Golf Buzz

November 5, 2014 - 9:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Justin Rose
USA Today Sports Images
Justin Rose is making his first start of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Many of the game's biggest stars are getting their 2014-15 season underway this week in China at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Defending champ Dustin Johnson will not be there to defend, but Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Adam Scott and more will all be on hand.

RELATED: WGC-HSBC Champions tee times | Star power rising at HSBC Champions

Here's a look at five players to watch out for at Sheshan International in Shanghai.

5. Hunter Mahan
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T3 Frys.com Open
Reason to watch: The 2013-14 season was a mixed bag for Mahan, but at the end of it all, he still made it to the Tour Championship and managed to finish No. 6 in the FedExCup standings, was a Ryder Cup captain's pick and picked off his sixth PGA Tour win at the Barclays. In one start already this season, Mahan tied for third at the Frys.com Open.

4. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: This could be a huge season for Fowler. Coming off a year where he was the only player in the world to finish among the top 5 in all four majors, Fowler is looking to find his way back to the winner's circle -- something he hasn't done since claiming his lone PGA Tour win at Quail Hollow in 2012. He's not just the snazzy dresser all the kids love anymore. Fowler is one of the most complete players on Tour. With 10 top-10 finishes in 2014, he's a name you expect to see on the first page of the leaderboard week in and week out.

3. Sergio Garcia
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
T2 CIMB Classic
Reason to watch: Coming off a spectacular season on the PGA Tour in 2013-14, where he did everything but win, Garcia tied for second last week in his first start of the new season at the CIMB Classic. He's playing the best golf of his career right now. The consistency is better than it's ever been. He's had a lot of close calls in the last 12 months and I figure some of those will have to go the other way for him soon. Maybe even a major.

2. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: Scott is the No. 2-ranked player in the world and the man to beat at the WGC-HSBC Champions for that reason. The last time he finished outside of the top 20 in a PGA Tour event was way back at the Players Championship where he tied for 38th. That covers a 10-tournament stretch, which included a win at the Colonial -- his first start as the No. 1-ranked player in the world (Rory McIlroy would take over that spot later in the summer). The bottom line here is that Scott contends a lot. I'd like to see him win more.

1. Justin Rose
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: The man possesses one of the sweetest swings in golf and he's just as solid as they come in the consistency department. When he's playing his best, there are few players in the world who can keep up with Rose. He finished fifth at the WGC-HSBC Champions a year ago. He's won all over the world. In this new season, there's no doubt Rose is looking to add to his already impressive list of career victories in prestigious events. Will this week be one of those? 

Jeffrey Horton
Kimberly Horton
Jeffrey Horton got to play Pebble Beach as part of an anniversary trip from his wife, Kimberly.

This might be the best idea you’ll hear all day.

Jeffrey and Kimberly Horton, from Boiling Springs, S.C., decided that they would create a "baby bucket list" before trying to have their first child. Some of the things on their list are what you would expect to find – buying a bigger home, traveling, buying a sports car – but for Jeffrey, a former golfer at the University of South Carolina-Upstate, that included playing as much golf as possible.

The catch? He wanted to do it at some of the best courses possible.

“We just decided we wanted to do some things before we settle down and have a family. So I wanted to get in as much golf as I could,” Horton said. “Once the baby comes, I won’t be playing as much. My best friend who I’ve been playing golf with for four, five year -- he just had a baby and I know how that goes.”

MORE: Take a look at the most creative golf photos from our readers

Now roughly two years after the creation of the list, Horton got to cross a major milestone off of it.

Recently, Horton, a 27-year-old financial advisor, got to play at Pebble Beach as part of a surprise anniversary trip given to him by Kimberly that also included stops to Las Vegas and San Francisco.

It only got better for Horton as not only did he get to play what he described as the No. 2 course on his list, Kimberly was along for the round. She’s not a golfer, but is a part-time photographer and captured Jeffrey’s round.

“For her to follow me in the golf cart and take photos of the course, of my swing was awesome,” Horton said.

From a pure course perspective, Horton called Pebble Beach the No. 2 on his list. So which course was better?

“Obviously, Augusta is No. 1 on everybody’s list,” Horton said.

Then again, maybe calling it a list is a bit misleading. Horton said there's no set number of courses he wants to play, but the ones he has played is enough to make most golfers jealous.

Pinehurst No. 2? Check. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island? Check. Bay Hill? Check. TPC Sawgrass? Check. And those are just a few of the names.

Courses: Find the course that's right for you

Normally he keeps the scorecard and the golf ball from each round. However, he reached No. 18 at Pebble Beach right as it got dark, and he lost his tee shot. But he was able to take solace knowing that he had plenty of high-quality photos to remember the round.

While the list of courses already played is impressive, there are still a few more that Horton wants to hit. He’s yet to play at Linville Country Club and Sequoyah National, both of which aren’t too far from where he lives.

Even if he doesn’t get to those courses before the couple has their first child, chances are Horton won’t be away from the course for too long. The game spans a few generations in Horton’s family with both his father and grandfather playing.

Plus, the other golfers he plays with have started to get a lot younger.

“All of my buddies who are having kids, once the kid gets past 2, 3, 4 years old, they even come out to the range with us,” Horton said.

Related: How to make golf fun for juniors

According to Kimberly, the couple has been able to check off most of the items on their bucket list. But based on people’s reactions when he tells them about the list, Horton hopes that other people create their own.

“Most people never even thought of doing that,” Jeffrey said. “They say, ‘Oh man, I wish we would have thought about that. Oh, what a good idea.’

“I think it should catch on. I’m glad we’re doing it.” 

Jeff Flagg
Callaway Golf via Twitter
Jeff Flagg got the big check for hitting the biggest drive in the final round of the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship.
Out in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, some of the  biggest hitters in all of golf gathered at the Paiute Golf Resort for the 2014 edition of the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship.
 
This event is essentially golf's version of the Home Run Derby that is an annual highlight of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. But there's one big difference – at the Long Drive Championship, it is winner take all.
 
On Tuesday night, "all" was $250,000. And Jeff Flagg of Pelham, Alabama, captured it by a mere 13 inches.
 
The final field of eight came down to Flagg and Jeff Crittenden of Grensboro, North Carolina. And, with a brisk wind blowing across the grid, both hit their final drives 365 yards. Flagg's settled 20 inches past the 365-yard marker, while Crittenden's stopped seven inches past the marker – the shortest margin of victory in the event's 20-year history.
 
"I thought I had him," Flagg said after his victory," but if there's anything I learned from baseball is that you can't get to high or too low until it's a done deal." 
 
The baseball reference comes naturally to Flagg – he took up long driving after playing baseball at Mississippi State (where one of his teammates was fellow finalist Connor Powers) and in the New York Mets minor league system.
 
The two finalists advanced from a field of eight that began the night in fair weather conditions, but ended with a brisk wind blowing across the grid. 
 
Flagg, 29, and Crittenden, 43, advanced to the finals after eliminating Joe Miller and Adam Smith in the semifinals. Powers, Daniel Beckman, Jamie Sadlowski and Matt Hanger rounded out the eightsome.
 
The event was televised on the Golf Channel, but no highlights are posted yet. We'll update this post when we can – and, coincidentally, just as we were posting this story, we can across this:
 
 
Adam Scott
World No. 2 Adam Scott headlines the field at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
Here's a look at the tournaments on tap this week:
 
World Golf Championships: HSBC Champions
Site: Shanghai 
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday 
Course: Sheshan International Golf Club (7,199 yards, par 72) 
Purse: $8.5 million. Winner's share: $1.4 million 
 
Last year: Dustin Johnson shot 69-63-66-66 for a tournament-record 24-under 264 total. He beat Ian Poulter by three strokes. 
 
Last week: Ryan Moore successfully defended his title in the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sergio Garcia, Gary Woodland and Kevin Na tied for second, three strokes back. ... Germany's Marcel Siem won the BMW Masters in Shanghai. He chipped in for birdie on the first playoff hole to beat Alexander Levy and Ross Fisher. 
 
Notes: Top-ranked Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, the 2007 and 2009 winner at Sheshan International, are skipping the tournament. Johnson also is out after taking a "voluntary leave" to seek professional help for "personal challenges." ... Second-ranked Adam Scott is paired with No. 3 Garcia and No. 10 Rickie Fowler. ... The PGA Tour's OHL Classic is next week in Mexico. ... The tournament is the second in the European Tour's four-event Final Series. The Turkish Airlines Open is next week, followed by the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai 
 
PGA Tour: Sanderson Farms Championship
Site: Jackson, Mississippi 
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday 
Course: Country Club of Jackson (7,354 yards, par 72) 
Purse: $4 million. Winner's share: $720,000 
 
Last year: Woody Austin won in a playoff at Annandale in July, opposite the British Open. At 49, he became the eighth-oldest PGA Tour winner. 
 
Last week: Ryan Moore successfully defended his title in the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Sergio Garcia, Gary Woodland and Kevin Na tied for second, three strokes back. 
 
Notes: Robert Streb and Ben Martin, first-time winners this season, are in the field. Martin won three weeks ago in Las Vegas. Streb won two weeks ago at Sea Island in Georgia. ... Austin finished 20th on the Champions Tour money list with $821,435 in eight starts. He also made $292,284 on the PGA Tour, making 12 cuts in 22 starts... The OHL Classic is next week in Mexico. 
 
LPGA Tour: Mizuno Classic
Site: Shima, Japan 
Schedule: Friday-Sunday 
Course: Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club (6,506 yards, par 72) 
Purse: $1.2 million. Winner's share: $180,000 
 
Last year: Taiwan's Teresa Lu won by two strokes. She birdied the last two holes and six of the final eight for a 64. 
 
Last week: South Korea's Inbee Park won the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship for her third victory of the year, beating Stacy Lewis by two strokes at Miramar. Park won six days after regaining the No. 1 spot in the world from Lewis. 
 
Notes: The second-ranked Lewis is in the field. The American won the 2012 tournament, overcoming a seven-stroke deficit in the final round. She birdied the last three holes for a 64 and a one-shot victory. ... Annika Sorenstam swept the 2001-05 titles to become the first LPGA Tour player to win an event five straight times. ... The tournament ends the U.S. tour's six-event Asian Swing. The Lorena Ochoa Invitational is next week in Mexico, followed by the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida. 
 
OTHER TOURNAMENTS 
MEN
Japan Golf Tour: Heiwa PGM Championship
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Miho Golf Club
Site: Ibaraki, Japan
 
PGA Tour Latinoamerica: Brazil Open
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday
Course: Gavea Golf and Country Club
Site: Rio de Janeiro
 
European Challenge Tour: Challenge Tour Grand Final
Schedule: Wednesday-Saturday
Course: Al Badia Golf Club
Site: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
 
WOMEN 
Legends Tour: Walgreens Charity Championship
Schedule: Saturday-Sunday
Course: Seagate Country Club
Site: Delray Beach, Florida
 
November 4, 2014 - 11:23am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf cart
YouTube
A 120 mph golf cart is downright crazy. It's even crazier from the driver's perspective, as you'll see here.

Yesterday we brought you the story about the Plum Quick Racing team that set a new speed record with a golf cart at 118.76 mph on Halloween at Darlington Dragway in South Carolina.

The video was cool, but we didn't quite get an appreciation for what the experience must have been like for the driver...

... Until today that is.

RELATED: World's fastest golf cart goes nearly 120 mph | World's longest usable golf club

Plum Quick Racing has a video on YouTube with a camera mounted to the golf cart right behind the driver's head.

If you thought the idea of a golf cart traveling just under 120 mph was dicey, wait until you see just how shaky it actually is:

 

Don't try that at home, folks. 

November 4, 2014 - 9:14am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
longest golf club
YouTube
A Dallas man has set the new Guinness World Record for longest usable golf club with a 20-foot, 6-inch driver.

You know how they say, "Everything is bigger in Texas?"

Well, now that applies to drivers.

Michael Furrh, a Dallas native, set a new Guinness World Record for longest shot accomplished with the longest usable golf club at Rolling Hills Country Club on Monday.

RELATED: Man sets record for fastest golf cart, clocks in just under 120 mph

Here's video of the feat with the driver that measures 20 feet, 6 inches:

 

The ball traveled 63 yards in the air, so... I'll stick with my standard-sized driver.

By the way, we had a story back in September on previous record holder Karsten Maas. His driver was "only" 14 feet, 5 inches and went just over 180 yards.