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You dog: When a fan threw a hot dog at Tiger

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 6:06:00 PM

It's National Hot Dog Day (Wednesday, July 23), which means it's a perfect day to reflect on all the priceless moments hot dogs have brought to our lives.

Remember the countless dogs you've grabbed at the turn? Or how about all those cookouts that just wouldn't be the same without the weenie in a bun?

And of course, who could forget the time when a fan threw a hot dog at Tiger Woods during the 2011 Frys.com Open? Relive the details here, and if you haven't already today, grab a dog and enjoy one of the Grill Room's favorite foods.

 

 

Celebrating Batman Day: All-time greatest golf cart

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4:20:00 PM

Today (Wednesday, July 23) is Batman Day and marks the 75th anniversary of the creation of the greatest caped crusader that's ever battled bad guys and guarded Gotham.

The Grill Room thought it would take this occasion to revisit perhaps the greatest golf cart creation of all time - the Batman Tumbler Golf Cart.

Golf Channel originally tweeted this image in December, when this golf cart sold on eBay for $17,500.

The handmade cart, which was modified to look like Batman's tumbler in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight films, can travel 38 mph and features six tires, disc brakes, cup holders, an iPad and Batman logos.

Hopefully, the person who bought it is out driving it today and saving golf games ... one mulligan at a time.

Mahan recalls 'incredible' baby-related WD in Canada

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4:20:00 PM

Hunter Mahan has karma on his side this week at the Canadian Open. 

It was at this event last year that the 36-hole leader withdrew before the start of the third round because his wife, Kandi, had gone into labor back home in Dallas. What followed was a dizzying 15-hour journey that culminated in Mahan being by his wife’s side for the birth of the couple’s first child, Zoe Olivia.

“It was a pretty incredible story,” he recalled Wednesday on the eve of this year’s event. “It’s always one of those things for golfers what if you had to go home and you were in the lead on Sunday or Saturday? It’s one of those crazy things you think about and discuss with your family and your wife, but most of the time it never really happens.

“It’s neat that we have the video of it all happening and going down and then the newspaper clippings and all that stuff. It’ll be a fun story to show her and tell her about how she entered the world.” 

The newborn was dubbed the “Million Dollar Baby” – a nod to the first-place prize that Mahan, staked to a two-shot lead after rounds of 67-64, may have forfeited. Brandt Snedeker eventually won the tournament.

Mahan had just gotten to the range when his manager approached him with the news. It wasn’t a complete surprise – Mahan’s wife was three weeks early – but he withdrew immediately and tried to find the quickest way home. He saw the birth 15 hours later. 

“The process of beginning to think your baby is coming didn’t really hit me until we were in the hospital,” he said. 

Golf World goes digital after 67 years in print

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:33:00 PM

After 67 years in print, Golf World announced Wednesday that it will switch to an all-digital publication beginning July 28.

The magazine, which previously was printed 31 times per year, will now be distributed electronically 50 times per year on Monday mornings.

"With the sports news cycle demanding immediate access to quality content, we now will offer more of what our audience wants, when they want it and where they want to get it," read a staff report announcing the changes.

Originally published in 1947, Golf World is the oldest golf magazine in America and currently serves as the news branch of Golf Digest, a monthly publication. Both entities are owned by Conde Nast.

The final print edition of the publication ran following the Open Championship, with Rory McIlroy gracing the last cover after his two-shot victory at Royal Liverpool.

Long Drive Competition to return at PGA Champ.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:58:00 PM

After a 30-year absence, the Long Drive Competition will return at next month’s PGA Championship.

On Tuesday, Aug. 5, all players will be invited to take a rip from the 10th tee at Valhalla. According to a release by the PGA of America, the three players whose tee balls travel the farthest – and stay in the fairway – will receive a money clip inspired by the one that Jack Nicklaus took home when he won this event in 1963 (with a 341-yard blast). In addition, the top 3 will receive $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, with the funds split between the players’ designated charity and the American Lake Veterans Golf Club, a Nicklaus-designed course in Washington specifically for wounded and disabled veterans.

The long-drive event began in 1962 and was held 12 other times – the last in 1984 – before turning into the standalone event now known as the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship.

“We’re reviving a PGA Championship tradition that will add fun for both spectators and players during a practice round,” PGA of America president Ted Bishop said in a release. “It is only fitting that this competition returns to the city where it began and a course designed by one of its most storied winners, Jack Nicklaus.” 

The PGA will also extend the pick-the-hole-location challenge for this year’s event, though the details have not yet been announced. Last year, Tiger Woods suggested that the PGA allow fans to pick all four of the hole locations, not just the final round.

Inbee's fiance playing 'captain' for South Korea

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:21:00 PM

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – There are no captains for these International Crown teams, leading to much speculation about how pairings and other decisions are being made within the four-player rosters.

The South Koreans apparently have an unofficial captain who’s not on the roster.

“I think Inbee’s fiancé is our team leader,” said So Yeon Ryu.


Get ready: LPGA International Crown primer


Inbee Park’s fiancé, Gi Hyeob Nam, is also her swing coach.

“We were playing together, and then Inbee's fiance was there for Inbee's coach, but he kind of like set it up, like all the planning, kind of thing,” Ryu said. “So I would say our captain is not me, not Na Yeon or Inbee or I.K., just Inbee's fiance.”

Woods' Ryder hopes may depend on FedEx Cup

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 11:03:00 AM

There are still 42 days before Tom Watson finds himself officially on the clock, a theoretical eternity considering the heavily weighted schedule between now and the moment Captain American must announce his three picks for this year’s Ryder Cup.

Yet as Watson deferred the inevitable as the questions mounted on Sunday at the Open Championship, there was no mistaking the reality that Tiger Woods was running out of time in his pursuit of a spot on Old Tom’s team.

Woods said all the right things on Sunday at Hoylake, where he finished 69th following rounds of 69-77-73-75.

“The fact I was able to play a few weeks ahead of time, and I'm only getting stronger and faster, which is great. I just had to get more game time,” said Woods, who returned from the DL last month following back surgery on March 31. “We did the smart thing by not playing too much leading into this event, just want to assess how my back was.”

By all accounts, Woods’ back is fine. It’s the silver lining behind a comeback that started four weeks earlier than expected. His game, and by association his Ryder Cup chances, are still to be determined.

While Woods has taken a measured approach in his return to action, Watson has not deviated from his initial take on the former world No. 1.

“If he’s playing well and in good health, I'll pick him,” he has told anyone who would listen. On Sunday at the Open Championship, where the captain clipped the potential pick by five strokes, he added an addendum to that company line.

“The caveat to that is if he doesn't get into the FedEx Cup (playoffs), what do I do then? That's not here yet,” Watson allowed.

Although the clock says 42 days, in essence Woods has just two weeks to make his case – next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship.

While the top 8 on the U.S. points list may be the ultimate goal, Woods’ immediate concerns are focused on another points list. At 214th on the FedEx Cup points list, Woods’ first order of business is to crack the playoff roster.

The most direct path would be through the winner’s circle. “I'd like to win the next two tournaments I'm in. That should take care of that,” Woods said when asked about his Ryder Cup and FedEx Cup predicament.

Short of that, to convince Watson he is deserving of one of his three picks he will likely have to, at a minimum, play his way into The Barclays, the first playoff event.

It was telling that on Sunday at Hoylake the captain and the potential pick were sending out something of a mixed message. When asked if he would make himself a pick Woods was unapologetically positive.

“I got picked by Corey (Pavin) back in (2010),” Woods said. “I was coming off an injury as well there with my Achilles, and I sat out for most of the summer.

“I felt like I was able to contribute to the team. And that's all you want as a pick, you want someone who can contribute to the team, whether it's in support or it's in play. I did it then and hopefully I can actually earn my way on to this team.”

Of course, in 2010 when Pavin made Woods a pick he was 12th on the U.S. points list and had finished fourth at the U.S. Open and in the top 15 in his final two events before the announcement was made.

Woods – who went 3-1-0 at Celtic Manor in ’10 – didn’t play the U.S. Open this year and in just five events his best finish is a tie for 25th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

All of which might explain why Watson had a slightly different take on Woods’ short-term Ryder Cup prospects based on his week in England.

“Looks like he's playing without pain,” Watson said. “But, again, he's not in the mix. He needed to get in the mix to get some points to get some money and get in the FedEx Cup.”

When Woods made his debut at his Quicken Loans National in late June following back surgery he jokingly told reporters his expectations for the week were simply to, “get in the playoffs somehow.”

At the time, the assembled scribes dismissed Woods’ self-deprecating take. Little did anyone know that his Ryder Cup chances would come down to that other points list.

Tiger, Phil playing mind games with themselves

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 10:07:00 AM

There has never been a great athlete in any sport who wasn’t masterful at deception – specifically self-deception. Through the years, myriad clichés have evolved in different sports. Pitchers have great stuff, but their command is off. Batters are hitting the ball on the button but right at people. Quarterbacks are throwing the ball well but are having a little problem going vertical. Shooters in basketball aren’t getting enough good looks.

The golf clichés are similar: I’m hitting it as well as I’ve ever hit it, I’m just not making any putts. I’m putting well – the ball’s just not going in the hole. And the popular: It’s right there, I’m just a little bit off.

Of course, in the case of truly great players, the clichés are often true. To go out right now and bet your house that neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson will win the PGA Championship next month would be insane.

Why? Because one is, at worst, the second-best player in history and the other is almost certainly in the top 15 – or possibly better. You never write off the truly elite athlete. Even playing at 20 pounds overweight for the Washington Wizards, Michael Jordan was still a legitimate NBA All-Star. He wasn’t close to being Michael Jordan but he was still a very good basketball player.

All of that being said, it was hard to know whether to laugh or cry when listening to Woods and Mickelson last week during the British Open.

Woods sounded more like a guy preparing to run the 100-meter dash at the Olympics than a golfer: “I’m stronger, faster, more explosive.” Heck, he even came out of the starting blocks well with his 69 on Thursday. But golf’s not a sprint and the most gentle part of the game (putting) has been Woods’s biggest downfall, especially in majors, in recent years. But then, almost predictably, came rounds of 77, 73 and 75 and Woods’ worst four-round finish ever in a major (69th place).

Let’s remember that prior to the tournament, Woods said his expectation was, “to finish first,” because that’s always his expectation. As late as Friday evening he was reminding people that Paul Lawrie came from 10-shots back at Carnoustie on Sunday in 1999 to win.

That’s true. But Rory McIlroy isn’t Jean Van de Velde and Tiger Woods, at least at the moment, isn’t Tiger Woods. This time he wasn’t even 64-year-old Tom Watson.

All of which is to be expected when you’ve only played six rounds of competitive golf since early March and undergone back surgery. But the notion, which Woods even put forth at Congressional after missing the cut by four shots, that he was just a little bit off here and there is ludicrous. Tiger Woods finishing 23 shots behind the winner is not that far off? Seriously?

In some ways, Mickelson sounded more delusional. For weeks, even months, he has been insisting that he’s “right there.” Every week he’s hitting the ball the best he’s hit it all year. If that’s the case, he should be shooting 59 almost every day with that kind of improvement.

How in the world can Phil Mickelson say he’s hitting the ball well after hitting three balls out of bounds the first two days of a major under relatively benign conditions? It’s not like hurricane winds blew those balls out of bounds; Mickelson hit them there. The fact that he recovered from one of the out of bounds to make bogey and from another to make par is proof that the genius still lives inside him.

Here’s one thing you can bet: Mickelson will show up in Akron next week and talk about how he found something on the last day at Hoylake, that shooting 68 on Sunday to finish T-23 gave him an extra boost of confidence. He probably won’t bring up the fact that 28 players broke 70 that day and not one of them was the winner.

Mickelson should probably be more concerned with the state of his game right now than Woods. He’s 44 and, even though he won the British Open a year ago, he’s not as long off the tee as he once was and you can’t help but wonder when the psoriatic arthritis he battles is going to start to affect him – if it isn’t already. He certainly isn’t going to talk about it and sounds as if he’s making excuses. He also hasn’t been able to putt with any consistency for most of the last year.

Woods will be 39 in December and, unlike Mickelson, who suffers from a disease that isn’t curable, his various physical issues have all been fixable. Still, his is a battered 38-year-old body – clearly a fragile one, based on past history.

Even so, the biggest battle both men face right now is between their ears. For all their talk about how good they feel about their swings and their games and their explosiveness, each is clearly fighting himself on the golf course. Mickelson doesn’t play golf to finish T-23 and Woods certainly doesn’t play to finish 69th. The only thing that matters to either one at this stage of their career are the majors: Mickelson would like to finish the career Grand Slam and add another major or two before he’s done and Woods is still holding out hope that he can find some of his youthful brilliance again and surpass Jack Nicklaus.

Right now, you wouldn’t bet the ranch on either guy. But you’d be foolish to write them off, even if the best thing about their golf at the moment is their ability to spin bad results into sounding hopeful.

Then again, that’s to be expected from the best of the best. It's what they do.

Expert Picks: 2014 RBC Canadian Open

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 11:41:00 AM

This week marks the 37th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as players head to Royal Montreal Golf Club for the RBC Canadian Open. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Jim Furyk: The veteran is playing some of his best golf in years and has a stellar record at the Canadian Open, including back-to-back victories in 2006 and ’07 and he tied for ninth place last year.

Group 2: Ben Crane: Make this a karma pick. After schlepping all the way to England from Oregon as the first alternate at last week’s Open Championship, Crane found himself headed home on Friday morning. The golf gods may owe him one.

Group 3: William McGirt: He was solid in his last start (T-23 at the John Deere Classic) and he finished runner-up each of the last two years at the Canadian Open.

Group 4: Patrick Rodgers: The young professional continues his quest for a PGA Tour card but he is running out of time. After Canada he will only have two more events to secure his status.


Will Gray

Group 1: Jim Furyk: A banner year continued last week, as Furyk finished solo fourth at Royal Liverpool. Now with his berth on the U.S. Ryder Cup squad secure, the veteran returns to an event where he went back-to-back with wins in 2006 and 2007.

Group 2: David Hearn: Many expect Graham DeLaet to be the top Canadian threat at Royal Montreal, but Hearn contended at TPC Sawgrass earlier this season and notched a solid T-32 finish at the Open after making the field as an alternate. He has the tee-to-green game to contend this week.

Group 3: Chad Campbell: Believe it or not, the veteran leads the Tour in GIR percentage this season, and Campbell comes off a T-13 finish at the John Deere Classic. It was his second top-15 result in his last three starts, and Campbell cracked the top 25 two of the last three years in Canada.

Group 4: Patrick Rodgers: Rodgers received some deserved hype when he turned pro out of Stanford, but outside of an opening 65 at TPC Deere Run he has yet play to his potential. That may change this week in Canada, and amid a watered-down Group 4 he is a great option with high potential.


John Antonini

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: He leads the PGA Tour in top-10 finishes in 2013-14 and I fully expect him to get to double digits this week at Royal Montreal. He was T-2 a year ago and T-4 in 2010, although neither were held that the course they're playing this season.

Group 2: Hunter Mahan: If fate plays a hand in wins and losses, Mahan should do well this week. A veteran of the 2007 Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal, he was also the 36-hole leader of the Canadian Open a year ago before withdrawing due to the birth of his first child, Zoe. 

Group 3: Aaron Baddeley: The Aussie was T-9 at Glen Abbey a year ago and has been playing well on the PGA Tour this summer with a T-4 in Connecticut in his last start. One of the Tour's better putters, he should have some fun on Royal Montreal's greens but he has to get there in regulation, a stat he has struggling in this season.

Group 4: Woody Austin: He earned the nickname “Aquaman” during the 2007 Presidents Cup when he fell into a lake by the 14th hole at Royal Montreal. Austin should have the fans by his side this week.