Golf Buzz

December 9, 2014 - 8:59pm
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Ryder Cup
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PGA of America President Derek Sprague said the first Ryder Cup Task Force meeting marked "the beginning of a process that is designed to create the conditions for long term Ryder Cup success."
The PGA of America's Ryder Cup Task Force conducted its first meeting on Tuesday. Afterward, PGA of America President and Task Force Co-Chairman Derek Sprague issued this statement:
"The Ryder Cup Task Force met today at PGA of America Headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. for more than four hours. It was a very productive meeting where all Task Force members were engaged in thoughtful dialogue. We discussed a wide array of issues including the selection process for Captains and Vice Captains and more. Today was the beginning of a process that is designed to create the conditions for long term Ryder Cup success. We have more work to do and look forward to gathering again to complete the work of the Task Force. Once we have significant news to report from these meetings, we will be happy to share that with you."
The PGA of America created the Task Force, comprised of past Captains, players and PGA of America leadership, in October. Co-chaired by Sprague and PGA Chief Executive Officer Pete Bevacqua, it will examine the entire Ryder Cup process, including the selection of future U.S. Captains and Vice Captains, and the points system by which players make the team.
In addition to Sprague and Bevacqua, the Task Force members are past Captains Raymond Floyd, Tom Lehman and Davis Love III; past team members Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, and PGA Vice President Paul Levy.
The 41st Ryder Cup will be contested at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., in September 2016.
December 9, 2014 - 2:14pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler got creative at the Hero World Challenge on Sunday, using a putter from the sand. Check out the result.

In case you missed it over the weekend, Rickie Fowler did something a lot of us frustrated amateurs tend to do on occasion... he attempted to escape a deep bunker using a putter instead of a wedge.

RELATED: Greenside bunker shots made easy

Here's how it went down on the sixth hole at Isleworth in the final round of the Hero World Challenge:

OK, not the prettiest result if we're being honest. High marks for creativity, but we're guessing he'll go with a wedge of some kind the next time around. 

Fowler made a double bogey on the hole. However, he bounced back with three back-nine birdies to finish with a 4-under 68 and tied for sixth.

h/t to our friends at


December 9, 2014 - 12:57pm
mark.aumann's picture
Jordan Spieth
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Jordan Spieth avoided the chipping disasters that befell many of his challengers at the Hero World Challenge.

Why is it so easy to chunk a chip shot from an uphill lie? We saw even the best golfers in the world struggle with that shot last weekend at the Hero World Challenge, so it's no surprise amateurs have a hard time pulling that shot off consistently.

SHORT GAME WOES: Tiger Woods had a tough time chipping at Isleworth

PGA Professional Rodd Slater, Head Golf Professional at Two Rivers Golf Club in Dakota Dunes, S.D., said it all has to do with how we typically balance ourselves on a slanted surface.

"Most people have a tendency to lean into the hill, so as you swing the club, the club will tend to dig into the grass," Slater said.

So what do you need to do when facing an uphill chip shot to an elevated green?

1. Move the ball forward in your stance
2. Move your weight towards your back foot
3. Use a less lofted club

Slater credits Manuel de la Torre -- the first recipient of the National PGA Teacher of the Year Award and a member of the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame -- with providing the tips that he currently uses.

SHORT GAME IMPROVEMENT: Find more tips and videos here

De la Torre instructs his students to do the opposite of what feels "normal" in this particular instance. Instead of trying to lean into the hill to steady yourself, shift your weight to the point where your center of gravity is perpendicular to the hill -- so in essence, try to make your stance level relative to the slope.

"First, on an uphill pitch shot or any shot where you're on an upslope, you need to move the ball forward in your stance and your weight towards your back foot, proportionate to the slope," Slater said. "That way, you're swinging with the terrain."

And use a club that has less loft, Slater said, because the ball will already come up with a higher trajectory.

"As you're leaning with the hill, you're adding loft to the club face," Slater said. "So the ball will come out very high. So if you normally use a sand wedge, you might want to use a 9-iron so that when the ball is struck, it goes forward instead of straight up in the air."

GET GOLF READY: Find a PGA Instructor near you

Remember, because the ball won't have as much roll as with a normal chip, you'll need to land it closer to the hole. So take that into consideration. And concentrate on making a smooth sweeping swing rather than a steep downward strike.

Do the opposite if you're on a downslope, Slater said. Move your weight forward and the ball back in your stance, and use a club with added loft to play the same type of shot.

Remember: On an upslope, the ball goes forward, weight goes back. 



December 9, 2014 - 11:44am
mark.aumann's picture
Bear cubs
Four bear cubs decided to play through at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in September.

From alligators to snakes, it seems like 2014 was a crazy year for animals creating havoc on golf courses. Here are a few memorable encounters, in alphabetical order:


PGA Tour pro pushes alligator into water

At the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April, PGA Tour player John Peterson gave a very dangerous assist to playing partner James Driscoll, pushing an alligator into a pond so Driscoll could play his approach shot.




A real baboon spooks Luke Donald in South Africa

Wildlife is a cornerstone of South Africa. Luke Donald saw that firsthand earlier this month at the Nedbank Challenge, when a baboon ran down the fairway.





Eagle steals man's golf ball from green

This is one of those rare times when an eagle on the golf course isn't a good thing.





Bear cubs lack etiquette on the green

These bear cubs seemed to enjoy their time on the golf course, even though they held up play.




The story behind the bobcat on the Florida golf course photo

The St. Lucie Trail Golf Club in Florida was visited by a Florida bobcat in November, seen here trotting across the 10th tee.


What kind of tracks are these?

These footprints belong to Malaysian elephants who apparently wander over from the nearby tropical rainforest, near where Ernie Els is developing a 27-hole golf resort.


Peter Uihlein survives frog attack

Everyone is afraid of something. For pro golfer Peter Uihlein, it's tiny frogs.





Golfer attacked by angry goose

This poor golfer was minding his own business when, out of nowhere, he was attacked by a goose.




Pablo Larrazabal attacked by hornets, jumps into lake

Pablo Larrazabal was attacked by hornets and stung more than 20 times at the Maybank Malaysian Open in April before he effected a watery escape.


Caution: Kangaroo crossing

This is a reader-submitted photo from Growling Frog Golf Course in Yan Yean, Australia, on the north side of Melbourne. And yes, those are kangaroos.



Only in Australia... Growling Frog GC. #teamtitleist #mytitileist

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Unusual course hazard at China Open

Indiana Jones would not be amused by this sign spotted at the European Tour stop in April.


Stacy Lewis
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Reigning LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis will lead a field of 156 players into Westchester Country Club for the 2015 edition of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
Just in time for the holidays, tickets for the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship are now on sale. The LPGA Tour major will be played June 8-14 at prestigious Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York.
A variety of ticket options are available, with a top price of $200 for weekly clubhouse passes. Single-day tickets for Saturday's third round and Sunday's final round go for $30, while passes for the Thursday and Friday rounds are $25 each.
An "any competition day" flex ticket costs $35, while passes for Tuesday's and Wednesday's practice rounds are $15 each. A variety of hospitality and pro-am options are also available.
In addition, the tournament is offering volunteer opportunities with duties ranging from leaderboard operations to transportation to working in the championship office. For a fee of $96 per person, volunteers will receive a uniform, access to the tournament all week long and many other benefits. 
"Volunteering is a great way to experience the tournament from a perspective that few will ever enjoy," said Championship Director Bob Jeffrey. "For less than $100, the perks are a great value in the New York City market."
This venerable women's major, known for six decades as the LPGA Championship, is a collaboration among KPMG, the LPGA and the PGA of America. Its purse – set for $3.5 million in 2015 – is among the highest in all of women's golf, and the event will be televised by the Golf Channel and NBC.
The event will rotate annually among world-class courses in major metropolitan markets around the nation, but is beginning this new era at prestigious Westchester Country Club, for 40 years the home a high-profile PGA Tour.
"Westchester Country Club is a great club, and their membership has really stepped up" to enable the tournament to move from its previous home in Rochester to the New York City area in a little more than a year, said Jeffrey. "Westchester is a major-caliber course, and we're sure the LPGA players will really like the quality of the challenge it will present."
The field will consist of 156 players, including reigning Player of the Year Stacy Lewis and all the LPGA Tour's biggest stars. Among them will be the top eight finishers from the previous year’s LPGA Teaching & Club Professional National Championship, where three women PGA of America members – Karen Paolozzi, Alison Curdt and Laurie Rinker – played their way into the field.
While the action on the course is guaranteed to be exciting, so will be the action off the course, where KPMG will lead a women's leadership summit on-site at Westchester CC. The event will bring together top women leaders in business, politics, sports and society to network, learn and help cultivate the next generation of female leaders.
"The Championship will now reach even greater levels of global exposure, player opportunities, and community impact," said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. "This event will change lives – both for the female professionals that will compete and for the women it will impact in both the women's leadership summit and community initiative."
December 9, 2014 - 9:46am
Michael.Benzie's picture

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