Golf Buzz

H2O Golf floating green in Halifax Harbour
H2O Golf
The H2O Golf floating green is open all summer in the Halifax Harbour in Nova Scotia.

When many of us see the island green on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass, we get the willies. When Canadian golf lovers Mike Kennedy, Steve Dexter and George Fowler saw it, they got inspired.

So they created their own version – and it floats in the harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The trio has founded H2O Golf, which lets golfers take shots at a green floating in Halifax Harbour. In fact, the company says, it is "North America's only floating ocean golf green." 

The green is about 65 square meters in size, and is made from the same artificial turf used at the New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium, according to The Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

"We were kind of chatting around the art of the possible and next thing you know we're riveting geraniums to a floating golf green in the harbour and tugging it across with a tugboat," Kennedy, the H2O Golf president, told the newspaper.

The company has hired a couple of PGA of Canada professionals to help the golfers wanting to take their best shots – and they've hired a team of local divers to retrieve the balls that end up in the drink.

The company is charging $10 for three balls, and anyone who makes an ace wins a prize as well as a spot in the season-ending closest-to-the-pin competition. In addition, every golfer receives coupons for a variety of local businesses, and there is also a series of weekly competitions throughout the summer. 

And if things should happen to go horribly wrong, like someone lodges a ball in the blowhole of a passing whale, the H2O Golf guys can always just give George Costanza a call. He is, after all a marine biologist.

 

 

 

 

Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods, almost three months after surgery, remains unsure of when he will return to competition.

Tiger Woods has officially withdrawn from the U.S. Open, he announced today on his website.

"Unfortunately, I won't be there because I'm not yet physically able to play competitive golf," Woods said on his site. "I'd like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won't be at Pinehurst. The U.S. Open is very important to me, and I know it's going to be a great week. 

"Despite missing the first two majors, and several other important tournaments," he added, "I remain very optimistic about this year and my future."

The report gave no indication of when Woods might return. The U.S. Open is June 12-15, with the British Open set for July 17-20.

Woods is still rehabbing after microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve in his back on March 31. He hasn't played competitively since the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on March 9.

Woods is a three-time U.S. Open champion, one short of the record shared by Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson. His most recent U.S. Open victory was in 2008 at Torrey Pines, where he won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate a week before he had season-ending knee surgery. 
 
That was his 14th victory in 46 majors, a winning rate of 30 percent as a pro. He has not won a major since Torrey Pines, leaving him four short of Nicklaus' record. 
 
Nicklaus said Wednesday that Woods' health would be the biggest obstacle in breaking his record in the majors. 
 
"If he's healthy, I think Tiger has got 10-plus years to play top quality tournament golf," Nicklaus said. "And I've said many times, he's got a little over 40 tournaments to play the major championships; he's only got to win five to pass my record. As good a player as he is, I don't think that should be a big deal. But then again, he's got to do it. Plus, he's also got to be healthy to be able to do it." 
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
Jimmy Fallon and Samuel L. Jackson
Courtesy of NBC
Jimmy Fallon has goofed around at golf with Samuel L. Jackson, but it's another celebrity who might be especially interested in Fallon's new personalized golf balls.

"Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon has really devoted himself to his golf game this year, and he's even hit a memorable shot or two.

MORE FALLON: Getting serious about golf | Chips in from bunker | Plays roller golf with Diaz

Now, he's taken the next step – he's ordered some personalized golf balls. Except, well, his special order has a bit of a comic twist. I don't want to ruin the joke, so click on the Instagram link in the tweet below to see exactly what Fallon had imprinted on his spheres.

May 28, 2014 - 9:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Russell Henley
YouTube
If Dave Matthews ever needs an extra guitarist, he might be wise to reach out to two-time PGA Tour winner Russell Henley.

It's always nice to have something to fall back on. If this golf thing doesn't work out for Russell Henley... well, he might be joining the Dave Matthews Band.

That's not to say the golf thing won't work out for Henley. Shoot, he's been on the PGA Tour for two years and already has two victories. He won the Sony Open in 2013 -- his very first start on the PGA Tour.

He followed that up with a win at the Honda Classic this season, defeating Rory McIlroy among others in a playoff.

But still, this video of Henley playing guitar to the Dave Matthews Band song "Jimi Thing" is pretty impressive:

The video -- shot by GolfWeek a year ago -- resurfaced on Tuesday in a story by Gene Sapakoff from The Post and Courier out of Charleston, S.C., about Henley, a Charleston resident.

From the piece:

Someday, you watch. Russell Henley -- the kind of young cross-over star golf needs -- will be idolized by Americans when he brings his favorite six-string into Augusta's Butler Cabin and gets off some Pearl Jam riffs for Jim Nantz.

"The more you play the better you get," Henley said. "I feel like I've gotten pretty good. It's exciting to play."

Still. Barring a sudden bad luck streak of lost golf balls, it's unlikely Henley will opt for music full-time. Too good at golf, he's one of the PGA's rising stars and more than capable of contending at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in two weeks.

Guitar sessions, however, contribute to lower scores from Florida to Hawaii.

"I think it helps," Henley said. "I feel like when you're playing guitar, you can't think about anything else. It's hard to think about something stressful and play guitar at the same time. It's a good release for me."

All in all, awesome stuff from Henley. And here's the Dave Matthews version of "Jimi Thing" to give you an appreciation for just how good Henley is:

h/t Ben Alberstadt -- @BJA_GolfWRX on Twitter. 

 

May 28, 2014 - 8:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Adam Scott
USA Today Sports Images
Adam Scott became the No. 1 ranked player in the world for the first time in his career last week and promptly went on to win at Colonial.

The stars are out this week on the PGA Tour for the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village -- the home of Jack Nicklaus.

This is the time of year where the best of the best rise to the top. We're well into the new season and just two weeks away from the U.S. Open. We're also coming off a week in which Rory McIlroy and new world No. 1 Adam Scott each won. Wouldn't you love to see a Rory/Adam battle at Memorial?

RELATED: Memorial tee times | Insider's take on Muirfield Village | Review Muirfield Village

With so many stars in the field this week, it's tough to pinpoint a clear favorite. Here are five players you should definitely keep a close eye on, though.

5. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Playoff loss at the Honda Classic
Reason to watch: At this time one week ago, there's no way that McIlroy would have been in my top 5 headed into Memorial. I figured his public acknowledgement of calling off his engagement to Caroline Wozniaki would have a negative impact on his game. But, as he showed us last week in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, sometimes the golf course can be your sanctuary. That's precisely what it was for McIlroy, who picked up his first win on the European Tour since the end of 2012. It was a breakthrough for so many reasons. Yes, he did win in Australia at the end of last season, which was nice. But, this latest victory had to feel like his biggest and best since winning the 2012 PGA Championship -- it's the European Tour's flagship event, its version of the Players Championship over here. McIlroy's best finish at Memorial was a fifth in 2011. He also tied for 10th in 2010.

4. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Second at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions; T2 at the Masters
Reason to watch: Let's face it -- Spieth has done everything but win this season. And his game keeps showing up at some of the toughest courses on Tour (see that T2 at Augusta National, T4 at TPC Sawgrass, T4 at Pebble Beach). This week is no exception. Muirfield Village always provides a stern test and I think Spieth is up to the challenge. His only previous Memorial start was last year and that resulted in a T63. He left on a high note, however. After a disappointing 82 in the third round -- his worst score ever on Tour -- he bounced back with a 68 in the final round. That shows you the guy doesn't quit. He'll also have some nice memories returning to the place where he was a member of the winning U.S. Presidents Cup team last fall.

3. Phil Mickelson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T11 at the Wells Fargo Championship
Reason to watch: If I'm being honest here, I really have no idea what to expect from Phil Mickelson this week. It's just been that kind of year. But, with the U.S. Open at Pinehurst just two weeks away, I've got to believe that something is going to click soon. This is Mickelson's first start on Tour since missing the cut in the Players Championship. So, he's had time to work on his game. He's also had top-20 finishes at Memorial in three of his last four trips to Muirfield Village. Is this the week he finds the four solid rounds he hasn't been able to find all year long? Your guess is as good as mine. But it could be.

2. Matt Kuchar
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Winner of the RBC Heritage
Reason to watch: This isn't a sentence you get to write often: Matt Kuchar enters the Memorial Tournament after having missed the cut last week at Colonial. A cut? For Matt Kuchar? That's only happened one other time this year -- at the Northern Trust Open -- and before that it hadn't happened since the 2012 PGA Championship. When Matt Kuchar misses a cut, I don't read too much in to it. He shakes off a bad week like a dog shakes off water after a bath. Plus, he typically does OK at Muirfield Village. He's the defending champion. He tied for second in 2011; tied for eighth in 2010; tied for fifth in 2009 and tied for 10th in 2008. Pretty solid track record, no?

1. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Winner of the Crowne Plaza Invitational
Reason to watch: Scott became the No. 1 player in the world last week for the first time in his career. So, what did he do to celebrate? Well, pretty much what you would expect the No. 1 player in the world to do -- he won in his very next start at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. It was Scott's first PGA Tour win since last August at the Barclays. He did it in stunning fashion, too. All day last Friday, he was very much in danger of missing the cut, which you don't want to do any week, but particularly the first week you become No. 1. He settled down, made some late birdies and got to the weekend. With back-to-back rounds of 66, Scott found himself in a playoff with Jason Dufner, then hit two spectacular putts to win the tournament. Outside of a tie for 13th last year and a tie for fifth in 2007, Scott hasn't done anything of particular note at Muirfield Village. But, after what he did last week in his first start as No. 1, I believe there's a level of confidence in his game that he's never experienced before. 

 

Lucy Li
Courtesy of Augusta National Golf Club
Lucy Li, now 11, dominated her U.S. Women's Open qualifying tournament a couple months after winning the 10-11 age group in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.

Most of us first became aware of Lucy Li a couple weeks ago, when she qualified for the U.S. Women's Open at age 11 – by winning her qualifying tournament by a whopping seven shots only a couple months after winning the 10-11 age group in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.

PGA instructor Jim McLean, however, has known – and coached – Li for four years now. And, it turns out, he posted a YouTube video of her almost exactly three years ago when, as an 8-year-old, she completed a pretty impressive "rapid-fire" driver drill.

McLean calls this "one of the most incredible videos you've ever seen in golf." In it, Li lines up 20 balls on tees and then stripes them, one after another after another without so much as a breath between swings.

So take a look (put it in full-screen mode for a better view of her shots). Think you could do that? I know I couldn't.