Golf Buzz

December 22, 2016 - 10:30am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Best golf courses
Henrique Duarte
We're jealous. Our readers played some incredible golf courses in 2016. Here's a list -- with photos -- of some of the great places they played, including the TPC Stadium at PGA West.

Over the course of a year, do ever plan to play a round of golf at a special place?

Maybe it's a really nice course in your area that has expensive greens fees and you play it once a year for a special occasion.

Maybe it's a buddy trip where you hit the road for a few days to take in some courses you've never seen before.

Maybe it's a round on a business trip, or a surprise round you're able to fit in during a family vacation.

RELATED: Join the PGA.com Facebook page | Follow PGA.com on Twitter | PGA.com on Instagram

Whatever the case may be, we pitched this question to our friends in PGA.com Facebook Nation: What was the best golf course you played in 2016? 

We were bombarded with nearly 700 replies from all of you! Here's a sampling of some of the great courses you put a peg in the ground in over the last 12 months.

Simply put, we're jealous.

 

December 20, 2016 - 12:35pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Michael Jordan
bryanbros on Instagram
In a video captured by the Bryan Brothers, it sure looks like Michael Jordan might need the gift of golf lessons from a PGA Professional this Christmas.

Earlier today, the Bryan Brothers posted a video to Instagram of Michael Jordan hitting a tee shot at the Floridian.

Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, has always been known as a pretty good golfer.

But this swing? What is that?

 

GOAT sighting

A video posted by Bryan Bros Golf (@bryanbrosgolf) on

Our friend Shane Bacon at Fox Sports put it best:

 

 

Here's that Barkley swing Bacon is referencing: 

 

 

Yikes. 

December 20, 2016 - 10:36am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sergio Garcia
USA Today Sports Images
What lies ahead in the world of golf for the New Year? Here are five predictions, including a scenario where we see Sergio Garcia winning his first major title.

Are you as excited for the new year as we are?

While golf seasons in the professional ranks have never been longer, it'll still be nice to flip the calendar to 2017 and get back to golf that matters, won't it?

As we often do this time of year, here are some predictions in the world of golf for the 12 months ahead of us.

5. Rory McIlroy will win the Masters and complete the career grand slam. It's the only one of the four glorious carrots still dangling in the face of the Ulsterman. Remember in 2011 when McIlroy looked to be in total control of the tournament going into the final nine holes and then totally derailed with a tee shot at the 10th hole and he wound up in a tie for 15th? He bounced right back a couple months later to claim his first major victory in the U.S. Open at Congressional. Over the last three trips to Augusta National, McIlroy has finished T8, fourth and T10, respectively. Like everyone else who has earned a trip to the Masters, McIlroy has the 2017 tournament circled on his calendar... but those dates are circled twice on his calendar and colored in with a highlighter. He wants this one baaaad.

4. Tiger Woods will win on the PGA Tour for the first time since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. OK. I know he only beat two players in the 17-man field a few weeks back at the Hero World Challenge, but I was encouraged by what I saw from Tiger in the Bahamas. The swing looks more in control than ever before. That's certainly not to say it's the best swing he's ever had in his career. It simply is meant to drive home the point that it isn't as violent, which -- hopefully -- will alleviate some of the stress on his back and knees. I don't think we'll ever see early-2000s Tiger Woods again. That would be crazy. He's going to be 41 years old when 2017 begins. But tell me you weren't excited about that 65 in the Bahamas. It'll be all about putting four rounds together for the 14-time major champ and I think he will still be able to do that on occasion.

3. Sergio Garcia will win a major championship. You may not realize this, but only three times since turning professional in 1999 -- 2000, 2010, 2012 -- has Garcia gone an entire year without a top-10 finish in at least one of the season's four major. Yet, still, he has nothing to show for the fine play in terms of hardware... just four runner-up finishes. In recent years, we've seen the likes of Adam Scott, Jason Day and Henrik Stenson all get the major monkey off their backs. I think Garcia follows suit in 2017.

