Golf Buzz

March 13, 2013 - 11:47am
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
steve.eubanks's picture
Marc Rzepczynski
Getty Images
Cardinals reliever Marc Rzepczynski was injured recently while attempting to hit a golf shot from some trees. The left-hander was struck in the eye and missed an outing against the Marlins.

Golf has long been the go-to sport for baseball pitchers during the off-season and during times when they aren’t scheduled to throw. Hall of Famer Don Sutton became quite a good player, and John Smoltz even tried his hand at playing professionally.

But there are risks, as St. Louis Cardinals reliever Marc Rzepczynski discovered last week when he attempted to hit a punch shot from the trees on the first hole of what was supposed to be a leisurely round. Rzepcznski hit the shot and fell to the ground after something struck his eye.

Bruised and temporarily blinded, Rzepcznski sat out for three days before returning to training camp on Monday for evaluation. Whether it was the ball that struck him or debris from the shot is uncertain, but as Rzepcynski told The St. Louis Post Dispatch, “It’s a freak, freak, freak thing. It's a one-in-a-billion-type of thing that happened.” 

Rzepczynski missed a scheduled date to pitch against the Marlins last Saturday. Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak told reporters that the team will continue to monitor the situation with the hopes that the injury is not serious. 

March 13, 2013 - 11:36am
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Natalie Gulbis
Getty Images
In a written statement on Wednesday, Natalie Gulbis confirmed that she does, indeed, have malaria. The disease, contracted during the LPGA Tour's Asian swing, forced Gulbis to withdraw from two events.

Despite earlier denials, Natalie Gulbis’ agent confirmed on Wednesday that the LPGA star does, indeed, have malaria. Gulbis withdrew from the RR Donnelley Founders Cup event in Phoenix and a statement was released shortly thereafter.

It is believed she contracted the disease in Singapore during the LPGA’s Asian swing. She withdrew from the HSBC Women's Champions with what were, at the time, described as “flu-like symptoms.” At the time her spokespeople made it abundantly clear that there was no diagnosis of malaria.

That has changed. According to today’s statement, Gulbis is "expected to be at full strength in three weeks. LPGA doctors have been consulted and believe she is on appropriate medications, under great care, and her prognosis is excellent."

At the tournament site, Scottsdale Healthcare will be providing blood screenings for any players wishing to be tested. 

This has the potential to put a black eye on the LPGA’s recent expansion into foreign markets such as Thailand and Singapore as well as the non-sanctioned events in China and elsewhere. Malaria kills over 650,000 people annually according to the World Health Organization. Most of those deaths are children from poor countries.

And while American healthcare facilities are equipped to treat the disease, it is no small matter. According to the CDC, malaria must be aggressively treated and, even in the U.S., is potentially fatal. 

 

 

March 13, 2013 - 11:02am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
An American Caddie in St. Andrews
Penguin Group
"An American Caddie in St. Andrews," by Oliver Horovitz, goes on sale Thursday, March 14.

 

I recently received a copy of a new book entitled, "An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Course," (Gotham Books) which goes on sale tomorrow, March 14.
 
It's a lovely memoir by 26-year-old American Oliver Horovitz, who has spent the last seven summers caddying at the Old Course.
 
It's quite interesting how Horovitz became a St. Andrews looper. 
 
As a senior in high school, Horovitz was given a deferred admission to Harvard College. He had been accepted, but had to first take a "gap year." 
 
During the gap year, Horovitz went to St. Andrews University, where he studied English, played on the golf team and enjoyed the school's 70/30 girl-to-boy ratio (Prince William was even enrolled there at the time). 
 
Since many of Horovitz's friends decided to stay and caddie at St. Andrews in the summer, he chose to do the same. That's where the story takes off.
 
Needless to say, Horovitz wasn't immediately "taken under the wing" of veteran caddies, but his hard work paid off and he eventually earned their respect.
 
"As soon as I started caddying in St. Andrews, back when I was 18, I knew that I'd stumbled into a special place," Horovitz said. "The Scots with which I was sharing bench space -- Bruce Sorley, Big Malcky, Wee Eck, Switchy, Boozy, Loopy -- these were guys that had looped for Presidents, for Arnold Palmer, for Tiger Woods. They were as old school as the Old Course. And I wanted to be like them. Each summer that I returned, the caddie shack became more and more central to my particular life. Now, with, 'An American Caddie in St. Andrews,' I want to share my story, and some unforgettable characters who ply their trade on the Old Course's famous 120 acres."
 
