Golf Buzz

Cale McLellan
Back 9 Network
Cale McLellan defied some amazing odds to card two aces on back-to-back holes.
By Matthew Castonguay, Back 9 Network
 
The hole-in-one is arguably the most difficult thing to attain in all of sport. There is seemingly no rhyme or reason as to who makes one. We’ve seen aces worth millions of dollars and aces by 92-year-old women. We've seen walkoff, tournament-winning holes-in-one and ones that have skipped across a pond. But hold onto your hats, because now we have back-to-back aces by a golfer barely in his teens!
 
That feat was accomplished by Cale McLellan, the son of San Jose Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. Cael was playing in a tournament at Santa Teresa Golf Club Short Course in San Jose, Calif., this past weekend when he aced hole Nos. 8 and 9 with consecutive swings.
 
 
Cale finished third overall in the tournament, which is impressive in its own right, but the story is obviously the aces. Keep in mind, the odds for an amateur making a single hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1. The odds of someone making two in his or her lifetime are significantly higher.
 
Two in a row has actually happened before. In 1971 at the Martini Tournament in Sandwich, England, John Hudson made one on the par-3 11th hole and another one on the par-4 12th hole. The odds of achieving that? According to a story by Golf Digest, only 1 in 50 million.
 
Now it makes sense that amateurs would have longer odds at pulling off the same improbable feat. According to U.S. Hole In One, the odds of that run nearly 156,250,000 to 1, or about the same chances as winning the Powerball lottery.
 
Cale was interviewed after his amazing performance:
 
 
 
 
March 19, 2014 - 9:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Keegan Bradley
USA Today Sports Images
In Keegan Bradley's lone Arnold Palmer Invitational appearance a year ago, he finished in a tie for third.

Things just got a whole lot more interesting for the field at this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where Tiger Woods announced his withdrawal from the tournament on Tuesday, citing back problems.

Interesting? How so? Consider this: Woods, the defending champ, has won at Bay Hill an incredible eight times over his career. He has more wins there than on any other course on Tour and had successfully defended his title five of the seven times he's been in that position.

While Tiger will surely be missed, it could be said that the tournament is now wide open with his unfortunate absence.

RELATED: Tiger Woods withdraws from Bay Hill | Bay Hill photos | Leaderboard

Since the perennial favorite at Bay Hill (and every other tournament he's ever played in) is sidelined, here are five players to look out for this week at the home of the King.

5. Patrick Reed
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation and the WGC-Cadillac Championship
Reason to watch: This is Reed's first start since winning at Doral, where he declared he was a top-5 player in the world. Since then, there's been a lot of talk as to whether he may have jumped the gun with that assessment. U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson said he understood why Reed made those comments and it was hard to argue otherwise, seeing as Reed won three of the last 14 events. With a top finish, or better yet a win at Bay Hill, Reed could make an even stronger case for his bold statement.

4. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T6 at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions
Reason to watch: Before the start of the new season, and we're paraphrasing here, Scott said something to the effect of he would be playing less to contend more. A wise choice for a player whose career now, after winning the 2013 Masters, will be defined by the number of majors he wins. This week marks just his fifth start of the season on the Tour and the first time since 2009 that he's actually played in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He should be fresh and I think it's understood that Scott is doing everything he can to prepare for his Masters defense.

3. Graeme McDowell
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Third at the WGC-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: McDowell has been a top-10 machine lately. He's had five starts in the 2013-14 season and four of those have yielded a top-10 finish. He was the runner up at Bay Hill in 2012. I've got a good feeling about McDowell this week.

2. Keegan Bradley
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T10 in the CIMB Classic
Reason to watch: Because he's been so good, I think we often forget that Bradley has only been a full-time Tour player since 2011. In fact, last year marked his first start in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and it resulted in a tie for third. We all know Bradley is an intense player. If he's in the mix on Sunday, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch.

1. Justin Rose
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Fifth at the WGC-HSBC Champions
Reason to watch: It appears the 2013 U.S. Open champion's nagging shoulder injury is feeling better, evidenced by his tie for eighth in last week's Valspar Championship on an extremely difficult Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort. Maybe that will give Rose some confidence this week at Bay Hill, where he was the runner up to Tiger a year ago. It could be that his game is getting in proper shape just in time for the Masters, which is right around the corner.

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

 

Tiger Woods
Getty Images
Tiger Woods said on his website Tuesday that he won't be able to play the Arnold Palmer Invitational and that it istoo early to say how he will be for the Masters next month.
Tiger Woods pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational late Tuesday afternoon because of his ongoing back pain. Here is the complete report from Associated Press Golf Writer Doug Ferguson:
 
Tiger Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational on Tuesday because of persistent pain in his back, creating even more uncertainty for golf's No. 1 player with the Masters only three weeks away. 
 
And that's if Woods can even play in the Masters. 
 
"I personally called Arnold today to tell him that, sadly, I won't be able to play in his tournament this year," Woods said on his website. "I would like to express my regrets to the Orlando fans, the volunteers, the tournament staff and the sponsors for having to miss the event. Unfortunately, my back spasms and the pain haven't subsided."
 
 
Woods had to withdraw after 13 holes of the final round at the Honda Classic three weeks ago because of what he called back spasms and pain in his lower back. He tried to defend his title the following week at Doral, only for his back to flare up again in the final round. He closed with a 78, the highest Sunday score of his PGA Tour career and the first final round without a birdie. 
 
After a week of rest and treatment, he didn't feel fit to play Bay Hill, where he is an eight-time winner, including the past two years. 
 
"I am certainly sorry that Tiger is not able to play," Palmer said. "Quite obviously, we will miss having him here this week. He called me to tell me that his back was still giving him a lot of trouble and he didn't feel he should play. I told him I understood and wished him well." 
 
This is only the second time that Woods has not played Bay Hill. He also missed in 2010 when he sat out more than four months during the scandal in his personal life. 
 
 
The Masters, which is April 10-13, is the only major Woods has never missed. 
 
"It's too early to know about the Masters, and I will continue to be evaluable and work closely with my doctors," Woods said. "I feel badly that I won't be able to play in this great tournament this week." 
 
Woods first showed signs of back pain at Bethpage Black at The Barclays in 2012, which he attributed to a soft bed at his hotel. He felt twinges during the final round of the PGA Championship last year, and when his back bothered him in the final round of The Barclays two weeks later, he said it was unrelated. 
 
This has been the longest sustained problem with the lower back. "A bad back is no joke," Woods said at Doral. 
 
Woods is off to the worst start of his 18 years on tour. 
 
At Torrey Pines, where his eight victories included a U.S. Open, Woods shot his highest score on American soil with a 79 to miss the 54-hole cut. He tied for 41st in the Dubai Desert Classic a week later for his worst finish in that event. 
 
Woods had said he spent his offseason working on his body and didn't spend enough time on his game, so it was troubling for him to then deal with yet another injury. He shot a 65 in the third round of the Honda Classic before having what he described as back spasms similar to The Barclays last year. 
 
 
At Doral, he was only three shots out of the lead going into the final round and in the penultimate group when he said an awkward stance while playing out of a bunker on the sixth fairway of the Blue Monster caused his back to start hurting again. 
 
"That's what set it off and then it was done after that," Woods said at Doral. "Just see if I could actually manage ... keep the spasms at bay." 
 
Woods had said at the start of the Florida swing that he was taking a look at his schedule leading up to the Masters, though he never made it clear if he intended to add another tournament. Woods rarely gives a "yes" or "no" to questions pertaining to his plans. 
 
He has never played the week before any major except for the PGA Championship. 
 
In 2010, after revelations of extramarital affairs, Woods had gone 145 days without hitting a meaningful shot when he arrived at Augusta National. He opened with a 68, his lowest first-round score ever at the Masters, and wound up in a tie for fourth. 
 
Swing coach Sean Foley said he would not read too much into how Woods can prepare for the Masters if he can play. 
 
"I've been coaching on tour long enough now to know that Tuesday doesn't affect Wednesday. There's no rhyme or reason to performance," Foley said in a telephone interview. "Tiger is always about the majors, and he's solely about the majors now. He's got to do the right thing. He's just doing the right due diligence about it." 
 
March 18, 2014 - 9:52am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
FootGolf
FootGolf
FootGolf is a relatively new, unconventional and fun way to grow golf.

Just last week in a segment on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, PGA of America President Ted Bishop announced the formation of a PGA Task Force to grow the game through non-traditional means.

One of those means, Bishop explained, was through a new phenomenon known as "FootGolf."

So what exactly is FootGolf? It's two sports in one -- soccer and golf.

Here's a video of what FootGolf is:

 

Bishop and the PGA's Task Force feel FootGolf could be a great new avenue to help grow the game.

"This is something I had heard about at the PGA Show through our player development committee," Bishop said on Morning Drive. "I'll tell you what -- I'm doing FootGolf at The Legends and we're going to premiere it on May 3. The interest that I'm already getting from the soccer community on the sport is unbelievable... I think the thing that excites me, is that you've got the chance here to bring people in who are soccer-crazy and to give them the opportunity to go to the golf course, experience some things at the course and I think it would be ludicrous to think there won't be a percentage of those people that might say, 'Hey, you know what? I think I'd like to try and play golf.'"

There are 10 basic rules to FootGolf:

1. Wear golf apparel all the time.

2. Your ball must be easy to identify.

3. Review the scorecard and wait for your turn. Make sure your kick will not interfere with other players.

4. The ball must be played in a single movement. Your foot should be set separate from the ball, clearly behind, before the kick.

5. Wait to play until the ball has completely come to rest. (It is not legal to stop the ball from rolling with the wind).

6. Kick off your ball from a position up to two meters behind the round markers (tee markers).
- The order is established based on the score of the previous hole. The player with the best score will be the first to kick off on the next hole followed by the second, etc.

7. Play the ball from where it lies: It's not allowed to move the ball or remove jammed objects.
- Exception: You may mark the spot and lift the ball when it may obstruct the other players kick or ball in any way.

8. The player farthest from the hole is the first to kick the ball.

9. If the ball lands in a water hazard, retrieve or replace it within two steps from the closest land point from where the ball entered the water, receiving one penalty point, or you can place the ball at the position of the previous kick and receive one penalty point.

10. Only on the greens may the balls be picked up to be cleaned or replaced.
- Regardless of the distance from the hole, the hole must be completed. "Giving" to the opponent is not allowed.

You can click here to find a list of courses participating in FootGolf.

 

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

March 17, 2014 - 9:51pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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South Course at Torrey Pines
Getty Images
The U.S. Open will return to the famed south Course at Torrey Pines in 201 after the San Diego City Council okayed a proposal by the USGA.
The San Diego City Council on Monday unanimously approved a proposal to bring the U.S. Open back to Torrey Pines in 2021. There was no dissent at the one-hour meeting.
 
The USGA will pay the city $2.5 million in rent for the golf course and parking lots, up from the $500,000 fee that San Diego received from the 2008 U.S. Open, according to the proposal presented on Monday. The city also will get 20 percent of corporate hospitality sales. 
 
Among the costs to San Diego would be an estimated $300,000 to $500,000 to build player and practice facilities. 
 
"This is a tremendous opportunity for our great city," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said as he encouraged the council to accept the proposal, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. And in their comments before the vote, council members lauded the improved financial deal the city will receive.
 
 
City Golf Manager Mark Marney said he didn't anticipate significant changes to the South Course for the U.S. Open, though he said there would be discussions with the USGA about how to make sure the course played differently than it does each year for the PGA Tour's Farmers Insurance Open.
 
Marney also indicated that the renovation to the North Course will take place as planned, starting after the 2015 Farmers Insurance Open. The North Course again will serve as a hospitality area and parking lot during the Open, but Marney said he hoped the renovation would allow it to be put back into playing shape much faster this time than after 2008.
 
The 2021 U.S. Open would be just the third contested in Southern California. The other, aside from 2008, was the 1948 U.S. Open at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. Tiger Woods won his third U.S. Open and 14th career major at Torrey Pines when the U.S. Open was first played on the public course in 2008. 
 
March 17, 2014 - 3:29pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Jason Day
Getty Images
Jason Day is sitting out yet again this week as his sore left thumb continues to heal.
Jason Day has withdrawn from this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational because his injured left thumb is still too sore to play.
 
The 26-year-old Australian hurt it during the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, which he went on to win – the victory was the biggest of his career and vaulted him up to a career-high No. 4 in the world. He skipped the Honda Classic and had planned to play at the Cadillac Championship at Doral, but it was still problematic.
 
Day had an MRI in Miami on the Wednesday of the Cadillac Championship that was negative, but the doctor prescribed rest.
 
 
"My left thumb was bothering me at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and the pain continued here this week," Day said in a statement at the time. "My plan is to rest for a couple of weeks."
 
He then skipped last week's Valspar Championship, and now is out again. He hasn't announced any plans to play again, but obviously the fast-approaching Masters is his biggest concern at this point.
 
Day is one of the favorites heading to Augusta National, which he says is his favorite spot on earth and where he often plays well. He was the runner-up there in 2011 and finished two shots out of the Adam Scott-Angel Cabrera playoff last year.