Golf Buzz

February 16, 2014 - 7:17pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Eisenhower Tree at Augusta National
Getty Images
The famous Eisenhower Tree has caused golfers of all levels great angst off the 17th tee at Augusta National

Really sad news out of Augusta.

The recent ice storms (two in two weeks!), not to mention an earthquake that shook the area this past weekend, has taken a toll on one of golf's most famous landmarks. The iconic Eisenhower Tree has suffered major damage and was removed over the weekend. That's right, golf's most famous pine tree - for decades guarding the left side of the 17th hole - is no more.

Read more here at the Augusta Chronicle

The Eisenhower Tree got its name because the former President and Augusta National member had a famous disdain for it. Apparently, he used to hit it quite often (it sits about 200 yards off the tee boxes) and he famously lobbied to have it removed. The limits of presidential lobbying stop at the gates apparently as club chairman Clifford Roberts overruled his efforts, thus linking the president and the tree forever.




Read: Augusta National begins cleanup after storms

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, released a statement Sunday:

“Like so many of our family, friends and neighbors in this community, Augusta National Golf Club has been busy cleaning up after the historic ice storm last week. Everyone affected remains in our hearts and prayers, and we likewise hope for a speedy and complete recovery for all.

“The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept. We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible.

“We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole and to pay tribute to this iconic symbol of our history – rest assured, we will do both appropriately.

“I can report that the golf course sustained no major damage otherwise. We are now open for Member play and we will be unaffected in our preparations for the 2014 Masters Tournament.” 

More: Complete Masters Coverage

You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim

February 16, 2014 - 2:15am
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Hal Sutton
Getty Images
Hal Sutton withdrew from the ACE Group Classic after feeling pressure in his chest and having a shortness of breath on Friday, and had a stent put in his heart.
Hal Sutton suffered a mild heart attack on Friday after withdrawing from the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla.
"I had blockage in my heart, so yeah, it was a heart attack," Sutton, the 1983 PGA Championship winner, told The Naples Daily News from NCH Downtown Naples hospital on Saturday. ''They put a stent in and I'm fine now.''
The 55-year-old Sutton, who owns 14 PGA Tour titles was also served as the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, felt pressure in his chest and a shortness of breath as he played his first round Friday morning. The discomfort felt like indigestion and he also felt lightheaded, he told the newspaper. After going 5 over through eight holes, he decided to stop.
''I just said, 'Something's wrong. I don't know what it is,''' he explained.
Sutton told the newspaper that he expects to be discharged on Sunday. And while he was disappointed to have to withdraw, he stressed that "I'm a whole lot happier that I got this problem fixed. This could have been much worse.''
Coincidentally, this wasn't Sutton's first experience with the Naples medical community. He's had both of his hips replaced in the last couple years – and both operations took place in Naples.
February 15, 2014 - 10:57pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
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 "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 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
john.holmes's picture
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 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.