The Local Knowlege

Tenuous golf connection

The iPod was introduced 13 years ago, and golfers may have benefited most of all

Thursday marked the 13-year anniversary of Apple's debut of the iPod, and surely your life hasn't been the same since. Remember trying to run with a Discman? It was like carrying around a manhole cover. The Walkman was a little better, but that required you to listen to cassettes, and sometimes your idiot sister taped over your favorite mix with some awful Depeche Mode album.

But the iPod changed all that. It was personal, powerful and, most importantly, highly portable.

Steve-Jobs-iPod.jpg
"With iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go," the late Steve Jobs said when introducing the iPod in 2001.

As it turned out, sometimes that place was the golf course. While the idea of practicing or playing while listening to music was not born with the iPod -- Richard Zokol earned the nickname "Disco Dick" in the early 1980s when he listened to a Walkman during tournament play -- the iPod opened the idea up to the masses. Now golfers everywhere could tune in/out, while at least practicing (Zokol was an extreme in listening while competing). The notion of the ideal golf "playlist" was introduced. Eventually in 2007 came the iPhone, which in most cases rendered the standalone iPod obsolete, but the same concept endured.

And golfers have taken advantage ever since, if no other reason, than as a means of avoiding interactions with pesky reporters. 

ipod-3-kim-518.jpg
rory-mcilroy-bose-518.jpg


iphone-1-518.jpg
ipod-2-518.jpg
ipod-4-518.jpg
... Read
Tenuous golf connection

If you don't like the crummy weather forecast, it's probably because you're checking the wrong one

I've long suspected that an inordinate amount of traffic to weather websites comes from golfers with upcoming tee times. This is what we do. You're playing Friday, you check the weather. If you don't like the forecast, you check again later. And if you STILL don't like the forecast, you do what I do and check a different website.

If this seems like delusional behavior -- people trying to ignore the harsh percentages staring them in the face -- you could make the case golf's popularity is pretty much based around the same premise.

But back to weather websites. The one thing I've noticed is that AccuWeather.com's forecast is almost always a little brighter than the one put out by counterpart Weather.com. If Weather.com says it's going to rain on Tuesday, AccuWeather.com says there's only a chance -- and it should clear up by noon. If Weather says it's going to be partly sunny, AccuWeather says pack your sunscreen because it's going to be gorgeous.

Consider, for instance, a recent sampling from this week. This is the Weather.com forecast for my hometown of Rye, N.Y.

weather-rye.jpgAnd here's the Rye forecast from AccuWeather.

accuweather-rye.jpg
As you can see, Weather.com considers Thursday pretty much a washout. But AccuWeather, says it's only supposed to drizzle in the morning. Things are already looking up!

Just to make sure this was not just a local phenomenon, I checked a bunch of other forecasts around the country. Here's the forecast for Des Moines, Iowa, according to Weather.com.

weather-desmoines.jpg
And here's what AccuWeather says.

accuweather-desmoines.jpg
Or how about the weekend in San Francisco. Again, this is Weather's forecast.

weather-sanfrancisco.jpg
And this is AccuWeather's:

accuweather-san-francisco.jpg
In my mind, I've attributed the disparity between the two weather services to just different outlooks on the world. The folks at Weather.com are realists, the AccuWeather people are optimists. At Weather.com, they're monitoring satellites from a row of cubicles under depressing fluorescent lights. At AccuWeather, they're piecing together forecasts in between games of Ping-Pong and impromptu birthday parties in the conference room. 

Is any of this true? Of course not. In reality, both AccuWeather and Weather build their forecast models around data: Weather.com relies on its own patented technology called TruPoint while AccuWeather.com draws from a number of sources, including the National Weather Service. 

So as much as we'd like to think these forecasts are at the whims of temperamental individuals who may or may not have had a few drinks at lunch, it's essentially just one algorithm versus another.

As for which one is better, that may be more a question of what you're looking to hear. 

... Read
Tenuous golf connection

There is a serious flaw in "Gone Girl" and it has to do with golf

The novel "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn was a runaway best-seller, and now the movie starring Ben Affleck is taking off at the box office. All understandably so. It's a riveting story about marriage, crime and small-town America that we won't get into here in case you want to see it for yourself. Plus, if you're on the fence, the movie supposedly features a brief shot of Affleck in a compromising light (in case that's your thing -- no judgments).

gone-girl-518.jpg
But there is one problem with "Gone Girl" and it has to do with golf. Without giving too much away, there is a moment in the story when the main character, Nick Dunne, discovers a series of egregious charges to his credit card bills. We'll let Dunne as narrator take over from here:

"'I mean, freakin' look at some of this stuff: I don't even golf.' Someone had paid over seven thousand dollars for a set of clubs. 'Anyone can tell you: I really don't golf.'"

We will put aside the objectionable use of "golf" as a verb -- another tell-tale sign of a non-golfer -- and instead focus on the concept of a $7,000 set of golf clubs. Seven thousand dollars? The number sounded high, so we decided to take a closer look at our 2014 Golf Digest Hot List of the best new clubs, and from there, construct the most expensive set of golf clubs we could.

We started with a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha driver ($500), two Tour Edge CB Pro Limited Edition fairway woods ($500 each), and two Adams XTD Ti hybrids ($300 each). That got us to $2,100. There are several sets of irons on the market -- from Nike, Mizuno, and Titleist -- that go for $1,100. So now we're at $3,200. Then we added three $150 wedges from Scor Golf and a $400 Bettinardi Studio Stock putter, which brought the total to just $4,050. OK, fine, but you still need a bag. On our 2014 Bag Hot List, the most expensive option was the $360 Ogio Chamber. 

So now we're at $4,410, which is still well short of $7,000. Throw in balls, some fancy handknit headcovers, maybe a rangefinder and a personally-engraved divot repair tool, and we're still not close.

Are there other variables to consider? Always. The clubs in question could be from a high-end Japanese manufacturer like Honma, which in fact offers a set of irons alone at $7,000. But it's highly unlikely someone who doesn't play golf (or is supposedly buying for someone who doesn't play golf) would know such clubs even exist. For what it's worth, in the movie, a TaylorMade SLDR driver is clearly visible, so we're also thinking they stuck to mainstream brands.

Of course, there's always the chance the character in question bought more clubs than in a regulation set. That's one theory we're willing to entertain. The people in "Gone Girl" do all kinds of things wrong. Breaking the 14-club rule could very well have been one of them.

Update: Thanks to astute reader Michael McEwan, who pointed out another golf-related "Gone Girl" flaw: The events of the film take place in the summer of 2012, and the SLDR wasn't released until the next year. "At that point, I was done with that film!" McEwan writes.

... Read
Tenuous golf connection

The Back9 Network's newest personality once gave the most mystifying beauty pageant answer ever

Why does the name Caite Upton sound familiar? No, not KATE Upton. We're talking about one of the upstart Back9 Network's newest personalities, who will be co-hosting a new show, "Off Par", with comedian and actor Matt Blake.

In addition to now having a remarkably similar name as America's premier supermodel (and a former Golf Digest cover girl), Caite Upton is herself a model who used to go by Lauren Caitlin Upton. She was the Miss Teen South Carolina who in 2007 may have delivered the most regrettable answer in the long history of regrettable beauty pageant answers.

It's a winner.

And for those who prefer it in text form, there's this:

upton-518.jpg
In fairness to Ms. Upton, she has never hid from her viral moment. She went on the Today Show shortly after the Miss Teen USA pageant to revisit her answer (she said she was "overwhelmed"). And her Facebook profile proudly owns up to her past.

"I'm a Model/Host/Actress, former Miss South Carolina Teen USA (Yes, I'm THAT girl) AND Amazing Race finalist!"

... Read
News & Tours

5 things to talk about with your buddies on the course this weekend

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. Ray Rice/Roger Goodell: A heinous, indefensible act seems to have led to an embarrassing cover up. Ray Rice, Roger Goodell and the entire NFL all look bad right now. We'll leave it at that.

2. Apple: The tech juggernaut had a live-streamed "release event" Wednesday in which it unveiled new products that are set to hit the market soon: two iPhone 6s, a touchscreen watch, and a payment system that probably has Paypal a little nervous. Despite the Twitter frenzy and the standing ovations, I have no plans to rush out and buy either of the first two, but you should (they can even help your golf game!). Sincerely, Guy who owns shares of APPL stock.

blog-apple-iphone-0912.jpg

This guy looks SUPER pumped for the release of the iPhone 6.

Related: NFL stars who love to play golf

3. Billy Horschel: He's not the best player on the PGA Tour, but he might be the most honest. After winning the BMW Championship, Horschel said, "If I were a betting man, I'd put a little money on me" at this week's Tour Championship. Then he said that even if his wife went into labor with the couple's first child, he wouldn't leave Atlanta and pass up a chance to win the FedEx Cup's $10 million bonus. Before you get all high and mighty and take Horschel to task, would you really not do the same thing if you had a chance to more than double your career earnings in one day?

4. Fabrizio Zanotti: If you don't know the name, just know he was a European Tour player who got hit in the forehead by an errant tee shot Thursday during the KLM Open. Fortunately, Zanotti, who was rushed to a hospital, is OK. More so, we'd like to highlight two other players, Felipe Aguilar and Ricardo Gonzalez, who withdrew from the tournament to go to the hospital with their friend. The moral of the story? Keep your head on a swivel when you're out on the course, always yell "Fore!" and play with friends who aren't going to keep playing if you get hurt.

Related: Rory and Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

5. "Breaking Bad": After years of saying I'd give this highly acclaimed TV show a chance, I finally did. Less than three weeks later -- and after signing up for a free one-month Netflix trial -- I finished the entire series, showing about as much control as the Meth Heads in it. One word: MASTERPIECE. "The Wire" remains my No. 1 drama of all-time (is there anyone who has watched that show and said otherwise?), but "Breaking Bad" might have supplanted "The Sopranos" as my No. 2. Agree? Disagree? More importantly, does anyone have any other TV suggestions? I'm going through Walter White withdrawal. . .

... Read
Tenuous golf connection

Weird golf news of the week: Iowa man gets really creative with golf balls

Ever wonder what people who live on golf courses do with all the balls that get hit into their backyards? Well, you probably wouldn't guess what one Iowa man did.

Related: More weird golf news

Kevin Pingel took nearly 600 balls and turned them into a six-foot, 100-pound statue of a golfer, according to Siouxlandmatters.com. Here's a photo of the structure:

blog-tiger-woods-statue-0821.jpg

And here's a video of Pingel, who takes being a golf fanatic to another level, discussing his impressive art project:

Pingel said he modeled the statue -- which is becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction in Alta, Iowa -- after the current swing of his favorite golfer, Tiger Woods. Somewhere, Sean Foley just did a fist pump.

(h/t Back9Network)

... Read
Tenuous golf connection

Remember that model who tried to get Rory's attention at the WGC? Well, Rory just followed her on Twitter

Remember this woman at the WGC-Bridgestone earlier this month?

 

 

This one? The blonde woman who gently adjusted her hair moments after Rory hit his first tee shot on the par-3 15th hole?

rory-mcilroy-model-518.jpg

Well, if you didn't, everyone else did (it helps that it all happened on national television). And it seems like her apparent attempt to capture Rory's attention worked just as planned. The woman, who we later learned was a model named Ashley Bongiovanni, now has a new Twitter follower: Rory McIlroy. The news was first reported by No Laying Up. Here's the proof:


rory-blond-wgc-twitter-5178.jpgBecause of the two trophies Rory boasts in his new profile picture, it's only natural for us to be interested in this kind of stuff. Already this summer, Rory has been linked with romantic relationships to Irish models Nadia Forde and Sasha Gale.

... Read
Tenuous golf connection

Michigan man allegedly impersonates a golf pro, runs up $16,000 tab at posh resort

The concept of seeking a "comp" at a golf resort isn't a new one. Free range balls, perhaps. Or if you've got the right connections, maybe even an entire round. 

nemacolin-518.jpg
A Michigan man recently took that to an extreme when, according to police reports, he constructed an elaborate scheme in which he secured $16,146 in "goods, services and lodging" at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in outside of Pittsburgh in Farmington, Pa. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jeffrey Paul Cochran of Scottsville, Mich., called Nemacolin and identified himself as Dan Renyolds, a doctor who was seeking to set up a stay for another doctor who was interviewing for a job at a local hospital. The story continues:

Cochran told Nemacolin the visiting doctor is a golf pro, and the resort made arrangements for him to stay at its Falling Rock hotel, police said. Renyolds was to pay for a house account the resort opened to accommodate the fictitious golf pro's expenses, according to the affidavit.

According to the story, Cochran stayed at the resort, which features rooms ranging from $509 to $709 a night, for 13 days, played multiple roundsand made a number of charges in the golf shop.

Pennsylvania state police charged Cochran with theft by deception and theft of services. 

There is no Jeffrey Cochran in Michigan listed in the GHIN system, so we can't say whether or not he posted some suspect scores as well.

... Read
Tenuous golf connection

Drop what you're doing and check out this incredible golf-themed video parody of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

By Alex Myers

The problem with parody songs? Unless you're "Weird Al" Yankovic, they usually come across as cheesy, unfunny, and they are generally not well done.

Not this one.

The Grind: Watch Lee Westwood sing and a very dangerous trick shot

Nigel Tait's annual golf buddies trip to Australia has a tradition of featuring parody songs. We're going to assume this rendition of Queen's famed "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the group's best. Check it out:

Tait had help from his golf mates with the lyrics and in the video, but it appears that he was responsible for all instruments, lead vocals, harmonies and sound effects. Very impressive.

"Golfing really matters, anyone can see. Golfing really matters. Golfing really matters to me . . ." Tait swoons near the end of the song.

Related: Rory & Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

We can tell, Nigel. We can tell.

(h/t GolfChannel.com)

... Read
Tenuous golf connection

Rory and Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

By Alex Myers

The pictures of Rory McIlroy and the claret jug have been flowing since his win at Hoylake. And apparently, the Jagermeister has been flowing among his inner circle as well.

Not that we should be surprised.

McIlroy, 25, has had a long, eventful history with the dark syrupy drink, which is impressive. There aren't too many people who could stomach a long history with Jager. We start in 2010, when a 21-year-old McIlroy tweeted this the day after Europe's win over the U.S. at the Ryder Cup in Wales:

Related: The unauthorized history of Tiger Woods' jeans

"What a week!! Think I'm still drunk! Jagerbombs out of the Ryder cup! Great banter with euros and Americans last night!"

A "Jager Bomb" is a Jager and Red Bull concoction. It's also the key that unlocks McIlroy's inner dance machine:

Unfortunately, there aren't any photos of McIlroy dancing. Yet.

In a 2011 interview with ShortList Magazine, McIlroy confirmed his game plan when it comes to drinking. Like his strategy on the golf course, it's aggressive:

"I try to start on beer to start off slow, but then I tend to get into vodka Red Bulls and Jagerbombs."

Rory just drinking beer would be like Rory trying to hit all irons off the tee. Rory don't play that!

Then, there was the infamous night of February 17, 2011. It was a Thursday night, but McIlroy, who has a history of Friday struggles on the course, wasn't playing in a tournament that week. First, McIlroy tweeted this:

"5 Jagerbombs before midnight!! #goingtobealongnight"

Then, less than an hour later:

"Up to 10 now!!"

So much for taking it slow! The guy must have been dancing up a STORM that night. The next morning, McIlroy wrote:

"Jagerbombs 1 Rory 0"

Attention, fellow golfers: this is how you beat Rory McIlroy! Jager is his Kryptonite! Friend Lee Westwood, a man known to throw back a pint or two himself, weighed in on McIlroy's drink of choice later that day:

But apparently, Rors didn't learn -- most guys don't until they're 25. After shooting 80 and blowing a four-shot lead on Sunday at the Masters less than two months later, McIlroy posted this picture of him presumably drinking his sorrows away:

blog-rory-mcilroy-jager-0721.jpg

And now, three years later under much happier circumstances, Jager appears to still be a big part of McIlroy's night life (so much for that age 25 stat). In this picture tweeted by golf writer Brian Keogh, the licorice-tasting liquor (ugh, my stomach turned just thinking about it) is being poured into the claret jug as McIlroy's mom -- Jagermom? -- watches intently:

blog-rory-mcilroy-jager-mom-0721.jpg

McIlroy said he'd drink "everything or anything" from golf's oldest trophy following his victory at the 2014 British Open and it seems like he didn't waste any time doing just that. So what's the score now between Rory and his liquid frenemy? We await a follow-up tweet.

... Read
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today