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News & Tours

Harrison Ford the latest to survive crash-landing plane on a golf course

It was actor Harrison Ford’s good fortune as well as others on the ground that a golf course was near the airport at which he was attempting to return when he crash-landed his World War II training aircraft on Thursday.

Ford, who was hospitalized after suffering injuries that were not life-threatening, brought his plane down on Penmar Golf Course in Venice, catercorner from the end of the Santa Monica Municipal Airport runway from which he had taken off only moments earlier.

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(Google Maps)

“Looking at where he crashed and how the plane went down, I'm sure there was a moment where he said, ‘I’m not going to risk lives, whatever happens, happens. It's going to be just me,’” Eddie Aguglia, who was playing a round of golf at the time, told NBC News.

“He risked life and limb by putting it down on the golf course instead of trying to go further to try to get back to the airport. Another 25 to 30 yards and…I don't want to think about it. He saved several lives.”

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(Getty Images)

Golf courses are often used as emergency landing strips, given their often wide and relatively flat fairways. Last month, one plane made an emergency landing at Skywest Golf Course in Hayward, Calif., and another crash-landed at Valley View Golf Course in Layton, Utah. During World War II, the War Department viewed golf courses near coastlines as potential emergency landing strips.

Airplane manufacturer and movie producer Howard Hughes was test-piloting an experimental Army photographic plane when it experienced trouble and was attempting to land it on Los Angeles Country club, when he came up about 100 yards short, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Penmar is a short (2,582 yards) nine-hole course owned by the city of Los Angeles. It opened in 1962.

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Underrated moments in golf history

Centuries after its creation, golf is alive and well -- no thanks to King James II

On March 6, 1457, King James II declared a ban on both football (soccer to us unrefined Americans) and golf. A Scot banning golf. Can you imagine?

Related: An unauthorized history of Phil Mickelson's thumbs up

Apparently, the sports were seen as distractions to Scotland's ongoing wars against England. King James II seems like a real stick in the mud, doesn't he?

But it wasn't just him. James III and James IV later reaffirmed the ban, although James IV eventually had it lifted and even bought a set of clubs in 1502 after the Treaty of Glasgow (more commonly known as the Treaty of Perpetual Peace) was signed with Henry VII of England. Phew!

So if the snow has you stuck inside, just remember your golf prospects could be worse. You could have King James II as your leader.

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News & Tours

This infrared video of Rory's golf swing is the coolest thing you'll see today

This looks really, really cool. Hard to say anything more. It is strangely hypnotic, though, so make sure your boss doesn't see you once you get locked into the inevitable trance.

The video was taken by @NoLayingUp (who you should all follow on Twitter if you haven't already) during a practice round at last year's Memorial Tournament. 



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Celebrity

Tigers pitchers throw golf fashion a curveball

Three Detroit Tigers pitchers dressed and ready for golf are going “old school,” as Justin Verlander put it in the caption to an Instagram photo that has us wondering: Are they moving golf fashion forward or setting it back? Way back?

Verlander, an avid golfer and boyfriend of Arnold Palmer’s protege Kate Upton, posted this photo on his Instagram account. Verlander is in the middle, David Price on the left and rookie Tim Melville on the right.

Ready for golf today! #oldschool @davidprice14 and Tim Melville

A photo posted by Justin Verlander (@justinverlander) on

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News & Tours

Phil Mickelson and the thumbs up: An unauthorized history

Close your eyes and picture Phil Mickelson. What do you see? You see him flashing that goofy grin and giving a thumbs up, right? Of course you do.

In recent years, the five-time major champion has morphed into a walking, smiling sign of approval -- and PGA Tour fans love it. Instead of apple pie, we should start saying things are as American as a Phil Mickelson thumbs up.

Related: An unauthorized history of Tiger Woods' jeans

The thumbs-up sign dates back to ancient Rome, where emperors made the signal to convey if they thought a gladiator's life should be spared. But it has patriotic roots in this country. It's believed to have become popular in the U.S. during World War II, when fighter pilots used it as a way of communicating with ground crews that they were ready to take off.

Phil Mickelson Sr. was a navy pilot. That just can't be a coincidence.

