Golf Buzz

June 12, 2014 - 9:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf, instruction, U.S. Open, Pinehurst No. 2
Hybrids and fairway woods around the greens -- instead of wedges -- will be a common theme this week at the U.S. Open.

We're only a few hours into the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 and there have already been a number of players electing to use a hybrid or fairway wood near the greens instead of a wedge.

RELATED: U.S. Open leaderboard | Complete U.S. Open coverage

Do you know how to play the shot? The goal is to keep the ball low to the ground and rolling for better control. That's essential on tightly-mown areas and lightening-fast greens.

In this instructional video, PGA Teaching Professional Mark Sheftic from Merion Golf Club -- site of the 2013 U.S. Open -- demonstrates how to utilize a hybrid in your short game:



June 12, 2014 - 6:17am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rickie Fowler
Dave Shedloski
Rickie Fowler -- like the late 1999 U.S. Open champ Payne Stewart -- is known for his wild outfits. On Thursday at Pinehurst No. 2, Fowler did his best to resemble and pay tribute to his favorite player.

Golf World Magazine contributor Dave Shedloski (@DaveShedloski) tweeted a cool picture of Rickie Fowler on the practice green this morning ahead of his first round at Pinehurst No. 2 in the U.S. Open.

Fowler -- a fashion icon to the younger generation of golf fans -- paid homage to another fashion icon in the late Payne Stewart, the 1999 U.S. Open champ.

RELATED: U.S. Open leaderboard | Complete U.S. Open coverage

Stewart was known for his clothes, which always included the Plus-4 knickers. With that, Fowler decided to emulate the same look Thursday, complete with the argyle socks.

"This week you can't help but think about Payne Stewart and his win at the '99 U.S. Open," said Fowler in a release sent out by COBRA PUMA Golf. "I thought wearing the knickers, a look he was so famous for, would be a nice way to honor and remember such a huge golf icon, and someone I've always admired and looked up to. He had such an impact on the game both on and off the course; always gracious, win or lose. We will all be thinking about him this week." 

Very cool gesture by Fowler.

Fowler sent out this tweet early Thursday:


Jason Day and Sergio Garcia US Open golf bags
TaylorMade via Twitter
Jason Day and Sergio Garcia are just two of the TaylorMade players whose U.S. Open bags are celebrating Father's Day.

As has become a tradition, the U.S. Open ends on Father's Day again this year. And a few players have decorated their bags to mark the occasion.

Jason Day is a relatively new father, and he's got his almost-2-year-old son Dash's name embroidered onto the belly of his U.S. Open bag, as you can see in the photo above. 

Sergio Garcia has gone a step farther. He's got his dad Victor's name emblazoned on his bag – and he's festooned his bag in the colors of his native Spain to celebrate the World Cup.

U.S. OPEN: Follow the proceedings at Pinehurst with our leaderboard and complete coverage

If you're looking for a common link between the two bags, it's that both are from TaylorMade. Day and Garcia are just two of the TaylorMade contingent at Pinehurst whose bags will honor fathers and sons this week. It'll be fun to keep an eye out and try to spot the others.

And no, if you're asking, that's not Jason in the photo of his bag above – he was actually standing off to the right when the shot was taken.


Who has the best swing, Getty,, USA Today and USA Today
From left to right, Wayne Gretzky, Charles Barkley, Ken Griffey Jr., Bo Jackson and Peyton Manning.

Let's have a little fun.

We've had the opportunity here at to be able to get some golf swings of some major stars in other sports, and we wanted to put them on display for you to take a look at.

Not to judge - everyone's swing is different and even humongous sports stars have feelings - but to simply vote on which swing you think is smoothest. 

WATCH: More than 200 golf instructional videos | How to add power and distance

And it's a pretty impressive lineup of athletes here.

We have who many consider the best hockey player in the history of the game, Wayne Gretzky, also tied to PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson through his daughter Paulina (who was also on the cover of Golf Digest). There is Charles Barkley, a Hall of Fame NBA player and also one of the biggest names the sport has ever produced.

Ken Griffey Jr., currently No. 6 on the all-time home run list. Bo Jackson, one of the most talented athletes of our time. And Peyton Manning, the QB's QB and certain NFL Hall of Famer when and if he decides to retire.

Again, this isn't science. This is fun. We don't have a huge sampling of swings, so we used short clips you'll see below. Take a look below and vote. We'll let everyone vote for a week and then publish the results. Thanks for playing.




June 11, 2014 - 11:32am
Posted by:
dpurdum's picture
Phil Mickelson at Pinehurst
USA Today Images
Phil Mickelson will have plenty of support this week at the U.S. Open Championship.'s Facebook nation is rooting for Phil Mickelson to win the U.S. Open Championship this week at storied Pinehurst No. 2.

On Tuesday, we asked Facebook fans "Who do you like to win the U.S. Open Championship and why?" Out of more than 140 responses, no one got close to as many votes as Mickelson, who is looking to complete the career grand slam by winning his first U.S. Open.

