Golf Buzz

New hole being cut
U.S. Golf Association via Twitter
The U.S. Golf Association tweeted out this photo of a course worker digging a new hole at Del Paso Country Club after Neal Lancaster's hole-in-one destroyed the original one.
When is a hole-in-one more than just a hole-in-one?
When Neal Lancaster destroys the hole beyond repair, that's when.
Lancaster made an ace on the 178-yard par-3 second hole at Del Paso Country Club early in today's final round. But instead of your beautiful rainbow shot, Lancaster's strike was a line-drive screamer that somehow rocketed into the cup with such force that it damaged the hole – so much so that officials had to dig a new one for the rest of the players to use.
According to Golfweek, Lancaster hit first on the hole. His playing partner Scott Simpson then had to wait several minutes while tournament officials decided what to do about the damaged hole. They considering trying to replace the cup, but concluded that the best course of action was to fill it in and dig a new one about two feet away.
June 28, 2015 - 2:39pm
mark.aumann's picture
Bubba Watson
After hitting a sand wedge to within four feet on the second hole Sunday, Bubba Watson looks around for the fan who suggested he hit a low shot under the trees.

After Bubba Watson's drive on the second hole in Sunday's final round of the Travelers Championship landed in heavy rough behind a row of trees, someone in the gallery suggested loudly that Watson ought to hit a low 4-iron under the branches.

However, Bubba had other ideas. As in, if you can't go around, go over -- with a sand wedge. Just watch:



Watson's ball landed four feet from the hole and he tapped in for his second consecutive birdie of the round. After his marvelous approach shot, Watson immediately turned toward the gallery in an attempt to catch the attention of the amateur caddie in the crowd.

Bubba Watson 1, fan in gallery 0.

Zach Johnson and Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson from Utah (left) is playing with a little extra spring in his step after getting an encouraging tweet from former Masters champion Zach Johnson (right) today.
A little before Zach Johnson teed off today at the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship, he took to Twitter to send best wishes to Zach Johnson on his round this afternoon. Wait, what?
Don't worry, Zach isn't losing his mind – he was just giving a shoutout to another Zach Johnson, who is making his debut in the PGA Professional National Championship today. 
Johnson isn't on social media, so he didn't know about the tweet until I told him about it on the practice green about half an hour before he teed off. He was genuinely touched by the gesture.
"That's pretty cool," he said with a big smile. "That gives me a nice bit of inspiration to take into my round."
Johnson – 32 and a PGA Assistant Professional at Davis Park Golf Course in Fruit Heights, Utah – won the 2013 Utah Open and has finished in the top 10 of the PGA Assistant Championship twice in the last four years. His golf buddies back in Utah jokingly call him "the local Zach Johnson." 
The closest "the local Zach Johnson" has come to meeting 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson came back in 2009, when he received a big package from the Sony Open full of scorecards and memorabilia after he won there. "I had to call the tour," he said, "and tell them, 'you've got the wrong guy.'"
The two guys might actually cross paths this summer, though, if Johnson can finish in the top 20 here at the Philadelphia Cricket Club and claim a berth at the PGA Championship in August. 
"That," Johnson said, "would be a great place to finally meet him."
Here's the tweet:
June 28, 2015 - 10:23am
john.holmes's picture
Philadelphia Cricket Club
Signs of the Saturday's storm were nowhere to be found on the Wissahickon course Sunday morning.
The biggest surprise so far at the PGA Professional National Championship is that the tournament actually got underway on time this morning. 
The Philadelphia area – along with much of the East Coast – was battered by a huge weather system on Saturday that caused significant storms from the Carolinas up to New England. As much as 1.4 inches of rain fell on the Philadelphia Cricket Club, and the rain persisted long into the night.
And yet, the first round began at 7:30 a.m. sharp, with both the Militia Hill and Wissahickon courses damp but in pristine condition. They're in such good shape so soon after such bad weather, said PGA Director of Golf Jim Smith Jr., because Director of Grounds Dan Meersman and his staff got out ahead of the rain.  
"The biggest thing is we mowed everything tight" on Saturday, "knowing the weather was coming," Meersman explained. "We exceeded the PGA's target speed for the greens [on Saturday], knowing the greens would come back to it. We hit their goals."
That's even more impressive when you consider that the two courses in use this week are very different in the sense that the Wissahickon Course – a classic layout originally designed by A.W. Tillinghast that opened in 1922 – was completely renovated less than two years ago. 
"Every blade of grass on that course is new," said Meersman, who's been at the Philadelphia Cricket Club for seven years. "We had to be a little more careful there" than on the Militia Hill course, which opened in 2002.
Grooming the courses so thoroughly beforehand also lessened or eliminated some of the chores that might have been difficult, or impossible, in the hours leading up to the first tee times. 
"We knew the bunkers would be fine," said Meersman, adding that his crew spent considerable time cleaning up the teeboxes and landing areas that couldn't be mowed without potentially damaging them because the ground was so wet.
Ironically, Meersman said, one of his biggest challenges was not overdoing things.
"Having the people available that we have is like having 100 racehorses at the starting gate," he said. "Everybody wants to do so much. But we really had to make sure we don't let our enthusiasm lead us into any mistakes."
June 27, 2015 - 5:10pm
mark.aumann's picture
Bubba Watson
PGA Tour/Twitter
Bubba Watson took advantage of a lucky ricochet to save par on the 15th hole Saturday.

Sometimes you make your own luck. Sometimes it's made for you.

During Saturday's third round of the Travelers Championship, co-leader Bubba Watson pulled a 7-wood so far right that it could have wound up out of bounds. But watch the video to see what kind of a lucky break Bubba got.



The sound of ball hitting tree is very evident in the audio.

Faced with a long bunker shot -- much better than what Watson probably expected when the ball left his club -- Watson dumped it into a greenside bunker near the lake. Faced then with a rare "double sandy," Watson put it within four feet and calmly sank the putt for a "routine" par.


Beau Brinkley
USA Today Sports Images
Beau Brinkley's real job is long snapper for the Tennessee Titans.

Charity golf tournaments have hole-in-one prizes all the time, usually for something like a new car or a vacation -- and rarely does anyone actually make an ace to win. If someone does hole out, they're usually won by someone in the community but not particularly well-known elsewhere.

But the Nashville Sports Council Golf Tournament on Thursday not only featured an unusual prize, but it was won by Beau Brinkley, who just happens to be the long snapper for the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

According to this story in the Nashville Tennesean, Brinkley aced the par-3, 182-yard eighth hole at Gaylord Springs. And since the tournament was sponsored by Jack Daniel's, Brinkley won himself an entire barrel of single barrel select premium whiskey -- both the contents and the barrel.

How big is a barrel? Well, it holds about 250 bottles of whiskey. Brinkley mentioned later in an interview with ESPN that he'd like to keep the barrel as a reminder of his once-in-a-lifetime shot. And a lifetime of shots, as well.

Although since the traditional celebration for a hole-in-one is drinks on the house, Brinkley's supply of whiskey could already be dwindling.