Golf Buzz

July 19, 2014 - 10:10am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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T.J. Oshie
YouTube
After seeing this video, you get the feeling T.J. Oshie might want to stick to hockey.

If you're choosing teams for a pick-up hockey game and St. Louis Blues star and U.S. Olympic hero T.J. Oshie is available, you'd make him your first selection.

Oshie, you'll remember, led the U.S. to a preliminary-round victory over Russia in the Winter Games when he scored four times in six tries during a shootout.

Now... if you're choosing a partner for your weekend golf match and Oshie is an option, you might want to take a pass -- even though he might have some game based on something we saw earlier in the year.

During the first round of the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe on Saturday, Oshie four-jacked from just a few feet.

Yikes.

In Oshie's defense, those were a couple of serious power lip outs.

I wonder if Oshie happened to see any of the first round action from the Open Championship on Thursday... specifically, this:

It happens to the best and the worst of us. Nice to know we're not alone.

July 19, 2014 - 6:39am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
If Rory McIlroy is able to win the Open Championship this weekend, he will put his name alongside some elite company in the annals of golf history.

Rory McIlroy is hoping to do something this week that has only been done six times in the long history of the Open Championship -- win from start to finish.

Ted Ray (1912), Bobby Jones (1927), Gene Sarazen (1932), Henry Cotton (1934), Tom Weiskopf (1973) and Tiger Woods (2005) are the only players to win the Open wire-to-wire.

MORE: Open leaderboard | Saturday's Open Championship photos | Complete coverage

McIlroy began the third round of the Open on Saturday at Royal Liverpool with a four-shot lead at 12 under over Dustin Johnson.

According to Justin Ray, a researcher for Golf Channel, in major championship history, players with a 4+ shot lead after 36 holes have gone on to win 51 percent of the time.

So, yes, the odds are in McIlroy's favor, but perhaps not as severely as you'd think.

It should be noted that McIlroy is included among that 51 percent -- he won the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional after taking a six-shot lead into the weekend (he was also the wire-to-wire winner there).

Should McIlroy win come Sunday, he'd also join Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only players in history to win three majors (since the Masters became a major) by the age of 25.

Bob Torrance
Bob Torrance, longtime golf coach and father of European Tour star Sam Torrance, was a beloved figure on the practice range for many decades.
The buoyant mood at the Open Championship was broken a bit on Friday when European Tour star Sam Torrance revealed that his father, longtime golf coach Bob Torrance, had died at age 82.
 
"Sad day my dad just passed away peacefully in his sleep," Torrance said on Twitter. Bob Torrance had been battling cancer.
 
Torrance was a disciple of Ben Hogan, and on several occasions visited Hogan at his home in Texas. He worked with a number of Europe's top players, including his son – who won 21 times on the European Tour and played on eight Ryder Cup teams – as well as Ireland's Paul McGinley and, more recently, Padraig Harrington, whom he coached to all three of his major championships.
 
 
"Bob is the best swing coach in the world," Harrington said after winning his third major at the 2008 Open Championship. "You can see his genius in the way he can analyze any swing. He's spent his whole life examining the golf swing and his knowledge of cause and effect is just incredible."
 
He was also quite a character on the range and, not surprisingly, many players and fellow instructors took to social media to express their respect and condolences. Here is a sampling of the outpouring:
 
Sergio Garcia: Very sad to hear the passing of the true golf coaching legend Bob Torrance today! Our best wishes and love to June & Sam at this time #RIPBob
 
Luke Donald: Bob Torrance lived and breathed golf, a true gentlemen admired by all, he will be missed. Thoughts with June and Sam at this time #RIPBob
 
Justin Rose: Really sad to hear the passing of Bob Torrance. Always stopped to chat with him and his wife June. Great people
 
Graeme McDowell: The golfing world lost a legend today #RIP
 
Maarten Lafeber: Sad to hear that Bob Torrance passed away. What a nice man he was and a great coach!! RIP Bob
 
Simon Khan: So sad to hear news of Bob great character and legend of the range condolences to June and @torrancesam
 
Thomas Levet: @torrancesam dear Sam, your dad was a legend, we will all miss him ..all my wishes to you and your beautiful family, RIP Bob ..
 
Peter Kostis: @torrancesam Sam... I'm so sorry for your loss. Bob was a one of a kind legend. He and June were a special couple. Condolences, Peter
 
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño: Sorry to hear about Bob Torrance. Golf legend and a true gentleman. My thoughts are with you @torrancesam. As he used to say: #AdiosAmigo
 
Simon Dyson: So sad to hear about bob Torrance passing away..the range on tour will never be the same..:(
 
Marc Warren: @torrancesam ur dad dedicated his life and soul to the game we love.We're all forever in his debt, there will never be another like him #rip
 
Darren Clarke: Very sad news about Bob Torrance. Spent many hours on the range with him up in Largs. I would not be where I am today without Bob. #RIPBOB
 
Pablo Larrazabal: Sad news for all the world of golf about our friend Bob Torrance... #RIPBob #thanks
 
Soren Hansen: Just heard we sadly lost one of golfs great today. Rip Mr Torrance. Thanks for showing the way in my early years on tour. #Legend #1
 
Claude Harmon III: Sadly, we lost a legend today. RIP Bob Torrance. 
 
