Golf Buzz

January 28, 2015 - 4:03pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
After a long layoff, even Tiger Woods needs to shake off the rust. Check out this shot he hit on No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale on Wednesday.

You know what it's like when you haven't played in a while.

You need to shake off the rust.

Well, guess what? So does Tiger Woods.

RELATED: WMPO tee times | Tiger Woods in season debuts | Tiger's restored smile

During his practice round on Wednesday at TPC Scottsdale, Woods was faced with a bunker shot and flat-out skulled it.

Check it out for yourself here:


Oh yeah, and the difference between us shaking off the rust and Tiger shaking off the rust? We don't have to do it in front of a packed house on the craziest hole in golf.

That's right -- that shot by Tiger that you just watched happened on No. 16 at TPC Scottsdale.

If he misses the green during the tournament this week, do you think he'll be giving any thought to this shot in the practice round?

Knowing Tiger, probably not. 

UPDATE: Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker is saying Woods hit this shot on purpose. Imagine being so good at the game that you can hit shots like that on purpose?

January 28, 2015 - 3:08pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Madeline Kennedy
Madeline Kennedy, right, was diagnosed with ALS two years ago. Last week at an ALS awareness event, she holed a 78-foot putt on live television.

This might be the best feel-good story you'll see this month -- most certainly this week. had the story of the First Annual Worthington Fore ALS Golf Classic at Worthington Country Club in Bonita Springs, Fla., which kicked off last Tuesday.

Local CBS News affiliate WINK-NEWS was on the scene for the event, where all proceeds go directly to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the world's first and largest nonprofit biotech focused 100 percent on ALS research.

RELATED: Tiger Woods in season debuts | Mickelson gifted fan Super Bowl tix at '08 Phoenix Open

As the event was getting under way, WINK reporter Andrew Scheinthal interviewed a lady named Madeline Kennedy, one of the event's organizers, who was diagnosed with ALS two years ago and has since lost the ability to walk.

Kennedy was an avid golfer before her diagnosis and continues to play the game thanks to an adaptive golf cart that allows her to stand.

As the interview was winding down, Kennedy wanted to show Scheinthal and viewers that she can still play.

From there, Kennedy proceeded to hit a 78-foot bomb right into the center of the cup.

She even called it when the ball was halfway to the hole, "It's in!"

Here's the video:

What a putt! And on live TV, no less.


If you're interested in donating to the cause, click here.


January 28, 2015 - 12:47pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
USA Today Sports Images
In the final round of the 2008 Waste Management Phoenix Open, Phil Mickelson gave a fan the ultimate gift -- tickets to the Super Bowl that evening.

The last time the Super Bowl was played in the Phoenix area was in 2008 when the New England Patriots fell to the New York Giants.

As is always the case, the Waste Management Phoenix Open's final round is on Super Bowl Sunday.

Back in 2008, Phoenix favorite Phil Mickelson had tickets to the big game later that night, but decided early in the day there was no way he'd be able to get over to the stadium in time (that was before losing in a playoff to J.B. Holmes).

RELATED: WMPO tee times | Tiger Woods in season debuts | Tiger's restored smile

According to a story by Karen Crouse of the New York Times, Mickelson charged caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay with giving the tickets away to a fan at the tournament.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the most fan-friendly events on Tour and it's not uncommon for spectators to receive gifts from players. Usually hats, gloves, etc. -- not tickets to the most watched sporting event in the world.

From Crouse's story:

Mackay, whose second-favorite N.F.L. team after his hometown Arizona Cardinals is the Giants, looked for a youngster wearing a cap with the logo of Callaway, one of Mickelson's sponsors. On the third tee, he found one: He approached Drew Fockler, who was standing next to his father, John, and asked them if they liked football. When they replied enthusiastically, he reached into Mickelson's bag, pulled out the tickets and asked them if they would like to attend the Super Bowl. The Focklers happily accepted the tickets. They later sent Mickelson a thank-you note.

How cool is that?

Unfortunately for fans attending this week's WMPO, Lefty doesn't have tickets to Sunday's big game in Glendale this time around.

h/t CBS Eye on Golf 

January 28, 2015 - 12:21pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jason Day
The expression on Jason Day's face says it all.

In case you missed it, adidas introduced its new adipower Boost golf shoes last week at the PGA Merchandise Show, with the company adapting technology from its running and basketball shoes to golf for the first time.

As a promotion for the new shoe, adidas brought Jason Day to a driving range where they tried to get the Aussie to hit material from the shoe that was hanging off a flying drone.

Day just missed his intended target, which as you'll see below, was bad news for the drone.

January 28, 2015 - 11:21am
Posted by:
PGA of America
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Ron Sirak
PGA of America
Golf Digest Senior Writer Ron Sirak will be the 2015 recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2015) -- Ron Sirak of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, who was instrumental in the transformation of national coverage of women's golf, has been named the recipient of the 2015 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism.

Sirak, 64, a senior writer for Golf Digest and past executive editor for Golf World, will be honored April 8, at the ISPS HANDA 43rd Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) Annual Awards Dinner at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Augusta, Georgia.

