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

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: He's back home in Cleveland and the city has magically been healed of all its ails by the biggest Nike billboard in history! And then? LeBron played perhaps the worst regular season game I've ever seen him play in the Cavs' opener, losing to my lowly Knicks. Seventeen points, four assists and eight turnovers? We got all excited for that? That's OK. As we all know, the NBA has a season that's way too long. King James has plenty of time to figure things out. And that billboard is pretty awesome.

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Related: LeBron tops Tiger as world's most valuable sports brand

2. San Francisco Giants: Congrats. Again. The Giants are like the bizarro version of their bay-area rivals, the Oakland A's. They never seems that great until they makes it into the playoffs. Of course, it helps when you have Madison Bumgarner. At 25, he's already cemented his legacy as an October legend, helping the Giants to three titles. The lefty pitched 21 innings in the Fall Classic and allowed one run while picking up two wins and the longest-save in World Series history in Game 7 to easily earn MVP honors (he was also MVP of the NLCS). He now owns a 0.25 ERA and a 0.528 WHIP in the World Series. Ridiculous.

3. Mike Jirschele: Who? He's the Kansas City Royals third base coach (yeah, we had to Google him) who opted not to send Alex Gordon home in the bottom of the ninth inning after a wild single and two-base error by the Giants' outfield. From any camera angle, it looks like Gordon probably would have been thrown out to end the game, but what were the odds the Royals would get another hit? MADISON BUMGARNER was pitching! Nate Silver makes the case that even though Gordon's odds of scoring on the play were very low, it actually would have given the Royals a better chance of winning. We've learned not to argue with Nate Silver.

Related: MLB stars who love to play golf

4. "The Affair": In semi "what my fiancee made me watch on TV" news, I'm totally hooked by this new drama on Showtime. I say "semi" because I was going to give it a chance anyway since Dominic West, who played one of TV's all-time great characters, Jimmy McNulty, on "The Wire" is one of the co-stars. As you can probably tell from the title, it's a bit steamy and not for kids. But boy, is it suspenseful, and it's laid out in an interesting he-said-she-said manner. And it involves an affair. OK, we don't want to give too much away.

5. Taylor Swift: Love or hate her music, the young songstress' popularity seems unrivaled these days. After no 2014 music albums going platinum (selling a million copies) all year, Swift's new release, "1989," pulled off the feat in its FIRST week. And NPR actually gave it a pretty good review. There, so you don't have to feel so bad for singing along to "Shake it Off" in your car.

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Celebrity

Video: Michael Jordan calls Barack Obama a "$%*!" golfer

On Tuesday, Michael Jordan took down Keegan Bradley on Twitter with trash talk. In a video that made the rounds on Thursday, his Airness took on a much bigger target.

Related: Michael Jordan had a great time at the Ryder Cup. As usual

In an interview with his buddy and Back9Network personality, Ahmad Rashad, Jordan is asked who would be in his dream foursome. It's a pretty standard question asked of golfers and Jordan begins with a pretty standard answer of Arnold Palmer (Well, he's also quick to say Rashad would not be in it). Then, things got a bit rough.

Jordan picks Barack Obama because he's never played with him, but then changes his mind, calling the President of the United States a "hack," and "it would be all day playing with him." Rashad asks if he really wants to say that and Jordan responds, "I've never said he wasn't a great politician," Jordan said. "I'm just saying he's a shitty golfer."

Ouch. Here's the clip:

Related: NBA stars who love playing golf

The ultimate competitor as a player, Jordan famously used his NBA Hall of Fame induction speech in 2009 to take shots at everyone from players and coaches to his own sons. Considering he snubbed two people before giving two answers to this innocent question it appears Jordan hasn't lost his steely touch.

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Celebrity

This John Daly-Kenny G take on a Bob Dylan classic is surprisingly good

John Daly is on a roll at this week's Mission Hills Celebrity Pro-Am. First, he amazed playing partner Jessica Alba with his length off the tee, and then he impressed Kenny G with his musical ability.

Related: Golf Digest's Top 100 in Music

Daly joined the famed saxophonist/celebrity golfer for a rendition of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" -- and he sounds pretty good. Check out the two of them jamming:

The classic song is also the lone cover on Daly's second album, "I Only Know One Way," which was released in 2010 and features eight other original tunes written or co-written by the two-time major champ. True story.

(h/t Back9Network)

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Celebrity

Bill Murray's newest pair of outrageous golf pants have Ellen DeGeneres' face on them (really)

Bill Murray's outlandish wardrobe has become part of his celebrity persona, one he likes to push the limits with whether making public appearances promoting his movies or out on a golf course enjoying his favorite pursuit. If Murray could wear a Jackson Pollock painting while on the links, we're guessing he'd sign-up quicker than you could say, "So I got that going for me, which is nice."

Recall these beauties he wore at a celebrity outing during the 2012 Ryder Cup: 

loop-bill-murray-pants-518.jpgAnd here he is at a recent AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

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Oh, and another from Pebble. No, we're not sure what this actually is either.

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Knowing full well, then, Murray's penchant for wearing crazy golf outfits, Ellen DeGeneres surprised the famous "Caddyshack" star when he appeared on her talk show to promote his new movie, "St. Vincent." At the end of his segment, she told him she had a gift for him, and then pulled out a pair of modest grey slacks . . . dotted with Ellen's face all over them.

As you can see on the video, Murray played along superbly, trying them over the pants he was already wearing and doing his usual Bill Murray hijinks.

Unlike other actors, who would probably would have tossed the pants in the dumpster once the cameras turned off, we're guessing Murray not only kept this pair but will indeed show up on the first tee some day at a celebrity golf event actually wearing them.

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News & Tours

Tom Watson resurfaces from Ryder Cup exile at the World Series

Longtime Kansas City Royals fan Tom Watson has kept a low profile since his less-than-stellar Ryder Cup captaincy and the ensuing brouhaha over his communication skills. But the Kansas native resurfaced at Game 2 of the World Series Wednesday proudly wearing a classic Royals jacket and the team's alternate white cap, rooting on the team he's supported through thick and thin.

Multiple Tweeters noted the golfing legend's presence but it was a photo with Major League Baseball's Joe Torre that got the most social media traction. It didn't hurt that Anchorman star Paul Rudd and Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt joined the shot. Watson undoubtedly left a happy man as the Royals evened the World Series at 1-1 with the San Fransisco Giants after a resounding 7-2 victory.

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Celebrity

Recalling the rarest of breeds: A newspaperman who brought down one president and played golf with another

The Internet has been overflowing with tributes to Ben Bradlee, the charismatic former executive editor of the Washington Post who died Tuesday at 93. Bradlee was arguably the most important newspaper editor in history, presiding over the Post's groundbreaking coverage of Watergate while also publishing the controversial Pentagon Papers that detailed the United States war effort in Vietnam. 

When it came to golf, Bradlee had a lesser known but almost as impressive distinction: he was a frequent playing partner of President John F. Kennedy's.

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President Kennedy teeing off with Ben Bradlee, First Lady Jackie Kennedy and Antoinette "Toni" Bradlee looking on. 
Photo from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Although hardly the only newsman to score a tee time with a Commander-in-Chief -- our Dan Jenkins, for one, has written about his rounds with President George H.W. Bush -- Bradlee's relationship with the former President predated Kennedy's ascent to the White House to when they were neighbors in Washington in 1958. By many accounts, JFK was said to be the most naturally gifted golfer among the presidents, but once in office he played less and less, in part because of the demands of the job but also his troublesome back. Still, as Bradlee told Golf Digest's Dave Kindred for a story in the June 2011 issue, Kennedy was "competitive as hell, and had just a beautiful swing. He could hit it a ton, but, like all of us, often had no idea where it was going." 

As Bradlee told Kindred, the two men played a dozen times, very often near the Kennedy compound on Cape Cod. The last time they played, at Newport (R.I.) Country Club, was just two months prior to Kennedy's assassination.

In a book, Conversations With Kennedy, Bradlee wrote about about the "harrowing experience" of playing with the president.

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.



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Celebrity

TMZ: Elin sticking it to Tiger by having a mansion with practice facility

We're not sure we're buying TMZ.com's premise that Elin Nordegren went out of her way to include a golf practice facility at her 21,000-square foot South Florida mansion as a way of snubbing ex Tiger Woods. That seems a long way to go for spite, no? The home also has a movie theater. Is it there because Tiger loves movies?

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Nonetheless, we're happy to see Elin, a recent college grad, is living well. According to TMZ, the home has nine bedrooms, the theater, a pool, and a practice green with two bunkers (the story is worth reading if only for the comical series of golf/sex innuendos). We'd say Tiger might be tempted to come over to practice. But his spread isn't bad, either.

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Celebrity

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

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. 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"?

Related: MLB stars who love to play golf

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.

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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!

Related: LeBron tops Tiger as world's most valuable sports brand

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.

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Celebrity

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

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. 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.

Related: Rory and Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

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 . . .

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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.

Related: MLB stars who love to play golf

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.

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Celebrity

How golf helped Jennifer Lawrence break the news of her nude photographs to her dad

You know the story by now. A bunch of celebrities had private photos hacked and released on the Internet, and Jennifer Lawrence was one of them.

Related: Our favorite golf-crazed celebrities

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."

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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.

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