Golf Buzz

February 6, 2015 - 11:13am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
Getty Images
Sunday's withdrawal from the Honda Classic marked the sixth time in his professional career that Tiger Woods has withdrawn from a PGA Tour event.

Tiger Woods withdrew after playing 11 holes in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday, citing back pain caused in part by a weather delay for coastal fog in La Jolla, Calif.

Woods's early exit marked the eighth time in his PGA Tour career that he's withdrawn from a tournament and the sixth time he's done so in the last five seasons. That number is nine if you include the 1995 U.S. Open, where a then 19-year-old Woods -- an amateur at the time -- withdrew after injuring his wrist while playing a shot from deep rough at Shinnecock Hills.

READ: Tiger Woods's future cloudier after latest injury | List: Tiger Woods' injuries

Here is a breakdown of Woods's withdrawals on the PGA Tour, in chronological order:

- 1998: Woods withdraws before the start of the Kemper Open due to a back injury

- 2006: Woods withdraws before teeing off in the third round of the Nissan Open citing the flu

- 2010: Woods withdraws from the Players Championship after eight holes in the final round citing a neck injury

- 2011: Woods withdraws after nine holes in the first round of the Players Championship citing a knee injury

- 2012: Woods withdraws from the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral after 12 holes in the final round citing a left leg injury

- 2014: Woods withdraws after 13 holes in the final round of the Honda Classic citing lower back spasms

2014: Woods withdraws after eight holes in the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational, citing lower back spasms. 

- 2015: Woods withdraws after 11 holes in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open, citing back pain.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

 

Alan Shepard
NASA courtesy photo
Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard completes experiments on the moon before his famous golf shots.

Talk about an out-of-this-world golf experience.

On Feb. 6, 1971 -- 44 years ago today -- Alan Shepard pulled out a makeshift six-iron he smuggled on board Apollo 14 and hit two golf balls on the lunar surface, becoming the first -- and only -- person to play golf anywhere other than Earth.

WORLD RECORDS: Longest useable golf club

The first American astronaut in space was named commander of Apollo 14 and wanted to do something special while on the moon. So he contacted a local club pro in Houston, who connected the head of a six-iron to the shaft of a piece of rock collecting equipment. Shepard then covered the club with a sock so it wouldn't be discovered before launch.

Only a handful of people in NASA knew of Shepard's plan when, after an extended excursion on the lunar surface, he pulled out the club, dropped two balls on the moon and proceeded to do this:

 

 

Shepard shanked the first ball, but estimated his second shot traveled more than 200 yards. Even though it seemed like a stunt at the time, Shepard admitted there was some science involved. With little atmosphere and much lower gravity, golf balls on the moon should travel much farther than on the earth.

SENIOR GOLFERS: Five key exercises to improve mobility, flexibility

Shepard eventually donated the club to the USGA Museum in 1974. A replica is in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. He eventually retired from the space program and lived in a home overlooking Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, Calif. He died in 1998.

Andres Gonzales and Tom Brady jersey
Andres Gonzales via Instagram/Rex Hoggard via Twitter
Andres Gonzales wasn't happy about having to wear a Tom Brady jersey at Torrey Pines, but fulfilled his obligation on Thursday.
 
Keegan Bradley is a huge fan of his hometown of Boston's sports teams. If you don't believe me, just go take a peek at his Twitter timeline for the last month or so – it's dominated by New England Patriots' talk.
 
Andres Gonzales, a native of Washington state, is a proud member of the Seattle Seahawks' 12th Man brigade. So, naturally, the two made a little wager on the Super Bowl – the loser had to wear the jersey of the winning team's quarterback.
 
On Thursday, Gonzales paid up. 
 
 
Both players are out in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open, so Bradley got Gonzales an old-school Tom Brady jersey, and he sported it out at Torrey Pines. Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel snapped the right-hand photo.
 
The left-hand photo is from Gonzales himself, and he posted it on Instagram with this caption: "Least excited I've ever been to pay a bet. Wearing the wrong #12 to the range and first tee. @Keegan_Bradley @travismathew #goseahawks"
 
Here's a quick video of Bradley presenting Gonzales with the jersey, and Gonzales strolling around Torrey Pines with it on:
 
 
 
 
Dustin Johnson
PGA Tour via YouTube
Dustin Johnson opened the Farmers Insurance Open with three straight pars, then sank a 159-yard shot for an eagle on his fourth hole.
 
After sitting out for the last six months to deal with what he called "personal challenges," Dustin Johnson returned to the PGA Tour today. So, how's his golf game?
 
Pretty darn good, judging by his approach shot into the par-4 fourth hole on the South Course at Torrey Pines. Johnson opened with three straight pars, then hit his drive to within 159 yards of the flag on the 462-yard par 4. He then stepped up, took a nice, smooth swing and sent his ball flying directly at the pin.
 
 
It hit the green, bounced a couple times and made a beeline right into the hole – a thing of beauty, and no doubt the shot of the day in the Farmers Insurance Open. Johnson bogeyed his next two holes to fall back to even par but, even so, it's great to see DJ and his gorgeous swing back out on tour.
 
Here's the video of his "welcome back" eagle: 
 
 
 
 
Lydia Ko and Lorde
Lydia Ko and her new Twitter buddy Lorde have a lot in common.
Now that Lydia Ko has become the youngest-ever player, male or female, to assume the No. 1 spot in golf's world rankings, she's finding herself flying in a higher orbit.
 
Exhibit A: After reaching the top spot, Ko said Wednesday, she received a tweet from pop singer Lorde – who has a No. 1 ranking her own.
 
"I mean, she was Billboard Chart No. 1 with her song 'Royals.' And I'm a huge fan of her music and she sent me a tweet and she's like, congratulations, very proud," Ko said in her press conference before the LPGA Tour's Pure Silk Bahamas Classic. "And I was like, oh, my God, I thought, oh, my God, because I'm a huge fan for her and that's somebody and somebody of that status to give me a tweet like that, that was pretty awesome."
 
 
No doubt part of Lorde's interest in Ko stems from the fact that both are teenage superstars – Lorde turned 18 in November, while Ko will be 18 in April. Both, of course, are from New Zealand. And where Ko won two big 2014 honors – Rookie of the Year and leading money winner – Lorde won two 2014 Grammys, for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.
 
Ko also noted that "House of Lies" star Don Cheadle – an avid golfer in his own right – also offered her a congratulatory tweet, retweeting a story about her ascendance to the No. 1 ranking.
 
When the moderator of Ko's interview wondered whether Cheadle was becoming her No. 1 fan, Ko joked that maybe he could become president of her fan club. 
 
Hey, why not? Cheadle does plenty of politicking as a cut-throat management consultant on "House of Lies." Maybe he could get Lorde to sign on as a vice president – or at least chair the Entertainment Committee.
 
 
TaylorMade NHRA Funny Car drag racer
Courtesy of Chad Head Racing
The Toyota Camry driven by Chad Head in the NHRA Winternationals will be festooned from bumper to bumper with TaylorMade logos and colors.
 
Torrey Pines is the PGA Tour venue closest to TaylorMade's headquarters in Carlsbad, California, and if you take a look around at the Farmers Insurance Open this week, you're bound to see a lot of TaylorMade clubs.
 
But that's not the only sporting event where the company will have a prominent presence this weekend. 
 
To promote its new AeroBurner driver, TaylorMade is sponsoring one of the Funny Cars in this weekend's NHRA season opener, the Circle K Winternationals in fairly-nearby Pomona.
 
The Toyota Camry driven by Chad Head will be festooned from bumper to bumper with TaylorMade logos and colors because, the company says, the AeroBurner driver, "like the sport of NHRA, delivers straight speed performance in the fastest, most aerodynamic driver in company history."
 
 
"We are excited about the opportunity to showcase the TaylorMade AeroBurner on our Toyota Funny Car and can't think of a better parallel between the AeroBurner product attributes and the sport of NHRA," said Head. "This is a great chance for TaylorMade to introduce AeroBurner to the NHRA fan base."
 
As part of the sponsorship, the Head Racing team will visit TaylorMade HQ to officially unveil the car design to the company's employees.
 
We are excited to be partnering with Head Racing as part of the release of the new AeroBurner driver," said Nick Robbie, director of marketing at TaylorMade Golf. "We want golfers to know that the AeroBurner driver delivers unparalleled speed that leads to substantial distance. The AeroBurner Funny Car will be a thundering example that reinforces Made of Speed."
 
This isn't the first time that TaylorMade has ventured outside of golf with a prominent sponsorship. In recent years, baseball fans at San Diego's Petco Park have seen one of the foul poles decked out like a huge TaylorMade driver.