Golf Buzz

January 11, 2013 - 1:51pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Darren Clarke
Getty Images
Long thought to be a favorite to captain Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Darren Clarke may not be ready for the commitment just yet.

What looked to be a two-man race between Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley for the 2014 European Ryder Cup team captaincy position, may now still be a two-man race -- but with a different challenger for McGinley.

Colin Montgomerie, the winning European captain in 2010 at Celtic Manor in Wales, is something of a wildcard. The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland will be the first contested in the country where golf was born since 1973. Monty, of course, is from Scotland. He mentioned earlier this week that he wouldn't turn down the opportunity to be a repeat captain for the Europeans -- especially in 2014.

Clarke, who is beloved on both sides of the Atlantic, meanwhile, may have hinted that he doesn't like his chances of getting the nod for 2014.

Here's Clarke in a report by SportingLife.com, following the second round of the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa on Friday:

"As much as I would dearly love to be captain this may not be my time.

"I won one of the biggest prizes in golf by winning The Open and I am exempt for another three years (in the States).

"If I was given the opportunity to do the captaincy I'd effectively be throwing two of those years away.

"I'm still wrestling with it. It's a tough one for me, but to be honest with you I want to play golf."

To read the rest of this report, click here.

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

January 11, 2013 - 1:30pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Louis Oosthuizen at the Volvo Golf Champions
Getty Images
Louis Oosthuizen escaped from a greenside bunker to win a pro-am prize that he can use to dig his own bunkers.

Ben Hogan famously said that the secret to golf "is in the dirt." If any golfer can figure out whether or not that's actually true, it's Louis Oosthuizen.

Why, you ask? Well, the affable South African won himself an excavator on Friday at the Volvo Golf Champions.

Yes, Volvo awarded a full-size, real-deal excavator to the 2010 British Open champion after he led his team to victory in the pro-am portion of the European Tour event at Durban Country Club – he even got to try it out for a little bit in a sandbox built near the course. Ironically, Oosthuizen clinched his muscular prize by escaping from a bunker beside the 18th green and then draining a 30-foot birdie putt, which also gave him the 36-hole lead in the tournament proper.

Oosthuizen's team, which also included pro Thongchai Jaidee and amateur Colin Ledwith, was tied with Darren Clarke, Thorbjorn Olesen and their amateur partner with one hole to play. And once Oosthuizen’s group reached the final green with a chance to win, he rallied his troops.

"I walked around to the guys and said, 'Listen, we need one of these to go in,'" explained Oosthuizen, who asked for the excavator instead of the original prize, a car. "I was fortunate enough to make the long one – and then Colin made one as well."

If any player can actually use an excavator, it's Oosthuizen. After winning the Claret Jug, he famously took off a few weeks to return to South Africa and work on his farm – and his first big purchase with his major money was a custom John Deere tractor. Now that tractor will have some company out in the barn.

Before today, I would've wagered that the best tournament prize Oosthuizen ever won – not counting his Claret Jug, of course – was the large crystal bowl he received for his now-famous double eagle at the Masters last year. It probably still is. But I bet that excavator will be more fun.

January 11, 2013 - 1:48am
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Nicolas Colsaerts' 403-yard drive
Jamie Howarth via Twitter
The TV graphic showed just how big Nicolas Colsaerts' drive on the third hole Thursday was. The numbers on the screen are listed in meters.

A total of 15 players knocked drives over 400 yards last week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which is about the norm these days on the mountainside layout at Kapalua – especially with last week's big winds whipping. But it was a drive halfway around the globe on Thursday that had the golf world talking.

During the first round of the Volvo Golf Champions at Durban Country Club in South Africa, Nicolas Colsaerts bombed a tee shot that the European Tour reported at 419 yards, but which the TV coverage measured at 403 yards. Making his big poke noteworthy is that it was the very first drive he struck with his brand-new Callaway X Hot driver in a tournament.

"Consolation of the day: 1st drive being @CallawayGolf staff player---403yds #XHOT HOT HOT," tweeted Colsaerts, who signed with Callaway over the winter, after his round. The drive was his consolation because he managed only a 73 to finish the first round in 21st place.

The big-hitting Belgian kept the driver in the bag on the 387-yard first hole and the 188-yard second hole before pulling it out for its inaugural whack on the third hole, a relatively narrow, tree-lined 512-yard par 4. According to the graphic on the European Tour broadcast, Colsaerts' drive left him a whopping 122 yards ahead of his playing partner Ernie Els, whose tee shot traveled a comparatively mere 281 yards.

"I've been coming here since 1986 I think and I've never seen a ball there, nobody has," Els said. "They should put a plaque down."

Colsaerts, of course, made a big splash at the Ryder Cup last fall, but he led the European Tour in driving distance with an average of 318.3 yards per drive in 2012.

We wrote up an item on the X Hot drivers on Jan. 3, when Callaway formally unveiled them. You can read all about them here.

 

January 10, 2013 - 10:10pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
John at Chambers Bay
PGA.com
I don't even remember my score at Chambers Bay. I need more rounds like this.

People ask me all the time, "What kind of golfer are you?"  My typical reply now is, "I'm not near as good as I once was - but I have more fun than ever before."  That's not all that eloquent but it's really accurate.  I was never GREAT - but was a low single digit for a little while, now I feel really lucky if I break 80 a couple of times a year.  That said, I honestly enjoy golf more than I ever have.  I don't play as much, so I appreciate it more - but that's not all.  Just being out there feels special.  

