The Local Knowlege

News & Tours

Adam Scott is practicing with a short putter at the WGC-Cadillac Championship

After getting over the initial shock of actually seeing Adam Scott on a golf course -- he hasn't been in action since last November -- it was interesting to see him tinkering with a short putter during the Tuesday practice round at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. The move was no doubt prompted by the USGA's forthcoming ban on anchored putters, which goes into effect at the start of next year.

Scott, who used the short putter with a claw grip, told Golfweek that he might put it in play this week:

"I’ve had fun working with it, but I don’t really have a plan yet," he said.

Scott first switched to the long putter at the 2011 WGC-Match Play after plummeting down to 186th on tour in Strokes Gained/putting. He's recovered since then -- he had his second-best putting year in 2014 -- so it'll be interesting to track what kind of effect the switch back will have on his game.

Year
Strokes Gained: Putting
Rank
2004
0.88
1
2005
0.016
101
2006
-0.122
133
2007
0.127
73
2008
-0.436
179
2009
-0.888
180
2010
-0.746
186
2011
-0.187
143
2012
-0.203
146
2013
0.001
103
2014
0.217
55

... Read
News & Tours

Another tour pro wastes a hole-in-one on a par 4 in a pro-am

In February, Australian Richard Green made the craziest hole-in-one you'll ever see on a par 4 at the Oates Victorian Championship on the PGA Tour of Australasia. But unfortunately for the three-time European Tour winner, the rarest form of albatross came a day before the tournament started.

And now, less than a month later, it's happened again.

Related: Padraig Harrington's frugal victory feast and introducing a "golf babe"

This time it was Henrik Norlander pulling off the trick in a pro-am ahead of the Cartagena de Indias at Karibana Championship on the Web.com Tour. Sadly, there's no video, but here's a tweet from the tour with a few photos:

Pretty cool, but what a waste. And what's even sadder is Team Norlander's score despite the unlikely ace. Here, let's zoom in on the card:

blog-norlander-ace-card-0303.jpg

Just a 31 on the back nine? Even with a hole-in-one? That's it? Thanks for circling the 1, though. You know, because that number on a scorecard wouldn't have stood out otherwise.

... Read
News & Tours

This new golf movie has director (Terry Jastrow), star (Jeremy Sumpter) with game

The problem with golf movies often is believability, the result of an actor without sufficient golf skills, for instance, or a screenwriter or director who doesn’t fully understand the game.

This is not an issue with the new golf film, “The Squeeze,” scheduled to debut on April 17, the Friday following the Masters.

For starters, the film is based on a true story of an unknown golfer playing high-stakes gambling games, and it was written and directed by Terry Jastrow, whose golf credentials are impeccable. Jastrow attended the University of Houston on a golf scholarship at a time that the Cougars were the dominant golf team in the country. And in a 22-year career at ABC Sports, he produced or directed 62 major championships for the network (U.S. and British opens and the PGA Championships).

Jastrow, 66, cast Jeremy Sumpter, a bona fide strong player, as the lead character, Augie. Sumpter plays to a handicap index of +1.1 at Moorpark (Calif.) Country Club.

Squeez.jpg
Jeremy Sumpter as "Augie"

“Golfers love movies with golf in them, but it’s been so disappointing,” Jastrow said, citing the case of Don Johnson and Kevin Costner in “Tin Cup.” “Great actors, but the minute they pick up a club, you know you’re not watching a great golfer, but an actor.”

So Jastrow set out to find an actor with golf ability, “a low single-digit handicapper, five or less,” he said. He narrowed the search to five candidates and took each of them to Bel-Air Country Club, where he is a member, and auditioned them on the golf course.

“You can tell whether a guy can play by the way he grabs the club,” Jastrow said. “And Jeremy could really play.”

Jastrow’s search for investors took him to friend Tom Watson, who was reluctant pending proof that Sumpter indeed was a good player. So Jastrow sent video to Watson, who called back immediately. “I’m in,” he said. Judy Rankin also is an investor.

The gist of the story is that a gambler traveling cross country discovers a local golf phenom in a small rural town who won his city championship by 15 strokes. The gambler convinces him to travel with him and play high-stakes gambling matches. They eventually wind up in Las Vegas, where he ultimately finds himself in a high-stakes game against a man with mob connections, a game of life or death, according to promotional materials.

The golfer in real life, incidentally, is Keith Flatt, whose wife Chris is the executive vice president hotel sales and marketing for Wynn Las Vegas (the final match in the movie was filmed at the Wynn Las Vegas Golf Course). Jastrow and wife Anne Archer are friends of the Flatts, and Keith matter-of-factly told him his story one day.

“This is a movie,” Jastrow told him. Several years later, it has become one.

... Read
The Grind

Padraig Harrington's frugal victory feast, a golfer's new reality show, caddies get mad and more models take up golf

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're always in the mood for a good comeback story. Here was this week's uplifting plot: A great golfer who hasn't won a major championship since 2008 tinkers with his golf swing and falls to depths in the Official World Golf Ranking he hasn't seen since turning pro. But in his 40s, he gets a sponsor's exemption into an event he won a decade earlier and rallies to win again on a major championship course. Inspirational stuff. Congrats to Padraig Harrington, and hang in there, Tiger. You've got time to figure this out.

blog-padraig-honda-0303.jpg

WE'RE BUYING

Padraig Harrington: For a second straight week, the World No. 297 won on the PGA Tour. This time it was Harrington, 43, who hadn't won since capturing back-to-back majors at the British Open and PGA Championship in 2008, and had earned less than $1 million in his 41 previous tour starts since 2012. But after winning the Honda Classic in a playoff over 21-year-old Daniel Berger, the popular Irishman showed he still has the guts under pressure that made him a three-time major winner -- and a good accountant.

Related: 13 PGA Tour winners who used to be regular working stiffs

Lydia Ko: We might just have to give the 17-year-old phenom a permanent slot in this section. Ko won for a second week in a row, capturing the New Zealand Open for a remarkable 10th professional title. By comparison, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Rory McIlroy didn't reach double digits in wins until they were 24.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

The Loves: Talk about great timing. On the same day Davis Love III was officially introduced as the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, his son, Dru, picked up his first collegiate title. Congrats, Dru, but you're going to really have to kick things in gear if you're going to play for your dad at Hazeltine next year.

The Parneviks: This Swedish clan didn't win any golf tournaments, but its new TV reality show is set to come out in the next couple weeks. Jesper described it as a reality cross between The Office and Modern Family. Sounds awesome. Now we just need to find a way to be able to stream TV3 in Sweden.

blog-parneviks-0303.jpg

WE'RE SELLING

Ian Poulter: Poulter had his first 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event and was looking for his first stroke-play win in the U.S., but things got away from him during a wild final round. Poulter hit five balls in the water -- one more and we would have permanently dubbed him "two sleeves" -- on his way to a 74 and a T-3 finish. "It's a shame to hand tournaments away. I've handed one away this week," Poulter said. No arguments here.

PHOTOS: The Year In Golf WAGs

Bad caddie treatment: The strained relationship between PGA Tour caddies and the tour didn't improve last week when loopers had to huddle in a metal shed during a Saturday thunderstorm while their bosses took cover in the clubhouse. Yeah, that lawsuit isn't going away anytime soon. Robert Streb's caddie, Steve Catlan, shared this photo on Instagram:

blog-caddie-shed-0303.jpg

Dan Olsen: A former PGA Tour player appeared on a radio show last Friday and claimed Tiger Woods is serving a 30-day suspension. Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, as well as the PGA Tour strongly denied the claims on Monday. A little later, Olsen retracted his statement and issued an apology. Just a guess, but Olsen has probably spent more time talking to lawyers the past few days than he has in his entire life.

Rory's 2015 U.S. debut: Not since Tiger's heyday has a player been such an overwhelming favorite at a PGA Tour event, but McIlroy's 2015 U.S. debut at the Honda Classic was a total dud. His 73-74 left him three shots off the cut line. "I'm pissed off," a candid McIlroy said afterward. So was everyone who plays fantasy golf.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour moves from Palm Beach and "The Bear Trap" to Miami and Trump National Doral, aka "The Blue Monster," aka "The Trump Trap." OK, so we made that last one up.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

Random tournament fact: The entire top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking is in the field this week at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. It's the first time that's happened since the 2012 PGA Championship. Wait, that has to be a misprint because Tiger Woods isn't playing. Oh. Right.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

-- A player will hit five balls in the water in the final round and only lose by one shot: 1 million-to-1 odds

Related: The top 25 golf viral videos in 2014

-- Donald Trump will interrupt that final round to land his helicopter on the course: 5-to-1 odds

-- The 297th-ranked golfer in the world (Steve Webster) will NOT win on the PGA Tour this week: LOCK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

After downing Daniel Berger in a playoff, Paddy celebrated by downing a burger. Was Paddy sending a message? Chew on that.

