December 09, 2013

Video: Watch Zach Johnson's amazing hole-out

Zach Johnson might have pulled off the shot of 2013 with his hole-out from a drop area on the 72nd hole of the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge [video above].

Tied with Woods on the tee at 18, Johnson found the fairway with his drive, while Woods drove into the left rough. Playing first, Woods' approach landed in the front right bunker, giving Johnson a clear shot at the green and maybe the win. Johnson, however, dunked his approach in the water. Then, needing to hole his wedge shot from the drop area to make par, Johnson did just that.

“It was just a bad swing and I got caught up in the moment," Johnson said afterward. "Certainly the next shot was a little too dramatic for me, but I was very lucky to hit that one in.”

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December 06, 2013

Jason Dufner discusses his dream foursome, pink golf balls and 'Dufnering'

Posted at 3:29 PM by Coleman McDowell | Categories: Auburn, Jason Dufner

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Jason Dufner sat down with Rivals.com's Krysten Peek in California after his opening round of the World Challenge and discussed his first hole-in-one (with a pink golf ball!), tweeting with Tiger and his dream foursome.

The highlights from the Q&A portion.

First hole in one: "I was 13 at a public golf course in Cleveland called Sleepy Hallow. I hit a 5-wood from about 170 yards on No. 2. There was one other guy I met on the first tee. He was lucky. I think it was a pink golf ball too. (Asked if he still uses pink golf balls) No, pink golf balls are out."

On Dufnering blowing up: "I was just sitting there screwing off kind of day-dreaming. People got a hold of it to kind of make fun of me a little bit and jab at me, but then it blew up. It's the most remarkable thing I've ever seen. I only did it once. It's a one-time thing."

On tweeting Tiger this week: "I know he looks at it here and there. I felt like I maybe could get a response out of him. I pretty much knew what the response was going to be. It was just all in fun. People actually thought I was serious about it. It was worth a shot. I'm very privileged to be playing this event in California this week, but I definitely wish I could be in Georgia watching Auburn play for an SEC Championship."

Dream foursome: "My dad, Ben Hogan and my grandpa."

Favorite course: "Augusta National. That event has a lot of history. It's a unique course and really tests every aspect of your game."

Keegan Bradley and the PGA Championship: "Lucky."

On winning his own PGA Championship: "It's pretty neat. To work as hard as I have and always think about just playing in these major events, much less win one. It really hasn't even set in yet to have your dreams fulfilled and become a reality." 

Watch the full three-part video interview here on AuburnSports.com.

(Photo: AP/Julio Cortez)

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December 05, 2013

DJ dismisses Vijay: 'He's in trouble, not me'

Posted at 1:14 PM by Pete Madden | Categories: Drugs in golf, Dustin Johnson, PGA Tour, Vijay Singh
Dustin Johnson
Credit: Getty Images

 

In an interview with the Golf Channel's Jason Sobel, Dustin Johnson distanced himself from fellow Tour pro Vijay Singh, who recently requested documents related to the "actual or possible violation" of the PGA Tour's Anti-Doping Program of five current professional golfers, including DJ, during the discovery period of his suit against the PGA Tour.

"I don’t know why he would call me out," Johnson told Sobel. "Obviously, he’s in a situation where he’s looking to better himself somehow, but there’s nothing there."

Johnson, an eight-time PGA Tour winner, most recently at the HSBC Champions in November, went on to say that he's never run afoul of the Tour's drug policy.

Q: Have you ever been punished or reprimanded for any kind of violation?

A: No.

Q: Does it anger you to see your name in connection with that story?

A: Not really. I don’t care. He’s in trouble, not me.

Q: Would you consider any type of legal action for your name being used?

A: No. I’m out of it. Don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t care.

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Long John sets the record straight: He's not gay

Posted at 11:56 AM by Josh Sens | Categories: John Daly

He's been known to hit it crooked.

But let's be clear: he's straight.

So said John Daly, by way of Twitter, in a social media corrective to a BBC reporter, who, in a recent slip of the tongue, mentioned the name "John Daly" when he meant to say "Tom Daley," the British diver who came out earlier this fall.

News that comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen him hanging out at Hooters.

