Golf Buzz

January 21, 2014 - 11:33am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Patrick Reed
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Patrick Reed made a huge move in the latest Ryder Cup standings, moving from No. 81 to No. 11 after winning the Humana Challenge on Sunday.

Patrick Reed's victory in the Humana Challenge on Sunday was the second of his career on the PGA Tour -- and second in his last nine starts. It also went a long way toward putting Reed in the Ryder Cup conversation for Team USA this fall.

Reed entered the Humana Challenge sitting at No. 81 in last week's U.S. Ryder Cup points standings. Following the victory, Reed rocketed to the No. 11 spot.

The bad news for Reed is that he was scheduled to play in this week's Farmers Insurance Open, but was forced to withdraw on Monday, citing displaced ribs.

2014 RYDER CUP: U.S. points standings | How U.S. Points are earned | Team USA | Team Europe

Zach Johnson, meanwhile, continued his incredible form. Johnson's tie for third at the Humana Challenge was his 11th top-10 finish in his last 14 starts, and good enough to move up two spots from No. 6 to No. 4 in the latest standings.

Here's a look at the current top 12:

1. Jimmy Walker
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Jason Dufner
4. Zach Johnson
5. Dustin Johnson
6. Harris English
7. Webb Simpson
8. Chris Kirk
9. Ryan Moore

10. Brian Stuard
11. Patrick Reed
12. Matt Kuchar

Others making a move in the right direction at the Humana Challenge were Webb Simpson and Ryan Palmer. Simpson's tie for 23rd (thanks to a final-round 64), moved the former U.S. Open champ from No. 9 to No. 7. For his part, Palmer moved from No. 65 to No. 17 based on his second-place finish.

Tiger Woods, currently No. 23 in the latest standings, makes his 2014 season debut this week at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines -- a venue where Woods has been a winner on eight occasions as a professional, including the 2008 U.S. Open.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


January 21, 2014 - 12:54am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Matt Kuchar and Parker McLachlin
Parker McLachlin via Twitter
Matt Kuchar and Parker McLachlin had some pretty impressive company on their diving trip in Hawaii.
Have you ever been on one of those vacations where you get to swim with the dolphins? Looks kinda fun, doesn't it?
Well, Matt Kuchar and Parker McLachlin will see your dolphins and raise you a whale shark.
Yes, on Monday McLachlin tweeted out this photo of he and Kuchar swimming in the Pacific Ocean in the company of a 25-foot whale shark. Yowwee!
Whale sharks are the largest non-mammal vertebrates and, amazingly, this 25-footer is a little on the small side – the average adult whale shark is said to be about 31 feet long, while the largest one on record was 41 feet long. And though they contain something like 300 rows of tiny teeth, they generally feed on plankton and small fish. So while the two golfers likely weren't in danger of being eaten, I repeat: Yowwee!
Here's McLachlin's original tweet:
January 20, 2014 - 10:11am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Ken Duke
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Ken Duke's celebration after a hole-in-one at the Humana Challenge on Sunday was one for the ages.

In case you missed it over the weekend, PGA Tour journeyman Ken Duke -- who picked up his first victory last summer in the Travelers Championship -- had a hole-in-one on Sunday in the Humana Challenge.

Duke, 44, snagged the ace on the 110-yard, par-3 17th hole on the Palmer Private Course at PGA West.

Watch it here:

We love aces, but in terms of celebrations, Duke's was tough to beat here. Man that guy was excited and rightfully so!

Duke finished the tournament at 12 under, tied for 69th.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


January 19, 2014 - 6:25pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Darren Clarke
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If Daren Clarke had his way, we'd all still be playing with ''persimmon woods and blade irons."
To say Darren Clarke has struggled since he won the 2011 British Open would be a bit of an understatement. The jolly Northern Irishman – who's planning to play the PGA Tour full-time this season – hasn't had a top-10 finish since he claimed the Claret Jug, and his best result in 2013 was a tie for 12th at the Dunhill Links Championship.
Even so, Clarke just can't bring himself to change his putting style.
''I have thought about belly putters and the like. But I just can't do it,'' he told John Huggan in The Scotsman newspaper today. ''The only good thing I can say about those things is that I would need one three inches longer than I did three months ago'' because he's lost almost 40 pounds. 
''I'm a traditionalist and stuck in the past in a way. I look around the practice green every week and see all sorts of putting techniques and grips,'' he explained. ''Almost anything goes these days. But still I can't do it. 
''I’m a purist who would rather miss and look good doing it, rather than make everything while looking like a contortionist,'' he added. ''So, yes, I've tried them. But they just don't sit well with me. It took me long enough to put a hybrid in my bag, never mind a long putter.''
In fact, Clarke had his way, we'd all still be playing with ''persimmon woods and blade irons, but that battle has long been lost,'' he told Huggan, before admitting: ''In fact, I now know way too much about what I am doing for my own good. As I have aged, I have become far more technically aware of my own swing. That's not a good thing. 
''Like anyone going through a bad spell, I've been looking for answers in my technique. But that isn't my problem,'' he said. ''Hitting the ball has always been easy for me. I could do that almost from the first day I picked up a club. I'm a natural player if there is such a thing in golf.''
Clarke also said that he turned down a chance to be part of the NBC Sports broadcast team for this year's Ryder Cup, and likely will watch the big event from home.
''I think the Ryder Cup will be very tight, as it has tended to be recently,'' said Clarke, who many believe is the front-runner to captain the European team at Hazeltine in 2016. ''There's a long way to go, but it already looks like the European team might have a few new – and old – faces. Victor Dubuisson, Jamie Donaldson and Joost Luiten all have a good chance to make it. Plus, Thomas Bjorn and Henrik Stenson are almost there already.''
January 17, 2014 - 11:10pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Gary Player and Nick Faldo at the Humana Challenge
Coutesy the Golf Channel
Gary Player really didn't want Nick Faldo to eat a cupcake on the Golf Channel Friday.
Out where I live, cupcakes are a big deal. So much so that arguably the most popular food truck in my neighborhood is the silver ''Hey Cupcake'' Airstream trailer that almost always has a line of eager customers in front of it.
I admit to indulging a bit more than I should, but those things – especially the Carrot Cake ones – are so darn good. 
Nick Faldo is obviously a cupcake fan, too, and he was trying to enjoy one on the set during the Golf Channel's broadcast from the Humana Challenge on Friday. Unfortunately for him, his special guest at the time was Gary Player.
As Faldo prepared to take a big bite, ''Mr. Fitness'' playfully took a whack at the bright pink calorie bomb. Faldo immediately tried to get rid of the offending pastry, and tossed it back over his shoulder – where it hit the back wall of the booth, and stuck in a perfectly upright position.
That one-in-a-million occurrence cracked up both Faldo and Player, so at least they found some common cupcake ground. The video clip ends with the cupcake still clinging heroically to the wall, and I'm wondering what finally happened to it. Cupcake lover that I am, my hope is that, after Player left, Faldo scraped it off the wall and ate it.
Here's the video:
January 17, 2014 - 10:24am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Sergio Garcia
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Sergio Garcia was cleared of any rules violation regarding an incident in which he tapped down a spot on the green in front of his golf ball.

Sergio Garcia found himself in the middle of a rules conversation early Friday morning before the start of his second round in the Abu Dhabi Championship.

Garcia met with European Tour chief referee John Paramor before the second round when it came into question that Garcia may have breached rule 16-1a in Round 1, where television cameras caught Garcia tapping the line in front of his ball on the 18th green.

Watch the video here:

In the meeting with Paramor, Garcia was cleared of any wrongdoing. Garcia explained that he was repairing a ball mark, which is perfectly legal.

GolfWeek reporter Alistair Tait wrote Friday that the incident upset Garcia and had these quotes from the Spaniard, who made the cut on the number:

"It does feel quite bad to be related to the word cheating when you have no proof and I've never ever cheated in my whole life. I have given myself plenty of penalty strokes when nobody saw it and I did.

"It hurt a little bit. I think people calling (in alleged rules violations) without having any proof is wrong. If you can really tell that it's wrong that somebody's cheated then that's fine but when you have no proof at all it's not. Being related to that word is the most disgusting thing that can happen to someone to me that has never, ever cheated. It was disappointing but it was good to clear it up with John Paramor."

Just a few months ago, England's Simon Dyson was at the center of a rules controversy after he was caught tapping down spike marks in front of his golf ball.

Dyson received a two-month ban for the infraction, as well as a $49,000 fine. Dyson made his return this week in Abu Dhabi, where he missed the cut.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.