Golf Buzz

July 28, 2013 - 2:26pm
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John Holmes
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Hunter Mahan
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Hunter Mahan tweeted that his wife and new daughter are "doing great."

Hunter Mahan has made the happy jump from tournament leader to proud father. 

He announced the birth of his daughter Sunday, a day after he withdrew from the RBC Canadian Open while leading after his wife went into labor. 

"What a whirlwind of a day," he tweeted on Sunday, after Zoe Olivia Mahan was born at 3:26 a.m. in Dallas. 

He said in another tweet that his wife and daughter are "doing great." He thanked his sponsors for appreciating "what's important in life" and saluted his fans for "being Awesome!" 

Mahan was leading the tournament after 36 holes and was preparing to tee off in the third round when he got the news that his wife had gone into labor about a month before her expected due date. He would have already been out on the course when his wife began having labor pains, but his tee time was delayed 80 minutes by a thunderstorm.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

July 27, 2013 - 11:57pm
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John Holmes
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Bob Toski and Ken Duke
Ken Duke via Twitter
Bob Toski and Ken Duke won the PGA Tour event in Hartford six decades apart.

This might be the coolest photo I saw on Twitter all week. 

It was posted by Ken Duke, who's there on the right, along with legendary PGA Professonal Bob Toski there on the left. Toski is Duke's instructor, but that's just the beginning of this story.

Duke, you might remember, won the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., in late June to become, at age 44, the oldest first-trime winner ever on the PGA Tour. But, you probably didn't know, Toski won what was then known as the Insurance City Open at Wethersfield Country Club in Wethersfield, Conn., back in 1953.

Which means that teacher and student won the same PGA Tour title exactly 60 years apart. I don't have any proof, but I'd sure bet that's some kind of record.

Toski, by the way, is still going strong at age 86 – in fact, he analyzed Duke's victory for's "A Lesson Learned" column last month. He also was inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame in March, and you can read more about him here.


July 26, 2013 - 10:01pm
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John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson at the New York Stock Exchange
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Phil Mickelson and the claret jug were popular attractions on the stock exchange floor.

On Wednesday, Phil Mickelson wore shorts and flip-flops to Callaway headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., where he celebrated his British Open victory with the troops responsible for his clubs and ball. On Friday, he put on a suit and made the rounds in New York City, where he and wife Amy rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

The Mickelsons also used the visit to promote their Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, which for the ninth year is putting on a week-long program at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J., to help get grade-school students exposed to and interested in math and science. The program isa collaboration between the Mickelsons, ExxonMobil, the National Science Teachers Association and Math Solutions.

"Math and science is huge for me and my success," Mickelson said on CNBC's Squawk on the Street. "Winning this championship, I look at the one thing that has really changed my game and it's been the 3-wood that I have been using. I'm a high-spin player and this 3-wood takes off half the spin that I was putting on it, which gets the ball boring through air. Consequently, I hit the two best 3-woods of my life on the 17th hole to win."

The science and technology behind modern club design, he said, is helping him play some of the best golf of his career, even as he approaches his mid-40s.

To help promote the education program, the Mickelsons were joined at the closing-bell ceremony by some of the teachers from across the country that'll lead this year's programs, which are held in Texas and Louisiana in addition to the one in New Jersey. To date, more than 3,600 teachers and 230,000 students nationwide have participated in the academy.



July 26, 2013 - 6:00pm
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John Holmes
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Tom Stites of Nike Golf
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Tom Stites has overseen the development of every major Nike golf club – including the ones in Tiger Woods' bag.

Tom Stites, the chief club designer at Nike Golf since the company entered the club business, is retiring. He will stay with the company as a consultant.

''Officially, Tom has retired,'' Rob Arluna, Nike Golf's global golf club business director, confirmed to Golfweek. ''He is moving into a consultant's role, and we call him the Chief Imagineer.''

Stites made his name as a club designer at Ben Hogan Golf in Fort Worth – under the watchful eye of Hogan himself – and had formed a popular boutique firm, Impact Golf Technologies, when Nike knocked on his door in 2001. Nike Golf's first club launches under Stites came in 2002, and he has overseen the development of every major Nike golf club – including all the ones in Tiger Woods' bag – ever since.

Nike Golf established a research and development facility nicknamed ''the Oven'' in Fort Worth, where Stites has created dozens of clubs, including the recent VR_S Covert line of woods and irons. Stites will continue to work there, but instead of focusing on day-to-day operations going forward, he'll concentrate on conjuring up the clubs that'll make up Nike's long-term future.

Stites' move has been in the works for some months and, late last year, Nike Golf hired Cleveland Golf veteran Nate Radcliffe as director of engineering for golf clubs. Also, Golfweek said, Mario Lafortune, director of the Nike Sport Research Laboratory for the past 15 years, will move to Fort Worth from Nike's headquarters in Oregon.


July 26, 2013 - 5:07pm
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John Holmes
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Russell Knox
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Russell Knox became the fifth player to shoot a 59 on the Tour.

For the second time in two weeks, a Tour event has produced a 59. This time it is Russell Knox, who carded a 12-under 59 in the second round of the Albertsons Boise Open today. His low-low score follows Will Wilcox's 12-under 59 at the Utah Championship on July 15.

The weirdest thing about Knox's 59 is that it came so soon after Wilcox's. I say that because the first two 59s in Tour history both occurred in a two-week span in 1998, when Doug Dunakey and Notah Begay III did it. Aside from those four, there has been only one other 59 in the circuit's history – from Jason Gore in 2005, almost perfectly spaced bwetween 1998 and 2013.

Knox started on the 10th hole at 6,807-yard, par-71 Hillcrest Country Club on Friday, and birdied it. After four pars, he went birdie-eagle-birdie on Nos. 15-17, then parred the 18th hole for an outward 30. He began his second nine with a par and an eagle, then made five straight birdies on Nos. 3-7. Two final pars gave him a 7-under 29 and a 59 total. And if you're counting, that's an 11-under stretch of 11 holes in the middle of his round.

Knox, a 28-year-old from Inverness, Scotland, has won $50,536 in eight starts this season to rank No. 71 on the money list. He's also made 7 cuts in 10 starts on the PGA Tour this year.

UPDATE: Here's an interesting fact from the folks at Cleveland and Srixon -- both Knox and Wilcox shot their 59s using brand-new models of the Srixon Z-Star ball with Spin Skin. Wilcox used a Tour Yellow ball, while Knox used a Pure White model. This new generation of Z-Star balls will be available at retail on August 8.

Here is the list of the sub-60 scores in official events on the world's top-level tours that Knox has joined:

Ryo Ishikawa (-12), 2010 Japan Golf Tour, The Crowns in Aichi, Japan 

Al Geiberger (-13), 1977 PGA Tour, Danny Thomas Memphis Classic in Memphis Tenn.
Chip Beck (-13), 1991 PGA Tour, Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.
David Duval (-13), 1999 PGA Tour, Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.
Paul Goydos (-12), 2010 PGA Tour, John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
Stuart Appleby (-11), 2010 PGA Tour, Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphus Springs, W.Va.

Annika Sorenstam (-13), 2001 LPGA Tour, Standard Register Ping in Phoenix, Ariz.

Notah Begay III (-13), 1998 Nike Tour, Dominion Open in Richmond, Va.
Doug Dunakey (-11), 1998 Nike Tour, Miami Valley Open in Springboro, Ohio
Jason Gore (-12), 2005 Nike Tour, Cox Classic in Omaha, Neb.
Will Wilcox (-12), 2013 Tour, Utah Championship in Sandy, Utah
Russell Knox (-12) 2013 Tour, Albertsons Boise Open in Boise, Idaho

Masahiro Kuramoto (-12), 2003 Japan Golf Tour, Acom International in Ibaraki, Japan  

Adrien Mork (-12), 2006 European Challenge Tour, Tikita Hotels Agadir Moroccan Classic in Agadir, Morocco


July 25, 2013 - 7:56pm
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John Holmes
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Colin Montgomerie
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Colin Montgomerie thinks golfers, like chess players, should have a specific amount of time to play each shot or receive a penalty.

The topic of slow play has been much discussed lately. European Tour stalwart Colin Montgomerie has an idea how to stop it once and for all – a shot clock.

Monty, who's now playing the Champions Tour, is one of the faster players in the game. He'd like to see every player timed from first tee box to 18th green, and that one-stroke penalties be applied whether players are famous or not. His reference is to the fact that two young Asian players have been penalized for slow play in majors this year, but no big-name tour player ever has.

"What I would love to see … would be for one of the top players to have that shot penalty and then it would really resonate throughout the rest of the field," he said at the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England. 

"Why do you have to wait to be slow before you are put on the clock?,'' he asked. ''There should be an allotted time to play the game, like chess where you have a certain time to play.

"It has been mentioned about a shot clock and that is interesting,'' he added. "There are 52 referees out there at major championships and they should all have a clock, should be able to put them on the clock on the first tee to ensure they all get around in time."

Montgomerie calls slow play ''the biggest bugbear" in golf.

"If the first two groups take five or more hours to go round, then the day is gone, you can't make it up,'' he said. "But if that first group takes four hours and five minutes then you have a chance.''