Golf Buzz

Bubba Watson
University of Georgia Athletics
Bubba Watson shopped for a stuffed Bulldog for 2-year-old son Caleb in the University of Georgia bookstore during his return to campus on Monday.

Monday was a big day in the Bubba Watson camp. His caddie, Ted Scott, spent the day trying to play his way into the Zurich Classic over in New Orleans. And Bubba himself spent the day back in Athens, Ga., where he starred on the University of Georgia golf team in 2000-2001.

Watson returned to his old college haunt to speak at the Bulldogs' Student Athlete Awards Banquet – where, of course, he wore his Green Jacket. He also spent plenty of time visiting some of his coaches and teachers, hanging out at the bookstore, signing autographs and taking some pictures.

Before the banquet, Watson and Bulldogs Golf Coach Chris Haack sat down for a quick video interview with student media.

"It's always good to come back," Watson said. "This is where I learned a lot about my golf game and learned a lot about life. It's where you have to grow up – if you don't grow up in college, you're not gonna make it in the real world."

Despite winning the Masters twice in the last three seasons, Watson hasn't changed, said Haack.

"He's still a prankster, jokester, still very humble," Haack said. "One of the most beautiful things about Bubba is that like me he's a big baby – we'll cry at the drop of a hat when we get emotional."

There's much more in the video interview, and there's an expansive photo gallery of Bubba's day as well.

 

 

 

Buddy Alexander with Camilo Villegas
Getty Images
Buddy Alexander coached Camilo Villegas and his teammates to the NCAA crown in 2001.

Buddy Alexander, the men's golf coach at the University of Florida for 27 seasons, will retire at the end of the current campaign, he said on Tuesday. The Gators are playing the Southeastern Conference tournament this week, and there has been no indication of who might replace him in one of the nation's top college golf jobs.

"Coaching is a young man's game and it is simply time for me to turn the reins over to someone else," Alexander said.

Alexander, 61, led the Gators to NCAA national championships in 1993 and 2001, and eight Southeastern Conference titles. More than 30 of his players have gone to on the PGA Tour, among them event winners Billy Horschel, Matt Every, Chris DiMarco, Dudley Hart and Camilo Villegas. 

"I can honestly say that I would not be in the position I'm in" without Alexander's guidance, Horschel said on Twitter, adding that Alexander was "the greatest college golf coach ever." It is "sad to see him retire but I will always seek out his advice."

"Proud to call him coach and now friend," added Will Strickler. "One of the best ever."

 
Alexander played college golf at Georgia Southern, where he was an All-American in 1974 and 1975. After college, he played on the U.S. teams in the 1986 Eisenhower Trophy and 1987 Walker Cup, and went on to win the 1986 U.S. Amateur along with several other high-profile amateur events.

He became the head coach at Georgia Southern just two years after graduation, and coached the men's and women's golf teams at LSU from 1983 to 1987, winnng SEC team titles in 1986 and 1987 while two of his players won SEC individual titles. He took over at Florida in January of 1988, and the Gators won the SEC crown in 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2003 and 2011.

In all, Alexander's teams finished in the top 10 in the NCAAs 15 times, and racked up 72 tournament victories, and 31 of his players have earned All-America honors. He has been named the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) National Coach of the Year three times (1993, 2001 and 2004), and the SEC Coach of the Year seven times (1986, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2003 and 2004). He was inducted into the GCAA Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001.

"He's one of the all-time greats," said Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley. "He's had a heck of a run. There's no better Gator than Buddy Alexander."

 

April 22, 2014 - 9:35am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ted Scott
USA Today Sports Images
Ted Scott caddies for two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson. On Monday, he attempted to qualify for the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic.

There are caddies on the PGA Tour who have plenty of game.

Add Masters Champion Bubba Watson's caddie Ted Scott to that list. With his boss sitting out most likely until the Players Championship beginning May 8, Scott attempted to qualify for this week's Zurich Classic in New Orleans on Monday.

GolfChannel.com's Ryan Lavner reports: "Scott shot 1-under 71 at LaTour Golf Club, falling four shots shy of earning a spot. He mixed four birdies with three bogeys during the qualifier."

After the qualifier, Scott sent out this tweet:

 

 

And in case you were wondering how Scott stacks up against Watson -- who won the Zurich Classic in 2011 -- he revealed it in this tweet:

 

 

In 2011, Brian Gay's caddie, Kip Henley, played in the PGA Tour's St. Jude Classic. Henley, a former contestant on the Golf Channel's Big Break, qualified for the event by virtue of winning the Tennessee PGA Section championship. With rounds of 82-78, Henley missed the cut by a wide margin.

The always funny and self-deprecating Henley left a letter in the locker room for the Tour players after missing the cut. It read:

Dear PGA Tour Players,

I Kip Henley vow to never step into your arena as a participant again.

Regrettably,
Kip Henley

But back to Scott -- kudos for giving it a try. Nice playing, too.

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

April 22, 2014 - 8:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jason Dufner
European Tour on Twitter
Is Jason Dufner actually playing table tennis in this photo? He looks more like a spectator.

Reigning PGA Champion Jason Dufner is in China this week to play in the Volvo China Open -- an event on the European Tour's International schedule.

As is often the case before events on the European Tour, there are exhibitions before the tournament begins to promote the event and expose players to the local culture.

That was the case on Tuesday, as you can see in the picture above tweeted out by the European Tour (@European_Tour), when Ian Poulter and Dufner took part in a table tennis match.

