Golf Buzz

November 23, 2014 - 9:56am
mark.aumann's picture
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy watches his errant tee shot Sunday at the 18th hole.

For the rest of us, this is just a matter of luck. But for the world's No. 1 player, it's quite posssible Rory McIlroy meant for this to happen.

Watch McIlroy's errant tee shot -- heading right for the water hazard -- ricochet off a rock and land in the middle of the opposite fairway Sunday on the final hole of the DP World Golf Championship:




Now that takes skill. McIlroy wound up making par but lost the tournament by one stroke to Henrik Stenson. No worries, since McIlroy had already clinched the championship one week ago.


November 22, 2014 - 2:32pm
Posted by:
Doug Ferguson
mark.aumann's picture
Chris Como
Chris Como has been tabbed to become Tiger Woods' newest swing consultant.

NAPLES, Fla. -- Tiger Woods has hired a swing consultant as he prepares to return to competition.

Woods announced Saturday on Twitter that Dallas-based Chris Como, a specialist in biomechanics of the golf swing, will be working and consulting with him. Woods did not identify Como as his swing coach.

"Happy to have Chris Como consulting and working with me on my swing. I'm excited to be back competing," Woods said.

He is to return Dec. 4-7 at his Hero World Challenge, an 18-man field of top 50 players at Isleworth.

Not long after the tweet, Como's website was unavailable because it exceeded its bandwidth. He works at Gleneagles Country Club outside Dallas and was listed among the best young teachers by Golf Digest magazine last year.

The magazine said on its website that Como is completing a master's degree in biomechanics at Texas Woman's University. He is studying under Kwon Young-Hoo, an expert on how sports movements impact the body.

Woods said good friend Notah Begay introduced him to Como this summer.

"Subsequently, we had several good conservations about the golf swing," Woods said in a statement. "I've worked with him about a month since I started practicing. Chris will consult and work with me during the year."

Woods already has had three swing coaches and four swings during a career that already has brought him 14 majors among his 79 PGA Tour titles. He most recently worked with Sean Foley, whom he dismissed in August after three years and no majors. Woods last won a major in 2008 at the U.S. Open.

This is the first time in his career he failed to register a top-10 finish.

Woods missed most of the year with back issues. He had surgery on his back a week before the Masters, forcing him to sit out three months to recover. He last played in the PGA Championship, where he missed the cut, and then said he would take more time off to get stronger.

Como also works with Aaron Baddeley, Trevor Immelman and Jamie Lovemark.

Arnold Palmer
Montana Pritchard
World Golf Hall of Fame member and PGA member, Arnold Palmer, accepts the Deacon Palmer Award during the General Session of the 98th PGA Annual Meeting at The JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, on Saturday, November 22, 2014.

What an emotional entrance for Arnold Palmer at the 98th PGA Annual Meeting in Indanapolis Saturday.

The Hall of Famer and PGA member was here to accept the inaugural Deacon Palmer Award, bestowed posthumously upon Arnold's father and only coach. The award was accepted by Arnold Palmer.

But it was Arnold Palmer's entrance that created a stir. He was welcomed with a long standing ovation from this large crowd of PGA Professionals and PGA of America employees. Cell phones were raised to capture the unique moment, and the moment created more than a few misty eyes. The entrance was touching, and clearly humbled Arnold Palmer, a full two minutes of appreciation as Interim PGA President Derek Sprague escroted the legend to the stage for a fireside chat with Golf Channel's David Marr III.




Arnold Palmer, 85, described his youth and upbringing in the household led by a stern Deacon Palmer, a man who taught him his golf grip at a young age in his first lesson. Arnold grabbed the club, Deacon set the grip. "Now don't ever change it," Deacon Palmer told his son.

"Everything in my life, he taught me," said Arnold Palmer, both moved by his father's award and happy to have such an engaged forum to tell Deacon's story. Arnold Palmer also told the story of when his father learned Arnold wanted to play golf on tour. Deacon Palmer wasn't a fan of the idea.

Deacon Palmer looked over at the tractor, and said, "When you can't play, you can still drive that tractor."

Then, Arnold smiled, and admitted, "Well, luckily I never had to drive that tractor."

The Deacon Palmer Award bestows special recognition upon a PGA Professional who personally displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in his/her life.

“I am most appreciative that the PGA has chosen to honor my father with this award,” Arnold Palmer said in a PGA of America release about the award.

After being stricken with polio as a child, Deacon Palmer developed a strong upper body. He walked with a limp, but that did not hinder his love and passion for golf. He loved to play with club members and developed his own strong and sturdy golf swing.

Deacon Palmer worked on the construction of Latrobe (Pennsylvania) Country Club as a teenager in 1920. He became grounds superintendent in 1926 and was named golf professional in 1932. Deacon Palmer was elected to PGA membership in 1946. He died in 1976 at age 71.

“Deacon Palmer was more than the father of a son who ascended to the pinnacle of golf,” said PGA of America Interim President Derek Sprague. “He became a shining example of the golf profession. In the spirit of this humble man from Western Pennsylvania, the PGA of America is extremely proud to establish the Deacon Palmer Award and to have Arnold Palmer accept on behalf of his late father.”

November 22, 2014 - 10:57am
Michael.Benzie's picture
Henrik Stenson
European Tour
Henrik Stenson lines up for his second shot on the par-5 14th hole.

Our partners at the European Tour snapped this impressive highlight (watch below) of Henrik Stenson on the massive 626-yard par 5 at the DP World Championship in Dubai. You can really get a sense of the distance, which was reported at 270 yards. The heavy hitter, who averaged 300 yards in driving distance on the European Tour this year, crushed a 4-iron onto the green for a decent eagle chance. 

WATCH: Even McIlroy chunks his three wood | Shane Lowry's hole in one

Of course, decent eagle chance doesn't always equate to eagle, and Stenson settled for birdie here, en route to a 4-under 68 in the third round. The defending champion is tied with Spain's Rafa Cabrera-Bello, holding a three-shot lead over the field. Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy are among those chasing.

If he wins, Stenson will finish the 2014 European Tour season as runner-up to McIlroy in the Race to Dubai.

"To win would be very pleasing as I've had a solid year, but I haven't got a trophy yet," Stenson told the Associated Press. "There is still a lot of golf to play and Rafa, he's had a 64 and a 65, so he seems to be on fire."

Here's a look at that 4-iron:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Esposito
Courtesy of the Champions Tour
PGA Professional Frank Esposito has earned two of the biggest victories of his career in a span of less than two weeks.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a golfer who's had a better nine days than PGA Professional Frank Epsosito Jr. About the only one who can come close is PGA Professional Jeff Coston.
On Friday, Esposito – the PGA Head Professional at Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park, New Jersey – won the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament, finishing with a 1-under 71 for an 11-under 277 total for a clear-cut four-shot victory at Orange County National in Winter Garden, Fla.
Grant Waite of New Zealand finished second, while Coston – the PGA teaching professional at Semiahmoo Golf Resort in Blaine, Washington – tied for third with Jerry Smith. 
Another veteran tour player, Rod Spittle of Canada, finished fifth, and those five players all are fully exempt on the 2015 Champions Tour.
For the two PGA members, though, their success is even more impressive considering that their Champions Tour results mirror their finishes in last week's Senior PGA Professional National Championship – where Esposito, 51, won and Coston, 58, finished sixth on Sunday in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
That gave them one whole day to celebrate, make the trip up to the Orlando area and get ready to tee off on Tuesday.
"I've just caught fire for two weeks," Esposito said. "Once again, I hit the ball very, very well all week and controlled my distance with the irons. Even though the putter was a bit shaky today, I managed my way around the golf course pretty well."
Coincidentally, Esposito also finished with a 71 to win the Senior PGA Professional National Championship. And impressively, he slept on the third-round lead in both events and closed out both victories in steady style.
"Winning this is great, it really is," Esposito – the reigning New Jersey PGA Senior Player of the Year – said after his Senior PNC victory. "I didn't know what to expect, and it means a lot to me, especially out here."

Esposito won $30,000 for his medalist honors at Champions Tour Q-School to go with the $20,000 he earned at the Senior PGA Professional National Championship. 

Playing a full Champions Tour season will be a relatively new experience for Esposito, who played in the 2008 and 2014 PGA Championships as well as the 2014 Senior PGA Championship and Champions Tour's Mississippi Gulf Resort Championship. Coston, by contrast, has plenty of tour experience – he played on the PGA Tour in 1985 and 1988, and spent 1991-1994 on the Ben Hogan and Nike Tour, which is now known as the Web.Com Tour. He's also played in multiple majors, and is a nine-time Pacific Northwest PGA Section Player of the Year.

Donald Trump
Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
Chairman and President of The Trump Organization, Donald Trump, speaks during the Leadership Session of the 98th PGA Annual Meeting at The JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, on Friday, November 21, 2014.

You'd think of all the courses Donald Trump plays and has access to play, his "bucket list" course would be a little more obscure. But after giving it some thought, he revealed an answer that would be on the golf bucket lists of your average golf-playing citizen: The Old Course at St. Andrews.

This was among his answers to five rapid-fire questions we asked Trump in a one-on-one interview at the PGA 2014 Annual Meeting Friday in Indianapolis, where he was keynote speaker.

PHOTOS: PGA 2014 Annual Meeting

Another question? Name your five holes-in-one. Trump had initially named one as his most memorable shot during a lively and humorous 1.5-hour keynote address. It was the 158-yard 12th hole at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, which Trump aced with an 8-iron. And to the delight of the crowd, he made sure to note he had a "massive plaque" installed.

The others: Two at Westchester Country Club, one at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach and one at Pebble Beach in the AT&T Pebble  Beach National Pro-Am, an ace on the 12th in a foursome that included Payne Stewart. If you're interested, there's a good retelling of this 1993 ace in a 2011 New York Times piece. The caddie, Robert Lytle, tells the story:

“So Donald wants to hit a 6-iron and (Paul) Goydos wants him to hit 6-iron and I want him to hit 5-iron. So we’re going back and forth and finally I said to him: ‘O.K., Donald, I’ll tell you what, you hit the 5-iron and if I’m wrong you don’t have to pay me. If I’m right, you pay me double.’ He looked at me and said, ‘You sure?’ ”And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m sure.’ I was sure, but I was thinking maybe he’d hit it too hard and try to prove me wrong. But he hit it perfect. Two bounces and it went in the hole.”

Trump's favorite club in his bag? "My Putter. Definitely." By the way, it's a Scotty Cameron, if you're curious, and it's the same putter he's used for years. Least favorite: Anything to do with chipping.

READ: Your golf bucket list

Best piece of golf instruction: "Don't take it to seriously. I see some people that are so uptight they can't take a club back. Just remember it's just not that important and maybe you'll play better."

And finally, Trump named his projections for players to win majors in 2015, and his list was, well, safe. But in Trump fashion, it was also supersized. "We have four majors, but I would say five guys." Who? Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose and of course Tiger Woods.

"I think Tiger is a unique athlete and a great guy. I think Tiger is going to win a major next year."