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Tenuous golf connection

Hey Tom Brady, we've mapped out the perfect golf itinerary for you during your suspension

So Tom Brady was suspended for four games by the NFL for failing to cooperate with the league's investigation of "Deflategate." Was the suspension right? Who knows? Golf rules are hard enough to keep track of, so we'll leave this debate to the football cognoscenti (although as Jets fans, we thought eight games had a nicer ring to it). 

What we do know is that Brady should have a little more time on his hands on game days through mid-October. And we know he'll want to distract himself with something he loves, which is golf.

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That's where we can help. Assuming that Brady will want to support his team while he's out, we've mapped out a reasonable itinerary for the 8-handicap based on the location of Patriots' first four games, and their proximity to a course on Golf Digest's list of America's 100 Greatest Courses (of course there are closer options, but c'mon, the guy's married to Gisele! He's not one for settling).

Thursday Sept. 10
The embattled Pats begin their title defense at home in the NFL's Thursday night opener against the Steelers. The good news is kick-off isn't until 8:30 p.m., so Brady could presumably tee off in the afternoon and even drive a bit. We'll send him south to the links-like Kittansett Club, ranked 84th on our list of America's 100 Greatest, and another creation of Shinnecock architect William Flynn. After a day knocking it around with the ocean breeze against his face, Brady might not even mind that his quarterbacking duties are being manned by a guy named Jimmy Garoppolo.

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Sunday, Sept. 20
The Pats' first road game of the season takes them to Buffalo to face Rex Ryan and the Bills. Logistically, this will be the toughest 18 to get in since kick-off is at 1 p.m., and this being Buffalo, we're not exactly overflowing with great options. That's why we're sending Tom east to Rochester and venerable Oak Hill CC, the brawny Donald Ross course ranked 16th on our list. It's a bit more than an hour's drive, so Brady's going to have to be off the blocks at this perennial major championship venue no later than 7 if he wants to be back in time. Then again, does he really need to be there right at the start? We're talking Oak Hill here. And it's the Bills!

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Sunday, Sept. 27
The Pats are back home against the Jaguars, and it's another 1 p.m. start, so Tom will again be pressed for time. The good news is Boston Golf Club, ranked 74th on our list, is a mere 30-minute drive away in Hingham. And it'll be worth it. Golf Digest Architecture Editor Ron Whitten  refers to Boston GC as a "modern-day Pine Valley, massaged by architect Gil Hanse and his team from dramatic coastal topography with gashes of unsullied sand." 

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Sun. Oct. 11
Following a bye week, the last game of Brady's suspension will bring the Patriots to Dallas to face the Cowboys and their own golf-loving QB Tony Romo. Dallas has plenty of great golf options, but the best and closest is Dallas National GC, the Tom Fazio design ranked 61st on our America's 100 Greatest lost. According to Golf Digest's Whitten, Dallas National is worthy of U.S. Open consideration, so we know Brady will love it. The best part is kick-off isn't until 3:25 local time, so maybe Romo can play, too? 

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Tenuous golf connection

Former PGA Tour WAG Amanda Dufner surfaces on social media in a bikini. Obviously.

The fallout from the recent Dufners' divorce included the deletion of Amanda Dufner's popular Instagram account. But the couple's dog, Prince Louie, still has his own handle on the social-media site.

Related: Golf's biggest breakups

And apparently, it's Amanda who is running it.

The former tour WAG posted this photo of Louie and herself lounging on a boat.

Not letting anyone mess with my mom. #mamasboy #watchdog #instadog

A photo posted by Prince Louie (@louiedufner) on

A year ago, Amanda was following Jason at TPC Sawgrass. Now she's. . . well, we don't know where she is.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

But like her slimmed-down ex-husband, we're glad to see Amanda and Louie looking healthy. Apparently, sticking to a strict exercise regiment has paid off:

Frenchie fitness. 💪

A video posted by Prince Louie (@louiedufner) on

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Tenuous golf connection

We taste-tested the latest crop of PGA Tour player beers and Graeme McDowell's won

Pop quiz: You get a large shipment of PGA Tour player beer delivered to your office and you work at Golf Digest. What is the only appropriate thing to do?

