Devil Ball Golf

  • Sergio Garcia will have a special caddie at the British Masters. (Getty Images)

    If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try again. That’s the saying, but a Sergio Garcia fan took the concept to the extreme with the hope of landing the Spaniard’s bag as his caddie for an event.

    Englishman Mark Johnson, a 40-year-old Garcia fan, first reached out to Garcia on July 9 to make the request, using the hashtag #Letmecaddieforyou each time. Radio silence from Garcia, all the way until Day 206, when, on Jan. 25, he finally answered.

    Garcia’s date? The Wednesday pro-am for the British Masters, which will be Sept. 27.

    As it turns out, Garcia wasn’t answering Johnson because he wasn’t paying attention.

    “I noticed him the first time from the first tweet he posted at me,” Garcia said on Tuesday at the Dubai

    Read More »from Sergio Garcia lets fan caddie for him after 206 days of tweets
  • Hideki Matsuyama is a past winner at the Phoenix Open. (Getty Images)

    The PGA Tour heads from California into the Arizona desert for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. TPC Scottsdale, near Phoenix, is the rowdiest scene in all of pro golf, with the par-3 16th hole proving a truly unique venue.

    The field is solid this week, with Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Justni Thomas headlining the field, while last week’s winner Jon Rahm and past winner Phil Mickelson serving as local rooting interests.

    Here are our top five players for this week:

    1. Justin Thomas — Best player on the PGA Tour this year is an auto-pick at the top of the rankings for the foreseeable future.

    2. Hideki Matsuyama — Matsuyama is a past winner here, taking down Rickie Folwer in what was a cringe-inducing playoff. Matsuyama has settled a little, but he loves TPC Scottsdale.

    3. Jon Rahm — An Arizona State guy, Rahm was top five here last year as an amateur. He’s learned a lot about winning and contending since then,

    Read More »from Power rankings: Waste Management Phoenix Open

  • Tiger Woods has his own jet, and it’s a majestic piece of aircraft. However, just because the 14-time major winner has wheels at his disposal, apparently he doesn’t necessarily have to use them.

    Woods flew — gasp! — commercial from Los Angeles to the United Arab Emirates for this week’s Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour.

    After missing the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines near San Diego, Woods made the short trek on his personal aircraft to Los Angeles and went out of LAX on a commercial flight to Dubai. Woods estimated this was his first commercial flight in a decade, choosing to do so out of convenience in being able to travel nonstop from Los Angeles. On his private jet, he’d have to stop to refuel.

    While Woods was passing through LAX, he encountered the ongoing protests at the airport over President Donald Trump’s refugee and temporary travel ban from seven Muslim-majority countries.

    “We were on the other side of the terminal. You could see it,” Woods said,

    Read More »from Tiger Woods flew...commercial...to the UAE for the Dubai Desert Classic

  • Brittany Lincicome checked off winning from her to-do list for the 2017 season on Sunday, picking up a playoff win over Lexi Thompson at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic to cap a week of low scoring.

    But Lincicome, who hadn’t won since her the 2015 ANA Inspiration, doesn’t win as often as a two-time major winner probably should — certainly a two-time major winner with the prodigious length and laid-back demeanor Lincicome exhibits week to week. This week was an exercise in convincing herself that she doesn’t have to settle for a good check and no trophy.

    “Going into this week we talked about confidence,” said Lincicome. “I wanted to work on my confidence. … I’m a good player. There is no reason why we’re not in contention more, so we had this whole long talk and [caddie Missy Pederson] told me, ‘Get out of your own way.’”

    Despite the pep talks, Lincicome, who opened with a 9-under 64, found herself playing conservatively down the stretch. And as she watched Thompson come up the par-5 18th

    Read More »from Lincicome beats Thompson in playoff to notch LPGA season-opener

  • Jon Rahm will be hard-pressed to enjoy a 72nd-hole moment better than the one he had on Sunday to clinch his first PGA Tour win.

    The 22-year-old Spaniard sank a 60-foot eagle bid on the final hole at Torrey Pines’ South Course, capping off a final-nine 30 and a closing 65 to notch a three-shot win at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    “I never thought it was going to be for eagle from 60 feet, especially at Torrey Pines, but the fact that it went in is just incredible,” Rahm said after the win. “The emotion just overwhelmed me. But man, that was a satisfying feeling.”

    Rahm, enveloped by the cheers, had to wait to clinch the title, however, with the final four threesomes in front of him still to finish. However, as many of those players struggled on the tough Torrey South layout, it became clear that their final few holes were played in futility of chasing down the Arizona State product.

