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Video

Ben Crane decides playing your own fairway is lame

Ben Crane teed it up on the 6th hole and aimed for the fifth fairway. Because playing down your own fairway is boring, apparently.


Crane said, "shortcut," almost immediately after impact. He knew he crushed it. Nick Faldo was perplexed: "How did he see that? Is that allowed?"

Crane went on to hit the sixth green in regulation and two-putt for par. Like a badass. 

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Celebrity

5 things to talk about on the course: Ariana Grande, Stephen Curry, and YouTube's big birthday

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. Ariana Grande: News of a breakup between the pop star and rapper "Big Sean" broke earlier in the week, giving hope to millions of men out there who are smitten by the 21-year-old songstress. But should they be? Apparently, Big Sean didn't think Grande was putting as much effort into the relationship as he was and he was upset about her bringing Justin Bieber up on stage during a recent concert. Ugh, anyone but the Biebs (sorry, we've been watching too much E! News). We feel you, Big Sean.

2. Stephen Curry's latest ridiculous shot: This guy makes a play or two every game that makes you shake your head in disbelief. On Thursday night, it was hitting a three-pointer from the corner in the closing seconds while being tackled by two players to tie Game 3 of Golden State's first round series with New Orleans. The crazy shot capped an even crazier fourth-quarter comeback by the Warriors, who trailed by 20 at one point before winning in OT to take a 3-0 series lead. As if we didn't already know it, Curry -- and this team -- are going to be tough to beat.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

3. Mets-Yankees: The latest version of the "Subway Series" will take place at Yankee Stadium this weekend between two baseball teams on surprisingly good runs. Of course, no one has been better than the Mets, who will enter Friday night's game in the Bronx with an 11-game winning streak and ace Matt Harvey on the mound. The Mets have an MLB-best record of 13-3. Imagine if their owner, Jeff Wilpon, wasn't so cheap?

4. Bernie Williams: My all-time favorite Yankee officially retired on Wednesday. You know, nine years after he played his last game in pinstripes. This prompted a slew of "how will the Yankees replace him in the lineup?" jokes, but it also caused people to remember how great of a player he was (but yeah, they could probably still use him against the Mets this weekend). And how many former MLB All-Stars are also classically trained guitar players and acclaimed recording artists? As Yankees radio announcer John Sterling used to say, "Bern baby, Bern!"

Related: MLB stars who love to play golf

5. YouTube Turns 10: Speaking of taking a trip down Memory Lane, can you believe this integral part of millennial living has been around for a decade? This is one of those simple, yet brilliant ideas that you wish you could turn back the clock and come up with. The three guys who did made a few bucks. Anyway, I don't think there's a way to see what video you've viewed the most, but I'm pretty sure it's this clip of grainy Baron Davis highlights from his brief days at UCLA:

That's the best highlight compilation (watch the last 30 seconds) in my opinion, but there's no debating what the funniest -- albeit unintentional -- highlight compilation is:

Poor guy. Thank you, YouTube.

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Video

These 10 of the best animal encounters on the PGA Tour will make your day better

When you hear "animals on a golf course", we won't judge you if the gopher from "Caddyshack" is the first thing that comes to mind.

The selection of wildlife on and around golf courses is part of what makes our game great. And there have been a number of memorable animal encounters on the PGA Tour. We're partial to the dive by the turtle at TPC Sawgrass a couple years ago. Still, it's hard to beat the seagull who stole Steve Lowry's ball at the 1998 Players Championship.

Here's a highlight video the PGA Tour put together this week.

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The Grind

A longer drought than Jim Furyk's ends, the surprising best shot of the year, and the best(?) abs in pro golf

Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where there's nothing we like more than seeing a long-suffering golfer win. Those years of hard work and waiting just make that payoff all the more sweeter. In other words, I was really excited -- and relieved -- to finally win my first Golf Digest major at the Spring Opener! What, did you think I was talking about Jim Furyk? I'll get to him in due time, but first, this is me sinking the winning putt on our office putting green ("Royal Wilton") in front of a huge gallery:

blog-alex-winning-putt-0421.jpgThen, this is me receiving the Founder's Jacket from defending champ Steve Hennessey and doing my best Jordan-Spieth-clapping-for-the-patrons routine:

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And finally, this is me on Letterman:

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Man, I really had Dave going with my office cafeteria tales. What a wild week -- and that's just my golf! OK, OK, let's get to everything else that happened.

WE'RE BUYING

Jim Furyk: On a more serious note, thank goodness this guy finally won a golf tournament. It was getting rough to watch and had this victory been snatched away by Kevin Kisner, we would have feared for Furyk's well-being. But Furyk won for the first time in 100 starts on the PGA Tour, and more impressively, he did it in clutch fashion at the RBC Heritage. Sure, it's easier to shoot 63 on Sunday when you're coming from behind, but to birdie both playoff holes? Including one after Kisner had already made birdie?

Jordan Spieth: After a media blitz of NYC, a tired Masters champ returned to action at Hilton Head, finally took off his green jacket and promptly shot 74 on no practice, snapping a streak of 16 consecutive sub-par rounds. But looking like he might miss a cut and take some time off, Spieth rallied with a 62 on Friday and finished T-11. It wasn't a fifth consecutive top-two finish, but it was pretty impressive considering the circumstances.

Related: 19 things you should know about Jordan Spieth

Sei Young Kim: Furyk's win was exciting, but it will be tough for any tournament to top the dramatic finish we saw on the LPGA Tour in Hawaii. Kim chipped in on No. 18 to force a playoff with Inbee Park and then holed her approach shot from 154 yards minutes later on the same hole for a walk-off eagle. The 22-year-old South Korean is the first player to win twice on the LPGA this season and she leads the way in the Rolex Player of the Year standings. Not bad for a rookie. And not a bad vertical, either.

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Freddie Jacobson's putting: Lost in the performances by Jim Furyk and Jordan Spieth, Jacobson broke a PGA Tour record by extending his streak without a three-putt to 524 holes and counting. That's more than 29 full rounds of golf since his last three-putt. Most people have never gone 29 holes without one.

WE'RE SELLING

Freddie Jacobson's ball-striking: While he ranks first in three-putt avoidance and third in strokes gained/putting, Jacobson ranks 173rd in strokes gained/tee to green. As a result, he's only 141st on the FedEx Cup standings. Maybe that "putt for dough" bit is a little overrated.

Graeme McDowell: We thought we were finally seeing signs of life from the 2010 U.S. Open champ when he shared the 18-hole lead at Harbour Town. But he only shot two under the rest of the week at a course where he's won before to finish a disappointing T-26. On the bright side, that's G-Mac's best PGA Tour finish of 2015. On the bad side, that's his best PGA Tour finish of 2015.

Related: Pictures of PGA Tour wives and girlfriends

Swan songs: Even though he made the cut at Harbour Town, Tom Watson said he's thinking about making the 2016 Masters his last one. At St. Andrews in July, Watson will make his last British Open start. So will Nick Faldo. And this comes on the heels of Ben Crenshaw playing his final Masters. These send-offs are kind of cool, but they're also kind of sad. Great players are getting old -- and so are we.

CBS: With Sunday tee times (smartly) moved way up because of a bad weather forecast, CBS (foolishly) only provided tape-delayed coverage. It's 2015, people!!! Anyone who actually cares about following the tournament was getting a play-by-play on Twitter, so why not live stream the action on CBS' website? The network could have still aired the tournament on a delay in its 3-6 window and gotten the same people who haven't discovered the Internet yet to watch. And even that part of the population in Savannah got hosed when their local CBS affiliate cut away just before Furyk's winning putt to show a weather update that the weather was fine. We just hope Jim Furyk's parents weren't watching in Savannah. They can only take so much.

ON TAP

The PGA Tour heads to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic, aka that tournament where that big gator always seems to be hanging out on the 18th hole. Last year, John Peterson, an experienced gator handler, helped keep play going by bravely nudging the large reptile back into the lake so his playing partner could hit a shot. John Peterson should have his own show on the Discovery Channel.

Related: 15 signs you watch too much golf on TV

Random tournament fact: This tournament began at City Park Golf Courses in New Orleans, where it was played until 1962. If City Park sounds familiar, that's the place where a man was living in a tree protesting a new golf course being built there -- until he fell out of the tree.

RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK

-- Someone will go chip-in, hole out from 150 yards again to win: 1 MILLION-to-1 odds

-- John Peterson will get that gator to roll over and do other tricks this year: 10-to-1 odds

Related: The top 25 golf viral videos in 2014

-- This week's winner won't fist pump as hard as Jim Furyk: LOCK

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Jim Furyk with his putter already dropped about to unleash the most vicious fist pump by anyone not named Tiger Woods as his winning putt disappears into the hole. Perfect.

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VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK

The Jacksonville Jaguars mascot put everyone to shame at the Players media day by winning the closest-to-the-pin contest on the par-3 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. The shot -- in full costume, no less -- was so good, it made us wonder if Jags kicker and plus-handicapper Josh Scobee was behind it. Turns out the mascot, Curtis Dvorak, is a scratch player himself. Sorry, Sei Young Kim, but this is the shot of the week and maybe the year:

VIRAL VIDEO OF THE WEEK (NOT INVOLVING A MASCOT)

From the graceful to the not-so graceful, this LPGA fan had a rough day in Hawaii when his beloved hat got blown into a water hazard. He wound up retrieving it, but only after he got soaked, lost his beer and had his embarrassing moment go viral.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"That was four-and-a-half years of frustration in that celebration." -- Jim Furyk. I feel your pain, Jim. I worked at Golf Digest for SIX years before finally winning a major and there were plenty of heartbreaking moments along the way.

THIS WEEK IN RICKIE FOWLER-ALEXIS RANDOCK PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION

Aww, that's sweet. And now we know the approximate anniversary of these two. That means Fowler played most of his great golf last year at the majors while dating Alexis. There goes the silly "she's a distraction" theory. Haters.

And then there was Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret posing with Jake and Lacey Owen at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday. Sorry, ladies, Jordan still has a girlfriend.

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THIS WEEK IN BELEN MOZO MAKING US FEEL BAD WITH SHOWING OFF HER TRAINING

THIS WEEK IN NATALIE GULBIS TRAINING TAKING RANDOM SELFIES

Last day in Hawaii. ๐ŸŒฟ

A photo posted by Natalie Gulbis (@natalie_gulbis) on

OK. . .

THIS AND THAT

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The USGA announced mobile devices less than seven inches long will be allowed at the U.S. Open. In other words, as long as you don't have Zach Morris' cell phone from "Saved by the Bell," you should be good at Chambers Bay. . . . Olin Browne won on the Champions Tour in an event cut to 36 holes by bad weather. We guess that counts. . . . Kiradech Aphibarnrat won on the European Tour. APHIBARNRAT! A great golfer with an even better name. . . . Rory McIlroy was reportedly in Rochester, N.Y., to visit Erica Stoll. A weekend in Rochester? Sounds like things are getting pretty serious. . . . United Airlines is adding flights from Denver to North Bend this summer, which will make traveling to Bandon Dunes a lot more convenient. My golf group has taken note and this could help Bandon land a future HGGA Championship.

RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Who has the best abs in pro golf?

Do kids today even know what "Saved by the Bell" is?

Who has worn their new jacket more: Jordan Spieth or me?

-- Alex Myers is an Associate Editor for GolfDigest.com. Feel free to email him and please follow him on Twitter since he has self-esteem issues.

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Celebrity

Bubba Watson is back rapping, this time as a featured artist on a Christian rap track

Apparently, Christian rap is a budding musical genre. And now Bubba Watson is officially a part of its scene.

Christian rapper KB's new single, "Ima Just Do It," features the two-time Masters champion spittin' lyrics at about the three-minute mark. Have a listen:

Thanks to Shane Ryan for pointing this out and for Ryan Ballengee for transcribing Watson's hot verse:

Let me talk about how I'm supposed to be at a Christmas party right now, but y'all keep keepin' me in here. My wife's not gonna let me be on fleek if y'all don't hurry up.

"On fleek"? Huh? Sorry, keep going Bubba:

Bubba Wats on the mic now.
Can a golfer spit a rhyme?
Not a gangsta rapper, but my caddie got a knife.
KB need a verse,
Told him ain't nothin' to it.
Everybody ask me why, I just look 'em in the eye and say
I'm a just do it
Country boy from the panhandle
No golf lessons, just God's blessin's
Ain't nothin' He can't handle,
Left-handed, funny swing,
Driver's pink, ain't nothin' to me.
Got two Masters, a double major
But just one Master, our Savior.

All in all, not a bad effort by Bubba. "No golf lessons, just God's blessin's"? That's pretty catchy.

Related: The top 25 viral golf videos of 2014

So what have we learned? 1.) Christian rap exists; 2.) Bubba has come a long way from "Bubba Claus"; 3.) Don't mess with Bubba's caddie.

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Video

Bubba Watson looks like he's really enjoying playing night golf in China

Following a disappointing Masters defense in which he finished T-38, Bubba Watson flew to China to compete in the Shenzhen International. We're guessing Watson is being compensated well for his troubles, but he's also taking the time abroad to mix pleasure with business.

On Thursday, Watson posted two videos of him playing night golf at Genzon Golf Club's other course. "The one with the lights," as Watson describes it.

Related: The top 25 viral golf videos of 2014

Watson looked pretty comfortable talking while playing two long par 3s and hitting good shots. "If that doesn't go in..." he says before being cut off in the second video and he gives a little dance and his patented "You're welcome" in the first one.

There's also a video of Watson's caddie, Ted Scott, hitting a shot that's preceded by Bubba scratching his butt and then running behind him. Again, this is the guy who was too serious to participate in the long-drive contest at the PGA Championship.

Watson didn't make it look quite as easy on Genzon Golf Club's tournament course on Day 1 of the tournament. He shot an opening 70 and is four shots off the pace set by Huang Wenyi.

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Video

AT&T didn't waste any time creating a new Jordan Spieth commercial and it works

Watch out, Rory McIlroy.

We already knew Jordan Spieth was coming after the top spot in the world rankings. But now, he's quickly matching McIlroy in heartwarming commercials about young golfers growing up to become champions.

Related: 19 things you need to know about Jordan Spieth

On Wednesday, one of Spieth's sponsors, AT&T (remember all those commercials about texting and driving during the Masters?), released a new ad featuring the young Masters winner and footage of him as an even younger teen with an "ultimate goal . . . to win the Masters." Check it out:

Less than two weeks ago, Nike came out with a commercial depicting a young Rory following in Tiger Woods' footsteps until he winds up becoming one of Woods' peers, playing with him at a tournament in the final scene. Incredibly, that scenario came true just days later when the two were paired for the final round of the Masters.

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

Of course, neither could touch Spieth at Augusta National as he cruised to a first green jacket. As a result, he already has his first big commercial as a major champ. We'll go out on a limb and predict it won't be his last.

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Video

Here's a very cool video about our most recent Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Ron Sirak

At Golf Digest, we've long had an appreciation for the singular genius of Ron Sirak. A senior writer for Golf Digest and Golf World, Sirak is a rare breed: a son of working class Western Pennsylvania who loves to champion the little guy, but who's also adept at navigating golf's blue blood inner circle to unearth important stories. 

At the annual Golf Writers Association of America Awards Dinner on the night before the start of the Masters, Sirak's story was shared with a larger audience as he was honored with the PGA of America's Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism (making him the fifth Golf Digest recipient of the award in the last six years).

Along with a memorable speech delivered by Sirak you can read here, the dinner also featured this compelling video about Sirak's background and career. Check it out:


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Video

Golf Digest's Lexi Thompson cover was featured on Saturday Night Live

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- We've gotten a fair amount of attention for some covers in recent years, and that certainly included our most recent one featuring Lexi Thompson and a strategically-placed jacket. 

But this was admittedly a highlight, the cover factoring into a bit on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update."

The Golf Digest part begins at around the 5:30 mark of the video below:


Thanks SNL! We have a lot of putting tips that would be great material as well.

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The Masters

Has there ever been a better-timed commercial than the Nike one involving Tiger and Rory?

Remember that awesome commercial/mini-movie that Nike released last week? You know, the one that's so cool it even has its own title, "Ripple," and involves Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy?

Related: The winners and losers from Day 3 at Augusta

Here it is, in case you don't. And yes, it's worth watching all two minutes of it:

If you don't remember or don't care to watch, we'll summarize: A young Rory grows up wanting to emulate Tiger as he takes over golf and by the end of the ad, he's teeing it up alongside his idol at a PGA Tour event. And now, just days after the commercial's release, the two will play together in a late Sunday pairing at the Masters.

How's that for timing? Are Nike's ad people psychics?

It's only the second time Tiger and Rory have been in the same group at a major (The 2013 U.S. Open at Merion), but chances are, it won't be the last. Even more certain? We'll be seeing this commercial a lot more in the near future.

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