Golf Buzz

March 12, 2014 - 11:20am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jason Dufner
USA Today Sports Images
Since winning the 2013 PGA Championship, Jason Dufner has yet to miss a cut on the PGA Tour.

For the third consecutive week, "par" will be a good friend of players on the PGA Tour.

The Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla., plays host to this week's Valspar Championship. The Copperhead is the type of course that requires a player's full attention on each and every shot. And if you're looking for drama, there should be plenty on the closing three holes, affectionately known as the Snake Pit.

READ: Tiger's back raises Masters questions | Amazing two-man trick shot | Equipment photos

Kevin Streelman is the defending champ at Innisbrook. Who will come out on top this week?

Here are five players I think you should watch.

5. Jim Furyk
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T5 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Reason to watch: Furyk is pretty much always a contender at Innisbrook. He won the event in 2010 and lost in a playoff in 2012. He also tied for seventh a year ago. The course certainly fits his eye. Plus, while not spectacular thus far in the new season, Furyk has been consistently solid. He hasn't missed a cut since the Open Championship last July. That consistency, along with his track record at the Copperhead Course, will have Furyk in the mix once again at Innisbrook.

4. Luke Donald
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T8 at the Honda Classic
Reason to watch: His worst finish in three starts at Innisbrook is a tie for sixth. Donald also won the tournament in 2012. When you think of "horses for courses" no two players fit the bill better at Innisbrook that Donald and Furyk. It's truly a course you need to think your way around.

3. Matt Kuchar
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T6 Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: Routinely one of the best players on Tour, this season has been no exception for Kuchar. He's racked up four top-10 finishes in six starts. Aside from a missed cut in the Northern Trust Open, Kuchar's worst finish this season is a tie for 13th last week at Doral. His last four starts at Innisbrook have yielded no worse than a tie for 14th.

2. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: Simpson couldn't have started the 2013-14 season any better, winning in his very first start in Las Vegas. In eight starts, including the win, Simpson has collected five top-5 finishes and hasn't missed a single cut. Since 2010, Simpson's worst finish at Innisbrook is a tie for 17th last year. His best finish was runner-up in 2011. He excels on difficult courses (see his U.S. Open win at Olympic Club in 2012) and that's precisely what Innisbrook's Copperhead course is.

1. Jason Dufner
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Fifth at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: The 2013 PGA Champion has yet to miss a cut on the PGA Tour since that major victory last August. He enters this week on the strength of two top-10 finishes in his last two starts (T9 at both the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the WGC-Cadillac Championship). It just feels like he's on the verge of something big... again.

