Dec 30, 2013 | 06:20 AM

Our First Masters Story of the Year

Is it too soon to start talking about the Masters? We don’t think so, either. Because the way things are shaping up, the field for the 78th Masters, which tees off on Thursday, April 10, 2014, could be the largest ever. Thanks to the wrap-around schedule the PGA Tour adopted this year, plus a spate of first-time winners on the PGA and European Tours, there are already 90 players in the field, which jumped by 14 when the final World Rankings for 2013 were settled a few weeks back. (They are Hideki Matsuyama, Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, above, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Francesco Molinari, Rickie Fowler, Matteo Manassero, David Lynn, Thongchai Jaidee, Peter Hanson, Joost Luiten, and Branden Grace.) Masters officials want about 100 players; the largest field was 103 in 1966. But as it isn’t even January yet, don’t be surprised if the 2014 Masters sets a new record.

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Dec 23, 2013 | 04:08 PM

Happy Holidays From The Buzz

The Buzz is off for the holidays and hopes you are, too. Have a great week and we'll see you soon. Keep checking in at for more new content soon. In the meantime, hit 'em straight!

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Dec 20, 2013 | 11:02 AM

War Games

The U.S. Marines are using golf carts to simulate tanks when practicing maneuvers and tactics—with a golf course filling in as hostile territory. On December 10, the Marines’ 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C., tooled around in carts to conduct tank maneuvers at the camp’s Paradise Point Golf Complex. According to Charlie Company’s Executive Officer, 1st Lieutenant Graham Johnson, using real tanks would have needed eight square kilometers of space and 4,000 gallons of gas. “By conducting the training using golf carts, we were able to train on doctrinal formations and the fundamentals of fire and maneuver in less than one percent of the space needed for tanks,” said Johnson. “As for fuel, we did not need any logistical support, since the golf course provided everything at no cost. Ultimately, we were able to take what would have been a major muscle movement for the company and trim it down into the bare essentials.” According to the Defense Department’s report on the maneuvers, “Tanks require a lot of space and resources to conduct training. Although not a traditional training method, utilizing golf carts to employ tactical training allowed the battalion to save money, resources and allowed for easier mobility.” There was no word if the carts stopped halfway through the training to buy hot dogs and beers from the snack tank.

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Dec 19, 2013 | 11:40 AM

Jingle Bells from Tom Doak

One of the Christmas letters we most enjoy receiving is the one from Renaissance Golf Design, Tom Doak’s company. Despite the drop in new construction starts, Doak has golf projects underway in China (that's it, above), New Zealand, France, and the U.S. He and his crew are also doing reconstruction work at several American classics, including Baltusrol (Upper and Lower), Medinah (#1 course), Somerset Hills, and Waialae. But the big news in this year’s epistle is Doak’s revelation that The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses—his incendiary, no-holds-barred review of courses published in 1996—is being updated and expanded with the help of co-authors Ran Morrissett, founder of Golf Club Atlas; Masa Nishijima, a golf architecture correspondent based in Japan; and Darius Oliver, Australian author of the Planet Golf books. “After three trips to visit more courses in Ireland, Scotland, and England in 2013, I’m now putting the finishing touches on volume 1, covering 290 courses in Great Britain and Ireland,” Doak stated. He might have mellowed a bit over the years, but the highly opinionated designer is incapable of anything but pithy, spot-on assessments of his colleagues’ work, both current and vintage. Stay tuned.

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