Golf Buzz

February 10, 2016 - 10:57am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker
USA Today Sports Images
In Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker, you're looking at two of the favorites this week at Pebble Beach.

Many of the most impossibly beautiful, most iconic holes in all of golf will be on full display this week with the playing of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

As usual, a who's who of celebrities will be on hand for the event, but there's also an all-star line up of PGA Tour professionals teeing it up too, led by none other than world No. 1 Jordan Spieth.

Whether it's the gorgeous par-3 seventh hole, the cliffhanger par-4 eighth hole, or the risk-reward par-5 18th hole, players can't get swept up in the scenery. As always, birdies are a must.

RELATED: Pebble Beach Pro-Am tee times | Hahn ready to be a household name

Here are the five players to keep a close eye on this week:

5. Jason Day
Best finish in 2015-16 season:
T10 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: In two starts this year, Day has a T10 and a missed cut. I'm not going to read much into the missed cut, however. That came at Torrey Pines, where Day was the defending champion, but very much under the weather and it was questionable as to whether or not he'd be able to tee it up at all. Like a pro, he did. But, it was far from his best stuff. His last three starts at Pebble have yielded two top-6 finishes. With Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler all playing so well right now, it's time for Day to turn it up a notch too.

4. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2015-16 season:
Won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: On a world tour lately, this will be Spieth's third start of the season on the PGA Tour and the first since winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. If he's rested up -- and hopefully he is -- Spieth has made himself a factor whenever and wherever he plays. A T7 at Pebble a year ago was near the start of his amazing season. That finish at Pebble was one of seven top-10 finishes in nine starts that Spieth strung together. Fantastic stuff.

3. Brandt Snedeker
Best finish in 2015-16 season:
Won the Farmers Insurance Open
Reason to watch: Snedeker is enjoying one heck of a start to his PGA Tour season -- a great sign for both him and U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III with the matches headed to Hazeltine in September. In seven starts, Snedeker has a win, a playoff loss and a third-place showing. All those came in three consecutive starts. What else do I like about Sneds this week? He's the defending champ at Pebble and has won two of the last three played there.

2. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2015-16 season:
T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open
Reason to watch: Walker, the 2014 champion at Pebble Beach, comes into this week riding high after a season-best T4 at the Farmers Insurance Open in his last start two weeks ago. That win in 2014 came after three consecutive years with a top-10 finish at Pebble. In his title defense a year ago, Walker finished in a tie for 21st. The course fits his eye well and his length is a huge asset. If the putter is dialed in, he'll be a factor again.

1. Dustin Johnson
Best finish in 2015-16 season: T
5 at the WGC-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: Two of Johnson's nine PGA Tour victories have come at Pebble Beach (2009, 2010) and he seemed poised to also win the 2010 U.S. Open there until he blew up with an 82 in the final round to finish tied for eighth. Outside the two wins, Johnson also has four other top-10 finishes in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, including last year's T4 and a T2 in 2014. Given his track record, it's impossible for Johnson not to be the favorite this week.

SLEEPER: Pat Perez
Reason to watch:
It's been a rough start to the 2015-16 season for Perez. In eight starts, he's made the cut just twice and neither of those finishes -- 63rd at the CIMB Classic and T81 at the Sony Open in Hawaii -- were particularly pretty. But he loves Pebble Beach. He tied for fourth there a year ago, tied for seventh in 2014 and was the runner up in 2002. Maybe this week gives him a spark he desperately needs to get this season going in the right direction.

Here's how my five to watch fared last week in the Waste Management Phoenix Open:

Sleeper: Missed cut
5. Ryan Moore -- T11
4. Ryan Palmer -- T24
3. Bubba Waston -- T14
2. Brooks Koepka -- T41
1. J.B. Holmes -- T6 

