Punch Shot: Giving a gift on Tour this holiday season

By Jason Sobel, Randall Mell, Rex HoggardDecember 17, 2013, 10:05 pm

What do you get for the guys who have everything. You know, for the guys who play golf for a living. With the holiday season in full swing, we asked our GolfChannel.com writers what gifts they'd get for the pro golfer of their choice. Here is their list. No word on how many times they checked it.


For Tiger Woods, some weekend mojo for the 2014 majors, with a red ribbon around it.

This isn’t so much about rooting for Woods to win his 15th major as it is rooting for the greatest chase in sports to resume in earnest. It’s about rooting for the wonderful drama that ensues if Woods steps up his quest to break Jack Nicklaus’ record total of 18 major championship victories.

It's about re-engaging the great pursuit. It's about getting to see it come down to the wire. I’m not rooting for Woods or Nicklaus as much as I am for all of us to get to see what happens if Woods gets close. What happens if Woods gets to 17, that’s left to fate, destiny and the gifts of the humans involved in the struggle.

As a kid, I was riveted watching Hank Aaron chase Babe Ruth’s career home-run record. I was a Chicago Tribune paperboy in Southern Wisconsin who yanked out the sports page every morning to see if Aaron popped another homer in the great chase. I was about 2 feet from the TV screen in our home the night Aaron ripped an Al Downing pitch for his 715th homer, passing Ruth. I want to feel the wonder of a historical chase like that come down to the wire again.


My gift isn't one for a single person. It's multiple gifts for multiple people – but based on just one.

In today's era of flat-bellied golfers, with the fitness trailer overtaking the local watering hole as the cool gathering place each week, my gift is to help every pro find the Fountain of Youth.

I'm going to have them emulating Miguel Angel Jimenez.

That means Rioja (red wine) and fine cigars all around. If you question what kind of effect this can have, consider this: The man known as The Mechanic recently set the European Tour standard as the oldest winner in history. He bested the previous record, which was held by none other than ... himself.

Maybe those guys doing crunches every morning and suicide sprints every afternoon are barking up the wrong tree. My gift could have them playing better golf – and would certainly have them enjoying life a little bit more.

And of course, I'd send a card with each present, too. It would be inscribed with just four words.

"Stay thirsty, my friends."


There is no shortage of items on Santa Claus’ PGA Tour player wishlist: a better attitude for Sergio Garcia, more reasons for Rory McIlroy to smile in 2014, a U.S. Open title for Phil Mickelson to complete the career Grand Slam, a major for Tiger Woods (who knew No. 15 would be the hardest?).

But if Ebenezer Scrooge needed a feel-good story to set things right for the New Year, look no further than Briny Baird.

Winless in 366 starts on Tour, Baird needs a break. Not a gift per se, because that would suggest the 41-year-old is incapable of breaking through and that’s just not the case.

Baird came agonizingly close at the McGladrey Classic last month only to rinse his approach shot at the 72nd hole and finish a stroke behind champion Chris Kirk.

“You got to take away some silver linings,” the veteran said at the time. “To play as many tournaments . . . it's not all about winning. I've said that, but this hurts. This really does. This is very disappointing.”

Baird doesn’t need a mulligan under the tree on Dec. 25, just a putt here or a good bounce there. They say luck favors the prepared and if anyone has put in his due diligence, it’s Baird.

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Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups

By Grill Room TeamJune 24, 2018, 11:33 pm

Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.

That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.

Watch the video below.

The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.

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Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 11:07 pm

ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title

The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.

Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.

Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.

Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.

Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.

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Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 10:09 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.

According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.

It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.

“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”

DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.

“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”

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Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title

By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 9:52 pm

Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.

Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)

What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.

Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.

Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.

Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.

Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.

Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18