Golf Buzz

February 28, 2014 - 4:34pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Graeme McDowell said Friday that his wife, Kristin, is pregnant with their first child, and they learned this week that it will be a girl.
G-Mac is expecting his own little Wee-Mac.
 
Graeme McDowell said Friday that his wife, Kristin, is pregnant with their first child, and they learned this week that it will be a girl. 
 
McDowell revealed that he found out his wife was pregnant on New Year's Day, soon after they had returned to Florida from a holiday visit to this family in Northern Ireland. The couple was married in October.
 
"We found on Tuesday it's a girl," he said Friday at the Honda Classic. "Obviously, we're real excited." 
 
For a former U.S. Open champion who plays a worldwide schedule, no timing is good timing. McDowell said the baby was due at the end of August. That's right in the middle of the FedExCup playoffs on the PGA Tour, and a month before the Ryder Cup in Scotland. 
 
 
McDowell has played on the last three European Ryder Cup teams, won the decisive match for Europe in 2010 at Celtic Manor and is a favorite to be on the team again. As for the playoffs? He has never fared well the last three years, so his wife having a baby can't hurt. 
 
"I think we're planning to have her, if all goes well, the Monday of Boston if she decides to stay in there that long," McDowell. "It's a great problem to have. I really don't care when she comes, as long as she's healthy. The playoffs into the Ryder Cup ... not much you can do there. But if it affects the playoffs, then it affects the playoffs. There will be other playoffs. You only have your first kid once." 
 
McDowell, 34, has 14 wins worldwide, including the 2010 U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach. He is No. 15 in the world. 
 
His wife, an interior decorator from Orlando, has a 5-year-old daughter from a previous marriage so, he says, "I already know all about Disney princesses." 
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
February 28, 2014 - 2:44pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bushnell
Bushnell
The NEO XS GPS golf watch and the Tour Z6 JOLT rangefinder are just two of the new distance-measuring devices offered by Bushnell for 2014.

When it comes to locking in your yardages on the golf course, Bushnell GPS watches and rangefinders are a must for any golfer who takes his or her game seriously.

New for 2014, Bushnell has introduced the NEO XS GPS watch (MSRP: $199.99); Tour Z6 JOLT rangefinder (MSRP:$399.00); Pro X7 JOLT rangefinder (MSRP: $499.99); and Pro X7 Slope rangefinder (MSRP: $599.99).

The NEO XS features delivers even more benefits than the previous NEO X model with one button press such as shot distance, four hazards and round odometer, while providing over three rounds of battery life.

RELATED: Visit PGA.com's extensive equipment page | PGA.com's Equipment Buzz

Additionally, when the product is functioning solely in watch mode, the battery can last 24 months without needing a recharge.The NEO XS is Bushnell's lightest and thinnest golf watch. It's simple to operate and comfortable to wear, giving golfer's easy-to-read front/back/center yardages on greens, hazard and shot distance measurements on over 33,000 preloaded courses with no membership fees.

The NEO XS Golf GPS watch is capable of instantly recognizing courses and has an auto hole advance feature which automatically changes from one hole to the next, meaning the user does not have to push another button the entire round. And while the golfer is out on the course, the odometer feature allows you to track distance, speed, and total activity time.

The NEO XS is available in three colors: Black/Yellow, Charcoal/Orange, White/Cobalt.

When a golfer aims the Bushnell Tour Z6 JOLT rangefinder at the flag, JOLT Technology will provide short vibrating bursts to reinforce that the company's advanced PinSeeker technology has isolated the target and locked onto the flag. The vibrating bursts provided by JOLT Technology eliminates any and all doubt and assures the golfer they have the exact distance to the flag.

Also new to the Tour Z6 JOLT is 2nd generation E.S.P (Extreme. Speed. Precision) Technology. 2nd Generation E.S.P. provides yardages five times faster and more accurately than ever before. Not only has the acquisition speed been increased to a lightning fast level, 2nd Generation E.S.P. provides 1/2-yard accuracy from 5-125 yards, and the distance is displayed to 1/10 of a yard.

Having more accurate laser distances enables the golfer to strategize and hit every approach shot with confidence.

The ultra-compact Tour Z6 JOLT also features Vivid Display Technology. Created specifically for Bushnell's premium rangefinders, this optical enhancement improves contrast, clarity and light transmission dramatically for enhanced use. The brightness of the digital readout information has also been increased, providing rapid and positive yardage acquisition in all lighting conditions.

The new Pro X7 JOLT also features JOLT Technology and Vivid Display Technology. The brightness of the digital display has been increased, providing rapid, positive identification in all lighting conditions.These enhancements are offered with four user adjustable intensity settings, allowing superior rangefinding performance for any golfer.

The Pro X7 JOLT also boasts E.S.P. technology.

Engineered for golfers who play competitively, the Pro X7 is legal for tournament play (all Bushnell laser rangefinder models, except the Bushnell Pro X7 Slope and Bushnell Tour v3 Slope are legal to use when USGA rule 14-3/.05 is in effect). The Pro X7 Slope has the same features as the Pro X7, plus Slope Technology that provides compensated distances based on elevation changes.

To learn more about these products and all of Bushnell's golf offerings, visit www.bushnellgolf.com.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

February 27, 2014 - 4:58pm
Posted by:
John Kim, Coordinating Producer
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Phil Mickelson offers a thumbs up
Courtesy USA Today
Phil Mickelson's "thumbs up" gesture quickly became one of the most iconic images of 2013.

Hey, are you guys excited about this weekend's Academy Awards? Nope, me neither.

I get that the Oscars is kind of important in the entertainment world, but when there seems to be some awards show celebrating the exact same thing seemingly every week - well, the shine is off the gold statuette.

Unless....what if someone came up with an awards show celebrating the things people actually are interested in. You know, like GOLF. It wouldn't be the best players (hey, we have majors for that!) or even the best coverage, but the things that you remember and enjoy that happen on a week to week basis. The things that aren't celebrated like they should be. We could call them the "Kimmys" and they would be the industry standard (or at least, in my mind.) No, there'd be no prize for the winners....but on their deathbed, they'd receive total consciousness. So they'd have that going for them...which is nice.

READ: Story behind the famous "Tin Cup" hole and golf course

Anyways ... let's do it. With a super secret committee of one judging, here are this year's Kimmy winners.

Best putt by a non-golfer: Patrick Burch, the Auburn fan who made a 90 footer to win a car. Burch, attending his first basketball game, is randomly selected from the crowd. He's not a golfer, didn't even think he could hit the large board on the other end of the floor, and well....
 

Best golf shot by an animal: The anonymous man, who was dressed as a dog, when he hit the shot to win a new Toyota. Yeah, you read that right. There was a little controversy as to whether he'd get the car, but ultimately, it was resolved in his favor. You know, every dog has his day type stuff. 

Best "going for a run" on a golf course: Kimberly Webster, you may know her as the Presidents Cup streaker. I'm not linking to the story or any image. But you can use Google if you want. (By the way, streaking is bad. Don't do this. But congrats on the "Kimmy")

Best disappearing act on a golf course: Mark Mihal, who didn't duck behind a tree, or go into the clubhouse at the turn to never come back. Nope, Mihal fell into a sinkhole while playing. "And like that, poof, he's gone."

Best flash of a finger on the golf course: Phil Mickelson. I probably get a few different fingers flashed at me from time to time, but Phil's "Thumbs Up" sign became iconic symbol of his very popular win at the sport's oldest major.
 

 

 

 

Best Dufnering pose: PGA Officers at the PGA Championship. I'm not saying seeing the PGA leadership having some fun with the Dufnering phenomena had anything to do with him winning the PGA Championship....I'm just not saying it didn't.

 

 

Best Caddie Read: Steve Williams. In the first playoff hole of the 2013 Masters, Williams was asked by his boss - Adam Scott - to take a look at the critical birdie putt. Williams saw it, disagreed with Scott's assessment and won the pace and line debate. Scott then makes the putt and claims Australia's first green jacket.

Worst Caddie Read: 18-way tie from a certain caddie of mine at a certain course that I'm not going to name. He knows who he is. #StillBitter

Best way to turn pro: Lydia Ko's round of golf with famous New Zealand rugby player "Izzy" Dagg culminates in her official (and fun) announcement that she's ready to turn professional.  

Best ad and worst tv golf ad: Mike's golf shop. Really. Best and worst. 30 seconds of awesomeness - and awfulness.
 

Best tweet announcing we're not open: Pinehurst Resort shares the famous Payne Stewart statue to create some Tweet magic on a day when there'd be no golf taking place on No. 2.

 

 

Best day for double eagles: Jan 10th, 2014. That's the day - literally a world apart - Joost Luiten, playing in South Africa, and James Hahn, playing in Hawaii, both recorded the ultra-rare albatross. Better yet, both were caught on film.

Best two-hole stretch of golf: Jim Machowski. This New Englander had two aces in the same round. That's incredible. Actually, he had them back-to-back. That's unreal. Oh wait, he had them both on par 4s!  That's...ridiculous.  What a day at Ridgewood Country Club in Moultonborough, N.H.

Best tan line: Stewart Cink. No really.

 

 

Best bunker save: Friends of Dougie Thompson, who rescued him from the jaws of a 12-foot crocodile.

Best way to honor a friend:  Friends of Tom Churchill gathered to play some golf at the annual "Closing Day" at the Cassique River Club, when they leanred their pal Churchie had passed away the night before. They decided to dedicate the day to his memory.  71 golfers took part. Six made aces. Amazing. 

Obviously, this only highlights some, a few, of the great and fun acheivements in golf in the past year. The awards are highly subjective and not that important. But they're still better than watching the Oscars (says me). What are your golf awards? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

John Kim doesn't think awards are important but he has won three CableFAX awards in the last three years and thinks you should know that. You can follow him on Twitter at @johnkim 

February 27, 2014 - 3:51pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sydney Leroux
Vine
As you'll see in the Vine below, Sydney Leroux's attempt at the "Happy Gilmore" golf swing didn't end as planned.

Sydney Leroux -- a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Women's Soccer team at the 2012 London Games -- took a crack at the "Happy Gilmore" swing made famous by Adam Sandler in the goofy golf flick.

RELATED: Story behind "Tin Cup" hole, course | "Caddyshack" director dead at 69 | Golf movie quotes

As you can see in the Vine below, things didn't turn out so well for Leroux, a forward for the Seattle Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League:

 

 

Ouch!

In case you need a refresher, here's how the "Happy Gilmore" swing is supposed to look:

You can also click here to see three-time major champion Padraig Harrington expertly executing the "Happy Gilmore" swing on the driving range at Port Royal during the 2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

February 27, 2014 - 11:46am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Galvin Green
Galvin Green
The "Aron" jacket by Galvin Green is a full-zip made with GORE-TEX Paclite and Stretch Fabric. It's 100 percent waterproof and guaranteed to keep you dry.

Galvin Green, a high-end outerwear brand based in Sweden that has been wildly popular throughout Europe, is making its U.S. debut with the latest Spring/Summer 2014 collection.

Galvin Green touts itself as makers of, "high-performance golf wear," and when you see the gear up close, you quickly realize the company isn't kidding.

The list of offerings for 2014 -- almost 300 different jackets, trousers, pullovers, sweaters, body warmers, shirts, slacks, shorts, hats, caps, gloves and socks, plus more than six times that number of size options -- Galvin Green says, meets demand for head-to-toe protection from the elements with garments that look and feel ideal for golf.

RELATED: PGA.com's extensive equipment page | Birdie Box golf gift boxes

The popular "Aron" jacket (MSRP: $460), is a full-zip, GORE-TEX Paclite with Stretch Fabric. The jacket is 100 percent waterproof and Galvin Green guarantees it will keep you dry. The Aron combines lightweight weather protection and extreme high-end, permformance. The Aron is also styled to avoid unnecessary fabric at the front of jacket that could impede the swing motion.

Both the cuffs for the wrists, as well as the chest width can be easily adjusted with velcro tabs for a perfect, custom fit.

While Galvin Green offers a wide variety of waterproof outerwear -- shell layers and warm layers -- the company also produces golf polos, pants, sweaters, hats, belts and even skintight compression and thermal base layers to wear underneath your golf attire to keep you warm and free-swinging in even the coldest of temperatures you'll face on the golf course.

Galvin Green makes golf gear for men, women and juniors with the promise, "All our garments are specifically developed for the game of golf. Designed by golfers, for golfers."

While Galvin Green items come at a price, this is one of those instances where you get what you pay for -- high-end golf gear that looks great, fits comfortably and is easy to maintain with just a machine wash and tumble dry.

To learn more about all the items Galvin Green has to offer, visit www.GalvinGreen.com. You can click here to view the Spring/Summer 2014 catalogue

Galvin Green is sold golf pro shops across the U.S. Click here to find a Galvin Green dealer near you.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

 

February 27, 2014 - 9:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tin Cup
YouTube
Kevin Costner and Cheech Marin in the famous final scene from the hit golf movie, "Tin Cup."

In the spirit of the Oscars on Sunday, we decided to take a closer look at “Tin Cup”, one of the greatest golf movies ever made, and specifically, the memorable final scene where Kevin Costner’s character makes a 12 on the final hole of the U.S. Open.

It’s served as a rallying cry for a stubborn, go-for-broke, never-lay-up attitude that a lot of golfers (and movie goers) found refreshing.

The course, at least in the movie, is set in North Carolina.

RELATED: President Obama makes "Caddyshack" reference | "Caddyshack" writer/director dead at 69

In reality, Kingwood Country Club (just northeast of Houston, Texas) was used for much of the movie. Kingwood Country Club is comprised of five courses (Island, Lake, Marsh, Forest and Deerwood). Scenes for "Tin Cup" were shot on the Forest Course and Deerwood, as well as at the Kingwood clubhouse for the bar scene, where Costner won a bet by knocking a pelican off its roost.

The famous final scene of the movie -- the par-5 18th hole in the U.S. Open -- is actually Deerwood’s par-4 fourth hole.

"It's just an incredibly demanding par 4," said Darrell Fuston, Director of Golf for Kingwood Country Club. "The prevailing wind is normally into you off the tee so hitting the fairway is very difficult. If you miss the fairway it's an automatic lay up. It's one of the best golf holes in Texas.”

“If you didn't know the fourth hole was the hole used in the movie, you wouldn't recognize it,” said Dave Altemus, President of the Southern Texas PGA Section and the General Manager of Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston. “The movie was so iconic. It’s one of best golf movies ever made. Everybody who’s a golfer has seen ‘Tin Cup.’ ”

The famous hole is the No. 1 handicap at the course and plays 453 yards and “takes two great shots to get there in two,” said Heath Martin, Manager and PGA Head Professional at Deerwood. “The second shot is the more difficult of the two. A player must hit it through a narrow area in between trees and over water. There’s no room for error with the water, bunker right, hazard left, and hazard long. It’s a great test of golf even for the pros.”

Deerwood is a private facility. So it’s not every day that people ask Martin about the movie. But, it does happen on occasion, mostly with out of town guests, he said.

“Everyone is shocked when you tell them it's a par 4,” he added.

Jim Phenicie, the PGA Director of Instruction at Royal Oaks, said he gets asked about the movie 4-5 times per year. And, when people talk about “Tin Cup” otherwise, Phenicie sometimes speaks up about his own special experience.

Phenicie had a role in the movie.

At the time the movie was being filmed, Phenicie -- the 2003 Southern Texas PGA Teacher of the Year -- was director of instruction at the Golf Advantage School at Kingwood, which was used as the driving range where Costner had the shanks before the start of the U.S. Open.

GOLF IN THE MOVIES: Your favorite golf movie characters | Best golf movie quotes

The crew for “Tin Cup” arrived in October of 1995 to shoot the scenes you see in the movie.

“I was side by side in several scenes with Costner,” said Phenicie, also a four-time Chapter Teacher of the Year. “Costner was very serious; he had his game face on. Don Johnson was very funny. He didn't have to remember who I was, but he did. I didn't have any scenes with Renee Russo, but I did get to see Cheech Marin a little bit.”

Phenicie and his former boss David Preisler (the PGA Director of Golf over Kingwood at the time) were Costner’s playing partners for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open in the movie.

“When Costner shoots the course record (a 62 in the second round after shooting 82 in the first round), my old boss and I were his playing partners in the movie and shook his hand on the green,” Phenicie said. “If you remember, Costner actually hit his approach into the water during the course-record round and then got up and down after taking a drop.

“That was the most memorable part of the whole deal for me, because from the drop area – with a wedge – it actually took Costner 30-to-35 takes to get the ball close enough to the hole to have a reasonable chance to make the putt. It took about an hour. Then, like a pro, he made the putt on the first take – and it was a good thing too, because they were running out of light.”

Phenicie said all the scenes shot on the fourth hole – including the climactic final scene where Costner takes a 12 after finding the water with shot after shot before holing out with the only ball he had left – took the better part of three days to shoot.

Click here to watch the final scene, but keep in mind the movie was rated "R"

“It was right before Thanksgiving,” Phenicie said. “The first shot Kevin hit of the day was a toe shank 5-wood and he hit a lady. He felt so bad that he sent her flowers. I mean he felt really bad.”

Even in a state as big as Texas that’s so rich in great golf courses, the fourth hole at Deerwood is regarded by many as one of the most difficult in the Lone Star State.

“It’s a hole that has stood the test of time,” Phenicie said. “It’s a hard hole.

And a famous one, too.

“We have a marble plaque that marks the spot where Roy McAvoy hit the miraculous shot in the movie,” Martin said. “Guys like to take bets and drop a ball from the spot to take their shot at glory. There are a lot of war stories about hole No. 4, especially after golf tournaments. The round/score has been lost on No. 4 many times for players.”

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.