Phil Jr. uses the move as a sign of appreciation for the hordes of fans that follow him at every golf tournament. And he uses it a lot. Here's Phil giving a typical thumbs up:

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Here's Phil giving the thumbs up while making a creepy face:

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Then there's the smiling-in-a-suit thumbs up:

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And here are fans giving Phil the thumbs up for giving them the thumbs up:

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Mickelson has been called this generation's Arnold Palmer -- and rightfully so. After all, Arnie is the Godfather of the on-course thumbs up.

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Palmer raised his thumb so often, he once even made the friendly gesture to Vijay Singh.

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But despite Mickelson's upbringing and the high rate at which he flashes that first digit, he hasn't always done it. Sadly, there are no photos of him giving the thumbs up in his crib as a baby or on his way to senior prom. In fact, the first photo we could find of him giving a thumbs up -- and we went through thousands of archive photos -- was this one after winning the 2004 Masters:

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That just happened to be his first major championship victory. Another incredible "coincidence," which leads us to the obvious question: Why didn't Phil follow in Arnie's footsteps and go to the thumbs up earlier in his career? Just imagine how many majors he'd have by now!

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"Use the (thumb) force," Palmer told a young Mickelson. He eventually listened.

Even though he was a thumbs up late-bloomer, Mickelson picked the move up quickly and became very versatile with it. A natural righty, it makes sense he favored that hand first when trying it out. But he quickly showed a knack with his left hand as well, then advanced to more difficult moves like the raised thumbs up at his next major win, the 2005 PGA Championship:

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Then there's the gloved thumbs up:

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Related: An unauthorized history of Rory McIlroy and Jagermeister

The thumbs up while holding his wife's hand (Apparently, Amy prefers the point):

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The dangerous thumbs up while holding a club in the same hand:

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And the even tougher thumbs up while wearing pinstripes:

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Remember when Mickelson moaned about the rough at the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont? Well, that didn't keep him from giving the thumbs up as he wrapped his wrist in a bandage -- or from giving the thumbs up later in the week with his injured arm. This guy won't let disappointment or injury keep him from delighting fans with his signature move:

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Yep, the thumbs up has become as much of an on-course staple of Mickelson as his magical short game -- and it appears to have provided some major championship magic of its own. Like Palmer before him, Phil has perfected the move and someday, he'll pass the torch thumb to another young golfer. Until then, let's enjoy watching this manual master in action.

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Health & Fitness

Fitness Friday: Don't be a tremendous slouch

"Don't sell yourself short, Judge, you're a tremendous slouch."
—Ty Webb, "Caddyshack"


In order to hit the ball solidly, many golf instructors emphasize the importance of remaining in your address posture as you swing through the impact zone. But if you think about, trying to maintain your posture probably isn't a good idea if the posture you're in at address isn't very good to begin with.

Golf Digest teaching professional Sean Foley says when you set up to the ball, you should feel like you're still standing fairly tall (pictured below). You should bend from the hip joints and let your arms hang straight down. Unfortunately, many golfers don't address the ball this way. They're too hunched over. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the biggest is that we sit too much. Unless you consciously work at it and give yourself reminders, you'll soon find yourself sitting with your shoulders rounded, your chest closed in, and your glute (butt) muscles deactivated. This all-too-familiar posture eventually manifests into the way you stand over the ball and swing the club.

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You can train for proper posture if you pay more attention to reversing this slouching trend in the gym. If you focus on opening up the chest and strengthening the muscles around the shoulder girdle, you'll be sitting, walking and playing taller. Here's an easy one-two punch in the gym that will help improve your posture.



Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

(Photos By Stephen Szurlej) ... Read
News & Tours

Players react to J.B. Holmes' 62 at Doral, and why it might be the most impressive round on the PGA Tour all year

J.B. Holmes torched Trump National Doral on Thursday with a 10-under-par 62 that put him four shots clear of Ryan Moore after the first round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. But you might not realize just how impressive that score was.

Not all 62s are equal and Holmes gets extra credit for a few reasons. First, the course. The revamped "Blue Monster" was one of the most difficult on tour last year, producing a winning score for the week of just four under by Patrick Reed. More wind in 2014 made scoring a bit tougher, but there were only three sub-68 scores for the entire week with the lowest being a pair of 66s by Jonas Blixt and Tiger Woods (Yes, that Tiger Woods). Holmes matched Bubba Watson's score in 2012, but again, that was before Gil Hanse's changes.

Related: The best scoring displays in PGA Tour history

Secondly, while conditions weren't particularly difficult on Thursday, the scoring average for the field was 73.39 -- meaning Holmes played his round in nearly 11 and a half fewer strokes. To put that in perspective, Jim Furyk's 59 at the 2013 BMW Championship was 12.1 shots better than the field that day, putting Holmes' 62 in the same ballpark.

And finally, the field itself makes Holmes' score even better. He didn't just beat any field by 11.39 shots, he beat one of the strongest fields of the year. In fact, this year's Cadillac Championship is the first PGA Tour event to feature all top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking since the 2012 PGA Championship. And yet, after Thursday's eight birdies and one eagle, only one of those players is even within five shots of him.

Here's how some of the other players reacted:

And here's what Holmes thought about it:

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Celebrity

Tiger & Woods will be playing on Masters Sunday. Seriously

We do not know whether Tiger Woods will be playing golf on Masters Sunday, but we do know that Tiger & Woods will be playing music on Masters Sunday.

There is a musical act that calls itself Tiger & Woods that will be playing at the renowned Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., on April 12, the date of the final round of the Masters.

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The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a hugely popular event, held on consecutive weekends and featuring big-name entertainment. AC/DC is performing this year. Madonna and Paul McCartney have performed in the past.

As for Tiger & Woods, not much is known about them personally other than what we assume are stage names, Larry Tiger and David Woods. One headline called them “The mystery men of disco,” or “mistery” men, as they spell it on their Twitter account.

“Though the recent glut of musical acts with un-Google-able names and top-secret identities,” Miles Raymer wrote in the Chicago Reader, “looks to be a reaction to the ubiquity of search engines and social networks, the anonymity of DJ and production duo Tiger & Woods is apparently a nod to electronic dance music's heyday, when illicit white-label remixes of popular songs — whether released by a superstar DJ or a total unknown — absolutely required a pseudonym.”

OK, then. As for the name Tiger & Woods, “It's not really related to golf, except for the fact that the project is inspired by a track released on a label with a bit of golf in it, one of them, Tiger or Woods, said in an interview with the San Francisco Examiner.

Their debut album was called “Through the Green.”

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Gear & Equipment

This blade putter, backed by a former PGA Tour commissioner, doesn't play at all like a blade putter

A year ago former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman was at the PGA Merchandise Show extolling the virtues of Cure's RX putters and their "triangulation alignment system." It would have been easy to dismiss the product as another Hail Mary attempt in the golf business, but now the company has expanded its line to include the Cure RXi, with a technology story worth exploring.

loop-cure-rxi-putter-560.jpgStaying true to its concept of trying to produce mallet-like stability in a blade-style head, the RXi ($300) goes beyond that with an interchangeable face-insert that can alter the putter's overall weight and moment of inertia.

Depending on whether you're using the aluminum or brass face insert, the putter's weight can vary from 345 grams to 410 grams, and the MOI can increase close to three times that of a traditional blade putter, helping to keep the club from twisting during the stroke and at impact.

Sounds like something Beman might have been happy to use during his playing career.

Interested in more stories on equipment? Signup to receive Golf Digest Stix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things equipment.

 

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Trending

Nearly 20 years later, Happy Gilmore and Bob Barker continue their epic fight off the golf course

"The price is wrong, bitch!" Nearly two decades later, the fight scene between Adam Sandler and Bob Barker remains the most memorable part of the movie Happy Gilmore.

Related: The Oscars shows its anti-golf bias once again

In case you live under a rock or are under the age of 20, here's a look at the classic scene. And if you are under the age of 20, be advised that the violence and language might not be suitable for you. . .

This Sunday, Comedy Central's annual fundraiser, Night of Too Many Stars will reunite Happy and his older, yet incredibly scrappy pro-am partner. This time, the fight brawl takes place when Sandler visits the 91-year-old Barker in a hospital. And the former host of The Price is Right gets the last laugh again. Well, sort of.

Unfortunately, there's no mention of golf in the scene, but Happy's mentor, Chubbs (played by Carl Weathers), makes a cameo. Here's the clip:

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