The Local Knowlege


Here's Steve Spurrier celebrating a birdie in vintage Steve Spurrier fashion

Before he was a celebrated college football coach and a guy who plays in PGA Tour Pro-Ams, Steve Spurrier was a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Florida. We mention this because of the image below of the South Carolina coach making a birdie putt at the annual Gamecocks Media Golf Outing.


Never mind the putting stroke. Doesn't Spurrier look like he's spinning out of the grasp of a defensive tackle? The guy is 70 years old and looks like he could get still run a decent play action. 


... Read

Q&A: Former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder on winning the American Century Celebrity Championship and the differences between baseball and golf

Editor's Note: Mark Mulder, 37, was a two-time MLB All-Star and one of the best pitchers in baseball in the 2000s. He's now a scratch golfer who lives in Arizona, works for ESPN and won the American Century Celebrity Championship two weekends ago with a final-round 67. We caught up with him about the win at Lake Tahoe, where NBC Sports Group announced it will remain a tournament title sponsor through 2022.

First of all, congrats on the win. That's a really competitive field -- how'd you get it done?

It was amazing. It was a lot of fun. I knew it was in there. In past years, I knew I had a chance to win. I could always compete with some of the better players but just never got it done. When I finished third, I had a couple holes that just killed me. I always played well enough but not great. But I also never went into the tournament feeling really really good about my game. And this year, my game felt better than past years but not great. But the first day on the range, man, no joke, one of the pro-am days, after my first five swings, it was just like, ‘There it is.’ It was what I was searching for in the three weeks prior to the event.


I just hadn’t been playing that well, I was shooting low to mid-70s leading up to the tournament. And just could never get anything going. And then finally got it going in the practice rounds and just continued it through the weekend.

What was the difference? Was it a tip or something that you got?

I’ve taken one golf lesson in my life, three or four years ago at Whisper Rock with our head pro when I was just playing awful. No, it’s just, for me, it’s all feel. I don’t really know how to fix my swing. There are a couple drills I’ll go back to sometimes. But I don’t have a great understanding of my swing. But to be honest, I pitched on feel and I play golf on feel. You know? If my feel isn’t there, I’m probably not gonna play that well. 

Because I go through funks man. I’ll go through funks where I shoot in the 80s every day. And that’s because I don’t really know how to fix my swing. But there’s a part of me that doesn’t care enough. I’m not that into it, where I need to fix it right away. My wife and I have three little kids, so I get golfed out real easy. So I might play four out of five days, but then I won’t touch a club for a week or so. And that often fixes my problems sometimes.

Yeah, that’s so true, I think a lot of golfers would agree that can clear your head from what you’re thinking about. But as someone who was an elite-level pitcher and athlete for years, it’s probably easy to go off of feel. So I’m wondering, for the last five years or so when you’ve played seriously, is there something that’s clicked, or something you’ve developed or realized in your swing?

The biggest difference is that I play year-round now. When the baseball season started, I’d be really good when spring training started because I’d be playing all winter. And then the season starts, and in April and May, you’re playing in cold cities and I played maybe once a month. And then you get into July and August, you play a couple different cities, and it depended when I was pitching and how the schedule worked out. So I wouldn’t play a bunch during the season, so then your short game goes away. 

But now I’m playing so you get in a groove. Some of the best courses I’ve gotten to play over the years around the country, Augusta National, for example, I played so-so because it was during baseball season and I wasn’t playing great. But then I got done, I had to fill that competitive void somehow. 

When I started playing in the Golf Channel Am Tour things, just so I could compete, I was tied with one of the guys, and I knew I had a chance tow in this thing. And I flat-out choked. It wasn’t that bad, I just made a couple of bogeys over the last couple holes. But I never played any competitive golf. Then I got in the Lake Tahoe tournament the first year, it was like a mad scramble trying to find tournaments to play in to prepare myself a little bit. Because I’m well aware that you can’t just show up at a golf tournament not knowing how to win under those conditions. And the first year in Tahoe, my first round, I played really well. And it was like, oh boy. I couldn’t sleep that night. The next round I played awful. So part of me had to learn how to play tournament golf. I had never done it before. 

There was a learning curve I guess you could say, how to handle myself, and not get too excited. I’ve learned, at Tahoe, when you get down to those last couple of holes - with all those people, plus the elevation, and that, I’ll take a full less club because I know how much adrenaline I have. And I can hit a three-quarter little knockdown. But under the gun? I have no chance. And on the 17th hole, there’s no finesse on that hole. I just take a wedge and hit it full for about 170 yards. And even this year, I choked down on the wedge, cuz I knew I had even more adrenaline.


As someone who has pitched on some of the biggest stages in baseball, was that surprising to you to feel the heat like that?

I’m fully aware that I haven’t hit thousands of golf balls in practice like tour players have. There were 50,000 people in the stands at baseball games. But during a playoff game or whatever, I’d never get nervous in my life, because I had a complete confidence in what I’m doing. And I describe to people, the first couple years I played in this, all of a sudden the cameras come right and set up 10 feet behind you to broadcast your shot, and the only thought going through my head was: "If my buddies see me shank this, I’ll never live it down.” That’s the type of stuff you think about. 

And I said to myself, ‘Wait a minute. What are you doing?’ I would hit a couple hits in the Tahoe tournament that I’ll never hit again for another full year. Things happen, and when you get under pressure that just don’t happen at other times. And it’s definitely a very different thing from baseball, because I guess I don’t have that “under-the-gun” experience in golf. Pitching all those big-pressure games, I’ve never done in golf. The knowing that I’ve been there and done that. Baseball, it was fine. Golf, not a chance.

How often do you get to play now? What are the hours like when you’re working for ESPN and Baseball Tonight?

You know, I generally don’t bring my clubs when I do the ESPN stuff. John Kruk, Karl Ravich and those guys, we’d go out and play from time to time. But for me, living on the West Coast, traveling to the East Coast, I’m usually staying on West Coast time because our shows will go to 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. So I wouldn’t want to wake up until 11:00 on the East Coast time. 

When I was going to bed at 2:00 and then waking up at 6:45 a.m. to go play, it wasn’t exactly a whole lot of fun. So I just take those times, and when I get home, there’s plenty of time to play golf. My three kids are the priority, but now my 7-year-old is getting into it. So I’ll take him with me from time to time. That makes it a lot more fun.

So you play most of your golf at Whisper Rock when you’re home?

Yeah, we split our time. We have a place here in Flagstaff called Pine Canyon and we live right on the golf course up here. So we live on one of the tee boxes, and we go out and I’ll get to play in the summer time. Up here, we’re at about 7,000 feet, which is essentially the same as Tahoe. So when I go play I don’t have to adjust to the elevation and I know my yardages, because it’s very different.

Related: Q&A with former Braves pitcher John Smoltz

Yeah, that’s huge. Do you get to play with the group of tour players that play at Whisper Rock?

Oh yeah, absolutely. Our Friday games are a ton of fun, and a ton of tour guys play in those, whether it’s Kevin Stadler, Ricky Barnes. He’s not a member at Whisper Rock but Pat Perez is one of my good friends for like 15 years now, so we play a bunch. Not a lot in recent years since I’m busier with the kids. But it’s awesome man. It’s fun to play against them and with them. 

Bryce Molder’s another guy. People don’t realize how good these guys are. Bryce and I played a couple weeks ago. And I’m just playing fantastic. I shoot a 69. And he didn’t seem like he played that well. So I was like, ‘I don’t know, he might’ve got me by one or two.’ But he beat me by four. He shot a ho-hum 65. It was the easiest 65 I’ve seen. 

And that’s how it is with those guys. And that’s also what I love. I’m such a competitor, that I try to emulate them. That might sometimes get me in trouble because I try to hit shots that they hit, and I can’t. That’s not what I should be doing. And I’ll start to hit some shot I see them hit when I’m playing well that I’m just not capable of. And I get those bad habits and whatever.

Who’d you play with traveling from city to city? Mostly the pitchers I’d guess.

Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis I got to play a little more with when I was with St. Louis. But, yeah. I’ve gotten to play Augusta National twice. SO many tour stops in the major cities. So getting to understand these courses and see the shots these guys are hitting when I’m watching it on TV. 

I played Medinah a week before they closed it right before the Ryder Cup in 2012. And played it from the absolute tips, as far back as you could. And then you watch the Ryder Cup, and they played it a couple tee boxes up. I was like, ‘C’mon!’ Because they want some birdies in the Ryder Cup, which I understand. But their signature par 3 - the 13th hole there - we played it from 240 yards or whatever it was. And they’re it a little under 200. 

But regardless, it’s great getting to see that stuff. We got to play Colonial in Texas. And all the really private ones in Texas.

Now you’ve won this event, which is one of the biggest for athletes and celebrities. Any thoughts to playing in some tour events, maybe a Tour event down the road?

Probably not man. I’m gone from my family with ESPN enough. And I don’t take the whole golf thing all that serious, aside from leading up to the Tahoe experience. But I know how much work I put in to get to the highest level in baseball. And to be honest, I don’t have the time or the patience to put in that time in golf. I’m too much of a perfectionist and too much of a competitor to do it and not do it 100 percent. It would ruin it if I didn’t do the absolute best. So if I started to take that serious. 

Next weekend, we have the club championship at Pine Canyon where we spend our summers, so that’s kind of my next little thing. I’ll keep the competitive juices flowing like that and it’s all good.

Photos: Golf photographs/courtesy of NBC/Golf Channel and baseball courtesy of Getty Images


... Read

Holly Sonders on why she's going to the prom with a 16-year-old kid

Editor's Note: Fox Sports personality and former Golf Digest cover Holly Sonders agreed to a prom date with 16-year-old Andrew Orischak, who lost in the finals of the U.S. Junior on Saturday. Sonders had originally agreed to Orischak's proposal that she would go to the prom with him if he won the title, but when the player squandered a five-hole lead with eight to play, she said she'd go with him anyway.

Below, Sonders explains why she's following through on the date.

Looks like I’ll get to go to the fifth high-school prom of my life. Andrew Orischak, runner-up at the U.S. Junior Amateur on Saturday, says we’re on for Hilton Head Island High’s prom next spring.

It all began Friday after the U.S. Junior Am’s round of 16 when Andrew’s father playfully asked me if I’d accompany his son to the prom next year. It got a little more real when Andrew himself asked if I’d be his prom date if he won the entire championship, a deal I accepted with a smile. I liked the kid’s confidence.

By the time I reached the production trailer, my entire Fox crew had heard the news and were having a good time with it. Shane O’Donoghue and Steve Flesch mentioned it on the broadcast and media outlets quickly picked up the story. There was no turning back on the deal I had made.


When Andrew reached the championship match, I gave my phone number to his mom to show I was serious.

Then, Saturday afternoon, we watched Andrew’s 5-up lead slip away in the final eight holes only to have Philip Barbaree beat him on the 37th hole to win the U.S. Junior.

I know how crushing that must be for a teenager. I remember what it was like playing on the same stage many years ago (I won’t say how many.). Andrew put his heart and soul into the week, and we all could see how upset he was last evening.

I was having dinner with my mom and decided to tweet Andrew that my offer to accompany him to the prom was still on.

So, next spring we’ll go to his prom if he wants me to be his date. I’ll need a dress. And you better believe my Fox crew will be involved. They’re fighting over who can be the chaperone, our driver, photographer, etc. We’re all about bringing fun to golf.


... Read

VIDEO: NHL star Tyler Seguin crushes golf ball with a hockey stick

Remember how Happy Gilmore used a putter with the face of a hockey stick? Well, just imagine if he used that club for every part of his game, perhaps like fellow hockey player Tyler Seguin. During Wednesday’s RBC Canadian Open Pro-Am in Oakville, Ont, the Dallas Stars center decided to ditch his driver and slapshot a drive with his stick. As one can see, if the PGA were to ever allow hockey sticks to be used as clubs, Seguin could give Spieth and Rory a run for their money.

This isn’t even Happy Gilmore-style, it’s on a completely different level. After juggling the ball a couple of times, Seguin cocks back and unleashes a savage smash on the ball that sends it flying perfectly straight (and the slow-motion adds even more suspense.) I still struggle with juggling a golf ball at all after years of trials and tribulations, but Seguin nails that, and the shot. (Good for him, bad for my confidence level.)

Considering the Stars have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in six of the last seven seasons, maybe Seguin would be up for a change to the PGA Tour. Who knows, maybe a successful golf career could alleviate some of the loathing from Bruins fans.


... Read

Believe it or not, there's actually a worse celebrity golfer than Charles Barkley

"Reverse every natural instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing."

Those are the words of Ben Hogan in his famous instructional book, Five Lessons. But Hogan never saw Charles Barkley swing a golf club.

This seems like what it would look like if you reversed every natural instinct and did the opposite of what you're inclined. And this is hideous.

But it appears Barkley is no longer the King of (Bad) Swing when it comes to celebrity golfers. At last week's Amercian Century Championship -- the biggest annual celebrity golf tournament, played every year in Lake Tahoe -- Barkley didn't finish last! Here's proof:


OK, so 90th out of 91st isn't much of an improvement, but still, Barkley beat somebody. In the same week Zach Johnson was crowned "the champion golfer of the year," Kim Alexis earned the title of "worst celebrity golfer of the year."

The Grind: Zach Johnson won the Open while I was on an airplane

In case you don't know who Alexis is, she's a supermodel/actress, who was big in the 1980s. Here she is now:


And here she is in the '80s:


A quick Google search doesn't yield much about her golf, so it's possible she's a relative beginner. There's this tweet showing she was excited about trying to beat Barkley and Justin Timberlake:

And this other tweet about her putting three balls in the water at TPC Sawgrass' 17th hole in a 2014 charity golf event:

Then again, there are some pros who have done that.

Mark Mulder won the tournament by one point (using a modified stableford scoring system) over Eric Gagne to claim the $125,000 check, so this is a serious event. Incredibly, both All-Star pitchers haven't turned 40 yet, but also haven't played in Major League Baseball since 2008.

The Grind: Barkley is a lot better at hallway golf than real golf

Back to the bottom of the leader board, between Barkley and Ray Romano (T-75) it wasn't exactly a banner week for former participants on The Hank Haney Project. However, there were a couple reasons for Barkley to be optimistic heading forward. For one, he actually took a couple of cuts that weren't so hideous:

And two, he's not in a league of his own anymore when it comes to bad celebrity golf. Thanks, Kim Alexis.


... Read

We interrupt your British Open viewing to bring you this adorable video of Chris Paul's son on the driving range

Chris Paul has long been one of the NBA's best players and one of the league's most avid golfers. And now it looks like he's passing his love of the links onto his son, Chris Paul, Jr. -- he of post-game press conference and State Farm commercial fame.

Related: Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala win NBA title, look for Augusta invite

Watch Lil' Chris, 6, take a practice swing and then crush a shot, all while his dad watches and provides encouragement. Impressive.

You've gotta start somewhere..........#FatherSonTime

A video posted by Chris Paul (@cp3) on

We love the quick nod from Lil' Chris before immediately reaching for another golf ball to pound. Kid looks hooked.

Big Chris had a good week golf-wise, too. On Thursday, he showed off his new bag.

Thanks @nikegolf and of course the wonderful @amyebartlett! #GoDeacs

A photo posted by Chris Paul (@cp3) on

Enjoy the off-season, you guys.


... Read

Harry Styles casually stopped by Scotty Cameron's studio while on tour

What do famous musicians do when they're on tour in California? Go to Scotty Cameron's studio of course. 

Harry Styles, One Direction front man, appeared in this Instagram photo Scotty Cameron put up before the band's concert in San Diego on July 10th. 

The caption says Cameron was catching up with his 'old friend Harry Styles.' At first glance, it's tough to see how the two could be old friends, since Styles is only 21 years old. But he has been photographed a lot playing golf, and there are Titleist headcovers in his bag dating back to the 910 series driver. So technically, Styles could be 5 years into a relationship with Titleist, and Cameron. 

Regardless of their friendship, it's pretty great to see different worlds clashing within the golf universe: Cameron in a Masters-logoed sweater, and Styles tatted up in a Harley Davidson T-shirt. 


... Read

5 things to talk about on the course: Ariana Grande, NBA emoji wars, and "Silicon Valley"

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. British Open: There's so much to talk about ahead of the season's third major. Fortunately, our editors did just that in our British Open roundtable. Jordan Spieth is going for the calendar Grand Slam. Rory McIlroy is out. Tiger Woods is BACK -- to hitting his irons well. And the Old Course is still the Old Course. This should be fun. Again, you can read about it all if you follow the red link below:

Related:'s British Open roundtable

2. Wimbledon: There's been all this talk about Jordan Spieth potentially winning the Grand Slam, but what about the person who actually has a good chance of pulling it off? Serena Williams is in yet another final and unless she decides to play some soccer on the way to Center Court, she's going to win at the All England Club. Already arguably the greatest women's tennis player of all time, she could cement her legacy by having one of the greatest seasons of all time.

3. Ariana Grande: So she licked a bunch of donuts in a bakery? What's the big deal? Actually, that's disgusting, but it sounds like something we'd see in a Lady Gaga music video. Here's the clip:

Ohhhhhh, and she said she "hates America?" The country that's allowed her to become a superstar/multi-millionaire for singing in lingerie? Yeah, not a smart career move.

4. Deandre Jordan: Speaking of only in the U.S., how about the free agent/hostage situation with this guy? Word got out that the center was having second thoughts about signing with the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers mobilized quickly to meet with him in person. An incredible emoji battle broke out with players describing their modes of transportation to get to Jordan's house, and once they got there, they locked him (Blake Griffin tweeted a photo of a chair barricading Jordan's front door) in until he re-signed with L.A. to make the Clippers one of the four favorites (along with the Warriors, Spurs and Cavaliers) heading into next season. Seriously, they might make a funny movie about this one day. Only Mark Cuban and the Mavs still won't be laughing.

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

5. "Silicon Valley": I wasn't as impressed by the first season of this HBO comedy about a tech start-up as most people, but the second season? Fantastic. The writing is great and Erlich Bachman is one of the best characters on TV. Where has actor T.J. Miller been all my life?


... Read

5 things to talk about on the course: The World Cup, "True Detective," and bye-bye to "Bennifer"

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. Women's World Cup: The U.S. will play Japan for the World Cup title on Sunday in a rematch of the 2011 final in which America lost in penalty kicks. USA! USA! USA! While this is the matchup the Americans wanted, it's only happening thanks to England having the most crushing own goal in soccer history in the semifinals, because, well, England soccer.

2. NBA free agency: What a wild start to free agency with stars going everywhere. Well, or more like they're mostly staying put. Kevin Love, Dywane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Paul Milsapp, Brook Lopez, and others are staying put. Tyson Chandler is going to Phoenix, Paul Pierce is headed to the Clippers, Greg Monroe is going to Milwaukee, and LaMarcus Aldridge is probably going to the (gulp) Spurs. And my Knicks? They signed Aaron Afflalo and the bad Lopez twin. Hip hip, hooray!

Related: NBA stars who love playing golf

3. "Bennifer": We hate seeing celebrity couples split up -- especially one with such a catchy silly nickname. But a day after their 10th wedding anniversary, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner called it quits. The most obvious question is "What went wrong?" The second-most obvious is question is "Why don't either of them play golf?"

4. Max Scherzer: How about the run this guy has been on of late? The Washington Nationals ace threw a one-hitter with 16 strikeouts, threw a no-hitter with 10 Ks and in which he lost a perfect game by plunking someone with two outs in the ninth inning, and then started his next start with five perfect innings. His ERA actually went up during a fourth consecutive dominant start (nine Ks, no walks) in which he allowed two runs in 8.1 innings. No one is going to want to face this team in October, especially with Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman and Doug Fister following Scherzer and his ridiculous 0.78 WHIP in the rotation.

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

5. "True Detective": There was no way the second season of this HBO drama could ever live up to last year's brilliance (MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY as Rust Cohle, people!), but through two episodes it hasn't come close. And now (SPOILER ALERT) Colin Ferrell's character is dead?! (At least, he took two shotgun blasts, one from point-blank range. I'm 100 percent sure I'd be dead if that happened to me.) Huh?! He was by far the best part of the show. Between this and "Ballers," HBO's post-"Game of Thrones" season is off to a rough start.

... Read

Former NBA star Allan Houston's mansion is on the market, and it has a pretty sweet golf practice area (among everything else)

Allan Houston was a very good basketball player before a knee injury curtailed his career with the New York Knicks. Fortunately for him, that happened after the Knicks gave him an ill-advised six-year $100 million contract.

As you can imagine, that kind of money can buy you a pretty nice house. And now Houston, currently an assistant general manager for the Knicks, has put his custom-built mansion in Armonk, N.Y. on the market.

Related: The best backyard golf holes in the U.S.

The price? A cool $19.9 million because not listing it at an even $20 mill is a trick real estate agents use. Clever. Take a look at these photos, though, and you'll see that the property, which includes a basketball court and a golf practice area in the backyard (among everything else), is worth it:





Houston plays out of Hudson National Golf Club and has a 7.7 handicap index according to GHIN, but he hasn't posted a score in nearly eight years. Probably because he's been so busy making the Knicks a championship contender. . . kidding!


(h/t Wall Street Journal)

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today