Golf Buzz

August 22, 2013 - 9:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Dave Stockton
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
Two-time PGA Championship winner Dave Stockton will share his insights on putters with Nike Golf.

No one has been more in demand than Dave Stockton as a short-game instructor in recent years. Now, he's getting a chance to influence flatsticks as well as those who use them.

Stockton has signed on with Nike Golf, where he will assist in product development and design – specifically in the realm of putters. 

''I'm thrilled to be a part of what I believe is one of the most innovative brands in sports,'' said Stockton. ''I look forward to sharing my putter insights with Nike engineers so they can continue to create amazing product that help golfers putt better.''  

Stockton, who received the 2012 Distinguished Service Award from The PGA of America, already serves as putting instructor for some of golf's biggest names, including Nike Golf staff players Rory McIlroy and Suzann Pettersen. His list of students, past and present, also includes Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Morgan Pressel, Annika Sorenstam and Yani Tseng. 

He runs his own golf instruction program, Stockton Golf, with his two sons, Ron and Dave Jr. His book, ''Unconscious Putting,'' quickly became a best-seller after its 2011 release, and he followed it up with a sequel, ''Unconscious Scoring,'' earlier this year. He won the PGA Championship in 1970 and 1976, along with nine other PGA Tour titles and 14 Champions Tour victories, played on four victorious U.S. Ryder Cup teams, and captained the 1991 Ryder Cup team to victory.

 

August 22, 2013 - 10:30am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Brandt Snedeker
Twitter
Here's a look at the special gift Brandt Snedeker and wife Mandy got for Hunter and Kandi Mahan's baby, Zoe.
 
PING gave Hunter a beautiful gold-plated putter typically reserved for PING staffers who win tournaments, with his daughter's name and date of birth inscribed on the face.
 
On Thursday, Snedeker's wife Mandy revealed via Twitter the special gift they sent to the Mahan's for baby Zoe.
 
Snedeker, of course, went on to win the RBC Canadian Open that Mahan left early (when leading) to be in Texas for Zoe's birth. Snedeker joked afterward that he'd be getting the Mahan's a special baby gift. Kandi Mahan jokingly (we think) suggested recently that college tuition would be a nice gesture from the Snedekers.
 
Well, as you can see in the photo above, the Snedekers didn't quite go that far. Give them credit though... pretty clever.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
August 21, 2013 - 5:25pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ben Crane
YouTube
Ben Crane in his latest rap video, "Bubble Boy."
Ben Crane, who along with fellow PGA Tour stars Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan make up the golf boy band (?), 'The Golf Boys,' has decided to go solo in his latest project.
 
Crane, the final player to qualify for the PGA Tour FedExCup Playoffs at No. 125, takes to rapping in his latest effort about what it's like to be the, "Bubble Boy."
 
 
Here's the description Crane has on the video:
 
At 125th in the FedEx Cup Rankings, I barely snuck into the Playoffs. The Twittersphere has been calling me "Bubble Boy" all week. It inspired this song from Mat Kearney, performed by me.
 
We've got to admit, while it might not be quite as funny as earlier Crane videos, the man deserves kudos for being able to laugh at his current situation. Perhaps it will loosen him up on this pressure-filled week? 
 
We'll see.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
August 21, 2013 - 12:13pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
PING
Here is the gold-plated putter PING made for Hunter Mahan to celebrate the birth of Mahan's daughter Zoe.
In late July, Hunter Mahan famously left the RBC Canadian Open -- while leading -- moments before the start of his third round to head home to his wife, Kandi, in Texas after learning she had gone into labor with the couple's first child.
 
Mahan made it home in time to witness the birth of his little girl, Zoe Olivia.
 
As a gift to the Mahan's, PING (Mahan's club sponsor) presented Hunter with a gold-played Scottsdale TR Anser putter on the practice green Tuesday at Liberty National, where the Barclays Championship is taking place this week.
 
 
Ping Golf, maker of all 14 of Mahan's clubs, traditionally presents the winner of professional events with a gold-plated replica of the putter used to earn the victory. (Solid gold putters are given for wins in majors.) However, to celebrate the Mahans' joyful arrival, the company decided to give Hunter a gold-plated Scottsdale TR Anser 2 putter on the practice green Tuesday at Liberty National Golf Club, site of this week's Barclays Championship.
 
"We'll never know if Hunter would have held on to win that week," said John Solheim, Ping's chairman & CEO, in a statement. "But the circumstances were so unique, we wanted to create a lasting memory for Hunter, Kandi and Zoe that would forever remind them of that special day. The birth of a child is a win any way you look at it, so we thought we'd have some fun with it."
 
Another gold-plated Scottsdale TR Anser 2 putter also will permanently reside in Ping's gold putter vault – along with more than 2,800 Ping putters – inside the company's Phoenix headquarters.
 
"This goes way above and beyond, guys," Mahan said when Chance Cozby and Matt Rollins, Ping's head PGA Tour reps, gave him the club. "Way above and beyond."
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
 
August 20, 2013 - 10:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Donald Trump
Getty Images
Donald Trump, no stranger to controversy, has a battle on his hands with the Scottish government over his recently opened Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen.
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, airing Tuesday, August 20 from 9-10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO, will feature a segment on Donald Trump and his controversial golf course project in Scotland.
 
In 2008, the New York tycoon set out to build one of the greatest luxury golf resorts in the world near the city of Aberdeen on the northeast coast of Scotland. The project was to include hundreds of homes and condos, plus a hotel and conference center.
 
From the start, locals opposed the project, insisting that it would spoil their pristine coastline. 
 
Despite the opposition, Trump broke ground in 2010 and opened what has become known as Trump International Golf Links in July 2012.
 
In the latest edition of Real Sports, correspondent Bernard Goldberg travels back to Scotland with Trump to see how people are reacting to the latest development -- a new fight between Trump and the Scottish government, which plans to erect 600-foot wind turbines off the coast of his golf course in pursuit of clean energy, threatening the view of the North Sea from Trump International Golf Links.
 
 
For more on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, click here.
 
 
August 19, 2013 - 6:02pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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TaylorMade SLDR driver
Courtesy of TaylorMade
The weight cap sits right below

For any golfer using an adjustable driver, an incident over the weekend is well worth a good look.

Charles Howell III was disqualified from the Wyndham Championship before the start of the third round on Saturday for using a non-conforming driver. But the reason why the driver was declared non-conforming is a new one.

Howell began the week using a new SLDR driver from TaylorMade. Golfers can adjust the SLDR by moving a small weight along a track that runs from the heel to the toe along the sole. Next to that track is a small weight port covered by a cap. The cap can be removed if the golfer wants to switch in a lighter or heavier weight.

While Howell was warming up on the range before the second round on Friday, that cap somehow came off. Howell checked with company officials, who told him that wouldn't affect the club's performance, so he used the driver minus the cap and finished the round tied for 10th place.

On Saturday, however, rules officials told Howell that the missing cap made the driver non-conforming – and because he had used it on Friday, he was disqualified. 

''Prior to teeing off, I spoke to the guys at TaylorMade about the toe-cap coming off to be sure that it wouldn't impact the performance of the club. I was assured it would not affect the club's performance,'' Howell said. ''The idea that the club would no longer be conforming, because of the missing toe-cap, never entered my mind.''

Under the rules, if the cap had come off during the round, Howell could have finished the round without penalty and then fixed the club before his next round. But because it happened before the round, he was out.

Discussions among some of my golf buddies raised two specific questions about the ruling:

1. Was the driver ruled non-conforming because officials thought the missing cap might provide a bit of an aerodynamic advantage?

2. Or was the driver ruled non-conforming because it was approved with the cap in place, but not without the cap? 

The answer, basically, is both.

"TaylorMade has been making drivers with movable parts since 2004," said TaylorMade Public Relations Manager Dave Cordero. "What happened in the case of Charles Howell III's driver is very rare and we will make the necessary adjustments to ensure this does not happen again."

Adjustable drivers have been around for the better part of a decade now, and are more popular than ever. This is the first time I'm aware that this particular issue has arisen, but it is a lesson for every golfer using a club with any kind of movable part. This ruling is more than enough reason to check your gear before every round and make sure everything is just as it should be.

Approximately a dozen TaylorMade staff players have been using SLDR drivers in recent weeks, and Howell plans to use his this week at The Barclays as he begins the PGA Tour FedExCup playoffs.

"I put this driver in play two weeks ago and it is the best performing driver I've played," he said. "This driver will be back in play [this] week."