Golf Buzz

February 25, 2014 - 10:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Brad Faxon
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Brad Faxon, an All-American in the 1980s, was one of more than 50 former Furman golfers that rallied to help save the program from elimination.
The Paladins rode to the rescue. 
 
Furman University said in a statement Tuesday that its men's golf team won't be eliminated after all, thanks to "the outstanding generosity of the school's many golf alumni to provide short-term operating funds and to establish an endowment for scholarships."
 
The alumni response "provides the necessary financial support to sustain the men's golf program at a highly competitive level while allowing the University to retain the cost reductions realized by the board's original decision," said Interim President Carl Kohrt.
 
Officials at Furman, long a small-college golf powerhouse, announced earlier this month that they would discontinue men's golf after this spring season. The Greensville, S.C., school's Board of Trustees made the decision after concluding that its money and athletic department resources could be better used elsewhere. They said several factors – including public visibility, attendance, competitiveness and overall costs – figured in the decision. 
 
Within a week, a number of prominent alumni began exploring ways to keep the team alive.
 
More than 50 former golfers – including Brad Faxon, the team's most prominent graduate – held a teleconference with Kohrt and Athletic Director Gary Clark to discuss ways to salvage the program for at least one more season and secure its long-term future. Kohrt suggested that the group come up with a plan sooner rather than later, and obviously they did.
 
 
The school didn't announce how much money it needed, or how much was promised. But Faxon – an All-American at Furman in 1982 and 1983 – said the university and the alumni group worked hard to find a solution that benefitted everybody.
 
"We are all proud alums of the Furman golf program, and none of us wanted to see it discontinued," Faxon said in the statement. "So we talked with university officials, and discussed what we could do to bring the program back.  Furman has a very dedicated group of men's golf alumni, and we had numerous people step up and make some very generous contributions that provided the kind of financial support the university needed. The outpouring of support from Furman alumni and the golf community has been amazing."
 
Board of Trustee Chair Richard Cullen said the university was elated by the enthusiasm of Furman's alumni in support of the plan.
 
"We said at the outset that the initial decision was not an easy one, but necessary to ensure that Furman's resources support its core mission," Cullen said. "This plan maintains our position. The goodwill with which the alumni have approached us, their genuine concern about the University's well-being, and their commitment to the tradition of golf at Furman has been inspiring."
 
"We were caught off guard by the University's decision to discontinue men's golf, but appreciate the need to appropriately steward the University's resources," said former player Rob Langley. "This plan allows both sides to achieve a win-win. The golf alumni are re-energized and committed to doing everything possible to strengthen the men's golf program for the long-term, which includes driving successful fundraising campaigns to support the program."
 
February 25, 2014 - 6:36pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Tiger Woods and Greg McLaughlin
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Greg McLaughlin has been the president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation since 2000.
Greg McLaughlin, the president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation since 2000, is leaving his twin posts to assume an executive position at the PGA Tour, McLaughlin said Tuesday.
 
McLaughlin didn't specify the job he'll have at the tour, and the tour has yet to confirm the move. He also said he will remain involved with the foundation. 
 
 
McLaughlin was the tournament director of the Nissan Open (now the Northern Trust Open) at Riviera when he offered Woods an exemption into his first PGA Tour event at age 16. He later ran the Honda Classic and Western Open. 
 
Woods said he is thankful for the leadership from McLaughlin. During his tenure, seven Tiger Woods Learning Centers were created, and McLaughlin also ran the AT&T National, Deutsche Bank Championship and World Challenge – all of which benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.
 
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
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
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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
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Harold Ramis
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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