Golf Buzz

May 21, 2015 - 1:48pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Boston College Athletics
Brian Butler, a senior-to-be at Boston College, turned down a $10,000 hole-in-one prize in order to keep his NCAA eligibility.

Boston College golfer Brian Butler played in a qualifier on Monday in Wyoming, R.I., for a unique tournament coming June 18, known as the Benrus Open.

The Benrus Open, a par-3 event that will be contested at The Preserve at Boulder Hills, boasts a potential $20 million in cash and prizes. The tournament is open to amateurs, juniors, men, women, professionals and seniors as long as they make the cut in their qualifying round.

One million dollars will be handed out for a hole-in-one during the finals. During qualifying rounds, a hole-in-one is worth $10,000.

Butler aced the 158-yard 18th hole early this week for a 3-over 57 -- good enough for a spot in the finals.

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However, Butler passed up on the $10,000 prize so not to forfeit his senior season with the Boston College golf team.

"I'm not going to give up my last year of college golf for $10,000," Butler told Golfweek.com.

I reached out to PGA Professional Troy Pare, Director of Operations at The Preserve.

"We were thrilled to see Brian Butler make a hole in one," Pare said. "But due to NCAA regulations, Brian declined the $10,000 so he could still compete his senior year at Boston College. Brian did earn one of the two final spots for our finals on June 18th. If Brian gets an ace in the finals for $1,000,000, he'll have another decision to make."

Butler declining the prize, as Pare explained, was only due to NCAA rules. The USGA put a new rule in place in recent years that allows golfers to accept hole-in-one prizes without having to relinquish their amateur status.

"The Prize Limit Rule (Rule 3-2) allows a player to accept prize vouchers or merchandise with a value of $750 or less in a golf competition," Bernie Loehr, Director of Amateur Status and the Rules of Golf for the USGA, told me in an email. "However, there is an Exception to the Prize Limit Rule that allows a player who makes a hole-in-one during a round of golf to accept any prize, regardless of its value and retain his amateur status. As this hole-in-one was made during a round of golf, the player could have accepted the $10,000 and not forfeited his amateur status under the USGA Rules of Amateur Status."

Something tells me Butler would take the cool $1 million should he land an ace on June 18.

As a former college senior many years ago, I'd have to say that as great as that year was, it would have been a whole lot more fun with a $1 million bank account. 

May 21, 2015 - 12:25pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
James Morrison
European Tour/Twitter
It's so unfair when a player hits a flagstick and the ball ricochets off the green. Unless you can do what James Morrison did in the BMW PGA Championship today.

Sometimes -- OK, most of the time -- golf just isn't fair.

The latest example came today during the first round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the European Tour's flagship event, when England's James Morrison hit a perfect approach shot, only to watch it nail the flagstick and ricochet off the green.

RELATED: Fantastic hole-in-one celebration | Funny instruction video | Scores: Colonial

What should have been a short putt for birdie at the par-4 15th hole quickly began to look like a challenge for a par.

Thankfully for Morrison, winner of last week's Spanish Open, the Golf Gods have a twisted sense of humor. Moments later, he chipped in for the birdie he deserved.

 

Well played, Golf Gods. Well played. 

May 21, 2015 - 9:22am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
andrew johnston
European Tour/Twitter
Hole-in-one celebrations are the best -- especially when the pros bring in the fans from outside the ropes like Andrew Johnston did on Thursday in the BMW PGA Championship.

There's nothing more exciting in golf than a hole-in-one.

On Thursday, in the opening round of the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour, England's Andrew Johnston aced the par-3 10th hole at Wentworth. As if the ace wasn't exciting enough for fans, Johnston's celebration was icing on the cake.

RELATED: Colonial leaderboard | Senior PGA Championship leaderboard | Parnevik healthy again

As an elated Johnston walked off the tee, arms in the air, having just scored himself a sweet, new BMW for the "1," he waved a fan inside the ropes and went airborne for a celebratory chest-bump.

Check it out here:

 

Great celebration, but still not as good as Miguel Angel Jimenez's moonwalk a week ago:

We also loved Zach Johnson's celebration after an ace at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, when he high-fived the galleries lining the ropes.

 

The best hole-in-one celebration in professional golf caught on camera? I think you'd be hard-pressed to top this one by Rich Beem at the 2007 Nissan Open: 

 

Miguel Angel Jimenez
European Tour/Twitter
Miguel Angel Jimenez hits his tee shot at No. 14 Thursday at the BMW Championship.

The Mechanic nearly won a new car Thursday.

SHARE YOUR ACE: Add your hole-in-one to #PGAHoleinOne

Miguel Angel Jimenez, also known as the Most Interesting Man in Golf, made things more than interesting in Thursday's first round of the BMW Championship with this tee shot at the 14th hole:

 

 

 

 

That car has a sticker price of $135,700, so Jimenez would have been on the hook for quite a tax hit. But I think he'd have had no problem coming up with the cash.

DANCING MIGUEL: Jimenez does the cha-cha after eagle hole-out

Thursday's shot was just the latest in a series of Jimenez aces and near-aces this season. One week ago, Jimenez made an ace at the Spanish Open, then did an awesome dance. He also took home 288 bottles of beer, which might not fit in the trunk of that BMW i8.

Apparently Jimenez wasn't the only pin-seeker Thursday. There were two holes-in-once recorded in the tournament. First, Craig Lee made one on the Par-3 second hole. Then Andrew Johnston followed with this beauty -- and a belly bump with a fan:

 

 

 

 

May 20, 2015 - 11:33am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
lightning
Geoffreypjs on Reddit
Here's an interesting look at what happens to a green when a flagstick gets struck by lightning.

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if a flagstick got struck by lightning?

Well, we have your answer. Check out this photo submitted by Reddit user Geoffreypjs that was posted on Tuesday night:

 

According to a news report from Fox 13 in Salt Lake City, it seems the strike occurred at Stonebridge Golf Club in West Valley City.

RELATED: Lightning strikes flagstick at South Africa's Fancourt

Hopefully it serves as a reminder to golfers that you don't want to mess around when lightning is in the area. 

May 20, 2015 - 10:17am
mark.aumann's picture
Dustin Johnson
If Dustin Johnson wins the U.S. Open, the PGA Tour Superstore will refund the purchase price on 2015 TaylorMade drivers bought during a specific time period.

If you're in the market for a new driver, you might want to root for Dustin Johnson next month.

In a novel promotion, the PGA Tour Superstore will reimburse customers who buy 2015 TaylorMade drivers during a certain time span -- if Dustin Johnson wins the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

WHAT'S IN HIS BAG: What are Dustin Johnson's irons worth?

According to this quote from the media release, here's why Matt Corey, the chief marketing officer of the PGA Tour Superstore, thought it was a great tie-in.

“Dustin is one of the best athletes on tour and a top-ranked player whose golf game suits the site of this year’s U.S. Open,” Corey said. “This promotion at PGA Tour Superstore is a great way to motivate golfers everywhere to root for Dustin to win his first major, the 2015 U.S. Open.”

Here's what you'll have to do:

Starting May 18 and running through June 17, the PGA Tour Superstore’s promotion will apply to new TaylorMade products -- the 2015 R15 and AeroBurner drivers -- when purchased in-store. If Johnson wins the U.S. Open, consumers across the country who have made an in-store purchase or completed an in-store write-in entry will have the purchase price of their TaylorMade driver fully refunded by PGA Tour Superstore.

What are your odds? Better than most. Even though D.J. hasn't won a major, he's been in the mix. Johnson has eight career top-10 finishes in majors, including a tie for second in the 2011 U.S. Open. And he's made five consecutive U.S. Open cuts.

READY TO BREAK LOOSE: Dustin Johnson poised for breakout year in 2015

In case you're wondering, an insurance policy was purchased in advance of the PGA Tour Superstore promotion to eliminate the financial risk associated should Johnson win and a payout be required. So cheer for D.J. with a clear conscience.  

For complete details, click here.