Golf Buzz

December 15, 2012 - 1:02am
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John Holmes
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Rory McIlroy
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Oakley is suing Rory McIlroy over the right keep its "O" on his shirt in place of a Nike "swoosh."

Rory McIlroy and Nike Golf haven't yet officially announced that they have signed a big new endorsement deal, but already there's some serious consternation over it.

Oakley, which makes sunglasses and apparel, has sued McIlroy and Nike, according to a report on ESPN.com. Filed in federal court in Santa Ana, Calif., the suit claims that McIlroy violated his contract with Oakley by not honoring the clause that gives Oakley "right of first refusal." Essentially, Oakley says, it has the right to match the Nike offer, but that McIlroy and his management team ignored the counteroffer.

Oakley's suit contends that its new contract for McIlroy's endorsement of its eyewear and apparel would be 30 percent of the Nike deal. McIlroy's arrangement with Nike is reported to be around $200 million, so, ESPN.com says, Oakley likely offered about $60 million to keep its association with McIlroy. Interestingly, the court papers don't include a specific number, instead saying the deal is worth only "$_M."

The damage that McIlroy's refusal to renew would cause is "irreparable" and, the company says, entitles Oakley to an injunction that would stop Nike and McIlroy from implementing their deal. The ESPN.com report details a series of back-and-forth emails between McIlroy's team and Oakley that no doubt will play a key role in the suit's ultimate resolution.

McIlroy's management company released a statement to ESPN.com on Friday asserting that "McIlroy has fulfilled all of his obligations to Oakley, and the claims in the lawsuit are entirely baseless."

 

December 14, 2012 - 5:56pm
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John Holmes
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Jordan Spieth
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As a sophomore last season, Jordan Spieth helped the Texas Longhorns win the NCAA Championship and was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year.

University of Texas star Jordan Spieth is calling it quits on his glittering amateur career and going pro, he announced on Friday.

"The decision to turn pro was a difficult one, but I'm looking forward to the challenge of competing at the highest level and accomplishing the many goals I've set for myself on and off the course," Spieth said in a statement. "I owe everything I've achieved thus far to the support of my family, friends, teammates, and the University of Texas. While I'm proud of what my teammates and I have accomplished, I couldn't be more excited to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a professional golfer."

The big question for Speith is where he will play, seeing as Q-Schools are over and the 2013 rosters for all the major tours are pretty much set. He can receive up to seven sponsor exemptions into PGA Tour events, and will try to follow players like his fellow Longhorn Justin Leonard on the longshot path of playing his way onto the big tour without going to Q-School. And remember – starting next year, Q-School only awards slots on the Web.com Tour.

Still, if anyone has a chance to make an immediate impact, it is Spieth. Working in his favor is that he could receive exemptions into most or all of the four Texas events on the schedule, all of which are in the first half of the season. He also can try his luck in Monday qualifiers.

As a sophomore, Spieth helped the Longhorns win the NCAA Championship last summer and was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. He also was a first-team All American and a finalist for the 2012 Ben Hogan Award, presented annually to the nation's top amateur golfer.

He also reached No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings earlier this year before ending the season at No. 8. And he won the U.S. Junior Amateur in both 2009 and 2011, amking him one of only two players to own multiple titles in that event. The other, of course, is Tiger Woods.

Spieth has made eight starts on the PGA Tour so far in his young career, and made the cut in five of those events. His best finish was a tie for 16th at the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship in his hometown of Dallas, where he became the sixth-youngest player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event. He also was the low amateur in last summer's U.S. Open, where he tied for 21st.

 

December 14, 2012 - 1:57am
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John Holmes
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Bode Miller and Morgan Beck Miller
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The sunglasses that Morgan Beck Miller was wearing when her husband hit her in the face with a golf ball might have saved her eye.

I have witnessed a fair amount of accidental golfer-on-golfer violence over the years. One time, I was paired with a newly retired couple, neither of whom was very good nor hit the ball very hard. On the ninth tee, however, the husband took his mightiest cut of the day and swung so far over the ball that he somehow sent it streaking between his legs, where it hit his wife square on the ankle. She went down like she'd been shot, and I had to get an ambulance out to the tee box to take her to the hospital.

That, however, pales in comparison to what skiing champion Bode Miller did to his wife on Wednesday. Here's what she tweeted:

"I'm not feeling so hot. Line drive to the face today with a golf ball from my darling husband. I still love him but #ouch."

Mrs. Miller is also known as beach volleyball star Morgan Beck Miller, and by all accounts she is pretty tough. But she almost lost an eye from her husband's wayward shot – she ended up with 50 stitches in and around her eye, and the injury could have been much worse except that she was wearing sunglasses.

Miller called the accident his "first major golf catastrophe." According to NBCSports.com, his wife was standing behind a tree and he was trying not to hit it. But of course we all know what happens when a hacker tries not to hit something.

The photo above is of Miller and his pre-clobbered wife on Nov. 30 at the FIS Alpine World Cup Men's Downhill on Nov. 30 in Beaver Creek, Colo. The images of her post-clobbered eye are pretty gruesome, so I've chosen not to post them here. If you want to see them, click here.

And on a final note, she later tweeted a thank you to Kaenon, the company who made her sunglasses, for the fact that the lens didn't break when the ball hit it. That, I would say, is a pretty good endorsement.

December 13, 2012 - 4:39pm
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John Holmes
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Gerald Ford
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The money raised from the sale of Gerald Ford's golf clubs will be used to build a new student learning center at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich.

President Gerald Ford might not have been the best golfer, but he certainly was an enthusiastic one. And while spectators lining the ropes needed to keep an eye out whenever he had a driver in his hands, his clubs are now helping to keep young people in life's fairway.

Ford's golf clubs were auctioned off this week in Dallas, and brought in $26,000 – money that will be used to build a new student learning center at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The clubs came in a bag emblazoned with the late president’s name, a pair of American flags and the presidential seal. And the auction, which included about 50 items that belonged to Ford and former first lady Betty Ford, raised about $132,000. The golf clubs, however, brought in the most cash.

"He was identified so much as a golfer in people's minds," said Tom Slater, director of Americana auctions at Heritage Auctions.

The $5 million student learning center is part of a $15 million update planned for the museum, which will also include remodeled permanent exhibits. Joe Calvaruso, executive director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, said he expects to break ground on the student learning center next year, the 100th anniversary of Ford's birth.

Ford died in 2006, and his wife passed away last year.

December 12, 2012 - 11:25pm
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John Holmes
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Golf season might be taking a bit of a breather for the holidays, but the smallest swingers better have their A-Games ready. Why? Because it's time for the Best Pee-Wee Golf Swing contest.

For the third straight year, Little Linksters, LLC, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development and The Littlest Golfer, Inc. are looking for the best swings from kids 3-8 years old. And this year, the contest is open to children from all around the world.

"In our first two years, we were very excited to have such a successful launch of what we want to continue to grow into an annual showcase of what very young golfers are capable of doing," said PGA Professional Brendon Elliott, the founder of Little Linksters, LLC, and the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. "We were very honored to have such a recognized and esteemed celebrity panel of judges in our 2010-2011 contest including Annika Sorenstam, Hank Haney and Kelly Sheehan and again last year including Lexi Thompson, Jim McLean, Win McMurry and Kelly Sheehan."

Elliott, a 2010 and 2011 US Kids Golf Top 50 Kids Teacher and the 2011 and 2012 North Florida PGA Junior Golf Leader award winner, will lead the judging. He will be assisted by this year's celebrity panel of judges, which includes:

--Paula Creamer, LPGA Tour star and major champion
--Win McMurry, Golf Channel personality
--Nicole Weller, PGA & LPGA Professional and multiple award-winning instructor
--Chuck Evans, Top 100 instructor and the face of Medicus Golf.

Elliott is encouraging parents to post a video of their kids' swing on YouTube and submit the link between now and Jan. 15, 2013. Registration details and complete instructions can be found at: http://littlelinksters.com/best-pee-wee-golf-swing-in-the-world/

Prize packages will be awarded in three age categories: 3-4 year-olds, 5-6 year-olds, and 7-8 year-olds. Each prize package is valued at more than $800 and includes items from some of the industry’s top children’s golf apparel, equipment and training aid companies:

The Littlest Golfer gift packs include:

--U.S. Kids Golf Set of UL Clubs and other accessories
--EyeLine Golf training aids package
--Golfer’s Footprint
--MoRodz alignment rods
--Almost Golf play anywhere pack
--Swingfix online lessons
--Little Linksters coloring book and prize pack
--Kwik Golf gift pack
--My Mini Golf gift pack
--Swinggait swing trainer
--Star Putter training aid
--Exemption and paid entry to the San Diego Junior Masters

The winners will be announced at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Jan. 26-28.

The Little Linksters golf program in central Florida is designed specifically for children from 3 to 8 years old. The program is taught in a fun and interactive way using both traditional and non-traditional instructional methods to ensure that children’s introduction to golf is fun. Little Linksters mascots Floppy, Birdie & Bogey are featured in the program's instructional coloring book and training aids.

To help the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development, send an email to nonprofit@littlelinksters.com

To donate to Little Linksters, go to: http://littlelinksters.org/home/little-linksters/

And for more information about the Best Pee-Wee Golf Swing in the World video contest or the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development, please visit www.littlelinksters.com, or contact Elliott at Brendon@LittleLinksters.com or (321) 278-1612.

December 12, 2012 - 12:12am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Courtesy of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
The Links Golf Club is one of three courses included in Sandestin's pre-Christmas bargains.

The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla., is making a unique offer for the week leading up to Christmas – that's next week! Guests who book a round on one of Sandestin’s three participating courses will receive a free night stay in either the resort's Luau or LeCiel communities.

Green fees for that week at the Links Golf Club, Raven Golf Club and Baytowne Golf Club are $89, with replay rounds going for $79. Carts and unlimited range balls and use of the practice facility are also included.

"This promotion is our way to give people the gift of travel and the opportunity to experience all Sandestin has to offer, including the enjoyable game of golf," said Sandestin Vice President of Operations Robert Schamber.

There’s more than golf going on at Sandestin over the holiday saeson, though. The more than a dozen events and activities include the Santa Tuck-in and Santa Skype programs, Village outdoor skating rink, holiday movies under the stars and the festive "12 Nights of Lights" light show.

Spread through 30 neighborhoods and over 2,400 acres with 1,300 vacation rentals, condominiums, villas, town homes and hotel accommodations, Sandestin features seven miles of beaches and bayfront, four championship and resort golf courses, 15 tournament-caliber tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 113-slip marina, fitness center and spa.

The pedestrian-friendly Village of Baytowne Wharf is the heart and soul of the resort, where guests enjoy a mix of boutique shops and restaurants, bars and nightlife. Family-friendly entertainment options include the Adventure Landing Playground, Adventure Zone with the Florida Gulf Coast's only zipline, Carousel and the Blast Arcade and Laser Maze.

For more information, visit www.sandestin.com