Golf Buzz

June 20, 2014 - 8:19am
mark.aumann's picture
The Dunes Golf and Beach Club
The Dunes Golf and Beach Club
The 13th hole, Waterloo, requires a second-shot carry over Lake Singleton to a two-tiered green.

Consistently ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the United States, the Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is a classic Robert Trent Jones design, with his signature elevated greens and deep bunkers. While the front nine meanders through mature oaks and pines, tidal marshes and Lake Singleton frame many of the holes on the back nine.

The Dunes, along with Grande Dunes Resort Club, will present a formidable challenge to the participants in the 2014 PGA Professional National Championship, to be held June 22-25. Players will tackle each course once over the first two days, with the Dunes hosting the final two rounds.

GETTING THERE: Myrtle Beach International Airport is served by several major airlines, including Delta, United, Southwest and U.S. Air. From I-95, it's about a 90-minute drive to Myrtle Beach on U.S. 501.

ABOUT THE COURSE: Robert Trent Jones was still in the process of making a name for himself when he was asked to design a seaside course by a group of Myrtle Beach citizens just after World War II.

"It was built in 1948 by Robert Trent Jones," Dunes Golf and Beach Club head golf professional Dennis Nicholl said. "It was one of his first major designs. They did what’s now known as the back nine in 1949, and the front nine in 1950. This course kind of put him on the map as one of the premiere architects. This club has a lot of history with him."

RELATED: A hole-by-hole tour of the Dunes | Complete National Championship coverage

The Dunes has hosted several major events, including the U.S. Women's Open, PGA Tour qualifying, Champions Tour events, the Carolina Open and South Amateur. The course has been updated several times since the original design. Jones changed five of the holes in the mid-1970s, and son Rees Jones was instrumental in updating the course to its current 7,400-yard configuration. The Dunes has a course rating of 76.1 and a slope rating of 148. 

"Over time, we’ve had a few renovations here and there," Nicholl said. "We had Rees Jones here last summer and we switched from bentgrass to the champion Bermuda grass, added some new tees and stretched it out to almost 7,400 yards. We think it’ll be a huge test for these players to come in here and play the typical elevated Robert Trent Jones greens."

MEMORABLE HOLES: No discussion of the Dunes is complete without mentioning Waterloo, one of the most celebrated holes in golf. It's a supreme test of length and accuracy, Nicholl said.

"Waterloo is our 13th hole, which is a 640-yard par 5," he said. "It wraps around Lake Singleton, with a two-tiered green surrounded by bunkers. So it’s definitely a challenge. I think there will be a lot of talk about that hole."

Another hole to watch is the finishing hole.

"The 18th hole is a massive par-4, 440-yard hole," Nicholl said. "That second shot into the green there will be a lot of fun, watching that front pin location on the final day.

"The typical prevailing wind pattern for the summertime is from the ocean, so the 18th is playing dead into the wind usually. But in the summertime, with the heat and humidity, it helps the players in one way, but hurts them in another when they’re hitting into it."

WHAT TO DO WHILE YOU'RE THERE: If you can't find something to do in Myrtle Beach, you're not trying hard enough. Just check out for a few suggestions.

"Obviously, the beach is the No. 1 attraction for anybody coming here," Nicholl said. "That’ll be the focus, and in the summertime, all the hotels are full – we call it ‘kids with sand buckets’ time. At night time, we have the Broadway at the Beach, the Market Common, the theme parks, race tracks, water parks, all those things that anybody of any age would want to do."

FUTURE PNC HOSTS: 2015, Philadelphia Cricket Club | 2016, Turning Stone Resort

If you're looking for entertainment, there are a number of shows and dinner theaters.

"There’s the Carolina Opry and Alabama Theater and the Pirate’s Voyage dinner show," Nicholl said. "There are shows for everybody, and something for everybody to do."

Hungry? Good, because you won't run out of choices any time soon, according to Nicholl.

"Over the Grand Strand, which stretches 60 miles, at last count there were over 1,400 restaurants," he said. "That means you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at a different place every day for the whole year and never eat at the same place.

"There’s a lot of options out there, like the theme restaurants are at the major attractions, or at Murrell’s Inlet, where you can sit out on a deck and watch the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy some Southern hospitality."

Oh, and don't forget the golf. There's plenty of it at Myrtle Beach. Nicholl is chairman of, which represents 88 golf courses in the area. 

"I think what’s going to shock people when they see the tournament on television is that we really do have quality golf here," Nicholl said. "Myrtle Beach has always been known in the past as sort of a discount place to go. But it’s changed over the past 20 years or so. There’s a lot of great golf out there."

In addition to the Dunes, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club is always highly ranked as a go-to golf destination, along with the four courses at Barefoot Resort. But there's a course nearby for every budget and skill level, Nicholl said.

"There’s a golf course for everybody here, from the very affordable where you can walk on and go out and play nine holes to the top-of-the-line resort destinations," he said.


Address: 9000 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29572-4424

Phone: (843) 449-5914


Lucy Li
Will Gray via Twitter
Lucy Li was cool on the golf course today and even cooler off it, thanks to her post-round ice cream.

Lucy Li, the 11-year-old phenom who qualified for the U.S. Women's Open, shot a 78 in her first round today on Pinehurst No. 2. That is a fantastic score.

Even more fantastic: She did her post-round interview while eating ice cream – and standing on a box so she could reach the microphone. 

MORE LUCY LI: Full recap of her first round at U.S. Women's Open

In her chat with reporters, she said that that Pinehurst No. 2 was hard because "even on the shortest holes, if you're not in the right place, you can get doubles easily."

Li, in fact, made two doubles, as well as a triple and two bogeys. But she also had a couple of birdies, and her 78 was better than the 79s posted by Jessica Korda and Natalie Gulbis.

Her plan for the rest of the afternoon sounds like a good one, too: Eat more ice cream. 




June 19, 2014 - 10:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rickie Fowler, Cameron Tringale
Rickie Fowler and Cameron Tringale aren't too shabby from the left side.

Watching him on TV, you get the impression that Rickie Fowler would be a fun guy to hang out with.

What kind of stuff would you do outside of the ropes of a PGA Tour event with Fowler? Based on his Instagram account, likely anything from fishing, to terrifying rides on a stunt plane, to cliff diving, to -- at least yesterday -- playing an 18-hole round of golf left handed with a good buddy.

Fowler, along with friend and fellow PGA Tour player Cameron Tringale, challenged each other to a left-handed round of golf on Wednesday. We already saw what Fowler can do from the left side during a practice round on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in May.

Here's a glimpse of one of the shots Fowler hit yesterday:

OK, certainly something to be desired with the result, but the technique is pretty good.

The final tally? Fowler -- or "Richard Flowers" -- 110 and Tringale -- or "Mac Triangles" 117. Not bad at all. And, based on this picture of the front-nine scores, it looks like the two may have been writing left-handed too:

Finally, here's a photo of the two competitors after the round:


June 18, 2014 - 3:35pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bryan Brothers
As this latest video shows, the Bryan Brothers can do some amazing things with a soccer ball too.

The World Cup is going on in Brazil right now and fans here in the United States are ecstatic about the 2-1 U.S. victory in its opening match against Ghana that took place Monday night.

It got our friends and trick-shot artists -- the Bryan Brothers -- pretty excited too.

By now you know: when it comes to trick shots in golf, there's virtually nothing the Bryan Brothers -- Wesley and George -- can't do. The Bryan Brothers are to golf trick shots what the Mario Brothers are to video games.

RELATED: Meet the Bryan Brothers | Trick shot with live alligator | Compilation

In this latest World Cup-themed installment, the Bryan Brothers take their tricks on teh road to a football/soccer field. And, let me tell you, they can bend it like Beckham -- heck, they put Beckham to shame.

See for yourself:

A few of those shots were so unbelievable that I actually reached out to George. Here was the email exchange: I hate to even ask, but are you guys using any special effects? I just have to ask so I don't look foolish when I write up this post. If it is real, I'm only asking because that's how amazing this was!

George's response: Dude, that is an awesome compliment! But it's 100 percent real!

So, there you have it -- it's real.


June 18, 2014 - 10:31am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Keegan Bradley
USA Today Sports Images
Keegan Bradley is on the record as saying it's all about the Ryder Cup at this point. This week at the Travelers Championship, he has the chance to pick up some much-needed points in his bid for a second U.S. Ryder Cup team appearance.

A week after the pressure cooker that was the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, the PGA Tour heads north to Cromwell, Conn., this week for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands.

The intensity won't be quite what it was at Pinehurst No. 2 for last week's U.S. Open, but rest assured everyone in the field will be working hard to grind out a win.

If you're going to win at TPC River Highlands, you've got to go low. Consider this: Russell Henley fired rounds of 69-67-69-69 last year to finish at 6 under. That resulted in a tie for 13th.

With birdies a must, here are five players I think you're going to want to keep an eye on this week.

5. Bubba Watson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Northern Trust Open and the Masters
Reason to watch: Watson returns this week to the place where he earned his first PGA Tour victory in 2010... It's also the place where he was involved in a pretty ugly situation caught on live TV in 2013, where he berated his caddie Ted Scott over what Bubba felt was a bad yardage. Watson looked to be in control of the tournament in that final round until becoming undone by a triple-bogey 6 on the par-3 16th hole, that left him two shots out of a playoff. Fast forward 12 months and Watson already has two wins under his belt this season, including a second major. There's no denying the fact that he's an elite player now (regardless of that missed cut at the U.S. Open). Watson likes TPC River Highlands and his record there proves it.

4. Louis Oosthuizen
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T5 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Reason to watch: With a swing like his, it's hard to believe that Oosthuizen has just one top-5 finish on the PGA Tour in 11 starts this season. In all fairness though, he has struggled with nagging injuries. Why do I like him this week, then? It's just a hunch. He shot a final-round, 3-under 67 at Pinehurst No. 2 Sunday to finish in a tie for 40th at the U.S. Open. It was his best round of the week by four shots and it was also an 11-shot improvement from his 78 in Round 3. So there you have it -- he's feeling better, if not good, about his game.

3. Marc Leishman
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T2 at the Farmers Insurance Open
Reason to watch: Leishman won the Travelers in 2012. And, as he heads into the 2014 tournament, he's playing some of his better golf of the season. Following a T23 at the Players Championship, Leishman tied for third in his next start at the Byron Nelson Championship. A week later, he tied for 21st at Colonial and -- in his last start -- tied for 37th at Memorial. I'm looking at Leishman this week because I feel he's itchy to get back out there after missing out on the U.S. Open. And, since he's so familiar with what it takes to win at TPC River Highlands, well, he's a logical pick.

2. Hunter Mahan
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T4 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open
Reason to watch: Honestly, despite four top-10 finishes this season, it really hasn't been one to write home about for Mahan. He's missed the cut three times in 15 starts and all of those have come within his last six starts, including last week at the U.S. Open. What's to like then, you ask? Easy -- his track record at TPC River Highlands: T11 in 2012; T4 in 2009; T2 in 2008; playoff win in 2007. Not too shabby.

1. Keegan Bradley
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard
Reason to watch: With the exception of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, this is as close to a "home game" as Bradley gets on the PGA Tour. Who doesn't want to play well close to home? On top of that, he's coming off a T4 at the U.S. Open -- Bradley's only top-5 finish in a major outside of the PGA Championship (he won in 2011 and tied for third in 2012). Also, his eyes are square on the Ryder Cup. He admitted as much after his strong finish at Pinehurst No. 2. Currently No. 17 in the U.S. standings, he's still very much on the outside looking in. Now is the time to snag points. Bradley is on a mission.  

June 18, 2014 - 10:22am
Posted by:
dpurdum's picture
TPC River Highlands River Highlands
TPC River Highlands hosts the Travelers Championship this week.

The PGA Tour is in Connecticut this week for the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. It’s the largest annual sporting event held in the state of Connecticut, and first-year head golf professional Larry Antinozzi took time this week to share his take on the course setup and more with What will golfers have to do this week to be successful playing the TPC River Highlands setup?

Antinozzi: The course setup at TPC River Highlands forces players to think smart off the tee. It is a shorter golf course, but the long rough and tricky greens force players to be accurate off the tee shot so they can be precise with their approach shots. 

MORE: Tour players' photos | Martin Kaymer's U.S. Open winning clubs Where is the most popular spot on the course for spectators to catch the action?

Antinozzi: The most popular spot on the course for spectators are the 15th through 18th holes. All four holes offer a variety of different options depending on how aggressive you want to be. This final stretch provides one of the most exciting finishes on the PGA Tour. What are the most popular concession items for fans?

Antinozzi: One of the favorite concession items amongt fans are the Ben and Jerry ice cream bars served throughout the property. It’s a taste of New England that fans take full advantage of.