Sitting in the office. Tuning out your professor. Checking out of the end of a meeting. All the times you’d probably rather be on the golf course.
Which is what makes these live streams so dangerous.
The Old Course at St. Andrews and Pebble Beach are two world-class golf courses offering live feeds via webcam on their websites. They can be found here for the St. Andrews feed, and here for the Pebble feed. (Actually, there are five live feeds from Pebble -- the first, ninth, 17th and 18th holes, plus the putting green -- and nine from St. Andrews.)
Some of the coolest views? You can see the grandstands being assembled at the Old Course as it preps for this year's Open Championship. The stands at the 18th hole will seat more than 10,000 people this year, a tournament record. Now you can track the construction progress here!
You can see golfers teeing off and watch as they approach the famous Swilcan Bridge. This is the golf equivalent of FOMO!
One of the coolest parts? You could have family and friends watch the feeds whenever you visit these golf landmarks. But you can't lie after you duff your tee shot. It's all gonna be caught live!
Nothing beats the real thing, though, as this photo of the famous par-3 17th hole by our veteran photographer Stephen Szurlej proves.
There are other live feeds at great courses around the world, too. You’ll either thank us, or blame us, later.
If you're lucky, you'll arrive to the first tee via helicopter.
A longer drought than Jim Furyk's ends, the surprising best shot of the year, and the best(?) abs in pro golf
Then, this is me receiving the Founder's Jacket from defending champ Steve Hennessey and doing my best Jordan-Spieth-clapping-for-the-patrons routine:
And finally, this is me on Letterman:
Man, I really had Dave going with my office cafeteria tales. What a wild week -- and that's just my golf! OK, OK, let's get to everything else that happened.
Jim Furyk: On a more serious note, thank goodness this guy finally won a golf tournament. It was getting rough to watch and had this victory been snatched away by Kevin Kisner, we would have feared for Furyk's well-being. But Furyk won for the first time in 100 starts on the PGA Tour, and more impressively, he did it in clutch fashion at the RBC Heritage. Sure, it's easier to shoot 63 on Sunday when you're coming from behind, but to birdie both playoff holes? Including one after Kisner had already made birdie?
Jordan Spieth: After a media blitz of NYC, a tired Masters champ returned to action at Hilton Head, finally took off his green jacket and promptly shot 74 on no practice, snapping a streak of 16 consecutive sub-par rounds. But looking like he might miss a cut and take some time off, Spieth rallied with a 62 on Friday and finished T-11. It wasn't a fifth consecutive top-two finish, but it was pretty impressive considering the circumstances.
Sei Young Kim: Furyk's win was exciting, but it will be tough for any tournament to top the dramatic finish we saw on the LPGA Tour in Hawaii. Kim chipped in on No. 18 to force a playoff with Inbee Park and then holed her approach shot from 154 yards minutes later on the same hole for a walk-off eagle. The 22-year-old South Korean is the first player to win twice on the LPGA this season and she leads the way in the Rolex Player of the Year standings. Not bad for a rookie. And not a bad vertical, either.
Freddie Jacobson's putting: Lost in the performances by Jim Furyk and Jordan Spieth, Jacobson broke a PGA Tour record by extending his streak without a three-putt to 524 holes and counting. That's more than 29 full rounds of golf since his last three-putt. Most people have never gone 29 holes without one.
Freddie Jacobson's ball-striking: While he ranks first in three-putt avoidance and third in strokes gained/putting, Jacobson ranks 173rd in strokes gained/tee to green. As a result, he's only 141st on the FedEx Cup standings. Maybe that "putt for dough" bit is a little overrated.
Graeme McDowell: We thought we were finally seeing signs of life from the 2010 U.S. Open champ when he shared the 18-hole lead at Harbour Town. But he only shot two under the rest of the week at a course where he's won before to finish a disappointing T-26. On the bright side, that's G-Mac's best PGA Tour finish of 2015. On the bad side, that's his best PGA Tour finish of 2015.
Swan songs: Even though he made the cut at Harbour Town, Tom Watson said he's thinking about making the 2016 Masters his last one. At St. Andrews in July, Watson will make his last British Open start. So will Nick Faldo. And this comes on the heels of Ben Crenshaw playing his final Masters. These send-offs are kind of cool, but they're also kind of sad. Great players are getting old -- and so are we.
CBS: With Sunday tee times (smartly) moved way up because of a bad weather forecast, CBS (foolishly) only provided tape-delayed coverage. It's 2015, people!!! Anyone who actually cares about following the tournament was getting a play-by-play on Twitter, so why not live stream the action on CBS' website? The network could have still aired the tournament on a delay in its 3-6 window and gotten the same people who haven't discovered the Internet yet to watch. And even that part of the population in Savannah got hosed when their local CBS affiliate cut away just before Furyk's winning putt to show a weather update that the weather was fine. We just hope Jim Furyk's parents weren't watching in Savannah. They can only take so much.
The PGA Tour heads to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic, aka that tournament where that big gator always seems to be hanging out on the 18th hole. Last year, John Peterson, an experienced gator handler, helped keep play going by bravely nudging the large reptile back into the lake so his playing partner could hit a shot. John Peterson should have his own show on the Discovery Channel.
Random tournament fact: This tournament began at City Park Golf Courses in New Orleans, where it was played until 1962. If City Park sounds familiar, that's the place where a man was living in a tree protesting a new golf course being built there -- until he fell out of the tree.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Someone will go chip-in, hole out from 150 yards again to win: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds
-- John Peterson will get that gator to roll over and do other tricks this year: 10-to-1 odds
-- This week's winner won't fist pump as hard as Jim Furyk: LOCK
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Jim Furyk with his putter already dropped about to unleash the most vicious fist pump by anyone not named Tiger Woods as his winning putt disappears into the hole. Perfect.
The Jacksonville Jaguars mascot put everyone to shame at the Players media day by winning the closest-to-the-pin contest on the par-3 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. The shot -- in full costume, no less -- was so good, it made us wonder if Jags kicker and plus-handicapper Josh Scobee was behind it. Turns out the mascot, Curtis Dvorak, is a scratch player himself. Sorry, Sei Young Kim, but this is the shot of the week and maybe the year:
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (NOT INVOLVING A MASCOT)
From the graceful to the not-so graceful, this LPGA fan had a rough day in Hawaii when his beloved hat got blown into a water hazard. He wound up retrieving it, but only after he got soaked, lost his beer and had his embarrassing moment go viral.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"That was four-and-a-half years of frustration in that celebration." -- Jim Furyk. I feel your pain, Jim. I worked at Golf Digest for SIX years before finally winning a major and there were plenty of heartbreaking moments along the way.
THIS WEEK IN RICKIE FOWLER-ALEXIS RANDOCK PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Aww, that's sweet. And now we know the approximate anniversary of these two. That means Fowler played most of his great golf last year at the majors while dating Alexis. There goes the silly "she's a distraction" theory. Haters.
THIS WEEK IN BELEN MOZO
MAKING US FEEL BAD WITH SHOWING OFF HER TRAINING
Score not reflecting my game again. Disappointed in the golf course but quite pleased with my off-course work 😎 pic.twitter.com/9fbAHF7dFD— Belén Mozo (@BelenMozo) April 17, 2015
THIS WEEK IN NATALIE GULBIS
TRAINING TAKING RANDOM SELFIES
OK. . .
THIS AND THAT
The USGA announced mobile devices less than seven inches long will be allowed at the U.S. Open. In other words, as long as you don't have Zach Morris' cell phone from "Saved by the Bell," you should be good at Chambers Bay. . . . Olin Browne won on the Champions Tour in an event cut to 36 holes by bad weather. We guess that counts. . . . Kiradech Aphibarnrat won on the European Tour. APHIBARNRAT! A great golfer with an even better name. . . . Rory McIlroy was reportedly in Rochester, N.Y., to visit Erica Stoll. A weekend in Rochester? Sounds like things are getting pretty serious. . . . United Airlines is adding flights from Denver to North Bend this summer, which will make traveling to Bandon Dunes a lot more convenient. My golf group has taken note and this could help Bandon land a future HGGA Championship.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who has the best abs in pro golf?
Do kids today even know what "Saved by the Bell" is?
Who has worn their new jacket more: Jordan Spieth or me?
Bob Julius describes the hug behind the 18th green at Augusta National as being surreal. "I got so emotional after he picked up his ball and started walking up," said the 82-year-old grandfather of the 21-year-old Masters champion, Jordan Spieth. "I kind of lost it a little bit. I was, you might call it, teary-eyed."
Julius is the father of Jordan's mother, Chris, and the oldest member of Team Spieth. He lives in Hampstead, N.C., and drives his compact SUV to tournaments on the East Coast. For the Masters, that meant a couple of round trips from North Carolina because one of his 11 grandchildren was getting an Eagle Scout Award on the Saturday of Augusta.
Gramps returned at 5 a.m. of the Sunday Jordan would win the Masters, driving five hours back to Augusta before entering the gates and unloading his motorized scooter for the ride of his life. Afterward, he and his artificial knee happily limped through the champion's reception at the club. Julius had only a couple of bites of lobster and drank only half of his champagne but stayed up until 2 a.m. celebrating at the Spieths' rented home.
"It was really special to have him there," Jordan said after shooting 62 to make the cut on Friday at the RBC Heritage. "Like my parents, he had never seen me win a pro event, so I'm glad he could be there and enjoy it with me."
Julius is a retired electrical engineer at Bethlehem Steel who wishes his wife, Ginny, could have enjoyed it, too. She survived a brain aneurysm when Chris was 4. Bob took care of her for 44 more years while raising six children. All of them played high school sports at Saucon Valley (Pa.) High School, and four played college sports, Chris making the basketball team at Moravian College.
"I've had so many great experiences, it's too bad my wife was not around for them," Julius said. "I know she's having a ball up there, but it would have been nice for her to see this."
Last Monday, Julius sent out emails to members of the Olde Point G.C. Men's Golf Association, updating them as he always does via email and Facebook, before driving to Hilton Head on Tuesday. These were many of the same guys Jordan would play against during summer visits. Julius still talks about the day 12-year-old Jordan shot 76 to beat all of them.
"He doesn't get any of that from me," Julius said of Jordan's talents.
Jordan says he inherited his grandfather's personality, his sense of humor and his drive. That is evident when the two sit down to play gin rummy. Julius likes to say that for every time he beats Jordan, Jordan beats him five times. And Jordan denies ever letting him win. "No, he beats me fair and square," Jordan says. "Experience plays a major role in that game, but I've tried my best."
Spieth did the same at the RBC, finishing in a tie for 11th after an opening-round 74. Bob was there for 72 holes and is already planning his next road trip, to Ponte Vedra, Fla., for the Players. Bob will turn 83 that week and has already asked for an entire cake, not just creme brulee—like he got in the TPC Sawgrass locker room last year, when Jordan finished T-4.
"It's a bucket list that keeps going," said Gramps.Follow @TimRosaforte
There are two approaches to turning yourself into a human billboard: the single-logo, less-is-more approach, typified by Tiger Woods (Nike) and Jordan Spieth (Under Armour), and the how-much-personal-surface-area-can-I-embroider approach, typified by Jim Furyk and NASCAR. My friends and I fall into the second category, and, even though by now we have virtually covered ourselves with umlauts (thanks to Jagermeister, the official all-weather intoxicant of the Sunday Morning Group), we haven’t finished selling out.
Recently, we added another major sponsor: Famous Smoke Shop, which sells cigars online, by mail order, and in person (at the company’s headquarters and retail super store, in Easton, Pennsylvania). Famous Smoke is what is known in the business world as a "good fit" with a lot of the guys I play golf with.
Famous Smoke was founded in New York City in 1939 by David and Rose Zaretsky, and it’s owned today by their son Arthur, who, whether he plays golf or not, is now an honorary member of the Sunday Morning Group. The company operates several cigar-oriented websites -- not just Famous-Smoke but also CigarAuctioneer (which sells lighters and other accessories) and CigarMonster (which has the coolest golf hats):
When we played at Richter Park two weekends ago, we handed out a bunch of goodies that Famous Smoke had sent us during the courtship phase of our relationship: cigars, hats, shirts, towels, and other stuff. We gave those things to ourselves and also to random strangers, including this guy:
It was like Man Halloween.
Cigars have sort of been in the news recently, because the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba will presumably lead eventually to the normalization of relations between American cigar smokers and Cuban cigars. I asked our new friends at Famous Smoke about that, and learned that Arthur Zaretsky believes that an end to the cigar embargo would be good good for Cubans and for his company (and therefore, by extension, for the Sunday Morning Group), but that, for a variety of mostly legal reasons, he doesn’t believe it will happen soon. Even so, he’s optimistic, long-term; he told a local reporter, “I’ve been waiting 45 years to sell Cuban cigars.”
Recently, someone told me that when the pros sell out they do it for money, not just for hats and shirts with awesome logos on them. Whoa! Maybe we'll work on that next.
This tee shot by the Jacksonville Jaguars mascot might be the most impressive golf shot of all time (or at least by an NFL mascot)
Freddie Jacobson's record-breaking streak of avoiding three-putts dates back to before the Super Bowl
That was also the last time Freddie Jacobson had a three-putt on the PGA Tour. The 40-year-old Swede made the mistake on the 16th hole during the second round of the Humana Challenge -- and he hasn't made another one since.
In the second round of last week's RBC Heritage, Jacobson broke Luke Donald's tour record (the stat has been kept since 2003) of 483 and then kept going. He finished the tournament (T-37) with his streak intact, running the total up to 524 holes without making a three-putt. To put that in perspective, Jacobson has posted more photos of himself hanging out with Rihanna at the Super Bowl in the past three months than he's three-putted on a golf course.
Of course, it helps that Jacobson wasn't in the Masters field, thus avoiding some of the toughest greens in the world. Even Jordan Spieth three-putted three times at Augusta National.
Still, his putting has been incredible. Jacobson is first in three-putt avoidance at .65 percent (the tour average this season is three percent) and he's third in strokes gained/putting. Unfortunately, is Jacobson being ranked 173rd in strokes gained/tee to green.
When Donald set the record in 2011, he won PGA Tour Player of the Year and was the world's top-ranked player. Jacobson, however, ranks just 147th on the FedEx Cup list and has just one top-30 finish this season. But hey, he's got the record now -- and that photo with Rihanna.
Rory McIlroy went to Rochester (Yes, Rochester) to see a female friend after coming up short at the Masters
The Democrat & Chronicle reports McIlroy was out with Erica Stoll and others in Rochester, N.Y., on Saturday night. McIlroy and Stoll, the PGA of America employee who helped him make his Sunday 2012 Ryder Cup tee time, have been linked since spending New Year's together, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Here are a couple photos of Stoll:
Champions Celebration.... At least Bob wore bright pants this year! pic.twitter.com/VN48RPUTT7— Erica Stoll (@EricaGStoll) October 25, 2013
McIlroy's ex-fiancee, Caroline Wozniacki, has been a little more public with her dating life. She was seen sitting with NFL star J.J. Watt during the NCAA Championship Game between Duke and Wisconsin the Monday of the Masters.
By contrast, McIlroy and Stoll have avoided any photographs of them together in public and until now, there was very little proof of them actually dating. But a trip to Rochester?! Yeah, we're taking that as a pretty good sign.