Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tiger Woods Was Not a Big Fan Of That Question, Sir

Tiger Woods press conferences usually go like this. Blank stare. Questions about his game. "I'm really close." "I'm right there." "I'm here to win." Nicknamed answer to some reporter. Curtains.

But on Wednesday, it got a little more interesting when Tiger was pushed about the new Hank Haney book. Watch it, enjoy it, and know that Tiger ain't here to be messing around, boy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Video: That Crazy Lee Westwood Tee Shot Video

Lee Westwood hit a bad drive during his semifinals loss to Rory McIlroy. It ended up in some fan's sweater. No, I didn't make that up.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How Did Tiger Play, Picture Edition

I'm not going to spoil how Tiger Woods played this weekend at the Accenture Match Play, so I'll let the incredible folks at Getty Images take it away. Guys, how did it go for Tiger?!?

Spoiler -- not well!! 

What The Hell, Tiger Woods?

Dude! Dude. Seriously, I'm sick of this. I'm sick of having to write a lengthy piece about how "you're back" only to follow it up two weeks later with a story about how you're "still finding your game." I'm sick of hearing how close you are, or how you're starting to feel it click.

I'm sick of seeing you nearly lose to a guy in match play that has a name longer than the Great Wall of China that we will never hear from again. I'm done.

Just be good again, okay? For all of us? Golf is better when you're really, really good. Golf is better when I'm not questioning if you can roll in an uphill par putt on smooth greens to win a first round match at the Accenture, a tournament you used to treat like Stephen Ames. I'm sick of hearing guys that I'll never write about again say "you're beatable," with the worst part of it all knowing that the guy is right. You're beatable. I want you to go back to not being.

I grew up loving your golf swing. I kept Sports Illustrated covers in my filling cabinet when I was in junior high. I have the 1997 Masters one. The PGA Championship cover. The one where you are wearing your hat sideways and looking Ken Griffey Jr.-ish. We all enjoyed you because, like your local coffee shop where the barista knows your name, the result is satisfying in that it's consistent. You know what's coming. It's what keeps us Type A people going.

And I'm so tired of seeing you struggle. I really, really am. You are too talented to struggle. You're too talented to hit three-woods in the desert when all you need is to find something that resembles green to win holes. You're too competitive to post a 75 when arch-rival Phil Mickelson is shooting zero.

Golf fans just want Tiger back, even though we all know the same guy that used to run through tournaments isn't going to come through that door. We just want something that looks like a former champion. A solid final round when you need it. Putts to drop that used to be gimmies. A runaway win.

But most of all, can you just beat the hell out of some of these guys that you're supposed to beat? That's really all I'm asking for. I loved when you would drive the stake into the heart of your victim just for looking at you the wrong way. It was mesmerizing. It was unbelievable. But most of all, it was you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Five Second Round Accenture Bets I Love

I did very well betting matches here last year. I'm going to continue the trend in 2012.

Robert Rock (+100) vs. Mark Wilson -- Explain to me why you wouldn't take Rock here? No, he didn't necessarily play his best against Adam Scott, but even money against Wilson? I'm in.

Dustin Johnson (-150) vs. Francesco Molinari -- Because after yesterday, I believe.

Bubba Watson (-110) vs. Matt Kuchar -- I really like Bubba in this format, just because he has the ability to do things to his opponent like nobody else, plus he plays desert golf all year long (And shot 58 at a desert course earlier this year).

Jason Day (-130) vs. John Senden -- Day loves this format, and basically dug himself out of a flight home on Wednesday. I love Day to make the semis.

Ryo Ishikawa (+100) vs. Paul Lawrie -- Ishikawa loves match play, and loves this golf course. Bang on him until he loses.

Getty Images

The PGA Tour and FedEx Cup Re-ups That Thing You Don't Really Care About

Breaking news out of Marana, Ariz., as the PGA Tour and FedEx have decided to continue that playoff thingy you watch some of through 2017. The big news? Players will get more money.

Hey, just what they needed!

The good news for golf fans is that at least good golf will continue at the end of the season.

Via Elling's blog ...

Better still, the $10 million paid out to the FedEx winner will almost certainly increase over the coming phase, as will the cash for others in the season-long points derby. 

"We will have some growth," Finchem said. "We'll continue to go forward, not backward, in this term." 

FedEx quickly jumped on board with the proposal to blow up the existing calendar, start the season in the fall in 2013 and make over the Nationwide/Q-school process as well. That would bring the current Fall Series events into the fold as FedEx series stops, which they currently are not, though it would create a wraparound season similar to the NBA or NHL.

So, yeah, the FedEx Cup will still be here for a while. That is all.

Getty Images

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

THIS GUY Was Excited

This was my favorite thing that ever happened on a golf course (look at white shirt).

(Also, sorry for lack of posting ... changes over to CBS plus jetlag plus traveling 392 hours makes it tough to juggle both ... things will be normal on Wednesday.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Video: Phil Mickelson is back to his old ways at Riviera

Ah, there's the Phil Mickelson we know and love! After turning into Mr. Consistent for a couple of rounds, Lefty reverted to his usual, erratic self on Friday at the Northern Trust Open. That meant wayward drives, bogeys ... and a hole-out for eagle from the fairway.

Just ho-hum stuff from Phil. After bogeying the seventh, Mickelson had 112 yards to the hole on the eighth, pulled wedge and watched as his ball hit and spun right back into the hole. He went on to bogey the ninth (his final hole of the day), but he still has a two-shot lead. Even with the bogeys you still have to like his chances this weekend of going back-to-back to close out the West Coast Swing.

You Know That Girl in the Body Paint? You Can Possibly Caddie for Her

Natalie Gulbis recently posed in just a little bit of Jackson Pollock for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and golf fans rejoiced, but if you are kinda rich, and wanted to get an up close experience with her, I've got good news.

The Palisades Episcopal School in Charlotte is holding an auction giving you, nearly 1 percenter a chance to caddie for Gulbis at an actual LPGA event.

The good news? If you have $8,000 you can just buy the opportunity now. That is, as long as you do it before Feb. 25. At that point, there will be an auction, and the only bad news? She isn't going to be wearing paint during that round. Sorry, fellas.

h/t Ballengee

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Are we witnessing the start of a special year for Phil Mickelson?

If you were to compare Phil Mickelson's career to anything, it would almost certainly be a roller coaster. His ups and downs on the course are the stuff of legends, and with the exception of maybe John Daly, only "Phil the Thrill" is capable of shooting 64 one day and 75 the next on a consistent basis.

Mickelson has always employed an Arnold Palmer go-for-broke style on the course, and that's a big reason why it's so much fun to watch the guy when he tees it up. It's because unlike most guys on tour, you honestly don't know what you're going to get from Phil from round-to-round.

Until now. Now, I don't know what the heck is going on at the moment, but I think we need to send out an APB and start a search for Mr. Thrill, because the guy who showed up this week at Riviera for the Northern Trust Open isn't the same guy who successfully hit a backwards flop shot and made birdie at the 2010 Masters from the pine straw.

Forget the incredible 8-under 64 Mickelson fired during the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am for a second, the craziest thing about Lefty's recent isn't his red-hot play; it's actually how damn consistent the guy is at the moment.

Get this: Before a bogey on the par-3 16th hole during Thursday's opening round at Riviera, Mickelson had gone a mind-blowing 49 holes without a bogey. WITHOUT a bogey. I know some guys on tour like Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar can go extended periods of time without putting a square on the card, but not Phil.

After putting together one of the best final rounds we've seen in some time, Mickelson is at it again this week, posting a 5-under 66 at Riviera to take a one-shot lead after the first round. And with only one bogey on the card, we're starting to see a trend forming for Mr. Mickelson: he's starting to get scary consistent.

Now, all this talk about Mickelson being Mr. Consistent could change tomorrow, but at the moment, he's showing some flashes of brilliance we've seen before in his career. It's hard to tell if those flashes of brilliance will equal another major or two this year, but the way Phil's striking the ball and putting at the moment, you have to like his chance to have a big year.

A big year with a couple of majors? Who knows for sure. But the way he's playing at the moment, the "Year of the Dragon" could very well turn into the "Year of the Mickelson".

John Daly Went All Rory McIlroy At the Avantha Masters (And That is Not a Good Thing)

John Daly has hit a lot of things in his life. Drives and walls are two things that come to mind, but a root is definitely a first. That's what the above picture shows (kinda shows? sort of shows?) that Daly posted on Twitter after hitting a root in the first round of the Avantha Masters.

There isn't a lot of good news when you hit a root, but to add insult to injury for Big John, the 45-year-old has actually been playing some great golf, and this WD is actually warranted.

Hopefully Big John will feel better soon, and post more pictures of what looks like a sleeve on Twitter. And we must give Daly credit where credit is due ... he did this on the 9th hole but hung in there and played out the entire 18 holes. Good on you, JD.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pebble Beach Ratings Show Tiger Still The Only Pony in Town

The Golf Channel announced in a release that the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am last week was their highest rated golf event ever. While the stat might be a tad misleading (remember, up until a couple of years ago the Golf Channel basically showed the B.C. Open and that was it), it does show us something simple yet important; Tiger Woods is still the biggest draw in town.

Some could argue that Tiger being paired with Phil Mickelson was the reason for the 2.37 million viewers (and add another to that since I was watching in New Zealand), but honestly, it's all about Tiger. Why? Because people want to see him win, compete, comeback ... whatever. The Phil thing definitely made it more interesting for the casual viewer, but if it was Phil vs. Rickie Fowler or Rory McIlroy, that number would have been about 20 percent of what it actually was.

Tiger is still the tour, as far as ratings and fans are concerned, and while I thought that might change over the last few years, it definitely hasn't.

Getty Images

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Well Hello There, Natalie Gulbis

There aren't many professional athletes in the world that have taken the reins on their success quite like Natalie Gulbis. Yes, she's only won one LPGA event in her career, but is probably the most recognizable name in all of women's golf, and it probably helps that she's purrrddddyyy and has a great body.

And lucky for you, she showed both for Sports Illustrated in their latest body paint issue (is that a thing? Is it new?). The above picture is just one of about 10 Gulbis put up, so click right here if you'd like and see the rest. Trust me, it's better than this photo of Phil Mickelson. 


Decent Shot, Corey Pavin

 I honestly never thought I'd ever see a day when Corey Pavin did something I liked more than grow that sweet mustache he used to rock, but that day has come.

Pavin, playing in the Champions Tour's Allianz Championship, found himself in a precarious situation on the 14th hole, when he ball came to rest next to a root. No problem, right? He just hit an 8-iron lefty to five feet, made the putt, and saved par. 

Eat your heart out with this one, Bill Haas.

h/t Wall at Devil Ball

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Few Observations From the Phil Win

Phil Mickelson won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday. He shot a 64. It was amazing, and definitely one of the defining moments of his career (because it was so batshit crazy for Phil that even with him we are surprised). But what did we learn about the event? Follow along and see ...

-- The win is more about Phil Mickelson than Tiger Woods -- Many are going to say that Tiger choked on Sunday at Pebble Beach. That he came out and got killed by a better Phil Mickelson, and that there are serious issues with his golf game. I won't debate the latter, but the former is ridiculous. If any other golfer in the world started four shots back heading into Sunday at a regular golf event, nobody would have blinked when he didn't come from behind and win. Just because Mickelson was able to do what Tiger couldn't means more about Phil's game and less about Tiger's. When golfers have to make a charge to win an event, they are agressive from the start. Which leads us to ...

-- Tiger's putting is becoming a real issue -- He might blame it on the bumpy greens at Pebble Beach, but man, the guy can't buy a putt, and just days after he was dissing the long putter. This is a man that always could find a way to get a putt to drop in his prime (the best example coming from that downhill, bumping putt that he dropped at Torrey Pines to get in a playoff with Rocco Mediate that never seemed to have any reason going in the hole) really can't make anything now. He can mask it for the first three days, but on Sundays, it really seems to be the issue.

-- This probably doesn't say a lot about Phil Mickelson in 2012 -- I hope it does. I want him to win majors. I want him to continue to build on his legacy. But honestly, isn't this just a perfect example of who Mickelson is these days? He pops up, plays well, closes with one of the best rounds I've seen since Davis Love III at TPC Sawgrass, but this is Phil Mickelson we're talking about. He might shoot 80 the next time he tees it up. You just never know.

-- Let us make sure to remember this is a golfer vs. golf course game -- I saw a lot of tweets on Sunday about how "Phil is in Tiger's head now" and how "Phil has figured out Tiger's game." Umm, those are not things. You don't play defense in golf. You can't really "figure out" other golfers. You just go out and play and try to score lower than the other guy. It's a rivalry because we make it a rivalry. The end game is to beat the course, not the player.

-- This could be some exciting stuff in 2012 -- I'm pumped. Are you?

Getty Images

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Phil Mickelson throttles Pebble Beach with final-round 64

Admit it, you most likely didn't give Phil Mickelson much of a chance coming into the final round of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Despite being only six shots back of Charlie Wi on Sunday -- Kyle Stanley and Spencer Levin will attest to those big leads being as safe as an open Brinks truck -- almost everyone had their eye on Tiger Woods.

And rightfully so. Woods, who was only four back, had the momentum after three consecutive rounds in the 60's, and finally looked primed to win his first official tournament in two-plus years. The stars appeared to be aligned for the comeback, but in typical Mickelson fashion, he found a way to take the spotlight away in the final round with one of the best Sunday performances we've seen in some time.

We know how good Phil Mickelson is; when you win three green jackets and a Wanamaker Trophy, you get respect from everyone in the game. But the thing is, nothing about Mickelson's play made you believe he'd be a factor down the stretch at Pebble. Sure, he'd been in the news lately, but it was for off the course stuff like redoing Torrey Pines' North Course and suing a commenter on a website.

It's funny how one incredibly good round of golf can change things in a hurry. Mickelson had been solid all week, but from the start of Sunday's final round it was like he suddenly found another gear that had been missing from his game for the past couple of months.

His 8-under 64 was the lowest final round to win at Pebble Beach since Davis Love III shot 63 in 2001. Simply put, he looked unbeatable, hitting 93 percent of his fairways -- Phil the Thrill was M.I.A. -- and rolling in some putts from a different continent. He also had a birdie, birdie, eagle stretch holes Nos. 4 thru 6 that saw him take a commanding lead he'd never relinquish.

Most of us thought we were seeing vintage Tiger Woods after three rounds, but it was actually Mickelson who turned back the clock with a round that has to make you wonder if we're seeing a resurgence from one of the game's greatest players.

Mickelson always said he had a couple more major championships in him, but the way he was playing prior to this week, most assumed his best golf was behind him. Boy were we wrong. The golf world found out on a cloudy Sunday afternoon that he's very much in the golf pictures, as he waxed Tiger Woods by 11 shots and won his 40th PGA Tour event.

It'll be interesting to see if this is a one-off from Phil or the start of a special year for him, but for at least one day, it looks like Lefty's back, and that's definitely a good thing for the sport.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Tiger Comeback Has to Come Here

There are a lot of amazing, incredible, preposterous, make-your-jaw-hit-the-ground things that Tiger Woods has done over his career, but the amazing thing is a lot of them come full circle. The year Woods won his first major, a runaway at the Masters, he turned a horrible front nine into an incredible back nine to start the week and get his career going in a path nobody in the golf world had ever seen. His putt at TPC Sawgrass' famous 17th, winding and meandering towards the hole, was the same green that saw the first real Tiger fist pump, when he won his first U.S. Amateur in 1994. His wins at St. Andrews were both so similar it was scary, and it seemed anytime he showed up at Firestone the rest of the field might as well withdraw because their chances had disappeared.

But the one thing Tiger has struggled with in his career is coming back. No, it isn't just in his rehabilitation or personal life, I'm actually talking about on the golf course. The scouting report on Tiger was simple; when he had a lead, he'd win, and when he didn't, he'd lose.

That, of course, wasn't true when Woods won at Pebble Beach in 2000, the only time he walked away from the famous Pro-Am the victor. Tiger trailed by seven shots at one point on Sunday before he roared back, highlighted by a hole-out eagle on the 15th that showed a very similar fist pump to the one Tiger produced at TPC in '94.

But for the Tiger comeback (the actual one where he comes back from poor finishes and missed opportunities and a career that has hit the skids like nobody would have predicted), it has to come here. This is the sight of Tiger's greatest comeback, and one of the best of all time. This is the place he ran away from the field at arguably the greatest display of golf ever, when he won the U.S. Open by 15 shots. This is the most iconic golf course in the world, and he isn't just on a stage to win, but he's paired with Phil Freakin' Mickelson to top it off, the rival that we all mounted Tiger up against for all these years, fair or not.

It isn't just a great position, it is a perfect position. Four and one shot(s) back of some very Matt Gogel-y types that will have to deal with big crowds shifting as their hitting balls and putting out, Tiger isn't as much playing the competition as he is playing history.

What happens if Tiger can't make a comeback on Sunday at Pebble? Nothing really. It is just another missed opportunity to get that elusive PGA Tour win against more than a handful of players. But this opportunity, set for Sunday at Pebble Beach, is one ready for the history books. I just hope Tiger is ready to be the man again. I know we are.

Getty Images

Friday, February 10, 2012

This is the Coolest Picture of Tiger Woods You Will Ever See

People have asked me before what makes places like Pebble Beach so special. I mention the 7th hole or the Lone Cypress or 17 Mile Drive. But what the heck are my ridiculous words going to do when I can show you this picture of Tiger Woods, taken at MPCC today?

There will be no better picture of Tiger Woods this year, I promise, unless that hot dog guy runs back on a green and actually gets some mustard on Tiger's fitted Nike sweater.

(Btw, this picture was from a Twitter page, so I'll link to that, but if anyone knows who took it, I'll gladly give them the proper credit they deserve. Thanks.)

Video: Ken Duke really needs to take some dance lessons

Let me start off my saying that I have no problem with guys celebrating after a hole-out. Heck, the last time I knocked one in from just outside 150 yards, I took off in a full sprint towards to the hole, jumping up and down the entire way. Great golf shots tend to bring out the kid in all of us.

However, after watching Ken Duke celebrate a hole-out yesterday at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, I think everyone here should consider chipping in to get this guy some dance lessons. Yeesh. I'm not sure what that is, but it sure as hell isn't a celebration dance.

But I guess we can't be too hard on Mr. Duke: He shot 28 yesterday on the back nine at Pebble Beach -- which happens to be a tournament record -- so he's clearly on his game at the moment.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Karrie Webb gets a serious assist from the gallery

Karrie Webb is playing in her native Oz this week's for the Women's Australian Open, which meant she was going to have a good following, and some local knowledge, when she teed it up at Royal Melbourne. (Editor's note: Shane's at RM this week and I think I speak for everyone when I say that I truly hate you sometimes, dude.)

What she didn't expect, however, was for the gallery to save her from incurring a two-stroke penalty during the first round. Laboring through the first 12 holes, Webb was struggling to make bogey when she arrived on the green of the difficult 13th hole. After being asked by her playing partner, Yani Tseng, to move her ball mark, Webb committed a cardinal sin byaccidentally replacing her ball mark in the wrong spot (she placed it further away from her original mark).

Had she putted from that spot, Webb would have been forced to tack on two-strokes. But here's where the story gets interesting. As The Age reported, a guy in the gallery yelled out "Excuse me!" as she was approaching her ball, causing Webb to back off and glare at what many thought was a heckler.

It was actually a local club golfer notifying Webb of her error. Talk about getting some home cookin' from the local fans. Webb went on to replace her mark, bogey the hole and shoot 2-over for the day. But needless to say, the wheels could have really come off if she'd taken a two-stroke penalty for the silly mistake.

I wish I could get that kind of assist from my buddies when I played golf. But knowing how cutthroat some of them are, I'm pretty sure they'd tell me about the penalty after the fact, and then take my money.

Rory McIlroy Once Posed As a Fake Photographer To Watch Tiger Woods

Here is a story that shows just how important Tiger Woods is to golf and just how young a lot of the golfers are compared to Tiger these days. Rory McIlroy told the U.K. version of ESPN (Ed. Note: Think all they talk about is Tim Tebow as well?) that he once posed as a photographer to get close to Woods in Dubai.
"I remember I played on Thursday morning, and then on Thursday afternoon Tiger Woods was playing," McIlroy said. "I came out in the afternoon and took one of the photographer’s cameras off of him and was able to follow inside the ropes, which was pretty cool. That was my first real taste of Dubai, and I’ve been coming back every year since."
Ahh, look how cute Rory is?!

I do think this is a fun image to conjure up. When I was in college once I convinced a security guard at the Tucson Open that my buddy was my cameraman to get him in for free, so I guess it isn't the first time someone has done this, but news flash, my buddy didn't win the U.S. Open by eight shots as a 22-year-old (Sorry, Will).

I love that deep down every professional athlete is still a big fan of the game, and of greatness, and has always done what they could to see the best play their favorite sport.

McIlroy was a child prodigy much like Tiger, so seeing Woods in the flesh was probably soothing for the young Irishman, and now look at him ... a spitting image of Tiger right down to the developing biceps.

 I bet somewhere, a young kid is sneaking into golf tournaments in 2012 to watch Rory that will eventually win majors. It's just the beauty of the sports cycle.

Getty Images

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spencer Levin Will Not Be Reading This Blog Post

Or anything on the Internet, for that matter. That's because Spencer Levin has the technological desire of a wombat. Asked about the uplifting nature of the masses after Kyle Stanley's collapse at Torrey Pines, Levin said it would be impossible for groups to do the same for him since he looks at technology the same way Phil Mickelson looks at layup yardages.

"I've got an email, but I haven't checked it in about eight years," Levin said on Wednesday. "I think I dropped my cell phone in the water or whatever somewhere [last winter], and then I just haven't bothered to get a new one. I have no desire to."

Ten bucks says his e-mail is something like Anyone want to bet?

It is one of the beauties of all professional sports; the differences in personalities. For every Bubba Watson that replies to basically anything you send the guy on Twitter ("thanks" "yep "thx"), you have youngsters like Spencer would couldn't care less about being on the computer and just wants to go out and play and hang out.

Honestly, we could probably use more young people like Spencer, who still know how to enjoy their lives without their faces stuck directly behind the glow of a device screen (I'm the most guilty of anyone about this).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It Appears I Won't Be Playing Golf in Texas Anytime Soon

I was born in Texas. Grew up there. Knew nothing but the Lone Star State and bluebonnets and David Crockett and the San Jacinto Monument. But the one thing I know the most about Texas is there are some wacky ass people there.

Introduce a gentleman in Fort Worth that, after being approached by another man about letting the group through, stabbed the guy in the leg with the broken end of a golf club resulting in the guy possibly losing his freaking leg because of it. Seriously.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Clay Carpenter approached a foursome in front of him asking if his group could play through. Words were exchanged and the person that eventually stabbed Carpenter in the leg swung a club at him first, missed, and then broke the club and bludgeoned the poor 48-year-old with it.

Here are the details ...

A foursome was playing the back nine ahead of a threesome, Grisham said, and the three golfers believed the foursome was playing too slow and wanted to play through. 

Carpenter said a course marshal instructed the foursome to allow the smaller group of golfers to play through, and that’s when the "gentleman’s game" turned ugly. 

As the golfers were fighting, Carpenter said he was on top of another man when he was stabbed with the golf shaft. Grisham said Carpenter lost a lot of blood and was "very close to death." 

Carpenter said the man who stabbed him "was not willing to defuse anything, nor was he willing to accept 'please just let us go on.' " Carpenter said he believes that the golfer who stabbed him first swung the golf club at his head, but he grabbed it and broke it off at the end.

I mean, people are crazy and when you mix that with golfers plus Texas it is bound to get nasty, but seriously? Stabbing a dude because you guys are too slow?

Let us quickly go over some common golf courtesy rules thanks to Johnny Psychopath.

-- Don't keep the group behind you waiting.
-- If you are, and the group wants to play through, let them.
-- If the group that is pushing you wants to play through, don't stab them with anything that could threaten their life.

Alright, glad we got those out there.

Rory McIlroy Really Likes His Famous Girlfriend

Maybe I'm completely off here, but I think there are two types of people; those that are perfectly fine being alone and those that are always in and out of relationships for fear of having to spend a day without someone to snuggle up with.

The past year or so has shown us that Rory McIlroy, world beating golfer, is definitely the latter. The picture above is McIlroy, playing a practice round this week at the Dubai Desert Classic, with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki watching ohsoclose to the pro golfer.

Pro golfers out there reading this, would you mind doing me one favor? Don't have your girlfriends stand so close to you when you're playing golf that it makes people question if the picture was staged, and please, please date girls with easier last names to spell. Thank you.

(One more Wozy pic after the jump)

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Spencer Levin battles cactus bush ... and loses

You have to feel for Spencer Levin. Not only did the kid blow a six-shot at the Waste Management Open (it was actually seven at one point during the day), he also suffered this humbling moment on the back nine. After knocking his tee-shot in the Cholla, Levin was forced to use his belly putter to hack back into play -- but not before the bush exacted some revenge by leaving Levin with a wonderful parting gift.

His caddie, Mike Hicks, had to pull two pieces off his rib cage, and another off his rear. That's never a good thing, especially when the moment is captured on national television ... and then gets thrown up on YouTube by the PGA Tour. I don't think guys will let him forget about this one.

Kyle Stanley bounces back from the lowest point of his career to win in Phoenix

Now that's how you get redemption. Just seven days removed from an on-course meltdown that, truthfully, was one of the worst I've seen in a long time, Kyle Stanley found his way back to the winner's circle in Phoenix, and put the Farmer Insurance loss behind him.

There will probably be times in the 24-year-old's career when he looks back on that wedge shot on the 72nd hole at the Farmers Insurance Open and shakes his head; but at least the tournament won't have the same negative connotation it had prior to this week. That's because Stanley produced a H.A.M. worthy performance on Sunday at the Waste Management Open, coming from seven back to grab his first PGA Tour win with a bogey-free six-under 65.

It's a shame most people had their eyes on the Super Bowl pre-game show on Sunday, because a lot of people missed the feel-good story of the season. Unless we see a McIlroy-esque turnaround later in the season, it'll be damn near impossible to beat Stanley's turnaround, losing in horrific fashion one week, and then turning around the next and coming from seven back -- the same lead he blew in San Diego -- to win the very next week.

We talk all the time about the importance of being mentally strong in this sport: Folks, this was the epitome of why it's so important to let go of the bad memories and concentrate on the task at-hand. It would've been easy for Stanley to stew and let the approach shot at the Farmer Insurance consume him -- especially with the media asking him about it through the early part of last week.

But he instead chose to let it go and move on ... and he was repaid for doing just that. Forget about the win for a second; the thing that impressed me the most was how he managed to go from the lowest point of his career to the highest in seven days. That's almost impossible to do, and it speaks volumes about Stanley's game and future on tour. The kid really is THAT special.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

So This Happened

In case you haven't watched the Golf Boys video enough (spoiler alert: you have), two of the four got together on Saturday at the Waste Management to do it again. Poorly. Off pitch. Oh man oh man. Someone kill this thing, please!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Donald Trump wants to be buried on his New Jersey golf course

Donald Trump may be on of the richest guys on the planet, but as he's quickly finding out, sometimes it takes more than money to get what you want. Despite owning a 500-acre spread in Bedminster, N.J., that currently houses Trump National Golf Course, the millionaire is having trouble securing an adjacent piece of property next to the scenic course.

