Golf Buzz

December 6, 2012 - 7:22pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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James Nitties
Getty Images
James Nitties wasn't involved, but his caddie and another caddie came to blows before the first round of the Australian Open.

While the media was focused on Adam Scott's putter situation yesterday at the Australian Open, they overlooked one other bit of news.

There was a caddie fight!

Caddies Grant Buchanan and Matt Kelly had to be separated after coming to blows as their players prepared for the opening round at The Lakes Golf Course, PGA Tour of Australasia officials said Friday (Thursday afternoon in the United States). Buchanan caddies for James Nitties, while Kelly works for Marc Leishman.

"We've spoken to those involved and we still need to speak to a few more people," said Australian Open Tournament Director Andrew Langford-Jones. Tour officials have interviewed both caddies, and said they could face disciplinary action.

No word yet on what the disagreement was about, or exactly how big the brouhaha was.

December 6, 2012 - 2:33pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy
Sports Illustrated
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have become good friends outside the ropes.

From the earliest days of competition, the thought has been that negative feelings toward an opponent would only help motivate a person to defeat them. Storied athletic rivalries are often accompanied by stories of bitter feelings and outright hostility (i.e. Ali-Frazier, Belicheck-Mangini, Brett Favre-Aaron Rogers) or even mutual respect can have some tense moments (Nicklaus-Palmer, Connors-McEnroe, etc.).  

But what happens when two rivals are friends -- even buddies? What if one is arguably the greatest golfer ever and the other is the most potent threat to threaten the top records in the sport?

CNN's Gary Morley has an interesting take. 

December 6, 2012 - 11:44am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
Trans World Sport
An interesting look at a 14-year-old Tiger Woods.

Shane Bacon, a blogger for, recently got his hands on an amazing interview with a 14-year-old Tiger Woods in 1990 from Trans World Sport.

Years before Woods would become arguably the best golfer to ever play the game, this interview was a candid look at the competitiveness, determination and confidence Tiger possessed even at a young age.

As Bacon noted in his blog: "The video of Woods when he was just 14 is the type of look into an athlete we rarely get to see on a personal level anymore, and some of the comments toward the end of the interview are worth the nearly six minutes of viewing time."

Overall, this is the kind of "inside look" at Tiger you probably have never before seen... and certainly one that the world would love to see today.

To watch the video -- and it's definitely worth your time -- click here.

December 6, 2012 - 11:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Dancin' Dogg Golf
The award-winning OptiShot Infrared Simulator features a redesigned user interface loaded with new software for a true-to-life golfing experience without leaving your home.

Still looking for the perfect gift for the golfer in your life this holiday season? We've got just the thing for you.

Dancin' Dogg Golf -- maker of the award-winning OptiShot Infrared Simulator -- has launched its next-generation software package, which includes a completely redesigned interface and enhanced graphics for an even more incredible experience on what many peg the ultimate in-home virtual golf system.

During the winter months, weather can prevent a lot of us from getting out to the course or the range to practice. However, don't let that be a reason to shove your golf clubs into the closet for a few months only to dust them off in the spring. With OptiShot, you can fine-tune your game throughout the winter and hit the course in the spring as though you never missed a beat.

The biggest enhancements to to the completely redesigned graphics package and user interface, include these cool features:

- Ability to set fairway and green speeds or select shot difficulty in light rough, rough and bunkers

- Pin-Point Practice Range with visual shot patterning, accuracy lines and precision rings

- Seven game types including Stroke Play, Match Play, Stableford and skins

- Option for complete in-system transition to Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French or French-Canadian

The sleek new design, easier-to-read data, improved navigation, variety of putting modes, custom display options and the ability to preview premium courses have also been added to the system. These combine to further distinguish OptiShot (MSRP: $399.95) from competing in-home simulators that can cost more than $50,000.

