Golf Buzz

April 29, 2013 - 3:45pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Merion Golf Club uses wicker baskets atop its pins rather than the traditional flag.


Legendary Merion Golf Club's East Course in Philadelphia will host its fifth U.S. Open this June.
On Monday, it was revealed that a special part of Merion will be kept in place for the season's second major. Rather than using pin flags, Merion instead uses a pin with a small, red wicker basket on top of it. 
Shane Bacon had the details on Yahoo's Devil Ball Blog:
For the first time since 1981, the world will descend on Merion Golf Club's East Course on June 13 for the second major championship of the year and the fifth time the U.S. Open has been hosted there.
One thing you should expect to see? Wicker baskets adorning the tops of the flagsticks all across Merion's famed links.
Devil Ball put a call into the USGA on Monday morning asking if the traditional wicker baskets would be in play and it was confirmed they would.
Why wicker baskets instead of traditional flags? Let the Merion Golf Club website explain it...
"The wicker baskets' origin is a mystery to this day. There was a great deal written in 1912, and for three years thereafter, locally and nationally about this new course in Philadelphia. However, there was no mention of the soon-to-be famous wicker baskets. It could be assumed they were not there. By the summer of 1915, William Flynn, Merion's Superintendent, received patent approval for his wicker basket design. Merion had baskets that fall and from then-to-today. It could be assumed, due to lack of written proof, that Flynn convinced Wilson to use the baskets, and Merion received its "basket notoriety" the next year during the 1916 U.S. Amateur."
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
April 27, 2013 - 9:21pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Samuel L. Jackson om TMZ
Samuel L. Jackson talked golf with TMZ.

I swear to you that my wife found this item on TMZ, not me. I swear!

While she was perusing the celebrity gossip show on TV this afternoon, she saw an item in which the TMZ guys asked Samuel L. Jackson who the best celebrity golfer is. (Why on earth TMZ had celebrity golf on the brain, I have no idea.)

Jackson laughed, and then said: Kenny G!

The TMZ guys were incredulous, but Jackson promised that Kenny G is indeed the man when it comes to celebrity golf – and then drove away.

Is Jackson correct? Very likely. A few years ago, Golf Digest published a ranking of the top golfing musicians, and Kenny G came in first on their list, with a listed handicap of 0.6. Vince Gill, who we mentioned in our item on George Jones yesterday, was second on that list.

Things could have changed since then, but Kenny G is a regular in all those celebrity pro-ams and he’s probably kept his game in shape. And hey, would Samuel L. Jackson steer us wrong? I think not.

To see the TMZ video clip, click here. But beware, they’re quite irreverent about Kenny G and golf.


April 27, 2013 - 7:46pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Brittany Lang and Kevin Spann at the North Texas LPGA Shootout
LPGA Tour via Twitter
Brittany Lang and boyfriend Kevin Spann hugged after she accepted his proposal at the North Texas LPGA Shootout on Saturday.

So, how memorable was your round of golf today? Not as memorable as Brittany Lang's, I bet.

The LPGA Tour veteran had just wrapped up her third-round 71 in the North Texas LPGA Shootout at Las Colinas Country Club this afternoon when her boyfriend, Kevin Spann, walked up to her. But instead of saying 'good game,' he dropped to one knee, pulled out an engagement ring and and asked her to marry him.

''We've been together about 11 months,'' said Lang. ''We met at the club that we play at and it's been going very well. I had a few ideas [this might be coming] because he's been acting a little strange.''

The two indeed met in the parking lot at TPC Craig Ranch in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, where Lang lives. And, no it's not a coincidence that the two of them were dressed in almost-identical outfits. Lang says she plays better when they dress alike.

The Golf Channel caught the surprise proposal on camera. To see it, click here.

There was, predictably, a lot of reaction to the proposal on social media. But no one summed up the day like Kris Tamulis, who played with Lang on Saturday. Here's her tweet: "2 rare occurrences today on the course: I saw a spectator take a wee on a tree just outside the ropes AND my playing partner got engaged!"




April 26, 2013 - 10:14pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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George Jones
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Country superstar George Jones and his golf clubs played a role in a memorable Vince Gill video.

Country music superstar George Jones was a bit of a golfer, too. And as music world mourns his death – Jones passed away early Friday at the age of 81 – we wanted to pay our respects by providing a link to a very funny golf-themed video in which Jones has a cameo.

Back in 1993, Vince Gill – the country music star most widely known for his love of golf – had a big hit with a song called ''One More Last Chance,'' and the video for that song is all about golf. At the end, Jones makes an appearance driving a small tractor with his golf bag strapped across the back.

That, of course, is a laughing reference to one of the more infamous incidents in Jones' wild life – when, while on a drinking binge, he drove his John Deere riding mower 10 miles to a liquor store.

To see the video, click here.


April 26, 2013 - 12:27pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Louis Oosthuizen at the Ballantine's Championship
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Louis Oosthuizen averages about 300 yards off the tee, but his drive on the first hole Friday almost doubled that distance.

Louis Oosthuizen hit what likely will go down as the longest drive of the year on the European Tour today at the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea.

The 2010 British Open champion teed it up on the 583-yard, par-5 first hole at Blackstone Golf Club and let 'er rip. His shot went soaring down the right side of the fairway, then bounced onto the cart path.

It rolled down the winding path for close to two minutes! It almost came to a halt at one point, then picked up speed again, and finally to came to rest against a curb about 500 yards from the tee – and only a foot or two short of a U-turn that would have carried it far away from the hole.

At this point, the odyssey of Oosthuizen's orb gets anticlimactic. Oosthuizen took a free drop, pitched the ball into the fairway and ended up making a par.

For the record, Oosthuizen ranks seventh on the European Tour in driving distance, averaging 302.8 yard a pop. He shot a 71 today and is tied for eighth after two days of the rain-delayed event near Seoul.

For our complete coverage of the second round, click here.

And to watch Oosthuizen’s drive on YouTube, click here.


Kikkor Masterer
The Kikkor Masterer shoes above sold for $1,025 in an eBay auction. Every penny will be sent to charity.


Kikkor explained that 100 percent of the proceeds would go to the charity of the purchaser's choice. 
The starting bid on the one-of-a-kind shoes via eBay, was $200. The "buy now" price was $5,000.
Our friends at Kikkor sent out a press release today to say the final price on the shoes came in at $1,025, which, if you've seen these puppies (look above), is an absolute steal -- luckily, all of that is going to a great cause.
Here's the press release from Kikkor:
Vancouver, Canada, April 24, 2013 -- The Limited Edition Kikkor Masterer pair of golf shoes, hand painted by Social Statement, recently auctioned for a final price of $1,025 to the winner, Ross Sheard. 100% of the proceeds were donated to Canucks for Kids Fund, Sheard’s charity of choice.
It is perhaps the most epic golf shoe Kikkor has ever made, maybe even the most epic golf shoe ever made. The Limited Edition Kikkor Masterer was hand painted by Social Statement, featuring two of golf’s most notable Masterers, Jack and Arnie, along with the unmistakable Masters Leaderboard, and unique Kikkor-Masterer branding. The was only one pair made, but most notable, 100% of the sale went to the charity of the buyer’s choice.
“We wanted to create something that was exceptionally unique to the Masters, rather than a simple pair of green and yellow shoes,” explains Kikkor Founder, James Lepp. “In my mind, there’s nothing much more unique than a hand-painted pair with 100% of the proceeds going to charity.”
The Kikkor Masterer shoes were auctioned off on eBay, ending on April 17th, with Ross Sheard winning the bid at $1,025. Sheard describes his rationale behind the bid, “I decided to bid on the shoe first and foremost because I knew the money was going to a good cause, whether I won it or not. Secondly, the shoes are the most unique golf thing I have ever seen, and instantly had visions of what they would look like in an encasing of some sort for years to come.”
When asked why he selected the Canucks for Kids Fund as the charity, Sheard responded, “The Canucks for Kids Fund represents everything you'd like in a charity. It dedicates itself to providing support for children's health and wellness, they help develop for grassroots hockey, and heavily promote and encourage education in our wonderful province of BC. As a former junior hockey player, I personally know how much it costs to support your love for the game, and anything to help the kids out is fantastic. Not to mention, I am a Canucks fan through and through.”
Shane, the artist behind the Kikkor Masterer and Social Statement, stated, “I am honored Kikkor Golf reached out to me on this project knowing the proceeds would benefit such a worthy cause. Art and charity work in harmony. They are both mediums that transcend language, ethnicity and culture. To know my talents can bring people together for a worthy cause is humbling.” Talks between Kikkor Golf and Shane have already begun regarding other one-of-a-kind shoes.
To conclude, Lepp from Kikkor Golf explains, “At the end of the day we couldn’t be more pleased with how things turned out. The Kikkor Masterer pair looks stunning, the winning bid exceeded our expectations, and the chosen charity of Canucks for Kids Fund is close to our hearts.”
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.