Golf Buzz

Natalie Gulbis
LPGA veteran Natalie Gulbis gave her Twitter followers an inside look into her workout regimen.

Pro golfers make it look so easy. They walk 18 holes like it's a stroll in the park, since the caddy's carrying all the heavy stuff. 

But what television doesn't show you is how hard they work out when they're not on the course.

For example, take Natalie Gulbis' workout routine. She gave her Twitter followers this week an inside look into some of the exercises she uses. Do you think you could keep up with her exercise regimen?









By the way, happy birthday to Natalie. The 14-year LPGA veteran turned 32 on Wednesday.

January 7, 2015 - 11:30am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bubba Watson
Chesson Hadley got this shot of Bubba Watson seconds before jumping off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean.

So how do PGA Tour players competing in this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions prepare for the first event of the new calendar year?

Well, if you're two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson and 2014 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Chesson Hadley, you go cliff-jumping:

Wait, what?

RELATED: 5 players to watch in Maui | Hyundai tee times | 10 to watch in '15

Hadley is wearing a GoPro camera before taking his plunge and gives us a quick peek of a little more than we wanted to see of Bubba.

Life isn't bad when you're a PGA Tour winner kicking off the new year in Maui.

January 7, 2015 - 11:26am
mark.aumann's picture
Phil Mickelson
USA Today Images
Adverse course conditions, like a great deal of mud, fall under the guidelines of "winter rules."

Just because it's winter doesn't mean you should be playing "winter rules."

That's a misconception many amateurs have about playing this time of year. The Bermuda may be dormant and the lies may not always be the best, but if it's a dry, sunny day, you're probably not allowed relief.

CHECK THE RULES: Bunker or native terrain?

As Bryan Jones, co-vice chairman of the PGA Rules Committee, explains, the decision to allow "lift, clean and place" has little to do with temperature and everything to do with course conditions. And the ultimate decision to allow "preferred lies" -- as one of the Local Rules -- falls into the hands of the course officials or tournament committee.

That's why you'll sometimes see "lift, clean and place" implemented after a heavy rain. If the tournament committee determines that there are "adverse conditions," the Preferred Lies/Winter Rules section of the Rule Book comes into play, even if it's hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.

None of the 34 Rules of Golf directly address the issue of "winter rules," but Appendix 1, Part A, Definition 4b specifically deals with adverse conditions. Here is the exact phrasing from the Rule Book:

Adverse conditions, including the poor condition of the course or the existence of mud, are sometimes so general, particularly during winter months, that the Committee may decide to grant relief by temporary Local Rule either to protect the course or to promote fair and pleasant play. The Local Rule should be withdrawn as soon as the conditions warrant.

Jones, who is at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., this week for the PGA Winter Championships tournament, said "abnormal playing conditions that interfere with the proper playing of the game" is the key point to consider.

GOLF BALL MIX-UP: What to do if you hit the wrong ball?

"Interestingly enough, we will play our first event utilizing the 'Preferred Lies/Winter Rules' authorized by the Rules of Golf because of adverse conditions," Jones said. "In our situation, the adverse conditions exist due to extreme wet fairways where virtually every stroke that lands on a closely mown area will collect a great deal of mud on the ball, whereas a ball that lands in the rough will not, because the thicker grass prevents the ball from penetrating the ground.

"That inequity to well-struck shots is the key, as is the frequency of occurrence. If only a couple of fairways yielded this result, the Committee would not utilize this option."

Jones said three conditions must be met for "winter rules" to be in place.

1. The Committee (or course officials) must authorize this Rules extension granted by Appendix 1, part A.
2. The majority of the golf course must be impacted to consider this.
3. The Committee should utilize the wording provided by Appendix 1, part B 4c ,which explains exactly how to proceed: lift and place, lift and drop, and the distances allowed.

MORE RULES QUESTIONS: What if your ball moves at address?

So why do Local Rules exist?

"When we need to stray from the purity of the Rules, we have guidance on how to do so and will be backed by the (sanctioning bodies) should a dispute arise," Jones said.

So the rule of thumb?

"Play golf as normal, unless normal golf is really challenged by mother nature."

January 7, 2015 - 9:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bubba Watson
USA Today Sports Images
Bubba Watson is going for two wins in as many 2014-15 PGA Tour starts this week at Kapalua's Plantation Course in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

After a nearly two-month break, the 2014-15 PGA Tour season resumes this week at the gorgeous Kapalua Plantation Course on the island of Maui in Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

There are only 34 players in the 2013-14 winners-only field, highlighted by Masters champ Bubba Watson.

RELATED: Hyundai T of C tee times | 10 to watch in 2015 | 5 storylines of 2015

Zach Johnson returns to Maui as the defending champ at the 7,452 yards, par-73 Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore designed course.

Before the tournament tees off on Friday, here are five players you'll want to keep an eye on in Maui.

5. Geoff Ogilvy
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: Ogilvy won in back-to-back starts at Kapalua in 2009-10. Until late last season, the 2006 U.S. Open champ had been deep in a slump. Ogilvy broke out of that slump with a win in the Barracuda Championship (played opposite the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) last August. That timely win propelled him to a previously believed unlikely spot in the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup, where he would tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship and play his way into the Tour Championship. Ogilvy picked up some much-needed confidence with those victories. To begin the new season this week in Maui at a venue where he's won twice must feel great. That's why I like Ogilvy to continue his resurgence this week.

4. Bubba Watson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the WGC-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: Well, the two-time Masters champ is one-for-one this season having won in China in early November. After a long break, we'll see Watson at the long-ball friendly Plantation Course, where he tied for fourth when he last played the event in 2013. Watson got off to a red-hot start last season, finishing in the top 10 in seven of his first 10 starts, highlighted by wins at the Northern Trust Open and the Masters. He cooled off a touch, understandably, after that hot start, but the start of the year traditionally seems to suit Watson. Plus, I want to see him try to recreate that driver off the tee-driver off the deck-putt sequence on Kapalua's 18th hole from 2011. That was awesome.

3. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: It'll be darn near impossible for Walker to top his 2013-14 season, one in which he won three times, and recorded seven other top 10s. This will be Walker's second straight start at Kapalua and I'm interested in seeing if he learned anything about the course from his T21 showing a year ago. He should be a nice, relaxing week for Walker, who heads over to Oahu next week as the defending champ of the Sony Open.

2. Zach Johnson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Missed cut at The McGladrey Classic
Reason to watch: This will be just the second start of the new season for Johnson, who returns to Kapalua as the tournament's defending champ. As he's proven time and again, there's no ballpark on the PGA Tour too big for Johnson. Last year's win in Maui was the first of three consecutive top-10 finishes for Johnson. A high finish at Kapalua could lead to another nice, little run.

1. Matt Kuchar
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T21 at the Open
Reason to watch: Kuchar has played in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions four times in the last five seasons. All four of those starts yielded no worse than a T6 finish. There's no reason to believe that trend won't continue -- or even improve -- this week. Kuchar is one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour and has been for years. He rarely misses a cut and -- more often than not -- is in the mix. 

January 7, 2015 - 9:11am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bryan Brothers
This might be the most impressive chip trick shot we've ever seen.

The golf trick-shot duo known as the "Bryan Brothers" wowed us throughout 2014 with their magic. We expect that Bryans -- Wesley and George -- will continue that momentum into the new year.

Over the past few days, the duo has been using their Facebook page to count down their top-5 Instagram videos from 2014.

RELATED: Meet the Bryan Brothers | Trick shot with live alligator | Compilation

We didn't think it was possible that we had missed one of their mind-blowing shots, but after seeing the entry for No. 4 last night, we realized quickly that there was an oversight. 

With that, you really need to see this slam-dunk trick:


This is our concrete dunk shot!! TAG somebody you want to play golf with this weekend! #dunked #golf #trickshots

A video posted by Bryan Bros Golf (@bryanbrosgolf) on

And, to see all five tricks on the countdown, see the video below: 

Scott Stallings at the Kapalua Resort
Scott Stallings via Instagram
Time flies when you're having fun, if you're Scott Stallings at Kapalua.
Scott Stallings is out in Hawaii this week for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and, naturally, he's been getting in some practice. On Tuesday, he spent the afternoon out on the Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort – and captured his round on camera.
He then posted the video on social media. But, knowing that few of us have four hours to dedicate to watching it, he sped it up a bit. Well, make that a lot.
No, in fact, he cranked it up to Warp Speed. It looks like one of those old Benny Hill skits on steroids. I don't know if there's anything to be learned about Stallings' golf game, or Kapalua for that matter, but it's mesmerizing to watch. And hey, it's not like it'll cost you a lot of time to check it out.

My afternoon in Maui!

A video posted by scottstallings (@scottstallings) on