Archive: January 2012

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January 27, 2012

Truth & Rumors: McIlroy slips up; New caddie for Els

Posted at 4:36 PM by Jillian Whalen

D'oh! Rory gets two-stroke penalty at Abu Dhabi
Rory McIlroy had a momentary brain lapse in Friday's round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that cost him a two-shot penalty and left him tied for fourth instead of tied for the lead at the end of the day. McIlroy brushed away sand from his line when playing his shot from off the ninth green. The Irish Examiner has the story:

Ireland's US Open champion would have been alongside Dane Thorbjorn Olesen -- a rather less well-known 22-year-old -- but for brushing sand away from his line on the ninth hole of his second round.

That would have been all right if it had been on the green, but he was six feet off the putting surface and world number one Luke Donald instantly brought it to his attention.

"I wasn't thinking clearly and just made a very stupid mental mistake," McIlroy said.

Playing partner Luke Donald immediately brought the mistake to McIlroy's attention.

"Luke said: 'Don't think you can do that', and I was like: 'Oh yeah, I can't, can I? It happens and you just have to take it on the chin."

Despite the miscue, McIlroy was able to scramble back and finish the round with a 72. 

New caddie for Els
Ernie Els will be seeking the advice from a new caddie for the duration of this year's Farmers Insurance Open. According to Reuters, his long-term caddie, Ricci Roberts, suffered a freak accident after falling down a flight of stairs after a pro-am event in South Africa.

Roberts, who had competed in a charity tournament to raise funds for the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation, broke his ankle after accepting a prize and will be out for at least two months.

"I called Ricci up on stage and he did a little speech but when he walked off he just kind of missed his first step and he went down," Els told Reuters before Thursday's opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

"It was so damn dark and this stage was about this high," the South African added, pointing six feet above the air. "The poor guy broke his ankle so he's out for a while.

Els's replacement caddie, Dan Quinn, is a former National Hockey League player and has caddied for Els before back in 2010, according to Reuters. Els said he expects Ricci to be back caddying for him by the middle of March. 

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Tiger Woods moves up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

Posted at 7:59 AM by

Tiger-woods-abu-dhabi-day2-press-tentTiger Woods moved into a tie for third place at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday, making five birdies and two bogeys on the way to a three-under 69 and a five-under total.

Woods hit six of 14 fairways and 13 greens in regulation but had just 28 putts, seven fewer than Thursday's total.

Rory McIlroy shot even-par 72 and is tied with Woods at five under. The third member of their marquee group, No. 1-ranked Luke Donald, also shot 72 and is one under.

Woods won his own event, the limited-field Chevron World Challenge, in December, but he hasn't had a full-field victory since November of 2009, when he won the Australian Masters.

Thorbjørn Olesen of Denmark shot five-under 67 to take the lead at seven under.

Stay tuned to for more from Abu Dhabi. Leaderboard | Round 2 Photos | Round 1 Photos

Photo: Arwan Naamani/AFP/Getty Images

January 26, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Mallon to captain U.S. Solheim team; Rory gets his degree

Posted at 12:12 PM by Mick Rouse

It was announced this morning at the PGA Merchandise Show that Meg Mallon will captain the U.S. Solheim Cup team in 2013 as they look to extract revenge on the European side when they meet at Colorado Golf Club. 

Mallon is an 18-time LPGA winner, including four major championships, and played on eight U.S. Solheim Cup teams, sporting a 13-9-7 career record. She served as an assistant captain to the victorious 2009 team and also captained a winning American side at the 2011 PING Junior Solheim Cup. 

"It's an absolute honor to be selected as the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain," said Mallon. "I've participated in The Solheim Cup on nine occasions and each has been a proud moment for me, but to represent the United States as team captain definitely caps off my career. I look forward to working hard on getting the Cup back in U.S. hands." 

Back to school
Rory McIlroy, the scholar. That’s right, the U.S. Open champ is set to receive an honorary degree from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. According to the Irish Times, McIlroy will be awarded a Doctor of Science degree for his contribution to golf. 

The university said: “Rory McIlroy has quickly established himself as a major force in international golf as a Major winner and Ryder Cup hero.” 

Compatriots Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke have also been honored by the university in the past. 

Other notables to receive honorary degrees from the University of Ulster this year include Manchester United skipper Sir Alex Ferguson, Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody and actor Sir Ian McKellen, among others. 

Golf’s Oprah
Looking to build on a successful first season, Golf Magazine contributing writer David Feherty’s hit talk show, Feherty, will expand to a one hour time slot, beginning February 27. Due to viewer demand, Golf Channel has also ordered more episodes for season two and has pushed the original series back to the 10 p.m. time slot. In a press release, Golf Channel stated:

“We were blown away by the positive reaction our viewers had to this show and their appreciation for the truly heartfelt moments David was able to pull from each interview,” said Golf Channel President Mike McCarley. “People know David as funny and a bit irreverent, but they never knew how much emotion would come from this series. The one comment we heard repeatedly from viewers was ‘give us more’ -- so that’s exactly what we plan to do in season two.” 

If you can’t hold out an entire month for your weekly dose of Feherty, don’t fret. Before season two airs, viewers will be treated to a special from the Super Bowl with Feherty performing before a live theatre audience, armed with a slew of guests from the world of sports and entertainment. 

Additionally, Golf Channel will be airing bonus footage shot for two of the most popular Feherty episodes, including never-before-seen interviews with Johnny Miller and Tom Watson. The episodes will be re-aired in a one-hour format on February 13 and 20, respectively. 

Speed golf
Ben Crane isn’t the only one pumping out viral videos; rally driver and drifting champion Rhys Millen has teamed up with Hyundai to bring the largely underground world of Formula D to the golf course. Millen, who will race the 500bhp Hyundai Veloster in the US Rallycross championship, shows just how fast he really is, terrorizing the Purangi Golf & Country Club in New Zealand with his turbocharged golf cart. 


PGA Tour, take notice. We just solved your pace of play problem.

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January 25, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Injuries knock Tebow out of Pebble Beach, Ben Crane's new video, Bubba Watson's pink driver

Posted at 12:48 PM by Jillian Whalen

Those looking forward to some Tebowing on the greens at Pebble Beach are going to be disappointed. According to Golf Channel's Ryan Ballengee, Tebow will not be participating in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am due to injuries sustained in the Broncos' playoff game against New England.

Tebow suffered injuries to the chest and ribs during the game against the Patriots, reportedly including torn rib cartilage and bruised lungs. The former Florida Gator would not have played in the AFC Championship game had the Broncos won.

"Due to the injuries, it looks like he's a no-go," Tournament Director Steve Worthy said.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is still committed to the event, as is Bill Belichick. 

Crane's other favorite sport
Ben Crane and his helmet have finally returned to let us know he has a lot left in the tank ...on the uneven bars.


It’s not all pommel horses and floor routines, though. For every 100,000 views, Farmers Insurance will donate $1,000 to charity, and up to $5,000, on behalf of Crane.

Pretty in Pink
While Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and other TaylorMade stars are sporting white drivers, and Rickie Fowler seems to have bright orange everything, Bubba Watson is trumping them all with his new pink Ping G20 driver. Every drive Bubba bombs with his pink hardware will help his new charity, “Bubba and Friends Drive to a Million.” Watson’s personal website has the details:

Last year, he dubbed himself Bubba Long – averaging 315 yards per drive on the PGA Tour. This year, he's Bubba Long in Pink.

PING will be with Bubba every step of the way – especially on the tee box – as he drives toward his goal of $1 million while relying on his custom-painted, matte-pink finish PING G20 driver and pink True Temper Grafalloy Bi-Matrix shaft.

PING will donate $300 for the first 300 drives measuring 300 or more yards in 2012 to help Bubba reach the $1 million mark and has already contributed $10,000 to the effort.

According to Golf Channel, Watson had 483 drives of more than 300 yards last season. Golf photographer Allan Henry tweeted an image of the driver, and it’s safe to say it will be hard to miss.


No word yet on whether the General Lee will also be getting a new paint job.  

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January 24, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Timberlake-crafted Callaway ads to debut this weekend

Posted at 4:16 PM by Jillian Whalen

Callaway's new ad campaign, which was featured in Truth & Rumors in December and will air for the first time this weekend, was crafted in part by Justin Timberlake, who was named creative director for the company in December. According to The Wall Street Journal, the ads, featuring trick shots by staff pros on the Vegas strip, are designed to reach a younger audience and spice up Callaway's image.

The marketing effort features golf pros such as Phil Mickelson and Annika Sorenstam using Callaway products to perform jaw-dropping golf feats on the Las Vegas Strip. One TV ad shows golfer Alvaro Quiros on a floating platform on the strip, hitting a golf ball 310 yards over the Bellagio fountain.

In another, several golfers including Ms. Sorenstam hit balls from rooftop to rooftop along the strip. Helicopters fill in for golf carts.

"We wanted to make a statement that was more rock 'n' roll," said Mr. Timberlake, who has been a paid endorser for Callaway for several years but isn't in any of the new ads. Mr. Timberlake worked with Factory Design Labs, a Denver ad agency that began creating the new pitch in April 2011.

Callaway spent far less on advertising in 2011 than rivals TaylorMade and Titleist, The Journal reported, and plans to increase this year's spending by $25 million. Timberlake summed up the company's efforts by saying that Callaway is hoping to give golf a "nice injection of kickassery."

Big fee lures Tiger, but how big was it?
Tiger Woods will be paid between $1.7 and $2.7 million in appearance fees to play in Abu Dhabi this week, according to The article only cites "practice-tee buzz," and Woods did not disclose the amount, but rest assured that this has already been a lucrative trip for Woods.

Vandals strike Texas course
The Pecan Grove Country Club in Richmond, Texas, suffered at least $80,000 worth of damage when carts were stolen and left all over the course, according to

The vandals broke into a golf cart barn and stole more than two dozen carts. Six were submerged in the golf course's water hazards. Eighteen other carts were found parked all over the golf course, including the greens.

Tweets of the Day
Caroline Wozniacki's tough loss in the Australian Open seems to have been softened somewhat by a present from one Irish pro and a compliment from another.

SI Golf Ranking: Donald holds onto No. 1

Posted at 11:55 AM by

Each week, 15 staffers from SI Golf+, Golf Magazine and vote for their top 10, awarding 10 points to their first choice and proceeding in descending order to the 10th player, who gets one point. The points are then added and the ranking calculated. Tell us your top 10 in the comments field below.


1. Luke Donald (147, 12, 1) - Last three finishes: T12, JBWere Masters; 3, Dubai World Championship; 7, Nedbank Golf Challenge - Official World Golf Ranking: 1

2. Rory McIlroy (135, 2, 2) - Last three finishes: T11, Dubai World Championship; 1, Hong Kong Open; T4, WGC-HSBC Champions - Official World Golf Ranking: 3

3. Lee Westwood (109, 0, 3) - Last three finishes: 1, Thailand Golf Championship; 29, Dubai World Championship; 1, Nedbank Golf Challenge - Official World Golf Ranking: 2

4. Webb Simpson (99, 0, 4) - Last three finishes: T38, Sony Open; T3, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; T13, Chevron World Challenge - Official World Golf Ranking: 6

5. Steve Stricker (71, 0, 5) - Last three finishes: T38, Sony Open; 1, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; 16, Chevron World Challenge - Official World Golf Ranking: 5

6. Charl Schwartzel (70, 0, 6) - Last three finishes: 5, Volvo Golf Champions; MC, Joburg Open; 2, Thailand Golf Championship - Official World Golf Ranking: 8

7. Keegan Bradley (46, 0, 7) - Last three finishes: T13, Sony Open; 16, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; 17, Chevron World Challenge - Official World Golf Ranking: 30

8. Nick Watney (37, 0, 8) - Last three finishes: T12, Hyundai Tournament of Champions; 18, Chevron World Challenge; T4, Australian Open - Official World Golf Rank: 12

9. Martin Kaymer (27, 0, 9) - Last three finishes: T11, Dubai World Championship; 8, Nedbank Golf Challenge; 1, WGC-HSBC Champions - Official World Golf Ranking: 4

10. Adam Scott (25, 0, 10) - Last three finishes: T4, Australian PGA Championship; T4, Australian Open; T11, WGC-HSBC Champions - Official World Golf Ranking: 7

Others receiving votes:

Branden Grace (11, 1, Not Ranked)
Tiger Woods (10)
Jason Day (9)
Johnson Wagner (7)
Bill Haas (5)
Sergio Garcia (4)
Matt Kuchar (4)
Aaron Baddeley (3)
K.J. Choi (3)
Mark Wilson (3)



January 23, 2012

Bubba Watson buys 'Dukes of Hazzard' car for $110,000

Posted at 1:23 PM by Mike Walker

Bubba Watson bought the original “General Lee,” a 1969 Dodge Charger used in "The Dukes of Hazzard" television show, at a car auction last weekend in Scottsdale, Ariz. Watson announced his purchase on Twitter.




According to, Watson’s new car is the Dodge Charger used in the first episode of the series, which ran on CBS from 1979-1985.

What's "the most famous television car in the world"? We suppose that depends on who you ask, but to many, nothing but the General Lee could possibly hold the title. Of course, there wasn't just one General Lee. In fact, scores of orange Dodge Chargers were filmed for "The Dukes of Hazzard," and most of them never survived their first televised escapade.

Not so Lee 1, so named because it was the car that famously jumped over a Hazzard County police cruiser in the very first episode of the hit series. If you've ever seen the opening credits, you know the car we're talking about... it flew 16 feet in the air over a distance of 82 feet. And, as you may have guessed, it didn't exactly stick the landing.

Fox News called the $110,000 bid “disappointing” for the seller, and noted that a General Lee with less history sold for much more in 2008.

“Lee 1” spent most of its life in a junkyard after being wrecked filming its famous flight through the Georgia sky. It still had a trunk full of cement ballast when it was purchased by the president of the North American General Lee fan club for less than $1,000 about a decade ago. Since then it has been fully restored to the original, imperfect condition the 1969 Dodge Charger was in when it was brought to Oxford College on Veteran’s Day in 1978 to film the iconic scene. Over 300 more General Lees would follow it during the seven-year run of the program.

