Golf Buzz

April 4, 2014 - 10:28am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bubba Watson
YouTube
Bubba Watson is the latest golfer to star in an ESPN SportsCenter commercial.

SportsCenter commercials are always good, especially those featuring golfers -- like this one where Scott Van Pelt marvels as Arnold Palmer makes himself an "Arnold Palmer" in the ESPN cafeteria. Or, this one, where Tiger Woods has a huge gallery following him around through the cubicles of the ESPN offices in Bristol.

Well, add the one you see below to the list:

Bubba Watson, winner of the 2012 Masters, stars in the commercial along with the Stanford University mascot -- the Stanford Tree.

FOLLOW: 2014 Masters coverage | Masters by the numbers | Potential first-time major winners

Watson, accompanied by a caddie, tries to figure out ways he can get around the Stanford Tree in the narrow space between rows of cubicles -- reminiscent of the way Watson calculated his way around trees in the sudden-death playoff when he won the Masters.

All in all, good commercial.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

April 3, 2014 - 1:31pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Dakari Johnson
Twitter
University of Kentucky freshman Dakari Johnson needs a little work on his golf swing.

The NCAA men's basketball Final Four is set for this weekend in Arlington, Texas, with UCONN squaring off against Florida, while Wisconsin takes on Kentucky.

With all the intensity that goes into chasing a National Championship, it's important to take a little time to unwind.

RELATED: Follow the NCAA men's basketball coverage on NCAA.com

By the looks of this Vine tweeted by Jarrod Polson -- a senior guard for Kentucky -- that's exactly what the Wildcats were doing on Wednesday at a TopGolf facility.

Here's Polson's Vine of teammate Dakari Johnson -- a freshman who plays center for the Wildcats:

We're not saying Johnson should stick to basketball, but he should definitely see a PGA Professional about that swing once school is out for the summer.

PROUD OF YOUR SWING? Show us on Instagram #postyourswing

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


 

April 3, 2014 - 12:08pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Ashworth
Ashworth Golf
Fred Couples is scheduled to wear this limited-edition Ashworth shirt commemorating his victory in the 1992 Masters in the first round of next week's Masters.

Ashworth Golf unveiled its Majors Series Apparel Collection today -- a set of six limited-edition golf shirts designed to commemorate the major victories by six of the company's Tour staff professionals: Fred Couples, Justin Rose, Stewart Cink, Justin Leonard, Paul Azinger and Retief Goosen.

The first Ashworth Major Series golf shirt in the collection is dedicated to Couples' victory at the 1992 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

RELATED: PGA.com's special Masters coverage | Stadlers first father/son duo in same Masters

Only 275 of the shirts were made, a number that matches Couples' winning total at the 1992 Masters. The second button on the shirt features the date Couples won the Masters and there's also a limited edition Majors Series patch on the right sleeve, as well as Couples' embroidered signature inside the back neck.

"I've worn Ashworth on tour since they started in 1987 and believe it's the best shirt ever made," said Couples. "Wearing Ashworth is very special to me and I'm excited to wear this new golf shirt at The Masters, where I won my first championship."

Each player is scheduled to wear their respective piece during the first round of the major they claimed in 2014.

The Fred Couples Ashworth Majors Series Collection will be available exclusively at www.ashworthgolf.com beginning Monday, April 7, at an MSRP of $100.

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

April 3, 2014 - 9:00am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Kevin Stadler
USA Today Sports Images
When Kevin Stadler won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, he also earned a spot in the 2014 Masters. His dad, Craig, is also in the tournament as a result of the lifetime exemption that came with his Masters win in 1982.

There's a chance we could see the very first father-son pairing for (at least) the first two rounds of the Masters next week. Even if that doesn't happen, we're guaranteed to see the first Masters featuring a father and son in the same year.

Craig Stadler, the 1982 Masters champion, and his 34-year-old son Kevin are both in the field for the 2014 Masters.

The elder Stadler is eligible to play by virtue of his victory 32 years ago, which -- like all Masters champions -- carried a lifetime exemption to play in the tournament.

PHOTOS: First-time Masters participants | Top-20 Masters favorites | Masters International winners

The younger Stadler, meanwhile, is making his first appearance in the Masters. He's eligible this year by virtue of his victory at TPC Scottsdale in February at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

With both Stadlers in the field, it marks the first time in 78 Masters that a father and son will compete in the tournament. It will also be the last time for the Stadlers.

Craig, now 60, admitted as much after Kevin's win in Phoenix.

"It's going to be great for me because it's really my last one," Craig told GolfChannel.com after his son's first PGA Tour win. "I kept saying, you know, when he gets in, that's my last one. I'm going to have to get in a little better shape. It's going to be great."

What would make this whole experience for the Stadlers even more "feel good" would be if the two were paired together. And, in the Masters, that's not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

At the Masters, there's only one traditional pairing. Each year, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion plays the first two rounds alongside the defending Masters champion.

Otherwise, a committee of Augusta National Golf Club members determines what the pairings will be for the first two rounds. After the 36-hole cut, of course, standard procedure is back in place with pairings made based on score in relation to par -- leaders out the latest.

For those first two rounds though, pairings are made at the committee's discretion.

In case you were wondering, the Stadlers aren't the first family members to compete in the Masters.

Scott Michaux, golf writer at the Augusta Chronicle, explains:

There have been 11 father-son combos, but never in the same year. There have been 27 brothers to play at Augusta -- 18 of them in the same tournament, including 13 consecutive fraternal co-starts by Jay and Lionel Hebert. Tommy Armour III followed in his late grandfather's Augusta footsteps in 1990. The whole Haas clan -- Bill; his father, Jay; and uncles Jerry Haas and Dillard Pruitt -- are all branches of the Bob Goalby family tree.

But Kevin is the first direct descendant of a Masters winner to qualify to play Augusta. The closest anyone else ever got was Jack Nicklaus' youngest son, Gary, in a playoff on the eve of the 2000 Masters at TPC Sugarloaf. Weather washed out the final round of the Bellsouth Classic, sending 54-hole co-leaders Gary Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson to a sudden-death playoff. On the par-3 16th hole, the 31-year-old Nicklaus' tee shot buried under the lip of a front bunker and destroyed his chance of joining his father at Augusta.

Michaux also included this chart of father-son Masters participants in his story:

FATHER-SON IN MASTERS:

- Skip Alexander, 6 from 1948-54; Buddy Alexander, 2 in 1987-88
Butch Baird, 1977; Briny Baird, 2004
- Thomas W. Barnes, 1950; Tommy Barnes, 1966
- Julius Boros, 25 from 1950-74; Guy Boros, 1997
- Antonio Garrido, 1978; Ignacio Garrido, 1998
- Al Geiberger, 17 from 1962-80; Brent Geiberger, 2000
- Jay Haas, 22 from 1976-2005; Bill Haas, 2010-2013
- Clayton Heafner, 9 from 1940-53; Vance Heafner, 1978
- Jock Hutchison, 14 from 1935-62; Jock Hutchison Jr., 1941
- Joe Kirkwood, 1936 and 1948; Joe Kirkwood Jr., five from 1949-53
- Davis Love Jr., 1955 and 1964; Davis Love III, 19 from 1988-2011

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

 

April 2, 2014 - 11:30pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Jason Dufner framed mementos
Jason Dufner via Twitter
Jason Dufner will never forget his PGA Championship victory with this gorgeous reminder hanging on his wall.
Jason Dufner and wife Amanda have been busy building a new house down in Alabama. I haven't exactly gotten the grand tour yet, but I know one thing without even seeing the place – the birthday gift that Amanda presented Jason will forever occupy the place of honor.
 
In the wake of Dufner's PGA Championship victory last summer, Amanda collected his most precious mementos from Oak Hill and got them framed. The end result is terrific, as you can see in this photo that Dufner posted on Twitter.
 
Dufner turned 37 on March 24, and the last year has been an unforgettable one for him. As much of a whirlwind as it's been, I'm sure he's pleased to know that he'll always have this reminder of the biggest achievement of the biggest year of his career (so far). The only way it could be better is if Amanda had included my personal favorite shot of Dufner the morning after his big victory.
 
 
 
 
 
 
April 2, 2014 - 3:46pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Ground Force Trainer
Courtesy of Golf Gapper
The Grounder Force Trainer, which uses a square rotational disk, power pole and lead leg support foam pad, helps golfers hone and strengthen their backswings.
How do you hit the ball farther forward? By strengthening your backswing.
 
So says Dr. Jenni Martin, an LPGA Professional with 30 years' experience in fitness and training. She's come up with the Ground Force Trainer, a four-week program of balancing and exercises that she says will add distance to any golfer's drives.
 
Her Ground Force Trainer package includes a square rotational disk, power pole, and lead leg support foam pad along with a DVD, instruction manual and mesh carry bag. With it, golfers can hone and strengthen their backswings, which she says is where power is developed.
 
The purpose of the trainer is to help golfers strengthen their backswings by increasing their "coil" or rotational strength. To use it, a golfer takes his stance with his front foot (left foot for right-handed golfers) on the foam pad and his trail foot on the rotational disk. He grabs the power pole using his golf grip and slowly takes his backswing. If his technique isn't perfect, the trail foot will rotate on the disk; if it is correct, the trail foot will remains in its proper position.
 
 
"The Ground Force training disk creates instability, causing a specific muscular reaction that exactly mimics the sensation and strength necessary to motor-learn the proper load in the backswing and feel the connection with the ground," explains Martin, who has advanced certification in Orthopedics, Sports and Recreational Injuries as well as a Master's degree in biomechanical trauma and training in chiropractics and physical therapy.
 
"The rotational square disks act similarly to a 'lazy Susan' found in the kitchen," she adds. "They're used in Pilates to teach exercises that require movement of the lower and upper body in opposite directions, and to exercise the balance muscles." 
 
Mastering the technique the trainer teaches strengthens the core muscles and the glutes and enhances balance. Critically, it also heightens the golfer's awareness of what these muscles do during the swing and improves the muscle memory needed to groove a more balanced, consistent and powerful swing.
 
Using the system a few minutes per day for four weeks, Martin says, is guaranteed to increase a golfer's driving distance by five to 15 yards. It retails for $119 and is available from the Golf Gapper at www.thegolfgapper.com