Golf Buzz

May 31, 2014 - 12:12pm
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Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson takes aim at the pin on No. 3 Saturday at the Memorial.

This is what makes Phil Mickelson such a "must-watch" player. On Saturday at the Memorial, Lefty nearly holes out a shot on No. 3 from 120 yards away for eagle, leaving the ball just inches from the pin.


And then later in the round, look at what Mickelson does from the fringe. A jaw-dropping shot, to be sure.




When he's on, Mickelson is as good as anybody in the game. When he's not, he can leave you scratching your head. But in either case, you just can't turn away when he addresses the ball, because something is bound to happen that will leave you wide-eyed and open-mouthed.

May 31, 2014 - 11:53am
mark.aumann's picture
Tony Harris paintings
Tony Harris/Twitter
Tony Harris painted this portrait of Arnold Palmer, entitled "Arnold Rockin' the Cardigan."

In the highly-specialized world of golf landscape painting, Linda Hartough is perhaps the most well-known. She's been commissioned to do several landscape portraits, including the 16th hole at Merion Golf Club.

But there are other talented artists in the field, including 50-year-old Tony Harris of Ottawa, Canada, who not only paints beautiful landscapes, but is outstanding at portraits of sports legends.

Recently, he posted a link on Twitter to a painting he had done of Arnold Palmer during his prime. And he's also completed one of Seve Ballesteros.

According to an article in the Toronto Star, Harris grew up in Petersborough, doodling on sketch pads during elementary school.

According to his web site, he was introduced to the game by his father and spent countless summer days playing at the Peterborough Golf and Country Club, often finishing as the sun was setting. The dramatic light at dusk during those long summer days had an impact on Tony, and has become his favorite time to sketch and paint a golf hole.

Since completing his first golf landscape commission in 1995, Tony has compiled an impressive portfolio that includes over 200 clubs across North America. Tony is the official artist of the RBC Canadian Open and of the Clublink Corporation.

He graduated from Bishop's University in Quebec with a bachelor of arts in fine arts. He's currently working for the National Hockey League's Players Association as their official portrait artist.

Check out some of his other work at his web site. They are all amazing in the detail and color.

Rickie Fowler cliff diving
Rickie Fowler tried his hand at cliff diving, but his form wasn't exactly perfect on every jump.

Golf is just one sport that Rickie Fowler enjoys, and it's also very likely the tamest of his pastimes – he did, after all, come from a background of motocross racing.

And recently, he tried out cliff diving.

We know that Fowler loves to jump in the lake – we've seen him do a flip off of Bubba Watson's deck. But this was a little more big-time.

Fowler got together with David Colturi – a professional cliff diver and fellow Red Bull ambassador – for a day of "Dive and Drive" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. First, Colturi donned his own version of Fowler's "Sunday orange" outfit and joined Fowler for a little golf.

Then, about two minutes into the video below, they swapped their golf togs for swimsuits and headed out to Possum Kingdom Lake, west of Fort Worth, which will host a stop on the global 2014 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series next weekend. Possum Kingdom Lake is known for "Hell's Gate" – a small cove in between a pair of 90-foot cliffs that rise dramatically out of the water, and that's where the diving competition will take place.

Fowler and Colturi checked out the cliffs, and Fowler got a little instruction on how to properly executive a high dive – though, wisely, from a lower level. Fowler's upper-body form was pretty good, Colturi said, but noted that he had a little "frog leg" working in his lower body.

Fowler tried a few more jumps, and Colturi seemed pleased with his student's progress. In the end, Colturi said, "I would compare my golf game to his diving." 

Here's the video:





Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club
Courtesy of Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club
The links-style Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club overlooks the skyline of Atlantic City, N.J.

The LPGA Tour is back at the Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club near Atlantic City, N.J., this week for its ShopRite LPGA Classic. And though the field is typically strong for this popular event, the biggest news might be what's under the players' feet.

The resort is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and the Bay Course – on which the event is being played for the 16th time – has just opened the curtains on a noteworthy renovation. 

Highlighting the makeover to the links-style layout are new tee boxes on the fourth, fifth, 10th and 12th holes, which have added 150 yards in overall length, and rebuilt tee boxes on the other holes to create better, more consistent playing surfaces. A new bunker complex was added between the fourth and fifth holes to collect stray shots on each of those holes.

In addition, the resort installed new GPS units in its golf carts; completely redesigned its tee signs, markers and in-ground tee and fairway yardage plates; and got new retro wooden bunker rakes and pin flags.

SHOPRITE CLASSIC: Lydia Ko pacing herself in her first full season on LPGA Tour

"The course renovation will create a greater playing experience for the ladies of the LPGA, as well as golfers of all levels, and we are very excited that this project is being completed during our centennial in 2014," said PGA Director of Golf Kevin DeDonato.  

The resort holds a unique place in the Northeast – it has been owned by Richard Stockton College of New Jersey since 2010 but dates back to 1914, when public utility magnate Clarence Geist founded what was originally known as the Seaview Country Club. The Bay Course opened in 1915 – it was largely created by course architect Hugh Wilson, who had also designed the two courses at Merion in nearby Philadelphia, and finished the next year by Donald Ross.

A nine-hole course opened in 1929, and a second nine was created in 1959 to complete what has become the Pines Course, another championship layout that showcases southern New Jersey's pine forest landscape. 

The Seaview officially entered the history books when it hosted the 1942 PGA Championship. Sam Snead won the first of his seven major titles that year, holing a 60-foot chip shot on the 35th hole of the match-play finale to defeat Jim Turnesa. That event was played on a composite layout including holes from both courses.


Cheyenne Woods
Cheyenne Woods via Twitter
Cheyenne Woods showed off her U.S. Women's Open invitation after she qualified late Wednesday.

We've heard a lot about Lucy Li lately, as the 11-year-old phenom qualified her way into the U.S. Women's Open by winning her qualifier by an amazing seven shots.

Today, she filled in another week on her summer calendar by qualifying for the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. She finished third in her qualifier, as nine players from the starting field of 45 to punched their tickets to The Home Course in DuPont, Wash., in mid-July.

Li, however, isn't the only prominent female golfer to be making some plans today. Late Wednesday, Cheyenne Woods – Tiger Woods' niece – qualified her way into the U.S. Women's Open, which is enjoying a higher profile than usual this year because it will be played as the second half of a unique "doubleheader" – it will be played on the No. 2 Course at Pinehurst the week after the men's U.S. Open is played there.

The irony of Cheyenne's success is that she will be in her national championship while her uncle Tiger won't be able to play in his as he continues to recover from back surgery.

Woods, who starred at Wake Forest (she won the ACC individual title in 2011 and graduated in 2012), has yet to earn full-time LPGA Tour status, and that appears to be her ultimate goal. The 23-year-old – who won more than 30 tournaments as an amateur – won a mini-tour event in 2012, then captured the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour in February, giving her a two-year exemption on that circuit. She is also playing the second-tier Symetra Tour this season.


Keegan Bradley at The Memorial
Srixon via Twitter
Keegan Bradley used a non-belly putter for the first time in his PGA Tour career on Thursday at The Memorial

Keegan Bradley helped ignite the long-putter explosion when he won the 2011 PGA Championship to become the first player to win a major with a belly putter. He has used a long putter for four years, but admits that the impending anchored-stroke ban that will go into effect in 2016 has been like a "ticking clock in your head." 

On Thursday at The Memorial, Bradley went without a belly putter for the first time in his PGA Tour career, and it worked out just fine. He knocked in a 12-foot birdie putt on his opening hole, added four more birdies for a 5-under 67 and was one shot out of the lead among the early starters. It was also his best-ever score at Muirfield Village. 

"I'm totally in a trial period here," Bradley, whose best score in eight previous rounds was a 71, told The Associated Press. "I'm not in any way saying I'm switching for good from now on. This is just for right now and this week." 

Bradley was persuaded to give the shorter putter a try on the advice from his mother, and a week of practice and trash-talking with his good friend Michael Jordan.

Bradley didn't like the way he finished off the HP Byron Nelson Championship two weeks ago, and while talking to his mother, she suggested he go to a shorter putter. 

"I hadn't put any thought into it up until that point," he said. "And so I thought I needed something to get me excited about playing because I was bummed." 

Bradley hasn't won since the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and he needs to get moving if he wants to earn a spot on the Ryder Cup team. Inspired to experiment by his mother, he played with Jordan at The Bear's Club in South Florida, asking him to be relentless in heckling and make Bradley feel uncomfortable, "which he's good at." 

"And we just kept playing and playing. And I felt better and better with it," he said. "And I came here not knowing what I was going to do. I played a round with Brendan Steele and I felt good with it again, and I thought there's no reason for me not to do it." 

Bradley said he last used a conventional putter in 2010 in his second start on the Nationwide Tour, but switched over to the belly putter because he felt he was better with it. 

His plan for the year was to qualify for the Ryder Cup team and start converting to a shorter putter after October. 

Now? Who knows? 

The new putter is 41 inches, which is about 6 inches longer than a standard putter. The difference is that Bradley doesn't press the end of it into his belly. He felt better over lag putts, and he said the shorter putter improved his touch on fast greens. 

"The negatives are just ... I'm aware that people are watching me," he said. "And that's the hardest part." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.