By Alex Myers
Meet Kyle Lohse. A total golf fanatic, who just happens to be a starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers.
On Monday, Lohse appeared on MLB Network's "Intentional Talk," and golf, not the Brewers' hot start to the season, was the main topic of conversation. Here's the clip:
Among the highlights:
-- Lohse is a member of Whisper Rock Golf Club. (He holds a 1.3 handicap index)
-- Lohse was ranked T-33 in Golf Digest's 2009 ranking of the Top 150 Athlete-Golfers. Lohse was NOT happy to be ranked behind former teammates Adam Wainwright and Nick Punto. "I'm going to have check their scorecards and see what scores they're putting in."
-- Lohse said his dream golf foursome would be Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and himself. Man, this guy really loves golf.
-- Lohse also said the teammate he'd least like to play 18 holes with is fellow pitcher Marco Estrada, because a round "should take three and a half to four hours, but with him it takes five." He's against slow play as well!
Now that Lohse is on Twitter, his background picture is of a golf course -- presumably Whisper Rock -- and one of his first tweets asked followers to check out a Brewers music video while they waited for Masters TV coverage to start. Again, this guy really loves golf.
At 35, Lohse, who has never had a golf lesson and whose handicap is just above his best ever (1.1), is also pitching as well as ever. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, 21 strikeouts and seven walks in 20.2 innings. You probably wish you drafted him on your fantasy baseball team right about now, don't you?
Unfortunately for him, the start of the baseball season seems to have slowed down his golf. After putting 14 scores in the computer before April, he hasn't played since. Then again, he might just be keeping his playing a secret from his manager. . .
By John Strege
The report from Sports Business Daily on Tuesday that Joe Buck would anchor Fox Sports’ golf telecasts was not a surprise, given that he is the de facto voice of Fox Sports and an avid golfer.
He is a member of Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis and Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo., and has a handicap index of 3.6. Old Warson hosted the Ryder Cup in 1971 and Boone Valley was named the best course in Missouri on Golf Digest’s Best in State rankings.
Five years ago, at the American Century Championship, the annual Lake Tahoe celebrity tournament, I spent some time with him, talking about his passion for the game.
“When I was doing 162 Cardinals games a year, we'd be in San Francisco for three and play all day at the Olympic Club, or we'd go to Chicago and play Medinah,” he said then. “Don't tell anybody, but a bag of autographed baseballs, especially when Mark McGwire is on the team, that will get you on a lot of great golf courses.”
He also said then that he had a residence at the El Dorado Golf and Beach Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, “where I see Hank Haney a lot, where a lot of the PGA Tour players go to relax and play. I played with Freddie Couples this year a couple of times. Pat Perez is there all the time. It's a worthy golf course and probably the toughest, best greens I've ever played.”
Buck, 44, said, “I put as much time into my golf game as just about anything in my life, and probably have since I turned 25 or 26.” He said he would just as soon hit balls on the range as playing 18 holes, citing the solitude. “I like to be in my own corner of the range, not talking,” he said. “I talk for a living. I get sick of hearing myself talk.”
Last year, Fox Sports reached a 12-year agreement with the USGA to broadcast its events, beginning in 2015.
"I just wanted to hang out with (my friends and family) and just kind of soak in the week. Although I did that in between rounds, as well, I wasn't able to kind of really have the full experience of just seeing everybody. I tried to stay away from talking golf and stay away from the tournament. "We went back and had some dinner back at [my manager's] house, and just played some Ping-Pong, pool, hung out for the night. After the media and everything, when we got away from the golf course it was pretty late. We just slept it. . .it meant a lot to me to have close family and family friends there."
The Crimson Tide got back to their winning ways with a victory at the Mason Rudolph Championship earlier this month. It was Alabama's sixth tournament triumph in nine starts this season as the squad prepares to defend the SEC title it has won the last two seasons and see if they can also make it back-to-back victories at the NCAA Championship.
Suffice it to say, there wasn't a whole lot of movement within the top 25 overall as teams settle in for conference championship season:
A few tidbits from the latest D-I poll:
* Oklahoma State picked up the other first-place vote and moved into the No. 2 spot in the ranking. The Cowboys have four victories in 2013-14 and have finished no worse than fourth in their 10 starts as they too prepare for their conference championship.
* Alabama found its way into the top five of the Golf World poll for the 51st time since the poll was reinstated in 2001-02. That's the third most top-five appearances of any men's program. The only two programs to have been in the top five more often are Oklahoma State (77) and Georgia (56). UCLA is now alone in fourth place at 50.
* Vanderbilt finished second to Alabama at the Mason Rudolph, its home tournament. The finish, coupled with a victory the previous week at the Talis Park Challenge helped the Commodores move into the No. 14 spot in the latest poll, the highest the school has been ranked since the polls resumed.
Barry University remained the unanimous choice for the No. 1 ranking in the latest Division II men’s coaches’ poll. The Buccaneers earned all 16 first-place votes as won their fifth tournament of the 2013-14 season at their home event at the end of last month. After voting closed, they also managed to win their conference championship as they prepared for the NCAA post-season in which they hope to defend their national title.
