The Local Knowlege

News & Tours

Sad golf news of the day: Jason and Amanda Dufner are getting divorced

And just like that, one of golf's "it" couples is no longer even a thing. In a sad twist, Jason and Amanda Dufner are getting divorced, according to Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard.

Hoggard's report says Amanda filed for the divorce March 16 and the two have been separated since Feb. 17. Court document reportedly cited an "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage," and "a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together."

Related: Golf's all-time biggest breakups

Amanda will receive a gross sum of $2.5 million, while Jason will keep both of the couple's houses in Alabama. No word on who is gets custody of Prince Louie. In 2014, Dufner was 32nd on Golf Digest's top 50 earners list, pulling in more than $7 million in both on- and off-course earnings.

In a true sign that things are over, Amanda has deactivated her popular Instagram account. Say it ain't so!

Related: Meet the WAGs of the PGA Tour

Like Tiger and Elin and Rory and Caroline, we're always sad to see the end of a golf power couple. Since they were married in May 2012, they've provided golf fans with a fun look into their lives together. Some of the highlights:

That incredible wedding video:

That fun trip to the Bahamas for the 4th of July last year:

blog-dufners-fourth-0331.jpg

That trip included Amanda giving golf a try:

blog-amanda-dufner-swing-0331.jpg

And of course, the famed butt squeeze seen around the world after Jason won the 2013 PGA Championship:

130811-dufner-squeeze-480.gif

We wish the best for both Jason and Amanda, but we'll miss them together.

... Read
News & Tours

A nine-year-old Rory McIlroy to Tiger Woods: 'I'm coming to get you'

When Rory McIlroy was nine, he apparently made his intentions known in a letter he wrote to Tiger Woods, Charles Siebert reveals in this New York Times Magazine profile of Woods.

TWRM.jpg
(Getty Images)

“No one can recall the note’s precise wording,” Siebert wrote, “but its general thrust, as Brian McIlroy, Rory’s uncle and godfather, paraphrased in an email, put Woods on notice: ‘I’m coming to get you. This is the beginning. Watch this space.’

“When I met McIlroy, now the world’s No. 1 golfer, in New York in December, I asked him about the letter. ‘A lot of those memories have kind of blurred together,’ he said somewhat sheepishly. ‘But, yeah, it went something like that.’

“McIlroy’s ‘Tiger letter’ most likely never got to its intended addressee, but by now its message surely has. McIlroy has already won the U.S. Open, the British Open and two P.G.A. Championships, becoming just the third golfer, after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, to win four majors by the age of 25.”

McIlroy needs only a victory in the Masters to complete the career grand slam.

... Read
The Grind

Jimmy Walker vs. Chuck Norris, Goliath the gator vs. a turtle, "Price is Right" clutch putts, and Rickie hangs with the Randocks

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we've come to realize Jimmy Walker is the Kentucky of the PGA Tour. He might not be 38-0 like the Wildcats, but in his past 37 starts he's won five titles -- a career total in this era. His most recent domination made him the only two-time winner this season and ended that nasty nine-event stretch of 54-hole leaders failing to close the deal. And yes, the San Antonio resident won in his hometown and collected a pair of cowboy boots so we can really start calling him:

blog-jimmy-walker-texas-ranger.jpg

Wait, there were six seasons of that show? (*Checks Google*) There were EIGHT seasons?!

That's Jimmy driving home in his own car after his latest conquest. What a badass. The Boogeyman might check his closet at night for Chuck Norris before he goes to sleep, but the Bogey Man fears Jimmy Walker more than anyone these days.

WE'RE BUYING

Jimmy Walker: Seriously, what took this guy so long? After a decade of being a solid tour pro, Walker has morphed into an elite player in the past 17 months. He's won two more tournaments than anyone on tour since the start of last season and he should basically change his middle name to "FedEx Cup points leader."

Jordan Spieth: If it weren't for this guy, Walker would have won by seven shots at the Valero Texas Open. Spieth didn't have his best on Sunday, but he rallied late to almost make things interesting. More importantly, his runner-up finish moved him to No. 4 in the OWGR and he now has eight finishes of seventh or better in his last 10 starts, with three wins. In other words, Nos. 1 and 2 on the leader board in San Antonio might be the top two threats at Augusta National.

