Golf Buzz

Rory McIlroy with the claret jug
David Cannon via Twitter
Rory McIlroy enjoyed one quiet moment alone with the claret jug after winning the Open Championship.
As if Rory McIlroy's life wasn't hectic enough as it is, he'll no doubt be busier than ever after winning the Open Championship on Sunday. 
 
Soon after his victory was final, he took a selfie with, it seems, as many people as he could find in the clubhouse at Royal Liverpool. The photo of that scene that I posted a few hours ago was by prominent Getty Images photographer David Cannon, and he shared another one a little later of a completely different moment.
 
 
This one captured McIlroy alone in the locker room, with just his golf bag and the claret jug. It's pretty special, too.
 
After that brief respite, McIlroy went out to celebrate with, among others, 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose. He said he's planning to take this week to revel in his accomplishment and then start focusing on what's next – specifically the PGA Championship.
 
 
 
 
Titleist Vokey Design SM5 Indigo wedge
Courtesy of Titleist
The Titleist Vokey Design SM5 Indigo wedges are plated and then treated with a special PVD finish to give them their unique iridescent blue appearance. The Indigo finish will wear over time, but the wedges won't rust.
This past week was a big one for the folks who make wedges at Titleist.
 
First, wedge creator extraordinaire Bob Vokey celebrated his 75th birthday and is still going strong.
 
More important, however, Titleist's Vokey Designs released the latest addition to its Spin Milled 5 line-up of wedges. They are Indigo Blue, and are arguably the most breathtaking golf clubs on the market.
 
"We've had the Indigo finish in WedgeWorks in the past, but only in the 400 Series. People went crazy for them," said Vokey. "We took them to the PGA [Merchandise] Show this year and everyone was gravitating towards the Indigo finish and asking us when we would offer it in SM5. Even some of the Tour guys saw it and loved it, so we've decided to put out a limited release." 
 
The SM5 Indigo wedges officially became available to the public on Wednesday. They are standard SM5 wedges – which are the most popular wedges on the PGA Tour – that are plated and then treated with a special PVD finish to give them their unique iridescent blue appearance. The Indigo finish will wear over time, Vokey said, but the wedges won't rust.
 
 
Like all SM5 wedges, the Indigo models include Vokey's new, deeper Spin Milled TX3 grooves, which Vokey says deliver more spin for more precise trajectory and distance control. In addition, TX3 scorelines – a progressive design with seven percent larger groove volume – produce additional backspin by channeling away grass and sand.
 
The SM5 Indigo wedges are available in two SM5 mid-bounce grinds, M and S. In total, there are eight different loft, bounce and grind combinations: 54.10 (M and S) 56.10 (M and S), 58.07 (S), 58.09 (M), 60.07 (S) and 60.08 (M). 
 
The M grind is Vokey's original tour grind, and the one he considers his favorite. It has a crescent-shaped forward bounce sole and relieved heel, toe and trailing edge, along with medium camber and bounce. 
 
By contrast, the S Grind – a full sole with moderate heel relief and a medium ribbon ground along the trailing edge – was inspired by Steve Sticker, who likes to play his wedges in a square position with the shaft leaning away from the target. 
 
"Steve has a shallow angle of attack, with little to no wrist action. The S Grind gives him the versatility to hit many different shots around the green, even with his neutral style," Vokey explained. "For players that like to rotate the face open, the M Grind is a very popular option."
 
The Indigo wedges carry a suggested retail price of $185, including customization and personalization options, and are available at Vokey.com and certain U.S. golf shops. They join the full line of SM5 wedges, which launched last spring, and come in Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel and Raw Black finishes. 
 
Rory McIlroy at the Open Championship
David Cannon via Twitter
Rory McIlroy was joined by all his brand-new best friends for a selfie after he won the Open Championship.
It's become kind of a thing for winners of golf tournaments to take selfies with their trophies. Some of them are pretty funny, some of them are pretty cool.
 
But this one of Rory McIlroy is by far the best so far.
 
 
Technically, this photo isn't the selfie – it's a photo of the selfie being taken. This one was taken by David Cannon, the Getty Images photographer who is well-known for his memorable golf images over the last couple of decades. And as always, Cannon captured a fantastic image.
 
McIlroy hasn't yet tweeted his selfie. If he does, we'll add it here.
 
 
July 20, 2014 - 11:24am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Samuel L. Jackson
Twitter
Samuel L. Jackson took a selfie before taking in the third round of the Open Championship on Saturday at Royal Liverpool.

Via the official Twitter handle of the Open Championship (@The_Open), fans have been encouraged this week to submit their best "selfie" using the hashtag "#OpenSelfie."

It looks like they've got a leader in the clubhouse from a photo taken Saturday by none other than actor Samuel L. Jackson:

Jackson is a noted golf fanatic.

 

As part of a piece called, "My Shot," that appeared in a 2005 issue of Golf Digest, Jackson had this to say about the one time he considered quitting the game:

"Only once did I feel like quitting the game. We played Carnoustie after Jean Van de Velde almost won the British Open there. It was very cold and windy. My feet hurt. The course was hard as hell, and I looked for my ball on probably 12 holes -- I hate looking for lost balls. I've never felt so bummed and disillusioned as when I left the course that day. But then it dawned on me that my 85 was four shots better than what Sergio Garcia shot. I realized it was the golf course, not me, that made for such a miserable time. When I got back to the States, I played Spyglass Hill, which is also very difficult, and just sailed around. I felt bad about wanting to quit and promised myself I'd keep things in perspective from then on."

July 20, 2014 - 8:44am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
Getty Images
Tiger Woods closed out the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on Sunday -- his first major of the 2014 season -- with a 3-over 75.

Making his first start in a major championship since the 2013 PGA Championship this week at the Open Championship after having recovered from back surgery, Tiger Woods got off to a promising start with a 3-under 69 Thursday.

That's as good as it would get at Royal Liverpool for the 14-time major champion who won at this links course in the 2006 Open.

For the remainder of the week, Woods just could not get any momentum going. He shot a 5-over 77 in Round 2, a 1-over 73 in Round 3 and closed things out Sunday -- long before the leaders hit the first tee -- with a 3-over 75 to finish at 6-over, 294.

That mark was a massive 21 shots behind 54-hole leader Rory McIlroy.

RELATED: Open leaderboard | Complete Open coverage | U.S. Ryder Cup standings

Woods remains winless in major championships since his playoff victory at the 2008 U.S. Open, a span that covers 25 majors. He has participated in 19 of those, missing six due to injury.

While Woods would be the first to admit that making a cut shouldn't be classified as a "highlight" of the week, the fashion in which he did so on Friday should be recognized as such.

Woods was well within the cutline as he stepped to the 17th tee on Friday, but lost his tee shot out of bounds to the right and went on to make a crushing triple-bogey 7 that put him at 3 over for the tournament and one shot outside of the cutline.

Needing a birdie at the par-5 18th, Woods delivered. But it wasn't easy.

He smashed a drive down the center of the fairway and was just right of the green in two shots, but was faced with a tricky up and down. His chip shot rolled out six feet past the hole and he proceeded to knock in the putt for birdie that allowed him to advance to the weekend at 2 over.

It also helped Woods avoid missing the cut in consecutive starts for the first time in his career. He wasn't around for the weekend in his first start back from injury at Congressional a few weeks ago in the Quicken Loans National.

Where does Woods go from here? His next start will come in two weeks at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a place where he's experienced an abundance of success and returns as the defending champion.

Then it's on to Valhalla for the PGA Championship -- a venue where he won the 2000 PGA Championship.

If Woods doesn't play exceptionally well in those two events, there's a good chance he'll miss out on the FedExCup Playoffs. At this point, if there's any chance he'll be a member of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, Woods will need to rely on Captain Tom Watson for a Captain's Pick.

Would Watson give Woods the nod with the very real possibility that he'll now only play in two tournaments between now and the end of September when the biennial matches tee off?

We'll see. 

July 20, 2014 - 8:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tom Watson
USA Today Sports Images
2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson, 64, saved his best for last in the 2014 Open Championship, carding a 4-under 68 in Sunday's final round at Royal Liverpool.

Tom Watson, the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, never ceases to amaze.

In 2009, at the age of 59, he very nearly won the Open Championship for a sixth time, coming up just short in a playoff to Stewart Cink.

Fast forward five years to today and the final round of the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. Did the 64-year-old Watson contend? No. But his 4-under 68 -- his best round of the week by five shots -- was impressive.

RELATED: Open leaderboard | Full coverage | U.S. Ryder Cup standings

Watson bogeyed his opening hole on Sunday. That was the only blemish on his card. He went on to collect birdies on Nos. 2, 5, 7, 16 and 18. For good measure, the birdie at 18 was from short range after Watson teased the crowds with an eagle putt.

Watson is a lot of things: an eight-time major champion, a gentleman, a fiery competitor, but -- above all -- he's an inspiration.

Let's get this straight -- 64 is not old. Not these days. Even still, a person over the age of 60 shouldn't be doing the things Watson continues to do.

Just a couple of months back at the Senior PGA Championship, Watson shot a 65 in the final round. You'd think he'd be delighted after such a fine round. Instead, he was irked by a hole where he missed a putt that ruined the chance to have his score match his age and talked about how much better the round could have been had his putter been working.

The assembled media laughed. Watson was serious.

Few men have accomplished more in the game than Watson. Only five players -- Jack Nicklaus (18), Tiger Woods (14), Walter Hagen (11), Ben Hogan (9) and Gary Player (9) -- have been more successful in majors.

At an age where he should be able to relax and look back proudly on an amazing career, Watson instead continues to grind on the range to find that one little swing thought or move that will make him better.

Watson should be cherished.

He's going to finish this Open as low Watson (the two-time Masters champ, Bubba Watson, missed the cut), low "TW" (Tiger Woods will finish well behind Watson) and several shots ahead of Martin Kaymer, runaway winner of the U.S. Open just a few weeks ago.

Impressive stuff when you consider the man won his first Open Championship in 1975 -- before an overwhelming majority of this year's Open field were even born.