Golf Buzz

Kevin Sabbagh
Kevin Sabbagh didn't hit the ball from the Freedom Tower, opting to just pose instead.

For Kevin Sabbagh, the opportunity was just too good to pass up. 

A fifth-generation iron worker in New York, Sabbagh was working on the construction of the Freedom Tower when he decided to recreate the famous black-and-white photo of an iron worker hitting a shot from a beam during the construction of Rockefeller Center. 

In a way, getting the opportunity to do that while building the Freedom Tower was beyond appropriate. Sabbagh was one of the countless Americans affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 

Sabbagh was in his freshman year of high school in Goshen, New York, a town about an hour outside of the city, on 9/11. The events that day "hit closer to home than anyone would like," he said. 

After hearing rumors of the terrorist attack early in the day, Sabbagh received first confirmation in his fifth-period class from his teacher. When he got to ninth period, there was a substitute teacher because the permanent one was in the National Guard and had been called down to Ground Zero. 

Related: Golf shot from above the abyss in Norway

That was nothing compared to the news he found out when he got home.

While most of Sabbagh's father's side of the family was involved in the iron industry, his mother's side of the family were firefighters in New York City. Sabbagh's uncle, Jim Riches, was a New York City fire deputy. His cousin Jimmy Riches was a firefighter for Engine 4 in the city and had gone missing after the World Trade Centers had collapsed. 

"When I got home, it really sank in when my mother told me they couldn't find Jimmy," Sabbagh said by phone on Thursday. 

Riches' body wouldn't be found until March 25, 2002. When it was located in the North Tower, it was right next to a woman's body on a stretcher. An article in The New York Post said that Riches had probably been carrying the woman out of the building when it collapsed. 

In the years since Riches' death, there have been a number of different ways that his family has kept his legacy alive. One of them is a golf outing, a game that is practically ingrained in being a Riches or Sabbagh. 

When Sabbagh was young, his father gave him and his older brother cut-down golf clubs and let them hit balls against the garage. Soon, the boys were hitting balls over the garage and into the neighbor's houses. 

As Sabbagh got older, his love of the game grew. That all led to Sept. 22, 2012, when Sabbagh decided he was going to hit a ball off of the Freedom Tower and into the Hudson River about a quarter of a mile away. 

Related: Our fans tell us about the craziest holes they've ever played

For days, Sabbagh checked the weather report for a wind to come from the east. Known among his friends for his 300-yard drives, Sabbagh figured his distance plus the wind plus the 1,400-feet elevation would give him enough carry to reach the water. 

"It looked fake, the city. That's how high up you are," Sabbagh said. 

The forecast gave Sabbagh favorable conditions on Sept. 22, but he never got the opportunity to hit the ball.

"During the day of the photo, the winds started coming in from the north," Sabbagh said. "There was a park below us with kids playing baseball and soccer, so I thought it was probably best just to pose."

So no, Sabbagh never did get the chance to hit a shot from the tower, which officially opened earlier this year. But much like the black-and-white photo that originally inspired Sabbagh, his photo did find its way onto a poster. 

"I gave one to my uncle recently and my cousin was there and she gasped and was speechless," Sabbagh said. "It's at just the right angle to see how high you are. It's unbelievable."

September 11, 2014 - 9:50am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Dane Karsten Maas
Guinness World Records
Dane Karsten Maas, a 49-year-old golf professional and 'Trick Golf Artist', created the longest usable golf club -- a driver that measures 14 feet, 5 inches and has been hit just over 180 yards.

There are some strange Guinness World Records out there. Stuff like "longest mohawk," "largest omelette," "biggest rubber band ball," and "tallest lego tower," just to name a few.

For 2015, there's an odd golf distinction to add to the Guinness World Records -- "world's longest usable golf club."

Dane Karsten Maas, a 49-year-old golf professional and 'Trick Golf Artist', created the longest usable golf club -- a driver that measures 14 feet, 5 inches and has been hit just over 180 yards.

"The weight and length of the club make striking the ball really exhausting," Maas tells Guinness. "Plus I don’t have a caddy!"

Here's video of Maas swinging the club:

September 11, 2014 - 8:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Fabrizio Zanotti
@MailSport on Twitter
Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti was struck in the head by a fellow competitor's errant shot at the KLM Open on Thursday and knocked unconscious.

UPDATE: The European Tour is now reporting that Zanotti never lost consciousness

There was a scary scene during the first round of the European Tour's KLM Open in The Netherlands on Thursday, when play was halted after Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti was struck in the head by a fellow competitor's errant shot.

Zanotti, 31, was playing the 16th hole when a wayward tee shot from France's Alexandre Kaleka -- playing the 14th hole -- blasted Zanotti in the head knocking him unconscious, according to the Daily Mail.

The frightening scene resulted in a delay in play, as an ambulance drove onto the course to tend to Zanotti. European Tour officials said that Zanotti regained consciousness before being carried into the ambulance and was reported to be "OK" once at the hospital.

Spain's Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño visited Zanotti at the hospital and it seems as though things are looking up.

Below are the series of tweets sent out by the European Tour regarding the situation.

Zanotti's lone European Tour victory came in June at the BMW International Open.


September 10, 2014 - 7:55pm
john.holmes's picture
bear cubs on golf course
These bear cubs seemed to enjoy their time on the golf course.
You ever have one of those rounds where the foursome in front of you just won't get off the green?
That happened to Andi Dzilums and his friends at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in Montana. Except the group in front consisted of four bear cubs.
Three of the cubs had cleared the green, but one just refused to move on to the next hole. And instead of his golf game, that little guy seemed fascinated by the flagstick. 
Over the course of Dzilums' couple minutes of video, the cub tries everything he can think of to get the pin out of the cup. Eventually, he turns his attention to a golf ball on the right side of the putting surface.
Take a look. It'll give you a smile.
Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen is all smiles after a smooth landing in the UPS flight training simulator.

While in Louisville for the PGA Championship, Louis "Larry" Oosthuizen had the opportunity to visit UPS Worldport, the largest fully-automated package handling facility in the world, processing an average of 1.6 million packages daily.

MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Parking space reserved for Larry Oosthuizen

The best part? When Oosthuizen got to "land" a UPS plane, using one of the flight training simulators. Check it out:



After that experience, Captain Oosthuizen may not find it nearly so tough leaning over a six-footer for the win. After all, he's 1-for-1 in jumbo jet landings.

PGA LONG DRIVE COMPETITION: Louis Oosthuizen wins with 340-yarder

Now he needs to return the favor by taking his flight instructor for a round of virtual golf.



September 10, 2014 - 11:33am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ryder Cup
PGA of America
In the history of the Ryder Cup, there have been six holes in one. You can watch all of them here.

In just a couple of weeks, Gleneagles in Scotland will play host to the 40th Ryder Cup.

Over the previous 39 Ryder Cups contested, there have been just six holes in one recorded.

The very first came at Muirfield in 1973 -- which was the last time the Ryder Cup was played in Scotland until this year. Peter Butler from the then Great Britain and Ireland team, who was a replacement for a sick Bernhard Gallacher, scored the ace. The U.S. won those matches, 19-13.

RELATED: Ryder Cup coverage | Videos | Photos | Past results

Twenty years later at The Belfry (the last time Tom Watson was the U.S. Captain and the last time the U.S. won on foreign soil), Nick Faldo became the second player to snag an ace in Ryder Cup history. He holed a 6-iron at the 189-yard 14th hole.

There were two aces in the very next Ryder Cup at Oak Hill, where the Europeans defeated the U.S. 14 1/2-13 1/2. First, Italian Costantino Rocca found the bottom of the cup with a 5-iron on the 167-yard sixth hole. Later in the week, Howard Clark of England aced the 11th hole with a 6-iron from 176 yards.

At the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland, there were two more aces. Pail Casey holed a 4-iron on the 213-yard 14th hole. The next day, Scott Verplank became the first American to make a Ryder Cup hole-in-one on that very same hole. The Europeans won those matches, 18 1/2-9 1/2.

Now that you've read about all the aces in Ryder Cup history, you probably want to watch them.

Here they are: