Golf Buzz

October 28, 2013 - 10:41pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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EA Sports PGA Tour 2015 golf game
EA Sports
EA Sports says it is working with the PGA Tour "on a new approach'' for future games.

The ''Tiger Woods PGA Tour'' golf game series from EA Sports has been a consistent best-seller for almost a decade and a half, but the company announced on Monday that it and the superstar golfer are going their separate ways.

EA Sports and Woods have made ''a mutual decision to end our partnership, which includes Tiger's named PGA Tour golf game,'' the company said on its official blog. ''We've always been big fans of Tiger and we wish him continued success in all his future endeavors.''

EA Sports gave no reason for the split, and the Woods camp didn't issue any comment, either. However, the end of the partnership doesn't mean the end of EA Sports' presence in the golf game arena. Moving forward, the company will ''continue to work with the PGA Tour exclusively to create groundbreaking golfing titles,'' it said, stressing that their partnership remains strong.

TIGER TAMED: McIlroy tops Woods for second straight year in China exhibition

The company hinted that it is ''working on a new approach'' for future games, responding to gamers' request for ''more choice and customization in how and where they play.'' Without providing any details about future releases, EA Sports said ''we think you'll love it.''

The photo above is the first screenshot of EA Sports' next-generation golf game currently in development. 

The current ''Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14,'' which became available last spring, includes several breakthroughs, including a Legends of the Majors mode that allows players to compete against greats like Jack Nicklaus and Bobby Jones. With the end of the partnship, 2014 will mark the first year since 1999 that EA will not publish a Tiger Woods golf game.


October 28, 2013 - 11:06am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Long greenside bunker shots -- even the most seasoned of PGA Tour veterans will tell you that the 30-60-yard bunker shot is among the most difficult to hit in golf.

Fear not, friends. In today's golf tip, PGA Professional Bill Murchison offers up some great advice to ensure that this particular shot doesn't need to be nearly as daunting as you make it out to be.

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


October 28, 2013 - 10:53am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Lydia Ko
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Lydia Ko, 16, will be a full member of the LPGA for the 2014 season.

A couple of weeks back, we learned it was only a matter of time before 16-year-old New Zealand golf prodigy Lydia Ko would join the professional ranks.

Then, last week, Ko released a fantastic video making her jump to professional golf official.

The only question left was: Would Ko -- a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour -- be granted membership to the tour?

RELATED: Lydia Ko helps launch latest iPhone in New Zealand

The LPGA requires its members be at least 18 years old.

Golf Channel's Randell Mell explained in a report: "As a non-member winner of a tour event, Ko is entitled to claim tour membership. She could seek to claim immediate membership for the rest of 2013 and through 2014. Or, she could defer membership to next year. However, Ko can’t do either without first obtaining a waiver of the tour’s age restriction. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan holds the power to grant or deny such petitions."

Well, Ko applied for the waiver and the waiver was granted. She will be a LPGA member beginning with the 2014 season

"This decision ensures that Lydia can attend all of our LPGA rookie development sessions that take place in the early part of the year," LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan said in a release. "We are looking forward to having Lydia as a full-time member for the 2014 season. It is not often that the LPGA welcomes a rookie who is already a back-to-back LPGA tour champion."

Ko is expected to make her professional debut at the CME Group Titleholders next month.

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


October 28, 2013 - 9:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
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On Monday, Tiger Woods made his first public comments about Brandel Chamblee's cheating insinuation in a recent column.

In an Associated Press report on Monday, Tiger Woods said he was ready to move on from Brandel Chamblee's insinuation of cheating in a column posted two weeks ago and added that it was up to Golf Channel -- Chamblee's primary employer -- to decide what would happen next.

In the column, Chamblee gave Woods a grade of "F" for his 2013 season, writing that Woods was, "a little cavalier with the rules."

READ: Rory McIlrory edges Tiger Woods by one shot in 18-hole exhibition

"All I am going to say is that I know I am going forward," Woods said in the AP report, before his exhibition match with Rory McIlroy at Mission Hills. "But then, I don't know what the Golf Channel is going to do or not. But then that's up to them. The whole issue has been very disappointing as he didn't really apologize and he sort of reignited the whole situation.

