Golf Buzz

Keegan Bradley at The Memorial
Srixon via Twitter
Keegan Bradley used a non-belly putter for the first time in his PGA Tour career on Thursday at The Memorial

Keegan Bradley helped ignite the long-putter explosion when he won the 2011 PGA Championship to become the first player to win a major with a belly putter. He has used a long putter for four years, but admits that the impending anchored-stroke ban that will go into effect in 2016 has been like a "ticking clock in your head." 

On Thursday at The Memorial, Bradley went without a belly putter for the first time in his PGA Tour career, and it worked out just fine. He knocked in a 12-foot birdie putt on his opening hole, added four more birdies for a 5-under 67 and was one shot out of the lead among the early starters. It was also his best-ever score at Muirfield Village. 

"I'm totally in a trial period here," Bradley, whose best score in eight previous rounds was a 71, told The Associated Press. "I'm not in any way saying I'm switching for good from now on. This is just for right now and this week." 

Bradley was persuaded to give the shorter putter a try on the advice from his mother, and a week of practice and trash-talking with his good friend Michael Jordan.

Bradley didn't like the way he finished off the HP Byron Nelson Championship two weeks ago, and while talking to his mother, she suggested he go to a shorter putter. 

"I hadn't put any thought into it up until that point," he said. "And so I thought I needed something to get me excited about playing because I was bummed." 

Bradley hasn't won since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and he needs to get moving if he wants to earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team. Inspired to experiment by his mother, he played with Jordan at The Bear's Club in South Florida, asking him to be relentless in heckling and make Bradley feel uncomfortable, "which he's good at." 

"And we just kept playing and playing. And I felt better and better with it," he said. "And I came here not knowing what I was going to do. I played a round with Brendan Steele and I felt good with it again, and I thought there's no reason for me not to do it." 

Bradley said he last used a conventional putter in 2010 in his second start on the Nationwide Tour, but switched over to the belly putter because he felt he was better with it. 

His plan for the year was to qualify for the Ryder Cup team and start converting to a shorter putter after October. 

Now? Who knows? 

The new putter is 41 inches, which is about 6 inches longer than a standard putter. The difference is that Bradley doesn't press the end of it into his belly. He felt better over lag putts, and he said the shorter putter improved his touch on fast greens. 

"The negatives are just ... I'm aware that people are watching me," he said. "And that's the hardest part." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Double hit
John Cook in the Champions Tour.

Many of you may have seen an interesting shot recently on the Champions Tour when John Cook double hit his ball on the 14th hole at Regions Tradition. The interesting story there was that Cook was unaware he double hit the ball, but after seeing cell phone video of the shot, realized he did and he was assessed with a penalty.

We were curious about not only this type of mishit, but others in the family, so we asked Senior co-chairman PGA Rules Committee Brad Gregory about the play. Gregory said the double hit rule itself is clear, Rule 14-4. It says if a player strikes the ball more than once during a stroke, the player must count the stroke and adds a penalty stroke for two strokes in all. The player would play the ball as it lies.

Which is what happened. But how about some other scenarios after the initial strike of a ball?

For instance, if it hits the club face, then shaft? Same thing, says Gregory. Initial stroke plus penalty for the shaft hit and then play as it lies.

Adding complexity, Gregory said if the ball were to hit something else (a tree, bunker lip, etc) and then rebounded and hit your club after deflection, it applies to a different rule (19-2) but the result is the same. "Count the stroke and add a penalty stroke for two strokes in all. Except in a rare circumstance where the ball comes to rest on the player, partner, their caddies or equipment. In this case, the player must drop the ball under the spot it came to rest."

Prior to 2004, these two Rules had different results, said Gregory. Back then, Rule 14-4 was the same but the penalty for Rule 19-2 was the general penalty. In match play, it was loss of hole and in stroke play, the penalty two strokes.


May 29, 2014 - 7:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture

The PGA of America and LPGA will join forces for a new KPMG Women's PGA Championship, announced by PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua and LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan this morning on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive."



The KPMG Women's PGA Championship will continue the rich tradition of the LPGA Championship and will rotate annually among prestigious courses in major metropolitan markets. In its first year, the Championship will be held in 2015 at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., with a purse among the highest in women's golf at $3.5 million. The Championship will be operated by the PGA of America in close collaboration with the LPGA. NBC's Golf Channel, which broke the exclusive news, will be televsion partners.

Whan said the partnership will "evolve the LPGA into a new era."

Bevacqua said a critical addition is that PGA Professionals will have a chance to qualify for the major, like the PGA Championship and a first for the women's game. "This is all about growing the game, taking a very vocal stand in the women's game," Bevacqua said. 

More on the announcement will come during a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. from the Saturday Night Live studios at 30 Rock in New York.



H2O Golf floating green in Halifax Harbour
H2O Golf
The H2O Golf floating green is open all summer in the Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia.

When many of us see the island green on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, we get the willies. When Canadian golf lovers Mike Kennedy, Steve Dexter and George Fowler saw it, they got inspired.

So they created their own version – and it floats in the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The trio has founded H2O Golf, which lets golfers take shots at a green floating in Halifax Harbour. In fact, the company says, it is "North America's only floating ocean golf green." 

The green is about 65 square meters in size, and is made from the same artificial turf used at the New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium, according to The Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

"We were kind of chatting around the art of the possible and next thing you know we're riveting geraniums to a floating golf green in the harbour and tugging it across with a tugboat," Kennedy, the H2O Golf president, told the newspaper.

The company has hired a couple of PGA of Canada professionals to help the golfers wanting to take their best shots – and they've hired a team of local divers to retrieve the balls that end up in the drink.

The company is charging $10 for three balls, and anyone who makes an ace wins a prize as well as a spot in the season-ending closest-to-the-pin competition. In addition, every golfer receives coupons for a variety of local businesses, and there is also a series of weekly competitions throughout the summer. 

And if things should happen to go horribly wrong, like someone lodges a ball in the blowhole of a passing whale, the H2O Golf guys can always just give George Costanza a call. He is, after all a marine biologist.





Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods, almost three months after surgery, remains unsure of when he will return to competition.

Tiger Woods has officially withdrawn from the U.S. Open, he announced today on his website.

"Unfortunately, I won't be there because I'm not yet physically able to play competitive golf," Woods said on his site. "I'd like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won't be at Pinehurst. The U.S. Open is very important to me, and I know it's going to be a great week. 

"Despite missing the first two majors, and several other important tournaments," he added, "I remain very optimistic about this year and my future."

The report gave no indication of when Woods might return. The U.S. Open is June 12-15, with the British Open set for July 17-20.

Woods is still rehabbing after microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve in his back on March 31. He hasn't played competitively since the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 9.

Woods is a three-time U.S. Open champion, one short of the record shared by Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson. His most recent U.S. Open victory was in 2008 at Torrey Pines, where he won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate a week before he had season-ending knee surgery. 
That was his 14th victory in 46 majors, a winning rate of 30 percent as a pro. He has not won a major since Torrey Pines, leaving him four short of Nicklaus' record. 
Nicklaus said Wednesday that Woods' health would be the biggest obstacle in breaking his record in the majors. 
"If he's healthy, I think Tiger has got 10-plus years to play top quality tournament golf," Nicklaus said. "And I've said many times, he's got a little over 40 tournaments to play the major championships; he's only got to win five to pass my record. As good a player as he is, I don't think that should be a big deal. But then again, he's got to do it. Plus, he's also got to be healthy to be able to do it." 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jimmy Fallon and Samuel L. Jackson
Courtesy of NBC
Jimmy Fallon has goofed around at golf with Samuel L. Jackson, but it's another celebrity who might be especially interested in Fallon's new personalized golf balls.

"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon has really devoted himself to his golf game this year, and he's even hit a memorable shot or two.

MORE FALLON: Getting serious about golf | Chips in from bunker | Plays roller golf with Diaz

Now, he's taken the next step – he's ordered some personalized golf balls. Except, well, his special order has a bit of a comic twist. I don't want to ruin the joke, so click on the Instagram link in the tweet below to see exactly what Fallon had imprinted on his spheres.