Well... Poulter took part in the match. Dufner looks like he's enjoying himself, no doubt, but with the body language, he looks like a kid watching a baseball game who showed up with his mitt hoping to catch a foul ball. Dufner, meanwhile, showed up to watch a table tennis match with his paddle.

Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) sent out this tweet:

It all reminded us of another great Dufner picture from when he was in China last October:

 

Good stuff.

And, of course, no Dufner exhibition photo could ever beat the photo that made Dufner a cult hero and a hashtag -- #Dufnering.

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

Chambers Bay
Getty Images
Chambers Bay hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur in part to show that the course could handle a U.S. Open.

Monday was U.S. Open Media Day at the Pinehurst Resort, where both the 2014 men's and women's U.S. Opens will be played on the famed No. 2 Course in back-to-back weeks this summer. 

The No. 2 Course, long regarded as one of America's finest courses and one of the most respected layouts ever designed by the pre-eminent course architect Donald Ross, is the centerpiece of one of the world's great golf resorts. It also offers some extra intrigue in that it recently underwent a yearlong renovation by two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw and his course architecture partner Bill Coore.

The point of the makeover was to bring the venerable course closer to its original shape and condition, and the reviews so far have been overwhelmingly positive. But in doing so, Crenshaw and Coore removed much of the rough – which, as we all know, is traditionally one of the most prominent features of U.S. Open venues. And that is quite alright with the USGA.

So, for the back-to-back Opens, wayward shots that normally would end up in the rough might instead land in sandy hardpan, wiregrass or even on what USGA Executive Director Mike Davis calls "natural vegetation." 

"Will it be easier?" Davis asked on Monday. "Probably a little bit easier, but I suppose there's an element of luck involved." 

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Meanwhile, across the country up in Washington state, The Seattle Times ran a long feature on how the USGA awarded next year's men's U.S. Open to Chambers Bay, a new public course built on the site of a sewage-treatment plant and gravel and sand mine that operated hundreds of feet below the surface.

"The golfing world was stunned in 2008," when the USGA named Chambers Bay as the host of the 2015 U.S. Open," Scott Hanson wrote in the newspaper. "No course built in the previous 45 years had hosted an Open, yet Chambers Bay was picked after being open for about eight months."

Allen goes on to tell the story of John Ladenburg, the head of Pierce County, who in 2001 began dreaming of creating a world-class course at the Chambers Bay site, which despite its problems also had stunning views of Puget Sound – and plenty of land for a golf course architect to work his magic. That architect turned out to be Robert Trent Jones Jr., who despite his pedigree had never created a course that had hosted a U.S. Open.

Ladenburg essentially gave Jones a blank check, and every detail of the Chambers Bay layout was designed with attracting a U.S. Open in mind. The project ended up costing a whopping $20 million, Allen explained, and the end result was a course that those involved believe can stand against the grand links courses of Great Britain.

Even so, landing a U.S. Open is an incredibly difficult task, and Allen recounts the many steps that Ladenburg took to make his case – and how one stroke of luck gave him the opportunity he so desperately sought to host a U.S. Open that will be in many ways a polar opposite to the big event at Pinehurst this summer.

 

adidas Golf
adidas Golf
The new adicross gripmore.

adidas Golf has announced the release of two all-new footwear models featuring proprietary gripmore technology, an innovation in golf footwear cleat design that combines the performance benefits of spiked and spikeless footwear into one revolutionary technology.

The first of two models to feature gripmore technology, the adicross gripmore utilizes 43 gripmore cleats and a total of 243 points of contact for the ultimate combination of versatility and performance. Featuring premium sport-styling with modern aesthetics and colors and a premium full-grain leather upper, the adicross gripmore line has outstanding comfort and casual crossover appeal that delivers the performance golfers of all types demand.

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2013 U.S. Open Champion and adidas Golf Tour staff professional Justin Rose debuted the adicross gripmore at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, where he praised the shoe's crossover performance characteristics.

"I'm always looking for footwear that provides traction without compromising comfort, style or on-course performance," he said. "With gripmore, I have the versatility of a spikeless shoe combined with the performance of a cleated shoe. It's the best of both styles."

With a more athletically-inspired design, the pure 360 gripmore sport features a waterproof mesh upper with climaproof, 360WRAP technology and a powerband chassis for increased stability. Featuring 23 gripmore cleats and a total of 161 contact points, the shoe provides exceptional traction with the combination of comfort, protection and performance.

The evolution of golf cleats has seen little change in innovation over the course of the last century. From metal spikes to soft spikes and most recently spikeless models, cleat technology has remained stagnant with little advancement. The adidas Golf team set out to change the state of the footwear game, embarking on a mission to reshape the industry to create a groundbreaking category of shoe for all golfers. adicross gripmore and pure 360 gripmore sport were the result.

Unlike traditional spiked golf shoes that require receptacles to house cleats on the sole, gripmore cleats are directly injected onto lightweight mesh matting inclusive of hundreds of microspikes for even more traction and stability. In addition to unbelievable grip, both models are among the most green-friendly the company has ever created.

Available June 1, adicross gripmore will be available in three colorways: aluminum / running white / light scarlet, running white / running white / light scarlet and black/ running white / light scarlet at an MSRP of $150 USD.

Also available June 1, pure 360 gripmore sport will be available in two colorways: black / metallic silver / light scarlet and light onix / running white / light scarlet at an MSRP of $130 USD.

For more information on gripmore technology or to view the entire adicross gripmore and pure 360 gripmore collections, visit adidasgolf.com.