    “I thought if I could get two more (birdies) coming in, I probably would have the trophy outright,” said

    Read More »from Rahm rides two back-nine eagles to win Farmers Insurance Open
  • Lexi Thompson has been on a tear this week. (Getty Images)

    Lexi Thompson and Stacy Lewis are in rare territory in the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic. Sitting at 23-under 196 and tied for the lead, they’re the fourth and fifth players in tour history to be that low against par through 54 holes of an LPGA event, with the tour’s history dating back to 1950.

    Thompson, in fact, had a chance to set the new 54-hole mark on Saturday at the Ocean Club Golf Course, needing birdies on the final two holes to secure the mark. However, she played the last pair in even par, ending up shy of the mark and tied with Lewis.

    To go that low, Thompson has obviously rolled in a ton of putts. That’s historically not been a strong suit of her game, but a change in technique has her feeling better over the ball.

    “I think I stood very far way, and now my eye is more over the ball and I’m taking it a lot straighter back than I was,” Thompson said Saturday, following 12-under 61 on Friday

    Read More »from Thompson, Lewis share lead in low-scoring LPGA Bahamas opener
  • Stewart Cink is in contention at Torrey Pines. (Getty Images)

    Stewart Cink doesn’t play on the PGA Tour these days unless his wife, Lisa, who has been battling Stage 4 breast cancer since last April, is feeling well enough to join him.

    She is at Torrey Pines near San Diego this week, and, as she watches, the 2009 British Open winner is finding his game.

    Cink will enter the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday in the mix near the top of a crowded leaderboard, two shots behind joint 54-hole leaders Patrick Rodgers and Brandt Snedeker. At 7-under 209, Cink is again within reach of his first win since defeating Tom Watson in the four-hole playoff for the Claret Jug at Turnberry. Considering that he was once a top-10 mainstay, Cink knows that chances like this can be fleeting, even as he is stringing together top-15 finishes marking a career revival.

    “I’m looking forward to it because it’s always a challenge to be in that position and that’s what we’re out here for, to be

    Read More »from Cink in contention for popular win as wife continues cancer battle
  • For Tiger Woods, Torrey Pines used to be a place that solely defined some of his greatest moments. However, the more recent chapters of Woods’ story at the San Diego courses are ones of disappointment and embarrassment.

    Woods missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open on Friday, shooting a second round of even-par 72 on the easier, and recently renovated, North Course. His 4-over two-round total, however, will have him miss a cut on the PGA Tour for just the 16th time in his career.

    “It’s frustrating not to be able to have the chance to win the tournament,” Woods said. “Overall, today was a lot better than yesterday. I hit it better, I putted well again, I hit a lot of good putts that didn’t go in, but I hit it much better today. … I made a couple little tweaks and changes in my setup, which was good.”

    Tiger Woods was four strokes short of making the cut at Torrey Pines. (Getty Images)
    Tiger Woods was four strokes short of making the cut at Torrey Pines. (Getty Images)

    Woods was better, finding 10 of 14 fairways after struggling

    Read More »from Tiger Woods misses cut at Farmers Insurance Open
  • Tiger Woods struggled in his first competitive round on the PGA Tour since August 2015, shooting a 4-over 76 on the South Course at Torrey Pines near San Diego that has him in danger of missing the cut at a place he’s won eight times as a professional.

    Woods, playing alongside world No. 1 Jason Day and reigning U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, bogeyed the first hole out of the gate, something that has become more commonplace for the 14-time major winner in recent years. He could be forgiven in this case, as Torrey South’s opener is one of the toughest holes on the PGA Tour.

    From there, Woods made eight consecutive pars to turn in 1-over par, largely saved by his short game, which showed flashes of his former, dominant self.

    However, it was also clear playing alongside Day and Johnson that Woods will have to reinvent himself as a golfer, no longer smashing the ball miles past his opponents. It was no more evident than on the par-5 ninth hole, a

    Read More »from Tiger Woods already in danger of missing cut at Torrey Pines
  • Rory McIlroy has the goods to be one of golf’s all-time greats. (Getty Images)

    Rory McIlroy isn’t playing in next week’s Dubai Desert Classic on the European Tour, missing the second leg of what is typically an early season United Arab Emirates double for the Ulsterman.

    He’s sidelined with a rib injury that almost forced him out of the South African Open and led to him withdrawing from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and Dubai. When he first announced the true nature of the injury, he left the timetable for his return undefined. However, McIlroy now has a target date to return.

    Speaking to Fox Sports’ Shane Bacon on the Clubhouse podcast, McIlroy said he’s looking to come back in March at the WGC-Mexico Championship.

    “I’m trying to get back for Mexico,” said McIlroy. “That’s my timetable for return. I could probably get back before that. For example, if I were to play Honda [the Honda Classic at the end of February] and then go straight to Mexico, I would be playing two weeks in a row.

    Read More »from Rory McIlroy targeting March return from rib injury
  • Tiger Woods is back on the PGA Tour. (Getty Images)

    There’s a new driver under Frank the Headcover in Tiger Woods’ bag. After spending months testing equipment to find the right sticks to replace his Nike equipment, Woods has signed an endorsement deal with TaylorMade Golf, which both parties jointly announced Wednesday.

    “Throughout my career, I’ve always been meticulous about my equipment,” Woods said in a release. “Over the past few months, I’ve had clubs from every brand sent to me to test. When it came to making a final decision, the choice was easy—it all came down to performance, which is why I chose TaylorMade.”

    As part of the deal, Woods will play a TaylorMade driver and fairway woods in the M2 line, as well irons and wedges.

    When Woods made his return to competition at the Hero World Challenge last December, Woods gamed the M2 in the Bahamas, fueling speculation of a forthcoming endorsement. Before this, however, Woods first signed a multi-year endorsement deal to play

    Read More »from Tiger Woods signs endorsement deal with TaylorMade Golf
  • Dustin Johnson had his best year in 2016. (Getty Images)
    Dustin Johnson had his best year in 2016. (Getty Images)

    This week marks the unofficial start to the PGA Tour season, with the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. A slew of top-50 players are in the San Diego field, with Tiger Woods making his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Brandt Snedeker defends against the likes of Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

    Here are our top five players for this week:

    1. Brandt Snedeker – Your 2021 U.S. Open champion LOVES this place. He’s the defending champion and is one of a handful of guys in the field with a stud record.

    2. Dustin Johnson – DJ could be jet-lagged after finishing T-2 in Abu Dhabi. He doesn’t have a swell record here. But he’s healthy and we’ve seen a good finish of late. This guy is a top-10 machine.

    3. Jason Day – The world No. 1 could have been No. 1-4 on our list this week. He’s in at No. 3 despite a great record because we just don’t know where his health is at this point.

    4. Jimmy Walker –

    Read More »from Power rankings: Farmers Insurance Open
  • Phil Mickelson didn’t win the CareerBuilder Challenge in his first year playing as the tournament ambassador, but he certainly acquitted himself well in his first PGA Tour start since a pair of sports-hernia surgeries.

    Mickelson closed on Sunday at PGA West’s TPC Stadium Course with a 2-under 70 to finish in a tie for 21st place, finishing nine back of eventual winner Hudson Swafford. Seeing as though Mickelson said he decided to give it a go this week to figure out where his game is, the five-time major winner was pleased with the result.

    “I’m much further along than I thought I would be,” said Mickelson. “I knew that my game wasn’t sharp. I didn’t feel like I was ready to win, per se, but now I feel like my game’s come a long ways in the last week. I feel like a couple more good practice days, working on the areas where I was deficient, should lead to a good work week next week.”

    Phil Mickelson had a good week in return from off-season surgery. (Getty Images)
    Phil Mickelson had a good week in return from off-season surgery. (Getty Images)

    Mickelson has a single

    Read More »from Phil Mickelson finishes T-21 in first post-surgeries start at CareerBuilder Challenge
  • Greg Eason's had a tough few weeks. (Web.com Tour)
    Greg Eason’s had a tough few weeks. (Web.com Tour)

    It’s been a difficult few weeks for Web.com Tour players as they get their season underway in unprecedented Sunday-to-Wednesday tournaments in the Bahamas.

    The schedule isn’t so bizarre as has been the weather, with the opening tournament seeing a handful of players shoot in the 90s amid tropical storm-force winds on a tight golf course. After a week off, the players moved to Abaco for this week’s event, and the scoring was much improved on Day 1, except for the player who struggled most in the season-opener.

    Englishman Greg Eason, who lost 32 of 36 balls he brought to Exuma for the season kickoff, was again struggling through 17 holes, at 8 over par on the round. However, he wasn’t the only player clinging on to shoot 80 or better on Sunday.

    Then the final hole happened.

    On the par-5 finisher, Eason made a Web.com Tour record 15 on the hole — the highest for a single hole in Tour history. That’s a decuple bogey, which sent him to his

    Read More »from Web.com Tour player makes record 15 in tough conditions in Bermuda
  • On Saturday in the California desert, Adam Hadwin shot the second sub-60 rounds in 11 days on the PGA Tour and catapulted into the lead at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    The Canadian, who became just the second non-American (Stuart Appleby, 2010, Greenbrier Classic) to break 60 on the PGA Tour, made a record-tying 13 birdies in the round (Chip Beck did it, too, when he shot 59 in 1991) at La Quinta Country Club to join elite, rare company.

    Hadwin offered no illusions about how nervous he was as he stood over the 3-foot par putt on the final hole to shoot 59. Nor did he downplay the accomplishment in suggesting that he just kind of stumbled upon a historic round. Perhaps because that’s what made Hadwin proudest: He knew early enough in the round what was at stake, and, where so many of his peers and predecessors faltered in the past, he didn’t.

