Jan 06, 2016 | 09:55 am

Hawaiian Spirits

Kapalua's Plantation Course on the island of Maui, host site for this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the PGA Tour, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The Buzz caught up with co-designer Bill Coore about the origins of the course. His partner, Ben Crenshaw, was in Hawaii playing Kapalua's Bay Course with Mark Rolfing, who brought Crenshaw up to look at the site. "He called me afterward and said, 'They're thinking about doing this course. It's really pretty. The land rises gently from the sea.' So I've got this picture in my mind—this was before you could text photos—and I fly out to see it. Mark takes me up there and the severity of the slopes and elevation changes leave me a bit speechless. I certainly didn't see any gentle slopes and Mark says, 'Well, we were up here in the evening and had a couple of Coronas.' I said, 'How many Coronas did you have?'" Coore adds with a laugh. After getting the job and coming up with a masterful routing that negated many of severe terrain features, "It rises gently from the sea" became a running joke during construction. Well, they don't call him "Gentle Ben" for nothing.

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Jan 05, 2016 | 08:55 am

Luck of the Irish

As we ready ourselves for the first PGA Tour event of 2016, here’s a last look back at the best shot on last year’s European Tour. Throughout December the European fans voted, and the winning shot (ironically played on American soil at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational) came from Shane Lowry.  The Irishman came to the final hole with a one-stroke lead but pulled his drive into the rough where he was dead-stymied by one of the thousands of tall trees that line the holes of Firestone Country Club. “It was actually a pretty horrific lie,” said Lowry. “It was sitting down in a hole, almost like someone had stood on it, but it was where the crowd had been walking. I said to my caddie Dermot, I’ll try and hit sand wedge and just get it down to the front of the green. I pulled it a bit too low and it went into the tree. The rest is history.” Check it out. 

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Jan 04, 2016 | 10:27 am

New Year, New Clubs

Along with the ball dropping in Times Square, one sure sign of a new year is pro golfers changing their equipment affiliations. Common as it is, today’s announcement from PXG—the one-year-old club company started by billionaire Bob Parsons, founder of—is noteworthy for the number and names of players who will be swinging PXG clubs this year. Eight PGA and LPGA notables are making the switch: Zach Johnson (last year’s Open Champion, shown above), Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk, James Hahn, Charles Howell III, Cristie Kerr, Alison Lee, and Gerina Piller are joining Ryan Moore, Rocco Mediate, Beatriz Recari, and Sadena Parks in the PXG stable. That’s a dozen pros with 55 tour wins, including three majors. “Having some of the best golfers in the world want to play our clubs in competition is absolute validation that we’ve done something incredibly special,” said Parsons. PXG offers a full line of clubs, driver to putter: You can read more about them in the January issue of our digital magazine HotLinks, which is available by clicking here.

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Tiger Woods

Dec 30, 2015 | 08:23 am

Tiger Turns 40

There's nothing any of us can do about Father Time, so turning 40 was inevitable for Tiger Woods, which he does today (other celebs sharing his birthday include LeBron James, 31; Matt Lauer, 58; and Sandy Koufax, 80). But chances are he didn't expect to see another number with a 4 in it next to his name—416, which is his Official World Golf Ranking, his lowest ever. It's pretty shocking given that he was just No. 1 as recently as May 2014 and that he spent a record 683 weeks atop the OWGR, including 281 from June 12, 2005 to Oct. 30, 2010. To give you an idea of just how dominate he was then, in mid-May of 2001 after the "Tiger Slam," he held a 19.40 lead over the No. 2 Phil Mickelson (32.33 to 12.93), which was about seven points higher than the difference Mickelson and the 200th-ranked player. Jack Nicklaus may be the greatest golfer ever, but Tiger Woods should be considered the most dominate.

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