The Open Championship returns to St. Andrews in a couple weeks, but that doesn't mean you have to wait to watch action from golf's most historic event.
The tournament uploaded quick highlight videos of every Open since 1914 to YouTube last fall -- although judging by the low number of views each has gotten, most people haven't discovered this treasure trove of clips yet. And that's a shame because they're awesome.
Here are 10 of our favorites. If you're at work, good luck getting anything done the rest of the day.
We'll start with the 1914 tournament. Harry Vardon won that year for a record sixth time. Impressive. Also impressive is the fact, he did it while basically wearing a suit (OK, so everyone at Prestwick that year wore a suit) and that this was already the 54th Open.
Then there's Bobby Jones winning the 1927 Open at St. Andrews. Not the best collection of highlights, but how about that big band music?!
Jump ahead to 1953 and a video called Hogan's "Open." Not sure why it's not called "Hogan's Open," but either way, this was the one year Ben Hogan played in the British Open and he won. Unfortunately, there's just highlights of him smoking a couple drives and stroking a disappointing birdie effort on Carnoustie's 18th hole before making his par putt for a final-round 68 and a four-shot win.
Nine years later, Arnold Palmer captured his second straight claret jug by winning at Troon. What a smooth operator.
Dustin Johnson's three-putt gave golf's most recent major a stunning finish, but he's not the first golfer to miss a short putt in a big spot. Check out what happened at the end of the 1970 Open between Doug Sanders and Jack Nicklaus. Unless you're Doug Sanders. Then you definitely shouldn't watch this one.
What happened at Turnberry in 1977? Oh, just "The Duel In The Sun" between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus shot rounds of 65 and 66 on the weekend, but was clipped by Watson's pair of 65s. The final three holes provided one of the most exciting finishes to a golf tournament you'll ever see.
Seve Ballesteros. St. Andrews. 1984. What a putt on No. 18 and what a reaction.
St. Andrews was the site of another incredible putt in 1995 when Constantino Rocca holed out from the Valley of Sin for par (after chunking a chip shot) to get into a playoff. Of course, John Daly -- and his mullet -- emerged victorious.
There shouldn't have been a playoff at Carnoustie in 1999, but, well, Jean van de Velde happened. . .
And remember when Tiger Woods was good? He destroyed the Old Course and the field in 2000.
We could go on and on, but you get the point. Tom Watson's close call at 59 in 2009. Rory McIlroy's wire-to-wire win in 2014. A century's worth of highlights makes for a lot of great videos.
You probably can't watch them all, but. . . eh, you probably could watch them all. They're pretty short, and what else are you going to do for the next couple of weeks?
This time last summer, Angel Cabrera came out of nowhere at the Greenbrier Classic, turning in two 64s on the weekend to capture his first non-major title on the PGA Tour.
However, in the 24 tournaments since his victory, Cabrera hasn’t posted a top-10 finish. Turning 46 this September, we might have seen the last of the Argentinian’s name on the leader board. (At least until he hits the senior circuit.)
Cabrera’s friendly demeanor, as well as his now-retired habit of chain smoking on the golf course, has made him a cult hero among galleries. Plus, there’s his nickname: “El Pato.”
Spanish for “The Duck,” the moniker references Cabrera’s unique, nonchalant stride, which can generously be described as paddling. (It should be mentioned that Cabrera claims the label derives from his father being referred to as “Pato” as well, but that simply could be his way of coming to peace with the name.)
The epithet, along with Cabrera himself, has always been a favorite to this observer. To commemorate Cabrera and his El Pato handle, here are the top 10 nicknames on the PGA Tour. Note: we restricted the list to the current landscape, meaning classics like “Champagne” Tony Lema and “The Walrus” Craig Stadler are absent.
Graeme McDowell - “G-Mac”; Rory McIlroy - “Rors”
These aren’t nicknames, they’re abbreviations. Sports used to cultivate sweet-sounding sobriquets like “Ice Man,” “Cool Papa” and “The Galloping Ghost.” Now we’ve resorted to the “first letter, first name + first syllable, last name” equation. This is why grown-ups hate my generation.