    Adam Hadwin is the latest player to join the sub-60 club. (Getty Images)
    Adam Hadwin is the latest player to join the sub-60 club. (Getty Images)

    “Everybody talks about kind of they

    Read More »from Adam Hadwin shoots 59 to mark second sub-60 score in as many weeks
  • On Monday, Phil Mickelson wasn’t sure if he was even going to be able to play in the CareerBuilder Challenge. After Friday’s second round in the California desert, Mickelson is in position to win this thing.

    Following up an opening 4-under 68 at La Quinta Country Club that left the five-time major winner giddy, Mickelson shot 6-under 66 on Friday at PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament course to get to a 10-under total through 36 holes. He trails leader Hudson Swafford by four shots enter the third and final round of the rotation around the tournament’s three host courses.

    “It’s been a fun two days,” Mickelson said. “I hit a lot more good shots today than I did yesterday, but I’m still hitting some really bad ones. And that’s fine, it’s to be expected. I knew that was going to happen. But I’ve been able to kind of manage those and get away with some pars and make just a very few number of bogeys.”

    Phil Mickelson is in search of his first PGA Tour win since 2013. (Getty Images)
    Phil Mickelson is in search of his first PGA Tour win since 2013. (Getty Images)

    Mickelson has

    Read More »from Phil Mickelson in contention at CareerBuilder Challenge
  • Justin Thomas is the latest member of the Sub-60 Club (Getty Images)
    Justin Thomas is the latest member of the Sub-60 Club (Getty Images)

    We open up the 2017 season with a look at Justin Thomas’ dominating performances in Hawaii, as well a look at how Donald Trump probably won’t impact golf at all as President. We also set the table for the year on the podcast and Golf News Net.

    LISTEN to the show on audioBoom!

    Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play MusicTuneIn, PlayerFM or Stitcher.


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

    Read More »from PODCAST: Discussing Justin Thomas' early-season dominance
  • Henrik Stenson took charge on Day 1 in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)
    Henrik Stenson took charge on Day 1 in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)

    All play and no work paid dividends for Henrik Stenson in the first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    The Swede, coming off an off-season break where he rarely touched a club, shot an 8-under 64 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to take a two-shot lead over four players, including past winner Martin Kaymer and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

    Asked to explain the round, Stenson, in his typical deadpan fashion, said, “It must be the lack of practice that does it. Lack of sleep, lack of practice.”

    The bogey-free round was the first for Stenson since finishing runner-up to Hideki Matsuyama at the Hero World Challenge in December. Stenson admitted to putting in little work into his game — some into his short game — before arriving in the United Arab Emirates. He said he hit some buckets of range

    Read More »from Henrik Stenson takes Abu Dhabi lead on back of no practice
  • Ernie Els is still getting it done in his late 40s. (Getty Images)
    Ernie Els is still getting it done in his late 40s. (Getty Images)

    Tiger Woods will make his season debut next week at the Farmers Insurance Open, kicking off a stretch of four planned starts in a five-week span. He’ll play a few more times as a tune-up for the Masters, where he hopes to put on the green jacket for a fifth time and win his first major since 2008.

    Some would see there’s not a snowball’s chance on the sun of Woods winning another major. But four-time major winner Ernie Els says not so fast to those critics.

    “I am in my late 40s, and he is just getting into them,” Els said of the 41-year-old Woods ahead of this week’s Singapore Open, according to Reuters. “There have been a few cases where we have won majors in our 40s. It doesn’t happen that often but it does happen. If players like myself, Darren Clarke and Mark O’Meara won (majors) in our 40s, surely Tiger thinks he can do it, too. I am sure it’s on his agenda.”

    Mind you, Els and Clarke won their majors in their 40s in

    Read More »from Els: If I can win a major in my 40s, Tiger Woods can
  • Rickie Fowler is defending his title in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)
    Rickie Fowler is defending his title in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)

    Rory McIlroy withdrew from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Monday, citing a rib injury that could have him out for weeks. McIlroy attributed the injury, in part, to vigorous off-season practice to find new equipment to play in 2017. It’s also known McIlroy, like many modern players, is a gym rat and works out pretty hard.

    Of course, McIlroy’s critics chastised the Ulsterman in the wake of his withdrawal, suggesting the four-time major winner should take it easy and not do things that could injure his body. Then again, many of those same critics said the same thing when McIlroy injured himself while playing a friendly soccer game in 2015, forcing him to miss his title defense at the British Open.

    Defending Abu Dhabi champion Rickie Fowler doesn’t see it that way. Fowler believes, like any sane person, that pro golfers can’t seclude themselves and only hit golf balls all day and night.

    “You don’t really want to try and

    Read More »from Fowler defends McIlroy, says pros can't live in a bubble to avoid injury