"@PinehurstResort: . We see you'll be performing in Fayetteville on April 18. How about a round on No. 2 two months before the Opens?"Im in-- Darius Rucker (@dariusrucker) March 4, 2014
By Alex Myers
On Sunday night, a talented celebrity golfer won an Oscar. On Tuesday night, an aspiring celebrity golfer made some basketball history and referenced his newest sport.
Miami Heat superstar LeBron James scored a career-high 61 points in a win over the Charlotte Bobcats. When asked what it felt like to be in such a shooting zone (he made his first eight three-point attempts!), he responded, "It felt like I had a golf ball throwing it into the ocean." The highlights back it up.
Maybe it's a stretch, but perhaps the comment indicates LeBron has golf on his mind these days -- in addition to winning a third-consecutive NBA title and a fifth MVP trophy, of course. After all, Nike recently released a commercial in which comedian Kevin Hart is giving James golf tips on the range and the course.
LeBron's a bit busy with his best sport right now, but we hope he keeps working on his golf game -- especially if he enjoys reaching scoring milestones.
By Liz Bergren
We've all heard the big news: on Monday, Feb. 17 at 11:35 p.m. "The Tonight Show" will return to Studio 6B in New York City after nearly 42 years in Burbank, California. The other big news is that Jimmy Fallon will be at the helm. It's been confirmed that one of his most popular shticks from his former show, "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" -- "Thank You Notes" -- will make the move to "The Tonight Show" lineup.
Another entertaining segment that I hope will make the cut is the "Late Night Golf Invitational."
For those who have never stayed up late enough to watch the show, let me explain the format: "Late Night Golf Invitational" (aka "Hallway Golf with Jimmy Fallon") involves a one-on-one competition over a challenging par 5 course through the hallways of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The course, complete with several sand traps and tricky dogleg lefts, finishes on an elevated putting green on the main stage at Studio 6B.
Over the years Fallon has teed up with a number of celebrities who are avid golfers, including Chris Rock, Shaquille O'Neal and Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson is no slouch on the celebrity golf circuit -- he maintains a 6 handicap and frequently plays in celebrity tournaments such as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He even has a clause in his film contracts that permits him to play golf during production.
Related: Ranking Hollywood's Top 100 Golfers
Late Night Golf Invitational with Samuel L. Jackson
Another entertaining guest and formidable opponent was the Tony-award winning actor Billy Crudup who starred in "Almost Famous", "Mission Impossible III" and "Without Limits". Crudup, ranked No. 3 on our list of Hollywood's Top 100 Golfers, regularly plays Bayonne Golf Club in New Jersey and paired with Erik Compton, Rich Beem and Camilo Villegas in the 2012 Humana Challenge. During the round Crudup offers great advice for getting out of a bunker including, "Take your time," "Spread your feet" and "Open up the clubface."
Jimmy Fallon has a keen interest in the PGA Tour and seems to appreciate the ups and downs of game. In a recent interview he opined about golf by saying, "Golf is all about that one shot--the good drive, the good putt, the amazing chip. That's what you live for. You can be hacking it up for three hours, but all you need is that one good shot to bring you back."
Over the years Fallon's invited a number of tour players on his show including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.
In 2012, Rory McIlroy talked about his earliest influences in golf, training with the New York Knicks and the upcoming 2016 Olympics:
By Alex Myers
On Sunday, the U.S. celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' famed first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. It got us thinking about some of the band's best-known songs and the true* golf meaning behind them. Here are 10 we picked out:
(*By true, we mean totally made up. Despite the pictures below, it appears The Beatles weren't big fans of the game. But we can imagine, right? It's easy if you try.)
"Eight Days A Week": In an ideal world, wouldn't we all play golf this much?
"We Can Work It Out": Penned when Paul took John under his wing to help him with his struggling short game.
"Here, There and Everywhere": Written by John during a phase in which he had no clue where his driver was going.
"Here Comes the Sun": This song came to an optimistic George while waiting out yet another rain delay in Liverpool.
"Drive My Car": Little-know fact: The original title was "Drive My Cart," but cart didn't rhyme as well with "star."
"The Fool on the Hill": Doesn't this describe how all hackers look trying to hit a ball off an uneven lie?
"Help!": Inspired by Ringo's decision to take lessons from a golf pro -- and not just from anybody -- for the first time.
"Norweigan Wood": Paul laments losing a magical fairway wood he discovered while touring the Scandinavian Peninsula.
"I Am The Walrus": How big of a legend is Craig Stadler? He was the first golfer to be given an official theme song.
Happy birthday to Babe Ruth, a celebrity golf pioneer who also happened to be pretty good at baseball
By Alex Myers
This week, many of today's stars descend on Monterey Peninsula for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. And if Babe Ruth were alive today -- OK, so he'd be turning 119 today, but you get the point -- it's a good assumption he'd be teeing it up.
You see, the Babe isn't just a baseball legend, he was one of the most important pioneers in the world of celebrity golf. In fact, Ruth played in this very event during its early stages when it was known as the Bing Crosby Clambake. Prior to World War II, Crosby hosted the tournament at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, near his home in Del Mar.
But Ruth, the biggest sports star of his day, played plenty of golf on his own as well, something that certainly didn't hurt the game's popularity. He loved the sport -- and not just because eating hot dogs at the turn was encouraged rather than frowned upon like it was at his day job. Some important moments of his baseball career even intersected with his time on the golf course.
Ruth was at Griffith Park Golf Course in L.A. when he was informed in 1919 he had been sold to the New York Yankees from the Boston Red Sox. He skipped an optional first practice with his new team in 1920 to play a round of golf in Jacksonville, Fla. And when he was holding out for a raise from the Yankees years later, he played golf in St. Petersburg, Fla. Check out this video that includes footage of his unbalanced, but powerful golf swing.
Not surprisingly, the playful spirit on the baseball diamond that endeared him to fans carried over to the golf course. Here, with Gene Sarazen watching, Ruth tries to put a hex on the golf ball of opponent Jimmy Demaret.
Later in his life, Ruth participated in a golf tour with Crosby and Bob Hope during World War II to support the Red Cross, and he played in numerous other charity events and pro-ams. Here, he and fellow all-time baseball great Ty Cobb are shown choosing who gets honors on the first tee in an exhibition match between the two.
And here's Ruth posing with Babe Zaharias at his Cancer Fund Golf Tournament in February 1948. Later that summer, Ruth, stricken with cancer himself, died at 53, and proceeds from the Crosby Pro-Am went to his fund.
So how was his golf game? Reports say Ruth could shoot in the 70s, but was more of an 80s player. And yes, the "Sultan of Swat" could kill it off the tee.
Who is the closest thing to Ruth at Pebble Beach this week? Probably Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, depending on which side you take in that great quarterback debate. But there's no debating their impact on sports will never rival Ruth's. The man helped pave the way for celebrity golfers everywhere!
Oh, and he hit a few home runs too.
By Alex Myers
On Tuesday, Peyton Manning made news by calling a late audible to play in this week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The move seemed like the perfect way to clear his head after a long season that ended in disappointing fashion for his Denver Broncos.
But on Wednesday, it was probably impossible for the superstar quarterback to avoid thinking about football while looking at a certain hoodie-wearing coach all day:
Manning was paired with a longtime rival, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, for a practice round. The San Francisco Chronicle suggested the "awkward" pairing had to do with Pebble Beach's CEO, Bill Perocchi, being from the Boston area. Hey, at least Manning didn't have to tee it up with Richard Sherman or any of the other members of a Seattle Seahawks' defense he's probably still having nightmares about.
Manning won't have to worry about seeing Belichick when the tournament starts on Thursday. The coach will be playing with his own quarterback, Tom Brady. Not that it would matter too much. Can you ever really have a bad day when you're hitting golf balls against this backdrop?
By Alex Myers
Richard Sherman has made it clear he believes he's the NFL's best defensive back, but when it comes to golf, he's much more humble. At least, for now.
Since his brash/controversial/overblown interview following the Seattle Seahawks' win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, Sherman has been arguably the most talked about player as Super Bowl XLVIII approaches. But has anyone been talking about his golf game?
It appears that Sherman caught the golf bug this past summer playing in charity events run by Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner, fellow members of the Seahawks' vaunted "Legion of Boom" defense. At least, that's what they claim "L.O.B." stands for when they say it or tweet it. Perhaps it's actually a reminder that they all need to work on their short game. . .
In any event, we found a couple videos of Sherman in action at the driving range and on the golf course on YouTube's Follow Channel. The first one, titled, "Richard Sherman, next Tiger Woods?" and published Oct. 13, shows Sherman taking one of his first lessons at a public range at Maplewood Golf Course. Sherman seems as amped to practice golf as he is to cover an opposing wide receiver, excitedly taking a few air swings in his living room before leaving and declaring, "Swing's going to be on today!" Skip to the 2:10 mark if you're not interested in seeing his personal stylist come to his house to do his hair.
In the video, Sherman is clearly still in the beginner phase, but he's a pro when it comes to golf sound bites.
"We've been taking lesssons and trying to get better week by week, but it's a process."
Did he just say, "It's a process"?! Hmm. Maybe he really is the next Tiger Woods.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to a video published Oct. 28. Sherman has upgraded to Fairwood Golf & Country Club and instead of his Stanford t-shirt, he's now wearing a collared shirt from he and Woods' alma mater (He also has a "Frank" the Tiger head cover like the World No. 1!). His instructor, Teresa Caluori, is there and he's already graduated to giving tips to a cousin, who he's introducing to the game:
Sherman shows promise on the range, but his on-course play is still shaky. But hey, this was a few months ago when he was just starting out. Who knows how much this world-class athlete has improved since? And once again, just as they are after football games, his quotes are fantastic.
"On a scale of 1 through 10, I'm a 112 -- on my competitiveness."
Then, after finally connecting on a couple:
"You can turn your golf game around in a split second. I was just frowning," Sherman said flashing a wide grin. "Now I'm smiling."
We're smiling too. Say what you will about Sherman, but from a golf perspective, you have to like his positive attitude and love for the game. In Sunday's big game, he'll lead a defense trying to stop a Denver Broncos offense run by quarterback Peyton Manning, a fellow golf nut and a pretty formidable player. Perhaps, when it's over, the great cornerback can pick the brain of one of the all-time great quarterbacks. They might even talk a little football.
By Alex Myers
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we can't take it anymore. The never-ending commercials that taunt us, the pointless analysis, the cold weather hysteria. Just play the darn thing already! Yep, the Masters really can't get here soon enough. Wait, did you think we were talking about something else?
But as we wait for the first of golf's four annual Super Bowls, the sport still gives us plenty of other things to talk about. Let's dive in.
Scott Stallings: OK, this one made NO sense. For starters, Stallings hadn't finished in the top 25 of a PGA Tour event in more than six months. Oh, but a slump-snapping Farmers Insurance Open win must have been obvious because of his great track record at Torrey Pines, right? Wrong. Stallings missed the cut in both his previous attempts, including a Friday 78 last year. But there he was on Sunday, shooting 68 and birdieing the final hole of regulation to avoid a huge playoff and capture his third PGA Tour victory. Then, he celebrated with his wife and son. As the kids say, "Adorbs!"
Sergio Garcia: Say what you will about the guy, but he's still one of the best players in the world. No. 9, in fact, if you go by the latest Official World Golf Ranking. Garcia's playoff win over Mikko Ilonen at the Qatar Masters gave him two wins in his last three starts. Granted, winning on the European Tour in January is a lot different than winning a major championship, but he's showing signs (yes, again) that this could finally be the year he breaks through.
Jessica Korda: First off, we're buying that there's an LPGA event in January. But on top of that, having an up-and-coming star like Korda win the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic in thrilling fashion (more below) was a nice bonus for the tour to start the season. Korda is 20, competitive, long off the tee, and easy on the eyes. She's basically Jordan Spieth in a skirt. OK, so that sounded a little weird. . .
Tiger Woods: Speaking of taking a week off, so much for all the fanfare surrounding Woods' first tournament of 2014. The World No. 1 needed to chip in and make a 10-foot putt on the final two holes just to break 80. He registered an "MDF" (made cut, didn't finish) for the first time in his career.
Phil's back/Jordan's ankle: On top of Woods' struggles, two of golf's marquee names were already hurt at the PGA Tour's first important event of the year. Wait, maybe Tiger was hurt, too? Were you, Tiger? We hope? That would make a lot more sense. . . In any event, Mickelson had to withdraw with a bad back and Spieth said a "tweaked" ankle affected his play over the weekend. Let's hope these are two injuries that don't linger long.
Sergio Garcia's caddie: No offense to Neil Wallace -- we're sure he's a nice guy and a fine caddie in his own right. But we miss Katharina Boehm, Garcia's girlfriend, being his bag lady. Plus, we bet she's miserable about not getting to carry Garcia's golf bag around, especially in the desert.
The PGA Tour heads to Arizona for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, aka that tournament that has a lot of, um, rowdy fans. And here's something else they can drink to: Phil Mickelson will play. Meanwhile, over in Dubai, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will headline a pretty good field.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
You can drop the act, Dustin. You're from South Carolina. We know you don't really like hockey.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Charles Barkley during the Miami Heat-Los Angeles Lakers game on Thursday: "Is Tiger playing this weekend?" (Told yes). "Thank God, because I don't want to have to watch Knicks-Lakers on Sunday."
Something tells us Barkley wasn't happy when he turned on his TV Sunday afternoon. . .
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
Two people (one isn't shown) hold up television wires so Jessica Korda can putt from off the green on the final hole of regulation. The shot set up her winning birdie putt from 10 feet. Yes, this actually happened.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Tiger Woods will shoot another 79 this week in Dubai: 100-to-1 odds
-- Any PGA Tour player will shoot 79 this week at birdie haven TPC Scottsdale: 1,000-to-1 odds
-- Some bozo tried to call in a rules violation from his/her couch on Jessica Korda: LOCK
FREE SUPER BOWL PREDICTION
Seahawks 27, Broncos 24. I'm taking Russell Wilson's crew to end Peyton Manning's dream season in the Meadowlands. You might want to take the opposite, though, if you've been keeping track of my recent fantasy golf picks.
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK
This was part of a MasterCard ad campaign six years ago, but it's appropriate this week. Presenting Peyton Manning giving a "pep talk" to someone who stinks at golf:
What a motivator. Hmm, maybe I should reconsider that Super Bowl pick. . .
THIS AND THAT
Morgan Hoffmann had "Anchorman"-themed wedges in his bag at Torrey Pines as a tribute to playing in San Diego, and was in contention until a rough back nine on Sunday. In the words of Ron Burgundy, "Don't act like you're not impressed." . . . That glorious concoction pictured is Chili's new "Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie." Chili's! How good is it? Golf Digest Senior Equipment Editor Mike Stachura said, "This might be the perfect dessert." Now that's a strong statement, especially from a guy who doles out effusive praise about as often as Simon Cowell.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Will Tiger and Rory watch the Super Bowl together in Dubai?
Who/what did Phil bet on?
Is Morgan Hoffmann going to keep those wedges?
By Alex Myers
The 56th annual Grammy Awards are this Sunday and other than the played out, "Hey, Justin Timberlake is really good at music and he loves golf!" angle, we were stumped when thinking of tie-ins between music and golf. If you change the words to a song, though, you can relate it to anything. Sure, song parodies are silly, but sometimes, certain tunes are just screaming to be altered. So when you hear these songs either being performed or winning awards Sunday night, keep our golf-based lyrics in mind:
Song: "Wrecking Ball" (Miley Cyrus)
Alternate golf lyrics: "Spieth came in like a wrecking ball. Especially in the fall. He even was a captain's pick. Is he really only twen-en-en-ty?"
Additional tip: Try not to think of Jordan Spieth riding a wrecking ball naked. Well, unless you're into that sort of thing ...
Song: "Wake me up" (Avicii)
Alternate golf lyrics: "So wake me up when it's all over. When the wrap-around season's over. All these tournaments around the world and I, can't keep track of them."
Additional tip: Don't try to keep track of all the tournaments in the fall and who won what and where. It's impossible.
Song: "Roar" (Katy Perry)
Alternate golf lyrics: "He's got the eye of the Tiger, a fighter, except in the majors. But he's the Players champion, and you're still gonna hear him roar, sometimes, especially at Firestone, cause he's a WGC champion and you're going to hear him roar."
Additional tip: Don't sing these words around Tiger Woods.
Song: "Applause" (Lady Gaga)
Alternate golf lyrics: "Phil plays for the applause, applause, applause. Phil plays for the applause-plause, plays for the applause-plause. He lives for the way that you cheer and scream for him. The applause, applause, applause."
Additional tip: Sing these words around Phil Mickelson. He loves being a showman.
On second thought ... maybe Justin Timberlake will just provide us with another moment like he did at the recent AMA Awards. Either that, or he'll actually perform a song about golf. C'mon, JT, don't let us down.