Cars are offered at Barrett-Jackson with no reserve and no official pre-sale estimate, but a replica of the General Lee that was built for John Schneider, who played Bo Duke on the show, sold at the auction in 2008 for $450,000, setting a high bar for the original.

It sounds like Watson might have gotten a bargain. He was enjoying his new purchase on Sunday night.




For more pro golfers and their serious cars, visit our photo gallery here.


This story was produced for Golf Magazine's weekly Front9 app. To keep up with the latest golf news, get great tips from the Top 100 Teachers in America, and weekly Rules Guy columns, download the Front9 app at the Apple iTunes store. A lifetime subscription is $2.99.


Truth & Rumors: Phil Mickelson to skip WGC-Accenture Match Play

Posted at 11:41 AM by Mick Rouse

Following his tie for 49th place at the Humana Challenge, Phil Mickelson announced that he would be skipping next month’s WGC-Accenture Match Play. Alex Miceli has the story:

Mickelson, playing in the Humana Challenge for the first time in five years, has a conflict with his children’s spring break and, as in the past, will take the week off to vacation with his three children and wife, Amy, during the Feb. 22-26 Match Play.

“I'm going to end up missing the Match Play this year as we're going to go on a family trip,” Mickelson, No. 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking, said Sunday after completing his third round here. “So as I miss that tournament, it was easier to add this one, too.”

Those wanting more of Lefty won’t have to look hard to find him. Mickelson will be making his rounds on the West Coast over the next few weeks, playing the Farmers Insurance Open, Waste Management Phoenix Open, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and Northern Trust Open before taking a week off with the family for a little R&R.

Coming to America

Chubby Chandler may have lost his brightest star in Rory McIlroy, but that hasn’t deterred ISM’s head honcho from seeking out new talent. Expect many of those new clients to bleed red, white and blue. While speaking with Golf Talk Central, Chandler stated that he would sign more American players this year than Europeans. 

Chandler recently set up shop in South Florida, ISM’s new American base, and has signed Peter Uihlein and Ben An in the last two months alone. 

Rex Hoggard of Golf Talk Central is also reporting that Steve Zika will take the lead on ISM’s descent into the American talent pool: 

GTC has confirmed through various sources that Steve Zika, a longtime tour representative for Ping, will be ISM’s American front-man. 

Zika was with Ping for a dozen years and worked with the company’s PGA Tour team since 2001. It was during this time that Zika fostered a relationship with Lee Westwood, No. 2 in the World Golf Ranking and a longtime member of Chandler’s stable.

Bubba gets a new ride

Contrary to what Christina Kim thinks, Bubba Watson apparently can have it all. This past weekend, Watson became the proud new owner of the original General Lee car from the “Dukes of Hazzard.” While at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., Bubba tweeted a photo of the legendary vehicle:  

Roughly five hours later, Watson sent out a follow-up tweet, exclaiming, “Just got my dream car!!!” 

Never one to shy away from the send button, Bubba has since continued to tweet about his new prized possession, including this picture of him gassing up the General: 

Watson has also contacted Notorious Whips with plans of customizing the classic Dodge Charger, including a complete restore of the inside. 

And before you even ask, yes, the horn still works. 

All in all, the General Lee set Bubba back a mere $110,000. Not too shabby considering he owns a watch worth more than four times that. Hey Bubba, just make sure you keep an eye out for Roscoe

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January 22, 2012

Tweets of the Week: Bubba buys the General Lee, Porta-potty accident, Tiger's chat and more

Posted at 11:45 PM by Ryan Reiterman

Bubba Watson attended the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction this week, and he made a pretty big purchase. Watson bid $110,000 for the original General Lee car used in the opening scene of the Dukes of Hazzard TV show. You can see Watson make the winning bid here.


And, yes, the horn does work ...

Tiger vs. Hank
The feud of 2011 was Tiger vs. Stevie. Now 2012 is shaping up to be the year of Tiger vs. Hank. Last week Haney responded to critics who claim that he's capitalizing on Woods's fame by releasing the book right before the Masters.

Blown over
How strong were the winds on Saturday at the Humana Challenge? This strong ...

Braaaaaaains ...
Tiger Woods answered questions from his followers on Friday. You can get a full recap here, but this was my favorite ...

GMac and Westwood call it
And finally, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood nailed the winners for the NFL playoffs.

Sound off: Readers' live PGA Tour Confidential

Posted at 6:48 PM by

Join us on Monday, Jan. 23 at noon EST, where we'll pose the questions from this week's PGA Tour Confidential and turn the debate over to you.

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