Bubba Watson's hook shot
Bubba Watson via Twitter
Bubba Watson's "Skyhook" trick shot won't be legal during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but it was fun to see during practice.
A lot of the game's best players are up on the Monterey Peninsula this week for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. And after the crazy weather at Torrey Pines, the skies are breathtakingly blue up in northern California.
Among the pros basking in the sunshine today was Bubba Watson, who is paired with Mark Wahlberg in the tournament. He spent part of his day working on a new trick shot that is part golf and part basketball.
As you can see in the video below, Bubba set a ball down in the greenside rough, pulled out a wedge and popped the ball straight up a couple feet in the air. He then puts the wedge face beneath the ball – it hits the face, pops up a bit higher, at which point Bubba palms it and tosses it overhand in a "hook shot" motion onto the green. From there, it rolls right into the cup.
Holy Skyhook – Bubba just might be golf's version of Kareen Abdul-Jabbar. Okay, maybe not. But it's still a fun little diversion during a great day for golf.
Take a look. And down below is another quick video from today showing Justin Rose and his partner Justin Timberlake taking a practice swing.
Jordan Spieth bobblehead
AT&T via YouTube
"Bobblehead Jordan" takes dead aim at a co-worker's coffee cup in the AT&T offices.
Last fall, the creative folks at AT&T conjured up an extremely cool mosaic of their spokesman Jordan Spieth made entirely out of more than 24,000 golf balls. It took a 25-member team two whole days to lay out all those balls in a pattern precise enough to create an incredible likeness in a park in Spieth's – and AT&T's – hometown of Dallas.
Now, though, those folks are thinking just a little bit smaller. They've come up with a Spieth bobblehead, and plan to give away 8,000 of them to fans who attend Saturday's action at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am out on the Monterey Penisula.
The one similiarity between the mosaic and the bobblehead is that both depict Spieth holding his finish. The big difference is that the Spieth bobblehead is a bit of a scamp – in a funny YouTube video, "Bobblehead Jordan" is in an AT&T office, where he hits spitballs toward the coffee cup of a coworker.
I can't picture the real Spieth doing such a thing, so maybe BobbleHead Jordan is his evil twin or something. But I do know this – that bobblehead will very likely prove to be a popular collectible.
The John Deere Classic created the first Spieth bobblehead back in 2014, when it handed out 200 of them to children. Spieth won the John Deere that week, and soon enough some of those figurines made their way onto eBay, where they were listed for as much as $799.99 apiece. 
That, according to people who follow the bobblehead market, is far more than other golf bobbleheads have sold for, and no doubt this new one will be very much in demand as well – just as Spieth is as his fame explodes around the world.
Here's "Bobblehead Jordan" causing trouble in the AT&T office:
February 8, 2016 - 1:17pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rickie Fowler
@CamCox12 on Twitter
After a tough playoff-loss to Hideki Matsuyama at the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday, Rickie Fowler tried hard -- but to no avail -- to fight back tears in his press conference.

In case you missed it on Sunday -- understandable because there was a pretty big football game going on -- Rickie Fowler was outlasted in a four-hole playoff by Hideki Matsuyama at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Fowler, working his way towards the "King of Cool" status that Fred Couples has enjoyed for a few decades, showed us a side of himself we've never seen before in a post-playoff presser.

Fowler has been one of the best players in the world for some time now, so his tough loss on Sunday was nothing to be ashamed of... but he was more than a bit disappointed.

"The hard part is having, you know, all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven’t seen me win, but I will be able to kinda hang with them tonight," Fowler said, fighting back tears. "I'll be all right. With how good I'm playing, I know I can win. Thats the hard part."

Here's the video:


As mesmerizing as it is to see guys like Fowler make an excruciatingly difficult game look so easy, it's refreshing when we're reminded they're human too.

As if Fowler didn't have enough fans already, one would have to think he gained even more here. 

Peyton Manning at Super Bowl 50
USA Today Sports Images
Peyton Manning earned a lot of praise from PGA Tour ranging from Tiger Woods to Jordan Spieth on Super Bowl Sunday.
So what did you think of the Super Bowl? Personally, neither of my two favorite teams came anywhere close to the playoffs this season, so I watched the game with as little emotional attachment as maybe I've ever had.
Even so, it was fun to watch the game and banter back and forth while it was unfolding. A number of PGA Tour players also were interested in the game, and spent the entire time hashing out the happenings on social media.
Here's a rundown of some of the best comments from some of our favorite players, including Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Luke Donald and more:
and finally: