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News & Tours

What Fleet Street is saying, Ryder Cup Monday

Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy turned up at Gleneagles Monday to practice while their teammates filed in gradually, seemingly leaving little to talk about. To the rescue Captain Paul McGinley!
To date the Fleet Street crowd at Britain's top papers have gently raised eyebrows at the possibility of McIlroy and Graeme McDowell partnering in this Ryder Cup, even though the Rory's legal row with Horizon Sports has dragged old buddy GMac into the mess. Both players have downplayed the issue and Captain Paul McGinley has agreed. 

So it came as a "shock departure," writes James Corrigan in The Telegraph, that McGinley is now suggesting at Monday's news conference with Tom Watson that he may not be pairing the duo, with Corrigan noting "for months" McGinley has been adamant the Northern Irishman would be partnering again.

Ewan Murray of The Guardian was skeptical of McGinley's claims of a statistical study for his reasoning in splitting the former close mates.

Pressed on what "statistics" he had analysed, McGinley said: "As I say, I've got lots of options with them. But if I don't decide to play them, it would be for tactical reasons. It won't be for any other reasons."

The Daily Mirror's Neil McLeman stayed clear of the McGinley revelation and focused on Rory's assertion that five points from the lad will grab the Cup for Europe.
 
"If I get five points, we will probably win. It feels great to be here. I haven't really done much in the way of practice the last week so I just wanted to make sure I was ready to go Friday so that is why I got here a little early."

The Independent's Kevin Garside also focused on McIlroy, noting that he showed up at Gleneagles after a voluntary hiatus to refresh himself following the FedExCup playoffs.

The world's finest player declared himself rested and ready to go at Gleneagles after his social whirl either side of the Irish Sea. From nights out in Belfast and sponsor commitments in London to ringside seats at Wembley Arena and the Goals on Sunday sofa, McIlroy was as good as his word and left the clubs alone.

As for the American arrival, Oliver Brown took issue with Rickie Fowler's USA haircut, suggesting the "exhibition of thuggish jingoism" could fuel the necessary ingredients to make these matches "turn nasty, fast."

Ahhhh, that's the Fleet Street we love and know!

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News & Tours

Dude goes nuts, snaps all his clubs in golf course parking lot

Not a whole lot of information on this one, but apparently some guy called Bundy was really angry after his round and took it out on his golf clubs. The woods were spared, but the bag, his bag tags, his irons and his wedges were all given the death penalty.

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He even tries to break a club over his head at one point. It's all pretty bizarre, really.

(Warning: You may find the language -- and the egregious abuse of golf clubs -- offensive.)
 

 

Update: This video has gained some traction, so a quick update: Golf Central Daily, who posted the video on YouTube, confirmed the man's identity: Bryce Bundy. Barstool Sports started a hashtag: #WeAreAllBundy. Even the course superintendent inserted himself into the ruckus:

#WeAreAllBundy

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Style

A suit designed for bigger-bodied dudes

Size is subjective. The same way your pitching wedge is 4 degrees stronger than the one you had in your bag in the 1990s, your standard-size 40 regular suit you wore on your first job interview measures completely differently than the one hanging in your closet now.

Just as short irons got stronger, suits have also gotten slimmer. We're totally buying the slimmed-down silhouettes. They make guys with regular builds look leaner and feel more comfortable everywhere from the boardroom to the bar. That said, they can leave bigger bodied dudes either looking like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy or swimming in a suit that fits them in the shoulders but nowhere else.

Enter J. Crew's new Crosby suit. Based off the company's slim-fit standard Ludlow block, the Crosby maintains all the aesthetics of today's modern suit with a shorter jacket, slightly narrower lapel and flat-front trouser. It specifically buys your big man some room where it counts: across the shoulders, down the sleeve and around the thigh. The result is a sharp fitting, classic suit built for the bruiser.

In fact, J. Crew was so confident in its kits, which can be found on the company's website, that it used the New York Knights, New York City's semi-pro Rugby team, to model the new threads.

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I mean if these guys wearing it, we're pretty sure the Crosby, available in two seasonal cloths and two basic for $650, handle whatever you plan to put I through.


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Photos courtesy of J. Crew

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How He Hit That

How He Hit That: Derek Fathauer's mini-waggle

While the likes of Rory McIlroy, Billy Horschel, Chris Kirk and Jim Furyk were duking it out for the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus, the real pressure was building on the Web.com Tour -- where 75 players essentially held a four-week race for 50 spots on the 2014-2015 PGA Tour. Dip to third in the FedEx Cup and you're still taking home $2 million. Miss out on the top spot in the Web.com race and you still get a card, but you're not guaranteed entry into any event on the big tour. 

Derek Fathauer had seen all sides of it. He made it to the PGA Tour through Q-school for the 2009 season before flaming out in an avalanche of missed cuts. This year, he made 19 cuts in 23 events, but picked the right week to win his first tournament as a professional. Fathauer opened with rounds of 65-66 at the Web.com Tour Championship and held off Zac Blair on the weekend to win by a shot and earn full PGA Tour status for next season.

"I was trying to force the first few events," said Fathauer, who had chances to win two of the other three Web.com Finals events before fading on the weekend. "I did a better job of staying patient this week and not looking too far ahead." 

Part of Fathaeur's mechanism for handling pressure is the mini-waggle he uses just before he pulls the trigger on every full shot. It simulates the feel and motion of his release, and helps keep him tension-free. "It's a combination of club positioning rehearsal and a little preview of the swing motion," says Top 50 teacher Brian Manzella, who is based at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans. "It's probably something he does as a reminder to smooth out his move away from the ball. It's great in that it prevents him from being really static or ball bound before he makes his swing. You can see how he doesn't take much time from when he does that little move and when he goes ahead and hits it. He gets the feel, releases the tension and goes."

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News & Tours

Tom Watson and Paul McGinley engage in some friendly sparring during their first press conference

PERTHSHIRE, Scotland -- It was, as you'd expect at this early stage in the biennial proceedings, all very chummy. Although we were spared any LPGA-style "air-hugging," Ryder Cup captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson were in full diplomatic-mode during the first of many meetings with the assembled press core gathered at Gleneagles for the 40th staging of golf's most eagerly anticipated team event.

Watson, who won four of his five Open titles north of Hadrian's Wall, was in there first with his opening bid for Caledonian hearts and minds.

"Just being in Scotland is very special to me," said the 65-year old Kansan.

Ah, but McGinley was ready for him. In tribute to the grand old man of Scottish golf, the recently departed and already much-missed Bob Torrance, the Irishman told of the aphorism he has had placed on the wall next to the exit door from the home team locker room.

"It's just a simple message," said the 47-year old Dubliner. "Bob used to say this to every player as they left the range to walk to the first tee. He would shake your hand and say: 'Happiest days of your lives.' That's the last thing they will see as they leave the locker room."

Beat that Tom. 

455919760.jpgAnd, give him credit, he gave it his best shot with some of that old "Home of Golf" stuff. Hardly original, but hey, the week is young.

"The crowds here are wonderful," said Watson. "You couldn't be anywhere but Scotland when you're in Scotland. This is a special place. Scotland is where the game of golf was invented. The history of the game here is rich. There is a certain element in me that I feel like I'm part Scottish. I love the game so much.

"Plus, the singing and the cheering is something special. I'll tell our rookies they will feel the electricity. They are going to feel something that they have never felt before."

Not bad. But McGinley was ready with some schmaltz of his own.

"I go to St. Andrews and I can feel the spirituality," he replied. "You know you are somewhere special. There's a just a sense; there's a feeling."

Inevitably, memories of Ryder Cups past came into play. And it is there that McGinley just about edged the contest, although neither man covered himself in glory with their recall of bygone days.

Watson first. Displaying a keen sense of revisionist history, Watson launched into a tale in which he had encouraged Tom Kite not to change his swing before the 1981 matches at Walton Heath. Instead, the Texan should "wait for his body to wake up" post-jetlag.

"And after that," claimed Watson, "Tom went out and won his single 8&7 making ten birdies."

Well, sort of. Kite did make ten birdies in his single at Walton Heath. But that was only good enough to beat Sandy Lyle by 3&2. It was eight years later at The Belfry where the 1992 US Open champion shook hands with Howard Clark on the 11th green.

McGinley's 18-years younger memory was, surprisingly, just about as bad. In relating his experience in his first-ever Ryder Cup match at The Belfry in 2002, the four-time European Tour winner claimed that he and Padraig Harrington had lost to "Payne Stewart and I think it was Jim (Furyk)."

OK. Furyk was there all right. But he was paired that day with Stewart Cink. Close but no cigar. 

Ach, call it a draw. It's only Monday.

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News & Tours

A LOT happened at the Web.com Tour Championship. Here are 9 things you need to know

The Web.com Tour Finals concluded with the Tour Championship on Sunday and finalized who will be playing where next season. Twenty-five golfers earned their PGA Tour cards for 2014-15, joining the 25 who had already done so by their finish on the Web.com Tour's regular season money list. Those heartwarming tales were just part of a story that had plenty of heartbreak as well. Here are some of the highs and lows from Sunday's finish at TPC Sawgrass.

-- Derek Fathauer didn't need to do anything last week, having already locked up a PGA Tour card through his regular season play, but that doesn't mean his Web.com Tour Championship win wasn't important. In addition to the $180,000 check he earned for his first professional title, Fathauer finished first in the Web.com Tour Finals (the four-event postseason series). That means he is fully exempt on the PGA Tour next year and will make his first appearance at the Players.

Related: 8 eye-popping stats from the PGA Tour season

-- Adam Hadwin will also have the same privileges as Fathauer next season based on finishing first on the Web.com Tour combined money list from the regular season and postseason. Coincidentally, Hadwin was a teammate of Fathauer at the University of Louisville from 2004-2008. Sounds like a pretty good Cardinals squad.

-- Carlos Ortiz missed the cut in his final three events of the season, but he might be the Web.com Tour graduate most likely to succeed on the PGA Tour next year. Ortiz's playoff performance had no bearing on his status for next season after a third Web.com Tour win of 2014 ensured him an immediate promotion to the big leagues next year. The 23-year-old Ortiz is the first player since Michael Sim to win three times on the developmental tour in one year, and is just the fifth Mexican player to earn his PGA Tour card.

-- Eric Axley, a former PGA Tour winner won't be fully exempt like the Fathauer, Hadwin, and Ortiz, but he's relieved to have any status at all. After missing a five-footer for par on the final hole, Axley waited for nearly four hours to see if he would get his card. He did, barely, finishing No. 50 on the Web.com Tour's priority list.

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Zac Blair had a big week at TPC Sawgrass.

-- From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, Roberto Castro is feeling a little different than the first four guys mentioned. After finishing No. 135 on the FedEx Cup points list, Castro finished a slim $31.66 behind No. 50 Eric Axley on the Web.com Tour Final's money list. That difference means instead of a return trip to the PGA Tour, Castro, who tied a Players Championship record with a 63 in 2013, will now have to earn playing status on the Web.com Tour at Q School in December.

-- Travis Bertoni is also feeling a bit blue today after narrowly missing out on earning his PGA Tour card. Instead of talking about what happened to the 30-year-old journeyman, why don't you just watch:

It doesn't get much more brutal than that.

-- Back to happier things, Arnold Palmer is one proud grandpa today. Sam Saunders' strong playoff run (T-4, T-16, T-12, and T-7 at the Web.com Tour Championship), means the King's grandson will be a PGA Tour member for the first time in 2014-15. In 22 career events on the PGA Tour, Saunders has two top 25s.

Related: The best and worst from 2014's major championships

-- But no one came up bigger in the season's final event than Zac Blair. The recent graduate of BYU had missed four straight cuts and was No. 118 on the Web.com Tour's priority list until his solo second at TPC Sawgrass vaulted him 107 spots. Blair was one of six golfers to play his way into the tour's top-50 priority list.

-- Oh, well, maybe one player came up bigger. After stumbling with a Saturday 75, Nick Taylor needed a low final round to finish in the top 50 on the priority list. He responded with a 63 -- the low round of the day by three shots -- to earn his PGA Tour card for the first time. Clutch!

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Gear & Equipment

Yes, Rory McIlroy might be using a new driver at the Ryder Cup

loop-Rory-mcilroy-Nike-vapor-driver-v2-280.jpgCould Rory McIlroy be putting a new driver in play this week at the Ryder Cup? The door appears open to that possibility after four new Nike drivers -- the Vapor Pro and three iterations of the Vapor Speed -- appeared on the USGA's conforming driver list for the first time Monday. McIlroy was spotted on the driving range at Gleneagles practicing with the Vapor Pro (right).

Judging from the listing as well as photos of the club that appeared this weekend, two things stand out with the new offerings, which aren't expected to hit retail markets until 2015. Out is the VRS Covert and Covert 2.0 red color, and in (or more appropriately back) is the compression channel that Nike first used in its VR drivers.

The return of the channel seems likely due to some prodding from Tiger Woods, who used the VR driver with success. "I pushed our team to bring back the compression channel because sometimes I like to shape shots by teeing the ball down and hitting it lower on the face," Woods said. "With the compression channel, I'm able to do that and not lose as much ball speed."

One other model reportedly part of the Vapor line, the Vapor Flex, which according to other reports incorporates an adjustable sole weight, did not appear on the Sept. 22 conforming list.

Photo: Getty Images

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News & Tours

Missing Links: McIlroy now calls Ryder Cup 'ultimate buzz,' and Victor Dubuisson, 'the new Garbo'

Stories of interest you might have missed...

Five years ago, Rory McIlroy expressed ambivalence toward the Ryder Cup, even calling it an exhibition. Today? “Once you’ve been part of it, you know it’s the ultimate buzz,” he says in this story by Derek Lawrenson in the Daily Mail.

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Rory McIlroy practicing for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles (Getty Images photo)

“[Victor] Dubuisson does not have Seve’s craving to be the centre of attention. He would rather be the new Garbo. He wants to be alone. He is Europe’s brooding, temperamental, enigmatic, international man of mystery. Hardly ideal attributes to bring to the team room,” Paul Mahoney of the Independent writes in this story on the Ryder Cup rookie.

Three weeks ago, the wife of Matt Kuchar’s caddie, Lance Bennett, unexpectedly died of a seizure, leaving behind a husband and four-year-old daughter. This week, Bennett returns to work for Kuchar, at the Ryder Cup. “Amid the feverish tribal urgings that will be on show at the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, a thought needs to be spared for a brave American caddie,” Lawrenson writes in the Daily Mail.

Laura Davies is thrilled that the Royal and Ancient Golf Club finally will admit women. “I remember as a young golfer when I was about 15, you weren’t even allowed to walk in front of the window [of the clubhouse],” she said. “You were allowed on the course but not in front of the men's bar. That sort of thing has gone by the board now.” Rob Hoskin of givemesport.com writes.

It’s not an uncommon story, those who buy houses adjacent to a golf course then complain about the number of golf balls that infiltrate their property. One such family who moved into a $3.4 million house has sued Quaker Ridge Golf Club in Scarsdale, N.Y., and, should the family prevail in court, "I think the negative impact of this becoming a precedent would be significant," Metropolitan Golf Association executive director Jay Mottola says in this story by Mike Dougherty of the Journal-News.

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News & Tours

Rickie Fowler shaved "USA" into the side of his head and it's the best thing ever

Rickie Fowler, you are America. That is all.

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News & Tours

Miami Dolphin penalized for post-TD putting celebration

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline was penalized for a golf putt and restrained fist pump celebration after scoring in Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. 

After the NFL banned "dunks" this year, the number of celebration options for players in the "No Fun League" have been mostly eradicated. So big brownie points from the golf world go out to Hartline, a 27-year-old out of Ohio State who finished with three receptions for 25 yards. Though his arms look a bit stiff for a natural putting stroke. Then again, it might just be all the padding preventing him from showing off his real stroke.

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