Golf Buzz

December 17, 2016 - 12:32pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rocco Mediate
PGA.com
After hundreds and hundreds of hours of watching golf in 2016, we've compiled this list of what we believe to be the 15 best shots in the last 12 months.

So many tournaments. So many rounds of golf. So many phenomenal golf shots.

Professional golfers truly are magicians and you really can't appreciate just how good they actually are unless you're up close and personal at an event.

We watched hundreds of hours of golf in 2016 and compiled this list of what we believe to be the 15 best golf shots over the last 12 months.

RELATED: 2016 golf superlatives | Best PGA of America photos | Best golf quotes

Enjoy.

15. Billy Hurley III's 35-yard pitch in on the 15th hole during the final round of the Quicken Loans National. Hurley, a Navy veteran, would go on to win -- his first PGA Tour victory. It was extra emotional because during the same tournament a year earlier, Hurley's father was missing and then found. A month later, his father took his own life. Life is far more important than golf, but it was something else to watch Hurley hoist the trophy after the awful 12 months he and his family endured.

14. Rory McIlroy's 253-yard approach shot to the par-5 closing hole in the Irish Open. All class. Stuff it from 253 yards out to within 3 feet for an eagle to finish off a victory? Does it get any better?

13. Phil Mickelson's flop shot at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Mickelson is the master of the flop shot. The execution on this one is another example of why.

12. Louis Oosthuizen's hole-in-one at Augusta National in the final round of the Masters. I realize aces are all about luck. This one, though, is as cool a "1" as you'll ever see. Oosthuizen hits a glorious shot into the green at the par-3 16th, the ball hits the backstop and starts tracking toward the hole, but -- OH NO! -- it hits the ball of playing partner J.B. Holmes... and then gets right back on line and drops into the cup. What a cool shot.

11. Patrick Reed's hole out at Hazeltine in the Ryder Cup. Playing the sixth hole in a Saturday fourballs session with Jordan Spieth, Reed fired up the home crowd with this dazzling shot for an eagle.

10. Jimmy Walker's final-round bunker hole-out for birdie in the PGA Championship. Walker hadn't made a birdie all day to that point and that kick-started him for the remainder of the day in helping him claim his first major title.

9. PGA Professional John DalCorobbo's hole-out eagle to close out a 65 in the first round of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. DalCorrobo, the reigning Senior PGA Professional Champion was playing his first tournament round of the year when he hit this amazing approach shot into the 18th green at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.

8. Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed's matching birdie putts to halve the eighth hole in Sunday's singles matches during the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. This match was incredible. The level of play and the emotions shown by these two throughout the singles match is what the Ryder Cup is all about.

7. Will Wilcox hole-in-one on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. When you ace one of the most iconic par-3 holes in all of golf -- especially during the Players Championship -- your going to earn a spot on a list like this. And the celebration? A+.

6. Jordan Spieth's chip in for birdie on the 71st hole of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial. Spieth would win the tournament by three strokes over Harris English and this birdie provided some nice insurance for the final hole.

5. Henrik Stenson's long birdie putt on the 16th hole at Royal Troon to take a two-shot lead in the final round of the Open Championship. Stenson would go on to shoot a mind-boggling 63 in the final round to top Phil Mickelson for his first major win.

4. Rocco Mediate's bunker hole-out in the final round of the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Mediate was in total control all week at Harbor Shores. But this hole-out for birdie from a greenside bunker at the par-3 17th hole was the dagger that put the tournament away on Mediate's stroll to his first major triumph.

3. Dustin Johnson's approach shot on the final hole at Oakmont on his way to winning the U.S. Open. We all know the drama that was the final round of the U.S. Open. Johnson didn't let it get in his head. On the final hole, he struck what he called, "the shot of my life," to set up a birdie that closed out his first major victory.

2. Rory McIlroy's eagle on No. 16 at East Lake in the Tour Championship. The four-time major champion needed to rally late at East Lake if he was going to win the tournament and the $10 million prize for winning the FedExCup. He did just that with this remarkable eagle on the 16th hole. Of course, he would have to battle Ryan Moore in a sensational playoff before finishing off the tournament, but if this eagle at 16 doesn't happen, there is no playoff.