Once Horovitz went back home following his gap year to attend Harvard, he ended up homesick... for St. Andrews. 
 
A press release explains:
 
A cheap plane ticket purchased for the next summer's break and 20 sleepless hours later, Oliver is back where he belongs: on the links in St. Andrews. His adventures on the Old Course continue and include hosting secret evening training sessions with "Model Caddies" -- 25 beautiful University of St. Andrewss co-eds who founded a rival caddie program on the Old Course; debauched nights on the town throughout St. Andrews' numerous pubs; caddying for the likes of Larry David and Huey Lewis; and finding love (or something like it) for the first time.
 
This, fellow lovers of golf, is a must read.
 
To learn more, visit www.OliverHorovitz.com.
 
March 13, 2013 - 10:44am
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Eddie Pearce
Photo from GolfChannel.com
Eddie Pearce was going to the "Next Nicklaus"....until he wasn't.

 

As much as I love quick nuggets of info (I'm totally addicted to Twitter), I am an even bigger fan of long-form journalism. A great golf story, made even more compelling by a great golf story teller, is one of the true pleasures for the golf mind.
 
One of the best reads I've had in awhile was this stellar piece by Jason Sobel of The Golf Channel. It's a profile of Eddie Pearce, the best golfer you've probably never heard of - and that's a shame. A fast lifestyle cut short a career that could have been one for the ages. How does Pearce feel about it?
 
March 12, 2013 - 10:36am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sinkhole
STLToday.com
A golfer was swallowed by a sinkhole in the middle of the fairway at an Illinois golf course last Friday. The rest of his foursome looks into the sinkhole above. Luckily, the story had a happy ending, as the golfer was rescued.

Sinkholes seem to be taking over the news these days and, as it turns out, at least one golf course.

A sinkhole, defined as, "natural depression in a land surface communicating with a subterranean passage, generally occurring in limestone regions and formed by solution or by collapse of a cavern roof," swallowed a golfer in a fairway at Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo, Ill., on Friday. 
 
Waterloo is about 30 miles south of St. Louis.
 
Luckily the golfer, Mark Mihal, lived to tell the story of his ordeal after dropping 18 feet into the sinkhole (giving new meaning to, "I'm going to the golf course for 18.").
 
 
While golfing with friends at the Annbriar Golf Course near here Friday, Mihal, 43, a mortgage broker from Creve Coeur, abruptly dropped into the ground on the fairway of the 14th hole. It was the first time a person -- and not a ball -- has disappeared beneath the turf in the course’s 20-year history.
 
It also was the first time in the memory of folks who study sinkholes in Illinois that a person has fallen into one.
 
“I was standing in the middle of the fairway,” Mihal said Monday. “Then, all of a sudden, before I knew it, I was underground.”
 
Mihal said he fell into the mud floor of an enclosure shaped like a bell, up to 18 feet deep and 10 feet wide. The rescue was precarious, he said, because no one knew whether the surface hole would grow or the enclosure would collapse.
 
A companion called the course’s pro shop, where general manager Russ Nobbe gathered some rope and a ladder and rushed to the rescue. Mihal had dislocated his shoulder, so Ed Magaletta, a friend and a real estate agent, climbed down and put a rope around Mihal’s waist so he could be hoisted to safety.
 
The rescue reportedly took less than 20 minutes, but had to seem like an eternity.
 
Mihal isn't ready to quit golf as a result of the terrifying incident, but admitted to the Post-Dispatch, “It’d be kind of strange playing that hole again, for sure.”
 
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 11, 2013 - 10:12pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Webb Simpson's U.S. Open box from Titleist
Titleist via Twitter
Webb Simpson got a box full of Titleist goodies that he'll cherish the rest of his life.

You know how winning sports teams get their championship rings the season after their big victories? The same thing happens in golf sometimes, too.

At Doral last week, Titleist made a special presentation to Webb Simpson to commemorate his victory in the 2012 U.S. Open. Titleist Tour rep Mac Fritz presented Simpson with a gift box containing, among other things, a golden Pro V1x ball. It's a little difficult to see in this photo, but the ball is the shiny object in the left side of the box.

The golden ball is one of the coolest winner's gifts in golf, along with the gold putters that Ping awards its players who win events on the big tours. All the winners make plenty of money at this elite level of golf, so they cherish their trophies and other commemoratives more than anything. So it's cool to see the equipment companies create these keepsakes to mark the biggest achievements of their players.