Golf Buzz

July 14, 2014 - 1:01pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson returned the Claret Jug to the R&A on Monday as he prepares to defend this week. While with Mickelson, the Claret Jug once contained a $40,000 bottle of wine.

When it comes to championship trophies -- most notably the Stanley Cup -- people want to celebrate by drinking out of it.

That's no different in golf with the coveted Claret Jug the winner receives for winning the Open Championship.

What is different in this case, however, is the choice of drink used by defending champion Phil Mickelson.

RELATED: Mickelson's incredible cart-path shot sets up unlikely birdie

While we often hear "how many beers" can fit in a particular trophy (Michelle Wie tweeted Meg Mallon after winning the U.S. Women's Open to report that 21 1/2 beers fit in the trophy), Mickelson went a more sophisticated route.

And by "more sophisticated" we mean, outrageously expensive bottle of wine -- a $40,000 1990 Romanee-Conti to be precise.

You read that right -- a bottle of vino that cost as much as a really nice car.

"One of the things that I stressed is that we have to treat the claret jug with reverence and respect that it deserves and only put good stuff in it," Mickelson said with a laugh Monday, according to Golf Channel.

In an article that appeared in The Scotsman on Sunday, Mickelson expanded on the wine choice.

"I've loved having the Jug with me for the last 12 months," he said. "The people who know and love the game get a big kick out of it. They really appreciate what it means to hold such a famous trophy. And drink out of it. I only let them drink the good stuff of course. There's been nothing in there that is sub-par. But the best was a 1990 bottle of Romanee Conti wine. It wasn't on my dime thankfully. It costs about $40,000."

Living the good life indeed. 


U.S. Senior Open
PGA of America archive
Sonny Skinner was the Low PGA Club Professional at the U.S. Senior Open.

By Bob Denney
PGA of America

PGA Life Member Sonny Skinner of Sylvester, Georgia, winner of the past four Senior PGA Professional Player of the Awards, was the Low PGA Club Professional at the 2014 U.S. Senior Open, July 13, in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Skinner, 53 shared 26th place after finishing at 7-over-par 291 over four rounds at Oak Tree National Golf Club, and earned $25,800. Skinner tied for 31st at the PGA Professional National Championship in June, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Jerry Haas of Winston Salem, North Carolina, head men’s coach at Wake Forest University and brother of two-time Senior PGA Champion Jay Haas, closed with a 69 to share 33rd at 292. He earned $20,443.

July 14, 2014 - 8:34am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Mo Martin
USA Today Sports Images
On Sunday at Royal Birkdale, American Mo Martin hit the shot of her life to set up the biggest victory of her life -- a major no less -- the Ricoh Women's British Open.

Close it out in style.

That's an adage we often hear in sports. On Sunday at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England, in the final round of the Ricoh Women's British Open, that's precisely what 31-year-old American Mo Martin did.

Martin, who has spent most of her professional life grinding on mini tours, hit a 3-wood from just under 240 yards on the par-5 18th hole at Royal Birkdale and watched it roll and roll toward the flag.

The ball crashed into the pin -- dead center, nearly an albatross -- and settled about six feet away setting up an eagle putt.

Martin made the ensuing eagle putt and had to wait an hour to see if her 1-under 287 total would hold up for her first major championship win.

It did.

Martin is a remarkable story. In 63 previous tries, she'd never won on the LPGA Tour. Now, that maiden victory made her a major champion.

"It's still soaking in, along with champagne in my jacket," Martin told reporters. "This is just unbelievable. It's literally a dream come true."

Martin's shot reminded us of another gem from a fellow unlikely winner -- Shaun Micheel's 7-iron approach from 174 yards on the par-4 18th hole at Oak Hill in the final round of the 2003 PGA Championship that came to rest just inches from the hole to put an exclamation point on the win.

Here's that shot from Micheel:

Martin's win at Royal Birkdale made it the first time since 1999 on the LPGA Tour that Americans have won the first three majors of the season. Martin followed Lexi Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Michelle Wie at the U.S. Women's Open. 

LeBron James and Johnny Manziel

In the wake of the LeBron James news today, Twitter has been swamped. In the maelstrom, however, one tweet from this afternoon jumped out at me.

It's from Cleveland native and dedicated Cleveland sports fan Jason Dufner, who reminded us of a tweet he had posted last December – five months before the NFL Draft and seven months before King James made his second big decision.

Here it is:


July 11, 2014 - 8:14am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson hits a flop shot over a life-sized cut out of himself in a contest at the Scottish Open.

As you know by now, the European Tour is in Scotland this week at Royal Aberdeen for the Scottish Open, where Phil Mickelson is the defending champion.

Mickelson gets a lot of attention whenever he plays, but this week he's been getting even more attention than usual.

But what do you expect when he hits flop shots backwards, or gets up and down for birdie from a cart path?

One of the many notable aspects of the five-time major champion's game is his prowess with the flop shot. With that, the folks at the European Tour put a life-sized cut-out of Mickelson on a hole and held a competition among many of the best players in the game -- Mickelson, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Miguel Angel Jimenez among them -- to see who could hit a flop shot closest to the hole going over the Mickelson cut out.

Check it out. We especially loved the creativity of Jimenez.

As you can see in the video, Mickelson isn't the only one that can execute those brilliant flop shots... but he might be the best. 

Brian Harman and Jay Hatch
Courtesy of the John Deere Classic
High school coach Jay Hatch "was like a true pro" in his stint as a pinch-caddie on Thursday at the John Deere Classic, said co-leader Brian Harman.
Jay Hatch started his day on Thursday watching a little golf at the John Deere Classic. He ended it as a Quad Cities celebrity after an unexpected stint as a caddie for co-leader Brian Harman.
Harman was cruising along at 2 under through six holes when his caddie, Scott Tway, who had been feeling poorly overnight, couldn't continue. 
"I called a medic over and Scottie said he was going to have to sit out at least a couple holes," Harman said after posting a first-round 63 – his best score of the year by two shots. "Jay was standing there and said, 'I'll do it. I'll keep up.' " 
Hatch grabbed the bag, and did more than keep up. He helped Harman go 6 under on his final 12 holes and finish the day tied fore the lead with Zach Johnson and Rory Sabbatini.
Hatch, it turns out, is a coach at Alleman High School in nearby Davenport, Iowa, whose teams have won three girls' state softball titles and one girls' state basketball crown. 
"I don't know how athletic it was, but it was sure cool," said Hatch, who towered over the 5-foot-7 Harman. "I always wanted to be inside the ropes to see what it looked like from there. You know that commercial where they say 'These guys are good?' They are way, way better than that."
Hatch, who also plays some recreational golf, told Harman, "I can carry your bag if you don't need any help reading putts." Harman also checked his own yardages for the rest of the round.
Afterward, Harman was thrilled with the performance of his surprise substitute.
"My man Jay came out and did a really good job. He was like a true pro out there," said Harman, who vowed to send Hatch a check for his effort. Hatch, however, quickly declined the offer, and Tway is expected to be back on the bag on Friday afternoon for Harman's second round.