Golf Buzz

November 18, 2016 - 11:31am
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 - 2:06pm
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 - 10:32am
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:

November 16, 2016 - 4:33pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
#MannequinChallenge
@EuropeanTour on Twitter
Have you seen any #MannequinChallenge videos? This one from the European Tour might just be the best.

Remember planking? The Ice Bucket Challenge? "Icing" friends?

Well, all the rage lately has been the #MannequinChallenge where you shoot a video of a group of people just standing in place, not moving, like... a mannequin.

No joke... My wife and I were with friends at a winery over the weekend. At around 3 o'clock, the winery was closing down to the public for a wedding ceremony that afternoon. As we were finishing our glasses off, a groomsman from the wedding party got everyone's attention (about 50 people or so) and asked if we'd partake in the mannequin challenge for the wedding videographer.

We all did.

But I digress. On Wednesday, the European Tour released what may just be the #MannequinChallenge video to end all #MannequinChallenge videos.

Check it out ("Black Beatles" song in the background is NSFW, so turn off your audio):

That's got to be one of the most impressive social media videos ever shot, no? Just the sheer number of people involved holding their respective poses for that long? Amazing!

Well done to our friends at the European Tour. Their social media videos are always fantastic. 

November 16, 2016 - 11:23am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth
USA Today Sports Images
You want to play golf up until the first snow fall but don't want to freeze while doing it? Here are some great tips on how to layer up without being uncomfortably bulky.

In many areas around the country, golf season is quickly winding down.

Colder weather is moving in and, before we know it, our favorite courses will most likely be covered in snow.

Before that happens, you're going to want to sneak in as much last-minute golf as you possibly can. But what about those dropping temperatures? Playing golf in a snowsuit sure doesn't seem like it would be any fun.

Thanks to advances in the fabrics used for cold-weather gear these days, you don't have to get dressed like Ralphie Parker's little brother, Randy, from A Christmas Story.

RELATED: Playing in cold weather tips | Preparation makes it a breeze

When it comes to playing golf in cold weather, PGA Professional Rob Labritz insists there are two major factors to keep in mind:

1. It's all about being comfortable -- make sure you're warm, but your gear isn't bulky.

2. You shouldn't worry about making a fashion statement in the cold.

"The thinner you go and the more treated, the more expensive it is," Labritz said. "You can go all sorts of routes. The internet is your best friend when it comes to this stuff for research. There are really some great deals to be had if you're looking in the right places."

For between $30-$50, Labritz said, you can find yourself items for a solid base layer from a company like Under Armour or Tommie Copper.

"It's a thin, tight, base layer that isn't giving off any kind of thickness, but it's warm," he said. "I recommend Under Armour, but if you want to spend a little more money, Lululemon has some great options to consider as well."

Not getting "bulky," obviously requires as few layers as possible. That's why Labritz fetches for either a sweater or a long-sleeved shirt that's a polyester blend.

"It's just easier to wear than cotton in the cold because the polyester is just stretchier than cotton," he said.

Now that your base- and mid-layers are covered, it's time to move into the outer layers. That, Labritz said, is where it can really get expensive... particularly if you're concerned about "looking good" rather than just "being warm and comfortable."

"Of course there's fantastic, expensive stuff out there that you can find out there that will keep you warm and you'll look great in it," Labritz said. "But, as we touched on earlier, there are deals to be had. Keep in mind that you're likely only going to be wearing this stuff a couple of times per year and it's not something you're going to be replacing on an annual basis."

While Gore Tex is king for the outer layer, there are cheaper offerings that are effective.

"They have high-end fabrics that are treated with a rain repellent that makes it warmer and water resistent," Labritz explained. "It's not Gore Tex stuff, but it will repel a little bad weather. Those are your three layers and they're all thin. They're made for golf. Now you're swinging like a champion. You get used to the tightness, but it's not bulky."

Through a quick internet search, Labritz actually found a waterproof John Daly Rain Suit for $79.99 -- for the jacket and the pants.

For $149, you could have Labritz's go-to pants for playing in cold or wet weather -- the all-weather pants from Galway Bay Apparel.

"I love them because they're light and the fit just like a regular golf pant," he said. "It's a very cool pant. It's a lined pant with a rain-pant outside with almost like a thin rubber on the inside, but it looks like a pant and is super warm. I wear it when it's below 60 degrees."

If you're looking for a little more and have the extra cash, Gore Tex is the answer. It can range in price from the hundreds and even into the thousands.

"When you get into the Gore Tex, it's a fabric -- a membrane that contains over 1.4 billion microscopic pores per square centimeter," he said. "These pores are 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet but 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule. That makes Gore Tex completely waterproof on the outside, but it breathes on the inside. If you find Gore Tex for under a couple hundred, you're doing well, but you want to be sure it breathes. It'll just get too hot and nasty."

So, if you're looking for some great cold weather gear, know what you want ahead of time and then do your research on the internet.

While you might live by the old adage, "You get what you pay for," just remember that in this instance -- if you're looking in the right places -- what you pay for doesn't necessarily have to mean you're breaking the bank. 

Rob Labritz, who has played in four PGA Championships (he was low-Club Professional in 2010 at Whistling Straits), is currently the Director of Golf at GlenArbor Golf Club in BedFord Hills, N.Y. He was also the PGA Met Section Player of the Year in 2008, 2013 and 2016, as well as the Westchester Golf Association's Player of the Year in 2002, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2015. You can learn more about Labritz at www.RobLabritz.com and you can follow him on Twitter, @Rlabritz.