Golf Buzz

Olmos Park Golf Course in San Antonio
Olmos Basin Golf Course
When it's not underwater, Olmos Basin is a scenic municipal golf course just north of downtown San Antonio.

Rain has played havoc with golf all around the globe this week:

--The Colonial has been rainy for the past couple of days, and the second round only finished up this morning.

--The European Tour's big BMW PGA Championship outside of London has been so cold and wet that the players have expressed amazement and admiration at the hardiness of the fans who have come out to watch.

--The Senior PGA Championship in St. Louis saw intermittent showers on Friday and had a mid-afternoon weather stoppage today.

--And, of course, the poor LPGA Tour is struggling to get in 36 holes by Sunday as its inaugural Pure Silk Bahamas Classic has been wrecked by a once-in-a-lifetime rainstorm earlier this week.

None of these places, however, had it as bad as Olmos Basin Golf Course in San Antonio, Texas, has it today.

South Texas is getting its second straight day of hurricane-like rainfall – without the hurricane-like winds, thankfully – and San Antonio is bearing the brunt of it. In fact, the National Weather Service said that the Alamo City had gotten 9.83 inches of rainfall by midmorning alone, making this the second rainiest day in San Antonio's history.

Needless to say, nobody was playing much golf anywhere in San Antonio today. But somehow, a man found himself stranded on top of a restroom at the Olmos Basin Golf Course when floodwaters rose nearly up to the roof. The San Antonio Fire Department, using a Kodiak boat, motored right up to his rooftop perch, and the man calmly stepped into the boat. 

The rescue – which admittedly isn't very dramatic – was captured on video by WOAI-TV and you can see it here. But the thought of a golf course down there, under eight or nine feet of water, is plenty dramatic.

I've often said I'm glad my job doesn't include having to do live commentary of these kinds of breaking events, but even I could have done better than the broadcasters on the video. As they were puzzling over how the man got on the roof in the first place, one of them said, with seeming seriousness: ''I've gotta believe he wasn't golfing today.''

Yeah, I think that’s a pretty safe bet.

Those of you familiar with San Antonio know Olmos Basin as a popular municipal layout that has hosted many men's and women's city amateur championships. Hopefully, the water will drain off fairly quickly and the damage won't be too severe.

I haven't seen any word on how some of the city's other big courses, like TPC San Antonio or the historic Brackenridge Park, have fared, but I'm hoping for the best.


chart of long putter usage on pga tour
Charlie Kautz via Twitter
Charlie Kautz of TaylorMade put together this chart of long putter use on the PGA Tour this year, before the anchor ban was announced.

The USGA and R&A&'s ban on anchored putting strokes has certainly garnered its share of attention for the past few months. But this whole time, I've been wondering exactly how many players would be affected.

It's pretty impossible to get a real handle on long putter usage among everyday golfers. But when the ban was announced, TaylorMade's Charlie Kautz (who goes by the Twitter handle @CharlieTour) pulled together an interesting chart and some stats regarding long putters and the PGA Tour.  

Through the first 21 PGA Tour events of 2013, Kautz counted 287 putters classified as belly, midsize or long – though, he noted, not all of those putters were necessarily anchored. That, he figured, averaged out to 13.6 long putters per field, with the fields ranging from 93 players in the Masters to 156 at the biggest PGA Tour events.

In the Masters, 14 of those players – including, of course, winner Adam Scott – used long putters. And in the 64-man WGC-Accenture Match Play, which he described as the most "elite" field in pro golf, six players used putters classified as belly, midsize or long.

When Kautz posted his chart, he said: ''I'm curious how a line graph showing week-by-week usage'' of long putters trends in the coming weeks and months. It's pretty safe to say we all share that curiosity.


May 23, 2013 - 2:26pm
john.holmes's picture
Nate Smith autographed golf bag
A total of 68 PGA Tour players at the Wells Fargo Championship signed Nate Smith's golf bag.

Remember earlier this month, when PGA Tour player James Hahn played a prank on his buddy, Nate Smith?

Smith Monday-qualified for the Wells Fargo Championship, and Odyssey Golf flew in a brand-new bag for him. Hahn got hold of the bag first, though, and hung a sign on it in the Quail Hollow locker room asking other players to sign the bag "for charity auction."

More than 60 PGA Tour players dutifully signed it. And Smith, having no other choice, played the Wells Fargo with the uniquely decorated bag -- to the chuckles of his buddy, Hahn.

Well, now the bag is in fact up for charity auction – Smith has it on eBay, with all proceeds going to Boredom Busters, a non-profit organization that seeks to enhance the quality of life of pediatric patients when they're in the hospital.

Smith and Odyssey have teamed up to enhance the deal, too. Along with the bag, the winning bidder will receive a signature outfit from Travis Mathew, two tickets to a regular PGA Tour event, and a set of Callaway clubs with Odyssey putter.

The bag itself is a true collector's item, thanks to the quality of the signatures. Among the autographs are: Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Camilo Villegas, Bud Cauley, Stuart Appleby, Kevin Streelman, Hunter Mahan and Boo Weekley.

Helen Ross over at reported the story of the signature prank back on May 2, and you can read all about it here.

The auction runs through midnight ET on May 27. You can check it out here.

And, of course, if you're looking to do a little more online golf shopping, be sure to check out The Pro Shops, where you can buy the latest gear directly from PGA Professionals.


Tim Clark
Getty Images
Tim Clark switched to a long putter in college because of a congenital problem with his arms.

PGA Tour player Tim Clark says "a fair number" of players, including him, are getting legal advice over the ban on anchored putting strokes.

"We do have legal counsel,” said Clark at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. "We're going to explore our options. We're not going to just roll over and accept this."

Clark didn’t specify who the other players seeking legal counsel were. But he said they were exploring their legal options and felt the comment period was "all smoke and mirrors."

R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson shared his concern that some players could file lawsuits when the R&A and USGA announced the anchor ban on Tuesday.

"I very much hope not," said Dawson. "I don't think lawsuits will be on particularly strong ground. We are not so sure of ourselves that you can always be sure you're going to be right, but we have certainly done our homework on this one, far more than anything else in my time at the R&A."

Clark, who won the 2010 Players Championship, considers his future in golf uncertain now that the anchoring ban is officially going forward. 

''Obviously, now I guess, our tactics have to change,'' Clark told the Associated Press. ''We obviously during that period tried to reason with the USGA and the R&A and come to some sort of a favorable decision for ourselves. We're just trying to come to a fair and just decision that obviously has a great affect a lot on our careers and futures in the game.''

The PGA Tour and PGA of America contend that the stroke commonly used for long putters wasn't hurting the game and there was no statistical proof that it was an advantage.

Clark, the 37-year-old South African who has five wins worldwide, changed from a conventional putter halfway through college because of a congenital problem with his arms that caused discomfort holding the short putter close to his body.

''There's been a lot of sleepless nights,'' Clark said. ''A year ago, my future in the game, I could see it. I planned to play until I physically no longer could play. Now it's a case of I've been told no, hang on, that might change. You're going to change the way you putt here in a few years' time and now my future is uncertain.''

Clark believes that his method of putting has been an option since the game was invented and that changing the rule now makes no sense.

For people who talk about anchored putting going against golf tradition, Clark counters, ''Well, why aren't we playing hickory shafts and a feathery golf ball and having a goat carry our golf bag? I mean, the game has evolved, every generation of players has involved.''

The Associated Press contributed to this post.

Nike Golf, VR Forged Wedges
Nike Golf
Here's a look at the VR Forged Standard Grind in black oxide from Nike Golf.


Nike Golf has announced the release of its new VR Forged Wedges with three distinct sole grinds to personalize your wedge game: standard, dual wide and dual narrow.
Here's the press release from Nike:
BEAVERTON, Ore. (May 22, 2013) -- Nike Golf is capitalizing on the success of its VR Pro forged wedges with the introduction of the highly crafted Nike VR Forged wedges.
Available now at retail, the Nike VR Forged wedge family is made with a fine forged craftsmanship to deliver enhanced shot-making consistency, tour-level feel, and long-life groove performance. The wedges are crafted of a soft 1025 carbon steel and finished in premium satin chrome.
Built from the needs of Nike Golf Tour athletes, the VR Forged wedge features three distinct sole grinds to ensure ideal set-up from sand, fringe, fairway or deep rough for different players. The three sole grinds are Standard Grind, Dual Narrow Grind and Dual Wide Grind.
The VR Forged wedge with a standard grind is the most versatile profile for all conditions. This sole grind, which was inspired by the desires of Tiger Woods, ensures the correct address position without the need to open the face. This wedge is for the athlete that likes a multiple wedge system in their bag where loft is the primary difference.
Featuring a dual narrow grind, the VR Forged wedge has a narrow sole width with higher bounce and extreme heel relief. The wedge sits low to the ball whether the face is square or open. The dual narrow grind was influenced by Nike athlete Paul Casey, who likes to create more shots with fewer wedges.
Through research in conjunction with Nike Golf’s European Tour staff, who often face very wet conditions and heavy morning dew, Nike created the VR Forged wedge with a Dual Wide Grind. With the help of Nike athlete Francesco Molinari, club experts found that the Dual Wide Grind has all the benefits of a wider sole with a low bounce.  The easiest of the three grinds from any location around the green. This wedge is designed to get the ball up high in the air with ease. This grind allows the athlete to be accurate from the bunker but still deadly from the narrow lies. The Dual Wide Grind is an excellent second or third wedge option.
The VR Forged wedge features Nike’s high-frequency X3X grooves with a precision laser crosshatch pattern that is applied to the land area between the grooves.  This pattern adds three times the surface texture versus conventionally finished faces, creating more spin in all conditions.  With Nike’s X3X grooves, there are more grooves that are closer together and deeper on the clubface, which provides more control and consistency in all conditions off of the clubface, while conforming to the USGA and R&A rules.
VR Forged Standard Grind
Available:  Now
Finish Options: Tour Satin and Black Oxide
Loft/Bounce Options: 48/10; 50/10; 52/10; 54/12; 56/14; 58/10; 60/10 (Available in RH)
52/10; 56/14; 60/10 (Available in LH) Tour Satin only
MAP: $129.99
VR Forged Dual Wide Grind
Available:  Now
Finish Options: Tour Satin and Black Oxide
Loft/Bounce Options: 56/8; 60/6 (Available in RH)
MAP: $129.99
VR Forged Dual Narrow Grind
Available:  Now
Finish Options: Tour Satin and Black Oxide
Loft/Bounce Options: 56/16; 58/14; 60/13 (Available in RH)
MAP: $129.99
Titleist, Folds of Honor
PGA of America
Through the "Play With a Patriot Sweepstakes," you could win a round of golf with Folds of Honor Founder and Former F-16 Fighter Pilot Major Dan Rooney.


Titleist, along with the Folds of Honor Foundation announced today the "Play with a Patriot Sweepstakes."
The grand prize includes an all-expense-paid trip to The Patriot Golf Club for a round of golf with FOH Founder and Former F-16 Fighter Pilot Major Dan Rooney.
Here's the release from Titleist:
FAIRHAVEN, Mass. (May 22, 2013) -- This summer, Titleist and the Folds of Honor Foundation are giving golfers the chance to experience the power of patriotism along with the explosive distance of the Titleist Velocity golf ball in the “Play with a Patriot Sweepstakes.” 
The grand-prize winner and two guests will be treated to an all-expense-paid trip on Labor Day weekend to play a round of golf at The Patriot Golf Club in Owasso, Okla., with Major Dan Rooney, a PGA Professional, decorated military aviator and Iraq war veteran. In 2007, following his second of three tours of duty in Iraq, Rooney founded the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces. 
As part of the trip, Rooney, a former F-16 fighter pilot in the Air National Guard, will give the grand-prize winner and guests an insider’s tour of a fighter jet. Each of them will also receive a custom A2 leather flight jacket. 
Accommodations will be provided at The Lincoln Cottages, situated along the ninth fairway of The Patriot. 
Ten second-prize winners will each receive a Titleist Vokey Design/Folds of Honor Limited Edition wedge. 
All winners as part of their prize package will receive limited edition Titleist Velocity golf balls, which utilize high-speed LSX core technology to deliver the fastest solid core of any Titleist golf ball for powerful distance. 
Golfers can enter the "Play with a Patriot Sweepstakes" now through July 7 at
“Major Dan Rooney's passion and endless commitment to making a difference has inspired the golf community and beyond. Playing 18 holes with Major Dan on Labor Day weekend, as golfers around the country participate in Patriot Golf Day events, will be a very special, unforgettable experience for the winners,” said Mary Lou Bohn, Vice President, Titleist Golf Ball Marketing and Communications. “It has been and continues to be an honor for Titleist to support Major Dan and the Folds of Honor Foundation in their mission to give back to those military veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for this nation.” 
The seventh annual Patriot Golf Day, the Folds of Honor's Flagship fundraiser, takes place this Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, when golfers across the country will be asked to add an extra $1 to their green fees to help fund Folds of Honor scholarships. 
Over the last six years, golfers nationwide have been instrumental in raising more than $17 million through Patriot Golf Day events. As a result, Folds of Honor has awarded more than 4,000 scholarships. 
Titleist is a proud supporter of the Folds of Honor Foundation, Patriot Golf Day and the Patriot Cup, an invitational golf tournament and gala held every Memorial Day to support Folds of Honor and honor the nation's heroes. In addition to providing a financial contribution to the organization, Titleist is a strong advocate for Folds of Honor in the golf community. 
To learn more about the Folds of Honor Foundation, please visit
"Play with a Patriot Sweepstakes." No purchase necessary to enter. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the United States who are age 18 years or older. Sweepstakes offered from May 20 to July 7, 2013. Complete official rules available at 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.