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Tenuous golf connection

These NBA prospects who play golf . . . fortunately not for a living

With the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft commencing Thursday night, 30 athletes from the United States and around the world will be granted the opportunity to shake commissioner Adam Silver’s hand and join the NBA family. These three prospects in particular should be happy to have the chance to make money playing basketball -- especially given their respective excursions in golf. Maybe after a few years in the league, they’ll be able to afford some golf lessons and get to Stephen Curry’s level.

Related: Why are Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry so happy? Because they’re going to play Augusta National 

D’Angelo Russell (G, Ohio State): Whether or not Russell plays golf frequently in his time off, he should just be glad that he’s good at basketball. A month ago, an Instagram video surfaced of him taking a hack at a golf ball with a swing that Charles Barkley would call “turrible.” Regardless, he’s an expected top five pick.


A video posted by Dez Wells (@dezwells_) on

Frank Kaminsky (C, Wisconsin): After a trip to the national championship game earlier this year with Wisconsin, Kaminsky went to get fitted for clubs at Callaway’s Performance Center in Carlsbad, Calif. When you’re 7-feet tall, you’ll look like this with a normal golf club: 


Whether Kaminsky has put his fitted clubs to much use in the past few months is uncertain, but he should be a lottery pick Thursday night regardless. Don’t play golf for now, though: you wouldn’t want that ridiculous hunch over the golf ball to ruin your back.

Dakari Johnson (C, Kentucky): Johnson, one of the lesser-known names in this draft, is expected to be a second round pick. It is uncertain how much he plays golf, but he can definitely use some lessons. When the Wildcats visited a TopGolf facility in the midst of March Madness, senior Jarrod Polson took this video of Johnson to social media.


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Tenuous golf connection

Does Dustin Johnson's strong start have anything to do with this picture?

Since having her first baby in January, Paulina Gretzky's Instagram account understandably has become a lot more G-rated with little Tatum getting most of the spotlight. On Wednesday, though, she veered back into at least PG-13 territory with this photo of her "lounging" in the skimpiest string bikini you'll ever see:

Lounging ☀ᅬ @kouroshbabaeian @juiceranch

A photo posted by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on

Vintage Paulina, for sure. And her return to stunning pre-baby form doesn't seem to be hurting her husband on the course.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Dustin Johnson jumped out to a quick start at Chambers Bay on Thursday with birdies on two of his first three holes. Coincidence? We don't think. . . OK, so it probably is totally a coincidence.


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Tenuous golf connection

More than scores might be high at U.S. Open; pot sales in area are expected to soar

The notion that fescue was going to be the only grass garnering attention in the run-up to the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay has gone up in smoke.

KCPQ, the Fox television affiliate serving the Seattle and Tacoma areas, reported on Monday that local marijuana shops expected a substantial boost to their bottom lines during U.S. Open week.

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(Getty Images)

“Pot store owners are expecting a week’s of marijuana sales each day of the tournament,” Tacoma City Council member Marty Campbell said during an April study session on the matter, KCPQ reported.

Washington is one of two states (the other is Colorado) to legalize recreational marijuana use.

“We were really pushing to get open for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay,” Alden Linn, general manger of a new marijuana retail store, World of Weed, told KCPQ. It is expected to open next week.

There will be no pot bunkers (pun intended) established at Chambers Bay to which fans can retreat to toke, however; smoking marijuana in public is still a crime in the state.

That said, it’s still likely that more than scores will be high that week.


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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.


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.


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." 


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.


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:


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

Ryan Seacrest

Tow truck-hating ESPN reporter Britt McHenry

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

Tim Tebow

The guy from the Bachelor

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

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:

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!

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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