Phil Mickelson - “Lefty”
Because he’s a left-hander. Get it?
Tim Herron - “Lumpy”
Unfortunately, Herron has just two top-25 finishes in the last three seasons, and still has five years before reaching the Senior Tour. Out of sight, out of mind.
10. Gerry Lester Watson - “Bubba”
I seesaw on this one, but the fans dig it. Plus, it beats the hell out of “Gerry Lester.”
9. Louis Oosthuizen - “Shrek”
If I were Oostuizen, I would fully embrace the persona by wearing only green ensembles and throwing temper tantrums on the course.
8. Miguel Angel Jimenez - “The Mechanic” and “The Most Interesting Man in the World”
The latter explains itself. The former refers to Jimenez’s love of performance cars. Still, it’s hard to correlate anything “mechanical” to a person who's known for this:
7. Jason Dufner - “Duf”
An aberration to the last-name derivate corollary. “Duf” is not a play on a name; “Duf” is a lifestyle. One that emits a “Devil may care” attitude. Almost an anti-hero, like Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
The name is a nod to his large, broad physique that produces a swing that brings a tear to your eye.
Fact: I would give 10 years off my life to have that motion.
4. John Daly - “Long John,” “Lion” and “Wild Thing”
The “Lion” tag is self-appointed, which is concededly lame. “Long John” is probably the best fit out of the trio, yet when videos surface of shirtless, shoeless golf, it’s hard to discount “Wild Thing.”
3. Jim Mackay - “Bones”/Mike Cowan - “Fluff”
You know you’ve made it as a caddie when you’re more recognized than half the players on Tour.
2. Retief Goosen - “Goose”
Our second cognomen derived from a last name, which should rank it lower on the list. Then again, it got him an endorsement with a vodka company. So there’s that.
1. Eldrick Woods - “Tiger”
I’m convinced that Woods wouldn’t have won 14 majors if he went by “Eldrick.” How good is the Tiger handle? People don’t even refer to him by his birth-given first name. THAT good.
Call it first world problems. Or just golfers being golfers. At any rate, two PGA Tour golfers arguing about music on the range provided us with some entertainment on Tuesday.
It's an issue private clubs are dealing with across the U.S. Some people like music on the course or range, and some are against it. It appears Brendan Steele and Will Wilcox were chirping at each other, and that turned into a Twitter beef.
It's unclear where this was, and what the "tattle-tale approach" Wilcox refers to is. Maybe this was at a private club they belong to? Or at the Travelers. (Again, #firstworldproblems). But it seems like these two need to figure out their music differences.
Not that the presence of star personalities is a new concept to the Greenbrier. Sam Snead got his start as a club professional at the hotel’s golf course and maintained ties to the area for the rest of his life.
Here are some of the big names that call White Sulphur Springs home:
Known as “The Logo,” as his silhouette dons the NBA’s emblem, West is the Mountain State’s favorite son. After a record-setting career at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West went on to win an Olympic gold medal and, as a player or executive, played a role in eight NBA championships.
Like Smoltz, West has an active voice in the game of golf. A fine player himself, West was also the director of the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open.
The Greenbrier’s steakhouse, 44 Prime, is named in West’s honor.
Also someone who’s not bad at golf, Watson and his family purchased a place in the Greenbrier residence in 2014. Watson’s digs are next to:
The 34-year-old driver has 25 wins on the NASCAR Sprint circuit and once caddied for Watson at the Masters’ Par-3 Tournament. Constantly navigating his way through 200-mph traffic will make dealing with Bubba’s hovercraft a breeze.
New Orleans Saints
That’s right. Justice grew up a fan of Archie Manning’s Saints, so when the club was looking for a new training camp away from the sweltering Louisiana summer, Justice built a facility for the team.
The $30 million complex came out of Justice’s own pocket and was constructed in a mere 100 days. The practice grounds were beloved by the players and coaching staff, and the Saints are returning for their second season this July.
Additionally, the West Virginia and Marshall college teams use the site on occasion.
Sir Nick has become the de facto face of the Greenbrier’s golf operations, appearing in promos for the community. The CBS commentator and six-time major winner teamed with the resort to create the Faldo Golf Center, a state-of-the-art instruction and education complex.
Sampras holds the title of Tennis Pro Emeritus at the Greenbrier. He also sports a .5 handicap index, although judging by his loopy, stooped swing, you'll forgive us if we're skeptical.
That, or the man gets it up and down like nobody’s business.
Lee Trevino/Tom Watson
Following the passing of Snead, who held an honorary “club pro” distinction from 1993 to 2002, Watson had the title for more than a decade. After the resort and Watson parted ways, Trevino is now the figurehead at Greenbrier, and is joining forces with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player to design a new course near the hotel.
Tiger Woods is headlining the field at the Greenbrier Classic this week, but a bigger star -- at least, in size -- will draw most of the attention at Wednesday's pro-am. According to PGATour.com, Shaquille O'Neal is set to play with Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, Justice's son and an undetermined pro.
The first to ever identify Tiger Woods’ golf aptitude as “genius” was Rudy Duran, his first instructor, who began working with Woods at 4.
“I felt he was like Mozart,” Duran said 20 years ago. “It was genius. He could, at four-and-a-half, make the ball go high, low or medium with that 7-iron. He could do it on command I rarely remember seeing him hit shots he couldn’t execute. Mozart composed finished music in his head. I saw that in Tiger. He was composing shots in his head.”
Thirty-five years later, does that still hold? No, Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, among others, say.
Chamblee has said “the genius of Tiger Woods has been coached out of him,” by too much information from too many coaches, and that he “traded his genius for the ideas of others.”
“I would not agree with that,” Duran, now the director of instruction at Morro Bay (Calif.) Golf Course, said on Tuesday. “I would say that he’s just sorting things out. I have no problem believing he’ll come back and win more tournaments.
“When he gets it sorted out, he’ll be winning, and you’re not going to be surprised when, say, he shoots a 65 in the British Open.”
Duran bases his assessment in part from watching Woods on the practice tee at the U.S. Open, with Fox Sports’ shot tracer set up behind him.
“He was hitting high draws and low draws and fades and straight balls,” Duran said. “He didn’t miss a shot in 10 or 15 shots that I saw. How can his swing be going wrong when you do that?”
We’ll know more in the next seven weeks, when he’ll play four tournaments, starting with the Greenbrier Classic this week. He also will play the British Open, the Quicken Loans National and the PGA Championship.
Duran is more bullish on Woods’ future than most. He was right once. Is he right now?
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're going to take it easy on pros choking under pressure for a while. Ben Hogan famously said, "golf and tournament golf are as different as tennis and ice hockey" -- and he was right. I found that out the hard way (again) on my annual buddies golf trip with a few bucks and a 22-year-old green jacket bought from the Salvation Army on the line. Out of nowhere I started hitting slices, skulling pitches and chunking chips in the championship match -- and I can't even use Tiger's "new release pattern" excuse. Nope, there's no other explanation other than I gagged my guts out. At least, a co-worker was nice enough to suggest I read this book before next year's tournament:
But enough about my golf. It's time for me to say what I think about everyone else's golf.
Bubba Watson: At the site of his maiden PGA Tour victory and a famous blowup at his caddie, Watson made another special memory by winning the Travelers Championship for a second time, beating Paul Casey on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. Bubba now has eight career tour wins, five of which have come in extra holes. Maybe I should talk to him about playing under pressure for green jackets.
Jeff Maggert: After a long career that produced just three PGA Tour titles, Maggert has won two senior majors in 2015, including topping Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer at the U.S. Senior Open over the weekend. Isn't the Champions Tour great? Maggert was so in control with a two-shot lead that he could be heard helping USGA president Tom O'Toole find his family in the crowd as he walked up the 18th hole. What a boss move.
Na Yeon Choi's 8-iron: Trailing Stacy Lewis by a shot with three holes to play, Choi holed out an 8-iron for eagle on 16 and then hit her tee shot to a foot on 17 with the same club to set up a birdie in her come-from-behind win in Arkansas. Lewis, meanwhile, has become the Jim Furyk of the LPGA with seven top threes, but no wins in her past 27 starts.
"Mr. 57": Do you believe in miracles? A Virginia golfer shot a 57 in the second round of a 54-hole, one-day tournament at Laurel Hill Golf Club last week. Yep, 54 holes in one day. Hard to believe, right? Oh, yeah, and a 57? With three holes-in-one, two of which came on par 4s? Hmm. We're giving Patrick Willis (not the recently retired San Francisco 49ers linebacker), 59, the benefit of the doubt because he's a plus-4 handicap who happens to be a retired Marine. "People are allowed to believe what they want to believe -- I fought for that freedom," Willis said. "But I know what I shot, my playing partners know what I shot and the people at the tournament do as well."
Phil Mickelson: A year after his name was linked to a federal insider-trading investigation (he was cleared), Lefty reportedly has been tied to more shady dealings. This time, a man has pleaded guilty to laundering nearly $3 million and it appears that money was transferred from Mickelson's account to an off-shore gambling operation. According to ESPN's report, Mickelson hasn't been charged with anything and isn't under investigation. Still, it's not a good look for one of golf's biggest stars.
Donald Trump: We appreciate Trump's contributions to the golf industry, but running for President? Of the United States? Imagine how much better he could make his golf courses with all the money he'll burn during his ill-fated campaign? What a waste.
Keegan's pre-shot routine: Taking nearly a minute to hit a golf shot is not good. Even if you wind up hitting a good shot. Bradley has always been a fidgety players, but this new routine is ridiculous. While we're young, Keegan. While we're young.
Paul Casey: How could he hit such a bad shot in a playoff?! Embarrassing. Oh. Right. Pressure. Never mind, Paul. Our apologies.
The PGA Tour heads to West Virginia for the Greenbrier Classic, aka that tournament that features plenty of commercials in which Bubba Watson talks about how awesome it is to live on the property.
Random tournament fact: Tiger Woods is playing in this event for the second time, after missing the cut in 2012. This is the first time he'll be playing in any event as the 220th-ranked player in the world.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Tiger Woods will hit every fairway this week: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- Tiger will have dinner at Bubba's pad: 10-to-1 odds
A frisbee golf hole-in-one usually wouldn't seem too exciting, but this one was pretty crazy. And it came at the 2015 Maple Hill Open! OK, no clue what that is, but it's a great clip with some fantastic reactions:
And then there's the guy who somehow managed to get his head stuck in a trash bin after throwing out some of his clubs on the course. True story.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Bubba Watson on pressure/playoffs: "It's just about staying calm. That's what you have to do, you just breathe and walk slower, take some deep breaths . . ." That's good stuff, Bubba. Go on. Teach me! "And focus on the fact that no matter what you still come in second place." Oh, great. Thanks a lot, Bubba.
Pablo Larrazabal topped Henrik Stenson by a stroke to win the BMW International Open in Munich. You have to mention where the tournament was because it seems BMW sponsors about 31 European Tour events. . . . Speaking of Germany, Bernhard Langer is still upset about the anchoring ban that will go into place starting next year. Tough break, Bernhard, but it's time to accept it and move on. . . . A New England golf course, Foxboro Country Club, showed support for suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady by putting all No. 12 flags in the holes. New England fans are pretty sick. . . . Congrats to Josh Thomson for winning his first HGGA Championship at the fabulous Turning Stone Resort & Casino. Josh came up clutch against me in the championship match with a collection of up-and-downs that would have made Seve Ballesteros proud. And now, he'll get to wear the coveted green jacket -- just hopefully, not with that shirt again -- for the next year.
This is a PSA for everyone who plays slowly, and for everyone who gets stuck behind a group that plays slowly.
We can all agree that slow golf is the worst. There's nothing as painful as watching someone take four practice swings for every shot on their way to shooting 102. But there are a few situations that merit slow golf. The most obvious is people who are learning how to play. Whether they're juniors or adults picking the game up, you've got to cut them some slack when it comes to slow play on the course.
That said, if you are being slow on the course, let the group behind through. And if that's not possible, do something awesome like this:
This Reddit user was out playing by himself, and had a couple in front of him who were clearly learning how to play. The course was busy, so he couldn't play through. Instead of getting frustrated, he played two balls and let the couple do their thing. When he got to the last hole, the sleeve of ProV1s was waiting for him, with a note thanking him for being patient. It read simply: "Thanks for being so patient! Have fun!"
All around A+ handling of the situation, from both parties.
Bubba Watson has hit more than his share of memorable shots. Almost every tee shot is a giant, soaring parabola with 30 yards of curve, and the shot he hit to win the 2012 Masters made an almost 90 degree curve from the trees.
So the bunker shot Watson hit on the 13th hole might even be considered "boring" in the Bubba pantheon -- even if it would be spectacular for any mortal player.
Situated 208 yards from the flag on TPC River Highlands' par-5 15th, Watson carved a 5-iron from the fairway bunker on the left to 40 feet, setting up an eagle putt that would prove important later on. Watson ended up tied in regulation with Paul Casey, and won his second Travelers title with a birdie on the second playoff hole.
You might not have Bubba's power -- or unorthodox flair -- but being more in tune with the clubface like he is will improve your game, says top South Carolina teacher Brad Redding. "Bubba's swing is based on being able to control the face and the path with his hands," says Redding, who is based at the International Club in Myrtle Beach. "This is harder to do with a driver and its longer shaft and less loft, but it lets him hit some incredible recovery shots with his irons, like he did here. What you can take from this is not so much copying his technique on this shot, but stop thinking so much about what your body is doing and think about what you want to do with the face and path."
The result? You'll be using the tool to make the ball do what you want, not obsessing over body movements, says Redding.
Mickelson has not been charged, nor is he under investigation, the story said.
T.R. Reinman, a spokesman for Mickelson, said that they would not be commenting on the story.
Gregory Silveira of La Quinta, Calif., “has pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering of funds from an unnamed ‘gambling client’ of his between February 2010 and February 2013,” the ESPN story said. “Sources familiar with the case said Mickelson, who was not named in court documents, is the unnamed ‘gambling client.’”
ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson, in a separate story, explained why Mickelson was not charged.
“There are many possibilities, but chief among them is that federal gambling laws are directed at gambling enterprises and not at individual bettors,” Munson wrote. “Federal prosecutors use the word ‘illegal’ in their description of Mickelson's money because gambling on sports is illegal under state laws except in Nevada.”
It is widely known that Mickelson enjoys gambling, on and off the course. Last year, Larry Dorman, a former senior vice president of Callaway Golf and a former golf writer for the New York Times, wrote for PGATour.com that before Callaway agreed to sign him to an endorsement contract in 2004, the company investigated gambling rumors involving Mickelson.
“Mickelson did like to gamble at the time, but he had no outstanding debts and his betting patterns -- a stat that Vegas casinos keep -- had him even to slightly up,” Dorman wrote.
It is the second time in 13 months that Mickelson’s name has turned up in a federal investigation. Last year, billionaire Carl Icahn and renowned gambler Billy Walters were the focus of an insider trading probe that included Mickelson, the New York Times reported.
The Times later wrote the “scope of the investigation” of Mickelson had been “overstated,” and “came from information provided to The Times by other people briefed on the matter who have since acknowledged making a mistake.”