Golf Buzz

January 28, 2013 - 9:32am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
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The question every golf observer wants the answer to: What will the 2013 season be like for Tiger Woods?

What kind of season is 2013 going to be for Tiger Woods?

That's always the question golf observers pose, isn't it? Well, he began the season two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi and missed the cut. Today, he brings a healthy six-shot lead with just 11 holes left to play in the weather-interrupted Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines -- a place where he's been more dominant than anyone else in the game's history.

Sure, it isn't over yet, but based on his history at Torrey, we don't think Tiger will be walking away later this afternoon without Tour victory No. 75.

This, however, is just one tournament. And no doubt, winning in his 2013 season debut on the PGA Tour is exactly the way Tiger wanted to set the tone for what's to come.

But, there will be several factors Tiger will face this year that will determine the kind of success he can achieve. Many he can control and many he cannot.

BleacherReport.com's Mike Dudurich examines a number of scenarios Tiger could find himself in this season and tells us whether these scenarios will play out (fact), or not (fiction):

Tiger Woods is one of the most complex athletes in sports.

On the course, off the course, he does things that few others can do or have even dreamed of doing.

And because he is who he is, speculation, rumor and innuendo are always associated with him.

So why wouldn't it be fun to put together a list playing a little fact or fiction with all things Tiger for 2013?

Could another injury doom Tiger? Dudurich thinks so:

He seems to have rounded back into shape and appears to be healthier than he's been in several years.

His new swing, while still in its early stages, will take less of a toll on his 37-year-old body.

But because he's already had problems with his Achilles tendon and a bulging disc in his neck, he might be susceptible to problems in those areas again.

Conclusion: Fact

To read the full piece, click here.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.

January 28, 2013 - 9:14am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Congressional Country Club
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Congressional Country Club, where Tiger Woods won the 2012 AT&T National, is one of the most difficult courses players will face all year.

Not all PGA Tour golf courses are created equally. Aside from the contrast in terrain, types of grass and natural surroundings, the scores players shoot at particular courses highlights the divide between those where we expect to see a birdie-fest and those where par can be a man's best friend.

For example, Russell Henley, a Tour rookie, won in his very first start at the Sony Open in Hawaii with a remarkable 72-hole score of 24 under at Waialae Country Club. While beautiful, no doubt, Waialae is flat and lends itself to low scores.

A place like Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., which plays host to AT&T National, meanwhile, was won by Tiger Woods a year ago and his winning total of 8 under.

Mike Dudurich of BleacherReport.com recently took a look at the 10 most difficult courses on the 2013 PGA Tour schedule.

Dudurich opened the piece with this:

Numbers normally don't lie in golf. It's easy to figure out who's playing well and who isn't by looking at the statistics.

The same thing goes for courses. Players can name this course or that one as the most difficult they've ever played, but the numbers make it crystal clear as to which courses are the most difficult.

And they also make great indicators as to how courses will play in the future.

Those numbers played a definite role in this list of the 10 most difficult courses on the 2013 PGA Tour.

Here's what Dudurich wrote about Congressional:

There are good reasons for Congressional Country Club being ranked as the third-toughest course on the PGA Tour in 2012. Eighteen reasons, to be exact.

The Blue Course -- host of the AT&T -- is a collection of great and very difficult holes, including as good a group of par 4's as there is on the PGA Tour.

At 7,569 yards, tour pros averaged 73.046 strokes per round in 2012, 2.046 above par.

Only 12 eagles were recorded at Congressional last year, a very low number for the tour’s talented stars. The second, fourth and 11th holes were among the Top 25 toughest holes a year ago.

To read all of Dudurich's piece, click here.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair. 

January 27, 2013 - 5:58pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Lydia Ko
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Lydia Ko said she was shocked when she realized how much money she could have pocketed last year, but says she still doesn't know when she'll turn pro.

Is Lydia Ko a has-been at age 15?

She won the 2012 edition of Australia's New South Wales Open at this time last year to kick off what became an unprecedented run of success for a 14-year-old female golfer – her victory there made her the youngest player, male or female, to win a professional tour event. She went on to become the leading amateur at the U.S. Women's Open, won the U.S. Women's Amateur and then won the CN Women's Canadian Open to become the youngest LPGA Tour winner.

She returned this week to defend her New South Wales Open title, but finished all the way down in second place, two shots behind winner Caroline Hedwall of Sweden, another fast-rising young star. (Ko also finished second two years ago, at 13).

I'm kidding about the has-been part. The real news of her title defense in Sydney is that, after having several months of an offseason to ponder her future, Ko still insists that she won't turn pro for the foreseeable future.

"There's no point in me going in there when I don't think I'm ready and I'm not that confident," she said at the tournament. "I think there will be a point in time where I think it's the right time.
 
