Golf Buzz

February 8, 2013 - 12:10pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Ben Crane
Golf Channel
It's not easy being Ben Crane, as he eloquently shows us in his latest video, "Fame."


By now you've seen the Ben Crane videos -- slow play, the Golf Boys (with Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler) and more.
Crane's latest effort debuted this morning on Golf Channel's, "Morning Drive."
It's called, "Fame."
In the video, Crane shows us what it's like to deal with being someone famous -- being recognized wherever you go; being asked to take pictures; being asked for autographs; making restaurant reservations; etc.
The only problem -- and the thing that makes this video so funny -- is that none of the above actually happens to Crane. 
February 8, 2013 - 9:48am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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John Deere
Getty Images
John Deere will donate $1 million over five years to The First Tee.


John Deere announced on Thursday that it will donate $1 million to The First Tee Program.
The First Tee was established late in 1997 as a not-for-profit organization with an initial focus on creating more affordable access for those not previously exposed to the game. 
The PGA of America, along with the PGA Tour, LPGA, USGA and the Masters Tournament were the founding partners.
Here is a look at the full release that went out on Thursday:
SAN DIEGO, California (February 7, 2013) -- John Deere is now a Trustee of The First Tee®, a non-profit youth organization that provides life skills and character education programs to young people using golf as a platform.
The official announcement was made this morning at the Golf Industry Show by James M. Field, president of John Deere's Worldwide Agriculture and Turf Division, and Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., chief executive officer of The First Tee.
John Deere will donate $1 million over five years to The First Tee, further emphasizing Deere's active commitment to the game of golf and the career development of professionals in the golf maintenance industry. The donation is consistent with the Deere & Company's various citizenship initiatives which target education, training, and community enrichment.
"We have a long history of providing unique learning and networking opportunities for turf care professionals, and we are deeply engaged in the golf industry as the official equipment supplier of the PGA TOUR® and title sponsor of a PGA TOUR event," said Field. "Our donation to The First Tee allows us to demonstrate this fierce commitment to golf through support of an outstanding and proven program for youth development. We are thrilled to provide our support of this initiative at many levels of our enterprise, including volunteer programs at John Deere units around the U.S."
Within the golf industry, John Deere already supports an array of initiatives, including unique educational experiences to fill vital needs such as the Green Start Academy for Assistant Superintendents, and the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America's Collegiate Turf Bowl competition. The company also supports the Association itself at the highest level, as a Platinum Partner.
The $1 million donation will be used to enhance the experience of The First Tee participants in a variety of ways. Besides supporting The First Tee network, funds will be used to create and launch a golf maintenance career-oriented youth development program, in conjunction with the PGA TOUR. Local chapters of The First Tee will partner with the TOUR's Tournament Player Courses (TPC) to provide the opportunity for high school-aged participants to learn about topics in agronomy and golf course maintenance careers. As a planned extension, participants will also have the chance to experience what it's like to maintain a TPC golf course during a tournament week.
"At The First Tee, we rely on strong partners like John Deere Golf to help us carry out our ambitious efforts to reach 10 million additional young people between 2011 and 2017," said Joe Louis Barrow, chief executive, The First Tee. "We're thankful that in addition to their substantial donation, John Deere will help us develop a program to teach our participants about turf care and what it means to be a leader in the golf industry."
In addition, a portion of the donation will be dedicated to funding development programs connected to the John Deere Classic – a PGA TOUR event held each year near the company's World Headquarters in Moline, Illinois.
"A donation of this magnitude is incredibly meaningful to John Deere," said Mara Sovey, director, Corporate Citizenship. "Our participation will provide The First Tee with resources to help reach so many more young people, to volunteer with local chapters, and to fuel the curiosity and development of young minds eager to explore careers in the turf care industry."
About Deere & Company
John Deere (Deere & Company — NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services for agriculture, forestry, construction, lawn and turf care, landscaping and irrigation. John Deere also provides financial services worldwide and manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment. Since it was founded in 1837, the company has extended its heritage of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation around the globe.
The First Tee (, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in elementary schools, at other youth-serving locations and on military installations.
Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values to more than 7.6 million young people in all 50 United States and four international locations. The First Tee is an initiative of the World Golf Foundation and its Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA. Shell Oil Company is The First Tee's Founding Corporate Partner and Johnson & Johnson is its Legacy Partner. Former President George W. Bush serves as honorary chair.
February 8, 2013 - 12:08am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Pearls Golf Premier League jerseys
Courtesy of Pearls Golf Premier League
The jersey for the teams in the Pearls Golf Premier League resemble those worn in other sports such as cricket or rugby.

For years, a lot of prospective cricket fans stayed away from the game because they thought the matches lasted too long. They weren't wrong – in some major tests, the teams battled all day for five straight days.

Then, about a decade ago, Cricket Twenty20 was invented. It's played the same way as traditional cricket, but the matches only last about three hours – making them short enough to attract fans unwilling or unable to devote days at a time to following the contest. And, perhaps even more important, they're compact enough to easily fit into a TV broadcast schedule.

Cricket Twenty20 became a hit almost instantly, and has invigorated cricket around the globe.

India is one of cricket's real hotbeds, so it's no surprise that someone there would try to adapt the Cricket Twenty20 concept to golf.

Shiv Kapur, a golfer from India who played collegiately at Pursue and now plies his trade on the European Tour and Asian Tour, is masterminding the Pearls Golf Premier League. The league has created eight teams, and they have drafted tour players from around the globe to participate in a special tournament this weekend at the Aamby Valley Golf Course near in Mumbai, India.

