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Hot Seat: Celebrity edition at Pebble Beach

By Randall MellFebruary 7, 2018, 2:30 pm

Who’s turning up the heat along the Monterey Peninsula for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week?

The Hot Seat, of course.

Here’s our special heat index measuring who has the toastiest seats in the game this week:

Klieg Light Sunburn – Bill Murray

Only Bill Murray could turn Pebble Beach Golf Links into a 6,816-yard fashion runway.

The word is Murray will be making a bold statement in his annual appearance at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am this week.

The comedian, actor and writer (and now also fashion model) will be aiming to see if he can bring back bell bottoms.

Actually, “Bill Bottoms,” as they’re calling them at William Murray Golf, the celebrity clothing line Murray launched with his five golf loving brothers.

Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now about to become the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner for a second time.

OK, the odds are long, but Murray is back with D.A. Points as his pro-am partner. They teamed to win it all in 2011. Win or lose, Murray promises to turn the fashion and competitive gigs into theater of the absurd, outraging some purists of the game while delighting most everyone else. He’ll be playing with a 15-handicap.

Baywatch Fever – Kelly Rohrbach (Click here for gallery)

The SI swimsuit model resurrected the C.J. Parker role last year in “Baywatch” the movie, but she won’t have to rely on any acting skills to play the part of Gary Woodland’s partner in the pro-am.

Rohrbach can play.

She’s a single-digit handicap (7) who played in American Junior Golf Association events growing up. She led her high school team (Greenwich Academy in Connecticut) to a conference title while winning medalist honors. She even made the Georgetown team as a freshman in college before giving it up to focus on acting.

Five-alarm blitz: Tony Romo

One of three scratch players in the amateur field, Romo is rumored to be in line for a PGA Tour sponsor’s exemption this year.

Actually, it’s more than a rumor.

CBS NFL play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz told at the PGA Merchandise show that it’s almost a done deal. Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, made a terrific transition to NFL analyst alongside Nantz this year.

“He’s going to play in a Tour event,” Nantz said last month. “He’s going to get an exemption in the next – let’s just say two months. So he’s going to put it out there on the line.”

Romo is partnering with Will Zalatoris in this week’s pro-am. Zalatoris is the former Wake Forest star who turned pro in December, in the middle of his senior season. He is playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption.

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Watson wins at Riviera for third time

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 11:35 pm

Bubba Watson holed a bunker shot midway through the back nine Sunday on his way to a 2-under 69 and a two-stroke victory in the Genesis Open. Here's the plot lines of Watson's third victory in the PGA Tour's Los Angeles stop:

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-12), Kevin Na (-10), Tony Finau (-10), Scott Stallings (-9), Patrick Cantlay (-9)

What it means: This is the third time Watson has won at Riviera Country Club, following victories in 2014 and 2016. It's his 10th PGA Tour win and his first since he won at Riviera two years ago. After a shaky, three-bogey, two-birdie front nine, he settled down - helped by his prodigious length - to make three birdies on the back with no dropped shots.

Round of the day: Adam Hadwin shot his second consecutive 5-under-par 66. Only a second-round 74 kept him from being squarely in the mix.

Best of the rest: Jordan Spieth shot a final-round 67 to finish tied for ninth.

Biggest disappointment: Graeme McDowell was just two shots off the lead after 54 holes, seeking his first win since 2015, but he closed with a 77 and fell 23 spots.

Shot of the day: Watson's bunker hole-out from 16 yards at the par-3 14th. It gave him a two-stroke cushion over Cantlay.

Quote of the day: "It means a lot. My goal has always been to get 10 wins." - Bubba Watson

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Bubba holes birdie from bunker after caddie calls it

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 10:31 pm

Bubba Watson started the final round of the Genesis Open with the lead, but quickly squandered it with three bogeys on the front nine.

That didn't crush the two-time tournament champion's (or his caddie's) confidence though, as evidenced by his birdie on the par-3 14th hole, which he made from the greenside bunker.

Watson regained the final-round lead by finding the bottom of the cup with this splash-out from the sand, a shot his caddie, Ted Scott, apparently called before he hit it:

Hey, when you caddie for a guy who has two green jackets hanging in the closet at home, sometimes you just know.

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Watch: Daly makes an ace at the Chubb Classic

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2018, 9:01 pm

John Daly won't walk from the Chubb Classic with the trophy, but he certainly deserves recogition for his Sunday scorecard, which came complete with a hole-in-one.

Daly aced the 154-yard par-3 16th on the Talon Course at TwinEagles, when his ball carried the froont bunker and tracked right to the hole.

Two holes later, Daly signed for a final-round 67 that included four birdies, three bogeys and two eagles, which both in the span of four holes on the back nine.

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Gustafson shares stuttering success video

By Randall MellFebruary 18, 2018, 8:31 pm

Sophie Gustafson shared a breakthrough Sunday morning on YouTube.

Gustafson, a five-time LPGA winner and 16-time Ladies European Tour winner, shared her news in a 4-minute and 15-second video.

She did so without stuttering.

And that’s the nature of her breakthrough, something she is sharing in hopes that it will help others who stutter.

“I’m certainly not perfect, and the next time you see me, I am going to stutter, there is no question about that,” she says in the video. “But I am excited, because I am going in the right direction, and I believe I have found the solution that works for me.”

For someone who has struggled with stuttering all of her life, Gustafson has touched so many with her ability to communicate. She has entertained her legion of Twitter followers with her sense of humor. She also has written articles.

Back in 2011, Gustafson touched Golf Channel viewers when she opened up about her stuttering in an interview that was aired during the Solheim Cup. Her courage in sharing her challenges was recognized the following year, when the Golf Writers Association of American presented her its Ben Hogan Award, an honor bestowed to someone who has persevered through physical ailment. She also won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award that year.

Gustafson, 44, left the game as a player three years ago to become Beth Allen’s full-time caddie on the Ladies European Tour. She explains in the YouTube video that she is making her breakthrough with the help of Steve Gill, a team member with Tony Robbins’ life and business strategy group.

Gustafson said Gill led her to breathing, meditation and incantation exercises that have helped her since they began working together eight months ago.

“If you know anyone who stutters, tell them to breathe in and then speak,” Gustafson said. “I tried it the other way for 44 years, and it's just not working.”