Golf Buzz

August 14, 2014 - 9:06am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama takes his golf seriously, so it was no surprise to see him on the course recently using the Game Golf device, which is a digital tracking system.

Over the years, we've come to learn that President Barack Obama is serious about his golf game... even if it's widely known that the President is carrying about a 17-handicap.

But, hey, just like the rest of us there's always room for improvement and tools to help us to that end.

One such tool is the small device known as "Game Golf" -- a digital tracking system.

RELATED: Game Golf device now permitted under Rules of Golf

President Obama was recently spotted on the golf course with the Game Golf device.

So how does it work?

First, a small device is attached to the player's belt. Small dime-sized sensors are inserted to the top of the grip on each club. Prior to hitting a shot, the player taps the sensor on the end of the club against the belt-mounted unit. The system then records the length of the shot, the location of the shot/accuracy, and through that, aggregates different performance metrics that can illustrate the players tendencies, strengths, weaknesses, etc.

Game Golf also has an online network where users can interact with each other and even challenge each other on a list of available courses within the platform. So two or more golfers could compete with each other on the same courses, without ever playing together. 

August 13, 2014 - 10:56pm
john.holmes's picture
Rickie Fowler at the PGA Championship
USA Today Sports Images
Rickie Fowler recorded a total score of 1,108 in the four 2014 majors, which is tied with Phil Mickelson's aggregate from 2001 for the third-best combined score in major championship history.

Rickie Fowler didn't win a major in 2014, but he did make a little history as the only player to finish in the top five of all four of golf's biggest events this season. Only Jack Nicklaus (1971 and 1973) and Tiger Woods (2000 and 2005) had previously accomplished the feat in the modern era of golf.

He also had the distinction of being more under par in this year's four majors than anyone else – even Rory McIlroy, who of course won both the PGA Championship and British Open. Here's a little bit of a breakdown of Rickie's results:

--Masters: Tied for fifth at 2-under, six shots behind winner Bubba Watson
--U.S. Open: Tied for second at 1-under, eight shots behind winner Martin Kaymer
--British Open: Tied for second at 15-under, two shots behind winner Rory McIlroy
--PGA Championship: Tied for third 14-under, two shots behind winner Rory McIlroy

Perhaps surprisingly, those are Fowler's only top-five finishes of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season so far. 

MORE: The many faces of Rickie Fowler | Rickie Fowler has some hot wheels

In the four majors, Fowler recorded a total score of 1,108. That is tied with Phil Mickelson's aggregate from 2001 for the third-best combined score in major championship history – and Mickelson, like Fowler, didn't win any majors that year, either.

The best total ever in the four majors belongs to Tiger Woods in 2000, the year he captured the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship and needed only 1,095 shots in the four majors. For the record, second on the list ahead of Fowler and Mickelson is David Duval, who took 1,107 shots in 2001, the year he won the British Open for his only major title.

Here's a list of the 13 players who players made the cut in all four 2014 majors, and their total scores related to par:

Rickie Fowler -32
Rory McIlroy -27
Jim Furyk -21
Adam Scott -18
Henrik Stenson -13
Jimmy Walker -13
Justin Rose -9
Jason Day -3
Louis Oosthuizen +1
Brandt Snedeker +2
Bill Haas +5
Francesco Molinari +9
Kevin Stadler +20

And here is one final Fowler fact: He has two career victories, at the 2011 Kolon Korea Open and the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship. The runner-up in both those events: Rory McIlroy.




August 13, 2014 - 11:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Brandt Snedeker
USA Today Sports Images
Brandt Snedeker is one of many players hoping some solid play over the next three weeks will earn him a captain's pick from Tom Watson for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

The PGA Tour is in Greensboro, N.C., this week for the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club.

The major championship season is behind us now after an incredible PGA Championship victory by Rory McIlroy last week at Valhalla, but there's still a lot to play for on Tour.

First and foremost -- there are still three captain's picks up for grabs for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. While the nine automatics were determined at the conclusion of play on Sunday, Captain Tom Watson won't make his wildcard picks until Sept. 2. He'll have a close eye on the Wyndham, as well as the Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship in the coming weeks to see who is in form.

RELATED: Wyndham Championship tee times | Junior Ryder Cup team set | August reader photos

Secondly, this week provides one last opportunity for players to position themselves (or sneak in) for the start of next week's PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup, where the top 125 players qualify for the postseason-opening Barclays.

Here are five players to keep an eye on this week in Greensboro.

5. Tim Clark
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the RBC Canadian Open
Reason to watch: It's been a hit-or-miss season for Clark, but the "hits" have been big ones -- the win in Canada and a tie for second in Sea Island. He's missed the cut 10 times in 23 starts, including last week's PGA Championship. So what's to like about Clark this week then? Well, he's just three starts removed from that victory. And, in the start before that, he tied for fifth in the John Deere Classic. Then there's his record in this tournament -- the Wyndham Championship. Clark tied for 26th last year, finished second in 2012 and tied for sixth in 2008. Those are is only three starts at Wyndham (aside from a WD in 2009) since the tournament moved to Sedgefield in 2008.

4. Ernie Els
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Fourth at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Reason to watch: It hasn't been the greatest of seasons for the Big Easy (two top-10 finishes in 20 starts), but his game is coming around lately. He fired a brilliant 65 in the final round of the PGA Championship on Sunday to finish in a tie for seventh -- his second-best finish of the season and, remarkably, his 34th career top-10 finish in a major. Prior to last week, Els tied for 26th in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and also tied for 12th at the RBC Canadian Open. He's trending in the right direction. This is his fifth consecutive start.

