Golf Buzz

October 14, 2013 - 7:54am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
missing golf ball
City of Dublin
This golf ball sculpture went missing last week, but was returned on Saturday.

There's finally somewhat of a happy ending in the odd case of the 200-pound golf ball sculpture that went missing near the entrance to Muirfield Village last Monday -- the day after the famous course hosted the Presidents Cup.

If you remember, immunity was offered to those responsible for the theft provided they return the missing golf ball -- undamaged -- by midnight this past Saturday.

According to a report by 10TV.com in Ohio, the ball was returned late Saturday morning... but not without some damage. The ball had a foot-long crack and scratches.

In the report, 10TV.com said that Dublin Police discovered the ball at the 8200 block of Dublin Road. The City's community relations director said the city will pay to have the ball repaired.

The art work is worth about $2,500.

A second ball was also stolen last week, but was returned.

There's still no word on whether those responsible have been apprehended.

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

October 13, 2013 - 9:03pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jimmy Walker
Getty Images
Jimmy Walker got his 2013-14 season off to a bang with his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Frys.com Open on Sunday.

Not to toot our own horn here, but "beep, beep!"

In this space last week, we offered up five players to watch at the 2013-14 season-opening Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club.

One of the players on that list was Jimmy Walker, the man who fired a 5-under 66 on Sunday to get to 17-under 267 total and claimed his first PGA Tour win.

Here's the reason we gave for why you should watch out for Walker:

"It's almost unfathomable that the 34-year-old is still winless on the PGA Tour. It just seems like he's always in the mix. In 2013, for instance, he notched 10 top-25 finishes. Five of those were top 10s. Walker had six top 10s in 2012 and four in 2011. It's only a matter of time before he finally kicks the door in. Walker has got to be jacked for his start at CordeValle this week too after missing out on the Tour Championship by a mere six spots."

How about that? Walker's 17-under mark tied 2011 champ Bryce Molder with a tournament record low score at CordeValle.

The tide turned for Walker when he made a 30-foot birdie putt to grab a share of the lead at 16 under on the 13th hole. One more birdie -- on the par-5 15th -- helped Walker to the two-shot victory over Vijay Singh.

Here's that bigtime birdie on No. 13:

READ: Jimmy Walker earns first PGA Tour win at Frys.com Open

PGA Professional Nick Bailey -- the Director of Golf at CordeValle -- noted in last week's "Local Knowledge" that the 15th hole could be a pivotal one... and he was right.

What does this mean for Walker? Well, for starters, it pays to get your win early. Walker now has a two-year exemption through the 2015-16 season, an invitation to the 2014 Masters (his first trip to Augusta National) and a spot in the field for the 2015 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii (only winners from the 2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions through the 2013 Tour Championship are eligible for the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in January).

It also made for a very happy Mrs. Walker:

 

 

Japan's Hideki Matsuyama was also among the players on our watch list. Coming off his first appearance in the Presidents Cup a week ago, Matsuyama impressed with his tie for third at the Frys.com Open.

RELATED: Check out all the clubs this week's winners used

This week, the PGA Tour heads to Las Vegas for the second tournament of the 2013-14 season, the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin.

OTHER TOURS...

EUROPEAN TOUR: David Lynn turns 40 next Sunday. This Sunday, he decided to celebrate a week early by capturing his first victory on the European Tour since 2004 with a win at the Portugal Masters.

At 18 under, Lynn edged out Justin Walters by one shot. Amazingly, Lynn was tied for 16th entering the final round, but snagged the victory with a brilliant, 8-under 63 that included key birdies on three of his final five holes.

READ: David Lynn wins on European Tour for first time since 2004

In other news, Miguel Angel Jimenez didn't exactly have the best finish -- a tie for 57th -- but with his ace at the par-3 eighth holes, it'll still be a memorable one because the prize for the ace couldn't have been a more fitting for the man known as the "world's most interesting golfer."

With the hole-in-one, Jimenez took home 100 bottles of something called, "Sexy" wine:

Jimenez wasn't the only person with a special hole in one recently.

Last week, we told you about the man dressed as a dog who won a car for a hole-in-one; a blind man who had an ace in the UK; and an extra-special hole-in-one by 10-year-old Austin Jet.

This week, the European Tour travels to Australia for the ISPS HANDA Perth International.

LPGA: On the LPGA Tour, 18-year-old Lexi Thompson notched a dominating four-shot victory over Shanshan Feng in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.

It was Thompson's second career LPGA victory to go along with her win at the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic in Alabama.

Thompson's victory may also go a long way toward lending a hand to fellow teenager Lydia Ko. Last week, the 16-year-old Ko -- already a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour as an amateur -- made the decision to turn professional.

READ: Lexi Thompson wins by four shots in Malaysia

The LPGA requires its members be at least 18 years old, but Ko has filed a petition seeking a waiver to the rule.

Thompson did the same thing when she was 16 and was granted a waiver shortly thereafter.

Back to Thompson on Sunday. Her victory was the third by a teenager on the LPGA this season. For some perspective, Jordan Spieth's victory at the 2013 John Deere Classic was the first by a teenager on the PGA Tour in 82 years.

Thompson sent out this tweet after her win:

Next up for the ladies on the LPGA is the LPGA KEB-HANABANK CHAMPIONSHIP in Incheon, South Korea.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Russ Cochran picked a good time to go on a birdie run. After an 8-foot putt dropped on the final hole at the SAS Championship Sunday, Cochran had his fourth consecutive birdie and a one-stroke victory over David Frost.

It was the 54-year-old Cochran's second win this season and his fifth on the Champions Tour.

READ: Russ Cochran victorious for second time this season on Champions Tour

"David played a great round, and I knew someone was going to play well," Cochran said. "I was hoping to hang around there and kind of catch fire. And it took every hole to do that.

The Champions Tour heads to Conover, N.C. this week for the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn.

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

October 12, 2013 - 12:16pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Cleveland Smart Square putter
Courtesy of Cleveland Golf
The key to the Smart Square is what Cleveland calls Dual Axis Alignment. Two squares, outlined in white, mounted on the putter's matte black crown create parallel lines that frame the ball at address and provide a clear visual path to the hole.

Some of the best ideas are also the most simple. That's how Cleveland Golf feels about its new Smart Square putter. 

Its concept: That using squares instead of circles – such as those found on the popular Odyssey 2-ball models – as alignment aids would help golfers line up their putts better. In fact, Cleveland said, its designers and engineers found that golfers aligned the Smart Square 23 percent more accurately than competitive putters.

The key to the Smart Square what Cleveland calls Dual Axis Alignment. Two squares, outlined in white, mounted on the putter's matte black crown create parallel lines that frame the ball at address and provide a clear visual path to the hole. They also generate two perpendicular lines that, Cleveland says, easily highlight when the putter is misaligned – even by a fraction of a degree.

The end result, the company says, is that golfers can get lined up more quickly and accurately than ever before. 

The Smart Square is a high-MOI putter, meaning it has a large (360-gram) mallet head designed for extra stability throughout the stroke and to minimize the loss of distance on mis-hits. It also features a copolymer face insert that promotes a consistent roll and enhances both feel and sound at impact.

The Smart Square comes in both heel-shafted and center-shafted models in traditional lengths (33, 34 and 35 inches), with the heel-shafted available in left- and right-handed models (the center-shafted model is only available in right-handed). There is also a 39-inch Almost Belly model with a heavier (400-gram) head and a heavier grip for counter-balanced weighting, which adds stability and consistency to your stroke without anchoring. Cleveland also offers custom belly-length models. 

The Smart Square has three degrees of loft and a 70-degree lie angle. It features a stepless double-bend steel shaft and Winn grip. It will be available at retail on Nov. 15, and carries a suggested retail price of $139.99 for the standard-length models and $179.99 for the Almost Belly.

For more on the Smart Square, here is a video from Cleveland Golf:

 
October 11, 2013 - 2:30pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ryan Dempster
Joe Giza
During a workout at Fenway Park on Friday afternoon, Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster took the opportunity to work on his golf game.

Late Thursday evening, the Boston Red Sox found out that their American League Championship series opponent will be the Detroit Tigers.

On Friday, the Sox were getting some work in at Fenway Park in preparation for Saturday night's Game 1 of the ALCS.

RELATED: See postseason MLB coverage on TBS

Not everyone, however, was getting in baseball work.

Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster was instead working on his short game hitting wedge shots from near the third-base line.

Joe Giza (@JoeGiza), a sports producer for WBZ-TV in Boston, tweeted out this photo of Dempster Friday afternoon:

 

 

Keeping it loose -- it's what the Red Sox have been doing all season long.

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

October 11, 2013 - 1:07pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jim O'Brien
John Grindal
Jim O'Brien, a fully blind man, made a hole in one on Wednesday.

A 71-year-old blind man from Leicestershire made a hole-in-one at Surrey's Hindhead Golf Club in the United Kingdom on Wednesday, while playing in the Peter Alliss Eye2Eye Challenge.

Jim O'Brien, a fully blind man who has been playing golf for 16 years, is believed to be only the third blind golfer to make a hole in one, according to a report by the BBC.

"It's every golfer's dream, to do a hole-in-one especially if you're totally blind," O'Brien told the BBC. "When I teed off, I hit the ball nicely. The only thought I had in my head was, 'Let's hope it makes the green.'"

RELATED: Man, dressed as dog, makes hole-in-one and wins car

O'Brien was helped at the tournament by his guide, John Grindal.

"After a few seconds, the guys I was with said 'It's in the hole,'" O'Brien said. "It was a great feeling -- it's unbelievable."

The BBC report also states that Hindhead Golf Club secretary, Chris Donovan, said the odds of a fully-sighted golfer hitting a hole-in-one were between 12,000 and 14,000-to-1.

Just an all around great story.

h/t CBS Eye On Golf Blog

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

October 11, 2013 - 11:01am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf bag
PGA of America
We offer up some tips to make sure your lightweight golf bag stays just that.

Is there anything better than walking the golf course? I don't think so. But, if you're not going to take a push-cart, heaving a golf bag that feels as though it's weighted down with cinderblocks is no fun.

It doesn't have to be that way.

If you're interested in getting more exercise and carrying that lightweight bag, we've got a list of tips to make sure it stays lightweight, aside from those 14 clubs you've got.

READ: Golf equipment you're excited about adding to your bag

1. Leave the umbrella, rain gear and headcovers in your car trunk. Assuming it's nice out, of course, all they're doing on a nice day is weighing you down.

2. Just because your awesome new bag has 50 pockets doesn't mean you need to use all of them. Take advantage of the lined valuables pocket though for your cell phone, keys and wallet.

3. Carry only the number of golf balls that coincide with your handicap (within reason). For instance, if you're a 9-handicap, do you really need more than nine golf balls in your bag for 18 holes? Likewise, if you're a 30-handicap -- surely, or at least hopefully -- you're not losing 30 golf balls per round. You don't want to run out of golf balls, but you don't need two dozen in your bag for a single round either (we hope).

READ: Your biggest golf course pet peeves

4. A Sharpie marker. Not to sign autographs after your round, but to mark your golf ball to make it easily identifiable. Better yet, mark your golf balls in advance and leave the Sharpie in the trunk too.

5. Have a clean towel, wet on one end, along with a brush. It'll keep your clubs and golf ball clean, resulting in more solid contact and hopefully lower scores.

6. A ball marker. This could be as simple as a coin from the spare-change cup in your car. But don't forget it -- keep one in your bag at all times. There's nothing more annoying than a playing partner on a green who uses a tee to mark their ball -- like you weren't having a hard enough time negotiating the green on a putt -- and says, "Sorry, I don't have a ball marker." Don't be that person.

7. A divot tool. It weighs practically nothing, but everyone playing in your group and all those playing behind you will appreciate you fixing the marks your ball leaves on the greens.

8. A GPS device or rangefinder. Level of ability doesn't matter here. For the higher-handicap player, the GPS -- some of which come in the form of a watch now -- are the better option. They give you a very good idea of how far you are from the hole or from trouble. The rangefinder is great for better players, as they provide pinpoint accuracy. Both save you the time of having to walk off yardages, allowing you to keep moving forward with that bag on your shoulder instead of backtracking and zig-zagging. They're light too.

9. A snack of some kind -- trail mix, an apple, a banana, a peanut-butter sandwich. Whichever you'd like. It'll give you some energy out there during a long round.

10. A bottle of water. Stay hydrated.

Now enjoy that walk.

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