Golf Buzz

February 15, 2014 - 10:57pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Patrick Burch
Patrick Burch got a high-five from Aubie the Tiger after his car-winning putt at halftime of the Mississippi-State-Auburn basketball game.
The PGA Tour is out at Riviera this weekend, but the coolest putt anyone made on Saturday came on the court at halftime of the Mississippi State-Auburn basketball game. 
 
Patrick Burch of Birmingham was plucked from the crowd to attempt a full-court putt – make it and he wins a car. Burch stepped up, made a nice, smooth stroke, and rolled the ball from baseline to baseline, right into the hole – and won a new Toyota.
 
"I didn't even think I was going to hit the board," he told AL.com. "That's like 90-something feet, right? I just put it down and hit it."
 
That's amazing enough. His backstory makes his feat just mind-boggling.
 
According to the AL.com report, Burch, a 28-year-old IT specialist, had never gone to a basketball game before. Then he was selected at random from everyone in attendance at Auburn Arena for the promotion. And then he was told that no one had ever made the putt, a halftime staple at Auburn games. 
 
And the kicker: Burch doesn't play golf.
 
"Nope," he said. "I don't even putt-putt very well."
 
After his prodigious putt, Burch just might become a bigger fan of War Eagle hoops – and of golf.
 
Here's the video of his stroke of genius:
 
 
February 15, 2014 - 8:26pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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David Ortiz
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz (with bat in hand) got an explosive result when he made contact with a golf ball.
Pitchers and catchers are trickling into their Major League Baseball spring training camps this weekend, so it seems like a good time to share this funny video of one of Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz's golf outings over the winter.
 
Back in December, Big Papi was back in his native Dominican Republic for his annual Children's Fund Celebrity Golf Classic. Also on hand, among others, were catcher extraordinaire Ivan ''Pudge'' Rodriguez and trick-shot specialist Trevor "Macho Man" Consavage. 
 
As you can see in the video embedded below, Consavage demonstrated a trick in which he chipped a golf ball straight up in the air, then grabbed a bat and knocked it down the fairway. Tough as it looks, Macho Man got it on the first try. Impressively, Pudge also got a hit with his first cut.
 
Then it was Ortiz's turn. Was the third time a charm? Well, the headline above kind of gives the end away. But Big Papi's big cut, and his reaction, is well worth the 90 seconds or so it takes to watch the video. And if you'd like to see more on his tournament, here's a report on it from The Boston Globe.
 
 
 
 
February 15, 2014 - 5:52pm
mark.aumann's picture
Jim Furyk at Riviera
Jim Furyk is all smiles after chipping in for birdie Saturday.

You've heard golf announcers talk about "using the backstop" of the green's slope to help a wedge or chip shot roll back closer to the pin?

Well, here's a perfect example of it from Jim Furyk on Saturday during third-round action at the Northern Trust Open. Furyk is 41 feet away on the par-3 sixth hole at Riviera when he chips his ball well over the flagstick. But watch what happens after it lands!

Just a routine birdie, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2014 - 8:55pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
South Africa President Jacob Zuma
Courtesy: South African government
South African President Jacob Zuma believes that golf can help people achieve a healthy lifestyle.
President Obama is spending the Presidents Day weekend in Palm Springs, where his plans reportedly include binge-watching ''True Detective'' and playing a little golf. In South Africa today, President Jacob Zuma went all in on golf, kicking off his weekend with his sixth annual President’s Address Golf Challenge.
 
For the last six years, Zuma has followed up his annual State of the Nation address with a day of golf to raise money for his education trust and other charities. So he joined a host of other golfers at the Atlantic Beach Golf Course, just outside Cape Town, for the big event.
 
Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Energy Minister Ben Martins, Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet and United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa were among the participants, according to a report on AllAfrica.com. Joining them were a variety of leaders from both the public and private sectors in southern Africa.
 
"I think the contributions by the people who are participating in this event [will allow] us to attend to some of the challenges and help our children. The feedback we are getting is that the work we are doing is making an impact," Zuma told the website. 
 
 
"It is indeed an important occasion. I feel very passionate about it. That is why I don't miss it,'' he added. ''Whatever we do here must have an impact to those who are needy."
 
Zuma also encouraged South Africans to use sport to achieve a healthy lifestyle, and said that sport can help unite the country's people.
 
"Sport is very important. Besides the entertainment and the competitive spirit that it brings, you get healthier if you participate in sport,'' he explained. ''So I'm very happy that some ministers are here today to play."
 
South Africa is just one of several golf-crazy nations – the Africa Open is being played there this week – but I don't know of any others where the president and his fellow leaders get together for a huge golf charity outing for such a good cause. It'd sure be great to see other countries follow Zuma's example.
 
 
 
February 14, 2014 - 2:59pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Ryan Moore sings Jake Owen
Photo: Courtesy MyGolfMix YouTube
Ryan Moore was just one of the many golf personalities taking part in the sing-along.

Country music star Jake Owen loves golf. And golf apparently loves Jake Owen.

At the recent Waste Management Phoenix Open, Owen - with the help of a record-setting crowd (and more specifically, the likes of David Feherty, Gary McCord, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore, NBA legend Julius ("Dr. J") Erving and a host of others) took part in one of the great sing-a-longs in golf history. No other music video can touch this for showing the fun and passion that golf can bring - with the help of a guitar and a catchy tune. Great work by our friends at @golfmix.
 

 

Owen, at one time harbored ambitions on becoming a professional tour player. An injury forced him to music - and well, that has worked out pretty well for him. Still, according the GHIN, he sports a low single-digit handicap index out of the Golf Club of Tennessee. Though I doubt he'll make as big a mark on the course as he does on stage, he's doing a pretty good job of integrating these two avocations.

In addition to his presence at the WMPO, he is scheduled to perform at TPC Sawgrass during The Players Championship week in May.

You can read more about Jake Owen and his golf life here (h/t Back 9 Network)

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim

February 14, 2014 - 10:23am
Posted by:
Bob Denney
mark.aumann's picture
President Ford
The Gazette, Cedar Rapids
Joe Garagiola (wearing plaid pants at center) clowns with a Secret Service agent as 67-year-old former President Gerald Ford attempts to sink a short putt in the Amana VIP tournament. June 22, 1981. (Republished with permission ©2014 Iowa SourceMedia Group, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)

Four years removed from serving as the 38th president of the United States, a term that was one of the most turbulent periods in American history, Gerald R. Ford greeted me near a clubhouse door.

“Are you my caddie today?”

They say you learn a lot about a person when you spend a few hours playing golf with him. You learn perhaps more as a caddie. My short course with the man who pulled a country through post-Watergate and post-Vietnam healing came on June 22, 1981.

PHOTOS: U.S. presidents playing golf

Ford made his third and final visit to the former Amana VIP Pro-Am in Iowa City, Iowa, arriving at the University of Iowa’s Finkbine Golf Course with a seven-cart detail of Secret Service. He had warmed up 48 hours earlier with what he said was “a pretty good round” at the Vince Lombardi Memorial Classic in Menomonee Falls, Wis. I became one of the members of the “detail,” provided that I kept my pin secure on a badge pinned to my caddie bib.

On this day, Ford hit the practice range briefly before facing a gallery of 20,000 at the “Masters of the Pro-Ams.” The 15th annual VIP field spanned the sports and entertainment industry, featuring Tom Watson, Hubert Green, Fuzzy Zoeller, George “Goober” Lindsey, St. Louis Cardinal slugger Stan Musial, Joe Garagiola; former Milwaukee Bucks Coach Don Nelson and college basketball coaching giants Bob Knight, then of Indiana, and Lute Olson, then of the University of Iowa.

WATCH: Best drivers of 2014

Our group included LPGA Hall of Famer JoAnne Carner and NBC Sports announcer Joe Garagiola. Presidential aide Lee Simmons of Palm Springs, Calif., who met Ford at the White House while in the Air Force, drove the former president in a cart. I trudged behind, stubborn to prove to the Secret Service that I could keep up.

My Boss for the day carried a 12 handicap at home in Palm Springs, and despite those well-publicized reports of his wayward drives bopping spectators, Ford’s game was well within the ropes this day. He posted a 90, but he displayed enough game to prove that he was a far better golfer.

The president’s scrambling talent was showcased on the 15th hole, a par-5 that rose up a valley to an elevated green. Ford shanked a wedge approach and was faced with an almost impossible recovery from a grassy ravine. A Secret Service agent stood nearby and whispered, “Watch this; just watch this.”

Ford lofted his approach over a clump of trees, on to the green and within 25 feet of the hole. As the gallery applauded enthusiastically, the same agent said, “He does a lot of that stuff.”

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On one of the longest holes at Finkbine, Ford asked me for club selection. “Everything you have in the bag, Mr. President.” He swung smooth and hard, and smiled, “That felt good, Bob.”

Ford’s concentration was broken at the right time for laughs with Garagiola, a left-hander who had played numerous rounds with the former president. “You folks should have been behind us in 1976, and then I could’ve been named the Italian ambassador to the Vatican,” Garagiola declared to the gallery. “Instead, you voted for Carter.”

Just as Garagiola lined up a putt, a woman yelled back, “I didn’t vote for Carter!”

“Thatta girl,” Garagiola said without looking up.

The Boss also smartly flew an approach over a television truck parked along the 18th fairway and out of trouble. The same Secret Service agent grinned. “I have a variety of teaching pros telling me what to do,” said Ford during the special moments when it was just me and him walking to a green. “I think that is the problem sometimes. I just come over the top on a lot of shots. Just need to swing smoother.”

Earlier in the round, Garagiola hit a tee shot and then sprinted up and put his arm around me as we walked. “Well caddie, what do you think of the Boss?”

READ: What shocked Tom Watson on the golf course

“He’s one of the most gracious guys you ever want to meet. He also plays a good game despite the distractions.” Garagiola concurred, and then went into a story about a past round with Ford. He recalled a female reporter ducked under the gallery ropes and began walking with the group.

“I told her as nice as I could, ‘you can’t be out here, you have to take care of that (an interview) before or after golf,’ ” said Garagiola. “The next day she writes a column ripping Mr. Ford for snubbing her.”

We celebrate another Presidents Day and some of us are fortunate to have literally rubbed shoulders with the Commander in Chief of our country. President Gerald R. Ford is the least appreciated of all our modern presidents, and I always felt he deserved better. His 1979 autobiography, “A Time to Heal,” convinced me.

As Ford finished the last round of golf that he would play in Iowa, he was greeted by a mass of officials in a crowded, tiny clubhouse. I was busy putting his golf bag into a waiting open trunk.

“The man wants to see you right now,” said a Secret Service agent. Sprinting back to the clubhouse, I arrived just in time to hear my name called twice, and as loud and clear like my dad used to call me from the back door before dinner.

“Here I am, Mr. President.” Ford greeted me with a big handshake and smile, thanking me for the afternoon’s work. The media eagerly awaited post-game remarks and the security cordon quickly formed around me and the Boss. Together, we were escorted, shoulder-to-shoulder, out the clubhouse door.

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