What would the piece of propert be for, you ask? How about a cemetery that would not only be for members of the club -- who pay about $150,000 to join and $20,000 in dues -- but for Trump and his kin as well. As reported, Trump knows where he wants to be buried, and that's on a golf course.

While the town bristled at the idea initially, saying the cemetery could be an eyesore if built on a rural road near the course, they've recently softened their stance and allowed the idea to start the long and arduous of getting state approval. Assuming everything goes off without a hitch this time around, members could look forward to literally spending the rest of their life on the Bedminster Golf Course, right next to The Donald.

I know some could have a problem with this -- honestly, if I was paying that much for a golf membership, I'm not sure I'd want a new cemetery going up next to the course -- but considering Trump built and founded the course, he can pretty much do whatever the heck he wants.

You just hope he refrains from building his own grave site in the middle of the fairway on his favorite hole. But considering his affinity for being the center of attention, I wouldn't put it past him.

Video: Gary Woodland Takes the Waste Management Open Literally

You can't spell Waste Management Open without a guy nearly holing a drive in a trashcan, or something like that. This is Gary Woodland, Mr. Bomber, hitting his drive nearly in a trashcan on the 10th hole at TPC Scottsdale.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bubba Watson's car has its own parking spot at the Waste Management Open

Bubba Watson may be one of the most recognizable golfers in the game today, but for at least one week, he's going to have to take a back seat -- no pun intended -- to his car at the Waste Management Open, after local tournament organizers, The Thunderbirds, decided to have a little fun with Bubba.

Instead of throwing his name on the parking sign this week, they instead decided to give it to "General Lee," who happens to be Bubba's brand new ride. If you didn't know by now, he threw down $110,000 and bought the original General Lee from the TV show "The Dukes of Hazard, which seems like a small price to pay for the iconic ride.

Aaron Baddeley happened to notice the parking sign when he was walking through the lot and tweeted out to Bubba: "@bubbawatson looks like u didn't get a parking spot the wm phx open but ur car did!!"

No word yet if he plans on driving the car to the course Thursday-Sunday, but considering the spot belongs to General Lee, he may want to roll with it all four days.

One of These Things Is Unlike the Other

I'm not one to sit here and rip writing, especially from someone as accomplished as Rich Lerner, but after reading through his "Hooks and Cuts" piece (I'm not sure if this is a regular piece), I had to point out one thing.

He wrote -- "Tiger admitted he went to Abu Dhabi for the seven-figure appearance fee. Can you imagine Tom Brady bowing out of a Patriots’ regular season game to go play in China because a bank threw $2 million at him?"

I hate to knock down a fellow golf scribe, and I know we've all made mistakes in our writing before, but football to golf? Really? A team sport to an individual sport where you play all around the world?

If Tom Brady said, after China (?) offered him $2 million to go play in their made-up football league (CFL 2?), "Hey team, I'm going to skip the next game because I'm going to go play football in China," they would simply tell him he couldn't because it would breach his contract, thus losing him as much, if not more, money than he was going to make.

Golf is a fun sport because you can play all over the world whenever you want. Right now, I'm sitting at a Mexican food place in Australia because of a golf tournament. Next week I'll be in Melbourne. Then, the LPGA Tour splits and some go to Thailand while others head to New Zealand. That's the beauty of the game.

I thought it was ridiculous, and still find it ridiculous, that anyone in the world would give Tiger hell for taking appearance fee money. This is goal! If a tournament offered ANY PGA Tour star a million bucks to play at their tournament, the wheels on their plane would be up so fast they might forget their passport. China, Abu Dhabi, or Australia, it doesn't matter, this is why golf is so special.

It isn't Lerner that is making a mistake here, it is anyone that calls Tiger out for taking advantage of where he has landed as a professional golfer. Thank you, Tiger Woods, for cashing in on how damn good you once were at golf, and how much you make the sport more popular. Nobody was waking up at 3 AM in America to watch Robert Rock battle Rory McIlroy. A lot of alarm clocks were turned back to see Tiger compete. That's the beauty of money; you get it when you're wanted.