Golf Buzz

January 28, 2014 - 12:20pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
The 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale
Getty Images
Fans will be loud, rambunctious and creative at the Waste Management Phoenix Open for sure.

Question on my mind. And (for once), it's kind of a serious question.

What's the better fan experience this coming Sunday? The 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open (raucous, over-the-top, a controlled chaos and on Sunday - dramatic and intense) or being at MetLife Stadium at the Super Bowl?

Here are a few points to consider.

Fans: TPC Scottsdale will be full of college aged fanatics who will - well, be well-lubed by the time the leaders get to 16. The Super Bowl is price prohibitive for many fans of the teams. Will be lots of older, well-to-do executives filling the seats.

Weather: The weather in Arizona this time of year is pretty much ideal. There will be short sleeves, sundresses and probably a few shirtless fans wandering around the course. The Super Bowl forecast is cloudy, a breeze and temps in the low 30s.

Drama: If history is any indicator, there is a 50% chance that the Super Bowl will not be close. (I kinda made that number up). However, there is a 100% chance that the leaders will be playing together when they come through 16 on Sunday.

Music: You get the most creative and tone deaf songs from the gallery as they greet each golfer when they are announced on the tee box. At the Super Bowl, you get Bruno Mars. (Calling this one a tie.)

Gifts: Golfers often throw out balls, hats, ball markers, etc to fans along the 16th. Each fan at the Super Bowl will get a goodie bag filled with hats, earmuffs, towels, handwarmers, etc. Probably an edge to the Super Bowl, but not by much.

Traffic: Getting in and out of each venue.....going with the golf.

There are a host of other considerations, I'm not even advocating there is a right answer. That said, if you're headed to the Waste Management Open, I can assure you that your time is not taking a backseat to what is typically considered the premier event in sports. So see, golf = fun. Lots of it. Especially this coming Sunday.

You can tweet your thoughts to John at @johnkim 

January 28, 2014 - 10:45am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
Michael.Benzie's picture
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson
Courtesy The PGA of America
Tom Watson is on the mend after injuring his pinkie finger.

U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson made news on SiriusXM's PGA Tour Radio Network show "Fairways of Life with Matt Adams" on Tuesday morning.

The eight-time major champion explained to Adams that he's currently unable to hit golf balls as the result of a mishap that caused him to jam, or dislocate his pinkie finger.


"I had a little accident yesterday," Watson told Adams."We were walking and I dislocated my little pinkie finger. I'm going up now to see the doc and get it X-rayed. I popped it back into place, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. It's a little stiff right now. It'll probably prevent me from hitting balls for a week or two, but other than that everything is good."

Nothing serious, it seems, but we'll keep a watchful eye.

Watson also talked to Adams about following PGA Tour events closer these days as the Ryder Cup gets closer and closer.

"It's been very interesting being a part of this process," Watson said. "You look at Scott Stallings winning on Sunday and he jumped from way, way back to 11th or 12th on the Ryder Cup points list just with that one victory. That's what's going to happen early on in the season. But the usual suspects are there. You've got the Johnson boys -- Zach and Dustin -- Dufner and Phil Mickelson are right up there. Jimmy Walker has one twice -- once at the end of last year and once this year. He's right at the top of the list right now. It's starting to gell out. The process from my standpoint, is to watch these players as they play, see how they deal with the pressure. That's the most important thing to me -- how these players deal with the pressure."

