Golf Buzz

Founders Club
Courtesy of Founders Club
Founders Club in Pawleys Island, S.C., could benefit from increased Chinese golf tourism under its new ownership.
A group of Chinese investors has finalized its purchase of three golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area. That increases the number of Grand Strand golf facilities now under Chinese ownership to eight, all bought in the last 15 months – and, apparently, more Chinese purchases are in the works.
Burning Ridge Golf Club in Conway, Indian Wells Golf Course in Garden City Beach and Founders Club at Pawleys Island were sold by GGG of Myrtle Beach – which owns the Classic Golf Group management company – for about $11 million. The buyer is Yiqian Funding.
"They want to invest in Myrtle Beach," Classic Golf Group General Manager Rick Taylor told "They want to be part of the community. They like Myrtle Beach and want to be part of it."
In addition, these new Chinese investors hope their purchases will help improve Chinese golf tourism to the Grand Strand.
"They feel they have an avenue in China to bring people here," Taylor said. "[Marketing cooperative Myrtle Beach] Golf Holiday has been doing a lot of work with China, trying to attract them to come to the Myrtle Beach area, and they believe that also. That's probably as big a strategy as they have."
These three courses were the last under GGG's ownership, and with their sale, both GGG and the Classic Golf Group are disbanding after a half-century in the golf business in Myrtle Beach. Ed Jerdon, at age 85 the last living GGG partner and a member of the Myrtle Beach Golf Hall of Fame, is retiring.
Alexandra Browne
Alexandra Browne via Twitter
Alexandra Browne's musical style is "acoustic, pop-folk, modern alternative, and breezy."
If you happen to see Olin Browne at the Champions Tour's AT&T Championship in San Antonio this week, you might catch him humming a little tune as he strolls the fairways. And that tune might be one written by his daughter.
Alexandra Browne, you see, is a budding singer/songwriter who released an acoustic album over the summer and, just this week, followed up with what she calls her first "fully produced" record – an EP entitled "Love Don't Lie." Both are now available at CD Baby and on iTunes.
Browne was raised in south Florida, and went to college at Pepperdine University out in southern California, where she apparently got serious about her music. She also dated Rickie Fowler for a while.
Her style is "acoustic, pop-folk, modern alternative, and breezy," Browne writes on her website. "Growing up on the water, her music is inspired by ocean living. Alexandra writes her music based on personal experiences and people by whom she is intrigued or inspired."
"First and Last Love (Cupid)' and 'Do You Remember" are "fun, roll down the windows, and crank up the radio songs," according to her CD Baby page. "Love Don't Lie" and "My Heart" are "beautiful love stories where you find yourself tapping your foot and bopping your head along."
Her foray into music puts her in rare company in golf circles. She joins an elite group that also includes Chad Campbell's wife, Amy Lepard Campbell, who released a couple of albums of her own a few years ago, and pop singer Liz Primo, the wife of Bob Estes. And then, of course, there's that ol' country troubador John Daly!
Here's a video of Alexandra performing one of her songs:
October 22, 2014 - 9:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Michelle Wie
When in Rome, right? Well, Michelle Wie found herself in South Korea last week and decided to take in the local cuisine.

The LPGA was in South Korea last week for the KEB-HanaBank Championship.

When in a different country, some people like to experience the culture and the local cuisine. Michelle Wie appears to be one of those people, based on this video she posted to Instagram:


When in Korea! #livesquid are missing out!

A video posted by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Yes. That's a live squid (or, was a live squid).

No thanks. 

October 22, 2014 - 8:52am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Zach Johnson
USA Today Sports Images
For Zach Johnson and many other PGA Tour players, this week is a home game.

The 2014-15 PGA Tour season rolls on this week in Sea Island, Ga., with the McGladrey Classic at the Seaside Course.

Chris Kirk, who resides right next door on St. Simons Island, returns as the defending champ. Kirk was one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour at the end of the 2013-14 season, winning the Deutsche Bank Championship and eventually finishing second to Billy Horschel in the FedExCup Playoffs.

RELATED: McGladrey Classic tee times | Ortiz paving way on Tour | Golf Beer

There are many players in this week's field, including tournament host Davis Love III, with ties to Sea Island. That local knowledge will come in handy for some.

Here's a look at five players to keep an eye on in the McGladrey Classic.

5. Harris English
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T16 at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: English is one of many players in the field who has familiarity with the course. He resides in Sea Island. A home game is a double-edged sword. Sure, you have the local knowledge most don't, but there's also a little more pressure. PGA Tour pros don't have an issue playing in front of large crowds, but when those crowds include a lot of family and friends, there could be a tendency to press and try a little too hard. English is a rising star on the PGA Tour and a home win would be extra special.

4. Bill Haas
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: This will be the first start of the new season for Haas, who ended last season on a high note. Along with his tie for second at the Wyndham Championship, Haas finished no worse than a tie for 16th in his final five starts of the 2013-14 season. He was also recently inducted into the Wake Forest Hall of Fame -- a high honor for any student-athlete, but particularly a golfer at a school that boasts the likes of Arnold Palmer, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins, Jay Haas, Darren Clarke and more. I'm expecting a big year for Haas coming off his first winless season on the PGA Tour since 2009.

3. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: When the PGA Tour initiated its wraparound schedule a year ago, it paid quick dividends for Simpson, who collected five of his nine top-10 finishes on the season in his first six starts, including a T7 at the McGladrey Classic. Last week, in a title defense at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Simpson tied for fourth. Nice showing. He'll keep the momentum going this week in Sea Island.

2. Zach Johnson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: After another solid PGA Tour season, Johnson is ready to get a new season underway at home in Sea Island. Over the last few years, Johnson has a couple of top-20 finishes at the McGladrey Classic. He's a great putter and a player who rarely misses the cut. For those two reasons, he's virtually always a factor. If he can get everything clicking on a course where he's got more experience playing than most, he could be tough to beat this week.

1. Chris Kirk
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: Kirk -- you guessed it, a local -- is collected the first of his two wins in the 2013-14 season a year ago at the McGladrey Classic. It was the first multiple-win season of Kirk's career. Kirk's consistent play throughout the last season along with a strong push at the end, helped him to finish second in the FedExCup. Based on his success over the last 12 months, there's no doubt Kirk's expectations and goals are higher than past years. It's got to be nice to be able to start a new season at a place where you've had recent success. 

October 21, 2014 - 6:18pm
Posted by:
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Chris Kirk
USA Today Sports Images
Chris Kirk is the defending champion this week at the PGA Tour's McGladrey Classic.
Here's a look at the tournaments on tap this week:
PGA Tour: McGladrey Classic
Site: St. Simons Island, Georgia 
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday 
Course: Sea Island Resort, Seaside Course (7,005 yards, par 70) 
Purse: $5.7 million. Winner's share: $1,026,000 
Last year: Chris Kirk beat Briny Baird and Tim Clark by a stroke. Kirk lived at Sea Island for six years before moving to Atlanta a few months before his victory. 
Last week: Ben Martin won in Las Vegas for his first PGA Tour victory. He made a 45-foot eagle putt on the 16th hole and birdied the 18th for a two-stroke victory. 
Notes: The tournament is the third in the 2014-15 wraparound season. Sang-moon Bae won the opener two weeks ago in Napa, California. ... U.S. Ryder Cup players Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson are in the field along with fellow area residents Davis Love III, Harris English, Brian Harman, Lucas Glover, Jonathan Byrd and Hudson Swafford and part-time resident Charles Howell III. ... In 2012, Tommy Gainey won his lone tour title, closing with a course-record 60 to overcome a seven-stroke deficit. ... The CIMB Classic is next week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
European Tour/PGA Tour of AustralAsia: ISPS Handa Perth International
Site: Perth, Australia 
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday 
Course: Lake Karrinyup Country Club (7,143 yards, par 72) 
Purse: $1.54 million. Winner's share: $256,960 
Last year: South Korea's Jin Jeong beat England's Ross Fisher with a par on the first hole of a playoff. 
Last week: Finland's Mikko Ilonen won the Volvo World Match Play Championship in England, beating Henrik Stenson 3 and 1. ... Australia's Scott Hend won the Hong Kong Open, topping Angelo Que with a par on the first hole of a playoff. ... New Zealand's Ryan Fox won the Western Australia Open, finishing at 23 under for a six-stroke victory. 
Notes: The top 110 on the European Tour money list after the event will advance to the four-event Finals Series that starts next week in China. ... American Jason Dufner is making his first start since withdrawing during the first round of the PGA Championship because of a neck injury. Fellow major champions Geoff Ogilvy and Charl Schwartzel also are in the field along with Victor Dubussion. ... Ernie Els won the 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic at Lake Karrinyup at 29-under 259, the lowest score in relation to par in European Tour history. 
LPGA Tour: Blue Bay LPGA 
Site: Hainan Island, China 
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday 
Course: Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Course (6,817 yards, par 72) 
Purse: $2 million. Winner's share: $300,000 
Last year: Inaugural event 
Last week: Kyu Jung Baek won the LPGA KEB-HanaBank in South Korea in her first tour start, beating fellow South Korean player In Gee Chun and American Brittany Lincicome with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff. Baek is 19. 
Notes: Chinese star Shanshan Feng tops the field along with Michelle Wie, Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist, Jessica Korda, Mirim Lee and Mo Martin. Wie tied for fifth last week in her first start since withdrawing from Evian in September after reinjuring a stress reaction in her right hand. Lee won the Reignwood LPGA Classic on Oct. 5 in Beijing. ... The tournament is the fourth stop on the six-tournament Asian Swing. The Taiwan Championship is next week, followed by the Mizuno Classic in Japan. 
Champions Tour: AT&T Championship
Schedule: Friday-Sunday
Course: TPC San Antonio, AT&T Canyons Course
Site: San Antonio, Texas
Asia Pacific Golf Confederation: Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Royal Melbourne Golf Club
Site: Melbourne, Australia
Note: Winner earns a spot in the 2015 Masters
Japan Golf Tour: Bridgestone Open
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Sodegaura Country Club, Sodegaura Course
Site: Chiba, Japan 
Asian Tour: Macau Open
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Macau, China
Site: Macau Golf and Country Club
OneAsia Tour: Korea Open
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Woo Jeong Hills Country Club
Site: Cheonan, South Korea 
PGA Tour Latinoamerica: America's Golf Cup
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Olivos Golf Club
Site: Buenos Aires, Argentina
European Challenge Tour: Foshan Open
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Foshan Golf Club
Site: Foshan, China
Japan LPGA Tour: Nobuta Group Ladies Masters
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Masters Golf Club
Site: Hyogo, Japan
October 21, 2014 - 11:35am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jason Dufner
USA Today Sports Images
Out of action due to a neck injury since the PGA Championship in August, Jason Dufner returns for the Perth International this week in Australia.

Jason Dufner, winner of the 2013 PGA Championship, will be teeing it up this week for the first time since August.

Back in August while defending the PGA Championship at Valhalla, Dufner was forced to withdraw due to a nagging neck injury.

RELATED: Jason Dufner -- major champ, runway model, pizza maker

This week he makes his return, playing in the Perth International in Australia.

Dufner hasn't played in 11 weeks, so he isn't expecting all that much out of his game this week.

"I wasn't too interested in golf or what was going on in the golfing world during that time period," Dufner told the Associated Press. "I didn't watch one minute of the Ryder Cup. I got into a lot of different things. It was disappointing that I was injured, but it wasn't miserable for me."

Dufner's main goal this week, he said, is to play pain-free.

"I feel like if I can play 18 holes without any pain, that'll be a good thing," he said. "Get rolling in the right direction again."