Golf Buzz

October 17, 2014 - 10:15am
andrew.prezioso's picture
Willie Park Sr.
PGA of America
In this photo dated back to the 1850s, Willie Park Sr. is the one in the center. Park would go on to win the first professional golf tournament in 1860.

Today's an important date in golf history. The professional part of the game is turning 154 years old today. 

While not played for the Claret Jug at the time, that tournament is the precursor to the Open Championship. In fact, the first Claret Jug would not be presented to the winner until 1873. 

So what was golf like back then? Here's the description of the event, which was won by Willie Park Sr., from the Open Championship website: 

[Park] opened his bid for the first championship at Prestwick in 1860 with a tremendous tee shot that was described by one onlooker as “sounding as if it had been shot from some rocket apparatus” and after three rounds of the 12-hole course he came to the final hole with a one shot lead over his great rival Old Tom Morris. Two putts from 10 yards would have secured him victory, but in his usual fashion he gave the ball a firm rap and it bumped and bobbled across the uneven surface before diving into the hole. He was the first champion golfer by two clear shots.

And who was this Park? Here's how the Open Championship website describes him: 

Willie Park, winner of the first Open Championship in 1860, was the Arnold Palmer of his day. "He goes bold at everything," was the generally held view, "especially with his long putts." It was felt that his aggressive style of play, so often successful in match play, would let him down over 36 holes of stroke-play in the first championship, but he was emphatically to prove his detractors wrong with four Open titles and four runner-up places in a 16-year spell.

 

October 17, 2014 - 9:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
eagle
YouTube
This is one of those rare times when an eagle on the golf course isn't a good thing.

An eagle on the golf course is usually a great thing.

In this particular case, however, it didn't help anyone's scorecard.

Check out this video where an actual, real life eagle picks a golf ball up of the green and takes off:

So what do you do if this happens to you? That's covered under decision 18-1 in the Rules of Golf:
 
If a ball at rest is moved by an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced.

 

October 17, 2014 - 8:53am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rafa Nadal
YouTube
In this video, tennis star Rafa Nadal works on his poker face by trying to convince two golfers he has amnesia after being struck in the head with a golf ball.

What's better than a well-executed prank?

That's exactly what tennis star Rafa Nadal pulled off recently on a course in Majorca, Spain, on a couple of unsuspecting golfers.

It was all part of a hidden-video prank by PokerStars, in which Nadal would work on his, "poker face," to convince the golfers he had been hit in the head with a ball and had amnesia.

Check it out here:

Now that was good stuff. The two golfers looked genuinely concerned when they saw a man down on the green and then you could see on their faces it quickly escalated to panic when they realized the man down was one of the world's most famous athletes.

Mikko Ilonen's scorecard
European Tour
Mikko Ilonen's magic number on Thursday at the Volvo World Match Play Championship was 3.
It's mid-October, but this is a big week in golf around the globe. The PGA Tour is in Las Vegas, the LPGA Tour is in South Korea, the Champions Tour is in North Carolina, and the European Tour has a pair of events going on: the Hong Kong Open in Asia and the Volvo World Match Play Championship outside of London.
 
As we most recently saw at the Ryder Cup, match-play golf is a unique animal that often produces memorable scorecards. It happened again on Thursday on the second day of the Volvo Match Play.
 
Defending champion and Ryder Cup star Graeme McDowell faced off against Mikko Ilonen of Finland in a match that McDowell was almost universally expected to win. But he lost, 2 and 1, because Ilonen carded 12 3s over the 17 holes of their match.
 
5 TO WATCH: See who T.J. Auclair has his eye on at the Shriners Hopitals for Children Open
 
Check out the card posted above. After a par on the par-5 opening hole, Ilonen ran off three 3s in a row to build a 2-up lead. He then parred the par-5 sixth hole to see his lead drop to one hole, then carded four more 3s in succession to grab a 4-up lead through 10 holes. From there, he went 4-3-5-3-5-3-3.
 
Amazing, 12 3s. Perhaps even more amazing considering how well he was playing, Ilonen didn't make birdie or eagle on any of the four par-5 holes. 
 
McDowell, for his part, didn't play poorly – he had seven 3s on his own card, and he halved six of the holes on which he made a 3. Between the two of them, they had 13 birdies and no bogeys.
 
TaylorMade RSi 1 and RSi 2 irons
Courtesy of TaylorMade Golf
The new RSi line of irons from TaylorMade feature vertical slots cut into the heel and toe of the face to help the performance of off-center hits.
As most of us golfers will testify, we tend to hit a lot of shots somewhere other than the center of the clubface. In recent years, some equipment companies have tweaked their designs to expand the sweetspot to help us out.
 
TaylorMade – which studied thousands of clubfittings and found that 76 percent of all iron shots are mis-hit – has come up with its own solution. Its new RSi line of irons feature slots in the face to help improve consistency and distance on off-center hits.
 
"No golfer is perfect, not even the best players in the world hit the center of the club every time," said Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade's director of product creation for irons, putters and wedges. "So with RSi, we're giving all golfers a technology that can help their mis-hits perform more like pure strikes."
 
The introduction of Face Slot Technology, as TaylorMade calls it, comes two years after the company debuted its "Speed Pockets" – small slots in the soles of woods and irons that improve the performance of shots struck low on the face. 
 
For the RSi irons, TaylorMade cut vertical slots in face on either side of impact zone to help provide more uniform flex across the face and protect ball speed on off-center hits. The slots – cut into the 3- through 8-irons – are 35 to 38 millimeters deep, depending on the club, and are cut all the way through the face and filled with a durable epoxy compound. 
 
Speaking of Speed Pockets, the 3- through 7-irons include them as well. Their ThruSlot technology helps to activate the lower portion of the face by creating higher launch on shots hit below center, and helps to negate the loss of ball speed and spin rate from an off-center hit. The combination of these two features, the company says, give the RSi irons a larger sweetspot with forgiveness near the toe, heel and bottom of the club.
 
The new RSi line includes three models: The RSi 1, RSi 2 and RSi TP.
 
 
The RSi 1 features TaylorMade's Advanced Face Design – which gives the irons the company's thinnest face ever, a deep undercut and Inverted Cone Technology to promote greater ball speed. In addition, a stabilized head structure and multiple dampening systems improve their sound and feel, and a new True Temper Reax 90 steel shaft helps optimize ball flight. 
 
The standout feature of the RSi 2 model is what the company calls Progressive Multi-Material Construction. The 3- through 5-irons are cast from 450 stainless steel with tungsten weighting to promote a lower Center of Gravity and slightly higher flight. The mid irons (6-7) are cast of 450 stainless steel but don't have the tungsten weighting.
 
The short irons (8-, 9- and pitching wedge) incorporate forged faces to promote feel and accuracy, and the wedges are completely forged. All the RSi 2 irons come stock with the all-new KBS Tour 105 shaft. 
 
Finally, the RSi TP irons – which TaylorMade expects will become the most-played model on the PGA Tour – combine Face Slot Technology with advanced two-piece construction that merges a premium 1025 forged carbon steel hosel and face with a 431 stainless steel back in the 3- through 7-irons. This, the company says, provides the precision and feel of a forged iron with the advanced geometry of cast irons.
 
The short irons (8- through pitching wedge) are classic forged heads with a slight muscle cavity. And all the RSi TP irons come stock with the popular KBS Tour Steel Shaft.
 
"The RSi TP irons were developed to deliver launch, consistency and feel to take performance to the next level for our tour professionals," Bystedt explained. "It really is the best combination of performance, look and feel that we've created for the world's best players."
 
Both the RSi 1 ($799 per set with steel shafts, $899 with graphite) and RSi 2 ($999 with steel, $1,199 with graphite) will be available to demo at select TaylorMade retailers now, and sets (3-iron through pitching wedge) can be purchased beginning Nov. 14. Individual gap, sand and lob wedges will be available in the RSi 1, while only gap and sand wedges will be available in the RSi 2. The RSi TP ($1,199 per set) will be at retail on Jan. 15, 2015.
 
Here's a video from TaylorMade introducing the new irons:
 
 
Els Club Desaru Coast
Troon Golf via Twitter
The dewsweepers at the Els Club Desaru Coast in Malaysia are quite unusual.
If you've played any amount of golf, you've likely seen all sorts of wildlife out on the course. So, using your deductive skills, can you tell what kind of critter left these tracks on a green at the Els Club Desaru Coast in Malaysia?
 
I'll give you the answer at the bottom of this post, but first let me tell you that this course is still under construction and is set to open in 2016. Ernie Els has designed a 27-hole complex made of up of three distinctive nine-hole loops named the Lake, Ocean and Ridge, each encompassing a unique environment on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula just east of Singapore.
 
The Desaru Coast on the South China Sea is known as an up-and-coming surfing destination and, along with the golf facility, developers are also building an array of resorts, shopping complexes and even theme parks. The golf facility also will contain residences and the Els Performance Academy.
 
Okay, enough stalling. Those footprints belong to elephants who apparently wander over from the nearby tropical rainforest. I've heard of elephant polo, but maybe the Els resort can pioneer elephant golf.
 
You can see the original photo right here on the Ernie Els Design Twitter account.