Golf Buzz

April 4, 2014 - 11:04pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan
USA Today Sports Images
"Obviously, we're disappointed and frustrated" over the revelation that Paulina Gretzky is on Golf Digest's newest cover instead of an LPGA Tour player, said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.
LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan backed up his players on Friday, issuing a statement that echoed the sentiments of those who criticized Golf Digest for putting Paulina Gretzky on the cover of its May issue.
"Obviously, we're disappointed and frustrated by the editorial direction (and timing) Golf Digest has chosen with the announcement of its most recent magazine cover," Whan said in a statement at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the tour's first major tournament of the year. 
"If a magazine called Golf Digest is interested in showcasing females in the game, yet consistently steers away from the true superstars who've made history over the last few years, something is clearly wrong," his statement continued. "'Growing the game' means a need for more role models and in these exciting times for women's golf, the LPGA is overflowing with them." 
With the magazine having become a big talking point throughout the world of golf over the last couple of days, Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde issued a statement of his own on Friday.
"Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine's beginning," Tarde said. "Paulina ranks at the high end of the golf celebrity scene today, and she has a compelling story to tell. She also might get some new people interested in the game." 
The cover photo shows Gretzky – the golf-playing daughter of hockey star Wayne Gretzky and fiancée of PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson – in a sports bra and tight-fitting capri-length pants.
Lorena Ochoa in 2008 was the last LPGA Tour player to appear on the magazine's cover, while Golf Digest featured Golf Channel personality Holly Sonders in May 2013 and model Kate Upton with Arnold Palmer on the December 2013 cover.
"It's frustrating for female golfers," third-ranked Stacy Lewis said. "It's kind of the state of where we've always been. We don't get respect for being the golfers that we are. Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines. But at the same time you'd like to see a little respect for the women's game." 
April 4, 2014 - 12:45pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Golf Digest
Golf Channel
The May cover of Golf Digest featuring Paulina Gretzky, has many players on the LPGA Tour frustrated.

The May cover of Golf Digest featuring Paulina Gretzky -- daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky and the fiancée of golfer Dustin Johnson -- has sparked discussion and concern from a number of players on the LPGA.

Karen Crouse, golf writer for the New York Times, is in Rancho Mirage, Calif., this week for the Kraft Nabisco Championship -- the LPGA's first major.

Crouse got reaction from a number of LPGA players after the May cover Golf Digest, which shows Gretzky leaning on a golf club wearing white yoga pants and a white sports bra.

RELATED: Paulina Gretzky's golf swing | Gretzky/Johnson get engaged | Wayne Gretzky talks golf

"It's frustrating for female golfers," Stacy Lewis, the No. 3-ranked female golfer in the world and a two-time major winner, said Thursday. "It's kind of the state of where we've always been. We don't get respect for being the golfers that we are. Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines. But at the same time you'd like to see a little respect for the women's game."

Crouse noted in her piece that Gretzky is now one of 11 women since 1969 to appear alone on the cover of Golf Digest. Golf Channel's Holly Sonders -- who has also never won a LPGA event -- graced the Golf Digest cover in May 2013.

"It's frustrating because it's Golf Digest; it's not Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue," said seven-time major winner and World Golf Hall of Famer Juli Inkster. "I think they should maybe recognize some of the great women golfers that we have. It's like, What do you have to do to get a little respect? I'm guaranteeing you right now, it was not a woman editor who chose that cover."

Crouse had this quote from Jerry Tarde, the editor in chief of Golf Digest, who approved the cover: "Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine's beginning. Paulina ranks at the high end of the golf celebrity scene today, and she has a compelling story to tell. She also might get some new people interested in the game."

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


April 4, 2014 - 10:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson is the latest golfer to star in an ESPN SportsCenter commercial.

SportsCenter commercials are always good, especially those featuring golfers -- like this one where Scott Van Pelt marvels as Arnold Palmer makes himself an "Arnold Palmer" in the ESPN cafeteria. Or, this one, where Tiger Woods has a huge gallery following him around through the cubicles of the ESPN offices in Bristol.

Well, add the one you see below to the list:

Bubba Watson, winner of the 2012 Masters, stars in the commercial along with the Stanford University mascot -- the Stanford Tree.

FOLLOW: 2014 Masters coverage | Masters by the numbers | Potential first-time major winners

Watson, accompanied by a caddie, tries to figure out ways he can get around the Stanford Tree in the narrow space between rows of cubicles -- reminiscent of the way Watson calculated his way around trees in the sudden-death playoff when he won the Masters.

All in all, good commercial.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

April 3, 2014 - 1:31pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Dakari Johnson
University of Kentucky freshman Dakari Johnson needs a little work on his golf swing.

The NCAA men's basketball Final Four is set for this weekend in Arlington, Texas, with UCONN squaring off against Florida, while Wisconsin takes on Kentucky.

With all the intensity that goes into chasing a National Championship, it's important to take a little time to unwind.

RELATED: Follow the NCAA men's basketball coverage on

By the looks of this Vine tweeted by Jarrod Polson -- a senior guard for Kentucky -- that's exactly what the Wildcats were doing on Wednesday at a TopGolf facility.

Here's Polson's Vine of teammate Dakari Johnson -- a freshman who plays center for the Wildcats:

We're not saying Johnson should stick to basketball, but he should definitely see a PGA Professional about that swing once school is out for the summer.

PROUD OF YOUR SWING? Show us on Instagram #postyourswing

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


April 3, 2014 - 12:08pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ashworth Golf
Fred Couples is scheduled to wear this limited-edition Ashworth shirt commemorating his victory in the 1992 Masters in the first round of next week's Masters.

Ashworth Golf unveiled its Majors Series Apparel Collection today -- a set of six limited-edition golf shirts designed to commemorate the major victories by six of the company's Tour staff professionals: Fred Couples, Justin Rose, Stewart Cink, Justin Leonard, Paul Azinger and Retief Goosen.

The first Ashworth Major Series golf shirt in the collection is dedicated to Couples' victory at the 1992 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

RELATED:'s special Masters coverage | Stadlers first father/son duo in same Masters

Only 275 of the shirts were made, a number that matches Couples' winning total at the 1992 Masters. The second button on the shirt features the date Couples won the Masters and there's also a limited edition Majors Series patch on the right sleeve, as well as Couples' embroidered signature inside the back neck.

"I've worn Ashworth on tour since they started in 1987 and believe it's the best shirt ever made," said Couples. "Wearing Ashworth is very special to me and I'm excited to wear this new golf shirt at The Masters, where I won my first championship."

Each player is scheduled to wear their respective piece during the first round of the major they claimed in 2014.

The Fred Couples Ashworth Majors Series Collection will be available exclusively at beginning Monday, April 7, at an MSRP of $100.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

April 3, 2014 - 9:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Kevin Stadler
USA Today Sports Images
When Kevin Stadler won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, he also earned a spot in the 2014 Masters. His dad, Craig, is also in the tournament as a result of the lifetime exemption that came with his Masters win in 1982.

There's a chance we could see the very first father-son pairing for (at least) the first two rounds of the Masters next week. Even if that doesn't happen, we're guaranteed to see the first Masters featuring a father and son in the same year.

Craig Stadler, the 1982 Masters champion, and his 34-year-old son Kevin are both in the field for the 2014 Masters.

The elder Stadler is eligible to play by virtue of his victory 32 years ago, which -- like all Masters champions -- carried a lifetime exemption to play in the tournament.

PHOTOS: First-time Masters participants | Top-20 Masters favorites | Masters International winners

The younger Stadler, meanwhile, is making his first appearance in the Masters. He's eligible this year by virtue of his victory at TPC Scottsdale in February at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

With both Stadlers in the field, it marks the first time in 78 Masters that a father and son will compete in the tournament. It will also be the last time for the Stadlers.

Craig, now 60, admitted as much after Kevin's win in Phoenix.

"It's going to be great for me because it's really my last one," Craig told after his son's first PGA Tour win. "I kept saying, you know, when he gets in, that's my last one. I'm going to have to get in a little better shape. It's going to be great."

What would make this whole experience for the Stadlers even more "feel good" would be if the two were paired together. And, in the Masters, that's not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

At the Masters, there's only one traditional pairing. Each year, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion plays the first two rounds alongside the defending Masters champion.

Otherwise, a committee of Augusta National Golf Club members determines what the pairings will be for the first two rounds. After the 36-hole cut, of course, standard procedure is back in place with pairings made based on score in relation to par -- leaders out the latest.

For those first two rounds though, pairings are made at the committee's discretion.

In case you were wondering, the Stadlers aren't the first family members to compete in the Masters.

Scott Michaux, golf writer at the Augusta Chronicle, explains:

There have been 11 father-son combos, but never in the same year. There have been 27 brothers to play at Augusta -- 18 of them in the same tournament, including 13 consecutive fraternal co-starts by Jay and Lionel Hebert. Tommy Armour III followed in his late grandfather's Augusta footsteps in 1990. The whole Haas clan -- Bill; his father, Jay; and uncles Jerry Haas and Dillard Pruitt -- are all branches of the Bob Goalby family tree.

But Kevin is the first direct descendant of a Masters winner to qualify to play Augusta. The closest anyone else ever got was Jack Nicklaus' youngest son, Gary, in a playoff on the eve of the 2000 Masters at TPC Sugarloaf. Weather washed out the final round of the Bellsouth Classic, sending 54-hole co-leaders Gary Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson to a sudden-death playoff. On the par-3 16th hole, the 31-year-old Nicklaus' tee shot buried under the lip of a front bunker and destroyed his chance of joining his father at Augusta.

Michaux also included this chart of father-son Masters participants in his story:


- Skip Alexander, 6 from 1948-54; Buddy Alexander, 2 in 1987-88
Butch Baird, 1977; Briny Baird, 2004
- Thomas W. Barnes, 1950; Tommy Barnes, 1966
- Julius Boros, 25 from 1950-74; Guy Boros, 1997
- Antonio Garrido, 1978; Ignacio Garrido, 1998
- Al Geiberger, 17 from 1962-80; Brent Geiberger, 2000
- Jay Haas, 22 from 1976-2005; Bill Haas, 2010-2013
- Clayton Heafner, 9 from 1940-53; Vance Heafner, 1978
- Jock Hutchison, 14 from 1935-62; Jock Hutchison Jr., 1941
- Joe Kirkwood, 1936 and 1948; Joe Kirkwood Jr., five from 1949-53
- Davis Love Jr., 1955 and 1964; Davis Love III, 19 from 1988-2011

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.