Golf Buzz

October 6, 2014 - 7:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Webb Simpson
Here's some great video of Webb Simpson apparently dancing at a recent wedding.

Elaine Benes has nothing on Webb Simpson when it comes to dance moves.

Below is video posted by Michelle Tesori, showing her husband Paul (Simpson's caddie) and Simpson dancing at a recent wedding:


Simpson is a high-handicapper on the dance floor.

It reminded us of these sweet moves by Elaine in Seinfeld:

October 6, 2014 - 7:09am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
This putt on the 17th hole at St. Andrews on Sunday -- one of the most famous holes in the world -- didn't go according to plan for Rory McIlroy.

The 17th at the Old Course at St. Andrews -- the Road Hole -- is one of the most recognizable holes in all of golf.

It can also be one of the most excruciating... a fact that world No. 1 Rory McIlroy learned the hard way during Sunday's final round of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

McIlroy's second shot came up well short of the green on the 17th hole. No problem -- a pitch and a putt to save par, you might think.

But that's the beauty of links golf, especially at the game's birthplace. There are so many options, and usually the wisest of those options is to keep the ball low. So, even though he was 40 yards off the green, McIlroy elected to putt.

The only thing standing between McIlroy and the hole? The hellish Road Hole Bunker.

Here's McIlroy -- the best player in the world today -- doing what we would most likely do faced with a similar predicament:

That's right -- the best player in the world putted his ball into the Road Hole Bunker.

Though he got up and down from the bunker for an admirable bogey, it was a costly blunder. McIlroy finished in a tie for second, one shot behind winner Oliver Wilson. 

Ashrita Furman
Guinness World Records
Ashrita Furman uses an unconventional split hand grip to whip his record-breaking driver at the ball.

The man who holds the Guinness World Record for most Guinness World Records just couldn't let this one go without a fight.

New Yorker Ashrita Furman, who claims to have broken more than 500 Guinness World Records since 1979, saw that Denmark's Karsten Maas used a club 14 feet, 5 inches long to set a record for the world's longest usable club. So Furman set out to beat it.

WORLD'S LONGEST DRIVER: Karsten Maas shows how he swings it

Furman created a graphite and steel driver with a Callaway Big Bertha club head that's 18 feet, 5 inches long and weighs 7.5 pounds, or four feet longer than Maas'. Not surprisingly, Furman couldn't grip this club with a regular golf grip or swing it higher than his waist. But the Guinness World Record doesn't account for form. It just states "longest usable club." So when Furman recently used his monster driver to hit a ball about 25 meters -- about 82 feet -- that was enough to break Maas' record.

Here's the video from the Guinness folks:



So after that, there are many questions to be answered.

Who's next to try and eclipse Furman's new mark? Is there a 20-foot driver swinger out there, waiting to be discovered? And even more importantly, how does one get an 18-foot golf club to the course in the first place?


October 4, 2014 - 3:19pm
mark.aumann's picture
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy is the most recent winner of the claret jug, the trophy handed out to the Open Championship winner.

When it comes to the traditional "Fall Classic," Americans equate that with the World Series, which has been around in its present form since 1903. And most golf fans think of the Open Championship as having a late summer place on the golfing calendar.

But that wasn't always the case. On Oct. 4, 1873 -- 141 years ago today -- two traditions began that are the pinnacle of any golfer's career aspirations. First, the Open Championship was held at St. Andrews for the first of 28 times. And second, winner Tom Kidd was presented with a new silver claret jug.

2014 OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Rory McIlroy wins third major title

According to the Open Championship's official website, the trophy for winning the inaugural Open Championship at Prestwick in 1860 was a silver belt donated by the Earl of Eglinton, with the idea that the first man to win the Open three consecutive times would own it. That happened just 10 years later, when Tom Morris Jr. accompished the feat.

There was no Open held in 1871, so the committee formed to come up with a new trophy had until the next May to determine how to proceed. This is from the Open Championship's website:  

According to the minutes of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club, dated May 1, state that the green committee had been “empowered to enter into communication with other clubs with a view to effecting a revival of the Championship Belt, and they were authorised to contribute a sum not exceeding £15 from the funds of the club."

Agreement was finally reached on Sept. 11, 1872 between the three clubs that were to host The Open — Prestwick, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club. They decided that the winner would receive a medal and that each of the three clubs would contribute £10 towards the cost of a new trophy, which was to be a silver claret jug, instead of another belt. 

Its proper name was to be The Golf Champion Trophy. These decisions were taken too late for the trophy to be presented to the 1872 Open Champion, who was once again Tom Morris Jr. Instead, he was awarded with a medal inscribed ‘The Golf Champion Trophy’.

So on Oct. 4, 1873 at St. Andrews, Kidd outlasted a field of 26, shooting a two-round total of 179 to beat Jamie Anderson by one stroke after heavy rains swamped the course overnight. In those days, there was a one-stroke penalty for moving your ball from casual water.

TOM WATSON: Legend plans to end competitive career at 2015 Open Championship

Afterwards, he was awarded the claret jug. But Kidd's name was not the first to be engraved on the trophy. Instead, that honor went to Tom Morris Jr., who had won the previous Open.


October 4, 2014 - 10:20am
mark.aumann's picture
St. Andrews minutes
The official minutes from the Society meeting on Oct. 4, 1764 that propose making St. Andrews into a 10-hole course with an 18-hole layout.

