Golf Buzz

Kevin Streelman
PGA Tour via YouTube
Kevin Streelman's tee shot on Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitationalsomehow got hung up in the loose bark of a tree.
In all my years as a golfer, I've hit many trees with golf balls. Many, many trees.
 
But none of my many, many tree shots ever ended up like Kevin Streelman's on Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The Man of Streel teed it up on the par-4 third hole at Firestone Country Club and took a mighty swing – and his ball somehow got hung up in the loose bark of a tree.
 
 
Not in a branch or a bird's nest – in the bark, about six or seven feet off the ground, almost like somebody placed it there. How bizarre.
 
Now, it if was me, I would've taken a whack at it in the tree. I mean, why not? 
 
Streelman, however, consulted a rules official, pondered the situation, plucked his ball out of the bark and took a drop. Unfortunately, that didn't make things a whole lot better – he bogeyed the hole en route to a 78.
 
Take a look:
 
 
Nike MM Proto irons
Thorbjorn Olesen via Twitter
Thorbjorn Olesen tried a set of Nike MM Proto irons earlier this week and decided to put them immediately into play.
Rory McIlroy won the British Open with a 2-iron from Nike Golf's brand-new MM Proto line, and other Nike players including Thorbjorn Olesen have been spotted working with a full set at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this week.
 
Nike Golf has said nothing official about the long-term plans for these irons – we don't even know what the "MM" stands for yet – but have announced that 40 sets of them will be available to the public starting next week. That's right, just 40 sets – they'll sell for $1,500 per set.
 
 
Each set of these forged blades includes 3-iron through pitching wedge, and is available in right-handed only. Each club will be laser-engraved with individual numbering and Nike's Oven logo on the hosel, and each buyer will be custom-fit for his or her set by working with a Nike Golf concierge. 
 
McIlroy and Tiger Woods collaborated with Nike club experts over the past few years to develop the MM clubs, the company said, adding that players including Seung-yul Noh and Russell Henley have been testing them. Olesen indicated on social media that he tried them earlier this week and is using them at the Bridgestone.
 
The sale begins at 10:00 a.m. ET on Aug. 4 and ends at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 6. For complete information, click here.
 
Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar
Getty Images
Rory McIlroy and Matt Kuchar, paired together today at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, will see each other again at the Ryder Cup in September.
It's hard to watch the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this afternoon and not think of the Ryder Cup, which is now just less than two months away. Why? Because several of the high-profile pairings at Firestone Country Club feature players that we'll see at Gleneagles, perhaps even playing against each other.
 
Let's take a look, with the pairings listed by their tee time today:
 
Webb Simpson-Luke Donald. Simpson, a former U.S. Open champion, made his Ryder Cup debut in 2012 and is 15th on the U.S. points list. Donald, shooting for his fifth Ryder Cup (he owns an admirable 10-4-1 record), currently holds the final guaranteed spot on the European World Points List. 
 
Jimmy Walker-Lee Westwood. Walker has locked up his first Ryder Cup berth by virtue of his three wins this season. Westwood is one of Europe's most experienced Ryder Cup stars – having played in the last eight matches – but is 16th on the World Points List and his participation at Gleneagles is in doubt at the moment.
 
Jordan Spieth-Victor Dubuisson. Spieth is seventh on the U.S. points list and will make his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles. Dubuisson has been a revelation this season, and also will play his first Ryder Cup in September as he's second on the European Points List behind only Rory McIlroy.
 
 
Graeme McDowell-Hunter Mahan. McDowell, of course, defeated Mahan in singles to clinch the 2010 Ryder Cup for Europe. McDowell hasn't yet nailed down his spot at Gleneagles, but will be in the mix for a captain's pick if he doesn't get an automatic spot. Mahan is 34th on the U.S. points list, and needs two good weeks to claim his spot. 
 
Keegan Bradley-Miguel Angel Jimenez. Bradley, the 2012 PGA Championship winner, is currently 16th in the U.S. standings and looking for his second berth. Jimenez, at age 50, is trying his hardest to make one final European squad after playing three times but missing out on the last two events, and is 13th on the European Points List.    
  
Phil Mickelson-Sergio Garcia. Phil the Thrill currently sits 11th on the points list and seems likely to make his 10th Ryder Cup appearance – he's played in every one since 1995. Garcia's play has been much improved this year and, at third on the World Points List, will certainly be at Gleneagles for his seventh Ryder Cup appearance.     
  
Matt Kuchar-Rory McIlroy. Kuchar is sixth on the points table and can plan playing in his third Ryder Cup. McIlroy, well, you know. 
  
Brendon Todd-Mikko Ilonen. Surprised that this pairing is on our list? Don't be. Todd is 12th on the U.S. points list, while Ilonen – a Finn who won the British Amateur – is hanging around the top 20 on both of the European points lists. Both players would be making their first appearances.
 
 
Russell Henley-Jonas Blixt. This is a pairing of long shots looking for their first Ryder Cup berths. Henley is 33rd on the U.S. points list, while Sweden's Blixt is also hanging around the top 20 on the European points list.
 
Rickie Fowler-Justin Rose. If the pairing above is long shots, this one has a pair of sure things. Fowler, on the strength of his three top-5s in majors this season, is fourth on the U.S. list and guaranteed to go. Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, is fourth on the World Points List and will play in his third Ryder Cup.  
  
Zach Johnson-Ian Poulter. The down-to-earth son of the Midwest currently holds the ninth and final automatic berth, while the flamboyant Englishman is seventh on the European Points List. Poulter's spot isn't yet guaranteed, but his previous success makes him a likely addition if he doesn't qualify automatically – in four previous appearance, he's amassed a jaw-dropping 12-3-0 record.
 
