Golf Buzz

August 7, 2012 - 9:51pm
Posted by:
John Kim
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John Kim, Scott Stallings
John Kim via Twitter
PGA.com's John Kim meets up with friend and two-time PGA Tour winner Scott Stallings.

Last year, just prior to the start of the PGA Championship, I was celebrating the first win of my friend Scott Stallings' PGA Tour career. Scott had won the 2011 Greenbrier Classic and was headed to Atlanta for the season's final major, and I even wrote a well-received piece detailing how we met, how much I respected his dedication and the challenges he had overcome.

So here we are, one year later. Scott, who has battled injuries all year, is finally feeling good and ready to contend this week here at The Ocean Course. Again, he is coming off a win (two weeks ago at the True South Classic) and sits just below the radar as one of the up-and-coming stars in golf.

But even more, he's still a humble, well-mannered and fun person. We had traded texts this week hoping to find time to say hello. Of course, schedules get crazy and we missed connecting -- until a chance meeting outside Fresh Fields on Kiawah Island.

And a short visit with him, his wife and some friends -- and one photo for Twitter later -- we parted ways, hoping to say hello again later in the week.

Good guy, good golfer and good friend. If you need a golfer to fill out your fantasy roster -- or just want to root for one of the good guys on tour -- I'm going to recommend Scott Stallings to you.

August 7, 2012 - 2:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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The weather has been challenging, to say the least, today at the PGA Championship, where there already have been three weather delays for thunder, lightning and one epic downpour. Crazily enough, that’s not even the wackiest weather weirdness of the day affecting golf.

That honor goes to the Sunshine Big Easy Tour event down in Pretoria, South Africa, where Tuesday’s first round was delayed by snow.

Yup, for the first time in the history of southern Africa’s Sunshine Tour, an event was affected by snowfall. Play in the 36-hole tournament was halted at Maccauvlei Golf Club, and tournament officials are monitoring the situation.

“What started as a fresh morning on the banks of the Vaal River soon became an icy affair as snow built up around the course,” said a report on the Sunshine Tour's website.

While some players weathered it out in the halfway house, the story said, many took advantage of the rare weather conditions and made snow angels and had snowball fights.

According to South African news reports, this is the first time Pretoria has gotten snow since 1968.
 
Good news for the golfers – the high on Wednesday is supposed to be around 54 degrees Farenheit, so the show should be gone. The bad news – there’s a 40 percent chance of rain. The average high temperature for this time of year in Pretoria is about 75 degrees.

August 7, 2012 - 1:16pm
Posted by:
Steve Eubanks
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Phil Mickelson
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Mickelson put a new putter in play a week before the season's final major. Good call?

Equipment changes before a major are rare. Putter changes before a major are virtually unheard of.

Guys might experiment with a driver or two the Monday before. And a new wedge could occasionally slip into the bag. Depending on the venue, a driving iron or hybrid might make a temporary appearance. But almost never is the putter, the most important and intimate club in the bag, jilted for a new mistress on the eve of one of the Big Four. 

But Phil Mickelson did just that, putting an Odyssey prototype in the bag the Friday of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The club resembles an old friend, the No.9 model he has used in the past, with a low profile heel and a raised toe.

According to Mickelson, the design gives the putter “a kind of a hook roll.” 

Whether it’s the newness of the romance or the mechanics of the instrument, Mickelson averaged 28 putts per round with the new putter, putting him T13 in the field. He also gained 1.217 strokes per round putting, seventh in the field.

“It just rolls off the face like magic, and it has this great track,” Mickelson said. “I was making a lot more 15- to 30-footers because it was holding such a tight roll.”

Rain precluded practice on Tuesday and Mickelson canceled his press conference, so nobody could confirm if the affair continues. But if it does, Phil will once again generate a lot of a buzz with his decision making. 

 

 

August 7, 2012 - 11:37am
Posted by:
John Kim
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The PGA of America
Twenty PGA Club Professionals will be competing in the 94th PGA Championship.

 

One of the great storylines at any PGA Championship are the stories behind the 20 PGA Club Professionals who will be leaving their golf shops and teaching academies to tee it up alongside the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy.  
 
But more than mere representatives of the association that will be conducting the championship, these 20 are world-class players who have already proven their talent and skill through a rigorous qualifying process, culminating in a top 20 finish at the PGA Professional National Championship (held this past June in Seaside, Calif.)
 
Earlier this week, the 20 PGA Club Professionals came together to pose for a photo.
 
Pictured ar: From Left to Right: Marty Jertson, Phoenix, Ariz.; Alan Morin, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.; Rod Perry, Port Orange, Fla.; Danny Balin, Rockville, Md.; Brian Gaffney, Monmouth Beach, N.J.; Frank Bensel, Greenwich, Conn.; Mike Small, Champaign, Ill.; Darrell Kestner, Glen Cove, N.Y.; Bob Sowards, Dublin, Ohio; Matt Dobyns, Sea Cliff, N.Y.; Jeff Coston, Blaine, Wash.; Mitch Lowe, San Francisco; Brian Cairns, Waterford, Mich.; Paul Scaletta, Jupiter, Fla.; Mark Brown, Oyster Bay, N.Y.; Kelly Mitchum, Southern Pines, N.C.; Michael Frye, Sedona, Ariz.; Doug Wade, Cincinnati, Ohio; Corey Prugh, Spokane, Wash.; and Bill Murchison III, Canton, Ga.   (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America) 
August 7, 2012 - 1:05am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Phil Mickelson
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Phil Mickelson joined a group headed by the O'Malley family in May, but will have no role in the team's say-to-day operations.

Phil Mickelson could be excused if he was a little distracted on Monday at the PGA Championship -- his group's purchase of the San Diego Padres was finalized on Monday night. All that's left now is formal approval by the other Major League Baseball owners, which could come as soon as an owners' meeting on Aug. 16.

Mickelson joined a group headed by the O'Malley family -- the longtime owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers -- and San Diego businessman Ron Fowler in May. Their group was one of five trying to buy the Padres from owner John Moores, and they later were selected as the winning group. Mickelson and his partners will pay about $800 million for the team, but there has been no word on how much Mickelson is kicking in or how large a piece of the ownership he will receive.

Asked about his proposed investment in May, Mickelson said only that it would be "a lot," and that it would be a "significant investment opportunity."
 
As for his role with the team?
 
"Day-to-day operations, running a sports organization, that's not my forte," Mickelson said. "I want to have a personal relationship with the players and find ways to get them tied to the community, things of that nature."

August 6, 2012 - 10:14pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Pete Dye
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The daunting Ocean Course at Kiawah Island has been striking fear into the world’s top players since it was announced as the host venue for this week’s PGA Championship. But all the consternation from the tour pros is music to the ears of Pete Dye, the renowned course architect who conjured it up out of the dunes and linksland along the wild South Carolina coast.

“Hell, I can't think of anything better” than the game’s best players complaining about playing from the back tees while the general public turns out in droves to enjoy the course from the white tees, Dye told Tom Mackin of Golf Magazine last week.

The irascible Dye also discussed his plans for retirement, golf’s global future, which of his courses he thinks could host a major, what he would do if he was in charge of the making the rules, and more.

To read the full interview, click here.