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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Asia offers chance for players to get early jump on season

By Rex HoggardOctober 17, 2018, 6:00 pm

When the field at this week’s CJ Cup tees off for Round 1 just past dinner time on the East Coast Wednesday most golf fans will still be digesting the dramatic finish to the 2017-18 season, which wrapped up exactly 24 days ago, or reliving a Ryder Cup that didn’t go well for the visiting team.

Put another way, the third event of the new season will slip by largely unnoticed, the victim of a crowded sports calendar and probably a dollop of burnout.

What’ll be lost in this three-event swing through Asia that began last week in Kuala Lumpur at the CIMB Classic is how important these events have become to Tour players, whether they count themselves among the star class or those just trying to keep their jobs.

The Asian swing began in 2009 with the addition of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, although it would be a few years before the event earned full status on Tour, and expanded in 2010 with the addition of the CIMB Classic. This week’s stop in South Korea was added last season and as the circuit transitions to a condensed schedule and earlier finish next year there are persistent rumors that the Tour plans to expand even more in the Far East with sources saying an event in Japan would be a likely landing spot.

Although these events resonate little in the United States because of the time zone hurdles, for players, the Asian swing has become a key part of the schedule.

Consider that seven of the top 10 performers last year in Asia advanced to the Tour Championship and that success wasn’t mutually exclusive to how these players started their season in Asia.

For players looking to get a jump on the new season, the three Asian stops are low-hanging fruit, with all three featuring limited fields and no cut where players are guaranteed four rounds and FedExCup points.

For a player like Pat Perez, his performances last October virtually made his season, with the veteran winning the CIMB Classic and finishing tied for fifth place at the CJ Cup. All total, Perez, who played all three Asian events last year, earned 627 FedExCup points - more than half (53 percent) of his regular-season total.

Keegan Bradley and Cameron Smith also made the most of the tournaments in Asia, earning 34 and 36 percent, respectively, of their regular-season points in the Far East. On average, the top 10 performers in Asia last year earned 26 percent of their regular-season points in what was essentially a fraction of their total starts.

“It's just a place that I've obviously played well,” Justin Thomas, a three-time winner in Asia, said last week in Kuala Lumpur. “I'm comfortable. I think being a little bit of a longer hitter you have an advantage, but I mean, the fact of the matter is that I've just played well the years I played here.”

Perhaps the biggest winner in Asia last season was Justin Rose, who began a torrid run with his victory at the WGC-HSBC Champions, and earned 28 percent of his regular-season points (550) in the Far East on his way to winning the FedExCup by just 41 points.

But it’s not just the stars who have made the most of the potential pot of Asian gold.

Lucas Glover finished tied for seventh at the CIMB Classic, 15th at the CJ Cup and 50th in China in 2017 to earn 145 of his 324 regular-season points (45 percent). Although that total was well off the pace to earn Glover a spot in the postseason and a full Tour card, it was enough to secure him conditional status in 2018-19.

Similarly, Camilo Villegas tied for 17th in Kuala Lumpur and 36th in South Korea to earn 67 of his 90 points, the difference between finishing 193rd on the regular-season point list and 227th. While it may seem like a trivial amount to the average fan, it allowed Villegas to qualify for the Web.com Tour Finals and a chance to re-earn his Tour card.

With this increasingly nuanced importance have come better fields in Asia (which were largely overlooked the first few years), with six of the top 30 players in the Official World Golf Ranking making the trip last week to Malaysia and this week’s tee sheet in South Korea featuring two of the top 5 in world - No. 3 Brooks Koepka and No. 4 Thomas.

“I finished 11th here last year and 11th in China the next week. If I can try and improve on that, get myself in contention and possibly win, it sets up the whole year. That's why I've come back to play,” Jason Day said this week of his decision to play the Asian swing.

For many golf fans in the United States, the next few weeks will be a far-flung distraction until the Tour arrives on the West Coast early next year, but for the players who are increasingly starting to make the trip east, it’s a crucial opportunity to get a jump on the season.

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Watch: Woods uses computer code to make robotic putt

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 3:10 pm

Robots have been plotting their takeover of the golf world for some time.

First it was talking trash to Rory McIlroy, then it was making a hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale's famous 16th hole ... and now they're making putts for Tiger Woods.

Woods tweeted out a video on Tuesday draining a putt without ever touching the ball:

The 42-year-old teamed up with a computer program to make the putt, and provided onlookers with a vintage Tiger celebration, because computers can't do that ... yet.

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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes: