Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Not to Drive a Golf Cart, No. 135663

I have no idea what this is from, but I know I got it off Facebook courtesy of one Cassandra Kirkland, and I know that it cracked me up (especially when I learned nobody got hurt).

Apparently the golf cart was in the way and so it needed to be moved so that this lady could get a drop. And apparently this man had never used a golf cart before, because he nearly plowed three fans before slamming into a tree.

Rules officials are always entertaining.

Update: Yes, this is from the European Ladies Tour, and yes, the driver is okay. No, his ego is not.

Shocker! Ian Poulter Whined This Weekend

Last week, Jay Busbee and myself had a little debate about the idea of skipping golf tournaments because you don't like the course. It came on the heels of Hunter Mahan skipping out on the Byron Nelson because he felt the golf course was too tough for him, which I didn't like in the least bit (Mahan is from Dallas, and should be playing his hometown golf tournaments in my opinion).

So while skipping it seems lame, is playing in it and then complaining about the course any better? Why, let's ask Ian Poulter. The Englishman who has made crankiness a signature played at the BMW Championship this week after winning the week before at the Volvo Match Play, and went off on the Wentworth redesign.

”I’ll speak freely – many others may not. I don’t like this golf course. Period. End of story.

”I don’t have a problem with tough golf courses and level par (his halfway total after a 74) is hanging in there.

‘But I’m walking off the golf course and I’m absolutely headless. Absolutely fuming. It’s not fun golf. You’re watching, you tell me. Is it fun?”

Well, Poulter made €53,400 ($76,767.84) so I'd say that is pretty fun. And you're getting to play a great golf course that might have some lame tweaks (like the lake on the 18th green), but it ended in a playoff against the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world, so that was fun. And Luke Donald made a birdie on that first playoff hole to claim the number one ranking in the world, the first time someone has won and done so since Tiger Woods in 2005, so that was pretty fun.

I guess complaining about golf courses at times is something we all do, so you can't totally fault Poulter, but it isn't like they're asking you to show up at 3 AM and mow the damn fairways. You're playing there, and while it might not be your favorite track in the world, I don't think it's worth sounding off on it.

I did, however, love what the owner of Wentworth, Richard Caring, said about Poulter after those quotes came out.

“Ian has played in 10 (BMW) PGA Championships, missed the cut seven times and his best result prior to the changes was 33rd …now if he calls that having fun, that’s different, but at least he made the cut this time,” added Caring of Poulter’s 18th-place finish.

Game, set, match, Caring.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Recapping the Weekend That Was

This past weekend turned out to be a crazy one for the golf world, highlighted by a Sunday that was as special as any in 2011. What happened? Well, let's hop right into it ...

Luke Donald takes down Lee Westwood in a playoff of the No. 1 and No. 2 in the world -- Don't get used to something like that, because it probably won't happen for a very long time, but the BMW Championship, the biggest event of the weekend, came down to a playoff between Donald and Westwood, and ended when Donald hit a great approach shot to the 18th hole and Westwood ... well, his approach was just a little wetter. It's the second win for Donald, and the biggest of his career, and it came a few days after he said he'd probably do it, so even better.

An unlikely rookie took home the Byron Nelson -- Earlier this year, in Palm Springs, I went to get dinner and was greeted by two rookies on the PGA Tour. One was a flashy young stud that was going to take the tour by storm, making Golfweek covers and forcing old journalists to salivate at his potential. The other was a quieter, more polite kid that not a lot of people had heard of. That kid? Keegan Bradley, and after a fantastic start to his year, the 24-year-old toughed it out this weekend in Dallas, and won in a playoff, with a reaction that will forever live in random golfer infamy. It was a great story, highlighted by this awesome tweet.

Mariajo Uribe takes the Brazil Cup -- Talk about a nice little payday for Uribe, a player that had never won any big event before Sunday. Two rounds of golf in Rio De Janerio and the 21-year-old took home six figures after she closed with a 66.

Tom Watson takes his sixth Champions Tour major -- Maybe you can't count Champions Tour majors on a list of incredible accomplishments, but Watson's playoff win on Sunday at the Senior PGA was his sixth of his career, and coupled with eight PGA Tour majors, means he has 14 for his career. Watson was steady, and the playoff win showed that at 61, he can still play as good as any of those guys out there.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lee Westwood Just Can't Close

Some athletes have it, some don't. Tiger Woods had it. So did Michael Jordan. LeBron seems to have found it. Dirk is currently the IT version fo this.

The ones that don't have it is a lot longer of a list. Those are the guys that get there and can't close. In the last few years we've seen a lot of names that fit this bill. Rory McIlroy couldn't find it at Augusta. Dustin Johnson let it go at Pebble. Nick Watney fell apart at Whistling Straits.

And then there is Lee Westwood. A strange guy, this Westwood, the man has just two PGA Tour wins in his lifetime, yet he is still considered one of the biggest names, and best golfers in the world. Since 2007, Westwood has just three European Tour titles, which isn't something to brush off, but not nearly what you'd expect from a guy of his caliber.

We talk about Westwood like he's a superstar. Sunday at the BMW Championship, he might have shown us that we're really the only ones that think that.

Now I don't want you all to think I'm sitting here bashing Lee. I really like the guy. I like the way he carries himself, and how he seems to have a lot more fun than most superstars in this game. I like how competitive he still is, and how he's bounced back from down times in his career. But times like Sunday at Wentworth, with a short birdie putt on the last hole of regulation to force Luke Donald to equal, it just seems Westwood can find that "it" that some have deep down in their gullet.

Look at how Lee has played when he's needed to close. It always seems that he comes up a hair short of what you need to win. And look at his play in the BIG events in golf. No majors, no World Golf Championships, no Players or Tour Championships, and no wins at this here event, that some have considered the new fifth major in golf.

Westwood played brilliant golf for most of the day on Sunday to put himself in a position to win, but when he needed it, he couldn't close. That putt on the 72nd hole was pretty simple, and the wedge shot he dumped in the water in the playoff wasn't that hard.

It's just strange that a guy like Lee can play so good for so long, but right when he needs a certain shot, he can't find it.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Win Two U.S. Open Tickets and Be a Good Person!

It's Friday, which means the weekend is about to kick off, and what better way to get it going than to enter for a chance to win two U.S. Open tickets AND donate to a cause that really needs it?!?

The great people at Lexus gave me two tickets to the U.S. Open the year at Congressional. Here are the details ...

-- Two tickets to both Saturday and Sunday of this year's U.S. Open (June 18-19)
-- Access to the Lexus hospitality suite
-- A chance to chill with Natalie Gulbis and Mark O'Meara.
-- A chance to possibly, maybe, HANG OUT WITH ME!

Okay, so hopefully you didn't leave after that last bullet point, but yes, we have a pair of tickets for the weekend and we want to give them away. I thought about a lot of different ways to give these away but decided on this ... why not help out some people that have been devastated by the recent tornados in Alabama?

A colleague of mine, Rob Pritts, is putting on a golf tournament to help those in need after the tornados ripped through Alabama. He has a donation page for his golf tournament, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to relief efforts, and so it's simple ... go donate anything (minimum is $25, maximum is Bill Gates), and just e-mail me (shanebacon at gmail dot com) a receipt or a screen capture of the donation. Make sure to include your full name and e-mail in the message you send me, and on Tuesday morning I will randomly pick a winner. No, it doesn't matter how much you donate or when you get it in, just have to have it by Tuesday at 12:01 AM (so Monday night).

I figured this was the best way to do it, because even if you don't win, you get to donate to a good cause. I hope you guys go out and donate, and pass this along to whoever you want.

Charley Hoffman's a Good Sport

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Charley Hoffman got so mad at the Players Championship that he broke his putter with his own bare hands? Yeah, pretty incredible. More incredible? That a caddie during the "Caddies For a Cure" would try to pull the same move on him, only with the 'ol putter switcharoo!

Yep, Hoffman nearly got hosed for a flatstick, but seemed to take the whole thing very well.

h/t Devil Ballster

John Daly Withdraws from BMW Championship Because of Injury (Wink, Wink)

You may remember a couple of weeks ago that Tiger Woods withdrew from the Players Championship because of an injury after just nine holes. He was playing terrible golf, and just didn't look the same, but as I said back then, it's a lot easier for an injury to nag you when you're a million over par.

Cue John Daly, Mr. WD. The man was 11-over par after just 14 holes at the BMW Championship on Friday before leaving the golf course because of a hip injury. Yep, that's likely.

See, the difference in someone like Tiger and Daly when it comes to withdrawing from tournaments is one has a history of doing this and one doesn't. One has played through pain like he has just a few days left on Earth while the other will whack a golf ball off a green when it's still moving in a major championship. One does this once every Hale-Bopp comment while the other will do it whenever he finds himself just a few shots north of par.

It's just sad that this is such a trend, especially with someone like Daly, because people aren't really going to see Daly compete anymore, they just want to see him. They want to see him whack a drive out of sight, and hit a few shots, and wear those goofy pants. He's an experience now more than a contender, but people that pay to watch a tournament have the right to see Daly, no matter if it's Good John or Bad John.

He is supposed to play in the Wales Open next week, and I'm sure he'll be there, injury free, because that's what John does. And he'll probably play well, because it seems whenever he pulls out of an event he comes back the next week with some obscure confidence. And that would be great, because we love it when Daly is a story. Just not this type of story. It's been published way too many times.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Luke Donald Sure Sounds the Part

It seems the years of players dominating in the wins category are finished. No more 11 win seasons for guys like Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh. No more three major years. It just doesn't seem likely right now.

But that doesn't mean we can't have people dominate. It's just going to be different. Last year it was Matt Kuchar who never seemed to finish out of the top-10. He was a machine, and although he only won once, it was still an incredible year considering the talent pool currently hanging out on the PGA Tour.

This season that title has been taken over by Luke Donald. Yes, he only has one win, but the guy hasn't finished out of the top-10 on the PGA Tour since February 20! He has tied for fourth in both the Masters and the Players, and is a win away from being ranked the top golfer in the world*.

But what does Luke think about all this? Well, it appears the Englishman is finally accepting the role of being a badass on the golf course.

“I think I’m the most consistent right now. I feel I’ve proven that over the last few months,” he said. ”I don’t know whether you choose someone who’s won Majors or go with someone who has chances every week, but naturally my view is consistency pays.

“Does the way I’ve been playing make me best at the moment? Yes, I think so.

“And there’s a good possibility I could take over anyway this weekend. A win here would definitely get the job done.”

Pretty impressive stuff from Donald, who has never seemed like the self-assured golfer that someone like, say, Tiger Woods is behind a microphone. Donald finished second last week, and is the favorite at the BMW Championship that kicked off on Thursday (another week the European Tour field outshines the PGA Tour), where Donald opened with an incredible 7-under 64.

He's leading, and might just be the most confident, and best playing golfer in the world. Don't believe me? Just ask him.

* - you know how much I hate the world rankings chatter, so I apologize for including this. I'll put a dollar in the OWGR jar.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yes, I'd Pay $100 To Play 13 Holes at Bandon

It seems there is a lot of uproar right now about the new golf course at Bandon Dunes, titled Bandon Preserve, that will only be 13 holes, and they'll all be short ones, ranging from 65-180 yards. The golf course is supposedly majestic unlike any of the other ones at Bandon, and will have incredible views of the Pacific while you battle the course and the conditions.

Price? $100.

A lot of people think that's too steep, saying they wouldn't pay that for just 13 holes of par-3 golf, but come on, you're forgetting a lot of things by saying that.

First, it's Bandon Dunes. These aren't golfers banging out tee times on GolfNow.com, these are wealthy or fairly wealthy individuals spending a vacation at THE golf mecca of the United States. At Bandon you eat, drink and sleep golf, never stepping foot in your car or at anything that doesn't have a flag or a pint in front of you. The bar is at the clubhouse. The restaurant is as well. The gym at Bandon is barely a gym, and the time I was there, I remember noting that few people had ever used that athletic equipment. And above all that, these guys aren't worried about the price. If they were, they wouldn't be at Bandon Dunes. So $100 for 13 holes is probably a nice little move for the guys when they're a little golfed out. Just think on the fourth day of 36 holes, how nice it might be to swing over to Bandon Preserve and get in a short 13 holes with your buddies.

Also, is $100 ridiculous? Just perusing some tee times in my town, Scottsdale, makes me think that isn't bad at all. You're not really paying for the golf, you're paying for the experience, and I'm sure this is going to be just as good as everything else at Bandon. Plus, is $35 an hour a bad rate for fun? Think about how long $35 would last you in Las Vegas. Or at a bar. Not very much. But you're spending nearly three hours with your buddies out at a great golf course, and I'm sure a short course like this could make for some incredible money games.

So I'd pay $100 for the Preserve. And I probably will. And so will a ton of people. Because it is going to be awesome, just like everything else at Bandon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tiger's Agent Leaves IMG

Things aren't really circling into shape for Tiger Woods. Not even hours after Tiger talked about Mark Steinberg and IMG at his AT&T National press conference, Darrell Rovell announced that Steinberg and IMG had split.

Steinberg and Tiger had been together since he turned professional, and this is what Woods had to say about his agent earlier today.

"I'm committed to both, with IMG, and Mark's my agent. It's been a great relationship. I've been with him ever since I turned pro. I had a chance to go through a lot of -- basically my entire professional career and learn a lot about the business.

It's been a lot of fun for me going through all the dinners I used to have with McCormack over the years until he passed, then obviously my relationship with Mark. But I'm very happy with both."

No word yet on what is going to happen with Tiger, Steinberg, and IMG, but for now, it doesn't seem like life is getting any easier for Tiger Woods.

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Davis Love III Continues to Respect the Open

You have to give it up to Davis Love III. The guy is 47-years-old, basically hanging on to his game until he can hit the Champions Tour circuit, but still respectable enough in his game and to the game to try and qualify for the British Open.

And he did it this week, with a 66 at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas.

I'd like to point back to the days when some Americans wouldn't even travel across the pond to play in the Open, my favorite of all the major championships, because it isn't just about the way you're playing, it's about how the course plays you. Love isn't going to win another major championship. He hasn't won on tour since 2008, and before that, 2006. His lone major came all the way back in 1997, and before a tie for sixth a year ago at the U.S. Open, hadn't finished in the top-10 in a major since 2005.

But the Ryder Cup captain still goes out and there and tries to give the Open the proper respect.

It's guys like Love that the younger dudes need to look up to. They don't owe anything to the game anymore, but they still plug away and try to make it in the big events, because this is what they do, and it's what they love. Some of these young guys will leave the game a lot earlier than our current 50-somethings, because they won't need the game.

The ones that love it will stick around, and that's what you get with Davis. Kudos for the attempt, and it'll nice to see you in the field.

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Tiger Woods Will Donate a Million Bucks if Reporters Don't Do Their Job

You know a fun way to make reporters feel like compete shit about themselves? Ask them not to ask the biggest question of the day to the biggest athlete in the world, and if they do, pull seven figures away from charity!

That's Tiger being Tiger!

Yes, the above tweet happened before Tiger Woods' press conference on Tuesday, which is a little ridiculous if you ask me. Sure, it might have been in good humor, but how bad is the first reporter going to feel when they ask about the knee, because you know it's going to happen? This is their jobs!

So, yes, someone just ask it and get it out of the way ... or maybe all the reporters should do it in unison, so nobody is blammed.

Also, I'm tossing this out there ... I will donate $100 a charity of your choice if the next time Tiger is at the range, you just walk out and stand in front of him while he hits balls. If he's going to stop us from doing our jobs, I'd like to stop him from doing his.