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


March 11, 2014 - 10:20pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods "intends to be at Bay Hill" for the Arnold Palmer Invitational next week, according to agent Mark Steinberg.
Tiger Woods walked gingerly out of the Cadillac Championship on Sunday, leaving many questions about his aching back in his wake – not the least of which is when we might see him in competition next.
On Tuesday, his agent provided some guidance.
"Tiger is continuing to get treatment and get himself in a good place for next week," Mark Steinberg said in an email to "He intends to be at Bay Hill" for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Bay Hill is one of Tiger's favorite places. He is the defending champion and has won there a total of eight times – he's obviously so familiar with the course that he wouldn't need much prep time there to get ready for the tournament.
In the meantime, many questions remain about Woods' health and his future, and Associated Press Golf Writer Doug Ferguson details the history of Woods' injuries and explores his situation in his most recent feature.
March 11, 2014 - 8:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Batman at the TaylorMade Speed Pocket World Challenge
Dave Cordero of TaylorMade via Twitter
Batman came out of the Batcave on Tuesday to try out some TaylorMade putters in Gotham City on Tuesday.
Over the past couple of days, TaylorMade has been setting up in iconic locations like Times Square in New York and Canary Wharf in London to stage what it calls its Speed Pocket World Challenge (lots of photos on Twitter). At these events, everyday golfers have the chance to hit TaylorMade's new SpeedBlade irons on pop-up driving ranges.
Golfers of all sizes and shapes have been turning out in huge numbers, and the events have been quite spectacular. Amid all the fun, Hank Haney offered lessons in New York, LPGA Tour star Anna Nordqvist hit some shots in San Francisco and European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley took some swings in London. 
But, it's safe to say, no one stood out like the caped and cowled duffer who dropped by Times Square to check out some new putters. No word on whether TaylorMade activated the Bat Signal there in Gotham City or Batman ditched Robin and Commissioner Gordon and showed up on his own.
Also, check out those Bat-golf shoes!
March 11, 2014 - 7:13pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Two-man trick shot
It took two guys to pull off this one-of-a-kind trick shot.
According to the Rules of Golf, it's a penalty if you hit the ball twice with one swing. But how about when two players hit the ball with one swing each?
That's the trick the two guys in this video pulled off. I have no idea if they accomplished this on their first try or their 500th, but it really doesn't matter – it's a cool feat no matter what.
Check it out:
March 11, 2014 - 5:50pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
PowerBilt Air Force One DFX driver
Courtesy of PowerBilt
The PowerBilt Air Force One DFX driver has better feel at impact than previous models, but generates a tremendous trampoline effect for increased ball speed.
The newest addition to the long line of Air Force One drivers from PowerBilt is the brand-new DFX (Deep Face Extreme). It boasts the nitrogen-packed clubhead found in some other PowerBilt models, but the face is 5 millimeters taller than on the previous model. That, the company says, allows the face to catch the ball at impact slightly longer and combines with the nitrogen to create reduced spin and more distance. 
"We reduced the nitrogen pressure to 80 pounds, for better impact feel," PowerBilt President Ross Kvinge explained. "This new amount of nitrogen generates a tremendous trampoline effect for increased ball speed. In fact, now the trampoline effect is up to the USGA maximum limit. 
"Shot dispersion is also the tightest ever in our drivers. And by adding 6 grams low and forward in the clubhead, we moved the Center of Gravity lower and more forward than in any other Air Force One driver," he added. "We did this to appease our clubfitters who requested a better smash factor."
BEST GOLF EQUIPMENT PHOTOS: See who made this week's gallery
PowerBilt's patented Nitrogen N7 "Nitrogen Charged" technology makes its debut in the Air Force One DFX driver, as well – it's a newly patented method to use compressed nitrogen to reinforce the clubface without adding any weight. The aerodynamically shaped clubhead consists of a forged titanium body with titanium cup face technology to help the ball jump off the face with low spin.
The driver is available in both PowerBilt's high MOI and Tour Series, in lofts of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12.5 degrees of loft. The standard shaft length is 45 ½ inches, and several shaft options are available. The suggested retail price is $299.99, with an upcharge for ultra-premium shaft options.
March 11, 2014 - 12:45pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
2021 U.S. Open
Getty Images
Pending approval from the San Diego City Council, the 2021 U.S. Open could be headed back to the South Course at Torrey Pines.

According to a report by San Diego Union-Tribune golf writer Tod Leonard, the USGA has chosen the South Course at Torrey Pines to host the 2021 U.S. Open.

However, nothing is official just yet. San Diego's City Council must give its approval to make this official.

From Leonard's report:

Mayor Kevin Faulconer told U-T San Diego on Monday that an item will be placed on the City Council docket this week that asks it to support hosting golf's Super Bowl 13 years after the hugely successful 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

"It's a great win for San Diego," Faulconer said. "The fact that we've been selected again speaks volumes as to how this city came together and put on a world-class tournament in '08. It just shows, from the USGA's standpoint, that we know how to get it done."

The City Council will hear the item -- the details of which have not been made public -- in its regularly scheduled public meeting either Monday or Tuesday, the timing of which will be decided by Council President Todd Gloria, who was in close communication with city staff regarding the U.S. Open negotiations during his time as interim mayor.

Faulconer, the former councilman who took office as mayor on March 3, said he believes the council will be "strongly supportive" of holding another U.S. Open.

The 2008 U.S. Open, of course, ended in dramatic fashion, with eventual champion Tiger Woods going 91 holes before defeating Rocco Mediate. The two were knotted after 72 holes of competition, forcing an 18-hole Monday playoff -- unique to the U.S. Open. Those 18 holes weren't enough. Woods eventually won on the 19th hole that Monday, or 91st hole overall.

The reason San Diego's City Council needs to be involved with this decision is because unlike most courses that host major championships, Torrey Pines is public, not private.

Should the City Council approve -- and it's expected it will -- the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines would be just the third in history contested in Southern California. The other, aside from 2008, was the 1948 U.S. Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

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