Presenting golf's 2014 Dubious Achievement Awards

By Jason SobelDecember 10, 2014, 12:00 pm

With respect and homage to the good folks at Esquire, allow us to present the 2014 Dubious Achievement Awards in Golf.

Said the parking space: ‘It is what it is’

For two hours on Wednesday afternoon prior to the PGA Championship, Tiger Woods’ parking space outside the Valhalla clubhouse was surrounded by dozens of camera crews awaiting his arrival.


That’s what you call taking relief

On the verge of sealing the BMW Championship victory, Billy Horschel sprinted down the 18th hole in search of a porta-potty.


He was just dancing around the question

Asked about a possible injury during the BMW PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy explained, “I twerked my knee.”


Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Eww, eww, eww!

Two months before his Masters champions’ dinner, Adam Scott threatened to serve some untraditional fare. “There’s definitely going to be an Australian theme,” he said. “Whether that means they are eating kangaroo, I’m not sure yet.”


Maybe he ran out of fingers

Not long after declaring himself one of the world’s “top five” golfers following his WGC-Cadillac Championship victory, Patrick Reed was asked to name the other four. He listed Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell and Dustin Johnson.


And at 12:01? Lunch

To help his confidence on the greens, Russell Henley revealed, “Every day at noon, I have a reminder on my phone that says I'm the best putter in the world.”


Good thing he didn’t take off his socks and shoes

An image of Stewart Cink went viral when he removed his hat after finishing the first round of the Sony Open, revealing a glaring tan line against his bald head.


‘… and that’s a bush, and over there is a flower…’

Augusta National’s famed Eisenhower Tree was uprooted after suffering major damage during an ice storm. When asked to reflect on its importance, Rory McIlroy shrugged, “It’s a tree.”


Just call him an ace-stronaut

With a hole-in-one during the final round of the KLM Open, Andy Sullivan earned a trip into outer-space.


Unlike him, she was already over the moon

When asked whether he’d take the trip, Sullivan said, "I'm not sure if I'll go. I'll check with the missus.”


Bad swing thoughts greater than Bad sting thoughts

Attacked by a swarm of hornets at the Maybank Malaysian Open, Pablo Larrazabal tried to run away, then jumped into a nearby water hazard. “It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure,” he insisted. “I've never been so scared.”


Breaking news

Just minutes after the trophy presentation at The Barclays, Hunter Mahan’s newest piece of hardware came apart from its base.


Drink…

After winning the IPSA Handa Perth International, Thorbjorn Olesen offered this on his impending celebration: “I'll definitely have a few beers. Maybe some other stuff also, champagne, I don't know. Whatever I can get my hands on, I'll drink it.”


Drink…

After winning the Dunhill Links Championship, Oliver Wilson offered this on his impending celebration: “I don’t know. I could be drunk for a while.”


Drunk

After earning the clinching point for the European side at the Ryder Cup, Jamie Donaldson was asked the next morning whether it had sunk in yet. “No,” he said, “because I’m still drunk.”


Must’ve been before he learned numbers

Victor Dubuisson on when he stopped attending school during his formative years in France: “I was like 10 or 12.”


Even Lydia Ko has socks older than her

At 11 years old, Lucy Li became the youngest competitor in U.S. Women’s Open history.


Like that old motto for a plumbing company: ‘We’re No. 1 in taking care of No. 2’

With a playoff loss at the HSBC Champions tournament, Tim Clark claimed a runner-up finish on the PGA Tour for an 11th consecutive season.


But did he hold on to that old Slazenger?

Golf ball diver Stephen Martinez was attacked by an alligator in Florida for the second time in less than a decade, leaving minimal bite injuries to his left hand and arm.


Finally, a solution to slow play

A golf cart in South Carolina was modified for speed, setting a Guinness World Record by reaching 118.76 mph.


Now who’s chicken?

A suspect fled the scene after breaking into a Foster Farms ranch near Fresno, Calif., and slaughtering more than 900 chickens with a golf club.


And you thought the 1996 Masters was cringe-worthy

Greg Norman nearly lost his left arm after a heavy tree limb forced it down against the running blade of a chainsaw.


Considering the alternative, thank goodness it was funny

In a satirical video featuring the catchphrase, “That’s How Duf Does It,”usual flatliner Jason Dufner deadpanned his approach to golf on the website Funny or Die.


The 19th hole barely had enough prune juice for everyone

Dom DeBonis, an 81-year-old recreational golfer, carded holes-in-one during three consecutive rounds in October.


You mean he didn’t have holes-in-one during three consecutive rounds?

PGA Tour China leading money winner Xin-Jun Zhang was suspended for six months after being found guilty of signing multiple incorrect scorecards.


OK, now that’s a hole-in-one

During the opening round of the PGA Championship, Chris Wood split his pants in an inopportune wardrobe malfunction. “I’m 6-foot-6 with a massive hole in my trousers in America,” he later said. “It’s the most embarrassed I’ve ever been on the golf course."


As it turns out, money can buy you love

One-upping fellow competitors who threw sponsor-related knickknacks into the stands surrounding TPC Scottsdale’s rowdy 16th hole, Ryan Palmer won over the fans by tossing cold, hard cash.


Here’s a guy who knows how to move up a leaderboard - literally

English factory worker John Singleton, whose day job consists of operating a forklift, qualified for the Open Championship.


Ba-hack Obama?

Michael Jordan listed President Obama in his dream foursome, then quickly took it back. “He’s a hack,” the former basketball star said. “It would be all day playing with him.”


The commander-in-giving-grief

Upon hearing of Jordan’s comment, the president fired back: “He might want to spend more time thinking about the Bobcats – or the Hornets.”


His mama always said that

Tom Watson explained of Open Championship host Royal Liverpool: "It's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."


Or, if you keep missing, even more frustrating

As part of an effort to grow the game, TaylorMade introduced 15-inch holes which ostensibly make golf easier.


One dig deserves another

During the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Ian Poulter called Hideki Matsuyama an “idiot” for digging his putter into the 13th green in frustration, then leaving it for a rules official to repair.


Taking this whole ‘man of the people’ thing entirely too far

On two consecutive days at The Barclays, Phil Mickelson pushed drives into the hospitality tent left of the fifth green at Ridgewood Country Club, each time hitting his next shot from among the spectators.


‘And I might be off, but one Masters win plus another Masters win is two Masters wins, correct?’

Bubba Watson to caddie Ted Scott, while standing over a birdie putt on the final hole of the Masters: “I'm not very good at math, but we've got four putts, right?”


Anyone know how to get maple syrup out of a green jacket?

Following his victory, Watson tweeted a photo of himself celebrating with friends and family at a local Waffle House.


Membership has its privileges

Playing with Augusta National member Jeff Knox during the third round of the Masters, Rory McIlroy suffered a worse score than his marker.


Proclaimed The Donald: ‘It’s the Trumpiest Trump in all of Trumpland’

Ubiquitous developer Donald Trump bought venerable Turnberry Resort and, like most of his golf properties, eponymously renamed it Trump Turnberry.


When found, it was hailed as a diamond in the rough

At the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, an errant drive by Sergio Garcia knocked the diamond out of a female spectator’s engagement ring.


And all you got your dad this year was an ugly tie

A decade-old wager on his son to win the Open Championship by age 25 earned Gerry McIlroy and two friends more than $300,000 after Rory's victory at Royal Liverpool.


In his defense, he didn’t have enough characters left to write ‘Little’

PGA of America president Ted Bishop was ousted from his position after referring to Ian Poulter on social media as a “Lil Girl.”


Take the putt, leave the bologna

Following a lengthy ruling, Sergio Garcia conceded an 18-foot putt to Rickie Fowler during their match at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. “I didn’t know what he meant,” Fowler said of the unlikely halve. “I didn’t know if he had a sandwich over there waiting and asked if I wanted to split lunch or something.”

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Murray fixes swing flaw, recovers momentum

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 2:24 am

SAN ANTONIO - Grayson Murray fixed a flaw in his swing and hit the ball well enough that blustery conditions weren't an issue for him Thursday in the Valero Texas Open.

Coming off a missed cut at Hilton Head last week, Murray made seven birdies for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead. His only mistake was a double bogey from a greenside bunker on the par-3 seventh hole.

''Just the fact I did give myself enough opportunities today for birdie, it took a lot of pressure off,'' Murray said.

Of the five players at 68, only Chesson Hadley played in the morning side of the draw, and he called it among his best rounds of the year because of gusts. The wind died in the afternoon and scoring improved slightly on the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio. Keegan Bradley, Ryan Moore, Billy Horschel and Matt Atkins each posted 68. Horschel and Moore played bogey-free.

''Struck the ball really well, something that we've been working hard on,'' Horschel said. ''Could have been better, yeah. I didn't really make anything out there today. But I'm happy with it.''

Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the course, played the Texas Open for the first time since 2010 and shot a 74. Adam Scott failed to make a birdie in his round of 75. Scott is at No. 59 in the world and needs to stay in the top 60 by May 21 to be exempt for the U.S. Open.

Harris English was in the group at 69, while two-time Texas Open champion Zach Johnson, Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker were among those at 70. Johnson saved his round by going 5 under over his final five holes, starting with a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th hole. He birdied the last three.


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


Murray was coming off a pair of top 15s at Bay Hill and the Houston Open when his game got away from him last week in the RBC Heritage, and he shot 74-70 to miss the cut. He got that sorted out in the five days between teeing it up in San Antonio.

He said he was coming down too steep, which meant he would flip his hands and hit a sharp draw or pull out of it and hit it short and right.

''I was hitting each club 10 yards shorter than I normally do, and you can't play like that because your caddie is trying to give you a number and a club, and you keep hitting these bad shots or keep coming up short,'' Murray said. ''I got back to the basics with the setup and the takeaway, got my club in a better position at the top, which kind of frees my downswing. Then I can start going at it.''

Even so, Murray thought he wasted his good start - three birdies in his first six holes - when his bunker shot at No. 7 came out with no spin and rolled off the green into a deep swale. He hit his third short to about 7 feet, but missed the putt and took double bogey.

''I would have loved to limit that to a bogey because bogeys don't really kill you - doubles are the ones that now you've got to have an eagle or two birdies to come back with, and out here it's kind of tough to make birdies,'' Murray said. ''But I kept my head. My caddie keeps me very positive out there, that's why I think we could finish 4 under the last nine holes.''

Only 34 players in the 156-man field managed to break par.

Horschel missed four birdie chances inside 18 feet on the back nine. What pleased him the most was the way he struck the ball, particularly after his tie for fifth last week at the RBC Heritage. Horschel was one shot behind going into the last round and closed with a 72.

But he's all about momentum, and he can only hope this is the start of one of his runs. Horschel won the FedEx Cup in 2014 when he finished second and won the final two playoff events.

''I'm a big momentum player. I've got to get the train moving forward,'' he said. ''I've always been a guy who gets on a little roll, get that train moving and jump in that winner's circle.''

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LPGA back in L.A.: Inbee Park leads by 1

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 1:53 am

LOS ANGELES - Inbee Park's flirtation with retirement is in the rear-view mirror.

Backed by a large contingent of South Korean fans, Park shot a 5-under 66 for a one-shot lead Thursday in the opening round of the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open in the LPGA's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

Showers ended shortly before Park's threesome, including second-ranked Lexi Thompson, teed off at windy Wilshire Country Club just south of Hollywood.

Using a new putter, Park birdied four consecutive holes on the back nine before a bogey on the par-4 17th. She quickly recovered and rolled in birdie putts on the second and fifth holes to finish off her round.

''I never played a tournament outside Korea having this much Korean supporters out,'' Park said. ''I almost feel like I'm playing back home. It's almost like a little Korea.''

That applies to the food, too, with nearby Koreatown's restaurants beckoning.

''Too many,'' Park said.

The third-ranked Park banished the blade-style putter she used in her Founders Cup victory last month in Phoenix, a playoff loss in the ANA Inspiration and a tie for third last week in Hawaii. She went back to one that feels more comfortable and has brought her success in the past.

''Last week was just an awkward week where I missed a lot of short ones and I just wasn't really comfortable with the putter,'' Park said, ''so I just wanted to have a different look.''

The 29-year-old Hall of Famer recently said she was 50-50 about retiring before returning to the tour in early March after a six-month break. Momentum has been going her way ever since.

Marina Alex was second. Thompson was one of seven players at 68 in partly sunny and unseasonable temperatures in the low 60s.


Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


Alex tied Park with a birdie on No. 11. The American dropped a stroke with a bogey on the par-5 13th before rallying with a birdie on No. 14 to share the lead.

Alex found trouble on the par-4 17th. Her ball crossed over a winding creek, bounced and then rolled into the water, leaving Alex looking for it. Eventually, she salvaged a bogey to drop a shot behind Park. After a bad tee shot on 18, Alex managed a par to close at 67.

''I made a lot of the putts that I shouldn't, I wouldn't have expected to make,'' she said. ''I made two great saves on 17 and 18. Kind of got away with some not-so-solid golf shots in the beginning, and I capitalized on some great putts.''

Thompson returned from a two-week break after finishing tied for 20th at the ANA Inspiration, the year's first major.

She bogeyed her second hole, the par-4, 401-yard 11th, before settling down and birdieing four of the next eight holes, including the 14th, 15th and 16th.

''I changed a little thing that slipped my mind that I was working on earlier in the year,'' said Thompson, declining to share the change in her putting technique. ''I don't want to jinx it.''

ANA winner Pernilla Lundberg was among those in the logjam after a 68.

Natalie Gulbis was among five players tied for 10th at 69. Playing sparingly the last two years, Gulbis put together a round that included four birdies and two bogeys.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng struggled to a 74 with five bogeys and two birdies.

The venerable course with views of the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory wasn't any kinder to eighth-ranked Cristie Kerr and Michelle Wie.

Both had up-and-down rounds that included three bogeys and a double-bogey on No. 10 for Kerr and five bogeys, including three in a row, for Wie. Wie, ranked 14th, had a few putts that lipped out.

Getty Images

Horschel (68) builds on momentum at Valero

By Will GrayApril 20, 2018, 12:32 am

Billy Horschel only ever needs to see a faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

While some players require a slow ascent from missed cuts to contending on the weekend, Horschel's switches between the two can often be drastic. Last year he missed three straight cuts before defeating Jason Day in a playoff to win the AT&T Byron Nelson, a turnaround that Horschel said "still shocks me to this day."

The veteran is at it again, having missed five of six cuts prior to last week's RBC Heritage. But a few tweaks quickly produced results, as Horschel tied for fifth at Harbour Town. He wasted no time in building on that momentum with a bogey-free, 4-under 68 to open the Valero Texas Open that left him one shot behind Grayson Murray.

"I'm a big momentum player. I've got to get the train moving forward," Horschel told reporters Thursday. "I've always been a guy who gets on a little roll, get that train moving and jump into the winner's circle. So yeah, it would have been great to win last week, but it was just nice to play four really good rounds of golf."


Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


Many big names tend to skip this week's stop at TPC San Antonio, but Horschel has managed to thrive on the difficult layout in recent years. He finished third in both 2013 and 2015, and tied for fourth in 2016.

With a return next week to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans where he notched his first career win in 2013 and a title defense in Dallas on the horizon, Horschel believes he's turning things around at just the right time.

"Gets the momentum going, carry it into this week, next week, which I've had a lot of success at," Horschel said. "Really the rest of the year, from here on in I have a lot of really good events I've played well in."

Getty Images

Three years later, PXG launches new iron

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 19, 2018, 11:22 pm

Three years is a long time between launches of club lines, but Bob Parsons, founder and CEO of PXG, says his company had a very good reason for waiting that long to introduce its second-generation irons.

“Three years ago, when we introduced our first generation 0311 iron, we made a commitment that we would not release a product unless it was significantly better than our existing product,” Parsons said. “:Our GEN2 irons are better than our GEN1 irons in every respect. We believe it’s the best iron ever made, and the second-best iron ever made is our GEN1 iron.”

PXG’s 0311 GEN2 irons, which officially went on sale today, feature what the company says is the world’s thinnest clubface. They have a forged 8620 soft carbon steel body and PXG’s signature weighting technology. The hollow clubheads are filled with a new polymer material that PXG says not only dampens vibration, but also produces higher ball speeds and thus more distance.

The irons come in four “collections” – Tour Performance, Players, Xtreme Forgiveness and Super Game Improvement.

Cost is $400 per iron, or $500 for PXG’s “Extreme Dark” finish. Price includes custom fitting. For more information, visit www.pxg.com.