The Local Knowlege

The Masters

Jordan Spieth: Hair today, gone tomorrow? Maybe not

Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of Jordan Spieth in the wake of his Masters victory, but a few only want a piece of his scalp.

On CBS’ Masters telecast, Nick Faldo said Spieth’s “biggest concern at 21 is that he’s losing some hair.”

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(Getty Images)

A Golf Digest blog post that included that quote in a headline generated Twitter reaction from a few of those with ideas on how to help. Here are two:

Also checking in was a hair loss blog, “The end or hair loss and balding by 2020,” at HairLossCure2020.com.

Meanwhile, others have taken note of Spieth’s receding hairline. GQ magazine’s website helpfully chimed in with links to “some previous GQ balding coverage that may help him regain his confidence off the course”:

-- The Style Guy on Going Bald
-- The GQ Guide to Balding With Style
-- The 100 Most Powerful Bald Men in the World
-- Solving Prince William's Bald Problem

Spieth himself jokes about his receding hairline and doesn’t lack for confidence off the course. There’s also this, from Dan Jenkins’ book “Dogged Victims of Inexorable Fate,” about covering the 1952 Masters for the Fort Worth Press:

“A typewriter I was using in the Augusta press room did a quaint and curious thing. On a hasty deadline, it wrote, ‘Sam Snead won the Masters yesterday on greens that were slicker than the top of his head.’”

If balding is Spieth’s fate, he’ll be in Hall of Fame company.

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Fantasy Golf

Curse you, DJ! How this guy at home was a couple of Masters miscues away from winning $1 million

Like many people last week, Jim Picarella heard about DraftKings' Masters contest offering a top prize of $1 million and decided to start an account with the online fantasy sports website so he could enter. Sure, the odds were long, but all he needed was $20 and a dream.

And a great team.

Picarella, a self-described golf fanatic who is "always watching the Golf Channel" had no problem fielding just that. DraftKings gives participants a budget of $50,000 in imaginary cash and you choose six players who earn points based on their scores and position. In addition to big names like Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson, Picarella's lineup also included lesser-known -- but in form -- players like Hideki Matsuyama, Russell Henley and Charley Hoffman.

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Picarella was glued to his TV throughout the tournament, but not to his computer screen. Once it got to be Saturday afternoon and everyone on his team was playing well, though, the 27-year-old Manhattan resident checked the DraftKings site and saw his name high on a leader board of 125,900 entrants.

Related: 15 revealing moments from the Masters

"From that point on, I literally couldn't move from the couch," said a superstitious Picarella. "There was no looking at the phone, no talking to anybody. Nothing."

Well, except for his girlfriend, who actually helped him pick Spieth and who went out to get food. Picarella didn't want to keep monitoring his status on DraftKings because he knew it would be a "rollercoaster" and he didn't want to get his "hopes up." Late during the final round, however, he checked. And this is what he saw:

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Currently Winning: $1,000,000.00.

"I started freaking out and all the nerves kicked in," Picarella said. "The whole thing was too surreal. I was just sitting there trying not to get too caught up in it. I didn't know how to comprehend winning that much money."

Unfortunately, he never had to. Despite Spieth hanging on for the victory and Matsuyama matching the low round of the day, there was a painful bogey by Zach Johnson on the final hole and a devastating double bogey by Dustin Johnson on No. 16.

"When that ball went into the water, it was a punch to the gut," Picarella said.

After the tournament concluded, Picarella was too nervous to check how his entry had ended up until 8:30 p.m. When he finally got the nerve? Third place. $50,000.

"To be honest, it was a little disheartening, but obviously, I'm very happy to win $50,000," he said.

"The whole thing was grueling. On birdies and eagles, we were getting more pumped up than the players."

The Grind: Jordan Spieth's kiss seen around the world

An entry of Spieth, Hoffman, Henley, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, and Kevin Na won the top payout of $1 million -- more than what any player not named Jordan Spieth won in the actual tournament. And a team of Spieth, DJ, Matsuyama, Hoffman, Na, and Ian Poulter edged Picarella for second to earn $100K. (Both of those participants declined our interview requests.)

Still, 50 Gs isn't bad for watching golf from your couch all weekend. Picarella says he plans to enter similar big contests, but he "won't go crazy." He's happy with his Masters haul -- and he's a big fan of the golfers who helped him earn it.

"The six of them are all literally my favorite players now," he said.

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The Masters

This guy pulled off the ultimate boss move, proposed to his girlfriend at Amen Corner

The pressure of pulling off a perfect proposal is something tons of guys in relationships struggle with. There's really nothing that hasn't been done before. But you want to make it a special moment you and your significant other will always remember.

How about Amen Corner at the Masters? That's what one guy did last week.

Taylor Lamb, 25, planned to propose to his girlfriend, Alyson Dukes, on Masters Monday during a practice round. But when he had trouble scoring tickets as late as the night before, the big plan looked to be done.

Related: Watch a PGA Tour pro propose at Pebble Beach

Luckily, the athletic director at Georgia Regents University (formerly Augusta State), where he's a sports information director, came up clutch with two tickets.

Talk about things being meant to be! You can find the full Augusta Chronicle story here.

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The Masters

The story of Jordan Spieth's caddie and how they made history at the Masters

(This story originally appeared in our Golf World Masters coverage issue.)

Michael Greller went to his first Masters three years ago. The fifth- and sixth-grade math teacher from Washington State won the right to purchase four practice-round tickets through the tournament's lottery, so he dug into his bank account and treated his brother, his brother's wife and a friend. Even at face value, the badges were expensive on a teacher's salary, but well worth it. They followed Rory McIlroy, drank a few beers and enjoyed the walk.

"I was dreaming about just getting a pass into the gates, let alone getting to walk inside the ropes," Greller said last week, wearing the traditional white caddie overalls with the name SPIETH on his back. "I'm enjoying the walk now, too."

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Two years after buying his way into Augusta National, Greller found himself on Jordan Spieth's bag in a pairing with McIlroy during the first two rounds of the 2014 Masters. And on Sunday, he won the caddie lottery by carrying Spieth's clubs to a victory in the 79th Masters, with McIlroy finishing four strokes back.

How Greller became caddie for the 2015 Masters champ is a story unto itself. Now 37, Greller grew up in Michigan, played NAIA golf for Northwestern College in Iowa and moved to the Pacific Northwest to be near his sister. When the U.S. Public Links came to Gold Mountain G.C. near his Gig Harbor home in 2006, he approached a player that was carrying his own bag, Matt Savage of Florida State.

After helping Savage advance to the quarterfinals, Greller changed school districts to be closer to Chambers Bay, where he could moonlight as a caddie. Savage knew Justin Thomas and recommended Greller when the course hosted the 2010 U.S. Amateur. Through their success, Greller begged Thomas to set him up with Spieth for the 2011 U.S. Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain. They won, and when Spieth finished low amateur at the 2012 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, Greller locked down the job.

"I took a one-year leave of absence from teaching, thinking [Spieth] had no status anywhere," Greller said. "Yes, he was the No. 1 amateur in the world, but that means nothing out here. I was getting married, had a house. To go chase this kid caddieing was kind of a big risk. And then he went crazy."

Related: Jordan Spieth could triple his off-course earnings with his Masters win

The story gets better now that Spieth is a 21-year-old major winner with more than $13 million in earnings. Greller and his wife, Ellie, a kindergarten teacher, were married at Chambers Bay, site of this summer's U.S. Open. He returned home last year and served as a substitute teacher for one day. It's hard to shake your roots.

Combined with his loops at Chambers and a stipend for coaching the girls' golf team at Curtis High School, Greller was bringing home $55,000 a year. The kids he taught and coached were priceless. "Working with them was a walk in the park," he said. "We'd get crushed and they were giggling."

Greller also brought yardage books into the classroom as a learning tool, getting the kids to think quick on their feet, add the yardage, figure the percentages.

"It's kind of eerie how much it translates," he said.

What does he miss most about teaching? The bonds with the couple dozen kids in his classroom and the unfiltered joy they bring. What doesn't he miss? The lesson plans and returning parents' emails.

"Now it's the same thing," he said, "except I have one kid."

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The Masters

Jordan Spieth realizes he wasn't dreaming, posts a hilarious tweet

We live in a world so consumed with social media that people use hashtags when they talk and almost automatically head to Twitter to post what they had for lunch.

But not Jordan Spieth. No humble-bragging for him. His tweet today sums up the Texan's modest upbringing.

Equally impressive: Reports show that Spieth will play in this week's RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, even after the life-changing Masters win. It's the first time a Masters champion will head to Harbour Town to play in the event after the Masters since Zach Johnson did it in 2007. Spieth finished T-12 at the event last year.

Related: Twitter explodes with congratulatory messages for Jordan Spieth

Now his Twitter followers number needs to go up. Below 500,000? C'mon people. This is the next great American golf star we're talking about here!

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News & Tours

The dulcet tones of Jim Nantz attracted more viewers to CBS' Masters coverage (or maybe Jordan Spieth has something to do with it)

It's widely known the Masters is the most watched golf event of any year. We base that not just on hard data, but the number of people in the Golf Digest office who say this is the one tournament that some non-golfer in their family sits on the couch and watches tour pros chase the little white ball.

For me, it's my Mom, who couldn't help but call Sunday night and start to gush about that nice young man who was wearing that green coat. "What was his name again, Jordan Speech?" she asked. ("Spieth, Mom. It's Spieth.")

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So just how many non-golf fans joined my Mom in making the Masters their yearly golf indulgence? CBS didn't break down its ratings numbers that specifically, but it did tout in a Monday press release that its final-round viewership was up 23 percent from 2014, pulling in a 9.6 rating and a 20 share for its average household metered market numbers. (Each rating point is roughly a million viewers and the share is a percentage of the number of overall viewer watching anything at that time who were watching that specific program.) Not surprisingly, viewership peaked from 6:30-7 p.m. EDT, just as Spieth's coronation became official, with a 11.5 rating and a 22 share.

CBS also offered an interesting note highlighting the five top markets on Sunday:

Fort Myers (Fla.), 15.1/27
Greensboro-High Point Winston-Salem (N.C.), 14.6/25
Greenville-Spartanburg-Ashville (N.C.), 14.4/26
Tampa-St. Petersburg (Fla.), 13.3/24
West Palm Beach (Fla.), 12.9/26

Apparently that nice young man who tied the Masters 72-hole scoring record did connect with some other non-golfers' moms . . .  or maybe just retirees in Florida and North Carolina.

CBS' Saturday third-round ratings also were up from 2014, rising 48 percent (Tiger Woods' presence on the leader board certainly helped as well). Earlier in the week ESPN said its numbers rose for coverage of the Par-3 Contest and the first and second rounds. And Golf Channel also said its pre-game and post-game ratings were the highest in its history.

Thanks again, Mom, and all the rest of you non-golf fans. Don't be afraid to come back for the U.S. Open in June. Chambers Bay is beautiful.

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The Masters

Tour Wife Diary: Erin Walker on a draining week and post-round pep talks

Erin Walker, wife of Jimmy Walker, will be sharing with GolfDigest.com her thoughts on what it's like to be a PGA Tour wife at the Masters. Follow her musings (@Tourwifetravels) from Augusta National all week.

I know that Jimmy is really disappointed with his finish (Walker bogeyed his final two holes of the week to finish one over par for the tournament) and how he played this week, but I'm really proud of how he grinded. He just disclosed it, but he injured his hand on No. 7 tee box on Thursday and it really hindered him. He couldn't hit a cut and there were a lot of pins that you needed to do that so I know he was really frustrated. That's hard because you build up for this week and he was playing so well coming in, but that's golf, and you can't win every week!

Related: Erin Walker on dealing with Tiger Woods' crowds

He's going to be running a little hot, but once he cools off he'll say there's not a lot to do when you're injured. I don't think it's anything serious, though. A couple days off and he should be fine, and knowing him, he'll work even harder than he has.

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I've learned support works better after a tough week. You know the saying, "you catch more flies with honey." Especially with me being competitive, I don't like people telling me what I did wrong when I ride. I know what I did wrong and it's taken me a while to learn that when dealing with Jimmy. He knows what he did wrong so it doesn't help to talk about that. I just say, "You know what? You'll get 'em next week."

Related: Meet the wives and girlfriends of the PGA Tour

It's time for a break, though and it'll be good to hang out at home with the family. Then he actually gets to watch the kids for a couple days later this week since my mom and I are going to Vegas to watch the World Cup Finals for Show Jumping!

A major championship is draining, but the Masters is a great week no matter what. And the more you play this course, the better. He can't wait to be back. And I know he's going to be chomping at the bit for the Players and the next three majors. So it's alright. There's always more golf!

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The Masters

Video: Relive the Masters in 150 seconds

AUGUSTA, GA. -- If you were too busy to watch the the Masters, you probably need to take a hard look at your priorities in life. 

But maybe you had a good reason. Or maybe you watched and you still want to see it again. No apologies necessary. We're right there with you.

With that in mind, there's no better starting point than this sweet video essay by Masters.com's Jimmy Roberts.

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News & Tours

Tiger Woods' wrist comment provides a bizarre finish to an eventful week at Augusta National

What does Tiger think he is, a doctor?

This and similar caustic remarks echoed around the pressroom when Tiger explained the tree root situation at the ninth. "There was a little joint that popped back out and I was able to somehow put it back in, which didn't feel very good, but at least it got back in and I could move my hand again."

Related: The winners and losers from Sunday at Augusta

Dubious as that diagnosis may be, what really matters is that for the first time this year Tiger Woods finished four consecutive competitive rounds. "Pretty proud" and "pretty pleased" were the words he chose to describe the feeling. "No one knows except for two other people how hard I worked to get back here. I've worked my butt off. To make my short game my strength again is pretty sweet. I've got my pop back." In a battle between two release patterns, one has prevailed.

As for the two humans, presumably the first is Chris Como, his swing consultant, though "coach" is still too intimate a title at this point in time. Is the second girlfriend Lindsey Vonn, who followed her man all week? Or is it his longtime agent, Mark Steinberg, whose color understandably drained from his face hearing his star client howl in pain from the pine straw? Caddie Joe LaCava? Longtime friend Rob McNamara? One of his children and not the other? Someone else the world of golf doesn't even know about?

Whoever the second confidant is, as remarkable as Tiger's return to world-class golf this week (he finished T-17 despite a Sunday 73) is the self-admitted small scope of his inner circle. Indeed, it is lonely at the top.

Although joining at the top, or at least the top of the Augusta National clubhouse where the Champions Locker Room is located, is Jordan Spieth, who tied Tiger's Masters scoring record of 18 under par.

"With the length of the golf course, I didn't think that people would be getting that low, but they kept it soft all week. And that's something that the older guys in the clubhouse and in the Champions Locker Room were all talking about, that we haven't seen it that soft. It wasn't springy until today," Woods said.

Related: Our favorite Tigerisms

As for his thoughts on Spieth, even if the youngster did get an easy test? "I think it's fantastic. He's doing all those things he needs to do. . . . He's one of those guys that like Rory, can go off and make bunches of birdies in a row."

When may we expect to see Tiger Woods play golf again? Maybe at the Players in early May? Pleased as Big Cat was to be back in the hunt, he would not answer. Maybe only two people know.

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The Masters

How texting played a part in Jordan Spieth's win

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- He may not text while he drives, but Jordan Spieth wasn’t shy in sending a text to his caddie Sunday morning declaring his pre-round goals. Picture the scene: clad in his Under Armour best, legs up on the couch in one of the two Augusta homes he rented this week, deciding to send caddie Michael Greller a bold digital missive.

“I texted Michael this morning and said, ‘Michael, I want us to get to 20 under," Spieth said. "I want to get to 4 today. I want us to be focused on that.’”

Spieth said he woke up ready to go earlier than he hoped at 7 am and spent the morning with friends and family before coming to the course. He also got an inspirational text from fellow Longhorn Ben Crenshaw.

“He sent me a text that I got this morning,” Spieth said, a newsflash in itself that Gentle Ben is texting. “I got a lot of really nice texts, but his said,  ‘Stay patient, this is going to be yours, you've got this and you're playing great.  Just keep your head down and stay focused,’ I think is what it said.”

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