We knew Rickie Fowler was a huge motocross fan. But the 25-year-old might have a bit of baseball fever, too.
Fowler posted a photo on Instagram of him taking batting practice at a St. Louis Cardinals/New York Mets spring training game in Jupiter, Fla. this afternoon.
Check out that swing! Those are strong upper-body swing positions for golf -- the straight left arm into impact with the lower right shoulder. Not so much for baseball. (To be fair, looks like that pitch is coming in a little low and outside.)
Fowler credits Butch Harmon for some recent strides in his golf swing. He has him cleaning up his backswing and spine angle, which Fowler parlayed into a semifinal appearance at the WGC-Match Play last month.
But as for baseball? Looks like it's clearly just a hobby for the Jupiter-based Fowler.
We don't know anything about these two guys -- other than they've created the latest golf trick shot video to go viral. Uploaded to YouTube just two weeks ago, the clip already has nearly 600,000 views.
In theory, it's quite simple, but golfers know the timing required is incredibly difficult. Guy No. 1 chips/passes a golf ball from behind to Guy No. 2 at a driving range. Guy No. 2 crushes it forward out of the air and exclaims, "Oh, my gosh." Guy No. 1 then turns to the camera and says, "That was cool." Yes, yes, it was. We're sure you'll agree:
Norman Pardo, O.J. Simpson's manager, tells RadarOnline that he believes the burglars were looking for an extremely valuable set of O.J. Simpson's golf clubs. The clubs were linked with the 1994 murder of O.J. Simpson's former wife Nicole Brown Simpson -- a case where Simpson was famously cleared on two counts of murder.
The report describes how the golf clubs were rumored to have have contained a knife, bloody clothes, gloves or other things hidden inside the shafts. Because their whereabouts are unknown, the clubs have become extremely valuable.
The golf clubs came to be associated with Khloe Kardashian through her father, Robert, a close friend of O.J. who was Simpson's defense attorney during the trial. Simpson stayed at Kardashian's house in the days following his Brown Simpson's murder, and Kardashian also read a note from Simpson to the media -- believed, at the time, to have been Simpson's suicide note.
Robert Kardashian was linked with the case itself for a time after he was allegedly seen carrying a bag of Simpson's shortly after the murder. Prosecutors speculated the bag may have been filled with evidence relating to the murder.
The golf clubs had gone missing by 2003, when Robert Kardashian died of cancer. Theories soon after arose that the clubs had been buried in Robert's old house, destroyed, or perhaps inherited by Robert's daughter, Khloe, who Simpson's manager has long claimed to be Simpson's biological child. That theory is what Simpson's manager believes motivated the burglars to break into Khloe and Lamar's house last week.
Follow all that? A dizzying, soap-opera like series of events, to say the least.
Political fundraisers are ubiquitous and as such usually do not warrant attention, but New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith merits a special commendation for his fundraising creativity.
Smith, who represents New York's 14th Senate District, is running for re-election, despite having been indicted on federal bribery charges, and is hosting a "virtual golf outing" on March 24 to buttress his campaign war chest.
Apparently no actual golf will be played and no outing of any sort will be held. It appears that it's simply an unusual way to solicit donations. The invitation shown here features a photo of an unnamed golf course, but there is no mention of an actual golf course or any other location. The cost is $100 an individual, $250 for a twosome and $500 for a foursome.
It isn't the first time that Smith has made news for a golf fundraiser that included no golf. In August of 2008, a controversy emerged from his hosting 75 lobbyists for a golf outing. The golf was canceled by rain, but Smith, according to the New York Times, "told lobbyists at a golf outing that they should contribute money now, implying that if they did not and the Democrats won control of the Senate, they would be sorry, according to reports attributed to people who heard Mr. Smith's remarks...Democrats said the comments were an attempt at humor that went awry."
Smith responded with a written statement: "We have real issues on the table that need to be dealt with. Further, we were on the day in question at a golf outing. Rain forced us indoors. And like any good host it was important to entertain all guests. That is simply what occurred. And nothing else."
As for that pending virtual golf outing, no rain is in the forecast.
Kraft Nabisco Championship announces nine amateur invitees
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TaylorMade adds driving range to Times Square
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The Grind: Patrick Reed's new nickname, Donald Trump's big week, and Tiger's bad back
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we are still trying to figure out why Patrick Reed's comments caused such an uproar. A guy who has played as well as anyone since last summer thinks he's currently one of the five best golfers in the world? How dare he! A guy who is great at what he does has the goal of being the best at his profession? The nerve! A guy not named Tiger Woods is bold enough to wear a red shirt on Sunday? Oh, no, he didn't! Seriously, this wouldn't be a big deal in any other sport. Chill out, golf.
Even Ivanka Trump seemed very impressed with Patrick Reed.
Patrick Reed: The 23-year-old became the youngest to win a World Golf Championship and the only golfer currently under 25 with at least three PGA Tour wins. I once covered a bold basketball player nicknamed Kareem "Big Game" Reid, which is why that label "Big Game" kept popping into my head over the weekend. Patrick "Big Game" Reed has a nice ring to it and is kind of fitting, no? Yep, we're going with that. Patrick, you've been dubbed.
Chesson Hadley: The rookie picked up his first PGA Tour win at the Puerto Rico Open. Plus, he was on our list of sleepers to watch in 2014 and he already has a win, a T-5, and a T-10. What's that sound you hear? Oh, it's just us patting ourselves on the back.
The 'New' Doral: Call us crazy, but seeing someone win a golf tournament at four under is fun. And how about the 113 balls in the water from 68 players on Friday? Donald Trump declared he was a "plus-10" handicap when it comes to building. Apparently, he's a master of creating carnage on the golf course as well as in the boardroom. Is the USGA taking note?
J.R. Smith: Maybe we should start a new category called, "This week in random NBA-golf connections." Last week, LeBron James made a golf analogy after scoring 61 points and this week it was the much-maligned New York Knicks guard's turn. When asked what he thought about the speculation surrounding his team's interest in retired coach Phil Jackson, Smith responded: "I've been watching the Golf Channel." And just like that we like J.R. Smith again -- at least, until he chucks up another awful shot.
Tiger Woods: His third-round 66 made Sunday the most anticipated PGA Tour final round this year, but he was completely out of contention by the time he got to the back nine. Injured back or not, blowing up on Sunday two weeks in a row after playing so well on Saturday makes for an especially tough week. Plus, he bloodied fans with errant drives and hit two sleeves of balls into the water. That might explain this look, in what is possibly the saddest Tiger Woods photo ever taken:
Other big names on Sunday: While Reed pulled away early, none of the big names who started right on his heels made any move. Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson got wet. Dustin Johnson couldn't make a putt and Jason Dufner couldn't make a three-footer. Bubba Watson shot a final-round 68, but came up one shot short. He has a win and two runner-ups in his last three stroke-play events. Oh yeah, we're 'buying' him, too.
Hideki Matsuyama and Ian Poulter: One guy carelessly damaged a golf course by taking out his frustration. The other guy took to Twitter to call him out instead of talking to him first. Not good all around. To Hideki's credit, he sought out Twitter tough guy Poulter the next day on the range to apologize. He would have gotten more credit, though, if he had just tried to fix what he'd done instead of an official having to do it moments later.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat: There are no cuts at World Golf Championships, so golfers playing bad have nowhere to hide on the weekend. As a result, Aphibarnrat finished 26 over(!) for four days at Doral. We probably shouldn't be too surprised. After all, he is known as "Asia's John Daly."
The PGA Tour's frightening Florida Swing continues with a trip to Innisbrook's Copperhead Course and "The Snake Pit" for the Valspar Championship. We're not making that nickname up. We've played it and it's not nice. Oh, and we're not making that tournament name up, either. The event formerly known as the Transitions has transitioned yet again.
Random tournament fact: How about a random PGA Tour fact? Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker have won six of the past 21 official tour events. Amazing. Also amazing? That clip of two players' combined hot streaks is just slightly better than Tiger Woods' career winning percentage. Yeah, he's pretty decent.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- "The Snake Pit" will be talked about as much as "The Bear Trap" and the "New Blue Monster": 1 million-to-1 odds
-- Hideki Matsuyama will be more careful with his golf course etiquette the next time Ian Poulter is watching: LOCK
-- J.R. Smith is a Holly Sonders fan: LOCK
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"This is what you dream of as a 6-year-old out in the bunker, hitting bunker shots on the range." -- Chesson Hadley. Man, I wish I had started working on my bunker play at that age.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods showed up for the ribbon cutting for the Tiger Woods Villa at Trump Doral Miami with the Trump family. No wonder he played last week. He had to be there for such a historic occasion.
There's Ivanka again! And speaking of the Tiger Woods Villa, apparently, Rory McIlroy was one of its first inhabitants. "There's photos of him all over . . . I can't get away from him," McIlroy said. Hey, Rory, just keep winning majors and maybe someday you'll have a villa named after you at a Trump property. Don't be afraid to dream big!
THIS WEEK IN PAULINA GRETZKY-DUSTIN JOHNSON PRO GOLFER-DOG PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION
Via Amanda Dufner on Instagram: "Louie consoling his dad after a rough day on the course. #teamdufner #dufner #puppylove"
We love #teamdufner, but we hope someone on the team is working with Jason on short putts.
On Friday, a female fan came across Luke Donald's errant tee shot, picked up his ball and walked off. Fortunately, a cameraman tracked her down and told her to put it back.
Our favorite part is she holds it up to a couple of fans walking by, as if to ask if it's one of theirs. We're going to guess it was her first golf tournament -- or at the very least, the first time she's been around Luke Donald hitting a driver.
Top-ranked Inbee Park won her first tournament of 2014, beating No. 2 Suzann Pettersen by five shots in a Ladies European Tour event. Yep, that's about the difference between Park and everyone else on the LPGA these days. . . . Adam Hadwin won the Chile Classic to become the 13th Canadian to win on the Web.com Tour. Wait, there have been that many good Canadian golfers? . . . Torrey Pines is close to being named the site of the 2021 U.S. Open. Tiger Woods will be 45. Yeah, let that sink in. . . . Speaking of getting older, pictured are the chocolate-covered strawberries my fiancee, Michelle, made me for my birthday on Monday. Yep, you've got to start eating healthier when you get to be my age.
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
How will the world go on without anymore of HBO's True Detective this year?
"I haven't sorted anything out with him," Williams said. "There's been a lot of . . . this, that and the other . . . but the hatchet hasn't been buried."
Woods has been paired with Williams -- and Williams' current employer, Adam Scott -- a number of times since he fired the caddie in 2011, including last week at the WGC Cadillac Championship, and the two have appeared cordial with one another. But Williams says hard feelings linger beneath the surface.
"It's just personal things and a difference of opinions on how things went down . . . and I need to sort that out with him," Williams said.
Of course, whether Woods feels the need to sort anything out with Williams is another story. Plenty of tour caddies get fired, and very few are given forums on TV shows to air their grievances (let alone three years later). And it's fair to say NO caddie got as rich as Williams did when he was earning a percentage of Woods' $88 million in on-course earnings between 1999-2011.
Estimates have put Williams' take at more than $8 million during that time -- which could explain why Woods might feel there's nothing left to say.
As the website noted, the proposal is not yet finalized because it needs to be voted on by the city council, although San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer expects it to approve the measure. Goode says the vote is anticipated to come next Monday. The 2008 U.S. Open was estimated to have had an overall economic impact of $142 million on the area, according to a San Diego State University study, and boasted the second-largest attendance in Open history.
The USGA faced competition for the site from the PGA of America, which was reportedly interested in bringing the PGA Championship to the Southern California public facility. The PGA of America and the USGA occasionally spar for the same courses, notably for Whistling Straits in the early 2000s. In that instance, Whistling Straits aligned themselves with the PGA, serving as the host of the 2004 and 2010 PGA Championships, and the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Similarly, the USGA brought the U.S. Open to Bethpage Black in 2002 and 2009, but the PGA of America is now aligned with the facility to host a future PGA Championship and Ryder Cup.
A quote from USGA president Tom O'Toole Jr, from the U-T San Diego piece:
"There are a lot of chess pieces. It's a process that takes some time," O'Toole said. "We wouldn't have gone back to Torrey Pines any sooner than 10 years, and we're slightly outside that range now. We had a fabulous Open there; the city was great; and the community was incredibly supportive."