In the first place, if you play golf with a president you are apt to play at some fancy country club whose code of dress requires clothes that I do not have in my wardrobe . . . like golf shoes, for openers. As a result I hit off the first tee in old sneakers, and I feel like I was three down before I hit a shot. In the second place, if you play golf with a president you are dead sure to be watched by a crowd of people who either play golf better than you do and therefore you know they’re going to laugh when you shank the ball, or who line the roads and shout to be recognized by your partner. In any case, that’s another two down. In the third place, there are Secret Service men all around you, carrying guns in dummy golf bags, and that doesn’t do anything for your game. And finally, if you play golf with this president, his patience is so limited that you can never stop to look for a lost ball, and that doesn’t suit my game at all.
Recalling the rarest of breeds: A newspaperman who brought down one president and played golf with another
From sports to TV to politics (OK, so mostly the first two), we offer five hot topics that are sure to liven up your round of golf:
1. Kansas City Royals: This team simply can't lose! After coming back from a 7-3 deficit in their one-game wildcard playoff against Oakland, the Royals swept the Angels and the Orioles to reach the World Series for the first time since 1985. That also happened to be the last time this franchise was even relevant. Four of their eight playoff wins have come in extra innings and another two victories have come by one run. Can you say "team of destiny"?
2. San Francisco Giants: Not so fast, says this Bay-area team that may be even more charmed. The Giants also had to survive a one-game playoff and they've won two extra-inning games, including an 18-inning marathon against the Washington Nationals. The Giants finished off the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS thanks to a walk-off home run by a guy who hit three home runs all season. They'll be looking for their third World Series title in five years when the Fall Classic commences on Tuesday. We're rooting for the Royals to win because their fans have been waiting so long and because superfan Paul Rudd (below) will probably throw another keg party at his mom's house.
A celebrity Kansas City Royals fan? That's original.
3. Ebola: Eh, let's not talk about Ebola. This stuff is awful.
4. NBA game length: The NBA regular season -- like every regular season besides the NFL -- is too long. We all know that. But instead of shortening from 82 games, the NBA is thinking of making games shorter. Four minutes shorter. The thought is to have less wear and tear on players and to speed up the games. The problem is no players come close to averaging playing a full 48 minutes per game or even 44 minutes (Carmelo Anthony led the league at 38.7 minutes) so how is this benefitting them exactly? And if you want to shorten the length of the games, here's an easier solution: Don't give each team EIGHT timeouts per game!
5. Eating... mattresses?: This week in "what my fiancee made me watch on TV" focuses on a TLC show called "Strange Addictions." On this particular episode, there was a young woman who has been eating foam mattresses for 20 years. Yes, she actually tears foam out of various mattresses -- often sneaking/grazing around her house -- and eats it. Thanks, TLC. Suddenly, my addiction to soda and Chili's doesn't seem so bad.
1. Ryder Cup: We're still talking about this? Yep, we're still talking about this. The PGA of America will put together a special Ryder Cup task force to help with everything from captain selection to player selection. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are reportedly involved
because of all their Ryder Cup success because they're Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Meanwhile, it's not all smooth sailing on the European side. Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez are both drawing support to be the captain in 2016, and some have apparently been questioning if Jimenez's English skills are good enough. Puh-lease.
2. "Gone Girl": Since I'm so hip, I saw this blockbuster thriller on opening night. Despite my stickler boss pointing out a fact error regarding the purchased golf clubs, the movie is very good -- and not just because that model from Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" video (below) is in it. SPOILER ALERT: Kidding! I don't want to give anything away. Just know it's probably not the fuzziest date movie out there . . .
3. Clayton Kershaw: Last week, we sympathized with baseball's best general manager, Billy Beane, for being knocked out of the MLB playoffs. This week, we feel for the game's best pitcher. After an all-time great season (21-3 with a 1.77 ERA) that will lead to Kershaw winning a third N.L. Cy Young Award and (likely) a first MVP, the Los Angeles Dodgers lefty came up short in the divisional series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Kershaw lost both starts despite striking out 19 Cardinals in 12.2 innings and now faces a long off-season of being called a choker. Yes, he also went 0-2 against the Cardinals in the playoffs last year, but small sample sizes can be rough.
4. Cardinals vs. Giants: But what could Kershaw do? Did anyone actually expect the Cardinals to lose? It seems like this team from St. Louis is destined for playoff success every year, no matter who the manager (Sorry, Tony LaRussa). Same goes for the San Francisco Giants. If not for the Boston Red Sox incredible (aka lucky) run last year, these two teams would have combined to win the last four World Series. They begin the NLCS on Saturday. In contrast, two teams, the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals, who have a combined 60 years of not playing in the Fall Classic will square off in the ALCS.
5. Joe and Teresa Giudice: This week in "what my fiancee made me watch on TV" focuses on this couple of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" fame. The two were recently convicted on felony fraud charges (41 months for Joe and 15 for Teresa) and did a sitdown interview with Bravo host/reality TV guru Andy Cohen. If they hoped to gain sympathy from viewers, they didn't get it from me by blaming a lot of their legal woes on the show and their accountant. The entertaining Cohen, however, went up in my book. And he's actually a legit St. Louis Cardinals fan. OK, I've been watching WAY too much Bravo.
Obviously, the 24-year-old actress is very upset. In an interview with "Vanity Fair," Lawrence said, "It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It's disgusting."
We agree with Lawrence. Yet while not to make light of the offense, we couldn't help but notice her recollection of the excruciatingly awkward situation of having to tell her father about it.
"Fortunately, he was playing golf, so he was in a good mood," she said.
So there you have it. Apparently, we can add "easing the pain of finding out your daughter has naked photos all over the Internet" to the list of golf's benefits.
Tiger Woods has lost his No. 1 ranking in another category.
On Tuesday, Forbes Magazine released its list of the world's most valuable sports brands and Woods slipped to No. 2 -- the first time he hasn't been No. 1 since 2007. LeBron James replaced Woods in the top spot with his brand valued at $37 million to Woods' $36 million.
This list is different from Forbes' ranking of highest-paid athletes. Woods fell to No. 6 on that list earlier this year (Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is No. 1) after holding the top spot from 2001 to 2011 and again in 2013. In the list Forbes released Tuesday, the magazine tries to evaluate how much a player's brand is worth by calculating how much more he makes off the court than the average of the top 10 in his sport.
While James' value increased $10 million in the past year, Woods' went down that amount, thanks in large part to the end of a 14-year relationship with EA Sports. Roger Federer ($32 million) is ranked No. 3 and Phil Mickelson ($29 million) takes the fourth spot.
Forbes ranked the top 10 brand values in four categories: businesses, events, teams and athletes. Woods' biggest endorsor, Nike, is the world's most valuable sports-business brand at $19 billion.
James, like Woods, is a fellow Nike pitchman. He also happens to share a birthday (Dec. 30) with the 14-time major champion, although James is nine years younger. When they exchange gifts this year, we now expect LeBron to splurge more.
1. Ryder Cup: Could the U.S. have played better? Yes. Could Tom Watson have captained better? Yes. Is Europe awesome? Yes. Does Rory McIlroy like to party? Yes. Did Phil Mickelson take awkward press conferences to a whole other level? YES. As predictable as this Ryder Cup was, it has left players, media and fans with a lot to talk about.
2. Billy Beane: With the Yankees out of the playoffs and baseball games seemingly lasting longer than the average work day, I'm not that into MLB's postseason. However, I always find myself rooting for Billy Beane's Oakland A's since reading "Moneyball" in college. Wow, is he a brilliant GM (fivethirtyeight.com says he's basically twice as good as anyone else). And WOW, is he jinxed. Beane's boys blew a three-run lead late in their one-game playoff against the Kansas City Royals meaning he's still without a World Series ring despite his incredible regular season success. Perhaps, the baseball gods didn't take that kindly to all that talk about the postseason being a crapshoot. . .
3. New baseball rules: Speaking of baseball games being slow, MLB will try out six rules in the upcoming Arizona Fall League with the hopes of speeding up play. The first two involving the batter and the pitcher are key. Give the pitcher a maximum of 20 seconds to throw and don't let the hitters take a stroll around the ballpark in between pitches. Good decision, MLB, but what took so long?
4. "True Detective": HBO recently announced that Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn would be the two stars of this show's second season. Good luck. The duo will be replacing Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, who were like a successful version of a Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson pairing at the Ryder Cup. Vaughn is a wildcard, but I'm expecting big things from Farrell. Have you seen "In Bruges"? Do it.
Jeter's latest girlfriend is SI swimsuit model Hannah Davis.
5. Derek Jeter: Look, even as a Yankees fan, the year-long sendoff was a bit much. That being said, Jeter was a great player -- both on and off the field. For two decades. For nearly 3,000 games and more than 3,000 hits. Thanks, Derek. It was a pleasure growing up watching you, although your retirement leaves me officially feeling old. Oh, and check out his new website, The Players' Tribune, set up to connect athletes with fans. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, 25, is a senior editor. Apparently, Jeter is a great boss too!
Bill Simmons' three-week suspension from ESPN for calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar and for daring his company to penalize him has drawn a lot of attention -- and sympathy (#FreeSimmons has become a popular hashtag on social media). Apparently, it's also given the famed sportswriter a chance to work on his golf game.
Simmons posted pictures of himself on the golf course on both Wednesday and Thursday after never previously posting a golf photo on Instagram since starting his account more than two years ago.
Both of the pictures were posted without captions, which probably has something to do with his mandated break.
Apparently, Simmons, aka "The Sports Guy," really likes wearing NBA socks. And wait, is that a bathing suit? In any event, Bill, we're glad to see you're using your extra time well.
Now the president of the Vancouver Canucks, Linden displayed the accuracy that helped him score 375 career goals. Go to the 1:30 mark in the video to see him shatter the glass on his first try:
Dreesen befriended Letterman when both were working at the Comedy Store in Hollywood in the 1970s. Through the years, the two played a lot of racquetball together. One day in 1987 Dreesen decided to introduce Letterman to golf, as he recounts in this Facebook post on Throwback Thursday: