Golf Buzz

March 22, 2015 - 3:19pm
mark.aumann's picture
Zach Johnson
PGA Tour/YouTube
Zach Johnson is all smiles after his albatross Sunday at Bay Hill's No. 16.

Albatrosses are the rarest of birds on golf courses. In the 36 years since the Arnold Palmer Invitational was founded, no one had ever recorded one -- until Daniel Berger did it Saturday.

Make that two in two days.

SHARE YOUR HOLE-IN-ONE: Post the details on social media at #PGAace or #PGAholeinone

At the par-5 16th in Sunday's final round, Zach Johnson hit this 5-iron from 207 yards. And watch what happens:



According to the NBC Golf Channel broadcast, fewer than 125 albatrosses have been recorded on the PGA Tour since 1970. And yet Berger and Johnson accomplished it in back-to-back rounds this weekend at Bay Hill.

Johnson says he saw the tournament host on the 16th tee and went over to shake his hand. He figured some of the Palmer magic rubbed off on him. Johnson shot 66.

U.S. OPEN ACE: Zach Johnson makes a hole-in-one at Pinehurst No. 2

It was only the seventh time since the PGA Tour began keeping records in 1983 that two players made a double eagle in the same tournament. The last time was in 2007 at The Players Championship.

A rare commonality, to be sure. Some people call them double eagles. In this instance, it's more like albatross-albatross.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

March 21, 2015 - 6:29pm
mark.aumann's picture
Kevin Na
PGA Tour/YouTube
Kevin Na celebrates his eagle hole-out from the bunker at No. 16.

While much of the attention Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational was focused on Daniel Berger's amazing albatross -- and rightly so -- Kevin Na had two highlight-worthy shots of his own, on consecutive holes.

First, he sinks this 50-foot putt at No. 15:



And then one hole later, he does this from the bunker:



That birdie-eagle run allowed Na to finish with a third-round 69, keeping him within striking distance of leader Henrik Stenson, who had two birdies and an eagle down the home stretch.

March 20, 2015 - 3:44pm
mark.aumann's picture
Keegan Bradley
PGA Tour/YouTube
Keegan Bradley missed a hole-in-one by this much Friday at Bay Hill.

Keegan Bradley came oh-so-close to a hole-in-one Friday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when his shot at the par-3 seventh hole first makes a beeline for the cup … and then puts on the brakes.

IDENTICAL ACES: J.B. Holmes, Dustin Johnson at Doral

Watch the video for yourself:


HOW DID YOU MAKE YOUR ACE?: Share your hole-in-one story on social media

A tap-in birdie is the next best thing. But being able to walk off with a 1 on your scorecard is pretty sweet.

March 20, 2015 - 9:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Georgia State
The Georgia State men's basketball team shocked Baylor on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. That had the Georgia State men's golf team fired up.

Surely you don't need the reminder, but just in case -- March Madness is upon us.

Thursday, Day 1 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, was one of the most exciting in recent memory.

RELATED: Bryan Brothers March Madness-themed trick shots video

One of the best underdog performances came from Georgia State University, a No. 14 seed, which knocked off No. 3 Baylor -- 57-56 -- thanks to this 3-pointer in the closing seconds by R.J. Hunter (son of head coach R.J. Hunter, who tore his Achilles last week celebrating the team's tournament championship, and fell off his seat when his son made the shot yesterday as you can see in the video.

So what does all this have to do with golf?

Fair question. And here's your answer -- check out the Georgia State University men's golf team celebration after Hunter buried the three:


That was awesome.

March 19, 2015 - 2:21pm
mark.aumann's picture
PGA of America
USA Today Images
Wind can be a help and a hindrance on the golf course.

If March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, there's still a lot of ferocity from Mother Nature with one week to go before spring officially rolls in.

Consider Thursday's weather at the European Tour stop on the Madiera Islands. The wind -- clocked steadily at over 35 miles an hour and gusting as high as 47 mph -- forced tournament officials to postpone the round before it began and shorten the tournament to 54 holes.

How windy was it? At one point, tournament officials placed a golf ball on one of the greens and the wind actually pushed the ball some three feet into the hole.

BROKEN CLUBS: What's allowed under the rules?

And that brings up an interesting rule situation: We asked PGA Rules of Golf Vice Chairman, Mr. Chip Essig, to explain how you'd interpret the rules if this actually happened to you or someone in your group on an extremely windy day.

"Decision 18-1/12 in the Decisions on the Rules of Golf book states that wind is not an outside agency and if wind causes your ball to move, you should play the ball from its new position," Essig said. "If the wind blows the ball into the hole, the player would be deem to have holed out with his last stroke."

But what if you've marked the ball, then set it back down and the wind rolls it away from that spot? Are you required to return it to the original spot? Not according to the Rules.

"Decision 20-3d/1 states that even a ball that has been replaced on the green, if at rest on the spot which it was placed before it starts rolling, would be played from the new location if the wind caused it to move," Essig said. "However, the ball might be blown out of bounds instead of into the hole and the player’s ball would be deemed to lie out of bounds."

PLAYING LESSONS: Five tips to conquer the wind

To sum up, if wind moves your ball without outside influences, you must play the next stroke from the point where it eventually stops. If that happens to be in the hole, like in the video, that's tremendously good fortune. If it happens to roll off farther from the hole, or even off the green into a hazard, that's just tough luck.



Categories: Don Essig IV, PGA
March 19, 2015 - 11:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Brandt Snedeker
Even when you're on the PGA Tour, it's better to be lucky than good sometimes. Just ask Brandt Snedeker.

In golf, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good -- even on the PGA Tour.

Brandt Snedeker can attest to that after hitting a terrible approach shot at Bay Hill on Thursday and ending up with a par.

You could tell Snedeker was disgusted with his approach at the par-4 18th hole immediately after hit left the clubface. He waited for it to splash in the water that guards the green.

RELATED: Bay Hill leaderboard | Auclair's 5 players to watch

Instead, the ball bounced off the rocks on the water's edge twice and rolled up to within 6 feet of the hole.

As you can see in the video below, all Snedeker and playing partners Billy Horschel and Henrik Stenson could do is laugh: