Devil Ball Golf
  • CHASKA, Minn. — Twelve years ago, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Hal Sutton had an idea to get his side’s engine revving at Oakland Hills outside of Detroit.

    Sutton would pair Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the two best American players of the last 30 years, as a team in the opening match of the Ryder Cup. They’d play in a better-ball match against Colin Montgomerie – at the time, the European stud – and Padraig Harrington.

    Mickelson and Woods were too big to fail. And they failed.

    The duo played terribly together, losing by a 2-and-1 count in the first match that proved an embarrassment for the American side. Perhaps not getting the hint, Sutton sent them out again in the afternoon alternate-shot session and got the same result: another L.

    The American team lost by a record 18.5-9.5 margin that weekend, managing to duplicate the feat two years later at a road game in Ireland.

    At the time, and even to this day, there has been a lot of conjecture about

    Read More »from U.S. Ryder Cup hopes rest on Tiger's and Phil's master plan
  • Pete (P.J.) Willett turned into a minor star on Twitter when his brother Danny won the Masters this past April.

    P.J. has turned that moment in the sun into a bit of a regular media gig, writing columns for some overseas publications. He did so again, for National Club Golfer in the United Kingdom, with a Ryder Cup preview piece.

    P.J. Willett attributes victory in the Ryder Cup to three factors: how a captain influences the players, how the players influence each other and how the fans influence the outcome. It’s that last point where Willett gets particularly riled up, laying into American fans in what amounts to a motivational speech.

    And we’ll let him take it from here.

    Team USA have only won five of the last 16 Ryder Cups. Four of those five victories have come on home soil. For the Americans to stand a chance of winning, they need their baying mob of imbeciles to caress their egos every step of the way. Like one of those brainless bastards

    Read More »from Danny Willett's brother calls American fans 'baying mob of imbeciles' ahead of Ryder Cup
  • Rory McIlroy's Ryder Cup advice to the U.S.: Stop trying so hard

    Task Forces, dramatized wild-card picks, special practice sessions. As Rory McIlroy sees it, the United States is trying too hard to figure out how to win the Ryder Cup.

    The four-time major winner and new FedEx Cup champion gave some simple advice to the U.S. side three days before the biennial matches kick up again at Hazeltine National.

    “Stop trying too hard and just play golf,” he said Tuesday.

    Rory McIlroy will be a European team leader this week. (Getty Images)
    Rory McIlroy will be a European team leader this week. (Getty Images)

    The U.S. has tried to model its 2016 approach around how they perceive Europe comes together. Why not emulate the team that’s beaten you eight of 10 times? However, McIlroy said there isn’t some kind of secret sauce to gel the Europeans together.

    “I think there comes a point where you try a little too hard,” McIlroy said. “As much as we talk about a blueprint in Europe, it’s not rocket science. We’re not thinking about it too much.”

    It’s often hypothesized that the Europeans just get along better, making it easier for them

    Read More »from Rory McIlroy's Ryder Cup advice to the U.S.: Stop trying so hard
  • Tiger Woods gets bounced from Ryder Cup team photo

    Think Tiger Woods is itching to get back to playing competitive golf?

    Tuesday, the 12 golfers who make up the 2016 United States Ryder Cup roster lined up for the team photo. Sneaking in the back row was a 13th – Woods.

    Once a staple on the U.S. side, Woods has missed three of the last five Ryder Cups, mainly do to injury. He is on the grounds in Hazeltine this week, however, serving as a “vice captain,” whatever that means.

    Woods, who hasn’t played a competitive round since Aug. 2015, will make his return next month at the SafeWay Open in Napa, Calif. Clearly, though, he’d rather be teeing it up Friday rather than riding around on a golf cart, walkie talkie in hand, doing, well, who knows what.

    So there he was, sneaking into the team photo before getting the boot.

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  • Bubba Watson skipped over to play Ryder Cup, named 5th vice-captain

    Bubba Watson is a part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. (Getty Images)
    Bubba Watson is a part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. (Getty Images)

    Bubba Watson didn’t play well enough to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team, and he didn’t impress captain Davis Love III enough to merit any of four wild-card picks at his disposal. However, Watson’s impassioned plea to Love to somehow be a part of the American side at Hazeltine National has landed him a consolation prize.

    On Monday, Love named Watson his fifth vice-captain, joining Tiger Woods, Tom Lehman, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker with a cart and an earpiece on the ground in Minnesota.

    “Bubba Watson was obviously disappointed not to be on the team. But as our team has really bonded together over the last couple months, Bubba has offered a couple times to come and be one of our assistant captains, and I told him we had an extra red cart and we’d love to have him,” Love said Monday.

    The 37-year-old, two-time Masters winner finished ninth in the points standings, missing out on one of eight automatic qualifying spots on the

    Read More »from Bubba Watson skipped over to play Ryder Cup, named 5th vice-captain
  • LATROBE, Pa. — Driving west on U.S. Route 30, you’ll go under an overpass welcoming you to Latrobe.

    On the side of the overpass, it reads: “Welcome to Latrobe – It’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

    Welcome to Latrobe, Pa. (Ryan Ballengee)
    Welcome to Latrobe, Pa. (Ryan Ballengee)

    It’s a tip of the cap to Fred Rogers, who was born in the town on March 20, 1928. Just about 18 months later, Arnold Palmer entered this world here, too.

    Make no mistake: Latrobe might be Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, but it’s Arnold Palmer’s town.

    Palmer died on Sunday at a Pittsburgh hospital from heart complications. The seven-time major winner was in the city, another 40 minutes west down Route 30, for a scheduled Monday procedure.

    The outpouring from the golf world was immediate and immense. Most everyone here has an Arnold Palmer story, and most everyone has been quick to tell theirs in wake of the news. Palmer’s health had been on a somewhat steady decline in recent years, with various ailments and

    Read More »from Arnold Palmer's hometown of Latrobe mourns his death, ponders its future
  • Arnold Palmer passed away Sunday, a pivotal and crushing moment for sports and several generations of golf fans. But for many more, Arnold Palmer’s name will live on as the perfect summertime drink: half lemonade, half iced tea.

    The blend has been an “Arnold Palmer” for longer than most Americans have been alive. Its exact origins aren’t clear; apparently Palmer himself drank the concoction as a young man and throughout his reign atop the world of golf in the 1960s. Later in that decade, he was at a club in Palm Springs, Calif., working on a golf course design when he ordered the drink; a nearby patron overheard him, ordered “that Arnold Palmer drink,” and a legend was born.

    Arnold Palmer of the USA waves to the crowd from the Swilken Bridge on the 18th hole during the second round of the British Open at St Andrews in Scotland. This proved to be a farewell from Palmer as shortly after the round he announced this would be his last British Open appearance.
    Arnold Palmer at St. Andrews, Scotland. (AP)

    This was in an era when Arnold Palmer could show up in public wearing a paper bag for a swimsuit and an entire nation would follow his lead. So “Arnold Palmers” instantly became a national phenomenon, and remain popular to this day. Palmer himself, always a savvy

    Read More »from How Arnold Palmer the man created 'Arnold Palmer,' the drink
  • Arnold Palmer once invited me to his hometown, and when you get that kind of invitation, you clear your schedule.

    On this dark day, here’s my personal Arnold Palmer recollection.

    Three years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Palmer in Latrobe, a small town tucked in the hills of western Pennsylvania. Palmer’s Latrobe office is an inconspicuous white-paneled ranch home at the end of a cul-de-sac, across the street from Latrobe Country Club; the only sign that this home is different from those around it is the multicolored umbrella logo above the front door. Well, that, and the fact that you get here via a street named for the man within.

    You open the screen door — much of the year around here, it’s pleasant enough to leave the front door open to the air — and there’s a receptionist’s desk and a small refrigerator full of — what else? — chilled, canned Arnold Palmers. And then you’re escorted back to his office, and … whoa.

    Imagine the most impressive award you’ve ever

    Read More »from On the green, on the TV, in the air, Arnold Palmer had no equal
  • Why leaving Bubba Watson off the Ryder Cup team is the right idea

    Ryan Moore gave it his all on Sunday at East Lake. (Getty Images)
    Ryan Moore gave it his all on Sunday at East Lake. (Getty Images)

    The Task Force got it right.

    Ryan Moore had played some of the best golf on the PGA Tour since the PGA Championship at the end of July, and he concluded the PGA Tour season on Sunday with a close call at the Tour Championship. He nearly beat Rory McIlroy in a four-hole playoff at East Lake, going toe-to-toe with the four-time major winner and Europe’s best player.

    Moore may have come up short of the win, but his effort made it clear: U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III had no choice but add the UNLV product to his team with his fourth and final wild-card pick.

    The pick was revealed at halftime of Sunday Night Football in a muted announcement after word spread of the passing of Arnold Palmer earlier in the day.

    In a 56-day stretch since the end of the PGA Championship, Moore made seven starts, winning the John Deere Classic, and finishing tied for 7th at The Barclays and tied for eighth place at the Deutsche Bank

    Read More »from Why leaving Bubba Watson off the Ryder Cup team is the right idea
  • World reacts to Arnold Palmer's death

    The world mourned one of the all-time sporting greats Sunday, as golf legend Arnold Palmer died Sunday. The seven-time major winner was 87.

    One need only to look at this list of condolences to understand the widespread impact of the man:

    Read More »from World reacts to Arnold Palmer's death

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