Golf Buzz

August 21, 2014 - 10:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tony Gil
Youth Summer Olympic Games
The Youth Summer Olympic Games are going on in Nanjing, China, this week. That's where 16-year-old Tony Gil from Canada hit a shot he'll remember for the rest of his life.

The Youth Olympic Games are underway in China right now and during the first round of the Youth Olympic Men's Individual Stroke Play Competition at Zhongshan International Golf Club on Tuesday, there was a very special moment.

Tony Gil, a 16-year-old from Canada, aced the 164-yard, par-3 third hole.

It was the first hole-in-one made in an Olympic competition and also the first of Gil's career.

You can see video of Gil's ace here:

Pretty nice to have it captured on video, eh?

"It was a bit humid today so I used a 7-iron," Gil said after his opening round of 3-under 69. "I knew I'd hit it close but didn't know it was in until I went to the green and saw the ball in the hole."

It was only after the round that Gil realised he had made a little bit of history with the first hole-in-one in an Olympic competition.

"Oh really? That's very cool. It was actually the first hole-in-one in my career too!" he said.

The competition ended on Thursday. Gil finished in 22nd place.

Click here for the final results

Paul Stankowski
Courtesy of PGA Golf Shows
PGA Tour player Paul Stankowski is a partner in custom beltmaker Francis Edward.
The annual PGA Expo in Las Vegas was rechristened the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience this year, and the new name better matches the fall trade show's focus. After Monday's Demo Experience out at Cascata Golf Club, the action moved indoors for Tuesday and Wednesday, and the hundreds of vendors included some club companies, more accessory firms and a whole lot of apparel vendors.
 
So what stood out on my two days on the Show floor? Since we're in Vegas, I put together my "Lucky 7" featured products of the day for both Tuesday and Wednesday on our PGA Fashion & Demo Experience page – but, lucky you, I've compiled all 14 of my picks right here, listed alphabetically.
 
PGA FASHION & DEMO EXPERIENCE: See our complete coverage
 
The "V" in Callaway Golf's new V Series of clubs stands for velocity, and this brand-new collection of drivers and fairway clubs is designed for golfers who need a little help generating more swing speed. The heads and shafts are extremely light in weight, and also are aerodynamically enhanced to move even more efficiently through the air. You might think that older and weaker golfers are the ones who would flock to these clubs, but Callaway notes that several pro tour players already have them in their bags. In fact, Marc Warren won on the European Tour with a V Series driver just last week. 
 
One factor that sets any piece of golfwear apart is the material from which it is made. At Chase54, the latest editions for men and women are made with Sorona, which is created from corn and boasts natural stain-resistant properties and an extremely soft feel. And by blending Sorona with Spandex, Chase54 has come up with a new collection of tops and bottoms that can keep up with the most aggressive of swings while maintaining their shape and comfort. Sorona also resists UV degradation and can handle more washings than most other fibers.
 
You might think of Austin, Texas, as more of a hipster haven than a golf community, but the Lone Star State capital is home to a solid collection of pro players – and a hot newcomer to the golf apparel industry. Criquet's offerings definitely have the Austin vibe – slightly retro, definitely casual, but very versatile and with a lot of thought put into the final product. These soft, comfy shirts are made of 100 percent organic cotton, have left-breast pockets and removable collar stays, and come in a variety of solids and stripes that are much cooler in tone than many of the bold colors found elsewhere. Along with traditional polos, Criquet offers a long-sleeved players' shirt and even a selection of long-and short-sleeved button downs.
 
Cutter & Buck men's collection 
As it nears its 25th year as one of the most consistent performers in the golf apparel space, Cutter & Buck has created a new array of its CB SunTec apparel options featuring ultra-violet protection of at least UPF 25+. The line also features pieces with Nano-Tex Aquapel, an eco-friendly water repellant that provides advanced protection against rain and spills while retaining breathability and comfort. For Spring 2015, the collection boasts bold brights in solids and stripes, plus woven-inspired prints with high-wattage color, as well as a mix of lightweight layering and weather protection pieces.
 
ECCO Men's Street Retro golf shoes 
Danish shoemaker ECCO unleashed a winner with its Men's Golf Street hybrid shoe a few years ago, and is building on that success with the release of its Street Retro model. It features street-inspired upper patterns made from highly water resistant Hydromax treated leather, and has an easy-care performance textile toe and heel cap. The removable textile insole wicks moisture while providing extra cushioning, and the patented E-DTS outsole technology has approximately 100 molded traction bars and more than 800 traction angles for excellent grip.
 
Francis Edward belts 
No trend in golf is hotter than customization, and no category of golf fashion is cooler right now than belts. So how great would it be if you could design your own belt? That's the idea behind Francis Edward, which counts PGA Tour player Paul Stankowski as one of its co-owners (Francis is Stankowski's middle name and Edward is the middle name of his partner Mike Vicary. To make your own belt, you choose the skin or leather you want – such as alligator or crocodile – the color, the length and even the stitching. These are, no doubt, high-end accessories, but, hey, you can match it to your favorite outfit, your golf bag or even your car seats. 
 
Garmatex IceSkin golf shirts 
Everybody wants to stay cooler and more comfortable out on the course. The latest option from fabric pioneer Garmatex is IceSkin, which combines the company's CoolSkin microfiber with natural jade mineral. This permeable fabric promotes evaporation and lowers the skin's temperature by reflecting the sun's rays off the jade minerals, throwing thermal energy away from the body. The shirts also contain Bact-Out, a proprietary, antimicrobial nanotechnology that resists odors and controls 99.9% of bacteria, even after 50 washes. 
 
Garmin Approach S6 GPS watch 
Garmin remains a leader in GPS technology, but its golf watches have progressed far beyond their roots. The new Approach S6 includes first-of-its-kind Swing Metrics that help golfers synchronize their swing mechanics and fine-tune their tempo, which makes it as useful on the range as on the course. It can also display emails and texts, and includes course mapping and the other features of previous Garmin GPS models.
 
Kentwool KW Series Socks 
Golf clubs are getting lighter by the year, as are golf shoes – and, at Kentwool, so are golf socks. The new KW Series blends wool and bamboo to create a line of golf socks that is thinner than the company's original models but maintains the strength and durability of those now-famous trailblazers. The KW Series features a couple of men's and women's versions of ankle-height and slow-profile models in light and dark colors.
 
Missy Maude women's apparel 
The people of Atlanta might know Missy Maude as the daughter of Braves CEO Terry McGuirk, but the fashion world is getting to know her as a fast-rising designer. The 20-something Maude broke into the industry with her Lissa Mar line of women's resort clothing, which proved so popular that she was actively encouraged to branch out into golf. Her first golf collection is out now, with a family of tops and bottoms in pastels and prints that are as appealing off the course as on.
 
Seamus headcovers 
Seamus headcovers stand out for the elegance in their simplicity. They're handmade – yes, handmade – of wool and fleece in Oregon, and come in a wide variety of tartans and other patterns – including some inspired by Oregon's famed Pendleton blankets – that give them a one-of-a-kind look atop your favorite driver. They also can be personalized with custom embroidery on the top or custom leather tags along the bottom.
 
ShoeToothe clubface brush 
How many times have you taken a practice swing or hit a shot and come away with a clubface full of dirt or grass? What do you do – wipe the debris off on your glove or your clothes, or get your towel wet or all dirty? The Shoetoothe, which clips onto your shoe, is a small brush made of thermo-plastic Rubber that is designed to remove debris from your clubface with just one quick swipe. The brush has a cuff guard to keep your pant leg clean, and comes in a variety of color options.
 
Tour Edge Hot Launch driver 
The biggest advance in equipment in recent years is adjustability, but all that functionality comes at a price. Tour Edge has tackled that problem with its new Hot Launch driver, which offers multiple loft options but carries a suggested retail price of just $199. The driver features a 460cc deep-faced head made of titanium, with the center of gravity positioned low and deep to help get the ball airborne. A non-adjustable Draw version ($149) also will be available when the clubs come to retail this fall.
 
Wolsey men's golf apparel 
British clothier Wolsey is one of the world's oldest apparel brands – it dates back to 1755 – but it is increasing its push into the American golf market with its new Sportsman men's golf/lifestyle collection. Several of its garments are made in the United Kingdom, and the line combines traditional British menswear colors with minimal and strong textual patterns to create a "less-is-more" aesthetic. The line offers a silhouette that is more middle ground than slim, and many pieces rely on Invista ThermoCool technology that helps regulate body temperature.
 
August 20, 2014 - 1:53pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Chris Condon/PGA Tour
On Wednesday (Aug. 20) at The Barclays in Paramus, N.J., seven members of the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Team accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Captain Tom Watson. Pictured from left to right: Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker.

U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in memory of his late friend and longtime caddie, Bruce Edwards, on Monday (click here to see the video).

Watson then called out the nine automatic qualifiers of the U.S. Team to take the challenge.

Well, on Wednesday, seven of the players accepted the challenge together -- a stunt organized by Jimmy Walker.

ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGES: Tom Watson | Tiger & Rory | Former President George W. Bush

Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson and Walker all gathered at Ridgewood Country Club -- site of this week's Barclays -- to complete the challenge.

Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar were the only players not there, but Mickelson's caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay, helped other caddies douse the players in attendance with the ice cold water which came from buckets bearing each player's last name.

It was quite the scene too. While most of the players were dressed as if they'd just walked off the course, that wasn't the case for Johnson and Watson.

Johnson looked like he had just stepped out of the gym in a t-shirt and shorts, while a shirtless Watson looked like... well, a shirtless Watson.

Here's the video:

 

 

The European Ryder Cup team is on the clock.

August 20, 2014 - 12:11pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
George W. Bush
Facebook
Rory McIlroy called out former President George W. Bush to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Here's the video of Bush accepting the challenge.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy joined forces on Tuesday to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It was a big hit.

As is customary, the star golfers also nominated others to take part in the challenge.

One of McIlroy's nominations was former President George W. Bush, or, as McIlroy called him in the video, "a.k.a. 43."

Well, "43" -- a huge golf fan -- stepped up in a big way. Check out his video, accepting the challenge, here:

 
August 20, 2014 - 9:59am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bubba Watson
USA Today Sports Images
Bubba Watson realizes he made a lot of mistakes during the PGA Championship two weeks ago and is taking accountability for his actions.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson drew plenty of criticism for something he didn't do at the PGA Championship two weeks ago and a few of things he did do.

First, the thing he didn't do. He chose not to take part in the PGA Championship's revitalized long-drive competition that was held during the Tuesday practice round on the par-5 10th hole at Valhalla.

Watson -- the longest hitter in the game -- protested the competition by electing to hit an iron off the tee instead of the driver he would use in competition.

RELATED: Five players to watch at Barclays | Tee times | Photos | Kuchar's back

As for the things he did do, well, that boiled down to Watson's attitude on the course.

A couple of tantrums that included audible curses, complaints about rain water collecting on his clubface, which he says influenced shots and also having caddie Ted Scott place a tee in the ground for him so Watson could stay under his umbrella.

Watson was taken to task by many, but none more so than veteran journalist Dave Kindred in this piece for Golf Digest.

The day after Kindred's sharply critical column, he met face-to-face with Watson to explain what he'd written. Rather than get upset, Watson took the criticism to heart and thanked Kindred, saying, "I need to be held accountable."

Watson reiterated that point with writers at The Barclays on Tuesday.

In a piece filed by GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel, Watson talked about the fallout from his actions at the PGA Championship:

"Not competing in the Long Drive was the first mistake," Watson said. "That was the selfish part, because I didn’t agree with it, but there's a lot of things that I don't agree with that I do."

Watson continued.

"Then you look at it from my attitude on the golf course. Because I want something so bad, that's not the reason to do that. You still just bite your tongue and compete at a high level, don't show emotion. I take it overboard because I want something so bad. I want to be considered a great player. I want to win golf tournaments and I've got to learn on that.

"And then my language was not good. That's a different topic and childish again. It's all childish stuff and trying to mature and become a better man. Obviously, I take it on the chin. It was my fault. Everything's my fault and I should be bigger and stronger and better than that."

In Sobel's piece, Watson explained that he did do something right at the PGA Championship, aside from making the cut. After finishing his final round, the rain picked up significantly at Valhalla. A fan asked Watson if he could have his umbrella.

