Henley takes 1-shot lead in McGladrey

By Doug FergusonOctober 25, 2014, 12:18 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Russell Henley has a reminder on his phone that goes off every day at noon to tell him he's the best putter in the world. He didn't need one Friday in the McGladrey Classic.

Playing for the first time since Sept. 14 at the Tour Championship, Henley one-putted 10 greens on the Seaside Course at Sea Island and tied his personal best on the PGA Tour with a 7-under 63 to take the lead in the second round.

The 25-year-old from Georgia would not have seen that coming.

When he teed off in the morning chill, he opened with a bogey on No. 10 and was simply trying to keep warm. The only 63 on his mind was whether the temperature would get that high. It did, and he got hot with his best club in the bag.

''After the first hole, I was just thinking, 'All right, you've got to hang in there and just be patient and hopefully get something going.' And I did,'' Henley said.

He managed to turn a horrible drive into a birdie on the 18th hole at the turn, the start of six birdies over his last 10 holes. That put him at 9-under 131, one shot ahead of Brendon de Jonge (64), Brian Harman (67) and Andrew Svoboda (66).

''That kept the round going, and then I felt pretty good with my putter,'' Henley said.

Will MacKenzie (68), Mark Wilson (66) and Fabian Gomez (66) were two shots behind. Defending champion Chris Kirk hit his first drive of the round into a hazard and made double bogey, but he recovered with five birdies for a 67 that left him only four shots back.

Henley has won in each of his first two years on the PGA Tour, and it was that inaugural win at the Sony Open that brought so much attention to his putting. He's not suggesting he is the best putter in golf, though it doesn't hurt to tell himself that every day.

''I would say I'm a great putter. And I think if you want to be a great putter, you have to believe that you're a great putter,'' Henley said.

That's why he added the phone reminder.

''I try to just believe in my putting and enjoy putting, and people always tell me I'm a great putter, so it's pretty easy to keep the confidence going when you're doing that,'' Henley said. ''I just wish they would say that about the rest of my game.''

He doubts they will ever say that about his acoustic guitar.

Henley has been fiddling with a guitar since he was a teenager, spent more time with it in college and when he turned pro, and now is at least good enough to fulfill a fantasy. During a friendly bet he won with country singer Darius Rucker, he was able to go on stage with him Wednesday night at Sea Island during a concert and play ''Wagon Wheel,'' even singing with him on the chorus.

''I still can't believe it actually happened,'' Henley said.

De Jonge ran off three straight birdies on his front nine and played bogey-free.

More than enjoying just his putting, it's key for Henley to enjoy his golf. He did well enough after winning the Honda Classic to advance to the Tour Championship, meaning a hectic end to last season. Henley was worn out and needed the five-week break.

''I decided to rest and take a few weeks off until I got the itch,'' Henley said. ''I'm kind of a worthless golfer if I'm not excited to play. And I feel like I'm excited to play again.''

DIVOTS: Tournament host Davis Love III had a 68 and was in good shape to make the cut. ... Scott Piercy, who missed a big chunk of last season with an elbow injury, had a second straight 67 and was three shots behind. He tied for seventh last week in Las Vegas.

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.