"That doesn't mean I'm going to wait many many years," she stressed. "A certain time will come suddenly without me noticing."

She admitted that she was shocked when she looked back at what she had accomplished – and the amount of money she could have collected had she been played as a pro last year.

"When I went to prize givings and people say what I have done for that year, it was like, 'Oh my God, I actually did that?'" she said. "I didn't know how much it was until the media said 'you could have got $300,000 at the Canadian Open.' That could have been a nice house."

Money isn't the only thing she's missing out on. As the New South Wales Open's defending champion, she was given the best spot in the players' parking lot. Alas, at age 15, she doesn't yet have her driver's license.

January 26, 2013 - 9:07pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Elin Nordegren's new mansion
Photo by Jeff Lichtenstein
Elin Nordegren's decision to tear down an old house and build a new one on its site was prompted by one fact unknown until now.

When the word leaked out that Tiger Woods' ex-wife Elin Nordegren was tearing down a $12 million oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach County, Fla., to build a new house on the same site, there was plenty of snickering and eye-rolling. Turns out she did the smart thing.

"Somehow unnoticed was the fact that it was infested with termites," prominent Palm Beach County Realtor Jeff Lichtenstein told The Palm Beach Post. "How this happened, no one is saying, but the house had to be torn down."

When the old mansion was destroyed, many of its amenities were donated to Habitat for Humanity. Among the donated items the newspaper listed were chandeliers, five refrigerators, 14 vanities, some controlled-temperature wine coolers and even a concrete fountain.

As you can see in the photo above, which Lichtenstein supplied to the Post, Nordegren's three-story house is coming along nicely.

"Smartly, she bought directly on the ocean, where houses soar in price over the years," he said.

The house is in the Seminole Landing community, which ranks among the top five most exclusive communities in Palm Beach County, the Post said. It is also, of course, home to the prestigious Seminole Golf Club, which ranks among the top courses in the United States.

January 25, 2013 - 4:08pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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ty votaw
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In an proactive attempt to clarify the PGA Tour's position on blogs, Twitter and other social media, Ty Votaw called PGA.com's Steve Eubanks and gave an in-depth explanation.

 In response to an earlier post on The Golf Buzz, here, PGA Tour Vice President Ty Votaw called me to clarify the tour’s position as well as offer his personal opinion on Twitter and the role social media plays in modern-day golf coverage.

“The last thing I want is for Dan Jenkins to stop tweeting,” Votaw said. “The critical words in the message I was sending – and perhaps I didn’t do a good enough job communicating this – are ‘real time’ and ‘play-by-play.’ 

“We understand the importance and the value of tweeting and blogging. If someone tweets that Ian Poulter just made four birdies in a row, that’s likely to drive people to turn on the telecast. We get that. We want that. But if an intern is sitting in an office watching Shotlink and tweeting every shot Tiger hits or Rory hits, that is proprietary information, and that’s where we have a problem.”

In that respect, the tour is no different than any other sporting league. The NFL, Major League Baseball, even big-time college football conferences like the SEC allow blogging and tweeting, but they don’t allow journalists to tweet play-by-play coverage of an event. 

Kudos to Votaw for setting the record straight.

 
 
January 25, 2013 - 1:53pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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ty votaw
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In a memo from PGA Tour Vice President Ty Votaw on Thursday, journalists were informed that their credentials could be revoked for Tweets they had nothing to do with writing.

The PGA Tour took a swipe at new media on Thursday.
 
Tour Vice President Ty Votaw sent a surprise email to reporters at Torrey Pines during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open. It read: “As you know, our media regulations prohibit the use of real-time, play-by-play transmission in digital outlets. In order to enforce these regulations, beginning this year, we will revoke the on-site credentials of all journalists affiliated with outlets that post play-by-play coverage, whether those posts are originating from tournament site or otherwise.” 
 
Tweeting has become a major part of golf coverage with many digital outsets as well as traditional newspapers and magazines engaging in the practice. Hall of Fame sportswriter Dan Jenkins has found a new audience and new life in the Twittersphere, and journalists from across the spectrum use the medium as a quick-hit way to drive readers to their more lengthy and substantive pieces. 
 
While the legal complexities of broadcast rights and data sharing must be considered, from a practical standpoint the policy seems counterproductive. Fans without credentials can tweet all the play-by-play coverage they want either on-site or from the comfort of their sofas, but credentialed media members who are driving interest and eyeballs to the event are prohibited from the same.
 
Expect clarifications and perhaps modifications to the policy in the coming days. In the meantime, Golf.com concluded its report on the ban by stating that the site “will continue to report on the Tour's position and will also live blog Friday’s second round.” 
 
In poker terms, that’s a call and a raise.