"GOLF BABE" PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Courtesy of Instagram handle @golfbabes, we introduce Hayden Sylte. Hayden is a reporter for Golfcentraldaily.com and is an assistant pro at Dove Canyon Golf Club, where her father, Russell, is the director of operations at the Orange Country, Calif., course.

blog-haydan-sylte-0303.jpg

She has also perfected the art of hitting tee shots while wearing high heels.

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

It's getting to the point where we might need a weekly "this week in Sports Illustrated swimsuit models playing golf" section. Cover girl Hannah Davis became the latest to take up the game, posting this aggressive swing:

First time golfing! #dontbringatennisplayergolfing

A video posted by Hannah Davis (@hanni_davis) on

COMMERCIAL OF THE WEEK

Nike did a great job jamming Tiger, Rory, Wiesy, Barkley and Bo Jackson into a 30-second ad. And yes, Bo still knows.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"Believe it or not, when I get in contention I can still hit the shots." -- Padraig Harrington. You sure can, Paddy. It just takes forever to pull the trigger.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Minivans must be considered a lot cooler in Canada.

THIS WEEK A LOOK BACK IN JASON DUFNER-AMANDA DUFNER PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

blog-dufners-lebron-0303.jpg

This is actually a throwback photo with LeBron James from Dec. 19. In fact, it's the last photo Amanda posted of herself and her hubby, which is especially perplexing considering how good a slimmed-down Duf is looking these days. Where have you gone, Amanda?! Come back to us!

THIS AND THAT

blog-thin-mints-0303.jpg

While Lydia Ko was winning the New Zealand Open, Amy Yang won the Honda LPGA Thailand. It's rare when the LPGA takes a back seat to another women's golf tournament, but that's exactly what happened this week. . . . Andy Sullivan won his second European Tour title in South Africa in just over a month for his second career Euro Tour victory. No one would think twice if he legally changed his middle name to "Johannesburg." . . . Dru Love wasn't the only big name to earn his first collegiate win this week. University of Texas sophomore Beau Hossler broke through as well. We'll never forget that time he led the U.S. Open as a high school junior. . . . Jack Nicklaus is coming out with his own line of ice cream. Sounds fantastic, Jack, but instead of a press release, could you send some samples next time? . . . Speaking of delicious desserts, you know what's the most underrated moment of the year if you work in an office? When you get the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies you ordered delivered to your desk.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Is Padraig Harrington a slow food orderer?

Is this brutal winter ever going to end?

Where were the llamas going?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

... Read
News & Tours

Score one for the geezers, but the game is trending younger


The PG in PGA Tour does not stand for Parental Guidance, though maybe it should, given the way the future is putting the squeeze on the past and present these days.

Yes, a geezer, by today’s standards, won the Honda Classic on Monday. Padraig Harrington, the affable Irishman, 43, prevailed over Daniel Berger, 21, on the second hole of a playoff at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

bergerdaniel.jpg
Daniel Berger after making birdie at 18 (Getty Images)

So the old guys won this round. But the game does seem to be trending younger, even this young: The best player in women’s golf is a girl, Lydia Ko, 17.

Berger, meanwhile, is part of a high school class of 2011 that includes Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, each of them also 21 and already factors on the PGA Tour. Then there’s Berger’s Florida State teammate Brooks Koepka, 24, who won the Waste Management Phoenix Open last month, and Patrick Reed, also 24, who not long ago declared himself a top five player in the world and is closing in on proving it.

Other tour winners in the 2014-15 season include Ben Martin and Robert Streb, each 27, Sang-Moon Bae 28, Jason Day, 27 and Nick Taylor 26.

“They’re better prepared when they get on tour,” Arizona State coach Tim Mickelson said, explaining the influx of youth. “They’re not afraid, not concerned and they’re thinking about winning. College golf is so deep now. The amount of competition is so much better than it used to be.”

They’re unafraid because they’ve competed against one another in college and even dating to junior golf, Mickelson said.“With Jon [Rahm] playing well at the Phoenix Open, we’ve got guys saying, ‘well I beat him two weeks ago in a match.’ I certainly think you can feed off that.”

Rahm, a 20-year-old Arizona State junior, tied for fifth in the Phoenix Open, ahead of Spieth, Berger and Streb, all of whom occupied the top 10.

“We've all played against each other for years and years now,” Koepka said in Phoenix. “When you see someone else succeed, you're thinking in your mind, hey, I've played with him for years and years. I know that I can compete with him week in, week out.”

Berger has played only 11 events as a tour member and has finished in the top 10 in three of them, the top 25 in six. He already has earned $1,188,405.

He shot 64 in the final round of the Honda Classic, but lost the playoff when he hit his tee shot on the second playoff hole into the water.

“It’s all a learning process,” he said, a reminder that he and his ilk are still undergoing an education, even as they’re already threatening to conquer the world.

... Read
News & Tours

Claims against Tiger Woods strongly refuted by agent, PGA Tour (Updated)

Update, 1:35 p.m.: According to ESPN.com, Olsen has retracted his claims about Woods' suspension.  "Everything I said on that radio interview was only my opinion and not based on any firsthand knowledge or facts," Olsen told ESPN.com on Monday. "I want to make a full retraction to everything I said for the entire radio interview, and I apologize to Tiger, Nike, Phil [Mickelson], [commissioner] Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour."

Earlier: A claim by a former PGA Tour player that Tiger Woods is serving a suspension by the tour was shot down Monday by both the tour and Woods’ agent in strongly worded denials.

Dan Olsen, 48, told 730AM The Game in Lansing, Mich., last Friday that Woods is serving a 30-day suspension. Olsen, who played 31 events on the tour in 2004 and now teaches and caddies, told the radio station: "I heard he's on a month's suspension . . . it's kind of a strong witness. It's a credible person who is telling me this. It's not testosterone, but it's something else. I think when it's all said and done, he's gonna surpass Lance Armstrong with infamy.''



Ty Votaw, PGA Tour executive vice president for communications and international affairs, said, "There is no truth whatsoever to these claims. We can categorically deny these allegations."
 
Added Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg of Excel Sports Management: "These  claims are absolutely, unequivocally and completely false. They are unsourced, unverified and completely ridiculous. The PGA Tour has confirmed that there is no truth to these claims."
  
Olsen also claimed that Woods uses a "cheater ball.'' Woods, like many other tour players representing many companies, uses a version of the Nike ball that is not available to the public but one that conforms to USGA standards.

The policy of the PGA Tour is to not comment on disciplinary matters. When drug testing went into effect in July 2008, the tour said it would inform media of any penalties for performance-enhancing drugs after the player had exhausted all appeals. The tour also said it would not disclose failed tests involving recreational drugs.

Woods, who missed much of last season after back surgery, missed the cut in his first tournament of 2015 and then withdrew after 11 holes of his second event. He later said that his withdrawal was not related to his back surgery, adding that he would not return to tour until he felt his game was ready for competition.

With the Masters barely more than a month away, Woods has little time in which to prepare for an attempt to end a winless streak in the major championships that dates to the 2008 U.S. Open. 

... Read
Equipment

Winner's bag: Why Padraig Harrington's putter was an even more unlikely winner than he was

Padraig Harrington might have had two drivers in his bag (TaylorMade's AeroBurner and SLDR Mini, but it was the putter that proved to be the key club during his win at the Honda Classic.

Related: Our live blog from a wild final round at the Honda Classic

In the last two years Harrington has struggled with his putting, ranking outside the top 100 in strokes gained/putting and residing at 107th in that stat entering the Honda. At PGA National's Champion Course, however, Harrington putted well enough (0.168 strokes gained, ranked 37th), including the clutch 16-footer for birdie to get into a playoff with Daniel Berger.

The putter Harrington used was a Wilson Infinite South Side center-shafted mallet that utilizes a 104-gram grip to produce a counterbalanced effect. And for history buffs there is this: The last time a Wilson putter won a PGA Tour event it was in 1995 when John Daly used a Wilson 8802 blade to win the British Open at St. Andrews.

 

Ball: Titlist Pro V1x
Driver: TaylorMade AeroBurner (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver 60 TX, 9 degrees
Driver: TaylorMade SLDR Mini, 12 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade SLDR, 15 degrees
Hybrid: Wilson D100, 19 degrees
Irons (4): Wilson FG Tour V4; (5-PW): Wilson FG Tour V2
Wedges: Wilson FG Tour (52 degrees); Ping Eye2 Gorge (60 degrees)
Putter: Wilson Infinite South Side

... Read
Video

Watch Ian Poulter lose the Honda Classic by hitting two consecutive shots into the water

Despite hitting three balls in the water through 13 holes of his final round at the Honda Classic, Ian Poulter still managed to have the lead on the 14th tee. Then disaster struck.

Related: Our live blog from a wild final round at the Honda Classic

Poulter blocked his tee shot into a hazard. Then after dropping, he hit his next shot off a palm tree and back into the hazard. Poulter made a 19-footer to save triple bogey, but the damage was done. Check out the video:

And here's what Poulter's hole looked like on PGA Tour's Shot Tracker:

blog-poulter-triple-0302.jpg

All things considered, shooting a 74 at PGA National after hitting five balls in the water is a pretty amazing score. But that's not going to make Poulter feel any better. The 54-hole leader missed a playoff by one shot and remained winless in stroke-play events in the U.S.

... Read
News & Tours

All the most interesting stuff from the final round of the 2015 Honda Classic

PADDY WINS!

It was great duel at the Honda Classic, but not between the two people we thought. Patrick Reed and Ian Poulter may have commanded the conversation at the start of the day, but it's Daniel Berger and Padraig Harrington who are the last two left standing. Berger came back from nine strokes at the start of the round to finish at six under, while Harrington forced a playoff with a clutch birdie on the 18th after a double on the hole before.


Paddy ultimately pulled through after another clutch shot on the second playoff set up an easy par and forced a mistake from Berger.

It's a nice feel-good story, and a victory that was a long-time coming...right?

- LKD


LUCKY NO. 297

As our own Alex Myers pointed out on Twitter on Saturday: Padraig Harrington went into the Honda Classic ranked No. 297 in the Official World Golf Ranking, which, strangely, was the same spot occupied by James Hahn when he won last week. It's been a long, hard fall in the rankings for Harrington since his last PGA Tour victory at the 2008 PGA Championship, but if it doesn't look like he'll be occupying that 297th spot for much longer. 

[adraigharringtonworldranking-560.jpg

- LKD

REED GETS BEAR-TRAPPED

Coming off a birdie on No. 14, Reed approached the first leg of PGA National's "Bear Trap" tied for the lead. But he dunked his tee shot in the water on the par-3 15th hole.

Ouch. The resulting double bogey dropped him two shots back of Padraig Harrington with three holes to go.

- AM

SPLASH LANDING

Ian Poulter's wild final round just turned disastrous on the 14th hole. After pushing his driver way right and into a hazard, Poulter dropped, and hit his next shot off a palm tree and into more water. That makes an incredible five balls in the water through 14 holes for the man who had a three-shot lead through 54 holes. Hopefully, his caddie put a few extra in the bag.

Poulter eventually found the green and holed a 20-footer for triple bogey. Here's a look at how the hole played out on PGA Tour ShotTracker:

B_G2YYRUwAAWtCk-560.jpg

Meanwhile, playing partners Padraig Harrington and Patrick Reed birdied the hole to share the lead at 7 under. Poulter fell to three under and into a share of sixth place. Looks like that first stroke-play victory in the U.S. will have to wait.

- Alex Myers

PUN ALERT!

Take notice, because a doomsday scenario has just emerged. Daniel Berger, who Tim Rosaforte profiled in this week's Golf World, shot a final round six-under 64 birdies to vault himself squarely into contention. With the leaders stumbling, he could easily pick up the victory, and you know what that means...

-LKD

"Game On"

There's a very Ryder Cup feel at the top of the leader board at the resumption of play at the 2015 Honda Classic. Paul Casey, Patrick Reed and Ian Poulter have all been jockeying for the lead but none of them have really taken charge. Poulter had a two-shot lead going into the 11th hole and looked like he was about to run away with it, but his water-bound drive led to a double and dropped him into a then-three-way tie for the lead at six-under. The consensus, now, is that the game is in fact "on."

- Luke Kerr-Dineen

... Read
News & Tours

PGA Tour caddies furious after being forced to take shelter from storm in metal shed

Earlier this month, PGA Tour caddies filed a $50 million class-action lawsuit against the tour. And what happened on Saturday at the Honda Classic certainly isn't going to make that go away.

As severe thunderstorms hit PGA National, play was suspended -- and ultimately, postponed -- sending players and fans to seek shelter. But while players huddled in the clubhouse, caddies, who aren't given clubhouse access during PGA Tour events, had to take cover in a metal shed on the course. Here's a tweet from Robert Streb's caddie, Steve Catlan:

Later, Scott Vail, who works for Brandt Snedeker, offered his take:

Luke Donald chimed in on Twitter as well:

In the suit, more than 80 caddies said they want a share of the money the tour makes off them wearing sponsor bibs during tournaments. They also listed a series of grievances, including that they "have been treated as second-class participants of the game."

If the suit goes to court, Saturday's metal shed could wind up being Exhibit A of that.

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today