Despite being back to winning nearly every week he tees it up, Tiger Woods still finds himself being criticized. Did he drop in the right place (again) at the Players? Is he to blame for the spat with Sergio Garcia? Did he handle said spat properly?
We hate to pile on, but we can't help but question his boat attire (left), either.
Following his latest win, Woods was seen relaxing on his luxury yacht in Palm Beach, Fla., according to the Daily News. If you call this relaxing.
During a recent drive to the golf course, golf fanatic Samuel L. Jackson was accosted by a TMZ crew and asked who the best celebrity golfer is. To those who don't follow golf tournaments for a living, his answer may come as a surprise. But for us in the Golf Digest/Golf World Office, Jackson hit the nail right on the head with his response.
Kenny G is a regular participant in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and, with partner Phil Mickelson, shared the Pro-Am title with Tiger Woods and Jerry Chang in 2001. Not bad for a saxophonist competing against a field of players sporting bloated handicaps.
While he's certainly got game, it's hard to say how many PGA Tour players are fans of Kenny G's music. Without even being asked, longtime caddie Kip Henley (currently on Brian Gay's bag) provided a little insight today via Twitter:
It's okay, Kip. The tickets were for your wife, right?
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are really impressed by Jason Collins. It takes a lot of guts to do what he did. A finely-tuned professional athlete coming out and admitting he's a bad golfer? Well done. Ohhh, that wasn't the big announcement? He also did what?! Wow. Good for him and hopefully others will follow. And great job by him to pay tribute to a cause close to his heart by wearing the No. 98. We just hope he doesn't think that's the type of score he should settle for on the golf course. After all, the NBA's off-season coincides perfectly with the golf season in most of this country. Jason, get to work!
Billy Horschel. We saw this one coming when we plugged him into our lineup last week. Then again, didn't everyone? It seemed like Horschel was going to keep playing every week until he finally got his first PGA Tour win. A Sunday 64, including a dramatic 27-footer for birdie on the final hole, got it done. While the former college star probably felt this was a long time coming, he pleasantly reminded us that you don't have to take a long time to hit a shot to be a good golfer.
We'd hoot and holler like we just won a million bucks, too, if we just won a million bucks.
Tianlang Guan. For a second time this month, this 14-year-old phenom teed it up at a PGA Tour event and for a second time, he made the cut. To put this accomplishment in perspective, keep in mind Tiger Woods didn't make a PGA Tour cut until he was 19 and in his eighth try at the 1995 Masters.
Inbee Park. Or should we just start calling the No. 1 player in women's golf "Winbee"?
PGA Tour drug testing. Greg Norman ripped the PGA Tour's drug testing policy, pointing out that the Vijay Singh situation could just be the tip of the iceberg. While we agree the PGA Tour has been lax on this issue (there's no reason golf should lag behind other professional sports), we just wish it didn't come from Norman. Adam Scott's recent Masters win for Australia seems to have put Norman back in the spotlight -- and the Shark seems to be eating it up.
PGA Tour weather. From fog to snow, we've seen every possible type of delay in the book this year. But a lightning delay with the two contenders -- one of whom has been agonizingly close to getting his first tour win of late -- in the middle of the FINAL hole of regulation? C'mon, Mother Nature. That's just cruel.
Michael Jordan. We love MJ's passion for the game, but a wedding reception on a golf course? On a Saturday? How are the members of the Bear's Club supposed to keep their games sharp? Oh right, they all probably just played at one of their other clubs over the weekend. However, we are NOT selling Yvette Prieto, Jordan's new wife. In addition to being beautiful, she even puts up with sitting through Charlotte Bobcats games with the team owner (above).
Speaking of Charlotte, the PGA Tour heads there for the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. Unfortunately, a couple of the course's greens had to undergo emergency replacement recently. This means the pros might actually have to play a couple less-than-perfect greens for the first time in years. What an OUTRAGE!
Random tournament fact: This is the only event in which Tiger Woods has missed the cut twice as a pro. In semi-related news, Tiger Woods isn't playing this week.
WEEKLY YAHOO! FANTASY LINEUP
Why were we such big fans of Horschel's win in New Orleans? A. We had him in our lineup last week; B. We pegged him as one of our Sleeper Picks heading into this season and highlighted him as the guy on the list with the most potential. Man, do we look smart now. . .
Starters -- (A-List): Bill Haas. The 2011 FedEx Cup champ played his college golf up the road at Wake Forest University and has a pair of T-4s on this course.
(B-List): Webb Simpson. Another Demon Deacon with a good track record here, Simpson lives in Charlotte. He'll get to feel what it's like to commute to work for a week and should have plenty of crowd support.
(B-List): Lucas Glover. The 54-hole leader in New Orleans is familiar with being in contention at Quail Hollow as well. He won here in 2011 and was a runner-up in 2009.
(C-List): Lee Westwood. The former World No. 1 finally got the hang of this track last year with a T-5 (68-66 over the weekend) and seems to be hitting his stride with back-to-back top 10s. We also liked his hungover report on Twitter following his 40th birthday celebration.
Geoff Shackelford's headline says it all: "Oosthuizen's 500-yard, 120-second cart path drive." As if these guys needed any help with distance.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- Phil Mickelson will conduct a 10-minute interview/lecture on Quail Hollow's two make-shift greens and the different types of Bermuda grass: 2-to-1 odds
-- Tianlang Guan has a lot of homework to catch up on: LOCK
-- Michael Jordan will find a way to play golf while on his honeymoon: LOCK
THIS WEEK IN DUSTIN JOHNSON-PAULINA GRETZKY PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Paulina tweeted this photo to DJ and he retweeted it. Teamwork!
THIS WEEK IN RORY MCILROY-CAROLINE WOZNIACKI PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Via Twitter: "Got these awesome early birthday presents last night from @CaroWozniacki! #lucky" Apparently, Rory loves him some Louis Vuitton.
THIS WEEK IN TIGER WOODS-LINDSEY VONN DISPLAYS OF PUBLIC AFFECTION
(. . . )
THIS AND THAT
A 12-year-old will play in this week's China Open,, breaking the European Tour record. Two questions: Why isn't Guan playing in this and is this kid his younger brother? . . . Muirfield was lengthened for this year's Open championship. Why? Because every course HAS to be lengthened before it hosts a major again. . . . Brad Faxon gave Jeff Sluman a vicious pie in the face after the two teamed up to win last week's Legends of Golf event on the Champions Tour (Unfortunately, there's no picture. Hence, the photo of Evan Longoria giving the treatment to a Rays teammate). It's one thing for younger guys to do this, but the over-50 crowd? We're just glad no one involved was hurt. . . .
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
When will a professional male golfer come out as gay?
Is this Dumb and Dumber sequel really going to happen?
What did Tiger get Michael and Yvette as a wedding gift?
Actually, with upwards of 2,000 guests, a golf course was a logical choice, especially one located in the NBA legend's backyard. On Saturday, Jordan wed longtime girlfriend Yvette Prieto and the reception was held at the Bear's Club, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf club and community in Jupiter, Fla.
According to JeffRealty.com, Jordan's wedding tent was 40,000 square feet -- 5,000 bigger than his mansion, which looks to be located about a solid 3-wood away from where the reception was held in the picture below.
The realty company called it the "largest tent in wedding history," so you can add another line to the competitive Jordan's career accomplishments.
Reported guests included Tiger Woods, Patrick Ewing, Spike Lee and Ahmad Rashad. The music entertainment was as impressive with Usher, Robin Thicke, K'Jon, DJ MC Lyte and The Source all performing.
ORLANDO, FLA. -- Toward the end of our chat in the offices of Arnold Palmer Design, an aide to Palmer brought in an iPhone cover with the multicolored umbrella logo and handed it to Kate Upton, who erupted with the kind of enthusiastic "Yes!" you'd expect from someone just a year removed from being a teenager.
Clearly, the week Upton had spent at the Bay Hill Resort & Lodge during the Arnold Palmer Invitational led her to appreciate the brilliant job Palmer and his agent at International Management Group, Alastair Johnston, have done building the Palmer brand.
Just as clearly, even a brief chat with Upton reveals her as a sharp woman with a keen sense of humor and with designs to be more than just another pretty face.
"He is so down to earth, so nice," Upton said about Palmer on Friday at the Bay Hill. "He is able to sit in any situation and talk with anyone. I hope to be like that. I've always wanted to meet Arnold. He's a legend in more than golf."
The meeting came about in part because Upton's agent at IMG is Lisa Benson, a native of Punxsutawney, Pa., which is right in the Western Pennsylvania wheelhouse of Arnie's Army. Benson also played college golf for two-and-a-half years at Penn State.
"She wants to be more than just a model," Benson said about Upton. "The other day she said, 'I want a soap with an umbrella on it,'" referring to the distinctive Palmer logo. At the rate she is going, an Upton logo might not be too far in the future.
"There couldn't be two more different people," said Johnston, the vice chairman of IMG who has been handling Palmer's business affairs for decades. "A 20-year-old supermodel and an 83-year-old icon," He said, smiling as he shook his head. "But they hit it off."
And Palmer could not have been more impressed with Upton, who does take you back in the way she shatters any stereotype you might have about models with her insight and sharp wit.
"She's a very astute young lady," Palmer said. "She's with it. She's interested in the hospital. She has a great grasp of what she wants to do with her career. I enjoyed talking with her about many different things. She's very sharp."
Upton's visit to the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies affected her as much as her time with Palmer affected her.
"It is an absolutely amazing place," Upton said. "It's odd to say a hospital is a beautiful place, but it truly is. And they are doing such great work there."
Part of what Upton discussed with Palmer was how to build a brand and how to extend it. No one has done that better than Palmer.
While Palmer is rightly credited for putting the British Open back on the map when he played there in 1960, perhaps the under appreciated aspect of that trip was that Mark McCormack, founder of IMG, realized playing there would extend Palmer's brand globally.
"The international language is sport," Johnston said. "Mark identified that at an early time. That's the legacy he has."
At one point, as Johnston described how impressed Palmer was with Upton during a dinner conversation, hanging on every word, Kate interrupted and said: "What, you weren't interested in what I was saying?"
Johnston shook his head and said, 'That's the way she's been all week." That's the way she was during our chat -- funny and one step ahead of the conversation.
Now that Upton has met the King are golf lessons next? "I grew up in a family that loved golf," the Melbourne, Fla., native said. "Maybe one of these days I'll play."
In the meantime, she's gotten some marketing messages from Palmer, who's always been the King in the business world as much as he has been on the golf course. That's an area where Palmer is the true supermodel.
Located only a few miles from Beverly Hills, Riviera Country Club has always been a popular hangout for Hollywood A-listers. Among those who have held memberships at the host of this week's Northern Trust Open are Walt Disney, Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck and more recently, Adam Sandler and Larry David. With names like that patrolling the grounds, you can expect the presence of many distinguished (and not always well-behaved) celebrity guests.
Around the time Riviera became known as "Hogan's Alley" (Ben Hogan won the LA Open in 1947, '48 and '50 and the U.S. Open at Riviera in '48), Humphrey Bogart spent so much time watching golf from underneath a sycamore tree on the 12th hole that the club eventually named the tree after him. "Bogey's Tree" sits left of the green and provided a comfortable spot for Bogart to relax with a thermos of Jim Beam and watch the pros play through. This is not surprising considering Bogart once said, "The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
Bogart is only one of many famous entertainers of his day who frequented Riviera, joining the likes of Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, even Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, who shot the 1953 film The Caddy on the club's grounds that included a cameo appearance by Ben Hogan himself.
In the Los Angeles area, Hollywood shenanigans at country clubs have been curbed in recent years according to David D. Pavoni, co-author of Golf In Hollywood, because of "the era of political correctness." However, that hasn't stopped the antics of Jack Nicholson, who once took a 2-iron to the windshield of a car that had cut him off in traffic. Kevin Cook, a Golf Digest contributing writer, called it, "the most famous instance of road rage meeting golf tantrum."
In another instance of golf tantrum, Nicholson hooked his tee shot on the 12th hole at Riviera and was unable to advance the ball successfully with a 5 iron on his second shot, prompting him to grab a bunch of vines in anger hanging from a nearby tree.
"They pulled back! Lifted me straight up in the air so I was flying around for a few seconds before I came down," said Nicholson in a 2007 interview with Golf Digest. "Now I can't play that 12th at Riviera without somebody saying, 'The Tarzan Hole!'"
Larry David, creator of Seinfeld and the star of the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, has had his moments at Riviera as well. David is a member there and has filmed several Curb scenes at the club, although not this memorable one:
I'd expect David and Nicholson to steer clear of Riviera this week, as most members (especially high-profile ones) tend to do when the PGA Tour invades their course. There should still be plenty of star power, though, with the Northern Trust Open featuring perhaps the year's strongest field to date.
We wish Greeny a speedy recovery, but at least he'll be an expert on the newest clubs hitting the market this year by the time he's feeling 100%.
At worst, he'll pick up some tips on sand shots, learn to perfect his posture, and study the Golf Digest 50 (Ron Sirak's annual ranking of golf's top money makers). Greeny's handicap in 2008 was 17.5, so there's definitely some room for improvement.
According to his Q&A with Matt Ginella in 2008, Greenberg is addicted to two things: golf and the New York Jets. We all know golf can be frustrating, but there's no comparison to being a Jets fan. Better keep working on your short game, Greeny.