Golf Buzz

June 18, 2015 - 1:40pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson took a double bogey on the par-4 10th hole at Chambers Bay on Thursday after running into issues in a greenside bunker.

Given that Chambers Bay is so different, we've been hearing grumblings for months that we'd likely see a lot of shots we're not accustomed to seeing the pros hit during this week's U.S. Open.

RELATED: U.S. Open leaderboard | Bubba Watson holes outrageous practice-round putt

Two-time Masters champ Bubba Watson can attest to that. Check out this shot he hit on the 427-yard, par-4 10th hole from a greenside bunker:


That wasn't pretty. Watson went on to double bogey the hole. It was his second double bogey of the day to that point after also having doubled the first hole.

June 17, 2015 - 10:10am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
USA Today Sports Images
Phil Mickelson is one U.S. Open away from becoming just the sixth player to complete the career modern-day grand slam.

The second major championship of the season takes place this week in the Pacific Northwest with the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

It'll be interesting to say the least. Most of the field hasn't seen the course, which opened in 2007, until this week. There's also the fact that Chambers Bay, with a gorgeous backdrop of Puget Sound, looks more like what you'd expect to see a British Open played on than a U.S. Open.

The USGA is known for providing a stern test. This week will be no different. As is always the case in a U.S. Open, patience will likely be the greatest attribute of the player who wins.

RELATED: U.S. Open first-round tee times | Fowler hopes Players win leads to major

It will be fascinating to watch.

Here are the five players you'll want to keep an eye on at Chambers Bay.

5. Ernie Els
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T13 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational
Reason to watch: To say this has been a rough season for the Big Easy would be an understatement. He has missed more cuts (six) than he's made (five). In 11 starts, he has just two finishes inside the top 25. I'm trying to come to terms with labeling a four-time major winner a "dark horse" but that's what I'm going to do here in the case of Els. He shines in the majors. Need proof? For starters, Els has an astounding 35 top-10 finishes at the majors in his career. And, dating back to 1992, there have been only four seasons (1995, 1998, 1999 and 2011) where Els hasn't placed inside the top 10 at at least one major. Talk about longevity. This week, he takes on a link-style course. He's fared well on those before, having won the 2002 and 2012 British Opens. But this is the U.S. Open, you say. It is. And he's won two of those before as well (1994, 1997). A win at a major would be a hell of a way to snap out of a slump, but this 45-year-old veteran could be just the man to do it.

4. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Players Championship
Reason to watch: How will Fowler follow up this major season compared to the one he had a year ago in which he was the only player in the world to record top-10 finishes in each of the four? Well, that's already out after a T12 at the Masters -- still a solid, solid week. But, if you were to tell Fowler he could have four top-10s at the majors in a season, or one top-10, specifically a win, he'd take the "W." He gained loads of confidence from those major performances in 2014. And, he comes into this week as the reigning Players Champion after a historic finish at TPC Sawgrass. Fowler, 26, is finally coming into his own. My crystal ball says there are major victories in his future.

3. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship and the Wells Fargo Championship
Reason to watch: It feels a little dirty throwing the world's No. 1 player and winner of two of his last three starts on the PGA Tour in the No. 3 spot this week, but I have my reasons. Right after the Wells Fargo, McIlroy went back to Europe for the BMW PGA Championship and the Irish Open. Surely fatigued, it was still a surprise to see him miss the cut in both events. I'm chalking that up to an abberation. McIlroy will most certainly be a contender this week and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him claim his fifth major overall. I'm sure he's well-rested now, but there are two players who I think could be his biggest obstacles this week...

2. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Valspar Championship and the Masters
Reason to watch: I can't get enough of Spieth these days. He is just so rock solid. He's also the only player in this week's field who has a chance to claim the season's first two majors. The 21-year-old Masters champion seems to always find a way to be a contender come Sunday these days. At the Crowne Plaza Invitational near the end of May, Spieth closed with a 65 in the final round to tie for second. Seemingly not much of a factor a couple of week's later in the Memorial, Spieth fired another final-round 65 to tie for third. The guy is a stud.

1. Phil Mickelson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T2 at the Masters
Reason to watch: I don't want Mickelson to win a U.S. Open. I need Mickelson to win a U.S. Open -- a tournament where he has painfully been a runner up on six occasions. If he wins this one tournament, the man we once badgered about when he'd win his first major, would suddenly have himself a career grand slam. In the Masters era, only Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen have achieved the career grand slam. Outside of Woods, there is no player over the last 20 years with the sustained success of Mickelson. Golf doesn't owe anyone anything. But it sure feels like golf owes Mickelson a U.S. Open.

Here's how my five to watch fared last week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic:
5. Phil Mickelson -- T3
4. Webb Simpson -- Missed cut
3. Harris English -- T45
2. Billy Horschel -- T8
1. Dustin Johnson -- W/D


June 17, 2015 - 9:02am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Happy Gilmore
Everyone knows this, but it's probably worth repeating -- the "Happy Gilmore" swing and adult beverages just don't mix.

Public service announcement: Leave the Happy Gilmore-ing to Happy Gilmore (and Padraig Harrington... more on that later).

But, if you must hit that hockey-like tee shot with a running start, at least have the decency to not ask a friend to get it on video from in front of the tee box.

RELATED: Watch Bubba Watson hole a crazy putt during U.S. Open practice round


Because there's a change this could happen:


Deadspin had the story -- which, not surprisingly -- included plenty of libations before the shot was attempted.

And, the ball hit the cameraman in the ear.

Harrington shows you here how it's done:


And, of course, here's the original from Happy Gilmore himself. 


June 15, 2015 - 11:00am
mark.aumann's picture
Joost Luiten
Joost Luiten/YouTube
Joost Luiten describes Chambers Bay for folks in his native Netherlands.

There won't be any shortage of descriptions of the Chambers Bay course -- host of the 2015 U.S. Open -- this week.

But Joost Luiten's course preview might be unique, since he did this in his native Dutch:




Even without knowing the language, it's pretty simple to catch the gist of Luiten's commentary. He's pointing out the possibility of unique sidehill teeing grounds, the severe undulation of the greens, how the course near Tacoma plays much more like a typical links layout, and he may even have mentioned jet lag.

In any case, it's cool to know players from 26 countries -- including the Netherlands -- will be competing this week. And they're wiling to share their experiences with the folks back home, even if "home" is on another continent.

June 14, 2015 - 5:29pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Lexi Thompson
USA Today Sports Images
Lexi Thompson tied for low round of the week honors at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on Sunday with a stunning round of 7-under 66.

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Lexi Thompson got red-hot in the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

The 20-year-old was so hot in fact, that whispers of something in the very low 60s at par-73 Westchester Country Club began to circulate after Thompson played the first 13 holes in 8 under with eight birdies and had two par 5s left to play.

RELATED: KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard | Hyo Joo Kim's ace on No. 14

As it would turn out, Thompson made a bogey at the par-3 16th hole and parred the two par 5s coming in, settling for a best-round-of-the-week tying score of 7-under 66. She had a stretch of six birdies in seven holes beginning on No. 7.

"Overall, I had a consistent day," Thompson said. "I hit some good iron shots out there and dropped a few putts on top of it. So it was a fun round. My caddie, Benji, and I, we just had fun in between shots and was very relaxed."

The final day rally had Thompson alone in third place at the time her final round ended.

"It was an amazing week," Thompson said. "It was a whole different atmosphere than the last few years. It definitely felt like a major championship, not only the fans, the venue here at Westchester Country Club. The course is in great shape for us. But PGA of America, KPMG and Zurich did an amazing job for the tournament." 

June 14, 2015 - 4:37pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Hyo Joo Kim
USA Today Sports Images
Hyo Joo Kim of Korea had a hole-in-one on Sunday at Westchester Country Club's 145-yard, par-3 14th hole in the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Korea's Hyo Joo Kim provided the shot of the tournament at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on Sunday.

RELATED: KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard | 2016 WPGA headed to Sahalee

Check out Kim's ace at the 145-yard, par-3 14th hole:


The ace put Kim at 8-under for the tournament at the time of this post and in a tie for eighth.

As amazing as a hole-in-one is, I still think putt by Jodi Ewart Shadoff in Friday's second round is in the argument for shot of the tournament: