The Local Knowlege

Equipment

Winner's bag: The driver change that led to Danny Lee's first PGA Tour title

Driver changes seem to work at the Greenbrier Classic. Last year Angel Cabrera won the tournament in his first week using Ping's G30 driver and this year Danny Lee emerged victorious after switching to a 9-degree Callaway XR with an Aldila Rogue Black 70x shaft. Lee hit 43 of 56 fairways (76.8 percent) for the week, ranking T-17 in that stat.

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft
Driver: Callaway XR (Aldila Rogue Black 70x), 9 degrees
3-wood: Callaway X2 Hot, 15 degrees
5-wood: Callaway RAZRFit, 18 degrees
Irons (3-4): Callaway Apex UT; (5-PW): Callaway RAZR X MB
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 2 (52, 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey Works Versa #9

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News & Tours

Robert Streb makes five birdies on back nine and gets into a playoff by putting with his WEDGE

Example No. 3,467 of why "these guys are good": Robert Streb made five birdies on the back nine on Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic. Putting with his wedge.

That's pretty boss, although it would have been even more impressive if he just did it for the heck of it like in "Tin Cup" when Kevin Costner broke all his clubs except his 7-iron and parred every hole on the back nine at a U.S. Open qualifier. Instead -- as you'd probably figure -- Streb started putting with his 56-degree wedge after damaging his putter throwing it to his caddie on the ninth hole.

Related: Watch Shaq need three attempts to get off the first tee

Here he is making a 30-footer(!) for birdie on No. 13:

Here he is making birdie on No. 16:

Unfortunately, he three-putted from 30 feet on No. 17, but here's his clutch birdie putt chip roll on No. 18 to cap a back-nine 32 and get into a playoff.

Here's a better look at the club and how little using it on the greens affected Streb:

Streb was allowed to put a new putter in play for the three-man playoff, however, he never got a chance to use it. He missed the green with his tee shot on the par-3 18th and didn't get a chance to make a par putt after Danny Lee and David Hearn made their birdies.

Still, it was a heck of an effort. And it might just have a few weekend hackers toying with benching their flatsticks. Don't do it, guys. These guys are pros.

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News & Tours

Tiger Woods mines an also-ran finish and turns up some positives

What would have been considered a tough week in good times is now a good week in tough times in a world turned upside down for Tiger Woods.

A cut made and an also-ran finish at the Greenbrier Classic were cause for optimism for a man who once considered anything less than victory as unacceptable.

Yet there he was on Sunday, claiming a moral victory that means…who knows what in a year as unpredictable as his best years were predictable.

TigerGreenbrier.jpg
(Getty Images)

A bogey-free round, Tiger’s first in 56 competitive rounds, left him all smiles with a major championship on deck, the British Open at St. Andrews, where he has won twice, in 2000 and 2005.

“It’s been a very positive week,” he said following his round of three-under par 67 on Sunday. “I’ve made some nice strides heading into the British Open. I’ll do some work and be ready by Thursday [of Open week].”

The question is still this: Ready for what? In the statistical department, nothing stood out in a way that suggested he was ready to launch an assault in a bid to assume his rightful place in the golf hierarchy. At least he began to reacquaint himself with the fairway, hitting 12 of 14 of them in the final round.

“I played really well today,” he said. “I hit the ball the best I’ve hit it in a long, long time. And made absolutely nothing. I had six lip outs for birdie, so this could have been one of those special rounds. I really could have gone low.

“It’s a great sign. I had full control over all clubs. I hit it great. I had shapes both ways — right to left, left to right. I had it all on call today.”

It would not seem sufficient, one solid round, to erase the trauma of the four rounds he played prior to the Greenbrier, the last two at the Memorial and two at the U.S. Open. He played them in a collective 31 over par with a scoring average of 78.75. An 85 in the third round at Muirfield Village was the worst of his professional career.

“I thought I made a big giant step at Memorial, even though I shot those numbers,” he said. “But the pattern was set. I just had to refine it. And this week I definitely refined it. If I’d just made a couple putts, this week could have been completely different.”

We can only take his word for it. Woods tied for 32nd.

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Books

Breaking down the changing of the guard on the PGA Tour

GolfDigest.com regularly highlights golf books we find of interest to readers. This week's book is:

loop-book-slaying-the-tiger-300.jpgSlaying The Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour,
By Shane Ryan, Ballantine Books, $29, hardback, 414 pages

Every era of golf has a beginning and an end, but it's the transition from one ending to the next beginning that is the focus of one of the year's most ambitious golf books.

Only time will reveal if the Woods Era has officially closed (along with supporting player Phil Mickelson) and if the McIlroy (or Spieth or . . .) Era has been under way for awhile, but we are definitely transitioning to a younger set of players who are winning tournaments -- including majors -- and are occupying the World Top 10.

Versatile sports writer Ryan used the 2014 season to make the case that veterans of Woods' generation are being replaced -- or slain -- by a youth posse. As Ryan chronicles the 2014 season from its start in late 2013 to an epilogue that touches on Jordan Spieth's Masters victory in April, he gives insight into the minds, mannerisms and moods of the young brood chasing out Woods & Company, primarily Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Spieth, Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley.

Related: Catch up on other Golf Digest book reviews

What does this group portend? How would these players lead elite competitive golf? Some elements of these players' games, personalities and backgrounds can frighten and alarm, but others promise hope. None of this new generation feels the caliber of a Palmer with his charisma, but some seem like they could be dominant. But the verdict is out on to what degree.

Ryan also dives into how Woods himself caused his demise: Woods' dominance was so complete it suffocated chances for others to challenge him, but it also inspired this young group of players, Tiger's Children, Ryan calls them. But Ryan also puts Woods' struggles on his age, injuries and personal scandal.

Writing from an observational point of view, Ryan mixes in what he's seen with what he's heard, and draws conclusions about what makes these young players tick and, ultimately, excel. At the least, the book is a timely study of the present state of the professional game. But what it feels like is a portfolio of the likely candidates to have "Era" attached to their name for the next 10 to 15 years.

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Missing Links

Jordan Spieth and the Grand Slam: 'Nobody knows fail-safe blueprint'

Stories of interest you might have missed…

Johnette Howard of ESPNW examines the different approaches that Jordan Spieth and Serena Williams are taking in their quests to win Grand Slams in the their respective sports. “Spieth's way of dealing with his chase of history seems to be a fallback a lot of athletes choose in high-pressure times: Stick to your normal routine,” she writes. “Do what you'd normally do. Don't change a thing…A lot of variables go into making history. But nobody knows the fail-safe blueprint to complete a Triple Crown or Grand Slam. As Williams said, ‘There's a reason it happens so rarely.’”

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Jordan Spieth's U.S. Open trophy and Masters green jacket

“‘The Challenge Awaits...’ is the slogan for this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. For the European Tour and its players, the wait for that challenge has been exactly 12 months. For Gullane Golf Club, you could say it has taken more than 350 years to come around,” Martin Dempster of the Scotsman writes on the Scottish Open giving Gullane top billing for the first time in its long history

***

Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell is in a slump that has him searching for answers, Brian Keogh writes at the Irish Golf Desk. “I've got a lot of technique in my head, I've got to be honest, and I have to strip that out,” McDowell said. “I'm having problems stripping it out. I've got to get  back to basics a little bit and try and clear the mind  a little bit. Just been working too hard on trying to  get the technique fixed and making it worse…I've got a lot of golf to play. Just need courage in my pocket, get out there and work it out. I know it’s in there.”

***

“One of the earliest books of formal golf rules is expected to fetch up to £50,000 when it goes up for auction,” Murray Spooner writes in the Scotsman. “Rules of the Thistle Golf Club, written by James Cundell, was one of only six books of printed rules published prior to 1830.”

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News & Tours

Italian teen phenom Renato Paratore just turned in the most boring scorecard in golf history

It wasn't his best score, but it was certainly Renato Paratore's most unusual scorecard. In fact, the Italian teen did something on Friday that's never been done in the history of the European Tour.

Related: Golf's all-time biggest phenoms

During the second round of the Alstom Open de France, Paratore morphed into Para-"four," making a four on all 18 holes at Le Golf National. Here's a look at his scorecard:

Paratore ended up shooting a one-over-par 72 with the course having four par 3s and just three par 5s. Unfortunately, that left him at eight over and well off the cut line. At the very least, he'll leave France with a unique accomplishment.

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Celebrity

5 things to talk about on the course: The World Cup, "True Detective," and bye-bye to "Bennifer"

From sports to TV to politics (OK, so mostly the first two), we offer five hot topics that are sure to liven up your round of golf:

1. Women's World Cup: The U.S. will play Japan for the World Cup title on Sunday in a rematch of the 2011 final in which America lost in penalty kicks. USA! USA! USA! While this is the matchup the Americans wanted, it's only happening thanks to England having the most crushing own goal in soccer history in the semifinals, because, well, England soccer.

2. NBA free agency: What a wild start to free agency with stars going everywhere. Well, or more like they're mostly staying put. Kevin Love, Dywane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Paul Milsapp, Brook Lopez, and others are staying put. Tyson Chandler is going to Phoenix, Paul Pierce is headed to the Clippers, Greg Monroe is going to Milwaukee, and LaMarcus Aldridge is probably going to the (gulp) Spurs. And my Knicks? They signed Aaron Afflalo and the bad Lopez twin. Hip hip, hooray!

Related: NBA stars who love playing golf

3. "Bennifer": We hate seeing celebrity couples split up -- especially one with such a catchy silly nickname. But a day after their 10th wedding anniversary, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner called it quits. The most obvious question is "What went wrong?" The second-most obvious is question is "Why don't either of them play golf?"

4. Max Scherzer: How about the run this guy has been on of late? The Washington Nationals ace threw a one-hitter with 16 strikeouts, threw a no-hitter with 10 Ks and in which he lost a perfect game by plunking someone with two outs in the ninth inning, and then started his next start with five perfect innings. His ERA actually went up during a fourth consecutive dominant start (nine Ks, no walks) in which he allowed two runs in 8.1 innings. No one is going to want to face this team in October, especially with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman and Doug Fister following Scherzer and his ridiculous 0.78 WHIP in the rotation.

Ranking: The 17 best musical acts to perform at "Tiger Jam"

5. "True Detective": There was no way the second season of this HBO drama could ever live up to last year's brilliance (MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY as Rust Cohle, people!), but through two episodes it hasn't come close. And now (SPOILER ALERT) Colin Ferrell's character is dead?! (At least, he took two shotgun blasts, one from point-blank range. I'm 100 percent sure I'd be dead if that happened to me.) Huh?! He was by far the best part of the show. Between this and "Ballers," HBO's post-"Game of Thrones" season is off to a rough start.

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Travel

Deal of the Week: Explore golf on one of the best of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes

Gull Lake in Central Minnesota is one of those places in-state visitors hope nobody ever hears about. 

The Brainerd area has been a go-to summer vacation spot for the rest of the state for nearly 100 years. Gull Lake's 38 miles of shoreline are lined with a dozen resorts and hotels of various sizes. Two of the biggest, Madden's and Cragun's, each have a variety of courses that take advantage of the lakefront, hills and mature trees. 

loop-madden's-520.jpg

At Madden's, you can pick from the championship-length Classic, the sportier Pine Beach East and Pine Beach West, and the beginner-friendly Social 9. All are meticulously maintained, and better yet, they all offer a different kind of challenge -- from the Classic's broad-shouldered, PGA Tour-style looks to the East's 1930s-era charm. 

loop-craguns-520.jpg

At Cragun's, Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed the Dutch Legacy and Bobby's Legacy 18s with distinctly different feels. The five-star Dutch has a collection of fierce 450-yard-plus par-4s, while the Legacy offers a more charitable experience for players who don't carry the ball quite so far. 

July and August are prime time in Minnesota, with no-humidity days in the low 80s and nights in the 60s. You can still find some good golf package rates at either place -- or book a trip that combines the best of both. The two properties sit about two miles apart on the southern tip of Gull Lake -- 150 miles north of Minneapolis-St. Paul. 

The Madden's Classic Deluxe package offers a round on the Classic and any of the other resort courses, lodging and breakfast for two for about $520 per night in a deluxe king room. An equivalent package at Cragun's -- two weekend nights with two rounds of golf, plus breakfast and dinner -- is $359. 

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Will walking the golf course help you lose weight?

The health benefits of walking are well documented. It improves mobility, proprioception, coordination, blood flow and lung function—not to mention improving your mood and ability to sleep soundly. But if you want to start walking when you play golf to help lose weight, you might end up frustrated.

An in-depth analysis of several studies on walking showed that dramatically increasing the amount you walk will help you lose weight—but just barely. How little are we talking? The analysis used nine studies that included several hundred people. Those participants increased the amount they walked by roughly two miles a day for 16 weeks. At the end of that period, the group, on average, had lost slightly more than three pounds.

golfer_walking_course_260.jpgThe analysis, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, indicated that if you walked approximately two rounds of golf in a day without carrying your bag, you would lose less than a pound of weight. Obviously adding the external load of roughly 30 pounds to your back in the form of a bag, balls and clubs would help lose more weight, but it wouldn't be significant enough to make walking when you play an efficient method for weight loss.

Back in 2009, I reported on how far golfers walk when they play. You can read about it here: What's Your Golf Mileage?

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

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News & Tours

Bubba Watson to paint U.S. flag over Confederate flag on General Lee

The recent controversy over the Confederate flag has prompted Bubba Watson to paint a U.S. flag over the Confederate flag atop his pride and joy, the original General Lee, the Dodge Charger made famous on the television show “Dukes of Hazzard.”

generallee.jpg
Watson's General Lee parked in Waste Management Open parking lot (Getty Images)

Watson made his announcement via the following Tweet:

The cable television station “TV Land” announced on Wednesday it was pulling reruns of the popular television series because of the controversy created by the recent murders in a South Carolina church.

Here’s what Watson had to say about the General Lee in a Golf Digest My Shot:

“I'm a huge ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ fan. I have the complete DVD collection. After I got the car, I didn't have it a month before I put it into the shop. It was messed up when I got it. There were hundreds of General Lees, but mine was the original. It had done a lot of jumping. There was a big concrete block in the back seat to stabilize it when it was airborne, none of the gauges on the dash worked, and it didn't have seat belts. I handed it over to some car junkies, and a year and $10,000 later— that's a cheap price, by the way — I got it back. Everything in it is perfect. Would I drive it into Augusta? Sure, it's just a car. But will I? No. That's a long way to transport a car just to drive it to a golf course.”

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