Golf Buzz

November 11, 2012 - 7:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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The PGA of America
Patriot Golf Day has evolved into a multi-day fundraising effort nationwide every Labor Day weekend.

We all think about – and thank – our men and women in uniform on Veterans’ Day, but the golf industry does a commendable job of supporting the military throughout the year, and you can help out at any time – including now.

Here are a few great golf organizations that support our military, and I encourage you to check them out:

--Patriot Golf Day stages golf fundraisers nationwide over the Labor Day holiday weekend, and you can participate either by playing or volunteering to help out. If you’re not sure about it, just know that the Patriot Golf Day campaign is jointly supported by The PGA of America and the U.S. Golf Association.

--The Folds of Honor Foundation is funded primarily through the proceeds from Patriot Golf Day, but you can make a donation year-round. Folds of Honor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides college scholarships for the children and spouses of military men and women disabled or killed while serving our great nation.

--The Salute Military Golf Association is another 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and it provides golf equipment, lessons and access to courses nationwide for wounded servicemen and women. Since ts creation in 2007, its volunteer golf professionals have given, free of charge, hundreds of lessons and clinics to our wounded warriors.

--Birdies for the Brave was created by Phil and Amy Mickelson to support troops injured in combat, and it is now a part of PGA Tour Charities. Golf courses nationwide stage a variety of fundraising events that have raised millions of dollars for military homefront groups that serve the specialized needs of wounded warriors and military families. Birdies for the Brave fundraising events provide golfers the chance to participate in golf tournaments on top courses nationwide.

--Tee It Up For the Troops helps wounded warriors get out on the course and uses golf events to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an independent non-profit thar provides financial support for the families of military personnel lost in service to our nation, and for severely wounded military personnel and veterans.

I also want to note that there are many other groups and events nationwide that also support this effort. And while they’re not charitable organizations, many of golf’s most prominent equipment companies – Bridgestone, Callaway, Cleveland, Ping and TaylorMade, among them – donate a lot of golf clubs, balls and other gear, and work diligently to promote many of these great causes with no regard for credit or publicity.

Thanks to everyone who serves our country, and thanks to everyone who does so much to help them out.


November 10, 2012 - 9:37pm
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John Holmes
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The Fazio Course at PGA National
Courtesy of PGA National
The Fazio Course's original routing remains intact, but its renovation features a mix of classic golf architecture and improvements in modern technology, course design and agronomics.

PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., has opened -- or should we say reopened -- the Fazio Course for play.

"The Fazio" is a complete renovation of "the Haig" -- PGA National's original 18-hole course, which opened in 1980. The Haig was designed by George and Tom Fazio in tribute to five-time PGA Championship winner Walter Hagen.

"We think the appealing aspects of the Fazio are the newly reconfigured greens, tee-boxes and bunkering; achieving that ideal balance where single-digit golfers will be fully challenged while higher handicaps will have a layout ideal for a day of enjoyable resort golf," said Tom Fazio II, the third member of the Fazio family to work on the Haig.

While the original par-72 routing remains intact, the renovation features a mix of classic golf architecture and improvements in modern technology, course design and agronomics, including:

--Total green surface increased nearly 70 percent from 1.5 acres to 2.5 acres and grassed with TifEagle
--Grass on tees and fairways changed to Celebration Bermudagrass
--Tee boxes reconfigured from circular to square
--The latest irrigation technology installed throughout

The course’s yardage has been lengthened to more than 7,000 yards. But in accordance with the popular "Tee it Forward" initiative, player-friendly tees have been added, allowing the course to be played at 5,100 yards.

"For avid golfers, we deliver a tour-quality practice and playing experience, including David Leadbetter and Dave Pelz academies and championship level club-fitting and practice facilities," said Vice President and Managing Director Joel Paige. "As we complete our multi-million renovation, PGA National also offers a suite of amenities, from spa and tennis to fine dining and relaxing poolside, comparable to the great luxury golf resorts of the world."

