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5 things to talk about on the course: David Letterman, Riley Curry, and the Spin Doctors

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. David Letterman: Nearly 14 million viewers watched Dave's final time hosting "The Late Show," giving the program it's biggest TV audience since February 28, 1994. And I actually remember that show -- which will finish as Letterman's most-watched ever -- very well. Why? Because I was in sixth grade and I was allowed to stay up late to watch my favorite band, the Spin Doctors, perform.

Spin Doctors! 1990s rock! Woo! Sorry, I got a little carried away there. What were we talking about? Oh, right, David Letterman. Yeah, he's pretty good, too.

Ranking: The 17 best musical acts to perform at "Tiger Jam"

2. NBA conference finals: Everyone has penciled Golden State and Cleveland into the Finals, but not so fast. Judging by the first few games, those teams have their hands full with the Rockets and Hawks, respectively. In fact, the Warriors squeaked out home wins the first two games after winning all four regular-season contests between the two squads by an average of 15 points. Hmm. Maybe those critics who say the NBA regular season is too long and kind of pointless have a point. . .

3. NBA Draft Lottery: Well, it's official. The Knicks suck at sucking. After purposely tanking for the entire season, they decided to win three of their last six games (they finished 17-65 overall) to end up with just the second-worst record in the league. Then, the lottery balls screwed them and the team fell to the fourth pick in the draft. Congrats to the three teams that will be picking ahead of Phil Jackson now. You're pretty much guaranteed selecting a future Hall-of-Famer now.

4. Potential historic baseball seasons: I've been out of the loop more than ever with baseball this year and when I finally checked the stats I saw a couple crazy things. Dee Gordon is batting around .400? I didn't even know that and the guy is on my fantasy baseball team! And as of Thursday, Nelson Cruz was in line to pull off the rare Triple Crown in the American League. Guess the Mets signing Michael Cuddyer instead of him in the off-season wasn't a great move.

Related: NBA stars who love playing golf

5. Riley Curry: The appearance of Stephen Curry's adorable daughter at a post-game press conference sparked a heated debate about whether athletes should bring their kids to work. Really, people? A.) It's cute and B.) If anything, it puts the athlete more at ease and willing to give insightful answers to questions. Plus, you get moments like when Chris Paul's son imitated Blake Griffin with Blake Griffin sitting right there:

Paul and Curry are already in State Farm commercials together, but when are Lil Chris and Riley going to team up? It's too bad they didn't appear on Letterman together. Throw in the Spin Doctors and that show could have really gotten some good ratings.

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Celebrity

Tom Brady plays golf in the Bahamas with Michael Jordan, doesn't look to be stressed by Deflategate

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It's what we would've done, too. What better way to put a major national sports scandal behind you than a round of golf, right? Especially with one of the best athletes in history.

Tom Brady teed it up in the Bahamas this weekend with buddy Michael Jordan, just a week after being sentenced to a four-game suspension by the NFL for his part in allegedly deflating footballs during the AFC Championship Game last year.

It's the second time the duo have teed it up at Bakers Bay in the last couple of months. Luke Donald Instagrammed this photo of him and Keegan with MJ and Brady before the Masters -- during Brady's guy Will McDonough's bachelor party.

Brady and MJ were back for McDonough's wedding last weekend -- after the bachelor party was in the same spot. We wonder if Keegs and Luke were down for the wedding, too. People on Twitter were ripping on Brady's choice of clothes on the course. But Bakers Bay is known for being the most casual spot for golf -- with shirts being optional. Maybe the better question is: How much money did Brady and MJ have on the line?

Related: Photos and video from Keegan and Donald teeing it up with Brady and MJ at Bakers Bay

(h/t Barstool Sports)

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Celebrity

How golf played a key role in the Golden State Warriors advancing to the conference finals for the first time since 1976

On Thursday, we were reminded just how much Cleveland Cavaliers' guard J.R. Smith loves golf when he responded to a Golf Digest tweet about properly taking divots on the range. But on Sunday, we found out the sport plays a key role in the Golden State Warriors' success.

San Jose Mercury News' Tim Kawakami reported two of the team's key cogs, NBA MVP Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala, played golf in Memphis between Games 3 and 4 of the Warriors' series with the Grizzlies with Golden State trailing 2-1. And it appears the guys were playing on their coach's orders.

Related: NBA stars who love playing golf

"When he gives us an off day, most coaches would say, 'Get away from the game or do whatever you want.' He actually mentions it, 'Go out, go play some golf, do whatever you want,' " Curry said of head coach Steve Kerr. "He'll throw in that golf line because he understands that's what we enjoy."

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When asked about his team playing golf during the playoffs, Kerr confirmed.

"I encourage it. There have been times this year where I've just told them, 'Go take tomorrow off and you guys go play golf,' " Kerr said. "The first time I think Andre kind of looked at me, 'Really?' 'Yeah, go play golf. You'll be better at basketball if you go play golf.' It's true."

It seemed to be true in this case. The top-seeded Warriors comfortably won their next three games to earn the franchise's first trip to the Western Conference Finals since 1976. Curry was especially impressive, making 18(!) of 35 three-point attempts in those three games, including a ridiculous third-quarter buzzer-beater from 62 feet in Game 6.

So where did the guys play? Curry Googled golf courses in Memphis and wound up settling on Mirmichi, the course Justin Timberlake used to own.

"Yeah, it's therapeutic for sure," Curry said. "Standing over a golf ball, you're not thinking about the shots you missed or the defensive errors you made, turnovers, all that kind of stuff."

Related: Stephen Curry and Justin Rose bump into each other in San Francisco

Kerr also happens to be a golfer, and the sport played a minor role in him taking this job last year instead of coaching the New York Knicks. Kerr has a 4.5 handicap index and is a member at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.

But Kerr has only posted two scores since the start of the regular season in November. Practice what you preach, coach!

(h/t Kyle Porter, CBSsports.com)

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Celebrity

5 things to talk about on the course: "The Deflator," The LeBrons, and "Mad Max"

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. "The Deflator": You can argue whether whether the punishment fit the crime, but you can't argue Tom Brady (at least) broke the rules. Well, unless you're the Patriots. The team came up with the lamest excuse/denial of all time when it said text messages calling locker room attendant Jim McNally as "the deflator" actually referred to him trying to lose weight. Yes, they seriously said that. There's plenty of hot air in Pats land now.

2. The LeBrons: Kevin Love is out. Kyrie Irving is limping around. Derrick Rose is banking in buzzerbeaters to win games. And yet the Cavs still cruised passed the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. LeBron's latest surprising running mate in Cleveland -- following in a long line that includes Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic and Damon Jones -- is the undrafted 24-year-old from St. Mary's, Matthew Dellavedova, who had a career-high 19 points in the series-clinching game against Chicago. Whichever team comes out of the West will be favored in the Finals, but the King certainly won't go down without a fight.

Related: NBA stars who love playing golf

3. The Clippers: Speaking of the West, it appeared this crew had finally put things together after toppling the Spurs in a classic Game 7. Despite a limited Chris Paul, they took a 3-1 series lead against the Rockets. But things are never easy with this team. After losing Game 5, the Clippers inexplicably blew a 19-point lead late in the third quarter at home in Game 6. In fact, there's a good chance that reading this is the only reason you know they lost since most people went to bed thinking it was over. The Clippers will have another chance to reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time in Sunday's Game 7. If they don't get it done, they will officially take the title as the most cursed team in pro sports.

4. Preakness Stakes: The second leg of horseracing's Triple Crown is Saturday in Baltimore. On the bright side, you should have a better chance of picking a winner since there are only eight horses running after 18 at the Kentucky Derby. Don't worry, none of them died. On the bad side, that means it's tougher to make a lot of money. Derby winner American Pharoah is a huge (5-to-6) betting favorite, but our favorite golf-sounding name is Firing Line -- and you'll get more bang for your buck at 17-to-4.

Related: Our favorite golf movie scenes

5. "Mad Max": You will hear a lot about this movie this weekend and it will make a lot of money. I don't know why. How many "the world as we know it has ended" movies can Hollywood make?

Apparently, some men's rights activists are calling for a boycott of the film because of its "feminist propaganda." Guys, calm down. It's a stupid action movie. No boycott for me, I just won't be going. The theater is expensive and I should avoid large buckets of buttery popcorn. After a week on the road at the Players, I've got some serious deflating to do.

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Celebrity

Miss America is playing a lot of golf lately

When you look at Kira Kazantsev's Instagram, four of the last six photos the reigning Miss American champ posted are of her playing golf, which caught our attention. 
 
This week, the 23-year-old Hofstra grad is playing in South Carolina at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. She and her partner Kevin Tway were three under, carding a 68.

Day 2, comin' for ya. @bmwcharityproam #ThereSheIs #MissAmerica2015 #SouthCarolina #BMWCharityProAm

A photo posted by Miss America Kira Kazantsev (@missamericaorg) on



In an interview after she was crowned Miss America last fall, Kira said her favorite sport is golf. (Good choice.) "I was a Nike-sponsored golfer at 12. My dad used golf to bond with me at a young age and then, I actually ended up being really good at it." 


Until this spring, she says she hadn't played in a tournament in about a decade. Although Kira's been pretty busy with her Miss America responsibilities and taking the LSAT (she has been accepted to Notre Dame Law School), the BMW Pro-Am marks her third charity golf event in the past month. Seems like someone's getting back into the game. 



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Celebrity

New A's pitcher Tyler Clippard discovers Oakland's proximity to Pebble Beach, goes there on off day, shoots 72

Pitcher Tyler Clippard said he was shocked when he was traded from the Washington Nationals to the Oakland A’s in January, but he soon discovered an important perk of working in the Bay Area: Its proximity to Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Clippard, an avid golfer, used the A’s off day on Thursday to head down to Pebble Beach. “Best off day ever, played pebble beach today, Heaven on Earth!” he Tweeted.

Better yet is that he shot 72 from the blue tees (6,828 yards) in a round that included a birdie at the par-5 18th. Here is video of his tee shot at 18:

Clippard, 30, a two-time All-Star, is earning $8.3 million this year and has a 1.69 earned run average in 14 appearances in relief. Everything is going his way these days, it seems.

Incidentally, he has a handicap index of 0.1, according GHIN.com, and is a member at Avila Golf and Country Club there. He Tweeted a photo of his scorcard from his Pebble Beach round:

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Celebrity

Ranking the 17 best musical acts to ever perform at "Tiger Jam"

Tiger Woods will be in Las Vegas this weekend, but don't worry, it's for a good cause. The 14-time major champion will be hosting his "Tiger Jam" fundraiser event for the 17th time. That means two things: 1. Awkward photos of Woods wearing bad jeans with, um, interesting dress shirts; 2. A big-name musical act performing at the concert.

On Thursday, Woods announced Ed Sheeran will take the stage at Mandalay Bay on Saturday night. The British pop/rock star is a big name in music these days, but how does he stack up with some of the other performers through the years? We decided to rank the 17 best acts from the event's 17 years.

Related: An unauthorized history of Tiger Woods' jeans

The first thing we noticed is just how many big names Woods has gotten to perform at the fundraiser. All kidding aside, it's an impressive list. In fact, there are so many that Sheeran (not a big enough body of work yet), Seal (had more cachet when married to Heidi Klum), LeAnn Rimes (how did she get invited?), David Cook (How did he get invited?), and Keith Urban (country music) don't even make the top 17. Sorry, Keith. I'm sure you're great, but like Tiger, I'm more into rock. Again, this is just my list so it's not right or wrong. Well, it's mostly right. . . OK, here we go!

17. No Doubt
Gwen Stefani groupies will be furious, no doubt (sorry), but this group never did it for me.

15/16. Tie between John Mellencamp and Don Henley
Aren't these the same guys? Sorry, I'm a millennial.

14. Van Halen
"Right Now" is a great song, but by the time these guys performed at Tiger Jam they weren't even competitive on the senior tour.

13. One Republic
We "Apologize" for ranking this versatile group so low. Eh, no we don't.

12. Chris Daughtry
"I'm going home. To the place where I belong." Good stuff, but that's about it. Still, how did this guy lose on "American Idol" to Taylor Hicks?!

11. Christina Aguilera
What a voice. And at the time of her performance, she was like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry wrapped into one. Look, she even did a wardrobe change! Now that's putting in the extra effort.

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10. Goo Goo Dolls
I'm a sucker for 90s rock and I'm a bigger sucker for "Name."

9. Third Eye Blind
Again, 90s rock. (*Finds "Semi-charmed Life" on iPod. Starts bopping head.*)

8. Train
"Drops of Jupiter" is an all-time classic. Hey, Tiger got them to perform way before he moved to Jupiter, Fla. . . . freaky!

7. Kid Rock
Not a fan of his music, but he's a big get and a big golfer. Plus, he showed up with Pamela Anderson one year. Props.

6. Bon Jovi
Still one of the biggest touring musical acts in the world, these guys have performed multiple times at Tiger's gig. I'm not a huge fan, but I could listen to "Dead or Alive" all day.

5. Sting
Speaking of songs I could listen to all day, can't you just picture Tiger mellowing out listening to "Fields of Gold" after a particularly stressful week?

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

4. John Mayer
It's more believable that Tiger listens to "My Stupid Mouth" on loop as a reminder not to say anything at pressers that will get him in trouble.

3. Prince
I don't get it, but he's Prince. The rules state he has to be high on any list. Dave Chappelle should really do a sketch of Prince dominating everyone at golf.

2. Counting Crows
Perhaps, my favorite band ever also might be the most underrated band ever. 90s rock! Go back and listen to "August and Everything After" and tell me it's not BRILLIANT.

1. Stevie Wonder
Easy choice. The guy has more hit songs than Woods has PGA Tour titles. And check out Tiger wearing sunglasses with him on stage!

Even more amazing is Wonder performed the same year as Counting Crows and Boyd Tinsley (FIDDLE!) from Dave Matthews Band. I'd like to think Tiger's tremendous 2005 season was inspired by this performance -- even if Adam Duritz dressed like a bum and wore a shirt of Tiger's college rival:

The biggest surprise? Despite Woods being a huge fan of Nickelback, the group has never performed at a Tiger Jam. Knock my ranking all you want, but I think we can all agree that's a good thing.

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Celebrity

NBA star J.R. Smith HATES it when people tear up driving ranges the wrong way

On Thursday morning, the Golf Digest Twitter account posted a link to a post/graphic showing golfers how to properly practice on grass ranges. Essentially, you work backward in a straight line, placing your ball at the back edge of your previous divot to maximize space and tear up as little of the turf as possible.

Related: 11 questions with J.R. Smith

Cleveland Cavaliers guard and golf fanatic J.R. Smith emphatically agreed. Here was his response just eight minutes later:

Smith must be feeling mixed emotions right now. On one hand, he's in the playoffs and on a team that has a legit chance at winning an NBA title (Thanks, LeBron) for the first time. Very cool. On the other, the Cavs' success has really put a cramp in his golf -- both playing and watching. Not cool.

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As a member of the Knicks at this time last year, Smith traveled to both the Players and the Wells Fargo Championship. We spoke to him at TPC Sawgrass, where he described his hectic golf schedule (the Knicks' season was long over) of playing in the mornings and then coming out to watch the tournaments (in particular, he's a big fan of Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Lee Westwood) in the afternoon.

Related: Rickie (and Alexis) steal the show at the Players

At that time, Smith had played golf on all 21(!) days since the end of the NBA's regular season. That means he'll have a lot of golf to catch up on this summer once the Cavs' season concludes. As fellow golfers, we hope when the 11-year vet finally starts playing as avidly again that he's finally doing it as an NBA champion.

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Celebrity

Apparently Derek Jeter is finding golf to be a struggle

These are challenging times for Derek Jeter. Retired from baseball, Jeter has seen the Yankees charge into first place without him. He's seen his girlfriend land more Sports Illustrated covers (OK, maybe not so bad when considering this is Derek Jeter's girlfriend). And now he's trying to hit a ball that doesn't care how many World Series rings he owns.

A photo posted by The Players' Tribune (@playerstribune) on


According to Jeter's new golf coach, David Leadbetter, Jeter took up golf in earnest shortly after his retirement and his approach to the game has already required an adjustment in thinking. Or so Leadbetter wrote in a recent story for Jeter's upstart website, The Players Tribune.

The first time I met Derek, who took up golf a mere six months ago, I joked with him that he practices like he’s in the batting cage: hitting one ball after the other. Over and over, just nonstop. He’s very disciplined and he’s willing to put in the work. You can see why he’s been so successful in baseball. But in golf, the success of your shot is determined largely by preparation and form. Most of the work is done before the club even touches the ball. While repetition is important, it’s more important to take the time to learn why something is or isn’t working. Hitting ball after ball, in a repetitive manner, can obscure this lesson: you hit one good one and three bad ones, and then you don’t know why you hit the bad ones. Golf is a case of taking the stuff that’s right and chipping away at it. Every slice is a chance to learn how to be more consistent.

Leadbetter's story was titled, "Why Pro Athletes Struggle At Golf," which presumably took root with his experiences with Jeter.

Here's how that conversation might have gone:

Jeter, after topping another drive: "Man, this game is hard!"

Leadbetter: "I know, right?"

Jeter: "And I was a pro athlete. Hey, wait a second . . ."


Jeter's relationship with Leadbetter has been beneficial in other ways. The teacher also helped facilitate an introduction to his star student Lydia Ko, who wasn't even born when Jeter won his first World Series with the Yankees, but is now arguably the most dominant player in golf.



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Celebrity

Adam Levine jokes about playing the Senior Tour, but may actually have the swing to do it

One of our favorite celebrity golf couples right now is Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo. You should know Levine as the lead singer from Maroon 5, and one of the most passionate judges on "The Voice." Behati is famous for having a solid golf swing. (Oh, and for being a Victoria's Secret model.)


On Tuesday, Levine showed off his swing again on Instagram:

#seniortour

A video posted by Adam Levine (@adamlevine) on



First of all, both he and Behati make good moves in their respective swings. Levine's alignment is mildly concerning, but overall, he's got a good move through the ball. I wonder how competitive matches are between the two of them… 

Related: Photos of our favorite golf-crazed celebs

Second, with the hashtag 'seniortour,' it appears he's settled on his next career once he retires from the music industry! Good for him. #dreams 

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