Golf Buzz

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." 
 
 
July 28, 2014 - 6:01pm
john.holmes's picture
Zoe Mahan gold putter
Ping Golf via Twitter
Ping celebrated Zoe's first birthday by giving us another look at her special putter, which has her name, birthdate and birth weight on it.
The big story of the 2013 RBC Canadian Open came when Hunter Mahan – who was leading after 36 holes in Ontario – got news that his wife, Kandi, had gone into labor. Mahan, who was just about to begin his third round, immediately packed up and flew home to Dallas for the birth of his daughter a few hours later.
 
Zoe Olivia Mahan celebrates her first birthday today. She arrived in this world about a month before her due date, which is why Mahan chose to go to Canada in the first place.
 
After her birth, Mahan thanked his sponsors for appreciating "what's important in life," and Ping Golf commemorated her arrival by creating one of its gold "winners" putters for her. These putters are created for each Ping staffer who wins an event, and one of them goes into the fabled Ping vault at company HQ in Phoenix.
 
Ping celebrated Zoe's first birthday by giving us another look at her putter, which as you can see has her name, birthdate and birth weight on it. That was a very cool gesture by Ping, and was especially appropriate since Mahan gave up the lead to return home.
 
Mahan, by the way, returned to the Canadian Open last week, but couldn't recapture last year's magic. He shot 68-75 at Royal Montreal to miss the cut – and, as a consolation, have plenty of time to get home for the birthday party.
 
 
July 27, 2014 - 11:04am
Posted by:
PGA.com staff
dpurdum's picture
Drew Brees and Bubba Watson
Courtesy of New Orleans Saints
Bubba Watson hung with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during last week's training camp at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, where Watson owns a home.

By PGA.com staff

Bubba Watson’s chance to impress his favorite NFL team slipped through the two-time Masters champion’s fingers.

Watson, an avid New Orleans Saints fan, attended the team’s training camp last week at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, where he owns a home. Watson tweeted pictures of him with Saints’ coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees. But his big moment came on Friday.

In a designed trick play that NOLA.com reported had Watson randomly coming off the sideline onto the field after the ball was snapped, Brees targeted him a deep ball. The pass hit him in the hands. And he dropped it. Stories vary regarding who was to blame for the incompletion that drew boos from spectators.

“He’s blaming me, saying I under-threw him,” Brees told reporters after the practice. “I didn’t want to overthrow him. I thought it was something he could come back to. So he’s saying QB error. I’m saying receiver error. What I really wanted was an over-the-top throw. We’re going to have to practice that. I’m going to have to get him off the course this afternoon and back here for some extra reps.”

By the looks of things, Watson had plenty of fun, though. He spent time signing autographs and taking pictures with fans and the Saints players and coaches. And he even got his hands on the Saints playbook. We're guessing the trick play to Watson is no longer included.

 

Cleveland Tour Rack wedges
Courtesy of Cleveland Golf
The new Tour Rack wedges from Cleveland Golf unique dark finish that makes them look like they just came out of the freezer and are still covered in ice crystals.
There are limited editions and then there are limited editions.
 
Cleveland Golf this week said it is making available to the public a special version of its Tour Rack wedges which previously had been made strictly for tour players – like Graeme McDowell, who has one in the bag this week at the RBC Canadian Open.
 
And when they say this is a limited run, they mean it – there are only 300 of them.
 
 
The Tour Rack wedges get their name, Cleveland says, because tour players visiting company headquarters in California can find them sitting on the "tour rack." And because there are so few of them, they're available only at a handful of retailers.
 
As you can see in the photo, these wedges have a unique dark finish that, to me, makes them look like they just came out of the freezer and are still covered in ice crystals. Known specifically as Tour Rack Limited Edition No. 38, they're available in a 56-degree model with 11 degrees of bounce and a 60-degree model with 9 degrees of bounce. Both come with True Temper Dynamic Gold shafts and Golf Pride Z-Cord grips.  
 
They carry a suggested retail price of $250, and you can call Cleveland at 800-999-6263 to find the retail location nearest you.
 
 
Graeme McDowell at the RBC Canadian Open
I picked Graeme McDowell as one of my 5 players to watch this week at the RBC Canadian Open because I thought his game was a perfect fit for the Blue Course at Royal Montreal. G-Mac isn't leading, but he did pull off the shot of the day.
 
After his tee shot on the par-4 11th hole – the hardest hole on the course, by the way – McDowell was 213 yards out and hitting into the wind. So he pulled out a hybrid – and drained the shot for an eagle.
 
 
He also birdied the 10th and then made a gorgeous 25-footer for another birdie on No. 12 to go 4 under on the first three holes of his back nine. That stretch was the highlight of his day, however, and he completed his first round at 2-under 68.
 
Here's his eagle:
 
 
Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
"I would be very surprised" if Rory McIlroy doesn't become one of the game's all-time great players, says Jack Nicklaus.
When Rory McIlroy captured his third major at the Open Championship last week, he earned a lot of comparisons with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, both of whom also were piling up majors at the age of 25.
 
So perhaps it's not surprising that Nicklaus sees a little bit of himself when he looks at McIlroy these days. More important, the Golden Bear likes what he sees.
 
"I certainly don't have any criticism of Rory by any means," Nicklaus said during a wide-ranging news conference on Thursday. "I think his career is progressing very nicely and I think he's going to win a lot of major championships. I love his swagger. I love his demeanor. 
 
"I love the way he sort of has a confident cockiness yet not offensive with it. It's self-confidence, I guess you would call it," he added. "I like that in him, because I like the kid. I've spent a little bit of time with him and I like him very much."
 
 
When he was young, Nicklaus admitted, he "played golf courses more with power than I did with finesse," and noted that "Rory has a tendency to do that." And even with his length off the tee – McIlroy ranks among the game's longest drivers – that aggressiveness sometimes gets McIlroy in trouble, just as it did Nicklaus.
 
McIlroy's boldness has "served him well on several occasions, but probably doesn't serve him well on other occasions and didn't serve me well on some other occasions," Nicklaus noted. "But as you get older, you sort of say, you know, hey, I think I would rather play that from 160 yards than 120 yards out of a foot deep rough. That's maturity and age."  
 
McIlroy requested a meeting with Nicklaus after the Memorial Tournament to talk about both golf and business, and Nicklaus said he "saw a couple of things what I thought could help him" in his swing. 
 
 
The Bear won't divulge what they discussed, but he did say that when he saw McIlroy on TV at the U.S. Open, he was "doing a couple things that I thought that he was trying to do that I was talking about. And then I saw at the British Open, he looked very much at ease with what we were talking about."
 
McIlroy "may not even have remembered it or thought about it. So I don't want to take any credit whatsoever," Nicklaus said of the advice he provided. "I think Rory's swing looked great at the British Open, and some of the faults that I've seen in his swing previous that caused him problems, I did not see."
 
Nicklaus believes that McIlroy has the potential to become one of the greats – perhaps even reaching the heights that he achieved. In fact, Nicklaus said that "I would be very surprised if he doesn't" become one of the game's great players.
 
"I think a lot of it depends on what Rory's desire and focus [are] and what he wants to accomplish in his life," he explained. "He's a nice young man.  He's very talented, and I think that he's the one that has to decide how he wants to focus and how hard he wants to work for what he's going to do."