Update: Tiger said he'd still donate the million even though the first question was about his injury, so he was joking. That kidder! Always there with the jokes! Why, slap my leg and call me Sally!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Now You People Are Just Screwing With Me

You know how I post hole-in-one stories here occasionally, and yell at people about them? Well at least I don't have to watch the jerk's actual golf shot go in!

Things have changed at Chambers Bay, when some nimrod says he's going to drop it in for an ace on the 15th hole and then actually does it. Honestly, why are you people doing this to me? Is it because you hate me? You think it's funny? I hit a couple of good shots this past weekend on some par-3s. Take a wild guess if either of them went in, and if one of my friends was filming.*

* - no and no

Site News (And It's Good)

You, sir? Yes, you there ... would you like to go to the U.S. Open? Well, it might just happen, because in the next week, we're going to give away two tickets to Congressional and you will be able to win these bad boys.

We're still coming up with a solid idea (and thank Lexus for the tickets by tying a big bow around your laptop), but keep your eyes peeled on the site for our contest, and hopefully you'll be at Congressional next to me, wearing a super tight green suit.

Hunter Mahan Is Not a Fan of TPC Las Colinas

The good thing about being a professional golfer is you get to pick your own schedule. There are never those late night flights to Charlotte for an afternoon game in front of 5,000 people. Never drives home after a lengthy road trip that didn't go so well. Just your schedule, with your team, when you want.

And that's fine. I like it. I've always said I loved that Tiger Woods would only play in a few events a year because it made those events so special. (and really, why does he need to play in the Zurich Classic at this point?)

So if you don't want to play that week, fine, nobody will judge you, just do it with a little respect. Don't come out and say you're skipping an event because you think the golf course is too hard. Oh wait, Hunter Mahan has something to say (via Dallas Morning News).

“I don’t like it tee to green,” Mahan said after his second straight 69 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. “I don’t like the way the fairways are shaped. It’s hard to hit a fairway for me. I don’t want to rip it up or rip up the tournament, but it’s a place where I don’t play well, it doesn’t suit me, it’s a pain in the butt to play.”

“I don’t like the way they redid the greens,” he said. “I just don’t think they’re very good. He [D.A. Weibring] couldn’t do much. The course is what it is, and you can’t really do much about it.”

Hummm ... now, someone explain to me why Hunter would say such a thing? Admitting a golf course is too hard when you consider yourself an elite golfer? Complaining about the way it was redesigned? Doesn't everyone have to play the same golf course?

Listen, I know some golf courses set up well for certain players, but to me, a really, really elite player doesn't say these things. Even if it isn't your favorite golf course, play it so you can try to take it down. You don't see people back away from guys that beat them ten times in a row, do you? No, because the pride of a golfer holds true, and you want to go out and kick that guy's butt on the eleventh attempt. It's a competitive thing.

Also, I'd avoid doing this in your hometown. Dallas people love them some Mahan, and it's almost one of those things that he owes to the community. Now, if only he'd married a former cheerleader for the local team ...

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ian Poulter is Graceful

Yes, this happened at the Volvo World Championship, and yes, it is the best thing that's happened in ten years on the golf course. I loved how he took it, and then went on to win.

Well played Mr. Poulter.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Casey Martin, 10 Years Later

Ten years ago, one of the most popular names in golf wasn't Tiger Woods or Ernie Els. It wasn't David Duval, Phil Mickelson or Justin Leonard. The name was Casey Martin, and the reason was a point or argument.

Casey Martin was a stud at Stanford, and would eventually become a PGA Tour member, but he will forever be remembered for suffering from Klippel-Trénaunay-Weber syndrome, a birth defect in his right leg. Martin sued the PGA Tour because he wanted to use a golf cart, and it really turned the golf world upside down. A lot of big names in golf opposed the idea, speaking up against Martin and his golf cart.

At the time, I was in 11th grade, and was hoping to play college golf myself. A east Texas kid, I didn't know much, but I quickly realized how ridiculous it was that names like Arnold Palmer were speaking up against Martin, saying it was unfair that he might be using a golf cart instead of walking like the rest of the tour.

Ten years later, it still makes me shake my head. You know what's a lot tougher than using a golf cart instead of walking 18 holes? Having a leg and a half instead of two. Martin used to talk about how his career could end if he stepped in a hole with his right leg, because it was that fragile and weak. But he kept on pursuing his dream because he loved the game and was damn good at it. And the whole time, there weren't guys cheering on the sidelines for him because he was doing something exceptional. For the most part, fellow pros were upset he was out there riding in a golf cart because he was suffering from a disability.

In my opinion, the whole Casey Martin saga was one of the darkest moments in golf history. People can sit and debate how much of a "sport" golf is day in and day out until the sun sets, but the fact is, a guy with an extremely brutal disability was able to compete if given the chance, and it never seemed that his peers wanted to give him that chance. If Casey Martin would have been given the option of having a fully functional leg, but the rest of the PGA Tour would be using golf carts instead of him, he would have signed off as quick as his hand would move. But that wasn't an option. Sometimes we dance with who brought us, and unfortunately, his right leg was his ugly date he had to tango alongside.

Over his career, Martin made 20 of 42 cuts on the PGA Tour, highlighted by his 2000 season that included 14 of 29 cuts made. Now the coach at Oregon, the good news is Martin will be able to give advice to players that might not have been implanted in some of the players growing up alongside Casey. He can teach about equality and understanding and playing your game, not worrying about how everyone else is getting around.

It sure wasn't easy for Casey, but he did it. And still to this day his actions impress me more than any major of Tiger's, or any PGA Tour win of Phil's. He did all of that on one leg, with everyone else screaming at him in a sport you're supposed to be quiet at. That's guts.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

K.J. Choi is Nice

You can have your Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelsons. Enjoy your Adam Scotts, Rickie Fowlers and Ian Poulters. All I want is K.J. Choi, the silent assassin that has oh-so quietly won eight PGA Tour events over his career, including the Players Championship.

What did Choi do with that $1.71 million check? He cut a big chunk out of it, and gave it to the relief efforts of those affected by the recent Tornados in southeastern America. Yep, that would be a cool $200,000 he's just giving away.

"While winning the Players Championship was a defining point in my life, there were those who were going through their low point," Choi said in a statement on Wednesday. "I want the victims of the tornadoes to know that their misfortunes will not be ignored."

Maybe we make too big of a deal out of these guys donating money, since it really doesn't matter to them, but honestly, isn't it the thought that counts? I love that he doesn't mind cutting a check out of this and giving it to people he doesn't even know. We'd like to think we'd all want to do something like this, but who knows? Maybe the money would change us, and we'd forget about all the other little people in this world.

So, thanks, Mr. Choi, for being one of the good guys.

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John Daly Admits Something That Will Probably Ruin Your Lunch

When you look at the above picture of John Daly at his finest, a few things probably pop in your head; how old is that lady showing her tits off to a random camera? I wonder if Daly gets his Hooters wings spicy or extra spicy? How long until those two people did something that would shame even these here Internets?

The one thing that doesn't pop into your corrupted mind is this - "I'd love to have sex with that man." Well, bad news, because Daly probably wants to have sex with you. Or anyone. That's what he revealed in a recent Playboy interview (link NSFW, unless you work at Bourbon Street).

“I’m real close to being a nympho, if I’m not one,” he admits. He and ­Cladakis try to have sex at least once every day. “If I’m with somebody, I want to be with that person. I wanna have sex a lot. Anna’s been great. We’re both nymphos, I think. We like each other’s company. We like making love to each other,” he says as his eyes wander to the front door of the remote Sheboygan Falls house he’s rented west of the golf course.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Nooooo! That's worse than thinking about my parents doing it. I don't want to think about that man laying on top of anyone, even if it was to save them from hypothermia. I am sure there are a ton of people on this Earth that would be grosser to watch act sexually than Daly (Lady Gaga, Elmo, Ben Roethlisberger), but this is just disturbing.

Why do this to us, Playboy?!? Why?!?! We were having a perfectly fine Thursday before this popped up!

h/t to that sexually being, Ballengee

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Ryder Cup is Going to France!!!

Freedom fries be damned, because in 2018, the American Ryder Cup team will be storming France. Yes, for the first time in the history of the Ryder Cup, France will be the host country, and all their history in winning big golf tournaments will be remembered.

Kidding, obviously. I like that the Ryder Cup is moving away from the United Kingdom and to a place it hasn't been yet. It isn't for another seven years, but it's still cool to think Le Golf National Course in Versailles is going to host one of the biggest golf events in the world. The strange part? Who in the world is going to be on the team?

Here are the ages of some of the biggest golfers in the game when this takes place:

Tiger Woods - 42
Phil Mickelson - 47
Lee Westwood - 45
Miguel Angel Jimenez - 54
Jim Furyk - 48

So, it isn't like some of the guys that have been fixtures on the teams lately could even be in France for this, and when you think that Rickie Fowler was on the U.S. squad in 2010 at the age of 21, some pre-teen that we've never heard of could make this team.

(Also, there has been a Frenchman major champion before ... Arnaud Massy won the 1907 British Open at Royal Liverpool, so don't think Jean Van de Velde will be the only one we're talking about that week.)

Why in the World Would Tiger Woods Return at the U.S. Open?

Let's just say for a moment (as you sit in that cubicle munching on that last bite of bagel, finishing off your second Coke of the day) that you're a runner. You love running. It's your favorite thing and you're good at it. You spend mornings and nights trying to pick up seconds on your mile, and minutes on your marathon. You read "Runner's World," scoff at fellow joggers sporting Nikes and compete whenever you can. But one day you break your ankle. Bad. The thing is twisted more than a four-term politician. Not only are you sidelined from running, you can barely walk. So you let it heal, and you plan a date to return to the pavement. Are you going to knock out two miles in your neighborhood, or line up at the New York Marathon? Most likely, you're going to east into it.

That's why Tiger Woods' decision to possibly return to the U.S. Open confuses me. Why do this to yourself? To prove a point? To play another major? To, MAYBE, give yourself a chance to be in contention?

Because that's what Tiger said on Monday. He tweeted that he is circling Congressional as his return date, meaning he could go eight weeks without playing a full competitive round of golf, and the only experience he will have between his final round at the Masters and his first round at the U.S. Open is a front-nine 42 at the Players Championship. Not exactly awe-inspiring.

I get why Tiger wants to do it. He hasn't missed playing the U.S. Open since 1994! It's our national championship, and somewhere, deep in the confused mind of Tiger Woods is a golfer that still thinks he's good enough to beat people on one leg and no practice. The thing is, you don't want your first date after a 25-year marriage to be with Kim Kardashian.

In some way, I respect that Tiger is trying to return for this, but it also confuses me. It's like he's setting himself up for disappointment. A rusty Woods isn't good enough to win any tournament anymore, much less a major championship on a course that Graeme McDowell has said won't even host an under-par championship.

I hope Tiger is back for Congressional, because he makes any tournament more interesting, I just don't get why he's doing that to himself. It seems more harm than good.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Shreveport Locals Didn't Even Get to See the David Toms Finish

With the way the Players Championship ended, with David Toms three-putting from 20 feet on the first playoff hole, it was probably better that Shreveport, Louisiana natives didn't get to see it, but at least they could have had the option.

KTAL, the local NBC-affiliate in Shreveport, was blacked out on Sunday for most of the final round of the Players as local boy, and current resident, Toms made a run at the title. People in the Port City were so furious that the KTAL general manager had to release this statement:

On behalf of KTAL, I want to personally apologize to our loyal ArkLaTex viewers for the problem we had bringing you David Toms’ thrilling finish in the Player’s Championship. Like all of you, I was ready to enjoy NBC’s Sunday coverage and root for our home town hero. Instead, some serious technical difficulties knocked us out of the tournament. No one feels worse about what happened this weekend than those of us who work at KTAL. We take our commitment to serve you as responsible broadcasters seriously. A team of engineers have been working throughout the weekend to fix our problem. Here at the station we’ve been answering your phone calls and responding to your e-mails. We understand your frustration. We feel it ourselves.

Over the last few years, we have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in upgrading our television station. More major technical upgrades are scheduled for the coming months. We have come a long way. But today we were reminded we still have a ways to go.

Again, we apologize for our technical problem this weekend. We are working hard to get it fixed, and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Mark Cummings
General Manager/KTAL

Oh boy. I could only imagine how angry a lot of these fans are. I'm from this area, and if there is one thing the Shreveport people love more than LSU football, it's David Toms and Hal Sutton. Toms making a run there would be the biggest news of the year so far in Shreveport, so for them to drop the ball here is bad, bad news.

If you want a good laugh on this Monday, swing by the KTAL Facebook wall. There are more mad people over there than in "The Daily Show" writing room after finding out Donald Trump wasn't running for president.

Stay hot, NBC.

And the Winner For Strangest Photo Ever Goes To ...

... Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell (or little Graeme McDowell). This photo (h/t to Ballengee) is from Getty Images, and I have no idea why it cracks me up, but it does.

Why are they so serious? Did the flight attendent not offer them peanuts? And also, are they flying coach? Is this what happens when you shoot 79 in the final round? Boom!

Let's Not Forget: The Players Was Great

Either you're a golf fan or you're a Tiger fan, and I think we really need to figure out which one each of us are.

Golf fans loved the final round of the Players Championship, and the entire week at TPC Sawgrass. It gave us just about every storyline, from Phil Mickelson making a charge only to fall back on Friday, to Graeme McDowell showing life for the first time since the Chevron. It showed us that even major championship winning Northern Irishmen can flirt with 80 in a final round, and there's something about this golf course that makes Paul Goydos play like Sam Snead. It gave us glimpses of Garcia, hints of Hunter and a turtle that will forever live in Players past, and it event tossed in a playoff to make 2011 continue on it's wacky route.

Tiger fans didn't love it. He withdrew early on Thursday, never to be seen again. Tiger fans turned off their televisions and watched tennis or "Bridesmaids" or Kevin Durant. They didn't care that David Toms was trying to win for the first time 2006. That K.J. Choi was trying to be the first Korean to fly his flag above the majestic clubhouse. That Luke Donald and Nick Watney were trying to add to their already tremendous seasons. Tiger fans care about Tiger and not much else.

ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski tweeted early on Sunday, " There is no such thing as a 5th Major, but final round of TPC should be a gas. Rly interesting leaderboard and usual weirdness of the course," only to write an entire column about how bad this was for golf. I always enjoy Wojo's writing, but I have to disagree with the following point:

This is the supposed "fifth major," but the guy who won it hasn't cashed a tour victory check since the 2008 Sony Open. The guy he beat, David Toms, hasn't won on tour since the 2006 Sony. And the guy who finished third, Paul Goydos, hasn't won since the 2007 Sony.

PlayStations for everybody!

Choi turns 41 this Thursday. Toms is 44. Goydos is 46. It was like the Champions Tour Lite.

The most interesting part about his point there? I bet if you asked Gene, or any sportswriter north of rental car age, what their favorite golf moment was, they'd all bring up the 1986 Masters, and I'm fairly certain that Jack Nicklaus was in his 40s when he won that tournament. Hummm. I guess that doesn't matter when you're named Toms or Choi.

The tournament was great, and if people want more young guys to win, I have a simple solution; tell the young guys to play better golf. Until then, people like Toms will compete because they have the game to compete. We love Rickie Fowler, but how many wins does he have? I am totally impressed with the games of Dustin Johnson and Hunter Mahan, but how many times have they parred the 18th hole at PGA Championship to win a major? Exactly. It takes a long time to learn how to win events on the PGA Tour, and just because Tiger did it at such an astonishing, and young, age doesn't mean that will become the norm. Golfers are too good these days, and on any given week a player from the middle of the talent pack can ride a hot putter to the winner's circle.

