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That time I made a complete ass of myself to Loren Roberts at Colonial

Do you remember that Kenny Perry won the 2003 Colonial? I didn't until I looked it up this morning. I was at that tournament, and in hindsight, I vaguely recall Perry winning in what was a resurgent season for the veteran. But 12 years later, I think we all more likely recall that year's Colonial for Annika Sorenstam's historic two rounds playing on the PGA Tour

The concept of a player other than the event winner hijacking a tournament storyline isn't uncommon in golf. We remember that tournament where Michelle Wie made her professional debut and got DQed because of a bad drop, but we don't remember that (fittingly) Sorenstam was the winner. We remember the time Jean Van de Velde coughed up the Open Championship, but you might need a moment to recall that Paul Lawrie was the benefactor.

But back to that year's Colonial. There was no bigger story in golf in 2003 than Sorenstam, the unequivocal star of the LPGA, testing herself against the men. And as reporters on the scene, our job that week was to try to put it all in its proper perspective.

So there I was, and there was then 47-year-old Loren Roberts. Nice guy, thoughtful quote. Great putter. Roberts was one of more than a dozen players I interviewed that week about Sorenstam, how she might fare and the historical implications of her appearance.

We were standing by the practice green and at some point I introduced the premise (a prescient one, it turns out) that years from now, all we'd remember about this tournament is Sorenstam playing in it. Then to underscore my point, I continued.

"It's really like when Tiger made his pro debut at the Greater Milwaukee Open in '96," I said.

Roberts nodded.

"I mean, everyone remembers Tiger that week. But does anyone even remember who won?" I said. "Do YOU?"

"Yes," Roberts said. Then he smiled. "I did."

"Oh," I said, blood rushing to my face. "Right."

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Brian Henninger really picked the wrong time to shank a tee shot into the lake

Brian Henninger was one of the subjects of John Feinstein's classic 1996 book A Good Walk Spoiled. Unfortunately for the 52-year-old journeyman, that title also sums up his Thursday, thanks to one horrific shot.

Related: Watch the best reaction to a hole-in-one of 2015

Late in his first round at the Senior PGA Championship, Henninger arrived on the seventh hole (he played the back nine first at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Indiana) at one under par and in a share of the lead on a difficult day for scoring. And then. . . he did. . . (gulp). . . this:

Henninger settled himself to make a double bogey, but the two-time PGA Tour winner added a bogey on the ninth hole to shoot a two-over-par 74. There are plenty of holes to go in the tournament, but that could sting -- especially in the hands -- for a bit.

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James Morrison shows golfers around the world how to properly handle a bad break

James Morrison stared intently at his airborne golf ball and even gave a little club twirl. The 30-year-old Englishman knew his approach shot to No. 15 in the first round of the BMW PGA Championship was good.

Unfortunately, it was too good.

Morrison's ball clanged off the flagstick and rolled off the front of the green. "So, so unlucky," an announcer said. But "sometimes lady luck pays you back," another commenter said moments later. Yep.

Related: Watch the best hole-in-one reaction of 2015

Morrison, a winner last week at the Open de Espana, took the bad break in stride and then chipped in for birdie. Check out the clip:

Of course, it helps to be a world-class golfer like Morrison, but let's try to keep this quick reversal of fortune in mind the next time we play. You know, instead of spending 15 minutes complaining each time you get a bad bounce.

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News & Tours

Architect of Massacre at Winged Foot on Chambers Bay: 'It will turn out fine'

The grumbling about Chambers Bay already has begun, several weeks before the U.S. Open has thrown its first haymaker, a good time to consult the ultimate Open bogeyman, the estimable Sandy Tatum.

A former USGA president, Tatum was the architect of the Massacre at Winged Foot, as the 1974 U.S. Open came to be called, so he understands what USGA executive director Mike Davis is experiencing in the run-up to the Open.

ChambersBay.jpg The 13th green at Chambers Bay (Getty Images)

“Players were taking members of the media out onto the golf course and dropping balls into the rough and saying, ‘try hitting that,’” Tatum said of the setup at Winged Foot. “There was a terrible amount of tension about the Open, and the tension emanated from the players, that what the USGA was trying to do was humiliate them. The tension built and built and built until it got pretty pyrotechnic. Criticism was very, very heavy. The average score on the first day was 77.”

Defending champion Johnny Miller called it “ridiculous.” Jack Nicklaus was asked about the finishing holes at Winged Foot. “The last 18 of them are very difficult,” he said.

That was then. This is now: “The reports back are it’s a complete farce,” Ian Poulter said on what he was hearing about Chambers Bay.

Tatum Sandy.jpg

Tatum, who will turn 95 in July, does not know Chambers Bay, but he does know Mike Davis, and gives both him and the course his stamp of approval.

“Mike Davis was the originator of that decision [to take the Open to Chambers Bay] and he made it with a great deal of enthusiasm,” Tatum said. “That was impressive for me. I’ve not seen it. I do understand there are some criticisms of it. But knowing Mike, I was much impressed with Chambers Bay, on the basis of somebody who has as much knowledge as he has, to be as enthusiastic as he is.”

He sees in Davis a kindred spirit. Tatum said he “never had the slightest doubt” in his mind that Winged Foot was set up properly. “I never looked back. And Mike Davis will never look back. He’s accomplished in all the respects that matter. I’m confident it will turn out fine.”

The players who don’t grouse about it will have an advantage, he said. “Particularly playing at that level and playing an Open golf course, the central feature is that you have to be very focused. If your mind is wandering around, being critical about the course, you are going to have problems.”

One of the strongest players mentally, Hale Irwin, won the ‘74 Open. “That answered all the questions,” Tatum said, suggesting that the winner at Chambers Bay likely will do the same.

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Watch this European Tour player make an ace, win a car, and pull off a perfect running chest bump

Miguel Angel Jimenez has given us a couple of great hole-in-one reactions in recent months, but apparently he has competition in that area on the European Tour. Check out Andrew Johnston, aka "Beef," acing Wentworth's 184-yard 10th hole during Thursday's opening round of the BMW PGA Championship:

Well done, Andrew. We haven't seen a running chest bump that good since the New York Knicks were NBA contenders in the 1990s.

The Grind: Rory's extra gear and Miss America's golf tan lines

Johnston -- sorry, "Beef" -- was obviously excited by the shot, but also by the sweet-looking BMW sports car it won him. Unfortunately for Beef, not a lot else went right for him in the opening round. He shot 77 with the ace being his lone hole under par on his scorecard.

Meanwhile, Jimenez is actually one of the early leaders after posting a 68. Factor in the shot, the celebration and the car, though, and Beef definitely beat the Mechanic on this day.

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Tiger Woods seems pretty serious about his very serious poker face

Tiger Woods has long been known for his intense stare on the golf course. In fact, you might remember this very popular poster of Woods which read, "The Eyes Have It" -- which I just may have had hanging in my room growing up:


It turns out Woods gives a similar glare when he's playing poker, which can prove to be extremely effective in a game where participants are constantly trying to read their opponents. Here's Woods on Friday night at "Tiger Jam" in Las Vegas looking pretty serious sitting next to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban:


The Grind: Tiger's improved jeans and Miss America's golf tan lines

And here he is staying focused when doing an interview with Lynn Gilmartin, who works for the World Poker Tour on Fox:


Poker Tiger does not mess around, and apparently, Cuban found out about Woods' nasty streak at the tables the hard way. Here he is talking about Woods showing no mercy in knocking him out of the tournament:

Related: Ranking the 17 best musical acts ever at Tiger Jam

Unfortunately, the video cuts off, but Cuban is saying something about Woods being a sore winner at poker. Sorry, Mark, it's tough to feel bad for a billionaire losing a few bucks.


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Fantasy Golf

Can Jordan Spieth answer Rory McIlroy at Colonial?

The second Texas two-step of the PGA Tour season begins this week with the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. You can finally take a break from putting Rory McIlroy in your lineup because the World No. 1 has lept across the pond to play in the BMW PGA Championship. Well, unless you're also in a European Tour fantasy golf league. If that's the case, you might need to reevaluate things. . . But back to Colonial, which has as rich a history as any non-major thanks to Ben Hogan winning here five times and getting honored with a statue by the clubhouse. Who will follow in his footsteps this week and take home the plaid jacket? Here's our PGA Tour Fantasy Golf lineup:

Related: Sign up for PGA Tour Fantasy Golf

Jordan Spieth: There's not much to find fault with here. Oddsmakers have Spieth as an overwhelming favorite (5 to 1), he finally rested after a busy stretch of golf, and he's finished in the top 15 in both prior trips to Colonial. We've seen what Rory McIlroy did in response to Spieth winning the Masters. This is a great opportunity for Spieth to reply in his own way. And check out this gray sweater vest he wore recently:

Ben Hogan would approve.

Adam Scott: The defending champ has fallen out of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but he still makes our list of the game's top-10 ball-strikers. Scott led the field in proximity to the hole by more than six feet during his win last year. Whether he's converting birdie putts or not, that sort of iron play should provide plenty of points.

Related: Behind the camera at the Players Championship

Zach Johnson: No one has played Colonial better in recent years than ZJ, who had a remarkable four-year run from 2010-2013 in which he won twice and added a third and a fourth. Johnson benefits from this being one of the shorter courses on tour and his accuracy off the tee makes him extra valuable this week.

Ryan Palmer: While ZJ has played the Crowne Plaza Invitational the best in recent years, there's probably no golfer who has played Colonial more than Ryan Palmer during that time. The Texas native is a member at the Fort Worth club and that familiarity with the course has paid off the past three years with three top-15 finishes, including a pair of T-5s.

