Golf Buzz

September 17, 2014 - 7:53am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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1997 Ryder Cup
The 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama in Sotogrande, Spain, marked the first time the matches were played in continental Europe.

For the first time in Ryder Cup history, the 1997 matches at Valderrama in Sotogrande, Spain, were played in continental Europe. And, there was a very special European captain for the occasion -- Seve Ballesteros.

The Europeans took a commanding five-point lead into the Sunday singles matches -- 10 1/2-5 1/2 -- but the Americans came storming back, only to fall just short.

The U.S. won the final session by an 8-4 margin, but lost the matches 14 1/2-13 1/2. It was the first of four consecutive (and counting) home victories for the Europeans.

Here's a look back at the day-by-day breakdown:


Billy Horschel's wife and daughter
Billy Horschel via Twitter
After daughter Skylar was born on Tuesday, FedExCup champion Billy Horschel tweeted, "Greatest day of my life/greatest month of my life! The man upstairs has been so gracious to shine the light on me this past month!"

On Sunday, Billy Horschel won the Tour Championship and the FedExCup – and the $10 million bonus that goes with it. Tonight, he got an even bigger prize.

Skylar Lillian Horschel arrived at 8:48 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and Horschel was quick to post a an Instagram photo of his brand-new daughter snuggled in the arms of her mother, Britt.

I've never met Britt, but she is already one of my favorite PGA Tour wives. Why? Because in this day and age when PGA Tour players often rush home from tournaments to be present for the birth of their children, she would have none of that. 

As Billy was progressing through the playoffs and closing in on the FedExCup crown, she basically told him to stay put and go win that $10 million. That's exactly what my wife would've told me – and he did just that.

Britt was back home in Florida on Sunday and, after Horschel clinched his life-changing victory, she posted a photo of herself with Skylar still ensconced in her belly that said, "'we' made it! congrats daddy!"

So congrats, Horschels – all three of you – for a week, a month and a year you'll never forget. Skylar, welcome to the world. And Billy, just think of all the crazy golf pants you can buy Skylar for $10 million! 



September 16, 2014 - 8:47am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
1995 Ryder Cup
Take a look back at highlights from the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. -- the first time the Europeans overcame a final-day deficit.

Today we take you back to the fall of 1995, where the 31st Ryder Cup Matches were held at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.

It was truly the start of what has become European dominance.

Taking a 9-7 lead into Sunday's singles matches, the U.S. looked to be in great position to win a third consecutive Ryder Cup. Instead, the tables turned on the final day. Europe won the singles session 7 1/2-4 1/2 and went on to a 14 1/2-13 1/2 victory.

It was the first time the Europeans ever overcame a deficit going into the final day's play. Irish rookie Philip Walton secured the winning point for the Europeans in a 1-up victory over Jay Haas.

Since 1995, the Europeans have won six of the last eight Ryder Cups.

Here's a look back at the day-by-day breakdown: 

September 16, 2014 - 8:12am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Peter Uihlein
Everyone is afraid of something. For pro golfer Peter Uihlein, it's tiny frogs.

We've profiled crocodile attacks in this space before. We've written about a man swallowed by a sinkhole while walking down a fairway.

There was also that one time that Daniela Holmqvist of Sweden was bitten by a black widow during a qualifier on the Ladies European Tour. Earlier this year, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal was attacked by hornets in the second round of the Maybank Malaysian Open and jumped in a lake.

All of that is serious, serious stuff. And, luckily, everyone involved was OK.

Compared to those potentially life-threatening situations, what happened to Peter Uihlein in the European Tour's KLM Open last week is fall out of your chair, laugh out loud funny.

During Sunday's final round, Uihlein was faced with a shot from the side of an adjacent tee box. As he set to address the ball, he suddenly jumped, frighteningly, leading commentators to believe there must be a nasty snake that popped out of the grass.

As you can see in the video below, it turns out the predator was merely a tiny, little frog:

After surviving the attack, a shaken Uihlein went on to tie for 22nd.

The "incident" gave everyone a good laugh, including Uihlein's good buddy Rickie Fowler:

Uihlein tweeted back:

Hey, we all have a phobia... Some people are afraid of the dark. Some are afraid of heights. Some are afraid of confined spaces. Some are afraid of deadly snakes or grizzly bears.

For poor, ole Peter Uihlein, it's little frogs. A great gag gift for Uihlein this holiday season might be a DVD of, "The Muppets." 

Billy Horschel and Rory McIlroy at the Tour Championship
USA Today Sports Images
Billy Horschel (l) won the FedExCup, while Rory McIlroy won two straight majors.
Now that the FedExCup has been decided, the PGA Tour has unveiled its five official candidates for Player of the Year honors. They are, listed alphabetically, Billy Horschel, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson. 
If you had a vote, who would you choose? 
Here are some highlights from each candidate's season, just to refresh your memory (again, listed alphabetically):
Billy Horschel
--Won the FedExCup, thanks to back-to-back victories in the BMW Championship and Tour Championship.
--Was the sixth player to win multiple FedExCup Playoff events in one season, joining Tiger Woods (2007), Vijay Singh (2008), Camilo Villegas (2008), Rory McIlroy (2012) and Henrik Stenson (2013).
--Finished seventh on official money list ($4,814,787), and recorded five top-10 finishes.
Martin Kaymer
--Finished 16th in the FedExCup.
--Won both U.S. Open and The Players Championship, becoming the first player ever to capture both those events in the same season.
--Finished 10th on official money list ($4,532,537), and recorded four top-10 finishes.
Rory McIlroy
--Finished third in the FedExCup.
--Won both the British Open and PGA Championship, along with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, in a span of three straight summer starts.
--Finished first on official money list ($8,280,096), and recorded a PGA Tour-leading total of 12 top-10 finishes.
--Won the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Trophy for adjusted scoring average (68.827) and Arnold Palmer Award as the leading money-winner, and was first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win consecutive majors.
Jimmy Walker
--Finished seventh in the FedExCup, and led FedExCup standings for 36 of the first 37 weeks of the season, including a record 30 straight weeks.
--Earned three victories – Open, Sony Open in Hawaii and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am – in 27 starts.
--Finished fourth on official money list ($5,787,016), and recorded 10 top-10 finishes.
Bubba Watson
--Finished fifth in the FedExCup.
--Won the Masters (for the second time in three years) as well as the Northern Trust Open and the Masters Tournament.
--Finished second on official money list ($6,336,978), and recorded a total of eight top-10 finishes ( a career high).
The player of the year award will be decided by a vote of the PGA Tour players who played in at least 15 official money events during the 2013-14 season. The voting will close on Sept. 25, and the winner will be announced the week after the Ryder Cup.
Tim Thelen and Lucinda Thelen at the Senior Open of Portugal
Getty Images
Tim Thelen celebrated his Senior Open of Portugal victory on Sunday with his wife Lucinda, who often caddies for him.
PGA Professional Tim Thelen added another victorious chapter to his amazing second career over the weekend when he won the Senior Open of Portugal on the European Senior Tour. The victory was his fourth on the European senior circuit in the last three seasons. 
During a long career as a PGA of America member in College Station, Texas, Thelen won the PGA Professional National Championship in both 2000 and 2003, then captured the 2009 PGA Assistant Championship. When he turned 50 in 2011, he decided to expand his horizons and try his hand in Europe.
So far, so good. Thelen was the medalist at Q-School, then won three times in 15 starts in 2012 – including two thrillers in a row in which he defeated Bernhard Langer and Ryder Cup captains Ian Woosnam and Mark James – en route to a third-place finish on the money list. 
After nine starts this season, he's currently sixth on the money list – three of the players ahead of him are Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Tom Watson.
"This week I played as good as I can play," Thelen told on Sunday in Portugal. "I've played good for the last two weeks, but this was even better. I think I hit 16 greens today and that's pretty impressive round here."
Even more impressive is that Thelen excelled despite some back issues.
"I've been struggling with my back all week, but today it was much better," he added. "I almost pulled out after it went into spasm on the second hole [Saturday] but today, thank God, for the first time in nine or 10 days, I didn’t feel a thing."
Thelen began his final round Sunday three shots ahead of Greg Turner, Des Smyth and Carl Mason after opening rounds of 68 and 64, but he had to deal with both a late charge from Miguel Angel Martin and a weather delay before sealing his victory.
In his last two starts before this victory, Thelen had finished second behind Montgomerie at the Travis Perkins Masters and third behind Monty in the Russian Senior Open. 
Why is that significant? Because Thelen and Montgomerie were college teammates at Houston Baptist University. And now here they are, 30 years later, swapping victories again.