"It's perfect for us to add so many exciting new features just as the weather turns cold and the holiday shopping season begins," says Brandon Theophilus, CEO of Dancin' Dogg Golf. "Our team of in-house developers has really taken things to the next level, ensuring golfers of all abilities can play more often, have more fun and improve their skills without leaving home."

OptiShot connects with Windows computers via a plug-and-play interface and requires only 8 1/2 feet of swing space. With their own clubs, up to four players per round can compete by hitting real balls, foam balls (provided) or no ball at all. Infrared sensors on a durable swing pad precisely record club-head speed, face angle, swing path, distance, tempo, face contact and ball flight. In addition to Core courses that come with the system, OptiShot users can practice on a realistic driving range, compete using the par-3 option or purchase premium course replicas of world famous layouts.
For more information, visit

December 6, 2012 - 2:08am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adam Scott at the Australian Open
Getty Images
Adam Scott used his usual long putter on Thursday at the Australian Open, and said he is likely to keep the putter but alter his putting motion in the future.

After practicing with a short putter earlier in the week, Adam Scott had his usual long putter in the bag for Thursday's first round of the Emirates Australian Open in Sydney.

The reunion didn't go particlarly well, though, as Scott needed 29 putts to card an even-par 72 at The Lakes Golf Course that included three birdies and three bogeys.

"I'll probably putt with the long putter," Scott had said on Wednesday. "The other one I was messing around with was my first go and it is not quite what I want it to do. It is not quite set up right for me. I'll have another go at another time if I feel I need to."

Scott said he had ordered the shorter putter, which actually has a 40-inch shaft – a bit longer than the 34- or 35-inch shafts found in most flat sticks – some time ago, and was just experimenting with it on Tuesday. And, he stressed, he very likely will continue to use the broomstick putter next season.

"I think I putt fine with any putter. I have spent the last two years learning a skill with the broomstick putter and that is what I am going to use this week, most likely," he said. "Until I invent a better way to putt for myself, I'll stick to the broomstick. I certainly like a lot of the philosophies of putting with a broomstick."

And, he revealed, he probably will continue using a long putter with a slightly different motion even if the ban on anchoring becomes the law of the land in 2016.

"Whatever way I putt in the future, if I just move the hand off my chest an inch or a centimeter or whatever it is, I'll be making an honest stroke," he said. "It will look exactly the same.

"It is simple," he added. "I can move it slightly off my chest and use the same putter, but I think there are better ways than that. We are all searching for the best possible way and I think there are still better ways for me to go about it."

December 5, 2012 - 7:40pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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John Spitzer of the U.S. Golf Association
John Mummert/USGA
John Spitzer is taking over the USGA team in charge of explores and adjudicates all issues concerning golf equipment and equipment technology at the USGA Research and Test Center.

John Spitzer, the U.S. Golf Association's Assistant Technical Director, has been named to replace Dick Rugge as Managing Director of Equipment Standards, the USGA said Wednesday in a letter, obtained by Golf Digest, sent out to its staff. Rugge recently announced that he would retire next February, and Spitzer will take over at that time.

In his new job, Spitzer will direct the group that explores and adjudicates all issues concerning golf equipment and equipment technology at the USGA Research and Test Center. That, of course, is one of the highest-profile and challenging positions within the governing body as it continues to deal with a wide range of equipment questions.

"John's impressive breadth of experience and knowledge, along with his many accomplishments at the USGA, will make him a strong successor to Dick in this critical role," Bodenhamer wrote in the letter. "John and his colleagues are sure to build on the outstanding achievements of the Research and Test Center, as well as the standards they have set, under Dick's stewardship."

Bodenhamer also cited Spitzer's intimate involvement in the creation of some of the USGA’s most important rules and research over the last decade, including the spring-like effect limit, the limits on clubhead construction, and the studies that led to the formulation of new groove regulations.

"He's a very solid engineer, and I've relied on his technical skills throughout my time here," Rugge said. "He is a familiar figure to manufacturers and that will be helpful in our relations with them."