Golf Buzz

July 14, 2016 - 4:21am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Patrick Reed
@TheOpen on Twitter
Patrick Reed holed out for an eagle 2 on the par-4 third hole at Royal Troon in the first round of the Open Championship on Thursday.

Something about golf in Scotland just seems to bring out the best in Patrick Reed.

Reed was the star of Ryder Cup USA in 2014 at Gleneagles with a 3-0-1 record in his debut (a losing effort for the U.S.). On Thursday in the first round of the Open Championship, he made two quick pars on holes 1 and 2 before this beauty at No. 3:

That right there is an eagle 2.

Reed followed that with a birdie at No. 4 to get to 3 under through four holes and right near the top of the leaderboard. 

July 13, 2016 - 9:15am
Posted by:
Matt Craig
matthew.craig's picture
rory mcilroy royal troon, the open
Facebook / SkySports
Rory McIlroy took six shots to escape the bunker at the 8th hole, the famous "postage stamp."

There's two things we know for certain about Royal Troon. First, you do not want to miss the green on the 8th hole. Second, it's pretty difficult to hit the green on the 8th hole.

They call it the "postage stamp" for a reason, and the small green accounts for the signature hole on the course. Surrounding the tiny patch of short grass are a handful of deep and intimidating bunkers.

Rory McIlroy decided to try out one of these bunkers during his practice round on Tuesday, and found out just how difficult they can be.

It took McIlroy six shots to escape the bunker, an adventure captured by Sky Sports on Facebook Live.

The fun starts around the 5:30 mark:


Once again, you do not want to find the bunkers on the 8th hole at Royal Troon. It's a story to follow as The Open starts on Thursday.


July 13, 2016 - 8:39am
Posted by:
Matt Craig
matthew.craig's picture
mercedes-benz golf cart
Twitter / gizmag
Mercedes' new luxury golf cart will show off all of its features on a tour of the world that includes The Open.

What do you want your golf cart to be able to do?

If you answered this question with, "anything," then I think I've found the golf cart for you. Mercedes-Benz teamed up with Scandanavian company Garia to create a luxury golf cart that has all of the features you could think of and more.

The cart's sleek design is to be as low and sporty as possible, and includes LED headlights, a dimpled grille, and a carbon-fiber roof.

Features include a built-in refridgerator, a spoiler on the back that doubles as a golf bag holder, a storage tray for balls, and a touchscreen infotainment system.

The infotainment system is loaded, and to hear explain it sounds more like a space shuttle than a golf cart.

The high-resolution 10.1-in touchscreen is divided into two halves; the upper half is dedicated to displaying information such as speed and remaining range as well as control of functions like drive mode (yep, there's "eco" and "sport' modes), headlights and windshield wipers, while the lower half of the screen is for golf information, such as course layout with cart position and digital scorecard. There are also a few apps, including a weather app for tracking what's going on above.

The Golf Car includes an audio system with Bluetooth connection and frame-mounted speakers for smartphone-based music listening. Mercedes also mentions the possibility of adding a more robust set of smartphone-connected features through the onboard infotainment system.


Rudolph "Hubby" Habjan, a PGA Hall of Famer and mainstay of Illinois golf, passed away peacefully July 5th at the age of 84. 

Habjan dedicated his life to growing the game of golf, spending 42 years at the Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Illinois where he was named the 1965 PGA Golf Professional of the Year and the 1989 Illinois PGA Teacher of the Year. After serving in a variety of leadership roles for the Illinois PGA, Habjan was the Vice President of the PGA of America from 1974-1976 and later was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 2005. 

In addition to his teaching abilities, Habjan was a gifted golfer and talented club maker. He competed in three major championship, including two PGA Championships and a British Open, and operated a custom golf club business from his small workshop at the Onwentsia Club. His club-making skills gained so much notoriety, Habjan also earned a place in the Professional Club Makers Hall of Fame in 1998. 

We wish all the best to his wife, Lynn, children Tim, Bruce, Cindy, and to his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

July 11, 2016 - 11:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Zach Johnson
USA Today Sports Images
Zach Johnson will attempt to defend his title in the Open Championship at Royal Troon this week.

The season's third major championship -- The Open Championship -- is upon us this week from Royal Troon in Troon, Scotland. This week will mark the ninth time that Royal Troon will hosts the game's oldest major.

Troon hosted its first Open in 1923 when England's Arthur Havers was the victor. American Todd Hamilton defeated Ernie Els in a playoff when the Open was last held at Troon in 2004.

One thing we can be sure of -- as is always the case at the Open -- is this: weather will be a factor. Who will have the luck of the draw?

RELATED: Ryder Cup USA points standings | 2016 PGA Championship field

That's too soon to tell, but here's a look at seven pairings you'll want to watch in the first two rounds (order is listed chronologically based on first-round tee time):

7. Branden Grace, Patrick Reed, Byeong Hun An
Tee times:
8:03 a.m. Thursday; 1:04 p.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Grace has really been knocking on the door at majors over the past couple of seasons. He has three top-5 finishes in the majors since the 2015 U.S. Open, most recently a T5 in the 2016 U.S. Open. While his Open record isn't outstanding -- his best finish was a T20 last year -- it's the only major in which he has yet to miss a cut. Reed and An have yet to tally a top-10 in a major, but both players are more than capable of ending that drought this week.

6. Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry
Tee times:
9:03 a.m. Thursday; 2:04 p.m. Friday
Reason to watch: OK. So Spieth and Rose are a given when it comes to players to watch in any tournament. For Spieth, a win here would grab him three legs of the career Grand Slam and -- under no certain terms -- erase the Sunday meltdown at Augusta National in April so people can stop asking about it. Surprisingly for Rose, his best Open finish remains that T4 as a 17-year-old at Royal Birkdale in 1998. In fact, his only Open top-10 since was a T6 last year at St. Andrews. That brings us to Lowry who should not be overlooked. He won a World Golf Championship a year ago and has collected three top-10 finishes in major in the last three seasons, highlighted by last month's T2 in the U.S. Open. Lowry is a player who has really come into his own lately and it wouldn't be shocking at all to see him walk away from Royal Troon with the Claret Jug.

5. Danny Willett, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day
Tee times:
9:25 a.m. Thursday; 2:26 p.m. Friday
Reason to watch: This, right here, is a monster trio to follow for the first two rounds. The reigning Masters champ (Willett), the reigning PGA Champion (Day) and a player in Fowler who, though still major-less, snagged top-5 finishes in all four majors in 2014. As a major winner, Willett is now in a new stratosphere. Day enters as the world No. 1 and returns to the tournament that began his incredible run one year ago when he thought he had the tournament won, but instead finished T4. He responded by tallying seven of his 10 career PGA Tour wins since, including his first major at Whistling Straits, two PGA Tour Playoffs events and the Players Championship. Fowler had been slumping -- three missed cuts in his last five starts -- but may have found something at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, a T10, in his last start.

4. Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson
Tee times:
9:36 a.m. Thursday; 2:37 p.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Rory McIlroy has been itching for this week to begin for two reasons. First, with all due respect to defending champ Zach Johnson, McIlroy is also sort of a defending champ this year. He won the Open at Royal Liverpool in 2014, but was unable to defend at St. Andrews a year ago after sustaining an ankle injury while playing soccer with some friends. Secondly, McIlroy is reeling from a missed cut at Oakmont in the U.S. Open a few weeks ago. It was his first missed cut in a major since the 2013 Open. Matsuyama is one of the best young players in the game and has come close in four majors, including the Open where he finished T6 in 2013. And as for Watson, the Open is his lone major without a top-5 finishe, which is surprising when you consider that he may be the most creative player in the game today with his ball-shaping abilities. Will that trend turn this week at Troon?

3. Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Ernie Els
Tee times:
1:26 p.m. Thursday; 8:25 a.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Just because this trio is made up for forty-somethings, don't think of it as one for nostalgia. All three are still very capable of winning. Open Championship venues -- more so than the other three major championships -- or the kind where anyone could win. Mickelson and Els both proved that with what were sort of "surprise" wins when they turned the trick in 2013 and 2012, respectfully -- same goes for Darren Clarke who did it in 2011. Westwood has come agonizingly close to winning a major so many times. If he could get it done this week, he'd be a very popular champion.

2. Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Russell Knox
Tee times:
2:04 p.m. Thursday; 9:03 a.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Talk about a breath of fresh air for Dustin Johnson. For the first time in a long time, he enters a major with virtually no pressure. That's not to say he isn't going to grind like crazy to try and win. It's to note that at Oakmont, he finally became a major champ after so many near misses. Years from now, will we look back at that U.S. Open victory as a win that opened the major floodgates for Johnson the same way the 2004 Masters did for Phil Mickelson? Time will tell. But it'll be interesting to see how he fares in his first major as a major champion. Kaymer has had an incredibly slow season by his standards on the PGA Tour (no top 10s in eight starts), but is showing some flashes in Europe of late with a T5 and a T13 in consecutive weeks at the Open de France and Scottish Open, respectively. Knox, a native Scot, is enjoying his best PGA Tour season to date. Three top 10s, including a win at the WGC-HSBC Champions. Can he thrive on being paired alongside two major champions?

1. Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson
Tee times:
2:15 p.m. Thursday; 9:14 a.m. Friday
Reason to watch: Highlighted by defending champ Zach Johnson, this threesome is as strong as you'll find in the first two rounds with Scott and Stenson along for the stroll as well. Scott and a major-less Stenson have had more close calls at the Open than they probably care to remember. It wouldn't be the least but surprising to see these three names on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday. 

July 11, 2016 - 9:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
John Daly
@ChampionsTour on Twitter
In Sunday's final round of the Dick's Sporting Goods Open on the PGA Tour Champions, John Daly began putting with just his left hand... It didn't go to well.

In Sunday's final round of the Dick's Sporting Goods Open on the PGA Tour Champions, John Daly began putting with just his left hand... It didn't go to well.

John Daly putts one-handed in final round of Champions Tour event

In case you missed it over the weekend, John Daly was in contention for his first PGA Tour Champions victory in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in Endicott, N.Y.

After stellar twin 68s in Rounds 1 and 2, Daly entered Sunday's final round just three shots off the lead at 8 under.

Daly couldn't seem to get anything going in the final round so he decided to do something drastic: putt with one hand:



Based on what Golf Channel's Dave Marr had to say, it doesn't sound as though the switch went too well for Daly ("It's not that he hasn't made any of these," Marr said, "He hasn't even come close to making any of these.").

Daly would finish with a 1-over 73 to tie for 11th, his best finish on that Tour this season.

It seemed like an odd time to go with the one-handed stroke -- even if it is one style that many putting gurus swear by for practice drills.

Daly is proficient with the one-handed style in chipping and bunker drills, as you can see here:





Wonder if this is a style Daly might try out at Royal Troon this week in the Open Championship.

Now that would be something to watch.