Golf Buzz

Tom Watson
Tom Watson takes an unorthodox chipping stance during Friday's Toshiba Classic.

OK. So it's not as epic as his chip on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach to win the 1982 U.S. Open, or any of the shots he hit to win five Open Championships and two Masters. 

But you have to admit once you've seen the video, Tom Watson's shot on the 8th hole during Friday's Toshiba Classic at the Newport Beach Country Club was pretty awesome. Being Ryder Cup captain certainly has its privileges, including showing the kids that you can still play the game.

TOSHIBA CLASSIC: Bernhard Langer leads by two, Tom Watson shoots 63

Here's the setup. Watson's approach lands within inches of a palm tree. He has no way to make a normal swing, so -- in the words of Maxwell Smart -- he uses the "old backwards, one-handed, no-look swinging wedge off the flagstick trick."

CAPTAIN WATSON'S BLOG: 2014 Ryder Cup lineup "still very unsettled"



Unfortunately, you can't see where the ball eventually winds up. But from the reaction of the spectators, it must have been very close. Watson tapped in for a "routine" par. And a pretty good story to tell in the clubhouse, especially after shooting better than his age the next day.

This year's PGA Tour slogan is "these guys are good." Watson is proof that some of these guys have always been great.

HOW SLOW IS TOO SLOW?: Kevin Na, Robert Garrigus find themselves on the clock at Valspar

Kevin Na
Getty Images
Kevin Na confers with a tour official while surveying his situation on the 13th hole Saturday.

Kevin Na and Robert Garrigus were both assessed a "bad time" during Saturday's third round of the Valspar Championship, which once again brought up the whole debate over slow play in championship golf.

In case you're wondering, the United States Golf Association has a "pace of play policy" in which officials can assess a "bad time" to a player in a group which is out of position, if the player makes no effort to help his group get back in position.

Got that?

It all has to do with playing "within the alloted amount of time," and not getting "out of position," under the definitions used by the USGA and the PGA Tour. For example, the USGA policy uses four hours and 35 minutes per round as its cut-off time for threesomes and 3:58 per round for twosomes.

In Saturday's case, once Na and Garrigus fell as much as two holes behind the twosome playing in front of them, they were put on the clock.

VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP: Robert Garrigus shoots third-round 70, leads by one stroke

Na received a bad time on the 13th tee and Garrigus, known as one of the fastest players on tour, ran afoul of the stopwatch when he wound up in the rough on the 14th hole and walked up to the green to explore his options.

Even though Na and Garrigus played the round in just under four hours -- and were not assessed further warnings or penalties -- they had a tournament official with a watch and a clipboard following them for much of the round, which can't be a pleasant feeling -- not when you're trying to concentrate on the task at hand.

Slow play has been an issue for some time. For example, 14-year-old Chinese phenom Guan Tianlang was nailed with a one-stroke penalty in the second round of last year's Masters for slow play. A one-stroke penalty may have cost Ross Fisher a victory in the 2012 ISPS Handa Wales Open. And Azahara Munoz of Spain defeated Morgan Pressel 2 and 1 in the semifinals of the 2012 Sybase Match Play Championship after a slow-play penalty against Pressel on the 12th hole turned the match.

Here's how the PGA Tour defines its slow play policy:

"Under the guidelines for Rule 6-7, a player is permitted 40 seconds to play a stroke. This 40-second time limit includes the first to play from the teeing ground, from the fairway and from around and on the putting green.

"The PGA Tour rules for pace of play includes the 40-second time limit, but also allows an extra 20 seconds (for a total of 60 seconds) under the following circumstances:

-- The first player to play a stroke on a par-3 hole
-- The first player to play a second stroke on a par-4 or par-5 hole
-- The first player to play a third stroke on a par-5 hole
-- The first player to play around the putting green
-- The first player to play on a putting green

"Under both sets of guidelines, the timing of a stroke on the putting green begins after a player has been allowed a reasonable amount of time to mark, lift, clean and replace his ball, repair his ball mark and other ball marks on his line of putt and remove loose impediments on his line of putt."



