Golf Buzz

May 13, 2015 - 11:58am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy expects to win every time he plays these days. This week at the site of his first PGA Tour win in 2010 is no different.

In terms of tournaments not carrying the "major championship" moniker on the PGA Tour, the Wells Fargo Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C., is right up there when it comes to "as good as it gets" outside the majors on Tour.

The course, which will host the 2017 PGA Championship, is a pristine George W. Cobb design that was built in 1959 and features one of the most difficult closing stretches on the PGA Tour, with holes 16-18 known as, "The Green Mile."

Nos. 16 and 18 are bookend par 4s and the 17th is a treacherous par 3.

RELATED: Wells Fargo Championship tee times | Fowler's stars are aligning

Since the tournament began in 2003, the list of winners includes major champions David Toms, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lucas Glover and last week's Players champion, Rickie Fowler.

With a roll-call of champions like that, I expect another big-name winner this year.

So, here are the five players I'll be keeping an eye on.

5. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 Shirners Hospitals for Children Open
Reason to watch: This is a home game for Simpson, who is actually a member at Quail Hollow. Next to winning a major, players on Tour will tell you, winning at home is the next best thing. And since Simpson already won a major -- the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club -- well, there wouldn't be a whole lot better than winning this week in his back yard. Simpson has three top-10 finishes on the season, but hasn't done a whole lot since a T7 back in March at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. His record at Quail Hollow includes a fourth-place showing in 2012.

4. J.B. Holmes
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Shell Houston Open
Reason to watch: The defending champion at the Wells Fargo Championship, Holmes has enjoyed a fine start to the 2014-15 season on Tour with a win and two runner-up finishes already. Holmes is often heralded for his length off the tee, which is a huge advantage for sure, but he's also been strong on the greens. His 1.717 putts per hole is sixth-best on Tour this season.

3. Jim Furyk
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the RBC Heritage
Reason to watch: Along with his win at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2006, Furyk has also twice been a runner up in the tournament, including falling one stroke short to Holmes in 2014. With a record like that, it's clear that he loves the course. I also like the fact that Furyk broke a five-year win drought recently with his victory in the RBC Heritage -- his 17th win overall on the PGA Tour. I think he'll be a factor this week.

2. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship
Reason to watch: Yes. I admit it. I like McIlroy just about every week he tees it up. It would be foolish not to. He's the No. 1 player in the world. I also think he's playing some "angry" golf right now. That's a great thing for elite players. He's angry in the sense that he doesn't just want to win every time he tees it up, but he expects to win. Anything less is disappointing. McIlroy comes into Quail Hollow -- site of his first PGA Tour win in 2010 -- having finished in the top-8 in three of his last four starts. He's also finished in the top 10 at Wells Fargo in each of the last three years, including a playoff loss in 2012 to Rickie Fowler.
1. Bill Haas
Best finish in 2014-15 season: Won the Humana Challenge
Reason to watch: Recently named the Tour's most "underrated" player amongst his fellow pros, we'd have to agree. Haas is an incredible talent, much like his father, Jay, was on the PGA Tour years ago and continues to be on the Champions Tour. With seven top-25 finishes this season, including a win and a T4 last week at the Players, I expect a solid week from Haas, who finished fourth here in 2011.
Here's how my five to watch fared at last week's Players Championship:

5. Phil Mickelson -- Missed cut
4. Matt Kuchar -- Missed cut
3. Sergio Garcia -- Lost in playoff
2. Jordan Spieth -- Missed cut
1. Rory McIlroy -- T8 

May 13, 2015 - 10:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy earned his first PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow in 2010 thanks to an incredible, course-record, 10-under 62 in the final round.

Rory McIlroy returns to the scene of his first PGA Tour win this week when he tees off in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.

Since that maiden PGA Tour win in 2010, McIlroy has rattled off nine more, including an impressive four majors.

RELATED: Wells Fargo Championship tee times | Fowler's stars are aligning

His win five years ago was the first sign of things to come for McIlroy on his way to superstardom.

In that final round, the world's current No. 1-ranked player fired a course-record, 10-under 62 on his way to an impressive four-shot victory over Phil Mickelson.

That spectacular final round included an incredible eagle on the 15th hole and then McIlroy put an exclamation point on the win by holing a nearly 45-foot putt at the last.

