Golf Buzz

March 20, 2014 - 3:34pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
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A source revealed to GolfWeek's Jeff Rude that Tiger Woods has been diagnosed with a bulging disk in his back.

According to a report from GolfWeek's Jeff Rude, world No. 1 Tiger Woods has been diagnosed with a bulging disk in his back and will not need surgery.

Rude obtained the information from "someone with knowledge" of Tiger's condition.

Wrote Rude:

It could have been much worse, the person said, because Woods doesn’t have the kind of herniated disk that likely would require an operation.

In his last two starts on the PGA Tour, Woods has suffered from back spasms. At the Honda Classic three weeks ago, the spasms were so bad, Woods withdrew 13 holes into the final round.

RELATED: Bubba Watson withdraws at Bay Hill citing allergies after first-round 83

Woods played through the pain in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral two weeks ago, but was forced to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational this past Tuesday at Bay Hill, where he was the defending champion (and an eight-time champion overall).

Woods has stated that his goal is to continue treatment with the hope that he'll be ready in time for the Masters, which begins on April 10.

“It's too early to know about the Masters, and I will continue to be evaluated and work closely with my doctors,” Woods said on his website Tuesday.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


March 20, 2014 - 1:37pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bubba Watson
USA Today Sports Images
Bubba Watson, citing allergies, withdrew after the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Thursday.

Thursday proved to be a tough day for Bubba Watson.

The 2012 Masters champion withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational following an opening round of 11-over 83 at Bay Hill. Watson cited allergies as the reason for his early exit.

READ: Get excited, fellow golfers, spring is officially here

Watson's 83 in the first round, included an 11 at the par-5 sixth hole, a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 18th hole, three bogeys and one birdie.

Up until this week, it had been a fruitful year for Watson. He made the cut in all seven of his previous starts with five top-10 finishes, including a win in the Northern Trust Open.

Watson sent out the following tweets after his withdrawal:

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


March 20, 2014 - 9:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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T.J. Auclair
Spring is officially here, fellow golfers. Hopefully that means less of what's on the left and more of what's on the right for you.

Aside from the first day of the Masters (just 20 days away now for those counting), today is a very special day for golfers across the country -- especially golfers like me, who have endured yet another long, cold, icy, snowy, New England winter.

Why? Because today, March 20, is officially the first day of spring. While there's still a little snow on the ground in my neck of the woods, there are all kinds of signs that we're just about out of the woods with this brutal winter.

The temperatures are rising. Just last weekend, I visited the nearest outdoor range for the first time since November. There was a good 30-minute wait for a hitting bay.

RELATED: Looking for some drills to work on your game? Watch our instruction videos

Sure, if you love golf, you can still work on your game during the winter months -- golf-specific exercises, indoor practice with putting, or chipping and hitting full shots into a net. I've done all that, but it's not the same as getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and watching the ball travel more than a few feet.

There's nothing better than golf season. The time spent with friends and loved ones on the course is priceless. There are laughs. There are great shots pulled off that we didn't think were possible to pull off. There are bets won and lost involving crazy circumstances that provide great, lifelong stories for the 19th hole and banter for the friend who came out on the short end of the stick.

For many of us, there have been months of watching golf on TV in locales such as Hawaii, California, Arizona and Florida after coming in from shoveling yet more snow. But with the season changing, we finally get to embark on a new season of golf of our own at home, instead of dreaming about those other destinations.

Many of you will set goals and that's terrific. It doesn't matter the goal either: break 100, break 90, break 80, cut down on your number of putts per round, hit more fairways, heck, play more golf -- they're yours to chase down and it makes the new season all the more exciting.

Get out there and play. Play often. Work toward something. But, most of all, have fun.

Winter, you were pretty while you were here, but we're happy to see you go away for the next several months.

Here's to wishing you all a happy spring and a fantastic new season ahead.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


March 19, 2014 - 11:47pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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George IV Bryan and Wesley Bryan
Brothers George IV and Wesley Bryan team up to create several eye-popping trick golf shots.
Man, the trick shots just keep getting, well, trickier.
Just the other day, we were amazed at that two-guys-hit-the-same-ball shot video. In fact, we're still a little amazed by that one.
But Wednesday night, Rickie Fowler tweeted out a link to a trick shot video by brothers George Bryan IV and Wesley Bryan that, to me, is in an entirely different league. In fact, there are two videos – the first one is a bit of an appetizer while the second one is a full meal. But watch 'em both – they're definitely worth the minute or two they'll take.
I'm not even going to try to describe the shots except to say that they require teamwork at its best, so it's no surprise to learn that the brothers have been immersed in golf since childhood. They were essentially raised at the Chapin, S.C., golf academy run by their father, PGA Professional George Bryan III. They started taking lessons from prominent PGA instructor Mike Bender at about the time they began elementary school, and both went on to star at the University of South Carolina.
And just as I was writing this, I noticed that the Bryan brothers' acrobatics have attracted the attention of Lindsay Ann Aho and Lauren Sullivan, who are in the current season of "The Big Break" and appear to be challenging the brothers to a trick-shot contest. Sounds like the competition will get serious next week, so we'll keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime, check out these two videos:
March 19, 2014 - 6:52pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tiger Woods
Getty Images
Tiger Woods, to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 pro majors, will have to overcome his advancing age and injuries, not to mention the ever-improving group of young players emerging on the scene.
Tiger Woods isn't playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week as he rests his ailing back, but he's still very much the topic of conversation at Bay Hill.
On Wednesday, Palmer himself was asked about Tiger's career-long quest to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 professional majors. 
The King's take: It's going to be "tough" for Woods to break the record, for several reasons.
"I don't think 38 years [Woods' age] is the ultimate stopping point for his quest to do what Jack did," Palmer said. "I think it lessens the possibility of that happening. … It's going to be tough to keep the concentration and the type of the game that is necessary to win majors."
The King also believes that the ever-more-impressive collection of fast-rising young players poses a serious threat to Woods.
"These young guys are tough, and they're strong," he said. "And if they continue to play as well as they've been playing, it's going to be tough for anybody – whether it be Nicklaus or Tiger or whomever it would be – to continue to win major championships." 
And as the younger generation improves in both skill and attitude, Palmer sees that Woods' aura of invincibility might not be what it used to be.
"The fear of a player being so good that they back off, I don't think that's the case anymore," Palmer said. "I think that the players that are going to win, and win major championships, have to be physically fit, mentally fit and they're going to continue to be tough to beat." 
As for the Arnold Palmer Invitational itself, we've got it covered from head to toe. You can check out the tee times and leaderboard, see who TJ Auclair says are the five players to watch, read about how the tournament is carrying on without Woods, catch some inside scoop on the goings-on from Bay Hill's PGA Director of Golf Brian Dorn and even see our pre-tournament photo gallery.
The Associated Press contrbuted to this report.
March 19, 2014 - 5:05pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson
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Phil Mickelson has decided to play the Valero Texas Open next week in addition to the Shell Houston Open in two weeks. That means the three-time Masters champion would play both Texas events before he arrives at Augusta National for the first major of the year.
Mickelson hasn't played the Texas Open since 1992. It now is played on the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio.
This is the second straight year the Valero Texas Open has landed a top player at the last minute. Rory McIlroy played last year and was runner-up to Martin Laird.
Mickelson prefers to play before majors. He previously has said he would play the Shell Houston Open, which is the week before the Masters. He had been undecided on the Texas Open.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.