Golf Buzz

July 15, 2016 - 12:07pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Nicolo Ravano
It's very rare to see a score of 59 in an 18-hole round of golf. On Friday, it happened in the rarest fashion ever when Challenge Tour player Nicolo Ravano holed out for eagle from the fairway on the final hole for his 12-under 59.

We take this short break from Open Championship coverage to show you arguably the most dramatic way to card a 59 imaginable.

Nicolo Ravano -- playing in the Challenge Tour's Challenge de Espana on Friday -- holed out for eagle on his final hole to card the historic 12-under 59.



According to the Challenge Tour, Ravano didn't know he shot just the second official 59 in the history of the European, Challenge and Senior Tours until he reached the green.

Here was his reaction:



From the European Challenge Tour:

“It is a great, great feeling,” said Ravano, whose previous career best over 18 holes was eight under par.

“Throughout today I just played safe and gave myself a lot of chances for birdie. Then I went out and holed a lot of putts – I have never putted as well in my life – so am very happy.

“Walking down 18 nobody clapped so it was a really nice surprise to find that it had gone in the hole.

“I was afraid that the ball was spinning out of the green and in to the bunker – when I didn’t see it was on the green that’s what I was looking at.

“There was a ball on the fringe and I thought it was mine. But the caddy of Joseph [Dean] told me ‘it’s in’ and it was a great moment.

“When I realised it was 59 I was very proud as you don’t see many of those. I am hoping I can make it happen again and get it done. I now have to keep the momentum going over the weekend.”



July 15, 2016 - 11:44am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Darren Clarke
European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke wasn't going to let a little grass and a little dirt get in the way of his piece of gum.

Evidently no one in Darren Clarke's Friday threesome could spare a piece of gum for the 2016 European Ryder Cup Captain and 2011 Open Champion.

As he stroked a putt on the par-5 14th hole, the gum Clarke was chewing jumped out of his mouth and fell onto the green.

No big deal for Clarke, who clearly adheres to the five-second rule:

As you can see, Clarke made the putt, picked the gum up off the green, gave it a quick look and deposited it back into his mouth.

Carry on.

Sir Nick Faldo was more than a little grossed out. 

July 15, 2016 - 7:12am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Paul Casey
Ugh. Paul Casey turned what looked to be a routine par at Royal Troon's par-4 seventh hole into an ugly, 5-putt triple bogey in the second round of the Open Championship on Friday.

After shooting a disappointing 6-over 77 in Round 1 of the Open Championship, England's Paul Casey really needed to get something going in Round 2.

It looked as if he was going to do just that. After a bogey at the second, Casey rattled off three consecutive birdies.

Everything, however, was derailed at the 398-yard, par-4 seventh hole (where he made one of his two birdies in Round 1). After lagging up a long birdie putt, Casey faced a 4-footer for par.

Moments later -- five putts total, later -- Casey walked away with a crushing triple-bogey, instantly giving back the three birdies he worked so hard to get:

That was hard to watch. 

July 15, 2016 - 5:31am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is on fire at Royal Troon. The five-time major champ missed an ace at the famed "Postage Stamp" by 2 inches, setting up a birdie for an early five-stroke lead in Round 2.

One day removed from nearly setting a new major championship, 18-hole scoring record, Phil Mickelson is showing no signs of slowing down at Royal Troon in the 145th Open Championship.

Mickelson, who shot an 8-under 63 in Round 1 when his putt for a major-best 62 lipped out, jumped out to a five-stroke advantage early on Friday with birdies on three of his first eight holes to get to 11 under.

The five-time major winner's blitzing of the field early on has been thanks to shots like this one on the par-3 eighth hole, the "Postage Stamp" -- Royal Troon's signature hole and one of the most iconic holes in the game:



You can't get much closer to an ace without the ball dropping than that. Two. Inches.

And more good news for Mickelson: early indications suggest that he may be a luck of the draw beneficiary with his first and second round tee times. The weather is getting nasty in Scotland and it's expected to get worse as the day wears on. It would seem that all the stars could be aligning for Mickelson, who hasn't won a tournament since his 2013 victory in the Open.

July 14, 2016 - 2:16pm
Posted by:
Matt Craig
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Miguel Ángel Jiménez
USA Today Sports Images
It's hard to believe how often the most interesting man in golf, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, holes out from the fairway or hits holes-in-one.

If hole-outs are supposed to be all luck, someone forgot to tell Miguel Ángel Jiménez. It's ridiculous how often he either nails one from the fairway or drills a hole-in-one. 

At 52 years young, the most interesting man in golf isn't slowing down any time soon. Here he is at the 16th hole, draining one from the fairway for eagle during the first round at Royal Troon.

Keep doing your thing Miguel Ángel Jiménez, it never gets old.

As great as this shot was, there's no way it was better than this highlight from the 2010 Open Championship:



July 14, 2016 - 8:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tom Watson
USA Today Sports Images
When it comes to the British Open, it's not uncommon to see older players perform well. Why is that? Here are five reasons.

More so than any of the four majors, the Open Championship is your best chance to see an older player perform well or even win.

Look no further than five-time Open Champion Tom Watson, who -- at age 59 -- lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink in 2009 at Turnberry.

You can also look at the 2011-2013 Open Championships, won by Darren Clarke (45 at the time), Ernie Els (44) and Phil Mickelson (44), respectively. Then there was Mark O'Meara who won at age 41 in 1998 at Royal Birkdale.

RELATED: Open Championship leaderboard | Intriguing pairings | Oosty's ace

Oddly, while the Open is most susceptible to an older player performing well, its champion's average age of 31 is the youngest out of the four majors.

The oldest winner of the Open Championship is Old Tom Morris. He was was 46 years and 102 days old when he won in 1867 at Prestwick. His son, Tom Morris, Jr., is the youngest winner of the championship. He was 17 years and 156 days old when he won the very next year (also at Prestwick).

So, why is it, we wondered, that older (not "old") players seem to shine at the Open?

Here are five reasons...

5. Familiarity with the courses. Unlike the younger players in the field, older players have usually had multiple turns at the courses in the Open rota. Given the subtleties of links courses -- and the venues themselves -- this can be a big advantage. Sure, there's a difference between knowing what you want your ball to do and getting your ball what to do what you want it to, but if an older player has both those things figured out like Watson did in 2009, look out.

4. They embrace the conditions. It's not all sunshine and double rainbows at an Open Championship. There's a good chance that over the course of four days, you're going to get caught up in some miserable weather. Shoot, the motto on that side of the pond is, "Nae wind, nae rain, it's nae golf." Older players get that. They're not going to complain about things like "water on the clubface" (like a certain top golfer did at a major in the last couple of years), wind, cold, or whatever else. They're going to suck it up and grind, realizing it's the same for everyone else as it is for them. An Open Championship is a battle of attrition. It is what it is. Deal with it. Get through it. Make the best of it. Never pack it in because anything can happen in links golf.

3. You don't have to be a bomber. That's not to say that guys like Clarke, Els and Mickelson don't hit the ball a long way. They do. But Watson and O'Meara aren't noted bombers. Open Championship courses might not be shorter yardage-wise on the scorecard than stateside major venues, but they play a heck of a lot shorter when you factor in the conditions and the style of game required to succeed -- low, running shots, as opposed to soaring high shots that land like a feather. Because of the equipment older players learned to play the game with, they're arguably more creative than younger generations. It's not bomb and gouge. It's about manufacturing shots and seeing shapes others don't.

2. Slower greens. There's just no way around this. The greens at an Open Championship are slower than the other three majors and that's just a fact. Are they slow? Not by any means. But they are slower. When you can be a little more aggressive with a putt and not have to worry about running it 10 feet past the hole, chances are you're going to shoot lower scores. For the older guys, the slower greens can be a great equalizer in links golf.

1. Older players know when to take their medicine. This could be the biggest reason you see older players perform well at the Open Championship. Deep, gnarly fescue. Gorse bushes. Pot bunkers. An older, wiser player isn't going to attempt a "hero shot" if the moment doesn't call for it. Instead, they're going to take their medicine, get back in play and in position for the next shot. You might think it's as simple as fundamental course management, but it's not. Need we remind you of Jean Van de Velde's 72nd hole at Carnoustie in 1999?