Check out the video here:


There were high expectations for McIlroy as soon as he turned professional in 2007. But, PGA Tour-wise, the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship was truly the victory that jumpstarted his meteoric rise. 

May 13, 2015 - 9:27am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Chesson Hadley
At the 2014 Wells Fargo Championship, something strange happened. Chesson Hadley's caddie tripped, falling on the golf bag and bent the putter shaft.

The Wells Fargo Championship takes place this week at the beautiful Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C. -- the same course that will host the 2017 PGA Championship.

Every now and then, we're provided with an out of the ordinary funny moment in the course of play.

One such moment happened during the first round of the 2014 Wells Fargo Championship and it involved the caddie of Chesson Hadley. Keep in mind that what you're about to see if funny only because Hadley's caddie wasn't hurt.

RELATED: What's allowed under the rules on broken clubs? | Wells Fargo tee times

Wasn't hurt? What is this guy talking about?

Well, as you'll see, Hadley needed to get a ruling as he got to the 10th green to find out if it would be within the rules to continue using his putter, which was bent when his caddie tripped on the way to the 10th tee and fell on the bag:

First day on the new feet?! Again, it's OK to laugh only because the caddie was OK.

Hadley was able to continue using the putter, and as you saw, went on to make a quick birdie.

Last year August,'s Mark Aumann detailed what's allowed under the rules of golf when it comes to a damaged or broken club. You can read that here.

The short version is this for Rule 4-3a: If a player's club is damaged in the normal course of play, he has three options. One, he can continue to use the club for the remainder of the round. Two, he can repair it or have it repaired without unduly delaying play. Three, if the club is unfit for play, he can replace the damaged club with any club, with three caveats: you can't borrow a club from anyone playing the course, you can't fix it by carrying around spare parts and you can't delay play while making the switch.

Hadley was covered under this ruling. Had he bent the shaft out of frustration, he would not have been able to continue using the club and would not be allowed to replace it.

Hadley is quite the character. In case you missed it, check this out from last week at the Players Championship when Hadley, pretending to be a giddy fan, scored an oblivious Bubba Watson's autograph. 

May 13, 2015 - 8:35am
Posted by:
PGA of America
tj.auclair's picture

HARRISON, N.Y. (May 13, 2015) -- To honor the men and women who serve the United States in the armed services, the inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is providing complimentary daily grounds tickets to the June 9-14, 2015 Championship at Westchester Country Club.

Access is available to active duty, retirees, active reserve, National Guard, DoD Civilians and their accompanying spouse. Military personnel should present their military and dependent spouse identification cards at the Admissions & Will Call office at the main spectator entrance of the Championship in exchange for daily grounds tickets on the day of admission.

The championship also has announced free admission for juniors age 17 and younger, when accompanied by a ticketed adult (maximum of four juniors per each ticketed adult). Junior tickets will be distributed on site at the Admissions & Will Call office on the day of admission.

RELATED: Major tournament hopes to make major difference | KPMG WPGA field | Summit

The complimentary military and junior tickets are only available at the gate.

Carrying on the 60-year legacy of the LPGA Championship, KPMG, the PGA of America and the LPGA have joined forces to create the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the first-of-its-kind major championship. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship brings together a world-class, annual major golf championship with a women’s leadership summit and an ongoing charitable initiative to inspire and develop new generations of female leaders.

The championship is also accepting volunteers, particularly those who would like to serve as a course marshal. Adult volunteers, ages 22 and older, are required to work three to four, four-hour shifts and contribute a minimum of 12 hours total.

All volunteers will receive a uniform (golf shirt and headwear), a credential providing site access from Tuesday through Sunday of event week, preferred complimentary parking, discount in the Championship Golf Shop, a Championship program, and a limited number of meal and water vouchers. The volunteer fee for adults is $96.

For more information on volunteer packages and tickets to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, visit

KPMG Women's PGA Championship
PGA of America
Stunning Westchester CC will host the KPMG Women's PGA Championship June 11-14. While it will feature terrific golf, the tournament will also have a focus on celebrating and empowering women outside the ropes.

HARRISON, N.Y. -- In less than one month – June 11-14 – the best players on the LPGA will descend on historic Westchester Country Club in New York for the inaugural playing of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, formerly the LPGA Championship.

