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There are countless reasons to envy Rory McIlroy, but apparently Nadia Forde isn't one of them

By Sam Weinman

Just when you thought the stars had aligned once more in Rory McIlroy's universe -- claret jug in hand, big hug for Mom, big payday for Dad -- there is this about McIlroy's budding romance with Irish model Nadia Forde: actually, there is no budding romance.

Or at least that is what the Irish Independent is reporting following McIlroy's two-stroke win at Royal Liverpool. Citing friends of both McIlroy and Forde, the paper Monday said the two are not dating and have only been together recently because of mutual friends (Forde's fellow model and friend, Katie Larmour, is engaged to Rory's friend Harry Diamond).

According to a McIlroy friend, in fact, "she's not his type."

Right. Of course. We totally see what he means.

The new reports dampens a rumor that took hold last month, when Forde and McIlroy were spotted leaving a Dublin nightclub at 3 a.m. McIlroy dismissed talk of any relationship at the Scottish Open earlier this month, when he said "I'm very single and very happy at the minute." But after recently breaking off his engagement with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, McIlroy might intentionally be coy when talking about anyone else. 

Regardless, McIlroy has plenty to keep himself occupied for now. After celebrating his Open win into the early hours Monday, he will soon set his sights on a second PGA Championship next month at Valhalla. Then there's the Ryder Cup in September, where the safe money is he'll again fly solo (Wozniacki didn't attend the matches at Medinah although the two were already dating in 2012). You'd think the young fella could scrape up a date by then, but it's tough out there. If you have a sister, keep him in mind.

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Celebrity

James Garner, 1928-2014: Actor, avid golfer who once punched out a fan

By John Strege

John Cook was lining up a par putt to get him into a playoff at the 1981 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am when his playing partner, actor James Garner, became a verbal target of an inebriated fan shouting, “Hey, Rockford.”

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Cook still made the putt and ended up winning the tournament, but Garner got into a set-to with the fan and wound up punching him.

It wasn’t Garner’s finest moment in the game, but it was one of the most memorable for this avid golfer and Hollywood icon who died on Saturday at 86.

Garner, who starred in the television shows “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files,” was a member of Bel-Air Country Club who, according to Eddie Merrins, the long-time pro there, bettered his age when at 68 he shot a 67. Garner never took formal lessons, though his brother Jack Garner, a long-time teaching pro at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale, Calif., gave him some tips, as did Cook and Gary Player.

In his book, “The Garner Files: A Memoir,” Garner wrote how he once played with his friend Bill Saxon and Golf Digest’s Dan Jenkins in an LPGA pro-am in Las Vegas. “Bill took a practice swing and accidentally hit me in the head with his driver,” Garner wrote. “It didn’t hurt me, but I played it to the hilt, dropping to the ground, pretending to be unconscious. It gave Dan quite a start until he realized I was acting. Said he thought he’d witnessed James Garner being murdered by his best friend.”

Garner, who frequently played in the Crosby, played a match with Sam Snead for a television show called “Celebrity Golf.” They tied. “He wasn’t happy about that, I can tell you,” Garner wrote. “Snead was a curmudgeon and full of himself.”

(Getty Images photo)

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Celebrity

Golfers asked to name the Beatles, hilarity ensues (George…Lucas?)

By John Strege

ESPN asked several of those playing in the British Open at Hoylake to name the four Beatles, who hailed from nearby Liverpool. They failed, none to the degree that Bubba Watson did.

"The lead singer, the drummer, the guitarist and the guy who packed things up," Watson said. "I have no clue."

Rory McIlroy tripped up on George Harrison, calling him George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars. Here is video proof:


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Celebrity

Hey, John Daly, Metallica wants to do your walk-up song

By John Strege

Hopefully, walk-up songs will never become a part of first-tee introductions in professional golf, but if they do, John Daly has a renowned band volunteering to provide his.

The Metallica song “Enter Sandman” greeted former New York Yankee relief pitcher Mariano Rivera every time he came in from the Yankee Stadium bullpen for more a decade. But Rivera has retired, which leaves Metallica with … John Daly? Watch this amusing new ESPN SportsCenter ad:


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Celebrity

The Grind: Mo stuns, Holly moves on, Paulina surfs, and Lindsey passes the "ab test"

By Alex Myers

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're still recovering from that shocking sports "decision" Friday. We all thought LeBron James was going home to Cleveland, but who knew Holly Sonders was even a free agent?! The Golf Channel star and "Morning Drive" co-host left for Fox Sports, where she'll also cover other sports since just covering golf for them would be a part-time job.  So cue up the Sarah McLachlan and enjoy some of our favorite Holly moments, from her Golf Digest cover shoot to her appearance in this year's Humana Challenge Pro-Am to creatively chipping out the first pitch at a Rays game to her recent "win" in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Good luck, Holly. You will be missed.

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Holly with a stroke of genius.

WE'RE BUYING

Mo Martin: You could watch golf for the rest of your life and not see a finish this unexpected. First of all, it was Mo Martin. The 31-year-old American had never even had a share of a lead at an LPGA event before this week and her best career finish at a major was a T-29. Secondly, she trailed by two shots on the final hole when her "full 3-wood" from about 240 yards away (100 of which were on the ground) rattled off the flagstick. She barely missed an unfathomable walk-off albatross, but still made an eagle that wound up winning the Women's British Open. Oh yeah, it was her first eagle of the year and just the third of her career. Talk about winning out of Mo-where!

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We'd be laughing if we hit the flagstick from 240 yards out, too.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Justin Rose: A two-shot victory at the Scottish Open gave Rose a second straight win, moved him to No. 3 in the Official World Golf Ranking and has him as many people's No. 1 choice to win this week's British Open. In fact, he went first in Golf Digest's fantasy draft. Tough to argue with that, especially if you remember who won last year's Scottish Open . . . 

University of Georgia men: Brian Harman could have been named Brian Anyman. As long as he went to college in Athens, Ga., he was bound to win on the PGA Tour. Harman became the sixth Bulldog to win on the tour this year with his one-shot victory over Zach Johnson at the John Deere Classic. Heck, Harman lost his caddie for most of the first round, picked some random dude out of the crowd and still shot six under for 12 holes. Hopefully, that guy is getting a nice check in the mail this week.

Colin Montgomerie: Now he's not just winning majors in the U.S., he's winning majors in playoffs in the U.S.? Wow, how things have changed. This time Monty captured the biggest event on the Champions Tour, the U.S. Senior Open, topping Gene Sauers in three extra holes after Sauers lipped out a six-footer on the final hole of regulation. It appears the golf gods are finally in Monty's corner. Better late than never, right?

WE'RE SELLING

Steve Stricker: We had the Strick Show penciled into this space at the beginning of the week for opting (again) to be a no-show at the British Open. Then he went out and did the unthinkable: shoot over par Sunday at the John Deere Classic to blow a chance to win his favorite tournament (again). OK, so that might be as surprising as Mo Martin winning an women's major.

Related: Our favorite Johnny Millerisms

Rory McIlroy's Fridays: This is just getting ridiculous. McIlroy followed up an opening 64 at the Scottish Open with a second-round 78. Sound familiar? He recently shot 63-78 at the Memorial and is now 0-for-4 on the year when opening a tournament with a 64 or better. McIlroy leads the PGA Tour in first-round scoring, but averages nearly five shots worse on Day 2. According to Golf Channel's Justin Ray, McIlroy is nine over in second rounds worldwide in 2014 and a staggering 90 under in all other rounds combined. I picked Rory No. 5 in our fantasy draft. Can someone across the pond make sure he gets a good night's sleep on Thursday for me? Thanks.

Scott Verplank: It's not often that a golfer turns 50 the day before the U.S. Senior Open. It's more rare when that event just happens to be at the site where you had arguably your best week ever (winning the 1984 U.S. Amateur). But Verplank didn't take advantage, shooting a pair of 75s in his Champions Tour debut and missing the cut. After one final bad drive on Friday, he gave his driver to a kid in the crowd. "I asked him if he was a golfer and he said he was so I gave him my driver. He will hit it better than I will.

Fox Sports: It wasn't enough to take Johnny and Yanni from the U.S. Open? Now you're poaching Holly as well? That's just cruel.

ON TAP

The world's best golfers head to the Open Championship, aka the British Open, aka the British, aka the Open. Look, no matter what people call this week's major at Hoylake, we all know what people are referring to. Let's not get too hung up on names. Please?

Related: 17 things that ONLY happen at the British Open

Random tournament fact: We'll let Will Ferrell handle this one:

Some good info there, Will.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK 

-- That kid will actually hit that driver better than Scott Verplank: 1 million-to-1 odds 

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

-- Martin Kaymer will win the U.S. Open AND Germany will win the World Cup: 265-1 odds (actual odds before the U.S. Open)

-- I will regret switching to a combo of Sergio Garcia and Spain at the last minute for the rest of my life: LOCK

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"You can be standing over a putt and the ball's kind of ovulating a little bit." -- Jessica Korda, who quickly laughed off her vocab slip up on Twitter and blamed it on being blonde.

THIS WEEK IN PAULINA GRETZKY-DUSTIN JOHNSON AMANDA DUFNER-JASON DUFNER-A WILD CHEETAH PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

This was a #TBT post from Amanda, but it's a classic.

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She also posted a pic of Jason on the August cover of Golf Digest and called him a "stud." It's all about the Dufners right now. Paulina, however, did post this solo photo:

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Related: DJ & Paulina's magical year in pictures

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Luke Donald hit a bunker shot lefty. Phil Mickelson hit a bunker shot righty. They both hit it to about six feet. These guys are good.

Related: The week in Instagrams

VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK

Jesper Parnevik breaks a rib while riding a Segway. Ouch.

And from a golfer getting hurt to a golfer's girlfriend appearing indestructible, there's this video of Lindsey Vonn taking the "ab test." She passed. 


THIS AND THAT

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Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins will not be at the British Open, ending a remarkable streak of covering 179 straight major championships. Jenkins says he plans to start a new streak at this year's PGA Championship, which will be his 223rd major overall. Good luck to anyone trying to top that. . . . Andres Gonzales went wire-to-wire at the Web.com Tour's Utah Championship, winning by four shots. . . . A new ranking system for determining qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics in Rio started this week. Great, another ranking to keep track of. . . . That's me appearing on ESPN's "Outside The Lines" discussing golf addiction. No, I was not asked to be on the show because I'm a golf addict. I don't think . . . 

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Has Paulina already given up on golf?

What does Rory McIlroy do on Thursday nights?

Am I a golf addict?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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Celebrity

5 things to talk about with your buddies on the course this weekend

By Alex Myers

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. LeBron James: LEBRON! LEBRON! DECISION! MIAMI! CLEVELAND?! CLEVELAND! LEBRON! DECISION! LEBRON! CLEVELAND!!! Or, something like that.

2. World Cup: We've reached the championship game, people! Germany vs. Messi, um, I mean, Argentina. Actually, this is about as good a final matchup FIFA could have hoped for. I just hope it isn't a scoreless game that comes down to penalty kicks like Argentina's last game. It would be like if the World Series was decided by a home run derby or an NBA Finals came down to a three-point contest. Just awful. Oh, and don't forget about the third-place game. Those two teams must be really motivated for that one! Speaking of which. . .

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MESSI!

3. Brazil: What the. . . ? Even as a non-soccer fan, I know Brazil is supposed to be great at soccer. Heck, Nate Silver's site gave the host country a 45 percent chance to win the World Cup before it started. That's basically like taking the field against one team! Imagine what the odds were of the host team getting beat 7-1 (and it was even worse than the score) in the semifinal? I don't care how good Germany is. That's embarrassing.

Related: Get to know your British Open courses

4. Emmy Nominations: The list is out and it's pretty much as expected. As one of the many who became obsessed with HBO's "True Detective," I was particularly excited to see it get nominated for best drama (obviously), Matthew golf nut Matthew McConaughey get nominated for best actor (OBVIOUSLY), and Woody Harrelson getting some love in that category as well. Of course, McConaughey is going to win, but what a group of nominees when you throw in Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Daniels, and Jon Hamm. There might be more depth in TV acting these days than there is in pro golf.

Related: Notable NBA stars who love playing golf

5. British Open: Or the Open Championship. Please don't be one of those people who get hung up on what it's called and just focus on the fact that one of golf's biggest events is next week. Tiger Woods returns to the site of the tournament where he broke down and cried, but there's a lot more of a chance that he'll simply break down this time. And what about Rory McIlroy? Will he ever put it all together? And more importantly, will he have a new model girlfriend following him in the gallery? Yep, there's plenty to discuss.

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Celebrity

The Dufners look like they're having a GREAT July 4th weekend

By Alex Myers

How do you top taking a kissing selfie at the White House? By taking a trip to the Bahamas for July 4th weekend, of course. Yeah, life is good for Jason Dufner and his wife, Amanda.

Related: 7 questions with Amanda Dufner

Let's start with a private plane to the Bahamas:

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Then a romantic boat ride:

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Duf flashing the peace sign! OK, so maybe he had a little too much fun on that boat ride. . .

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Don't worry, Amanda was having plenty of fun herself. Well, until she got this golf cart stuck in the sand:

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And finally, this might be our favorite picture of the Dufners ever:

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Related: The not-so-many faces of Jason Dufner

Amanda brimming with a big smile. And Jason? Well, Jason being Jason.

UPDATE: OK, so maybe this is our favorite picture of the Dufners ever.

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UPDATE: But if that's our favorite 4th of July picture, it's safe to say this is our favorite 5th of July photo. Nice backswing, Amanda!

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Celebrity

5 things to talk about with your buddies on the course this weekend

By Alex Myers

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. Tim Howard: Forget about the U.S. soccer team's goalie making 16 saves, Howard did something way more impressive: Get the entire country talking about soccer. Unfortunately, Howard's efforts weren't enough to get the U.S. past the round of 16, but he was the clear star of the sports world this week.

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2. World Cup: Despite the end of the U.S. team's "great run" -- they won one out of four games -- there's still plenty of soccer to play. Which actual soccer power is going to win? My money is on Messi. I'm told he's the best player and I like only having to remember one name. Go Messi.

Related: Golf's all-time biggest breakups

3. Tiger Woods: Golf's biggest name made his highly-anticipated return at Congressional last week and missed the cut by four strokes. We shouldn't have expected much more from a guy just coming back from back surgery, but his 3-for-16 (for two rounds) in scrambling was alarming. Or was it inspirational? Keep that in mind the next time you're hacking it around. You could go 3 for 16 in one round!

4. NBA free agents: Melo is on tour. LeBron is on vacation -- but teams are visiting his agent. This is fun! Actually, while it's fun for fans and the players being courted, it hasn't been a blast for one Houston Rocket: Jeremy Lin. His team, which is trying to sign Carmelo Anthony, put up photos of Melo wearing Lin's No. 7 jersey. Ouch. Melo and Lin had an interesting relationship in New York. Could Melo run Lin out of Houston, too? But back to LeBron. Where is he going?!!!

(Nowhere)

Related: Notable NBA stars who love playing golf

5. Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams: I've never seen the movie "The Notebook." No, I really haven't. I swear. But it seems like a favorite of just about every female I've ever met, so it must be a big deal. Anyway, a story came out this week that the two co-stars didn't get along during filming (I've got my man Ryan's back -- Have you seen "Crazy, Stupid, Love"?) and that Gosling wanted McAdams fired at one point. Spicy! I might just have to see this movie now. For the first time. I swear!

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Celebrity

Adam Levine wants to open a "weed and golf" store

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

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Our friends at GQ get to know Adam Levine in their July issue profile of the Maroon 5 singer, examining what makes him one of the most divisive artists around. It's worth reading if you haven't already, in part for Levine's mention of golf in the story.

The singer's interest in golf is no secret. He was a celebrity student in a season of Golf Channel's "Haney Project," and as the photos from GQ suggest, his swing has shown some real progress.

Here's the conversation Levine has with his assistant, Shawn, where the two hatch a plan for a new golf-business venture:

He swivels his head as we pass a strip mall.

"Oh, I guess the hearing-aid store went out of business," he says. "That's a shame." 

We should get that space and open a store," says Shawn.

"We should totally open a store," says Levine with conviction.

"What kind of store?"

"Just random shit. Like a mix between like a liquor store and like a pharmacy and like a...a pizzeria. We'd have tacos."

"We would have weed, tacos, and some clothes, and some golf stuff. We'd call it Weed and Golf," Levine says.

"And Tacos," adds Shawn.

Believe it or not, smoking marijuana on the golf course is not uncommon in some quarters, so Levine's plan might actually gain some traction.

(Photo by Tony Kelly courtesy of GQ)

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Celebrity

Tony Romo says he gave up golf because of back surgery

By Luke Kerr-Dineen

Tony Romo has had two back surgeries in the past eight months. That's not easy to recover from, and with the Dallas Cowboys putting most of their eggs in the 34-year-old's basket, he decided it was time to make a sacrifice.

Romo revealed to the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday that he hasn't played golf since his first back operation "almost a year and a half" ago. Romo, who boasts a +0.3 handicap and has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times, says he's giving up the game because he needs to focus on staying healthy. Romo was also part of Golf Digest's U.S. Open Challenge, where he shot 84 at Torrey Pines in 2008.

According to the article:

"Sometimes you put yourself in a tough position when coming off a surgery," Romo said. "That’s why we have a pitch count with me throwing and why we do it that way..."You’ve got to get yourself healthy then figure out where you’re at and go from there for everything,"' Romo said. 

"It’s not just golf. It’s a way you live life. "I don’t think about it as [giving up] golf. It’s just life. You want to give yourself the best chance to succeed on the football field.'"

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