Golf Buzz

September 17, 2013 - 8:42pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Southern Cal women's team
NCAA.com
The University of Southern California women's team won the 2013 national championship at stroke play, but will have to try to defend its team title under a match-play format.

A few years after the NCAA Division I men's golf championship switched to a combination of stroke play and match play, the women will follow suit starting in 2015.

Even after the change goes into effect, the individual champion will still be decided by 72 holes of stroke play. The full field will compete for the first three days, after which there will be a cut to the low 36 players and ties. The individual champion will be decided on the fourth and final day of stroke play, while the top eight teams after 54 holes of stroke play will advance to match play.

The team title will be determined over the final two days of the tournament. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be held the day after the individual champion is crowned, with the final staged on the sixth and final day of competition.

The new format is a marked change from the existing system in which the women's team championship is decided over four days and 72 holes of stroke play. And when it goes to the new format, the tournament will switch to a Friday-Wednesday schedule, which will allow the Golf Channel – which will begin televising it in 2015 – to devote more airtime to it without bumping into its pro tour coverage.

''Over a year ago when our committee met, one of the topics discussed was how we could grow our sport and provide our student-athletes more exposure,'' Division I Women’s Golf Committee Chair Theresa Becker, the associate athletics director at Kansas, said in a report on NCAA.com explaining the format change.

The 2015 women's and men's championships will be played at the same venue, The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., in successive weeks. The women will play first, with the men staging their event after the women's championship is finished.

 

September 15, 2013 - 9:19pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Luke Donald's clubs at Conway Farms
Luke Donald via Twitter
Luke Donald's clubs have been on display since he shot a course-record of 61 there a few years ago. Now that Jim Furyk has posted a 59, will his sticks replace Donald's?

Winning the Daytona 500 is every NASCAR driver's dream. But when they give you the trophy, they also take away your car and put it on display for a year.

The same kind of thing happened to Luke Donald when he set the course record at Conway Farms, the course that's been hosting the PGA Tour's BMW Championship the last several days. Donald set the low mark of 61 there a few years ago – and to commemorate his accomplishment, Conway Farms put his clubs up on the wall.

And there they remained – until Jim Furyk carded his 59 on Friday. So, finally, Donald might get to reclaim his precious sticks.

''Well at least I get my clubs back!,'' he tweeted on Sunday, adding the hashtags #CourseRecordSmashed and #Furyk59 along with the photo above of his clubs on display.

We should note that Donald said last week that he set the Conway Farms course record before ''they Luke-proofed'' the layout by adding some length and making a few other changes over the past few years. He said he wasn't sure what the low score had been since those changes were made.

Whatever it was, it became moot when Furyk signed his scorecard on Friday. And might we presume that the folks at the Farms have or will request his clubs? 

Wonder if he'll turn them over? We better keep an eye on Furyk's caddie, Fluff Cowan, on the final green Monday to see if some big scary dudes show up to confiscate them!

Okay, just kidding about that, but Furyk already has had to replace one item from his record round. The World Golf Hall of Fame requested a memento, so he signed his glove and turned it over to them.

 

 

September 12, 2013 - 8:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Dick Fowler, P.I.
YouTube
In the latest Farmers Insurance, Dick Fowler, P.I. commercial, Rickie Fowler is bringing justice to the fairways once again.
 
Well, folks, buckle up because Dick Fowler, P.I. is at it again.
 
I've read mixed reviews on these commercials, but I don't get it. I'm all in. I think they're hilarious. They make me think back to those cheesy action series shows in the 1980s like the A-Team. Maybe it's nostalgia. Maybe it's just darn funny.
 
Either way, I really like the latest effort: Driver v. Driver.
 
To set the scene, Rickie Fowler -- as Dick Fowler, P.I. -- pulls back his club to hit a tee shot. Just as he's about to start toward the ball, an obnoxious driver of a car lays on the horn. 
 
Needless to say, that didn't sit well with Fowler and he sprung into action.
 
 
Extra points, in my book, to the folks at Farmers for the disclaimer you'll see at the bottom of the screen toward the end of the commercial. 
 
This might not be everyone's cup of tea, but can we all agree it's a step up from the Golf Boys?
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
September 11, 2013 - 11:29pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Arron Oberholser
Getty Images
Arron Oberholser says "it's very disappointing" to think about retiring so soon, but adds that he's okay with the idea that his playing career might truly be over.

Arron Oberholser was really hoping that this comeback would be the one – the last one. Instead, it lasted only one week – and it might mark the end of his promising but oft-interrupted career.

Oberholser, 38, withdrew from the Web.com Tour's Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship on Wednesday because of recurring pain in his left hand, and said afterward that his competitive career – during which he has missed close to five years because of wrist and hand issues – is likely over.

''I don't know where I'm going to go from here. Home first of all to talk to the doctor and my wife and figure out if there’s anything else I can do,'' he told PGATour.com. ''I feel like I've pretty much exhausted all efforts and now it may be a matter of the ''R'' word. The forced R-word is looming over me more than ever now.''

If this is indeed the end of his playing career, he added, he's okay with that.

''I've thought about that a lot and if that's the case and I decide to do that (retire), then I'll accept that,'' he said. ''There might be a little bitterness, I won't lie about that. Five of my best years were taken away from me, but it's a professional sport and these kinds of things happen. I'm not the only guy that this has happened to.''

Oberholser, 38, won twice on the Web.com Tour in 2002, jumped up to the PGA Tour in 2003 and played more than five years without incident. His best season came in 2006, PGATour.com said, when he made 20 of 23 cuts, had 13 top-25 finishes and ended the year No. 23rd on the money list.

After his latest absence, he teed it up in the first Web.com Tour Finals event, where he posted encouraging rounds of 66-68-68 before a final-round 73 bumped him down into a tie for 18th place. Unfortunately, the pain returned, and he was forced to skip last week's second Finals event. He was hoping to play both this week and next week before the pain flared up again during his pro-am round on Wednesday.

''It's very disappointing. Because of the way I played and how it felt for the first three days in Fort Wayne, I really thought I licked this thing,'' he said. ''I thought I was on my way back up to where I was and where I have been and that I was just continuing a journey with a minor five-year gap. Unfortunately, it might not work out that way.''

 

September 11, 2013 - 1:19pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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The Short Game
Phase 4 Films and Samuel Goldwyn Films
Alexa Pano and Allan Kournikova in "The Short Game."
The golf documentary "The Short Game" is nearly set for its anticipated opening in U.S. movie theaters.
 
The feature length film from Phase 4 Films and Samuel Goldwyn Films received a 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival Audience Award for Documentary Feature. It was named a must see at the festival by Yahoo! Movie Talk
 
 
Here's a basic summary of the film from the press release:
 
"The Short Game" follows the lives of eight of the best 7-year-old golfers in the world as they train for and compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf. The annual tournament held at golfing mecca Pinehurst, North Carolina, brings in 1,500 young golfers from 54 different countries and determines who will be crowned golf’s next phenom. In its course, the eight stories entwine to form a fascinating and often funny portrait of a group of very young athletes and their families, in which the narrow-focused, peculiar and highly competitive junior golf subculture becomes both a window into contemporary global society and an inspiring reflection of the human condition.
 
The movie will feature cameos by "some of golf’s most iconic playing and teaching legends," including PGA members Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Bob Toski, Chi-Chi Rodriguez and PGA Honorary Member Gary Player. 
 
 
The movie is partnering with the PGA of America to help promote the film.
 
“The PGA of America is proud to partner with Phase 4 Films and Samuel Goldwyn Films in the promotion of ‘The Short Game,’ which is a very fun and entertaining movie on the ups and downs of competing in junior golf,” said PGA President Ted Bishop in the press release. “We believe it is important to lend our support to this motion picture, which advances the game of golf and introduces it to new and exciting audiences. This is a film that everyone can enjoy for its humor and compelling nature of showing the commitment these junior golfers make, in order to play the game against the best young golfers in the world"
 
Said Berry Meyerowitz, President & CEO of Phase 4 Films: “This movie is for golf fans of all generations, as it communicates the important message that working hard will help you to achieve your goals and dreams.”
 
The movie is directed by Emmy Award winner Josh Greenbaum. Entertainers Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are among executive producers on the film.
 
“The Short Game” will open in select cities on September 20th. For more information, visit www.theshortgamemovie.com
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 
September 11, 2013 - 10:10am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy
Getty Images
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will square off in, "The Match at Mission Hills," in China on Oct. 28.
On Oct. 28, 2013 in Haikou, China, "The Match at Mission Hills," between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will take place.
 
One year ago, McIlroy fired a 67 at Jinsha Lake in the first of these matches between the two to top Woods, who lipped out a bunker shot on the final hole that would have ended the match in a draw.
 
This year, the players will battle on Mission Hills' Blackstone Course, which is said the be the resort's "crown jewel." 
 
Back9Network.com will stream the event live with its new on-air host and executive producer, Ahmad Rashad calling the action.
 
To learn more about the event, click here to visit out friends at Back 9 Network.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.