Golf Buzz

February 5, 2016 - 3:54pm
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PGA Tour/YouTube
Jack Maguire sets up to his his tee shot at the 12th hole Friday at TPC Scottsdale.

Playing in only his second PGA Tour event, Jack Maguire made his first ace.

Hitting a 7-iron at the par-3, 192-yard 12th hole during Friday's second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Maguire's shot ran true once it landed on the green.



It was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable week for Maguire, who shot 83 in the first round and had back-to-back bogeys before stepping up to the tee for his hole-in-one. Even with the ace, he was 12-over-par for the tournament to that point and in a three-way tie for last, 12 shots off the cutline.

February 5, 2016 - 11:51am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Justin Thomas
@PGATOUR on Twitter
Facing a tough shot from behind a tree on Friday during the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Justin Thomas snapped his 8-iron in half on said tree during his follow through.

Playing the par-5 15th hole at TPC Scottsdale in the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Friday, Justin Thomas found himself directly behind a tree for his second shot after a wayward drive.

Using an 8-iron to attempt a pitch back out into the fairway, Thomas snapped the club against the tree on his follow through. He was, however, able to advance his ball just short of the fairway and went on to make a par.

RELATED: Broken club -- What's allowed under the rules?

Here's a look at the shot:

Because Thomas damaged his club in the course of play, he is allowed to replace it under the rules of golf.

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.

February 5, 2016 - 10:40am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bubba Watson
USA Today Sports Images
One day after stating his negative feelings toward the course where the Waste Management Phoenix Open is played, the TPC Scottsdale fans let Bubba Watson have it when he arrived at the par-3 16th hole on Thursday.

Bubba Watson, a runner-up in each of the last two years at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, banking over $1 million in those two starts, admitted earlier this week that -- well -- TPC Scottsdale isn't exactly his favorite venue on Tour.

"I don't like it," Watson said Wednesday. "I'm not going to PC it. I don't like it at all."

He wasn't done there.

"Obviously, I'm here because of my sponsors and everything," Watson said. "I love coming here. It's always great weather. Used to have a house here. It's always beautiful coming here and playing here."

As the Associated Press reported:

He reiterated that he's only playing the tournament out of loyalty to Phoenix-based Karsten Manufacturing, the maker of his Ping equipment, and sponsors Oakley and Stance Socks.

"I just mentioned why I'm here," Watson said. "I've got three beautiful sponsors that love it here."

Ouch. Honesty is the best policy, but maybe not so much when you're talking about the venue that features the rowdiest crowds -- and hole (the par-3 16th) -- on the PGA Tour.

Watson tried to backtrack on his words via Twitter before his first round Thursday:


But, that wasn't enough for the fans at No. 16 who showered Watson with boos when he arrived in the first round. The damage had been done and theyy let the two-time Masters champ know about it:


Despite all the boos, Watson birdied the hole and shot an opening 2-under 71 that had him very much in contention. 

Harold Varner III
PGA Tour via YouTube
The raucous gallery at No. 16 appreciated Harold Varner's long birdie putt, but they really loved his celebratory "dab" after it fell.
No doubt Harold Varner III is focused on playing as well as he can in this, his rookie season on the PGA Tour. But it's safe to say he's also got a little case of Super Bowl fever this week.
The East Carolina product is also a huge fan of the Carolina Panthers, and quarterback Cam Newton in particular. So when he drained a curling 36-footer for birdie on the raucous 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open this afternoon, he didn't hesitate to offer a little homage to Newton in celebration.
Once the putt fell, Varner performed an emphatic "dab," just like Newton does after scoring. Varner's dance move ignited the gallery so much that he did it again, sending the crowd into even more of a frenzy.
Varner ended his day with a 1-under 70. But if can roll in some putts like that one on 16, he might be dabbin' some more late Sunday afternoon – just before Newton and the Panthers take the field to try to do some more dabbin' of their own. Take a look:
Contributed photo
Hank Aaron (wearing shorts) poses for a photo with PGA Professional Hanc Spivey (red shirt) the second time the two happened to meet.

What's worse than fawning over a celebrity? Maybe not realizing you're meeting one in the first place.

That happened to longtime PGA Professional Hanc Spivey, who recently retired as Head Golf Professional at Dretzka Park Golf Course in Milwaukee. He gave a golf lesson to baseball's home run king -- Henry Aaron -- and didn't recognize him. 

In honor of Hammerin' Hank's 82nd birthday on Friday, the story is too good not to retell.

"It was a humbling experience and an embarrassing experience," Spivey said. "I didn't know who he was."

The chance one-time meeting occured a few years after Aaron retired from baseball, Spivey recalled. It was sometime in the early 1980s, and Spivey was busy giving lessons at the course.

Aaron, who started his Major League career in Milwaukee with the Braves, and ended it two decades later with the Brewers, had gotten interested in golf. So it wasn't a surprise that Aaron might be in Milwaukee with clubs in tow.

"I was just starting my next lesson -- he might have been my 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock lesson," Spivey said. "I saw the guy coming up, with the pull cart and wearing bermuda shorts, red tube socks, tank top, hat on. I started to give him a pre-interview, and asked him his name -- and he said 'Aaron.' "

Well, Spivey admits he wasn't a big baseball fan, so a middle-aged man wearing street clothes might not have caught his attention. But after Aaron hit a few shots, Spivey knew he was teaching someone with athletic ability.

"I asked, 'Aaron, how long have you been playing? What kind of scores do you shoot?' The normal routine," Spivey said. "I asked him to hit a few shots, and he hit a few 7-iron shots, about 220, 230 yards out there."

Aaron always downplayed his golf abilities. For example, here's one of his best-known quotes about the game: "It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. It took one afternoon on the golf course."

So it was no surprise the man with 755 career home runs didn't bring a lot of attention to himself on the range. Still, others began to notice what was taking place. 

"We went ahead and conducted the lesson," Spivey said. "I prescribed some fixes to his swing and he left. Maybe 30 seconds later, some of the range kids came running up and asked me if I got an autograph.

"And I thought, 'Autograph? From who?' Why would I get an autograph?"

Why, Hank Aaron, of course. Spivey immediately realized his gaffe. But it took more than two decades to rectify the error. And "Aaron" was just as gracious the second time as the first.

"We played in the Hank Aaron fundraiser here in Milwaukee and I had an opportunity to meet him," Spivey said. "The guy who had brought Hank to the driving range back in the early '80s brought Hank over to my table and asked him, 'Hank, do you know who this fellow is?' And he looked at me and said, 'Yeah, that's the little guy who gave me the golf lesson and didn't know who I was.' "

Spivey said Aaron was more than willing to share some time.

"He took pictures with me and signed a baseball and bat," Spivey said. "I'm going to cherish that for the rest of my life. It was a little embarrassing but a lesson learned."

It's not every day a teacher gives -- and receives -- a lesson at the same time.

February 4, 2016 - 1:17pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Here's a look at the "Hinotori Touch Putter" created by KRONOS Golf Founder Phillip Lapuz. It's currently on display in the British Golf Museum.

A rare putter created by U.S.-based KRONOS Golf Founder Phillip Lapuz is now on display at the British Golf Museum in St. Andrews, Scotland.

It took three months for Lapuz to design the "Hinotori Touch Putter" followed by months of polishing the rare flat-stick to perfection.

The design on the sole of the putter features the Japanese Hinotori which literally translates in English to "bird of fire," or "phoenix."

"The high relief engraving design on the Hinotori was inspired by years of traveling throughout Japan and experiencing its many wonders," Lapuz said. "In particular, the beautiful and intricate imagery that composes Byodo­in Temple in Kyoto served as a memorable symbol of my time in Kyoto. The phoenix engraving is itself a representation of those emotions, crafted out of a desire to express my fond feelings of Kyoto to others in the form of art, as well as to serve as a shining example of what golf should aspire to become."

The "Hinotori" is amongst more than 16,000 golf-related items in the collection at the British Golf Museum, known as one of the most comprehensive golf collections worldwide.

"Golfing Links Organization and the British Golf Museum both recognize and respect true golf craftsmanship and knew there wasn’t a better place to showcase the 'Hinotori' to golf enthusiasts worldwide than the home of golf, St. Andrews," said Golfing Links Organization CEO Vincent Walker.

The "Hinotori" will be on display through October 2016.