Spieth One Week, DJ The Next – I Like Where 2017 Is Headed

DJ At The Riv

I usually love watching a final round at Riviera Country Club – there’s drama, the course is great, and it is a complete 180 degrees from the shit show broadcast CBS gives at Pebble a week prior. Thanks to the weather dumping 3 inches of shit on Southern California on Friday the tourney didn’t finish on time. Add that to DJ lapping the field and the drama was gone before CBS came on the air. With that the West Coast swing was dead and gone but you can’t argue with the results and the champions it gave us. Justin Thomas twice, Hudson Swafford, Matsuyama, Spieth, and now DJ….we’ll take that.

Image result for west coast swing pga tour winners 2017

DJ on his A game, there’s probably only a few guys in the world that could even think about keeping up with him and they’d have to be on too. Spieth, Day, and Rory come to mind. Two of those three were in the field but they never pushed DJ. With the win, and Jason Day not having produced many good results over the last few months, Johnson became the new number 1 player in the world. It was a big week for DJ for other reasons as well. His baby mama announced the pending arrival of their 2nd child later this year via her Instagram.

coming soon…❤️👼🏼

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How do you think those two celebrate DJ’s ascent to the top and latest victory?

That seems about right. Thanks to the weather and late finish away from network TV PG didn’t get her normal post-victory air time. How shameful.

The rest of the field didn’t put up much of a fight, other than Thomas Pieters. The former NCAA individual champ (who won said title at Riviera) shot 63 in the final round and finished T2 with Scott Brown. I’ve got a hunch Pieters wins soon and that may happen as quickly as this week at the Honda.

Never Ending Puns

I’ve tried to stop commenting on and rating golf broadcasts on a week to week basis unless something jumps up and has to be addressed. The broadcasts are generic in nature and don’t change much over time. CBS clearly gave Faldo a green light on making puns with lyrics from songs by Genesis (the band) during the Genesis (the sponsor) Open. He was a bit sneaky with their usage at first but by 4 pm Sunday he couldn’t stop himself. One or two would have been acceptable. Six to ten was jumping the shark….or I needed more beers.

CBS made up for Faldo’s follies by finally making good with their awkward Microsoft touch screen analysis bullshit. They took Dottie Pepper of it, let her follow live golf, and replaced her with Amanda Balionis – formerly of PGATour.com. Amanda has a side hustle with Callaway and knows her shit when it comes to the Tour. Big upgrade for CBS and I hope this wasn’t a one off gig for her.

Image result for Amanda balionis CBS

Hopefully we see her at the Masters, the PGA Championship, and other marque CBS stops down the road.  While we’re giving out gold stars for broadcast work I’ll also give one to the Tour and DirecTV for their extra work on the Launch Pad channel the last two weeks. While I don’t understand why they set up shop on the 16th at Pebble, being on the 17th at the Riv more than makes up for it. Rick Smith is on analyzing swings while we get to see launch data from each shot and season stats for each player that comes through during their broadcast window. That is a golf nerd’s dream. I DVR it and re-watch it to get a fix during the week like any addict would. It is like porn for junkies like me.

Spieth Back In The Saddle

Jordan Spieth never went anywhere and played pretty well in 2016. The uneducated golf journos may not have realized that but it is true and his stats back it up. That being said, winning is what makes headlines and his play last week at Pebble put him back in said headlines and began Masters talk all over again. His win was nearly as dominant as DJ’s was this week on the scoreboard, but not in the stat sheet, other than his putting. That’s the only place he needs to be great. His final round par clinic was like watching paint dry but that’s what Mr. Spieth does best.

Image result for Jordan Spieth pebble beach champions

I’ll only comment briefly on the rest of the week that was at Pebble. Bill Murray gets too much attention. Cut the crap. It isn’t the Bill Murray Clam Bake. There’s not enough cameras on the Monterrey Peninsula course during the first 3 days. And can we get some accurate indices for the ams in the field? Carson Daly won the thing with a 10…he’s not a ten. He’s a sandbagging fuck. And Kelly Rohrbach isn’t a 7, let alone a scratch as I saw her referred to a few dozen times. Single digits capers don’t do this…

She’s easy on the eyes though and thank god she was in the field as Gary Woodland’s partner to give us something to gawk at. Just give her a full 15 next time. She needs them all.

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What’s Up, Pods?

Hang’in With Hobson

Bill Hobson, host of the famed Michigan Golf Live TV and radio broadcasts, has entered a third frontier of media – the podcast. Bill’s latest venture is the Fore!Golfer’s Network that gives the low down on equipment, golf trips, clinics and just about anything else golf related you might want to discuss or get more info about. The site will be home to a weekly podcast produced and hosted by Bill. There’s only two episodes released so far for your listening pleasure but it is out of the gates fast thanks to big name guests like Butch Harmon.

Image result for Bill Hobson Michigan golf live

In episode two Bill continues his chat with the legendary instructor of several major champions and then follows him up with some shlub talking about hitting golf balls in his garage. Oh wait, that’s me. We discussed my recent review of the OptiShot2 home simulator. You can listen to the full episode by hitting the link above. And you can re-read my full review of the OptiShot here. Take a look at Bill’s new site and be sure to check him out on Fox Sports Detroit this golf season for full episodes of Michigan Golf Live. Thanks again for having me, Bill. Keep the fun coming.

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Random Thoughts (Because I Haven’t Posted In A While)

Phriendly Phoenix

The Waste Management Phoenix Open hosted by the Thunderbirds was fun, wasn’t it? Oh, you didn’t see it because you needed to have your TV tuned to the Super Bowl to make sure you didn’t miss Lady Gaga? Shame on you. On Saturday they had 206,000 people show up. Read that again. That’s two times the size of a very large college football game. On Sunday they had a smaller crowds (as always) but a leaderboard with decent star power and a 4 hole playoff to entertain you well into the 1st quarter of the big game. What more could you want?

Brendan Steele probably thinks they could do with a few less people. He was a “victim” of alcohol abuse when an unruly patron threw straight fire at his own mom.

0% that’s true. Steele is obviously still a virgin. What gets lost in the Super Bowl frenzy on Sundays in PHX is that the last 6 holes are some of the most exciting in tournament golf. Eighteen itself sucks but the other holes don’t have many weaknesses. I’m partial to 17 because 95% of the field is trying to drive the green, and even if you pull that off like Webb Simpson did in the playoff you still might have to grind to make your 3 or 4 thanks to the goofy angles presented by the back left hole location. Tom Wieskopf is no slouch in designing short par 4s.

Image result for hideki matsuyama waste management trophy

In the end it was the current best player in the world and WMPO defending champ holding off Simpson in a four hole playoff. Hideki Matsuyama won for the 2nd time this PGA Tour season. I know he isn’t actually ranked number 1 but who would you put ahead of him right NOW? Justin Thomas has an argument, 3 wins and a 59 and whatnot, but he MC’d at Scottsdale and was hiking with his boy Smylie all weekend while Matsuyama was stalking more birdies.

The only bad news out of Phoenix was that Tour player Steven Bowditch got snaked for DUI Thursday night. I tend to cut a little slack for such instances when the guy is close to the legal limit. Not that the BAC level makes the crime any less wrong but the mistake is more understandable. Bowdo wasn’t near the legal limit. He was more than double it. With all the Ubers and Lyfts available how can a guy in SB’s position let this happen? Better yet, how could his caddie, friends, bartender etc. let him get in a car and drive? They fucked up just as bad. Bowditch stepped up and took full blame, tweeted about working on his problem, and then teed it up in the 2nd round of the tourney. He missed the cut as he often does these days.

Image result for Steven Bowditch mugshot

At Least Bowditch Doesn’t WD

If you had the number of rounds Tiger would complete in his comeback before he had to withdraw from a tourney due injury at 2 or less, you win the big prize. Oddly Tiger flew commercial to Dubai from California after missing the cut at Torrey Pines. He showed up for the Euro event, collected 1.5 million for being there, did some promos, shot 77 with no birdies on Thursday, then WD’d on Friday before teeing off. Word on the street is that he tweaked something while working out on Wednesday and that caused back spasms. The WD was done for precautionary reasons.

Image result for Tiger Woods dubai WD

We’ve seen this before, we’ll see it again. He’s going to be hyper sensitive about any issue he has with his back. I don’t blame him. What he needs to due is rethink where he plays and how he plays so he isn’t taxing that broken part of his body. Hey TW, play PHX instead of globe trotting for easy pay days! That isn’t hard to figure out. I’m guessing we’ll see him in L.A. in a week but there’s no way he’ll play well at the Honda a week later flying across the country. He may be there. He may finish a round. But he won’t make the cut and finish in the 50 on that course. And how the fuck is he supposed to walk the hills of Augusta National for 72 holes?

