Golf Buzz

February 13, 2015 - 5:30pm
john.holmes's picture
Panuphol Pittayarat
Asian Tour
Panuphol Pittayarat (center) wona brand-new townhouse at Black Mountain in Thailand for this hole-in-one there on Friday during the European Tour's True Thailand Classic.
Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand missed the cut in the European Tour's True Thailand Classic on Friday, but he's going home a happy man. The reason – he's going home to a brand-new home.
The 22-year-old Pittayarat – whose nickname on his home Asian Tour is "Coconut" – made a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th hole at Black Mountain Golf Club. His prize? Not a bottle of champagne, or even a car, but the deed to a $368,000 townhouse currently under construction along the ninth fairway.
It just might be golf's first "home-in-one."
"I saw the ball just gone and I wasn't sure if it had gone in. But one of the guys ran up and he said there's no golf ball on the greens," Pittayarat said after his round. "So I started yelling. It was out of my mind. "Six-iron is now my friend."
The ace was the highlight of his day, as he posted a 1-under 71 that included the ace, four birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey.
Amazingly, Pittayarat's ace was the 13th on the European Tour in the 30 rounds played so far, following the four last week at the Maybank Malaysia Open (by Paul Waring, Gregory Bourdy, Jake Higginbottom and Thongchai Jaidee, and the four carded in January at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship (by Tom Lewis, Byeong-hun An, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Rory McIlroy).
The spate of aces is unusual, according to the European Tour, which explored the phenomenon on its website. Last year, its players recorded 35 aces in 49 events – a ratio of one hole-in-one for every 2,143 par 3s played, or 0.05 per cent. Heading into this week, the 12 aces in seven events put the tour on a pace to one for every 893 par 3s played. 
Statisticians say the probability of an amateur making a hole-in-one ranges anywhere from one in 12,500 to one in 40,000, the European Tour said, while a professional golfer has around a one-in-2,500 chance of making an ace. Therefore, it concluded, "the one-in-893 trend we have seen thus far this season is most certainly noteworthy."
If you're counting, the European Tour record for most holes-in-one in a season is 39 in 2006. The 2015 season, for now, is on pace for 81 aces.
Speaking of aces, I haven't found a clip of Pattayarat's hole-in-one, but here is an interview with him after his round:
Mark Hubbard
PGA Tour Media via Twitter
Mark Hubbard had more on his mind than his final score when he walked off the 18th green at Pebble Beach on Thursday.
The weather at Pebble Beach was so spectacular on Thursday that it felt like spring was in the air. Apparently, love was also in the air for PGA Tour player Mark Hubbard and his longtime girlfriend, Meghan McCurley. 
After he finished up a first-round 72 in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Hubbard produced an engagement ring, dropped to one knee and popped the question. McCurley, we're pleased to report, said yes. 
Hubbard, a rookie this season, and McCurley have been together for seven years – since they were freshmen at San Jose State – so he wanted to make kind of a big deal out of his proposal. So he worked with tournament officials, who flashed "Meghan - Will You Marry Me?" up on the big electronic leaderboard behind the 18th green as soon as Hubbard's final putt fell. 
No word yet on a wedding date or possible honeymoon locations. Whenever and wherever they get hitched, though, they'll always remember the special circumstances of their engagement. Not only was it at Pebble Beach, it was also captured on video: 
February 12, 2015 - 1:30pm
mark.aumann's picture
Miguel Angel Jimenez
European Tour/YouTube
Miguel Angel Jimenez celebrates Thursday after his eagle hole out.

There's nobody else like the most interesting man in golf.

SWORD PLAY: Jimenez wields his putter like a foil

Miguel Angel Jimenez made an eagle Thursday by holing out his shot during the first round of the Thailand Classic, and the celebration afterward is too much for words. Just watch:



Jimenez's gyrations are almost like "Chi Chi Rodriguez meets the cha-cha-cha." Jiminez shot a 67, putting him three shots behind first-round leader Michael Hoey.

WEDDING STYLE: The most interesting golfer gets hitched

Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson via Twitter
Bubba Watson joined some patients and their family members to celebrate the grand opening of the Bubba Watson and Ping Golf Motion Analysis Lab at the Phoenix Children's Hospital on Tuesday.
Not long after Bubba Watson won his first Masters back in 2012, he and Ping teamed up for a special promotion called ''Bubba & Friends Drive to a Million.'' To help raise funds for Phoenix-area charities, Ping donated $50 for each of the 5,000 pink drivers sold.
Last year, Watson and Ping presented $250,000 to the Phoenix Children's Hospital, with the money dedicated to creating the Bubba Watson and Ping Golf Motion Analysis Lab, which will serve pediatric patients with neuromuscular diseases and disabilities. In total, Watson and his wife Angie, along with Ping, donated $360,000 to the project.
And on Tuesday, the new facility celebrated its grand opening – with Bubba, of course, on hand for the festivities.
Writing on the hospital's website, Shane Barnhill, the director of digital philanthrophy at the hospital, provided some details on the new facility. Specifically, he explained, each year it will help hundreds of children who have movement disorders or walking difficulties caused by conditions like Cerebral Palsy. 
"A team of specialists – orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, kinesiologists, pediatric-trained sports medicine doctors, physiatrists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and engineers – will soon have data from a computer-assisted motion analysis of the way each child moves and walks," he wrote. "This innovative new process is invaluable, as studies have shown that nearly 90 percent of the surgical plans for patients seen in a gait lab change after evaluation."
Check out Watson's Twitter account and Facebook page for more photos and video from the grand opening.
Dean Smith
USA Today Sports Images
Dean Smith won two national championships in basketball - and two special matches in golf.
The world of sports was saddened over the weekend by the news of Dean Smith's passing at age 83. The great University of North Carolina basketball coach appeared in 11 Final Fours and his Tar Heels won the national championship in 1982 and 1993.
Smith was also an avid golfer – there's no reason not to be if you're living in North Carolina. And Roy Williams, who has coached the Tar Heels since 2003, shared some memories of his time on the golf course with Smith in a video clip shared by our friends at the Pinehurst Resort.
Smith, we're not surprised, wanted his fellow golfers to play the game correctly – even when he sometimes let his playing partners bend the rules a little bit. One example, William said in the video, which was shot on Sunday in the wake of Smith's death, was mulligans.
"He would always say, 'if you hit the mulligan, you've got to play the second one. You don't get to choose'," he said. "So we called that the Dean Smith Rule. We still do."
Smith was also no fan of conceded putts, and would often look askance at players who didn't drop the ball properly. "Everybody would just laugh and laugh," Williams said, "but they'd go ahead and do it" the way Smith wanted it done.
Despite an interpretation of the rules that might have been stricter than most, Smith was no curmudgeon on the course. Williams says he always enjoyed playing with Smith – and that Smith especially enjoyed beating their good friend and rival Bobby Knight.
Smith and Williams teamed up against Knight and another player twice. "We beat Coach Knight both times," Williams said, "and you'd've thought he was as happy then as he was in New Orleans," where Smith's Tar Heels won both of their NCAA titles.
You can see the whole video below. And click here to see another, longer, video interview with Roy Williams talking about golf, Pinehurst and more:
Lost and found
Tom Schipper/Facebook
These guys just happened to find unopened beers next to the batteries in their golf cart.

We asked a question on Facebook this weekend: "What are some of the oddest things you've lost (or found) on the golf course?" And the responses ran the gamut. Some were somewhat expected -- clubs, headcovers, gloves, and the like. Some were valuables -- keys, wallets, cash and rings. And some were downright strange.

Here are our favorite responses:

Tom Schipper: Funny you should ask: We found four ice-cold beers in the battery compartment of our cart yesterday. I'm sure some cart barn guy was surprised to see them gone.

LOST LUGGAGE: Airline loses, then finds Rory McIlroy's clubs

Michael Gorham: We found a bag with $3,000 in it. Spent two hours trying to figure out who it belonged to and eventually did. We called the guy to let him know we had it and he came back -- no smiles, no thank you, gave our cart staff $10.

Patrick Kanipe: A 3-wood about 20 feet up in the top of a pine tree.

Charles Yates: A pet cockatiel bird. Managed to catch it and kept it for around seven years. He was in a bunker. Called him Ben Crenshaw.

John Morton: Found a container of McCormick's Poultry Seasoning in a cart I was cleaning out at the course I am the Golf Professional at. Even more strange? It was empty.

Patrick Bowman: We frequently find World War II bombs doing maintenance here on Okinawa. We close off the areas and (unexploded ammunition) crews come and blow them up. Cool, but humbling.

LOST TOOTH: Tiger Woods accidentally hit in face by cameraman

Patrick Mcelroy: Half eaten golf shoe on the third hole by the water hazard and a bloody sock ten feet from the green.

Ted Tuso: A guy left a cart, his bag, the works in a pond at our course. Came back the next day to claim it.

Bob Bransdon: A putter in the desert at about the 250yd mark on a par 5.

Gary Smith: Pair of dentures in a cup holder.

Pete Welsh: Found one of those old cell phones that resmbled the Army walkie talkies. The guy drove back in his cart with a panicked look and gave me.a $20.

Branden Hall: Found an iPhone. Called the guy's wife and she was not happy that her husband was on the golf course. He didnt want it back. It was more of a hassle because he lived in Canada.

TRAVEL TIPS: Making sure your golf equipment gets there in one piece

Larry Joseph: I found a pack of smokes with a lottery ticket in it. I won $50 on that ticket.

Michael Maddalena: Lost my wedding ring. It was giving me a blister, so I put in my pocket. My golf cart died on the 12th hole, so I got a new cart. After the round, I realized I had lost my ring. Searched everywhere and decided to go back to old cart and found it had fallen on top of the batteries. Lucky!

Robert Porter Sr.: Lost my key ring to my truck. Walked 18 holes backwards in my exact path, no one saw them. Left notes in club house, weeks and weeks go by, nobody turned them in. Six months after buying a new key, I'm starting a round and digging through my bag for who knows what and there are my keys! 

Hans Sickles: Found a iPad last year. Turned it in to the clubhouse and got it back since no one ever claimed it.

And maybe the best response of all:

Cari Carnahan: Fiance! Or he lost me, then he had the gall to wait outside the ladies' locker room and demand the scorecard so he could post his score!