Golf Buzz

June 18, 2013 - 10:49pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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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 - 4:23pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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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 - 10:25am
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 - 2:14pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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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.


June 16, 2013 - 4:37pm
Posted by:
John Kim's picture
Billy Horschel
Billy Horschel's octopus print pants made quite the splash at the U.S. Open
Regardless of who's name sits atop the leaderboard at the end of the 2013 U.S. Open, I think the real winner may be Ralph Lauren. Wait, what?  
Thanks to Billy Horschel, who has had a great run all week, the Octupus print RLX pants are the talk of golf. Golf fans on Twitter, which had been buzzing all week in anticipation of the pants, finally got a sneak peek when Horschel tweeted out a photo early Sunday morning. When Horschel arrived at the course and the tv cameras found him, the Internet nearly exploded in appreciation. 
I went to the Ralph Lauren website and found the shorts (no pants as of yet).  The good news is, they are on sale! The bad news, still $99. Let's just say I'm considering it. 
You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim_10
June 14, 2013 - 4:28pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tom Abts
Scott Cohen
PGA Professional Tom Abts created Fast Play Friday, which has helped Deer Run make four-hour rounds the norm every day of the week.

Today is U.S. Open Friday, so it seems like a perfect day to pass along this item about PGA Professional Tom Abts, who tops a Golf Inc. list of the ''most innovative people in golf.''

Abts is the longtime PGA Head Professional and General Manager at Deer Run Golf Course in Victoria, Minn., just west of the Twin Cities. His innovation: Fast Play Friday.

As the golf industry addresses the issue of slow play with increasing vigor, Golf Inc. says, ''Fast Play Friday was not only successful in keeping rounds under four hours, it changed the culture of Deer Run with four-hour rounds becoming the norm every day of the week – even Sunday afternoons.''

''Too often people try to be out of the box and come up with silly ideas,'' Abts told Golf Inc. ''Golf is a timeless game, not a fad. Fast Play Friday just brought back the original pace of the game. Scottish shepherds were not lollygaggers.''

Fast Play Friday is just one of Abt's brainstorms – as Golf Inc. points out, he was named the Minnesota PGA Promoter of the Year. He's also proud of his ''Kid Plays Free with a Parent on Saturday Afternoons'' program.

''The joy of seeing kids playing golf with their parents is always moving,'' Abts said. ''That it became so successful and has been adopted by so many courses all over the country is especially gratifying.''

The Golf Inc. list of innovators came about when the company sought out asked for suggestions of people who are looking at ways to elevate golf, attract new players and incorporate new technologies into the business of golf during the past few years. They received more than 220 nominations, and whittled the list down to the 18 they felt ''we felt met our standard of doing something that was new, unique and captured the imagination of others.''

To see the entire list, click here.