Golf Buzz

February 19, 2014 - 5:44pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Speed Police
Photo courtesy TaylorMade Golf YouTube channel
Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Jason Day appear as Speed Police - sort of.

Imagine stepping up to the tee box, getting ready to hit, when suddenly you're tackled by Justin Rose. Or Sergio Garcia. Or Jason Day. Or Dustin Johnson. Or more accurately, a puppet of one of them.

Yes, I said puppet.

TaylorMade's new "Speed Police" characters, using the likeness of some of their most high profile ambassadors (complete with four different accents!), are out in force (according to their new ad) looking for golfers who are using "outdated" clubs. Of course, the golfers - er, the police - I mean, the puppets - will claim that any club that's not using TaylorMade's Jet Speed clubs are "outdated." You can watch it here.


The ad is clever and fun. Even more, it's part of a growing trend in golf marketing using fun imagery and dialogue to stand out in the always hyper-competitive sphere of golf equipment. From Nike's "No Cup is Safe" and "Sorry Mr. Tiger" ads to Callaway's "Phil's outtakes for Big Bertha" and all up and down the spectrum, the need to entertain as much inform seems to be the way to get golfers talking.

Of course, the club companies all readily acknowledge that the bottom line is still the clubs and their performance. They all believe in their products and well, they should. I haven't seen a "bad" product in a long, long time. But via social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), the ability to spread the message is easier and more vital than ever before. It's a big win for all of golf that the industry has embraced this with the enthusiasm and creativity that they have.  

February 19, 2014 - 4:20pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Ben Crane
Courtesy Ben Crane's Instagram
Ben Crane shows there's more than one way to sink a putt.

Ben Crane has made a great name for himself on (......) and off the course.

Crane recently sent out on his Instagram a short video of his latest putting technique. It's a bit unorthodox, hard to copy and probably illegal - but it's fun to watch!



Crane has recently established a reputation for one of the more fun, irreverent and light-hearted personalities on Tour, combining with friends Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan on the Golf Boys hit "Oh, oh, oh " and the follow-up "Golf Boys 2.Oh"


Crane has also, like Justin Timberlake, struck out on his own for a solo act.  Crane's YouTube channel has generated millions of visits for his series of videos where he has fun talking about all kinds of golf topics including make light of his reputation for being - well, not fast. 


Crane is having a pretty good season, having made 6 of 7 cuts and one top ten to his credit thus far. I think it's fair to say Crane's new putting technique will not be making a debut in tournament play anytime soon - but you never know.  Regardless, thanks to the powers of social media, one time is enough to get a lot of fun attention. 

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim

February 19, 2014 - 12:45pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tom Watson
Getty Images
What would you do with the wood from Augusta National's Eisenhower Tree? U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson has a great idea.

According to 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson, "everyone who as played in the Masters has had a run-in with Ike's Tree."

Ike's Tree -- or, the Eisenhower Tree -- which sat 210 yards from the 17th tee at Augusta National down the left side of the hole, was removed over the weekend after it was destroyed in an ice storm.

The tree was named after former President Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower was a member of Augusta National and often had trouble getting around the tree -- so much so he wanted it removed from the grounds. That's something Augusta National co-founder Clifford Roberts refused to do and hence the tree bore Eisenhower's name.

READ: Augusta National loses iconic Eisenhower Tree in ice storm | Augusta National begins cleanup

On Wednesday morning, I had a chat with Watson -- a two-time Masters winner with 15 career top-10 finishes at Augusta National -- and asked him about Ike's Tree.

"It wasn't just Ike's Tree that they lost," he said. "It was also the tree behind that one that was supposed to replace Ike's Tree if anything ever happened. Both had to be removed. Knowing the folks at Augusta National, though, something appropriate will be in place by Masters week."


We asked our Facebook friends what they would do with the wood from Ike's Tree in this week's edition of, "A Quick Nine." You can read they great answers here.

With that, I figured it was worth asking Watson as well.

"Oh, I don't know," Watson said. "I guess I'd make tee markers out of it. Better yet, maybe make a bench to put out in front of the Eisenhower Cabin. That would be cool."

The Eisenhower Cabin was built in the early 1950s after Eisenhower's election as U.S. President. It was built to specs provided by the Secret Service, since it was built specifically for the President and Mrs. Eisenhower.

The Eisenhower Cabin, located left of the 10th tee at Augusta National, is one of 10 cabins on the club's property. describes the Eisenhower Cabin as an, "entrancing time capsule":

A trove of family mementos remains in place, including small, framed photographs of homes in which Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, lived over the years, in places as far ranging as Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Paris, France; and the Panama Canal Zone. The White House, too. Given his itinerant life as a military commander, followed by his years in Washington, Eisenhower went decades without feeling as if he had a proper home. Augusta National came to fill that role for him and the first lady.

The cabin has a small kitchen and a spacious living room, where a card table speaks to another traditional passion of Augusta National members – bridge. The dining room sports a sweeping view of Ike’s Pond and the Par 3 Course in back. A photograph shows Ike and Mamie walking together outside the cabin, and an oil painting he made of the par-3 No. 16 hole hangs above a fireplace. There is also a solarium, in which a photograph on the wall shows former Secretary of State George Shultz and National Security Adviser Robert "Bud" McFarlane with President Ronald Reagan, who had come to the club to play golf. Taken in that very room in 1983, it records the moment when a pajama-clad commander-in-chief gave the go-ahead for the U.S. invasion of Grenada.

Based on all the history, it seems Watson's spontaneous answer would be a fantastic idea.

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


Tad Moore Signature Series putters from Orlimar
Courtesy of Orlimar
The new Tad Moore Signature Series putters from Orlimar all contain a unique milled face designed to work well with the cover materials of modern golf balls.
Tad Moore has been designing golf clubs since 1963, and he's created numerous drivers, irons and wedges for companies such as Dunlop and Maxfli, along with the putter that Ian Woosnam used to win the 1991 Masters. Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Ray Floyd and Jay Haas are among the other star players who have used his clubs over the years.
His latest project is the Tad Moore Signature Series of putters that he is creating with Orlimar Golf. Each of the four putters in this new family of flat sticks combines traditional shapes with a patented washboard face milling.
"Washboard-face milled putters improve roll and performance compared to other putter faces," he said. "I have found that new golf balls with different cover materials such as urethane react to the washboard face much better. The ball off of these putters has a better launch and rolls more consistent and accurate."
The four putters in the series include:
The TMO-1: This is a traditional blade with a carbon steel head and a 45-degree plumber neck hosel that provides a better visual at address. The heel-shafted putter features a cambered sole and a sight line in the flange, and is heel and toe weighted for increased stability through the stroke. 
The TMO-2: This blade is slightly wider than the TMO-1, and is made from carbon steel and includes a plumber neck hosel. Its topline is thin and it features a sloping heel-and toe-weighted bumper. The sight line is in the flange with a sound slot that cuts through the cavity to the sole for enhanced feel.
The TMO-3: A classic design of a wide-sole, heel-shafted blade with a carbon steel head, this model is designed for players who swing the putter on an arced path. The sole utilizes sight lines in the cavity to improve its look and alignment.
The TMO-4: Also known as "the Tadpole," This non-traditional perimeter-weighted mallet is T-shaped and features an aluminum head. It is center-shafted, and includes a long topline to aid in alignment. Rear weighting improves performance on mis-hits and the outer circular ring balances the weight on the edges to enhance its stability. 
The putters are all 35 inches in length, have a black PVD finish and carry a suggested retail price of $249. Custom loft and lie options are available, and the line will be available at retail in March.
February 18, 2014 - 5:17pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Furman University
Furman University
More than 50 former players – including Brad Faxon, the team's most prominent graduate – held a teleconference on Monday with school officials to discuss ways to possibly keep the men's golf team alive.
Shocked and saddened at the news that Furman University is planning to kill off its storied men's golf program at the end of the school year, a number of prominent alumni have begun exploring ways to keep the team alive.
More than 50 former golfers – including Brad Faxon, the team's most prominent graduate – held a teleconference on Monday with Athletic Director Gary Clark and Interim President Karl Kohrt, according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press newspaper. Among the topics of discussion were ways to salvage the program for at least one more season and secure its long-term future.
Kohrt suggested that the group create an outline and send it to him immediately because the time available to reverse the decision is short, according to the newspaper. He also explained the thought process that went into the Feb. 7 decision to kill the men's golf team as part of a schoolwide plan to save $2 million in costs.
And while the situation is dire, a successful rescue isn't unprecedented. The University of California at Berkeley dropped its men's golf team a few years ago, but its alumni banded together and raised enough money to keep the program alive. And now the team's entire budget – for scholarships, coaching salaries, travel and recruiting – is funded entirely through private fundraising efforts.
Furman's Board of Trustees made the decision to end the program after concluding that its money and athletic department resources could be better used elsewhere. They said several factors – including public visibility, attendance, competitiveness and overall costs – figured in the decision. 
"Our Board deliberated at great length over this decision, and it was made after considerable discussion and analysis of our university resources and our priorities in Division I athletics," Kohrt said in a statement posted on the Furman men's golf team page. "It is always difficult to limit opportunities, especially for young men who want to compete in a sport about which they are passionate, but just like every enterprise we have to constantly evaluate where to strategically allocate our resources."
No other sports will be discontinued, school officials said, adding that any money saved won't go to other sports. Furman will honor scholarship commitments to current players and those who've signed to play starting next year. 
The Furman golf program dates back to 1930, and the Paladins own 13 Southern Conference titles. Faxon was a two-time All-America player for the school in the early 1980s, and has gone on to earn eight PGA Tour victories and two Champions Tour titles.
February 18, 2014 - 12:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
T.J. Oshie
NBC Sports
T.J. Oshie's game-winning goal in a 3-2 shootout victory over Russia on Saturday.

T.J. Oshie became a household name on Saturday, proving to be the Olympic hockey hero for the United States in a scintillating 3-2 shootout victory over Russia in Sochi during the preliminary round of the Winter Games.

Oshie successfully scored four times in six tries during the shootout win.

As if those goals didn't do enough to endear Oshie to U.S. fans after the game, how about this answer Oshie gave after being asked what it's like to be an America hero?

"The real American heroes are wearing camo," Oshie told reporters. "That's not me."

Great stuff.

RELATED: Ailsa Craig, golf landmark, produces Olympic curling stones

Aside from being an outstanding centerman for the St. Louis Blues in the NHL, the 27-year-old Oshie is also a fan of golf -- and quite the player. So much so, that on February 3, Oshie -- a 2-handicap -- sent the following tweet to 2012 PGA National Teacher of the Year, Michael Breed, host of Golf Channel's "The Golf Fix":

"@MichaelBreed you can come over and work on my golf swing? It's already shaped by past @TheGolfFix episodes. #SB48 #12s" — TJ Oshie (@OSH74) February 3, 2014

Well, on last night's episode of "The Golf Fix," Breed showed viewers what Oshie does on the ice that translates to the golf course and also broke down Oshie's golf swing.

Here's video from last night's segment:



Oshie has been playing golf since he was 6 years old. According to a press release from Golf Channel, Breed will officially invite Oshie to Golf Channel's Orlando studios for an in-studio lesson on an upcoming The Golf Fix episode.

Until then, Oshie and his U.S. teammates still have a lot to play for in Sochi. Next up is a quarterfinal game on Wednesday at noon EST.

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