Golf Buzz

Phil Mickelson at Phoenix Open
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Phil Mickelson gets ready to throw a football Saturday to the Phoenix Open crowd surrounding the 16th hole.

Phil Mickelson's back must be feeling a whole lot better, based on the form he exhibited Saturday while tossing footballs to the boisterous crowd at No. 16 during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Mickelson, who plays golf left-handed but throws with his right, had quite a bit of zip on his first toss. It was a head-high frozen rope that would have made Joe Montana proud. He then showed some pretty good distance by throwing at least two balls into the upper deck boxes that surround the par-3 hole, which is playing at 126 yards during Saturday's round.

FAVORITE FAN EXPERIENCES: Check out our top five!

The balls were donated by Mickelson's brother, who just happens to be the golf coach at Arizona State. Mickelson signed them and decided he'd toss them into the crowd after his tee shot.

Unfortunately for Lefty, he turned out to be a better quarterback than golfer on that hole. His tee shot missed the green, short and left of the flag. He then wound up in a sand trap when his chip shot failed to make it to the putting surface. Adding in a couple of putts, Mickelson carded a double-bogey 5.

Perhaps Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning ought to take notes ... on how not to get up and down for par.

Watch Phil wind up and let fly here:











January 31, 2014 - 7:24pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Fred Couples at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic
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Fred Couples stretched his back, and his stay in Dubai, by making the cut on Friday. Unfortunately, he'll have to miss the Super Bowl even though he has two 50-yard-line tickets.
Anybody need two 50-yard-line tickets to the Super Bowl? 
Fred Couples is the lucky owner of that pair of prized ducats – but he can't use them.
Couples, an avid Seattle Seahawks fan – he even raised the 12th Man flag during the Hawks' Monday night game against New Orleans in December – bought the tickets last fall when he thought his hometown team might make it all the way to the Big Game.
But on Friday, he birdied the final two holes of the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic to make the cut. That left him with a tough choice, and he's decided to play the final two rounds. He's playing in Dubai as a past champion (he won in 1995) as the Middle East's flagship event celebrates its 25th anniversary.
"Call me stupid,'' Couples joked to Bob Harig of "I tried to bogey [No. 16] and I did. I tried to bogey 13, the par 5, and I did. I just couldn't butcher enough holes.''
With his tender back always a concern, Couples wasn't even sure he could play this week. In fact, he'd already explored Saturday flights from Dubai to New York. But after making the cut, he said his decision was easy.
"There's no way I would ever not try,'' Couples said. "So I'll watch it on TV. That's the next best thing.''
If passing up the game to watch on TV makes Couples sounds like he's not a superfan, consider this. He'll catch the game at the airport – where the kickoff is set for 3:30 a.m. Dubai time.
January 31, 2014 - 6:35pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Nevr Looz golf bags
Courtesy of Nevr Looz
The Nevr Looz golf bags prevent your clubs from spilling, even when turned upside down.
The 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, held Jan. 22-24 in Orlando, showcased thousands of new products great and small from hundreds of vendors. After walking the 10 miles of aisles in the Orange County Convention Center for two days, I've come up with a list of 10 products that caught my eye, and I'm rolling them out over a 10-day period. Here is the seventh one:
There were golf bags almost from end to end of the Show floor at the PGA Merchandise Show, but there was no mistaking the ProClip-SCT golf bags from Nevr Looz.
At first glance, they look unfinished, like somebody forgot to put the skin on the skeleton. Upon closer inspection, though, it's clear that these bags – there are both cart and carry models – are unlike any other. 
As you can tell by the company name, these bags are designed to help prevent golfers from losing their clubs. They accomplish this with Nevr Looz’s Pro-Clip technology, which uses 15 Club Clips to keep your clubheads securely in place, even when the bag is turned upside down. And while the clubs are secured, they're not completely enclosed from shaft to head – as you can see, the bags' ''open style'' make the clubs more accessible than ever.
The bags in the Nevr Looz collection are made of durable nylon and weigh in at 4 ½ pounds. They've got nine front-facing or side pickets along with a cooler pocket, velour-lined valuables pocket and a full-length pocket. They also come with putter tubes, padded straps, umbrella holders, towel clips and rain hoods.
These bags are available at and carry a suggested retail price of $249.
January 31, 2014 - 4:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Kristen Stewart
E via YouTube
Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame learned to play golf with her dad, and teed it on the set of her latest movie.
I was at the PGA Merchandise Show most of last week, so I'm still behind on my Sundance Film Festival news. And as I was catching up on the happenings from Utah, I ran across a tidbit I had no idea about: Actress Kristen Stewart of ''Twilight'' fame is apparently quite the little golfer. 
In fact, she proudly proclaims that she ''can spank a golf ball.''
In an interview at Sundance, where her new movie, ''Camp X-Ray,'' premiered, Stewart explained that she learned to play golf with her dad. In keeping with her slacker persona, though, she called golf ''a dorky activity'' and recoiled at the suggestion that she might wear golf outfits. 
''No,'' she said, ''I'm way too cool for that.''
In a subsequent interview, her ''Camp X-Ray'' co-star Lane Garrison confirms that while Stewart is a good basketball player, she's an even better golfer. And, he noted, the cast and crew built a little driving range on the set so everyone could blow off some steam in between filming some of the more intense scenes.
''She's got an amazing swing,'' said Garrison. ''She needs to do a golf movie.''
That got me thinking what kind of golf movie she'd be most suited for. Given that by far her biggest success has come from her ''Twilight'' role, I'd suggest that her golf movie should have a similar theme. But instead of having the conflicted heroine Bella choose between vampire Edward or werewolf Jacob, in a golf movie she'd have to decide between vampire Tiger or werewolf Phil.
Oops, my wife reminds me that the youthful moviegoing audience might want younger male leads. So, okay, how about vampire Rory and werewolf Rickie?
There you go. That, I believe, would be box-office gold. Or maybe not. Either way, here's the video of the interview with Stewart and Garrison:
January 31, 2014 - 12:36pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
TaylorMade Speed Police
Courtesy YouTube/TaylorMadeGolf
TaylorMade has created an ad for the Speed Police, the latest in a long line of great golf ads form the industry

One of the great advances in golf over the past few years has their marketing. Ads specifically, those awesome, fun, viral ads that companies such as Nike, Callaway, PING, Titleist and TaylorMade have been putting out in hopes that they invade everyone's Facebook and Twitter feeds. And guess what? They're working. People love them.

Certainly, commercials have always been important - but the way companies have "stepped up their game" in the last few years has shown the importance of the "earned media" impression. Hoping an ad catches the public fancy enough for them to "like, retweet or share" through their various social channels.

TaylorMade's lastest video, titled "Speed Police" is a great example of such an ad. From a first person perspective, it leads the viewer through a typical clubhouse, course, range and back to clubhouse via the eyes of a (mini) police car. The point? Actually, trying to enforce the need for speed (in clubs). (Perhaps a bit counterintuitive with police demanding speed, but it works here.) And, can't lie, the cameo by Miss Paulina Gretzky will probably help drive some social shares too, right?





Last year, Nike Golf led the way with their "Sorry Mr. Tiger" and "No Cup is Safe" ads. This year, you can expect to see a whole slew of similar ads - all more creative, clever and engaging than the last. And the winner of this blitz? Us, the consumer. We will laugh, smile and discuss them for months to come. Whether it directly leads you to the nearest pro shop to make a purchase or not, it will get you talking about a particular brand. And then, they are winners too.


Tell us, what's your favorite golf ad ever? Share with us on our Facebook page.

Follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim

January 31, 2014 - 9:12am
Michael.Benzie's picture
Phoenix Open
Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Bubba Watson tosses gifts into the crowd on the 16th hole during the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on January 30, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. ()

As the Waste Management Phoenix Open enjoys another raucous and enthusiastic crowd, I posed a question as to whether the fan experience at the annual party at TPC Scottsdale was actually a better "fan experience" than the uber-hyped Super Bowl.

It got me thinking. What are the best fan experiences in golf?

This seemed easy - or so I thought.

A fan experience can take many forms. Is it seeing top players (Hello Augusta!)? Is it being able to be loud and rowdy (Goodbye Augusta!). Is it seeing a beautiful course (Hello Augusta again!). Let's just define it as: something you'll enjoy, remember and treasure.

Here are five of my most notable, listed by date. But we want to know yours, as well. Join the conversation on our Facebook page.





The Waste Management Phoenix Open. Jan. 30-Feb. 2. It's a combination of Mardi Gras, a college pep rally, a Friday night bar crawl - oh, and some of the world's best players. All the attention (rightfully) is on the 16th hole where the crowd is always the star of the show, but the entire tournament, course and city is pretty much one carnival for the largest crowds in golf. If you believe that beer, sundresses and sunshine make for a good time - this is your event.

The Masters. April 10-13. What's the complete opposite of the Waste Management Phoenix Open? This. Meticulous grooming of the course, sweet tea and lemonade is often the drink of choice. Lots of blazers (look for the green ones!) walking the fairways. Great prices on food. You know virtually every hole on the course. And every golfer in the world wants to be there. There are more rules in place here (no running ... ever. No laying down, no cameras/cell phones on tournament days, etc.) but virtually every golf fan in the world is happy to abide. It's that awesome.

The Players Championship. May 8-11. Here it all boils down to one hole - the famous 17th. The island green has become more than a favored viewing spot, it has become a Shakespearean tragedy - being played 145 times (for two days at least), and again 140+ times on the weekend. The crowd sits on the bank and "ooohs" and "ahhhhhs" at every shot. The shot is so simple, and yet, no lead is safe. For sheer lump in the throat and kick in the gut intensity, watch a few groups come through this hole on Sunday. You'll remember it the rest of your life.

PGA Championship. Aug. 7-10. Albeit a bit biased (this is, after all), how can you argue with the major championship that was the first to allow fans to bring phones to the course and set up wifi for them? Already billed as the strongest field in golf, it has a host of Your Game golf-related activities on site and even allowed fans to pick a hole location for the Sunday round of a major!? The emphasis on the fan experience, from the merchandise shops to the walkway layouts are the hallmark of the final major of each season and the fans have responded in kind.
The Ryder Cup. Sept. 23-28. As someone who has been to Ryder Cups both here in the U.S. and overseas - I can state for certain that this is the most unique and probably passionate event in golf, maybe all of sports. It's hard to describe the emotion involved, from the fans to the media to the players themselves. Think SEC football meets WWE - and we all go silent over a four foot putt and half the crowd goes nuts depending on what happens. Now multiply that by 10. That's how I feel at every Ryder Cup.