Golf Buzz

May 13, 2016 - 2:47pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Will Wilcox
@PGATOUR on Twitter
Until Will Wilcox stepped to the tee at the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass on Friday, it had been 14 long years since the last time an ace had been made on that hole in the Players Championship.

It's been 6,296 tee shots and 14 years since a hole-in-one has been made on the famous par-3 17th island green at TPC Sawgrass in the Players Championship.

That was when Miguel Angel Jimenez turned the trick in the first round of the 2002 Players.

On Friday, during the tournament's second round, Will Wilcox snagged the seventh ace on the 17th in Players history.

Check out this beauty:

 

Is there a better place in golf to make an ace? 

Lydia Ko/Twitter
Lydia Ko and Prince Harry pose for a photo.

Being the No. 1 golfer in the world -- and an ambassador for the Invictus Games -- has its perks. Like meeting a real prince.

The inaugural Invictus Games were held in 2014 as a way for wounded armed services personnel to participate in multiple sports, much like the Paralympics. It was the brainchild of Prince Harry of Great Britain, as a way of making sure the efforts of soldiers who participated in the Afghanistan conflict were fully appreciated, and to "... use sport as a way to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and demonstrate life beyond disability."

So when Orlando offered to host the second Games, Ko was asked to be an ambassador. And on Wednesday, she had the opportunity to meet Prince Harry, as this tweet shows.

 

 

Ko has had a pretty awesome 2016. She was in attendance at the Masters earlier this spring, had a chance to practice putting with NBA MVP Stephen Curry and won a tournament in her native New Zealand despite having an earthquake interruption.

May 12, 2016 - 10:17am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rob Labritz
USA Today Sports Images
Trying to beat those milestone scores like 100, 90, 80 and 70? In the final piece of this four-part series, PGA Professional Rob Labritz offers up some great advice that's sure to make you a better player. For this week, Labritz focuses on those trying to break 70.

Now that you’ve mastered all the prerequisites for breaking 100, 90 and 80 – working from the green backwards – you might be wondering: what is it that I have to do to break 70?

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. PGA Professional Rob Labritz is a guy who breaks 70 often. The key, he says, is putting in an immense amount of time at your game, honing all those skills it took to break those other milestone scores.

“It might not be as simple as it sounds, but you have to eliminate every mistake you might typically make,” Labritz said. “A perfect round – in golf terms – would mean you hit every fairway, hit every green and take two putts. Eighteen pars. On most courses, that’s a 72. With that mindset, now you have to figure out where you can attack the course to break 70.”

RELATED: Advice for breaking 100 | Advice for breaking 90 | Advice for breaking 80

It’s not as simple as walking to the first tee and sticking the peg in the ground. Just like anything else you desire to be great at, it requires some homework. For Labritz, that means studying the golf course and examining the scorecard.

“Here’s what you do to break 70,” Labritz said, “it starts with birdieing all of the par 5s. The par 5s are giving you an extra shot. If you’re an above average driver, birdieing all the par 5s is a must. See how long the par 5s are and ask yourself: can I reach the green in two? If the answer is ‘no’ then ask yourself: where do I have to positon myself to have the most comfortable wedge shot possible to get close in three?”

With the birdie mindset on the par 5s, Labritz said you have to shift to a par mindset for the par 3s. With ball in hand (on the tee), Labritz said, you should be able to do that.

Now, here comes the wildcard: The par 4s.

“The par 4s are funky,” Labritz said. “You birdie the par 5s, par the par 3s and then you pick your spots on the par 4s. Some you can attack. You have to approach it like this – if you have a wedge in your hand on a par 4, it’s a birdie club. You should get it close. When you break down the par 4s, see where you can attack with the driver. Then there are holes you won’t hit driver on. In those spots, put yourself in the most comfortable positon off the tee for your scoring shots. Pick a number you feel most comfortable with and make sure you’re setting yourself up with those clubs.”

If you’re breaking 70, Labritz explained, it’s because you’re managing your game around the course.

“It’s about breaking down the course to suit your game to where you feel comfortable,” he said. “You also have to know where not to hit shots. There are no-zones where you definitely don’t want to be in those areas because making par is a hard ask. Stay away from OB and the hazards. If you’re hitting in those spots you need to make a lot of birdies. And, it probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – you’re going to need to make a lot of putts.”

If you’re like most people, chances are you freak out a little bit when you’re on the cusp of breaking a “milestone score.” You know the feeling. You’re standing on the 18th tee, sniffing the round of your life. Suddenly, your palms get sweaty, you start thinking ahead, you leave “the moment” and 10 minutes later you’re bummed out because of a disaster finish when you were oh-so-close.

Labritz has a sure-fire plan to get you comfortable with shooting low scores.

“When you’re practicing, play a bunch of rounds from the forward tees, and for women, play from where the fairway starts,” he said. “Instead of playing from your normal 7,000 yards for men, get in the 5,800-yard range. And less than that for women. Two things will happen here. One, you won’t be hoping to shoot a low score – you’ll expect to shoot a low score. And two, you’re going to get a lot of work on your scoring clubs. You get a sense of playing pretty far under par and how to score. See how low you can shoot. Several rounds under par later following this advice, you’re going to build a confidence when it’s time to move back.”

That, Labritz said, is how he got comfortable shooting low scores – something he had to get comfortable with if he was to have any success on the mini-tours he was playing, where guys were shooting 7- or 8-under par every day.

“Doing that helped me a bunch,” he said. “People can freak out. We get diluted and think about the future too much. When you’re a better player, your score correlates with your preparation, of course, but also your mindset and attitude.”

Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008 and 2013, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at www.RobLabritz.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz.  

May 11, 2016 - 2:43pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
@goldyeller on Instagram
Here's Tiger Woods -- the Legos version -- recreating arguably the most famous shot of his career on his way to winning the 2005 Masters.

Last Thursday, we brought you the hilarious stop-action video of PGA Tour player Graham DeLaet made entirely out of Legos posted by Instagram user Jared Jacobs (@goldyeller).

Well, this week, Jacobs went all-in on one of the greatest shots in the game's history -- the ridiculous chip-in Tiger Woods had at Augusta National's par-3 16th hole on his way to winning the 2005 Masters, complete with the Verne Lundquist "in your life" commentary.

Check it out (h/t Bleacher Report):

 

In your life have you seen anything like that? #TigerWoods #VerneLundquist #PGA

A video posted by Jared Jacobs (@goldyeller) on

 

That is just fantastic. A+.

May 11, 2016 - 8:51am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones Twitter
Former Atlanta Braves all-star Chipper Jones collected his first career hole-in-one on Tuesday while playing at TPC Sugarloaf.

In a career loaded with night games, it's not surprising that many of the most avid golfers in the world are baseball players.

I mean, come on, what else are they going to do while they wait for a 7 p.m. first pitch?

Not surprisingly, that love of golf carries over into retirement from the big leagues as well.

That's where former Atlanta Braves eight-time all-star Chipper Jones enters the equation.

Playing a round of golf at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. (former home of a PGA Tour event), on Tuesday, Jones scored his first hole-in-one with a 52-degree gap-wedge on a 134-yard par 3.

While there wasn't video of the actual shot, Jones was sure to have his buddies film him as he collected the ball from the hole and gave details of his ace: