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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Stronger hips = Longer drives

Watch Rory McIlrory hit a tee shot (see below) and you can't help but notice how fast his hips rotate counterclockwise when he starts his downswing. They look like they snap toward the target, leaving his upper body and club in the dust. This lag between lower-body and upper-body rotation generates a tremendous amount of force for a golf swing and is a good reason Rory can regularly bust drives in the 330-yard range or longer.


Most golfers don't have that kind of explosive hip action when they swing down, but even modest improvements in the way you move them can yield noticeable results in how far you hit the ball, says Dave Herman, a trainer to many professional golfers and creator of @superflexfit stretch bands.

Herman, teaching professional Andrew Park (@andrewparkgolf) and LPGA Tour 2013 Rookie of the Year Moriya Jutanugarn demonstrate a few exercises you can do to not only improve your hip action, but also strengthen your glutes, shoulder and mid-back muscles. Click on the two videos below to see what you need to do to launch the ball farther than ever.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.


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Video: Bubba Watson's 3-year-old son smashes balls with pink driver

Caleb Watson is maturing before our eyes. Remember that cute kid who ran onto the 18th green at Augusta National to embrace his dad just seconds after he won his second Green Jacket?

Well now he's following his father's footsteps by using a pink driver to crush balls.

Caleb even introduced himself in the third person ("Caleb Watson here! Trick shot!") before hitting a single ball. It seems he's getting his father's demeanor, too.

Caleb isn't the only son-of-a-tour-player who's developing some major game. Ian Poulter's youngest son, Joshua, is also doing some damage.

Joshua knocking his boxes down with golf balls. Go Joshua Go......

A video posted by Ian Poulter (@ianjamespoulter) on

Joshua's backswing is quick like his dad's.

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News & Tours

Kids buying jerseys of their favorite college golfer could be a thing some day

BRADENTON, FLA. -- How do you know that the stature of college golf is on the rise? When Nike announces it has designed specially made uniforms for several schools competing at the NCAA Championship.

During Friday's first and Monday's fourth round of stroke play at The Concession G.C., eight programs with sponsorship ties to Nike -- Duke, Stanford, Oregon, USC, Oklahoma, Washington, Georgia and Vanderbilt -- will wear new uniforms customized to the individual school. Each uniform will have the school logo and branding along with numbers individually picked by each golfer. The number blocking for each school borrows from the same pattern as their football program.


Stanford men's coach Conrad Ray said he first heard the idea being tossed around by Nike officials roughly a year ago. In part it stems from the NCAA Championship being televised on Golf Channel. Having the specially made uniforms with numbers on them can assist announcers (not to mention viewers) in keeping track of various players on the course.

Additionally, Nike itself was looking for a better way to take advantage of its sponsorship of various golf programs. By creating unique designs for each school that stand out from traditional golf shirts, Nike can use the jerseys to capitalize on them. 

Five women's programs wore similarly specially made uniforms during this week's NCAA Women's Championship, including the team champion, Stanford.

"Our team is so excited about actually having a jersey," said Washington head coach Matt Thurmond. "They loved picking their number, and it was fun to reveal them to the team. We are athletes. Athletes have jerseys. Maybe in a couple years the kids back home will be buying the jerseys of our top players and wearing them when they play, wanting to be like them."

That's when we'll know college golf has truly arrived.


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One of the best golf scenes in Entourage depended on Tom Brady as a last-second sub

When it comes to celebrity cameos in movies or TV shows, Entourage is tough to beat. And golf has played a prominent role in a bunch of those episodes.

Phil Mickelson appeared in an episode in Season 5. And Mark Wahlberg's smooth golf swing has been on display several times.

But probably the best golf scene in Entourage? When Tom Brady plays with the boys. Johnny Drama snaps Brady's driver. Turtle tries to talk smack to the quarterback of his rival football team, but gets won over by Brady's charm. It's a great episode.

But apparently Brady was a last-second sub in. That's according to Turtle, aka Jerry Ferrara, who met with Sports Illustrated on Thursday.

Related: Our favorite golf movie scenes

"[That] was initially for the Manning brothers," he said. "But then something happened where they had to pull out like four days before."

It hasn't been a good couple of weeks for TB12. Here's the clip of the interview of Ferrara talking about Brady.


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Courses & Travel

An edible golf course? Yes, there is such a thing

Forget about grabbing a bag of potato chips or a hot dog at the turn, this golf course in the West Indies encourages golfers to pick a variety of fresh fruits -- mangoes, papayas, bananas -- while they play.

Irie Fields, located at Kittitian Hill on St. Kitts Island, is a unique, par 71, 18-hole course, designed by the legendary Welsh tour player Ian Woosnam. It is perhaps the world's most edible, 'pick-as-you-play' golf course, with over 70 acres of tropical fruit orchards and farmland. Irie Fields is not only the world's "first edible golf course," but also the first course to acquire certification in the Golf Environment Organization's LEGACY Program, which showcases the world's most sustainable golf development. It's maintained without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers and uses a water-conserving irrigation system.


Signs are posted that indicate what's ripe enough to eat and caddies, who know each season's harvests, provide guidance on both club and fruit selection. For more information visit

Related: The Most Earth-Friendly Golf Courses


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A quick walk through the Jack Nicklaus room at the USGA Museum

Wednesday was the official opening and dedication of the Jack Nicklaus Room at the USGA Museum in Far Hills, NJ. For the people who go to these sorts of things, the experience is always the same: You can't walk 10 feet without bumping into someone you know, or are supposed to know, wearing his blue blazer. If you know the face but not the name, you buy some time by asking if they've been playing much golf lately. And if it's 85 and humid, like it was yesterday, brace yourself for the answer.

Regrettably, I spent only 15 minutes in the new room, which at 1,200 square feet is surprisingly intimate and houses just 82 artifacts. It's a lean version of the sprawling Jack Nicklaus Museum in Columbus, Ohio, which loaned items for the exhibit and will continue to rotate more. Several short videos and an interactive course-design feature pack additional layers of depth, but the impression is that the main concern of the curators was accessibility. The placards for each object are succinct and written in the first-person voice of Jack.    

"[The USGA] did such an efficient job of not being overbearing with a big room," Nicklaus said. "They've put it tastefully in a place where it's not going to get lost, where you can see it very quickly. There are three people that come to these rooms — streakers, strollers and scholars.  Streakers spend about a half an hour and they're done with it. Strollers spend a couple hours and get a lot of information. A scholar could spend all day, or more…I think that's what they've tried to accomplish."

Someday soon, I'd like to return on at least the level of a stroller. But to offer at least a taste from my manic visit...


nicklaus putter.jpg
"I bought this putter in North Berwick, Scotland shortly before the 1959 Walker Cup. It helped me to more than a dozen amateur titles, including both my U.S. Amateur wins."

Easy to forget that Jack Nicklaus actually used a hickory shafted putter. With it, he holed what he's said is the most important putt of his career; the final putt in the final match to defeat Charlie Coe in the 1959 U.S. Amateur.


tie case.jpg
"I played in my first Masters in 1959, as a 19-year-old. I hit 31 greens in regulation, but had eight three-putts and missed the cut. I realized then that I had better learn how to putt those greens - and I did."

Tie case? You mean there's a better traveling method than crumpling it in the breast pocket so you don't forget? Just another reason the rest of us don't have green jackets.


A cannon for a driver? If that's the most cutting satire a caricaturist can think of, you're untouchable.



"Though I was happy to have made the cut in my first tournament as a professional, my official prize winnings represented one-third of last-place money."

Tiger Woods' professional debut wasn't much stronger. He finished T-60 at the 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open but did bring home $2,544. 

