Golf Buzz

March 24, 2013 - 2:45pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Michael Mihal in sinkhole
Michael Mihal was rescued from a hidden sinkhole in a fairway at Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo, Ill.

Most of the golfers I know wanted to put the thought of getting swallowed up by a sinkhole out of their minds as quickly as possible after that guy in Illinois plunged into an 18-foot deep sinkhole in the middle of a fairway a few weeks ago.

Being a curious reporter, Jennifer Welsh of The Business Insider wanted to know more, not less, about the odds of dropping through the ground on a golf course. Specifically, she wondered whether golf course landscaping techniques might increase those chances.

She asked David Weary, a geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey who specializes in karst terrain – sinkhole-susceptible areas made up of soft rocks like limestone, gypsum or salt beds that can be washed out by water.

''In my opinion it is possible for irrigation and landscaping to affect the risk of sinkhole development on golf courses over karst areas,'' he told her in an email. However, he noted, 'Golf courses are usually graded to avoid standing water, so the chances of this should be pretty low.''

Normal irrigation ''would probably not put enough water on the surface to cause sinkholes directly,'' he wrote. 'It is possible that over-irrigation over time could cause some movement of sediment in the subsurface (through caves) and result in eventual localized sinkhole development. Also, if landscaping resulted in a spot where the surface drainage ponds it's possible that the combination of heavy standing water and enhanced drainage of that water to the subsurface could move sediment and initiate a collapse.

The most likely causes of collapse sinkholes in areas like golf courses 'are leaking irrigation pipes or leaking stormwater handling structures like drain pipes and retention ponds,'' he added. ''Chronic water leaks can, over time, erode the subsurface soils and cave fills leading to creation of void spaces and subsequent collapse of the surface into them.

''We don't have enough site-specific information about the Illinois golf course sinkhole to comment as to whether it is purely natural, or man-induced.''

So there. Don't worry about falling through a sinkhole in the fairway of your favorite course. But watch where you step!

March 23, 2013 - 9:26pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Florida Golf Coast newspaper
Charles Warren via Twitter

With so many big college basketball games in such a short period of time these days, it's a little difficult to keep up with exactly who's beating whom.

One of the biggest upsets of the NCAA tournament so far was Friday's loss by vaunted Georgetown to upstart Florida Gulf Coast. One newspaper's proofreader clearly had his eye on the little white ball instead of the big orange one, though, as the headline above shows.

Charles Warrren tweeted out this photo, and there's no indication on the page of exactly which newspaper this is from. My guess is that it might be The Greenville Sun in South Carolina, but I can't guarantee it. If not, I apologize. But whichever paper it is, I can guarantee someone got in a little trouble.


March 23, 2013 - 1:41pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Callaway HEX Chrome+ golf ball
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The Callaway HEX Chrome+ is a four-piece ball designed for players with mediium to high clubhead speeds.

Callaway Golf is embracing the generation of distance off the tee like at no time in the company's history. The new RAZR Fit Xtreme and X Hot drivers are providing a big leap forward from previous models, and the company is actively marketing its new roster of staff players, which includes some of the PGA Tour's biggest bombers.

The latest development in Callaway's drive for distance is the HEX Chrome+ ball, which delivers high ball velocity for maximum distance at mid to high clubhead speeds, especially with the driver.

''HEX Chrome+ is hands down the fastest tour ball we've ever designed at Callaway,'' said Dave Bartels the senior director of Golf Ball R&D at Callaway. ''This new four-piece construction has a single-piece core and dual-mantle system that were designed in unison to create more ball speed with the longer clubs without generating excessive spin, leading to longer distance.

''However, what makes the distance of this ball special is that is achieves that distance and features a soft DuraSpin cover,'' he added. ''This urethane cover material not only has great durability, but provides exceptional 'tour-level' control around the green that the best players in the world demand in a premium ball.''

The ball's extremely resilient core helps to generate more distance over a wide range of clubs and swing speeds. Its dual mantle unlocks distance by increasing speed and minimizing spin off the tee.

The proprietary cover formulation uses a thermoplastic urethane (TPU) blend with excellent durability characteristics, while the cover's softness promotes control on approach shots and shots around the green. And the refined aerodynamics of the HEX dimple pattern helps to reduce drag and promote a stable, penetrating ball flight that holds its line in the wind.

The HEX Chrome+ is Callaway's latest offering in the HEX Chrome family of balls. The original HEX Chrome ball is a three-piece model designed for a high performance from tee to green and a soft feel for players with moderate swing speeds.

The new HEX Chrome+ carries a suggested retail price of $35.99 per dozen.

March 22, 2013 - 9:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson offered up a priceless response to a 'dumb' question by a MasterCard executive.


Maybe you were taught from an early age that there's no such thing as a stupid question. And, heck, that's probably true for children. 
However, as we grow older, we realize there actually is such a thing as a stupid question.
During Wednesday's Pro-Am at Bay Hill, Phil Mickelson relayed a story to Golf Channel's Steve Sands about a particular question he received from no less than MasterCard Vice-President CoBrand Business Development and Strategy, Bob Glowasky. MasterCard sponsors the Arnold Palmer Invitational. 
Glowasky -- evidently trying to make conversation with Mickelson as the two walked up the first fairway -- simply asked Lefty if he was looking forward to Augusta.
Much like the MasterCard commercials, Mickelson's reaction and response were... well... priceless!
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 22, 2013 - 8:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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KENTWOOL will once again offer a limited-edition Augusta Sock, this one to commemorate Bubba Watson's inaugural major title.


KENTWOOL, maker's of "the world's best golf sock," has announced that it will once again offer a limited-edition Augusta Sock to commemorate Bubba Watson's inaugural major title -- the Masters.
The special Tour-profile style sock will be worn by the defending champion during the 2013 Masters.
Here's the release:  
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- KENTWOOL -- the 170-year-old, family-owned American textile innovator -- announces that it will commemorate staff player Bubba Watson’s inaugural major championship victory with the return of a limited-edition Tour Profile performance sock boasting a distinctive green base color highlighted by yellow heel and toe patterns with red brand accents.
During the 2013 Masters, Watson will once again compete in this distinctive style ($19.95) that will be available through May 15 while supplies last at Crafted from a proprietary blend of fatigue-reducing merino wool and high-tech fibers for superior moisture management, the socks are Made in the USA and come with a 100 percent blister-free guarantee.
“This style became a sensation last year following Bubba’s historic performance and sold out quicker than we ever expected,” says Mark Kent, CEO and President of KENTWOOL. “With there being so much pent-up demand, we wanted to once again offer our loyal customers a chance to ‘Rock the Socks’ with a pair of their own.” 
An authentic southern textile company, KENTWOOL is devoted to helping golfers feel their best with every step. Each pair features WINDspun technology that infuses the fibers with air to provide unrivaled cushioning at micro-stress points along the foot, enhancing comfort and energy levels while reducing injury risk.
In addition to Watson, KENTWOOL socks – including Low Profile, Tour Profile, Tour Standard and 19th Hole models – are trusted by scores of Tour stars, including Matt Kuchar, Jonathan Byrd, Ryann O’Toole, Peter Jacobsen, Duffy Waldorf, Brendon de Jonge, Tom Gillis, Jane Park, Catriona Matthew, Charles Warren, Kevin Johnson, Kristy McPherson, Shasta Averyhardt, Jenny Suh, Sarah Kemp, Jenny Gleason, Meaghan Francella and Jenny Hong.
For more information:, 1-877-5-PROSOX (1-877-577-6769).
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
March 22, 2013 - 8:04am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Luke Donald
Getty Images
Luke Donald thinks it's great to be the world's No. 1 ranked player, but there's also a lot of stress that comes with it.


England's Luke Donald strives to be the best golfer he can be. At some points in his career, that has equaled being the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
Luke Donald's desire to be the world's best golfer hasn't changed. But he has enjoyed stepping out of the limelight as the first major of the year steadily approaches. 
Currently the world's No. 3 golfer, Donald was atop the rankings for 56 weeks during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Donald held the No. 1 ranking entering last year's Masters and finished tied for 32nd.
"Naturally the whole point in being the best is to be number one, best player on the planet, and that is where I want to be too," Donald said.
"But having said that, I have to agree that there is a little less pressure in being the No. 3 going into the Masters."
Donald has three top-10 finishes in his eight overall starts at Augusta National. His best finish was in his first start, when he finished in a tie for third. At last week's Tampa Bay Championship, Donald claimed his first top-10 finish of the season with a tie for fourth.
"I am looking forward to [the Masters] and in recent weeks my game has come together well enough to give me confidence in doing well next month," he said.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.