Golf Buzz

August 14, 2012 - 9:02pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Rory McIlroy and Gerry McIlroy
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
The hug from his dad that Rory McIlroy got after winning the PGA Championship meant as much as the trophy or the prize money.

As we officially put the 2012 PGA Championship to bed, here are some record-book tidbits from Rory McIlroy’s big win:

-- His eight-shot margin of victory set a new PGA Championship record, breaking the old mark of seven shots set by Jack Nicklaus in 1980 at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y. Coincidentally, the 2013 PGA Championship will be played at Oak Hill. McIlroy also won the 2011 U.S. Open by eight shots.

-- The victory returned McIlroy to No. 1 in the world ranking.

-- McIlroy became the youngest player since Seve Ballesteros to win two majors. Tiger Woods was about four months older than McIlroy when he won his second major.

-- McIlroy's win ends a streak of the last 16 majors going to 16 different winners -- a stretch that coincided with Woods' drought in golf's biggest tournaments. Woods hasn't won a major since 2008.

-- Europeans had gone 78 years without winning the PGA Championship. Now they've won three of the past five (Padraig Harrington in 2008, Martin Kaymer in 2010, and McIlroy).

-- McIlroy is the first major champion to go bogey-free in the final round since Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters.

-- Five courses of at least 7,550 yards have been used in major championships. Two of those majors were won by McIlroy (2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional), two by Woods (2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah) and the other by Y.E. Yang (2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine).

And finally, the image at the top of this post is the best one I saw all week – and believe me, I saw a million of ‘em. Congrats to photographer Montana Pritchard, who captured this shot of McIlroy embracing his dad, Gerry, after the extra-long final day. The stories of McIlroy’s parents sacrificing so much to make their son’s golf dreams come true are well-known, and this shot certainly shows that the McIlroy family bonds are stronger than ever.

August 13, 2012 - 2:42pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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14th tee on Copperhead Course at Innisbrook
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The long par-5 14th hole on Innisbrook's Copperhead Course is named after Richard Nixon.

Just in time for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the Innisbrook Golf Resort is temporarily renaming the holes on its famed Copperhead Course after the past 18 Republican presidents of the United States.

The resort, which hosts the PGA Tour's annual Transitions Championship on the Copperhead Course, is serving as the home base of delegates from Florida and South Carolina, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, and decided to honor the GOP presidents during the convention.

Each Republican president will get his own hole, and the presidents were assigned to holes in chronological order starting with Abraham Lincoln and ending with George W. Bush.

The Business Journal’s Chris Wilkerson had some fun in coming up with descriptions for the holes using their presidential namesakes. Here are some examples:

--1. The Abraham Lincoln is a 500-yard, par 5 stalwart. It is a long hole that will punish a golfer for straying. It is the kind of first hole that lets you know you are in for a war.

--6. Benjamin Harrison is a dangerous par 4 with large trees crowding a skinny fairway. Harrison’s advice on the Copperhead sixth would be to spend money. Maybe buy a beer from the drink cart zipping up the fairway — Harrison signed the first ever billion-dollar budget.

--7. President William McKinley helped usher in an era of economic expansion at the turn of the century. His hole is a forgiving par 4 with a wide fairway and a shady cart path for enjoying the beer bought during the Harrison administration.

--9. The front nine closes with a salute to the first president who truly loved golf — William Howard Taft. The Taft hole is a long, open par 4 with a slow rise to the pin. The presidency was only the halfway point in Taft’s career. He went on to be the chief justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

--12. On the 12th, golfers can lose their fortune in golf balls at the most dangerous water hazard on the course. The 12th belongs to Herbert Hoover, whose presidency saw many Americans lose their fortune in the Wall Street crash of 1929.

--14. The Richard Nixon is … well … tricky. A long par 5 with two dog legs and a lake, the Nixon is set up to be the course’s signature hole. And yet somehow, after playing this picturesque hole with its sweeping view and made-for-TV vistas, golfers can’t help but walk away scratching their heads.

August 11, 2012 - 2:06am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Adam Scott at the PGA Championship
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Sending flowers to a woman he hit with a stray shot likely will earn Adam Scott even more female fans.

Adam Scott clocked a woman on the noggin with a drive on Friday at the PGA Championship, but the bruise is probably worth the benefits – Scott got her address and promised to send her a bouquet for her bump.

"Unfortunately, I hit a lady on the seventh hole. She was getting some medical attention and I hope she is going to be okay," Scott said afterward. "She will be getting a big bunch of flowers from me."

Scott’s gentlemanly gesture came a few weeks after Rory McIlroy hit a teenaged spectator in the first round of the British Open. McIlroy's wayward tee shot left the young man dazed and lying on the ground. After the youth's head was bandaged, McIlroy signed a glove for him. And after McIlroy’s manager found out that the teen and his friend were camping out so they could attend the Open, he arranged for them to be moved to an upscale hotel for the rest of the week.

These incidents caught the attention of former PGA Champion Steve Elkington, who couldn’t help but notice how much things have changed when it comes to errant-shot etiquette.

“Old School..Hit spectator with ball .."you ok pal?",” tweeted Elkington. “New School .. Hit Spectator ...send flowers .. Hotel room .. $200 ... Dinner”


August 10, 2012 - 1:13am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson
Soon-to-be San Diego Padres' part-owner Phil Mickelson will leave the baseball details to the experts.

Don't worry, baseball fans, Phil Mickelson promises not to pull a George Steinbrenner – he’ll leave the San Diego Padres' baseball decisions to the baseball people.

Mickelson is a member of an ownership group that finalized a deal to buy the Padres earlier this week, and the transaction is expected to be formally approved by Major League Baseball in the near future. Leading the group is former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley.

Mickelson stresses that he won't meddle in lineups, pitching changes, trades or managerial moves, like the notorious Yankees owner and some other owners have done with their teams down through the years. Instead, Mickelson said on Thursday, he plans to concentrate on community relations, an area that he, as a San Diego native and longtime Padres fan, saw as a shortcoming in recent years.

"There's been a bit of a disconnect the last few years and understandably so, where the community of San Diego has really been faithful and loyal to the team and put a lot of money in to give us one of the best ballparks in the baseball," Mickelson said. "The last few years I think the fan base has lost a little faith in the team and we'll see if we can turn that around."

And the first time he gets to sit in the owner's box as an owner? It will be, he says, "awkward, but exciting nonetheless."

August 9, 2012 - 12:53pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Michelle McGann
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Michelle McGann is helping grow the game through a new initiative called Fairway Friends.

Major championships always bring out a who’s who of golf – like Butch Harmon standing impatiently in line at the local grocery store behind the crew last night. But there are also people within the game who are at Kiawah to help spread important messages. 

LPGA veteran Michelle McGann is one of those.

Michelle is the spokesperson for Fairway Friends, a new initiative by the Executive Women’s Golf Association designed to bring women into the game through their friendships with other women.

"Our main mission is to get more working women involved in golf," Michelle told me over coffee before she headed out to watch the first round. "To do that we established this program where you can be a mentor; you can, as someone who plays golf, grab someone who doesn’t know much about golf and introduce them to the game."

Fairway Friends is exactly the kind of growth-of-the-game program the PGA of America supports through Golf 2.0. 

"Those of us who have played golf all our lives take for granted the little things like, what do you wear? What do you say? What is an iron or a wood? What is the etiquette? That is where a mentor can help a friend become more comfortable and feel more welcome when they start.

"Those of us in the game can look back now and see that so many of the long-term friendships we have were established in golf. So, we should really try to bring other women into it to experience that same long-term bond."

It is these kinds of efforts from good people like Michelle McGann and others that will keep golf growing for decades to come. 


August 9, 2012 - 8:05am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tiger Woods
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Who could ever forget Tiger's strut as he stared a putt into the hole at Valhalla in 2000?

We asked our friends in Facebook Nation to vote on the top-9 moments in PGA Championship history.Take a look at the list to see which moments received the most of your votes