The four-man teams will play day-night rounds of stroke play on Friday and Saturday followed by a final round of best ball on Sunday. To keep things moving, each round will consist of 14 holes instead of the regular 18 and the golfers will be penalized if they take more than 30 seconds between shots. The players will even wear team uniforms.

"For me, it is the slow and steady build-up to the dream that I have had for a franchise-based event in golf and now we are up and running," said Kapur. "The launch and the auction have set the stage and now it is for us, the players, to add to the show."

Each franchise selected its players in a Calcutta-style auction that is familiar to many golfers who have participated in pro-am parties. They spent a total of about $700,000, and the players will compete for a total purse of $400,000.

Former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell was the hottest property in the auction, being bought for $61,000. Two-time major winner Angel Cabrera and 2011 British Open winner Darren Clarke went for $55,000 each. Former PGA Champions Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel also are participating.

It's a fascinating concept, and it fits right into golf's current push to try ideas that make the game faster and more fun. It'll be very interesting to see if it catches on – and if someday it makes its way over here to America. Personally, I'd like to see it.

Here are the teams:

Colombo 6's: Chiragh Kumar, Jason Knutzon (Australia), Simon Dyson (England), Mithun Perera (Sri Lanka).
Delhi Darts: Rahil Ganjee, Scott Barr (Australia), Johan Edfors (Sweden), Ajeetesh Sandhu.
Gujarat Underdawgs: Digvijay Singh, Jarmo Sandelin (Sweden), David Howell (England), Gaurav Ghei.
Maharashtra 59'ers: Shiv Kapur, Scott Hend (Australia), Angel Cabrera (Argentina), Ashok Kumar.
Shubhkamna Eagles: Anirban Lahiri, Daniel Chopra (Sweden), Michael Campbell (New Zealand), Shamim Khan.
Tamil Nadu Pullees: Himmat Rai, Siddikur (Bangladesh), Rich Beem (USA), Harendra Gupta.
Uttarakhand Lions: Shankar Das, Chapchai Nirat (Thailand), Darren Clarke (N Ireland), Mukesh Kumar.
Witalsee Punjab Lancers: Gaganjeet Bhullar, Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), Shaun Micheel (USA), Rashid Khan.



February 7, 2013 - 1:25pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Wayne Gretzky and Dustin Johnson
TaylorMade via Twitter
The "One Bucket" bucket hats from TaylorMade, modeled here by hockey great Wayne Gretzky and PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson, certainly stand out, even amidst the beauty at Pebble Beach.

The Monterey Peninsula is absolutely one of the most picturesque spots in all of golf – not to mention all the world. But there's a little something extra to catch your eye as you gaze longingly upon the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this week.

Out there among the celebrity hackers and drop-dead scenery over the next four days, you'll no doubt notice a lot of people decked out in bright yellow bucket hats.

No, all those folks don't have the same retro fashion sense. Instead, they're all taking part in TaylorMade's newest promotion.

It's called ''One Bucket'' – meaning all you need to do is hit one bucket of balls with the new RocketBladez irons to be convinced of their quality. To drive the point home, TaylorMade has supplied its staff players plus a number of celebrities and amateurs with the buckets, which are emblazoned with the Twitter hashtag #onebucket along with the RocketBladez logo. The photo above shows Wayne Gretzy and Dustin Johnson modeling the hard-to-miss headwear.

TaylorMade is the master of this kind of eye-catching promotion. Remember last February, the company had its staff players wear white caps with a big heart on the front to show their ''driver love'' for the R11S driver.

A month later came the ''17'' campaign in which players wore caps and even shirts emblazoned with the number 17 to indicate the number of yards a golfer could gain by using a RocketBallz 3-wood. And earlier this year, we saw ''war paint'' on some of its players to promote the new R1 driver.

No doubt the "One Bucket" promotion will generate the kind of visibility that TaylorMade wants for its RocketBladez irons. And, hey, if you want a bucket hat of your own and can't make it out to Pebble (or the Joburg Open on the European Tour) this weekend, you can always buy your own right off the TaylorMade website.

For more on TaylorMade's new RocketBladez irons, click here.


February 7, 2013 - 10:57am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Phil Mickelson is the defending champion of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Lefty comes into this week after a win at TPC Scottsdale on Sunday.


Richard Langford, a featured columnsist for, put together a nice primer to get you prepared for the start of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which starts today at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and the Monterey Peninsula Country Club Shore Course.
Langford offers up some things to watch and highlights the tee times and TV broadcast times.
Have a look for yourself at Langford's piece here.
February 7, 2013 - 1:42am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Davis Love III
Getty Images
Davis Love III says he wishes he would have dealt with his neck issues five years ago.

Davis Love III plans to have an operation on Friday to deal with problems in his neck that have bothered him for more than a decade.

''I've been working around it and it's been a nagging thing for a long time, '' Love told the Golf Channel. ''The last three months it's been more than a nagging thing, it's just been a constant annoyance and needs to be fixed.''

The 20-time PGA Tour winner hopes to be putting again within five days of the surgery and chipping again after 10 days. He expects to be off the PGA Tour for a total of six to eight weeks to complete his recover and rehabilitation – but he believes the operation could alleviate his neck pain for as long as three to five years.

Love has been dealing with pain, numbness and diminished strength in and around his neck since 2000 as a result of spinal stenosis and joint bone spurs, and had to pull out of both this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and last week's Waste Management Phoenix Open. He said a visit to a doctor in Scottsdale last week for a third opinion cemented his decision to go ahead with the operation, which he likened to the 2011 procedure that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had.

Love said he considered holding off on the surgery until after the majors this season, but decided to go ahead. He got a cortisone shot in his neck last week, but still felt uncomfortable when he swung a club.

''It seems like the right time,'' Love told the Golf Channel. ''I wish I had done this five years ago.''