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News & Tours

What if golf had a trade deadline? Five moves we'd like to see

Friday at 4 PM EST marks Major League Baseball’s trade deadline. The days leading up to threshold have become an unofficial holiday for fans, as they believe their club is one move away from making a postseason run. Which of course is absurd, because unless you’re rooting for the Giants or Cardinals, it will all be for naught.

Still, who are we to rain on the parade? If anything, we wish golf would adopt a similar barter session. Granted, ours is not a team sport, per se, but swaps can still be had. Here are five golf moves we’d like to see:

Europe trades Ian Poulter to the International Team for prospects

The International Team is 1-8-1 in the Presidents Cup. For you math scholars out there, that computes to .150 winning percentage, which we in the biz academically refer to as “not good.”

Also on the struggle bus as of late is Ian Poulter. Following a strong start to the campaign, Poulter has lost his way, finishing 54th at Chambers Bay and missing the cuts at the Scottish and British Opens. At 39 years old, Poulter’s best days may be behind him.

Yet, when it comes to match play, Poulter is unrivaled, boasting 13 points in five Ryder Cup appearances and wins at the 2010 WGC-Match Play and 2011 Volvo World Match Play tournaments. With a formidable line of Jason Day, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Hideki Matsuyama, the addition of Poulter’s team-play merits make the International roster a formidable foe.

Coupled with the fact that, in two previous trips south of the equator, the United States club's performance has been so-so, this year’s event in South Korea may be the International squad’s best chance at grabbing a W.

As Poulter would be more of a rental entity, the International team will send Sangmoon Bae, Ryo Ishikawa and a player to be named later.


Under Armour sends cash considerations to Titleist for Brad Faxon

What would the sporting apparel behemoth need with a 53-year-old player on the Champions Tour? Easy: let’s just say UA has a tad invested in a certain 22-year-old that’s had issues with the flatstick inside six feet. What better mentor for the fledgling superstar than Faxon, considered one of the best tour putters of all-time.

ESPN moves Mike Tirico to FOX for Gus Johnson

This is one of the few win-wins on our list. The Worldwide Leader is losing its British Open coverage after next season, and though Tirico is a sound, eloquent voice, he doesn’t enhance a particular broadcast, either.

But coming off one of a rough debut at the U.S. Open, FOX doesn’t need flashy; it needs a foundation. In Tirico, they get the dual dexterity of a studio host and play-by-play man.

As for Gus, he’s being wasted on second-tier Pac-12 football and Not-So-Big East basketball games. With this swap, we’re giving Gus the reins to Monday Night Football. That’s right, we’re teaming up Gus with Jon Gruden’s “Let me tell you what, THIS guy can play for me any day!” schtick. The booth bravado will be off the charts.

Happy Madison trades the rights to Happy Gilmore to HBO for the rights to The Brink

HBO Sports produces a documentary in the "7 Days of Hell" mold on the hockey-centric golfer, or simply holds the film to protect it from Adam Sandler and his cronies bastardizing it for a sequel. As for The Brink, it’s a show that entered with hype but has ended a dud…which should fit right in with the Happy Madison mantra.

The PGA of America gives 2022 PGA Championship to Bandon Dunes for a sleeve of Top-Flite x-outs.

That tournament is currently slotted to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. As the Ladies' Golf Union and LPGA players are finding out this week, it’s not worth it.


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News & Tours

Rickie Fowler hits walk-off hole-in-one. You read that correctly.

Golf has a problem with its finishes. Basketball has the buzzer-beater. Baseball, the walk-off homer. A sudden-death shootout in soccer and hockey.

As fans of the sport, it pains us to write such heresy, but a 20-foot putt on the 18th doesn't pack the same punch. In terms of last-play drama, golf usually falls short on the excitement barometer.

Usually, that is.

Starting the Quicken Loans National on the 10th tee on Thursday, Rickie Fowler's round ended on No. 9 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia, which happens to be a 200-yard par-3.

Coming off a bogey on the par-5 eighth, Fowler finished his day in fine fashion:

Now THAT, my friends, is how you end a round.


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News & Tours

He said WHAT? Six ridiculous comments from Donald Trump at the Women's British Open

"The world asked me to be here."

Following Trump's comments on Mexican immigrants, golf has tried to distance itself from the real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate, most notably seen in the PGA of America moving its Grand Slam of Golf event from Trump's L.A. course.

However, due to the proximity of the tournament with his comments, it was too late for the Women's British Open to find a new venue. Trump even dared the event to be moved


With this in mind, The Donald arrived in Scotland on Thursday for the Women's British Open, held at his Trump Turnberry resort. The highly anticipated appearance did not disappoint. Some of his gems included:

"A poll came out two days ago where I am number one with the Hispanics."

Assuming this "poll" was a sample size of the person Trump sees in the mirror, he's probably right.

"Everybody has asked me to be here. The world has asked me to be here."

Give the man credit. The fact that Donald Trump has accumulated a $2.9 billion fortune -- or $10 billion, if you believe his assertion -- without knowing what the word "ask" means shows that you too can hurdle life's obstacles to achieve your dreams, kids. Assuming you have a dad that can get your out of numerous bankruptcy run-ins, that is.

"Illegal immigration is a huge subject. I brought it to the fore and everybody is thanking me for it."

Does Trump not own a TV? Or is there an employee on his staff who edits every media broadcast or snippet before showing it to Trump? Because if it's the latter, that person is earning their paycheck.

"Don't know who she is."

This was in response to comments from Lizette Salas, a top-30 world-ranked player from the United States who has Mexican parents, who expressed displeasure at Trump's presence. 

OK, I can kind of buy this, yet I'm sure Trump was aware of Salas' remarks. This also pokes a hole in Trump's "I'm a big fan and follower of women's golf" claim.

But instead of putting the issue to bed with, "She has an opinion, and I respect it," Trump's actual retort simply raised Salas' profile.

By the way, this was only a degree away from, "Oh yeah, well, the JERK store called" in terms of lame comebacks.

"That’s your problem, not my problem."

A reporter asked about illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom, specifically the Calais crisis. Sounds like Trump has this foreign affairs thing down.

"I expect to be President."

Well, I expect to be greeted into every room with a standing ovation and roses thrown in my direction, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen.


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This is the best flop shot you're going to see this summer

Look out, Phil. You're not the only one with a short-game imagination. 

Paige Spiranac, a former SDSU golfer, has found herself quite the following on Instagram. 

Yes, she's super attractive, but she can also actually play golf. 

Check out her latest video: 

I'm all about the flop. What's your favorite shot?

A video posted by Paige Spiranac (@_paige.renee) on

That is a brave flop shot right there. A takeaway that big would have caused just about everyone in this office to decelerate so hard through the ball that it would have been bladed right off the green. 

She says that she's trying to make it to the LPGA. If flop shots were any indication of a player's readiness for the tour, she'd be suiting up right now.  


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Here's Steve Spurrier celebrating a birdie in vintage Steve Spurrier fashion

Before he was a celebrated college football coach and a guy who plays in PGA Tour Pro-Ams, Steve Spurrier was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida. We mention this because of the image below of the South Carolina coach making a birdie putt at the annual Gamecocks Media Golf Outing.


Never mind the putting stroke. Doesn't Spurrier look like he's spinning out of the grasp of a defensive tackle? The guy is 70 years old and looks like he could get still run a decent play action. 


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Golf pads

It might not be in golf heaven, but you can buy this decrepit cabin next door to Bandon for $250k

Maybe you're one of the handful of people who doesn't fire for luxuriating in one of Bandon Dunes Resort's wonderfully-appointed guest rooms in between 36-hole marathons. 

Maybe you want to be a little more rustic, and "with nature." 

For $250,000 (and some imagination), you can be.

This two-story cabin sits on 10 acres of wooded property adjacent to Bandon Dunes' giant practice area, and a four-minute drive to the resort proper. According to the listing, the two-bedroom, one-bath, 720-sqft building is in "disrepair," which is usually code for "marking time until it gets knocked over and replaced with something new." 


Bring your toolbox and create your own golf camp, hire an architect and builder and make a vacation home, or even buy and hold on the off chance Mike Keiser wants to expand inland and build another course. 


Whatever you choose, you'll still be able to drive in and nurse a single malt in The Bunker Bar at the Lodge, flash your townie credentials and grouse about how much quieter Oregon used to be before all the damned golf tourists started showing up. 


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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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