"So the ball really is in the court of the Golf Channel and what they are prepared to do."

After the piece was published, the longtime agent of Woods -- Mark Steinberg -- suggested he might pursue legal action against Chamblee for the insinuation that Woods was a cheater.

In Monday's report, Steinberg said, "I'm all done talking about it and it's now in the hands of the Golf Channel. That's Tiger's view and that's mine, and all we want to do is move forward. And whether the Golf Channel moves forward as well, then we'll have to wait and see."

Chamblee sent out a series of tweets last week to address the situation, "I want to apologize to Tiger for this incited discourse," and that "I was not asked to apologize." He also said his "intention was to note Tiger's rules infractions this year, but comparing that to cheating in grade school went too far."

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


October 28, 2013 - 9:14am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Ryan Moore
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Ryan Moore (left) is congratulated by Gary Woodland after winning on the first hole of a sudden death playoff in Malaysia on Monday.

Ryan Moore won the CIMB Classic on Monday, edging out Gary Woodland on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with a birdie.

The tournament -- the third on the PGA Tour’s new wraparound schedule -- was played in Malaysia. There were two significant weather delays in Sunday’s final round, which meant there wasn’t enough daylight to contest the playoff that evening. Moore and Woodland – both looking for respective win No. 3 on the PGA Tour -- returned Monday morning (primetime Sunday evening for those on the east coast of the U.S.) -- to play the lone hole of the playoff.

The victory was Moore’s first since the 2012 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

MORE: Final CIMB Classic leaderboard | Final recap | Your favorite golf games to play

Here’s a look at the highlights from Monday’s playoff:



The PGA Tour moves to Shanghai, China this week for the World Golf Championships- HSBC Champions.

And now, on to more golf...

EXHIBITION GOLF: For the second consecutive year, Rory McIlroy defeated world No. 1 Tiger Woods in an 18-hole exhibition match in China. McIlroy fired a 6-under 66 at Mission Hills on Monday, one shot better than the 67 by Woods. Also: Tiger comments on Brandel Chamblee.

EUROPEAN TOUR: The finish wasn’t pretty -- a knee-knocker of a double bogey on the 72nd hole -- but it was good enough for Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano to win the BMW Masters in Shanghai on Sunday. Fernandez-Castano had a three-shot advantage when he teed it up on the final hole, but struggled mightily on the last before closing out the win… In other news from the BMW Masters, England’s Simon Dyson was disqualified Saturday morning after video surfaced of the player seemingly touching his putting line by tapping down a spike mark with his golf ball.

Here’s video footage of the infraction:



Like the PGA Tour, the European Tour is in Shanghai this week for the co-sanctioned HSBC Champions.

LPGA TOUR: There’s no hotter player in the ladies game right now than Suzann Pettersen. Pettersen successfully defended the Sunrise Championship in Taiwan Sunday. It was her fourth win on the LPGA Tour this season and her third victory in her last five starts. The Norwegian star closed with a 3-under 69 for a five-stroke victory over Solheim Cup teammate Azahara Munoz. The LPGA Tour takes a short break before teeing off the Mizuno Classic on Nov. 8.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Kenny Perry made a 10-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff with Bernhard Langer on Sunday to win the Champions Tour's AT&T Championship. The victory was the third of the year for Perry, who is No. 1 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. Perry and Langer each shot 5-under 67 at TPC San Antonio's AT&T Canyons Course to finish regulation at 13-under 203. Perry dramatically saved par on the final hole of regulation when he holed an 18-foot putt. The Champions Tour moves on to TPC Harding Park in San Francisco this week for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

AMATEUR GOLF: Chang-woo Lee of South Korea won the Asia-Pacific Amateur by three shots Sunday to earn a trip to the Masters in April. The winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur gets an invitation to the Masters and is exempt until the final qualifying stage for the British Open. Hasegawa also gets into final qualifying for the British Open. Defending champion Tianlang Guan, who turned 15 last week, shot 73 and finished eight shots behind.

