flop shot over a life-sized cut out of himself in a contest at the Scottish Open.

As you know by now, the European Tour is in Scotland this week at Royal Aberdeen for the Scottish Open, where Phil Mickelson is the defending champion.

Mickelson gets a lot of attention whenever he plays, but this week he's been getting even more attention than usual.

But what do you expect when he hits flop shots backwards, or gets up and down for birdie from a cart path?

One of the many notable aspects of the five-time major champion's game is his prowess with the flop shot. With that, the folks at the European Tour put a life-sized cut-out of Mickelson on a hole and held a competition among many of the best players in the game -- Mickelson, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Miguel Angel Jimenez among them -- to see who could hit a flop shot closest to the hole going over the Mickelson cut out.

Check it out. We especially loved the creativity of Jimenez.

As you can see in the video, Mickelson isn't the only one that can execute those brilliant flop shots... but he might be the best. 

Brian Harman and Jay Hatch
Courtesy of the John Deere Classic
High school coach Jay Hatch "was like a true pro" in his stint as a pinch-caddie on Thursday at the John Deere Classic, said co-leader Brian Harman.
Jay Hatch started his day on Thursday watching a little golf at the John Deere Classic. He ended it as a Quad Cities celebrity after an unexpected stint as a caddie for co-leader Brian Harman.
 
Harman was cruising along at 2 under through six holes when his caddie, Scott Tway, who had been feeling poorly overnight, couldn't continue. 
 
"I called a medic over and Scottie said he was going to have to sit out at least a couple holes," Harman said after posting a first-round 63 – his best score of the year by two shots. "Jay was standing there and said, 'I'll do it. I'll keep up.' " 
 
Hatch grabbed the bag, and did more than keep up. He helped Harman go 6 under on his final 12 holes and finish the day tied fore the lead with Zach Johnson and Rory Sabbatini.
 
Hatch, it turns out, is a coach at Alleman High School in nearby Davenport, Iowa, whose teams have won three girls' state softball titles and one girls' state basketball crown. 
 
"I don't know how athletic it was, but it was sure cool," said Hatch, who towered over the 5-foot-7 Harman. "I always wanted to be inside the ropes to see what it looked like from there. You know that commercial where they say 'These guys are good?' They are way, way better than that."
 
Hatch, who also plays some recreational golf, told Harman, "I can carry your bag if you don't need any help reading putts." Harman also checked his own yardages for the rest of the round.
 
Afterward, Harman was thrilled with the performance of his surprise substitute.
 
"My man Jay came out and did a really good job. He was like a true pro out there," said Harman, who vowed to send Hatch a check for his effort. Hatch, however, quickly declined the offer, and Tway is expected to be back on the bag on Friday afternoon for Harman's second round.
 
July 10, 2014 - 11:55am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Philip Lutzenkirchen, Jason Dufner
@JasonDufner/Twitter
Philip Lutzenkirchen, a former star tight end at Auburn University, died in a car accident on June 29. PGA Champion Jason Dufner is remembering his fellow Auburn Tiger with a patch on his golf bag.

PGA Champion and Auburn alum Jason Dufner had a special patch added to his golf bag for next week's Open Championship.

The orange patch with the No. 43 stitched in blue is in remembrance of Philip Lutzenkirchen, who wore No. 43 for Auburn.

Lutzenkirchen, 23, a member of Auburn's 2010 national championship-winning football team, died in a car accident June 29 outside La Grange, Ga.

Lutzenkirchen played tight end at Auburn and was one of the best in the school's history at that position. He holds the school record for most touchdown catches by a tight end with 14, is second in total receptions with 59 and third in receiving yards with 628.

On the day of the tragic accident, Dufner tweeted this picture with Lutzenkirchen:

July 10, 2014 - 10:31am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy hit a drive in the first round of the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen on Thursday that nearly covered the length of four-and-a-half football fields.

Links golf is sometimes referred to as a ground game. And, based on the bounces, understandably so. If you really, really crush a drive that finds the fairway, it can be like pounding a drive on a tarmac.

That's precisely what Rory McIlroy did on Thursday at Royal Aberdeen in the first round of the Scottish Open.

On the same hole that Phil Mickelson made that wild birdie from the cart path -- No. 13 -- McIlroy smashed a drive that found its way on to the green on the 436-yard hole.

Watch:

That's nearly four-and-a-half football fields with one swing!

McIlroy would two-putt for birdie. He finished the round with a course record 7-under 64 to take the early clubhouse lead.

Not a bad start for McIlroy with a coveted major on the docket for next week. 

July 10, 2014 - 8:21am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
europeantour.com
As he often does, Phil Mickelson wowed fans with a spectacular shot at the Scottish Open on Thursday to set up a birdie.

Some might argue that the degree of difficulty of a shot from a cart path isn't all that bad. I'm not one of those people.

Sure, the ball is lying perfectly and all, but if you chunk a shot from a paved cart path there's no give. Instead of creating a divot, you're likely creating two broken wrists and a severely damaged club.

Unless you're someone like Phil Mickelson.

WATCH: Jesper Parnevik breaks rib while messing around on Segway

In the first round of the Scottish Open on Thursday, Mickelson's tee shot on the par-4 13th hole at Royal Aberdeen came to rest on a cart path within a few feet of an outhouse.

Mickelson took out a wedge and proceeded to do what you'd expect him too -- hit a beautiful shot into the green with a ton of spin to within a few feet of the hole to set up a ho-hum birdie.

Was it as impressive as the backwards flop shot he hit in a practice round the other day? Probably not. But it was still pretty cool.

Mickelson, defending champion of the Scottish Open, finished with a 3-under 68. 

Scotty Cameron Gallery
Courtesy of Scotty Cameron
Scotty Cameron has opened a custom-fitting gallery in an old surf shop in southern California.
Scotty Cameron's putters have been among the most popular in golf for almost two decades now, but getting custom fit by Cameron and his team has been an experience generally limited to tour players.
 
That's about to change, though, as Cameron has just opened the Scotty Cameron Gallery in Encinitas, Calif. Located not far from Cameron's famed studio, the gallery – inside what used to be a surf shop – was created to give everyday golfers a tour-quality fitting experience.
 
Cameron describes his new gallery as "part retail space, part high-end product gallery, 100 percent putter fitting facility." It is his first public fitting studio in the United States, and follows his existing facilities in Japan and South Korea.
 
 
"Opening the Scotty Cameron Gallery is something I've dreamed about for a long time," he said. "I've always wanted to have a place open to the public where I can share the things that I have created and love. But above all, the gallery is a place where golfers can come to understand what is happening between the ball, the putter and the player – and how we get those three things to work in harmony."
 
Golfers who book a two-hour fitting session will receive a putting stroke analysis using Cameron's proprietary high-speed video tools and the expertise of his trained fitters to create a flatstick that best fits their game. Customers also can purchase an ever-changing array of rare Scotty Cameron tour putters and one-off creations, along with a variety of other merchandise.
 
"When people come into the gallery, we want them to feel the craftsmanship, the vibe, the experience," Cameron said. "This is a place where you come to get fit and learn about your putting stroke, but also to get something that there's only one of in the world."
 
You can get more info on the gallery and its custom fitting program by clicking here.