Why are there 18 holes on a regulation golf course? Because on Oct. 4, 1764, the Old Course at St. Andrews was shortened from playing a total of 22 holes to 18, and all courses since have followed that dictum.

GOLF HISTORY: How the "mulligan" got its name

So the players in this year's Alfred Dunhill Links Championship are playing under rules set 250 years ago today.

Here's the explanation from the St. Andrews website:

The decision to reduce the world’s most famous Links from 22 to 18 holes was made by the Society of St Andrews Golfers – more commonly known today as the R&A – on October 4, 1764, and would become the standard bearer for courses around the world and championship golf to the present day.

On October 4, 1764, following the Challenge for the Silver Club a meeting took place of the Society, whose minute reads: “The Captain and Gentlemen Golfers present are of the opinion that it would be for the improvement of the Links that the four first holes should be converted into two. -- Wm. St. Clair"

The removal of two holes (four in total going out and back) in subsequent years meant the Old Course would become, around that period, 10 holes, of which eight were played twice

In the decades that followed the Old Course continued to evolve as the Links and surrounding areas developed, from playing the course backwards through to new greens being built and holes so familiar today became mapped out. By the mid-19th Century, the 18-hole format at St Andrews had become the blueprint for golf with new and existing courses across the world all following its 18-hole layout.

Euan Loudon, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links, said: “This important date marks another milestone in the game of golf’s rich history and the special place St Andrews, the Home of Golf, holds for this great game.

“The Society of St Andrews Golfers may not have appreciated the ramifications of the decision they made on October 4 1764 but those individuals and the resultant changes to the Old Course had a huge impact on the way the game would be played forever.

“The records show they took the decision because they sought to improve the Links and that commitment to improving this magical place resonates with everyone here at the Links today.

“Staff across the Links work tirelessly to honour and respect the history of St Andrews and to improve the experience of every golfer coming here, be it the world number one competing this weekend or those securing a cherished tee time in the ballot next week.”

Golf Course architect and historian Edwin Roald is making the trip to St Andrews to celebrate the special anniversary. He said: “It‘s the Old Lady‘s 250th birthday, so to speak, and it is very fitting that many of the world‘s best golfers are gathered to honour her on the big day. I myself am delighted to be one of so many great guests.”

According to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club website, the idea of having two holes on the same green wasn't explored until 1832. Along with separate teeing grounds and wider fairways, the idea of playing in a "loop" was created -- although the course was played both clockwise and counter-clockwise until the 1870s. 

ST. ANDREWS: Old Course to host 2015 Open Championship

To give you some reference to the time frame involved in the 1764 decision, it would be another 12 years before the United States declared independence from England. But since "golf" had been played on the Links in some form or fashion since sometime in the 1200s, according to St. Andrews' records, it was almost 500 years before the Society settled on an official "regulation" course. 


Baltusrol Golf Club
Courtesy of Baltusrol Golf Club
"Baltusrol Golf Club comprises arguably the most important and influential design of leading early-20th-century golf course architect Albert W. Tillinghast," said Department of the Interior.
Big news this week for the 2016 PGA Championship's host venue, Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. The club has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
"Founded in 1895, Baltusrol Golf Club comprises arguably the most important and influential design of leading early-20th-century golf course architect Albert W. Tillinghast (1874-1942), one of the first American golf architects to integrate a golf course into nature," said the Department of the Interior announcement. "Baltsurol has hosted at least one major national championships in every decade of the 20th and 21st centuries, including five U.S. Opens, two U.S. Women's Opens, and one PGA Championship."
That 2005 PGA Championship, of course, was won by Phil Mickelson, who edged Steve Elkington and Thomas Bjorn by a shot in a Monday finish. The most memorable shot of that week, at least to me, was Mickelson's 50-foot flop shot out of the rough to two feet for a tap-in birdie on the final hole to seal his victory.
Balturol becomes only the fourth golf facility achieve National Historic Landmark status. The others are Pinehurst in North Carolina, Merion Golf Club near Philadelphia, and Oakmont Country Club outside of Pittsburgh.
Baltusrol was placed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places a little over a decade ago, according to The New York Times, which published a comprehensive story on the club's efforts to gain NHL status in 2013. The club later worked with the New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office to apply for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, which it achieved in 2005. 
"At that time, the National Park Service deemed Baltusrol to possess exceptional historical importance and significance on a national level for its two Tillinghast-designed courses, making it potentially eligible to become a National Historic Landmark," said Rick Wolffe, a member at Baltusrol and a club historian who has written books on Baltusrol and Tillinghast. 
Among the benefits of being on these lists is to be recognized for playing a significant role in the history of golf in the United States, Wolffe told the newspaper. But a more tangible benefit, he noted, is preserving and protecting Baltusrol for future generations. 
"The National Register and the National Historic Landmark designations provide various levels of protection from future outside development projects that could have a negative impact on the historic integrity of Baltusrol's two Tillinghast courses and its clubhouse," Wolffe said. 
Approximately 60 golf clubs, starting with Augusta National, are among the 88,000 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places – a step below the National Historic Landmark status – according to the National Park Service. Sports sites, including golf courses, must undergo the same scrutiny as any other site, according to the newspaper. As many as 1,500 sites per year join the National Register of Historic Places, but no more than 25 per year are approved as National Historic Landmarks.