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Devil Ball Golf
  • We're now several years into the experiment that is the FedEx Cup, and while opinions are divided as to whether it's a viable and realistic playoff -- some enjoy it, some consider it a hopeless contrivance -- it gives at least a few guys in the field a reason to play well and watch the standings at the Wyndham this week.

    The Wyndham offers the last opportunity for players trying to get into the top 125 on the FedEx Cup points list. Those 125 will then be winnowed progressively through the next few weeks, finally culminating in a 30-man free-for-all at East Lake in late September.

    So let's take a look at who's on the bubble, both high and low, for getting into the FedEx Cup playoffs. Currently, Michael Letzig holds down the 125th spot. And who's in 126th? None other than former Masters winner Mike Weir.

    Also just outside the bubble are notables such as Henrik Stenson, George McNeill and Billy Mayfair. PGA stats indicate that any player ranked from 126th to 142nd will jump into the top

    Read More »from Who's on the bubble heading into the FedEx Cup playoffs?
  • Jerry Pate knows golf. He's got eight wins on the PGA Tour, including the 1976 U.S. Open, and he's an accomplished course designer. Throughout the season, he'll be stopping by Devil Ball to offer an inside-the-ropes look at the week's upcoming course. Today: Sedgefield Country Club, site of this year's Wyndham Championship.

    In 2007, Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., underwent a wonderful renovation by architect Kris Spence in preparation for the Wyndham Championship. Spence did a skillful job returning the intents and philosophies Donald Ross originally crafted in 1926.

    Like many Ross designs, Sedgefield rests comfortably on the natural grade ... nothing is contrived or overly created. The strategy is simple -- challenge the hazard off the tee and receive a better angle into the green. The short par-4 No. 8 is a fine example. A creek diagonally bisects the fairway. The short left fairway is the safe route for the members, the long right fairway is where the professionals

    Read More »from Pate's perspective: Sizing up Sedgefield Country Club
  • Can you believe the majors season is over already? Me neither. Here and gone, just like that. But since it's never too early to start dreaming of azaleas, we turn our eyes to next year. Is it April yet?

    2011 Masters: Augusta National

    The story: It's Augusta. In April. Really, what other story do you need?

    Last major: Earlier this year. Phil Mickelson played one of the finest rounds of his life en route to winning his fourth major.

    2011 U.S. Open: Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Md.)

    The story: Congressional has hosted the U.S. Open, the Senior Open and the PGA Championship. It's been a regular stop on the tour for the AT&T National, so this is a familiar course to most pros. Congressional's Blue Course finishes on a par-3, which the USGA hates, so for 2011 the USGA will reverse the hole and extend it, then reroute the course so that the old 17th now plays as the 18th.

    Last major: In 1997, Ernie Els won the U.S. Open, outdueling Colin Montgomerie by a single stroke. This was

    Read More »from It's never too early to start looking at the 2011 major slate
  • This is a little piece of awesome -- some sand from the Dustin Johnson bunker for sale on eBay. And for the low, low price of about ten bucks, too!

    The buyer claims that she was standing "15 yards from Johnson" and calls the area a "trampled bunker." There you have it! It was a bunker! We knew it!

    This is why the Internet is awesome -- you see a landmark moment on television, and two days later you can buy a chunk of it for your very own. What could we have salvaged from the earlier, pre-Internet days of golf? A little bit of the Colorado fairway from Cherry Hills at Arnold Palmer's 1960 U.S. Open win? A little azalea bush from Jack Nicklaus' 1986 Masters? A "hello, my name is Francis" nametag from Francis Ouimet's 1913 U.S. Open win? The mind boggles.

    So hey, go ahead and bid on this bad boy. But hey, be careful. Wherever you put this souvenir, it counts as a bunker. Two-stroke penalties await.

    (Thanks to reader Stephen Paskey for the tip.)

    Read More »from You too can own a piece of the Dustin Johnson bunker
  • If there's anybody in golf who's happy about the last-second PGA Championship meltdown -- other than Martin Kaymer*, of course -- it would have to be Nick Watney.

    Why? Because Watney takes pleasure in the suffering of Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson? Of course not. (We assume.) No, Watney has to be at least slightly relieved at the rules craziness and playoff for a simple reason: It took all the heat off him for his total collapse early Sunday.

    Watney, you'll recall, entered Sunday with a three-shot lead. And almost immediately, that lead blew away like sand from a Whistling Straits "bunker." He double-bogeyed the first, bogeyed the fourth, double-bogeyed the seventh -- hang on, we're just getting started -- made the turn at 7-over, double-bogeyed the 11th ... he finished with a 9-over 81, an utter debacle made better only by the fact that he carded two late birdies on 16 and 17.

    Unlike Johnson's debacle at the U.S. Open, Watney was spared the camera's eye because there wasn't one

    Read More »from After his PGA Championship collapse, what's next for Nick Watney?
  • For such a staid game, golf can sure make the blood boil. Send a drive sailing smoothly into the deep dark woods, and you suddenly become possessed with the urge to hurl your driver in after it. Yip a 3-foot putt, and you can unleash a torrent of curses that'll have the bikers from "Sons of Anarchy" telling you to watch your mouth. And this extends even off the course too; one need only look at any of the posts we write about Tiger Woods to see how ridiculously unhinged some people, pro- and anti-Tiger, can get about a guy they've never met, and likely will never meet in person.

    So it's not surprising that we all got a little fired up when we saw that the PGA's gears were grinding Sunday night, looking at tape over and over to see if Dustin Johnson really did ground his club, and if so, if it really was a bunker. Shoot, I even threatened bodily harm of an official if it happened. (I didn't carry through on my threat, which is why I'm not typing this in handcuffs.)

    And in the 48 or so

    Read More »from Upon further review ... yep, it was Dustin Johnson's fault
  • (Left to right: Josh from The Hackers Paradise, Dave Cordero with adidas Golf, Steve Olsen, Mark Elder with adidas Golf, Chris Dukeminier and myself)

    There are great things about sports, and then there is the game of golf. A sport that is more a concept than an act of competition, the golf course is the only place in the world where between three groups you could find a business meeting, a family outing and a serious gambling competition all occurring. It's more than man, ball and winner. It's lovable, frustrating and beautiful, all interchanging between golf shots.

    None of this could be more apparent than what adidas Golf put on the past two months with their "Wear in the World" competition, something that pitted two lucky SOBs in some of the most beautiful and desolate golf locations in the world.

    A tee time at midnight in Norway? They did it. A female caddie picking you mangos out of a tree in Thailand? It happened. A chance to walk within the ropes at the home of golf during the

    Read More »from Two golfers, one opportunity, two winners
  • The PGA Tour has suspended Matt Every for three months for "conduct unbecoming a professional," according to Golfweek sources.

    Every was arrested on July 6 at the Isle Casino Hotel in Bettendorf, Iowa, and charged with possession of a controlled substance. At the time, Every was entered in the John Deere Classic. (He would end up T56.) His management company denied Every had marijuana in his possession.

    However, Every did not comment on this most recent news. The PGA Tour also declined comment, as it always does in matters relating to players' conduct and possible suspension.

    Where it gets even more treacherous for Every is the fact that he needs to get into the top 125 to hold onto his PGA Tour card, but he only has one event left in which he'll be eligible. He can play in the Children's Miracle Network Classic, but he currently sits 144th on the money list -- a ranking that will certainly fall even further in the next three months.

    Read More »from PGA reportedly suspends Matt Every for three months
  • Sunday's PGA Championship was the final chance for players to play their way into a guaranteed slot on the Ryder Cup team, and a couple did just that. Unfortunately, for every man that's in, another one bounces out, and thus becomes a potential captain's pick. So let's take a look, shall we?

    First off, the final eight are as follows, in order of qualifying: Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar. Missing out: Anthony Kim, Lucas Glover, Zach Johnson, Tiger Woods and a bunch of other guys.

    So who played their way in? Exactly who you'd expect. Bubba Watson rode his playoff up 15 spots, from No. 18 to No. 3. And Dustin Johnson couldn't ground his own chances to make the Ryder Cup, going from the bubble spot of No. 9 up to No. 5.

    Alas, two players got the boot, but considering how they're playing, it's not the greatest of tragedies. Lucas Glover dropped out of the instant-in status because he missed the cut with a

    Read More »from The U.S. Ryder Cup qualifiers are set; who should get added?
  • It was the worst possible way to end a golf tournament. Dustin Johnson, he of 82 in the final of the U.S. Open fame, was on his way to sign his scorecard and put the peg in the ground on the first hole of the playoff when he was suddenly stopped by David Price, a PGA rules official, to discuss a possible penalty for grounding his club in a fairway bunker on the final hole.

    It was excruciating to watch, yet we couldn't keep our eyes off the screen as the camera caught Johnson emotionless, waiting for his fate from the rules committee.

    It was a moment most golf fans will remember for a long time, as well as being something talking heads will debate over the next couple of days. And CBS was there to capture it all.

    If you didn't know it already, controversy sells. And with the tour struggling for television ratings at the moment, I'm pretty sure the sport will take as much controversy as it can get.

    Can I get a ruling, please?

    CBS, for the most part, did a great job covering the Dustin

    Read More »from GolfTube: Sizing up the TV coverage of the PGA Championship

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