Golf Buzz

January 26, 2016 - 11:05am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Franklin Pierce
A college student at Franklin Pierce in New Hampshire won himself $500 in airfare on Saturday by holing a full-court putt during a halftime challenge.

OK, in terms of degree of difficulty, I'd have to imagine that holing a full-court putt on a basketball court -- given the speed and precision required to do so -- is a heck of a lot more difficult than draining a full-court shot with a basketball.

During the Franklin Pierce University Halftime Challenge at a basketball game on Jan. 23, student Brandon Knight attempted the putt from one baseline to the other (95 feet) with $500 on the line to a 3-inch hole -- that's 1.25 inches smaller than an actual golf hole, by the way -- to put toward airfare or books.

No problem for Knight (h/t Golf Channel):


Is it just me, or doesn't it seem a putt from that length to a hole cut that small should be worth more than 500 buckaroos in airfare or books? I don't know, what about something like a year's worth of class books from the bookstore, if not some kind of scholarship?

Franklin Pierce also won the game over Southern Connecticut State University, 81-79. Great day all around for Knight.


January 26, 2016 - 9:58am
Posted by:
PGA of America
tj.auclair's picture
Lexi Thompson
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
Lexi Thompson has been named an Official Ambassador for PGA Junior League Golf.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2016) -- LPGA star Lexi Thompson was named an Official Ambassador for PGA Junior League Golf at the 63rd PGA Merchandise Show Outdoor Demo Day today. The announcement was made in conjunction with the kickoff to the PGA of America’s Centennial celebration and was televised live on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive from Orange County National Golf Center in Orlando.

Thompson joins Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie and Rickie Fowler as ambassadors for the youth golf program, owned and managed by PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America, that allows boys and girls ages 13 and under to learn and play the game in a fun, recreational setting.

The announcement concluded with Thompson hosting a clinic for more than 40 boys and girls from Orlando-area PGA Junior League Golf teams. The PGA Show Outdoor Demo Day is the world’s largest professional golf testing event. It takes place the day before the opening of the PGA Merchandise Show, an industry-only event held Jan. 27-29, at the Orange County Convention Center.

PGA Junior League Golf has experienced exponential growth over the last three years, with a nearly 100 percent increase in participation each year. Last year, 30,000 boys and girls played on 2,500 teams nationwide; 17,500 played on 1,425 teams in 2014; and 9,000 played on 740 teams in 2013.

“I’m honored to join Rickie, Rory and Michelle as a PGA Junior League Golf Ambassador,” said Thompson. “I was so lucky to grow up playing golf surrounded by great mentors. Now, I want to help grow the game for the next generation of golfers, helping provide them with all the opportunities I had.”

In 2007, at only 12 years old, Thompson became the youngest female player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. In 2014, Thompson earned her first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Thompson hails from a golf family with two brothers also playing competitively: Nick, who plays on the PGA Tour, and Curtis, a COBRA PUMA GOLF staffer playing the tour. She has also made a name for herself in the fitness world with features in Shape Magazine and Self Magazine, among others.

“We’re thrilled to have Lexi join a prestigious group of Official Ambassadors for PGA Junior League Golf,” said PGA President Derek Sprague. “Lexi is undoubtedly a role model and inspiration to our future generations of golfers, and having her on board is a great way to kick off another participation record-breaking year in 2016.”

Through PGA Junior League Golf, kids learn the game under the direction and instruction of PGA/LPGA Professionals who serve as Team Captains. Much like other league sports, kids wear numbered jerseys and play on teams with their friends.

The primary focus of PGA Junior League Golf is on the recreational and developmental nature of regular season matches, held during the summer, for golfers of all abilities. Teams play 9-hole matches in a popular two-person scramble format, where Team Captains can substitute players every three holes so that all golfers can participate.

Following the regular season, 10-player all-star teams comprised of a combination of players in each league are assembled, who move through sub-regional and regional championships. Eight regional champions advance to the PGA Junior League Golf Championship—won by Team California last year at Disney’s Palm Course at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 

pga show
PGA of America Archive
A scene from the 1954 PGA Merchandise Show -- the first ever held -- at PGA National Golf Club, Dunedin, Fla.

Click here to return to complete coverage of the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2016) -- The PGA of America, one of the world’s largest sports organizations, begins a 100-day celebration of its Centennial on Jan. 26, at the golf industry’s largest forum, the 63rd PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.

Founded April 10, 1916, in New York City, as the first nationwide all-professional golf association, the PGA of America has grown from its original 78 members to more than 28,000 men and women professionals today. Thanks to the work of these professionals, the PGA is recognized as the industry leader in growing participation in a game that engages millions worldwide.

“We celebrate our Association’s remarkable first century by focusing on our most important asset – PGA Professionals and the exceptional work they do in the business, teaching and playing of the game, all to elevate the enjoyment of golf,” said PGA President Derek Sprague. “Throughout this Centennial year, the PGA will share the passion and pride of PGA Professionals along with heartwarming stories of inspiration. Together, our Association will also look forward to the next 100 years, improving education and employment opportunities for our members and nurturing the next generation of golfers.”

 The PGA Centennial includes the debut of #ThxPGAPro, a grass-roots platform where golfers from all levels of the game can share stories about and express gratitude for their own PGA Professional; how they mentored and influenced their lives, through personalized video, photos and messages that are posted on Tributes also can be made through social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) using the hashtag #thxpgapro. While the Centennial celebration is focused on 100 days, #ThxPGAPro campaign will continue throughout 2016.

The campaign includes public service announcements to be broadcast on NBC, CBS, Golf Channel, Turner and other broadcast partners, as well as social media outlets. To view, please visit

Among other related activities at the PGA Merchandise Show:

• The PGA Centennial opens with a Ceremonial Tee Shot on Demo Day, Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Florida. Covered by Golf Channel on “Morning Drive,” the ceremony features PGA of America officers and representatives from the PGA’s 41 Sections, along with 41 PGA Junior League Golf participants from Greater Orlando.

• On Wednesday, Jan. 27, attendees at the 63rd PGA Merchandise Show will be encouraged to visit the central lobby where a “Walk through History” exhibit will focus on the personalities and significant events that shaped the PGA’s first century. Later that evening, a special reception in celebration of the PGA’s Centennial will be held in the Orange County Convention Center for all attending PGA Professionals and invited guests.

• The PGA Section Spotlight Series debuts Jan. 27, highlighting a different PGA Section for 41 days on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” program, click here for schedule.

Each profile features a “Get to Know the PGA Section” fact box and the Section’s signature program, which focuses on charitable, social and educational endeavors. The Section Spotlight Series begins with the North Florida PGA’s inspiring “Putting on Smiles” program, where PGA members give instruction to patients in a network of children’s hospitals. The series concludes May 4 with the Metropolitan PGA Section’s Met PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) program, which is conducted at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for the Montrose VA.

• PGA Centennial: Celebrating the History of the Golf Professional is a keepsake coffee-table-sized book written by PGA Master Professional Billy Dettlaff and edited by John Steinbreder. The official Centennial commemorative chronicles, as never before, the multi-faceted skills that have become synonymous with the PGA Professional. The PGA Centennial book is available by visiting

• PGA Instruction Day, May 4 - The PGA Centennial 100-day celebration culminates at six sites nationwide (to be announced at a later date) that will host clinics featuring PGA Professional instructors. Golf Channel will transform each clinic into a live television event. 

Jason Dufner
PGA Tour via YouTube
Jason Dufner's tee shot on the par-3 17th was a little rocky, but his recovery shot was a thing of beauty.
Jason Dufner earned his first PGA Tour victory since 2013 on Sunday with an overtime triumph over David Lingmerth in the CareerBuilder Challenge. You might think his clinching putt would qualify as the host of the day, but we'd pick a different one.
Dufner struggled with his game all day, after playing almost perfectly the first three rounds, and he came to the 17th hole trying to hang on against Lingmerth, who made up five shots on him to ultimately force the playoff. 
The 17th on the Stadium Course at PGA West is an island-green par 3 similar to its mosre famous cousin at TPC Sawgrass. There is, however, one big difference – this island is surrounded by boulders of all shapes and sizes, and boasts the nickname "Alcatraz." 
Dufner hit his tee shot a little offline, and it wound up in the dirt and rocks about as far from the flagstick as possible. At least his ball didn't bounce into the water, but he seemingly faced an almost impossible recovery shot. He took a delicate stance, with his left foot above his right, and knocked his ball up and onto the green.
It rolled all the way across the putting surface – and hit the flag. The impact deadened the ball, and it rebounded only a few inches away. In the span of a few seconds, Dufner went from looking like he was out of the hole – and possibly the tournament – to being right back in the thick of things.
If you watch Dufner as he walks toward the hole, he clearly mouths the word "wow." That pretty much sums it up. 
Take a look at his "Escape from Alcatraz":
European Tour/Twitter
Rickie Fowler salutes the crowd after his clutch chip-in at No. 17 Sunday.

Clinging to a one-shot lead Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Championship, Rickie Fowler needed a momentum swing down the stretch. And boy did he ever get one.

Faced with a delicate little chip from the fringe on No. 17 -- just moments after Rory McIlroy had eagled the 18th to add to the pressure -- watch what Fowler does in response:



That birdie pushed Fowler's advantage to two, and he needed all of it. Thomas Pieters had an eagle putt on the final hole that could have tied Fowler and sent the tournament into a playoff, but it came up just inches shy. 

That allowed Fowler -- who parred the final hole -- to walk away with a one-shot victory, his fourth over a nine-month span.

That was the second time Fowler had stepped up big. Earlier in the round, he made a double bogey and immediately found himself facing a shot from the bunker on the next hole. But he was more than equal to the task:




Fowler's win certainly caught the attention of 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III.