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News & Tours

Bears play on New Jersey golf course, the world regains its smile

For those that have lost hope in humanity after the Cecil the Lion incident, perhaps this will restore your faith.

Three black bears -- two cubs and a momma -- were seen playing on a golf course in Vernon, New Jersey this week. And we do mean playing, as one of the cubs can be seen pulling the pin. 

Which just goes to show that, despite the precedent set by Yogi, bears are a courteous creature.


“They’re absolutely beautiful and people have seen them in their pools or on their swing sets," Vernon official Michelle Downtain told ABC News. "It doesn’t surprise me they came out to play on a golf course. It's a way of life here."

Best of all, in a week filled with disparaging animal news, the bears were unharmed.


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News & Tours

Donald Trump to speak at the Women's British Open in Turnberry, Scotland

Well now, this should be interesting.

Donald Trump is going to face the media Thursday at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, held at Trump Turnberry, and according to the ground rules, questions from reporters will be limited to golf. 

I wonder if he’s ever faced the British tabloids before, the guys and gals Sir Nick Faldo called “Rotties,” short for Rottweilers because of their doggedness.

The gathering will be at 8:30 a.m. ET (1:30 p.m. in Scotland). This meeting with the golf media comes not only as Trump, who arrived at Turnberry Wednesday, is running for the Republican presidential nomination, but just a few weeks after virtually the entire golf community distanced itself from Trump following his sweeping generalizations about Mexican immigrants that many perceived as insensitive and simplistic at best and racist at worst.

In an email to accredited media, tournament officials said:

“Donald Trump will make himself available to meet the Championship’s accredited media at 1.30pm on Thursday, 30th July. We will confirm where this meeting will take place tomorrow morning.

“Questions must be restricted to the subjects golf, Turnberry and the tournament.

“To clarify/serve as a reminder, please note that in attending the Ricoh Women’s British Open you must agree to abide by the T&Cs below.”


That last part pretty much suggests that anyone breaking the ground rules for the news conference could have their credential revoked.

While the PGA of America moved its Grand Slam of Golf this fall from the Trump course in Los Angeles following his controversial comments, and the PGA Tour and USGA have time to make a decision before holding events on Trump courses, the LPGA was caught in a real-time bind.

Commissioner Mike Whan was able to disavow Trump’s comments, but with the statements on Mexican immigrants coming just three weeks before the Ricoh Women's British Open there was simply not enough time to change the venue of any tournament, let alone a major championship.

They would have needed to find a course on short notice, secure housing for the players and media and change the travel plans of everyone going to the tournament. And that's not even taking into consideration the inconvenience of a venue change for the fans.

The hope within the LPGA, and probably the Ladies Golf Union, which runs the tournament, was that Trump would be too busy campaigning for president to attend the British Open.

But if there is one thing The Donald loves, it’s facing the media. On Thursday we find out if the media will follow his rules.


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News & Tours

Golfer buys GoPro. Golfer uses GoPro to tape golf swing. Golfer immediately regrets decision.

One of my social media pet peeves is it’s growing contingent of narcissism. Instead of a forum for idea generation or engaging dialogue, the medium's become a "Look at me! Look at me!" arms race of documenting the most insignificant, trivial aspects of life.

So when I see such action epically backfire, you'll have to excuse my sense of schadenfreude.

The video below is titled "First Shot with new GoPro." Spoiler alert: it should have been named "My First -- and Last -- shot with new GoPro."

This further cements my argument that taking more than one practice swing leads to nothing but trouble. Also, why the hell wasn't the camera behind or to the side of his address?

Either way, congrats, my friend. You could have played Pebble Beach for the dollar amount you dropped on a product that lasted all of one shot.


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Fantasy Golf

Fantasy Fix: Why Justin Rose is a must-start at the Quicken Loans National

It's been a year for the top-tier of talent on the PGA Tour in 2015. Look no further than the guys who have won multiple times this season: Jordan Spieth (4), Jason Day (2), Rory McIlroy (2), Bubba Watson (2), Jimmy Walker (2). It has been good to be on top. There's one name that's surprisingly not on this list, despite playing some of the best golf on the planet this year.

That's Justin Rose. Rose won the Zurich Classic in New Orleans in April and nearly won the Memorial. Rose also has top-10 finishes in two of the year's first three majors (T-2 Masters, T-6 Open Championship). The world's seventh-ranked golfer is playing as well as anyone in the world, and so he should be a safe bet to play this week in all fantasy formats.

Tough to call someone who won three months ago "due" for a win, but that's what I'm calling it. How has J-Rose won only one time in 2015? That might change this week.

The Quicken Loans National -- Tiger's event -- has moved around a bunch the last few years. Rose won it last year at Congressional and when it was at Aronimink in 2010. This year it moves to the Robert Trent Jones Jr. Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., which hosted the Presidents Cup in 2005. It's a big track. We like Justin Rose's world-class ball-striking with the driver and his irons. You gotta figure he'll be a factor on the weekend.

Some other guys I'm plugging into my PGA Tour Fantasy Golf lineup this week:

Bill Haas

Taking over the column for the week as our fantasy guru Alex Myers celebrates his recent marriage (congrats, dude!), it's only right I include his fellow Wake Forest alum, Bill Haas, here. Haas, like Rose, is a former winner of this event (2013 at Congressional). You could say that Haas might be the next player after Rose who you'd expect to join the elite group of players who have won twice on tour this year.

Haas won the Humana Challenge back in the California swing and has been relatively quiet since. But when he won in 2013 at Congressional, Haas wasn't playing particularly well. As a guy who has played a ton of golf in the region, you gotta like another solid ball-striker like Haas to play well at RTJ GC.

Related: Sign up for the PGA Tour's Fantasy Golf game

Shawn Stefani

This is a little off the beaten path. But Stefani plays well at tough golf courses. He had a T-9 a couple months back at the Wells Fargo at Quail Hollow. And I feel like these courses have a similar look. Especially in a DraftKings format, you could get Stefani at a huge value and expect a top 25 from him here. Another quality ball-striker who finds a lot of fairways.

Justin Thomas

How many times have you heard fantasy-golf insiders say this year: "It's only a matter of time until Justin Thomas breaks out!"? If you nodded yes to that question, you're a huge fantasy-golf nerd (guilty). But it means you're paying attention. Thomas, another 22-year-old just like Jordan Spieth, has played great golf in 2015. A win is the only thing missing from his resume. He ranks 20th in scoring average on tour this year and finished in the top 5 his last time out (T-5 at John Deere). Just like Stefani, Thomas finished in the top 10 at the Wells Fargo. So we're gonna roll with JT to get into contention again this week.

And if you play other fantasy golf formats:

Yahoo! lineup: Bill Haas, Justin Rose, Shawn Stefani and Justin Thomas. Bench/backups: Tiger (!?), Kevin Chappell, Gary Woodland and Ricky Barnes.


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News & Tours

Inbee Park slams the 2016 Rio Olympics on its golf qualifying standards

Golf will be played at the 2016 Rio Olympics for the first time since 1904, but the sport's return to the international games has not been without controversy. Add Inbee Park to the list of critics.

Park, the No. 1 ranked women's player in the world, spoke out this week against the Olympics' qualifying process.


"If you are in the world's top 50, you should be able to play in the Olympics," Park said. "There's some countries where [players] ranked No. 300, 400 will play, but obviously not Koreans."

Park, who's from South Korea, is alluding to her country's dominance in the world rankings, with 15 of the top 28 hailing from her homeland.

The fields for both the men and women will be limited to 60 golfers, to be determined by the world rankings. However, a country cannot have more than four representatives. The rest of the competitors will be determined by the world golf rankings, with a maximum of two golfers per nation for countries that don't have more than two players in the top-15 rankings.

Park, who elaborated that it is "disappointing" that so many of the top players will miss the Olympic event, is in Turnberry, Scotland for the Women's British Open. A victory at Turnberry would give the 27-year-old Park the career Grand Slam.


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News & Tours

We're still in awe of one of the best shots of 2014

To say you have one of the best shots of the year in professional golf is impressive enough. To do it in a major championship, that's beyond clutch.

That's why we're paying tribute to Mo Martin's unreal 3-wood approach at the par-5 18th finishing hole at Royal Birkdale during last year's Women's British Open. It might be the best shot of the year. And with the Women's British Open being played this week at Turnberry, we're paying tribute to that striped shot seemingly destined for the cup.

We're still not sure how Martin's ball didn't go down for an albatross. Maybe with a thinner flagstick it does -- kind of Jordan Spieth's chip shot at the 13th hole during the final round at the Old Course this year. (C'mon, Great Britain: You're robbing history with these thicker-than-normal pins!)

Still, Martin's shot set up a winning eagle on Birkdale's 18th hole for her first major championship. What a great moment!

Related: Why did Stacy Lewis have such an adventure getting her clubs to Turnberry?


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Where does golf rank on GQ's list of douchey sports? Let's just say things are officially weird between us

Our friends at GQ -- or at least we thought we were friends, but this kind of stings in a "I purposely left you off the text chain" sort of way -- recently came out with a list of the Summer's Douchiest sports.

You can probably see where this is headed. Golf doesn't fare well. On its otherwise impressive matrix, which judges sports on two scales -- how cool vs. how douchey and how strenuous vs. how languorous -- golf ranks in the worst possible quadrant: douchey and languorous. To put it in perspective, kickball, billiards, and bocce ball (bocce ball!!) all rank higher. At least we were better than croquet. That alone would have been reason to close up shop.

Even more discouraging is this description of golf in the ranking: "Whoops, sorry, didn't mean to include this in a list of sports." Rich. What, no knickers jokes?


And they think golf isn't cool? OK, bad example.

Look, we get it, and we're not bitter. We could use this opportunity to make fun of kickball -- you know, how it's not really a summer sport because it's usually played by third graders during recess -- but we're above that. Same goes for bocce ball. We're not going to pick on any sport in which you could be holding a hot drink and participating in a conference call the whole time you're playing. It's just not what we do.

So nice job, GQ. Well done. We wish you luck with your way cooler sports like swimming and bowling . . . WAIT, BOWLING FINISHED HIGHER? ARE YOU F$#%ING KIDDING?


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News & Tours

Rory McIlroy to miss next week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational; PGA Championship status remains unknown

Rory McIlroy will not play in next week's World Golf Championship - Bridgestone Invitational, as the No. 1 ranked player in the world continues his rehabilitation from an ankle injury.

McIlroy notified tournament officials on Wednesday morning that he will miss the event at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. McIlroy won the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational with a 15-under 265 to beat Sergio Garcia by two strokes.


While McIlroy's status for the PGA Championship remains up in the air, missing the tune-up at Akron is not a good sign for his participation at Whistling Straits. The 26-year-old is the defending champion at the PGA after capturing the Wanamaker Trophy at Valhalla last summer.

McIlroy missed this year's British Open -- another event in which he was the reigning title holder -- at St. Andrews by rupturing a ligament in his ankle playing soccer with friends.


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Tenuous golf connection

Hey Tom Brady, we've mapped out the perfect golf itinerary for you during your suspension

Update: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the suspension against Brady, which is bad news for the Patriots, but maybe good news for Tom's handicap.

So Tom Brady was suspended for four games by the NFL for failing to cooperate with the league's investigation of "Deflategate." Was the suspension right? Who knows? Golf rules are hard enough to keep track of, so we'll leave this debate to the football cognoscenti (although as Jets fans, we thought eight games had a nicer ring to it). 

What we do know is that Brady should have a little more time on his hands on game days through mid-October. And we know he'll want to distract himself with something he loves, which is golf.


That's where we can help. Assuming that Brady will want to support his team while he's out, we've mapped out a reasonable itinerary for the 8-handicap based on the location of Patriots' first four games, and their proximity to a course on Golf Digest's list of America's 100 Greatest Courses (of course there are closer options, but c'mon, the guy's married to Gisele! He's not one for settling).

Thursday Sept. 10
The embattled Pats begin their title defense at home in the NFL's Thursday night opener against the Steelers. The good news is kick-off isn't until 8:30 p.m., so Brady could presumably tee off in the afternoon and even drive a bit. We'll send him south to the links-like Kittansett Club, ranked 84th on our list of America's 100 Greatest, and another creation of Shinnecock architect William Flynn. After a day knocking it around with the ocean breeze against his face, Brady might not even mind that his quarterbacking duties are being manned by a guy named Jimmy Garoppolo.


Sunday, Sept. 20
The Pats' first road game of the season takes them to Buffalo to face Rex Ryan and the Bills. Logistically, this will be the toughest 18 to get in since kick-off is at 1 p.m., and this being Buffalo, we're not exactly overflowing with great options. That's why we're sending Tom east to Rochester and venerable Oak Hill CC, the brawny Donald Ross course ranked 16th on our list. It's a bit more than an hour's drive, so Brady's going to have to be off the blocks at this perennial major championship venue no later than 7 if he wants to be back in time. Then again, does he really need to be there right at the start? We're talking Oak Hill here. And it's the Bills!

Oak Hill.png
Sunday, Sept. 27
The Pats are back home against the Jaguars, and it's another 1 p.m. start, so Tom will again be pressed for time. The good news is Boston Golf Club, ranked 74th on our list, is a mere 30-minute drive away in Hingham. And it'll be worth it. Golf Digest Architecture Editor Ron Whitten  refers to Boston GC as a "modern-day Pine Valley, massaged by architect Gil Hanse and his team from dramatic coastal topography with gashes of unsullied sand." 


Sun. Oct. 11
Following a bye week, the last game of Brady's suspension will bring the Patriots to Dallas to face the Cowboys and their own golf-loving QB Tony Romo. Dallas has plenty of great golf options, but the best and closest is Dallas National GC, the Tom Fazio design ranked 61st on our America's 100 Greatest lost. According to Golf Digest's Whitten, Dallas National is worthy of U.S. Open consideration, so we know Brady will love it. The best part is kick-off isn't until 3:25 local time, so maybe Romo can play, too? 

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Health & Fitness

Why unplugging the treadmill matters

If you're used to running on a treadmill and then go for a run in the great outdoors, one of the first things you might notice is that the real deal feels quite different. Tread runners often describe the difference as running less upright and feeling like the feet are pushing into the ground with more effort. In short, it's more challenging.

Those feelings happen to be real. While doing things like changing the elevation grade of the belt will help simulate what it's like to really run, traditional treadmills fall short of activating and conditioning the lower-body muscles the way they are trained during a sprint or a longer-distance jog.

fitness-treadmill-sprints.jpgThat's why some gyms across the country are adding a very creative piece of cardio equipment to their arsenal—a motorless treadmill. The concave designs of "The Curve," made by a company called Woodway, and the TrueForm "Runner,"  force users to work the lower body harder. They have to dig into the front part of the belt and push off the back part in order to get the thing moving. There isn't that same feeling of duck-paddling the way there is with a traditional treadmill. Another benefit to motorless treadmills is that you can sprint on them beyond the 15 mph limit of most motorized belts. If you're into interval training, this equipment will really take your workout to a new level of effort.

Unfortunately, these types of treadmills haven't made it into the mainstream yet, so they aren't easy to find in commercial gyms. And if you're thinking of buying one, they cost north of $5,000 new. What can you do in the interim to get a taste of what this type of training is like? Unplug the tread you normally run on. Click on the video to see me demonstrate what it's like.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.


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