3. Patrick Reed
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Humana Challenge and the WGC-Cadillac Championship
Reason to watch: This is the place where Reed's magical 12-month run began a year ago. Reed picked up his first PGA Tour victory in the 2013 Wyndham Championship and has won twice since then. There are going to be a lot of good vibes for Reed this week at Sedgefield -- not just because he's the defending champ, but also because he locked up a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. It had been a relatively quiet summer for Reed until a tie for fourth at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

2. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: Simpson got off to a blistering start in the 2013-14 season, winning the opening event in Las Vegas and following it up with top-10 finishes in five of his next seven starts. Then, things understandably settled down. A tie for third at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and a sole third at the Quicken Loans National should provide Simpson with the confidence he'll need in the coming weeks as he tries to prove to Watson he's worthy of a U.S. Ryder Cup captain's pick. At the close of the point-getting process on Sunday, Simpson was ranked No. 15. He's got work to do -- why not start in Greensboro where he earned his first PGA Tour win in 2011?

1. Brandt Snedeker
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Tied for eighth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard
Reason to watch: Snedeker is a past champion of the Wyndham Championship, but that came back in 2007 when the event was played at Forest Oaks. Since the move to Sedgefield, it's been a mixed bag for Snedeker -- a couple of missed cuts, but also a couple of top 10s (T5 in 2009 and T8 in 2010). What will this week bring? Well, he's playing his most consistent golf of the season. Outside of a tie for 58th at the Open Championship, Snedeker's worst finish in seven starts since a tie for ninth at the U.S. Open is a tie for 25th at the RBC Canadian Open. In his last two starts, Snedeker went T12 in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and T13 in the PGA Championship. Like Simpson, Snedeker is also hoping to snag one of Watson's captain's picks. He finished 20th in the standings at the close of the PGA Championship and needs to prove he's headed in the right direction. Snedeker yields the putting ability you need in a Ryder Cup. 

August 13, 2014 - 10:22am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
"The Tonight Show"
Here's a look at the superlative "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon handed out to two-time PGA Champion Rory McIlroy.

In case you missed it on Monday night, Jimmy Fallon -- host of "The Tonight Show" -- had a hilarious segment where he handed out superlatives based on headshots of PGA Tour players.

In the segment, Fallon took playful jabs at the likes of Miguel Angel Jimenez, Victor Dubuisson, Rickie Fowler, PGA Champion Rory McIlroy and others (and... not to nitpick, but funny man Fallon could use some help on name pronunciation on some of these players).

You can see the video here:

Well, on Tuesday, the folks at the PGA Tour responded to the superlatives with one of their own for Fallon via this tweet:

Well played, PGA Tour. Well played. 


Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
"It sort of makes you appreciate more" what Tiger Woods did in assembling his winning streaks, says Rory McIlroy in the wake of his PGA Championship victory.

Rory McIlroy's victory at Valhalla on Sunday was his second major in a row, and third overall victory in succession – a streak generally accomplished only by Tiger Woods in recent years. And McIlroy – now that he knows first-hand how tough it is to win so much – has a new appreciation for what it took for Woods to make his frequent trips to the winners' circle.

"To be up there with the lead week-in and week-out and trying to win these big golf tournaments, it's tough, mentally and physically," McIlroy told England's PA Sport wire service. 

"It sort of makes you appreciate more what Tiger has done in the past … getting on these runs that he's gone on and keeping it going for months on end," he explained.  

Woods, of course, authored several impressive PGA Tour winning streaks – including seven in a row in 2006-2007, six straight in 1999-2000 and five successive in 2007-2008. McIlroy, with wins at the PGA Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and British Open, has three in a row right now.

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Relive Rory McIlroy's thrilling victory in our exclusive coverage

McIlroy admitted that the weight of his summer string of excellence got to him a bit on Sunday, and manifested itself in his slow start that saw him lose his lead before he rallied on the back nine to win.

"I was a little flat the first six holes of the final round," he said. But, he explained, he "just sort of told myself, 'we have 12 holes left, you can take a week off after this and enjoy it.'"

He is in fact taking this week off. He's planning to return for the FedExCup playoffs and, of course, the Ryder Cup, which he will enter as the European team's undisputed star.

"I want to try and go into the Ryder Cup with the best possible form that I can, and then finish the season off well," he said. "I've got a few tournaments in the Far East, the Race to Dubai and then I'm going to go down and defend the Australian Open – and then that's going to be me shutting it down for the year."


Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy's victory at Valhalla drew a sizable TV audience.

Rory McIlroy's one-shot victory over Phil Mickelson in the PGA Championship on Sunday produced the highest overnight ratings in five years, according to CBS Sports. 

The household rating was 6.0 with a 13 share, up 36 percent from a year ago when Jason Dufner beat Jim Furyk at Oak Hill, said CBS, meaning that more than 6 million people watched on Sunday. That was the highest rating since a 7.5 and 17 share in 2009, when Y.E. Yang rallied from two shots behind to beat Tiger Woods at Hazeltine. 

RELIVE THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Video | Photos | Full Coverage

Sunday's final round at Valhalla produced a shootout among four big-name players who owned at least a share of the lead at one point or another in the back nine: McIlroy, Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. An afternoon rain delay pushed the tournament's finish back to 8:43 p.m. ET, when McIlroy clinched his second straight major title this year.