Golf Buzz

August 17, 2016 - 2:16pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Andy Sullivan
@europenatour on Twitter
Andy Sullivan wins free beer for a year with a closest to pin shot during a stunt in Prague ahead of this week's D+D REAL Czech Masters on the European Tour.

A couple of weeks back, I thought it was pretty cool when I won portable Bose speakers -- the prize for closest to the hole on the par-3 third at TPC Boston in a media day outing for the 2016 Deutsche Bank Championship on tap for Labor Day weekend.

Speaking of "on tap," I learned today that Englishman Andy Sullivan's closest to the hole prize during a stunt ahead of the D+D REAL Czech Masters in Prague on Tuesday was way better than my speakers.

Sullivan, currently No. 8 on the European Ryder Cup points list, took home a year's worth of free beer for his closest to the hole effort on a makeshift 94-yard hole. The green was floating on a river and the "hole" was actually a keg of beer.

Here's video of Sullivan talking about his score, including this gem of a line: "I don't think it could have gone to a more worthy winner."

 

 

John Daly, also playing in Prague this week, tweeted out these pictures from the stunt:

 

 

 

Sullivan, by the way, is the same player who won a trip to space as a hole-in-one prize at the KLM Open in The Netherlands back in 2014.

 

August 16, 2016 - 11:56am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
@europeantour
Golf's first Olympic gold medalist in 112 years, Justin Rose, returned home to England on Tuesday and was greeted with a hero's welcome as he made his way through London's Heathrow Airport.

Justin Rose, winner of golf's first Olympic gold medal in 112 years, returned home to London to a hero's welcome on Tuesday.

Wearing his Team Great Britain gear and shiny gold medal, the 36-year-old Rose was greeted by fans and media as he made his way through Heathrow Airport and even stopped to pose for photos and sign autographs.

The European Tour captured the scene, as well as an interview with the Olympic champion:

 

 

You get the feeling after seeing how the competition unfolded, Rose's victory and his welcome home that a lot of guys who decided against traveling to Rio might have a few regrets.

It's probably a safe bet that you'll see many more of the world's top players competing at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.  

August 16, 2016 - 11:06am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Happy Gilmore
YouTube
Few golf movie scenes are better than the Bob Barker fight scene in "Happy Gilmore."

Whenever there's a list ranking the "best of" anything, there's going to be a heated debate over either the order or the omissions.

We know that. That's what makes it fun, right?

RELATED: Best golf movie characters | Best golf movie quotes | 'Tin Cup' story

Don't worry -- I know you're not going to agree with the order. But if you're going to argue with No. 1, then we're probably going to have to meet for a fight.

So, in descending order, here are the five best golf movies of all time.

5. The Legend of Bagger Vance
Release date:
November 3, 2000
Starring: Will Smith, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron
What made it great: For those who are really into golf, it explains the importance of having a great caddie. They're not just luggage toters -- they're a swing coach, a mental coach, a voice of reason and a friend. Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon) was a promising golfer from Savannah, Ga., is traumatized after serving the country in World War I and losing most of his company in battle. After returning home, he doesn't care much for the game anymore, but gets talked into playing an exhibition -- as the local participant -- with Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen. In comes Bagger Vance (Will Smith), a man with the wisdom required to help Junuh with his personal demons and his swing. In the end, the match ends in a three-way tie when Junuh calls a penalty on himself (hello, Bobby Jones) on the final hole. Overall, an enjoyable flick.

Here's the scene where Junuh is in the woods having a flashback from his days in the war and Vance gets him focused to put that aside and hit his shot:

 

 

4. The Greatest Game Ever Played
Release date:
September 30, 2005
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Peter Firth, Elias Koteas
What made it great: The fact that it's based mostly on truth -- to make it more dramatic for the big screen some parts are a little overdone (like Ouimet's "winning putt" on 18 in the playoff over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray, when in reality, Ouimet beat Vardon by five strokes and Ray by six strokes, but don't let the facts get in the way of a good story!) -- is what made it terrific. The Greatest Game Ever Played is the story of Francis Ouimet (portrayed by LaBeouf), who became the first amateur golfer to win the U.S. Open when he turned the trick in 1913 at the posh Country Club in Brookline, Mass. -- a place where he started off working as a caddie at the age of 11. Raised in an immigrant family, Ouimet's story is nothing short of inspiring. In a game that was pretty much exclusive to the wealthy, the working-class Ouimet defied all odds to beat two of the day's best professionals in Vardon and Ray. It was a fun movie about the man regarded as the "Father of Amateur Golf in the United States" before the rise of Bobby Jones.

Fun fact: It was shot in Montreal, Canada. Kanawaki Golf Club, in Kahnawake, Quebec, was the site of the golf scenes.

Here's the winning moment scene:

 

 

3. Happy Gilmore
Release date:
February 16, 1996
Starring: Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Carl Weathers
What made it great: Better yet, what didn't make it great? Twenty years later even the game's best players use the famous "Happy Gilmore" swing when messing around on the range or in long-drive competitions. This was Sandler at his best. The batting cage scene; the ninth green at 9 o'clock scene; the Chubbs Petterson alligator scene; the Bob Barker scene; the "chip with the 5-iron" Shooter McGavin scene; the "mista, mista" old lady/air conditioner scene; Ben Stiller as the mean elderly caretaker bootlegging knitted items. Just a hilarious movie all around with a cast that was just perfect for every role. Can you think of a better Happy Gilmore than Sandler? A better Shooter McGavin than McDonald? A better Chubbs Petterson than Weathers? No, no and no. Here's a look at that Bob Barker scene, which kills me every time:

 

 

Did you know Sandler and Barker created a sequel to the scene years later (warning: video clip has strong language):

 

 

Loved this movie.

2. Tin Cup
Release date:
August 16, 1996
Starring: Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, Cheech Marin
What made it great: Have you ever heard the phrase, "I got shawshanked" by such and such a movie? If you haven't, it's basically a nod to the tremendous film "The Shawshank Redemption" starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, as in when "The Shawshank Redemption" is on TV, you can't flip past it no matter how many times you've seen it. Well, whenever I flip through the channels and come across "Tin Cup" I get shawshanked. Can't turn it off. At this point, I almost know the movie by heart, but I still watch it whenever it's on. I love it. Costner's Roy "Tin Cup" McAvoy basically reminds me of a mix between John Daly and Phil Mickelson (before Phil won a major). Go for broke, always trying to pull off the most unlikely of shots. You're either first or you're last. I love all the cameos in this movie too from the likes of Mickelson, Craig Stadler, Peter Kostis, Peter Jacobsen and more. Costner portrays the ultimate "People's Golfer." McAvoy has a little something about him that anyone can relate too. And his caddie Romeo (played by Cheech Marin) is the best "Romeo" in a drama since Romeo from "Romeo and Juliet." The banter between the too, throughout the movie, is just awesome.

Here's one of my favorite scenes from the movie (the 7-iron bet with David Simms):

 

 

And if you're wondering about the story behind the famous final-hole scene, you can check it out here.

1. Caddyshack
Release date:
July 25, 1980
Starring: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O'Keefe, Bill Murray
What made it great: It's the Jack Nicklaus of golf movies -- the G.O.A.T. The cast of characters is so perfect it's insane. Murray, as greenskeeper Carl Spackler, improvised all of his lines. In fact, a lot of the movie was improvised. Director Harold Ramis basically put together a cast of the funniest people of the day and let them do what they do best -- be funny. While not as completely over the top as the Caddyshack characters, haven't we all run across a Ty Webb, a Danny Noonan, a Carl Spackler, a Judge Smails and an Al Czervik?

For my money, there's no better golf movie than Caddyshack. It's perfect. It can't be topped... proven by the atrocious sequel.

There are too many great scenes to list here, but we'll leave you with Spackler's "Cinderella Story" monologue:

 

 

August 15, 2016 - 10:14am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bubba Watson
Twitter
Bubba Watson takes a selfie with USA teammate and Olympic bronze medalist, Matt Kuchar.

Bubba Watson's trip down to Brazil wasn't just for business.

It could be argued that Watson, who finished T8 in the Rio Olympics men's golf competition, is having more fun than any other athlete at the Games. And his Twitter feed has a photo album's worth of images to prove it.

Here's a sampling of Watson's feed from the last week+:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Yeah, so it looks like someone's been having a good time.
August 12, 2016 - 11:04am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf
PGA.com
There are few things T.J. Auclair (right) enjoys more than taking in a round of golf with his dad and brother.

I have never enjoyed playing golf as much in my life as I do now.

And the funny thing is, I'm not nearly the player I was 15 years ago (if you consider someone who hovered just below a 10 handicap at his very best a "player"). My scores may be higher these days, but my love for golf is as strong as it's ever been.

Maybe I took it for granted when I was a teenager, being fortunate enough to play 36 holes per day in the summer months when I was out of school, or the year before my first child was born -- 2013 -- when I logged 70+ rounds, four of which came at the paradise that is Bandon Dunes.

I have two boys now -- ages 2 1/2 and 6 months. Along with marrying my beautiful wife Erin, Tommy (my oldest) and Jack are the best things that have ever happened to me.

As anyone with children can attest, life gets hectic. Time -- at least personal time -- isn't what it once was. That's the way it should be. Being a father is the greatest "job" I've ever had and I wouldn't change it for the world.

RELATED: Here are the 9 things that drive me crazy on the golf course

Being a father -- or perhaps just being an adult -- gives you some perspective, at least that's what I've been told. As a 36-year-old man, that perspective has extended to the golf course.

Here are the nine things that I absolutely love about golf.

9. Being outside. This seems pretty basic, but when you're chained to a desk sitting at a computer most of the day, getting four straight hours in nature, breathing in that fresh air and freshly cut grass is just therapeutic, isn't it?

8. Discovering new courses. Anyone who plays the game regularly has a couple of "go-to" courses, the ones you play most of the time when you're able to get out. But how much fun is it when you get to discover something new? Maybe you're used to playing a parkland style course and, for you're next round, you're headed out to play a linkstyle course right by the water. While courses have plenty of similarities, no two are exactly alike. Rather than just walking up and hitting my shot, I like to take in each hole and appreciate its beauty. If you don't do that already, you might want to try it. You might discover that there are design elements to a particular hole -- even on a course you play all the time -- that you never noticed before.

7. The nerves. This is easily one of the things I love most about golf these days. It's an excited anticipation. Yes, I get butterflies when I get to the first tee for my casual rounds of golf. The score when I finish isn't always what I had hoped for (actually, it's rarely ever what I hoped for... but that's what keeps us coming back, right?), but I know it's going to be fun.

6. Pulling off a shot/Having a great hole. Isn't it the best when you decide to hit a shot you probably shouldn't even attempt, or have no business hitting -- maybe threading the needle between two trees -- and then somehow pull it off?

Just last week -- playing my regular course with my dad -- I smashed a drive on a par 5 and had just a 5-iron left to the green. The second shot was blind since there's a significant drop off 50 yards in front of the green. I struck a pure shot, knew I hit it great, but had no idea where it would finish. As we approached the green, I was delighted to see that it had nestled up roughly 2 feet from cup. A few moments later, I brushed in the short eagle putt. In hundreds of rounds at this course dating back to when I was 9 years old, I had never eagled it. Man did that feel good... until the next hole, a 135-yard, uphill par 3....

5. The game's humbling nature. So, fresh off the eagle, I have the honor on this straightforward par 3. Feeling good about myself and doing the "if I can par in these last three holes, I'll shoot..." in my head before sticking the tee in the ground, I immediately proceeded to top the ball and it traveled 30 yards. You've got to be kidding me. All I could do is look at my dad, shake my head, laugh and say, "This is some game, isn't it?" Shots like that is why this game will never get boring. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, it puts you in your place. It is worth noting I managed to card an all-world bogey!

4. Buddy trips. While I've played a bunch of insanely beautiful courses in ridiculously beautiful places through the years thanks to this gig, I've only truly had one stretch that would qualify as a "buddy trip." It was a two-day jaunt over to Bandon Dunes for 72 holes of golf with a dear friend and former colleague. If money were no object, I'd do it multiple times a year. It was that good. I'm not even just talking about the courses. Those were mesmerizing for sure. But, the banter between two friends; the matches; the dinners; the time together. It was just the ultimate golf experience. We were absolutely wiped out after walking that epic 72-hole trek, but we have pictures and created memories that will last a lifetime. Remember: This doesn't mean your buddy trip has to be to Bandon Dunes. It could simply be a trip for 2-3 days just far enough from home that you need to stay a night or two to play a few courses you haven't played. You'll love it.

3. My Uncle Manny. While I was fortunate to have two grandfathers all through my childhood, neither played golf. My great, great Uncle Manny, however, he was a golf junkie and the biggest influence in my life in developing my love of the game. Tell me another sport/activity that you can enjoy every summer for years with someone who is 60+ years your senior. He taught me lessons on how to play the game, how to act on the course, how to be a gentleman and -- most of all -- how to have fun. He swore. He got mad when he hit a bad shot. He made me feel like I was Jack Nicklaus in his prime when I hit a great shot. Quite simply, he was the best and the main man in the regular foursome -- my favorite foursome -- filled out by myself, my dad and my brother. When Uncle Manny passed away at age 87 in 2003 -- one month before my 23rd birthday -- sure, I was sad. But, I couldn't help but smile recollecting on all the incredible times we spent together on the golf course from when I first played at age 5, all the way up to the summer before his death. To this day -- some 13 years after he passed -- I'll be playing a hole and catch myself either remembering a shot he hit, a joke he made, or close my eyes during an early morning round and see him in his ridiculous outfit with his socks pulled up over the bottom of his pants almost up to his knees so that the morning dew "won't get my trousers wet, Skip (that's what he called all of us)."

2. Playing with my dad and brother. This one only happens because of what Uncle Manny created in No. 3 on this list. It used to happen all the time. By all the time, I mean literally every week-day in the summer months growing up. Now? We're lucky if the three of us get to play together 2-3 times a year. Whether it's at our local muni or a more well-known course, those 2-3 rounds have easily become my favorites of the year every year. Things are hectic for the three of us, but that time spent together on the course and the beer to talk about it afterwards is just priceless.

1. The anticipation for the years to come. I've spent nearly half my life in the golf business and and all but the first four years of my life playing the game. Friends joked with me that when I had children, their first "toy" would likely be a golf grip. The truth is, I couldn't care less if Tommy or Jack routinely shoot in the 70s when they get older, or never break 100 in their lives (of course I want them to accomplish whatever their goals are for the game). I just hope they develop a love of the game like I have and share with my dad and brother because -- God willing -- it's four hours we'll be able to spend together bonding, telling jokes, busting chops and overall just enjoying one another's company. At the end of the day, isn't that what it's all about?