If you answered "Drink them," you get half a point. If you said "Do a taste test," you get full credit. If you guessed neither, we're concerned about you.

So here's the deal. GolfBeer Brewing Co. makes three beers with three PGA Tour pros: Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley and Freddie Jacobson. The beers all have a style that reflects the golfer: G-Mac's Celtic pale ale, Keegan's New England lager, and Freddie's Scandinavian blonde ale.

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To conduct a blind taste test of these three beverages, we gave everyone three cups with a complex numerical key* and drank. (*The three cups were numbered 1, 2 & 3 and only one person knew which number matched up with which beer.)

Related: Golf Digest's 50 best 19th holes

We then dragged* seven kind volunteers to participate in the study. (*Most of them ran from their desks as soon as they heard the cans open and begged to be a part of it.) They then drank the beers and ranked them on a scale of 1 to 3 with 3 being the best. Here's a look at everyone hard at work, including Keely Levins, who took copious notes throughout:

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And here's a video of the festivities arduous task:

A video posted by Sam Weinman (@samweinman) on

Our ranking after tabulating the scientific results? 1. G-Mac's pale ale; 2. Freddie's blonde ale; 3. Keegan's lager. Sorry, Keegan. Actually, the numbers were pretty close. Here's a full breakdown of the brews:

1. G-Mac's pale ale (16 points)
The good: "Nutty/oaky undertones." "A lighter, fruity flavor. Kind of like a more flavorful Heineken. Any type of beer drinker would appreciate this taste." One tester went as far to remark, "I want to hang out with the man who brewed this."
The bad: "I'm not a pale ale guy." Don't hang out with G-Mac then!

2. Freddie's blonde ale (14 points)
The good: "Light," "smooth," "crisp." "I could drink this ALL night."
The bad: "Frat beer," "watery," "light." Yes, "light" was both a positive and a negative comment. To each his/her own.

3. Keegan's lager (12 points)
The good: "A little bit of an aftertaste, but that's not a bad thing." "If you enjoy a bolder type of beer, this will fit your palate without being too heavy."
The bad: "It's a bit heavy." Again, to each his/her own.

Overall, we'd recommend you trying all three beers. And if you can get away with doing it in your office during work hours, even better.

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Tenuous golf connection

Here are the people who will NOT be part of the Fox Sports golf broadcasting team

Speculation of how Fox Sports might reinvent golf coverage when it begins broadcasting USGA championships this year has been ongoing since the network was first awarded rights in 2013. Will there be new, innovative camera angles? A glowing ball? Colliding robots when returning from commercial break?

It's all an open question until the red lights first go on, but what we do know is that Fox has a capable, experienced executive producer in Mark Loomis. And now we also know Fox quite possibly has the longest roster of on-air talent in history. In addition to the previously-announced core group that included Joe Buck, Greg Norman, Brad Faxon, and Juli Inkster, Fox unleashed a slew of names on Tuesday that will also be used in varying capacities this summer. 

You can see the full list here -- it's quite long, so we recommend coffee -- but in the interest of clarity, we thought we'd be better served telling you who will NOT be part of the broadcast team.

For instance, you won't see:

Johnny Miller

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Jim Nantz

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Ryan Seacrest

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Tow truck-hating ESPN reporter Britt McHenry

britt-mchenry-fed-ex-field-fb.pngFlavor Flav

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Tim Tebow

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The guy from the Bachelor

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His Holiness The Dalai Lama

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Of course we say this now, but there are still six weeks or so until the U.S. Open, so some of these folks might want to keep their phones on just in case.

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Tenuous golf connection

So what if this Price Is Right contestant's putting stroke is blatantly illegal? It still won her a new car

Something tells us that when 84-year-old Margaret is riding in the new $16,000 car she won on The Price Is Right, she won't be lamenting her violation of the Rules of Golf. Nor should she -- last we checked, a TV soundstage is not a regulation golf course, and it was good enough to net her a new set of wheels.

Here's the video:



We're happy for Margaret, but as the designated wet blankets in charge, we'd be remiss in not pointing out that the clinching putt is in violation of Rule 16-1e: Standing Astride or on Line of Putt. The rule was adopted after Sam Snead reverted to this stroke in the mid-1960s when his normal stroke abandoned him. 

Here's Sam:

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As Snead told Sports Illustrated in 1967, the stroke was ideal for players of advanced age. “Not too many people can bend over quite as well as I can, but I think it is good for old golfers," he said. "They don't have to coordinate two hands, only one."

The stroke was deemed objectionable by a number of golf people, including Bobby Jones, and it was made illegal by the USGA in 1968, with the rule stating: 

The player must not make a stroke on the putting green from a stance astride, or with either foot touching, the line of putt or an extension of that line behind the ball. 

For the record, the penalty here is two strokes or a loss of hole, but for now, we'll let Margaret off with a warning.

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Tenuous golf connection

The wait is over. Jack Nicklaus is finally introducing his own brand of ice cream

Be honest. When your mom pulls out a pie from the oven and slices you up a piece, are you secretly wishing you had a scoop of Jack Nicklaus to go with it? Us too!

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Sensing this void in the frozen dessert market, the 18-time major champion will up his cool quotient (get it?!) with the introduction of Jack Nicklaus Ice Cream. The new ice cream, which will be available at grocery stores like Winn Dixie, Bi-Lo, and Kroger, will feature flavors such as Warm Spiced Butter Pecan, Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl, Salted Caramel Toffee, Strawberry Lemonade, Triple Chocolate, Coffee and Donuts, and Homemade Vanilla.

Other flavors we think Nicklaus should consider: Beer-And-Hot Dog-At-The-Turn, Pimento Cheese, and Drivable Parfait.

Nicklaus will partner with Minnesota-based Schwan Food Company to introduce the ice cream, and consistent with other Nicklaus products like wine, water, and lemonade, proceeds from sales will go to the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation. Isn't that sweet? (OK, we'll stop now.)

"It's no secret that I love ice cream," Nicklaus said in a statement. "Needless to say, I have never had so much fun in the research and development of a product.

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Tenuous golf connection

The Academy Awards shows its anti-golf bias once again

The nominees for the 2015 Academy Awards were announced Thursday morning and do you know what got the shaft? Golf. Again.

OK, so this year isn't the best time to complain. There wasn't exactly an abundance of great candidates. In fact, we're not sure if there were any candidates. But that doesn't explain the award show's lifetime of turning its back on our favorite sport.

Related: Our favorite golf scenes from movies

As far as we can tell, a golf-based movie has never even received an Oscar nomination. For anything. Not for best actor. (Hello, Will Smith in "The Legend of Bagger Vance.") Not for best director. (Does Harold Ramis' work on "Caddyshack" ring a bell?) Not even for best original score. (Um, has the Academy ever listened to the title theme from "The Greatest Game Ever Played"?)

Sure, silly comedies like "Caddyshack" or "Happy Gilmore" -- no matter what the subject matter -- often don't receive any love from the stuffy Academy (If "Anchorman" couldn't land a nomination, nothing will), but what about a movie that blends laughter and heartache as brilliantly as "Tin Cup"? Just watch the movie's bittersweet climax:

Yes, spinning a 3-wood back into the hole from 235 yards at the U.S. Open is a bit of a stretch, but this is Hollywood we're talking about! Oh, and nothing for Kevin Costner? Eh, we can see that. But Cheech Marin couldn't get a supporting actor nod for his brilliant portrayal of Romeo the caddie? SNUB.

Or what about more serious films that chronicle historic events or people like "The Greatest Game Ever Played" or the biopic "Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius." Those movies even starred legit actors like Shia LaBeouf and Jim Caviezel! Then there are cult classics like "Dead Solid Perfect" (based on the novel by Dan Jenkins) and "Follow the Sun," the story of Ben Hogan's comeback from a near-fatal car accident. You can't have a more inspirational plot than that! And still, no love from the Academy.

When the documentary "The Short Game" came out in 2013, it looked like golf might end its long drought at film's biggest awards show -- even if it came in the documentary category. But despite winning the Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival that year, the Oscars didn't come calling.

Related: The top 25 viral golf videos of 2014

Meanwhile, a documentary about a high school football team coming of age in Memphis, "Undefeated," won the Academy Award for best documentary just two years before. And SPOILER ALERT: the team didn't even go undefeated!

In other words, the Oscars likes sports, especially boxing ("Rocky," "Raging Bull," "Million Dollar Baby"). It just doesn't like golf. At least, until there's a movie about the sport directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day Lewis and Meryl Streep. Maybe that would get the Academy's attention. 

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Tenuous golf connection

If Marcus Mariota's Oregon beats Ohio State in the national title game, it can thank. . . golf?

Marcus Mariota is a Heisman Trophy winner and the potential top pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Apparently, he owes a lot of that to him not being nearly as good at golf.

Related: Our favorite gridiron golfers

Mariota's other favorite sport came up during his press conference ahead of Monday night's national championship game, in which his Oregon squad will face Ohio State. Here's what he had to say when asked about playing golf:

"Golf is a frustrating sport. You can hit a nice shot, then the next one you can hit it in the water. You know, in that sense, it is a little frustrating, but I think that game has allowed us to kind of deal with a little bit of adversity and frustration and has helped us in the long run."

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When Mariota says "us," he's referring to Oregon teammates like Hroniss Grasu, with whom he plays golf almost every day in the offseason, according to Cleveland.com. The Ducks' center was asked if he's ever seen his quarterback frustrated and responded, "Yeah, on the golf course," where Mariota's immense football talent doesn't translate.

According to the story, Mariota shows that frustration by walking to his ball after hitting a bad shot instead of getting back into his golf cart. That must be a challenge for a star athlete in charge of arguably the fastest-paced offense in football history.

And maybe it's a trick he learned this past semester. Needing to complete just two more courses to graduate, Mariota only took golf and yoga in the fall. Yeah, we'd say it's been a dream senior year so far.

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Celebrity

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. NFL Playoffs: Sadly, Wildcard Weekend's biggest story was a blown penalty call that helped America's (least favorite) team top the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys should have an even tougher test this Sunday when they travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Packers. Green Bay, can you please beat this guy?

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If that game's not enough, Sunday will also feature the Broncos and Peyton Manning going up against his former team, the Colts, and the guy who replaced him in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck. Saturday's appetizer games of Patriots-Ravens and Seahawks-Panthers aren't bad either. This is one weekend where you wouldn't mind being snowed in.

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2. College Football Championship Game: On paper, a matchup pitting the Heisman-Trophy-winning quarterback versus a third-string play-caller seems absurd. Apparently, it's not if that third-stringer is being coached by Urban Meyer. Cardale Jones, who is only leading the Ohio State offense because the two guys ahead of him are injured, leads the Buckeyes against the Oregon Ducks and Marcus Mariota Monday night in the national title game. And lead it he has. In Jones' first two starts, Ohio State has scored 101 combined points against two great defenses in upset wins over Wisconsin and Alabama. Oregon's strength lies in its fast-paced offense. In other words, if you're a fan of seeing points scored, you may want to tune in.