In a related story, the world is still awaiting a similarly clarifying tweet from Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, whose name and face were erroneously included in a slide show of gay athletes compiled by Sky News in the UK.

The British news outlet was also reporting on Tom Daley at the time.

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December 04, 2013

Holy souped-up, $17,500 golf cart, Batman!

Posted at 5:34 PM by Josh Sens |

Batcart

Same Bat-theme. New Bat-design.

And it just sold on eBay -- a golf cart version of the bulked up Batmobile that Christian Bale’s Cape Crusader drove in Batman Begins [above].

That original ride was called the Batman Tumbler. This mini-iteration is the Tumbler golf cart, a buggy that began life as an EZ-Go golf cart before going through a $30,000 overhaul.

Like its cinematic inspiration, the Tumbler cart has Super Swamper tires and a few crime-fighting features, including a loud horn and an anti-theft kill switch. It being a souped-up golf cart, it also has iPad stand and adjustable leather seats.

Its seller, rayshollywood, listed it on Sunday for a buy-it-now price of $17,500.

Early this morning, some Joker snatched it up.

(Photo via rayshollywood)

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PGA Tour won't reveal drug violators to Vijay Singh

Vijay Singh
Credit: Getty Images

 

In the latest twist in Vijay Singh's case against the PGA Tour, the Tour rebuffed Singh's sweeping discovery requests, including demands for documents and communications related to the "possible or acutal violation of the [Tour's Anti-Doping] Program" of five current professional golfers: Doug Barron, Matt Every, Mark Calcavecchia, Scott Verplank and Dustin Johnson.

In a letter to Justice Eileen Bransten of the New York State Supreme Court, the Tour's attorney, Jeffrey Mishkin of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, called Singh's discovery requests "overreaching" and "irrelevant," arguing that "these individuals have nothing to do with this litigation. Mr. Singh cannot and should not be permitted, in the guise of discovery, to engage in a fishing expedition that risks further harm to the interests of these and any other third-party golfers."

Singh's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, contends that information about the way the PGA Tour treated other golfers suspected or accused of violating the Tour's anti-doping program "will evidence the full extent of the PGA Tour's disparate treatment of Singh."

Three of the five golfers named in discovery have had previously reported run-ins with the Tour's drug policy.


Ginsberg declined to explain why the other two golfers -- five-time PGA Tour winner Verplank and eight-time winner Johnson -- were included in Singh's discovery request or whether he will be seeking information about other PGA Tour players in the future.

Documents concerning other golfers are just one of four categories of information sought by Singh and his legal team. In addition to "all documents and communications related to any positive tests by any golfer for any substance listed as a banned substance under the Program," Ginsberg also requested information concerning the structure of the Tour's anti-doping program, membership renewal forms and stance on colostrum, a substance that contains IGF-1 (the same hormone in deer antler spray) but is not banned, an all-out offensive designed to force the Tour to bring the details of its anti-doping program out of the shadows.

"Vijay alleges -- and it is historically obvious -- that the PGA Tour has administered many facets of the business in an inconsistent manner," said Ginsberg. "The PGA Tour presently is attempting to keep from disclosure evidence of the manner in which it has engaged in that type of disparate treatment of players. One goal of the discovery is to force the PGA Tour to come clean with regard to how it administers the golf business."

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Ben Crenshaw to co-host radio talk show on SiriusXM

Posted at 8:59 AM by Mike Walker | Categories: Ben Crenshaw

CrenshawWho knew that so many professional golfers harbored secret desires to be talk radio hosts?

On the heels of the announcement that both Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson will be getting SiruisXM radio shows in 2014, the satellite radio company announced that Ben Crenshaw will co-host a biweekly radio show, debuting next Wednesday (Dec. 11).

The two-time Masters winner will host Crenshaw on Golf, a one-hour show airing every other week on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, with the first episode debuting Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. Eastern. Crenshaw and co-host Ed Clements will talk about today’s game and its players, share stories from Crenshaw’s many years in the sport and discuss golf course design and his favorite venues around the world.

“As a regular listener to SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, I'm looking forward to launching my new show and having the chance to discuss golf architecture, history, instruction and current events on the Tours,” said Crenshaw. “I'll also have some special friends join me on the show from time to time.”

