Golf Buzz

October 23, 2014 - 8:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Chi Chi Rodriguez
Getty Images
World Golf Hall of Famer Chi Chi Rodriguez turns 79 years old today.

World Golf Hall of Famer and world-class swordsman (with a golf club, that is) Chi Chi Rodriguez is celebrating his 79th birthday today.

Fast forward to the 1:30 mark below to see the famous sword dance:

Rodriguez, a proud Puerto Rican, turned professional in 1960. Always a colorful character, Rodriguez also had a lot of flash with his game. He was an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour and racked up 22 victories on the Champions Tour, including the 1987 Senior PGA Championship.

More recently, you may remember a Rodriguez blooper, where he took the "Big Break" glass break challenge and, well, it backfired with an unfortunate ricochet.

October 23, 2014 - 8:00am
Posted by:
PGA of America
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DULUTH, Ga. -- Eight All-Star teams have advanced to the PGA Junior League Golf Championship at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga., beginning tomorrow and concluding Sunday. Each of the competing teams won their respective PGA Junior League Golf Regional, which were held throughout the month of September.

The PGA of America and League Golf of Norcross, Ga., partnered to create PGA Junior League Golf in 2012. One of the most innovative programs introduced by a major sport, PGA Junior League Golf gives boys and girls 13 and under the opportunity to learn and play golf in a fun, social and team environment. The program has skyrocketed in popularity, growing from nearly 9,000 participants representing 700 teams in 2013, to 18,000 participants and 1,500 teams in 2014. Due to this growth, two Regionals were added in 2014, increasing from six to eight held across the country.

Below is a list of teams competing in the PGA Junior League Golf Championship along with the facilities they represent:

-- Team California (San Ramon – San Ramon Golf Club)*
-- Team Connecticut (Hartford – Golf Center at Lyman Orchards, Goodwin Park, Suzy Whaley Junior Golf Academy, TPC River Highlands)
-- Team Georgia (Atlanta – Hamilton Mill Golf Club)*
-- Team Indiana (Avon – Prestwick Country Club)*
-- Team Iowa (Spencer – Brooks Golf Club, Emerald Hills Golf Club, Spencer Golf & Country Club, The Ridge Golf Club)
-- Team New Jersey (Trenton – First Tee of Greater Trenton, Forsgate Country Club, Royce Brook Golf Club, Trenton Country Club)
-- Team Tennessee (Knoxville – Fairways & Greens Golf Center, Holston Hills Country Club, Sevierville Golf Club)
-- Team Texas (Houston – The Clubs of Kingwood)*

*This facility ran its own league; therefore, all players are from this club.

"PGA Junior League Golf is a one-of-a-kind program in terms of bringing kids together to learn and enjoy the game with their teammates. The program’s tremendous growth and success is a testament to the dedication of our PGA Professionals and their desire to grow golf," said PGA of America President Ted Bishop. "As a PGA Junior League Golf coach myself, it’s inspiring to see my team's progress on the course and their love of the game grow throughout the season. Kids are undoubtedly the future of golf, and the PGA of America looks forward to continuing our support of this unique program and all of the great things it’s doing for the sport."

Much like other recreational league sports, participants play in team uniforms with jersey numbers. Young golfers learn the game and play under the direction of PGA/LPGA Professionals who serve as team captains, with parents playing an active role as well. Teams play four 9-hole matches in a two-person scramble format, reinforcing the team concept and limiting the pressure on any one player; coaches can substitute players every three holes, so that all of the golfers on each team can participate.

At the 96th PGA Championship, the PGA of America named Rory McIlroy as an Official Ambassador for PGA Junior League Golf. 2012 United States Ryder Cup Team Captain Davis Love III is also a huge supporter, serving as the Honorary National Captain for PGA Junior League Golf.

For more information about PGA Junior League Golf, visit PGAJrLeagueGolf.com.

Founders Club
Courtesy of Founders Club
Founders Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., could benefit from increased Chinese golf tourism under its new ownership.
A group of Chinese investors has finalized its purchase of three golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area. That increases the number of Grand Strand golf facilities now under Chinese ownership to eight, all bought in the last 15 months – and, apparently, more Chinese purchases are in the works.
 
Burning Ridge Golf Club in Conway, Indian Wells Golf Course in Garden City Beach and Founders Club at Pawleys Island were sold by GGG of Myrtle Beach – which owns the Classic Golf Group management company – for about $11 million. The buyer is Yiqian Funding.
 
"They want to invest in Myrtle Beach," Classic Golf Group General Manager Rick Taylor told MyrtleBeachOnline.com. "They want to be part of the community. They like Myrtle Beach and want to be part of it."
 
In addition, these new Chinese investors hope their purchases will help improve Chinese golf tourism to the Grand Strand.
 
"They feel they have an avenue in China to bring people here," Taylor said. "[Marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach] Golf Holiday has been doing a lot of work with China, trying to attract them to come to the Myrtle Beach area, and they believe that also. That's probably as big a strategy as they have."
 
These three courses were the last under GGG's ownership, and with their sale, both GGG and the Classic Golf Group are disbanding after a half-century in the golf business in Myrtle Beach. Ed Jerdon, at age 85 the last living GGG partner and a member of the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame, is retiring.
 