Including the Fazio Course, PGA National offers 90 holes of championship golf on five courses, including the famed Champion Course, home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. It also features a world-class 33,000 square-foot health and racquet club with 19 Har Tru tennis courts, 40,000 square feet of self-contained conference space and nine on-site restaurants and lounges.

For more information, visit


November 9, 2012 - 11:29pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in CNN interview
Sports illustrated
For the first time, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy agreed to a joint TV interview.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have shared golf's biggest stage for the last couple of years, and have played together several times in recent weeks. But until recently, they had never sat down for a joint interview.

They did just that before their 'Duel at Lake Jinsha' exhibition in China on Oct. 29. For its "Living Golf" program, CNN interviewed the game's top two players, who discussed everything from McIlroy's respect for Woods as a youngster to the current state of their competitive relationship.

"We have a lot in common. Granted there's an age difference there, but I had a huge difference with my other good friend, Mark O’Meara," Woods told CNN's Shane O'Donoghue. "I think our relationship will certainly grow over the years, but our competitiveness, I don't think that's going to change."

McIlroy has long admitted that Woods was his golf hero when he was growing up in Northern Ireland, and a video clip from a few years ago interspersed into the interview demonstrates his knowledge of Woods' life and career.

"Getting the chance to know him, getting the chance to compete against him is is something that I always dreamed of," said McIlroy. "To get to spend time with him and to hang around him is something I find pretty cool."

The full interview can be seen on "Living Golf," which airs on CNN International Saturday, Nov. 10 at 5:00 p.m. ET, then re-airs on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 12:30 p.m. ET; Saturday, Nov. 17 at 12:30 p.m. ET; and Sunday, Nov. 18 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Here's a link to the lengthy clip from the interview, just to whet your appetite:

--Woods and McIlroy discuss their 'bromance'

November 9, 2012 - 8:25pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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James Bond's golf game in 'Goldfinger'
James Bond questions Goldfinger's golf ball in the crucial moment of their golf match.

It’s Friday, which means the new James Bond movie, "Skyfall," is now showing at a theater near you. As far as I know, this one doesn’t have any golf scenes, but the release of every new Bond film automatically reminds me of "Goldfinger," the 1964 film in which our hero Bond plays the villainous Auric Goldfinger in one of the great golf matches ever filmed.

You can see the match in this clip on YouTube, though the quality isn’t much. The video’s grainy, and it sounds like the ocean is roaring in the background the entire time. But watching it again still made me smile.

Bond and Goldfinger meet up at what is supposed to be the famous Royal St. George’s, but the scene was actually filmed at Stoke Park Club, which is also where Goldfinger's manservant/caddie Oddjob decapitated a statue with his lethal hat.

Goldfinger shows up in a sweater, tie and pair of natty plus-fours, and wields a classic Bullseye putter. Bond is wearing a tall fedora-looking hat that I still can’t believe actually stayed on his head when he swung.

Goldfinger and Oddjob begin the shenanigans right away, as Goldfinger hits a drive way left into the rough. As everyone searches for the ball, Bond reminds Goldfinger that his five minutes are almost up – and at that moment, Oddjob drops a ball down his pants leg and announces triumphantly that he’s found the ball.

"If that's his original ball, I'm Arnold Palmer," Bond’s caddie says. Then Bond confirms that he knows Goldfinger is cheating – because, Bond says, he’s standing on Goldfinger's ball, and lifts up his shoe to show it to the caddie.

Interestingly, in the "Goldfinger" novel, author Ian Fleming had Bond’s caddie stand on the ball. For the film, producer Harry Saltzman had Bond stand on it because he thought it would give the Bond character a bit more of an edge.

Anyway, Bond pockets Goldfinger’s ball and acts like nothing’s wrong.

The match proceeds until the 17th green, where Goldfinger putts out and Bond picks his ball out of the cup – and switches the ball Goldfinger had been playing with the original one. He tosses the original ball to Goldfinger, who doesn’t notice the switch and again displays his evilness by teeing off first on the 18th tee despite not having the honor.

After they putt out and Goldfinger thinks he's won, Bond looks at Goldfinger’s ball.

Bond: "You play a Slazinger 1, don't you?"

Goldfinger replies: "Yes, why?"

Bond: "This is a Slazinger 7."

And then, pointing at his own ball, Bond adds: "Here's my Penfold Hearts. You must have played the wrong ball somewhere on the 18th fairway. We are playing strict rules, so I'm afraid you lose the hole and the match."

Goldfinger, of course, disgustedly slams his ball on the green and storms off.

Fleming played as a 9-handicap, and that is also the handicap to which Bond played. Interestingly, though, Sean Connery, who played Bond in "Goldfinger" and several other early Bond films, didn’t play much golf, despite growing up near a golf course in Scotland.

"It wasn’t until I was taught enough golf to look as though I could outwit the accomplished golfer Gert Frobe [who played Goldfinger] in 'Goldfinger' that I got the bug. I began to take lessons on a course near Pinewood film studios and was immediately hooked on the game," Connery wrote in his 2008 autobiography, which was excerpted by the Telegraph newspaper in England. "Soon it would nearly take over my life.

"I began to see golf as a metaphor for living, for in golf you are basically on your own, competing against yourself and always trying to do better. If you cheat, you will be the loser, because you are cheating yourself," he added. "When Ian Fleming portrayed Auric Goldfinger as a smooth cheater, James Bond had no regrets when he switched his golf balls, since to be cheated is the just reward of the cheater."

One final note: The movie’s release sparked a huge demand for Penfold golf balls, and not just in England. Penfold, which dates back to the 1920s, still exists primarily as a maker of high-end golf apparel, but it still offers its Hearts golf balls.


November 9, 2012 - 7:35pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Matt Mahanic
Matt Mahanic was dismissed as golf coach at Huntingdon College after ranting at his players.

Huntingdon College Golf Coach Matt Mahanic was fired Friday after a recording of his profanity-filled tirade at his players made its way onto the Internet.

Huntingdon, a Division III school in Montgomery, Ala., finished 11th out of 12 teams at the recent Gordin Classic -- in the recording, the coach mistakenly believes his team finsihed last. The audio, recorded by one of the players on the bus ride home, eventually made its way to Deadspin.

Mahanic starts out calmly enough, discussing the tournament with his players. But about two minutes into the six-minute recording, he begins screaming at his players, dropping obscenities into just about every sentence.

College President J. Cameron West announced on the school's website that Mahanic had been dismissed.

He said the school adheres to NCAA principles, which says that employees should act with sportmanship at all times and represent "the honor and dignity of fair play and the generally recognized high standards associated with wholesome competitive sports."

Here is a link to the recording -- but beware, it is full of f-bombs, and most definitely not for the timid.

The Associated Presss contributed to this report.

November 8, 2012 - 11:30pm
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Padraig Harrington
John Holmes
Padraig Harrington is sporting quite the soup strainer at the Barclays Singapore Open.

I was flipping through the images from today’s tournaments around the globe, and came to a dead stop when I saw the image above.

Holy handlebar, Batman – what on earth has taken over the bottom half of Padraig Harrington’s face?

I’m not sure if that’s a mustache or a runner rug. Whatever it is, I’m impressed!

One other noteworthy note from today’s action. I can’t verify this, but I am wondering if this is the first time in golf history that Wi and Wie are on top of the leaderboard at the same time.

Charlie Wi shot a 64 today, and leads the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Disney World. Michelle Wie fired a 66, and is tied with Angela Stanford and Candie Kung for the lead at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

And, former LPGA Tour player Jeehae Lee (@jeehaeda) informs us on Twitter, the surnames Wi and Wie are actually the same in Korean: 위씨. So, thanks to the hirsute Mr. Harrington and the lovely Ms. Lee, we are all now suitably informed and entertained.