Sergio won in Dubai amid the Tiger circus. He looked dominant. So fucking what? Garcia wins plenty of regular old boring PGA and Euro Tour events around the globe. Wake me when he wins something that truly matters. We know he’s a great player. We know he’s hall of fame worthy, but the narrative on El Nino isn’t going to change until he gets a major. I don’t see it ever happening.

Video Screen Capture

Garcia’s win was his first as an engaged man. He seems to play well after each change in girlfriend. The newness of a relationship must make him forget about Jose Maria Olazabal just long enough to play well for a few months. The future Mrs. Garcia, Angela Atkins, is shown above. She was a Golf Channel reporter some time ago and still might be but no one seems to be able to confirm that. Angela isn’t my type but she’s still better looking than anything Sergio could pull down if he wasn’t a millionaire professional athlete. I wish the betrothed couple nothing buy happiness. Good luck!

 

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The Jon Rahm Era Beg…..No No No No…..Fuck That

He’s Good, Don’t Get Me Wrong

Jon Rahm is a bad ass. I love how he plays – his mostly go for broke style is magnificent. He’s going to make shit loads of money playing golf. He won a Brinks truck of it last year and contended from the minute he turned pro (in June at the Quicken). I wanted to pick him last week because I figured he was due but I was too chicken shit thanks to Rahm having no track record at Torrey Pines. So what does he do, jumps three shots out ahead of a bunched field on Sunday with two back nine eagles and takes his first win by the balls. Putt of the Year – he might have that locked up too thanks to this mic drop eagle on the 72nd hole.

Geez Louise with a slice of cheese. And don’t forget Rahm’s girlfriend, former ASU track team member Kelley Cahill. Yeah, the Sun Devil athlete he snagged while in Tempe with the great…..ummmmm……..eyes. She made her appearance to much of the world when she got CBS airtime with JR. We’ve seen her before, but just to make sure you didn’t forget…..her latest Insties:

Opening ceremonies for the @worldcupgolf with my love ❤️

A post shared by Kelley Cahill (@cahillkelley) on

Excited to be going back to my happy place this weekend 🙌🏼

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Sunny and 75 ☀️

A post shared by Kelley Cahill (@cahillkelley) on

I saved you the ones with Jon boy in them showing full golf tan lines like the rest of us have in July.

That’s all. Move on. Nothing else to see here except the next Tour super star and his hot girlfriend.

Image result for Kramer I'm out gif

What’s that….you want my take on Tiger? INCOMPLETE. Both courses at Torrey Pines played somewhat tough last week with the wet, thick rough. He played 4 competitive rounds in 600 days. If you expected him to make the cut you still think he’s super human. He’s never going to be Tiger of old. He’s going to be a guy. He might win 1 or 2 a year and maybe steal a major in the next 8 years. You need to change your expectations of him if you think otherwise. I like what I saw from the short game. I think he needs to move away from the ball to minimize his swing plane issues. Otherwise we just need to see more of him. Until then……wait, until tomorrow….. when he tees it up in Dubai late Wednesday night. Fuck yeah!

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Torrey Pines South Course Review Redux

Another Farmers, another re-post of my Torrey Pines course review. Enjoy!

Go To San Diego, Play The Course, That Is All

Is that really the worst way to spend a few days in the winter? If you’re not paying attention, it is Farmers Insurance Open week in San Diego. The Torrey Pines courses are in play Thursday and Friday with all the action moving to the big boy South course for the weekend. My course review from 2014 is worth the read if you have the time and have an interest in Torrey Pines.

That’s really all I have to say. More musings later. Enjoy.

Torrey Pines South Course Review

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Two For Thomas, Rors Down And Out, And More In Tuesday Takes

Thomas Takes Two

If you’re a PGA Tour fan you have to love Justin Thomas. There’s no other way to slice it. He’s talented. He’s humble. His swing is a thing of beauty. He’s young. And he’s really fucking good. About 15 months ago it would have been easy for someone to write how he’s in the next group of stars but hasn’t broken out yet, lived up to the hype, whatever cliche you want to throw out there from a lazy journo. Thomas won near the end of 2015 to give us a taste and then won the same event again in 2016 to make sure we didn’t forget about him. Then the calendar flipped.

All he’s done since then is blow away the field at the Tournament of Champions (beside Matsuyama) and dominate the Sony Open from the jump with a Thursday 59. Don’t be blinded by the 59 and let that first anecdote slip by too fast. Before the Sony he was the only man in the world who’d beat Matsuyama in a few months. Two do it twice, and then back it up with another win and rise to number 8 in the world (21 spots in two weeks!) is rarefied air.

Sure there’s been guys like Joe Durant who won 2 events to start a season and then disappeared for 11 months, but there’s also been guys like Jimmy Walker who’ve done something similar and used two quick wins to springboard their year and career. Thomas is clearly trending more toward what Walker did, minus 15 years of grinding. Thomas’ Masters odds are still in the 25 or 30 to 1 range depending on where you look. Get him while you can.

Rory’s Rib

Rory kicked off his 2017 on the Euro Tour by playing in the South African Open. He looked brilliant at times and rusty at others. He eventually lost in a 3 hole playoff to Graeme Storm, a journeyman who hadn’t won in a decade and wouldn’t even have status this year if Patrick Reed had played enough ET events in 2016. Once Rors knocked the rust off he was insanely good for stretches. Binges of birdies and eagles, 5 woods flown 300 yards, hole out eagles from the fairway. But he did lose thanks to a missed 5 footer in the playoff. Can you ever remember Tiger doing that?

Image result for Rory McIlroy rib injury

I looked at the whole week as a very positive start to the year for Rors in spite of the playoff loss. He has a lot more golf ahead of him and majors are the only thing he’s keeping track of these days. Then he announced a rib injury today that will keep him away from golf for an unknown amount of time.

I don’t think that tweet is that hot of a take. Remember a few years ago when Snedeker looked like the best golfer on the planet. He won a Pebble then sat for weeks with a rib injury and was never the same guy that season. I don’t think the whole year is a wash for Rors, but the Masters is 80 some days away. If this lingers in to mid February it will hurt his prep for Augusta.

Furyk For France

In other less than ideal news for golf fans, Jim Furyk was named the 2018 Ryder Cup Team Captain for the United States. Ugh. Sure Jim ‘deserves’ a chance because of his resume, his grit, blah blah blah…….fuck that. The dude is the biggest loser in U.S. Ryder Cup history. Look up his record, this isn’t hyperbole. He has no business being a captain based on how many times he’s been drubbed by a lower ranked Euro.

Image result for Jim Furyk ryder cup captain

Oh wait, it gets worse. He was asked by the media if being named captain meant he would not consider himself as a playing team member. He didn’t rule it out. If Jim makes it on points, which isn’t off the table with as much as he plays, he’ll play and be captain. That’s stepping on my genitals and spitting on me all in one motion. Thanks PGA of America! I don’t get how these guys can continue to ignore Fred Couples as a Ryder Cup Captain option. Yes, I know he did a few tour as Prez Cup cap, but so what? He won and the players love him. Freddie in France is the perfect combination. He’d probably bag some froggie babe (is there such a thing?) while leading the boys down the Champs-Elysees for the opening ceremonies.

What The Fuck?

That’s all I can say for this one. Take a look and you’ll see why:

When you put a ring on it 💍@djohnsonpga @kmelnichenko @sara.cuse @brookehurt @tygretzky @awood47 @jeremyc0hen

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So DJ goes from Kapalua to some ski vacation with Paulina and this is their idea of fun? What, did they run out of blow? This is the move of a desperate man, like she said she’d let him have a 4 way if he did it. He doesn’t look too engaged in the acts of the video minus that one scene. I expect this from Ben Crane or Bubba, not DJ. I almost took his POTY award away for this.

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Equipment Review: OptiShot2 Home Golf Simulator

Winter Sucks, I Do My Best To Make The Most Of It

What is a golf nut supposed to do when you live in the Midwest, the ground is covered with 10 inches of snow, and it is 27 degrees outside? You have an epiphany that your garage has 10 foot ceilings and insulated walls that make it possible for you to hit golf balls in there. That’s a start, and something for a desperate man to make the best of. Last year that lead me to drape a net in the corner, buy a range mat, and hook up an Ernest Sports launch monitor to get my winter fix. This year I decided I needed more visuals so I upgraded my garage range with an OptiShot2 home simulator.

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Set Up

My set up is anything but glamorous. First, there’s no actual heat in my garage. I can make it about 20 degrees warmer than the outside temp thanks to a space heater. That made things a little chilly when it was 14 last weekend, but 35 degrees in the garage with a stocking cap on my head and no breeze and I was fine. You don’t need 10 foot ceilings because the OptiShot is usable without even hitting a ball (more on that later) but it does make the experience more realistic and helps you get your ‘winter conditioning’ in. I back out the cars, sweep, turn on the heater, move all the kids toys out of the way, drop the net and mats, hook up the OptiShot to a PC and use my recycling bin as a desk. Nothing fancy, but it does the job and I’m hitting balls in 10 minutes. I cut a spot for the Optishot sensor in my old mat and use that to complete my hitting area.

The recycling bin is a nice touch, I know.

The recycling bin is a nice touch, I know.

The garden hoses and deck furniture in for the winter aren’t in play for me, neither is the window, but I did hangover shank one wedge (out of about 1000) into the drywall last winter. I suppose that’s there forever. I’m going to try to create some sort of shank shutter for the window for when my drunk neighbors decide they want to tee it up. I also bring out a flat screen TV for a monitor when necessary. Maybe next year I’ll upgrade to a screen with a projector and ditch the net.

What’s In The Box? 

Not much. That’s part of the beauty of this operation. OptiShot provides you with this piece of turf with infrared sensors built in, a long USB cord, a foam ball, a rubber tee holder, and some instructions as to how to get their software. The software is simple, you go to the site and access a download with your product code. Done.

Image result for optishot2 box

The foam ball is worthless unless you’re playing in the house without a net. Hitting off the small turf area with nothing around it can play with your head so I suggest cutting a space into your mat or whatever you’re hitting off of. I’d also suggest being on the same level as the sensor, i.e. not standing on the bare floor while the OptiShot sensor has the ball raised an inch. That’s no way to get better.

How It Works

Once you’ve got the software and the USB lines hooked up you’re all set. The menus on the program are easy to use. You can create a log in to get software updates and play online. If online stuff isn’t your thing then you can use the practice range or play several courses. Honestly, I could use this all day just in the range mode, but the on course experience keeps things interesting and makes you think about the shots you’re trying to hit.

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The simulator is nearly ready to use out of the box, but for best results you’ll need to hit the range and set up your bag and configure your clubs. The sensors pick up your club path and swing speed. You select the club you’re hitting and if you’ve set up your set honestly you’ll get lifelike results. I have my launch monitor next to the OptiShot to check its accuracy and it is within 5 yards on 95% of my shots. It carry a 5 iron 190-195. When I hit it flush on the OS it will go 180 into an 8 mph wind and 205-10 with that same wind. You can also set your settings to indicate the use of a foam ball or no ball, but what fun is that?

My two biggest complaints about the OptiShot2 are next. First, the short game. When you miss a green you have to try to feel what a certain yardage feel like while hitting into a net. The distance the ball will travel also varies on the lie you have. For example, you miss a green short side in a bunker. The OS tells you that you have a 18 yard shot in the bunker. You can see a lip you have to hit it over, so now you have to tell OS that you’re going to hit it higher and then guess at how much harder you have to swing because of the sandy lie. This is probably a better experience when you have a screen to hit into that has the course projected on to it (the full simulator experience). Putting is similar, but you can read the green on the screen, adjust your alignment through the PC, and putt over the sensors with some feel once you figure it out. I do recommend setting gimmies inside of 5 feet. Some of the club path feedback from OS is valuable in analyzing your putting stroke so using the flat stick on OptiShot isn’t a total waste.

Image result for Optishot tape image

Additionally, there is one huge glitch with the OptiShot2. Luckily there is an easy fix for it. The OS sensors don’t work well with woods that have a black and/or jagged finish on the bottom. Silver and smooth is what works best. I used my Titleist 915 D3 for two rounds with the OS telling me I was hitting a 20 yard push cut on 3/4 of my tee shots. This model is black on the bottom with the active recoil channel. That puts it in the black and jagged category for the OS sensors.

