Golf Buzz

Patrick Reed
PGA Tour via YouTube
Patrick Reed closed his round in eagle-birdie style on Thursday to grab the lead at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
 
Patrick Reed, the defending champion at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, was said to be a bit peeved that other players were featured in the event's marketing materials this week instead of him. So he went out Thursday and proved that he ought to be the star attraction by grabbing the first-round lead.
 
He didn't really look like the leader in the early going, with only a pair of birdies on his front nine on the par-73 Plantation Course at Kapalua. But he closed his round like a champ, going birdie-eagle on his final two holes for a back-nine 31 to edge playing partner Jordan Spieth for the top spot on the scoreboard.
 
Reed birdied the 549-yard, par-4 17th hole thanks to a laser-like approach shot from 217 yards that parked itself a mere two feet from the cup and was very likely the best shot of the day. 
 
 
And very likely the second-best shot of the day was his second shot on the 665-yard, par-5 18th hole. After a big drive, he crushed a 3-wood from 309 yards onto the shaved bank to the right of the green. The ball landed about pin-high, then rolled down the slope onto the green, where it settled down about 16 feet from the flag, and he converted the eagle putt to close out an 8-under 65. 
 
"I didn't think I could get it all the way to the green," Reed said of that approach on No. 18. "I thought if I smoked it, I'd get to the front edge and it just happened to ride the wind a little bit and kind of just kept on going."
 
Here are Reed's two big shots:
 
 
Dustin Johnson
USA Today Sports Images
Dustin Johnson spends a lot of time on his irons during his pre-round warm-up sessions.
 
Dustin Johnson is such a fantastic athlete that you almost feel like he could jump out of bed, go straight to the first tee and still put together an impressive round. Maybe he can – but thanks to a new video from the PGA Tour, we can see that he puts in quite a bit of work before he goes to play.
 
Johnson arrives at the practice ground around 90 minutes before his scheduled tee time, and starts his warm-up routine by hitting a dozen 60-degree wedges. He works his way up and down through his bag, hitting a dozen or so shots with many of his wedges and irons – but hitting more long irons than medium or short irons, and not hitting as many drivers and fairway woods as you might expect from one of the tour's biggest hitters.
 
 
That part of his warm-up takes a little more than an hour. With about 20 minutes to go, he's off to the chipping area to hit some shots from both the greenside rough and the short grass. And he finishes up on the putting green, focusing on longer putts and finishing up with shorter ones, before heading off to the first tee.
 
The video doesn't include any commentary from Johnson himself, but getting this inside look at his routine is certainly illustrative. Take a look:
 
 
 
 
David Howell
USA Today Sports Images
David Howell went to extremes to keep his shirt clean and dry at the South African Open on Thursday.
 
It's a pretty safe bet that David Howell of England will never forget the first competitive hole of golf he played in 2016.
 
Why, you ask? Well, because he played part of it without his shirt on.
 
Howell, a five-time European Tour winner who's currently ranked No. 97 in the world – and who you might recall as a member of the 2004 and 2006 European Ryder Cup teams – began his 2016 campaign today on the 10th hole at the South African Open. He wound up in a greenside hazard and, apparently, feared getting mud on his shirt as he blasted out.
 
So, off came the shirt.
 
 
Howell escaped the hazard and, as you can see in the left photo in the tweet below from African News Agency golf reporter Michael Sherman, his concern about mud was warranted. He went on to bogey the hole, but bounced back with four birdies in his next five holes on his way to a 1-under 71 – all while wearing his clean, dry shirt.
 
Sorry to say there is apparently no video of Howell's apparel adventure, nor did he mention it on social media after his round. But we can bet he was happy to play his remaining 17 holes fully clothed.
 

 
 
 
January 7, 2016 - 4:40pm
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This Arnold Palmer bobblehead was given away by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a 2009 promotion.

Jan. 7 is National Bobblehead Day, a day to celebrate those larger-than-life springy heads on tiny bodies that seem to be a must-have promotional giveaway at most sporting events.

The overwhelming majority of bobbleheads are created for a team to promote its own players, or by sponsors and advertisers. 

But there are a few bobbleheads of golf royalty out there. Here's our favorite foursome: Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Fred Couples.

Couples is perhaps the most interesting, in that the Boeing Classic handed out 5,000 of them during the 2011 event at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge to honor Seattle's favorite son.

Palmer's bobblehead was a promotional giveaway by the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2009 season, in honor of his 80th birthday.

The San Francisco Giants did something similar for McIlroy, placing a Giants cap on his bobblehead for a 2012 giveaway.

 

 

And there are multiple versions of Tiger Woods bobbleheads available for sale, mainly created for Upper Deck, with each bobblehead matching a collector's card. Those range from Tiger's amateur career -- when he was wearing the straw hat during the 1994 U.S. Amateur -- to more recent Nike swooshes and Tiger Woods caps.

January 7, 2016 - 3:52pm
mark.aumann's picture
January 7, 2016 - 10:30am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rickie Fowler
rickiefowler on Instagram
Rickie Fowler -- arguably the most fashion forward player on the PGA Tour -- has always been comfortable in his own skin and the style of clothes that most other can't pull off. This week is no exception.

Forever fashion-forward, Rickie Fowler is owning his new look as he strolls the fairways in Maui this week for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

In what's got to be a first on the golf course, Fowler is sporting "jogger" style pants along with custom-made high-top PUMA golf spikes. It's a bold look to be sure, but one that Fowler can pull off.

But that's not the only noticeable change in Fowler's appearance early in 2016. He's also got a far more permanent one -- a tattoo just below his left bicep. It's a tribute to his grandfather, as Fowler explained in this Instagram post: