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Here's who Tom Watson picked for his Ryder Cup team, and why

NEW YORK -- Tom Watson ended months of speculation and officially announced his three Ryder Cup captain's picks at Rockefeller Center on Tuesday. Earlier in the day European Captain Paul McGinley announced Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood as his three selections. Watson opted for Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson.

The rundown of Watson's picks

Keegan Bradley was essentially a lock for the team. He went 3-1-0 as a rookie in 2012, and even though he hasn't won this season, he's still 23rd in the FedEx Cup rankings. Hunter Mahan's form was a little patchy in 2014, but his ball-striking hit a remarkable hot streak in recent weeks, culminating in a win at the Barclays. It would have been a surprise if he didn't make the team

The third name was the pick that was the true wildcard, with a combination of big-name players not playing well and some inexperienced players showing some solid form. In the end, Watson opted for former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson. He finished 2-2-0 in the 2012 Ryder Cup, and even though Simpson hasn't won on tour since last October, Watson was drawn by his overall experience. And there are signs that things are turning around: Simpson has two top-10s in his last four starts.

Of course, there was one decision he decided not to make. . .

What Watson said about his picks

"Keegan can go real low, and he teamed up great with Phil Mickelson," Watson said of Bradley, "but the most important thing he brings is his unbridled passion to play on the Ryder Cup team."

"Match play seems to be his forte," Watson said of Mahan, highlighting his recent success at the WGC-Accenture Match Play (win in 2012, runner-up in 2013). "He's coming into his own right now, and he's really playing some great golf."

"It came to me this morning . . . I kind of had a revelation," said Watson on his final pick. "I took a look the last time the Ryder Cup was played and I just realized Webb was the guy."

Why those are good picks

There's no denying that Keegan brings emotion to Watson's squad, something the Americans need if they hope to overturn Europe's recent dominance in the competition. Mahan even spoke about the potential atmosphere after his selection was announced.

"It feels like an Alabama-Auburn game," he said. "There's a lot of respect there, but there's a lot of fire there. It brings something out of you that you didn't even know you had."

Simpson may not be in his best form, but like Bradley, he's a major winner with Ryder Cup experience. He knows the guys on the team and is well liked, which is always a bonus, and his consistency makes him compatible in the various different formats.

And let's not forget how happy Phil will be with Watson's selection.

And why they could backfire

Did we mention Simpson hasn't won since last October? And while he has those two top-10s in his last four events, he also missed the cut in the other two starts. Meanwhile, Chris Kirk may well feel hard done being passed over fresh off a FedEx Cup playoff win, something Watson acknowledged during his press conference. Kirk, it's fair to say, is the form pick.

Bradley hasn't won on tour in nearly two years, which is an obvious concern. And when he has appeared near the lead this season he's quickly dropped away -- not an encouraging sign for the looming pressure of the Ryder Cup. Mahan's a safe pick given his superior  ball-striking, but his putting is streaky at best. That's why he didn't register a top 10 in any tour event between April and July.

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Gear & Equipment

Three cool ways golfers are using Instagram's Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse, an app that Instagram released last Tuesday, makes it possible for all of us to shoot time-lapse videos with nothing more than our iPhones. The app's interface is incredibly simple (open it, tap the screen to focus, then hit record), and it lets you document up to 45 minutes of video (if you're using an iPhone 5) that you can then boil down to as little as three minutes and 45 seconds. 

Here's how three golfers have used Hyperlapse:

To show how the driving range at Chelsea Piers is cleaned up:
To show off some major trick-shot skills:
To document an intense practice session:

Some early tips for those of you who are interested in making cool Hyperlapse videos:

1. If you have the option of recording while standing in one place versus moving around, stand in one place. The Hyperlapse will be far less dizzying.

2. Record more footage than you think. Crunching a real-time video into a time-lapse video requires a surprising amount of footage, and you can always edit it down after you record.

3. Think of Hyperlapse as a way of showing off something that typically takes minutes or hours. We think it'd be a cool way to show off an iconic hole (footage of someone playing the fourth hole at Bethpage Black? Yes, please!), the sun setting on a hole or even a cool drill that takes too long to show off in real time. Michelle Wie didn't use Hyperlapse to shoot this video, but you certainly could:

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Shirts that will keep you looking sharp this fall

We've seen a ton of retro looks this summer, and the throwback styles will continue to be a focus for fall. Whether you're feeling classic preppy plackets or 1980s Air Jordan color pallets, the key is to make the move your own and not look like you've time-traveled from another generation.

Here are five of our favorite period polos along with a few tips on how pull off the look.


RLX Orange Fine Stripe with Contrast Extended Placket

The classic preppy polo with an extended contrast placket is already redefined in RLX's slim fit and performance fabrics. Balance the color pop with some slim gray trousers and this rig works from Labor Day through Thanksgiving.


Nike Dry Fit Green Micro Print Color Block

Keep the acid wash jeans in the closet when you're wearing this 1980s-inspired color-blocked retro print. On or off the course, black pants and white sneaks are all you need to modernize this move.


Fred Perry Gray Tipped Polo


Embrace the mod move, button the top button and tuck this classic polo into a dark trouser. Throw on some spikeless sneaks and you're set for the season.


Adidas Burgundy Shoulder Block Polo

Balance the 1970s vintage colors by wearing bright white bottoms. The white trousers will also pick up the contrast stitch around the sleeves and waist making the retro rig look young and athletic. 


J. Lindeberg Navy Banded Stripe Polo

Channel some vintage Seve and pair this polo with navy trousers in the same shade. The look may be retro, but the fit and function of J. Lindeberg's performance gear is enough to take this look way past 2014.

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Michelle Wie takes full swings for the first time since finger injury

Michelle Wie posted this photo of herself hitting balls today (see below)

You'd obviously expect a golfer to post about golf, but lately her Instagram has been dominated by photos of her art work and a few putting drills. That's why today's picture is especially good to see: It's the first time she has hit balls since withdrawing from the Meijer LPGA Classic in the second week of August.

Related: Michelle Wie's career in pictures

Pain in her right hand was making it hard for her to hold the golf club. It was later diagnosed as an over-use injury in her right index finger. At the time of the injury, Michelle said she'd be out between three and five weeks. She admitted that had this happened earlier in her career, she would have rushed the recovery. This time around, she vowed to practice patience and let the injury fully heal.

Here's to hoping the strategy worked: The Evian Championship, the final major of the year, starts September 11 in France.

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News & Tours

Here's how you hit a golf ball into a huge canyon

The captain of my college golf team at the University of South Carolina Beaufort was a guy named Jon Pannone, but everybody called him J.P. He was, as you'd expect, a really good player; always one of the best on the team, he earned spots into the 2009 and 2010 Players Amateurs, and the 2011 U.S. Amateur.

Today, J.P. is an aspiring professional golfer on the mini-tours, but he took some time out of his busy schedule to put on a funny hat and hit a golf ball into Utah's Cedar Breaks National Monument -- a natural amphitheater whose rim is 10,000 feet above sea level and has a depth of more than 2,000 feet.

It looks like he almost lost his footing at one point, but don't worry, he's OK.


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News & Tours

What They Said, What They Meant: Luke Donald Ryder Cup Edition

We’ve been fine-tuning the "What They Said, What They Meant" algorithm for the busy Ryder Cup season, when parsing comments is most urgently needed.

European Captain Paul McGinley’s phone call to the last man not picked to the 2014 Ryder Cup team, Luke Donald, was apparently quite the somber affair.


Here’s what the captain said to the European press gathered at Wentworth:

Q. What did Luke Donald actually say to you when you told him the news? 

PAUL McGINLEY: He was very, very disappointed, and rightly so. He's a former world No. 1. His record in the Ryder Cup stands with anybody in the game.

As I say, my personal relationship goes right back to the first ever shot he hit in the Ryder Cup; I was his partner. He said: "You know, Paul, I publicly backed you to be the captain. Even though you have not picked me, I still believe you'll be a great captain." His last few words were, "Go Europe." I think that says a lot about Luke.”

And here’s what our completely trademarked and fully-licensed machine spit out to clarify McGinley and Donald's responses:

Q. What did Luke Donald actually say to you when you told him the news? 

PAUL McGINLEY: He was very, very disappointed, and rightly so since he actually played last week while Lee Westwood had his feet up in the air sipping an adult beverage watching the Italian Open. He's a former world No. 1. Emphasis on the former. His record in the Ryder Cup stands with anybody in the game, well, except maybe Ian Poulter’s.

As I say, my personal relationship goes right back to the first ever shot he hit in the Ryder Cup; I was his partner and he had to carry my hiney that day. He said: "You know, Paul, I publicly backed you to be the captain, have you already forgotten what that did to my reputation with Monty? With Darren Clarke’s fan? Even though you have not picked me, I still believe you'll be a great captain, I guess." His last few words were, "I’m going to Europe for a much-needed holiday. I hear Turin is lovely this time of year. Maybe I’ll call Lee to find out. Oh wait, he took last week off." I think that says a lot about Luke.

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News & Tours

The Grind: Chris Kirk wins, Geoff Ogilvy scores, and Amanda Dufner says goodbye to summer

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are still holding out hope to be one of Tom Watson's Ryder Cup picks. Our golf has improved greatly this summer and we are just oozing with patriotism. Most importantly, we really want a crack at competing with some of the game's best -- on the Ping-Pong table. So keep us in mind, Tom. Sorry, Captain Tom. Our number hasn't changed and we'll leave the phone on, but just know that reception can be spotty in the office so we might not pick up. Is there a number where we can reach you? In the meantime, here's what else has us talking this week.


Chris Kirk: OK, Chris, we're impressed. The 29-year-old University of Georgia product picked up the biggest win of his career by far and he did it by outplaying Rory McIlroy head-to-head over the weekend. Not intimidated by the World No. 1, Kirk shot 64-66 and didn't have a bogey the last two days -- something that Captain Watson had to notice. According to Golf Channel's Justin Ray, Kirk became the only winner on the PGA Tour in the last five seasons to be 10-plus strokes behind after the first round. He also gave an immediate plug for Callaway, of which fellow pitchman Phil Mickelson would have been proud.


The FedEx Cup. Feeding golf families since 2007.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Geoff Ogilvy: The guy who needed a late-season win just to get into the FedEx Cup Playoffs and who needed a 15-foot par putt by someone else just to stay in them after Week 1 nearly took control of them after Week 2. Ogilvy shot a pair of 65s over the weekend at TPC Boston before settling for a T-2. Still, it's nice to see the 2006 U.S. Open champ back in good form. Now the Aussie looks poised to make his first trip to Atlanta for the Tour Championship in three years. This must explain why Ogilvy recently sold his home in Del Mar, Calif., for $6 million. He must be planning on upgrading with his FedEx Cup windfall.

Fred Couples: It had been a quiet past few months for Couples on the Champions Tour, but that changed on Sunday in Calgary. Freddie fired a final-round 61, including a chip-in eagle on No. 18, and then had a tap-in birdie on the first hole of the playoff to beat Billy Andrade. Poor Billy. The guy had a closing eagle of his own to shoot 62, but it wasn't enough to win his first Champions Tour title. That's got to sting a bit. (Side note: Was this a regulation golf course?)


Brandt Snedeker: Sneds won the FedEx Cup title in 2012 and had an even better -- at least, in terms of results -- 2013. But 2014 has been a disaster. With a recent T-5 at the Wyndham Championship (just his third top 10 in 25 events this year), Snedeker looked like he might salvage his season by making the Ryder Cup team, but he missed the cut at the first two events of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, including a 76 to end his season at TPC Boston. We wouldn't plan on packing for Scotland if we were him.

Billy Horschel: First things first, Horschel had a great week in Boston. His T-2 was his first top five of the season and first top 10 in nearly three months, but oh, what could have been. After a perfect drive on the final hole, Horschel had to be thinking about an eagle, a second PGA Tour title and a possible spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Instead, he hit one of the worst shots you'll ever see a tour pro hit, leading to a bogey and leaving his Ralph Lauren wallet considerably lighter.

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

Europe's captain's picks: We're not criticizing any of Paul McGinley's selections (Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher), but the crop as a whole is a little suspect. Regardless of their previous Ryder Cup experience/success, picking Poulter and Westwood -- two guys with a combined three top 10s on the PGA Tour this year -- and Gallacher, who is 39 and has three career European Tour titles, shouldn't scare anyone on Tom Watson's squad. Then again, maybe we're just reaching for anything to produce some drama in an event that everyone has already handed to Europe.


The PGA Tour heads to Denver for the BMW Championship, aka that tournament being played at Cherry Hills for the first time. Only the top 30 on the FedEx Cup points list following this third leg of the playoffs will advance to next week's Tour Championship.

Related: 7 things you need to know after Week 2 of the playoffs

Random tournament fact: Phil Mickelson won the 1990 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills. This was Phil's biggest win of the pre-"Bones" era.


-- John Daly will be named a Ryder Cup captain's pick: 1 million-to-1 odds

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

-- Rory McIlroy will hit a 400-yard drive in Denver's altitude: 2-to-1 odds 

-- TV viewers will hear a LOT of references to the 1960 U.S. Open: LOCK


We sadly say goodbye to the summer with this Amanda Dufner selfie:


That is one impressive. . . pool. I mean, look at the size of that thing!


Amanda D is back! And this time, she's got a monkey on her head!



"I may be a little bit more calm than some other guys in that situation, but I'm still pretty much freaking out inside." -- Chris Kirk.


Kudos to John Strege for finding this amazing/inspiring clip of a 3-year-old Tommy Morrissey, who was born without a right hand.



In honor of Hennie Otto's win at the Italian Open on the European Tour, a look back at one of the best/worst meltdowns you'll ever see on a green:



What, it's not enough to just lift weights anymore, Lindsey?!



Austin Ernst picked up her first LPGA win at the Portland Classic, defeating I.K. Kim in a playoff. Kim, who famously missed a putt of about a foot that cost her the 2012 Kraft Nabisco, hasn't won a tournament in nearly four years. . . . Bud Cauley won the Finals opener to regain his PGA Tour card. That guarantees he'll be on everyone's "sleepers" list for next season. Again. . . . Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech about jobs while wearing a Sebonack Golf Club shirt. As Geoff Shackelford pointed out, this could have been a scene straight out of HBO's "Veep." . . . Speaking of politicians, that's my future father-in-law greeting President Barack Obama -- another Ryder Cup captain's pick hopeful -- as he arrived in New York last week. That's almost as cool as that time I got a photo with Paula Creamer last year. Almost.


Does Joe Biden watch "Veep"?

Who would win a Ryder Cup football game?

Has Amanda Dufner done the Ice Bucket Challenge yet?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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News & Tours

How a one-time Tiger Woods instructor not named Butch or Hank might advise his former pupil

Following Tiger Woods' announcement last week that he was parting ways with instructor Sean Foley, several voices weighed in on how the former World No. 1 should proceed to get his game back on track. Naturally, the thoughts of Butch Harmon and Hank Haney claimed headlines, but arguably the most interesting opinion came from a less-heard-from former Woods instructor.

At 93, John Anselmo still teaches at Meadowlark G.C. in Huntington Beach, Calif., where he worked with an adolescent Woods between ages of 10 and 16. Jaime Diaz talked to Anselmo for a feature in the Sept. 2 issue of Golf World that explores where Woods might turn next regarding his swing. Among Diaz' conclusions, after talking to Anselmo, was that coming full circle and returning to the advice of Tiger's youth might be the best approach for the 38-year-old given he doesn't necessarily have time for another extensive overhaul of his swing.

Anselmo said it's been several years since he saw Woods and the idea of speaking again with him would be gratifying. "Lots of things I'd like to tell him," Anselmo told Golf World. "First, quit trying to kill the ball. And I would ask him what he feels during the swing, because he was a feel player. I don't know if it's possible for him to be the player he was. But I know he hasn't forgotten how to create a swing. There's still some greatness in there."

Jaime Diaz: Coaching Tiger is a near-impossible job

In watching from afar, Anselmo believes the biggest issue for Tiger is a loss of confidence with his driver, a problem that has its roots back to when the two of them worked together.

"It started because ever since he was little, he's been obsessed with hitting it far," Anselmo said. "That was why he put on a lot of muscle weight training in college, which changed his swing. But swinging too hard can destroy a good player. Snead used to go at it about 80 percent, and it looked like less than that. As he got older and still wanted to be the longest hitter, Tiger lost that controlled smoothness with the driver."


Tiger Woods and his father, Earl, celebrate the first of his three U.S. Junior titles in 1991, when he turned to John Anselmo to work on his swing (Getty Images).  

As Woods was winning his record three straight U.S. Junior titles in the early 1990s, his partnership with Anselmo was winding down. In 1993, the instructor had to stop teaching for eight months to battle colon cancer, and it was then that Woods began working with Harmon. Anselmo told Diaz he understood why Woods made the change, but laid out an intriguing "what if?" scenario.

"If I hadn't gotten sick, I think he would have stayed with me," Anselmo said, believing that the two might have maintained the same type of long-term relationship that Jack Nicklaus had with Jack Grout and Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite had with Harvey Penick.

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News & Tours

Rory McIlroy gets personal with Jordan Spieth, belittles size of his plane

One can only assume that when Old Tom Morris and Willie Park, Sr. engaged in some friendly trash talk back in the day, it was about how one got more distance with his brassie. Or how many tweed vests they owned.

Fast forward to 2014, and you have Twitter exchanges like the one Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy had before leaving for Denver on their respective private planes.

Eventually Rickie Fowler chimed in as well.

All in good fun, of course. If golfers wanted to strike a nerve with one another, they'd reference something really personal -- like, say, the size of their endorsement contracts.

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News & Tours

7 things you need to know after Week 2 of the FedEx Cup Playoffs

With the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs complete, here's what you need to know heading into Week 3:

Chris Kirk entered the week a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, but there probably aren't too many golf fans who vividly remember those victories. Not to take anything away from Kirk, but as he acknowledged after, the Deutsche Bank Championship was by far the biggest win of his career, easily trumping triumphs at the Viking and McGladrey Classics. With title No. 3, Kirk moved to No. 1 on the FedEx Cup points list and to the top of the conversation of possible Ryder Cup captain's picks. The 29-year-old University of Georgia product has also guaranteed his first trip to his native Atlanta to play in the Tour Championship.

The last man in the field, Geoff Ogilvy, shot a pair of 65s over the weekend that gave him a T-2 and moved him up from No. 100 to No. 24 on the FedEx Cup points list -- meaning he has a great chance of playing in his first Tour Championship since 2011. Ogilvy would not have even teed it up in Boston if not for Brendon Todd making a 15-foot par putt on the final hole of the Barclays the week before.

Related: The top 10 earners in FedEx Cup history

Jason Day's birdie putt on the final hole gave him a T-7 finish. What's the big deal? It bumped Robert Streb down to a T-9, dropping him to No. 71 on the FedEx Cup points list and ending his season. Streb gets the unofficial "all for naught" award also. He thought he would be moving on in the playoffs after a clutch eagle on the final hole, but he couldn't survive one final crunching of the numbers.


Geoff Ogilvy is taking advantage of his good fortune in the playoffs.

This was an obvious one. Billy Horschel needed a birdie on the final hole to get into a playoff -- or an eagle to win -- and he put himself in great shape after a perfect drive. But he chunked his approach shot from 212 yards with a 6-iron so badly that his ball barely reached the hazard on TPC Boston's 18th hole. The resulting bogey kept him from his second PGA Tour title and dropped him into a three-way tie for second, which dropped him out of the top 10 on the FedEx Cup points list to No. 20. Oh, it also probably cost him a good chance of being a Ryder Cup captain's pick. Ouch.

Related: Why the NFL's schedule could affect Rory McIlroy's schedule

Luke Donald and Brandt Snedeker arrived in Boston hoping to salvage disappointing seasons by at least impressing their potential Ryder Cup captains. It didn't work out that way. Donald finished T-57 and found out Tuesday morning he won't make the trip to Scotland to represent Team Europe. Snedeker missed his second consecutive cut in the playoffs and will probably be staying home for the foreseeable future as well.

Needing an eagle on the final hole to have any chance of getting into the top 70, Jerry Kelly put everything he had into a 3-wood from 248 yards. The ball bounded onto the green and within four feet. Kelly made the putt and sweated out the next couple hours before winding up No. 70 on the list to move on.

The FedEx Cup continues in Denver with the BMW Championship. Cherry Hills will host the event for the first time. The top 30 on the points list at the conclusion of the event will move on to the Tour Championship the following week.

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