The Local Knowlege

Unofficial Guide: Hilton Head Island

By Matthew Rudy

Water Wonderland
Ask about any "best of" on the PGA Tour and you won't get many undisputed responses. One is Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island for "Best party scene, non-college division." The Phoenix Open has mega-grandstands and football-type crowds. Hilton Head has the tour's greatest hospitality tents--both public and private--and Calibogue Sound as its 18th hole venue. 


Boats both rented and private flock to the Harbour Town Yacht Basin for tournament week, acting as golf viewing platforms during the day and floating speakeasies at night. Enjoy the Heritage's sprawling Grey Goose hospitality venue for cocktails at lunch then troll the sound and soak up the sun in the afternoon -- assuming you've either made the right friends or spent $975 for a 12-hour boat rental (crew not included) at H20 Sports

Hole in One
Hilton Head Island is golf crazy this week, but every day is cornhole day. The legendary Southern tailgating game --a kind of beanbag-tossing version of horseshoes--has gone civilized, with bars setting up their own games for patrons to play while enjoying a drink. The Old Town Dispensary in downtown Bluffton has a full array of indoor and outdoor entertainment -- the Southern Slammer burger topped with smoked pork, cole slaw, pickles and barbecue mayo, live bands nightly and a firepit and cornhole "arena." Just remember that cornhole takes a lifetime (or three beers) to master. Like in golf, spin produces control. 

Spring Training
With another round of freezing temperatures and snow in the Northeast and Midwest, Hilton Head looks even better as a quick spring golf getaway. The island has a terrific airport, and temperatures in mid-April average in the low 70s. Hilton Head has been a golf destination since the late 1950s, and there are dozens of courses within 20 miles of Harbour Town. The package deals offered by the Heritage Collection are a great opportunity to sample some of the best. The group is made up of seven tracks -- Oyster Reef, Palmetto Hall's Cupp and Hills courses, Port Royal's Robber's Row, Planter's Row and Barony courses and the Shipyard Golf Club. Combine two to five of the courses for rates ranging from $238 to $470. Rees Jones' Oyster Reef is the one you can't miss. 

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Fantasy Golf

Fantasy Fix: Who will take home the plaid jacket?

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:

The Grind: Why Bubba Watson really went to the Waffle House after winning the Masters

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.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

(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.

Related: 11 sleepers to watch in 2014

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!).

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News & Tours

Missing links: Bubba’s tears, Augusta’s roars and Jimenez’ cigars

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.

Bubba Crying.jpg
(Getty Images photo)

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.

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Rickie Fowler sports look he couldn't get away with at Augusta National, tees off shirtless

By Sam Weinman

There isn't a lot you can add to this photo that Rickie Fowler posted on Instagram, but a couple of thoughts:
-- Remember when we were all making a fuss about Rickie wearing his hat backwards? Kind of an afterthought now.

-- Seriously, this photo is an outrage. Look how close Brendan Steele is standing to the player teeing off. Completely unacceptable.

-- We'd be remiss in not pointing out that Rickie appears to have toned up. As a frame of reference, this was from the original "Golf Boys" video in 2011. 

Never mind the T-5 at Augusta. This is what we call progress.

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Health & Fitness

Sunscreen before repellent

By Ron Kaspriske

the-loop-billy-horschel-using-sunscreen-300.jpgTwo things golfers should always have handy are sunscreen and bug repellent. But as great as it might sound to use a product that combines both, if you do, neither the sunscreen or the repellent will work as intended. Sunscreen’s ability to deflect UV radiation can be hindered by the chemicals in the repellent, and the toxicity of the repellent can be absorbed into your skin easier because of the way sunblock is designed to work. Dermatologist Pierre George, writing for the Skin Cancer Foundation, said one study showed the efficacy of sunscreen was reduced by 30 percent when combined with DEET, the most common insect repellent.

Another thing to consider is how these two products are applied. Sunscreen should be used every two hours and applied to all exposed parts of the body including the face. Insect repellents typically are only applied once every six hours and shouldn’t be used near the eyes, nose or mouth.

So what should you do? First, apply sunscreen, giving it up to 30 minutes to be absorbed into the skin. Then apply a separate repellent.

Related: Everything a golfer needs to know about sunscreen

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

(Photo by Getty Images) ... Read
News & Tours

Three easy ways to improve Sundays at the Masters

By Geoff Shackelford

Far be it for me to tell the Lords of Augusta how to improve their already incredible patron experience and overall uncluttered broadcast presentation. There are only three things that have to change at Augusta National: the 11th, 15th and 17th holes. 


When the greens are as marble-staircase fast as they were this year, the players are on the defensive enough. No amount of skill and technology can free them up enough to play those three holes as aggressively as we'd like. Yes, Bubba Watson did attack the 15th with his ridiculous length off the tee, and thankfully, wasn't penalized. But too many other players were not able to be aggressive and let's face it, we like our Masters bunched and dramatic on the final nine Sunday with the sense that a daring shot will be rewarded.

Related: The defining shots of the 2014 Masters

Each of the three holes mentioned here plays a role in the back nine's ebb-and-flow, but have all too often come to be real rally killers in the modern era. Fixing them would be simple. Because since 1999, the holes have been defaced by tree plantings in dreadful contrast to the vision of club co-founder Bobby Jones. And as I recalled last week when brushing up on some Jones writings for my upcoming feature in Golf World reviewing the 2014 Masters, the legendary golfer would be horrified to see what's become of these three holes.

So without further ado, three easy ways to fix the Masters.

11th: It just doesn't take a rocket scientist, brain surgeon or even a rocket surgeon to see that the swarm planted down the right side has made this hole difficult in a strange way. The patron experience is positively awful and the sight of golfers blowing drives way right and finding an opening in a mysterious gap that's been there from day one makes this an easy fix. Cue the tree spade and plant these trees out of play, as they don't deserve to die just because someone didn't read their Bobby Jones.

15th: The new length of this hole is just right, but the loss of fairway mounds and the addition of right side trees has taken the life out of this pivotal hole. No eagles Sunday? Blasphemy. The new Sunday hole location used the last two years is bringing the boring back of the green into play too much.

Related: Who was the mysterious blonde who ran across No. 10?

17th: In the upcoming feature story, I go into greater detail on the complicated issues facing the club in trying to replace Ike's Tree and make this hole interesting. In a nutshell, the advice we give in Golf World goes like this: plant a youngish tree where Ike stood so we can watch it grow. Deforest to open up the right side angle and overall freedom to whap a drive. Oh, and find a better Sunday hole location than the one this year that did not yield a single birdie.

Chairman Payne, this one's on me.

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News & Tours

The Grind: Watson's Waffle House run, geezers rule, and Augusta National mini-golf

By Alex Myers

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're not at all surprised Bubba Watson went to a Waffle House after winning a second green jacket. Have you ever been to Augusta? There's one on every corner! Also, if you feel like eating breakfast at 1:30 in the morning, can you really be that picky? In any event, we've got a full helping of stuff to talk about. Let's dig in.



Bubba Watson: The unofficial Waffle House spokesman is on top of the golf world yet again after a brilliant Sunday performance. Bubba's booming drives stole the show, but key birdie putts on Nos. 4, 6 and 9 were what really won him a second green jacket. He really threw us all off his scent with that WD at Bay Hill last month after a first-round 83, didn't he? Sneaky! Now, Watson is the clear front-runner for PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Related: The shots that defined the 2014 Masters

Jordan Spieth: Sure, he came apart after the seventh hole, but the guy is 20 years old! Spieth's runner-up in his first trip to Augusta National was the latest evidence that he could be golf's next great superstar and a lock to win a bunch of majors. Then again, we said the same thing about a 19-year-old Sergio Garcia following the 1999 PGA Championship. . . But back to the positives! Spieth almost just won the Masters at 20. Most people his age still don't even know what they want to be when they grow up.

Old guys: Six guys over 50 made the cut. Six! There were probably more seniors playing at Augusta National over the weekend than there were at your local muny. Miguel Angel Jimenez finished fourth, Bernhard Langer backdoored a T-8 and Fred Couples had his usual Sunday fade, but not after he got within two shots of the lead during the final round. It seems like it's just a matter of time before Jack Nicklaus' record for winning the Masters at 46 is shattered.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Team PUMA: A week after Lexi Thompson won her first major, Jonas Blixt and Rickie Fowler contended at the Masters. For Blixt, the T-2 was the Swede's second straight top five at a major. And Fowler continued to show his work with Butch Harmon is paying off, matching his career-best finish in a major with a T-5. From partying at the pool with Lolo Jones to coming close to winning a green jacket, it's been quite a couple weeks for Rickie.


Big names not named Bubba: We knew this year's Masters would miss Tiger Woods, but guys like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Sergio Garcia joined him on the couch for the weekend with poor play. Even Adam Scott disappeared on the weekend after a promising start. All of their struggles added up to a 24 percent decline in TV ratings from last year. Of course, it didn't help that the Par 3 Contest was more exciting. . .

Back-nine drama: Thanks, Bubba. You turned the last hour of the Masters into a yawnfest. Actually, the blame goes to those in contention. The usual back-nine roars at Augusta were almost nonexistent as no one mustered a charge. The biggest roar came from Bubba's big drive on No. 13. As incredible as that was (Is that the greatest drive EVER?), it wasn't the same as someone rolling in an eagle on that hole.

Related: The winners and losers from Sunday at the Masters

Matt Kuchar: Speaking of guys not making a back-nine run, we have to single out Kuchar not getting it done for a third consecutive week. That's a Grind record no one wants to have! We really thought this was his week to win a first major, especially after he jumped into a tie for the lead on the third hole on Sunday, but Kuchar faltered once again down the stretch. If it's possible to have a bad T-5 at a major, this would qualify.

Caroline Wozniacki's pink hair: What in the. . .


Wozniacki deserves praise for draining a long putt in the Par 3 contest, but her hair was scary. Fortunately, by Sunday, she was back to being a blonde. Ahh, that's better.



The PGA Tour heads up the road to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage. To make things more exciting, the course's famed lighthouse is in play this year. OK, not really.

Related: 16 wacky Masters stats you probably don't know

Random tournament fact: Nick Faldo, 56, will come down from the broadcast booth and tee it up. Faldo won the first of his three non-major PGA Tour events there in 1984.


-- Jordan Spieth regrets leaving college early: 1 million-to-1 odds.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

-- Bubba Watson will buy his own Waffle House: 2-to-1 odds

-- Bernhard Langer, 56, could break me into two pieces: LOCK



Who is this enchanting and bold blonde who ran across Augusta National's 10th green on Saturday? Can we get Dick Fowler, P.I., to investigate? If you want to see 14 almost identical photos to this (you know you do), go to the Augusta Chronicle's website. Taking off your sandals at Augusta National? That's basically the same thing as streaking at Augusta National.

Related: DJ & Paulina's magical year in pictures


Highlights of the 2013 Masters complete with actual commentary and with mini-golf obstacles transposed over the footage? This is one of the greatest videos ever made.

Please, Masters, don't take it down. PLEASE!

The top 25 viral golf videos of 2013



Tiger Woods isn't looking good for the U.S. Open, according to friend Notah Begay. Not surprising if you listened to any doctor when Woods first announced he'd had back surgery. . . . Michael Phelps announced he's coming out of retirement to swim competitively again. At 28, he still has plenty of time to retire again and focus on his celebrity golf career. . . . Billy Horschel hit the ball well enough to contend at the Masters, but his putting was awful. Maybe one of the winning kids of the Drive, Chip, and Putt Contest can give him a few pointers before next year. . . . Jason Dufner became the first golfer to be sponsored by a television network when he played at Augusta National wearing a shirt with the Fox Business logo (above). Unfortunately, that was the only Masters history Dufner made last week.


How much golf did Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson watch over the weekend?

Is Jordan Spieth really only 20? Is Bernhard Langer really 56?!

Why aren't there any Waffle Houses in Connecticut?

-- 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

Some woman was crazy enough to let John Daly hit a golf ball out of her mouth

By Alex Myers

On Friday of the Masters, the most impressive golf shot may have come from someone not in the field at Augusta National.

Related: The top 25 viral golf videos from 2013

That day John Daly tweeted a video of him hitting a golf ball that was teed up in a woman's mouth. "Don't try this at home! #MastersWeek #TeeitHigh #GripitandRipIt" Daly wrote -- after trying it himself, of course. Here's the clip:

This is nothing new for Daly. Last year, he hit a golf ball out of a guy's mouth in a dark Nashville parking lot while wearing sandals. At least, it looks like this time Daly pulled off the trick on a golf course, during the day, and with him actually wearing golf shoes.

Still, you'd have to be pretty daring to let Daly try this, especially now. We assume this brave/crazy woman doesn't know he failed to break 90 in a PGA Tour event last month.

(h/t Yahoo!)

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The Masters

Bubba's pre-vacation media roundup, talks God and Waffle House

By Keely Levins

Before heading off to a well-deserved vacation with his wife, Bubba Watson made appearances on "CBS This Morning and Golf Channel's "Morning Drive". Here are the 6 most important things Bubba said during his appearances.

1. Perspective.  
While Bubba's not going to concede that he's completely grown up, he does have a bit more perspective than he did when he won two years ago. His adorable son, Caleb, is a big part of that. "[Caleb] puts life in perspective. Golf is a game. When I play bad he doesn't care, when I play great he doesn't care." He also credits his faith with helping him: "When you look at life, life can get you down real fast.... So for me, my faith and following the bible, looking at my son, I want to be as Christ-like as possible." The purpose of that? To be a role model for his son. Charlie Rose and Gayle King on CBS seem to think he's doing a good job of it, as they both told Bubba he's their role model. (Which was only slightly awkward.)

bubba and caleb.jpg

2. His Real Name. 
Sorry, folks. 'Bubba' isn't on his birth certificate. "My real name is Gerry Lester Watson Jr." The late Bubba Smith was an NFL star when Watson was born, and since Bubba was a chubby baby who resembled the football player, he was nicknamed Bubba.

3. Junior Golf. 
This year was the first year of the Drive, Chip & Putt junior competition, and Bubba went out to support the young players. He talked about how his parents had supported him when he was playing junior golf. "I think for years to come you're going to see the game of golf grow. But I think it's gonna grow more when families get involved. The game's frustrating but you're gonna be learning together. You're gonna be enjoying your time together outdoors... That's what golf was to me when I was growing up and that's what I saw out there on these kids' faces."

4. Confidence.  
Bubba showed a good balance of where to be confident on the course, and where to be humble. He was humble about the experience as a whole: "I wouldn't say [I was] dominant, because I was scared the whole time." But at the same time, he was confident during significant moments on the course, like his approach on 15. "I never once thought about the water. I thought about that shot the whole time and I knew I could pull it off." 

5. His playing partner. 
There were a few casual daggers tossed between Jordan Spieth and Bubba before the final round. Bubba recalled: "I did a news conference the same day right after him and he said he was going to call me 'Mr. Watson' and I said I'm going to be out driving him all day so he needs to call me that." Touché.

6. Waffle House. 
We all know that Bubba went to Waffle House after winning, but what did he order?  The Masters champ had two grilled cheeses and hash browns. His answer to the question, Why did he choose to dine there? "Who doesn't love Waffle house?" Again, touché. 

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News & Tours

One chart that proves the Tiger Woods television effect is very real

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

The Sunday afternoon Masters television ratings were released on Monday, and results showed that despite good play from Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth, viewership numbers hit a ten-year low. 

In the last ten years, the three Masters tournaments that gathered the lowest TV ratings came in 2004, 2012 and 2014. Incidentally, those were also Tiger's three worst finishes in the Masters over that same time period; T-22 in 2004, T-40 in 2012, and DNP in 2014. The next lowest-rated Masters came in 2009, where he started the final round seven shots behind 54-hole leader Angel Cabrera and finished the day four back.

Related: Media: ‘[Bubba’s] lost his marbles’

As for the three highest-rated Masters, you can perhaps guess how Tiger fared. He won in 2005, finished T-4 in 2010, and T-4 again in 2013.

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