While Crenshaw, 61, is known mainly as a course designer these days, he did play with 14-year-old Chinese player Guan Tianlang at the 2013 Masters. (Guan famously received a penalty for slow play and still made the cut, greatly impressing Crenshaw in the process). Next year, Crenshaw should have a lot to talk about on his show when the U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst No. 2, which he and partner Ben Coore recently restored.

And when it comes to booking high-profile guests, Crenshaw can always call up his good friend George W. Bush. Poulter and Stenson are going to have a hard time topping that.

Photo: Ben Crenshaw at the 2013 Masters (Getty Images)

December 03, 2013

Verne Lundquist equates 2013 Iron Bowl to 1986 Masters

Posted at 1:37 PM by Coleman McDowell | Categories: 1986 Masters, Verne Lundquist

"Chris Davis! No flags! Auburn! An answered prayer!"

Not quite as catchy as his 'Yes Sir!' but CBS Sports' Verne Lundquist above call of the Auburn-Alabama football game has still been replayed nonstop on every sports network since the epic Iron Bowl conclusion on Saturday night. 

After a few days to reflect on the moment, the 73-year-old broadcasting legend told Newsday's Neil Best that the 2013 Iron Bowl is now equal to the 1986 Masters as the best sporting event he has seen in his 31-year career.

"For 27 years, having experienced [Jack] Nicklaus winning at Augusta in '86, I have been consistent and I've always said that that was the single greatest sporting event I've ever seen. This one is right up there equal to it. And that takes into consideration a lot of different events that I've been lucky enough to be a part of. To have something extraordinary like this happen so late in my career is unbelievable to me."

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Fred Couples raises 12th Man flag at Seahawks game

Posted at 12:10 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: Fred Couples

Freddie

Fred Couples is now two for two in ceremonial roles this year. First, Couples captained the U.S. Presidents Cup team to victory in October, then on Monday night the Seattle native raised the "12th Man" flag prior to the Seahawks demolishing the Saints 34-7 at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.

A Seahawks season ticket holder and sports nut who is often seen at NBA games, Couples was thrilled to get the chance to raise the flag, the symbol of the NFL's most maniacal fan base, and even compared the honor to his Masters victory in 1992.

"I've got to be honest, this is more fun than golf ever is," Couples said prior to raising the flag. He also promised to "act like a nut here for about 30 seconds." After watching the Seahawks' video of Couples raising the flag and then breaking a driver on his knee, we can only say, "Mission accomplished."

Photo: From NFL/Seattle Seahawks video

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December 02, 2013

Tiger Woods denies Jason Dufner's request to reschedule tournament to accomodate Auburn football

Posted at 8:34 PM by Coleman McDowell | Categories: Jason Dufner, Tiger Woods
Tiger_duf_ap_640
Tiger Woods and Jason Dufner at the Presidents Cup during a practice round. (Getty Images)

All Jason Dufner wants to do is watch his Auburn Tigers play for the SEC Championship this Saturday against Missouri. The only problem? He's playing in Tiger Woods's tournament, the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, the same day. So he does what any rabid sports fan would do: Address the tournament host as politely as possible to make the tournament a two-day event to free up Dufner's Saturday.

Tiger responds to Duf with a swift and concise rejection.

*UPDATE* Dufner admits defeat.

RELATED: Jason Dufner delivered pre-game speech to Auburn before Texas A&M upset

RELATED: Jason Dufner honored by Auburn with 'Jason Dufner Drive'

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Judge: Playing partners not legally obligated to yell 'Fore!'

Posted at 3:50 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: Rules of Golf

If your playing partner hits his drive long and wide, do you have a legal responsibility to yell, “Fore!”?

No, says New Jersey Superior Court Judge Thomas Vena.

Judge Vena’s ruling was part of a case involving an errant tee shot that injured a golfer’s eye at Skyview Golf Course in Sparta, N.J. The Newark Star-Ledger has the details:

James Corino needed multiple procedures to restore vision to his right eye after he was struck by an errant mulligan as he prepared to hit a shot from the 15th fairway at Sparta’s Skyview Golf Course two years ago.

The trouble was, in a clear violation of golfing rules and etiquette, no one bothered to yell “fore,” Corino claims.

