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Tenuous golf connection

Bubba Watson released his first solo music video -- and we're not quite sure what to make of it

Bubba Watson means well. For the past few years, he's dubbed himself "Bubbaclaus" and run a contest on Twitter in which he gives out Christmas presents. And in 2014, Bubbaclaus is back, only this time -- in addition to the gifts -- he came bearing a wacky music video.

The Grind: Paula Creamer gets married and Rickie and Alexis go to the Bahamas

We're not quite sure what to make of The Golf Boys star's first solo musical effort, but if you are a fan of hovercrafts, a dancing Gumby, and Bubba rapping to a hip-hop-flavored version of the "Hallelujah Chorus," then you're in for a treat.

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Tenuous golf connection

Rory McIlroy didn't win every award in 2014 after all, still trails Tiger 2-0 in one particular honor

Rory McIlroy won two major championships, finished in the top 25 in every PGA Tour event he played, and swept all of golf's player of the year awards. But it wasn't enough to earn Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year for 2014.

Instead, that honor went to another 25-year-old star, Madison Bumgarner, who led the San Francisco Giants to their third World Series title in five years. Wait, that's it?!

Related: The greatest seasons in golf history

Oh, he won both his World Series starts and added a five-inning save in Game 7? And he allowed just one run in 21 innings and had a 1.03 ERA in 52.2 innings in what many called the greatest postseason pitching performance of all time? Getting better. Oh, according to his dad, the left-handed hurler plays golf as a righty? Fine, fine. Give him the award.

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Bumgarner beat out McIlroy and other nominees like Russell Wilson, Michael Sam, Mo'ne Davis, and Tim Howard. SI golf writer Alan Shipnuck, who pushed for McIlroy, was disappointed when he heard the news.

Subjective awards are always open to debate and comparing athletes from different sports makes things even trickier. But before you cite an anti-golf bias, know the sport has had a fair share of winners through the years, especially before 1980: Arnold Palmer (1960), Ken Venturi (1964), Lee Trevino (1971), Jack Nicklaus (1978), Patty Sheehan (1987 -- one of eight co-winners), and Tiger Woods (1996 and 2000).

Related: Rory & Jagermeister: An unauthorized history

So, there's hope for you yet, Rory. Just win three majors next year and you should have a better chance.

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Tenuous golf connection

Underrated moments in golf history: That time Psy's "Gangnam Style" took center stage at a PGA Tour event

On Wednesday, Korean rapper Psy's famed "Gangnam Style" music video made more news for maxing out YouTube's video counter at 2,147,483,647. Yes, that's more than two BILLION for those who aren't good with numbers.

Related: The top 25 viral golf videos of 2013

Here's the official video (there are others with tons of views as well), which was uploaded on July 15, 2012, in case you forgot or are the only person on Earth with access to a computer who hasn't seen it yet:

A YouTube video maxing out on the ability to count views has never happened before, and Google quickly addressed the issue in a statement, "We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer." Whatever that means. In any matter, Google figured out a fix -- at least, for now -- and the number is rising again.

You may remember "Gangnam Style" reaching the PGA Tour during the final round of the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open. After making a birdie at TPC Scottsdale's raucous 16th hole, James Hahn did an extended -- and well done -- version of the dance:

YouTube probably doesn't have to worry about Hahn's video breaking its counter, but the clip is up to more than 328,000 views (only 2.1 BILLION and change behind!). Not bad for a golfer whose biggest claim to fame is. . . OK, so that's probably his biggest claim to fame.

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Tenuous golf connection

That time Golf Digest was prominently featured in "Seinfeld"

The beauty of an all-time great TV show like "Seinfeld" is that no matter how long it's been off the air, watching reruns never gets old. You also never know when you're going to catch something you missed the first, second, or even 17th time around.

Related: The funniest golf moments on "Seinfeld"

Such was the case last week while I was watching "The Fatigues," which originally aired on Halloween in 1996. If you're not familiar with the sixth episode of the penultimate eighth season, it's the one where Elaine -- who is running the J. Peterman Catalogue at the time -- keeps promoting a guy wearing military fatigues because she's intimidated by him.

And since "Seinfeld" episodes always contain multiple plots that all seem to smartly weave together, it's also the one in which Jerry winds up mentoring hack comedian Kenny Bania, George has trouble reading a book about risk management, and Kramer urges Frank Costanza to come out of retirement as a chef to help him host a Jewish singles night in this classic scene:

Oh yeah, yada, yada, yada, it's also the episode that features "Golf Digest." Just look at this frame of Jerry talking to Bania on the street:

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Now that's product placement.

Of course, it was just a coincidence (we might think otherwise if creator Larry David, an avid golfer, hadn't left after the seventh season), but the January 1996 issue (we went through our archives) that touted the magazine's "50 Greatest Tips Ever" was/remains pretty useful to display. Here's a closer look at the cover:

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Surprisingly, not much has changed in golf in the nearly two decades since. That magazine only cost $1 less than it would today on newsstands, it contained a story about Europe beating the U.S. at the Ryder Cup, and it featured Dan Jenkins tweaking Tiger Woods by not listing him among the 72 greatest golfers of all time. OK, so Woods was still six months away from turning pro.

The Grind: Tiger's letter, Lydia's box of cash, and Holly's steamy photo shoot

In any matter, Golf Digest appeared in an episode of "Seinfeld" and we have the proof. Now excuse us while we go celebrate like it's Festivus.

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Tenuous golf connection

What Odell Beckham Jr.'s circus catch has to do with a Ben Hogan golf tip

Social media exploded on Sunday night thanks to Odell Beckham Jr.'s circus catch in the second quarter of the Giants-Cowboys game. The NFL rookie hauled in a leaping one-handed grab for a touchdown (while drawing a pass interference call on his defender) that had many quickly labeling it as the greatest catch of all time. Just look at it!

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But as Deadspin pointed out, Beckham really only used three of his right fingers to make his one-handed highlight. So why are we mentioning it on a golf blog?

Well, Ben Hogan advocated practicing with just a three-finger grip in the right hand in his iconic instruction book, "Five Lessons." Hogan suggested taking the thumb and forefinger -- "potential swing-wreckers" -- off the club and taking practice swings to give a golfer "a wonderful sense of having just one corporate hand on the club." Here are the drawings on page 31 of what it should look like:

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Related: More of Ben Hogan's timeless tips

So go ahead and try Hogan's drill while you're stuck indoors this winter to get that correct feeling of having your hands work together in the golf swing. If you're playing football this Thanksgiving, though, it's probably best to leave the back-bending, gravity-defying, full-extending, one-handed catch attempts to the pros.

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Tenuous golf connection

This is probably the bravest/stupidest thing you'll see today

Darren Maule is a television host in South Africa, and last week, he concocted a cunning plan. He decided to hire a stuntman and hit a golf ball directly at him from a few yards away. After trying but failing a few times, he made an adjustment and struck the decisive blow directly into the stuntman's inner thigh -- a few inches away from his strategically well-placed hand.

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All things considered, being hit in the thigh probably isn't the worst place considering some of the other options. Nevertheless, it probably really, really hurt.

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We salute you, South African stuntman.


UPDATE: After this post was published, one of our loyal Golf Digest readers illuminated us to this even more brave/stupid probably-fake-but-still-amazing GIF that floated around Twitter on Monday. 


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Tenuous golf connection

Here's that Kim Kardashian golf angle you've been looking for

By now you may have heard of Kim Kardashian and Paper Magazine's efforts to "Break the Internet," all based on a series of revealing -- and disturbingly shiny -- photos of the reality star that surfaced this week.

What does this have to do with golf? Actually, something!

At Golf Digest, one of our favorite photographers to work with is the talented and slightly unbalanced Cy Cyr, who, among other projects, we collaborated with on the popular Most Annoying Golf Partners series. 

When Golf Digest made national headlines last spring for its controversial Paulina Gretzky cover, Cyr constructed a reimagining of the cover featuring he and several of his Orlando-area friends as the "Gretzky Boys." That rendition got nearly as much attention as the real cover, even getting Cy a mention on the "Today Show".

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So now comes the Kardashian cover, and what does Cy do? 

You guessed it.  



For the record we're giving you the PG version here. If you want the full Monty, well, you've been warned.

If you must know, that's Cyr next to Kim in the top row. And there's another golf connection! One spot over from Cy is David Byrnes, a professional golfer who was the winner of Golf Channel's Big Break: Indian Wells. As you know, the Big Break is a revealing test of aspiring golfers looking to ascend to the next level. At least we used to think of it as revealing. This sort of takes it to a new level.