2. There will be another 58 recorded in a PGA Tour event. Jim Furyk fired the Tour's first and only 58 at the Travelers Championship in 2016. I believe another player will step up and fire that low, low number again this season. The biggest reason? Since it has been done, players now know it's attainable. It's ridiculously stupid low, but attainable. I'd imagine that when a score like that is in reach, it's hard not to think ahead. But there has to be a part of a player where the tension is eased by the thought, "It's not like it's never been done before." With all the firepower the players on Tour possess these days, along with courses that offer driveable par 4s, we're going to see another 58 sooner rather than later.

1. Wesley Bryan will be the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year. One half of the Bryan Brothers trick-shot duo, Wesley had a breakout season on the Web.com Tour in 2016, winning three times to receive an automatic performance promotion to the PGA Tour. He already has a PGA Tour top 10 under his belt -- a T8 in the John Deere Classic late last summer. So far in the 2016-17 season, Bryan has made the cut in three of his four starts. He's going to carry the momentum from his days on the Web.com Tour and turn some heads in the big leagues.
 

December 19, 2016 - 2:20pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
ice
golfgrinders on Instagram
What could possibly go wrong when you attempt to hit your golf ball off of a frozen pond? Luckily for us, we'll never need to ponder that question again after watching this guy's video.

 

Much of the country is getting hit hard with freezing cold temperatures.

As most of us in those places know -- just because it's freezing doesn't mean you get still play some golf... especially if your course isn't covered in snow.

One of the great things in playing in freezing temps aside from the potential hypothermia, of course, is that hazards that are typically hazards, might not be hazards anymore.

The key word to stress in that last sentence is "might."

MORE: Cure your slice | 5 most impressive individual performances of 2016

That brings us to this gentleman who, ahem, lucked out when his ball came to rest in the middle of a frozen over pond. Sweet, no penalty for a water ball, right?

That's what he was thinking.

You probably know how this ends, but it's still worth a look:

He's going to need a few adult beverages by the fire at the 19th hole to warm up from that.

(h/t Golf Digest)
 

 

December 19, 2016 - 11:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Justin Rose
USA Today Sports Images
Here's a look at five individual performances from 2016 that really stood out above the rest, including Justin Rose's march to golf in the Rio Olympics.

When it comes to the five most impressive individual performances in men's golf in 2016, no one would argue if you pointed at the four majors and the Olympics.

Case closed? Perhaps. What tops winning a major?

But with this list -- while some of those are included -- we also wanted to recognize a couple you may not have otherwise remembered.

RELATED: Best aces of 2016 | 15 best shots from 2016 | Best golf quotes

Here are what we believe to be the five most impressive individual performances of 2016.

5. Hideki Matsuyama at the WGC-HSBC Champions
Why?:
The WGC-HSBC Champions is also known as "Asia's major." So imagine the pressure Matsuyama had to have felt before the tournament even began. He is his continent's best player in the game today and is not only establishing himself as a regular contender on the PGA Tour, but also a frequent major contender. The 24-year-old Japanese star blew the doors off the competition at the HSBC. He holed an 18-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to shoot a final-round, 6-under 66 to win by seven strokes over runners up Henrik Stenson and Daniel Berger. Matsuyama's masterpiece was the largest margin of victory at the HSBC Champions, and the largest in a WGC since Tiger Woods won by seven in the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Matsuyama should be on everyone's "first-time major champion" radar for 2017.

4. Justin Rose in the Rio Olympics
Why?:
For the first time in 112 years, golf was a part of the Olympics. Unfortunately, due to health concerns over the Zika virus, many top players -- most notably Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy -- decided to take a pass on the opportunity to play for an Olympic medal. Even in their absence, the Games went on... and it was spectacular. In the first round, Rose became the first known player to make a hole-in-one in Olympic play, jarring an ace with a 7-iron on the 189-yard, par-3 fourth hole on the Olympic Course in Barra da Tijuca. On the final day, Rose was tied with Stenson going to the 72nd hole. Rose hit a magical shot to within a few feet and converted the birdie putt, while Stenson 3-putted for a bogey, giving Rose the gold. Afterward, Rose said, "That felt better than anything I've ever won." And that's coming from a man who won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.

3. Dustin Johnson at the U.S. Open
Why?:
Even though he's still in his early-30s, it's not unfair to day Johnson was long overdue for a major win. He'd gotten himself close so many times -- including heart breakers at the 2010 U.S. Open and PGA Championship -- but hadn't yet closed the deal. Until he arrived at Oakmont this past June. Johnson entered the final round trailing leader Shane Lowry by three strokes, but quickly snagged the top spot on the leaderboard. Then came the famous "moving ball" penalty on the fifth green. Johnson would go on to play his final 13 holes not knowing whether or not he would be assessed a penalty. As if winning a major championship on what many would argue is the most difficult course in North America wasn't enough, Johnson had to play wondering where he actually stood score-wise... and so did the rest of the field. Like the major champion he was soon to become, Johnson brushed it off and played brilliantly the whole way in. He capped off his first major title with a glorious approach to the final hole and nailed the birdie putt. We was assessed a penalty for that mishap at No. 5 before signing his card, but it proved to be a moot point. Now instead of wondering if Johnson will win a major, we're left to ponder Oakmont as the first of how many majors?

2. Billy Hurley III at the Quicken Loans National
Why?:
This might just be my favorite story from 2016. It requires a little background. Hurley is a veteran of the Navy and this particular tournament played right around Fourth of July weekend, is incredibly supportive of our military. In 2015, however, this tournament week was a dark one for Hurley. He announced at a pre-tournament press conference that his father was missing and begged for the public's help in locating him. Hurley's father turned up in Texas and said he was there on his own accord. Something clearly wasn't right and in August of 2015, Hurley's father was discovered dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Now fast forward to 2016 and the same event where Hurley III revealed what was going on a year earlier. Certainly there had to be some anxious memories that he'd rather not have to recall. But Hurley marched on, playing the best golf of his life and -- in the end -- earned his first PGA Tour victory. Now don't get this twisted -- life is far more precious than anything. But after the heartbreaking 12 months the Hurley family experienced, this gave them -- and the rest of the golf world -- something to smile about.

1. Henrik Stenson at the Open Championship
Why?:
In one of the greatest major duels in the game's history, Stenson outlasted Phil Mickelson -- to 40-somethings -- during an epic week at Royal Troon to claim his first major championship. Stenson and Mickelson entered the final round six and five shots, respectively, ahead of the next closest competitor. That equaled a one-stroke advantage over Mickelson for Stenson with just 18 holes to play -- a two-horse race. Mickelson went out and fired 6-under 65, surely enough to win any major handily with a final-round number like that, right? Not so fast. Stenson played the round of his life, matching Mickelson shot for shot and then some and carded a mind-blowing, 8-under 63 to top Mickelson by three. J.B. Holmes finished alone in third at 6 under, an astounding 14 shots behind the winner. It was a performance for the ages.

 

December 18, 2016 - 12:44pm
matthew.craig's picture
hole in one, ace
USA Today Sports Images
Is anything in golf more fun to watch than a hole in one? These aces will have your jaw on the floor.

For anyone who's ever played golf and stood on the tee box of a par 3, you know.

Practically, it's more important to make all of your par putts, or hit every fairway with your driver. But you know, there's nothing like standing on the tee box and seeing the flag a mere 150 yards away and thinking, "I could make this."

As someone who has never made a hole-in-one in my life, I can tell you that there's nothing I want more than to see my ball disappear on a par 3 for my first ace.

The people on this list don't have that problem. Not only did they record a hole-in-one, but they did so in the most epic ways possible. These are the best aces of 2016.

9. Derek Jeter's (fake?) ace at his own celebrity golf event. Well we ought to address this right off the start. The mere possibility of Jeter nailing a hole-in-one at his own event, the Derek Jeter Celebrity Invitational in Las Vegas in April, makes this shot worthy of this list. Yet the video, posted by his sister Sharlee on Instagram, raises the question as to the legitimacy of the ace. Personally, I'm on the side of thinking it's fake. What do you think? Take a look and decide for yourself.

 

 

Love my job!!! Hole in one by #DerekJeter...or is it? #DJCI #Turn2is20 #Turn2 #DJCI2016

A video posted by Sharlee Jeter (@sjeter2) on

 

8. Justin Rose hits first hole-in-one in modern Olympic history. While it's impossible to confirm due to the fact that the last Olympic golf competition was held 112 years ago, Rose's ace is thought to be the first hole-in-one in all of Olympic golf history. And the Englishman was not done making history after this single shot, as he went on to claim the first individual gold medal in modern Olympic golf history as well. You can watch the video of the now legendary shot here.

7. The first ace of Lydia Ko's decorated career coming at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Not to be outdone, Ko drained her tee ball at the 140 yard 8th hole during the third round of the women's Olympic competition. At just 19 year's old, she has already claimed 14 LPGA Tour victories and a pair of major championships. However, she had never made an ace in competition until this sawed-off 7 iron in Rio. Ko went on to claim the silver medal. You can watch the video of the shot here.

6. Woman makes hole-in-one in her first golf lesson. Well it's all downhill from here. One story we couldn't stop talking about last month was a woman reportedly recording an ace in her very first golf lesson. Apparently she took the lesson of "golf is about putting this little white ball into the hole" very literally. While this video could also be fake, the swing and reactions seem real to me!

5. A hole-in-one at the most famous par 3 in golf. Will Wilcox had perhaps the best reaction to an ace of the entire year after making his ball disappear into the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. It was the seventh hole-in-one on the hole in the history of The Players, and the first since Miguel Angel Jimenez did it in 2002. Pure joy.

4. Louis Oosthuizen's ball bounces off playing partner's and into hole at the Masters. Another of the most storied par 3 holes in the world is undoubtedly the 16th at Augusta National, which has given golf fans incredible drama throughout the years. One thing that it has never seen is an ace like Oosthuizen's at this year's Masters. The South African hit the third ace on the hole of the day in special form, as his ball ricocheted off of playing partner J.B. Holmes' and into the hole.

3. Brooke Henderson wins hole-in-one car, gives it to caddie sister. This entry gains bonus points due to the story surrounding it. The LPGA's breakout star had promised her sister and caddie Brittany that if Brooke were to earn an automobile for an ace it would be hers. It finally happened during the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, en route to the first major championship victory of Henderson's young career. Brooke made good on her promise, and handed the keys to her sister with thanks for the correct yardage.

 

A hole-in-one, a car, and...a kiss. Nice shot, @brookehendersongolf.

A video posted by PGA.com (@pgacom) on

2. A walk off ace at high school event in Tennessee. One of the craziest golf stories of the year occured during the girls' portion of the Matt Cunningham Baylor Preview high school golf tournament in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. Two freshmen golfers made holes-in-one with consecutive swings early in the day, marked at 17 million-to-one odds by the Hole in One Registry, and that wasn't even the story of the day! That came from Mississippi State commit Ashley Gilliam, who came to the par 3 closing hole with her team trailing by a single stroke before an unbelievable walk-off ace gave her Coffee County Lady Raiders a 293-294 victory.

1. Tiger Woods witnesses boy's first hole-in-one at opening of his course. It's incredible to think a walk-off ace wouldn't be the best ace of the year, but listen to this. Woods was on hand for the opening of his 10-hole par 3 course at Bluejack National, which included a group of young golfers getting a chance to break it in, when 11-year-old Taylor Crozier stepped up to the first tee and drained a hole-in-one on the very first shot in the course's history. He was rewarded with a huge hug from Woods and a memory he will never forget.