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Impact: Billy the Kid claims his first PGA Tour title

By Alex Holmes

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"I'm never going to be a flat-line guy. My heart is going to be on my sleeve with every shot." -- Billy Horschel


Horschel secured his first PGA Tour win in all sorts of style a year ago at the Zurich Classic. It began by him making six straight birdies during the final round at TPC Louisiana to get into contention on a weather-plagued day. Then he holed a 27-foot birdie putt on the 18th (after waiting out a 50-minute delay to play the final hole) to secure a final-round 64, matching the course record and holding off D.A points by a one stroke. Finally, there was his exuberant celebration, the always emotive Horschel pumping his arms and letting out a triumphant yell.

The 27-year-old former Florida Gator All-American returns to the bayou this week to navigate his way around Pete Dye's TPC track and defend his 2013 title.

Getty Images (2013)
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Golf style

Impact: Better late than never for Matt Jones

By Alex Holmes


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"I was going home to play with my 2-year-old and 3-week-old, so, bit of a change now that I think they'll be on a plane to Augusta as well. We've got to find a house." -- Matt Jones

The 33-year-old Australian started Sunday at the Shell Houston Open six shots back but capped off his final-round 66 with a 40-yard pitch-in to beat Matt Kuchar in a sudden-death playoff.

Jones' chances of winning appeared all but finished when he bogeyed the 17th hole and dropped two shots back of Kuchar, but a 46-foot birdie bomb on 18 in regulation and the hole out on the same hole in the playoff secured Jones' first career PGA Tour victory. As if the victory couldn't be any sweeter, Jones' win also added him to this week's field at Augusta. It'll be Jones' first appearance at the Masters.

Photo: Getty Images (2014)

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Golf style

Impact: Jack Nicklaus, 1986 and the Masters that will live forever

By Alex Holmes

Countdown to Augusta - Each Friday through the Masters we take a look back at impactful images from the tournament's storied history.

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"At that point in my career, I wasn't having much success. I didn't expect to win, the press didn't expect me to win, the players didn't expect me to win. But my talents were still there, my skills. It was a question of whether I could corral them, keep them in my head, keep myself organized and under control. That was the issue. As I got closer and closer as the round went on, it became more difficult. I did it, and that's what I'm most proud of." —Jack Nicklaus


The Golden Bear's inspiring charge at the 1986 Masters got interesting with a flushed 4-iron and a 12-foot eagle putt on the 15th green. He stood on the 16th tee two strokes behind Seve Ballesteros, playing a hole behind him.

Contemplating a hard 6-iron or a soft 5-iron, Nicklaus played a three-quarters 5-iron, high, to the traditional Sunday pin at the back left edge of the 16th green.

Jackie Nicklaus Jr., his son and caddie, noted as he watched the tee shot: "Be right." Jack bent down to pick up his tee and replied quietly, "It is." His tee shot on 16 checked three feet past the flag.

After making birdie, Nicklaus then rolled in an 18-footer for birdie on 17 and two-putted for par on 18 to take a one-stroke lead into the clubhouse. His Sunday 65 would ultimately secure his 18th major victory and his sixth green jacket.

Photo: Getty Images (1986)
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Golf style

A little Hollywood cool from J.Lindeberg

By Marty Hackel

If we were going to dress Robert Downey Jr. for a movie where he portrays a golfer, this outfit from the J.Lindeberg spring Laser collection is where we would start.

The line, which features a polo shirt ($125), sweater ($220), trousers ($160), jacket ($350) and cap ($34), offers a modern, versatile approach to on- and off-course golf fashion. All five pieces have laser detailing and matte-black logos for a clean, refined look. Each piece also incorporates spandex to provide a functional, athletic fit.

loop-style-jlindeberg-518.jpgOf particular note are the Jaiden jacket and the Bill trousers (shown). The former is made of a super-stretch waterproof material that is also breathable. The latter is water-repellant, making it perfect when the weather looks dicey.

Now, can someone get Robert Downey Jr. on the phone?



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Golf style

Impact: No Stranger to success at the Houston Open

By Alex Holmes

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"It’s nice to get under par and play with house money. . . . You can love a place, but you still have to perform." -- Curtis Strange

The four-round 266 Strange shot at the 1980 Michelob-Houston Open at The Woodlands Country Club still stands as the tournament's low 72-hole score. Strange, however, only shares the record as Lee Trevino matched his 22-under total that year. Strange went on to win in sudden death with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Later he would claim two more Houston Open titles (1986 and 1988) en route to his 17 career PGA Tour victories. The tournament was the only stop the World Golf Hall of Famer won more than twice. 

Photo: Getty Images (1988)

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Style

Paul Stankowski (and his belt company) can help you with your waist management

By Marty Hackel

If there's a fashion constant for me, it's that a stylish belt is critical to completing a great outfit. A lux accessory around your waist sophisticates your look without sacrificing personal style.

It's something Paul Stankowski knew when he played the PGA Tour and has adopted in launching Francis Edward. The exotic leather-goods company Stankowski (middle name: Francis) and business partner Mike Vicary (middle name: Edward) created in 2013 uses materials such as calf, lizard, bison and alligator skins to produce men's and women's belts, cash covers and, coming soon, yardage-book covers.
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Superior quality and craftsmanship is why the products are available only via specialty orders (prices start at $159) and in select high-end golf shops.

Francis Edward is a reminder that veteran golfers ("I'm not retired," says Stankowski, 44, "just on pause.") don't stop playing. They just start new businesses.

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Style

Impact: He wore plus fours, but he'll be remembered for his 2

By Alex Holmes

Countdown to Augusta - Each Friday from now through the Masters we take a look back at impactful images from the tournament's storied history.

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"The more I practice, the luckier I get." -- Gene Sarazen

It's April 1935, and Gene Sarazen is playing in a nascent invitational tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. He stands in the middle of the fairway on the par-5 15th hole in the final round. Craig Wood had just tapped in for birdie on 18, and Sarazen is now three strokes back. Stuck between clubs, he pulls his turf rider 4-wood, makes a pure pass and watches as the ball carries the pond guarding the green and into the hole for a double-eagle 2. He follows the miraculous shot with three solid pars, then bests Wood in a 36-hole playoff the following day.

Sarazen's swing on the 15th became known as the "shot heard 'round the world" and helped provide the moment to turn the Augusta National Invitation Tournament into the Masters.

Photo: Getty Images (1936)
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Style

Beer drinkers who love golf will LOVE Nike's new golf belt

By Alex Myers

On Wednesday night, Stephen Colbert listed "free beer" as one of his suggestions for growing golf. We're pretty sure Mr. Colbert would be a fan of Nike's new belt then.

Related: Golf Digest's 2014 shoe guide

As you can see from the picture posted to Twitter by @PGApro1, the new belt has a built-in bottle opener:

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The belt also appears to be reversible. Is there anything it can't do?!

(h/t @pgapro1 and @darrenrovell)

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Style

Apparel-maker Criquet is making noise with its 'high-performance' shirts

By Marty Hackel

A tongue-in-cheek tagline "high-performance shirts for the 19th hole" speaks to the mind-set of apparel-maker Criquet.

Founders Billy Nachman and Hobson Brown were drawn to vintage cotton polos their grandfathers wore and spotted what they considered a niche between "performance" and "everyday" golfwear when they started in 2010.

NewStuff-Criquet-red.jpgMade of certified organic cotton, Criquet polos (starting at $75) have removable collar stays and feature a slot pocket to hold a tee or pencil. Button-down shirts (starting at $85) also have the slot pocket, as well as what the company calls "the Bendle Sleeve," an extra layer of fabric strategically positioned at the shirt bottom to twist off the bottle top of the owner's favorite beverage.

NewStuff-Criquet-green.jpg Even their new showroom -- the Criquet Clubhouse in Austin -- conveys this "every man" theme. With tributes to Caddyshack abound, the store features HD televisions, a bbq pit and a soon-to-be driving net in the backyard for hosting major-viewing parties.

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With a nod to the past and a hope of a more sustainable, stylish future, Criquet is not your grandfather's shirt. It's the one he would've proudly passed down to you.


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Style

Impact: Don't mess with this Texan ... at least when he plays in San Antonio

By Alex Holmes

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"I tend to learn more in failure than I do in success." -- Justin Leonard

This week the PGA Tour swings west through San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open. Leonard, a loyal son of the Lone Star State, was born in Dallas in 1972, played his college golf at the University of Texas in the early 1990s and has hauled away hardware from the Valero tourney three times in his career (2000, 2001 and 2007).

The last of Leonard's 12 overall tour wins came in 2008, but he has quietly had a solid start to the 2013-14 season: nine appearances, one missed cut, three top 10s. In addition to his three wins in San Antonio, the 41-year-old has made the cut 15 of 16 times in the event.

Photo: Getty Images (2002)


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