Callaway golf bag, Apex utility iron, Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind wedges
Courtesy of Callaway Golf
Callaway staff players at the Open Championship are using special-edition golf bags as well as brand-new Apex utility irons and Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind wedges.
For three reasons, Open Championship week is a big week for Callaway Golf – and not just because the company is gunning for a third straight claret jug after victories by Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els the last two years.
 
First, the company outfitted its staffers with Open-themed bags and headcovers, and Odyssey puttercovers. The red, white and blue bags are festooned with the Roman numeral XII in honor of this being the 12th Open staged at Royal Liverpool.  
 
The upper part of the bag features a Liver Bird – a mythical bird that has been a symbol of the city of Liverpool since medieval times. If you're lucky enough to have visited Liverpool, you might have noticed the two big Liver Bird statues atop the clock towers on the Royal Liver Building. The bottom of the bag carries the script "Respice et Prospice," which essentially means "remember the past but look to the future."
 
Inside several of the bags are prototype editions of Callaway's new Apex utility iron. Callaway hasn't said much about the new irons yet, but they're clearly the next generation of the X utility iron that the company developed in 2012. Those irons have a removable sole weight that allows golfers to precisely adjust the headweight, and these new models appear to have the same feature.
 
 
The bags won't be sold to the public and there's no word yet on the future availability of the utility irons. But the brand-new edition of the Mack Daddy 2 Tour Grind wedges are definitely out at retail – in fact, they hit the shelves in golf shops nationwide today.
 
The wedges are forged from 1020 Carbon steel, and come in two finishes – chrome and slate. They get their name from the custom grind on the sole, which gives them a straighter leading edge than the previous Mack Daddy 2 model for better turf interaction. They're also more rounded on the heel and toe.
 
These Tour Grind wedges also boast 30 percent larger grooves, which Callaway says provides 25 percent more spin out of the rough – the 58- and 60-degree wedges produce slightly more spin than the 52-, 54- and 56-degree models. In addition, Laser Milled Micro Grooves have been cut into the face to increase surface roughness for more spin and control, and extra roughness has been added to the face to maintain traction after the micro grooves wear off.
 
They're available with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 steel shafts in several variations of stiffness and Golf Pride "Whiteout" grips. They carry a suggested retail price of $129.00 per club.
 
 
July 18, 2014 - 2:07pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods made just one birdie in the second round of the Open Championship and it came on the final hole. It was a putt he needed desperately.

Tiger Woods waited until the final hole in his second round of the Open Championship on Friday to make his first birdie of the day.

Better late than never and it came just in the nick of time.

Woods needed a birdie -- in all likelihood -- to avoid missing the cut, which was projected to fall right at 2-over 164. He had just come off a triple-bogey 7 on the par-4 17th hole after hitting his tee shot out of bounds.

MORE: Open leaderboard | Friday's Open Championship photos | Complete coverage

Woods was just right of the green in two shots on the par-5 18th hole, but was faced with a tricky chip shot from behind a pot bunker. He hit a stellar third shot, but still had six feet left for birdie.

After giving the line a good look, Woods dropped the putt in for a 5-over 77 to avoid missing the cut in consecutive starts for the first time in his professional career in a round that also included a double bogey on his opening hole. Woods also avoided missing the cut for just the fourth time in a major.

Even though Woods has struggled this season -- before and after back surgery -- CBS analyst Peter Kostis put Tiger's remarkable career in perspective with this tweet:

That's incredible when you really think about it -- over a career that's 17 years strong, Woods has four more major wins than he does missed cuts. 

July 18, 2014 - 1:35pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rickie Fowler
USA Today Sports Images
Rickie Fowler is proving himself to be a major-contending machine. He shot a second consecutive 3-under 69 on Friday at Royal Liverpool.

Rickie Fowler is the only player in the world with top-5 finishes in each of the season's first two majors.

If the 25-year-old keeps plugging along the way he is at Royal Liverpool this week, there's a very good chance he'll make it 3-for-3 at the Open Championship.

Fowler -- who tied for fifth at the Masters and tied for second at the U.S. Open -- is at 6-under 138 through two rounds at the Open Championship this week. At the time he signed his scorecard, that gave Fowler a share of the clubhouse lead (Rory McIlroy was still finishing up his second round, leading the tournament at 10 under through 15 holes).

MORE: Open leaderboard | Friday's Open Championship photos | Complete coverage

On Friday, Fowler matched the 3-under 69 he turned in on Thursday. 

With the way he's played in the majors, it's hard to believe that Fowler's lone win on the PGA Tour came in 2012.

In a way, it's also unfortunate for Fowler that he could be the victim of a runaway for the second time in two majors. Germany's Martin Kaymer ran away with the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 where Fowler had that tie for second with Erik Compton.

And this week at Royal Liverpool, it appears everyone will be chasing McIlroy on the weekend.

The most important point is that Fowler is putting himself in position... frequently.