Golf Buzz

Bubba Watson and Kevin Durant
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Bubba Watson got two very big souvenirs from Kevin Durant, and one very big regret.
About a month after he won won the Masters for the second time last spring, Bubba Watson made a new friend – Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. In his excitement to meet the NBA's MVP, Watson asked Durant for his shoes after the Thunder eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers.
 
Durant immediately agreed, and handed his shoes to Watson, who was sitting courtside at the Staples Center for the big game. 
 
So Watson headed home with two very big souvenirs – and one very big regret.
 
"As soon as it came out of my mouth," Watson said this week at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, he wished he'd never asked.
 
"If somebody did that to me at the Masters, I would be so mad," he admitted. "But maybe [Durant] likes me enough." 
 
 
As Watson explained in Bermuda, he met Durant at a Bible study in Los Angeles the day before the game. As they chatted afterward, Watson said, "hey, why don't you give me your shoes after the game? It'd be funny."
 
And, as PGA.com's T.J. Auclair reported, "Moments after winning the Game 6 showdown … Durant slipped off his game-worn shoes and ran them over to Watson." The two shared a hug and Watson wished Durant well the rest of the way.
 
Watson is a huge NBA fan, and has been seen at several practices and games the last couple of years. In fact, his wife, Angie, is a former WNBA player.
 
But it sounds like his days of big-time souvenir hunting might be over.
 
Here are a couple of videos, first of Watson getting the shoes, and then of Watson explaining his second thoughts:
 
 
 
 
 
 
October 13, 2014 - 7:28pm
andrew.prezioso's picture
Tiger Woods
Stanford Men's Golf
Tiger Woods spent part of Saturday with the Stanford golf teams.

Those Stanford kids sure are quick learners.

On Saturday, the Cardinal men's and women's golf teams got to meet Tiger Woods, who was at The Farm to see fellow golfer Notah Begay get inducted into the school's hall of fame. One day later, Cardinal sophomore Viraat Badhwar set the Stanford course with a 59.

According to Badhwar's bio page on the Stanford site, his lowest round as a freshman was a 67. A native of Queensland, Australia, Badhwar also finished tied for 14th at the NCAA Regional Qualifying tournament last season.

Related: Nicolas Colsaerts falls inches short of a 59 at the Portugal Masters

Stanford did not play a competitive event this past weekend, but Badhwar will get the chance to keep the momentum going when the Cardinal heads to the United States Collegiate Championship in Alpharetta, Ga., starting on Friday. 

Based on this immediate result, it's clear that whenever Tiger officially decides to retire from the PGA Tour, he'll have a successful career as a teacher waiting for him. 

H/T For The Win

Rory McIlroy at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf
Rory McIlroy had plenty to say about his fellow contestants at the PGA Grand Slam this week.
By Josh Ball, PGA.com Contributor 
 
SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda – While any event involving professional sportsmen has an element of seriousness about it, the PGA Grand Slam is played in a relaxed atmosphere.
 
Asked to evaluate the strengths of his playing partners over the next two days, Rory McIlroy was effusive in his praise for Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk. Martin Kaymer, not so much.
 
Watson is "the most impressive player to watch," according to McIlroy, who won both the Open Championship and PGA Championship.
 
 
And Furyk is the "ultimate professional who gets the most out of his game," and is someone McIlroy really respects.
 
In that context, Kaymer – McIlroy's Ryder Cup teammate, fellow European and the reigning U.S. Open champion – might have expected a similar amount of respect.
 
But McIlroy, who was speaking just as the German entered the press area, put his tongue firmly in his cheek – and dismissed Kaymer as a "solid player" who had "no chance."
 
Bubba Watson at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf
Getty Images
Bubba Watson didn't pick up a club for five days before arriving in Bermuda Monday morning.
By Josh Ball, PGA.com Contributor 
 
SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda – Even before he reached a storm-hit Bermuda, Bubba Watson had been in something of a whirlwind.
 
The Masters champion held his annual Bubba's Bash before arriving on the island Monday morning, taking in stops in Orlando, Louisiana, and Phoenix over the past five days.
 
Singing, dancing and discussing the faith that is an integral part of his life, Watson's preparation for the event meant he didn't pick up a golf club for five days before landing in Bermuda.
 
Usually in that instance, some practice time might have been called for. But a delayed flight due to Tropical Storm Fay put a dent in that plan, which initially had him landing on the island Sunday.
 
 
"We flew out at 7:00 a.m., landed here [Bermuda] around 10.30 a.m.," Watson explained. "And the traffic, because of the debris [from the storm] came about five minutes before my [Pro-Am] tee time."
 
That left the Masters champion just enough time to grab a sandwich, change his shoes, and get to the first tee. 
 
In the end, it didn't seem to hurt his golf, even if he was using a new set of irons and three wedges. 
 
"I played nice today," he said afterward.
 
Martin Kaymer at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf
Getty Images
"There are a couple very difficult holes where you can make big numbers," says Martin Kaymer at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
By Josh Ball, PGA.com Contributor 
 
SOUTHAMPTON, Bermuda – It's nice to know that some golf holes are a challenge no matter whether you're a high-handicap golfer or US Open champion Martin Kaymer.
 
The ninth hole at Port Royal Golf Course, the home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, is generally acknowledged as one of the toughest on the course. Rising sharply to an exposed, elevated green, it – more than most – is at the mercy of the swirling wind that gives the course its teeth.
 
Golfers of all abilities traditionally misjudge the distance for their approach, factoring in the hill ( 1½ clubs) but not the wind (one club, sometimes more).
 
On Monday, Kaymer's approach from 80 yards out of the first cut fell short of the green – and his second attempt didn't make it, either – during the Pro-Am ahead of the Grand Slam.
 
The wind though, apparently, wasn't the problem on No. 9, according to the major winner. It was he said, just "a poor shot.
 
 
"I have to be honest with you," he said. "That wasn't the wind, that was me."
 
Which isn't to say Kaymer doesn't recognize the effect the wind is likely to have over the next couple of days, especially on a course that hugs the coast on several holes. The signature par-3 16th, a 235-yard drive with a green hanging to the edge of a cliff, being a prime example.
 
"There are a couple very difficult holes where you can really screw up, where you can make big numbers," Kaymer said. "The wind, we all know, is going to be a factor."
 
The Bermuda grass also posses something of a challenge, especially in the rough, where it grips the clubhead and can make distance control something of a lottery for all but the best players.
 
"I think when you play on that grass, that Bermuda grass, it's very important to hit good tee shots," said Kaymer. "It's very difficult to judge distances from the first cut, from the rough."
 
October 13, 2014 - 10:19am
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PGA.com
tj.auclair's picture
Vapor Fairway Woods
Nike Golf
Nike engineers reimagine fairway woods design to promote speed and forgiveness for the golf athlete.

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Nike Golf innovation begins with the golf athlete in mind – always. Nike engineers and designers took the inspiration and insights from Nike athletes to drive the technology of Nike’s new Vapor Speed and Vapor Flex fairway woods, available on January 30, 2015.

“Athlete insights drove significant chassis refinement in the Vapor fairway woods.” said Nate Radcliffe, Director of Engineering for Nike Golf. “Our athletes wanted tighter but forgiving leading edges, fuller profiles and added ball speed. We’ve delivered that with the synergy of our FlyBeam and compression channel technologies.”

The Vapor Speed fairway woods have a 25% larger footprint with a lower and deeper Center of Gravity (CG) than previous Nike models.

“Athletes including Tiger Woods requested larger face profiles in fairway woods, but it was vital that we do that without compromising ball speed or optimal launch conditions,” said Radcliffe. “We successfully modified the chassis by sloping the crown to lower the CG which optimized launch characteristics across the family.”

Like the new Vapor drivers, the Vapor Speed fairway woods feature Nike’s new FlyBeam-reinforced Covert Cavity Back design, a re-engineered Compression Channel and a NexCOR face – all combining to stabilize the chassis, maximize ball speed and promote longer and straighter distance. The low CG provides a high launch with a lower-spin flight.

The Vapor Flex fairway woods highlight the same technologies found in the Vapor Speed on a more compact chassis, except the Vapor Flex has added Nike’s FlexLoft 2 adjustability system, allowing the golf athlete the functionality of five lofts and three face angles within 15 different settings.

The new, improved FlexLoft system is five grams (30%) lighter without compromising function, which leads to a CG that is up to 2mm lower on the Vapor Flex fairways. The redistribution of mass creates more stability, better launch conditions and faster swing speeds. Another benefit of FlexLoft 2 is its forward and backward compatibility. Golfers with previous generations of Covert can use shafts with the original adaptor in the new head or vice versa.

Nike Vapor Speed Fairway Woods:

Availability: January 30, 2015
Specifications: 3W: 15° (RH/LH); 5W: 19° (RH/LH): MRC Fubuki Z 60 shaft: X, S, R, A, W
MSRP: $240.00 Street Price: $199.00

Nike Vapor Flex Fairway Woods:

Availability: January 30, 2015
Specifications: 3W: 13° - 17° (RH/LH); 5W: 17° - 21° (RH/LH): MRC Diamana S+ Blue Board 70 shaft: X, S, R
MSRP: $300.00 Street Price: $249.00

For more information, visit http://www.nike.com/nikegolf