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

October 27, 2013 - 6:23pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Mike Small at the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame
Courtesy the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame
PGA Professional Mike Small posed by his "wall of fame" at the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.

If you're a regular reader of, you know that PGA Professional Mike Small owns a list of accomplishments unlike any other golfer around. And on Friday night, he became the youngest person ever inducted into the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.

Small, 47, was part of the 15th class to be inducted into the Illinois hall, along with his fellow PGA Professional Bob Harris and PGA Tour and Champions Tour standout Jay Haas.

Small was born in Aurora, Ill., and was a teammate of PGA Tour star Steve Stricker at the University of Illinois, where he played an integral role on the Illini's 1988 Big Ten Championship team while finishing second behind Stricker for the individual Big Ten title. He turned professional in 1990, began competing on smaller tours and became a PGA member in 1996. The following season, he won the Monterey Open and Cleveland Open and finished in the top 15 on the Nike Tour money list, which earned him his PGA Tour card for the 1998 season.

A few years later, Small became the head golf coach at Illinois, which has become a national powerhouse under his leadership. During his tenure, the team has captured five Big Ten titles (2009-2013) and competed in eight NCAA National Championships (2002, 2003, 2008-2013). Small has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year six times (2002, 2009-2013), and this year's team finished as the NCAA runner-up.

In addition, he's captured the Illinois PGA Championship a record nine times (2001, 2003-2010), the Illinois Open four times (2003, 2005-2007) and the 2007 Illinois PGA Match Play Championship. He's the only person to win both the Illinois PGA Championship and Illinois Open in the same year – a feat he's accomplished four times.

MORE ON THE HONOREES: Read the official release from the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame

Nationally, Small has won the PGA Professional National Championship three times (2005, 2009, 2010), tying Larry Gilbert as the only three-time winners of the prestigious event. He has been honored as the PGA of America Player of the Year three times (2006, 2007, 2010) and is a four-time member of the U.S. PGA Cup team. He has competed in eight PGA Championships, making the cut three times (2005, 2007, 2011), and played in three U.S. Opens. He's also the only member of the Illinois PGA to win the PGA Professional National Championship.

Harris, meanwhile, became one of the greatest Illinois PGA Professionals to ever play the game, earning NCAA team and individual championships and competing in the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship. He also was the PGA head golf professional at one of Chicago's most prestigious country clubs.

Now 84, Harris began caddying at the age of 12. His high school didn't have a golf team, but he played at San Jose State University, where in 1948 the team won the NCAA championship and he was the individual champion. He served in the military for four years during the Korean War, earned his PGA membership in the mid-1950s and began a quarter-century run at Sunset Ridge near Chicago.

Harris won the Illinois PGA Match Play Championship a record six consecutive times (1958-1963), the Illinois PGA Championship twice (1959, 1961) and the Illinois Open twice (1955, 1956). Nationally, he competed in the Masters twice (1956, 1961), the U.S. Open seven times (1949, 1955, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1968) and the PGA Championship three times (1959-1961). And at one point, he held nine scoring records at golf courses in the Chicagoland area. 

A HOOSIER HONOR: PGA President Bishop inducted into Indiana Golf Hall of Fame

Haas, one of the most consistent players in PGA Tour history, holds the record for most career cuts made on the tour with 592. Playing for Wake Forest, he won the NCAA individual championship in 1975 on a team that Golf World called "the greatest college team of all time.'' The Wake Forest teams headed by Haas and Curtis Strange won the NCAA team championship in 1974 and 1975.

Haas, 59, grew up in Belleville, Ill, made his first hole-in-one at age 10 and was the Illinois State High School champion his junior year. At Wake Forest, he was named to the NCAA All-America team four consecutive years (1973-1976) and earned All-ACC honors in 1975 and 1976, the first two years it was awarded. Also, in 1975 he received the Fred Haskins Award, given annually to the most outstanding college golfer in the United States.

He won nine times on the PGA Tour, competed in the Ryder Cup three times (1983, 1995, 2004), owns 16 Champions Tour victories, and was the Champions Tour Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007. He received the 2004 Payne Stewart Award, presented to a player sharing Stewart's respect for the traditions of the game, and the 2006 Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the USGA.