Monday, October 31, 2011

Yani Tseng Might Tee it Up With the Boys

There is something in sports that I like to call "the next stepper." That's when you know you're so good that people are already asking you about the next step. Andrew Luck is dealing with it right now. LeBron James had it for years as a teenager before the NBA. And now, Yani Tseng is getting it.

Tseng has won approximately 46 LPGA events this season, and has brought up the discussion about her plans to maybe, possibly, tee it up with the men next season, and Yani said it is something she's thought about.

Via the Taiwan News Channel ...

"If an opportunity presents itself, I would like to play in a PGA tournament to learn more from male golfers," the Taiwanese star said.

I mean, why wouldn't she do this? She hits it long. She's playing great golf. And if nothing else, it gives her great exposure and would lead a few of the big sports talk shows. Also, if I had to put money on her making or missing the cut, I really think I'd go with her making it to the weekend. The problem is, as we've seen, LPGA stars have a shelf life, and I hope that she decides to do this before her game falls off.

Play at the Colonial, make the cut, and show the world just what kind of talent the LPGA Tour has right now.

I'd definitely tune in.

Getty Images

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Charlie Sifford Not a Huge Fan of Augusta National

Most people are scared to say even the slightest dig at Augusta National. The place is an incredible mecca to the game of golf, but it does have plenty of skeletons in the 'ol closet, and most of those skeletons include discrimination.

So when Charlie Sifford, the Jackie Robinson of the golf, was asked about Augusta by the LA Times, you can probably guess he wouldn't be really high on the place. Or he'd say this. One of the two.

"[Bleep] Augusta."

"When I was good enough to play there, the Masters never invited me, so why would they invite me now? ... I could have been invited, I should have been invited, but a long time ago they thought all golfers should be white and all caddies should be black. I've never been to Augusta and I'm never going."

Sifford has a great point here. For a long time the place was extremely racist and while most of us would give our our interlock grip for a chance to just smell the grass at the place, others, understandably, see it as  a sign of the old ways of life.

I respect Sifford for lashing out and saying what he said. Somebody needed to do it, and I appreciate the comments.

Now, if Augusta would like me to come out and do an investigation on how the course is run now, I'd be happy to fly out and play a few holes to make sure everything is up to 2011-standards. Let me know, guys!

Getty Images

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Luke Donald Is Kinda Getting Screwed

The 2011 Player of the Year was a toss-up for most of the season. Well, until Luke Donald reeled off six birdies on the back nine at Disney a week ago, claiming his second PGA Tour win of the year, the money title, and basically the Player of the Year.

Or so he thought. For some weird reason, the PGA Tour decided to postpone the Player of the Year voting until after the HSBC Champions in a week because, well, I don't know.

Steve Elling explains ...
At that point, the tour realized that the HSBC Champions event set to begin in two weeks in Shanghai, China, is quasi-official and should be included in the Player of the Year discussion, too. The HSBC money doesn't count, but if a member of the PGA Tour wins, it is considered an official career victory and the winner gets the customary multi-year exemption.
Elling continued to report on Donald's state of mind, giving this gem of a quote from the world number one.
"I feel like even if I went to HSBC and won, they'd find another event to add," he said sarcastically.
I mean, seriously, what the hell? Now we're just changing big decisions like this end-of-season?

Donald deserves the Player of the Year, and he's mostly likely going to win it, as he should. But the tour has the ability to just change things as they see fit? That's fair?

If I was Donald I wouldn't play in the HSBC. I'd boycott it out of protest because, frankly, this is dumb. The tour does a pretty good job most of the year at making the right decision, but this is not one of those times.

The only good thing is, voters will probably feel sorry for Donald and vote him to win this even more than they already have, which proves once again, Keegan Bradley is the real guy getting screwed.

Getty Images

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sergio Garcia Won This Weekend

That's a headline I haven't written in many moons, as Sergio Garcia snagged his first victory on either of the big tours since 2008. How many shots did he win by? Well, a whole-whole bunch. Sergio shot rounds of 67-63-64-63 to take the Castello Masters by 11 shots, his biggest margin of victory by a landslide.

Good for Serg? Of course, he can still be one of the biggest in the game if he wants and his recent play has some talking about a possible major championship for Garcia in 2012.

Good for golf? Definitely, Sergio brings views and makes people care about rather unknown tournaments.

Good for his girlfriend? Apparently.

Getty Images

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Rory/ISM Breakup Only Gets Uglier

You ever had those two friends in your life that broke up and made it look almost as good as your actual relationship? They separate but are still friends, and are actually happy for each other? Man, isn't that sickening?

Well don't expect any of those sentiments sent Rory McIlroy and ISM's way after their recent split. Things are getting downright "pull the girl's hair in the playground" juvenile between the U.S. Open champion and his now former management agency.

First things first. After Rory made the decision, longtime "buddy" Lee Westwood tweeted at Rory, simply, "bizarre decision." That landed the major-less Westwood an unfollow on Twitter from Boy Wonder, but things didn't stop there.

Cubby Chandler, the face behind (and in front) of ISM, said in an interview that he thought current flavor of the month Caroline Wozniacki might have had something to do with the decision to move on after reports came out that Rory wasn't happy with his current sponsor deals (Thanks for the cash, Oakley!).

These behind the scene business things never seem to be totally disclosed to the public. Maybe it was something as simple as Rory wanting to be under the same umbrella as his buddy Graeme McDowell, or maybe it was something deeper, as others have suggested. Whatever the reason, it's not always good when these types of things spill into the streets. We like to watch and hear about golfers being golfers, but it's impossible these days to avoid this type of stuff, especially when it's all over the place in the media world.

The person that will come out of this looking like the bad guy? McIlroy, of course. Nothing Chandler did will be made public, even if they didn't totally take care of their former client's needs, but the more juvenile Rory acts, the worse it'll be for him in the long run.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rory McIlroy Cuts Out the Fat

It might seem strange to think of Rory McIlroy, pencil-thin freewheeling major champion, trying to slim down the figure, but sometimes you must. That's why when news broke that McIlroy has parted ways with Chubby Chandler and ISM team, it was a bit shocking.

Chandler and company offered up this statement ...

Onward and upwards. We have had a quite brilliant year. The company is growing and adapting to ensure it stays at the forefront of golf and the business of managing players. We wish Rory every success."

"It has been an honour representing Rory and we take great pride in the role ISM has played in guiding him successfully through his formative years as a professional golfer."

So why would he leave the major championship factory? Nobody really knows, to be honest. Yes, Chandler is great, it appears, with his talent, but maybe McIlroy just wanted something new.

Changing teams isn't something crazy, and while we seems to speculate on any golfer making the slightest move in his approach (grip, setup, caddie, manager), it really is just whatever can make them the most comfortable.

Remember, Tiger Woods won his first major in 1997 by 12 shots with one caddie on his bag. When he switched, he won 13 more.

Getty Images

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Move Over Robert Rock, Seve's Kid Is Going to Have Best Locks on Tour

Yes, the reign of Robert Rock's locks are over on the European Tour, as Javier Ballesteros, son to the late Seve, is going to join the European Tour in 2012.

I love the above picture (him on the right, obviously, with Matteo), but check out the picture below -- isn't that an exact replica of a Seve move? Man, this is going to be fun.

Getty Images

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Take That, John Daly!!

You remember just over a year ago when John Daly got all upset because people were using his name to sell his drink, an Arnold Palmer with vodka in it? And he went on Twitter about it and told people to send him the names of places that had it on their menu?

Yeah, maybe Daly needs to get a better business manager (or, well, anyone), because there was a good amount of money there to be made and since he didn't jump on it, the best golf businessman in the history of the game sure did ... Arnold Palmer himself!

Yep, the man that turned his favorite drink of iced tea and lemonade has now added a HARD version of the drink *fistpumps* *slamsbottleagainstforehead* and is going to sell it himself ... as the Arnold Palmer Hard. Smart man.

The decision to bottle up his original drink was a good one. Palmer has sold over $100 million of the drink in just 10 years, and honestly, why not, the stuff is great.

And since there isn't much else to say about that, I'll leave you with this gem ...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Grand Slam of Golf Is Today

Here is something pretty incredible. The Grand Slam of Golf is being played this Tuesday and EVERY winner from 2011 is there! It's like having the Super Bowl winning quarterback show up to the Pro Bowl.

So, yes, that event is going on. The Silly Season has officially began. I hope you're ready for it.

Getty Images

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Do People Really Expect Luke Donald to Play For the Money Title?

The truth is, right now in golf journalism, the barrel be dry. There isn't any real important golf tournaments taking place. The Presidents Cup isn't for another month. And most of the guys that mean something to the game and enjoying their lives as millionaire athletes should.

So I get that the race to see which player is richer is something to write about. What I don't get? People actually expecting Luke Donald to care. 

The truth is, Webb Simpson is going to pass Donald this week on the PGA Tour's money list. If Donald doesn't play next week in Florida, Simpson will win and things will be great and he will be just as rich then as he is now (or will be after this week, where he opened with a 7-under 63 and is tied for the lead after the first round). 

The problem is, Donald's wife, Diane, is expecting her second child pretty soon. The baby could hit during next week's event, which means, if Luke decided to play, he'd miss the birth of his second kid. Which makes no sense. There will be plenty of trips to Walt Disney World in his future, but next week, to play golf, isn't one of them. Donald is a smart guy, and won't do something like that because it doesn't really matter. It's the last event of the season, but the number one player in the world has enough prizes this year to hang his Mizuno visor on. No need to chalk another one up just to do it. 

But it amazes me that people think he'd actually go. Really? This guy is going to miss that? 

Listen, I understand that athletes have egos and want to be the best at everything all the time, but winning the money list ain't what it used to be. Not with the FedEx Cup and the WGC events and everything over on the European Tour. Basically back in the day it said you were the best player around, but with so many top names missing so many regular tour events, winning that isn't exactly like taking home the green jacket. 

Luke, please, please do not go to Disney. For all us somewhat sane people in the world. Thanks.

Update: Yeah, Luke is going to play anyway. It's what I get from expecting stuff from people. He tweeted that he has a "chance of making history." Am I missing something? Has nobody that wears a visor every won the money list? Is that it?

Update #2: So apparently the "history" is winning both the European and PGA Tour money list. Cool. Didn't Sergio want to do this like 10 years ago? 

Getty Images

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Man That Threw Hot Dog at Tiger Woods Speaks, Might Be Crazier Than Initially Expected

If you are one of those people that run out on the field at a sporting event, you either need to go to AA (most likely) or you need to go back to your padded room.

It appears that 31-year-old Brandon Kelly might be the latter, because check out his reasoning for tossing the sausage at Tiger last week at the Open.

“I threw the hot dog toward Tiger Woods because I was inspired by the movie ‘Drive,'" Kelly said. “As soon as the movie ended, I thought to myself, ‘I have to do something courageous and epic. I have to throw a hot dog on the green in front of Tiger.'”

Well, at least he isn't suing the Open for not being more like "Fast and the Furious," but what in the hell is this guy talking about? He watched a pretty solid movie and somehow connected that to a higher being telling him to act like a jackass?

See, here lies the dilemma ... I really don't want to give this guy anymore attention than he's already landed for doing this, but at the same time, when he's talking this crazy, I have to post it because this is what we do and this is what Tiger does. Anything involving him is way more newsworthy than anything else in golf, even if it has nothing to do with golf at all. So, we sit here, writing about a hot dog instead of about whateverhisnamewas that actually won the playoff last week at CordeValle.

But, yes, note to all out there; if you see a movie and think that movie is talking to you, you probably should stay away from processed meats and start upping your prescription. Like, right now.

ESPN Lists Most Thankless Jobs, Nails It With Caddies

I've done my fair share of caddying. I've looped in Scotland at St. Andrews, for two LPGA friends of mine, and had friends carry my bag during qualifying rounds. I've bagged it in rain, cold, hot and near-snow. And the one thing I've always said when I finished is, "Man, I'll never do this again." Why? Because the job is tough.

Not physically, really. I can carry a bag for six miles and although my dogs tend to be barking when it ends, I'm not totally beat up. No, it's just the beauty of the beast that pushes me to that conclusion. And then, four months later, I'm out lugging that big bag again and wondering what's going on.

All of that just means I have a ton of respect for the people that do it on a daily basis. Sure, you can make good money doing it for a good player, but it isn't easy money (why do you think Vijay Singh's caddie muled over the idea of quitting when he was making nearly a million bucks a year?).

So when I read that had put caddies as No. 5 in their most thankless jobs, I was pumped.

Here is what they said ...

OK, so the money is good. At the top end. But what about a caddie for a journeyman pro? They must pay their own way to tournaments -- which means if their guy doesn't make the cut, the caddie doesn't get his cut. Add that to the sometimes-grueling work (carrying the bag like a servant, knowing the course like an expert, advising the player like a coach), and it's -- apologies in advance for this pun -- rough. And when one tries to take some credit for a win? Watch out.

I think that about sums it up. We should praise the people that carry the bags. There should be a tournament where they get recognized, or a PGA Tour event where the player gives 60 percent of his earnings that week to the looper (that's actually a damn good idea, if I do say so myself ... you're move, Finchem).

You're always second fiddle, carrying a bag and cleaning the clubs and occasionally being blamed when your player hits a bad shot because of something you didn't do.

Thank you to all the caddies in the world. You people are saints. Now, could you go grab me a banana?

Getty Images

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Proof That Golf Makes You Crazy, Version 4089

 You all know golf makes you crazy, right? Okay, just checking.

But working in the golf industry can do even worse things to your mental state. Proof? Just look at Scott Wagstaff, the General Manager Carbrook Golf Club of in Brisbane. The course has bull sharks (I'll give you another second ... it has SHARKS in their LAKE!) in one of their lakes by the 14th hole and the damn things are breeding.

And he's okay with it! He even says he likes them! AHHHH! If there is one thing in this world I hate, it's spiders. And if there is a second, it's sharks. Screw the ocean. You want me to go in some big salt-watered bathtub where I can't see the bottom with things six times my size that are 100 times stronger than me? And can smell blood from a mile away? Yeah, no thanks, I'm good. I'll sit on this beach here and enjoy a margarita with salt and without 10,000 teeth. Have a good day, crazy ass golf pro.

Non-Shocker of the Day - St. Andrews to Host 2015 Open Championship

There are few things in life that live up to the hype. Venues that aren't as nice in person. Television timeouts that take away from the appeal of the game. Breathtaking views that somehow don't take your breath away.

But when you're driving down the A-91, and take that final turn around a bend to see the city of St. Andrews, it's legendary. Yes, I'm a sucker for the town because I spent a summer over there caddying and enjoying the life of a post-college kid in golf's 5th Avenue, but man, you talk about beauty. And on top of all that, when you walk up the 18th fairway for the first time, crossing the Swilcan Bridge, hands in your pockets, gazing at the mesmerizing R&A and the other buildings that enclose golf's great treasure, it puts your goosebumps on overdrive.

So, it shouldn't surprise you that the R&A has announced their annual return to the Old Course for 2015. Since 1990, the Open Championship has settled back in St. Andrews every five years, and it will continue that tradition in four Opens from now.

And me? I'll be 31 at that time, but will hopefully continue my tradition of heading across the pond and trying to qualify for the Open, a vow I made to myself back in 2006. Sure, I don't have much of a shot, but I think if I'm going to try to play in with the big boys, it might as well be on my favorite golf course.

So, mark the calendar ... 2015, St. Andrews. Tiger Woods will be almost 40 when this goes down. Time is surely ticking.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Video: Tiger Woods Gets Attacked By a Hot Dog

Yes, that video is sketchy, and yes, it will probably be pulled by ... the end of this sentence ... but still, Tiger got attacked by a fan throwing a hot dog at him on Sunday at the

Honestly, doesn't this make all that criticism on Bubba Watson in France seem legit? This is a guy that is normally secured by thousands of people playing in a lesser-known golf tournament, much like Bubba in France. Tiger playing in the Frys seemed like a perfect opportunity for someone to act like a moron, and look, they did!

If new video comes, we will toss it up.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Many Looks of Tiger Woods, Edition

These are all Getty Images, and the last one is definitely my favorite! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Golfer Wins His Weight in Karl Rove For Hole-In-One

We've all heard about hole-in-one stories. Kid banks one off a tree. Guy knocks one in for a million bucks. Shane Bacon never has made one and it really, really pisses him off. 

But not a lot of them are stranger than this. Professional golfer and former three-month suspension recipient Elliott Saltman was playing in the Madrid Masters when his tee shot decided to do the eagle shuffle. The ace helped his scorecard, but it might also help his pantry, because Saltman won a prize not a lot of people can associate with. His weight in ham. Seriously.

Saltman, listed at 240 pounds, gets to take home some Spanish ham for his win, which has to be the best prize ever, right? I wonder if he has to check that or if they're just going to send it to his Scottish home? Judging by my meals in Scotland over the years, this could be the most anticipated packaged the country has ever received. 

Have you ever heard of a stranger gift at a golf tournament? If so, let us have it. 

Getty Images

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Well Hello, Belen Mozo

Just over a year ago, I was caddying on the LPGA Tour and got introduced to a college kid turing pro. She was from USC, and she was incredibly attractive, but more than that, super cool. My female golf crush was born.

And here we are today, with Belen Mozo in the ESPN Body Issue. I'm not a huge fan of the Swimsuit Issue or the Body Issue because if I wanted to look at beautiful people, I'd just go to South Beach and be done with it, but I thank them for this. Belen looks great, and she rocks it.

Tiger Woods Rolls Into New Sponsor

"I guess I got my swagger back, truth ... New watch alert, Hublot’s ... Or the big face Rollie I got two of those ..." 

The above quote wasn't said by Tiger Woods (shocker), that would be Jay-Z on one of his latest tracks, "Otis," off Watch the Throne, but maybe it was meant for Tiger?

The golfer announced a deal on Wednesday that he'd be teaming back up with Rolex, a partnership that lasted from 1997-'02 before ending with Tag Heuer dropped more cash his way.

It's the first big endorsement deal Tiger's landed since he hit that tree two years ago in his Escalade, and it means a lot more than you think.

Why? Because maybe this is the first step in the long-awaited swagger return for Tiger. Maybe he needed someone to jump back in his camp and toss some cash his way, and that "somebody" didn't need to be some Japanese rub cream. Tiger needed a big company to tell him they believe in him, so maybe he could start believing in himself again. It sounds dumb, but understand, athletes are fragile creatives, insecure in most ways, and always trying to get the next pat on their back. Sure, Tiger never looked like he needed that, but who knows if that's the case. Why else would he have been chasing tail like a Florida State freshman?

The Rolex deal could turn out to be just a drop in the pond for sponsors returning, but if he went out and did something this week, and became Tiger again, I'm sure he wouldn't soon forget the first company back behind him before the floodgates opened.

Getty Images

Monday, October 3, 2011

The 51st Ranked Player in the World Is Playing This Week!

Yep, exciting news, because a guy that you have to click "next page" on the Official World Rankings page to see is going to be at the Open this week, and we are pumped!

No, it isn't Jonathan Byrd (silly, he's 52nd), it's Tiger Woods. He's back! And he's coming off a course record-breaking 62! And he's "focused." And he's ready to win!

Honestly, I'm pretty impressed that Woods decided to play this week, even if it seems we all can agree that more reps would be better for the man, and yes, it will make this rather unknown golf tournament more exciting.

So, let's hear it from you ... misses the cut, makes the cut, finishes top-25 or wins ... you decide.

Getty Images

So What Really Happened With That Kevin Na Whiff?

 I'm not really much of a soapbox type of guy. I don't sit here and scream about the youth movement or the belly putters; hot driver faces, greens speeds or groove length. The game of golf is a fairly simple idea when you think about it, but it is one that forces you to follow a few simple rules. Always abide by honors. Shake hands after the round. Be quiet when your competitor is hitting. And more importantly, be honest. It isn't just an honesty with your playing partners, it's the honesty that rests inside of us all. You know that squirmy feeling you get when you do something you know you shouldn't have done? That isn't the best thing to have when you're out on the golf course, trying to convince someone you made a 4 when you really made a 5. It's just the game.

So when video came out of Kevin Na's whiff in Vegas, it seemed that he'd be penalized for missing the golf ball, and while it might seem black and white, it isn't. The Rules of Golf might as well be called The Decisions of Golf, because you can't ever really go right or wrong in these types of situations. Na's deal is exactly that. Yes, you can't swing and miss a golf shot, but you are also allowed a "check swing" of sorts, thanks to Rule 14.

Have I ever heard of the "check swing" rule? No, I honestly haven't. I didn't know that when you addressed the golf ball, and took what looked like a full swing, you could deem that practice. It seems that no matter that talent level of a particular person, swinging and missing is swinging and missing.

What did Na say about it?

"I've done it on TV a few times...and I do it...probably one or two [times] a round," Na explained. 

"I take [the club] back; it doesn’t feel good and then I stop. I’ll take a step back." "I'll take it back; it feels decent, and my transition is what I'm always working on. It's always my bad habit is I get quick," he said, presumably with a straight face. "And on the way down my transition doesn't feel right, and I try to stop, and obviously it's impossible for me to stop. The only way for me to stop is I have to come up and go over the ball."

First, once or twice a round? Come on. We in the golf blogging world would have had a field day with your videos if that was the case, so don't pull our legs. And secondly, Tiger stopping mid swing because something distracts him is one thing. Going above the ball and then holding on with one hand while you scratch your face is something completely different.

As a golf fan, I thought hit was hilarious, but as a golfer, I was appalled and a little upset at Na. This isn't golf, and for a guy that has always had a spotty track record, brushing it off like it was nothing is definitely the wrong way to go about it, and for me, this win in Vegas will always be tainted with an asterisk.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kevin Na Whiffs

I mean, can you believe this? No shot, no contact, no nothing. Ouch.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Luke Donald Goes 449 Holes Without a Three-putt Holy Mother My Head Just Exploded

Stats can be misleading. They tell us some of the story, not all of it, and mostly are there for filler. You hear offensive stats in football during timeouts or halftime shows. It's an easy way to compare the teams, but frankly, the only thing you need to look at is the scoreboard.

That said, holy hell is this Luke Donald stat insane? My man Paul Mahoney is over in St. Andrews (jerk!) covering the Dunhill, and he reports that Donald's run of holes without a three-putt ended on Friday. What number did it end on? 449 holes! Without a three-putt!

That is just insane. That's a hair more than 24 rounds of golf without a three-putt, or to put it in terms of tournaments, just more than six four-round events without old mr. three wiggle.

What does this stat tell us? Well, Donald is a helluva putter, but it also means that maybe he isn't hitting a ton of greens. Think about it ... if you're missing more greens than normal, you're probably not going to be three-putting a lot because you'll have the ball inside of 10 feet or so for par a lot of the times.

But I'm not trying to take anything away from Donald's streak. That's insane. Congrats. You're the man. I bow to you, World Number One.

Getty Images