Golf Buzz

Troy Merritt's 2-iron
Troy Merritt via Twitter
"Hit it off the tee and it caved in," Troy Merritt said Thursday night on Twitter.
 
Thursday was a day unlike any we've seen in I don't know how long. First, we had the crazy wind at the Valero Texas Open that drove the morning wave's scores through the roof – and blew Dudley Hart's chip right back to him.
 
Then we had Aaron Baddeley's crazy OB/hole-in-one. Then we had Phil Mickelson's 8-iron breaking in half during a seemingly routine bunker shot.
 
And then, after we thought the day was done and things were finally calming down, came this: Troy Merritt broke the face of his 2-iron. And as you can see from the photo above the tweet below, Merritt didn't just crack his iron's face, he flat out blew a hole in it. 
 
In fact, I've never seen an iron disintegrate like this one.
 
 
"Hit it off the tee and it caved in," Merritt said Thursday night on Twitter. 
 
"Just a whisker toward the toe," fellow PGA Tour player Josh Teater tweeted, no doubt with a smile, in response.
 
"Extremely rare and unfortunate, but it does happen," said Wilson Golf, which made the club, on Twitter. "It will be remedied with a new 2-iron … ASAP."
 
According to the PGA Tour's ShotLink tool, Merritt's tee shot still managed to travel 155 yards off the tee on the par-4 hole – it didn't quite reach the fairway, but turned out fairly well given the damage to the face. He went on to bogey the hole en route to a 2-over 74.
 
 
 
 
Aaron Baddeley
USA Today Sports Images
Aaron Baddeley aced the par-4 17th hole at TPC San Antonio on Thursday - on his second try.
 
There has only been one hole-in-one on a par-4 hole in PGA Tour history – by Andrew Magee back in 2001. Aaron Baddeley knocked his tee shot into the hole on the par-4 17th hole in the Valero Texas Open on Thursday, but it only counted for a birdie 3.
 
In surely one of the flukiest holes ever played, Baddeley hit his tee shot on the 336-yard hole way left and out of bounds. So he took a penalty stroke, teed up another ball – and knocked it right into the hole.
 
 
"I just thought I'd just hit it straight and so I hit it and started walking and then heard the crowd going nuts," Baddeley said afterward. "I was like, wait, I just made birdie."
 
The birdie helped to boost Baddeley to a 4-under 68, which left him one shot off the lead after the first round. 
 
There's apparently no video of his shot, but the graphic below from the PGA Tour illustrates what happened:
 
 
Dudley Hart
PGA Tour/YouTube
Dudley Hart chips toward the hole at No. 18, but Mother Nature has other ideas.

Dudley Hart caught the full force of Mother Nature's wrath Thursday in the first round of the Valero Texas Open at TPC San Antonio. Chipping for birdie on the 18th hole, his ball is stopped by the wind and then rolls almost all the way back to its original location.

GOLF RULES: What if the wind blows your ball into the hole?

Remember, the wind was gusting at or above 30 mph at the time and it didn't help that the green is severely sloped. 

It's really almost too difficult to describe without the video:

 

 

The most amazing thing is how Hart seems unfazed, steps up and drills the putt into the center of the cup for an unlikely par from 38 feet.

LESSONS: Five tips for conquering the wind

 

March 26, 2015 - 2:02pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Cheyenne Woods
LPGA Facebook
Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger, is playing the LPGA these days. Her gorgeous swing resembles that of her uncle circa 2000.

Cheyenne Woods -- niece of 14-time major champ Tiger Woods -- is playing in the LPGA's Kia Classic this week.

On Wednesday, the LPGA posted this slow-motion video of Cheyenne's swing. And, well, it's a thing of beauty.

RELATED: Cheyenne Woods recreates Tiger's famous Nike juggling commercial

Check it out:

 

Check out @cheyenne_woods swing in slo-mo @lpgakiaclassic

Posted by LPGA on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

 

As some commenters noted, it looks similiar to her uncle's swing from the early 2000s.

 

Gorgeous.  

March 26, 2015 - 12:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods made a $10,000 donation to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to honor the memory his late friend, Charlie Sifford.

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md., announced Thursday that Tiger Woods is the first individual donor to the school's scholarship fund that will honor the memory of the late Dr. Charlie Sifford.

RELATED: Sifford receives Medal of Freedom | Tiger: Sifford a trailblazer

UMES issued a release on the donation, which read in part:

Woods' personal gift of $10,000 will launch the Sifford Fund, which UMES is creating to "provide need-based scholarships to highly talented students who demonstrate a passion for the game of golf... and who are from populations underrepresented in the golf industry."

UMES is the nation's lone historically black university that offers a bachelor's degree in professional golf management accredited by the PGA of America (PGA.com profiled the school in 2011).

"The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is honored to accept this generous gift from Tiger Woods to support our professional golf management program and to partner with us in acknowledging Dr. Sifford's role as a sports pioneer," UMES President Juliette B. Bell said.

Sifford, who broke professional golf's color barrier in 1961, died at the age of 92 on Feb. 3.

MORE SIFFORD: Check out our #ThanksCharlieSifford page | Sifford photo gallery

Sifford and Woods were very close. After his death, Woods wrote to the Associated Press in an email, "It's not an exaggeration to say that without Charlie, and the other pioneers who fought to play, I may not be playing golf. My pop likely wouldn't have picked up the sport, and maybe I wouldn't have either."

Woods has also referred to Sifford as, "The grandpa I never had."

Back in November 2014, Sifford -- a two-time winner on the PGA Tour and the 1975 Senior PGA Champion -- was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.  

 

Sam Burns
Megan Blank/The PGA of America
Reigning boys' Junior PGA Champion Sam Burns admits that he'll be "a little nervous" when he makes his PGA Tour debut on Thursday.
 
Winning the Junior PGA Championship would be a career highlight for any young golfer. For reigning champion Sam Burns, his victory last summer is still paying off big-time.
 
As part of a unique arrangement with PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open, one of the perks of capturing the Junior PGA Championship title is a berth at TPC San Antonio this week. Kristen Gillman, the reigning girls' Junior PGA Champion, will play in the LPGA Tour's Swinging Skirts Classic in California next month.
 
Burns – an 18-year-old high school senior from Shreveport, Louisiana – will tee off at 10:20 a.m. ET Thursday with rookie Mark Hubbard and Scotland's Marc Warren.
 
"I think it's great for junior golf to let kids our age have this opportunity," said Burns, the nation's top-ranked male junior player as well as the world's No. 9-ranked male amateur. "I think if they don't get the opportunity to play at that young of an age, they won't be that prepared whenever they're 25 or 30. I think this will help a lot for me personally later down the road."
 
Along with missing school this week, he's already made one lifelong memory – he played a practice round with Jordan Spieth, who made his PGA Tour debut at age 16 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
 
 
"He said go out and have some fun, not let all the hype get to you," Burns said after his round. "He's been through this. He's young. He knows what it's like. So I think playing with him was a great person to learn from because he's already done this."
 
And while many young golfers seek to get on the fast track that Spieth took to the PGA Tour, Burns knows that this week is more about experience than expectations. 
 
"It's hard to set expectations for yourself if you've never been in this position, to play in a Tour event," he said. "You get to meet some new people, see what it's like … learn from what everybody else is doing, see how they prepare, see what they're doing off the course, how they handle the media, the fans, that kind of stuff.
 
"That doesn't mean I want to go out there and not play well," he added quickly. "I'm here to play my best and if that's the case, then I think I'll be in good shape."
 
 
Despite winning the Junior PGA Championship in Bryan, Texas, last summer and making his PGA Tour debut in San Antonio, Burns plans to stick closer to home in the near future – he plans to attend Louisiana State University next fall, a decision he made, in part, because of his friendship with another PGA Tour player, Shreveport's David Toms, and Toms' son Carter.
 
Burns got to know Toms – a proud LSU alum – while playing in Shreveport and practicing at the David Toms Academy there. Toms, he says, has given him valuable advice and insight on both the LSU golf program and the PGA Tour.
 
"He's pretty open about what it's like out here, and getting to play with him and see what it takes, where my game needs to be to compete out here," Burns said of the 2001 PGA Champion. "So I think that will definitely help a lot going forward."
 
For now, though, Burns is focused on this week – specifically that first tee shot Thursday morning.
 
"I think I'll be a little nervous, as any kid would be," he admitted. " But I think in the same respect that it's not about getting too nervous because of the stage or the atmosphere, you just have to stay focused and be grateful that you're here. Not a lot of 18-year-olds get this opportunity."
 
Here's a quick video of Burns and Spieth: