February 4, 2013 - 1:57pm
dan.vanderkooy's picture
February 4, 2013 - 9:38am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
James Hahn
PGA Tour/YouTube
PGA Tour rookie James Hahn breaks out into the, 'Gangnam Style,' dance after holing a birdie putt at the par-3 16th during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday.

In case you live under a rock -- which isn't likely the case if you're reading this -- you know that there's no bigger party in professional golf than on the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. The atmosphere is that of a frat party. If you think a good shot is going to be greeted with a slow, "golf-clap," here, you're going to be extremely disappointed. This is the PGA Tour's version of Animal House.

Players that simply hit the green are given the loudest standing ovation they'll hear all year. Players that miss the green... well, they get rained upon with boos.

Over the years, No. 16 has gone from hectic to downright chaos -- the good, fun kind. Players have embraced it, endearing themselves to fans with various antics, whether it be handing out free hats, sunglasses (which Hunter Mahan did on Saturday), or actually getting on a microphone and singing like half of the golf, boy-band, "The Golf Boys" Bubba Watson and Ben Crane did after hitting their respective tee shots in 2012. The fans eat it up.

Sunday was no exception. And, if you didn't know who James Hahn was before Sunday, chances are you do now.

Hahn, a 31-year-old rookie on the PGA Tour, shot a magnificent round of 9-under 62 in the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday to jump from a tie for 42nd after 54 holes to a tie for 16th. Remarkably, it was Hahn's second, final-round 62 of the season, matching the mark he had at the Humana Challenge a few weeks back, where he tied for fourth.

On Sunday, Hahn made five birdies over his final six holes to leapfrog loads of players. But, it was one birdie in particular that will live in Phoenix Open lore for years to come.

With a revved up crowd packed into the totally enclosed par-3 16th at TPC Scottsdale, Hahn electrified the spectators by holing a 19-foot birdie putt. To celebrate, Hahn -- who was born in South Korea -- paid tribute to South Korean rapper Psy, who became famous worldwide in 2012 for his smash hit and accompanying dance, "Gangnam Style."

As soon as Hahn's putt dropped, he put the putter down and did the 'Gangnam Style' dance. Whether you like the song/dance or not, you have to admit -- Hahn did a darned good job!

Check out the funny video for yourself here.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.

February 4, 2013 - 9:15am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
Getty Images
Should Phil Mickelson have won more to this point in his PGA Tour career? Probably. But if he did, would he have been as fun to watch? Probably not.

It sounds like a cruel question, but it's one posed by BleacherReport.com's Fred Altvater: has Phil Mickelson underachieved in his PGA Tour career?

Let's take a brief look at the resume...

With his win on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Mickelson earned his 41st career PGA Tour victory. The last time he went an entire season without a PGA Tour "W" was 2003 (his best finish that year was third at the Masters). Lefty is a four-time major winner with three Masters triumphs and one PGA Championship. He's been a runner up at the U.S. Open five times and has five, top-3 finishes at the Masters -- not including the three wins.

Mickelson has played on a record nine consecutive U.S. Ryder Cup teams. He's arguably the most exciting player in golf to watch given his risk-reward nature. His incredible game coupled with his appreciation of the fans have him labeled by many as a modern-day Arnold Palmer.

Yet, still, harsh as it seems, a debate could be had about whether or not he has underachieved. Imagine being the second-best of your generation at something (which Mickelson was to Tiger Woods through the late 90s and most of the 2000s), but still be called an underachiever? That's either the biggest slap in the face, or the biggest compliment a person could get.

Altvater makes his case:

Is it fair to compare Mickelson's career to Woods'?

While Woods is respected among golf fans Mickelson is beloved for his go-for-broke style and aw-shucks smile.

He will turn 43 in June and was diagnosed with a form of arthritis three years ago, which has certainly affected his play.

Another bump in the road has been the highly publicized battles with cancer for both his wife, Amy, and his mother.

By any standard, Phil Mickelson has had a marvelous, Hall-of-Fame career, but somehow the putt that executed the severe 360 degree lip-out to prevent him from posting a 59 on Thursday could be a metaphor to his golfing career.

To read all of Altvater's piece, click here.

Based on what he wrote, it seems Altvater answered his own question with a resounding, "No!"

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.

February 2, 2013 - 11:50pm
Posted by:
John Kim
john.kim's picture
Gail and Allen Wronowski
The PGA of America
Allen Wronowski (and wife Gail) enter the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Ryder Cup.

 

I got some news this weekend -- and it's so exciting I wanted to share it (maybe a bit early, but I don't care). However, before I do, please allow me to provide some background. 
 
One of the first tasks I ever had when I came to PGA.com in the fall of 2006 was cutting images and pasting bios of new officers. It's the less glamorous side of working in golf - but it's the painstaking type of duty that makes a website work. (Hey, we can't do reviews of Pebble Beach every week...can we?)
 
A few months later I found myself at Demo Day in Orlando, leading up to the 2007 PGA Merchandise Show. I was the new guy, had no idea what I was doing nor knew anyone amid the thousands of people there -- but determined to make an impression nonetheless. Armed with a giant audio recorder (laughable when compared to today's smaller digital recorders) I noticed a large, silver haired man ambling by with a big smile.  He knew everyone. Laughing, shaking hands, posing for photos -- he was obviously someone of note. I wanted to record something with him. Not knowing that the proper protocol was to arrange interviews with the PR & Communications department of the PGA, I just walked up to him and asked in my very elegant way -- "Hey, aren't you Allen Wronowski?"
 
It indeed was the new Secretary of the PGA of America and our first encounter was a clumsy new web producer trying not to look stupid in front of the man just elected to one day be president of the largest working organization in sports. That meeting was the first of many. But it never felt awkward again.  
 
Allen quickly became renowned in the golf community for his thoughtful answers to difficult golf questions, his always-present PGA pins he gave out liberally, the big bear hugs he greeted virtually everyone with and perhaps the biggest smile in golf. He's always been a special friend to me -- but there are at least a thousand other people who say that about him.  And it's all 100% sincere. 
 
There are far too many Allen stories to recount -- but here's a guy who, as president, was 'regular guy' enough to drive me around in his cart at the Ryder Cup ("If anyone asks, I don't know you or how you got in this cart,") but was composed enough to speak in front of tens of thousands (millions on TV) a few minutes later welcoming the world to the greatest event in golf. He's the same guy at Hillendale Country Club and its members (his home course since 1979) as he is at the PGA Championship amid Tiger, Phil and Rory. 
 
If you follow Allen on Twitter (and if you don't, you should: @AllenWronowski), you may have seen his announcement that he's been told he'll be inducted into the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame (March 2013). I'm so NOT surprised, no one deserves it more. But I know I share the excitement of the entire golf world. 
 
I'll allow the official announcements and bio info to tell his story more when they come out -- they'll do a better job of it. This post is just from my perspective.
 
I used to kid Allen that everytime he went to give a speech to a PGM program or a PGA Section meeting, I'd notice dozens of new Facebook or Twitter profile pictures changed to that person's photo with him.  I bet he's posed for more photos than Justin Bieber. (Sings better too). But every person I've ever met thinks as highly of him as I do. No kidding.
 
So seven years later, I'm still the guy at the website and Allen has gone from newly-elected secretary to vice president to president to now enjoying a less stressful role as honorary president. And he's about to become a Hall-of-Famer.  However, I still have the ability to post things about him on this website. 
 
So while I still have the platform, I want to speak on behalf of thousands of golf professionals and milliions of golfers in saying to my friend..."Congratulations Allen! Proud of your legacy -- even prouder to call you friend!"  And I never told anyone about riding around with you at the Ryder Cup.  Until now. 
January 31, 2013 - 9:30am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tim Finchem
Getty Images
Will PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem take action against Vijay Singh for his use of a banned substance?

In light of what's happened this week with World Golf Hall of Famer Vijay Singh admitting to the use of a banned substance in a Sports Illustrated article, GolfChannel.com has put together a helpful, informative timeline of the PGA Tour's drug-testing policy.

Late adopters of an anti-doping/drug-testing policy, the PGA Tour on July 1, 2008, officially began its testing at the AT&T National. The European Tour followed suit that same week at the European Open (Click here for a look at the PGA Tour's anti-doping policy).

When the testing began -- two weeks after the epic U.S. Open playoff between Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines -- Mediate did an interview with ESPN.com and called the new process, "the biggest joke in the history of the world."

Well, it's clearly a joke no longer.

It's not known what action -- if any -- the PGA Tour will take against Singh. At the time of this blog post, Singh was still scheduled to tee off in the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. If he does in fact play, it will be interesting to see the reception he gets on the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale -- the rowdiest in golf.

(UPDATE: SINGH HAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN CITING A BACK INJURY)

Doug Barron, a journeyman in the professional golf ranks, was the first player suspended under the PGA Tour's anti-doping policy. He was suspended for one year after a random test at the St. Jude Classic in 2009, where he tested positive for high levels of testosterone.

Shortly after, Golf.com's Cameron Morfit wrote:

Barron was diagnosed in 1987 with mitral-valve prolapse, a heart murmur that led to tightness in his chest and made him feel like he was having a heart attack. Only 18, he was put on the beta-blocker Propranolol to treat the murmur and alleviate anxiety attacks brought on by the condition. He was diagnosed with low testosterone in 2005 and began taking testosterone injections.

While players can take banned substances if they are medically necessary, the Tour never granted Barron a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) for either drug.

Barron has since been granted the therapeutic-use exemption.

Time will tell what the fate of three-time major champion and former world No. 1 Singh will be.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.

January 31, 2013 - 8:59am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Kyle Stanley
Getty Images
Kyle Stanley is the defending champion of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Rob Goldberg, a featured columnsist for BleacherReport.com, put together a nice primer to get you prepared for the start of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which starts today at TPC Scottsdale.

Goldberg offers up some players to watch, highlights some notable tee times and predicts the winner.

Have a look for yourself at Goldberg's piece here.