A good friend of mine called on Sunday morning and said he had a point about golf he wanted to pass by me. He asked if golf was turning into professional poker, where on any given week a guy could win that most people had never heard of, and if this is bad for the game. I answered that I didn't think it was, because everyone is so good these days that it'll be a long time before we have a four-time winner in a single season. Those days of Tiger and Vijay winning 10 tournaments are done, and if you like golf, that's awesome. Every week is completely unpredictable, and that's beautiful. It's how golf is supposed to be. We all deal with it daily on the golf course; one day you have your best stuff, the next you can barely find the face on a wedge.

If you're a golf fan you probably understand. If you're just a Tiger fan, you probably stopped reading this six graphs ago.

David Toms' Decision on 16; No Guts, No Glory

On Sunday at the Players Championship, Davis Toms found himself in an interesting, but exciting, position. After a great drive on the short par-5 16th, and with a one-shot lead, Toms was facing a "go for it, or lay-up" situation. He was on the right side of the fairway, 245 yards to the pin, but only about 225 yards to the front of the green. Water on the right, thick rough on the left, Toms found himself in a position that Roy McAvoy on "Tin Cup" once said, "This is everything, ain't it? This is the choice it comes down to - this is our immortality."

At the time, when Toms pulled out his hybrid I thought he was crazy. The rest is history; Toms caught the shot a little thin, it came up about two yards short of dry land, and he made bogey, dropping into a tie with K.J. Choi and eventually losing in a playoff. A birdie or par there and everything changes.

When it happened, I made as many jokes about it as everyone else. This was the guy that had made laying up a popular choice back in 2001 when he did so on the 72nd hole at the PGA Championship only to sink a par putt for the one-shot victory over Phil Mickelson. When he pulled hybrid I was confused.

But a day later I get it. That was a defining moment, and as McAvoy said, "when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment... or the moment defines you." Toms had fate in his hands. It didn't belong to Choi. It didn't belong to Goydos. It didn't belong to the weather or a pin position or anything. If he pulls that shot off, like he probably has a thousand times in his life, he makes birdie and wins the golf tournament. If he doesn't, at least he did it on his own dime.

I think too many times golfers play it safe in these positions. The new age player is programmed to avoid any risk at all. That's why you see shot hit to the middle of the green on the 17th, and the smart shot usually hit when the right shot would win them the event. Toms is 44, and needed a win on the PGA Tour badly. If he pulls that off, like he thought he would, it was basically game over.

On Sunday, I thought it was crazy. A day later, I realize what he did. He took a shot. He made a decision. Toms, a guy that most wouldn't describe as intimidating or gritty, looked at his situation and said, "screw it, I'm winning this right here or losing it, but at least I'm trying it." We'd all love to have that mentality on the golf course. For Toms, it didn't work on Sunday, but maybe the next time he decides on it, he'll pull the shot off.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

David Toms Probably Isn't Going to Like His New Nickname

Sometimes the Internet can sure pile on a guy when he's down. David Toms, who last won an event when Kevin Durant was still a Longhorn, nearly did so on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass, but a missed par putt in the first playoff hole left him on the outside looking in at K.J. Choi.

So what did a nice "fan" do for the man over on Wikipedia? Changed his nickname to something more suitable for the occasion. Hopefully that one doesn't stick, eh?

(The nickname thing has since been taken down from his page, but it'll live here forever.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fan One-Ups the Boulder Crew, Saves Driver From Lake

I still laugh when I think back to the time that fans moved that big rock out of the way for Tiger Woods when he used to come to Phoenix for the Waste Management. It was a nice gesture and showed early just how much fans loved Tiger.

Michael Bradley is no Tiger Woods, but he needed help on Friday at TPC Sawgrass, and a fan came to the rescue, saving his driver from the pond after Bradley dropped it in.

Here is the video ...

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Problem With the WD

A few years back, when I was still a kid worrying about height and pimples and if my truck was going to spew out a dark smoke when I started it during the winter, I headed down to Alabama for an AJGA event at a Robert Trent Jones course. The tournament was a big deal, and thanks to a solid week in my first ever AJGA event, I was invited. So my dad and mom packed up the car and we drove to Mobile only to wait out rain delays after rain delays. Finally, the tournament started, and after a hopeful opening nine holes of 37, things fell apart and I finished with a 79. The second round wasn't much better, and there I stood at 159, looking up a leaderboard at names like Casey Wittenberg and Jonathan Moore.

The week had been long and muddy, and the delays had pushed it past the return date. After the second round, I discussed some stuff with my dad and decided to withdraw and head home, not to miss anymore days of them working and me schooling. I still don't like that fact that I did that. I hated having those two letters, WD, next to my name.

A few years later, at a Byron Nelson qualifier, I struggled over the opening 18 holes. The afternoon 18 had droves of players pulling out that didn't feel they had a chance, but I wouldn't do it. I learned my lesson. I was done looking at any combination of "WD."

The problem with golf is a bad start normally dooms you. A wise man once said, "you can never win a tournament on the first day, but you can sure lose one," and that's about as true a thing as any golfer has ever said. It's easy to give up hope, but it also raises questions.

On Thursday, when Tiger left TPC Sawgrass after just nine holes, you knew it was because of his knee, but it's easy to speculate otherwise. He was 6-over. Other players were going dirty low. He had basically shot himself out of the tournament in just nine holes, and when you play that poorly, your injuries sure do hurt a little more.

I'm not questioning Tiger's resolve. Of any athlete I can ever remember, Tiger has gutted out more tough starts, or cut lines, than anyone I can ever remember. He has withdrew just four times in his career, something impressive when you look at guys like John Daly, who sometimes withdraw because their steak was served just a little too rare. I was always in awe at how Tiger could go out and play with grit and determination when he had no chance at winning. For some, a top-20 is a big deal, but for Tiger, it's a week that leaves him shaking his head.

I just know that when you withdraw, questions fly around, even if that isn't fair. That's why I hate seeing it, and that's why I feel bad for Woods. He's hurting, and we could see it, but that doesn't stop the rumor mill from churning.

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Site News

Yes, site news is super fun, but just wanted to let everyone know, the server has been down the last day or so, and now my initial Tiger post has been deleted, which is super fun, but they're saying it'll be back soon. Or not. Maybe Tiger took it down. That sneaky bastard!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tiger Woods' Interview on Tuesday Was Friendly

On Tuesday, Tiger Woods spoke to the media world for the first time since his disappointing finish to the Masters, and it was exactly as Tiger-y as you'd expect from Tiger.

Since all I'm going to say is mean stuff from this point forward, I'll just get into the quotes, with the questions added to show just how short he was about everything. Ready for the fun?!

Q. Is there one dominant player or is there some interchange happening this year to the average fan?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know, I'm not the average fan. I'm out here playing and competing, so that's hard for me to answer that one.

Q. Do you miss being No. 1?
TIGER WOODS: I miss winning. That's the most important thing. That's how you maintain it is you've got to win golf tournaments.

Q. Are you taking anything?
TIGER WOODS: Anti-inflammatories, ice, basic stuff, elevation, nothing major, soft tissue work.

Q. Have you played since then?

Q. Nine holes?
TIGER WOODS: Nine holes today, yeah.

Q. When did you start hitting balls?
TIGER WOODS: Yesterday.

Q. What are your expectations for this week?
TIGER WOODS: Well, same as always, try and win the event. Nothing has changed.

Q. I know you and Bubba are friends. I was curious about your reaction to what he said last week about you going in the wrong direction.
TIGER WOODS: That was interesting.

Q. He said this morning that you guys haven't had a chance to talk.

Q. Do you have an issue with it?
TIGER WOODS: We'll talk.

I mean, sigh. The guy just doesn't get it. He really, really doesn't. It wasn't like the reporters were asking extremely pointed questions or anything. They were asking about the injury and his thoughts on his game and what he might think of the comments made by Bubba Watson.

I'd love just once, just once, for everyone in the media to agree not to ask ANYTHING serious at all for an entire Tiger press conference. "So Tiger, have you seen Thor? Thoughts?" "Tiger, what do you think Phil Jackson is going to do?" "Tiger, where were you when you learned about the death of Osama Bin Laden?" "Mr. Woods, how much would you pay for a photo of Lindsay Lohan as a vampire?"

How great would this be? He could be as jovial as he wanted the entire time, the media could undercut him without him realizing it, and we could all walk away a winner. I'm suggesting this when I become president of Golfjournalistsquestions.com, just you wait.

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Protecting Tiger Woods

I was having a conversation last week about fame, and how it must be so strange to get past the honeymoon phase of being famous and eventually realize that, "Yes, this is now my life, like it or not." You can't shake fame. No matter if you're Brad Pitt or Lisa Turtle, you will forever be recognizable if you were in the spotlight for an extended period of time.

No golfer is more famous than Tiger Woods. He is the pinnacle of celebrity in sports, right down to the personal drama and nasty divorce. He can't spit while he's running without Getty Images snapping a picture of him, and he will be judged on just about everything he does, on and off the golf course (example A).

But what's strange about celebrity is how life slowly becomes a fantasyland. Everyone laughs at your jokes, even if they aren't funny. People are always telling you how great you are or trying to give you free stuff, even if you're richer than most CEOs. Your life is twisted and turned until you can barely recognize it anymore, and that's when the squeezing really begins (I'll never forget the scene in Air Force One when Harrison Ford can't figure out how to use a phone. I always think about this, and how it might not be that far fetched because when is the last time a president (besides Barack and his Blackberry) actually made a phone call himself?).

So when Bubba Watson, the new face of the PGA Tour, called out friend Tiger Woods, the old face, on the way he's dealing with his golf swing, you knew the floods would come, and come they did.

Sean Foley was the first to the podium. He spoke to Off the Ball in Ireland and was pretty harsh about his thoughts on what Bubba said.

"He has the right to his own opinion but you probably shouldn't make comments about a guy who has won 69 more times than you and you are virtually the same age. You know what I mean?"

When I first read those comments I rolled my eyes and thought, "Typical Foley." The guy complains about Bubba hogging the spotlight, but it sure seems he enjoys it just as much, if not more. But it didn't take long until I realized that Foley is just a part of the Tiger puzzle. He must defend this topic, because the swing is his domain. He must speak up, because Tiger isn't going to.

It's the part of being a super-duper-star. You have people that can speak up for you when you don't want to. Tiger mentioned, after getting prodded by journalists, that he'd speak to Bubba about the comments, but didn't say anything more, and who knows what that even means. It's just, when Tiger gets attacked, even if the "attack" is as soft and honest as what Bubba said, the Secret Service bursts out and takes care of the situation.

That's protecting Tiger.

Maybe Rickie Fowler Should Start Wearing This Hat Instead

You may have heard, Rickie Fowler has been getting some flak by the older golfing public about his tendency to wear his Puma cap backwards after he completes his round of golf and goes to the interview room. Two instances (the first at Augusta and the second at Quail Hollow) have been reported, and it seems that Fowler needs to make a change.

So I'm going to suggest the more traditional headwear shown above for Fowler, popularized by the great Princess Beatrice of York. If Fowler gets in trouble for that thing, I don't know what to tell him.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The World Is Ending Soon, Tiger Gambling Edition

I have some very, very bad news for those worried the world is ending in just a few months; oddsmakers have Tiger Woods as the favorite to win at the Players Championship this week.


Tiger is a 14-to-1 favorite to win at TPC Sawgrass, a course he has struggled at in the past (sans 2001), not to mention the fact that Tuesday was the first time Woods had played golf since the Masters. That was just nine holes, so I'm sure he's primed and ready to go at one of the toughest venues in the game.


Geez. I hate to go all Lewis Black on you there, but I think we all needed it. Tiger has as good a chance to win at the Players as Craig Perks, and I'd have to go check and see if Perks is even in the field this week.

Just stop it. If you're going to bet on golf, which is about as smart as trying to putt with an ethernet cord, at least put it on some of the long shots. Graeme McDowell is 66-to-1. Matteo Manassero is 80-to-1. Y.E. Yang is 100-to-1. At least then you'll win some decent money if your blind shot in the dark can pull it out this week in Florida. But I'm sure a ton of people stumbling around a casino will see Tiger at such a "value" and toss five bucks on him. "Hey, he's got to bust out of this slump at some point," they'll slobber to their friends as they finish the last of their 68-ounce Strip mixed drink.

It's depressing.

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BackwardsHatGate is Sweeping the Nation!!!

I'm not really one for breaking news, but I've got a hot tip on my hands and I must get it out there; old people hate when kids wear their hats backwards!!!! I'l allow you a second while that registers.




Yep, Rickie Fowler was told for the second time (the first being at Augusta National) to turn his hat forward at the Quail Hollow Championship last week, and for some reason, this has become some big debate or something. I'm not really sure. I laughed at Ballengee's headline about this, because it is basically the same thought I have; who cares?

Fowler does this after every round when he's getting interviewed. Maybe it's because he likes having his website out front. Maybe it's because he's 22. Maybe it's because he likes it.

And also, is there anything in the WORLD that shows how old golf and the golf media is than this ridiculous debate? "TURN YOUR HAT STRAIGHT, YOUNG MAN!" No, let him do whatever he wants. All the other golfers do.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tony Romo Did Not Complete His U.S. Open Pass

I like Tony Romo. I know he gets a ton of flak, but the guy seems genuine enough, and I've heard a lot of fun stories post-Jessica Simpson that make him out to be a solid guy. It probably doesn't help that the guy suffers from the same disorder as I do, and a lot of you probably do; the poor man's a golfer, and he loves it.

Every year about this time, Romo tries to qualify for the U.S. Open, and he fails, but it's still fun. Last year, Romo shot a 2-under 69 to get past local qualifying and into the sectional event, where he had to withdraw after weather pushed it into workouts for the Cowboys.

This year, Romo couldn't find the same magic, posting a 9-over 81 in windy conditions on Monday to miss by a lot.

It still is fun to root for this guy to make it one day into a major championship. Do I think it'll ever happen? No, you have to go too low during the 36-hole sectionals to get into the event, and I'm not sure if Romo can do it, but he's shown in the past that he is good enough to post low scores in tournament conditions, which is a lot better than other professionals can say.

He didn't make it this year, but I hope he continues to try, and maybe one day, we'd see Romo at Pebble Beach or Winged Foot or something like that. I'd root for him.

Liked this story, and think it's the funniest thing you've ever read on the Internet? Follow me on Twitter, and you'll probably enjoy more things I say.)

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Rory Sabbatini Gives Incredible F-You Performances

I'll say this ... when I'm wrong, I'm definitely, definitely wrong. You know I'm not a huge fan of Rory Sabbatini, but I have to give credit where credit is due.

Sabbatini headed to Quail Hollow last week with a ton of rumors swirling about his actions on the golf course, and a suspension seemed to be in the works for the six-time winner on the PGA Tour.

Most golfers would wilt under this kind of scrutiny, but Sabbatini really does have some very large heuvos it appears, and the guy went out and finished third alone at the Wells Fargo Championship, missing out on a playoff by a single shot.

How clutch was Sabbatini? The guy shot a bogey-free 65 on Sunday AFTER shooting a 66 on Saturday to put himself in contention. That's 13-under over the weekend for Rory, an impression accomplishment considering all he was dealing with.

So, I don't think I'd ever go out and buy the guy a steak dinner, but I'll give him total credit for doing what he did over the weekend at Quail Hollow. If he had got in that playoff and actually won the event, it would have been one of the all-time best f-you performances in sports history.

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The Push for Seve as the European Tour's Lasting Image

There are iconic moments in sports that will just burn a hole in your mind forever. Michael Jordan leaping in the air with his fist out as he knocked down the shot against Craig Ehlo. The catch by Dwight Clark to beat the Cowboys in 1982. And the first pump of Seve Ballesteros that seemed always more passionate than those that do it today.

As you know, Seve passed away, and with that we lost a legend of the game way too soon, but one of the campaigns that seems to be logical and very possible is the hope for Seve to be the image of the European Tour.

He basically made the Euro Tour what it is today, and his image just makes sense. On Monday, the Twitter world responded with a possible look at what the logo might look like, and that's it above.

Who wouldn't want that to be flown over events in Europe for years to come? Consider me on board.

An Amateur Won the Nationwide Tour Event

It hasn't been the best two weeks for the Nationwide Tour's regular professionals. Last week a Monday qualifier grinded it out for five days to win, the first time such a feat had happened since 2007, and then this week, a college kid won, making it just the second time an amateur had won a Nationwide event in the history of the tour. Yikes.

Russell Henley, a senior at Georgia, won on the team's home course by posting 12-under, and now has 60 days to find out if he wants to be a professional or not, which he probably will since he just jumped well up the money list with that win.

Henley's win is exciting, but what the heck is going on with the Nationwide Tour? Are the pros on vacation? Is everyone preparing for their U.S. Open qualifiers and forgetting about the job that brings the potatoes to the party? I'm confused, but a little justified in my constant preaching that the golf world is full of incredible talent that could win on just about any course on any week if the right pieces fell in place, so I guess Henley is my Patient X.

It's a very cool story though. Henley told the Associated Press, "“I can’t even feel my arms,” Henley said. “I was nervous all day. I don’t know how long it will take to sink in. Eight months? Nine months? A couple days? I don’t know. I’ve never done this before.”

You can watch the highlights, announcer free, below, and see a college kid beat all the vets.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bad News out of the Seve Camp

Update: As you've heard, Seve has passed away. A true gentleman, and the Arnold Palmer of the European Tour, Seve will be missed by all.

If you're a fan of golf, and people, you probably love Seve Ballesteros. Unlike a lot of the players these days, Ballesteros carried around a saddlebag so deep with creative golf shots that at any point, he might take a risk that golf fans for years would be talking about, asking each other if that really happened.

Sadly, Seve has been battling brain cancer since 2008, and it seems he has took a turn for the worse. His family is saying that he "has suffered a severe deterioration" in the battle, and that is tough to take for people like me, who have always admired the way Seve played the game.

It was beautiful, but in a peculiar way. There are works of art like the Sistine Chapel that take your breath away the moment you look at it, and then there are pieces like "The Persistence of Memory" that take a few times to totally understand the genius behind it, and to me, Seve was always more Salvador Dali than Michelangelo. This was a man that once hit a golf shot out of a parking lot, and worked his way around a golf course not like a strategist, but as a laid back golfer, that took whatever happened at face value, and rolled with it.

I always respected Seve because he golfed like I wanted to. Most kids wanted to be the next Jack or the next Freddy or the next Trevino, but I always found Ballesteros more of my role model, mainly because we played similar. No, he wasn't the straightest of drivers, much like myself, but he found a way to get it done, no matter the lie or the situation or the trouble that lay ahead.

Bill Simmons wrote last week that there will be 15 more Dwyane Wades before we see another Manu Ginobili, and I feel the same way about Seve. We will see 100 more Tiger Woods types before we see another player like Seve, that had more fun on the golf course than you did watching him, and that was a tough task to tackle.

As his condition worsens, it is important for us as golf fans to remember his brilliance, and what he did for the game. No moment can better show us the legacy of Seve than this video clip. He'd make any shot work, no matter if he had to get on his knees to do it.

Ian Poulter's Ribbing of Rory McIlroy Seems a Bit Harsh

We all know Ian Poutler is, ahem, the king of golf Twitter, and that the Europeans sure do like giving each other as much hell as possible on the social site, but Poult's latest messages directed at young Rory McIlroy seem a little rough, even for them.

Poulter went after McIlroy on Thursday evening after his opening 75 at the Wells Fargo Championship has him well below the cut line, sending him the following messages, with the second one directing him to this photo of a step-by-step guide to helping someone that's choking.

The 35-year-old Englishman, who, by the way, hasn't won a European Tour event since November and has only one PGA Tour win to his name, the same amount as McIlroy, doesn't exactly have a ton of room to chatter about playing his guts out. They both have the same amount of major titles (that would be the same as you have), and Poulter has exactly one top-10 this season on tour, and that was at the first event of the year in Hawaii.

He went on to tell the Twitter world to lighten up, and that this is banter between "mates," but even Lee Westwood responded that he felt the message was a little harsh, and he's also a "mate" if I'm not mistaken.

How great would it be if McIlroy tossed together another incredible run at Quail Hollow, and then posted a step-by-step guide to Poulter on how to go f*$% himself? I'd really enjoy it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hank Haney's Work Here is Done

If you're a golfer, there are few words to say when you watch Charles Barkley swing a golf club. Honestly, his move at the ball is an insult to anyone that has had the shanks or the yips everywhere. It isn't a swing, it's a sneeze, and somehow (and I'll never understand how), it produces an occasional good shot that brings Chuck back to the golf course.

His first swing at a charity event this week? Not one of those times. Barkley's driver head flew off, and he ended up signing it and auctioning it off.

Seriously, I'd rather have that Osama pictures implanted in my brain for all of eternity than have to see this before every round of golf I play. This stuff should be a national security risk.

h/t Deadspin

Bubba Watson: Then and Now

A lot of people must wonder what changes Bubba Watson made from his first years on tour to now, when he seems to be winning at a phenomenal rate. Bubba was always a fan favorite because of his long-ball ability, but now that he's winning, he is creeping into superstar territory, and as you look at the photos above (the first from the Bob Hope in 2007, the second from last week's Zurich Classic), not much is the same.

Bubba has found fitness and is committed to it (his tweet before the final round in New Orleans started, "Yessiree off to the gym, then to the course ..."), and it looks like he's paying off. Also, the Travis Mathews clothing he sports really highlights that, and makes him one of the best dressed dudes on tour.

I'm interested in knowing how much weight Bubba has lost since that photo, so I'll tweet this at him and see if we can get a response. That is, if he isn't in the gym after his opening round at Quail Hollow.

Update: And just like that, Bubba responded; he said he's lost 25 pounds since that picture was taken in '07. Responding on Twitter in a matter of minutes; another reason to like the guy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Breaking News: Rory Sabbatini is Still a D-Bag

I must say, there aren't too many golfers this side of Chris DiMarco that I like less than Rory Sabbatini. It's sad, really, because he's a fellow Arizona Wildcat, and I try to like all my T-Loc buddies, but I just can't with Sabba-weenie. Everything the guy does is obnoxious, and I have got to the point that I try to just avoid anything I hear about him in the news, but you can't pass this up.

According to the AP's Doug Ferguson, Sabbatini might be facing a suspension from the PGA Tour for bitching out a volunteer and then nearly coming to blows with Sean O'Hair, a guy a lot of people on tour consider one of the nice dudes.

Apparently, Sabbatini is dealing with two issues. Here they are, the first being at Riviera, and I apologize, but the report is really, really confusing and I'm having a hard time getting a grasp of what happened where.

Two people with direct knowledge of the Riviera incident said the teenager placed an empty plastic bottle on foot-high grass right of the fifth green where he thought Sabbatini hit his ball. Sabbatini is said to have berated the youth for affecting his ball, although it turned out the ball was not his. The grass was so dense that three other balls were found, none belonging to Sabbatini.

Stewart Cink also played in the group with O'Hair and Sabbatini at Riviera. "It was raining. It was hard. We were all stressed trying to make the cut, and I think we might have been behind," Cink said Wednesday. "There were a lot of factors. And then the incident happened."

Cink didn't go into details and said it involved "another player in my group," without mentioning Sabbatini by name.
"It was embarrassing for me as a golfer," Cink said. "He did apologize directly to me. I hope he meant it and he moved on."

The other argument took a caddie to break it up.

Apparently, Sabbatini and O'Hair got in a screaming argument at the Zurich Classic, but nobody really knows anything about that, and Pat Perez, who played with the two, declined going into details about it.

But, let's face it. It's because Sabbatini is a loser that not a lot of people on tour like and it shows in instances like this. I mean, who the hell yells at a kid at a golf tournament trying to help out? The kid puts a water bottle down to identify your shitty tee shot and you're going to go after him? He didn't hit it, and he's probably some kid on a high school team that would take a spike mark to the eyeball for a chance to be where you are. So nice job on being a role model. Next time just go after him with your 4-iron and really give him a good feeling about professional golfers.

The PGA Tour could suspend him for 30 days, which would be awesome, because it would mean he'd miss both tournaments in Texas that he has won at before. And maybe it would teach him a lesson. Maybe he'd realize that screaming at volunteers isn't exactly proper protocol. Some people think Phil Mickelson is fake, but at least the guy is fake nice. Who cares if he hates you behind the curtains, as long as he gives you the appropriate fist pump and goes about his day. You don't care, and he sure doesn't, but at least he acts like he does.

It goes back to my philosophy on life ... if you're wearing a skull belt buckle, you're probably a douche that I would never hang out with. Stay classy, Rory.

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Sean O'Hair Says Adios to Sean Foley

One of my favorite golf stories over the past year is the one about the caddie that walked by Sean Foley after Tiger Woods joined him, and quickly lost his number one ranking in the world, and jokingly said, "Way to take Tiger Woods all the way to number two in the world." It's a joke, but it isn't that far off. Since Tiger has joined Foley (and it's unfair to blame the teacher here, but I'm just presenting facts), he hasn't won, and seems to continually struggle with his golf swing (one of the strangest golf shots from Woods that I can remember is that second shot into 13 at the Masters on Sunday ... a complete double-cross when he needed to pull off a big golf shot).

Foley has coached a ton of big names in the game, including Tiger and Hunter Mahan, but one of his most prized students, Sean O'Hair, has decided to split ways with Foley. While I'd love to sit here and look deeper into this, anytime a player leaves his coach, it's because they just want something different.

The Canadian swing coach seemed pretty okay with the breakup, saying ...

"He hasn't been happy with how this year has gone, and he feels he needs to make a change in direction with his instruction," Foley said Tuesday. "We had a good run up until the 2011 season. Sean is a good friend of mine. I love the kid. But this is business. I don't look at it from an emotional standpoint but a rationale standpoint.

"He has to do what's good for his career," Foley said. "He'll have my complete support, and I'll always cheer for him."

It's pretty crazy the last two years O'Hair has had when you look at the numbers. A winner at this here event in 2009, O'Hair had an extremely mediocre 2010 and his 2011 has been dreadful, with five straight missed cuts leading up to this week at Quail Hollow.

So, a swing change was probably the right move, and I applaud Sean (player, not coach) on actually pulling the trigger. It's never easy, but definitely seemed like the right thing to do.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Maybe I Don't Want to Qualify for the U.S. Open

Just around the first of May every year, I take the time to fork over a couple hundred bucks to donate to the United States Golf Association in my attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open. It is a two step process that I'd rank on par with attempting to build my own iPod out of scratch and figuring out if the little lady on all the Starbucks cups is hot or not.

Basically, it's an impossible task, but I torture myself every May, going out and trying to compete with guys that do this for a living. It's my humbling experience of the year, and I'm not really sure why I do it, but I do. This year it'll be on May 18, but I'm starting to think qualifying for the U.S. Open is a bad move. That is, after reading what Graeme McDowell said about Congressional. Basically the golf course looks to be playing as hard as it would be for Donald Trump to actually become president.

Here is what McDowell said on Twitter...

Congressional 7574 yards Par 71 US Open set up. No-one will break par.

He then said, about the par-4 11th ...

“I’m hoping I got the wrong tee at 11,” he said, describing the 494-yard par-4 with the creek down the right side of the fairway. “I can’t really see much positive to say about that golf hole. If you’re selling four 4s, I’m think I’m buying.”

Wow, sounds fun!! Sign me up!

Honestly, USGA, we get it. You want the U.S. Open to be really tough so nobody goes super low and it is a "true test of the game"? But making the golf course seem un-parable before the first tee shot is smacked? That might be taking it a little too far.

Also, if I somehow qualified for this thing (read: don't bet on it), is there any chance I'd break 80? I'm going to go ahead and say no, no, no, no and no. Get that?


It Appears Tiger Woods Bought This Shirt at the '2001 Store'

At times we wonder just what type of person Tiger Woods really is. He's a professional golfer and one of the most recognizable people on earth, but it really takes moments like him at this year's Tiger Jam to make you understand just how big of a dork the guy really is. That isn't a knock, either ... being a dork isn't a horrible thing, it's just when Tiger dresses up for his big charity event of the season, he goes with the FLORAL BUTTON-UP!

Man ... I honestly remember having one of these my first year in college from Abercrombie and Fitch, and after wearing it one day, quickly tossing it in the trash to never be seen again. Now, it's 2011 and Tiger is still rocking the look.

But, that's Tiger ... our rich, famous, golfing dork.

Bubba Watson Enjoyed Meeting Chris Paul More Than, Ahem, Winning

Call it the anti-Sheen (that's still funny, right?), because Bubba Watson would rather meet other famous athletes than actually win golf tournaments.

Or that's what he said on Monday after taking down Webb Simpson in a playoff at the Zurich Classic to win his third PGA Tour event in 10 months, forcing me to proclaim him the best American in the game of golf right now.

Honestly though, isn't this the type of think that makes people love Bubba? Sure, he's a famous golfer that just made over a million bucks for his win on Sunday, but he is just a giddy as you and I would be at meeting Chris Paul, a guy that single-handedly took the Lakers to six games.


Look at the following tweet from Paul before he headed out to the Zurich Classic on Sunday:

I mean, that is great. Bubba is pumped to meet Paul, and Paul was rooting for buddy Webb the whole day. It's a full circle of slobber!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Donald Trump Compares Gay Marriage to Long-Putters ... For Real

I know you don't come here for politics, but this was too ridiculous/hilarious/insane to pass up. Donald Trump, potential GOP candidate, has said some incredibly funny stuff lately, but this might take the cake.

Asked at the White House Correspondent's Dinner about his views on gay marriage, this is what the Donald said. Nothing like a good golf analogy when discussing sex!

“It’s like in golf,” he said. “A lot of people — I don’t want this to sound trivial — but a lot of people are switching to these really long putters, very unattractive,” said Mr. Trump, a Republican. “It’s weird. You see these great players with these really long putters, because they can’t sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”

Is it wrong that this analogy makes a ton of sense? I don't think Trump is saying he finds homosexuality wrong, which is nice to hear, but I do think he's saying that it isn't for him, much like the long-putter isn't his style. And you know what, Donald? I'm not a long-putter guy either! I think they're dorky looking! But I can still be friends with people that use them, and I don't think it's wrong to use them by any means.

So, yes, go ahead and start calling your best gay friend a "long-putter" and see if they can pick up on the joke. And hopefully the Donald will continue his golf analogies when discussing anything and everything that deals with politics.

(Jon Stewart said it last week, but i think anyone with a sense of humor would agree ... I hope this man runs for president ... it will give us endless amounts of joy over the next couple of years.)