Bench: Boo Weekley and Kevin Kisner.

The Grind: Rory's extra gear and Miss America's golf tan lines

And for those of you playing other fantasy golf formats:

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

Yahoo! lineup: Palmer, Spieth, Senden, Weekley.
Bench/backups: Scott, Kisner, Poulter, Na.

Knockout/One-and-done pick: Zach Johnson.

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News & Tours

Top South Carolina girls junior earns all-state honors in boys golf as well

Lauren Stephenson is a decorated junior golfer, ranking fifth nationally in the Polo Golf Junior Ranking after winning six AJGA titles in her career. Bound for Clemson in the fall, the 17-year-old uniquely added to her impressive resume on Tuesday when she earned all-state honors in South Carolina … in boys golf.

Stephenson finished fifth for the Lexington High boys team in the Class 4A Boys Championship, shooting 73-74 at Furman University G.C. She had already led the girls team to three straight 4A state titles and been a five-time all-state girls selection.

"I wanted to make [boys] all-state; that was the goal that I set," Stephenson told The State. It's definitely an exiting way to finish my high school golf."

loop-lauren-stephenson-560.jpgOfficials told The State that no girl had previously earned all-state honors in boys golf. "Our top girls could definitely play on the boys' teams," said Dru Nix, the S.C. High School League associate commissioner, "but to make all-state [in the girls and boys tournament] is taking it to a whole new level."

Stephenson could play on the boys team under state rules because the school's girls team has a season with eight or fewer matches. She joined the Lexington High boys team in 2014 and finished 20th at last year's State Championship.

Photo courtesy of AJGA

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News & Tours

7 photos of Rory McIlroy and his new BFF Niall Horan teeing it up at the BMW PGA Pro-Am

This is getting to the point of an official bromance. Rory McIlroy had One Direction star Niall Horan caddie for him at this year's Masters Par 3 Contest, which surely upped Augusta National's following by the "teenie bopper" generation for the week.

Now Rory and Niall are teeing it up at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, one of the biggest events on the European Tour schedule. Augusta and Wentworth -- that's a pretty good one-two for this duo.

Joining these two Irish buddies on Wednesday at Wentworth were former Manchester United soccer stars Paul Scholes and Phil Neville.

Rory's the defending champ this week at the BMW PGA, but that's not stopping him from having a few laughs with his celebrity pro-am partners.

After their round, the European Tour had Rory ask Niall a bunch of questions from social media for a solid #AskNiall segment. Niall said he'd choose Frank Sinatra as the singer he'd most like to play golf with (great choice!), he's shot a 79 before (solid), and had some intelligent thoughts on why people think golf is boring (you have to play it!). Watch the full segment below.

Rory let Niall hit a tee shot on one of the par 3s at Augusta's Par 3 course. And it didn't go too well. Niall was shaking as much as one of his fans would've been if they got to take a selfie with him. But it looks like Rory tried to help the young singer on the greens a bit on Wednesday.

Related: Niall Horan says Rory will sing at an upcoming One Direction concert

We could imagine soccer legend Paul Scholes and Horan laughing to each other, saying: "I wonder if people realize how famous we are out here at the golf course."

This tandem was obviously the hot interview on Wednesday at Wentworth.

What do you think Rory's saying to Niall's caddie? "Not another skulled chip shot. Man, he's really cramping my style. I'm not gonna be able to keep watching this.

Who wore their Nike stuff better? Love the flat-brim look for Niall. But you can't argue he looks better than Rory. Unless you're a One Direction fan. Then we're sure it's no contest.

This pro-am, of course, pales in comparison to the type of fun it looks like Niall had at the Billboard Music Awards after-party with Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris and Ed Sheeran. Jet-setting to tear it up on both continents. That's a world-famous musician move. Well done, Niall.

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Weird Golf News

Two fans at the Wells Fargo stole a golf cart from Quail Hollow and drove it to a Charlotte bar

Apparently, Rory McIlroy's seven-shot win wasn't the most impressive performance Sunday at Quail Hollow. Nope, that honor goes to a couple of fans who stole one of the club's golf carts and drove it to a Charlotte bar, according to Total Frat Move.

Related: Rory's extra gear and Miss America's golf tan lines

Of course, we're not promoting such shenanigans, but this wasn't your normal cart hijacking that usually takes place in the middle of the night and ends a few minutes later when people get bored driving around a course. No, these guys took the cart some time after the tournament ended and then drove it FIVE miles to get to their final destination.

As TFM points out, this required traveling on some major roads in the Charlotte area:


People on the scene said the guys parked the cart on the patio at Selwyn Pub, had a few drinks and left. Someone from Quail Hollow came to claim the vehicle the next morning and put it on a trailer instead of driving it back. Good idea.

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