Golf Buzz

Vintage clubs at Northern Trust Open
PGA Tour via YouTube
Players like Rory McIlroy, Stuart Appleby, Anirban Lahiri, Kevin Na, Charley Hoffman and Jamie Donaldson took a few whacks with some classic old clubs at Riviera.
The PGA Tour event now known as the Northern Trust Open is marking its 90th anniversary this year and, to celebrate the occasion, a handful of players stopped by the range to hit some vintage golf clubs from various eras.
Being the old man of the staff, I used persimmon woods when I first started out, and to this day I believe they feel better your hand than any metal club could ever feel. I've also hit a few hickory clubs over the years, and to this day I believe they feel … well, interesting.
So anyway, it was fun to see the reactions of players like Rory McIlroy, Stuart Appleby, Anirban Lahiri, Kevin Na, Charley Hoffman and Jamie Donaldson as they took a few whacks with these classic old clubs. The rapid advances in technology over the past couple of decades means that, as McIlroy said, even the clubs from the 1990s are like antiques to him.
It's too bad the video crew didn't have access to ShotTracker or a Trackman so we could get a definitive view of how far – or short – the balls were flying off these classic sticks. But you could get a pretty good idea based on the players' faces as they watched the balls in flight.
For the record, the tournament – created as the Los Angeles Open – was first played in 1926. The total purse that year was $10,000 – at the time the largest prize in golf – and the inaugural champion was "Lighthorse" Harry Cooper. No doubt even the oldest of the clubs being swung today would have felt pretty good to him.
Take a look:
Dustin Johnson
USA Today Sports Images
Dustin Johnson is deadly accurate with a wedge in his hand, as he proved again on Monday.
One big difference between most PGA Tour-calber players and the rest of us is their impeccable distance control. From just about any spot on the golf course, they can hit just about any other spot on the golf course.
And while we know Dustin Johnson primarily for his prodigious tee shots – he's averaging 313 yards per tee shot this season – he is also a master with a wedge in his hand. He proved it just yesterday during a test session with the folks from TaylorMade at MountainGate Golf Club near Santa Monica.
Standing out in a fairway, he was aiming at a pin up on the green when someone off-camera yelled at him, "Hey DJ, aim for the camera" – meaning the cameraman lying on the ground just off the back edge of the putting surface.
DJ cut loose, and his ball arced toward its target. It hit with a thump a few feet from the flagstick – and hopped to within a millimeter of the camera before backing up a bit. Amazingly, the cameraman doesn't flinch when the ball suddenly fills his lens. 
We'd love to see the footage from the ground-level camera, but the video below provides a fantastic view of just how close to the camera that ball came. Take a look – and appreciate what an amazing shot that was. 
DJ, by the way, will be in action again this week at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera – cameramen, you have been notified!
Happy Gilmore
Courtesy of Happy Madison Productions
Adam Sandler's running swing in "Happy Gilmore" has spawned a million imitations, some much better than others.
Hard to believe, but "Happy Gilmore" was released 20 years ago today. In the film – which many call the funniest golf movie ever, with "Caddyshack" being the other half of that debate – Adam Sandler plays a down-and-out hockey player who tries his hand at golf to win enough money to save his grandmother's house.
Aside from the wisecracks – and an evil Bob Barker – what we mostly remember from the film is Happy's trademark running swing at the golf ball. Golfers everywhere have tried that move with varying degrees of success over the years and, to tip our cap to "Happy Gilmore," here is a collection of some of the most memorable of those attempts.
We'll start off with world No. 1 Jordan Spieth at the Grapefruit Pro-Am in Florida, courtesy of Spieth's buddy and country music star Jake Owen:
Next up is up-and-coming PGA Tour player John Peterson, who took his cut at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia last fall – and shot a 66! That earned him some serious respect from his fellow players, and rightly so:

Pro golfers aren't the only "Happy Gilmore" fans. Washington Nationals' star outfielder Bryce Harper obviously loves the guy as well, as he tried the big swing before Spring Training last winter – and cracked a prodigious drive.
The best we've ever seen is Padraig Harrington, who whaled away at the 2013 PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Check out his form:
U.S. soccer star Sydney Leroux didn't fare quite so well:
Several of the world's best players took a crack at it in their preparation for the 2013 British Open. We don't know that it helped:
And finally, just to refresh your memory, here is the original, revealed to us 20 years ago today. Happy anniversary to "Happy Gilmore!"
Phil Mickelson keeps his 2016 highlight reel going with this chip-in during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Off the green on the par-5 18 at Pebble Beach Golf Links?

When you're Phil big deal because you can do this:



The birdie put him in a tie for the lead after 9.

Thank you, Pacific Ocean. For providing the perfect backdrop for some Mickelson magic.

Phil would go on to get up and down out of the greenside bunker on his next hole.

PLAYING THROUGH: Phil Mickelson chips in four times at Career Builder Challenge

February 13, 2016 - 3:12pm
mark.aumann's picture
PGA Tour/Twiter
Bubba Watson congratulates Mark Wahlberg on an extraordinary tee shot Friday.

The celebrities at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am are there because ... well, they're celebrities. But some of them have pretty good golf games, too.

Take Mark Wahlberg, for example. Partnered with Bubba Watson, the former "Marky Mark" and talented actor put this tee shot within inches of an ace at the par-3, 153-yard third hole at the Monterey Peninsula course on Friday.





Nicely done by one lefty with the other watching. Worthy of the fist bump. And a easy birdie tap-in.

Wahlberg showed Saturday he can handle the flatstick from long distance as well. Check out this putt from way downtown at Pebble Beach's 13th.




Haydn Porteous
European Tour via Twitter
Haydn Porteous kept his clothes mostly dry at the Tshwane Open, and his score mostly good.
Most of us learned about Haydn Porteous when he seemingly came out of nowhere to win the European Tour's Joburg Open a couple weeks ago. The 21-year-old South African might not win this week in the Tshwane Open, but he certainly had a couple of highlight-reel moments in his opening round.
And both involved him shedding some, or almost all, of his clothes.
First, Porteous hit his second shot on the par-4 fourth hole into a swampy hazard just off the green. Wanting to keep his clothes clean and dry, he stripped off his shirt, shoes and socks, and rolled his pant legs up above his knees. He took a big, wet whack at the ball, but it wasn't quite big enough – his ball popped up into the air but didn't have enough oomph to clear the bank in front of the green, and he wound up with a double bogey. 
Amazingly, he followed that up with three straight birdies before finding himself in a somewhat similiar situation on the par-3 eighth hole. This time, he shed his shoes and socks, and took his swing – this one not only made it up onto the putting surface, but it hit the pin with a resounding thwack and stopped a foot or so away. Porteous strolled up in his bare feet and tapped the shortie for a not-so-routine par.
Despite the "watermarks" on his scorecard, he managed an even-par 70 and is tied for 23rd heading into Friday's second round. Here's his stripdown and scramble: