Golf Buzz

February 25, 2014 - 11:22am
Posted by:
John Kim
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Richard Wallis
Courtesy Twitter and Kentonline
English pro golfer Richard Wallis celebrates his record-breaking achievement.

Last fall, I traveled with Team USA to the PGA Cup in De Vere Slaley Hall, Hexham, Northumberland, England. It was an unbelieably awesome experience, in more ways than one.

Before the matches began, I had a chance to play in the pro-am (well, 16 holes of it. Missed the first and last, first because I overslept, last because of radio interview - but save those stories for another day). The "Pro" in my group was a chap by the name of Richard Wallis. I had never met him but I knew he was considered by many to be one of the top players on the Great Britain & Ireland team. He's since become a friend - one who's career I follow on Twitter and share notes with once in awhile via email.

Wallis has the trademark British wit (referencing my putt blasted past the hole as "dead sheep"... still ewe (get it?)), Hollywood-esque good looks (or so I'm told by some ladies that were in attendance) and a heck of a golf game.

Read: The day one small outing had six aces - with a little help. 

How good? Good enough that he was recently honored by the Guiness Book of World Records for shooting the lowest below-par score in a single round of a professional tournament ever recorded. Yes, Wallis shot a 59 while winning the PGA Southern Open Championship Pro-Am last June. And yes, others have shot 59 but Wallis' score came on a par 73 course - giving him a phenomenol -14 par for the day. (Wait, what???)


The actual certification of the award just came down and has been in various papers across Europe. I was lucky enough to contact Wallis and ask him a few questions about his accomplishment.

PGA.com: Richard, first of all, again, congratulations. What's it take to shoot a 59, fourteen-under, in a single round? I mean, that's just a silly score. Video game type stuff, right?

Wallis: You know what your spot on, when I first shot the score my first thought was, that's a 'play station' score and I chuckled to myself...it took a couple of days and probably after a bit of the hype that it sunk in what I had achieved. First of all a PGA event 59 and then the realisation of -14...I mean dreams are made of such things. Literally felt top of the world.

PGA.com: Going back to that round, when did you know you had something special going?

Wallis: I probably started thinking about a serious number after 15 holes, I had started birdie, par, par so really quite a soft start but for the next 12 holes I was -12 so at that point I was thinking of a deep number. The eagle on 15 (a 350 driveable par 4) opened my eyes to the 59 but a missed 3ft'r on 16, I thought had skuppered it a bit but a birdie finish brought it back to life!

PGA.com: The course is a par 73. That's a little unusual for our audience in the states. How common is that in England?

Wallis: A par 73 is very rare, I only know of 1 other and it's in Wales.

PGA.com: Not to be a real idiot, but is it an easy course? I've played courses in England, and they are every bit as challenging (if not more so) than some of the toughest layouts we have here. Still just trying to wrap my head around a 14-under par day.

Wallis: Haha well a lot of people have asked the same question. Let's be honest, even on the easiest of tracks you've still got to hit the shots and make the putts. This course is your typical Surrey course, narrow, heavily tree lined fairways with small greens. The only benefit with small greens is, when you hit them, your likely to be close. I missed 1 green and had only 20 putts for the day.

#PGA365: Photos of the Day from the month of February

PGA.com: You've played in European Tour events, a hundred professional events a year, etc. What's the one thing keeping you from a playing card on the big tour?

Wallis: Good question, if I knew that I'd be winning on tour now. My time will come I'm just being patient, it's taking longer than I hoped but if I keep working hard and knocking on the door, at some point it will open and I'll walk through. I work hard, my desire and passion is there, sometimes maybe I just try too hard.

PGA.com: Can you imagine you or anyone going lower than 14-under?

Wallis: Yes for sure, there's 18 holes on a course and even in my -14 I felt like I left 2 out there!

PGA.com: You had some pretty special call-outs on Twitter after your round. That's what actually got you to start your Twitter account, right?

Wallis: Yes definitely, my sponsor thought it would help raise my profile and to a certain degree it has but if I'm honest, only to a small degree, I had hoped for a few invites haha but obviously nonne yet :-)

PGA.com: So finally, what's next for you?

Wallis: Well I'm going to keep pressing on, playing for GB&I and shooting numbers like the 59 fills you with confidence and we all know that confidence breeds success so if I keep my ambition and desire up then who knows...my life could be turned upside down from 1 single event and who knows, that event maybe next week so let's work hard and keep trying.

You can follow Richard Wallis on Twitter @Richie59wallis.  
 

 

February 25, 2014 - 1:01am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano golf cart sheet
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano via Twitter
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano arrived at his golf cart for a Honda Classic pro-am, only to find he had been replaced by "Gonzalo Fernandez-Castro."
I produce a lot of the content you see here on PGA.com, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't occasionally make a typo. Most are harmless – and we catch almost all of them before they actually go live. 
 
However, one night while I was trying to do a lot in a little amount of time, I sent out a tweet on the PGA.com account referencing PGA Tour player Roberto Castro – except I accidentally called him "Ricardo." Worse, I didn't immediately catch my mistake, and Roberto saw it. He called me out on it via Twitter, and some of his tour player buddies teased both him and me about it.
 
Of course I apologized, and Roberto let me off the hook, for which I am very grateful. I've felt a little guilty ever since – but tonight, I saw that I'm not the only person to get a PGA Tour player's name wrong in a very embarrassing way. 
 
Check out these tweets, two of which, I'm sorry to say, involve Castro. And note the irony – the Honda Classic locker room plaque misspells Castro's first name, while the golf cart sheet calls Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano "Castro":
 
 
 
 
 
February 24, 2014 - 7:00pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Victor Dubuisson at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Getty Images
Victor Dubuisson spent much of Sunday getting into trouble, then getting out if it in spectacular fashion at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
There's been enough written and said about Victor Dubuisson's amazing performance at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship that I don't feel the need to recap all his heroics. But it is worth noting that he dazzled not one but both of the captains for this year's Ryder Cup.
 
After the second of those head-shaking up-and-downs in extra holes Sunday afternoon, U.S. Captain Tom Watson tweeted this:
 
 
More important, however, is that European Captain Paul McGinley witnessed that exhibition as well.
 
"You can't help but be very impressed," McGinley told Sky Sports in Great Britain. "A lot of us were all learning about Victor, and the fortitude he has shown under pressure all week has been most impressive."
 
Dubuisson – who also won the 2013 Turkish Airlines Open, one of the European Tour's big-money playoff events – is now high atop the European Ryder Cup points list, and McGinley is convinced he'll be making his Ryder Cup debut seven months from now at Gleneagles.
 
"It looks like with the points he has accumulated he is a nail-on now. If he was 90 percent before the week, he is 99.9 percent now," he told Sky Sports. "With all the evidence we have seen this week, I think he will be a very welcome addition to the team."
 
If you'd like to see both of his eye-popping recovery shots from Sunday, we've got them both right here.
 
And if you'd like to learn a whole lot more about Dubuisson, the European Tour website has a nice profile. It details the impact that Tiger Woods' record-setting win at the 1997 Masters had on his career path. It also includes this tidbit: His uncle Herve is considered France's greatest basketball player. 
 
 
 
 
 
February 24, 2014 - 1:39pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Harold Ramis
Getty Images
Harold Ramis, writer and director of "Caddyshack," has died at age 69.

Harold Ramis, writer and director of "Caddyshack" -- among a list of other great comedies -- has died at age 69.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Ramis died at 12:53 a.m. Monday from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels.

RELATED: Your favorite golf movie characters | Best golf movie quotes

From the report:

Ramis' serious health struggles began in May 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to the autoimmune disease, his wife said. Ramis had to relearn to walk but suffered a relapse of the vaculitis in late 2011, said Laurel Ward, vice president of development at Ramis’ Ocean Pictures production company.

Ramis leaves behind a formidable body of work, with writing credits on such enduring comedies as "National Lampoon's Animal House" (which upon its 1978 release catapulted the film career of John Belushi, with whom Ramis acted at Second City), "Stripes" (1981) and "Ghostbusters" (in which Ramis also co-starred) plus such directing efforts as "Caddyshack" (1980), "National Lampoon’'s Vacation" (1983), "Groundhog Day" and "Analyze This."

"Caddyshack" was Ramis' first feature film.

 

 

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair

February 24, 2014 - 12:47pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rickie Fowler
USA Today
Rickie Fowler's third-place finish in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on Sunday went a long way toward improving his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list.

Bubba Watson, winner of the Northern Trust Open two weeks ago, was the only player to make a move in the top 10 of this week's U.S. Ryder Cup points standings.

Watson moved from No. 7 to No. 6 (and Zach Johnson dropped from No. 6 to No. 7) by finishing in a tie for ninth at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

2014 RYDER CUP: U.S. points standings | How U.S. Points are earned | Team USA | Team Europe

Rickie Fowler, who made it to the semifinals at the Match Play and defeated Ernie Els in the consolation match, catapulted from No. 53 to No. 20 with his third-place finish.

Here's a look at the current top 12 (remember, the top 9 after the PGA Championship in August automatically qualify, while U.S. Captain Tom Watson fills out the team with three captain's picks):

1. Jimmy Walker
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Phil Mickelson
4. Harris English
5. Jason Dufner
6. Bubba Watson
7. Zach Johnson
8. Webb Simpson
9. Ryan Moore

-----------------------
10. Chris Kirk
11. Kevin Stadler
12. Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth -- the 2013 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year -- was the only player not previously in the top 12 to make a move at the Match Play. With his tie for fifth, Spieth took over the No. 12 spot, bumping previous No. 12 Patrick Reed to No. 13.

Jim Furyk, a veteran of eight U.S. Ryder Cup teams, moved from No. 19 to No. 14 with his tie for fifth at the Match Play.

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

February 24, 2014 - 10:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tiger Woods
USA Today
Tiger Woods has been known to hit some amazing shots over the course of his career.

French golfer Victor Dubuisson became a household name last night with his mind-blowing performance in a playoff loss to Jason Day in the final of the WGC-Match Play Championship.

Yes -- a playoff loss.

In case you missed it, Dubuisson pulled off two of the most amazing (OK, luck was certainly a factor too) shots you'll ever see in order to stay alive on the first and second playoff holes respectively.

Dubuisson's ability to pull off these two highly unlikely shots got us thinking of some other clutch shots in recent history.

As you look through the list, keep in mind these shots are in no particular order. Also keep in mind that there are surely others that could make the list. The items below just stuck out in our memory most from recent memory. We also tried to spread the wealth, seeing as Tiger Woods could have a top-10 list of clutch shots all to himself.

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: What other shots would you add to this list?

10. Phil Mickelson's approach shot at Colonial on the 72nd hole in 2008. In the hunt for another PGA Tour win, Mickelson lost his tee shot way right of the fairway and looked to be in jail, surrounded by trees in heavy rough. While many thought he might simply punch out, Mickelson instead took a wedge from 140 yards, hoisted it high over the trees and within 9 feet of the hole to set up a winning birdie putt.

9. Miguel Angel Jimenez on the Road Hole at St. Andrews in 2010 British Open. Ah, the dreaded Road Hole at St. Andrews -- one of the most famous and most difficult holes in golf. At the 2010 British Open, Jimenez launched an approach that sailed wide right of the green, across the road and against the stone wall. An unplayable lie for sure, right? Not for Jimenez. Instead -- with his back to the hole -- Jimenez hit the ball into the wall. The ball popped up over Jimenez's head and landed on the green about 15 feet from the cup.

8. Bill Haas from the water on the par-4 17th hole at East Lake in a playoff at the 2011 Tour Championship. Surely you remember this one. Haas was vying not only to win the tournament, but also the FedExCup title. His playoff opponent was Hunter Mahan, who was in full control. Haas's golf ball was half submerged in water left of the green and he not only put it on the green, but knocked it to within 2 feet to set up a par and eventually won the tournament on the very next hole.

7. Tiger Woods chip in for birdie on No. 16 at Augusta National during the 2005 Masters. Pretty simple (yeah, right). The announcers explained it would be impossible for Woods to get close to the hole from his position after a poor tee shot on this famous par three. So what did he do? Woods chipped the ball about 30 feet past the hole into a backstop and watched with the rest of the world as it rolled back before dying into the cup for the most unlikely of birdies.

6. Fred Couples gets a "hole-in-three" at the 1999 Players Championship. No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass is one of, if not the most popular par-3 in golf. Like many before and after him, Fred Couples came up short and watched his ball splash into the water. He quickly re-teed and proceeded to knock the shot in on the fly -- a hole-in-one... or, in this case, "a hole-in-three" and the best par save you'll ever see. (Skip ahead to the 1:46 mark of the video below.)

5. Australian Craig Parry's walk-off eagle in a playoff at the 2004 Ford Championship at Doral. On the 18th hole at the Blue Monster, Parry was on the first hole of a playoff with Scott Verplank. It didn't last long. From the middle of the fairway, Parry hit a perfect 6-iron that tracked to the hole and dropped in for an eagle that ended the tournament before the pair even reached the green.

4. Speaking of walk-off wins, there may be none better than Jonathan Byrd's in the 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. On the fourth hole of a three-man playoff and with light -- or a lack thereof -- becoming a serious factor, Byrd aced the 17th hole from 196 yards to end it.

3. Steve Stricker on the 72nd hole at the 2011 John Deere Classic. This is a "two for the price of one" offering. First, Stricker's remarkable approach from 182 yards out and an awkward lie in a fairway bunker that settled in the fringe, 25 feet from the hole. Then, he knocked in the putt for a birdie and the win.

2. Jordan Spieth's bunker shot to force a playoff in the 2013 John Deere Classic. Spieth, who would eventually be the Tour's Rookie of the Year Award winner last season, faced a difficult bunker shot at TPC Deere Run with, well, the tournament riding on it. The electric young player knocked it in to force a playoff with Zach Johnson and David Hearb. The playoff went three holes with Spieth eventually taking the win.

1. Paul Casey's walk-off ace in the 2006 Ryder Cup. In a foursomes match on the Saturday of the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club in Ireland, Casey closed out the match on the 14th hole with an ace from 213 yards. It remains the only time in Ryder Cup history that a match has ended with a hole in one. (Skip ahead to the 3:12 mark of the video below.)

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