Golf Buzz

May 16, 2014 - 11:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bubba Watson, Kevin Durant
Getty Images
Following a Game 6 win over the LA Clippers in the NBA's Western Conference semifinals on Thursday night, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant handed his game-worn shoes to Masters champ Bubba Watson who was sitting court-side.

Since winning the Masters for the second time in his career in April, Bubba Watson has been everywhere.

He recently showed up at a Golfsmith unnanounced to challenge staff and customers to a driving and putting contest. He visited his elementary school and high school, donating $15,000 and $35,000 to each, respectively.

He's also been seen visiting his sponsors PING and Oakley, and buying the entire staff at the respective headquarters lunch.

The man has been doing a lot of giving.

RELATED: The NBA on TNT | NBA Playoffs coverage | Charles Barkley's ugly golf swing 

But on Thursday night, Watson was on the receiving end of a special gift at the Staples Center in Los Angeles following the Western Conference NBA semifinal game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers.

 

 

Moments after winning the Game 6 showdown 104-98 to advance to the Western Conference Finals, Thunder star and NBA MVP Kevin Durant slipped off his game-worn shoes and ran them over to Watson.

Durant had 39 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in the game.

The two shared a hug and Watson wished Durant well the rest of the way. Durant and the Thunder face the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 on Monday, which you can watch at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.

Watson is a huge fan of the NBA and has been seen at practices and games the last couple of years. In fact, his wife, Angie, is a former WNBA player.

Being Bubba Watson looks like a whole lot of fun these days.

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

 

Tiger Woods at El Cardonal at Diamante Cabo San Lucas
Tiger Woods via Twitter
Tiger Woods' El Cardonal at Diamante Cabo San Lucas is nearing completion, as Woods showed in a photo.

When Tiger Woods gave us his most recent status report on his recovery from back surgery about a week ago, he also gave us a little update on some of his golf course design projects that showed he's remained quite busy during his enforced absence from the PGA Tour.

His design project in Mexico – El Cardonal at Diamante Cabo San Lucas – "continues to progress well," he wrote in a blog post on his website. And on Thursday, he tweeted out a photo of himself standing on the seventh hole of the course near the tip of Baja California.

"The front nine has been grassed, as well as a few holes on the back nine," he added. "I'm looking forward to finalizing the shaping on the last few holes when I get back onsite next month. I'm thrilled with how it's turning out, and I'll share some photos with you from my next visit."

When it's finished, El Cardonal will join the existing Dunes Course at Diamante Cabo San Lucas – and Tiger has his work cut out for him. Designed by Davis Love III, the Dunes Course is ranked No. 52 on Golf Magazine's Top 100 Courses in the World list.     

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But where Love's creation is "reminiscent of a classic Scottish links course," according to the Diamante website, Tiger's course "will remind golfers of the old-style California courses that Tiger grew up playing." 

Golfers "will have several options to navigate each hole, and proper strategic decision making will be rewarded," the site says. "The existing arroyos [canyons] that traverse the site and well-placed fairway bunkers will provide ample risk-reward opportunities off the tees."

"I set up the golf strategy to make golfers think and make choices," Woods says on the site. "Regardless of your handicap, there are going to be different ways to play every hole. Angles of approach are going to be very important and will dictate the type of shots you should consider. I love this kind of golf."

The course is set to open this fall, according to the site. 

 

Pablo Larrazabal
Getty Images
Pablo Larrazabal had to jump into a lake at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club to escape the wrath of a swarm of hornets.

European Tour player Pablo Larrazabal of Spain turns 31 years old today, and we want to extend our birthday congratulations – and our wishes that his celebration is a little less exciting than his experience a couple weeks ago.

Larrazabal, you might remember, is the guy who was attacked by a swarm of hornets during the Maybank Malaysian Open and had to jump into a lake to get away from them. He was stung 20 times before he made his water evacuation.

Amazingly, he got out of the lake, dried off, and still birdied the hole.

"They were three times the size of bees," Larrazabal told EuropeanTour.com after his ordeal. "They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. I didn't know what to do. My caddie told me to run so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake... It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I've never been so scared."

Man. If there's not an award for "hole of the year," there ought to be. 

T.J. Auclair recounted this crazy tale in detail in a Golf Buzz post right after it happened, and you really ought to check it out – it even includes the video of the hornets chasing Larrazabal to the lake.

Larrazabal went on to tie for eighth in Malaysia, then tied for 36th the week after that in China. At No. 20 on the European Tour money list and No. 63 in the world ranking, he's back home this week for the Spanish Open, where he opened with a much-less-eventful 72 today. 

So Happy Birthday to you, Pablo. You deserve a great one – and here's hoping that your celebration tonight is indoors.

 

May 15, 2014 - 11:03am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Charles Barkley
YouTube
Charles Barkley's golf swing is, well, unique.

Charles Barkley is a Hall of Fame NBA player and winner of a Sports Emmy Award for "Outstanding Studio Analyst" for his work on TNT.

But, as we've seen through the years, poor Chuck isn't much of a golfer.

RELATED: The NBA on TNT | NBA Playoffs coverage | Charles Barkley's official website

On Wednesday, Barkley joined Champions Tour star Fred Couples and new Auburn men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl for a pro-am ahead of the over-50-circuit's first major, the Regions Tradition in Alabama.

Lucky for all of us, someone was there to make a compilation video of some of Barkley's swings.

Barkley was the subject of renowned golf coach Hank Haney's, "Haney Project" on the Golf Channel a few years ago, but as you can see in the video, the retired star power forward hasn't been able to adapt on the course.

Though his swing certainly won't make you envious, you've got to appreciate Barkley's love of the game. In an interview on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, he told Holly Sonders he plays just about everyday.

He also noted to Sonders, "The fans aren't here to watch me play. They're here to laugh at my swing."

Hey -- at least he knows. Chuck has always called it like he sees it.

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

 

Poinsettia Fire as seen from La Costa
Dave Cordero of TaylorMade via Twitter
The Poinsettia Fire as seen from the Omni La Costa Resort on Wednesday afternoon.
Carlsbad, Calif., is well known as an American golf mecca – the home of big-time golf equipment companies like Callaway and TaylorMade, and top-notch resorts like La Costa and Aviara.
 
On Wednesday, though, the city and its environs began dealing with a major wildfire that began shortly before noon PT. One of about a half dozen separate fires burning in the greater San Diego area, this fire – which is being called the Poinsettia Fire – was exacerbated by a perfect storm of record drought, extreme heat, low humidity and heavy winds, and had burned about 400 acres by nightfall. 
 
Approximately 15,000 homes and business have been evacuated – among them the TaylorMade complex, which also includes Ashworth and adidas Golf, along with the headquarters for such companies as Callaway, Odyssey, Cobra Puma Golf and the West Coast offices of Titleist, along with several smaller golf companies that together total several thousand employees.
 
Employees from several of those companies took to social media to pass along some unsettling photos of the fires but, thankfully, there had been no news reports of damage to any of the companies' buildings as of late Wednesday. 
 
The Omni La Costa Resort – which for years hosted the PGA Tour's Match Play Championship, as well as several other big events – reported via social media that the flames got close to its property before changing direction. The resort remained open, offering discounted rates to people displaced by the fires. 
 
Nearby, however, the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort – which hosted the LPGA Tour's Kia Classic in March and is one of the more scenic golf resorts in America – was closed and its staff and guests evacuated. There were reports of considerable destruction in the Aviara neighborhood, but no reports of damage to the resort itself as of late Wednesday.
 
Here are some Twitter posts showing the fires. Nicole Roberts works for SKLZ, while Chad Coleman works for Callaway:
 
 
 
May 14, 2014 - 3:44pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones

Bobby Jones, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014, has always been a brand known for it's comfort and quality.

That remains the case with offerings this spring that include two new polos -- the Austin Argyle and the Solid Supreme -- as well as the brand's very popular Ombre Plaid short and more traditional Signature Garment Dyed shorts.

RELATED: PGA.com's extensive equipment page

The Austin Argyle ($98.50) is crafted from 100 percent Egyptian Cotton for an unmistakable comfort. The material is light and doesn't get in the way of your swinging motion. As with virtually all the apparel Bobby Jones has to offer, the Austin Argyle is great in a boardroom or on the golf course and goes perfectly with the Signature Garment Dyed Shorts, featuring a nice blend of cotton and spandex for tremendous fit and comfort.

You can't go wrong with the Bobby Jones Solid Supreme Cotton polo ($85), which comes in a variety of colors. Featuring the softest 100 percent pima fabric available, the polo has a three-button placket with the classic Bobby Jones Player embroidery.

The solid polos pair up perfectly with the Ombre Plaid Shorts ($98.50), constructed of 99 percent cotton and 1 percent spandex.

For more information on the Bobby Jones brand, visit www.bobbyjones.com.