Related: NFL stars who love playing golf

3. PGA Tour returns: They're back! Well, at least some of them. The 2014-15 PGA Tour season resumes (again) in Hawaii at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and there are SO MANY questions to be answered. Is Tiger really healthy? Will Rory remain the undisputed No. 1? Can close-call Rickie actually win a major? Can Jordan win an event that actually counts as a PGA Tour event? OK, so none of those questions can be answered this week, but the event is still worth watching -- even if it's just to see what nice weather looks like.

4. The Golden Globes: The past year has been a golden one for both movies and TV, and this Sunday is the start of 2015's award season to start honoring the best. I haven't seen "Selma" or "Boyhood" yet, but "The Imitation Game" seems worthy of taking best drama. On the TV side, there's not as much drama with HBO's "True Detective" being nominated in the "mini-series or TV movie" category. At least, us Matthew McConaughey fans won't have to go through another heartbreaking loss.

PHOTOS: The year in golf WAGs

5. The New York Knicks: Speaking of heartbreaking, my favorite basketball team has become the laughingstock of the NBA. After a recent trade to get golf fanatic J.R. Smith (and his contract) off the team and with Carmelo Anthony sitting out with an injured knee, the Knicks are sporting one of the worst lineups I can remember. Some guy named Langston Galloway was their best player in a blowout loss on Friday that was the team's 14th straight defeat. With a 5-33 record, it's time to enter full tank mode. Thankfully, this year's first-round selection is the only valuable draft pick former team president/franchise wrecking ball Isiah Thomas didn't give away.

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Celebrity

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. NCAA Playoffs: At least, we don't have to worry about Jack Nicklaus having to choose between rooting for his alma mater or his family (like that was actually a tough choice) anymore. Jack's Buckeyes upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, while Florida State and Jack's grandson, Nick O'Leary, got blown out by Oregon on the first day in college football playoff history. Wow, what a novel concept to have a playoff to determine the natural champion! Well, better late than never. Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the Ducks will be a heavy favorite over Ohio State in the title game on Jan. 12. He's also the country's favorite college football player after putting an end to the Jameis Winston era at FSU.

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2. NFL Playoffs: Pro football's postseason is well established and wonderful -- even if it means the end of the NFL RedZone Channel. The featured game of Wildcard weekend features the detestable Dallas Cowboys (Yes, I'm a Giants fan, but is any non-Cowboys fan rooting for Jerry Jones?) hosting the equally detestable Detroit Lions and Ndamukong Suh, who has a nasty habit of stomping on other players. Maybe you'll think of him in a different light, though, when you check out this wonderfully random photo of Suh, Warren Buffett and Kathy Ireland putting indoor:

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Nope, he's still pretty tough to root for.

Related: NFL stars who love playing golf

3. AP Male Athlete of the Year: Another end of the season award, another snub for Rory McIlroy, who finished tied for third with Derek Jeter. Baseball still rates a lot higher with the voters than golf. At least, winner Madison Bumgarner, also SI's Sportsman of the Year, and runner-up Clayton Kershaw also had historic seasons (regular season in the case of Kershaw). But Jeter? The guy basically spent the entire season making ceremonial appearances and collecting retirement gifts.

4. AP Female Athlete of the Year: Mo'ne Davis was a fantastic story over the summer, but was this 13-year-old Little League star really the female athlete of the year? The voters could have gone with one of the usual suspects like Serena Williams, but what about Lydia Ko? Just four years older than Davis, one could argue Ko is the best in the WORLD at what she does. We're officially launching our campaign for her in 2015.

PHOTOS: The year in golf WAGs

5. "90 Day Fiance": You know what's the funny thing about being forced by your fiancee to watch certain TV programs? Sometimes, you wind up really enjoying them. Such was the case with TLC's "90 Day Fiancee," which tracks a group of people in the U.S. on K-1 visas -- meaning they have 90 days to get married or they have to return to their home countries. This show was fascinating, especially the one couple in which the man, Mohammed, was clearly just going through with the marriage to get his Green Card. OK, so my first New Year's resolution might be to cut back on the reality TV. . .

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