Sirak is the 26th recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism, which honors members of the media for their steadfast promotion of golf, both locally and nationally.

"Ron Sirak has brought readers to the heart of a story, connecting us with many of the amazing personalities in our game while also delivering balanced reporting on issues affecting our industry," said PGA of America President Derek Sprague. "Ron is one of the most trusted voices in golf and a friend to all who play the game. It is with great pleasure that we recognize him with the 2015 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism."

At age 45, Sirak began covering golf full-time. Over the next two decades he reported on 140 combined men's and women's major championships, along with 10 Ryder Cups and seven Solheim Cups. In 2005, he became the first journalist to cover four men's and four women's majors in a season. When the LPGA added a fifth major, Sirak covered nine total major championships in 2013.

"Of all the great honors that I have had in my career, this is for me the Pulitzer Prize," said Sirak. "It is the highest honor to be linked to those who have received this award. I am absolutely humbled. I thank the PGA of America for recognizing the contributions of journalists to the game. We are all stakeholders in the future of golf."

After attending Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sirak joined the Associated Press (AP) in 1980, where he would work for the next 18 years. He eventually became the AP's golf writer, and in 1996, Sirak and Sports Editor Terry Taylor expanded AP’s golf coverage to include the women's game, amateur golf and the business of the sport. In 1998, he joined Golf Digest and Golf World, where his award-winning stories included a visit with women professional golfers to crisis-torn Rwanda in 2007.

Sirak is the author of three books with acclaimed golf instructors Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott. He is a past President of the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association and is the President of the GWAA.

Sirak, who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has a daughter, Rachel; and a grandson, Declan.

PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism Recipients:

1991 Dick Taylor
2004 Bob Verdi
1992 Herbert Warren Wind
2005 Al Barkow
1993 Jim Murray
2006 Ron Green Sr.
1994 Frank Chirkinian/Bob Green
2007 Jack Berry
1995 Dan Jenkins
2008 Marino Parascenzo
1996 Furman Bisher
2009 Art Spander
1997 Jack Whitaker
2010 Dave Kindred
1998 Dave Anderson
2011 Jerry Tarde
1999 Ken Venturi
2012 Jaime Diaz
2000 Jim McKay
2013 John Hopkins
2001 Kaye Kessler
2014 Tim Rosaforte
2002 Nick Seitz
2015 Ron Sirak

January 28, 2015 - 9:33am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
USA Today Sports Images
Phil Mickelson is a three-time winner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, making him an easy pick for this week.

The wildest party in golf takes place this week at TPC Scottsdale for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where it's sure to be even rowdier than usual with Tiger Woods making his 2014-15 season debut and playing the event for the first time since 2001.

Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, just down the road in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks square off in Super Bowl 49.

RELATED: WMPO tee times | Tiger Woods in season debuts | Tiger's restored smile

Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar are among the other stars teeing it up at TPC Scottsdale this week too. It's going to be a lot of fun.

With that, here are five players to watch this week.

5. Gary Woodland
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T2, CIMB Classic
Reason to watch: In three starts this season, Woodland has two top-3 finishes. He is most certainly a player to keep an eye on throughout 2015. Woodland is one of the most athletic, raw talents on Tour. He's made some noise in his career, but has been mostly thwarted by injuries. If he remains healthy, look out. Woodland tied for fifth at TPC Scottsdale in 2011 -- his best finish in the event where he has never missed the cut. Woodland will be picking up PGA Tour win soon... why not this week?

4. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T3, World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: There are a few players I can't wait to watch in 2015 and Fowler is right near the top of that list. It's well-documented that he finished in the top 5 of all four majors -- without a win -- in 2014. But, he also had six other top-10 finishes. People have viewed Fowler as a potential star for years now. It looks like that star is finally beginning to shine. Fowler is going to have a big 2015.

3. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T35, World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: That stuff I just said about Fowler? Yeah, it applies to this guy too. After the way he ended 2015 with a win in Australia followed by a win seven days later at the Hero World Challenge in Orlando, Spieth showed what's been missing early in his career -- the ability to not only close but absolutely dominate. This will be Spieth's first start in the Phoenix Open. I have the feeling that a young guy like Spieth is going to enjoy -- and thrive -- on the atmosphere.

2. Bubba Watson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Winner, World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: Watson is hard to pick against these days, especially after a monster 2014 in which he won twice (including the Masters for a second time); finished second three times (including the Waste Management Phoenix Open); and third once. Every time he tees it up these days, he's a favorite.

1. Phil Mickelson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T24, Humana Challenge
Reason to watch: For starters, Mickelson is a three-time winner of this event. He's also coming off a season that save for the runner-up finish at the PGA Championship (his only top 10 last season) was one of the worst of his career. Lefty says he's feeling great and I think he'll get back on track this year. The game is just so much more fun to watch when he's the regular contender we've come to expect. He's loved everywhere, but especially in Phoenix, his former home and college town. 

Here's how my five to watch fared at the Humana Challenge:

5. Phil Mickelson -- T24
4. Pat Perez -- T30
3. Bill Haas -- Won
2. Matt Kuchar -- T2
1. Keegan Bradley -- T48