The ball struck by Kyle Duffy sliced off the neighboring 16th tee, shattering Corino’s sunglasses, the broken shards of glass cutting his eye, Corino also claims.

In his ruling, Judge Vena sounds like he consulted both New Jersey law and the rules of golf in clearing playing partners Bryan Chovanec and Thomas Schweizer of wrongdoing.

“Plaintiff (Corino) has failed to provide any evidence to demonstrate that Mr. Chovanec and Mr. Schweizer were obligated to yell fore or otherwise warn Mr. Corino of Mr. Duffy’s errant shot,” the judge wrote. “That duty, according to the Rules, belonged solely to the acting player, Mr. Duffy.”

But while his playing partners are no longer involved, Duffy is still the defendant in Corino’s lawsuit. The lesson for all us golfers: Always yell “fore!” after a wayward tee shot, it doesn’t cost you anything and it could save everyone a bunch.

Bloomberg played golf during deadly NYC train wreck

Posted at 3:09 PM by Mike Walker |

Bloomberg_640Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Barclays pro-am in Paramus, N.J., in 2010 (Reuters).

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was notified of the deadly train derailment in the Bronx on Sunday while he was playing golf at Bermuda's Mid Ocean Club, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Bloomberg, who steps down on Dec. 31 after 12 years at City Hall, was playing golf Sunday at Bermuda’s majestic Mid Ocean golf club, a person who spotted the mayor said. The Metro-North Railroad train derailment — killing four people and injuring more than 60 others — occurred at roughly 7:20 a.m. New York time.

Mr. Bloomberg was golfing in the early morning and did not leave the course until roughly 1 p.m, the person said. Bermuda is one hour ahead of New York time.

A spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, a 71-year-old billionaire businessman, declined to discuss his whereabouts on Sunday. The mayor did not attend any of the briefings at the scene of the accident Sunday, but he visited with the injured at two hospitals after nightfall.

Golf has always been a thorny issue for politicians. John F. Kennedy tried to hide his passion for the game because of its patrician image, George W. Bush stopped playing golf during the Iraq War out of respect for the families of soldiers who died in action, and conservative news outlets gleefully keep track of President Obama's rounds in office (now at 150). Bloomberg, who has described himself as an "18 to 20 handicap", has tried to keep his personal time private during his 12 years as mayor, whether golfing or not.

Shortly after winning his first race for City Hall 12 years ago, Mr. Bloomberg said he planned to keep secret any personal trips he takes while in office. He has kept that promise, igniting controversy over the years.

“My personal life is my personal life,” Mr. Bloomberg, then the mayor-elect, said in December 2001 when reporters inquired about his out-of-town travel. “I don’t think the press should be concerned with the personal life of any of the 250,000 wonderful people that work for this city.”

 

Nicklaus says he'd cheer for FSU over Ohio State in BCS

Posted at 1:33 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: Jack Nicklaus

Newjack_300For Jack Nicklaus, family has always come before golf. But what about college football?

According to the Palm Beach Post, Nicklaus said he would cheer for Florida State -- the team of his grandson Nick O'Leary -- over Ohio State -- his alma mater -- in the event those two teams play in the BCS Championship game.

“I’m an Ohio State guy, but blood is thicker than anything else,” said Nicklaus, who along with wife Barbara attended a kickoff cocktail party Sunday night at The Bear’s Club for the two-day Celebrities Fore Kids Golf Classic.

Nicklaus has deep ties with Ohio State. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio, he played Big 10 golf for Ohio State in college, he's had the honor of dotting the "i" during the Ohio State band's halftime performance, and the Jack Nicklaus Museum is on the Ohio State campus. However, Nicklaus' grandson is a star tight end on Florida State, and that's enough to tilt the scales toward Florida State. Nicklaus left this year's Presidents Cup at his Muirfield Village course (near Ohio State of course) to watch O'Leary play.

In a recent appearance at the Atlanta Athletic Club, Nicklaus said, “Golf has always been a game to me. Not my life. My life is my family. Golf is a game.”

He means it.

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Photo: Jack Nicklaus and Nick O'Leary at the Masters Par-3 Contest in 2011 (Getty Images).

Poll: Scott tops Tiger, McIlroy in popularity contest

Posted at 11:45 AM by Josh Sens |

Scott-woods_640
Adam Scott has been creeping up on Tiger Woods in the World Golf Rankings, but he has already surpassed him in a popularity contest.

That's according to the results of a recent poll by the global sports marketing and sponsorship research company, Repucom, which took the measure of three top golfers -- Scott, Woods and Rory McIlroy -- in a survey of fans from Australia and the United States.

The poll, which attracted 11,000 respondents from across both countries, focused on the impact of each player in six categories: awareness, appeal, breakthrough, trendsetter, influence, trust, and endorsement/aspiration.

In each of the categories, Scott took the top spot, and Woods finished last. And Repucom says the results hold true in the United States, not just Australia:

The Sunday Telegraph can today reveal the fascinating results of a study conducted last week by leading global sports marketing and sponsorship research company Repucom, which shows that Scott is now considered more popular in the U.S. than Tiger Woods.

You can read more about the survey at here. But here's a sampling of the results.

In the "trust" category, a measure of the faith the public has in a player's words or image, 44 percent of respondents said that they trust Woods, compared to 68 percent for Scott.

That's not surprising, given the fallout from Tiger's tabloid-making infidelities.

More of an eye-raiser was the "awareness" category, where Scott topped Woods and McIlroy by drawing 75 percent of the vote.

Of course, if you torture statistics for long enough, they'll tell you anything you want.

And in assessing these Repucom results, it's fair to ask: of those 11,000 respondents, how many were Australians?

It's also reasonable to wonder: what sort of real-world impact will this survey have?

Professional golf isn't high school. It's not a popularity contest.

And Woods, for one, has rarely seemed overly concerned about his "likability."

Then again, his sponsors are.

(Photo: Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated)

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November 30, 2013

Elkington tweets joke about fatal Scottish helicopter crash

Posted at 8:54 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: Steve Elkington

Elk_300Champions Tour golfer Steve Elkington was taken to task by a Scottish newspaper after Elkington tweeted a joke about a helicopter that crashed into a pub in Glasgow, Scotland, on Friday and killed eight people.

Elkington, an Australian golfer who won the 1995 PGA Championship, is now primarily known for his active and sometimes crude Twitter feed, and when news of the helicopter crash was spreading through the social-networking service, Elkington wrote, "Helicopter crashes into Scottish pub...Locals report no beer was spilled."

Later, Elkington tried to apologize for his earlier tweet -- saying that he was not aware at the time how serious the crash was -- but Tom English, writing in the Scotsman's Sunday edition, would have none of it:

How pathetic. A helicopter crashes into a pub on a Friday night and Elkington says he got a report that there were no injuries. Really? What kind of helicopter did Elkington think it was? One made by Corgi? What kind of pub did he think was involved? One that is utterly empty of customers and staff on a Friday evening leading up to the Christmas season? What garbage. And what kind of person would make it his first instinct to tweet a joke about such an incident?

His follow-up was almost as objectionable as his original tweet in that there was no apology, no admission that his joke was the act of an imbecile. Even yesterday morning, when even one as dim as Elk must have been aware of how serious things were in Glasgow, there was nothing from him. That is the truly extraordinary thing. This is being written on Saturday morning and as, of now, he has not tweeted his regret. Elkington has thereby cemented his place in the ranks of the social media yobs.

It was not the first time that Elkington has gotten into trouble on Twitter. While at Royal Birkdale for the Senior British Open in July, Elkington used a racist term for Pakistanis, and later apologized, saying that because he was Australian he was unaware that the term was offensive. In the Scotsman, English said that Elkington's apology then was just as inadequate as his apology for the helicopter-crash tweet.

To Elk, “being Australian” seems to be a get-out for all manner of thoughtless comment. It’s not. The Australian nation will testify that Elkington is on his own when he seeks to poke fun at a helicopter crash and then refusing to apologise when the full horror of what he mocked became obvious. Golf is governed by so many rules. Rules about anchoring putters and unplayable lies, rules about grounding your club and pace of play, rules about balls moving on greens and line of entry into hazards. What about the rules pertaining to a guy who thinks it’s funny to ridicule a disaster and not having the basic human decency to say sorry afterwards? What is the penalty for an offence like that?

 





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