Golf Buzz

July 18, 2016 - 12:18pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson
@jacknicklaus on Instagram
For years, the "Duel in the Sun" between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson in the 1977 Open at Turnberry has been revered as the best in the game's history. Nicklaus said in an Instagram post that the Phil Mickelson/Henrik Stenson duel at Royal Troon over the weekend was better.

The 1977 Open Championship at Turnberry will forever be remembered as the "Duel in the Sun."

That's where Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus staged an epic back and forth battle, which Watson eventually won by a single stroke at 12 under. It was one of the Golden Bear's record 19 runner-up finishes in the majors.

The next closest competitor to Nicklaus was Hubert Green. He finished alone in third... 10 shots behind.

Many have called the "Duel in the Sun" the best major ever contested. After 36 holes, both Nicklaus and Watson were one shot off the lead. On Moving Day, the World Golf Hall of Famers each fired 7-under 65s to get to 7 under -- three clear of Ben Crenshaw, the next closest -- to set up the incredible Sunday showdown in Scotland.

On that day, it was a two-man battle. They'd left the competition in the dust.

When all was said and done, Watson carded his second-straight 65 -- one shot better than the 66 Nicklaus turned in -- to win his second Open Championship.

The "Duel in the Sun" was referenced many times over this past weekend just down the road at Royal Troon, where Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson turned the 145th Open Championship into a two-man tournament.

Just like Watson and Nicklaus before them, Stenson and Mickelson sprinted away from the field after 54 holes by playing the greatest golf on the grandest stage, the best you'll likely ever see.

It was like watching two prizefighters battle for the heavyweight belt. Neither player would give an inch.

Mickelson began the day trailing Stenson by one shot. After the first hole in the final round, Mickelson had a one shot lead. The two traded blows back and forth, dazzling with their mind-blowing shotmaking abilities.

In the end, Mickelson shot a 6-under 65 -- more than anyone could ask for in the final round of a major while contending and the best round of the day by two shots...

Except for Stenson. When it's your time, it's your time. Sunday was Stenson's time. He had a round for the ages in a pairing for the ages, which resulted in a tournament for the ages.

Stenson answered the bell at every turn and navigated Royal Troon to a major championship record-tying 18-hole score of 8-under 63 to edge Mickelson by three strokes at 20 under. It was much closer between Mickelson and Stenson than the final tally suggests.

Stenson's 20 under mark was an astounding 14 strokes better than third-place finisher J.B. Holmes.

What nickname will the 145th Open Championship get?

Time will tell.

And, the question has been asked, how does it stack up against Watson and Nicklaus' "Duel in the Sun." Nicklaus didn't waste anytime weighing in. This, via his Instagram account on Sunday night:

"Some in the media have already tried to compare today’s final round to 1977 at Turnberry, with Tom Watson and me in what they called the 'duel in the sun.' I thought we played great and had a wonderful match. On that day, Tom got me, 65-66. Our final round was really good, but theirs was even better. What a great match today."

How about those words from the greatest major champion of all time? 

July 18, 2016 - 11:45am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
If you thought the Golfboard or even the Bubbacraft were cool, wait until you get a load of the latest Bubba Watson/Oakley collaboration -- the "Bubba Jetpack."

Despite its incredible health benefits, walking on the golf course is just so 10 years ago.

Technology, folks! Get with the times!

Sure, golf carts are OK, but they're old-fashioned. You need something to roam the links in style.

Today, you can "surf the Earth" with a Golfboard. You can navigate the course -- land or water -- in a Bubba Hovercraft. And now, thanks to another Bubba Watson/Oakley collaboration, you can pilot a jetpack equipped to fly you and your golf clubs up to 3,000 feet above the course.

Check it out:

That doesn't look dangerous at all.

Imagine four of those things in your weekend foursome? What could possibly go wrong?

Can't wait to see what mode of transportation Bubba and his Oakley friends come up with next.

July 18, 2016 - 8:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rick Tegtmeier
A golf course is no place to be during a thunderstorm. Check out the mark a bolt of lightning left on a practice green in Iowa last week.

"The good Lord would never disrupt the best game of my life."

Those are among the fateful final words from the Bishop in "Caddyshack" moments before being struck by lightning in a biblical storm as he was in the midst of the round of his life.

The lesson? Golfers: Do not mess with lightning.

Last week in Des Moines, Iowa, a line of thunderstorms pushed through Des Moines Golf and Country Club and did it ever leave a mark on the course's practice green.

RELATED: Lightning strikes flagstick in Utah | Lightning strikes flagstick in S. Africa

Check out the damage a lightning strike left behind in this tweet by Des Moines Golf and Country Club Director of Grounds Rick Tegtmeier:

Wow. According to a later tweet by Tegtmeier, the lightning strike even melted the cup. picked up the story:

When lightning strikes earth, it branches out along the ground which, in this case, happened to be a green. These currents fan out from the strike center in a tendril pattern.

A lightning bolt can be fatal up to 100 feet away from the point of the strike, according to NOAA. also included some interesting lightning facts:

NOAA says that June, July and August are the peak months for lightning activity across the United States and the peak months for outdoor summer activities. As a result, more than 70 percent of the lightning deaths occurred (2006-2015) in June, July and August, with Saturdays and Sundays having slightly more deaths than other days of the week.

Florida typically sees the most lightning deaths on an annual basis.

Based on 2000-2010 averages:
- Odds of being struck in a given year 1 in 1,000,000
- Odds of being struck in your lifetime 1 in 10,000

For perspective, the odds of an average golfer making a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1. No wonder those of us with aces are so delighted -- it's harder to do than get struck by lightning over a lifetime!

We'll leave you with the great "Bishop's Epic Golf Game" scene from "Caddyshack":


July 17, 2016 - 12:00pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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In a final round loaded with great moments, Henrik Stenson added another on the 15th hole when he nailed this 51-footer for birdie to take a two-shot lead over Phil Mickelson with three holes to play.

Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson have been battling in one of the greatest golf duels in history today at Royal Troon.

It's been like watching two prize fighters go at it.

But after this amazing 51-foot birdie putt that Stenson walked in on the 15th hole to take a two-shot lead with three to play, it appears the 145th Open Championship is now his to lose.

Check out the putt:



From this angle, you can see that he walked it in well before it came within a sniff of the hole:



Just add it to the list of remarkable shots in this final round. It's a shame someone is going to lose. 

July 17, 2016 - 9:10am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Thomas Pieters
Thomas Pieters, disgusted with his play on the 11th hole at Royal Troon on Sunday, took a page out of Bo Jackson's playbook when he snapped his golf club over his knee and then tossed it.

Bo Jackson probably blushed when he saw this one.

Belgian Thomas Pieters wasn't too pleased with a shot near some gorse bush at the 11th hole in the final round of the Open Championship on Sunday. To show his disgust -- perhaps a tribute to Jackson? -- he proceeded to snap his club over his knee and chuck it into the gorse:

Pieters would go on to make a septuple-bogey 9 on the par-4 hole. He was 2 under for the round when he walked up to the 11th tee and then 3 over when he left the green.

So far, Pieters is the clubhouse leader for the day's best club breaking. Rory McIlroy took home the honors on Saturday with this doozy on the 16th hole:



Phil Mickelson
Before teeing off in the final round of the Open Championship as he plays for his sixth major championship victory, Phil Mickelson made it a point to go over and sneak in a kiss with the Claret Jug for some good luck.

Phil Mickelson has a chance today to become just the third player in 30 years to win six major championships.

Before he stepped up to the first tee, Mickelson made it a point to walk over and kiss the casing that was holding the coveted Claret Jug, which he won in 2012 at Muirfield:

Looks like it worked early too. Mickelson stuffed his approach at the first hole to within 3 feet of the hole to set up a birdie to snag the lead by one at 12 under after a Henrik Stenson bogey.

That's not the first symbolic nod -- if you want to call it that -- that Mickelson has made for "luck" in a major. On the 18th hole in the final round of the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol, Mickelson hit his tee shot near a plaque commemorating Jack Nicklaus's famous one-iron to 22 feet in 1967 setting up a U.S. Open win.

Before hitting his approach, Mickelson tapped the plaque with his club for good luck.

Moments later, he captured his second major win.