One of five majors on the ladies circuit, the newly branded KPMG Women’s PGA Championship also figures to be the most influential for young women outside the ropes, aspiring to climb the corporate ladder, or – in general – work their way toward garnering leadership roles in whatever they choose to do.

Along with looking up to the likes of two-time defending champion Inbee Park and two-time major winner Stacy Lewis roaming the fairways of the hallowed Walter Travis design, during tournament week young women can also find inspiration from a very special Woman’s Leadership Summit that will also take place at Westchester Country Club.

RELATED: Rice, Good to keynote KPMG Summit | Park heads strong KPMG WPGA field

The PGA of America, in collaboration with the LPGA and KPMG, are working diligently behind the scenes to not only bring forth a world-class golf event, but also a week that celebrates and invigorates women on a global scale.

Dalynn Hoch, Chief Financial Officer at Zurich North America, which will sponsor the summit, spoke briefly about what golf has meant to her.

“We grew up on a small farm in southern Minnesota and it was really challenging to be able to afford to take us to golf,” Hoch said. “My dad said, ‘it's just as important for me to teach my two daughters to golf as it is to teach my son,’ and he took us out every week on the course to teach us to golf. He said, ‘I want you to be able to have the enjoyment that comes from a lifetime of golf, the relationships that you'll build whether it's some day with your husband, with your friends or in your profession.’ And I'm really blessed to now bring that opportunity through this tournament, through this summit to more women.”

PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua expressed that it was critical for the Association to have an elite event in the women’s game.

Bevacqua noted that since much of the PGA’s mission is centered on the growth of the game, it was incredibly important to find avenues to make the game appealing to women, who he called, “a huge part of the future and health of this game.”

Through the PGA’s “Get Golf Ready” initiative, Bevecqua said that out of the 100,000 people who took part in the program in 2014, 62 percent were women. There was also growth in the number of girls, aged 7-13, taking part in the PGA Junior League.

“Those are good statistics,” Bevecqua said.

With the percentage of female golfers on the rise, Bevecqua envisions the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – through the talent of the players in the field, as well as the exposure to a network television audience – to have a trickledown effect that paves the way for more growth for the game on the women’s side.

“We know that girls who are here that week will see the game and want to play it,” he said. “We know that women that are either at the summit or here during the championship will want to take up the game and it just made sense. We have a strategic plan and we kind of put things through a series of points and discussions and this checked every box. This is exactly what The PGA of America should be doing in 2015 as we prepare golf for the future.”

Kraig Kann, Chief Communications Officer for the LPGA, said that female winners of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National on the eve of this past Masters have been invited to be at Westchester for the week of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship to see the stars up close.

Lewis, currently the No. 3-ranked player in the world, is looking forward to what she expects to be a special week.

KPMG, which sponsors Lewis, asked her what was needed for this championship to be a success.

“I said we needed a big venue, a big purse and network TV,” Lewis recalled. “Those are kind of the three big things that I thought if we could get to all of our majors, really, eventually, that would really put us on the map. The big thing with this tournament I was most excited about was the venue. Starting here at Westchester but then going to courses that we traditionally haven't played on as opposed to PGA Championships or Ryder Cups or whatever, going to golf courses that are too short for the guys now will be perfect for us.”

Park, currently No. 2 in the world and winner of the former LPGA Championship in 2013 and 2014, said fans at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship can expect a lot more engagement with the players than they’re accustomed to at a men’s event.

That fan-friendliness, along with the high-level playing ability, is sure to get the average fan to keep a closer eye on the women’s game.

“I think it's fun to watch and obviously we are a lot more friendly [than the men] maybe,” Park joked.

LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan looks at this championship as the start of something much more than a golf tournament.

“At the LPGA we are running around the track as hard as we can, and then we'll slap the baton on some next leadership group, and the only thing we'll be measured on is: Did we leave the game a little bit better for the next generation of women than we found it?” Whan said. “I can tell you, there's a lot of things I'm going to be proud of when it's time to hand the baton forward but none are going to more proud than this moment and what we are building here. Because I fundamentally believe we are going to make a difference not only for women in America but all around the world, both inside the ropes and inside the boardroom.”  

On Monday, May 11, The PGA of America will join with the LPGA and KPMG for a live video stream from Media Day at the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, including a special "fireside chat." 
You can watch the live stream right here on, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.
The KPMG Women's PGA Championship is set for June 8-14 at Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York. For more information, visit