Tiger Woods-Martin Kaymer. Woods' situation has been hashed and rehashed at this point. Kaymer, who won the U.S. Open in June, is fifth on the World Points List and is certain to be at Gleneagles for his third straight Ryder Cup.
 
Steve Stricker-Thomas Bjorn. Stricker, playing a limited schedule for the second straight season, is down in 39th place on the U.S. points list. Bjorn, meanwhile, is also a 40-something but seems to be pushing as hard as ever, and is fifth on the European points list.
 
 
Tom Glavine's Hall of Fame golf balls
Photo by Michael Abramowitz
"Nobody laughed harder than Tom Glavine" when he received a box of golf balls emblazoned with the number of his losses he recorded in his Major League career.
By Michael R. Abramowitz, The PGA of America
 
When former Atlanta Braves and New York Mets pitcher Tom Glavine plays a round of golf, he doesn't have to look too far for a not-so-gentle reminder to remain humble.
 
Glavine, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, won 305 games during his Major League career. What isn't as well known is that he also lost 203 games during his 20-year stint in the big leagues.
 
After Glavine received the phone call from the Hall of Fame that he would be a first-ballot inductee, his friend, Jack Kennedy, decided to mark the occasion with some good-natured ribbing, courtesy of a gift of six dozen customized golf balls. So, on one side of Glavine's Titleist Pro V1s is his old uniform No. "47," and on the other is "Tom Glavine 203 losses." 
 
 
"When I opened up the package, I saw 47 on one side, and I thought, 'That's cool.' And when I turned the ball, and it had my 203 career losses on it. I thought that was pretty funny," said Glavine, who carries a 3 handicap and used to play "all the time" during Spring Training at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., when he was with the Mets. 
 
"I knew him before he was good," said Kennedy. "With all this talk about Tom having 305 wins and [former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee] Greg Maddux having 355, nobody ever mentions that they also had 430 losses between them. So, I figured I'd have these made for Tom through a golf professional friend in Chicago. Nobody laughed harder about it than Tom Glavine."
 
"When I play at Country Club of the South [near Atlanta] with my normal group of buddies, I might leave a few that I hit in the woods for some of the members to find," said Glavine, who takes lessons from PGA Professional David Potts. 
 
Yet, when Glavine played at Leatherstocking Golf Club in Cooperstown, N.Y.,  during Hall of Fame Weekend, he sported another set of balls that merely displayed the date of his induction. "I think," he said, "Jack softened up a little bit for the induction ceremony."
 
 
In a number of ways, golf has served as a grounding experience for Glavine.
 
"During my career, [Braves Manager] Bobby Cox recognized that we needed an outlet, and golf was the perfect way to get away from baseball," he explained. "Still, we'd have a lot of conversations on the course centered around baseball, individual things, who we were facing next and ways to approach different hitters."
 
Spoken like a very humble Hall of Famer with 203 losses and 305 wins!
 
July 30, 2014 - 2:42pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Rickie-Fowler-Jonas-Blixt -orange
USA TODAY Sports Images
Even Jonas Blixt got into the fad of copying Rickie Fowler, wearing an all-orange outfit when they were paired together at the Barclays last year.

They say we all have a doppelganger somewhere in the world. That is unless you're Rickie Fowler, in which case, you have quiet a few. 

While at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational practice round on Wednesday, Fowler stopped to take a selfie with a special guest: a giant cutout of his head. 

Fowler, a social media connoisseur, also found a young fan dressed along the lines of Fowler's alter ego, Dick Fowler, P.I.

RELATED: Fowler stars in commercial as Dick Fowler, P.I.

Then again, finding young fans dressed up like Fowler is nothing new for the 25-year-old who played for Oklahoma State. Whether it's something as simple as starting off with an orange Puma hat...

...or dressing up in his traditional Sunday orange attire to watch him at last year's PGA Championship...

...there seems to be no end to the number of children who want to be like Fowler. Apparently, even young Fowler got into the act of dressing up as his favorite golfer.

This all sounds a bit like the basic idea behind the movie "Inception." But instead of having a dream within a dream, we have children dressing up as a golfer who dressed up as a golfer when he was younger. 

And speaking of "Inception," we can't help but notice a resemblance between Fowler and that movie's star, Leonardo DiCaprio.

Rory McIlroy at the British Open
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy was obviously the big winner at the British Open, claiming his third major and a cool $1.67 million in prize money. Pretty soon, there might be another big winner – the guy who caught the ball that McIlroy flung into the stands at Royal Liverpool after he sank his final putt.
 
That guy, Lee Horner from Leeds, England, snagged the Nike RZN Black ball that McIlroy tossed, and has put it up for auction on GreenJacketAuctions.com.
 
The bidding began at $1,000, and is already up over $6,000. And seeing as how the auction doesn't end  until Aug. 9, it's surely headed much higher.
 
 
After all …
 
"How many chances will a collector have in their entire life to obtain the actual ball used to win a Major Championship?," Green Jacket Auctions asks. "This is a ball that will only gain in significance for the next 20, 50, even 100 years. In the collecting world, this is what's called a "dream piece" – something that no one could ever expect would become available for sale; yet here it is."
 
On the auction page, Green Jacket Auctions explains that "we too watched in astonishment as Rory chucked that Hall of Fame-worthy ball into the crowd. But we went a step further. We immediately took to Twitter to tell our loyal followers, as well as several prominent sportswriters, that we had a mission for them: Find. That. Ball."
 
The ball has been confirmed by Nike as the real deal, and contains a few very specific markings. It is stamped with McIlroy's nickname "Rors," and has a black dot underneath the Swoosh and a black aiming line through the words "RZN Black."