Golf Buzz

March 15, 2015 - 2:51pm
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Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore almost can't believe his ball dropped in the cup for an eagle on the sixth hole Sunday.

The golf gods owed Ryan Moore one, obviously.

Three weeks ago in the third round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club, Moore's tee shot on the par-4 10th hole hit the flagstick -- and rolled completely off the green. Instead of an ace, Moore was forced to settle for a disheartening par.

ALMOST ACE TO OFF THE GREEN: Ryan Moore's bad break at Riviera

Fast forward to Sunday's final round of the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort. After back-to-back bogeys on the second and third holes dropped Moore out of the lead, he faced this shot from 174 yards out on No. 6.

Watch what happens next:



And when leader Jordan Spieth struggled for a bogey, that three-shot swing put Moore back in front.

THOSE ARE THE BREAKS: Your unluckiest golf stories

You can debate the merits of good luck/bad luck all you want, but it really does seem to even out over time.


March 14, 2015 - 5:46pm
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Bubba vs. Tucker
PGA Tour/YouTube
Bubba Watson may have some southpaw competition in Tucker Moore.

Bubba Watson may be the best left-handed player in the world right now, but Tucker Moore -- Ryan Moore's 2 1/2-year old son -- is gaining on him quickly, as evidenced by this side-by-side swing comparison that was shown on NBC's coverage of the Valspar Championship's third round Saturday from Innisbrook Resort.

DAD HAS THE LEAD: Ryan Moore shoots 67 to lead Valspar by 1

Two things: 1. For a toddler, Tucker's swing is unbelievable. 2. He really does emulate Bubba in an uncanny way.

Watch the video and see if you don't agree:



Just wait until Tucker graduates from the plastic clubs. Of course, Bubba has his own golf progeny in waiting: Caleb, who swings right-handed. Here's video of him swinging a club last year at age 2.

FATHER-SON PAIRING: Bubba and Caleb's first golf outing



Could we be seeing a future rivalry in the making? Only time will tell.


March 14, 2015 - 9:47am
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Ernie Els
PGA Tour via YouTube
The bottom half of Ernie Els's iron went flying after he hit a tree on his followthrough Friday at the Valspar Championship.
Ernie Els found himself in a difficult position Friday afternoon – out in the pine straw left of the 16th fairway at the Valspar Championship. Making his situation worse, a fairly big tree was clearly going to impede with his followthrough.
His options included just punching the ball out a few yards into the fairway, or maybe trying a left-handed swing. But Els was right on the cut line at the time, and felt like he couldn't afford to play it safe. So he wound up, took a full swing – and bang!
He got the ball out – it scooted well up the fairway and across into the right rough up by the green – but his iron paid the ultimate price. The shaft broke on impact – making a loud ringing sound when the two pieces separated. He kept hold of the top part of the club, and was a little lucky that the bottom part didn't rebound and hit him.
Alas, Ernie's heroic effort didn't pay off, as he ultimately missed the cut.
So, kids, don't try this at home – there are too many ways you could get hurt. But do check out the video – and make sure you have your audio turned on:
Terry Jastrow
Courtesy of Terry Jastrow
Emmy-winning golf producer and director Terry Jastrow (in white shirt) is releasing his new golf movie, "The Squeeze," in a unique partnership with Groupon.
Remember Groupon? I have to admit, I hadn't given much thought to the discount-deal website in a while – until word came out about an interesting new deal it'll soon be offering.
On April 16 – right after the Masters – Groupon will offer its first-ever digital download of a movie. And that movie is "The Squeeze," the directorial debut of Terry Jastrow, who golf fans know well for his production and direction of 62 majors over a 22-year span at ABC Sports.
Jastrow, who played college golf at the University of Houston back when the Cougars were a perennial powerhouse, earned seven Emmy Awards for his work at ABC, but this is the first movie he's written and directed. He describes it as a caper about a small-town golfer who gets caught up in high-stakes golf matches with notorious gamblers in Las Vegas. 
The promotional materials calls it "sort of 'The Sting' meets 'Tin Cup' with a dollop of 'Caddyshack.'" Jeremy Sumpter ("Friday Night Lights", "Peter Pan") plays the lead character, and Jastrow says he plays to a 9 handicap in real life. Also in the cast are Christopher McDonald ("Happy Gilmore"), Katherine LaNasa ("The Campaign"), Michael Nouri ("Taken Away") and Jason Dohring ("Veronica Mars").
Now, the deal. Groupon is offering two separate packages. For $19.99, you can get the movie plus Tom Watson's "Lessons of a Lifetime" DVD set (a $47.95 value). Or you can get the movie plus a tee time in your area via EZ Link for $13.99 (a $28 value).
"We're very excited about partnering with Groupon," said Jastrow. "The movie business is forever looking for robust new distribution outlets. If this Groupon campaign with 'The Squeeze' works, it could create another huge marketplace for movies."
Groupon has sold movie tickets before, but this is its first attempt at selling a first-run movie for the general public to screen at home. The offer go live to all Groupon members on April 16 in selected cities, with a broader offer following a few days later. 
"The Squeeze" also will run in theaters, and is set to debut on April 17. Here's a preview: 
March 13, 2015 - 3:26pm
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Jonathan Byrd
PGA Tour/YouTube
Jonathan Byrd gets congratulations all around after his ace at the 15th hole Friday.

If there's ever a spot for a timely hole-in-one, it came for Jonathan Byrd during Friday's second round of the Valspar Championship.

SHARE YOUR ACE: Tell the world about your hole-in-one on social media at #PGAace

Standing on the par-3 15th tee on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook -- and needing some positive momentum after three bogeys in a six-hole stretch -- Byrd took out a 4-iron and made this magic:



It's the first hole-in-one at that hole since 2004, when Mathias Gronberg aced it during the second round. Alas, Gronberg missed the cut that year, as Byrd was in danger of doing, because even with that 1 on his card Byrd was still two shots below the expected cut line with three holes remaining.