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The golf world has no idea what to make of Tiger Woods at the Quicken Loans National

Tiger Woods is playing his second round at the Quicken Loans National in Gainesville, Virginia. After a second-round 66, he's just a shot out of the lead, but with most of the leaders teeing off in the afternoon, he could be a few back by day's end.

An intermediacy, it seems, that has thrown golf into a tizzy.

We love sensationalism. Everything has to be designated the best or the worst, and every take has to be made with conviction. There's no room for indifference.

Which is why we saw this after Tiger started his Thursday round with three bogeys in the first four holes:

But, unlike previous falters, Woods was able to bounce back mid-round, dropping six birdies in a nine-hole stretch, leading to...

That's right. A comparison to the year Tiger won nine events, including three majors. Not excessive at all.  

The reality of Woods' game this week, it appears, is somewhere in the middle. And its a mediocracy we can't seem to process.

Woods isn't the best golfer in the world. He's also not the worst. His current game is of the unassuming, ordinary variety.

Tiger Woods, just another golfer. Talk about unfathomable.


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News & Tours

Rickie Fowler made a hole-in-one and bought all the golf writers beer

One of the golden rules of golf: When you get a hole in one, you buy everybody drinks. 

Rickie Fowler took that literally today when he aced the ninth hole at the Quicken Loans National. While we can't vouch for how many people he actually bought drinks for, he did send this glorious tub of beers to the media tent. 

Who even thinks of the media tent? I'm picturing Rickie at the bar with all the players, toasting his hole-in-one - and then he's like, You know who could use a drink? All those writers holed away in a tent somewhere. No one thinks of that. And ya know what, writers could pretty much always use a drink. Media tents are stressful. 

Cheers, Rickie. To your hole-in-one, and for yet again proving why you're one of the most well-liked guys on tour. 


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News & Tours

What if golf had a trade deadline? Five moves we'd like to see

Friday at 4 PM EST marks Major League Baseball’s trade deadline. The days leading up to threshold have become an unofficial holiday for fans, as they believe their club is one move away from making a postseason run. Which of course is absurd, because unless you’re rooting for the Giants or Cardinals, it will all be for naught.

Still, who are we to rain on the parade? If anything, we wish golf would adopt a similar barter session. Granted, ours is not a team sport, per se, but swaps can still be had. Here are five golf moves we’d like to see:

Europe trades Ian Poulter to the International Team for prospects

The International Team is 1-8-1 in the Presidents Cup. For you math scholars out there, that computes to .150 winning percentage, which we in the biz academically refer to as “not good.”

Also on the struggle bus as of late is Ian Poulter. Following a strong start to the campaign, Poulter has lost his way, finishing 54th at Chambers Bay and missing the cuts at the Scottish and British Opens. At 39 years old, Poulter’s best days may be behind him.

Yet, when it comes to match play, Poulter is unrivaled, boasting 13 points in five Ryder Cup appearances and wins at the 2010 WGC-Match Play and 2011 Volvo World Match Play tournaments. With a formidable line of Jason Day, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen and Hideki Matsuyama, the addition of Poulter’s team-play merits make the International roster a formidable foe.

Coupled with the fact that, in two previous trips south of the equator, the United States club's performance has been so-so, this year’s event in South Korea may be the International squad’s best chance at grabbing a W.

As Poulter would be more of a rental entity, the International team will send Sangmoon Bae, Ryo Ishikawa and a player to be named later.


Under Armour sends cash considerations to Titleist for Brad Faxon

What would the sporting apparel behemoth need with a 53-year-old player on the Champions Tour? Easy: let’s just say UA has a tad invested in a certain 22-year-old that’s had issues with the flatstick inside six feet. What better mentor for the fledgling superstar than Faxon, considered one of the best tour putters of all-time.

ESPN moves Mike Tirico to FOX for Gus Johnson

This is one of the few win-wins on our list. The Worldwide Leader is losing its British Open coverage after next season, and though Tirico is a sound, eloquent voice, he doesn’t enhance a particular broadcast, either.

But coming off one of a rough debut at the U.S. Open, FOX doesn’t need flashy; it needs a foundation. In Tirico, they get the dual dexterity of a studio host and play-by-play man.

As for Gus, he’s being wasted on second-tier Pac-12 football and Not-So-Big East basketball games. With this swap, we’re giving Gus the reins to Monday Night Football. That’s right, we’re teaming up Gus with Jon Gruden’s “Let me tell you what, THIS guy can play for me any day!” schtick. The booth bravado will be off the charts.

Happy Madison trades the rights to Happy Gilmore to HBO for the rights to The Brink

HBO Sports produces a documentary in the "7 Days of Hell" mold on the hockey-centric golfer, or simply holds the film to protect it from Adam Sandler and his cronies bastardizing it for a sequel. As for The Brink, it’s a show that entered with hype but has ended a dud…which should fit right in with the Happy Madison mantra.

The PGA of America gives 2022 PGA Championship to Bandon Dunes for a sleeve of Top-Flite x-outs.

That tournament is currently slotted to Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. As the Ladies' Golf Union and LPGA players are finding out this week, it’s not worth it.


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News & Tours

Rickie Fowler hits walk-off hole-in-one. You read that correctly.

Golf has a problem with its finishes. Basketball has the buzzer-beater. Baseball, the walk-off homer. A sudden-death shootout in soccer and hockey.

As fans of the sport, it pains us to write such heresy, but a 20-foot putt on the 18th doesn't pack the same punch. In terms of last-play drama, golf usually falls short on the excitement barometer.

Usually, that is.

Starting the Quicken Loans National on the 10th tee on Thursday, Rickie Fowler's round ended on No. 9 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia, which happens to be a 200-yard par-3.

Coming off a bogey on the par-5 eighth, Fowler finished his day in fine fashion:

Now THAT, my friends, is how you end a round.


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News & Tours

He said WHAT? Six ridiculous comments from Donald Trump at the Women's British Open

"The world asked me to be here."

Following Trump's comments on Mexican immigrants, golf has tried to distance itself from the real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate, most notably seen in the PGA of America moving its Grand Slam of Golf event from Trump's L.A. course.

However, due to the proximity of the tournament with his comments, it was too late for the Women's British Open to find a new venue. Trump even dared the event to be moved


With this in mind, The Donald arrived in Scotland on Thursday for the Women's British Open, held at his Trump Turnberry resort. The highly anticipated appearance did not disappoint. Some of his gems included:

"A poll came out two days ago where I am number one with the Hispanics."

Assuming this "poll" was a sample size of the person Trump sees in the mirror, he's probably right.

"Everybody has asked me to be here. The world has asked me to be here."

Give the man credit. The fact that Donald Trump has accumulated a $2.9 billion fortune -- or $10 billion, if you believe his assertion -- without knowing what the word "ask" means shows that you too can hurdle life's obstacles to achieve your dreams, kids. Assuming you have a dad that can get your out of numerous bankruptcy run-ins, that is.

"Illegal immigration is a huge subject. I brought it to the fore and everybody is thanking me for it."

Does Trump not own a TV? Or is there an employee on his staff who edits every media broadcast or snippet before showing it to Trump? Because if it's the latter, that person is earning their paycheck.

"Don't know who she is."

This was in response to comments from Lizette Salas, a top-30 world-ranked player from the United States who has Mexican parents, who expressed displeasure at Trump's presence. 

OK, I can kind of buy this, yet I'm sure Trump was aware of Salas' remarks. This also pokes a hole in Trump's "I'm a big fan and follower of women's golf" claim.

But instead of putting the issue to bed with, "She has an opinion, and I respect it," Trump's actual retort simply raised Salas' profile.

By the way, this was only a degree away from, "Oh yeah, well, the JERK store called" in terms of lame comebacks.

"That’s your problem, not my problem."

A reporter asked about illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom, specifically the Calais crisis. Sounds like Trump has this foreign affairs thing down.

"I expect to be President."

Well, I expect to be greeted into every room with a standing ovation and roses thrown in my direction, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen.


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News & Tours

Bears play on New Jersey golf course, the world regains its smile

For those that have lost hope in humanity after the Cecil the Lion incident, perhaps this will restore your faith.

Three black bears -- two cubs and a momma -- were seen playing on a golf course in Vernon, New Jersey this week. And we do mean playing, as one of the cubs can be seen pulling the pin. 

Which just goes to show that, despite the precedent set by Yogi, bears are a courteous creature.


“They’re absolutely beautiful and people have seen them in their pools or on their swing sets," Vernon official Michelle Downtain told ABC News. "It doesn’t surprise me they came out to play on a golf course. It's a way of life here."

Best of all, in a week filled with disparaging animal news, the bears were unharmed.


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News & Tours

Donald Trump to speak at the Women's British Open in Turnberry, Scotland

Well now, this should be interesting.

Donald Trump is going to face the media Thursday at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, held at Trump Turnberry, and according to the ground rules, questions from reporters will be limited to golf. 

I wonder if he’s ever faced the British tabloids before, the guys and gals Sir Nick Faldo called “Rotties,” short for Rottweilers because of their doggedness.

The gathering will be at 8:30 a.m. ET (1:30 p.m. in Scotland). This meeting with the golf media comes not only as Trump, who arrived at Turnberry Wednesday, is running for the Republican presidential nomination, but just a few weeks after virtually the entire golf community distanced itself from Trump following his sweeping generalizations about Mexican immigrants that many perceived as insensitive and simplistic at best and racist at worst.

In an email to accredited media, tournament officials said:

“Donald Trump will make himself available to meet the Championship’s accredited media at 1.30pm on Thursday, 30th July. We will confirm where this meeting will take place tomorrow morning.

“Questions must be restricted to the subjects golf, Turnberry and the tournament.

“To clarify/serve as a reminder, please note that in attending the Ricoh Women’s British Open you must agree to abide by the T&Cs below.”


That last part pretty much suggests that anyone breaking the ground rules for the news conference could have their credential revoked.

While the PGA of America moved its Grand Slam of Golf this fall from the Trump course in Los Angeles following his controversial comments, and the PGA Tour and USGA have time to make a decision before holding events on Trump courses, the LPGA was caught in a real-time bind.

Commissioner Mike Whan was able to disavow Trump’s comments, but with the statements on Mexican immigrants coming just three weeks before the Ricoh Women's British Open there was simply not enough time to change the venue of any tournament, let alone a major championship.

They would have needed to find a course on short notice, secure housing for the players and media and change the travel plans of everyone going to the tournament. And that's not even taking into consideration the inconvenience of a venue change for the fans.

The hope within the LPGA, and probably the Ladies Golf Union, which runs the tournament, was that Trump would be too busy campaigning for president to attend the British Open.

But if there is one thing The Donald loves, it’s facing the media. On Thursday we find out if the media will follow his rules.


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News & Tours

Golfer buys GoPro. Golfer uses GoPro to tape golf swing. Golfer immediately regrets decision.

One of my social media pet peeves is it’s growing contingent of narcissism. Instead of a forum for idea generation or engaging dialogue, the medium's become a "Look at me! Look at me!" arms race of documenting the most insignificant, trivial aspects of life.

So when I see such action epically backfire, you'll have to excuse my sense of schadenfreude.

The video below is titled "First Shot with new GoPro." Spoiler alert: it should have been named "My First -- and Last -- shot with new GoPro."

This further cements my argument that taking more than one practice swing leads to nothing but trouble. Also, why the hell wasn't the camera behind or to the side of his address?

Either way, congrats, my friend. You could have played Pebble Beach for the dollar amount you dropped on a product that lasted all of one shot.


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News & Tours

Inbee Park slams the 2016 Rio Olympics on its golf qualifying standards

Golf will be played at the 2016 Rio Olympics for the first time since 1904, but the sport's return to the international games has not been without controversy. Add Inbee Park to the list of critics.

Park, the No. 1 ranked women's player in the world, spoke out this week against the Olympics' qualifying process.


"If you are in the world's top 50, you should be able to play in the Olympics," Park said. "There's some countries where [players] ranked No. 300, 400 will play, but obviously not Koreans."

Park, who's from South Korea, is alluding to her country's dominance in the world rankings, with 15 of the top 28 hailing from her homeland.

The fields for both the men and women will be limited to 60 golfers, to be determined by the world rankings. However, a country cannot have more than four representatives. The rest of the competitors will be determined by the world golf rankings, with a maximum of two golfers per nation for countries that don't have more than two players in the top-15 rankings.

Park, who elaborated that it is "disappointing" that so many of the top players will miss the Olympic event, is in Turnberry, Scotland for the Women's British Open. A victory at Turnberry would give the 27-year-old Park the career Grand Slam.


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News & Tours

We're still in awe of one of the best shots of 2014

To say you have one of the best shots of the year in professional golf is impressive enough. To do it in a major championship, that's beyond clutch.

That's why we're paying tribute to Mo Martin's unreal 3-wood approach at the par-5 18th finishing hole at Royal Birkdale during last year's Women's British Open. It might be the best shot of the year. And with the Women's British Open being played this week at Turnberry, we're paying tribute to that striped shot seemingly destined for the cup.

We're still not sure how Martin's ball didn't go down for an albatross. Maybe with a thinner flagstick it does -- kind of Jordan Spieth's chip shot at the 13th hole during the final round at the Old Course this year. (C'mon, Great Britain: You're robbing history with these thicker-than-normal pins!)

Still, Martin's shot set up a winning eagle on Birkdale's 18th hole for her first major championship. What a great moment!

Related: Why did Stacy Lewis have such an adventure getting her clubs to Turnberry?


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