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Tenuous golf connection

Here are the endless ways the new Google app can help you with golf

Google has a new version of its search app, and its capabilities go well beyond answering bet-settling questions like, "What's the capital of North Dakota?"

Most impressive is the enhancement of Google's voice search, which means you can mumble some semi-coherent query into your phone while driving, and it will come back with a worthwhile answer. This is true for a lot of things -- movie times, for instance, or stocks -- but we were most interested in how it applies to golf. 

So using only voice recognition, we gave it a whirl.


First, we started with the weather, since we needed to know if it was at all playable this week.

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OK, not great, but we're a hardy bunch, so we'll give it a go. Then we needed to nail down where.

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And how to get there.

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Perfect. Now, we needed some inspiration.


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Very cool, but that's not really my reality. This is. 

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Or this. 

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And when things get a little sideways, I sometimes need help with the math.

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And yes, I'll admit, I need better ways to deal with my frustration.

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Eventually I realize I just need to relax.


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Tenuous golf connection

Video: New NSFW music video called "Tiger Woods" is oddly catchy

Tiger Woods' sex scandal is nearly five years old, but that hasn't stopped a rapper from using the 14-time major winner's highly publicized off-course activities as the topic of a new song. Maxxx Flair (clever) has released a track titled "Tiger Woods," and it's about a guy who is going to have sex with a woman in a relationship.

The Grind: Jessica Alba plays golf and John Daly plays Bob Dylan

We think Mr. Flair has the details backward, but we'll chalk that up to artistic license. Check out the NSFW -- just for the lyrics since Flair is the only person to appear in the low-budget production -- music video in which he says "Tiger" or "Tiger Woods" about 768 times in less than two minutes. And yet, we can't stop listening. . .

(h/t Ryan Ballangee, Golf News Net)

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Tenuous golf connection

Meet Mike Pickett, a golf club pro who also creates pumpkin masterpieces

Mike Pickett says he's always been good at reading greens. That same keen eye has helped the golf pro in his side business -- where he expertly wields a knife instead of a putter. 

Pickett, the Director of Golf at the private Stonewater Golf Club in Highland Heights, Ohio, has gained notoriety in recent years for his stunning pumpkin carvings. So much so that he has extra time off during the fall written into his contract and he's set up a website to start selling his Halloween creations called "Illuminated Carves."

Here are his takes on Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods: 

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See? We told you they were good. So how did it all start? A friendly competition.

Related: Our Halloween costume suggestions

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"I've always been artistic and Halloween is my favorite time of year. I was in a contest with a friend and he was beating me. And then I found out how to carve a face," Pickett said.

The technique Pickett discovered took him two hours to complete and used two kinds of knives. With plenty of practice, he has shaved half the time off the process and has switched to using pumpkins made of foam.

"When someone buys a pumpkin, it's about the time it takes me," said Pickett, who stays busy through the holiday season fulfilling orders. "No one's going to spend money on something that's going to rot. It's a really nice piece and it lasts forever."

Being based in Ohio, Pickett says his most popular sports carvings are of LeBron James, Ohio State, and the Cleveland Browns, "since they're actually playing football this season." Of non-sports figures, Pickett says John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe and Heath Ledger's "The Joker" (Pickett's personal favorite carve) are best sellers.

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People can choose from pumpkins Pickett has already carved or have one custom-made. He typically charges $80 to $100 and the orders have really started to pick up in 2014 thanks mainly to being a feature vendor at Ohio's annual Circleville Pumpkin Show and having a month-long display at the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland. You may have seen his work on Golf Channel sets at last year's Presidents Cup and on recent episodes of "Morning Drive" and "Golf Central."

"I never in a million years thought it would get this big," said Pickett, who estimates he'll sell 350 pumpkins this year, up from 162 in 2013. "I love seeing people's reactions to what I do."

The Grind: Jessica Alba plays golf and John Daly plays Bob Dylan

He'll get to see more reactions when he carves for three hours at Quicken Loans Arena leading up to the Cleveland Cavaliers' home opener on Thursday night. The pumpkins he carves will be raffled off during the game.

"I enjoy every carve I do," Pickett said. "It's very independent. Just like going out to play golf by yourself. It's very pleasing and entertaining."

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