I miss that club right maybe 1 in 5 swings. I thought I was just slashing it and was trying to make corrective swings. The OptiShot feedback said my clubface was open anywhere from 5 to 20 percent. What the fuck? After digging around online I read where several people had the same experience. To fix it you simply have to take a piece of white or silver reflective tape and put it over the unsmooth part of the bottom of your club and make sure it is square/parallel to the club face. That will allow the OS sensors to pick up the club accurately. I added tape and have had no issues since. That is not my pic above, not my hand, club or car either. I used TyVek tape leftover from finishing our basement.

Courses

The game comes with some classics, like Cog Hill, both Torrey Pines courses, Bethpage Black, Kapalua, Riviera, and several more. For a fee, either in a package or each separate, you can download bonus courses like Pebble Beach, Medinah, St. Andrews, and Sawgrass. They look good and are pretty accurate (I’ve played a lot of these for real) but aren’t perfect. They also look better when I use a TV as a monitor instead of the laptop. You can see the view from the first tee at the Riv below.

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Buying the courses one at a time is a $30 charge. That seems steep when the OS itself retails for about $299 unless you get an upgraded package with nets, mats, etc. Also, most of the courses don’t use their real names. Obviously there’s a copyright issue with them. You’ll recognize Riviera as “Hogan’s Alley”. Bethpage Black is “Long Island Black”. Medinah No. 3. is “the Windy City Club”. And so on. Warwick Hills, an old club that is nothing great today, uses its real name for some reason. Warwick hosted the PGA Tour’s now defunct Buick Open for over fifty years in the Flint, Michigan area.

When OptiShot first launched, both in the original and the second model, the course list included “Sweet Magnolia” – an Augusta National ripoff. The screen shots of that course look as good as the old Tiger Woods video game that had Augusta on it. For unexplained reasons the OptiShot people pulled it from the software in a 2016 update. I suspect the Men of the Masters got wind of the unlicensed use of their club and made some lawyer-ed up threats. Fuckers.

Overall

The OptiShot2 simulator isn’t perfect, but it is a lot of fun for a golf nut to have access to for the winter and it does give you good feedback on your swing. I do suggest having a launch monitor on hand to back up the results the simulator gives. At the price point these sell for there is no better option. I picked mine up on Ebay. All in for the net, the OS, and two mats I’m only about $300 invested into it. That’s pretty damn reasonable. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll respond.

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I Can Always Do Worse – Predictions For 2017

Well Hello There 2017, I See You Coming…

I’ve been so bad at my annual predictions on this site that I hesitate to even attempt them again. Why bother? I’ll pick some big tournament winners, none of them will come true, and everything else I say will only give us something to laugh at by this time next year. I guess that’s worth it. Here we go.

Go West Young Man

The Tour is underway in Maui as I type this. The sights are glorious and the golf is fun, but we’re not going to care who wins. They’ll likely be first in the Fed Ex points for a week or so but who gives a shit? The West Coast swing truly starts when the big boys show up on the mainland. I’ll call some ho-hum winners for the T of C, the Sony, and the Hope, and then things get interesting at Torrey Pines when Jason Day takes his 2nd Farmers in 2 years.

Image result for jason day torrey pines image

In Phoenix we get a Bubba Watson/Justin Thomas showdown that ends in Bubba crying while Thomas gets the big check and big prize. Thomas is playing his ass off and is long over due for a PGA Tour win in his home hemisphere. At Pebble we get Jimmy Walker holding off Dustin Johnson while using a 35 inch driver. And then, playing his 3rd event of the season, we finally see Tiger Woods contend at Rivieria but not win. He’ll lose by two to Jordan Spieth and golf Twitter will lose its fucking mind on Sunday.

Image result for Tiger Woods Jordan Spieth image

Running Up To The Masters

The WGC event that starts the Florida Swing will be played in…..Mexico? What the fuck? There’s no telling who wins on a new course. This smells like a Jason Dufner/Daniel Berger showdown and Berger gets the better of Duf-daddy. We’re right back in the WGC saddle and back in Austin for the Match Play Championship that will be won by Ryan Moore after he beats Rafael Cabrera Bello in the final match.

That music can only mean one thing, we’re getting close to Augusta. We’re already under 100 days to the first major of 2017. The buzz in Augusta will be about Spieth bouncing back from his 2016 collapse and if Rory can complete the career Grand Slam. Don’t count on either happening. With strep throat, allergies, a bad back, and a hang nail, Jason Day wins his 2nd major and first green jacket.

Player’s Club

As the Tour moves on from the Masters, I’ll spare you the trouble of contemplating who wins anything between the Masters and the Players with one exception, the Zurich. Why’s that you ask? The Zurich announced in November that it will be a team format. 1st round alternate shot, 2nd round four ball. 80 teams cut to 35. No non-members outside some sponsor’s exemptions. To get to 35 teams there will be a playoff if necessary. I’m in!

Olympic medalists Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson will team up next year at the Zurich Classic. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Back to alternate shot for Saturday and 4-ball again Sunday with birdies galore. Winners takes all and the team splits the money and Fed Ex points. That’s fucking fantastic. When this was announced the bro-mances flared up all over social media. Rickie and JDay are in, Keegan Bradley will play with Brendan Steele, and gold medal winner Justin Rose will play with silver medalist Henrik Stenson. They’re the champs, book it.

The Players should be glorious and fun, there’s been a few tweaks to the course, one of which is making the short par four 12th hole drive-able. That only means someone like Jim Furyk will win to be Buzz Killington.

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Erin’s Whats?

At the Memorial Tiger Woods is back in contention, but he fails to win again and Kevin Na of all people stands next to Jack with the trophy on Sunday. Between Na and Furyk winning I already hate 2017. Tiger’s fine play ramps up his status as a favorite at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, but then he misses the cut after revealing that Khloe’ Kardashian is his new girlfriend.  I just threw up in my mouth.

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Outside of who Tiger is fucking, the story at the Open becomes the golf course. Erin Hills is majestic, but Mother Nature has other ideas and nearly rains the championship out. Instead of giving the field a firm and bumpy track the USGA has to let them play lift, clean and place. Rory shoots 14 under and wins by 6. He loves soggy turf and his nuptials are 2 months in his review mirror. Life is good for Rors.

The Home Stretch

You want to know where Big Cat gets his 1st win in his comeback? West fucking Virginia. You heard it here first. TW wins the Jim Justice Open at Greenbrier and the world barely takes notice thanks to the big 4th of July holiday blowouts. Once everyone wakes up from barbecue comas and notices he won the money in Vegas comes in hand over fist for him to win the British Open.

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And then he misses the cut for the 2nd time in three 2017 majors. Poor Tiger. Who’s the winner? I see a 3 man playoff including Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, and Sergio Garcia. I’d like to give Garcia an early wedding present (he announced his plans to get married this year today) but he’s too snake bit to ever get a major. This one goes to Casey. He finished 2016 strong. 2017 will be pretty quiet for him until he peaks at Royal Birkdale.

But hey, good for Garcia that he finally found a girl to marry. She must remind him of Jose Maria.

In Akron at Firestone Tiger is finally back in a WGC field thanks to his Greenbrier win. He wins by 5 and 9,568 golf publications declare he’s back. He finally makes the cut again at a major when the PGA is held at Quail Hollow but never finds his name on the first page of the leaderboard. Instead North Carolina guys like Webb Simpson and Bill Haas scare us by nearly winning until the dust settles and Patrick Reed is the last man standing.

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In the Fed Ex events I’ll take Rory, Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, and Spieth as the winners, but with no one watching the Tour finally announces it’s not-so-secret plans on moving the Fed Ex events to August, the PGA to May, and the Players back to March.

The President’s Cup ends the season for all intents and purposes at Liberty National in the NYC area. Phil Mickelson misses making the team automatically and asks not to be picked for the team. Bitch Tits then replaces Woods as a vice captain as Woods makes the team and plays. He pairs with Reed to go 4-0-1 but the U.S. continues their streak of losing team events in which Tiger is a part of. Bummer.

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Repeat Offender

Worth Every Penny

I put a decent amount of work into a course review when I write one. I wish I could do more but I don’t get out enough to courses you guys actually want to hear about. I also don’t review private tracks (I’m their guest) or places I play close to home. So when the Tour visits a course I’ve played and reviewed I make sure to bring back up the post from my archives.

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My 2014 review of Kapalua’s Plantation Course, from my trip there in 2010, can be found by hitting the link you’re reading in this sentence. The pros tee off on Thursday in Maui this year, FYI. That’s a change from the past when the started on Friday and ended on Monday to try to avoid football audiences picking a playoff game over a limited field event in paradise. I guess that didn’t work. I’ll be back later in the week with my 2016 predictions. Oh, and for fantasy picks this week, how can you go against Matsuyama?

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The Shutters 2016: WAG of the Year

Putting A Bow On The Show

It is time to get this thing over with, the year, the Shutters, etc. All of it. They’ve both gone on long enough. The Shutter for WAG of the Year was the show stopper for the first two years of these awards. In 2016 it is the one I’ve dreaded handing out. The past winners include Amanda Dufner, Alexis Randock (Rickie Fowler), and Paige Spiranac. Dufner and Randock have since parted ways with their star golfing significant others. That’s bad mojo for anyone nominated this year. Good luck, ladies, the category is wide open. I try to stick with actual wives and/or girlfriends but as you can see with Paige winning last year I’ll also legitimately nominate an up and coming viral smoke show that golfs. Paige was a force of nature last year, she deserved it. Who’s going to get the SFG curse for 2016????

The Nominees Are…

Jillian Stacey Bradley – Jillian is the new bride of Keegan Bradley. The couple was engaged in 2015 and smartly waited until after the 2016 PGA Tour season was over to tie the knot. The New England couple then took to Italy for a honeymoon you should never show your wife or girlfriend pictures of because you’ll never be able to live up to it (this is the same reason you don’t watch BBD porn with your girl).

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Recently married, super hot, she’s a lock, right? Because she’s actually with a golfer and not the golfer herself his year counts for or against her too. He only had two top 10s and probably made about as much as he spent on the wedding. Ouch Keegs.

Paulina Gretzky – The fiance’ and baby momma to Dustin Johnson, Paulina has been a WOTY nominee on SFG.com before. In 2013 she and pictures of her wearing little clothing practically carried this site to a level of readership that kept me going. She’s still dead sexy and Dustin’s game has never been better since she came along nearly 4 years ago.

🌴❤️☀️ @djohnsonpga

A post shared by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

The power couple has a young son together and they’re still planning on getting married (I’m hearing early 2018). I think this is her year. Dustin’s year was too good and she’s too hot to ignore. His major win at Oakmont in the U.S. Open just might be enough to put her over the top.

Elise Lobb – Elise is former collegiate golfer at Northern Florida University. She can play but you won’t see her trying to climb the ladies professional ranks anytime soon. She’s far more likely to appear on your TV as some kind of media persona. She became 2016’s version of Paige Spiranac after her good looks, charms, and fun personality went slightly viral. She also held down a month or so as the SFG Up & Comer of the Month.

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Elise seems to have a few jobs in smaller roles for various media outlets. I’m not sure what the Golf Channel is waiting for, with her background she’s be perfect on-air talent eye candy for almost any show they can think to put her on. Get it done!

Nicole Willett – The Masters Champion’s wife had a big year. Hubby Danny won a green jacket, they had a baby the same week he won his first major, and then she got to deal with her brother-in-law’s foot in mouth episode surrounding the Ryder Cup.

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Like Paulina, Mrs. Willett gets bonus points for her man winning a 2016 major. Unlike Paulina, she also gets bonus points for following me on Twitter. I obviously don’t know her personally, but she seems like the real deal. Down to earth, not interested in celebrity status, and more concerned about being a good mom than flashing photos of her amazing life around on social media. That’s a good thing for someone in her shoes.

And The Winner Is…

This isn’t that clear cut. You’ve got a new bride, a new mom, some WAGs with major trophies on their mantles right now, and a new viral golf sweetheart. I could give this to anyone. I’ll take Lobb out of this right now. She’s fantastic but she doesn’t hold a candle to Paige who won last year for the same reasons. Stacey Bradley, she’s out too because she must have distracted Keegan all year with wedding bullshit for him to have played like that. Paulina is the winner. I can’t deny her again. I’d like to say Dustin’s performance at Oakmont put her over the top, but the reality is this work by a Fox cameraman is what got her the win.

So yeah, I gave her the win for wearing that white mini knowing she’d be in front of millions of eyeballs with her guy winning the national championship. #LonglivePaulina indeed, and congrats to her for winning the SFG Wag of the Year award.

I think I got it right. I don’t need you to confirm it, but I’ve always given you a voice here and I always with. The poll and the comments are here for you to tell me how you feel. Don’t be bashful. Happy New Year!

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