Golf Buzz

University of Oklahoma women's golf team
NCAA.com
The Oklahoma-Oklahoma State rivalry is muted this week as both schools are playing for their home state after a deadly tornado struck suburban Oklahoma State on Monday.

Anytime the women's golf teams from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State find themselves in the same place, the competition gets pretty heated. That even includes the NCAA Division I finals in Athens, Ga., where both teams are playing this week.

This week, however, the rivalry is muted – and both squads are pulling together to play their best for their home state, which is reeling in the wake of the deadly tornado that struck Moore, just south of Oklahoma City, on Monday.

''All day, I just tried to keep it in perspective,'' Oklahoma senior Taylor Schmidt told Joe Menzer at NCAA.com on Tuesday, after she posted a first-round 71 that represented the Sooners' best individual score. ''I just kept thinking, 'Don't get upset about a bogey or a missed birdie putt – because we have people back at home who have lost their lives and families that are still looking for kids.' I think all of us played for Oklahoma today and I think it fueled our energy. I think we used it in the right way.''

As Menzer tells it, there seems to be a bond between coaches and players from the two schools since the tornado hit. 

''Everybody saw the coverage [Monday] night and it was just awful,'' said Oklahoma Coach Alan Bratton. ''So hopefully everyone can pull together and help that community. This is the third time that's happened to Moore, so it makes everyone – not just Oklahomans, but everyone – just count your blessings.''

Bratton said he pulled his team together before teeing off to deliver a message.

''We just talked about perspective, and how we're blessed to do what we do – and to never forget that,'' Bratton said. ''So really what we did was just try to check our perspective and remember how blessed we all are to come and play in a golf tournament when other people have lost so much.''

Menzer has a lot more on how the players are dealing with the difficult situation, and I encourage you to head on over to NCAA.com to read his piece and catch up on all the action in the women's Division I finals.

 

Brandt Snedeker
Getty Images
Brandt Snedeker is being treated for a rare bone condition that has caused him pain in his ribs.

 

A rib injury has been nagging Brandt Snedeker for some time now. Finally, however, the five-time PGA Tour winner has some understanding as to why his rib has been bothering him.
 
“I had everything tested and they found this one anomaly in my DNA,” Snedeker, 32, told Golf Magazine in an interview last week. “What it boils down to is that my ribs are just really brittle compared to the rest of my bones. So I’m on this medication that is supposed to strengthen your bones and keep this stuff from happening.”
 
According to a report from Alan Bastable on Golf.com, that medication is Forteo -- an anabolic osteoporosis treatment designed to increase bone mineral density.
 
Wrote Bastable:
 
Snedeker, the world’s fifth-ranked player, said he has been injecting the drug daily for the last two months and that it conforms to the PGA Tour’s drug policy. “I made sure it’s okay to take,” he said. “It’s a drug that’s going to help me keep my bones from being less than brittle to being up to par.”
 
He said that the medication can take up to two years to “make a big difference,” and that he has encountered some side effects, including nausea and dizzy spells at night.
 
“But hopefully in the grand scheme of things, it will be worth the investment,” he said.
 
Bone turnover, or remodeling, is a natural process by which the body, in very basic terms, sheds mature bone and replaces it with new, supple bone, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. (Adults remodel about 10 percent of their bone tissue annually.) If, as in Snedeker’s case, the turnover rate is too slow, it can lead to brittle bone structure.
 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.

In light of the big golf news on Tuesday (regarding the anchoring of a putting stroke), PGA of America President Ted Bishop offered some perspective about circumstances that effect people's lives in a more dramatic and serious way.

“There has obviously been quite a bit of golf news today – and it’s news that matters to us because we all love and respect the game. But let’s keep perspective on things and show love and support to all those in Oklahoma and the Midwest that have been affected by these tragic tornadoes.” – Ted Bishop, PGA of America President

Well said Mr. President. Of course, all of us at PGA.com echo those thoughts for all.

Jason Day with his 1-iron
Courtesy of TaylorMade
Jason Day is working with a specially made TaylorMade RocketBladez 1-iron to see if he wants to use it to combat the windy conditions he antcipates at the British Open this summer.

Players at the highest level of golf often try out special pieces of equipment in advance of specific tournaments. Jason Day used the HP Byron Nelson Championship to test-drive a 1-iron to see if he might want to use it at the British Open.

That's right, a 1-iron.

Day regularly plays a full set (2-iron through pitching wedge) of TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC irons, but asked the TaylorMade club technicians for a 1-iron to use in the windy conditions he anticipated in Dallas and at Muirfield. To accommodate him, the club techs got a RocketBladez Tour 2-iron and bent it to down to a 16.5-degree loft.

To further simulate the feel and performance of a 1-iron, they also switched in a 125-gram UST Miyama Recoil prototype shaft that is ½-inch longer than normal. Day tried the club out on the range and even used it instead of a driver on most of the holes during his pro-am round last Wednesday.

In gusts of 10-20 mph, Day consistently carried his new 1-iron 250 yards, according to TaylorMade, and a launch monitor showed him hitting a number of shots in excess of 300 yards with bounce and roll. So he used it during the tournament. 

''We were going to try a 1‑iron … here because we know if we have a 1-iron here and it works well in the wind, when we go overseas to the British this year we can have the full confidence that it's going to go the right distance and can come out low and hit different types of shots when I need to,'' Day said last week in Dallas. ''I know that [Four Seasons TPC Las Colinas is] not the British Open course, but the wind is very strong here.''

Day's original thought was to take his driver out of his bag and replace it with a 2-wood. 

''We fiddled around with a wood and we couldn't quite get the right configuration with the shaft and the flight,'' explained Day, who said he last used a 1-iron when he was 13 years old. ''So [about a month ago] we were thinking about putting in a 1‑iron and just practicing with it because of the British.'' 

And while he's definitely thinking about using his new 1-iron at Muirfield, Day said he also might give it a try during the U.S. Open at the relatively short Merion Golf Club next month.

''I think that would be a very good club around there, but I don't know until I get there,'' he said. ''I'm not too sure what I'm going to do with it for Memorial, but I know I'm going to use it at the British.''

For the record, Day shot rounds of 72-68-66-72 for a 2-under total of 278 as he tied for 27th place.

 

May 18, 2013 - 9:43pm
john.holmes's picture
Ed Carpenter at the Indianapolis 500
Getty Images
Ed Carpenter won the pole for the Indianapolis 500 driving a car sponsored by Fuzzy Zoeller.

So after the Byron Nelson finished up Saturday evening, I was flipping channels and stopped when I got to the shootout for the pole at the Indianapolis 500.

What caught my eye? The graphic that showed Ed Carpenter on top with just a few minutes to go in the final qualifying session. 

And what's so special about Carpenter? As you can see in the photo above, his car is sponsored by Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka – which, of course, is owned by Fuzzy Zoeller.

Winning the pole is a huge deal for Carpenter, who is the owner/driver of his own single-car team. To take the pole for the Indy 500 for the first time in his career, he had to outperform the dominant multicar teams from Ganassi Racing, Penske Racing and Andretti Autosport, which any open-wheel fan can tell you is a tremendous feat.

There's no telling how Carpenter will fare against his goliath competition when the green flag flies on May 26. But one thing is sure – win or lose, he's earned Fuzzy's Vodka a whole lot of great publicity.

 

 

 
Mary Hardin-Baylor women's golf team
Mary Hardin Baylor won the women's Division III golf national championship, and in doing so broke up one of the most historic streaks in all of college sports.

College golf is flying a bit under the radar right now, but this week has been one for the record books.

Earlier today, Lynn University rallied to overtake its Sunshine State Conference archrival Nova Southeastern and win the women's NCAA Division II title for the first time since 1997.

And on Friday, the University of Texas-Tyler outdueled Transylvania to win the men's Division III crown, the first national title in school history. The win capped off the career of Head Coach King Campbell in grand style, as he had announced that he was retiring at the tournament's end.

Impressive as those victories were, though, they paled in comparison to the history made Friday at the women's Division III finals, where Mary Hardin-Baylor won its first national title after four runner-up finishes. The real headline isn't that Mary Hardin-Baylor won, but that Methodist University finished third.

Here's why: Until Friday, Methodist was the only school ever to win the women's D-III crown. That's right – the only one.

Up until the year 2000, the NCAA conducted a combined tournament for both the D-II and D-III schools. In 2000, the divisions were separated to give each one its own champion. And every year since 1998 – two years before the split, and all 13 afterward – the Methodist women had prevailed.

Methodist's 15-year title streak was the longest active streak in any NCAA sport, and was the third-longest streak in the all-time history of NCAA athletics. The longest streaks were Kenyon College's 31 straight men's Division III swimming titles and the Kenyon women's 17 straight women's Division III swimming.

Over at USA Today, Craig Bennett assembled these facts to put Methodist's streak in perspective:

--Other than Methodist, the longest streak of NCAA golf titles was nine straight years, by the Yale men's team from 1905-13.

--Methodist's average winning margin in the Division III tournament was 35.7 shots. The only times its margin of victory was less than double digits was six shots over DePauw in 2012 and two shots over Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2004.

--Methodist won the 2007 title by 88 shots. The record victory margin for Division I women is 36 shots (Tulsa in 1982), and for Division II women it's 74 shots (Florida Southern in 2002). The biggest men's victory in any division is 49 shots by Division III California State-Stanislaus in 1979.

--And finally, three different head coaches – Kim Kincer, Vici Pate and current coach Tom Inczauskis – have led the Monarchs during their amazing winning streak.

Giving credit to the Monarchs for their amazing run of success right now feels a little like applauding a pitcher when his no-hitter is broken up in the eighth inning. But the program deserves plenty of applause – as does Mary Hardin-Baylor for its achievement in ending the streak.

After these action-packed few days, the NCAAs take a quick break, and they're right back at it on Monday with the start of the men's Division II finals. The women's Division I finals begin on Tuesday, with the men's Division I finals kicking off on May 28. You can follow all the action over at NCAA.com or on our special landing page.