Golf Buzz

June 19, 2013 - 11:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ryder Cup, golf, U.S. Open
PGA of America
Phil Mickelson has the top spot on the 2014 U.S. Team Points list after his tie for second in last week's U.S. Open.
Here's a look at the current top 12 (the top nine following the 2014 PGA Championship qualify for the team automatically, while Captain Tom Watson will round out the 12-man team with three wildcard selections):
1. Phil MICKELSON 714.424
2. Tiger WOODS 399.246
3. Brandt SNEDEKER 393.591
4. Jason DUFNER 381.326
5. John HUH 307.591
6. Steve STRICKER 299.926
7. Matt KUCHAR 292.183
T8. Billy HORSCHEL 291.406
T8. Hunter MAHAN 291.406
10. Rickie FOWLER 200.530
11. Bo VAN PELT 176.499
12. Dustin JOHNSON 168.161
As a refresher, here's the U.S. qualifying process:
The United States points system will determine the top nine players for the 2014 Ryder Cup Team, and will begin April 14 at the conclusion of the 2013 Masters.
At closer glance, the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup points system:
-- Prize money earned in the 2013 major championships (Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship): One point is awarded for every $1,000 earned; all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.
-- Prize money earned in 2014 PGA Tour events, beginning Oct. 7, 2013, at the Open through the 2014 PGA Championship, ending Aug. 10, 2014. One point is awarded for every $1,000 earned, excluding the major championships, events played opposite major championships and events played opposite World Golf Championships; all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.
-- Prize money earned for the 2014 major championships: (Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship, and the PGA Championship). Two points are awarded for every $1,000 earned; all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.
-- Prize money earned in 2014 events played opposite the major championships and opposite World Golf Championships between Jan. 1 and the 2014 PGA Championship - one-half point will be awarded for every $1,000 earned; all U.S. players making the cut will earn points.
-- Team USA captain Tom Watson will complete the team with three Captain’s selections in September 2014.
You can follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
June 19, 2013 - 10:06am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
PGA, golf, Allen Wronowski, Justin Rose, David Letterman
PGA Honorary President Allen Wronowski was mentioned in Justin Rose's top 10 on the Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday night.
When you're the U.S. Open champion, you make the media rounds. Justin Rose is learning -- and seems to be enjoying -- that with his media blitz in New York City (some of which was highlighted in this space yesterday).
Part of that New York City tour on Monday and Tuesday included a trip to the Late Show with David Letterman, where Justin Rose read the top-10 list.
The list was entitled: "Top Ten Questions People Ask Me About Golf"
One item that popped out to us here at was No. 3:
"Can you get me an autograph from PGA Honorary President Allen Wronowski?"
Simply awesome. Wronowski is one of the kindest, funniest and most approachable people in golf and it was great to see him get a shout-out from Rose on Letterman.
While I don't have a Wronowski autograph, I have been honored to spend time with him over the last several years and we've developed a friendship that I cherish. He's a great jokester.
In fact, just a few weeks back at the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, Wronowski left the most random of notes on my laptop in the media center -- and that's what made it so funny.
It read something like:
"Remember -- a glass is never half empty. It's always full. You just have to figure out what percentage of that is air."
Where can you beat that kind of wisdom?
Anyway, here's a taste of some of the top-10 list presented by Rose on Tuesday night:
10. "There is regular golf, there is miniature golf - how come no giant golf?"
9. "Why don't all balls have dimples?"
8. "Does Obamacare cover the yips?"
You can follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
June 18, 2013 - 9:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Tattoo of Bubba Watson
Ping Golf Europe via Twitter
Bubba Watson made an appearance at the BMW International Open in Germany on Tuesday, thanks to this guy's tattoo.

Earlier this month, my colleague TJ Auclair hopped on the Golf Buzz and posted a photo of a guy with a Davis Love III tattoo.

OK, TJ. I see your Davis Love and raise you a Bubba Watson.

Check out the photo above. It's of a guy with a huge Bubba tattoo on his calf. And while the Love tat is kinda fuzzy, this Bubba ink features a pretty clear Ping visor and a big, pink driver. 

Even more impressive, I contend, is that this guy appears to be German – check out the German flag on his other calf. Also, the photo was taken by Ping Golf Europe on Tuesday at the European Tour's BMW International Open in Munich, Germany.

The Ping folks didn't provide any other details of this big-time Bubba fan, other than to confirm that the tattoo is real – and it's spectacular.


June 18, 2013 - 3:23pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Phil Mickelson at the U.S. Open
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson was spared the angst of paying an even higher tax bill, says CPA K. Sean Packard.

As we all saw, Phil Mickelson was mightily disappointed at his sixth runner-up finish in the U.S. Open on Sunday. K. Sean Packard has found a bit of silver lining: Mickelson saved a ton in federal and California state taxes.

The topic is pertinent, of course, because Mickelson went public with his concerns about his tax rate earlier this year. His comments prompted strong reactions both critical and supportive, and he ultimately apologized to ''anyone I might have upset or insulted.''

