Golf Buzz

August 19, 2015 - 11:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Brandt Snedeker
USA Today Sports Images
The Wyndham Championship was the site of Brandt Snedeker's first PGA Tour win in 2007. Will it also be the site of his latest Tour win come Sunday evening?

With a scintillating PGA Championship -- the final major of the season -- now behind us, attention turns back to the PGA Tour and the race for the FedExCup Playoffs.

This week's Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., is the final regular-season event, so surely players are there to either improve their standing, or crack into the top-125 to earn a spot in next week's Barclays.

Tiger Woods is playing in this event for the first time in his career. He's going to likely need to finish no worse than second to sneak into the PGA Tour's postseason.

RELATED: Wyndham Championship tee times | Week's best equipment photos | Top PGA shots

Here are the five players I'll be watching closely this week.

5. Webb Simpson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T2 at Wells Fargo Championship
Reason to watch: Webb Simpson is so found of the place where he won his first PGA Tour event in 2011, that he and wife, Dowd, named their third child, a daughter, "Wyndham Rose." Luckily for his daughter, Webb's first win didn't come at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas (which also happens to be the site of his last win on Tour in 2013). This is a tournament Simpson always seems to play well in. Since his victory, his worst finish in his next three starts was a T22. He finished T5 a year ago. At 49th in the current FedExCup standings, Simpson is a lock for the Barclays, but he'll be looking to improve his position at one of his favorite events on the PGA Tour schedule.

4. Justin Thomas
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T4 at the Sanderson Farms Championship and Quicken Loans National
Reason to watch: All indications are that Thomas is poised to join the group of elite young players on the PGA Tour. The one thing that the others have that Thomas doesn't to this point is a victory. His season best to this point was a T4 at the Sanderson Farms Championship last November at the start of the wraparound schedule and another T4 recently at the Quicken Loans National. All in all, Thomas has seven top-10 finishes this season. He's currently No. 36 in the FedExCup standings and looking to rise. Thomas' only other start in the Wyndham Championship was as an amateur in 2009. He tied for 78th.

3. Billy Horschel
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Third at the Valero Texas Open
Reason to watch: Horschel, the reigning FedExCup champion after a magical end to the 2013-14 season, enters this week in a much better spot than he was at this time a year ago -- 43rd. Some figured that Horschel's late-season heroics a year ago would truly propel him this season. It hasn't been a bad season, but it also hasn't been exceptional. If last year is any indication, we could assume that the exceptional stuff is still to come. Horschel hasn't missed a cut since the Masters, so he's been playing solid golf. Now he just needs to string together four great rounds -- something, in his own words, he has yet to do this season.

2. Bill Haas
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Humana Challenge
Reason to watch: Currently 23rd in the FedExCup season, it's been a nice season for Haas, who snagged his sixth PGA Tour win overall back in January. That was one of four top-10 finishes this season in his 20 starts. While he has yet to win the Wyndham Championship, the 2011 FedExCup Champion has three top-10s in the tournament, including a T2 a year ago. Haas needs to get things going if he plans on making dad Jay's U.S. Presidents Cup team on points -- he's currently No. 15 in the standings. The top 10 make it on points.

1. Brandt Snedeker
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Reason to watch: The Wyndham Championship is a special tournament for Snedker -- currently No. 13 in the FedExCup standings. It was the tournament where Snedeker claimed his maiden win on the PGA Tour in 2007. Since then, Snedeker has added six more wins, including the 2012 Tour Championship on his way to winning the FedExCup that season. In his last seven starts, Snedeker has four top-10 finishes, highlighted by a T2 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. He also finished T12 last week at the PGA Championship. Snedeker is in a nice spot standings-wise for the playoffs right now, so he can breathe easier than most and perhaps that will free him up for some fun, aggressive golf.

Here's how my 10 to watch fared last week at the PGA Championship:

10. Rory McIlroy -- 17th
9. Jim Furyk -- T30
8. Zach Johnson -- Missed cut
7. Martin Kaymer -- T12
6. Bubba Watson -- T21
5. Phil Mickelson -- T18
4. Rickie Fowler -- T30
3. Jason Day -- Won
2. Jordan Spieth -- 2nd
1. Dustin Johnson -- T7 

Zach Johnson took a selfie with the Wrigley Field scoreboard in the background, while Jordan Spieth showed off his left-handed form in Texas.
 
Golf season is far from over, but baseball was the game of the day for not one but two of game's best players on Tuesday, as both Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson threw out the first pitch at Major League games.
 
Early in the afternoon, the Masters and U.S. Open champion announced on Twitter that he'd been drafted for first-pitch duty by his hometown Texas Rangers, who were facing the Seattle Mariners. Not long thereafter, the British Open champ revealed that he would be doing the honors for the Chicago Cubs before their tussle with the Detroit Tigers.
 
And before he threw his pitch, Johnson threw down the gauntlet – challenging Spieth to a friendly wager: Whoever threw the best pitch would receive a free dinner from the loser, with ESPN deciding the winner.
 
The two – who are actually good buddies – engaged in a little back-and-forth smack talk throughout the afternoon.
 
 
Finally, it was time to put up or pay up. Johnson took the hill at Wrigley, accompanied by some serious golf bling – the trophies for the BMW Championship, the FedExCup, the Western Golf Associaton and, of course, the Claret Jug. Very nice.
 
 
Johnson, however, lost a few style points because we couldn't find a better video of his pitch. Even from this upper-deck angle, however, the "crafty veteran" does a pretty good job.
 
 
Spieth – who always looks so put-together that it's almost shocking to see him with his jersey untucked – matched Johnson's effort with an easy strike. And, no doubt you noticed, Spieth is one of those lefties who happens to play golf right-handed.
 
 
Over the course of the day, the bet was changed from dinner to the loser makes a $5,000 donation to the winners' foundation. And as was the case in two of the four majors this year, Spieth was proclaimed the champion and Johnson accepted his fate gracefully.
 
 
Even better, Johnson's sponsor Transamerica got on board and volunteered to match Johnson's donation. So, all in all, it turned out to be a great day for golf, charity and baseball. And if the Cubs and Rangers should somehow make it to the World Series, we expect a rematch – in the same ballpark.
 
 
 
August 7, 2015 - 2:08pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Mike Clayton
YouTube
It's not so much the missed putt that's embarrassing in this video. Everyone misses a short one now and again. Instead, it's the aftermath of the short miss.

Fridays just seem to drag on in the summer months, don't they?

Specifically if you're stuck at your desk, counting down the seconds until your weekend begins and you're able to go enjoy that glorious sunshine.

Well, to help you pass the time, I've got a gem of a video clip for you.

The itself isn't anything new. It's been on YouTube for years, but has resurfaced on Twitter a lot lately.

RELATED: Michelle Wie goes blonde | All signs point to McIlroy playing in PGA

So, here it is. Check out what happens when Aussie golfer Mike Clayton missed a short putt:

What's the ruling on that? For the answer, we turn to this excerpt from the book "999 Questions on the Rules of Golf" by Barry Rhodes (according to his website, www.barryrhodes.com, in March 2008, Rhodes "became the first person to achieve a 100% correct mark on the public Advanced Rules of Golf Course examination, run by the UK Professional Golfers Association (PGA)."):

Q.537: After missing a short putt Mark throws his club in the air in frustration. Unfortunately, he doesn’t catch it cleanly on the way down and it falls onto his ball, moving it away from the hole. What is the ruling?

Answer: Mark is penalised one stroke for moving his ball in play and must replace his ball. Rule 18-2a.

Note: If equipment of the player or his partner causes the ball to move the player incurs a penalty of one stroke and the ball must be replaced.

Rhodes further explains that Clayton did not incur further penalty when the ball his his arm.

"Decision 1-4/12 confirms that when a single act results in one Rule being breached more than once the player only incurs a single penalty," he wrote.

The entire explanation by Rhodes is an interesting read that you should check out here.

We hope this never happens to you! 

August 7, 2015 - 9:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Michelle Wie
themichellewie on Instagram
Bored while sidelined with a hip injury that forced her withdrawal from the Ricoh Women's British Open recently, Michelle Wie decided to go for a new look.

Do blondes have more fun? Michelle Wie is going to find out.

Wie, the 2014 U.S. Women's Open champ, has been suffering through hip injuries all year. Because of the injury, she was forced to withdraw from the Ricoh Women's British Open two weeks ago.

So what do you do when you're bored and unable to work on your craft?

For Wie, the answer is this...

So what do you think?

Bored while sidelined with a hip injury that forced her withdrawal from the Ricoh Women's British Open recently, Michelle Wie decided to go for a new look.

August 7, 2015 - 8:54am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy Instagram
Friday morning on Instagram, Rory McIlroy posted a photo of the inside of a jet with emojis suggesting his final destination is the U.S. -- perhaps Whistling Straits?

For the third consecutive day, world No. 1 Rory McIlroy has dropped another big hint that he's going to give it a go next week in the 97th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

Two days after posting a video to Instagram of his workout and one day after posting a photo and a video to Instagram of his healing ankle and swing with a driver, respectively, McIlroy posted this on Friday morning:

It's not just a great-looking private jet. It's also a message with emojis left for us to decipher.

RELATED: McIlroy's recovery seems to be progressing well | McIlroy works out on ankle

We're not rocket scientists in these parts, but upon examination it sure looks like McIlroy is telling us he has boarded a flight in Portugal headed to the U.S., he's happy about it (the thumbs up), we can't make out the next two emojis, but that last one of a golf flag has us pretty excited.

As I wrote in this space yesterday -- I can't wait until Rory is back on the course, but I just hope he isn't coming back too soon. For golfers of his caliber, missing a major championship must be like a child having to miss Christmas morning.

If there are any more hints forthcoming, we'll keep you posted.  

Jordan Spieth logo
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
This Jordan Spieth could soon be seen on a wide variety of Under Armour golf apparel and accessories.
 
Will Jordan Spieth become the next Tiger Woods? In at least one way, he will.
 
For years, Woods has sported Nike gear with his own TW logo. And now, Under Armour has applied for trademarks of a logo for Spieth, the company's star client.
 
In a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Under Armour submitted the design you can see above – it is essentially a pair of "J"s that together make an "S." 
 
 
The company plans to use the logo on a wide variety of apparel and accessories, it said in the filing, which was first reported by Darren Rovell at ESPN.com. 
 
Spieth signed with Under Armour in 2013, and recently signed a new agreement that keeps him with the up-and-coming sports apparel company through 2025. Spokesmen for Spieth and Under Armour didn't comment on the fiiling, but apparel and accessories featuring the new Spieth logo are expected to hit the market next year.
 
With the official unveiling of his new logo, Spieth will join the roster of Under Armour athletes with their own line of personalized products that also includes Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.