Jared Brentz
Jared Brentz is a fast-rising star in the rapidly growing ParaLong Drive competition, a long-driving contest for amputees.
From a young age, the Brentz twins, Bryce and Jared, were destined to be athletes, though their stories and paths were very different. Their story is one which has been known locally around their hometown of Knoxville, Tenn., for years, but with both of them settling into their careers at 25, their story is getting more and more popular.
Bryce Brentz was born completely healthy. He was a star athlete throughout high school and college and is now fighting for a spot on the Boston Red Sox roster for the 2014 season.
Jared was born with arthrogryposis and club feet. Doctors told him it was because his feet got stuck under his mother's rib cage but Jared said in a story published on last July, the real reason was because, "Bryce took up all the room [in the womb]." At the age of 12, Jared chose to have both of his feet amputated, despite his parent's apprehension. Jared also said he knew he'd be fine when the doctors told him, "We can give you the tools to live the life you want to go live. You just have to be the one to go and do it."
Since then, nothing has stopped Jared from being the athlete his brother Bryce knew he could be.
Jared couldn't play football, but he was a golfer and wrestler at South-Doyle High School, where he and his brother we both star athletes. Since graduating in 2007, there hadn't been much competition for Jared. Besides being a popular call for local scramble golf tournaments due to his prodigious length off the tee, he was relegated to hitting balls at the driving range. Even doing that got to be troublesome, but not for the reasons one might expect for a double-foot amputee.
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As Jared recounted in his interview with, “I really have to go out of my way to find a driving range where I’m not hitting into traffic or fairways somewhere. Luckily for me, there’s a golf course, Nashboro Village, that actually let me come out there late in the evening and tee off from the first tee."
Recently, he found the perfect outlet for his competitive nature and raw power. While his brother Bryce is one of the top-prospects in the Red Sox farm system, Jared is a rising star in a branch of golf that is getting more and more popular, and more and more important, every day.
ParaLong Drive competition is growing rapidly, being used as a tool in rehab while helping amputees and wounded warriors return to a sense of normalcy. The first National Amputee Long Drive Competition was held last year and wouldn't you know it, Jared won -- both the overall and multiple amputee division titles, with a monster 367-yard bomb.
Jared's success has led to equipment sponsors. This year, Jared will be teaming up with Krank golf, the unquestionable "authority in distance hitting."
Bryce continues to be motivated by his younger brother (by eight minutes) and his tenacity. He said in an interview with the Boston Globe, "“It would motivate anybody. My brother would give anything to have two normal feet. How can I get upset about striking out? For him to be that strong and such a good athlete, that drives me. He inspires me.”
The ParaLong Drive competition is growing in popularity and, with golf making its return to the Olympics in the 2016 games in Rio, there is a movement to bring the ParaLong Drive to the the Paralympics. The next Amputee Long Drive Championship will take place May 8-9 in Mesquite, Nev.
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen calmly hands his wedge back to his caddie Saturday after sinking a 54-foot birdie on No. 16.

When you're hot, you're hot.

VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP: Follow the third round with our leaderboard

Retief Goosen missed just four greens in regulation Saturday on his way to a blistering 7-under 64 at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club. And when he somehow did happen to come up a bit short on No. 16, look what happens on the very next shot:



Goosen made up 62 positions and was tied for second place before the second-round leaders even finished their breakfasts.

WRONG WAY TO BREAK 90: John Daly has a day to forget Friday at Innisbrook


March 14, 2014 - 9:44pm
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John Holmes
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Nick Faldo and elephant
Nick Faldo via Twitter
Nick Faldo and one of his Claret Jugs got up close and personal with an elephant in Thailand.
Good thing Nick Faldo owns three Claret Jugs because one of them just might end up as a pachyderm snack.
Faldo – who won the British Open in 1987, 1990 and 1992, along with the Masters in 1989, 1990 and 1996 – is spending a few days this week in the beautiful resort area of Phuket in Thailand, which is hosting the BMW Golf Cup International.
The event features amateurs from around the globe – and one very curious elephant that seems overly interested that precious silver chalice. Good thing Faldo is a big, strong guy.
Mizuno Play Famously golfers
Mizuno Golf
A few lucky golfers will (again) rub elbows with the likes of Mizuno staff players Luke Donald, Charles Howell and Jonathan Byrd as part of the second edition of the "Play Famously" campaign.
Last year, Mizuno Golf offered fans of its incredible golf clubs the chance to experience the life of a PGA Tour star by participating in its "Play Famously" campaign. This year, the contest returns with the hope of giving one lucky amateur golfer the experience of a lifetime.
Twelve weekend hackers from across the country will (again) be rubbing elbows with the likes of Mizuno staff players Luke Donald, Charles Howell and Jonathan Byrd.
Sound like an amateur golfer's dream?  If last year was any indication, it absolutely is.
Mizuno Golf’s Play Famously campaign was incredibly well received. It struck a nerve with its ability to unearth incredible stories of golf as a remedy; a solace that has helped individuals overcome significant life challenges, whether they be health-related, relationship-related or psychological.
What is the message this campaign seeks to convey? No one expects to throw a football like Peyton Manning or dunk a basketball like LeBron James. Likewise, average golfers know they’ll never hand in a scorecard as good as Luke Donald or Stacey Lewis. But even borderline duffers know that every so often they can hit a shot, or even play a hole, as well as Luke and Stacey. Golf is unique among sports because inside every golfer lurks a pro.
Mizuno decided to capitalize on this unique quality of golf. Last year the company gave average golfers the chance to “Play Famously” through a competition that rewarded 12 passionate high handicappers with a contract to become a member of Team JPX and receive the ultimate in pro-level treatment. To qualify, golfers had to submit a 500-word essay describing their passion for the game to the contest website, Mizuno saw nearly 6,000 golfers join the competition with a lucky 12 ultimately selected.
So this year, Mizuno is inviting average golfers to “Play Famously” once again. But instead of focusing only on their passion for game improvement, Mizuno is also focusing on "life improvement." Mizuno wants to celebrate "transformative" stories of how golf has helped, or is helping, individuals overcome significant life challenges. It's part and parcel to Mizuno's overall brand mission of "inspiring the true love of sports."
The sequel to Mizuno’s “Play Famously” launched in support of its new JPX EZ, the ultimate game-improvement iron, billed as the largest sweet spot in golf. It will also serve as an invitation for golfers to demo the irons and submit their stories about the transformative power of golf at work in their lives. Mizuno Golf announced the first members of Team JPX in February with two more added every month up to July 21.
All team members will receive their own custom set of Mizuno JPX– EZ irons, a custom Mizuno staff bag, Team JPX apparel, golf lessons from a professional instructor and the chance to compete in the JPX Invitational in September at the Country Club of the South in Atlanta.