MORE: Video: Mickelson's U.S. Open strategy | 5 to watch at the U.S. Open

A five-time major champion, Mickelson has finished second at the U.S. Open a record six times, sometimes in heartbreaking fashion, including by one stroke to the late Payne Stewart in 1999 at Pinehurst. His fan support remains strong. Mickelson was picked in 45 comments on our Facebook post. Masters champion Bubba Watson was second with 12. No other golfer reached double figures in picks.

"Love to see Phil get the career slam, make the final putt on 18 and do the Payne Stewart finish, but pointing up to the sky as a tribute to Payne," commented Wayne Johnson. 

"It has to be Phil," wrote Brent Davis. "The story first started being written a decade ago, and the game of golf seems to have a way with great stories."

Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson also had received ample support from fans as of Wednesday afternoon.

"At some point his time will come, and I think he has the game to cope with Pinehurst, Matt Kuchar," wrote Tim Chapman.

See below for all the comments, and add your own to join the mix.










June 11, 2014 - 7:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
USA Today Images
Rory McIlroy is already a two-time major champion. Will he pick up his second U.S. Open win this week at Pinehurst No. 2?

There's no other golf tournament in the world where mistakes are penalized as badly as they are in a U.S. Open.

In a U.S. Open, par is a player's friend and you don't always mind hanging out with bogey. Most importantly, one needs to avoid the big mistakes. Take your medicine, as they say, get the ball back in play and get out of there with as little damage to your scorecard as possible.

This week's test will be one of the toughest, with the best players in the world descending on historic Pinehurst No. 2. Unlike most U.S. Opens, there will be virtually no rough to speak of this week. However, that won't make this Donald Ross design (revamped recently by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore) any easier to navigate.

U.S. OPEN: What a win would mean for Phil Mickelson | Tee times | Full coverage

This is the third time a U.S. Open will be contested at Pinehurst No. 2. Here are five players you'll want to look out for.

5. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: Hard to believe, but this will mark just the 10th start in a major championship for Simpson. His previous nine have yielded one top-10 finish -- that famously came in the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco. OK, so we know he has the game to handle U.S. Open conditions. I also like this about Simpson: he's coming off a strong showing on Sunday (T3 in Memphis) and this championship is being played in his home state of North Carolina. He's confident and motivated.

4. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
Reason to watch: Here's a little fun fact about the world's No. 1-ranked player that you may not know and he'd probably prefer to not be reminded about -- he's never once finished inside the top 10 at a U.S. Open. In fact, it's the only major championship in which he hasn't finished in the top 3 at some point. Why do I like him this week then? For starters, some have compared Pinehurst No. 2 to Australia's Royal Melbourne, one of Scott's favorite places in the world. Also, this is his first major since becoming world No. 1. We saw what he did at Colonial in his first start as world No. 1. Scott doesn't make many big mistakes and that will serve him well at Pinehurst.

3. Sergio Garcia
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Third at the Shell Houston Open and the Players Championship
Reason to watch: Garcia tied for third at Pinehurst in the 2005 U.S. Open. He's the only player in this week's field to boast a top-10 finish the last time the national championship was held at Pinehurst No. 2. It's pretty well documented that Garcia has yet to capture that elusive major. As arguably the best driver in the game and a fantastic ball-striker, there's no reason to think Garcia can't finally pick up major win No. 1 this week... unless his putter acts up. The way he's played on the PGA Tour this season, though -- five top 10s in eight starts -- you'd have to think he's as ready for a major win as ever before. His game and his mind are in a nice spot.

2. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Third at the Shell Houston Open and the Players Championship
Reason to watch: Three weeks ago, McIlroy may not have made this list. He's got a lot going on off the course. However, he's used the golf course as his refuge from that off-the-course stuff and just a few weeks ago he was able to capture the European Tour's biggest event in the BMW PGA Championship. He's got two majors under his belt, including the 2011 U.S. Open. In each of his nine PGA Tour starts this season, McIlroy has finished inside the top 25. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour in 2014. But, I really like where his game is at heading to Pinehurst and I know he's hungry for another major win.

1. Phil Mickelson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T11 at the Wells Fargo Championship and the FedEx St. Jude Classic
Reason to watch: In the pantheon of all-time great sports stories, a Phil Mickelson victory at Pinehurst No. 2 this week would have to rank right up there. No player in the history of the game has finished runner up in the U.S. Open more often than Mickelson (six times). The first of those six came at Pinehurst 15 years ago when he was edged by Payne Stewart. If Mickelson were to win this week, he finally gets past all those prior missteps and -- the cherry on top -- he'd complete the career grand slam. Oddly -- by his high standards -- this has been far from a great season so far for Mickelson. However, he is the type of player who can snap out of a slump at any time. While every major win is nice, I've got to believe there's no major venue Mickelson would like to win at more than this U.S. Open at Pinehurst.