Golf Buzz

Kira Kazantsev
Miss America Organization via Instagram
Kira Kazantsev manages to squeeze some golf in among all her Miss America duties.
Earlier this year, we learned that reigning Miss World Rolene Strauss is an enthusiastic golfer. Soon after that, we saw several Miss Universe contestants try their hand at the game at Doral – and in high heels.
And now, we complete our beauty queen trifecta – we learned that reigning Miss America Kira Kazantsev is not only an avid golfer, she's playing in this week's BMW Charity Pro-Am on the Tour.
Kazantsev, a 23-year-old from New York City who's a graduate of Hofstra University, is paired with lucky duck Kevin Tway. They teamed up for a 68 on Thursday and a 69 on Friday, which has them pretty deep in the field – but because of her presence, they were also one of the most popular groups on the course.
And as it turns out, Kazantsev is managing to squeeze in some golf even during her packed Miss America schedule. She also played a charity event in Dallas a couple weeks ago, and another one in California a week before that.
No word on how she scores, but she always looks like she's having fun out there. Take a look at these shots from the Miss America Instagram feed –and note that they like to use the hashtag #theresheswings. That is excellent:

Thanks for the good luck charm, little man! @bmwcharityproam #ThereSheIs #MissAmerica2015 #LoveMyJob

A photo posted by Miss America Kira Kazantsev (@missamericaorg) on


Great day at the Rancho Murieta @cmnhospitals golf tournament! #ThereSheSwings #MissAmerica2015 #CMNHospitals #RanchoMurieta #NorCal

A photo posted by Miss America Kira Kazantsev (@missamericaorg) on

Jamie Donaldson
European Tour Weekly via Twitter
"I didn't think my divot was that big," Jamie Donaldson joked when he saw the spot in the turf where the plaque commemorating his Ryder Cup-clinching shot at Gleneagles would go.
All right, my fellow Americans, this is gonna sting a little. But we can get through it together, I promise.
On Wednesday at Gleneagles, Jamie Donaldson and Europe's Ryder Cup management team reunited to install a plaque at the site where Donaldson struck the shot that clinched the golden chalice.
In case you've repressed the memory better than I have, Donaldson was 146 yards out on the par-4 15th hole on the PGA Centenary Course in his Sunday singles match against Keegan Bradley. He stepped up and hit a wedge to about a foot from the flag.
Bradley conceded the birdie putt, giving Donaldson a 4 & 3 victory – and, more importantly, giving Europe the point it needed to retain the cup. Ultimately, the European Tour voted that shot as its Shot of the Year.
On Wednesday, Donaldson joined with European Tour Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills, Gleneagles Managing Director Bernard Murphy, and a small audience to walk that fateful hole one more time and install a dinner plate-sized plaque out in the fairway.
"I didn't think my divot was that big," Donaldson joked when he saw the spot in the turf where the plaque would go.
The circular plaque, titled "The Winning Shot" and containing the logos of the Ryder Cup and Gleneagles, reads:
"It was from here that Jamie Donaldson secured the winning point for Europe in The 2014 Ryder Cup. His drive of 293 yards left 146 yards to the pin. Jamie played a wedge and the ball finished a foot from the hole and was conceded by Keegan Bradley."
"I'll definitely never get tired of talking about that shot," Donaldson said. "It was such an amazing moment for me, but more importantly for the team. Everyone had put so much effort into that week, so it was nice to get our just rewards at the end of it. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better finale."
I think it's great when golf courses commemorate famous moments, whether it's the Sarazen Bridge on the 15th hole at Augusta National, the Wall of Champions at Colonial, or even the plaque at Kingwood Country Club near Houston that marks the site of Roy McAvoy's miracle shot in "Tin Cup." 
And, hey, maybe we'll get our own plaque at Hazeltine.
Here's a couple tweets from the ceremony, and below is Donaldson's amazing wedge shot. 
May 14, 2015 - 12:46pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Mark Calcavecchia
USA Today Sports Images
Mark Calcavecchia was the victim of an occurrence we're surprised doesn't happen more often on Wednesday -- he was plunked during a pro-am.

Sometimes golf hurts... and not just when you make that crushing, late, double-bogey to kill a career round.

Mark Calcavecchia, a 13-time PGA Tour winner, seems to have learned that the hard way on Wednesday.

RELATED: Wells Fargo leaderboard | Auclair's 5 to watch | Stars align for Fowler

Calc, as he's known, is at Shoal Creek this week in Alabama for the Regions Tradition -- a major on the Champions Tour.

During what we can only assume was a pro-am on the eve of the tournament, Calcavecchia was struck just above the wrist by an errant shot.

Here's what Calc posted to Twitter:



Pro-ams can get ugly, as the amateurs aren't exactly single-digit handicaps all the time. At the time of this post, it looked as though Calc was doing OK playing through the injury at even par through his first seven holes.

May 13, 2015 - 11:58am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy expects to win every time he plays these days. This week at the site of his first PGA Tour win in 2010 is no different.

In terms of tournaments not carrying the "major championship" moniker on the PGA Tour, the Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., is right up there when it comes to "as good as it gets" outside the majors on Tour.

The course, which will host the 2017 PGA Championship, is a pristine George W. Cobb design that was built in 1959 and features one of the most difficult closing stretches on the PGA Tour, with holes 16-18 known as, "The Green Mile."

Nos. 16 and 18 are bookend par 4s and the 17th is a treacherous par 3.

RELATED: Wells Fargo Championship tee times | Fowler's stars are aligning

Since the tournament began in 2003, the list of winners includes major champions David Toms, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lucas Glover and last week's Players champion, Rickie Fowler.