USC-Aiken moved from No. 5 to No. 2 in the most recent poll, with Lynn, CSU-Monterey Bay and Chico State rounding out the top five.
Illinois Wesleyan held on to the top ranking in the latest Division III coaches’ poll. The Titans have two victories and a runner-up finish to show for their play thus far in the spring semester as they claimed nine of the 14 available first-place votes. The squad begins the postseason this week with its conference championship.
Jumping one place into the No. 2 spot in the poll is Oglethorpe. The Stormy Petrels prepare for their conference championship after winning two of four stroke-play events this spring and four overall in the 2013-14 season.
Oklahoma City reclaimed its spot atop the latest NAIA coaches’ poll. The Stars earned three of nine first-place votes to move from the No. 2 spot in the last poll thanks to victories at the Battle at Primm and the Oklahoma Baptist Spring Invitational, lifting their season-long win total to five.
Previously No. 1 Wayland Baptist dropped just one spot and claimed two first-place votes. The Pioneers finished runner-up to Oklahoma City at the Battle at Primm and were sixth at the Bash at The Beach.
Odessa and South Mountain claimed the top spots in the latest NJCAA Division I and Division II polls, respectively. Odessa moved up from No. 2 in the previous D-I poll while South Mountain retained its No. 1 ranking in D-II, earning five of the seven available first-place votes.
McLennan, the previous No. 1 ranked team in D-I fell to No. 3 with Midland filling the No. 2 spot.
By Matthew RudyWater Wonderland
By Alex Myers
Believe it or not, there's another PGA Tour event this week. The Masters has come and gone, but the tour moves on. This week, it stops at one of players' favorite courses: Harbour Town GL. Another jacket is up for grabs, but it's plaid instead of green. In other words, the Masters may be tougher to win than the RBC Heritage, but winners in Hilton Head always have a trickier time matching their shirts to their new sport coat. Here are our thoughts on who will face that dilemma come Sunday:
Starters -- (A-List): Luke Donald. Other than last week's missed cut at Augusta National, Donald has been in the top 25 in all four stroke-play starts in 2014. It's hard not to see that streak continuing at an event where he's finished in the top three four of the past five years.
(B-List): Zach Johnson. Another guy who missed the cut at the Masters, Johnson doesn't have as strong of a record at Harbour Town as Donald, although he did finish runner-up in 2012. We're more banking on the fact ZJ won't have two bad weeks in a row.
(B-List): Jim Furyk. The Grinder has been in the top 20 in four of his last five starts, including a T-14 at Augusta National. Furyk has a win and two runner-ups at Harbour Town.
(C-List): Harris English. A missed cut at the Masters was his the first of the season for a man who trails only Matt Kuchar in top 10s on the PGA Tour this season.
Bench/Backups: Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Stewart Cink, and Kevin Na.
Knockout/One-and-done pick: Jim Furyk. We're going with our lone starter who played the weekend at Augusta National last week. Furyk has quietly (and slowly) played some solid golf this year. We hope he's wearing something on Sunday that looks good with plaid -- preferably, something different than what's shown above. . .
Previously used: Keegan Bradley (Doral), Tim Clark (Sony), Graham DeLaet (Phoenix), Luke Donald (Valspar), Rickie Fowler (Honda Classic), Bill Haas (Farmers), Charles Howell III (Humana), Freddie Jacobson (Valero), Dustin Johnson (Northern Trust), Martin Laird (Kapalua), Graeme McDowell (Bay Hill), Adam Scott (Masters), Jordan Spieth (Houston), Jimmy Walker (Pebble -- winner!).
By John Strege
Stories of interest you might have missed...
A blubbering Bubba is a given anytime Bubba Watson wins a tournament. A serial weeper, Watson broke down as soon as he holed his final putt at Augusta National on Sunday (see photo below). Why, a headline on this story by Helen Branswell of the Canadian Press asked, do we cry tears of joy? Branswell sought an answer from a professor of clinical psychology, a crying expert.
The roars at Augusta National, though largely missing on an anti-climactic back nine on Sunday, are magical. “You can hear the cheers and groans at Augusta like no other place,” Ben Crenshaw said. John Paul Newport of the Wall Street Journal investigates the reasons why.
U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson virtually has guaranteed Tiger Woods a spot on the team. The question is why, given Woods’ Ryder Cup record and the fact he’s likely to miss much of the season in the run-up to the Ryder Cup? Good question, too, and it was posed by James Corrigan of the Telegraph.
Speaking of the Ryder Cup, the teams are beginning to take form, even five months before the matches begin at Scotland’s Gleneagles. Martin Dempster of the Scotsman provides an early analysis.
Once again, Miguel Angel Jimenez captivated us with his performance, stretching routine, lifestyle. Now 50, he finished fourth in the Masters. Here, in an older story that resurfaced on its website in the wake of Jimenez’ performance, is a Cigar Aficionado account of that lifestyle.