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

January 27, 2014 - 8:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Smart Body Golf
Courtesy of Smart Body Golf
The equipment in Smart Body Golf's Performance Pack helps golfers increase rotational power, flexibility, balance and stability.
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 third one:
I get older and stiffer every year – heck, every day – so I'm more interested in the fitness aspect of golf than ever, especially in the winter. There were tons of fitness-related products at the PGA Show, but I was intrigued by the Performance Pack from Smart Body Golf.
Smart Body Golf is committed to ''innovation in golf performance and instruction to help golfers of all ages and levels live well and play better,'' says company spokesman Randy Myers, the director of fitness at Sea Island. Specifically, its gear is designed to help golfers improve their core, stability and overall strength.
The Performance Pack includes four pieces of equipment:
--the Swing Ball Pro is a six-pound medicine ball-like orb outfitted with handles to use in building core strength and rotational strength. The slots and handles allow golfers to hold the ball lightly and swing it without tension, while the alternating grips can help promote either draw or fade motions. The ball's two colors represent both sides of your body, the company says, to help balance the force generated from the left and right sides through the swing.
--the Inside 80 is a vest that promotes resistance training and helps improve stretching, synchronization and distance control. It is made with elastic tubing to allow arm extension while adding resistance to engage the core, and it synchronizes the upper body and core for better swing control. Its cross-handle system allows one handle to pull on the opposite shoulder to create maximum shoulder turn for increased torque.
--the Leverage Discs are big air-filled doughnuts designed to improve stability, leverage and rotational movements. You stand on them, and the hole in their middle helps to optimize the swing sequence and stability as well as develop the toe- and heel-based movements unique to the golf swing. The discs can help prevent swaying and improve weight transfer while enhancing stability.
--the Smart Toner is a resistance tube designed to help develop consistent, explosive movement. It comes with a foam door anchor and is available in three different resistance levels. The tube itself is covered by a sleeve to protect both it and its users, and the company says it will last far longer than traditional tubing.
As you can see in the photos above, you use this equipment to help increase your rotational power, your flexibility, your balance and stability, and your overall body awareness throughout your swing. Exercising with this equipment also can help improve your overall fitness level and help prevent injury.
You can use these pieces individually or use some of them in combination with each other – like the standing on the Leverage discs while swinging the Swing Ball Pro or using the Smart Toner. 
The individual pieces can be purchased separately, but the best deal is to buy everything in the Performance Pack at once. The Pack retails for $199.95 and is available at
January 27, 2014 - 6:37pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Pihl Mickelson is hoping to defend his Phoenix Open crown this week after getting treatment from a back specialist.
Phil Mickelson didn't sit around the house after dropping out of the Farmers Insurance Open late Friday. Instead, he flew to Georgia to visit a back specialist and is hoping to defend his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week.
Mickelson said some of his facet joints had locked up and that specialist Tom Boers restored his mobility, according to the Associated Press. He plans to fly to Phoenix on Wednesday with hopes of playing, but noted that he still has some inflammation that will take a week or two to subside.
Normally, Mickelson said, he'd sit out this week, but as an Arizona State alum he considers Scottsdale a second home and wants to play. He will have a light practice session, he said, and will consider playing if everything feels good.
Mickelson made the cut at Torrey Pines last Friday, but withdrew before the third round because he feared that the muscle pain in his back might encourage him to get into bad habits by altering his swing. After Phoenix, he is scheduled to play the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am next week, but isn't planning to play the Northern Trust Open at Riviera or the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship because his children have spring break at two schools.
If he were to miss these two weeks, that would mean he would have played only 36 holes on the West Coast Swing, where he has won 19 of his 42 events on the PGA Tour. 
''I have the entire year. I've got majors coming up. I've got other tournaments coming up and I don't want to get in bad habits,'' Mickelson said last Friday. ''My game is pretty sharp getting ready to start the year and I could tell I'm making terrible swings out there relative to the way I've been swinging.''
The Associated Press contrbuted to this report.
January 27, 2014 - 4:48pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Ian Poulter
Ian Poulter on Instagram
Ian Poulter in a much more clean-cut and dressed mode.

This isn't much of a story - I have no details on the the Why, the When, even the Where. But I do know the basic Who and the What. And it's compelling - I guess. In a way.

So Ian Poulter, who is no stranger to causing a stir with his Twitter account, is apparently (was?) shaving and decided to show a before and after - at the same time. Did I mention it wasn't his face - but his chest?  Was it for laughs? Was it for boredom? Was it to promote his Instagram account? Only the fiery Englishman knows.

Regardless, in all of its glory, I submit Poulter's selfie for your viewing entertainment.

You can follow Ian Poulter on Twitter at @ianjamespoulter or on Instagram at ianjamespoulter

January 27, 2014 - 12:46pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Scott Stallings
Getty Images
With his win in the Farmers Insurance Open, Scott Stallings moved from No. 104 to No. 11 in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

Surprisingly, despite all the stars that teed it up last week in the Farmers Insurance Open, there was no movement in the top 10 of the latest U.S. Ryder Cup points standings.

Notably, Tiger Woods -- making his first start of the 2014 season -- tied for 80th and dropped two spots from No. 23 to No. 25. Woods did not play on Sunday, missing the secondary, 54-hole cut after a 7-over 79 in the third round. It was the first time in his career that Woods had an "MDF" -- made cut, did not finish.

2014 RYDER CUP: U.S. points standings | How U.S. Points are earned | Team USA | Team Europe

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, withdrew from the tournament on Saturday morning before the third round, citing a back pain. Even so, he remained No. 2 in this week's standings.

Here's a look at the current top 12 (remember, the top 9 after the PGA Championship in August automatically qualify, while U.S. Captain Tom Watson fills out the team with three captain's picks)

1. Jimmy Walker
2. Phil Mickelson
3. Jason Dufner
4. Zach Johnson
5. Dustin Johnson
6. Harris English
7. Webb Simpson
8. Chris Kirk
9. Ryan Moore

10. Brian Stuard
11. Scott Stallings
12. Patrick Reed

While there was no movement in the current top 10, Farmers Insurance Open champion Scott Stallings made a massive move up the points list, rocketing from No. 104 to start the week, to No. 11 after winning Sunday.

The only other mover of significance in this week's top 20 was Charley Hoffman. He jumped nine spots from No. 29 to No. 20 thanks to a tie for seventh.

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