Golf Buzz

Abby Wambach
Xochitl Pena via Twitter
Soccer superstar Abby Wambach (in black) checked out Poppie's Pond, then took a running leap into the water.
 
This week's ANA Inspiration isn't just the LPGA Tour's first major of 2016. It's also a gathering of top female stars from around the world of sports – skiing champion Lindsey Vonn and Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin are just a few of accomplished athletes that have been in Rancho Mirage, Calif., this week.
 
Soccer superstar Abby Wambach also is on hand, and she did something this afternoon that no doubt every golfer in the field has been dreaming of – she took a leap into Poppie's Pond.
 
Poppie's Pond – whose official name is Champions Lake – is the water feature just off the 18th green on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club. Its nickname honors longtime tournament director Terry "Poppie" Wilcox, and the first tournament winner to take the leap was Amy Alcott, who did so spontaneously back in 1988.
 
 
The tradition of winners jumping into the lake didn't really begin until 1994, however, when Donna Andrews took the plunge. Every champion since then has cannonballed into the water, and a few years ago the pond was converted from a water hazard into more of a swimming pool for the health and well-being of the jumpers.
 
I'm sure all the professional players would consider it bad form to jump in without a win. But what if you win the pro-am, like Wambach's team did? After her victory, the soccer legend walked over to check out the pond. After a little encouragement from Danielle Kang, she backed up, took a run and – ker-splash!
 
Here's her jump, as shared by Xochitl Pena of the Palm Springs Desert Sun. Not bad at all:
 
 
 
 
DeMarcus Ware
DeMarcus Ware via Instagram
DeMarcus Ware teed it up on a gorgeous course called Jack's Point on his vacation to New Zealand.
 
After winning the Super Bowl a couple months ago, the Denver Broncos are enjoying a little R&R this offseason. Quarterback Peyton Manning famously went to DisneyLand right after the Big Game, and this week star defensive lineman DeMarcus Ware is on vacation down in New Zealand.
 
Ware has been working out a little bit, doing a little fine dining and wine-tasting, and enjoying the jaw-dropping scenery for which New Zealand is so famous. He's also spending part of his time on the golf course. 
 
 
He's shared a few quick Instagram photos and videos of his swing and of the course he played – Jack's Point in Queenstown. I'm not as familiar with Jack's Point as I am with New Zealand courses like Cape Kidnappers or Kauri Cliffs, but it looks spectacular – that body of water you see in Ware's video is Lake Wakatipu and those mountains in the background are called the Remarkables. 
 
Ware's swing looks pretty nice, too – I'm always impressed with the flexibility that these muscular athletes have. Take a look at his swing, and at the video of the course he played:
 
 

A video posted by Demarcus Ware (@demarcusware) on

 

#94

A photo posted by Demarcus Ware (@demarcusware) on

 

Close but no cigar

A video posted by Demarcus Ware (@demarcusware) on

 

⛳️

Bubba Watson
Orlando Magic via Twitter
Bubba Watson's half-court shot at the Orlando Magic game Tuesday night was even cooler than it if had gone in.
 
On this week before he returns to Augusta National to try to win his third Masters, Bubba Watson is enjoying a little down time. He spent Tuesday night at watching his beloved Orlando Magic trample the Brooklyn Nets – and he got to try a half-court shot.
 
 
Bubba's heft from half-court didn't quite go in, but what happened might actually be more memorable. His aim was just a teench off, and the ball wedged between the rim and the backboard. Wow! From half-court, is that called an atomic wedgie? 
 
Oh well, no doubt Bubba would prefer his aim to be perfect next week when he's got a wedge in his hand and he's homing in on those slicky, tricky greens at Augusta National.
 
Here's his shot:
 
 
 
 
ACSL Mini-Surveyor drone
Courtesy of ACSL
The Mini Surveyor drone that'll test on-course deliveries can carry loads of 10 to 12 pounds per trip, according to drone maker Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory.
 
Over in Japan, Rakuten is sort of the equivalent of ecommerce giants like Amazon or China's Alibaba. And like those companies, Rakuten is interested in the prospects of delivering packages via autonomous drones.
 
As part of its research, the company has bought into Japanese drone maker Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory – and one if its first tests will be to see how an ACSL drone can handle delivering goodies to golfers during their rounds. 
 
 
Starting in May, the Tech Crunch technology blog reports, Rakuten and ACSL will conduct field tests at a golf course in Chiba. Using a smartphone app, golfers will be able to order food, beverages and perhaps even other small items like golf balls, and a drone will be dispatched from the clubhouse to deliver the order.
 
The companies have given no indication of what specifically they're looking to prove in the test, but the potential for snack-and-supply-delivering drones seems great. Here's a quick video of the ACSL Mini Surveyor drone that'll be the subject of the test – it doesn’t do much in the video, but you can see what it looks like:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jordan Spieth/Twitter
Who wouldn't want a selfie with Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler on a boat?

So you've been eliminated from the Dell Match Play? What do you do with the rest of your weekend?

If you're Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, you climb on board a boat in the middle of Austin's Colorado River and watch the rest of the tournament from there with a few friends, courtesy of Ben Crenshaw and his wife.

Spieth posted a picture Saturday on social media of himself, Fowler and a group of folks having what appears to be a great time.

 

 

The hashtag #thanksmrandmrscrenshaw -- which we can only assume is a hat tip to Austin native and two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw -- was trending in Austin for much of the day.

If you can't win, a day on the river is a pretty nice consolation prize.

Golf Channel/Twitter
Patrick Reed channel his 2014 Ryder Cup "shush" moment this week at the Dell Match Play.

It's hard to forget Patrick Reed's brash response to the pro-European crowd at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, when he shushed the crowd after sinking a putt at the seventh hole during his singles match with Henrik Stenson.

In case you have, this will jog your memory.

 

 

Certainly, Reed hasn't forgotten. This week, Reed was spotted sporting a unique belt buckle at the Dell Match Play in Austin. Yes, it's a silhouette of him giving the "shush" sign.

If it was a good luck charm, it worked perfectly through the round-robin portion, as Reed went a perfect 3-0, defeating Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick and fellow Ryder Cup teammate Phil Mickelson.

However, Dustin Johnson -- who missed the 2014 Ryder Cup after taking a leave of absence from the sport one month before the U.S. team left for Scotland -- appeared unaffected by Reed's talisman. He knocked Reed out in the round of 16 by a score of 3&2.