1. Rich Berberian Jr.'s putt that won the PGA Professional Championship. This particular shot might fly a little lower on the radar than the others on this list, but that doesn't mean it isn't deserving of our top honor. Faced with a 33-foot, uphill birdie putt to take the lead on the 72nd hole of the PGA Professional Championship at Turning Stone Resort's difficult Atunyote course, Berberian made it look like a piece of cake. The putt dropped and it proved to be the winning putt -- the type of scenario golfers dream about -- when Omar Uresti was unable to match.

 

December 16, 2016 - 3:59pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
USA Today Sports Images
With a new year comes new resolutions. Here's a list of five shots we're all very familiar with -- like the flop shot -- that we resolve to eliminate from our games in 2017.

With a new year comes resolutions -- the empty promises we make to ourselves to improve something in our lives.

Cynical? Absolutely. Have you ever visited a gym on Jan. 5? You practically need to pull a ticket to use anything like you're at a deli counter.

Go back to that same gym on March 5. Suddenly that huge back up you experienced two months prior is actually at... the deli counter in the supermarket next door.

It's OK, people.

Here, we're all about golf, which means with a new year nearly upon us, we need to make some golf resolutions.

Here are five shots we resolve to eliminate from our games in 2017 (it's never going to happen):

5. The chili dip. You know -- when you cover the ball in sod and practically miss it, taking a divot the size of a "WELCOME" mat. This vicious little devil typically pops up when you have an important chip from a tight lie in a close match. Maybe you peek too soon. Whatever the case may be, you just jam that club right into the turf... and usually have the chance to attempt the same shot again. No more of that, OK?

4. A topped 3-wood. One of my favorites. You know how it goes. After busting a drive on the screws straight down the middle of the fairway on a par 5, you know you have a legitimate chance to reach the green in two. So, you reach for the 3-wood, address the ball and... swing way too hard and hit right on top of it. Now all you can hope for is that you topped it hard enough to advance it to the point where you can hit a mid-iron in for your third shot.

The best is when there's a foursome on the green on a par 5 and you're on the fence about whether you can reach with the 3-wood. Instead of waiting for the green to clear, you fire away. Ten times out of 10, that ball finds the green and you get dirty looks if not yelled at for not waiting.

Those times you wait? That's when you're going to top it.

3. The flop shot. It's one of the coolest shots in golf. Two things to consider the next time you want to hit one -- even if the lie and the terrain calls for it: 1. Remember that you're not Phil Mickelson; 2. Be honest with yourself. When's the last time you successfully hit a flop shot? If more often than not you're either getting nothing but air or blading it 200 yards past your ended target, what's the point? (First opportunity to attempt a flop shot in 2017, we're all trying it).

2. The pop-up drive. With technology being as spectacular as it is these days, we're all programmed to follow the adage, "Tee it high and let it fly." Sometimes, however, that whole teeing it high part can get a little dicey. Particularly if you have a tendency to hit down on your drives. Suddenly you're hitting pop-fly drives and leaving those dreaded "idiot marks" all over the crown of your shiny, new, $500 drivers. How are you going to eliminate it? Pray to the Golf Gods. That's really all you can do.

1. Bladed bunker shots. I have one golf buddy who this became such an issue for that he literally only uses a putter if he's in a greenside bunker -- it doesn't even matter how deep it is (and, where we play for the most part, he's not dealing with the kind of pot bunkers you see in Scotland). Desperate times call for desperate measures, but we're not advocating resorting to a putter when you're in the sand. All we're saying is to study your lie. Is the sand like hardpan? Maybe you're better off trying to play it like a chip shot from a tight lie in the fairway. Is the bunker extra fluffy? Try hitting that "chunk and run" Johnny Miller is always talking about on TV. Lastly, if you must try and hit a textbook-type bunker shot, always remember to hit the sand first.
 

December 16, 2016 - 1:38pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Michael Jordan, Josh Donaldson
tos_bor20 on Instagram
Along with being arguably the greatest basketball player to ever take the court, Michael Jordan is also regarded as possibly the greatest trash talker in world history. This story from Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson drills that home.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman found himself in the right place at the right time recently.

He was invited to play a round of golf with 2013 PGA Champion Jason Dufner and arguably the greatest basketball player ever to take the hardwood, Michael Jordan.

Jordan is a decent golfer, but just like his NBA days, the six-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist is notorious for his trash talking.

Donaldson was well aware of this.

On MLB Network's Intentional Talk, Donaldson told hosts Chris Rose and Kevin Millar about that time on the course when he beat Jordan, saying, "I don't know if I've had a better time talking trash to an icon. It was unbelievable. The guy is talking trash to me, I'm talking trash to him. But at the end of the day, I was able to prevail.

From there, Donaldson shares an awesome story giving an example of the trash talking that went on.

 

 

Good Lord! What did Reggie Miller do to deserve that?!

And here's a photo of Donaldson with MJ the day they teed it up:

 

 

Took cash from the MJ. Got to say it was a good day!

A photo posted by Josh Donaldson (@tos_bor20) on

 

December 16, 2016 - 12:02pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf, superlatives
Player most likely to steal David Feherty's job? Player most likely to faint if he sees a real snake on the golf course? Player who most resembles a superhero? We answer all that and more as we reveal 13 golf superlatives for 2016.

We've spent a lot of time over the last several weeks looking back at the year that was in 2016.

Over the course of the last 12 months a lot of fun stuff involving golfers has happened on and off the links. In that spirit, we've compiled a list of 13 superlatives for golfers in 2016.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

RELATED: Best major moments of '16 | Best Ryder Cup moments | Best PGA Champ. moments

Warning: You may not want to be drinking anything while looking at the photos and videos that follow. We can't promise you won't spit out that beverage in laughter and ruin whatever device it is you're checking this out on.

13. Player most likely to steal David Feherty's job: Jordan Spieth

During the now world-famous #SB2K16 trip to the Bahamas with fellow golfers Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Smylie Kaufman, Spieth provided some shirtless commentary while the foursome was out for a round of golf, impersonating the great Feherty. Let's just say that if the camera weren't on Spieth and you could only hear the voice, you might not have realized it wasn't Feherty.

 

 

12. Players most likely to make up the cast of a Jersey Shore spin-off show: Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Smylie Kaufman

Again, back to the #SB2K16 trip in the Bahamas. Based on the videos and photos that came out of it, we could totally see these guys in a house with Snookie and JWoww. They'd probably skip "T-shirt time!" though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Player most likely to faint if he sees a real snake on the golf course: Smylie Kaufman

Lot's of Kaufman on this list so far, but deservedly so. Remember his reaction when he was the victim of the old "rubber snake" prank? What would have happened if it was the real thing?

 

 

Fun Pro-am @shrinersopen with @jjd7007 and Mike Meldman until they planted a fake snake on my bag... #casamigoscrew

A video posted by Smylie Kaufman (@smyliekaufman10) on

 

 

 

10. Player who most resembles a superhero: Patrick Reed

Come on. A superhero is pretty much what Reed was in the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, the star of the USA team with a 3-1-1 record, including a singles win in an epic match with Rory McIlroy on the final day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Interviewer most likely to get punched if he were an adult: Little Billy

Arguably the biggest breakout star in golf this year was little 9-year-old Billy Jenkins. Don't be fooled by the adorable young lad's cuteness. He's a vicious pitbull when it comes to grilling those he interviews, something McIlroy learned the hard way.

 

 

GREAT stuff! It's not too far-fetched to think that if a male adult asked Rory those same kinds of questions there's a chance he'd be knocked out. And I'm not sure there are a lot of people who would blame Rory.

Now can we get a Little Billy interview with Bill Belichick? "It is what it is," isn't going to fly with Little Billy.

8. Player most likely to twirl a club: Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed

It's tie. Tiger Woods is the master of the club twirl, but McIlroy and Reed are major champions with this display of #TourSauce as well.

 

 

 

 

7. Player most likely to hit driver off the deck: Justin Thomas

The giddy anticipation I get when I see a player preparing to hit driver off the deck is probably akin to the person who goes to NASCAR races to see the wreck. It's a sickness. A driver with a 460cc head just isn't meant to be hit off of anything other than a tee. When a player decides to try it, he either wows us (see Bubba Watson's ridiculous driver off the deck at Kapalua in 2013), or makes us laugh like an evil comic book villain... sort of the reaction we had to this effort from Thomas.

 

 

In fairness, as you could see, Thomas did chip in for birdie. I'm not sure there are too many people who could recover from a "driver off the deck gone wrong" that quickly.

6. Player most likely to go out for burgers and beers with fans: Andrew "Beef" Johnston

Beef, man. What's not to love about the guy? He became an instant cult-hero in early 2016 with this tremendous quote upon winning the Spanish Open -- his maiden victory on the European Tour: "I can't wait to get back to North Mid, get hammered and see my mom and brother and spend time with them and just celebrate."

 

 

He is totally the type of player you could envision hanging out with his fans like one of the guys off the course.

5. Player who most deserves a career year in 2017: Steven Bowditch

One year removed from a season in which he collected his second PGA Tour victory and appeared on the International Presidents Cup team, Bowditch struggled mightily in 2016. He missed the cut 15 times in 26 starts and his best finish since February was a T22 at Colonial.

There are always going to be peaks and valleys and it was a year filled with valleys for Bowditch.

However, rather than play the "woe is me" card, Bowditch used his remarkable self-deprecating humor on Twitter throughout the year. It was awesome. Basically there's nothing an internet troll could say about Bowditch that he hadn't already said about himself.

Below, you'll see a sampling. To be able to take it all in stride like Bowditch has, how can you not root for the guy to have a big 2017?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here was Bowditch's all-time greatest tweet. After snapping a streak of five consecutive rounds of 80 or worse with a 2-over 72 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Bowditch was immediately summoned for a drug test.

Ever the funnyman, Bowditch reacted with great humor:

 

 

4. Player most likely to start a concert in the middle of his round: John Daly

Well, at Ken Duke's charity program last week, Daly actually did just that with his song "Hit it Hard," which gets stuck in my head for three damn days every time I think about it, watch it, or write it.

 

 

3. Player most likely to have Vanilla Ice as a guest caddie: Henrik Stenson

The 2016 Open Champion likely became the first player in Masters history to bump "Ice, Ice, Baby" from his car while rolling down Magnolia Lane. We could totally see Vanilla Ice slinging Stenson's clubs during the Masters Par 3 Content.

 

 

2. Player most likely to play Will Hunting's genius son in the sequel to "Good Will Hunting": Bryson DeChambeau

DeChambeau is unorthodox with his single-length clubs and side-saddle putting stroke. You need a dictionary to interpret most of his interviews. What seems basic to him sounds a lot like someone describing rocket science to the rest of us... Not unlike Matt Damon's "Will Hunting" who couldn't understand why his professor couldn't solve an equation that was as simple as 2+2=4 to Damon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Most likely to play Carl Spackler in another "Caddyshack" sequel (there will never be another "Caddyshack" sequel): Bryson DeChambeau again

Looks like DeChambeau could have a nice career in Hollywood if the golf thing doesn't work out. While we can't get behind another remake of "Caddyshack" after the atrocity that was "Caddyshack 2" we might have to reconsider if DeChambeau were cast as Carl Spackler.

 

 

December 15, 2016 - 11:45am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sam Saunders
USA Today Sports Images
Sam Saunders, grandson to the late Arnold Palmer, eloquently encapsulated what we were all feeling about the loss of the King.

If you're one of those people who thinks golf interviews are boring, then... well, you're right for the most part.

We get the details of a round, the birdies and bogeys, how a player can build on a great round or bounce back from a poor one, yada, yada, yada.

Yawn.

But, every now and again, you really get some gems. Here's a list of the best golf quotes from 2016.

RELATED: 9 best and worst trick shots of 2016 | PGA's best photos of '16 | 7 weird moments

Rickie Fowler on losing a playoff to Hideki Matsuyama at the Waste Management Open, unable to fight back tears after the tough defeat:

"I mean, the hard part is having, you know, all my friends and family and grandpa and my dad who haven't seen me win. But I will be able to kinda hang with them tonight. I'll be all right. With how good I'm playing, I know I can win. That's the hard part."