I recently received an email that has apparently been making the rounds among golfers.  It's an excerpt from a book, Extraordinary Golf by Fred Shoemaker, but it speaks in a much more poetic and heartfelt way than I ever could.  It's the same message - just done way way better.  Here it is:



 

Dear Younger Me :
 
I can’t play golf anymore. I tried to swing the club the other day, but my body wouldn’t cooperate. The best I can do now is sometimes take walks on the course, but my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be so I don’t see much. I have a lot of time to sit and think now, and I often think about the game.
 
It was my favorite game. I played most of my adult life. Thousands of rounds, thousands of hours practicing. As I look back, I guess I had a pretty good time at it. But now that I can’t do it anymore, I wish I had done it differently.
 
It’s funny, but with all the time I spent playing golf, I never thought I was a real golfer. I never felt good enough to really belong out there. It doesn’t make much sense, since I scored better than average and a lot of people envied my game, but I always felt that if I was just a little better or a little more consistent, then I’d feel really good. I’d be satisfied with my game. But I never was. It was always "One of these days I’ll get it" or "One day I’ll get there" and now here I am. I can’t play anymore, and I never got there.
 
I met a whole lot of different people out on the course. That was one of the best things about the game. But aside from my regular partners and a few others, I don’t feel like I got to know many of those people very well. I know they didn’t really get to know me. At times they probably didn’t want to. I was pretty occupied with my own game most of the time and didn’t have much time for anyone else, especially if I wasn’t playing well.
 
So why am I writing you this letter anyway, just to complain? Not really. Like I said, my golfing experience wasn’t that bad. But it could have been so much better, and I see that so clearly now. I want to tell you, so you can learn from it. I don’t want you getting to my age and feeling the same regrets I’m feeling now.
 
I wish, I wish. Sad words, I suppose, but necessary. I wish I could have played the game with more joy, more freedom. I was always so concerned with "doing it right" that I never seemed to be able to enjoy just doing it at all. I was so hard on myself, never satisfied, always expecting more. Who was I trying to please? Certainly not myself, because I never did. If there were people whose opinions were important enough to justify all that self-criticism, I never met them.
 
I wish I could have been a better playing partner. I wasn’t a bad person to be with, really, but I wish I had been friendlier and gotten to know people better. I wish I could have laughed and joked more and given people more encouragement. I probably would have gotten more from them, and I would have loved that. There were a few bad apples over the years, but most of the people I played with were friendly, polite, and sincere. They really just wanted to make friends and have a good time. I wish I could have made more friends and had a better time.
 
I’m inside a lot now and I miss the beauty of the outdoors. For years when I was golfing I walked through some of the most beautiful places on earth, and yet I don’t feel I really saw them. Beautiful landscapes, trees, flowers, animals, the sky, and the ocean – how could I have missed so much? What was I thinking of that was so important – my grip, my back swing, my stance? Sure, I needed to think about those sometimes, but so often as to be oblivious to so much beauty? And all the green – the wonderful, deep, lush color of green! My eyes are starting to fail. I wish I had used them better so I would have more vivid memories now.
 
So what is it that I’m trying to say? I played the type of game that I thought I should play, to please the type of people that I thought I should please. But it didn’t work. My game was mine to play, but I gave it away. It’s a wonderful game. Please, don’t lose yours. Play a game that you want to play. Play a game that gives you joy and satisfaction and makes you a better person to your family and friends. Play with enthusiasm, play with freedom. Appreciate the beauty of nature and the people around you. Realize how lucky you are to be able to do it. All too soon your time will be up, and you won’t be able to play anymore. Play a game that enriches your life.
 
Best wishes . . . don't waste a minute of golf . . . someday it will be gone!
 
Signed,
me

 
A message I think we can all take to heart.  

You can follow John on twitter @johnkim_10
January 10, 2013 - 11:27am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Johnson Wagner
Getty Images
The Sony Open in Hawaii tees off today, where Johnson Wagner is the defending champion.

Rob Goldberg, a featured columnsist for BleacherReport.com, put together a nice primer to get you prepared for the start of the Sony Open in Hawaii -- the first, full-field event of the 2013 PGA Tour season -- which starts today in Oahu.

Goldberg offers up some players to watch, highlights some notable tee times and predicts the winner.

Have a look for yourself at Goldberg's piece here

January 10, 2013 - 11:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
GolfCentralDaily.com
The GolfCentralDaily.com blog seems to have uncovered pictures of Rory McIlroy's new Nike gear.

One of golf's worst kept secrets seems to have been revealed -- Rory McIlroy was spotted in Dubai with a Nike golf bag filled with Nike clubs.

The official announcement of McIlroy's switch from Titleist to Nike is expected to come at a press conference ahead of the world No. 1's 2013 season debut in Abu Dhabi next week.

GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner found the tidbit via the blog GolfCentralDaily.com.

Lavner wrote:

The blog notes that there are 15 clubs in the bag, including two putters – his usual Scotty Cameron and then a new Nike Method model. It is unclear which flatstick he will use when he opens his season next week in Abu Dhabi.

According to the site, it appears that McIlroy will use the Nike Covert driver, VR II Pro blades, and will have to choose between a Pro Combo cavity back long iron and a 3- and 5-wood. He also has 46-, 50- and 54-degree wedges, with "Rors" stamped on the back.

GolfCentralDaily.com snapped a couple of pictures of McIlroy's new gear, which you can find here.

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