Golf Buzz

Spieth, McIlroy, Fowler and Stenson
European Tour via Twitter
Henrik Stenson took the early lead in the "Rider Cup," but could he and Rory McIlroy defeat Americans Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler?
Pace of play was definitely not an issue at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship as four of the world's top players faced off in "the Rider Cup." Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler of the United States squared off against Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson of Europe in a one-hole race to get both of their team's golf balls into the cup – while riding GolfBoards.
After hitting their tee shots, the boys boarded their boards and made their way – speedily and also somewhat gingerly – down the fairway, laughing the whole time. Spieth and McIlroy even bumped into each other at one point, but neither fell.
They hopped off the boards to hit their shots and, of course, didn't drive on the putting surface. 
We're not gonna give away the ending here – you'll have to watch the video below to find out. But one thing was for sure – a good time was had by all, even the losers. And with that experience behind them, we're wondering whether merely walking the fairways the rest of the week will prove anti-climactic.
Take a look at this race recap:
USA Today Sports Images
Jamie Donaldson with European Captain Paul McGinley and the Ryder Cup in 2014.

Jamie Donaldson, who hit the Ryder Cup-clinching shot in 2014, had a nasty run-in with a chain saw over the weekend which luckily left him with only some gruesome-looking stitches on the pinky finger of his left hand.

Donaldson tweeted a photo Monday -- which if you're into that sort of thing, you can view it here -- with this comment: "So folks in my time off decided to have a fight with a chainsaw and lost! Oops!! C u in Dubai."

If you'd rather not see what's a very graphic image, Donaldson has multiple stitches near the base of his little finger, which is quite swollen. But it's still attached and he appears to have full mobility, which is a good thing.

Donaldson's approach shot on the 15th hole during Sunday's singles match against Keegan Bradley in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles was the stuff of legends. Here's the video to refresh your memory:



Donaldson's not the first well-known golfer to lose a battle with a chainsaw. Greg Norman nearly severed his left arm at the wrist in 2014 when trimming bushes at his Florida home, but has since regained full use of his hand.

All the best to Jamie, and glad he'll be able to play so quickly after the incident.



Fabian Gomez
USA Today Sports Images
Fabian Gomez clinched his second PGA Tour victory in the span of 15 starts thanks in large part to a pair of clutch shots on Sunday.
When a guy closes out a tournament with 10 birdies in his final round and then adds an 11th in sudden death, you know he's had a great day – and hit a lot of fantastic shots. That's what Fabian Gomez did on Sunday to capture the Sony Open in Hawaii.
A couple of shots in his final-round 62 stood out, though. One was his tee shot on the par-3 11th hole. He stepped onto the box having birdied five straight holes, so he was clearly red-hot. His swing on the 195-yard hole was, as you might suspect, almost perfect – his ball wound up a foot from the hole and he tapped in to keep his birdie train steaming right along.
The other came on the final hole of regulation where, despite all his heroics, Gomez needed one more big shot to extend his day. Just off the green on the 532-yard, par 5 in three, he was 22 feet away from the flag. The putt was fairly straight, but it had to transition from the collar onto the short grass – and it was the final hole of regulation.
But Gomez's putt was true, and the ball marched directly into the heart of the cup. That birdie – his 10th of the day at that point – gave Gomez the outright lead at that moment and forced Snedeker to make a clutch putt of his own to get into the playoff.
Here are those two shots, plus an overall highlights package in case you missed anything:
Royal Troon
Royal Troon via Twitter
The scene at Royal Troon was breathtaking on Sunday, but few golfers were around to take it in.
Today's been a nice, mild winter day across most of the United States – even the weather in Charlotte and Denver was pleasant for the two big football games. Over in Great Britain, however, today was pretty wintery – and, in some cases, both pretty and wintery.
Exhibit No. 1: the snow that blanketed Royal Troon, as you can see in the photo above and the tweets embedded below. That is just gorgeous. And coincidentally, the snowfall comes six months to the day of the final round of this summer's Open Championship (July 17) right there at Royal Troon.
Troon is somewhat overlooked in discussions of great Open Championship venues, and hasn't hosted the Open since Todd Hamilton's shocking playoff victory in 2004. But its previous champions include Tom Watson, Tom Weiskopf, Arnold Palmer, Bobby Locke, Justin Leonard and Mark Calcavecchia – and, interestingly, the last six Opens at Troon have all been won by Americans. Jordan Spieth, did you know that?
Here are some shots of the shots of the snow at Troon. Freshen up your hot toddy and enjoy:
John McGregor, by the way, is the Chair of the Joint Championship Committee at Royal Troon. And one final note: Down at the Joburg Open in South Africa, three players qualified for the Open today. 
PGA Tour via YouTube
Si Woo Kim turned this bunker shot into an eagle hole-out Friday at Waialae.

Stuck in a bunker? That didn't appear to be any problem at all for 20-year-old Si Woo Kim at the 18th hole during Friday's second round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club.

Watch as Kim turns this hazard into a highlight. Instead of a nice up-and-down for birdie, Kim goes ahead and makes the eagle instead.





Shortly thereafter, Robert Garrigus showed off some short-game magic of his own at the 9th.





Brandt Snedeker and Davis Love III
PGA Tour via YouTube
Brandt Snedeker (l) got a nice high-five from U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III after his eagle chip-in out of the rough on Thursday.
Torrential rains throughout December kept Waialaie Country Club so wet that the mowers were stuck in the barn most of the month. As a result, the PGA Tour players in this week's Sony Open are finding the rough surprisingly thick – it's as much as three inches deep around some of the greens.
That didn't stop Brandt Snedeker and Carlos Ortiz from hitting into the long grass on Thursday – or from escaping in style.
First up was Snedeker on the 351-yard, par-4 10th hole after a stellar 4-under 32 on his front nine. 
The good news: He jacked his brand-new Bridgestone driver almost all the way to the putting surface. The bad news: He wound up just short and left of the green, with his ball sitting down in the thick rough.
Snedeker made a steep swing and got the ball up in the air quickly without it hanging up in the grass. His shot landed softly near the collar of the green, settled down quickly and rolled right into the heart of the cup for an eagle.
Best of all, the person standing closest to Snedeker at the time was none other than U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III. Love gave Sneds a nice high-five, and no doubt Snedeker hopes the Captain made a mental note about this example of his short-game prowess.  
Next up was Ortiz on the 417-yard, par-4 16th hole. His second shot wound up just over the back of the green, but deep down in the thick grass. In fact, it was almost invisible as he set up to hack it out.
Most of us might just hope to get it anywhere close. Ortiz had other ideas – he hit it hard, and it flew directly into the cup for a slam-dunk birdie. That's right, it never touched the green – make sure your volume is on, and you can hear the ball clank off the bottom of the flagstick as it dives into the hole.
Here are the two greenside masterpieces: