Furyk Foils Drought: Final Thoughts On Heritage

He Dried His Tears With $15 Million

Jim Furyk’s last PGA Tour win was the Tour Championship in 2010. You probably remember it. He had his hat on backward. It was raining. Think about how long ago that feels to you. Now imagine you’re a top tier Tour player and you haven’t won since? It’s probably a lot like being really good at your job but getting passed up for a promotion a few times a year. Not only do you not get the pay off and the credit for what you’re doing, but you have to watch another guy steal your glory. That’s like blue balls for your career.

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Furyk finally got to shoot his full golfing load from a 5 year back up thanks to his final round 63 at the RBC Heritage Classic. Jim posted 18 under and then waited behind the 18th green to see if anyone could equal him. Little known Kevin Kisner did just that by making a clutch birdie. The twosome came back down 18 in the playoff and matched birdies, then Furyk hit it a little closer than Kisner on 18 and made his birdie putt after Kisner missed. If you’re keeping track, that is 10 birdies in 20 holes for Jim on Sunday.

That clip of Jim’s winning putt tells the story of the frustration he’s felt during his drought. Clearly this thing was becoming an annoying wart for him to deal with. He played great today, and after making 18 pars to begin the tourney on Thursday, going 18 under over his next 54 holes is pretty much abusing the golf course. Still, I can’t help but wonder if Jim would have got it done if he’d have had to sleep on the lead overnight. I’ll still doubt him next time he’s in that position.

Out-Kicked Coverage

The theme among PGA Tour pros is that they’ve married well above the level they should have thanks to their big bank accounts. The theory holds true 95% of the time. Look no further than Mr. and Mrs. Furyk for the greatest example of this truth. I’ve been posting hot wives and girlfriends pictures on this site for over two years and thanks to Jim choking 12 times in that time frame I’ve never been able to show his wife, Tabatha.

You’ve likely seen her in their Web.com commercial where she’s condescending to Jim and belittles his husband abilities to the world.

Tabatha Furyk is lovely, and Jim looks like the damn bald eagle Muppet. What a couple.

The Field

Kevin Kisner is a nobody to even the biggest PGA Tour fan, but he didn’t play like it this week. Kisner posted 4 rounds in the 60s and probably outplayed Furyk over the course of 4 days. His gutsy birdie on the 72nd hole to force the playoff shows what he’s made of. I’ll be perfectly honest, I was rooting for him to win. Hopefully we see more of the him and this wasn’t some one-shot-wonder week.

Jordan Spieth kept his promise to the Heritage and made it to Hilton Head after his whirlwind media tour of New York. Spieth showed up exhausted and shot 74 in shitty weather on Thursday. Just won 1st major, green jacket in hand, why not mail it in on Friday and go home to rest? Not this kid. Jordan came out firing and shot 62 on Friday to fly up the leaderboard and into contention. He ended up T11 after rinsing some balls in hazards on the weekend. Then he flew home to Dallas to present and award at some country music show. What a life.

Shot Of The Day

Nothing from Hilton Head can top what Sei Young Kim did last night in Hawaii at the Lotte Championship. If you missed it, this Golf Channel video sums it up well for you. First, she chipped in when she had to just to force a playoff with Inbee Park. Then, on the first playoff hole……well, just take a look for yourself.

You can’t call it a walk-off because Park still had to hit her shot, but that’s a damn fine way to win a golf tournament. The look on Park’s face on both shots is hilarious. She’s stunned, pure disbelief, she must have felt gutted. Thanks for the highlights, Ms. Kim.

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Hump Day Musings: Masters Champion Media Blitz Edition

I Hope He Is Snorting No-Doz

I don’t remember Tiger Woods showing up on every talk show or news outlet in New York City immediately following his Masters victories. This must be something new. Perhaps it is even a contractual obligation. Adam Scott made the rounds in 2013 and Bubba did the same in 2012 and 2014. Now, after breaking every record at the Masters you can fathom, Jordan Spieth is taking his turn doing the same with his precious green jacket in tow. Embedded image permalink

That’s Jordan taking the cushy Under Armour jet from Augusta to NYC on Monday morning. The kid did Letterman that evening, the today show on Tuesday, and interviews on CNBC, ESPN Radio, Golf Channel, and another dozen or so media outlets in between. I heard him on the Dan Le Batard radio show on Monday where he continued to lead the field by giving a great (and playful) interview to Dan.

Le Batard asked Jordan if he ever goes back to Austin to see his class mates still in school at the University of Texas. Of course he does. Then Dan pressed on to ask the good stuff, like “did you let all your buddies try on the green jacket?” Yes, he did. And this one, “do you drink too much and puke in a bucket when you go back to Austin?”  It was clear Jordan didn’t want to be 100% honest with either answer, but Dan pulled the truth out of him. Yes, the 21 year old Master champ with millions in his bank account goes back to campus, sleeps on his buddy’s couch, and gets so fucked up that he pukes in a bucket every now and then. Fuck yeah! Good for him.

His selfie from the top of the Empire State went viral and the lights on the landmark were green in his honor.

All too good to be true. Then his story got even sweeter when somebody somewhere decided they’d dispel the myth of Jordan being a silver spoon country club kid. Jordan went to a very well-to-do private high school in the Dallas area. You’d think he didn’t have to pay tuition simply because of his golf abilities. That isn’t the case. Spieth had to work for his tuition, and he was grateful enough for his opportunity to be there that he wrote this thank you letter to the folks that granted the scholarship he earned through a work grant program.

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Next he walked on water. No, I kid. But he does seem to be too good to be true at this point.

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Ahhhh…..there we go. Double birds to his pal taking a candid shot on the jet. He’s probably responding to a dig at his hairline. What’s next for Mr. Spieth? He’s on his way to Hilton Head to keep his promise to the Heritage tournament. He’s also on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated.

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SI has been taking a lot of shit for using the word ‘era’. The cover and the use of the phrase is nearly a carbon copy of Rory’s cover after the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional. I guess the Rory era only lasted 4 years.

He’s Still Teaching A Kid

In the storm following Jordan’s record setting win, the story of he and caddie Michael Greller getting together is starting to get more attention. Greller and Spieth teamed up out of luck. Perhaps you’d call it destiny. Jordan was in the field at the U.S. Junior being played at Chambers Bay a few years ago. Greller caddied at Chambers during his summers off from being a 6th grade math teacher. He made $55,000 a year teaching.

Spieth contacted Greller based on the recommendation of fellow (now) pro Justin Thomas. Thomas was too old for the U.S. Junior at the time. There was a hitch that almost made this partnership not happen, Greller had already agreed to loop for another participant. Whomever that kid was, he ended up withdrawing with an injury and Greller let Jordan know he was available. Greller worked for Spieth at other events following their U.S. Junior partnership and when Jordan decided to turn pro he called Greller with an offer.

Greller is married to his wife Ellie, she’s also a teacher. He now had to contemplate quitting his job and hitting the road with a 19 year old kid with no status on any tour versus staying in his stable life at home with her. From how the story has been told it sounds as if she pushed him out the door to follow this dream. She didn’t want him to regret seeing Jordan win the Masters in 10 years and wonder what could have been. Smart girl. The Greller’s bet on Spieth and the dividends are now immeasurable.

There Is No Truth To The Rumor That He Was Also Given A Bowl Of Soup

Part of the beauty of the Masters field is that it has several amateurs in it that have been invited based on their performance in a prior year USGA event. The U.S. Mid Am champ is always invited and is really the only true amateur (non-collegiate player) in the field that isn’t a pseudo tour pro. This year that man was Scott Harvey.

Harvey shot 76-81 and missed the cut at the Masters by a bunch of shots. So what would you do next if you’re Mr. Harvey, you’re at the Masters, and you’ve just had your weekend open up? If you said ‘buy one of everything in the Augusta National merchandise area’, you win! According to various tweets, golf journos, and ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Harvey spent $8500+ on Masters swag. Well done, and worth every penny.

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Masters Week 2015: The Finale

Kid Took The Air Out Of The Ball

Masters Sunday is supposed to be about a charge up the leaderboard, drama throughout the round and echos from Amen Corner. For two years in a row now that has not happened. Last year Bubba was without challengers. This year was Jordan Spieth dominating the course and keeping the competition at arms length no matter how many eagles were made. Why didn’t we see this coming? Jordan was T2 at Augusta last year. And his prior 3 starts on the PGA Tour were 2nd, 1st, and 2nd place finishes.

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Jordan isn’t the best player on the Tour in any one area, except probably the overall statistical category, but he has no weaknesses. None. Put that in his bio. Where he beats the field is between the ears. He out thinks them, he has confidence in his ability, and he prepares himself better than other players of his caliber.

When you watch Rory McIlroy hit a golf ball and compare that motion and result to Jordan Spieth’s, they are worlds apart. Their games are apples and oranges. Rory is world number 1 for a reason. He’s uber talented. Jordan has plenty of talent of his own, but he beat Rory this week in his brain and his preparation. He played 3 of 4 weeks leading up to the Masters. Rory played the only week that Jordan took off. When Spieth got to Augusta he was warmed up for a race in the the midst of a good lather. Rory was still trying to knock the rust off from not playing since Arnie’s event and get stretched out.

Jordan also has toured ANGC many times with mentor Ben Crenshaw and Ben’s caddie Carl Jackson, taking notes, more prep, etc. Have you ever heard of Rory going around Amen Corner with a former champ looking for an edge? I haven’t. Last year Spieth played Amen Corner in +2 for the week. This year, on Wednesday morning, he went around Augusta’s back nine with Tiger and Crenshaw. He recalled his own experiences last year there and he played the same 3 holes 7 shots better in 2015. You think that might have helped him a bit?

On his way to victory, Jordan set just a few records. I’m not sure I can even list them all.

– Youngest first round leader at Masters (21).

– 36 hole scoring record at the Masters and in the majors (-14).

– 54 hole Masters record (200, -16).

– Most birdies in a Masters (28).

– Low 72 hole total, (tied with Tiger at -18).

He also became the first player to ever be -19 at Augusta and is the 2nd youngest Masters champion next to Tiger. (Breaths) That’s a lot.

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There’s a debate going around the Twitterverse right now and on Golf Channel about Jordan’s lack of firepower off the tee being something that keeps him from winning more majors and Masters down the road. The debate is really more about distance trumping a hot putter. Jordan is going to give up yards to Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but he’s not going to give up trophies. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat and it’s not like he’s hitting 5 irons where others are hitting wedge. The difference is minimal. The debate is stupid. Ignore it if you see it.

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Jordan is a true champion, and not just on the course. He’s almost boring because his answers in pressers are so well thought out, poignant and simple. You’d think they were handed to him by a P.R. person. Besides yelling at his ball with nearly every shot he hits in the heat of competition, Jordan is nothing but class and composure. His acceptance speech at the green jacket ceremony was all class. Everything he does is. You can look no further for more evidence of this than him keeping his prior commitment to play in next week’s tour event at Hilton Head even though he’s exhausted from the grind of the Masters. He gets it. Little things matter to him.

I’m not a professional golfer. I cannot provide Jordan with any worthwhile advice that he can’t get somewhere else. However, if I could tell him one thing it would be, DON’T CHANGE A THING.

Winners And Losers

You might have forgotten how we roll here at SFG after a major. If you’re unaware, I give my winners and losers after the big weeks on tour. Let’s get to it.

Winners

Jordan Spieth – The tradition here is to make the tourney winner the big winner on my list. That’s only logical. For Spieth, he’s a winner for the records noted above, his new green garment in his wardrobe, and for doing it all in class.

Life is pretty good for the kid right now. He recently bought a multi-million dollar house in the Dallas area and his cute girlfriend was named the ShutFaceGolf.com WAG of the Month. That’s no coincidence. These broads should be lining up to be June’s WAGoTM for this site so their guy can win the U.S. Open.

Tiger Mother Fucking Woods – If you’ve read my drivel here after other majors you know that Tiger has made my list of losers for all 8 that I’ve reviewed for the last two years. My stance has been that if Tiger isn’t winning the tournament, the only 4 tournaments that matter to him as he’s stated publicly, then he’s a loser for that week.

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I’m dialing that back today. The greatest golfer of my generation hadn’t even finished 4 rounds of a championship with a cut in about 9 months. He surely hadn’t done so under par with two rounds in the 60s. His bookend 73s be damned, he played some decent golf this week. Yes, going 2/14 in hitting fairways on Sunday is terrible. But think of where he was at Torrey Pines. Think of the doubt that we had as to if he’d even play a week ago. He solved his short game issues and he can compete again. These are steps in the right direction.

He’s also presumably healthy, no matter what we saw on the 9th hole today. His comment about popping his bone back in place had to be tongue in cheek. Joe LaCava should tell him that tree roots can’t injure your hand if you hit it in the fairway.

Ian Poulter – Ugh, this one pains me, but I try to give credit where credit is due. IJP had himself quite a weekend at Augusta National. The green-in-regulation number might be a typo….no?? You verified it? Well fuck.

I guess we should just be thankful Poults didn’t really contend and CBS didn’t show his bullshit while he played well. Eat a dick, Ian.

Under Armour – Ummmmm…..duh. I bet two years ago UA was wondering if they should retire their golf product line. Hunter Mahan. Gary Woodland. Not exactly guys that can carry your merchandise into the winner circle like you need them to so you can grow your brand. Enter Jordan Spieth.

I read a tweet this weekend about UA resigning Jordan mid-contract at the end of 2014 to a ten year deal. If that is the case, the guy that had that idea should be given a parade at UA headquarters. Now if only UA would start making shit I’ll actually wear. Spieth’s shoes are FUGLY.

Phil Mickelson – Like Tiger above, I’ve often put FIGJAM on the loser side of this segment. I can’t this week. He played great, he simply got beat by a guy that played better. Phil ended up T2 with Justin Rose thus completing his career slam of runner up finishes in majors. The 14 under total would have won the Masters almost any other year. Phil joins a handful of guys to pull off the 2nd Place Slam. One is Jack Nicklaus, and Jack is the only guy on that list that ever completed the career slam.

Losers

Rory McIlroy – SFG is a tough room to win over, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see world number 1 and winner of the previous two majors on the loser list. High expectations that aren’t lived up to don’t help him either. Rory has also beat 99.3% of the golfers he has competed against in the last 3 majors thanks to his T4 finish at the 2015 Masters. Yet here he is, with another back door top 5 thanks to his lack of preparation as I noted above.

He was in danger of missing the cut on Friday and went 15 under over his last 45 holes or so. I don’t think Rory’s lack of prep at the Masters only hurt him this year. I think it’s ongoing and something he needs to consider adjusting ASAP for next year. He’s simply a better player when he’s more tournament tested. His run at the end of last year proves it.

Bubba Watson – Gerry didn’t play his best this week, but that’s not why he’s on this list. He’s on it because while he was waiting around Butler Cabin to help put Spieth’s new green jacket on he was tweeting out stupid trivia questions for his sponsor.

In a way, it is satisfying to see him doing that just one year after his walk in the park victory.

Las  Vegas – The house always wins, how can Vegas be a loser? Well, the gamblers of Twitterverse say the most total money came in this week on Tiger to win. However, the most total tickets were on Jordan Spieth. Those are going to pay out somewhere between 10 to 1 and 8 to 1 at most books. No, Vegas won’t take a bath or lose money, but there is a significant amount of liability here in who is owed money.

Pace Of Play – One theory I believe in about the pace of play problem in our game is that slow play was learned by fans of Jack Nicklaus. Jack took forever to get ready, make decisions, and actually play his shots. He still does. I think fans that saw Nicklaus play tried to emulate him and his methods.

If I have one complaint about Jordan Spieth it is that he takes fucking forever to play shots. By the letter of the law he could have been given 15 penalty strokes this weekend. It would never happen, nor should it, but him doing it doesn’t help solve the pace of play issue. It isn’t just Jordan. The entire Masters field averaged 5+ hours before the cut was made. They quickened up a bit on the weekend in twosomes, but they still should be better/faster.

Justin Rose – I’m not putting him on the loser list because of how he played. He, like Phil, went 14 under for the week and would have won 95% of the Masters played with that number. Only David Duval has ever posted a lower total than Justin and Phil did this week without getting a green jacket for the effort.

 

No, Justin makes the loser side of my ledger because he continues to wear his wife’s sunglasses on the golf course. They are as gay as cum on a mustache.

Shot Of The Day

If Jordan Spieth had stumbled once, just once on the back nine today this Shot of the Day could have been epic. Instead, it was just a really cool moment followed by some crazy back-nine-Masters-roars.

Yes, a Phil roar on Sunday sounds a little different from those made for almost any other current players. Great shot Phil. And how many of you thought he was going to hole the next one on 16 with Bones tending the flag?  FIGJAM!

Cold Turkey Is Best For Withdrawal

Well this fucking sucks. We’re done. That’s it. Gotta go cold turkey on no more Masters for 51 weeks. I guess all good things must come to an end. Spieth’s victory isn’t stunning, it is a fulfilled destiny. The Men of the Masters couldn’t have a better champion. Well done.

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Masters Week 2015: Round 3

Jordan Spieth Wears a 42R

After Friday I wasn’t ready to call this one. After 16 holes today I was about to call it, then Jordan opened the door just a crack with his double bogey at 17. His wayward shots coming home might not make him sleep too well tonight. He’s played brilliantly for most of the tourney and now doubt could be creeping in. His four holes over par today didn’t look like the same guy from rounds 1 and 2.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like his odds, but I think only two guys have a chance to catch him unless he implodes. I could see him shooting a 76 tomorrow, and if that happens about 10 guys are still in this.

Chasing It

Amazingly, Phil is in 3rd and only 5 shots back from Jordan. He’s got a legit chance. If Jordan doesn’t fuck up, a 65 from Phil would make things interesting. His wardrobe on the other hand, well I’m confused as fuck about that.

His pink look was pretty tight today. He said it was inspired by his recent time with Arnold Palmer. I liked it, but his shoes were the best part of the whole get up. They were some sort of crocodile skin.

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Justin Rose is the other guy that could get in Jordan’s shit and win on Sunday. I’m counting Hoffman out. I don’t think he can go low enough. I think he’ll be happy to take his top ten and come back last year with good intentions. Rose isn’t having that. He’s got bigger things on his mind.

Ewww…..gay.

All kidding aside, Rose is a major champion that can make enough birdies to hunt down Spieth. He was 7 under for his last 13 holes on Saturday. That included four straight birds from 13 to 16, ending in this hole out:

Spicy. Rose also has the luxury of playing in the final group with Jordan. He’ll know where he stands at all times on Sunday. He’s dangerous.

Tiger isn’t going to win on Sunday, unless he shoots 61. He ten shots back. But his 68 on Saturday was another step in the right direction. And there’s also this:

Snap hook 170 yards into the junk….and he made a fucking birdie!!!!!! He chopped it out to 175 yards, hit it to 10 feet and drilled the put. Vintage Tiger! He’s back! Of course he paired with Rory tomorrow which makes for must see TV. Why can’t they be closer than 10 shots???!!!? I guess we oversold that Sergio-Tiger pairing. Did Garcia even play today?

Who Ya Got? 

Third round of a major, that means it is a tradition to poll you guys to see what you’re thinking for Sunday. Who’s going to win? I expect you to say with an 85% result that Jordan Spieth will win, but maybe I’m wrong. Hit up the poll and be honest.

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Masters Week 2015: Round 2

Don’t You Dare Run Away And Hide

What else can you say about Jordan Spieth? A six under 66 to go with his opening round 64 has the world saying the first major of the year is over. Pack up. Go home. Give the kid a green jacket. If, and I heavily emphasize IF, Jordan closes the Masters and and wins his first major I’ll be perfectly happy with that outcome. He looks to be a transcendent player and winning the Masters in style would only vet that idea. I don’t think he’s going to cruise across the finish line for the rest of the weekend. Nor do I want him to. I want something to watch on Sunday, damn it, not after Bubba took the drama from us in 2014. There will be bumps in the road. There will be challengers. There is too much fire power behind him to not close the gap.

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Jordan has made 15 birdies in 36 holes and one bogey. The other players are questioning if they’re playing the same course as him. I don’t blame them.

Will the Men of the Masters turn on the sub-air system to firm up the track? Will the greens get bikini waxed over night? I can’t imagine they’re happy about this kid setting a 36 hole scoring record for the Masters, or any major for that matter, on their course.

Good Bye Ben

Two time Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw played his final round in the Masters today. He bettered his 91 from Thursday, but not by much. Ben was given a standing ovation at nearly every green today according to those on the grounds. Long time caddie Carl Jackson was unable to be Ben’s looper this week (except at the Par 3) because of some physical ailments. Jackson was dressed in his full white jumpsuit waiting for Ben behind the 18th green and the two embraced in closure of their long partnership at the Masters. The symmetry of Jordan running away with the Masters while mentor Crenshaw walks away is both ironic and poetic.

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When done with Jackson, Crenshaw was greeted by wife Julie and their 3 daughters. Then Twitter got all creepy about how the daughters looked, dressed, etc. and it wasn’t out of line. For some reason all of Ben’s girls looked like they were headed to the club for the night. Wife Julie might have been the original golf WAG. Check her out back in the day:

Daughter Claire:

Julie again in her prime, you get the point.

Ben married well, and now he can stop fooling himself about his game and focus on building more great golf courses. Thanks for the memories. I assume Tom Watson will join him soon in the ‘retired former champion’ category. Watson shot 81 on Friday and missed the cut as well.

Looking Up At Jordan

As the leaderboard above shows, there are plenty of guys that can go low behind Spieth, but is there a 65 or better out there tomorrow? That’s hard to say. My gambler friend has Chuckles Hoffman at 125 to 1, so CH has at least one fan in his corner this weekend. I don’t think Hoffman has the stuff to challenge. Let us assume that Spieth shoots 70-70 to close the weekend. That’s posting -18 for a total. Hoffman would have to shoot 67-68 to catch him. I wouldn’t bet on it.

I told you yesterday Tiger was out of this. I still believe that, but a 69 from him today is good for all of golf and a huge step in his finding his game. It is a process. He’s told us that a million times. He’s only a 64-64 weekend from catching up ( I can’t not laugh at that thought). Today was the first time he broke 70 at Augusta in 4 years. Run before you can walk. The good news is TW is paired with Sergio tomorrow. How do you feel about that el Nino?

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That seems about right. While Garcia and Woods are essentially out of the tournament, at least we’ll get to watch them play awkwardly together all day on Saturday.

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If anyone is going to catch Spieth, it’ll be someone like Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, FIGJAM, or Jason Day. Stranger things have happened, but these are the guys that can rip off a lot of birdies and eagles to make up ground. Dustin might have shot his load today. He eagled 3 of Augusta’s 4 par fives. He had 170 yards into number 13 and only made a 4. Too bad he had so many other sloppy holes (double at the first and bad bogies on 10 and 18).

Rory shot another 71 on Friday, but did so after going out in 40 on his front nine. It was ugly. He’s done now too. Rors isn’t hitting it bad, but he’s a little off and he can’t make enough putts this week to catch up to the leader. His bid for the Rory Slam is done. His chance for the career grand slam will wait another year.

See You Next Year

Plenty of favorites went home early on Friday after missing the cut. Martin Kaymer was one of them. Augusta doesn’t fit his eye. When he rose to World Number 1 in 2010 after winning the PGA he tried to change his swing to hit more draws so he could contend at Augusta. That sent him into a downward spiral that he didn’t crawl out of until last year. Moral of the story, don’t change a thing, and don’t let a missed cut at the Masters phase you. Play your game. Martin will be fine.

Miguel Jimenez missed the cut. That is all, carry on.

Billy Horschel hit 17 greens on Thursday and shot 70. He made nothing on the greens. And he had to watch Jordan Spieth go around and make birdies like Charl Schwartzel grows chest hair. Friday got worse for Bill and the result was a 78 and a missed cut. Now we don’t get to see his scripted pink pants on Sunday.

Snedeker loves the Masters and was playing well on the West Coast earlier this year. He’s also going home. So is J.B. Holmes who won just last week in Houston. Golf is a strange game.

Shot Of The Day

I almost gave this to Lee Westwood. Lee hit the pin and left his 2nd shot at 2 about 8 inches away for a tap in eagle. Great shot, but it didn’t go in. Plus Lee’s got a weird beard growing right now and I don’t want to look at it again. Instead, Thongchai Jaidee’s 2nd shot at the 3rd hole gets today’s honor.

Why are hole outs at the Masters so much cooler than they are at other events ?

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Masters Week 2015: Round 1

A King, A Knight, And A Bear Walk Into A Club

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Some folks think the Masters starts with the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday. I disagree. Wednesday is an exhibition of giggles. Thursday counts, but the whole ball of wax doesn’t start rolling until living legends hit ceremonial tee shots. From Sarazen, Hogan, and Nelson, to now Player, Palmer and Nicklaus, the Masters begins after we all pay homage to greats at the first tee on Thursday morning. This year was no different, and if you’d like to see the Big 3 do their thing I’ve got you covered.

Palmer’s ball was low and left. Player straight down the middle. Nicklaus hit a high fade that leaked out to the right side. All three balls were retrieved, signed, and given to the club. Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson were up early to see the legends whack it. Like Gerry and Rick, we should enjoy these guys while we’ve got them, they won’t be doing this forever.

Trevor Immelman Says Hello

First rounds at Augusta are not where the tournament is won. We know that. Only 1 first round leader in the last 3 decades has gone on to win a green jacket (2008, Trevor Immelman). That being said, Jordan Spieth was damn near flawless today and had his sights on the course record for much of the back nine. In fact, Jordy should have tied it if not for a sloppy bogey from the fairway at 15. Still, 64 on Thursday isn’t fucking around. The kid played great.

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Here’s some of the numbers from his round. He hit 15 greens, 11 fairways, and was 3rd in the field in putting. Putt that all together, post a 64……well, that is good enough to make some folks drool.

Take a look below at the hole-by-hole. He’ll kick himself for that bogey at 15 with only 228 yards left to a par 5. That’s borderline criminal, especially after making 6 birdies in the prior 7 holes. His flashiest highlight of the day was nearly jugging his 2nd shot from the right rough on 14.

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Jordan acts like a veteran instead of a 21 year old. Golf announcers say that all too often. Where this cliche rings even more true is in his post round interviews. He told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi that there’s a LONG way to go. He knows the field will be trying to run him down tomorrow. A 3 shot lead is nothing at Augusta. I’ve seen some “experts” in Twitterworld saying that if Spieth can post something in the 60s on Friday and get done before the weather turns sour that the tournament is his. No. Even then, 36 holes on this course……anything can happen.

The Haves

If you’re under par on most Thursday evenings at Augusta you’re typically right in the thick of the tournament. Some people smarter me at Golf Channel have pointed out that this year might require something a little better than just breaking par to be in the hunt.

That would mean the 2015 Masters is down to Russell Henley, Sergio Garcia, Charley Hoffman, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Justin Rose, and Jordan Spieth. I don’t think that’s accurate. The -2s and -3s are still right there too, in my opinion, but we’ll get a clearer picture once play has concluded tomorrow.

Jason Day is clearly in the mix. The Aussie had a slow start with 7 straight pars then nearly canned a 75 footer at the 8th for eagle. A look at his card from there shows you how the rest of his round went.

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He was scorching hot from 12 to 16 making 5 straight birdies. Damn he’s fun to watch when he’s on. Jason told Rinaldi that he didn’t play that great today. Huh? If Day betters his 67 tomorrow he’ll be the guy to beat on the weekend, not Spieth.

Ernie Els was damn near magical today. He almost made eagle at 13 then turned back around and got his crystal with an eagle at 15. Only a closing 3 putt at 18 kept Els from solo 2nd. Rory drove it on a string by hitting 13 of 14 fairways. I don’t think he could have shot worse than his 71. Tom Watson has 40 years on Rors and shot the same score. Watson is now the oldest Masters competitor to break par at ANGC.

The Have Nots

Bitch Tits played with Rory and bettered him by a shot. Phil will make enough birdies over the next 3 days to win, but he’ll make enough bogies or worse to keep him from contending. Of course, typing that and stating that he can’t win means he’ll probably shoot 66 on Friday and contend to the end.

Then there is Tiger. He three putted his first hole for bogey and never found the good side of par. He never really had a chance. His short game was clearly back and that allowed him to put band-aids all over his round to shoot 73. Tiger seems to refuse to try to hit a draw, which is vital to a right hander at Augusta. He hit some bizarre shots, some great recoveries, but overall didn’t have a clean enough round from tee to green to ever threaten breaking 70 or finishing under par. His 9th hole, shown below, could have been a breaking point. Instead he salvaged bogey and held the thing together.

Track   2015 Masters Tournament

TW looks like the guy we saw play last summer minus a bad back. He’s still jumping at the ball when he wants to swing hard and this typically leads to an erratic result. He has no chance to win this week.

When I saw Ben Crane’s name in the field this week it took me a few minutes to remember that he actually won a tournament last year to get his 2015 Masters invite. Ugh. Therefore I had quite a chuckle when I saw Crane’s effort on the par three 12th today.

Crane finished with a tidy 79 which included a 41 on the back nine. It wasn’t a good day to be named Ben at the Masters. Mr. Crenshaw, playing in his last Masters, guaranteed that he’d miss the cut and end his Augusta career on Friday by posting a fucking 91 on Thursday. That’s rough. Maybe ESPN will stop showing his scores on Friday while they peak in on him finishing his final hole.

Some Sci-Fi Plant Shit

The membership at Augusta National has always been more forward thinking than the rest of the golf world, unless we’re talking about a diverse membership. In 2014 the iconic Eisenhower Tree on the 17th hole was crippled by a severe ice storm and eventually chopped down. Rumors about replacing the tree swirled for much of last spring, instead that area of the hole has been left open.

View image on Twitter

Earlier this week we found out that ANGC saved a few cross sections of the tree. The one shown above is on display at the Masters this week and will then be shipped to the Eisenhower Museum eventually. Other sections were given to Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. Palmer loved it. He’s the big reason why Ike got into golf to begin with. Player told some journo that he hated the tree to begin with.

The Men of the Masters also birthed some saplings from the Ike Tree’s DNA. My guess is someday they think they’ll be able to plant them in the same spot even though it’ll take 60 years to grow to the same size. Good luck with that.

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Masters Week 2015: Day 3 – Par 3

As I Predicted

In January I wrote some tongue-in-cheek predictions for 2015 for entertainment purposes only. For the Masters I predicted Kevin Streelman would win. Well lookie what we have here, Kevin Streelman walks away from Augusta with some hardware……the Par 3 Contest trophy that is.

Streelman won by beating Camilo Villegas (more on him later) on the 3rd hole of a playoff. Streels is shown above with his caddie for the day, Ethan Couch. Ethan was chosen as Kevin’s caddie to make his wish of attending the Masters come true. The 13 year old has an inoperable brain tumor. It isn’t cancerous, but it is interfering with his balance, nerves, and other things. His long term prognosis is unknown. Streelman knew as soon as he won in Hartford last year that he was going to do something like this for the Masters. Then he heard about Ethan. The Couch’s story hits close to home with Kevin because of the extensive ICU treatment his daughter received when she was born.

Word on the street is Kevin might have to keep Ethan on the bag for the weekend or longer. He’s 1 for 1 as a looper, don’t mess with that mojo. Hang in there Ethan.

50 Masters And Still Having Firsts

When ESPN did their pre-par-three chatter on SportsCenter this morning they spoke to Jack Nicklaus about his participation in Wednesday’s contest. Scott Van Pelt got Jack to say he’d make a hole-in-one today, then this happened:

Wooooooo! Jack said that is the first ace he’s had on any course at Augusta National. That is almost hard to believe. Jack wasn’t alone paying bar tabs today. Trevor Immelman had an ace and Camilo Villegas had TWO!!!!!! No wonder he was in the playoff with Streelman.

Villegas had a third ace last week at his home course, the Bear’s Club. Fuck him. Save some of those for the rest of us.

Who’s Your Caddie? 

Most of you know that the Par 3 Contest at the Masters is for shits and giggles. And that is why the majority of the field has either their kid, wife, girlfriend, or other non-regular caddie on their bag for it. As I told you yesterday, Rory McIlroy had a One Direction member toting his sack. This bro hit his tee ball in the water on nine on his only swing, then fell on his face when talking to the lovely Kirsty Gallacher of Sky Sports.

I’m guessing that she’s made many a guy fall on their face in her day.

Rickie Fowler had girlfriend Alexis Randcock…….errrr……Randock on his bag. She easily won the best looking caddie award.

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Ellie Day was the runner up. I’m digging her new blonde look.

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Hmmmm……her boobs look different. Is she pregnant?

And Everything Else

Outside of the Par 3 Contest, the big course is open until 3 pm and players can log more practice rounds until then. Jordan Spieth played the back nine with Ben Crenshaw. When Tiger saw them he told them he was a single and asked to join. Crenshaw later told the media that Tiger looked pretty good.

On Tuesday Phil and Rickie Fowler took on Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson. Phil’s team lost the match on 18 when Phil 3 whacked. No word on what the game was on Wednesday, but this tweet did come out:

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Does that surprise you? That is so FIGJAM, and almost as good as Phil telling the rest of the guys at the Champions Dinner about the origin of Adam’s Scott’s 2013 side dish.

Zero Hour

Earlier this week there was some doubt about whether Arnold Palmer be healthy enough to hit his tee shot tomorrow. He responded to Golf Channel’s question as follows:

Arnie followed that up by saying he’d hit it past those “two turkeys”. He later heckled Crenshaw on the 1st tee of the Par 3. I guess he’s feeling froggy. Its on, and its time to get the party started. All the pregame is over. The course is prepped. The players are ready. And after honorary starters Palmer, Player, and Nicklaus hit there ceremonial tee shots at a quarter to 8 tomorrow we’ll be knee deep in the greatest golf tournament of the world. Enjoy every second of it.

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Masters Week 2015: Day 2

If Only They Followed The USGA’s Methods

In the 1990s the USGA made the pairings for the U.S. Open with a few traditions. One of those was putting the defending champ with the current U.S. Am Champ. The Masters does that too. The USGA also had a tradition of pairing a bunch of pricks together. That group was easy to find because it always had Scott Hoch in it. Today in Augusta the Men of the Masters released this year’s first and second round groups. Can you spot the prick pairing?

Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed aren’t hard to find. I’m curious who Keegan Bradley pissed off to get put in that group. There are some really fun other pairings too. Tiger goes with Jimmy Walker and Jamie Donaldson late on Thursday/early on Friday. Day/Fowler/Garcia are the last group on Thursday and go early on Friday. They’ll draw a few eyeballs. The Ryan Moore group will be featured, but not because of Moore, he’s paired with Rory and Phil.

Ugh, no thanks to that one. But give me a double helping of Spieth, Stenson, and Horschel. Yeah, the Mechanic is there too. You didn’t notice him?

Miguel goes in the group after Poulter and Reed with some Indian guy and Lee Westwood.

Lastly, Ben Crenshaw is playing in his 44th and final Masters and begins his farewell tour on Thursday with Jason Dufner and Bill Haas at his side. Watch this one closely. If Haas pays attention to Crenshaw for the first 36 holes he could be dangerous on the weekend. In fact, I’d like his odds a lot if he didn’t have a 10 week old baby at home. Those usually aren’t good for your golf game.

Tiger Has Kids?

Of course he does, we all know that. In all things Tiger today: he played with Mark O’Meara again this morning for another nine; he announced that he’ll be in the Par 3 contest for the first time since 2004 and that both his kids will caddie; he said he was listening to hip hop on his 300 song playlist yesterday during his practice; and he confirmed he’ll be wearing his older model shoe for the duration of the week. Nike can’t be happy, but I bet his kids are.

He also told the media how hard he worked to find his game. “I worked my ass off from sun up to sun down”, that came right out of his mouth. Yes, there were plenty of glute jokes to be gleaned from that quote, but I’ll leave those for you. That statement shows you how lost he was. The best player ever had to find is game by grinding 12 hours a day for two months? Woods said he was stuck between his two swings; that was the problem. That sounds great, but I still need to see it for myself. 72 or better on Thursday and hope will grow, as will his confidence. That round may be the most important round for the rest of his career, but no pressure TW.

In other caddie news, Rory announced that some flamer from boy band One Direction will be his caddie in the Par 3 Contest. Huh? I guess that is slightly better than a pink-haired fiance like last year. The OD member is from Ireland like Rors, otherwise I don’t get it. There’s no truth to the rumor that Martin Kaymer has Lance Bass on his bag.

Deja Bubba

As of late Monday afternoon no one had heard a leaked word about what Gerry Watson would be serving for his 2nd Champions Dinner on Tuesday. Bubba finally spilled the green beans at his presser by telling the journos it would be the exact same meal that he served in 2013. He likes it and its based on his mom’s recipe. A true home cooked meal. We shouldn’t be surprised. This is the guy that will eat the exact same burritos for almost every other meal of his Masters week.

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Bubba’s menu 2 years ago was a Caesar salad, grilled chicken breast accompanied by green beans, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes. The dessert was confetti cake with vanilla ice cream. Bubba is as boring off the course as he is exciting on it. And the image above, well, that’s more than special. I look forward to hearing about the Champions Dinner, the menu, the stories, and seeing images from it each year.

#Repost @golfchannel
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Record six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus attended tonight's Champions Dinner hosted by 2014 winner Bubba Watson. Here's what the Golden Bear recalls about preparing for the Champions Dinner as a defending champion: "When it comes to the Champions Dinner, you can never go wrong with a good steak at Augusta. I remember when I was first asked about my menu. They said, 'Jack, what would you like to have for your dinner as you're the defending champion?' I said, 'Well, I don't know, what do you think we ought to have?' He said, 'Well, (Augusta National chairman) Mr. (Clifford) Roberts likes steak, baked potato, shrimp cocktail, a salad and the white peaches.' I said, 'That'll be fine.' It was like, what do you want, but what does Mr. Roberts want? I always enjoyed that." #nicklaus #jacknicklaus #goldenbear #masters #themasters #augusta #championsdinner #bubbawatson #greenjacket

A photo posted by Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) on

If you’ve ever wondered what it is like to be there, ESPN’s Jason Sobel had a tremendous piece on this very topic today. Apparently the dinner is a lot like the cafeteria in 7th grade. The nerds don’t know where to sit! Hit the link for Jason’s piece.

If Sponsors Don’t Do It, Their Moms Pick Their Clothes Out For Them

That is 100% true. I swear. For over two weeks now golf clothing companies have been pumping out tweets and press releases to show us what their guys will be wearing at the Masters. I’ve seen most, there is nothing too exciting…. nothing that will be talked about around the water cooler on Monday. See for yourself, Rickie Fowler’s threads are here:

Rickie Fowler 2015 Masters

Puma obviously isn’t targeting my demographic. I couldn’t wear any of that shit. And Tiger’s, with an audible having been called on the shoes:

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That isn’t awful. Don’t there guys wear underwear? There is plenty more where that came from, but I’m not going to bombard you with my opinions on this shit. If you want more I highly recommend a visit to the Golf Threads Blog. My guy there has it all covered for you.

A Mere Footnote

James Hahn is in the field this week due to his win at Riviera in February. He hasn’t played much since his big win because he and the wife had a baby girl a week later. James is playing in his first Masters.

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Today Hahn aced the 12th hole. For his efforts he gets an unbelievable story, an great memory, and a nice piece of crystal from Augusta National Golf Club. That’s not a bad Tuesday.

Par 3 tomorrow. Rest up.

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Masters Week 2015: Day 1

51 Weeks Of Waiting

Kids wait for Christmas. I wait for the Masters, and it is finally fucking here!!!!!!! If only there was a hype video to express how I’m feeling right now.

Monday at most tournaments doesn’t matter worth a shit, unless it is a major or the Deutsche Bank (which ends on a Monday). At the Masters, Monday matters. No, not one golf ball that was struck today counted, but the patrons arrived, pimento was devoured, and the week’s vibe was set. Oh, and Tiger Woods showed up about 3 pm to practice and play.

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The quick and dirty: He hit 69 chip shots and holed numbers 26 and 27. He had earbuds in, which is supposed to be a no-no at the Masters. He was wearing a 4 year old model of his TW Nike shoes because they’re assisting in his swing changes. He hugged Sean Foley and Butch Harmon. He teed it up on the front nine with Mark O’Meara at 4:20 pm Eastern. He hit his first tee shot 80 yards left on one, then stuck his approach and made birdie. He reportedly would have shot 30 on that nine. He was having fun. He blasted drives. He even signed a few autographs. He closed his day playing alone on 10 and then 18 after the course was closed to patrons for the day and O’Meara quit at the turn.

Not a bad Monday. And who the fuck is this guy? He’s having fun? He’s signing autographs. He’s listening to something on earbuds….what could that have been?

This shit sounds too good to be true.

Gerry Would Be Picked Last In Kick Ball Too

ESPN revealed a piece today in which they surveyed 103 tour pros about things like, will Rory win the Masters, will Tiger win another major, should the Tour disclose fines, etc. All good questions, but the one getting the most attention is the one that reads as follows:

(Blank) is in a fight with the parking lot. You’re not helping him. 

Patrick Reed was the answer for 11% of the respondents. Rory Sabbatini and Robert Allenby also made the list, but Bubba Watson grabbed a whopping 23% of the votes. Wow. I bet that number would have been higher if they let caddies vote.

The survey isn’t shocking to anyone that reads about golf from non-mainstream media sources. If you only know what ESPN and Golf Channel tell you then this might come as a bit of a shock. It’s telling what Watson’s peers think of him. I just hope he’s aware of it and perhaps mends his ways. Nahhhh……..ain’t gonna happen. The entire survey can been read here.  Poulter must have been 4th with 8% of the vote. You can’t tell me otherwise.

Inter-Course Record

Remember when Rory barely made the cut and had to play with a marker (due to an odd number of players making the cut)? That marker was ANGC club champion Jeff Knox. Knox is a helluva player in his own right. Playing as a marker with Sergio many years ago he beat Garcia straight up and Garcia failed to pay up on his bet with Knox. As it turns out, Knox also has the club’s course record.

I assume that is from the member tees. Either that or they keep the Masters Toon-a-mint records completely separate. The Masters record is still 63 held by Nick Price and Greg Norman. Knox played with Tiger on Friday according to reports, but there’s no word on if he beat the Big Cat.

Going To The Masters? 

Are you headed to Augusta? If so, you’re probably already there or on your way. If you ever plan on going I suggest you read (or re-read) my post from 2013 that guides 1st timers to the greatest golf tournament in the world. Here’s the link.

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I didn’t fact check my writing, but I believe all of those anecdotes hold true still today. If not, let me know and I’ll update the thing.

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Yo Holmes, To Augusta – Final Thoughts On Shell Houston Open

Yes, That Was A Play On The Fresh Prince Theme Song

Not my best post title ever, I can admit that. I can also admit that J.B. Holmes was overdue for another tour win has he has been knocking on the door of winning all season long. His last 6 starts have resulted in finishes of 2, T10, T22, 2, MC, and now a win. Of course the missed cut at the Arnold Palmer is the week I chose to use him in my fantasy pool, but that is a tangent for another time. Holmes was in it to win it at Houston from his first swing on Thursday. Well, actually his 2nd swing because he holed out for eagle from the fairway on his 1st hole of the event. His opening 65 was good enough to be near the top of the leaderboard, but is 3rd round 73 meant he was going off well before the leaders on Sunday. That isn’t always a bad thing.

JB used his early time to his advantage by running out to a hot start with a front nine 28. He made birdies on 7 of his first nine holes. The #59watch was on (briefly). The back nine in Houston is much tougher than the front, especially the closing holes. The inward nine put a halt to the 59 thoughts and JB posted 64 for the round and a -16 total for the rest of the field to stare at atop the leaderboard.

Holmes waited over 2 hours for the field to finish. Once in the playoff his two pars on the tough 18th hole were good enough to get the win over Johnson Wagner and Jordan Spieth. I doubt he thought he could run down 54 hole leader Spieth when trailing by six shots to start the day, but goals change quickly when you shoot a 20 something on your first nine.

Now don’t go picking JB in your Masters pools this week just yet. For one, he was dead last in driving accuracy this week at the Shell. On top of that, Holmes often disappears from the leaderboard for a few weeks immediately after he wins.

The Field

Nobody roots against JB Holmes, but sentimentalists were pulling for Wagner in the playoff. Wagner won in Houston in 2008 and was playing on a sponsor’s exemption this week. He hasn’t won since the Sony in 2013. He had a horrible 2014 and hadn’t had a top 10 in forever. A win also would have put him in the Masters field next week. Plus, his reaction to holing his birdie putt on the 72nd hole to tie Holmes was epic.

That hole is nearly impossible when you play it in cold weather with soft conditions and into the wind. JW birdied it with all the guacamole on the line. Then he missed a 4 footer to extend the playoff with Holmes in the 2nd playoff hole. Ouch.

Week in and week out no player on the Tour delivers like Jordan Spieth does. The kid is the perfect combination of clutch and talent. He’s played so well over the last 5 months you kind of expect him to win when he contends. I suspect a lot of journos penned their Spieth stories about him winning early on Sunday morning when he was the 54 hole leader. Jordan didn’t lose the Shell Houston Open, he got beat by Holmes. He did enough to find his way into the playoff, including a ballsy par putt at the final hole, then he played the first playoff hole like a nervous 21 year old.

His tee shot was way to close to the H2O and stayed on a severe ball-above-the-feet lie forcing him to throw a Hail Mary at the green. His 2nd shot found the bunker, and just as Johnny Miller told us how good Jordan is from the sand, Spieth hit one fluffy and blamed it on a fan taking a cell phone pic during his swing. Hey, you have to blame someone, that is what Tiger has taught us.

In the 3rd round Jordan played with Hunter Mahan. Late in the round the two failed to communicate as to who was away as they prepped approach shots. Mahan began his routine as did Spieth. They pulled the trigger about 3 seconds apart with Hunter playing first. The sound of Mahan’s club face hitting his ball during Jordan’s swing had no impact on Spieth’s stroke. In fact, he stuck it close. So why does a click that you can’t hear on TV make a player act like a grenade went off behind him? In a word….nerves. Jordan isn’t perfect but I wish he would have taken the non-Bubba approach to whatever distracted him in the sand.

Phil was in Houston, and for 36 holes Bitch Tits looked pretty damn good. Too bad for him PGA Tour events are played for 72 holes. Weekends haven’t been great for Phil as Golf Channel’s Justin Ray tells us via his tweet:

On Sunday FIGJAM had a decent round going until he found the hazard near the 18th green on his approach shot. He tried to play out of the shit and left it in, then dropped and got up and down for a double. His would-be 69 resulted in a sloppy 71. Anyone that has an opinion on what version of Phil will be playing Augusta next week is guessing. He’s always been a wildcard and will be even more so this year with the current state of his game.

The final SHO leaderboard shows the name Austin Cook if you look at is close enough and perhaps scroll down a hair. Who is he? He was Cinderella for 3 and a half days in Houston. Cook was making his 2nd PGA Tour start after Monday qualifying for the Shell. He previously played at St. Jude where he placed T13. Cook played at Arkansas. His brother carried the stand bag he’s still using like a college player or a weekend warrior would. The dude played great on Saturday paired with Phil Mickelson. I was impressed.

He had a pretty decent Sunday going until bogies on his last 3 holes dropped him to T11. There’s no shame in that, but it does mean he was one shot out of the top 10. That stroke cost him an automatic spot in the PGA Tour event played immediately after the Masters.

Shot Of The Week

With the shitty weather in Houston on Sunday there weren’t a bunch of great shots to consider for a Shot of the Day. So fuck it, I’ll give you the Shot of the Week. Patrick Reed’s ace from round 3 gets the nod:

In round 2 Reed complained about a knee injury. A day later he’s running down a wooden bridge celebrating his ace by racing his brother-in-law? Weird. He said his knee only hurt has he shifted his weight, not when he bent it. I don’t think I’d be fucking around with that with the Masters looming.

$woosh Ad Wizards At Their Best

I take plenty of shots at Nike. They’re an easy target. No cheap shots today. This one is legit. Here’s their latest spot featuring a young Rory idolizing his hero:

Cool, very cool. I’d love to know how they approached Tiger to get him to agree to it. I guess being idolized has a certain appeal, but the way he is portrayed in the add also makes it look like he’s near the end. Perhaps that is true, and we know it, but he does not.

Shouting In That Amen Corner

It is here. It is finally here…..sort of. By the time you read this post Masters week will be officially upon us. As always SFG will be all over the comings, goings, and happenings of the week at Augusta (from my living room). There will be posts every day and probably more tweets than you care to read. Tune in tomorrow. Its go time.

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