In case you were out of the country, Day 1 of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament was incredible. But the highlight of the day belonged to Georgia State, which pulled off a big upset over third-seeded Baylor with a last-second three-pointer.
What made the moment so special -- other than the heroics of a last-second shot from about 30 feet, of course -- was it involved the son of Georgia State's injured head coach, Ron Hunter. As R.J. Hunter's shot went through the net, Ron, who was coaching from a chair after tearing his Achilles following the team's last win (true story), dove to the floor in celebration.
The week of St. Patrick's Day seems like an appropriate time to see something lucky happen on the PGA Tour, and the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational delivered. However, Brandt Snedeker's remarkable bit of good fortune didn't involve any four-leaf clovers, but rather a bunch of rocks.
Snedeker's approach shot to the par-4 18th hole during the opening round at Bay Hill came up short. But instead of his ball going in the water, it took not one, but two bounces off the rocks guarding the green and rolled to within six feet of the hole. You really have to see it to believe it:
Sadly, Snedeker didn't take full advantage of his incredible break. He missed the birdie putt and had to settle for par -- not that he's complaining.
A new $24.5 million golf course is set to be built in the heart of New Orleans. Sounds great, right? Well, not to many protesters living in the area.
Two people took their unhappiness with the project to the extreme by living in a tree on the property in an effort to halt construction, according to WDSU News. Supporters told WDSU that the man, who would only be identified as "Lloyd," and the woman, who would only be identified as "Heart," have been living in a tree in City Park since Friday.
"As long as they're not disturbing anything or disturbing the construction site, we are just going to keep them isolated in the tree and we'll carry on building the golf course," City Park CEO Bob Becker said.
Organized by the City Park For Everyone Coalition, protests of the new course have been ongoing for weeks. Supporters want the area to remain open and free to the public.
"To privatize this and make it solely for golf, I mean, I don't know how someone else can think that's not ridiculous and hilarious," said protestor Rebecca Kaplan.
However, the land was formerly part of the City Park Golf Complex before Hurricane Katrina flooded the area.
"The park has historically had great courses. The tournament in New Orleans was historically played here. So we thought it would be appropriate to have a moderately priced course and a course that was first-class," Becker said.
Construction for the new 250-acre Rees Jones course is underway and is scheduled to be finished by February 2017. We'll have to wait and see if Lloyd's tree winds up being part of the final design.
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we're mad that HBO stole "The Jinx" as a title for a potential golf documentary. Our film wouldn't focus on three chilling deaths surrounding one man, but rather a series of gruesome team losses suffered in the presence of one superstar athlete turned super fan. "The Jinx: Michael Jordan's history as a U.S. Ryder Cup mascot" has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Oh well, back to the drawing board.
There was no mystery surrounding this week's PGA Tour winner, though, as another Jordan proved he's the real deal once again. So let's get started. We've got a lot of material to piece together.
Jordan Spieth: With his thrilling Valspar victory, Spieth became just the fourth golfer since 1940 to win twice on the PGA Tour before turning 22 and yet, it seemed like he needed this. Spieth is tied with Matt Kuchar for the most top 10s on tour since the beginning of 2013, but he hadn't won since the 2013 John Deere Classic. To be fair, he had those impressive back-to-back wins in December -- but people generally aren't fair. In any matter, Spieth's win took him to a career-high sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking. We're guessing that won't be the highest he ever gets.
Patrick Reed's short game: Reed seems to contend on a weekly basis -- even when he's not hitting it well. On Sunday, Reed continuously kept himself in the tournament with clutch up-and-downs, most notably on two playoff holes. And yes, he did all this while dealing with distractions swirling around allegations he cheated and stole in college. Say what you will about the guy, but he's a tough competitor.
Sean O'Hair/Derek Ernst: This week's tournament didn't end the way either wanted it to, but there were still positives to take. For O'Hair, it was just the second top-10 finish in 66 PGA Tour starts and the playoff loss vaulted him up more than 200 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking. For Ernst, dropping 14 spots on Sunday to T-17 was rough, but it was still the second-best finish of his tour career in 62 starts.
Ryan Moore: Look, closing on the PGA Tour is tough. In fact, Moore is the eighth straight 54-hole leader to come up short on the PGA Tour. However, not all of those golfer had a three-shot lead with six holes to play. With a chance for his first non-fall season PGA Tour win in more than five years, Moore let it slip away and fell to a disappointing fifth. Speaking of things slipping away. . .
Tiger Woods' Masters chances: On Friday, Woods announced his game wasn't ready to play at Bay Hill, a course where he's won six times more than anyone else. That's not a good sign. It also means if he tees it up at Augusta National, it might be with just two and a half (ugly) rounds of competitive golf under his belt in 2015.
Johnny Miller: Despite NBC's coverage, our favorite golf announcer wasn't on hand for one of the most exciting tournaments of the young season. Throw in the fact that Innisbrook's Copperhead Course is a player favorite and the host of the 2012 HGGA Championship (aka my annual golf trip). That's a bad job, Johnny.
The PGA Tour's Florida Swing concludes with the Arnold Palmer Invitational, aka that place, OK, so this one is pretty obvious.
A photo posted by Rickie Fowler (@therealrickiefowler) on
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Long and straight. Viagra might be the only one that's going to get you anywhere. I don't know. What else? I don't know what else you take for performance enhancement in golf." -- Henrik Stenson. We doubt that's one of the tour's banned substances considering all the commercials for it that run during an average tournament.
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
They're back! Good to see these lovebirds/new parents taking some "us" time. If Tatum ever needs a babysitter, let us know.
THIS WEEK IN RORY MCILROY MAKING US FEEL BAD WITH HIS TRAINING
OK, that's got to be a photoshopped dumbbell, right? Look at the size of that thing!
THIS AND THAT
A Swedish man was banned for a year from playing golf for hitting into a group in front and will be "flagged" if he tries to play anywhere in his country. Whenever I hear that phrase, "flagged," I immediately think of the Seinfeld episode in which George gets a book red-flagged by taking it into the bathroom with him at the store. . . . The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship is going to Jupiter Hills in 2018 after being played at Olympic Club, Pinehurst and Winged Foot its first three years. The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball might have a better rota than the U.S. Open. . . . Rory McIlroy has officially replaced Tiger Woods as the face of EA Sports' golf video game. Forget the chipping woes, this is the biggest blow to Tiger's confidence yet. . . . In addition to the M&M-and-Kit Kat-coated chocolate birthday cake I got from my fiancee, I also got this delicious brownie/chocolate chip ice cream/whipped cream concoction from my future mother-in-law. In related news, I've gained my annual "birthday 15."
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
How often does Arnold Palmer drink an Arnold Palmer?
Has anyone made more bad movies than Nicolas Cage?
Two salesmen ("R-Rabbit" & "Q-Tip") from Bobick's Golf in Fort Wayne, Indiana, created a music video for the popular golf club -- and they crushed it. Check it out:
A catchy beat and funny lyrics, um, drive "Turbulators," but what puts it over the top are a couple of classic rap video antics with a twist. At the end, you've got the two guys making it rain, only with tees. And throughout, there's the one guy (either "R-Rabbit" or "Q-Tip," we're not sure) wearing a G30 clubhead attached to a gold chain around his neck.
We're not advising these guys to quit their day jobs just yet, but a 2016 Grammy nomination isn't out of the question.
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where our only 3-iron toss into a lake came when the club slipped during a torrential storm. Luckily, my friend, Guy, morphed into Usain Bolt for about five seconds to quickly get to the water and fish it out before it sank for good.
We really do have the ability to summon superpowers during a time of crisis, don't we?
Anyway, there haven't been any club tosses since, except for that time Golf Digest made me stage an on-course temper tantrum for a video. Here are the still shots of some of my finest acting to date:
Try pulling a performance like that off, Eddie Redmayne. Of course, there were plenty of great performances this past week that involved the proper use of golf clubs as well. Let's dive in.
Dustin Johnson: Rory McIlroy is the World No. 1, but no one has looked better in 2015 than Johnson. DJ's win at Doral was the biggest of his career (so far), and he's now won at least one PGA Tour title for eight straight seasons. If he keeps up the torrid pace he shown since returning from his six-month absence -- he also has a T-2 and a T-4 in his last four starts -- it's hard to imagine him not making 2015 the year he became both a dad and a major champion.
Inbee Park: WINBEE returned to the winner's circle with a near flawless performance to beat Lydia Ko by two shots at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore. Park didn't make a bogey the entire week and hit a staggering 66 of 72 greens. She's now gone a remarkable 92 straight holes without a blemish on her scorecard. Of course, you can't spell Park without p-a-r. . .
Alex Cejka: The overlooked feel-good story of the week goes to Cejka, 44, who finally captured his first PGA Tour title in his 287th career start at the Puerto Rico Open. Sure, it would have been a bigger story if Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, had won the five-man playoff instead, but this win was even more unlikely. Cejka claimed a check for $540,000, which nearly matched how much he had earned on the PGA Tour the past four seasons combined.
Aces wild: In the span of 24 minutes, Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes made holes-in-one on Doral's difficult par-3 fourth hole. OK, so it's not as difficult when you can hit a 7-iron 207 yards, but still, that was remarkable. Then my heart legit stopped for a second when it looked like Johnson aced it again on Sunday (he had to settle for a tap-in birdie). These guys are so freaking good.