Will there ever be a Tiger Woods wing at Far Hills? Already, Tiger's nine USGA championships eclipse Jack's eight, and Big Cat hasn't even had a chance at any U.S. Senior Opens. But more than trophies, yesterday's dedication was to Jack Nicklaus' character, as a family man and ambassador for the game. The reputations of the four other golfers with dedicated rooms — Bob Jones, Ben Hogan, Mickey Wright and Arnold Palmer - are as impeccable.


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U.S. Open

USGA's Davis stands by his Chambers Bay warning to players, but says reaction is "overblown"

FAR HILLS, N.J. -- Mike Davis would never request a mulligan, for either a misdirected golf shot or a perceived misstatement, so it should be no surprise that the USGA executive director wasn’t about to retract a pointed observation he made last month about the upcoming U.S. Open at Chambers Bay that drew the ire of several would-be competitors.
“I was simply trying to be helpful by pointing out that preparation for this year’s U.S. Open might be more critical than any in recent memory given the uniqueness of the golf course,” Davis said Wednesday at Golf House, the USGA’s headquarters. “I think things have gotten a little overblown, but the point is still valid.”

Davis caused a stir during media day at Chambers Bay, in University Place, Wash., when he predicted that intense advanced preparation was all but mandatory to have a chance to win the 115th U.S. Open. “I would contend that there is no way, no way, a player would have success here at Chambers Bay unless he really studies the golf course and learns it,” Davis said April 27. “The idea of coming in and playing two practice rounds and having your caddie just walk it and using your yardage book, that person's done. Will not win the U.S. Open.”
Among those with sharp retorts was 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, who snarked, “We’ll play for second.”
“My point was this is really a unique golf course that was going to require a lot of study,” Davis said. “[There’s] more elevation changes than a normal U.S. Open course. It’s wider. It’s all fescue. They had never seen it before. There’s a lot of local knowledge needed.
“This is going to be my 26th U.S. Open, and I’ve noticed that players just don’t play as much golf there [at the Open site]. They’ll play nine holes a day, rely on their caddies instead of coming in early to play three or four rounds the week before like they did in the past … it’s just the way things have become. And what I wanted to communicate is that the advantage really goes to the player who knows the course inside and out. There is so much bounciness to that course that you just can’t learn it quickly. You certainly can’t learn it well from a yardage book. It is not a straightforward test, like, say Oakmont next year, which many of them have already seen.”
As Davis was talking, the embodiment of a well-prepared U.S. Open player was within earshot. The USGA officially opened the Jack Nicklaus Room Wedndesday at the USGA Museum. Nicklaus won four U.S. Open titles, starting in 1962 when he beat local hero Arnold Palmer in a playoff at Oakmont CC, near Pittsburgh. Nicklaus captured the first of his 18 major titles after an extensive visit to Oakmont the week before the championship, and throughout his career he made it a habit, whenever possible, to visit a major venue early to learn the layout and acclimate himself to the challenge.
“I think Jack knew which players would be the toughest to beat based on preparation, and he also knew which ones he could eliminate,” Davis said.
“A little bit of this is just things tend to get, I think, lost in translation, and I should probably be used to it,” Davis added. “Look at last year, when there was talk that back-to-back Opens at Pinehurst was going to be a disaster. ‘Why are the women playing second? Are the greens going to be unplayable?’ Two years ago at Merion it wasn’t going to work; they were going to demolish that golf course. The year before that was Olympic, and players weren’t going to like that style of architecture because of the doglegs and the fairway slopes cantering the other way.
“In the end, the best thing is to just let the golf course speak for itself.”


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Throwback Thursday

Arnie started cashing tour checks 60 years ago, and tour players are still cashing in today

Forget Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. A better example of connectedness, at least in the game of golf, is Arnold Palmer, who has millions of fans feeling part of the Arnie's Army, as well as thousands of tour pros, including Tiger Woods, who can trace their personal largesse to A.P.

loop-arnold-palmer-1955-canada-300.jpgIn fact, the big money machine that benefits the PGA Tour and its players can celebrate an anniversary this week. Sixty years ago on Friday marks the day Arnold Palmer started making money as a tour player. On May 29, 1955, after finishing his fourth round at the Fort Wayne Invitational, Palmer pocketed $145 for finishing T-25. It was the first official PGA Tour payday Palmer was allowed to keep, having served the long-since abandoned, six-month probation against earning money in tour events after turning pro. (Imagine a tour pro today being told he had to wait a half-year to take home money he earned.) 

Prior to Fort Wayne, Palmer had played 10 tour-run events in 1955, having turned pro at the end of 1954. He finished "out of the money" in five, missed the cut in one and had to pass on $1,144.86 he would have gone home with in the other four. (He was allowed to take home the $695.83 he earned for a T-10 finish at the Masters in April 1955 because it was not run by the tour.) Three months later in August, Palmer won the Canadian Open (shown) for his first tour title and a top prize of $2,400. 

The 145 simoleons from Fort Wayne were the start of Palmer's launch into making golf in general -- and the tour specifically -- financially lucrative. His star power helped the tour grow in popularity, which in turn increased prize money substantially. He was the first to make $100,000 in a season, first to $1 million in career earnings and the first to make advertising marketability an art form, something he still excels at today at age 85. The huge tour purses he helped grow came much after Palmer was capable of winning on tour, but the money he was able to keep at the Fort Wayne Invitational 60 years ago must have felt like a fortune at the time, which is what he turned it into.

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News & Tours

These five stats put Rory's opening-round 80 at the Irish Open into perspective

There was a lot of carnage at Royal County Down on Thursday. And the World No. 1 -- who is also hosting the Irish Open this week through his charity -- was not spared from the tough conditions. An opening-round 80 has the Northern Irishman sitting in last place after 18 holes.

Literally, last place.

Some other top-name players got off to equally brutal starts. Martin Kaymer, playing in the same group as Rory, finished with a 79. Sergio Garcia was 5-over at last check. Lee Westwood had a 74. It's never an easy round at Royal County Down -- but Thursday it was playing even tougher than usual.

These five stats from Rory's round tell the story of how bad it really was.

1. This was Rory's worst competitive round since the final round of the 2011 Masters.

We know how that ended. We also have a feeling Rory will be a lot less disappointed by Thursday's round than he was after the snap-hook at the 10th hole at Augusta. But to put today's round in perspective, it was as bad as that 80 Rory had in 2011.

2. Rory hit only six of 14 fairways.

Rory talked about that after the round. That'll happen at tough, windy Royal County Down.

3. Rory made nine bogeys.

Couple nine bogeys with nine pars and no birdies? That's how you get an 80. And which is also how you get ...

4. A scrambling stat of 1-out-of-9.

When you miss six out of 16 greens, like Rory did on Thursday, then don't get up and down eight out of nine times, you're going to be bound for a round in the 80s. Average golfers know that all too well.

5. A total of 36 putts.

Ouch. That number kind of speaks for itself. You don't often see pro golfers have 36 putts in one round. We know Rory can struggle at times on the greens, but this was a pretty poor showing by the World No. 1.

And now Rory looks like a good bet to miss the cut for the third straight year at the Irish Open.


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Oklahoma men's golf team makes epic trick-shot video to prepare for this weekend's NCAAs

Before NCAAs even start, Oklahoma can say it's won the trick-shot game.

The men's golf team is heading to its fifth straight NCAA finals this week -- and what better way to prepare then showing off your skills with random trick shots? That's got to psych out your opponents.

If the Sooners make it to match play, I wouldn't want to play these guys. Imagine playing against a guy who can drain shots into a little plastic cup? You know he's never out of a hole. That's scrambling like no other.

There's something so college about making one of these videos. Hundreds of golf-trick shot videos are out there. And we respect you all for keeping us tuning in.

And now we'll be paying close attention to the Sooners at NCAAs. If they make it to match play, watch out!

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