Patrick Reed on his incredible play in two Ryder Cup appearances and why he excels in match play:

"It's just kind of one of those things, any time I can wear the red, white and blue, play for our country, and it happens to be match play, it kind of all just fits in. Any time I feel like I can go one-on-one against somebody, it's something I love to do."

Jordan Spieth in his first interview since his 2016 Masters collapse, talking about the pain he experienced in that defeat:

"I don't wish it upon any of y'all. I know the feelings that Danny (Willett) was experiencing. You know, I was obviously very happy for him, and he 100 percent earned his Masters win. It really bugs me when people are trying to take that maybe away from him or shoot it down, and the questions have been asked to him, do you think this will go down as you winning or him losing, and that's absolute bull, because he won and he earned it. I knew the shots he played down the stretch. He heard the roars. I knew the clutch putts that he made. But for me personally, it was certainly difficult to go through that experience right afterwards, feeling like I should have -- I had control of it and could have very well put it on myself or however it works, the Chairman put it on. I don't really know how it works. I was hoping to find out."

Ernie Els explaining his six-putt, opening-hole, quintuple-bogey nine in the first round of the 2016 Masters:

"You make some stuff up in your brain, you know, it's difficult. It's something that, what holds you back from doing your normal thing? I don't know what it is. I can go to that putting green now and make 20 straight 3-footers. And then you get on the course, and you feel a little different, and you can't do what you normally do. So it's pretty difficult."

Tiger Woods explaining his goals for 2017, with tongue planted firmly in cheek:

"One of my biggest goals is to try to get into the top 1,000 of the World Ranking. If I can sneak my way into the top 1,000, that'd be a great goal."

Ryder Cup USA Captain Davis Love III after his team's first victory in the matches since 2008:

"I'm tremendously proud of their effort, the way they competed and the way they hung together. This team's been questioned and beat up for a long time, and I'm proud of the way they came together and the way they played and the way they represented their country."

Jim Furyk setting up his emotional acceptance speech as recipient of the Payne Stewart Award:

"I think I'm going to break the record for the quickest to cry. Stricker is going down tonight!"

Billy Hurley III after winning the 2016 Quicken Loans National exactly one year after his father went missing, was found and then took his own life in August 2015:

"It's been a hard year. It’s been a really hard year. So it's nice to have something go well."

Phil Mickelson, referring to himself, on the pressure Ryder Cup USA felt to win at Hazeltine:

"The pressure started when some dumb-ass opened his mouth two years ago."

Rory McIlroy on the rowdy crowds at Hazeltine:

"No, people are here, they are here to have a good time. I don't know how you could police that or limit that in any way, telling people they can't drink until 11:00 in the morning, they are just going to go and buy six beers. Can't do anything about that. People are here to have a good time. Geez, I know if I was watching The Ryder Cup, I would want to do the same thing. I mean, I'd love to be on the other side of the ropes giving other people abuse, it would be so good. But unfortunately, I have to play inside the ropes and that's a great privilege to have. I'm not sure there's any way you can police that."

Sam Saunders talking about his late grandfather, Arnold Palmer, at the memorial service in Latrobe, Pa., in October:

"There wasn't a big difference between the man you saw on TV and the man we knew at home. We are all here for the same reason. We all loved Arnold Palmer."

This exchange between Little Billy and Rory McIlroy:

"I got you a wedding present, but I should probably give it to you now," Billy said, presenting a box filled with socks.

Rory asks, "A box of socks? What's this all about?"

"Just in case you get cold feet again," said Billy, referring to the engagement Rory broke off with Wozniaki a few years back right after the wedding invitations had been mailed out.

Henrik Stenson on his decision to compete in the Rio Olympics despite the Zika virus concerns many of his peers cited for not playing:

"It might be the only time when it's a competitive advantage to be 40-plus and done with the bambino thing. I've got three kids at home and I'm not looking to have any more. The Zika virus is not a concern of mine."

Andrew "Beef" Johnston with the quote of the year after his maiden victory on the European Tour in the Spanish Open:

"I can't wait to get back to North Mid, get hammered and see my mom and brother and spend time with them and just celebrate."