Golf Buzz

Aaron Baddeley
USA Today Sports Images
Aaron Baddeley aced the par-4 17th hole at TPC San Antonio on Thursday - on his second try.
There has only been one hole-in-one on a par-4 hole in PGA Tour history – by Andrew Magee back in 2001. Aaron Baddeley knocked his tee shot into the hole on the par-4 17th hole in the Valero Texas Open on Thursday, but it only counted for a birdie 3.
In surely one of the flukiest holes ever played, Baddeley hit his tee shot on the 336-yard hole way left and out of bounds. So he took a penalty stroke, teed up another ball – and knocked it right into the hole.
"I just thought I'd just hit it straight and so I hit it and started walking and then heard the crowd going nuts," Baddeley said afterward. "I was like, wait, I just made birdie."
The birdie helped to boost Baddeley to a 4-under 68, which left him one shot off the lead after the first round. 
There's apparently no video of his shot, but the graphic below from the PGA Tour illustrates what happened:
Dudley Hart
PGA Tour/YouTube
Dudley Hart chips toward the hole at No. 18, but Mother Nature has other ideas.

Dudley Hart caught the full force of Mother Nature's wrath Thursday in the first round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. Chipping for birdie on the 18th hole, his ball is stopped by the wind and then rolls almost all the way back to its original location.

GOLF RULES: What if the wind blows your ball into the hole?

Remember, the wind was gusting at or above 30 mph at the time and it didn't help that the green is severely sloped. 

It's really almost too difficult to describe without the video:



The most amazing thing is how Hart seems unfazed, steps up and drills the putt into the center of the cup for an unlikely par from 38 feet.

LESSONS: Five tips for conquering the wind


March 26, 2015 - 2:02pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Cheyenne Woods
LPGA Facebook
Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger, is playing the LPGA these days. Her gorgeous swing resembles that of her uncle circa 2000.

Cheyenne Woods -- niece of 14-time major champ Tiger Woods -- is playing in the LPGA's Kia Classic this week.

On Wednesday, the LPGA posted this slow-motion video of Cheyenne's swing. And, well, it's a thing of beauty.

RELATED: Cheyenne Woods recreates Tiger's famous Nike juggling commercial

Check it out:


Check out @cheyenne_woods swing in slo-mo @lpgakiaclassic

Posted by LPGA on Wednesday, March 25, 2015


As some commenters noted, it looks similiar to her uncle's swing from the early 2000s.



March 26, 2015 - 12:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods made a $10,000 donation to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to honor the memory his late friend, Charlie Sifford.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md., announced Thursday that Tiger Woods is the first individual donor to the school's scholarship fund that will honor the memory of the late Dr. Charlie Sifford.

RELATED: Sifford receives Medal of Freedom | Tiger: Sifford a trailblazer

UMES issued a release on the donation, which read in part:

Woods' personal gift of $10,000 will launch the Sifford Fund, which UMES is creating to "provide need-based scholarships to highly talented students who demonstrate a passion for the game of golf... and who are from populations underrepresented in the golf industry."

UMES is the nation's lone historically black university that offers a bachelor's degree in professional golf management accredited by the PGA of America ( profiled the school in 2011).

"The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is honored to accept this generous gift from Tiger Woods to support our professional golf management program and to partner with us in acknowledging Dr. Sifford's role as a sports pioneer," UMES President Juliette B. Bell said.

Sifford, who broke professional golf's color barrier in 1961, died at the age of 92 on Feb. 3.

MORE SIFFORD: Check out our #ThanksCharlieSifford page | Sifford photo gallery

Sifford and Woods were very close. After his death, Woods wrote to the Associated Press in an email, "It's not an exaggeration to say that without Charlie, and the other pioneers who fought to play, I may not be playing golf. My pop likely wouldn't have picked up the sport, and maybe I wouldn't have either."

Woods has also referred to Sifford as, "The grandpa I never had."

Back in November 2014, Sifford -- a two-time winner on the PGA Tour and the 1975 Senior PGA Champion -- was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.  


