Course Review: Whistling Straits (Straits Course)

Whistling Straits (Straits Course) - Kohler, WI (Architect: Pete Dye)

Straits at Whistling Straits

Background

While there are other tracks to play in Kohler, Pete Dye’s Straits Course is the money maker that everyone comes to see at Whistling Straits. The former airfield called Camp Haven was transformed into a championship golf course in 1998 thanks to the vision of Herb Kohl and Pete Dye. The Straits hosted the 2004 PGA Championship, the 2010 PGA Championship, and is scheduled to host the same event in 2015. It also is on the books as the host of the 2020 Ryder Cup. Dye’s design attempts to replicate a seaside links course set in the British Isles. It occupies 2 miles of the west coast of Lake Michigan and sits about 50 to 75 feet above the lake shore. Oddly, Scottish sheep are loose on the grounds  at all times, but somehow I missed see them. They are not to be used by golfers on lonely night you sick bastards.

Where is Kohler? Well, let’s just say it is north of Milwaukee and south of Green Bay, or….3 hours from Chicago if you don’t have a lot of traffic fucking that up. Whistling Straits has a 2nd course, the Irish course, and both are part of the resort owned by Kohl called the American Club. If you’re going, you’re likely staying there because there isn’t much else to choose from for lodging options. And for you guys that are into course rankings, you’ll want to know that the course ranks number 2 by Golf Digest and number 4 by Golf Magazine for public tracks you can play. It is also ranked number 16 by Golf Digest and number 28 by Golf Magazine in the top 100 in the country.

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Layout/Scenery

If you’ve been to Wisconsin before, or driven through it, you probably have the impression that there isn’t much to see unless you’re a barn or dairy cow aficionado. Hey, who isn’t? That impression should change a bit if you’re near Lake Michigan on any part of your next trip to Badgerland. The area around the Straits doesn’t seem like much until you finally get a view of the lake. The course, the clubhouse, the whole deal together is really quite impressive. As with any resort course experience, your fun begins at the bag drop. You stop your car and are attacked by a group of bros from the caddie shack that will ask your tee time and get you all set up before you even have your shoes on. At that point, they might as well park your car for you, but they don’t.

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We started are day with lunch on the patio, which was just about perfect. It was 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky and barely a breath of wind. The course then leads you out away from the facilities to the lake, then winds back and forth along the coastline for 13 of the 18 holes you play. Such routing sounds nice, but it does tend to make several of the holes feel the same. You must walk the course, there are no carts allowed. And the little paved paths they’ve created to help with drainage are only slightly better than going rogue and traversing the long grass and hills that could easily lead to a sprained ankle.

The opening hole should be a bit of a gimmie, but you better know the right line off the tee. This is where the Straits course can play tricks on you. If you haven’t played it, you have to rely on a caddie to tell you what your line should be off the tee. It isn’t ideal and can lead to a few foul balls. At Whistling, that can be very penal as I found out on the first hole by finding a 3 X 4 pot bunker and having no play but to advance my 2nd shot 20 yards. After that first green, you walk to the 2nd tee and see the lake in all its glory. Get used to it, it’ll be there all day.

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There are no trees in play on the Straits unless you hit an awful tee shot on the 9th hole, but there’s plenty of other design features to give you trouble. I mentioned the pot bunkers, the greens are psychotic, and some of the fairways look like a tiny ribbon across the horizon. The par 3s here unfortunately all play a bit and look like the same hole, but at different lengths. The par three 12th hole is a bit unique because there is a back right portion of the green that is about 10 X 10 and would make for a very interesting shot if it were ever used. The par four 6th hole’s green is similar in this regard too.

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Everything you see on your walk around the Straits is a part of the experience of playing the course. You feel like a tour pro even after you make an 8 because you have a caddie to blame. Walking along the lake shore is a very tranquil experience even if you’re make doubles like Michael Moore eats Twinkies. Where the course loses points in this category is the overall artificial feel that it has.

I can’t quite pinpoint what it is, but much of the course feels fake. Part of it is Dye’s design and the millions of cubic feet of earth that he moved and brought in. As Dustin Johnson knows, there are bunkers on almost every hole that were placed there just to have a bunker, or just to give the course a look. There are about 1000 on the course! What is the point? If you actually hit a ball in them you’re already so far off line you aren’t going to save par. Why punish the average player more? A pro won’t be in them either. I think if they took half of these out and only kept those with purpose the course would have a cleaner and more natural look.

Score: 4.5

Conditioning

You won’t find the Whistling Straits greens to be overly fast. The staff here can’t get stupid and cut them at a speed of 10.5 or more or they’d be asking for trouble with their pace of play and fairness of the golf course to the amateurs playing it on a daily basis. Still, they aren’t slow and they are in good shape when you consider the amount of play that comes across them. The rest of the course, for as rugged as it looks, is manicured perfectly. The fairways play firm and fast and have natural fescue grass that makes the ball sit up nicely. The sand base under the fescue keeps the ground feeling firm.

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The bunkers are all pretty well maintained too because 95% of the time they’re being raked by a caddie. You will find some waste areas that don’t have rakes and may have some foot prints in them. Don’t hit it in those spots and you won’t have to worry about them. The practice facility is up to snuff with the course, but the tee is probably mowed a bit too low and the hackers that can afford to play here chew it up pretty well. Overall, it is tough to complain about the conditioning here, but for $400, you should probably get faster greens and a practice range you can eat off of.

Score: 4.5

Value

I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one. There is no value in playing the Straits course for $400+. Once you tip the caddie, you’re out well over that. And there’s also no price breaks. You can save $100 if you play at twilight, but you likely won’t finish because the pace of play isn’t very good. If you do play at twilight, the good news is you don’t have to take a looper.

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That being said, this is a championship course that is worthy of being taken off your bucket list. Playing it once for that price tag is probably worth it if you’re a course chaser. Plus, you can scout the course for a future PGA and Ryder Cup!

Score: 2.0

Service/Pace

Lets start with the positives. The service. From what I can tell the Kohler folks do a pretty nice job of hiring decent looking college age girls to serve you booze and bring you food and drinks on the course. They’re not stripper-like, but they’re not old hags you see at some places. The overall service at the Straits is pretty damn decent too. The caddies are knowledgeable, but likely not worth the $100 you pay them. The shop staff, bag staff, course staff, etc….all of them were top notch. I can’t say enough good things about those people. But that’s what you should be getting when the price tag is this high.

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Now the bad, the pace. When we pegged it on the 1st hole the group in front of us was nowhere in sight. By the 2nd fairway we began to wait on them on every shot. It wasn’t their fault, the guys in front of them waited, and the guys in front of them waited, and so on. I hear Pebble Beach is the same way. When tourists get on a difficult golf course, they don’t play ready golf and they don’t know where they’re going. Plus, they take pictures the whole fucking time (I only do it when I have to wait). We played in 5 hours and 15 minutes and were told that was decent. I can’t imagine how bad the pace could be on a rainy day with a full tee sheet. Fuck me.

Score: 3.5

Amenities

The American Club has everything. Fine dining, fine wines, a spa, great golf, caddies, great practice facilities, other great golf courses, and on and on and on. What don’t they have? I can’t think of anything. The food is pretty good and the pro shops have everything you could want with the Whistling Straits logo on it. If you go, bring extra money for shopping because you’re going to spend another $300 in the shop on merchandise.

If I was going to deduct a point in this category I’d do it simply because there isn’t much else around the resort to talk about. But then again, why leave the resort? I’m also fairly certain there is no strip club within 60 miles of the joint, but I’ll give them a pass for that. We found one the next night on our trip anyway, well, it found us I guess. And then there’s the granola bars. Oh my. So fucking good there must be crack in them. They’re about $5, but will keep you going all day. The ingredients are as follows:

Mix
2 C brown sugar
¾ C light corn syrup
¼ C honey
1 C butter
1 1/8 C peanut butter
1/1/2 T maple syrup
Mix separately and add to above
2 t salt
6 c quick rolled oats
¾ c wheat germ
Rough chop and add to above
1¼ C cranberries
1¼ C raisins
1¼ C apricots
1¼ C sunflower seeds
1¼ C pecans
Grease bottom only of a 9″ x 13″ pan. Bake in 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool
and cut into 3½” by 2″ bars.

That’s weird, I don’t see crack listed. Try one if you’re in Kohler, just because.

Score: 5.0

Difficulty

Like almost any Pete Dye course you can think of, the Straits course is overly difficult to play when it doesn’t need to be. The water doesn’t come into play and there’s a good chance you’ll finish your round without a penalty shot, but you’ll be cursing your wedge game to the hilt when you take four shots from 50 yards away from the green because you hit it on the site of a hill in a pot bunker that has no business being there. The course also has some forced carries that don’t leave the shorter hitters many options to bail out from attempting. And there are way too many blind shots to call this place ‘golfer friendly’.

Because the Straits plays firm and moderately fast it doesn’t play extremely long unless you’re playing a set of tees you don’t belong on. Also, I didn’t play on a day with much wind. While I didn’t find the course to be easy, I can only imagine how much harder it would be with a good 20 mph wind beating on you off the lake.  And fellas, this isn’t a place you bring your wife to see the sites. She’s not going to enjoy the difficult walk or the challenges of hiking up the hills to play her foul balls. Don’t bring her.

Per usual, this rating isn’t based on a 5 being “way too hard”. I’m rating a course a 5 when I’d say it’s playable and enjoyable, but not easy, for players of all levels. The Straits Course gets knocked because its almost too hard for everyone. Hide the women and children. And if you’re a 3 handicapper playing from over 7100 yards, you’re not breaking 80 your first time around the track. Book it.

Score: 2.5

Composite

Low grades aside, the Straits course almost lives up to the impossible amount of hype it receives. It’s good and it is a true experience that you’ll want to knock off your bucket list. If you’re a value golfer, just get it out of your mind that you’ll ever go there and play. You won’t pay the freight and you won’t want to so you also won’t enjoy it. If you’re looking for a similar experience at half the price, give Arcadia Bluffs a try on the other side of the lake. In my opinion, it is a better golf course and almost identical experience, minus the major championship history.

Score: 3.5 (out of 5)

If you didn’t get enough of the Straits here, check out the review by the Itinerant Golfer on his site. He’s got great pictures that are way better than mine, and he even saw the fucking sheep. Enjoy.

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Oh Mayakoba! Charley Hoffman Wins For First Time In 3 Years

Want To Hear The Most Annoying Sound In The World? 

There’s an entire sub-culture around the golf interwebs that thinks Charley Hoffman is the same guy that plays Harry in the Dumb & Dumber movie franchise. I guess we should just assume it is merely a coincidence that the weekend Dumb & Dumber 2 opens Mr. Hoffman goes out and wins his first PGA Tour event in over 3 years.

Thank god he finally cut his hair. Hoffman played in the final group on Sunday in Mexico with Lloyd Christmas Shawn Stefani and 54 hole leader Jason Bohn. Bohn shot a 40 on the front nine and was out of it early. Stefani and Hoffman battled all day long, and for much of it they were chasing 2008 U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee. Once Lee faded Hoffman and Stefani squared off on a 3 hole battle in which Hoffman prevailed thanks to a clutch shot on 16 and his ability to minimize a bad situation on 18.

After Stefani found a nasty bunker on 18 off the tee, Chuck hit a hook into the left rough. His ball bounced through the light primary cut and settled up against a tree. Hoffman didn’t panic. He played a brilliant left handed up-side-down shot back to the fairway and went on to knock his next shot on the green and make bogey. While that doesn’t sound like a great hole, it was all he needed to win with Stefani in trouble and barely making a bogey of his own.

As noted in the title, this is Charlie’s first W since 2011. He told the Golf Channel this one was even more special because his wife was pregnant with their first daughter at his last victory. Today, wifey and two kids were present and there to embrace Hoffman after he putted out on the final hole. That’s Mrs. Hoffman above with the mustache. She’s ok sans the Hitler look, but not my style. But look at Charlie. He out kicked his coverage by landing almost anything with a vagina.

That pic is a little better. Maybe she’s simply a butter face.

The Field

When Stefani and Hoffman were battling mano y mano over the last three holes, Stefani was the guy who flinched first. He did birdie the 17th hole to pull within one of Hoffman, but his tee shot at that hole almost found the hazard short of the fairway because he hit it so bad. That was a sign of nerves and what was to come. He wasn’t much better at 18 in making a very sloppy bogey when a par would have put him in a playoff. Shawn has never won on tour and getting that first one is what we’re told is the biggest hurdle for most guys to finally get over. He’ll have other chances.

Most of the back nine holes at the El Camaleon course which hosts the OHL Classic have hazard on both sides of the fairway. Players all over the broadcast where taking on red stakes like they were flag sticks. The front nine is apparently much easier because Danny Lee went out in 29 shots after making 7 consecutive birdies to complete his outward nine. I was ready to start the #59watch. He played the back nine in 3 over to end all hope of a break through victory.

And that is what Danny Lee wore today. I’m usually a fan of Iliac apparel. But Bert doesn’t pay me a dime to say nice things about it, nor does he provide me with anything free. Therefore, those ugly pants Lee is wearing are fair game. I hope he got a bowl of soup with them. I actually like the shirt. Wear that with black or grey pants and you’re fine. Wear that with matching red and black plaid pants and you look like you work in the Willa Wonka factory.

Shot Of The Day

Yes, I already awarded a Shot of the Day, but that was for the Euro Tour. There weren’t a lot of qualified candidates in Mexico today, but Charley Hoffman’s approach to the 16th green was stellar and ended up being the difference in the tourney. Go the the 1:25 mark for that shot.

You can also see Lee’s queer pants again. if you’re into that kind of thing.

On Tap

There’s no more golf on the North American schedule until January in Hawaii. What am I going to talk about for 6 weeks? Whatever pops up, plus I’ll be posting some long overdue course reviews from a trip I took in September. I know you can’t wait.

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King Koepka – Brooks Takes Turkish Open

Right Name, Wrong Tour

Last week when Peter Uihlein and Justin Thomas finished in the top 5 at the Sanderson Classic I pondered about which one of the two, plus Brooks Koepka, would win first on the PGA Tour. I said Koepka, and then the guy goes out and wins the Turkish Airlines Open one week later on the European Tour to get his first win. Yes, he has 4 Challenge Tour wins, but those aren’t the same as winning on either the Euro or American Tour.

Koepka’s win in Turkey today was no fluke. He started the round a few shots behind 54 hole leader Wade Ormsby but raced by him with a final round 65. His charge was lead by turning in four under. Then Koepka made a helluva birdie at the par four 10th hole to get the ball rolling on the back nine, but the real momentum changer was his eagle at the par five 13th.  That gave him a comfortable lead over everyone not named Ian Poulter and turned the last 5 holes into match play. In the end that was enough to win thanks to a few clutch putts and iron shots, and Poulter’s failure to convert a shortish birdie putt on the final hole.

What is next for Brooks is the exciting part of today’s events. I feel like this could free him up to go on a bit of a run. Obviously the win will raise his world ranking to help get him into certain WGC events and other prestigious tournaments. Now he has to take advantage of his opportunity. What I hope is that we see BK on the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2016. And I don’t care how he gets there. Kid has balls and can play. And did all of you fuckers see the little blond that was waiting for him in his entourage when he came off the 18th? Perhaps it was his sister. Sorry I didn’t get a picture.

The Field

As I said above, Poulter was really the only player on the golf course with a chance to steal the TAO from Koepka. He didn’t lose the tournament on Sunday. He shot a 67 for fuck sake. He lost on Saturday when he started the round with a six shot lead and hit it all over the lot en route to a 75. He did this in a fairly nasty rain storm and the result was a huge surprise to me for two reasons. First, he’s normally a mudder, by that I mean he plays well in sloppy conditions. Second, he usually chokes on Sunday. Hey oh!!!!!

The good news for Ian is that he’s clearly playing better and his recent high finishes prove it. I’m guessing his equipment changes are still in a honeymoon phase, but said changes aren’t having a negative impact on his game like they can for many guys. The bad news is that he’s still basically winless in stroke play events for his life. He had a birdie putt on the final hole to push Koepka into sudden death. This was the kind of putt that he’s made 98 out of 100 times in the Ryder Cup for a halve. But with all the potatoes on the line in stroke play he missed it low, perhaps even pulled it. He should have wrote a book on how to choke in individual tournaments instead of his bullshit biography.

Defending champ Victor Dubuisson was also in the field at the Turkish Airlines Open. His opening round 77 burst his bubble in trying to repeat. He fought back valiantly finishing T15, and it looked like he literally fought someone to get there as he played Friday with a bloody nose. Henrik Stenson took humor in the charade.

If you couldn’t hear him, Henrik commented, “bloody good birdie”. I didn’t think Swedes understood comedy.

Winning A Race Without Running

The Turkish Airlines Open is the 2nd to last event for the Euro Tour’s Race To Dubai. Rory McIlroy wasn’t competing in the TAO, but if certain players didn’t win he was almost assured of locking up the Euro version of the Fed Ex series thanks to his scorching hot 2014 summer. Once it was clear Michael Siem couldn’t win, Rory was the victor. Hopefully he was watching from his couch while two hookers blew him when he heard the news. That doesn’t seem likely based on this Instagram.

I guess that means no hookers, dude must be beating it….errr……balls, beating balls constantly.

Shot Of The Day

The Shot of the day must belong to Brooks Koepka, that part is easy. Which shot is the question. On ten he drained a very long and very key birdie putt. On 13 he stiffed a hybrid on the par 5 that lead to an eagle. Then on 18 after he punched out of the trees he hit an iron to 10 feet from 229 yards. I thought I’d go with the hybrid shot that lead to eagle, but the nerves he was dealing with on 18 make that shot even more impressive.

Onions. Stay tuned for Mayakoba talk later today.

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The Shutters: WAG Of The Year

The One We All Look Forward To

The Shutters are coming to and end and per usual we close them with the big one, the Shutter for WAG of the Year. Unlike last year when golf’s headlines were filled with 2013 winner Mrs. Duf, Paulina, and Lindsey Vonn, 2014 wasn’t a banner year for big name golf WAGs. But don’t you fear, I’ve muddled through and named 8 WAGs of the month and narrowed down the field to a few nominees for the ShutFaceGolf.com WAG of the Year. Now that I’ve got you excited, think baseball, chill the blood flow to your piece, and begin reading.

The Nominees Are

Alexis Randock (Rickie Fowler) - Alexis was a late edition to the talent pool of 2014 WAGs. I think she and Rick were trying to keep their romance quiet for much of the time they’ve ‘dated’. That all ended when RF announced his crush on her to the world on Twitter when he got home from the Ryder Cup.

Fowler had an outstanding season and we all know about his top fives in the majors. Was she a part of that? Who knows, but that’s included in the formula for being nominated and winning the Shutter. Randock also has the advantage of being a model (no shit). If she’d been seen with Rick from Augusta through the Ryder Cup she’d be the hands down winner.

Britt Horschel (Billy) - Mrs. Horschel doesn’t have the same look as her fellow nominees for this award. And because this is largely based on being shallow, she’s not likely to win. Still, she’s cute and she pulled the all-time WAG move by telling Billy to keep playing golf no matter what is going on with her pregnancy. No, most wives wouldn’t roll that way. And yes, she had her own interests in mind with 10 million dollars on the line, but she bucked up and made the gesture. Don’t kid yourself, she’s a huge reason as to why Billy won the Fed Ex Cup.

And once the Fed Ex smoke cleared and she knew Billy wouldn’t be on the Ryder Cup team, she promptly decided to go into labor and give the couple their first child. What a thoughtful wife. Slap some bolt-ons on her and I would have handed her the award already. Case closed.

Sasha Gale (Rory McIlroy) - I don’t even know if Rory and Sasha are still bumping uglies. Who does besides those two? What I do know is their secret fuck buddy status burst out over the interwebs after Rors started piling up majors in 2014. Throw that in with a bit of a ‘Mila Kunis with tits look’, Rors having the year he had, and she’s a strong WAGOTY candidate.

I’ll also admit that I dig her look and that helps her candidacy. However, her unknown status with Rory will hurt her chances.

Melissa Weber-Jones (Matt Jones) - Don’t tell me you forgot about MWJ, you did? Oh fuck you. She’s the former beauty queen that married Aussie journeyman Matt Jones. Matt won the Shell Houston Open in dramatic fashion to sneak into the Augusta field in 2014. In my mind, that validates her selection. If he’d have done anything else she’d be a serious threat to win the Shutter.

I’m a big fan, and she obviously has the look to win the award. She’s lacking all the intangibles and extra support of her guy having a better year on the golf course. In a year with a weak field of candidates, that other stuff may not matter.

And The Winner Is…

Wow. This is tough because I’m not sure any of these nominees is truly deserving of getting this award after the high standard Amanda Dufner set last year. Still, I will press forward and make a selection. If I knew Gale was actually still in bed with Rors, she wins. But that isn’t the case. That means I’ll have to give it to Mrs. Hors……..nope. This award isn’t for the best wife/girlfriend. When we talk WAGs on here it is all about being a pig. That means I’m going with someone who’s flat out hot. And thanks to the year Mr. Fowler had, Alexis Randock is the late charging winner of the Shutter for WAG of the Year. By no coincidence, she’s also the current WAG of the Month. Nice work, Rick.

Yummy.

Yea Or Nay?

You might be surprised to know that I actually do care what you think. This site wouldn’t be around with out the readers. So tell me, did I get this right? Did I completely omit a more deserving candidate? If this poll overwhelmingly results in a clear winner that isn’t who I picked, I’ll come back and revise this post to have a recall on the award. It is up to you to voice your opinion to make this happen. Get on it.

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Nick Taylor Nabs First Win: Final Thoughts On Sanderson Farms Championship

First Of All, What The Fuck Is Sanderson Farms? 

Apparently it is one of the worlds biggest producers of any kind of chicken product you can think of. Why haven’t you heard of them before? Because previous versions of this tournament were contested in the middle of the summer and it went mostly unnoticed. The tourney was played in July of prior seasons when we’re all on vacation and the big show is across the pond at the Open Championship. Oh, and the 2013 winner was Woody Austin. I barely mentioned his win in the British Open Finale Thread last year.

The date of the event was changed to November, which means it wasn’t actually contested in the 2014 PGA Tour season. It is also still an opposite field event that was played last weekend opposite the HSBC. The move makes sense because Mississippi, where it is held, is a sweltering mess in July. Having an event that deep into the south makes a little more sense in November. Now that’s we’ve got that issue sorted out, let’s talk about the actual golf.

Is He In A Boy Band? 

Canadian Nick Taylor isn’t a household name, but it does sound like a twink in some queer boy band that tween girls love. Nick Taylor, the golfer, won the Sanderson Farms Championship thanks to a final round that included 8 birdies. I didn’t see a single bit of this live, but Taylor did end up winning by 2 shots even after making bogey on his final hole. He trailed 54 hole leader John Rollins by 4 shots entering the round, but whizzed past him thanks to Rollins final round 73. What did Taylor get for his efforts besides a bunch of money?

A giant chicken trophy. In a strange way, that’s fucking awesome. Is the guy next to him wearing a pith helmet? I’m fairly certain this win gets Taylor into the 2015 Masters. It definitely gets him a 2 year exemption for his tour status. Congrats to Mr. Taylor for joining an elite group of players that have won on tour.

The Field

Like I said, I didn’t watch any of this live and still haven’t caught the whole thing on my DVR. What I do know is that Boo Weekley and Jason Bohn finished 2 shots back of Taylor tied for 2nd. Bohn seemingly hasn’t contended in years, so this outcome should be a huge confidence builder. Boo probably was glad that he didn’t have to wait around for a playoff because he had some angling to do after the round.

Young bucks Peter Uihlein and Justin Thomas closed the Sanderson with strong rounds of 65 and 67 to nab top 5 finishes. Both of these guys could win any given week on tour with the talent they have. Between them and Brooks Koepka it will be interesting to see who wins first on the American tour. I think their odds are all the same, but if you put a gun to my head I’d go with Brooks.

Back To Rollins

As I noted above, John Rollins shot 73 after being the 54 hole leader to tie Thomas and Uihlein for 4th. What I’m about to tell you has nothing to do with the Sanderson Farms Championship, its only about Mr. and Mrs. Rollins and my drunk buddy that tried to hook up with her. Said friend of mine, who reads this blog and works in the golf business, once sat down next to Mrs. R. at a PGA Tour event in which John was playing. According to lore, drunk guy hit on Mrs. Rollins like no man has ever hit on a woman before. He tried to buy her drinks and even offered to party with her back in his local town about 50 miles away.

Unknown to drunk guy, she’s at the course to watch her husband, not get hit on. Drunk guy then makes a joke about Rollins as he 3 whacks the green they’re sitting near. She explains who she is and who her husband is as she walks away from his advances chuckling at him. Classic. Looking at that picture of her tells me how drunk he must have been that day. She looks like a suburban soccer mom. Nothing more.

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Gerry Watson, You Crazy Fuck: Final Thoughts On HSBC

I Cannot Believe Tears Were Not Shed

Once everyone got over Patty Reed’s use of ‘faggot’,  the WGC HSBC in Shanghai turned out to be a pretty decent tournament.  In a field full of big names that are not Phil or Tiger, Bubba Watson battled 54 hole leader Graeme McDowell, reigning U.S. Open Champ Martin Kaymer, top ten machine Rickie Fowler, and short knocking-long putter wielding Tim Clark to capture his first WGC title. How he did it is what made viewers drop their jaws (if they stayed up all night to watch).

Watson made his way to the back nine with the lead. With two par 5s and a driveable par 4 still on his plate, the tournament looked to be Bubba’s to lose. He tried to do just that. Watson made a bogey at the 13th thanks to hitting his tee ball in the drink. Then he bogied the 276 yard par four 16th hole when he laid up and made a mess of things with his wedges. He took two shots to get out of the bunker at 17 and made double. Trailing a group at 10 under, Bubba knew he needed to do something at 18 to give himself a chance. His colossal drive was a great start, but another poor iron shot from 220 left him in the bunker left of the green. His third shot follows:

Holy shit! That’s an early nomination for Shot of the Year. Doing that after playing his previous two holes like a jerkoff is amazing, and a bit lucky. A birdie was mandatory to join the leaders a shot in front of him. Still, odds were that one of those players would have made birdie on the closing par 5 to get to 11 under. Bubba’s eagle guaranteed his spot in a playoff. Then Timmy Clark joined him by wedging his 3rd shot close and making a clutch putt.

Clark and Watson played together all day, then they dropped Rickie Fowler off and and went back to the 18th tee to start sudden death. Oddly, both hit nearly identical shots as they had in regulation to get near the green. Clark missed his birdie putt from further away this time. Watson’s bunker shot wasn’t in the same world as the one he holed for eagle. He left himself about 25 feet for a four.

Unbelievable. Gerry told the Golf Channel that the putt was on a similar line as his bunker shot 40 minutes early. The fact that he and caddie Ted Scott learned something from the previous bunker shot means that Ted earned his 7% this week (although he does every week looping for this nut job). Watson is now 4-1 for his career in playoffs. That’s really fucking impressive for someone who is as jittery as he is. His only loss is off course the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straights in which he dumped his approach shot in the drink at the 18th hole and handed the Wanamaker trophy to Martin Kaymer.

The Field

The diminutive Tim Clark was out driven by Bubba Watson by 75 yards on the first playoff hole. He had no business being in the playoff, but his accuracy and stellar wedge play say otherwise. Clark of course is a 1 time winner on tour that has 13 runner up finishes, including today’s. He didn’t lose today, Watson beat him, but Clark must feel snake bitten knowing how close he was again. Hey, at least he was rocking a sweet ‘stache for Movember.

When he took his cap off he looked like a James Bond villain.  Clark also knows that he’s got less than 14 months to keep making money at this kind of clip. His long wand will be banned on January 1, 2016, and he claims he can’t use a conventional putter thanks to a defect in how his wrists bend. I’m sure he’ll come up with some modified way to yield the flat stick, but that doesn’t guarantee future millions in earnings.

As for everybody else, they all had their chances. Asian Tour player Hiroshi Iwata contended through the final hole of the HSBC. The Golf Channel did a nice job telling us how a win in this event could change his life. It would have sent him to the Masters, given him tour status, and qualified him for future WGC events. That’s like a winning lottery ticket right there for the taking. Sadly for Iwata, his game didn’t hold up under the pressure of the final holes. His 3 birdies in the first 5 holes of the closing nine got him into contention, but his game looked like he knew what was at stake over the last 4 holes.

Kaymer, Fowler, and GMac were the other names in play in Shanghai. Each of them made critical mistakes to end their bids to win over the final holes. Rickie erred by finding the drink on 18 on his 2nd shot. Kaymer rinsed his 3rd at the 18th. And GMac couldn’t hit it close enough to give himself any legit chances at birdies. He only made one birdie for the entire final round.

What The Fuck? 

Once Bubba had the trophy and the pictures were all taken, the 18th green cleared and shit got weird. Ten to twelve Asian chicks took the stage to perform some kind of cultural dance. The image below is from the pre-tournament press event that was put on by the sponsor, but it looked a bit like this. 

I’m sure this is very common in other cultures, but I sat and watched the Golf Channel close its broadcast with this image on the screen as the camera panned away. It made me think, what if after the green jacket was presented Augusta National brought out the Laker Girls to shake their tits and asses, or something along those lines. I don’t even know what the chicks in Shanghai were doing on that green, but it looked odd to me. There were balls on strings and intricate footwork, what did it all mean? I’m clueless.

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Patrick Reed Comes Out Of The Closet

I Took Him Literally

The HSBC WGC event started yesterday in the far East and Graeme McDowell took a -5 under 1st round lead. What was more interesting is what Patrick Reed did and said as he played the 1st hole. Reed hit the green in regulation and then 3 whacked for bogey. He was not pleased, and his displeasure was caught on camera for all to see and hear.

Oops.

Ok, you heard him. He missed the putt and said something along the lines of “nice fucking three putt you fucking faggot”. Do I condone that? No, I’m not a bigot. Does this make Patrick Reed a bigot? It does not. Of course it isn’t that simple. As a competitive athlete, Reed is simply a product of his environment. I’m sure he’s heard this type of talk all his life in the south while playing sports. This shit is heard on NFL fields during games, and as Kobe Bryant taught us, all over the NBA courts as well.

Does that make the use of such words excusable? That is an opinion that must be decided by the fans and the tour. Rumors are circling that he’ll be fined a large (undisclosed) amount by the tour brass. That has to happen as a P.R. move by them. How will the fans react? They moved past it pretty quickly for Kobe. And Reed is already showing remorse for the slur as his tweet shows.

That’s reads like a save-the-sponsors move, but the right first move to forgiveness and forgetting. Hey, I hear this type of thing in my office when guys are giving each other shit. I hear it from my buddies on the golf course when putts are made to clinch bets. This is how many straight macho guys talk when their boss, grandma, or pastor isn’t around to hear them. They don’t have microphones near them to pick it up and make it available on the internet. They’re not bigots either. Slurs like this go unnoticed when they’re not made in public. There are no repercussions. Should there be?  Who is offended (tree falling in the woods theory)? What Reed did will make people more aware of hateful words, but will they still be used around less offended companions. I assume, yes.

My gut says Reed will likely donate cash to a gay rights charity as a way to make amends. The 24 hour news cycle will move on from this, and by his next Ryder Cup appearance Americans will be rooting for him like he’s Rocky fighting Apollo Creed. I’d like for the media to ask his fellow players about what Reed said. They’d all give the PC answer, but I doubt any of them were actually offended, except perhaps Martin Kaymer.

Reed should just be happy he’s an independent contractor that can’t be fired by the tour, the USGA, the PGA, etc. like you or I could be fired by our employers. He’d surely be out on his ass. Speaking of which, I’m betting that somewhere in Indiana, Ted Bishop is writing Pat a thank you note for taking the ‘Public Enemy of Golf ‘title away from him this week.

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The Shutters: Shot Of The Year

Only Two To Go

The Shutters are coming to a close. The only one remaining after this post is the biggie, WAG of the Year. But first things first, the Shot of the Year. Remember, this doesn’t apply to shots from the PGA Tour. Nominees can come from anywhere and everywhere in the world of golf. Some of this year’s nominees will surprise you.

The Nominees Are

Martin Kaymer, Final Round of Players Championship, Par Putt On 17th Hole - You know this one. And the shot from Martin was definitely the putt of the year as it is the biggest reason he won nearly two million dollars on that Sunday in May. One more look:

Onions! That was of course the finale of the act that was the 17th hole for MK that day. His bizarro tee shot off the railroad tie with the funky spin put him in that situation. I would have given him a 1 in 100 chance to make that and he drilled it. Is a putt worthy of being named the shot of the year? Perhaps.

Rory McIlroy, Final Round of Honda Classic, 2nd Shot On 18th Hole - Rory had a great year and won two majors, but none of the shots he hit in those championships had the pizzazz this one did. You may recall that Rors hadn’t won in the states for about two years before he snagged the Bridgestone. This was his best chance to break that streak in forever. He played like shit on Sunday and needed an eagle at the final hole to win outright. He went for the jugular.

It was only 245 yards, but under that pressure to execute that shot….that’s pretty damn good. He went with a big soft cut over the drink to that pin?! Too bad he missed the putt. I wanted to nominate his 2nd shot at the 10th hole from the final round at Valhalla. He hit a 280 yard 3 wood to 6 feet when he needed something to change the momentum of his round. So why didn’t I nominate that shot? He missed it and admitted it. The result was an accident. I can’t reward that.

ShutFaceGolf, Casual Sunday Round, Hole-In-One, 11th Hole At Local Course - Yeah fuckers, that’s right. I just nominated myself. Its my site and I can do shit like that. It was a dandy of a shot too. I held up a draw 4 iron against the wind and got a nice bounce into the jug.

And the best part, I only had to buy one beer for my playing partner, he had to get to a youth soccer game. Everyone else I knew at the course that day was working and couldn’t drink. Whew. I can’t pick my own shot as the winner, can I? Watch me. 

Matt Kuchar, Final Round of Heritage, 3rd shot At The 72nd Hole - Oh golly gee, Matty. Just when I thought Mr. ATM had blown the tournament by hitting it in the kitty litter on the final hole, he did this.

Faldo called that easy. Yeah, the lie, the angle, the amount green to work with, the wind….that all made it an easy shot if this was the first round. Last hole of the final round, and you need it to win? Not easy. And definitely worth a nominee for the Shot of the Year. Think of it this way. That shot won him a million bucks. That holds weight.

Unnamed Mid-Am Competitor, USGA Mid-Am Local Qualifier, Final Hole - I know who the guy was because I’ve played with before and I played with him all day during this qualifier. I’m not saying his name to protect him and as well as not give away my own identity. What did this cat do?

He hit his approach shot to the final green of the qualifier 60 yards left of his target. At the time he was even par which was right on the number to make a playoff to qualify for the USGA Championship. He knew where he stood. Nerves got to him on the approach shot. Now he found himself on the members teeing ground of the driving range. It was packed with players waiting to tee off upon completion of the qualifier. He had to hit a 50 some yard flop shot off a tight driving range lie over a bunker with about 2 square feet of a landing area. Hit it thin and you’re out of bounds and out of the playoff. No pressure.

Dude struck it pure, and I had a great view because I was halfway between him and the hole prepping to hit a similar shot (albeit well over par with no concerns about what I shot). His ball landed 3 feet from the hole when it dropped from the sky. It checked once and lipped out staying on the edge for a 2 inch tap in. Easy par. Phenomenal shot, but he lost the playoff.

Victor Dubuisson, Extra Holes Of Accenture Match Play, Escape Shots From Jail - These were mind blowing. You likely remember them both. If not let me refresh your memory. Mr. Dubuisson found himself in the WGC Match Play Championship match against Jason Day. The match was so good it went to extra holes. On the first extra hole Victor missed the green badly and found himself in a sticky situation.

Of course to Day’s disbelief, the match continued only to find VD in a similar situation on the 2nd extra hole. Then this happened.

If he had holed either for the win, I think that’s an automatic winner. They were both incredible and Day’s reactions show you how unreal the outcome was. Even though he didn’t win, these shots did assure Dubuisson a spot on the Euro Ryder Cup team, IMO (yes I know he automatically qualified).

And The Winner Is…

Fuck it. I’m picking my ace. Fuck you guys. No, I’m kidding. My gut says the flop shot by the unnamed Mid-Am is most deserving. Yet, his shot didn’t put $1,000,000 in his bank account like Kuchar’s did. The Dubuisson shots are out. You can’t count two shots for Shot of the Year. Rory at the Honda? Out. I can’t pick the Mid-Am because you didn’t see it. Only about 15 people did. That leaves Martin v. Kooch (scratches head). Tough call, but I’ll go with Kaymer’s putt at the Players. The entire hole was a circus, and that putt was unreal given what happened before it. Great roll, Martin.

Of course this is your chance to tell me I’m wrong. I’d love to read your comments and see the poll results. Don’t be bashful. Who should have won the Shutter for Shot of the Year?

 

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Deja Vu For Moore In Malaysia: Final Thoughts On CIMB

This Was A PGA Tour Event

That’s an important fact to remember. After last week’s McGladrey Classic the 2014-2015 PGA Tour season continues on to Asia for a few weeks. The CIMB Classic, just like last year, is the first of the two events. And, just like last year, Ryan Moore won the CIMB to kick start his season on the tour. Playing (slow as fuck) in the last group with Kevin Na and Sergio Garcia, Moore hit shot after shot after shot to stick a dagger in his opponents and defend his crown. He was impressive to say the least.

This years version of the CIMB was a bit less stressful for Mr. Moore. Last year he had to beat Gary Woodland in a playoff. Today he simply had to not throw up all over himself as he played the final hole with a 3 shot lead. Moore also had a bit of help from his competitors. Back nine double bogies from both Garcia and Na cleared the way for Moore’s large lead. That and this shot that lead to an easy birdie on the 71st hole of the tourney.

What is next for Moore is anybody’s guess. Clearly this course and this event fit him well. I would have thought his prior victory here would have been a springboard to a big season. It was not. He finished 39th in the Fed Ex standings and didn’t do much to convince Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson to pick him even though he finished 11th in those standings. Hopefully 2015 is different for Ryan. I like his game and he’s easy to root for, I just wish he’d play a little faster.

He made Kevin Na look fast at the CIMB. How the fuck is that possible? I watched this tournament via a recording on my DVR. You know that 30 second skip button on your remote? Yeah, I got to use it twice while waiting for Moore to hit on about 10 different occasions. In the clip above Moore has already had a minute or two to feel the shot out with his caddie. Then he doesn’t pull the trigger until the 38th second of the clip. Baaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! In this group Na was typically the shortest off the tee and would hit first from the fairway. Moore and Na both took well over a minute to hit their shots. Moore and his caddie need to figure out what ‘ready golf’ means. Why neither was put on the clock is beyond me. They played their round in 5+ hours and made a very deliberate Sergio Garcia look like a sprinter.

Na’s Blow Up

Na played great today. Sure he missed a few putts and shots, but through 70 holes he was right in the thick of it and had a shot to take down Moore. You knew a foul ball or mental error was looming for him. Then, on the 17th tee while simply trying to hit the fairway with a hybrid, it happened. Na’s tee shot was blocked way right into the trees near some Port-O-Shitters. They never found it. He had to re-tee and made double bogey. Na was pissed and acted like an ass, but the whole episode was pretty tame for him. He knew he fucked up.

I found this act very entertaining because you knew it was coming. Then Na waived off the ride back to the tee like a toddler having a tantrum. He’ll never change. To his credit he did come back and birdie the last hole to climb back into a tie for 2nd. Good for him. Second place seems just about right for him all too often.

Sergio And The Golf Gods

Garcia played well enough to win as well, but the Golf Gods wouldn’t let it happen. Do I believe that? No, but I’m sure he’s thinking that right now. Sergio literally hit the lip on his birdie putts on half of his first 6 holes and only one went down. Still, after a great birdie at the 9th, he was right were he wanted to be with 9 holes to play.

Garcia’s tee shot at the 10th should have landed in the left rough with little difficulty in front of him to still make his par. The ball hit the cart path and bounded off the screen to never be seen or found again. After 5 minutes Garcia took his ride back to the tee and made double bogey. I thought he was out of it at that juncture but he hung in there and bounced back with a few birdies. If it hadn’t been for the bad luck and the shot making by Moore…….nah…..the golf gods still would have found a way to fuck him over. Such is their way with El Nino.

Haunted Sluts

Meanwhile back in the States, Halloween came and went over the weekend and that means every girl who’s willing and able dresses up like a slutty this or horny that does so. Golf WAGs are no exception to the rule. The highlights from the Tour WAGs are as follows:

Amanda Dufner

She was some sort of whorish goblin. She’s the 3rd from the left in case you can’t tell. By now I think I could identify her simply by her cleavage.

Jillian Stacey

I’ve always been a big fan of Keegan Bradley’s piece. I wonder if he’s ever going to put a ring on it? If she keeps dressing up like this he’ll have to. Wow.

Why didn’t I go to a private Catholic school?

Alexis Randock

I have no fucking clue what the reigning SFG Wag of the Month was dressed up as, but god bless.

So who won Halloween of these three? No poll needed, I’ll go with Jillian, but there’s no loser in this contest. Thanks again ladies.

Shot Of The Week

Lee Westwood didn’t contend at the CIMB this week, but he did have his 15th career hole in one. That gets my shot of the week. Yeah, 15!!!!! Holy shit.

And from 225 away? That’s even more stellar. Great shot.

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New WAG of the Month!!!!

Short And Sweet

No, that’s not meant to describe Rickie Fowler. Instead, this post is merely being used to alert you to the fact that October is over soon and November’s WAG of the Month has been selected. The winner? Rickie Fowler’s new fling, Alexis Randock.

Rickie didn’t do shit in October. In fact, his September wasn’t that great either and my lasting impression of him for the year is his shitty performance at the Ryder Cup. But when Rick got back from Europe he announced his Randock crush on Twitter. She’s smoking hot, and the pick’ns were slim this month. It was an easy choice. There you go. Enjoy her while you can, November only has 30 days in it! Oh, and check out her Instagram account while you’re in the fap zone. Sick fucks.

Alexis’ Insty

 

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