Related: 13 PGA Tour winners who used to be regular working stiffs

Jack Nicklaus: The 18-time major winner received a different type of honor when he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal last week. Nicklaus received the country's highest honor for a civilian at the Capital Rotunda in Washington, D.C., for his "excellence," "philanthropy," and dedication to his family. Speaking of the fam, the Nicklaus clan, including all five of his kids and 22 grandchildren, was out in full force. Impressive!

blog-jack-nicklaus-family-0331.jpg

Aaron Baddeley's birdie: Speaking of impressive, it's not often you can definitively call something the "craziest in history," but that's what we've done with Baddeley's first-round birdie. After yanking his tee shot into the woods and having to take an unplayable penalty, the Aussie returned to the tee and knocked in his second attempt from 336 yards on the par 4. Unfortunately, there was no video because it was so late in the day (lazy Golf Channel), so we have to settle for this screenshot of what it looked like on PGA Tour Shot Tracker:

blog-aaron-baddeley-birdie-0331.jpg

WE'RE SELLING

Tiger ranking tweets: Now that he's fallen out of the top 100, can we stop with these mass weekly updates on Twitter? Every week it's "Tiger falls to (blank) for the first time since 1996!" Yeah, we get it. He turned pro in 1996 and he's been really, really good since then, but now he's not really good and he never plays. If he ever makes an Andre Agassi-like return to No. 1, it will be a fantastic story. Until then, we don't need the weekly reminders of how far he's fallen.

Equipment malfunctions: Even getting custom equipment and special attention, these can still happen to the pros. The head of Phil Mickelson's 8-iron snapped off in a fairway bunker and this happened to Troy Merritt's 2-iron:

blog-troy-merritt-2-iron-0331.jpg

Of course, the difference is these guys were rushed replacement clubs, whereas you or I would have to wait until we have time to go to the store and then probably have to haggle over getting a full refund.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Stupid penalties: Especially when they happen late in a tournament. David Frost dropped his ball on his mark on the 17th hole Sunday and received a one-shot penalty even though he knew exactly where to move his mark back to. Fortunately, Frost, who was surprised by the penalty, made a clutch par putt on No. 18 to win his sixth Champions Tour title. Let this be a lesson to us all: BE CAREFUL WHEN MARKING YOUR BALL.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour stays in Texas for the Shell Houston Open, aka that last event before the Masters.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

Random tournament fact: Still basking in the glow of being a Ryder Cup star, Anthony Kim won this tournament just five years ago. OK, so this is probably the last time we can say it was "just" (fill in the blank) years ago. AK has been MIA for awhile now.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

-- Anthony Kim will star in the 2016 Ryder Cup: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

-- Tiger will break Jack's mark of 22 grandchildren: 100-to-1 odds

-- Jimmy Walker would be a better actor than Chuck Norris: LOCK

Related: The top 25 golf viral videos in 2014

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

This is NFL star Larry Fitzgerald teeing off at Legend Golf & Safari Resort's Extreme 19th hole:

blog-larry-fitzgerald-extreme.jpg

GATOR PHOTO OF THE WEEK

That giant one in Florida returned last week to snack on a turtle:

blog-gator-goliath2-0327.jpg

Oh yeah, he's also been named "Goliath" by the Myakka Pines Golf Club. How great is that? "I'm sooooooo over gators," my boss said. Too bad. Goliath is awesome and he should have a weekly spot in this column as far as I'm concerned. Goliath!

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

All due respect to Jimmy Walker, but no one hit a more clutch putt last week than 84-year-old Margaret, a contestant on The Price is Right.

ARCHIVE VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

All due respect to Margaret, we're not sure anything will ever top this Price is Right (side note: how great is that theme music?) moment, which has to be the luckiest putt in golf history:

THIS WEEK IN SUPERMODELS PLAYING GOLF

How about Adam Levine's wife, Brihati Prinsloo, teeing it up while her husband was away?

Nice swing, but more impressive, how about that backyard driving range?!

THIS WEEK IN RORY MCILROY MAKING US FEEL BAD WITH HIS TRAINING

This Nike video is two full minutes of Rory doing ridiculous things in the gym. What a sicko:

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Great analogy, Billy.

THIS WEEK IN KEEGAN BRADLEY/LUKE DONALD LIVING THE GOOD LIFE

blog-jordan-keegan-brady-0331.jpg

Oh, no big deal. Just relaxing in the Bahamas and playing golf and basketball with Michael Jordan and Tom Brady. In related news, here's Bradley's girlfriend, Jillian Stacey (right), and  Donald's wife, Diane (left), hanging out on the beach:

blog-stacey-diane-bermuda.jpg

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"That's not something I hear a lot." -- President Barack Obama when told by Claude Harmon to "lean to the left" to fix his slice.

THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY RICKIE FOWLER-ALEXIS RANDOCK-NICOLE RANDOCK PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

blog-randocks-rickie-0331.jpg

Rickie and the Randocks would be a great band name. And here's another one of the lovely sisters:

Dustin and Paulina: A love story

blog-randock-sisters-0331.jpg

THIS AND THAT

blog-lkd-swing-shirt-0331.jpg

Cristie Kerr birdied four of the final five holes to win the Kia Classic. It was the 17th LPGA Tour title of her career, but her first in 43 starts and her first as a mom. . . . Tiger Woods reportedly is getting $16.5 million for a couple of design projects in China. It's still good to be Tiger Woods. . . . Dustin Johnson set another course record, this time at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. Man, do pro golfers play a lot of golf. . . . English pro Thomas Curtis won the Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship and its $20,000 prize in Bermuda while on his honeymoon. Thomas Curtis is a hero. . . . A happy/sad work announcement as Luke Kerr-Dineen (pictured) is leaving Golf Digest to go to USA Today/For The Win. Luke has been a great colleague the past two years, but more importantly, he's been a great swing coach -- even if his methods are a bit unconventional at times.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Will Tiger make another $16.5 million in on-course earnings?

How is Jimmy Walker only ranked 10th in the world?

Is there any room for me in Butch Harmon's stable?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

... Read
News & Tours

Extra! Extra! Tiger Woods' plane is in Augusta!

This shouldn't come as too big a surprise given how Golf World's Tim Rosaforte predicted Tiger would play the 2015 Masters and suspected Tiger would spend some time practicing at Augusta National this week, but intrepid reporter Scott Michaux confirmed the news.


It seems the four-time Masters Tournament champion is working out the kinks in his game today in Augusta. A plane matching the tail numbers of Tiger Woods’ Gulfstream G5 was parked in front of the terminal for private aircraft at Augusta Regional Airport this morning.

Would seem unlikely that an empty plane flew itself there, but you never know. In any case, here's what Tiger's Gulfstream jet looks like, pictured in 2010:

150331-tigerwoodsplane-560.jpg

... Read
News & Tours

Rickie Fowler owns hater on Instagram for making fun of his girlfriend

Rickie Fowler, the PGA Tour's resident heart throb, just earned some more brownie points with his bikini model girlfriend Alexis Randock.

After Randock posted this picture of her and her friend on the beach, some hater called her a "gold digger." 

double trouble 👯 @nicole.randock

A photo posted by Alexis Randock (@alexis.randock) on


Enter Rickie Fowler, who chimed in with a classy 'high road' retort. Golf Channel, who first spotted it, snagged a screenshot of the exchange:

150331-rickiefowler-350.jpg
You go, Rickie Fowler.

150331-rickiefowler-punch-560.gif

... Read
News & Tours

Man wins Par 3 championship and $20,000 prize while on his honeymoon

Apparently, Thomas Curtis is a good golfer and an even better negotiator. The 29-year-old English pro somehow convinced his wife to let him play in a two-day golf tournament while on their honeymoon in Bermuda. Smart move.

Now the couple might end up taking a second trip after Curtis claimed the Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship. The $20,000 first-place check for two days of "work" in paradise seems well worth it now.

Related: Get to know the WAGs of the PGA Tour

Curtis finished first in the 110-person field of men and women pros and amateurs with scores of 56-54. Remember, it's a par-3 course so par was 54. Recent PGA Tour winner Nick Taylor is a former winner of the event.

"My wife has very kindly let me play golf on our honeymoon, so I definitely need to thank her, although we'll probably have to go on a second honeymoon now," Curtis said.

Oh, you'll "have to go on a second honeymoon now"? Sounds rough.

(h/t @Adam_Stanley and PGA of Canada)

... Read
News & Tours

Here's a better version of that gross Tiger Woods world ranking graph

Tiger Woods isn't playing (and when he's playing at all, it's not very well), so it shouldn't come as any surprise that he's free-falling down the Official World Golf Ranking: From first in the world on March 30, 2013 to 104th exactly two years later, the first time in 6,749 days that he's ranked outside of the top 100.

But those are all just numbers, and numbers are boring. That's why we put together a little graph-GIF that better explains Tiger's current situation.

tigerwoodsgraph.gif

... Read
Stats

How Jimmy Walker's five wins in 17 months stack up to some notable PGA Tour careers

Jimmy Walker didn't win on the PGA Tour until his 187th career start at the Frys.com Open in October 2013. That almost doesn't seem possible now.

In the 17 months and 37 starts since that breakthrough victory, Walker has quickly run his win total to five, the last of which came in dominant fashion over the weekend at the Valero Texas Open. That's two more PGA Tour titles than anyone (Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed are tied for second with three wins) since the start of the 2013-2014 season.

Related: Golf Digest's My Shot with Jimmy Walker

These days on the PGA Tour, five wins in that short of a span by anyone is impressive. But coming from such a late bloomer -- Walker's first win came at age 34 -- makes the accomplishment even more remarkable. In fact, Walker's past year and a half stacks up pretty well with some pretty good careers. Yes, careers.

Did you realize that Walker's five wins have pulled him even on the all-time PGA Tour victories list with former World No. 1s Tom Lehman and Luke Donald? How about with players like John Daly, Jesper Parnevik and Billy Mayfair?

Walker's five victories have him just behind current big names like Justin Rose, Hunter Mahan and Padraig Harrington, and just two behind Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Retief Goosen. If Walker keeps up his torrid pace of winning every three months, he would catch all those guys by the end of this season.

Related: Meet Erin Walker and other PGA Tour WAGs

You'd also probably be surprised by how many marquee names Walker has already passed on the wins list. Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Rickie Fowler just to name a few. Again, Walker has more PGA Tour titles than all of these guys in just his last 37 starts!

Of course, Walker's next challenge is breaking through at a major championship. Considering he had his first three top-10 finishes in those four events last year (he only had six previous starts in majors), though, Walker taking that next step might not be too far off.

... Read
News & Tours

Rory McIlroy's grand slam quest might have to go through Texans

The Masters is on the horizon, and with Tiger Woods lost somewhere inside his head the focus falls on a lone star, Rory McIlroy. Maybe it should fall on the Lone Star State, too.

Prognostication in a sport that produced 20 different winners in its first 20 events is pointless, but any list that doesn’t have Texans Jimmy Walker and Jordan Spieth somewhere near the top of potential winners at Augusta in two weeks is not one worth considering.

JWTexas.jpg
Jimmy Walker (Getty Images)

Walker, who lives outside San Antonio, made his case emphatically on Sunday, winning the Valero Texas Open by four shots to become the first to win multiple times on the PGA Tour this season. Spieth, who resides in the Dallas area, finished second, two weeks after winning the Valspar Championship.

McIlroy is a green jacket shy of the career grand slam, and we hear about inevitability (“If Rory doesn't win at Augusta in a few weeks’ time, he’ll win next year. And if he doesn't win next year, then he'll win it the year after,” Darren Clarke said last week). But don’t summon a tailor just yet.

Walker, who has two victories and a playoff loss in 2015, now has five PGA Tour victories in less than 18 months, the impetus for a rapid ascension that has landed him in the top 10 in the World Ranking.

Spieth, 21, came into the Texas Open ranked sixth in the world and is aiming higher. “I'd like to at some point be the number one ranked player in the world,” he said earlier in the week. “I'd like to win at least one major championship, try to get one before we look forward from there. But ultimately I'd like to be one of the best players to ever play the game.”

Bettors seem to have been slow to board the Walker bandwagon, despite a record that argued on his behalf. Prior to the Texas Open, odds on Walker winning the Masters were as high as 45 to 1.

It’s one thing, of course, to win the Texas Open or the Sony Open of Hawaii (his two victories in 2015), another to win a major championship. But consider this: Last year, with scant experience in majors, he finished in the top 10 in three of them, including a tie for eighth in the Masters.

Walker’s focus is on Augusta National, where he’ll be Monday and Tuesday for two days of practice, his second visit there in the last two months.

Spieth, meanwhile, already is a consistent force who held a share of the 54-hole lead at Augusta last year, before derailing on the back nine and tying for second.

Both pose a credible threat to McIlroy, who has to pass through Texans en route to the Butler Cabin.

... Read
Equipment

Winner's bag: Jimmy Walker's loyalty to his Scotty Cameron putter pays off

Scotty Cameron has a loyal -- some might say almost cult-like -- following, which has led many that use Cameron putters to hold onto them well after they have been banished from the bag. Jimmy Walker is one of those folks. In October Walker sent his 11-year-old Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter to the Scotty Cameron Custom Shop to be refurbished. Walker had good memories with the club as he won twice and topped the Nationwide Tour money list in 2004. In addition to a little sprucing up, Walker also had tungsten added to the sole to get the feel Walker desired.

Related: Golf Digest's My Shot with Jimmy Walker

Walker used the putter earlier this year in winning the Sony Open and it was still in the bag at the Valero Texas Open where Walker had an impressive 2.585 in strokes gained/putting. Put another way, Walker gained more than 10 strokes on the field on the greens over the four rounds.

 

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 915D2 (Aldila Rogue Tour X), 9.5 degrees
3-Wood: Titleist 915F, 15 degrees
5-Wood: Titleist 915F, 18 degrees
Irons (3-9): Titleist MB 714; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM4
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron By Titleist Newport2 303 GSS

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today