Sam Burns
Megan Blank/The PGA of America
Reigning boys' Junior PGA Champion Sam Burns admits that he'll be "a little nervous" when he makes his PGA Tour debut on Thursday.
Winning the Junior PGA Championship would be a career highlight for any young golfer. For reigning champion Sam Burns, his victory last summer is still paying off big-time.
As part of a unique arrangement with PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open, one of the perks of capturing the Junior PGA Championship title is a berth at TPC San Antonio this week. Kristen Gillman, the reigning girls' Junior PGA Champion, will play in the LPGA Tour's Swinging Skirts Classic in California next month.
Burns – an 18-year-old high school senior from Shreveport, Louisiana – will tee off at 10:20 a.m. ET Thursday with rookie Mark Hubbard and Scotland's Marc Warren.
"I think it's great for junior golf to let kids our age have this opportunity," said Burns, the nation's top-ranked male junior player as well as the world's No. 9-ranked male amateur. "I think if they don't get the opportunity to play at that young of an age, they won't be that prepared whenever they're 25 or 30. I think this will help a lot for me personally later down the road."
Along with missing school this week, he's already made one lifelong memory – he played a practice round with Jordan Spieth, who made his PGA Tour debut at age 16 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
"He said go out and have some fun, not let all the hype get to you," Burns said after his round. "He's been through this. He's young. He knows what it's like. So I think playing with him was a great person to learn from because he's already done this."
And while many young golfers seek to get on the fast track that Spieth took to the PGA Tour, Burns knows that this week is more about experience than expectations. 
"It's hard to set expectations for yourself if you've never been in this position, to play in a Tour event," he said. "You get to meet some new people, see what it's like … learn from what everybody else is doing, see how they prepare, see what they're doing off the course, how they handle the media, the fans, that kind of stuff.
"That doesn't mean I want to go out there and not play well," he added quickly. "I'm here to play my best and if that's the case, then I think I'll be in good shape."
Despite winning the Junior PGA Championship in Bryan, Texas, last summer and making his PGA Tour debut in San Antonio, Burns plans to stick closer to home in the near future – he plans to attend Louisiana State University next fall, a decision he made, in part, because of his friendship with another PGA Tour player, Shreveport's David Toms, and Toms' son Carter.
Burns got to know Toms – a proud LSU alum – while playing in Shreveport and practicing at the David Toms Academy there. Toms, he says, has given him valuable advice and insight on both the LSU golf program and the PGA Tour.
"He's pretty open about what it's like out here, and getting to play with him and see what it takes, where my game needs to be to compete out here," Burns said of the 2001 PGA Champion. "So I think that will definitely help a lot going forward."
For now, though, Burns is focused on this week – specifically that first tee shot Thursday morning.
"I think I'll be a little nervous, as any kid would be," he admitted. " But I think in the same respect that it's not about getting too nervous because of the stage or the atmosphere, you just have to stay focused and be grateful that you're here. Not a lot of 18-year-olds get this opportunity."
Here's a quick video of Burns and Spieth:
March 25, 2015 - 10:06am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jordan Spieth
USA Today Sports Images
Can Jordan Spieth make it two wins in two starts this week?

The next two weeks on the PGA Tour provide us with a tournament within a tournament.

First, this week, the Valero Texas Open takes place at TPC San Antonio. The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking come Sunday night -- if not already exempt -- will lock up their respective invitation to the Masters in two weeks. The winner -- also if not already exempt -- will head to Augusta National as well.

Then, next week, the Shell Houston Open is the final chance for players not otherwise exempt for the Masters to punch a last-minute ticket. That will require a win.

RELATED: Texas Open tee times | Cancer strengthens PGA friends bond | Masters bubble | Field

For now, we'll focus on the Valero Texas Open, where Steven Bowditch is the defending champion. The field features 13 major champions, including Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III.

Here are five players to watch.

5. Ben Curtis
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T29 at Sanderson Farms Championship
Reason to watch: Curtis will be the first to admit that it hasn't exactly been a season to remember to this point. He's missed the cut four times in six starts, including the last three in a row. The last time he made a cut resulted in a T44 at the OHL Classic back in the middle of November. I'm just taking a chance on Curtis this week. Something's got to give. He won the event in 2012, so he has familiarity and past success to draw on. Things need to turn around for the former British Open champ, so why not this week? He's one of those guys who will need a win to make the Masters.

4. Ryan Palmer
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T2 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open
Reason to watch: It's hard to believe that this three-time Tour winner hasn't won more. He seems to be in contention an awful lot, but just has a problem closing out. It would mean everything to this native Texan to win in the Lone Star State. Palmer tied for ninth in the Texas Open in 2010. Palmer is already in the Masters, so I want to see him firing at pins this week and letting it all hang out.

3. Zach Johnson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
7th at Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: Johnson is a former two-time champion of this event. However, those wins came in 2008 and 2009 when the event was still played at La Cantera. Since the move to TPC San Antonio in 2010, Johnson has played just twice. He missed the cut in 2010 and tied for sixth in 2014. I like Johnson mainly because I always like him in the state of Texas, where he's captured four of his 11 PGA Tour wins. His T9 last week at Bay Hill might have been a little momentum builder for the former Masters champ.

2. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Sony Open in Hawaii
Reason to watch: Yet again, Walker is enjoying another outstanding season -- four top 10s (including a win) in nine starts and no missed cuts. He's established himself as a favorite whenever and wherever he tees it up. A win this week would be his fifth on the PGA Tour and few would be as sweet as this one would come in his home state.

1. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Valspar Championship
Reason to watch: This is Spieth's first start since winning his second Tour event two weeks ago in Tampa. The 21-year-old is establishing himself as a star and it would be sweet to shine again this week in his home state. Notice the theme here? Lots of Texans in the field. Also, Spieth has his sights set on the Masters, where he was a runner up in his first start a year ago. His game -- always consistent -- seems to be peaking at just the right time.

Here's how my five to watch fared at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational:

5. Henrik Stenson -- 2nd
4. Keegan Bradley -- T49
3. Rickie Fowler -- T29
2. Adam Scott -- T35
1. Jason Day -- T17