With a roll-call of champions like that, I expect another big-name winner this year.

So, here are the five players I'll be keeping an eye on.

5. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 Shirners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: This is a home game for Simpson, who is actually a member at Quail Hollow. Next to winning a major, players on Tour will tell you, winning at home is the next best thing. And since Simpson already won a major -- the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club -- well, there wouldn't be a whole lot better than winning this week in his back yard. Simpson has three top-10 finishes on the season, but hasn't done a whole lot since a T7 back in March at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. His record at Quail Hollow includes a fourth-place showing in 2012.

4. J.B. Holmes
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Shell Houston Open
Reason to watch: The defending champion at the Wells Fargo Championship, Holmes has enjoyed a fine start to the 2014-15 season on Tour with a win and two runner-up finishes already. Holmes is often heralded for his length off the tee, which is a huge advantage for sure, but he's also been strong on the greens. His 1.717 putts per hole is sixth-best on Tour this season.

3. Jim Furyk
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the RBC Heritage
Reason to watch: Along with his win at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2006, Furyk has also twice been a runner up in the tournament, including falling one stroke short to Holmes in 2014. With a record like that, it's clear that he loves the course. I also like the fact that Furyk broke a five-year win drought recently with his victory in the RBC Heritage -- his 17th win overall on the PGA Tour. I think he'll be a factor this week.

2. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship
Reason to watch: Yes. I admit it. I like McIlroy just about every week he tees it up. It would be foolish not to. He's the No. 1 player in the world. I also think he's playing some "angry" golf right now. That's a great thing for elite players. He's angry in the sense that he doesn't just want to win every time he tees it up, but he expects to win. Anything less is disappointing. McIlroy comes into Quail Hollow -- site of his first PGA Tour win in 2010 -- having finished in the top-8 in three of his last four starts. He's also finished in the top 10 at Wells Fargo in each of the last three years, including a playoff loss in 2012 to Rickie Fowler.
1. Bill Haas
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the Humana Challenge
Reason to watch: Recently named the Tour's most "underrated" player amongst his fellow pros, we'd have to agree. Haas is an incredible talent, much like his father, Jay, was on the PGA Tour years ago and continues to be on the Champions Tour. With seven top-25 finishes this season, including a win and a T4 last week at the Players, I expect a solid week from Haas, who finished fourth here in 2011.
Here's how my five to watch fared at last week's Players Championship:

5. Phil Mickelson -- Missed cut
4. Matt Kuchar -- Missed cut
3. Sergio Garcia -- Lost in playoff
2. Jordan Spieth -- Missed cut
1. Rory McIlroy -- T8 

May 13, 2015 - 10:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy earned his first PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow in 2010 thanks to an incredible, course-record, 10-under 62 in the final round.

Rory McIlroy returns to the scene of his first PGA Tour win this week when he tees off in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.

Since that maiden PGA Tour win in 2010, McIlroy has rattled off nine more, including an impressive four majors.

RELATED: Wells Fargo Championship tee times | Fowler's stars are aligning

His win five years ago was the first sign of things to come for McIlroy on his way to superstardom.

In that final round, the world's current No. 1-ranked player fired a course-record, 10-under 62 on his way to an impressive four-shot victory over Phil Mickelson.

That spectacular final round included an incredible eagle on the 15th hole and then McIlroy put an exclamation point on the win by holing a nearly 45-foot putt at the last.

Check out the video here:


There were high expectations for McIlroy as soon as he turned professional in 2007. But, PGA Tour-wise, the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship was truly the victory that jumpstarted his meteoric rise. 

May 13, 2015 - 9:27am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Chesson Hadley
At the 2014 Wells Fargo Championship, something strange happened. Chesson Hadley's caddie tripped, falling on the golf bag and bent the putter shaft.

The Wells Fargo Championship takes place this week at the beautiful Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. -- the same course that will host the 2017 PGA Championship.

Every now and then, we're provided with an out of the ordinary funny moment in the course of play.

One such moment happened during the first round of the 2014 Wells Fargo Championship and it involved the caddie of Chesson Hadley. Keep in mind that what you're about to see if funny only because Hadley's caddie wasn't hurt.

RELATED: What's allowed under the rules on broken clubs? | Wells Fargo tee times

Wasn't hurt? What is this guy talking about?

Well, as you'll see, Hadley needed to get a ruling as he got to the 10th green to find out if it would be within the rules to continue using his putter, which was bent when his caddie tripped on the way to the 10th tee and fell on the bag:

First day on the new feet?! Again, it's OK to laugh only because the caddie was OK.

Hadley was able to continue using the putter, and as you saw, went on to make a quick birdie.

Last year August,'s Mark Aumann detailed what's allowed under the rules of golf when it comes to a damaged or broken club. You can read that here.

The short version is this for Rule 4-3a: If a player's club is damaged in the normal course of play, he has three options. One, he can continue to use the club for the remainder of the round. Two, he can repair it or have it repaired without unduly delaying play. Three, if the club is unfit for play, he can replace the damaged club with any club, with three caveats: you can't borrow a club from anyone playing the course, you can't fix it by carrying around spare parts and you can't delay play while making the switch.

Hadley was covered under this ruling. Had he bent the shaft out of frustration, he would not have been able to continue using the club and would not be allowed to replace it.

Hadley is quite the character. In case you missed it, check this out from last week at the Players Championship when Hadley, pretending to be a giddy fan, scored an oblivious Bubba Watson's autograph.