Golf Buzz

November 30, 2014 - 1:27pm
mark.aumann's picture
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth
USA Today Images
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth played in the same pairing at the Open Championship earlier this year.

Rory McIlroy isn't easily impressed. The top-ranked golfer in the world already has four major tournament victories -- including the 2014 Open Championship and PGA Championship -- was named 2014 PGA Player of the Year and 2014 PGA Tour Player of the Year, won the European Tour's 2014 Order of Merit, the 2014 Vardon Trophy and the 2014 Byron Nelson Award.

In short, he's had a pretty good year. That also means he's a pretty good judge of golfing excellence.

So when McIlroy raves about your round, like he did about Jordan Spieth's final-round 63 in the Australian Open, that's saying something.

Here's Mac's tweet:



Maybe Rory and Bubba will let Jordan join in on their next holiday e-card.


November 28, 2014 - 3:09pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Thankful in golf
PGA of America
It's never a bad idea to be thankful for having a PGA Professional as your instructor.

With the Thanksgiving season fully upon us, it's time to start thinking about everything we are thankful for. And your time out on the golf course can be included in that.

So we want to know what golf-related things are our readers are most thankful for. From an incredible shot, to a fantastic time with some great company or a score-saving tip that's helped your game, there are plenty of options. 

Here's what our readers had to say, and feel free to share yours. 

Our favorite five responses:

Betty Cunningham Nippa: That I played golf, loved golf and still get excited to watch others. Bad back and knees keep me from going on, but not in my spirit. Play on!

Chris Pollard: Every time I had the chance to play golf with my grandfather. His silver dollar that he use to mark his ball with, is now what I use to mark my ball.

Don Porter: Thankful that my wife introduced me to this game and that she is my regular playing partner.

Joe Mahoney: Making the golf team with persimmon woods and garage sale irons. This was a defining day for me.

Kyle Carey: My entire childhood and all the great memories from Jr Golf to Hole in ones at Three Lakes Golf Course.



JibJab eCard
It's all downhill for Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy in a new JibJab eCard.
That big ol' Nor'easter might be making things miserable for a lot of us this Thanksgiving holiday, but some of our favorite golfers are enjoying themselves out in all that white stuff.
In a brand-new JibJab eCard, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed and Jason Day – the winners of the World Golf Championship tournaments in 2014 – get together for a toboggan race. The result is 68 seconds of frigid fun as they sled up, down, over and around an alpine wonderland in this promotion for tickets to the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship.
At one point, Rory clocks Patrick with a snowball. At another, Bubba takes an ill-advised short cut through a tree. There's also moguls and loop-de-loops – and one of the golfers even turns into a human snowball. 
Who wins the big race? You'll have to click this link and see for yourself.
I have to admit, I didn't know that JibJab was still around. I remember when the company burst into the public consciousness with its 2004 political parity featuring an animated version of then-President George W. Bush and a cast of thousands, and I see that JibJab now produces a variety of animated products. 
This one is pretty cute – but what I'd really like to see is one featuring the golfers actually out on the course.
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy via Twitter
Rory McIlroy believes that a good showing this week in Australia could buoy him next spring at Augusta National.
Last week, we saw Rory McIlroy lift a ridiculous amount of weight as he officially captured the European Tour's money title in Dubai. On Tuesday, his exercise regimen was a little less strenuous – he carried a baby kangaroo around downtown Sydney in advance of his defense of the Emirates Australian Open title this week at the Australian Club.
The photo op with the kid was pretty light-hearted, but McIlroy is serious about the tournament because he's got a chance to make some serious history. Only two non-Australian players have won the Australian Open back-to-back. Maybe you've heard of them – Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
McIlroy has another reason for wanting a good sowing this week – he believes that his victory last year essentially launched him into his wildly successful 2014, and he's hoping a repeat could do him similar good in 2015.
"I have been thinking about Augusta next year since the 18th August this year when I won the PGA Championship for a second time," he said. "So it might be a good omen for me going to Augusta in April if I could again win the Australian Open.
"I've said many times since winning at Royal Sydney a year ago that my Australian Open victory was pivotal to what I have achieved this year," he added. "And if I can win the championship again then I have to go to Augusta with a lot of confidence of winning the only major I need to win to capture the Grand Slam."
The Australian Open will be McIlroy's final competition for 2014. He's planning to spend a few days in New York to host a couple of events for his Rory McIlroy Foundation, and will make his 2015 debut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in mid-January.
November 25, 2014 - 12:37pm
mark.aumann's picture
Rory McIlroy
USA Today Images
Rory McIlroy is the defending championship at the Australian Open this week.

Here's a look at the tournaments on tap this week:

PGA Tour: Off this week
Next event: Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Jan. 9-12, 2015, at Kapalua Resort in Kapalua, Hawaii 

Site: Sydney.
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday.
Course: The Australian Golf Club (7,245 yards, 6,625 meters, par 70).
Purse: $1,074,600. Winner's share: $193,425.

Last year: Rory McIlroy won at Royal Sydney for his lone 2013 title. He birdied the final hole to beat Adam Scott by a stroke.

Last week: Australian left-hander Nick Cullen won the Australian Masters at Metropolitan in Melbourne. Scott, the 2012 and 2013 winner, was a stroke back along with fellow Australians James Nitties and Josh Younger.

Notes: The top-ranked McIlroy is in the field along with Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and Americans Jordan Spieth, and Boo Weekley. McIlroy tied for second last week in Dubai in the European Tour's season-ending event. He won the British Open in July and the U.S. PGA Championship in August. ... Peter Senior won at The Lakes in 2012 to become the oldest winner in event history at 53. ... Gary Player won the national championship a record seven times, one more than Jack Nicklaus. ... The NSW PGA Championship is next week at Riverside Oaks, followed by the Australian PGA at Royal Pines.

JAPAN GOLF TOUR: Casio World Open
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Kochi Kuroshio Country Club
Site: Kochi, Japan

ASIAN TOUR: King's Cup
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Singha Park Khon Kaen Golf Club
Site: Kohn Kaen, Thailand

SUNSHINE TOUR: Lion of Africa Cape Town Open
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Royal Cape Golf Club
Site: Cape Town, South Africa

Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Las Praderas Club Campos de Golf
Site: Buenos Aires, Argentina.


JAPAN LPGA TOUR: LPGA Tour Championship Ricoh Cup
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Miyazaki Country Club
Site: Miyazaki, Japan

Charlie Sifford
Getty Images
Charlie Sifford receives his medal Monday from President Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON –- Dr. Charles L. “Charlie” Sifford, a former caddie who cleared a forest of obstacles a half-century earlier to carve his rightful place in golf, had the best seat in the East Room of the White House Monday afternoon.

Wearing a new black suit and a big smile, Sifford sat just a few feet from President Barack Obama, who served as master of ceremonies. The President praised 18 uncommon Americans as recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

VIDEO: Sifford honored | Sifford receives Medal of Freedom | Tiger: Sifford a trailblazer | Photos

When his name was called, the 92-year-old Sifford, a PGA Life Member, waited for the President to approach him. President Obama gathered a blue ribbon bearing a golden star and draped it around Sifford’s neck.

The humble man who began playing golf at age 13, and later endured a gauntlet of abuse, now had membership privileges in one of the most select “clubs” in the country.

When asked how earning this medal compared to playing for a major, Sifford clutched the ribbon and the golden star and said, "No major compares to this. Today was exciting. Great people to be around you. I loved it."

Sifford joined a glittering roster of Medal of Freedom recipients that included Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep, Emmy Award-winning journalist Tom Brokaw, Ethel Kennedy, actress-activist Marlo Thomas and singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder.

“This felt different than anything else,” said Sifford, referring to his 2004 induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame and a 2006 honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. “They say what I did helped African-Americans, but it went further.”

MORE SIFFORD: Check out our #ThanksCharlieSifford page | Sifford photo gallery

Former U.S. Congressman Mel Watt, a distant relative of Sifford, called the honor “bigger than sport.”

“The Medal of Freedom takes in the contributions to America and how someone lives out the ideals in the Constitution for the betterment of others,” said Watt, the Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. “Charlie has opened up avenues for aspiring generations of Americans.”

Sifford was the first person of color to compete in PGA-sanctioned events following the demise in 1961 of the “Caucasian-only” PGA of America membership clause.

The national recognition on behalf of Sifford was spearheaded by the PGA of America and was met with wide-ranging support from all of golf’s national governing bodies, national diversity-focused organizations, government officials and sports figures. Among those lending their support to the effort were the PGA TOUR, United States Golf Association, World Golf Foundation, 64 Members of Congress and notable athletes that included Jim Brown, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell and Tiger Woods.

In addition, to help celebrate this special recognition, the PGA of America has developed a PSA thanking Sifford for teeing up the game for future generations and is encouraging others to do so at

THANK YOU CHARLIE: Watch as the PGA of America honors Dr. Sifford

“I think Charlie Sifford’s name is going to be put into a whole other area of national and global recognition,” said Sheila Johnson, golf entrepreneur and USGA Executive Committee member. “I hope that there will be more stories on Charlie. We’re still fighting the fight in golf. As a USGA officer, I also understand the struggles that he’s been through. I will tell you that the barriers are still there. It’s more important now, with more than 130 courses closing down over the past year. If golf wants to continue to grow, we’ve got to start opening up and become more inclusive of people of all races and nationalities.”

Charles Sifford Jr., a retired postal carrier from Shaker Heights, Ohio, was one of four Sifford family members attending the ceremony. He said his father’s preparations to attend the ceremony included adjusting a schedule of undergoing kidney dialysis three times a week.

“We’ve heard it many times about dad being the Jackie Robinson of golf,” said Charles Jr. “Jackie had a strong owner (Branch Rickey) behind him, along with teammates and he played in a stadium with separation from the fans. Dad was out on his own playing professional golf. There was no security. Who was going to step up for him?”

Gallery ropes were a rarity in the early years of the PGA Tour. PGA/LPGA Professional Renee Powell of East Canton, Ohio, the second African-American woman golfer on the LPGA Tour, recalled the risks that she took in the 1960s during the height of the civil rights era.

“It was common for many tournaments to allow the fans to stroll up the fairway behind the players,” says Powell, the PGA Head Professional at Clearview Golf Club. “If Charlie Sifford had not stayed with it and been persistent, it (open access to African Americans in professional golf) would have taken much longer. Charlie helped to make the climate better for all, including me.”

Richard “Jelly” Hansberry, 76, of Washington, D.C., caddied for Sifford at a pro-am in the 1960s and later became a 28-year caddie for Champions Tour veteran Jim Thorpe.

“This is a great honor for him [Charlie] and I think a long time coming for what he did,” said Hansberry. “It was as tough on us caddies as it was for Charlie in many ways. They stopped Charlie at the gate before he could come in to play. As a caddie, we had to wait in the clubhouse until someone came for us.”

Kim Dumpson, executive vice president of public relations for the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore (UMES), monitors the school’s PGA Golf Management University Program. UMES, the only Historically Black College that offers the program, hosted a reception Monday night honoring Sifford.

“On our campus we are pursuing a dream of becoming PGA Professionals,” said Dumpson. “We have 25 African-American students who are poised to become members of the PGA. We have an obligation to let our students know of the impact of Charlie Sifford.”