J.B. Holmes: The 32-year-old Kentuckian shot the round of the year Thursday, added a hole-in-one Saturday and took a five-shot lead into Sunday. And he still didn't win. Holmes' big lead was gone after five holes in the final round, and although he steadied himself, he came up a shot short of Johnson for his second second-place finish in his last four starts.
Rory's club toss: Look, we've joked about it and it isn't that big of a deal, but ask yourself this: How would the reaction have differed if the Nike 3-iron that was eventually fished out of the water by a scuba diver had the initials TW on it instead of RM? Instead of taking heat -- and yes, a big part was how McIlroy handled his post-round interviews -- the whole thing became a fun joke. Before Sunday's final round, Donald Trump even returned the club to Rory, who then put it back in his bag (he played Saturday with just 13 clubs). Again, not the worst thing we've ever seen on a golf course, but is it really good for golf when it prompts videos of parents teaching their kids how to do it?
Inbee Park's ranking: We love Lydia Ko (who doesn't?), but how is someone who has won 10 tournaments, including four majors in the past two years NOT ranked No. 1? Is Park somehow penalized for being 26 instead of 17?
Adam Scott's long putter: First off, it was nice to see him actually playing golf again! The Aussie switched back to a short putter and didn't miss a beat. Scott finished T-4 in his first start of 2015 and performed well in just about every putting stat. In other words, we're not expecting him to disappear when the anchoring ban goes into effect in January -- well, not counting his usual extended time off.
The PGA Tour's Florida Swing continues with the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook's Copperhead Course, aka that place that has "The Snake Pit."
A photo posted by Paulina Gretzky (@paulinagretzky) on
THIS AND THAT
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he "whiffed" on not protesting that fall events count toward Ryder Cup standings for the next U.S. team. It doesn't matter, though, because Phil Mickelson seems to be running the show. . . . Golf Channel's highest ratings come from Oklahoma City, where there isn't even a PGA Tour stop. Apparently, there are a lot of Lauren Thompson fans in the Sooner State. . . . There are rumblings that the reason Tiger Woods' new restaurant is being called The Woods Jupiter is because Nike actually owns the rights to Tiger's first name. If that's true, Tiger isn't as shrewd a negotiator as we thought. . . . Today (Tuesday) is my birthday. That means I get to eat all of this awesome cake made by my awesome fiancee, Michelle. And while it's a bit depressing to turn 33, I'm encouraged by the fact Phil Mickelson didn't win his first major until that age.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
Who is the PGA Tour's longest club tosser?
How many majors will Dustin Johnson win?
If I really start practicing, is there time to make the senior tour?
How about that?! If you were watching early coverage of the third round of the Cadillac Championship, you probably thought you were seeing a replay. Nope. That really happened. Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes made holes-in-one on the par-3 fourth hole at Trump National Doral on Saturday in a span of 24 minutes.
The par-3 fourth is no pushover, either, at 207 yards and surrounded by water to the front and the right. But on Saturday, Johnson and Holmes made it look easy by hitting majestic 7-irons that took nearly identical paths before finishing at the bottom of the cup. First, here's DJ's shot:
And here's J.B.'s, which vaulted him back into a five-shot lead at the time:
"Somebody get me a statistician and figure out the odds on this!" NBC/Golf Channel's Jimmy Roberts exclaimed.
-- For two amateurs to make an ace on the same hole in the same foursome is 26 million to one. Now Johnson and Holmes are no amateurs, but they only had two players hit shots in between them, so technically, it was two aces in four attempts.
-- The 1989 U.S. Open at Oak Hill featured a round in which four pros aced the same hole (No. 6, 167 odds). The odds of that were 1.6 million to one.
In case you live under a rock or are under the age of 20, here's a look at the classic scene. And if you are under the age of 20, be advised that the violence and language might not be suitable for you. . .
This Sunday, Comedy Central's annual fundraiser, Night of Too Many Stars will reunite Happy and his older, yet incredibly scrappy pro-am partner. This time, the fight brawl takes place when Sandler visits the 91-year-old Barker in a hospital. And the former host of The Price is Right gets the last laugh again. Well, sort of.
Unfortunately, there's no mention of golf in the scene, but Happy's mentor, Chubbs (played by Carl Weathers), makes a cameo. Here's the clip:
Matt Kuchar attempted a half-court shot during the second quarter for charity. Unfortunately, he missed -- it's not exactly a gimme -- but his close effort impressed. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be good footage of the shot, but you get the idea thanks to this video posted by Lee Westwood:
Despite missing, Kuchar still donated the $25,000 to United Way, because, well, Matt Kuchar. And as a consolation prize, he got his photo taken with some Heat cheerleaders:
Play hasn't started at Doral yet, but Kuchar is a clear frontrunner for the week's MVP.