Golf Buzz

Lee Trevino and rubber snake
ScotchBladeGolf via YouTube
Lee Trevino's rubber snake broke the tension on the first hole of the playoff for the 1971 U.S. Open.
It's April Fool's Day, as I'm sure we all are aware of by now. Generally speaking, I try to avoid the tricks and jokes, but it is fun to see how other people handle the day.
My favorite April Fool's post in the world of golf so far today comes from none other than Jack Nicklaus. No, the Golden Bear isn't trying to punk anybody – but he did note on Twitter that "Every day is #AprilFools to my friend Lee Trevino." And then he added a link to one of the most famous stunts in all of golf – that time Trevino threw a rubber snake at him at the 1971 U.S. Open.
I've embedded the video that Nicklaus refers to below. In case you're not familiar with the story, here's the deal: Nicklaus and Trevino were tied after 72 holes at Merion, and returned on Monday for a full 18-hole playoff. As the announcer on the video says, the mood was quite serious as the two great players prepared to begin their duel.
Trevino took a couple of practice swings while Nicklaus waited off to the side. Then the Merry Mex pulled a big rubber snake out of his bag and held it high as the crowds murmurs turned to laughter. Nicklaus asked to see it, Trevino tossed it over to him, and both men got a good chuckle out of the stunt, which really cut the tension on the first tee. 
One widely told version of story is that Trevino tossed the snake in an attempt to unnerve Nicklaus, but the truth is that Nicklaus asked to see the fake snake. Trevino had the snake in his bag because he had used it as part of a photo shoot before the Open to show how deep Merion's rough was. On the first tee, he reached into his bag for a new glove, found it and decided to pull it out.
And by the way, Trevino shot 68 to Nicklaus' 71, then went on to win the Canadian Open and British Open within the next month or so. He ended up with six victories for the 1971 season and was named the PGA Player of the Year. 
Here's Nicklaus' tweet and the video:
Sports Illustrated
A photo of the Syracuse golf team from the early 1970s, with then-golf coach Jim Boeheim on the far right.

Legendary Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim's association with the Orangemen goes back more than 50 years, from the time he stepped on campus in 1962 as a freshman.

Along the way, Boeheim walked on to the basketball squad, roomed with NBA star Dave Bing, was team captain as a senior, graduated with a degree in social science, played minor league basketball with the Scranton Miners and eventually wound up as a graduate assistant under head coach Roy Danforth.


But for all of Boeheim's basketball exploits, he happened to be a pretty good golfer as well. In addition to his time on the hardwood, Boeheim played for two years on Syracuse's golf team.

So when the Orangemen needed a golf coach, guess who they asked to fill the role? That's right.

As this epic 1970s-flashback photo from the Sports Illustrated archive illustrates, Boeheim was a golf coach before his 39-year career as head hoops coach of the Orangemen. Certainly, he is better known for closing in on 1,000 career victories and owning five Big East tournament championships, five Final Four appearances and the 2003 NCAA Division I national championship.

But the hair! The clothes! The photo reeks of post-Woodstock non-conformity. Can you imagine any college golf team in the country in this day and age taking a picture looking like this? That's more awesome than having Boeheim in charge.

By the way, he's not the only legendary college coach with a golf background. North Carolina's Dean Smith, for instance, doubled as golf coach during his time at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.  


Abby Wambach
Xochitl Pena via Twitter
Soccer superstar Abby Wambach (in black) checked out Poppie's Pond, then took a running leap into the water.
This week's ANA Inspiration isn't just the LPGA Tour's first major of 2016. It's also a gathering of top female stars from around the world of sports – skiing champion Lindsey Vonn and Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin are just a few of accomplished athletes that have been in Rancho Mirage, Calif., this week.
Soccer superstar Abby Wambach also is on hand, and she did something this afternoon that no doubt every golfer in the field has been dreaming of – she took a leap into Poppie's Pond.
Poppie's Pond – whose official name is Champions Lake – is the water feature just off the 18th green on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club. Its nickname honors longtime tournament director Terry "Poppie" Wilcox, and the first tournament winner to take the leap was Amy Alcott, who did so spontaneously back in 1988.
The tradition of winners jumping into the lake didn't really begin until 1994, however, when Donna Andrews took the plunge. Every champion since then has cannonballed into the water, and a few years ago the pond was converted from a water hazard into more of a swimming pool for the health and well-being of the jumpers.
I'm sure all the professional players would consider it bad form to jump in without a win. But what if you win the pro-am, like Wambach's team did? After her victory, the soccer legend walked over to check out the pond. After a little encouragement from Danielle Kang, she backed up, took a run and – ker-splash!
Here's her jump, as shared by Xochitl Pena of the Palm Springs Desert Sun. Not bad at all:
DeMarcus Ware
DeMarcus Ware via Instagram
DeMarcus Ware teed it up on a gorgeous course called Jack's Point on his vacation to New Zealand.
After winning the Super Bowl a couple months ago, the Denver Broncos are enjoying a little R&R this offseason. Quarterback Peyton Manning famously went to DisneyLand right after the Big Game, and this week star defensive lineman DeMarcus Ware is on vacation down in New Zealand.
Ware has been working out a little bit, doing a little fine dining and wine-tasting, and enjoying the jaw-dropping scenery for which New Zealand is so famous. He's also spending part of his time on the golf course. 
He's shared a few quick Instagram photos and videos of his swing and of the course he played – Jack's Point in Queenstown. I'm not as familiar with Jack's Point as I am with New Zealand courses like Cape Kidnappers or Kauri Cliffs, but it looks spectacular – that body of water you see in Ware's video is Lake Wakatipu and those mountains in the background are called the Remarkables. 
Ware's swing looks pretty nice, too – I'm always impressed with the flexibility that these muscular athletes have. Take a look at his swing, and at the video of the course he played:

A video posted by Demarcus Ware (@demarcusware) on



A photo posted by Demarcus Ware (@demarcusware) on


Close but no cigar

A video posted by Demarcus Ware (@demarcusware) on



Bubba Watson
Orlando Magic via Twitter
Bubba Watson's half-court shot at the Orlando Magic game Tuesday night was even cooler than it if had gone in.
On this week before he returns to Augusta National to try to win his third Masters, Bubba Watson is enjoying a little down time. He spent Tuesday night at watching his beloved Orlando Magic trample the Brooklyn Nets – and he got to try a half-court shot.
Bubba's heft from half-court didn't quite go in, but what happened might actually be more memorable. His aim was just a teench off, and the ball wedged between the rim and the backboard. Wow! From half-court, is that called an atomic wedgie? 
Oh well, no doubt Bubba would prefer his aim to be perfect next week when he's got a wedge in his hand and he's homing in on those slicky, tricky greens at Augusta National.
Here's his shot: