Golf Buzz

April 1, 2014 - 11:53am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
For the first time since 1994, Tiger Woods will miss the Masters.

Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday that he will not play in next week's Masters as he heals from "successful microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months," according to

Woods sent out this tweet breaking the news:

Woods had played in every Masters since 1995.

READ: How to handle back pain on the golf course  |  Your favorite Masters moments

That streak will come to an end next week for the world's No. 1 ranked player and four-time Masters champion, who is still seeking his 15th major win.

The ailing back forced Woods's withdrawal from the final round of the Honda Classic in early March. His back was also an issue the following week at Doral, but he managed to finish the tournament. Woods then withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill before the event began, citing the back issues. He was the defending champion.

INJURY INVENTORY: See the complete list of all of Tiger Woods' injuries

Woods has played in the Masters every year since 1995, when he was the reigning U.S. Amateur champion. In 19 starts at Augusta National, Woods missed the cut just once (1996, when again, he was the reigning U.S. Amateur champion) and has finished in the top 10 on 13 occasions, including seven finishes in the top 3.

Woods has only missed four major championships in which he was eligible -- the 2008 Open Championship and PGA Championship (due to reconstructive knee surgery); and the 2011 U.S. Open and Open Championship due to issues with his left leg. This will be his fifth.

Here is the full statement from

Tiger Woods announced Tuesday that he has undergone a successful microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months.

The surgery was performed Monday in Park City, Utah, by neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Rich.
The procedure was successful, but Woods will be unable to play in the Masters Tournament, instead requiring rest and rehabilitation for the next several weeks.

"After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided, in consultation with my doctors, to have this procedure done," Woods said.

"I'd like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters," Tiger added. "It's a week that's very special to me. It also looks like I'll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy.

"I'd also like to thank the fans for their support and concern. It's very kind and greatly appreciated. This is frustrating, but it's something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health."

Woods will begin intensive rehabilitation and soft-tissue treatment within a week. Healing and recovery times differ for each individual based on many physiological factors, but Woods could begin chipping and putting, after assessment by his doctors, in three weeks.

The goal is for Tiger to resume playing sometime this summer. The repetitive motion from golf can cause this injury, and Woods could have sustained further damage if he had continued to play. There should be no long-lasting effects from the surgery, and it should not impact the longevity of his career.

"It's tough right now, but I'm absolutely optimistic about the future," Woods said. "There are a couple [of] records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I've said many times, Sam and Jack reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine."



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


April 1, 2014 - 8:10am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Greg Shepard
Andy Scrivner
Greg Shepard (left) made two holes in one in a single round two weeks ago during a Member-Guest tournament at Shadow Wood Country Club in Bonita Springs, Fla. Here he stands with Shadow Wood PGA Director of Golf Andy Scrivner.

Shadow Wood Country Club in Bonita Springs, Fla., was the site of a very special, rare occurrence on Friday, March 21.

During the second round of competition in the 2014 Men's Member Guest, The Men's Legacy at the Preserve Course (one of three courses at Shadow Wood), a gentleman named Greg Shepard pulled off the unthinkable -- he made two holes in one on consecutive par-3 holes.

Shepard's first ace came on the Preserve's 149-yard sixth hole, where he hit an 8 iron.

RELATED: LPGA's Diaz makes two aces in two days | Six aces recorded in one-day outing

Andy Scrivner, PGA Director of Golf at Shadow Wood, got word of the first hole-in-one shortly after it happened.

"After play had been underway for awhile, I was invited to join our General Manager, Mr. Brian Bartolec PGA, for a ride around the course," Scrivner explained in an email. "When we arrived on Hole No. 7, we were approached by a group and told that one of the players had made a hole-in-one on the previous hole, No. 6. It was Greg Shepard, a guest visiting from his home club, Oakmont Country Club. Mr. Shepard was the guest of SWCC member, Bill McMinn. Upon returning to the clubhouse, the decision was made to extend normal member hole-in-one privileges, despite the fact that Mr. Shepard was not a member. The prestige of this event, combined with the goodwill created through the hole-in-one program made this an easy decision."

Shadow Wood's hole-in-one program is optional for members, but Scrivner said most partake. It was put in place to celebrate when a member makes a hole-in-one. When a member makes a hole-in-one, Scrivner explained, a mass communication is sent to the membership and those in the program are able to visit the golf shop and pick up a free drink ticket. They're able to visit the club for the next 48-72 hours to redeem their drink ticket and celebrate with fellow members.

That's where this story gets real good.

"As we were nearing the time to send a club-wide email communication about the achievement, the golf shop phone rang," Scrivner said. "Mr. McMinn was calling and gave us the incredible news that his guest, Mr. Greg Shepard, had just made a second hole-in-one."

The second ace for Shepard came six holes later -- the next par 3 on the course -- at the 12th hole, which was playing 123 yards. Shepard jarred his tee shot on that hole with a pitching wedge. Scrivner said the second ace had Shepard in a state of, "exciting shock."

"Mr. McMinn told us that the first hole-in-one was 'exciting' for the group, and the second was almost 'scary' as Mr. Shepard wasn't sure how to react and the opponents were in a state of 'disbelief,'" Scrivner said.

According to the National Hole-In-One Registry, the odds of a hole-in-one are as follows:

- For a professional: 3,00 to 1
- For a low handicap: 5,000 to 1
- For the average: 12,000 to 1

And what about a guy like Shepard making two holes-in-one in the same round?

An astounding 67 million to 1.

No word on whether Shepard was happier about the two aces, or the member privileges extended to him after the first ace -- it could have been really expensive buying all those drinks.

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


March 31, 2014 - 10:33pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Nike golf TW '14, lunar control and lunar clayton golf shoes
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The new TW '14, Lunar Clayton and Lunar Control golf shoes from Nike Golf feature premium white uppers and colorful design details.

The Masters isn't until next week, but the Nike Golf staff players already know what they'll be wearing at Augusta National. They'll be modeling the 2014 editions of the TW' 14, Lunar Control and Lunar Clayton shoes.

All three models feature premium white uppers and a range of colorful design details, from the outsole to the lace eyelets to the Swoosh. All three designs blend Nike's performance technology with pops of iconic color.

"Last year we released a limited-edition version of the TW' 13, and it was a huge success," said Nike Golf Footwear Product Director Lee Walker. "For 2014, we wanted to expand that unique offering to include three of our most popular models – the TW' 14, Lunar Control and Lunar Clayton – featuring an infusion of color in a trio of powerful yet understated designs."

GAME CHANGERS: Check out our feature on Nike Golf VR_S Covert 2.0 irons 

For the TW' 14 footwear, Tiger Woods collaborated with Tobie Hatfield, Nike’s Athlete Projects Innovator in the company's Innovation Kitchen, and Nike Golf footwear designers. The natural-motion engineered outsole is designed to mimic the innate movement of the foot while delivering all the protection and traction of a lightweight performance golf shoe. These shoes also feature Nike's Dynamic Flywire technology, which moves with the foot to provide stability and mobility during the swing.

The Lunar Control Limited Edition footwear features Nike's proprietary full-length Lunarlon technology, a lightweight cushioning system that is highly responsive to provide enhanced comfort and support. Nike Flywire, another proprietary technology, wraps from the midfoot to the heel for targeted support in a lightweight structure within a premium full-grain leather upper.

To create the Lunar Clayton shoes, Nike Golf footwear designers combined a handcrafted, waterproof leather upper with lightweight Nike Lunarlon technology underfoot to maximize responsive cushioning. A leather welt joins the upper to the outsole while protecting the foot from the elements. The molded rubber outsole makes this model wearable both on and off the course.

The TW '14 shoes carry a street price of $180 per pair, while the Lunar Control models have a street price of $160 and the Lunar Clayton shoes have a street price of $250. They're available at retail now.


Taco Bell
Kris Blanks via Twitter
Kris Blanks celebrated his Chitimacha Louisiana Open victory with dinner at Taco Bell.
Kris Blanks won the Tour's Chitimacha Louisiana Open in a three-hole playoff on Sunday, earning a cool $99,000.
So how did he celebrate? Champagne for everybody at Le Triomphe Country Club? A big steak dinner with family and friends?
Well, not exactly.
Blanks, being a down-to-earth kind of guy, hung out for a while, then grabbed a victory dinner at – Taco Bell. With his stomach and gas tank full, he drove from Broussard over to Houston, where he will play in this week's Shell Houston Open on the PGA Tour.
The trip was even more satisfying for Blanks because of how his week played out. He began the week as an alternate for the Valero Texas Open, and flew into Houston to wait to see whether he'd be heading a few hours west to San Antonio or a few hours east to Louisiana. He rose as high as first on the Texas Open alternate list, but decided to go to Lousiana because he was guaranteed to play.
That turned out to be exactly the right call. The victory dinner at Taco Bell, well, I’m not so sure. But congrats anyway, Kris – good luck and happy eating in Houston.
March 30, 2014 - 9:46pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Magnolia Lane at Augusta National
Luke Donald via Twitter
Luke Donald got a look at Magnolia Lane, and passed along this photo.
Just a couple months ago, we all marveled over the images of Augusta National in the snow, then fretted over the damage caused by a freak winter storm.
Now, though we have proof that Magnolia Lane came through the winter in fine shape. Luke Donald traversed golf's most famous club entrance on Sunday, and shared this photo on Twitter and Instagram.
I'm sure we'll be seeing plenty more of Magnolia Lane and Augusta National over the next two weeks, but it's good to get this first look. Thanks to Luke for sharing – click the Instagram link in the tweet to see his orignal, slightly larger, photo.
Jason Day
USA Today Images
Jason Day is the only one of the top seven players in the Official World Golf Rankings to have won a tournament in 2014.

We’re less than 12 days away from the traditional “grand champions” start to the Masters, and at this point, it’s usually pretty easy to figure out who the favorites might be.

MASTERS: Projected 2014 tournament field

That’s not the case this year, as the top seven in the Official World Golf Rankings are struggling, either physically or mentally. Only Jason Day, at No. 4, has broken through with a victory in 2014 — and he’s currently battling a thumb injury.

Here’s a breakdown of each player’s current situation heading into Augusta National:

1. Tiger Woods

Last won: Bridgestone Invitational in August.

2014 events: zero top 10s in four starts

Currently battling back spasms which hampered him at the Cadillac Championship and forced him to withdraw from the Honda Classic.

MASTERS: Woods unsure if ailing back will allow him to play  

Missed fourth-round cut at Farmers Insurance Open.
Tied for 25th at Cadillac Championship.
Tied for 41st at Dubai Desert Classic.

2. Adam Scott

Last won: Tallsker Masters in November.

2014 events: Three top 10s in five starts

Built seven-shot lead at Arnold Palmer Invitational, only to shoot 76 in final round to finish third.
Tied for 25th at Cadillac Championship.
Tied for 12th at Honda Classic.
Tied for eighth at Sony Open.
Tied for sixth at Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

3. Henrik Stenson

Last won: DP World Tour Championship in November.

2014 events: One top 10 in seven starts

Suffered right wrist/forearm injury in second half of 2013.
Tied for fifth at Arnold Palmer Invitational with final round 68.
Tied for 16th at Cadillac Championship.
Lost in round of 32 at Accenture Match Play.
Missed cut at Honda Classic.
Missed cut at Abu Dhabi HSBC.
Tied for 28th and tied for 29 in two European Tour events.

4. Jason Day

Last won: Accenture Match Play in February.

2014 events: Two top 10s in three starts

Currently battling thumb injury, which forced him to withdraw from Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tied for 64th at AT&T Pebble Beach
Tied for second at Farmers Insurance Open after first round 66.
Won Accenture Match Play.

5. Phil Mickelson

Last won: Open Championship in July.

2014 events: One top 10 in six starts

Withdrew Saturday from Valero Texas Open with pulled side muscle.
Withdrew from Farmers Insurance Open with back issue.
Missed cut at Honda Classic.
Tied for 16th at Cadillac Championship.
Tied for 19th at AT&T Pebble Beach.
Tied for 42nd at Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Tied for second at Abu Dhabi HSBC, took penalty drop in final round.

6. Justin Rose

Last won: U.S. Open in June.

2014 events: One top 10 in five starts

Missed all of January with shoulder tendinitis.
Missed cut at Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tied for eighth at Valspar after shooting final round 74.
Tied for 34th at Cadillac Championship.
Lost in round of 32 at Accenture Match Play.
Tied for 45th at Northern Trust Open.

7. Rory McIlroy

Last won: Emirates Australian Open in December.

2014 events: Three top 10s in five starts

Tied for second in playoff at Honda Classic after final round 74.
Tied at 25th at Cadillac Championship.
Lost in round of 32 at Accenture Match Play.
Tied for ninth at Dubai Desert Classic.
Tied for second at Abu Dhabi HSBC after two-shot penalty.