Golf Buzz

November 19, 2016 - 10:59am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Henrik Stenson
@TheOpen on Twitter
Stories about the Claret Jug typically revolve around adult beverages. This one with 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson, however, involves a jet-ski.

Lots of stuff has been done with the Claret Jug -- the trophy given to the winner of the Open Championship -- through the years.

Most of it involves being filled with a favorite libation and then swigged.

Henrik Stenson, the 2016 champion, may have recently given the Claret Jug an exciting "first," however.

With the trophy secured to his chest like an infant in a Babybjorn, Stenson took it for a spin on his jet-ski.

Here's the video footage:

We'd like to see PGA Champion Jimmy Walker try that with the Wanamaker Trophy. 

November 18, 2016 - 2:42pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
shanks
@EuropeanTour
Here are 13 (seeing as that number is considered the unluckiest of all, it seemed like a good cap) of the worst shanks, chunks and yips from 2016.

When it comes to golf, nobody likes to hear, let alone see or hit, the dreaded "s" word -- "SHANK."

No matter the level of golf ability, those dirty, no good shots that you wish to avoid like the plague can pop up on occasion and they can be contagious.

Not so distant cousins of the "shanks" include the "chunks" and the "yips" -- equally as demoralizing.

RELATED: Where the "shank" came from | Shanks even happen to the world's best

All three happen, even to the best players in the world. Which, for us golf lovers who don't have a 10th of the ability of the men and women playing on TV for a living, brings about sort of a sadistic comfort.

With that, here are 13 (seeing as that number is considered the unluckiest of all, it seemed like a good cap) of the worst shanks, chunks and yips from 2016.

We're not making fun... we're sympathizing.

13. Michael Greller on No. 7 at Pebble Beach. It's not uncommon during a practice round or pro-am for a PGA Tour player to allow his caddie to hit a shot on a world famous hole. That's what happened when Jordan Spieth allowed Greller an opportunity to take a crack at the world-renowned short par 3 on what is arguably the world's most famous course. What ensued was a barrel of laughs for everyone but Greller:

 

 

12. Thorbjorn Olesen at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship. Olesen was all square with McIlroy when the match went to the 18th hole. Faced with not a terribly difficult looking chip, Olesen did this and ended up losing the match:

11. Brooks Koepka at Hazeltine. The 2016 Ryder Cup was basically a highlight reel for Koepka, who was making his debut in the biennial matches, which his side won for the first time since 2008... which means he can probably laugh at this approach shot during Saturday morning's foursomes session from the rough on the 12th hole:

 

 

10. Jordan Spieth at Riviera. In the first round of this year's Northern Trust Open, the two-time major champion and undoubtedly one of the best players in the world over the last four three years, shot an uncharacteristic 79. Sometimes you have it, sometimes you don't. Spieth was looking to work things out prior to the second round on the range the next morning... when this happened:

 

Oops. To be fair to Spieth, it should be noted that he did shoot a 68 that day. Also to be fair, he watched his caddie shank it at Pebble the week before (No. 13 on our list).

9. Jason Day in the Open Championship. Shanks are also known as "hosel rockets." Check out this close-up video of the world's No. 1 player from Royal Troon and you'll know exactly why:

 

 

8. Joost van den Broek in the KLM Open. Who, you ask? Joost was a lucky fan who won the opportunity to play in a "Beat the pro" competition DURING this European Tour event. Imagine how nerve-wracking that had to be. van den Broek plays to a 4-handicap, but it sure didn't look that way in front of all those fans... extra points for the awesome Protracer utilization on this one too:

7. An Angel Cabrera two-for-the-price-of-one. The Argentine, an owner of both a green jacket and a U.S. Open trophy, isn't exempt from an occasional case of the chunks. Here, we have two examples. First, an unintentional lay up during the Arnold Palmer Invitational moments after an intentional lay up:

 

 

The second is this ugly chunk into the water on the par-5 15th hole during the Masters:

 

 

6. Spain's Jon Rahm made his first start as a professional on the PGA Tour the week after the U.S. Open in June at the Quicken Loans National, where he finished an impressive T3. But, he'll always remember this shot from his first professional start, which happened during the tournament's third round:

 

 

5. Russell Knox on the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. A case could be made that when you factor in the elements and the atmosphere at the Players Championship, there may be no more stressful hole in golf than the par-3 17th on the Stadium Course. The last thing you want to do is miss the island green. That's what Knox did though -- three times. He missed wide right with the first. He came up well short with the second. And then, after you see the second, check out the third attempt -- the reason he's on this list (he would make a 9 on the hole):

 

4. Lucas Glover's putt at the Wyndham Championship. Just 19 inches separated Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, from a 10-under 60 in the second round of the Wyndham Championship. Instead, it turned into a 61 when he nearly whiffed the putt for 60.

 

 

3. Richard Bland at the European Tour's Spanish Open. In a tournament that he led at one point, Bland (who finished T11) did this:

 

 

Now that is what you call "sideways."

2. Steve Wheatcroft from a bunker at the RBC Canadian Open. This was an absolute heartbreaker. Needing an up and down on the final hole for a spot in a playoff and, potentially, his first PGA Tour win, Wheatcroft caught his sand shot, well, thin:

1. Ernie Els on the first hole of the 2016 Masters. You hate to see this happen to anyone, let alone one of the all-time great guy's in the game. But, the Golf Gods do not care at times. All players get jacked up for the first major of the year. Imagine the 20-minute span for Els from the time he teed off in his first round to the time he walked off the first green. Promise. Hope. Nerves... a freaking "six-putt" from six feet to open with a quintuple-bogey 9, the highest score on that hole in tournament history:

 

November 18, 2016 - 10:31am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
@EuropeanTour
There were no questions off limits for 9-year-old Billy when he sat down for a one-on-one interview with Rory McIlroy this week. Prepare to see McIlroy squirm like you've never seen him squirm before.

The European Tour's social media machine is one that just never stops giving.

Just when you thought it couldn't possibly top the #MannequinChallenge video posted earlier this week, surprise, they absolutely buried it today and built a skyscraper on top of it.

Periodically, a 9-year-old reporter named "Little Billy" (bound for superstardom with all his charisma), sits down with star players for a no-holds-barred, one-on-one interview where no topic is off limits. He did one last month with Andrew "Beef" Johnston.

Well, this week, Little Billy got a sit-down with World No. 2 and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

 

 

What starts out as a cute kid being adorable with one of the most recognizable athletes in the world quickly turns into an absolute grilling for McIlroy... thankfully for all involved, McIlroy could not have been a better sport. If an adult man had been asking McIlroy some of these questions, an immediate knockout punch wouldn't be an unreasonable response.

Here are some of the many, many highlights:

Little Billy, who clearly knows about McIlroy's relationship with ex-fiancee and tennis star Caroline Wozniaki: "Who's your favorite girl tennis player?"

Rory laughs, squirms, thinks and says, "Honestly Billy, I've stopped following women's tennis the last couple of years."

"Good call," Billy said.

Billy then inquires about the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah and how McIlroy nearly missed his singles tee time on the final day. What really happened there, Billy implored?

Rory said he wished it was a better story, but it was simply a case of watching the golf on TV that morning and seeing the tee times listed in Eastern Time. Being in the Central Time Zone, Rory thought that he was seeing the correct tee time... not one hour ahead of the actual time.

Billy wasn't buying it: "You sure you wasn't boogieing?"

Then came the topic of Tiger Woods. Billy asked Rory to put in a good word with Tiger as his next quest is to track down the 14-time major winner for an interview.

Billy asked Rory: "If I meet Tiger, should I ask him for career advice, or chat-up lines?"

Ouch.

There's been a lot of questions lately about what clubs Rory will be playing next year since Nike has pulled away from the club-making business. Though he didn't get a straight answer, Billy found a crafty way to at least ask what we could expect to see in Rory's bag come 2017.

"For Christmas, I want the same golf clubs you'll be playing next year," he said. "What should I be asking for?"

Perhaps the best part of the interview was when the subject turned to Rory's upcoming wedding. It led to this exchange:

"I got you a wedding present, but I should probably give it to you now," Billy said.

It's a box filled with socks.

Rory asks, "A box of socks? What's this all about?"

"Just in case you get cold feet again," said Billy, referring to the engagement Rory broke off with Wozniaki a few years back right after the wedding invitations had been mailed out.

Brutal.

The video ends with Rory playfully telling Billy, "You are a cheeky little (expletive)."

Somebody get this kid a late-night television show! 

Phil Mickelson, Jim "Bones" Mackay
USA Today Sports Images
On Oct. 19, the same day that his boss Phil Mickelson had surgery for a sports hernia, Jim "Bones" Mackay underwent surgery for a double knee replacement.

October 19 was quite a day for the longtime team of Phil Mickelson and his caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay.

On that day, Mickelson had surgery for a sports hernia, while his looper went under the knife for a double-knee replacement surgery.

There may be no tandem in golf more in tune with one another, but Golf Digest reports that the timing of both surgeries was nothing more than a funny coincidence.

"We didn't even talk about it. We were both in a hurry to get it done, and it just happened to be the same day," Mackay told Golf Digest. "The next day we were texting back and forth. 'So, how are YOU doing?'"

Mackay has been bothered by knee pain for years, which -- as you probably guessed -- isn't ideal for someone who makes a living walking long golf courses most days of the week and then spends time cramped up on airplanes getting to the next stop when not looping.

"The doctor told me that what they found was definitively worse than they thought it was," Mackay explained to Golf Digest. "Forget about being a caddie, he said, basically my knees did not fit together well at all. If I hadn't gotten it done, I was probably risking something happening during the season and then being out a long time."

Mackay said that doctors are happy with his progress thus far and his goal is to return to Mickelson's bag for the CareerBuilder Challenge in Palm Springs, Calif., on Jan. 19 -- Mickelson's first scheduled start of the new calendar year. 

November 17, 2016 - 1:06pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bogeybox
Bogeybox
PGA professional Clayton Balch (left) and Nik Bando have created an on-demand service for those who love golf apparel that offers a special bonus -- a free swing analysis.

After returning from a trip to the PGA Merchandise Show down in Orlando a couple of years back, PGA Professional Clayton Balch was back to his regular gig at Chelsea Piers in New York giving lessons.

While giving a lesson to his friend, Nik Bando, the student noticed some sweet new threads his teacher was wearing. Stuff from companies like Holderness & Bourne, Linksoul and Matte Grey – companies that Bando had never heard of, but thought looked sharp.

Balch explained that he had picked up the new apparel while he was at the Merchandise Show. He had some extras in Bando’s size and passed them along.

That’s when a light bulb lit up for Bando.

“I hate shopping,” Bando said. “Fitting rooms, waiting around. The whole process is terribly overwhelming and inconvenient. There had to be a better way. What about recommendations from Clayton, my PGA Professional? Unlike an employee at a traditional retail store, Clayton knew everything about me: my style, my size and color preferences. It was this personal relationship that helped Clayton make amazing product recommendations for me.”

That’s where “Bogeybox” was born.

Bando is the CEO and Balch is the COO of the on-demand clothing service where the duo essentially shops for you based on a bank of information you provide upon signing up. You tell them everything you like: size, fit, style, specific brands, etc.

From there, Bando and Balch put together a box based on your preferences.

Bogeybox gives you five days to try everything on at home and if there’s anything you don’t want, you return it. Shipping is free both ways and, Bando says, “there’s no pressure to purchase anything you don’t absolutely love. We think this is a smart, more simple way to discover great clothing.”

Oh, and there’s another thing that separates Bogeybox from other similar boxing services. Balch, a Class A PGA Professional who was the 2013 Chelsea Piers Teacher of the Year, offers customers a free swing analysis as an added perk.

“The complimentary swing analysis came about very organically,” Balch explained. “Since we assign each member their own Bogeybox Pro, we are in constant communication with them about new shipments, feedback on the items, and even swing issues. I was talking to a member one day and he was telling me about a terrible round of golf he played over the weekend. He said he didn't hit a single fairway and was trying to figure out what was going wrong with his swing. He knew I was a PGA Professional, so he asked if he could send me a video so I could take a look.”

From there, Balch took the video, uploaded it into a swing app and gave the customer a 10-swing analysis.

“He loved it and has been one of our best customers since,” Balch said. “From that point on, Nik and I knew that giving away a free swing analysis with each box, would make a lot of people happy and better golfers. So it was a win-win.” 

Here’s how ordering a Bogeybox works:

 

 

Bogeybox began as a monthly service, but Bando and Balch agreed that didn’t work and decided to change it to an on-demand service – in other words, you order a new box only when you want one.

“We quickly realized that most people don't need clothes every month,” Balch said. “With both Nik and myself being avid golfers, we wanted new clothes for every season, but sometimes more often and sometimes less. Neither of us were members of any other subscription services because we didn't like having to commit to something every month. We also didn't want to be stuck with any items we received. We took all of this information and designed the service around that.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Bogeybox, visit www.bogeyboxgolfclub.com

November 17, 2016 - 9:32am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy
Golf Channel
During the first round of the DP Tour World Championship in Dubai on Thursday, Rory McIlroy attempted a shot from the water on the par-4 16th hole. It took two attempts to get out and he wound up with a double bogey.

There's nothing professional golfers hate more than taking penalty strokes for unplayable lies.

If there's any chance of advancing the ball without taking an unplayable, players will do it -- remember that time Sergio Garcia hit one out of a tree?

Anyway, back to Thursday and the first round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, where World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, the defending champion, found himself struggling mightily.

After notching his first two birdies of the day at the 14th and 15th holes to get to 2 over for the day, McIlroy made his way to the par-4 16th. It looked like his approach shot may have found a watery grave. But, as he arrived at the green, McIlroy found that he actually still had a shot since the ball wasn't completely submerged.

The first attempt wasn't pretty, but the second effort was solid:

McIlroy would walk away with a double-bogey 6. He birdied his final hole for a 3-over 75. That has him tied for 55th in the 60-man field.

Going lefty wasn't an option for the two shots above, something McIlroy proved he could do at the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in 2014: