Golf Buzz

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:

September 10, 2014 - 10:17am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rickie Fowler
USA Today Sports Images
The only thing Rickie Fowler hasn't done this year is win. Does that change this week at East Lake?

The PGA Tour season finale -- the Tour Championship -- tees off Thursday at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

The top 29 players on the FedExCup points list (it would be 30, but Dustin Johnson is not playing) will be battling not only for the tournament, but for the $10 million prize that comes along with winning the FedExCup.

Who will be hoisting the hardware come Sunday evening? Here are five players we suggest you keep a close eye on.

RELATED: Tour Championship tee times | FedExCup volatility | September reader photos

5. Chris Kirk
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the McGladrey Classic and the Deutsche Bank Championship
Reason to watch: Kirk is in the driver's seat this week, entering the Tour Championship in the No. 1 spot on the FedExCup points list. In case you hadn't heard, folks in Atlanta are crazy about their Georgia Bulldogs... and Kirk is a Georgia Bulldog. The crowd will be pulling for him and he might just have a big enough chip on his shoulder about missing out on a Ryder Cup Captain's Pick to pull through this week.

4. Billy Horschel
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the BMW Championship Championship
Reason to watch: Talk about resilience. Less than a week removed from a shot that cost him a chance to win the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, Horschel bounced back to win the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills on Sunday. Until recently, it had been a rather forgettable season for the Florida Gator. Now, it's looking unforgettable. It's incredible what a difference a couple of good weeks at the right time can make on the PGA Tour.

3. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship
Reason to watch: There's no denying the fact that McIlory has been the hottest player on the planet these last couple of months. A win at the Tour Championship would be the cherry on top for a spectacular season. Surely that's the way McIlroy would like to cap it off. He tied for eighth last week despite having a four-putt twice in two days on the same hole. Look for him to bounce back at East Lake. Like everyone else, McIlroy has got to be drained from all the competitive rounds lately, but this is it -- and then he has a little break before the Ryder Cup.

2. Jim Furyk
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Second at the Wells Fargo Championship, Players Championship and RBC Canadian Open
Reason to watch: The only way Furyk's season could possibly be any better is with a victory. That's the only thing missing. In 20 starts, he hasn't missed a cut. Ten of those have yielded top-10 finishes and 17 have resulted in top-25 finishes. That's stout. Furyk, who won the Tour Championship and the FedExCup in 2010, enters this week after a tie for fourth at Cherry Hills.

1. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T2 at the U.S. Open and Open Championship
Reason to watch: Six times in his last seven starts, Fowler has finished among the top 10, including a tie for fourth last week at the BMW Championship. Like Furyk, something's got to give for Fowler. He continually puts himself in a position to win. Eventually it's got to happen, right? 

September 10, 2014 - 9:17am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Arnold Palmer
PGA Media Archive
Today, Arnold Palmer turns 85 years old. If you've ever been lucky enough to meet the King, chances are you have a memorable story -- like our T.J. Auclair.

Today marks the 85th birthday of one of the most treasured professional athletes the world has ever known -- "The King," Mr. Arnold Palmer.

A seven-time major champion with 62 PGA Tour victories (good for fifth all time), there may be no other superstar more approachable, friendly and welcoming than Palmer. There will never be another Arnold Palmer.

Throughout his life, Palmer has followed a simple rule: treat others the way you'd like to be treated. When he greets fans, he looks them in the eyes. His handshake is firm. And his signature? Perfect penmanship so there's no doubt who you got it from.

RELATED: Graduation gift from the King | A special call from Arnie | Arnie Q&A

If you've been around professional golf long enough, chances are you have an Arnold Palmer story. I've been lucky enough to have a few personal encounters with the King. My favorite, however, came early in the week at the 2009 Masters.

During the practice rounds, I would take a stroll around the grounds to snap photos. After one such stroll, I walked back through the clubhouse with a fellow writer. It's certainly not a "thing" when you're a writer to ask a player to stop and take a picture with you.

However, after walking through the Augusta National clubhouse, I noticed Mr. Palmer walking in -- wearing his green jacket. I immediately turned to my friend and said, "I know we shouldn't, but how can we not ask the King to take a picture with us? He's wearing his green jacket!"

I excitedly approached Palmer and said hello. He looked right at me, smiled, extended his hand and said hello right back. When I asked, he said he'd be more than happy to take a picture. So we did.

Months later, I had the photo blown up into a 16x20. At the urging of another friend, I wrote a letter to Palmer's longtime assistant, Doc Giffin, at Bay Hill and sent along the photo. I said, "I've never asked for an autograph while on the job, but this photo is special to me. Would it be possible to have Mr. Palmer sign it?"

This was in November of 2009. Giffin got right back to me and said it would be no problem at all. Months went by and -- in all honesty -- I had forgotten I'd even sent the photo down to Bay Hill.

Then, on Monday, March 15, 2010 -- my 30th birthday -- a surprise package arrived in the mail. It was the photo with Palmer's perfectly legible signature. The photo hangs right above the desk we're I'm writing this. I have a lot of treasured golf-related items I've collected through the years, but nothing tops this photo with Palmer.

MORE: When I think Arnold Palmer, I think... | Palmer & Kate Upton | Special gift to GMac


Well, aside from the fact that he's the King, Palmer was always my great, great Uncle Manny's favorite player. "Uncle" as we called him, taught my dad, my brother and me how to play golf. Through junior high and high school, I played golf with Uncle every day in the summers... even well into his 80s.

He passed away in 2003, a little more than a month shy of his 88th birthday. Every time I look at this photo with Palmer, it reminds me of all the unbelievable times I had on the course with Uncle, my dad and my brother. For a long time, my dream foursome also happened to be my daily foursome.

And over those cherished rounds, we heard a lot about Arnold Palmer.

I wish Uncle could have seen this picture. He'd love it.

Happy 85th birthday, Mr. Palmer. 

Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson's bid to buy the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club involves a significant upgrade to the facilities.
Phil Mickelson is teaming up with San Diego Union-Tribune Publisher "Papa" Doug Manchester to buy the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club north of San Diego and south of Mickelson's home in Rancho Santa Fe. The club's 400 members are expected to approve the sale during their annual meeting tonight, according to the Union-Tribune.
Neither side has disclosed the sale's terms and conditions. The club includes three courses, tennis courts and a clubhouse situated on 377 acres of land leased by the city of San Diego. 
"We are excited to have two such prominent community leaders and successful club owners partner to make the ongoing investment in facilities, programming and execution necessary for FRCC to maintain its position as one of the premier country clubs in San Diego on a long-term, sustainable basis," FRCC Board President Mike Kendall wrote in an email to members that was obtained by the Union-Tribune.
Former Board President Louis Ferrero told the newspaper that Mickelson and Manchester got involved after the club discussed selling to another buyer. Manchester and Mickelson offered a more ambitious improvement plan that includes upgrading the golf and tennis facilities and building swimming pools and a full-scale health club, he added.
The club property was the site of the equestrian events during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The Olympics helped sell homes and attract golf club members and, since then, the club and other investors have offered to buy the property from the city. The city never sold, though, and the club operates under a lease that extends to 2044.
Minjee Lee and Matthew Pavlick
Minjee Lee turned professional in a fun video in which she takes on Australian Rules Football star Matthew Pavlick.
A little less than a year ago, 16-year-old Lydia Ko announced her decision to turn professional a very fun video in which she played a lighthearted round with one of her heroes and friends, New Zealand rugby star Izzy Dagg.
And now comes golf's latest southern hemisphere superstar-to-be – 18-year-old Minjee Lee of Australia. And like Ko, she revealed her intentions in a fun video in which she turns professional so she can accept her winnings from some on-course bets with Matthew Pavlick, captain of the Fremantle Dockers team in the Australian Football League.
The Perth native – her parents moved to Australia from South Korea about 20 years ago – took up golf at the age of 10. She has grown up at the Royal Fremantle Golf Club, and spent the last four years in the High Performance program of Golf Australia, which provides comprehensive athletic training for promising young players.
She made her first international impact in the summer of 2012, when she became the first Australian to win the U.S. Junior Girls' Championship. Since then, she has won back-to-back Australian Women's Amateur Championships as well as a professional tournament Down Under.
She tied for 24th at the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship – her first start in a major – last spring, then tied for 22nd at the U.S. Women's Open over the summer. Just last week, she led her three-member team to victory in the Women's World Amateur Team Championship in Japan, and heads into the professional ranks as the world's No. 1-ranked female amateur.
"I'm excited about making the move to the pro ranks and everything that comes with that," she said. "Finishing my amateur career as the world No. 1 is a real honor."
Lee will make her professional debut this week at the Evian Championship in France, the LPGA Tour's newest major. There's no official word yet on her schedule going forward, but she has signed with IMG and indications are that she will try her luck at LPGA Tour Q-School later this year.