Devil Ball Golf

  • The future of the Olympic golf course isn't clear. (Getty Images)
    The future of the Olympic golf course isn’t clear. (Getty Images)

    The saga that is the Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro has taken another turn, and it only further confuses who precisely is responsible for ensuring the Gil Hanse-designed track’s post-Games future.

    On Friday, a Brazilian judge froze the assets of Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, with the judge claiming Paes did not charge the proper tax to course developer Pasquale Mauro. In a controversial deal, Paes gave Mauro rights to build high-rise luxury condominiums around the Olympic course, which Mauro agreed to finance to the tune of approximately $20 million.

    Paes, whose term as mayor concludes at the end of 2016, disputed and appealed the ruling and said the city did assess the correct $1 million developer tax.

    The International Olympic Committee praised Paes for his part in getting the Rio Games to the finish line despite lackluster ticket sales, the usual glitches and funding problems that trickled down to the Paralympic

    Read More »from Rio mayor's assets frozen as Olympic golf course future remains stalled
  • David Duval hadn’t won a televised professional golf tournament since he hoisted the Claret Jug at the 2001 British Open. That skid came to an end on Sunday.

    Duval and his stepson Nick Karavites shot a 10-under 62 in the final round at Grande Lakes in Florida to win the PNC Father/Son Challenge by a stroke. Their 21-under 123 total in the 36-hole event beat 2013 winners Stewart and Connor Cink, newcomers Retief and Leo Goosen, and Fred and Taylor Funk.

    David Duval is a winner again as a professional. (Getty Images)
    David Duval is a winner again as a professional. (Getty Images)

    The pair birdied six of the first seven holes on Sunday, turning in 7 under par before making three birdies on the back nine. Turned out, that was good enough to hang on for the win.

    “This is as good as anything,” Duval said. “It truly is. I know it’s not winning The Players or something like that, but this is what the progression of life is. To be able to come out in a professional event and win and have the whole family here, I’ll

    Read More »from David Duval, stepson Karavites team for Father/Son Challenge win
  • Ian Poulter got into a bizarre altercation on Friday in Hong Kong. (Getty Images)
    Ian Poulter got into a bizarre altercation on Friday in Hong Kong. (Getty Images)

    Ian Poulter’s second round at the Hong Kong Open was slipping away from him on Friday.

    He had just taken three from a greenside bunker at the 15th hole, only to hit the final shot from the sand clear across the green. After an impressive chip-and-putt to hole out for a quadruple-bogey 8, the Englishman had something to say to one of the cameramen documenting his unfortunate thud.

    “If I’m ready to play my shot, don’t go running behind me,” Poulter said, pointing his finger at the cameraman as he looked directly in the lens.

    Poulter took to Twitter to explain his accusation, claiming the cameraman who felt his, uh, wrath had been running behind him while he was ready to swing the golf club. That would be considered a breach of etiquette for a cameraman.

    Read More »from Ian Poulter gets in cameraman's face after Hong Kong Open quad
  • If you’ll recall, the U.S. Open was nearly marred by a rules controversy.

    Eventual winner Dustin Johnson had his final round and championship put into limbo when his ball moved on the fifth green at Oakmont Country Club. After the walking rules official declared Johnson didn’t cause the ball to move, USGA officials kept looking at the footage. As Johnson was making his back-nine run toward his first major, the USGA informed Johnson that he might — might — be penalized for the ball moving.

    Johnson played on, winning the title anyhow, even with the post-round protestations of the USGA that they would award the in-limbo penalty stroke. Widely panned for how they handled the situation, the USGA acknowledged the fault but blamed the language of the Rules of Golf that left them in what they felt was an almost impossible situation to ignore.

    Dustin Johnson was pleading his case to a USGA rules official at the U.S. Open. (Getty Images)
    Dustin Johnson was pleading his case to a USGA rules official at the U.S. Open. (Getty Images)

    Now, the USGA and

    Read More »from USGA, R&A create local rule in wake of Dustin Johnson's U.S. Open issues
  • Lydia Ko and David Leadbetter have parted ways. (Getty Images)
    Lydia Ko and David Leadbetter have parted ways. (Getty Images)

    The changes in Lydia Ko’s professional life have been coming in rapid succession in recent months, with another revealed on Wednesday. Ko has fired instructor David Leadbetter after 3 years, looking for a new instructor after working at his Leadbetter Academy since turning pro.

    Leadbetter made the announcement on Twitter, saying, in part, “Lydia is not only an exceptional player, but also an exceptional person. She is a perfect role model for any young golfer to follow on how to conduct oneself on the golf course, interact with the public, and give back to the game. Lydia has been an absolute pleasure to coach and she felt the staff at the Leadbetter Golf Academy Headquarters at Champions Gate has been like an extended family to her.”

    The Florida-based golf teacher, who began working with Ko in November 2013 after the 19-year-old left long-time teacher Guy Wilson, told Golf Channel he believes the change was influenced by

    Read More »from Lydia Ko, teacher David Leadbetter split after 3 years
  • Lexi Thompson is taking part in the Shark Shootout this week. (Getty Images)
    Lexi Thompson is taking part in the Shark Shootout this week. (Getty Images)

    Lexi Thompson is one of the boys this week at the Franklin Templeton Shootout. She’s teaming with fellow Cobra Puma Golf staff Bryson DeChambeau in the two-person team event hosted by Greg Norman, matching 24 players into duos over a three-round tournament featuring a different format each day.

    “It’s going to be fun paired up with Bryson,” Thompson said Tuesday to the Naples Daily News. “I love team events and to get an invite from Greg Norman, you don’t get that very often. I’m going to have a good time and see how I do.”

    DeChambeau, who earned his full PGA Tour card during the Tour Finals, sees Thompson’s participation as nothing but a benefit to the event and, more broadly, the sport.

    “Anytime that you can have somebody from the other gender playing in the same field, I think that’s not an issue at all,” he said. “I love it. I think that’s going to be great for the game.”

    Thompson said the idea for

    Read More »from Lexi Thompson playing with the men at the Franklin Templeton Shootout
  • The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on the Ladies European Tour was suspended during the first round on Wednesday following the on-course death of a caddie.

    At approximately 10:30 a.m. local time, a caddie collapsed on the 13th fairway. After the on-site medical staffers attended to the situation, the caddie was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The caddie’s name was not released, but Dubai media reported the caddie was carrying for Anne-Lise Caudal.

    The tournament was suspended for the day, with Round 1 resuming on Thursday. The event has been reduced to a 54-hole tournament.

    The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters began on Wednesday. (Getty Images)
    The Omega Dubai Ladies Masters began on Wednesday. (Getty Images)

    “Everyone at the Ladies European Tour is extremely shocked and saddened today by this sudden death and therefore we have taken the decision to suspend first round play as a mark of respect,” said Ladies European Tour CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh. “On behalf of our membership, we offer heartfelt

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  • Thomas Bjorn is the new European Ryder Cup captain. (Getty Images)
    Thomas Bjorn is the new European Ryder Cup captain. (Getty Images)

    Europe has found its man to lead them back to the Ryder Cup in 2018.

    Thomas Bjorn is the new European Ryder Cup captain, landing the job for the next matches in the biennial series in Paris. Bjorn earned the vote of a five-person panel to get the captaincy, succeeding Darren Clarke, whose team lost 17-11 at Hazeltine National in October. The defeat marked the first time the Europeans had lost since 2008 in Kentucky. However, the Europeans haven’t lost a home game since 1993, when Tom Watson led the U.S. side for the first time in Ireland.

    “It’s a huge honor for me to be named European captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris,” Bjorn said. “This is one of the greatest days in my career.”

    Bjorn is the first Scandinavian golfer to lead the European Ryder Cup team, taking the position after a Ryder Cup career that began in 1997 at Valderrama. The Dane was also on winning European teams in 2002 and 2014, totaling a 3-4-2

    Read More »from Thomas Bjorn named 2018 European Ryder Cup captain
  • Jaye Marie Green won the final stage of LPGA Q-school on Sunday. (Getty Images)
    Jaye Marie Green won the final stage of LPGA Q-school on Sunday. (Getty Images)

    You might call it a dubious distinction, but Jaye Marie Green would probably tell you that it proves she can handle pressure.

    Green won the final stage of LPGA Tour Q-school on Sunday, taking a one-stroke win at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., in the 90-hole event to earn one of 20 LPGA Tour cards for 2017 offered through the top available priority group, Category 17. Green finished at 13 under par, beating Olafia Kristinsdottir of Iceland.

    So, the dubious distinction for Green, who is just 22 years old, is that this is her second-career final-stage win. Back in 2013, Green won the qualifying tournament at a record 29 under par. That makes her the first person to win the final stage twice since the event moved to Daytona Beach in 1991. The experience of winning in the past was more of a help for her than finishing 112th on the money list to land herself in this position.

    “I knew I had to play

    Read More »from Jaye Marie Green wins LPGA Tour Q-school for the second time
  • Hideki Matsuyama is coming into his own. (Getty Images)
    Hideki Matsuyama is coming into his own. (Getty Images)

    Hideki Matsuyama has finished no worse than second in his last five starts. He’s won four times, including on Sunday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. That bookends a stretch in which Matsuyama also won the WGC-HSBC Champions for his second official PGA Tour win and his national Open in Japan.

    Suddenly, Matsuyama is on the precipice of breaking through into the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking. Look out, Jordan Spieth.

    Always recognized as a great ball-striker — one of the best on the planet, in fact — the 24-year-old has struggled with putting. In this run, however, his putting has, at a minimum, not hurt him. For the developing sensation, that has led to more confidence on the greens that can lead to somewhat self-fulfilling results.

    “When I putt well, I can contend,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270 to beat Henrik Stenson by two shots at Albany Golf Club.

    “But these last five weeks I’ve been able to

    Read More »from Hideki Matsuyama hurtling toward world No. 1 after torrid run
  • Tiger Woods congratulates Hideki Matsuyama after the 2016 Hero World Challenge. (Getty)
    Tiger Woods congratulates Hideki Matsuyama after the 2016 Hero World Challenge. (Getty)

    NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas—Tiger Woods was never a serious threat to win the Hero World Challenge, and thanks to Hideki Matsuyama, neither was anyone else.

    Matsuyama lit the Albany Golf Club course on fire with an 18-under performance and a two-stroke victory over Henrik Stenson that wasn’t nearly that close. Matsuyama was in control all weekend long, passing J.B. Holmes and shedding Dustin Johnson en route to the victory. Matters got a bit rocky toward the end; nerves may have sabotaged Matsuyama, whose Sunday 73 was his worst score by six strokes. His seven-stroke cushion over Stenson dwindled to two, but he was able to keep the relentless Stenson at bay long enough to hold on for the trophy.

    “I can’t say that I played well today,” Matsuyama said afterward, “but I did win Tiger’s tournament, and what a great honor that is.”

    “I was miles away,” Stenson said. “It reminded me of the final round

    Read More »from Hideki Matsuyama wins Hero World Challenge, extends run of domination
  • NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Now that Tiger Woods is back in the mix, playing well enough not to embarrass himself, if not necessarily win tournaments, the next question is: where will we see Woods next?

    “I would like, in my heart of hearts, to play a full schedule next year,” Woods said after Sunday’s final round at the Hero World Challenge. “I really want to play.” A full schedule for Woods likely means 15 to 20 events, plus non-Tour events and exhibitions; he played 16 Tour events in 2013 and 19 in 2012.

    Given that Woods will play Augusta any time he’s not actually on fire, we can start at the Masters and work backward. There are 15 tournaments on the PGA Tour slate between now and that first full week in April. So let’s strike a few right off the tee:

    • Woods doesn’t or likely won’t qualify for events like the year-opening Tournament of Champions or the WGC-Mexico and WGC Match Play in March. He’ll also likely avoid playing back-to-back

    Read More »from Where will Tiger Woods play next?
  • Tiger Woods shot an erratic 4-over 76 on Sunday. (AP)
    Tiger Woods shot an erratic 4-over 76 on Sunday. (AP)

    NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Let’s call this what it is, before the moment cools: the single greatest performance in the history of Tiger Woods’ career.

    Nah, not really. Woods’ 15th-place finish (in a 17-player field) in the Hero World Challenge was a milestone, perhaps even a triumph, since Woods was about 50-50 odds to even finish the tournament at all. But we’re in an era of expectations diminished to the point of invisibility for Woods; if he’s able to swing a club without his back igniting, that counts as a success.

    “It feels good to be back out here playing again, trying to beat the best players in the world,” Woods said shortly after the round. “I missed it. I love it.”

    Woods played four straight rounds of respectable, often impressive golf, showing flashes of the spectacular play that was once routine. But he also showed the effects of 16 months away from the course, fading hard at the end of every round, concluding with

    Read More »from Tiger Woods' return a success, even if victory's a long way off
  • NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Turns out climbing back to the top of the mountain is a hell of a lot tougher than getting there the first time.

    Tiger Woods’ Grand Return hit a mud patch late Saturday afternoon, sputtering to a two-under-par 70 and an eight-under overall score after the kind of impressive, four-birdies-in-five-holes start that made even curmudgeons start wondering if maybe this guy was plugging into some long-lost mojo. With every long putt and sand save, every bombed drive and dart-accurate pitch, the years seemed to melt away and Woods seemed the Woods of old.

    Woods was playing with Rickie Fowler Saturday, but he could have been playing with Mickelson, or Els, or Garcia, or Norman, or Watson, or even Nicklaus, any of the greats whom Woods had sized up and beaten head-to-head. He was playing in front of galleries of a few dozen, but it wasn’t hard to call up images of him pulling off these kinds of shots in front of thousands

    Read More »from Tiger Woods’ return, Day 3: 'Not quite there, but it’s coming'
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — Forgot about what Tiger Woods could do, didn’t you?

    Forgot how he could grab control of a leaderboard. Forgot how he could make a better shot than you could even imagine. Forgot how he could singlehandedly take down an entire tournament, nothing but him, his putter and that stare.

    Woods started the first two days at the Hero World Challenge by hitting every realistic mark. Saturday, he got ridiculous.

    With all the conditionals about this being an easy setup and a small field, the facts remain: Woods opened his third round with four birdies in the first five holes. After being nine strokes off the lead after the first day, by his fifth hole on Saturday he was just two strokes behind Hideki Matsuyama and Dustin Johnson atop the leaderboard.

    [Tiger Woods: ‘Not quite there, but it’s coming’]

    From his opening tee shot, a dead-bang bomb right down the middle of the fairway at the Albany Golf Club that led to a birdie, Woods appeared locked in, focused in a way he hasn’t

    Read More »from Tiger Woods brings even more momentum to his return
  • Tiger Woods is putting well in his comeback. (Getty Images)
    Tiger Woods is putting well in his comeback. (Getty Images)

    Tiger Woods is putting well in his comeback at the Hero World Challenge, and he is thanking an old friend for helping him.

    Woods put in his bag this week the Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS putter he used to win 13 of his 14 major championships. It’s a move he made quickly after Nike Golf announced in August that they would be getting out of the golf-club business. How quickly?

    “The day that we (Nike) were no longer a part of the hardgoods side,” Woods said Friday.

    Woods said earlier in the week that the Newport 2 and the Scotty Cameron by Titleist Teryllium Newport he used to win the 1997 Masters are the only two putters off-limits to his son, Charlie, in his home putting studio.

    “These two, Daddy only,” Woods said, referring to those putters.

    Dating back to 2010, Woods had been using varying Nike Method putters, but he didn’t win a major championship using a Swoosh-branded flat stick. And now we know he likely never will.

    Read More »from Tiger Woods wasted little time switching back to his Scotty Cameron putter
  • Peyton Manning carries a 4.4 USGA handicap index. (Getty Images)
    Peyton Manning carries a 4.4 USGA handicap index. (Getty Images)

    Pey-ton in a green jack-et.

    Retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is apparently set to become a member of Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, according to a report from Austin Rhodes of the Augusta-area radio station, WGAC.

    Augusta National does not (and is under no obligation to) discuss membership matters, so it’s not like there will be confirmation or denial. However, according to Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette, Manning was playing golf at Augusta National recently.

    “Peyton’s at Augusta [National] playing golf,” Manning’s father, Archie, told Paige. “I think he’s really enjoying his retirement, but I know he misses the game.”

    Manning retired after winning the Super Bowl in February with the Denver Broncos, his second Super Bowl win.

    The Tennessee

    Read More »from Report: Peyton Manning invited to join Augusta National Golf Club
  • NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — Losing your grip on a golf course is like losing your grip on a snowy road. When things go awry, they can go very bad, very fast.

    Tiger Woods had been picking apart the Albany course Friday at the Hero World Challenge, taking advantage of calm winds and generous pin placements to post a seven-under round through the 15th hole of his second round. As he stood on the tee at 16, he was riding a four-birdies-in-five-holes run, a fist-pumping, putter-slapping streak that could make even the cynical wonder, what if

    The 16th at Albany is the toughest hole on the course, a 485-yard uphill par-4 that victimized Woods on Thursday to the tune of a double-bogey. The clubhouse was virtually in sight, a fine round all but in the books. Woods, playing solo after Justin Rose’s withdrawal, had been blazing through the course at a pace of 9 minutes, 40 seconds per hole, and he was less than half an hour from capping off a

    Read More »from The story of the hole that could hold the key to Tiger Woods' return
  • NEW PROVIDENCE ISLAND, Bahamas — You believing yet?

    Tiger Woods followed up a decent enough return performance on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge with an outstanding one on Friday, throwing another layer of beach sand on the doubts about his return from a long layoff. Yes, yes, the usual caveats apply: easy course, small field, benign conditions … but still, shooting 7-under 65 on the day is quite an achievement for a guy on the cusp of retirement this time last year.

    Thursday’s round was all about sizing up the course, and Friday’s round was all about picking it apart. Woods opened the front nine Friday with the exact same score, 33, but this was far different than Thursday’s start-hot, collapse-late run. Woods birdied the first, sixth, and ninth holes, his drives long, his approaches accurate, his putts true.

    The true test of a golfer, though, is how well they respond when the narrative turns, when the shots and lies turn ugly. On Thursday, Woods withered at the ends of both

    Read More »from Tiger Woods roars with phenomenal Round 2
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — It’s just one round, and you can take from it what you wish.

    Tiger Woods returned to the world of competitive golf Thursday at the Hero World Challenge, an 18-man event, and finished his opening round at 1-over 73.

    If you’re pulling for Woods, as are many fans, most of his competitors, and pretty much every golf executive, there’s plenty to build on, including a front nine in which he carded four birdies, three of them in a three-hole stretch. For a time, he even held a share of the lead.

    If you’re sick of Woods/ready to focus on the next generation, there’s this: after his hot start, Woods gave back two strokes in three holes, bogeying two par 5s. Then he double-bogeyed two of the last three holes to finish 17th of 18 players. And he’s playing in the friendliest environs imaginable: a small-field, no-cut event at which he’s the host. It’s like Springsteen singing in Jersey, or LeBron shooting in Cleveland – total homefield

    Read More »from Tiger Woods finds plenty of good and plenty of bad in first round since 2015