Alexandra Browne
Alexandra Browne via Twitter
Alexandra Browne's musical style is "acoustic, pop-folk, modern alternative, and breezy."
If you happen to see Olin Browne at the Champions Tour's AT&T Championship in San Antonio this week, you might catch him humming a little tune as he strolls the fairways. And that tune might be one written by his daughter.
 
Alexandra Browne, you see, is a budding singer/songwriter who released an acoustic album over the summer and, just this week, followed up with what she calls her first "fully produced" record – an EP entitled "Love Don't Lie." Both are now available at CD Baby and on iTunes.
 
Browne was raised in south Florida, and went to college at Pepperdine University out in southern California, where she apparently got serious about her music. She also dated Rickie Fowler for a while.
 
Her style is "acoustic, pop-folk, modern alternative, and breezy," Browne writes on her website. "Growing up on the water, her music is inspired by ocean living. Alexandra writes her music based on personal experiences and people by whom she is intrigued or inspired."
 
"First and Last Love (Cupid)' and 'Do You Remember" are "fun, roll down the windows, and crank up the radio songs," according to her CD Baby page. "Love Don't Lie" and "My Heart" are "beautiful love stories where you find yourself tapping your foot and bopping your head along."
 
Her foray into music puts her in rare company in golf circles. She joins an elite group that also includes Chad Campbell's wife, Amy Lepard Campbell, who released a couple of albums of her own a few years ago, and pop singer Liz Primo, the wife of Bob Estes. And then, of course, there's that ol' country troubador John Daly!
 
Here's a video of Alexandra performing one of her songs:
 
 
October 22, 2014 - 9:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Michelle Wie
Instagram
When in Rome, right? Well, Michelle Wie found herself in South Korea last week and decided to take in the local cuisine.

The LPGA was in South Korea last week for the KEB-HanaBank Championship.

When in a different country, some people like to experience the culture and the local cuisine. Michelle Wie appears to be one of those people, based on this video she posted to Instagram:

 

When in Korea! #livesquid @jamiekuhn...you are missing out!

A video posted by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Yes. That's a live squid (or, was a live squid).

No thanks. 

October 22, 2014 - 8:52am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Zach Johnson
USA Today Sports Images
For Zach Johnson and many other PGA Tour players, this week is a home game.

The 2014-15 PGA Tour season rolls on this week in Sea Island, Ga., with the McGladrey Classic at the Seaside Course.

Chris Kirk, who resides right next door on St. Simons Island, returns as the defending champ. Kirk was one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour at the end of the 2013-14 season, winning the Deutsche Bank Championship and eventually finishing second to Billy Horschel in the FedExCup Playoffs.

RELATED: McGladrey Classic tee times | Ortiz paving way on Tour | Golf Beer

There are many players in this week's field, including tournament host Davis Love III, with ties to Sea Island. That local knowledge will come in handy for some.

Here's a look at five players to keep an eye on in the McGladrey Classic.

5. Harris English
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T16 at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: English is one of many players in the field who has familiarity with the course. He resides in Sea Island. A home game is a double-edged sword. Sure, you have the local knowledge most don't, but there's also a little more pressure. PGA Tour pros don't have an issue playing in front of large crowds, but when those crowds include a lot of family and friends, there could be a tendency to press and try a little too hard. English is a rising star on the PGA Tour and a home win would be extra special.

4. Bill Haas
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: This will be the first start of the new season for Haas, who ended last season on a high note. Along with his tie for second at the Wyndham Championship, Haas finished no worse than a tie for 16th in his final five starts of the 2013-14 season. He was also recently inducted into the Wake Forest Hall of Fame -- a high honor for any student-athlete, but particularly a golfer at a school that boasts the likes of Arnold Palmer, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins, Jay Haas, Darren Clarke and more. I'm expecting a big year for Haas coming off his first winless season on the PGA Tour since 2009.

3. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: When the PGA Tour initiated its wraparound schedule a year ago, it paid quick dividends for Simpson, who collected five of his nine top-10 finishes on the season in his first six starts, including a T7 at the McGladrey Classic. Last week, in a title defense at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Simpson tied for fourth. Nice showing. He'll keep the momentum going this week in Sea Island.

2. Zach Johnson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: After another solid PGA Tour season, Johnson is ready to get a new season underway at home in Sea Island. Over the last few years, Johnson has a couple of top-20 finishes at the McGladrey Classic. He's a great putter and a player who rarely misses the cut. For those two reasons, he's virtually always a factor. If he can get everything clicking on a course where he's got more experience playing than most, he could be tough to beat this week.

1. Chris Kirk
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: Kirk -- you guessed it, a local -- is collected the first of his two wins in the 2013-14 season a year ago at the McGladrey Classic. It was the first multiple-win season of Kirk's career. Kirk's consistent play throughout the last season along with a strong push at the end, helped him to finish second in the FedExCup. Based on his success over the last 12 months, there's no doubt Kirk's expectations and goals are higher than past years. It's got to be nice to be able to start a new season at a place where you've had recent success.