''By tying for second place, he earned $696,104. Had he held on and won the tournament he would have made $1.44 million,'' Packard, a CPA who specializes in tax planning and the preparation of tax returns for professional athletes, wrote on ''He cost himself $743,896 in prize money by failing to close the deal on Sunday. Maybe Mickelson can take solace that he saved $76,100 in California income taxes?

''In November, the voters in Mickelson's home state chose to increase the nation's highest tax rate from 10.3% to 13.3%,'' Packard explained. ''California's tax on the difference between first and second place prize money would have amounted to about $98,900. Pennsylvania's 3.07% tax on the difference (roughly $22,800) would have been taken as a credit on his California return to avoid double-taxation. Thus the net California tax difference between Mickelson's first U.S. Open victory and yet another second would have been $76,100.'' 

But that's not all, Packard notes. Mickelson's bonuses from his sponsors – including Callaway, Barclay's, KPMG, Exxon Mobil, Rolex and Amgen – would have added up to about $2.5 million, according to a Forbes estimate. And that would have triggered an additional California tax bill of more than $300,000.

Adding in his tax savings from the prize money, and Mickelson likely saved $400,000 in California taxes alone (federal taxes would have eaten up another $1.3 million or so), he said. 

Mickelson was spared the angst of paying an even higher tax bill, Packard said. But, he notes – and no doubt we all agree – ''something tells me he would have happily written the check to take home the trophy he covets.''


June 18, 2013 - 9:25am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Justin Rose, U.S. Open, New York City
Justin Rose is truly enjoying his U.S. Open victory. He's bumping around New York City with the trophy making the media rounds. Here he is getting ready to go on the Today Show this morning.
On Sunday, Justin Rose became just the second player from England since Tony Jacklin in 1970 to win the U.S. Open. 
Clearly, Rose is enjoying life as golf's latest major champion and rightfully so. Before heading to Cromwell, Conn., to honor his commitment to play in the Travelers Championship (is there anything this gentleman Rose doesn't do the right way?), Rose is making the media rounds in New York City, glowing as he carries his hard-earned U.S. Open trophy around the Big Apple.
You can keep track of Rose's journey by following him on Twitter, @JustinRose99, where he's posting pictures of his trip. 
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
June 17, 2013 - 1:14pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Lough Erne Golf Resort
Lough Erne Golf Resort
The Lough Erne Golf Resort, which is hosting the G8 Summit this week, is for sale for about one-third of its original constructon cost.

One of my favorite parts of one of my favorite golf trips ever was when a friend and I spent several days in Northern Ireland, playing courses like Royal County Down and Royal Portrush – after all these years, Royal County Down is still one of my all-time favorites. As a result, I've always had a soft spot for Northern Ireland, and have been pleased to see players like Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell earn some golfing glory for their homeland.

Northern Ireland is making headlines today and Tuesday because the Lough Erne Golf Resort near Enniskillen in County Fermanagh is hosting the Group of Eight economic summit. From what I've seen, President Obama and his G8 counterparts from the United Kingdom, Russia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan probably won't squeeze any golf in between their economic dealmaking sessions. That's a shame because, heck, why go to a golf resort if you're not gonna tee it up?

I haven't been back to Northern Ireland since Lough Erne opened in 2007 – it wasn't fully completed until 2009 – but it sounds like quite a place. It's described as the only five-star golf resort in Northern Ireland, and occupies its own private peninsula jutting out into Lough Erne. 

The 120-room main hotel is ''a Provencal-inspired chateau, buttressed by a terrace of turreted rental lodges,'' according to a recent review on Inside the ''French facade was an interior of gentrified Anglo-Irish touches: roaring fires in the lobby, a lavish library to while away a morning with local literature, and a pleasing garden room for afternoon tea.''

Lough Erne has two championship courses – the Castle Hume Golf Course and the signature Nick Faldo Course, which was designed by six-time major winner Nick Faldo and consistently ranks among the top 100 courses in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In fact, there's a big statue of Faldo on site, and Faldo has a special connection with the property. Lough Erne has the only Faldo Golf Academy in Europe, and last September the facility hosted the 2012 finals of junior golf's Faldo Series (McIlroy is a previous Faldo Series champion).

Perhaps not surprising given the global economic situation, the resort went into ''administration'' – the British equivalent of bankruptcy – last year, and is for sale. The entire property – including hotel, guest lodges, golf facilities and more, cost approximately $50 million to build, according to published reports, and now could be had for as little as $15 million.

There's a lot of bucket-list golf competition in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and, honestly, most of the standout courses are a lot more convenient to reach than Lough Erne. But then again, places like Bandon Dunes are thriving in part because of their remote locations. So $15 million sounds like a deal.

In fact, I know a young English chap named Justin Rose who picked up a check for $1.4 million just yesterday. That looks like the perfect down payment to me.