"I was like, 'you know what, that's a good question.' So I just gave it to him. I was like, 'I'm done. You need it more than I do.'"

And that wasn't it for the post-PGA Championship good deeds. Watson's on-course treatment of his caddie has also drawn criticism over the years. To his credit, Scott seems to understand Watson better than most. Watson clearly recognizes that and surprised Scott and his wife with a nice bonus for a successful year.

Scott tweeted out the gifts this week:

August 20, 2014 - 9:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy is looking to make it four wins in as many starts this week at The Barclays.

Playoffs? Did you say "playoffs?"

Yes. Yes, we did. The PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup begin this week with the Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.

Adam Scott returns to the tournament as the defending champion, but the venue is different. Scott's victory a year ago came at Liberty National.

The Barclays field consist of the top 125 players in the season-long FedExCup points race. At the conclusion of the Barclays, only the top 100 will advance to next week's Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.

RELATED: Barclays tee times | Photos | McIlroy, Woods complete Ice Bucket Challenge

Along with trying to advance to play another week, many U.S. players will be doing everything they can with only two weeks left to impress U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson and be considered as a Captain's Pick.

Here are five players you'll want to keep an eye on this week.

5. Matt Kuchar
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the RBC Heritage
Reason to watch: One of the best and most consistent players on Tour for the last several years, it's strange to label Kuchar a "bold pick" this week, but in a sense that's what he is. This is Kuchar's first start since withdrawing from the PGA Championship due to a back injury. He claims the back is 100 percent and the ailment was the result of looking everywhere for a slip and slide for his children and sitting in traffic for over an hour. Anyway, the reason for the consideration is this: Kuchar won the Barclays in 2010, the last tie it was contested at Ridgewood. On top of that, he's had top-10 finishes in half of his 20 starts this season, including the win at the RBC Heritage and a playoff loss at the Shell Houston Open. Kuchar is as steady as they come.

4. Ryan Moore
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the CIMB Classic
Reason to watch: It's down to the nitty gritty for Moore, who finished No. 11 in the U.S. Ryder Cup points standings. Heck, you may even want to pencil that in as No. 10, seeing as the man who was ahead of him -- Jason Dufner -- seemed skeptical about a return to golf anytime soon as he deals with bulging discs in his neck. Moore has turned it on of late with four top-12 finishes in his last five starts. He's going to need one really nice start in these last two events before Watson makes his picks to be seriously considered. He missed the cut at Ridgewood in 2010, but did record a T10 at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2011 and 2012. So, perhaps picking Moore next week would be the wiser decision, but I think he'll shine this week. The former U.S. Amateur champ and two-time U.S. Publinks champ wants to be on this Ryder Cup team.

3. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Crowne Plaza Invitational
Reason to watch: OK, so Scott's season isn't going to blow anyone away given the one win, but trust me -- he's had a super 2014 campaign with eight top-10 finishes in just 13 starts. He also finished in the top 15 at each of the four majors. Sure, a player like Scott expects to win more often than he has this season, but you can say he hasn't put himself in position plenty of times. Scott won the Barclays last year at Liberty National and finished T9 when the tournament was held at Ridgewood in 2010. He's playing for a win.

2. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T2 at the U.S. Open and Open Championship
Reason to watch: You know that old saying, "If you put yourself in a position to win enough times, eventually it's going to happen"? Well, don't tell Fowler that because he's probably sick of hearing it. Fowler is the only player in the world to finish inside the top 5 at each of the four majors this season. He's the only player in history to accomplish that feat and not to have won at least one of those four. He's playing tremendous golf right now and something's got to give. Maybe it's this week. The only problem? This next guy is teeing it up too...

1. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship
Reason to watch: Do you really need me to list reasons to watch McIlroy at this point? The man is on fire. A victory this week would make it four wins in four starts for McIlroy. That's amazing (but still a long way from the record 11-straight Byron Nelson won in 1945). The four-time major champion has said that he's never been as confident in his game as he is now. That's scary for the rest of the competition. Rory isn't quite blowing the doors off the competition like Tiger Woods did during that magical stretch from 1999-2000, but he's definitely getting the job done. McIlroy has earned the right to be considered the favorite whenever and wherever he tees it up now.