Devil Ball Golf

  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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
  • The right man at the right time, Arnold Palmer transformed an entire sport and, along the way, became an American legend. Palmer, one of the most famous athletes on the planet and a friend to presidents, kings, and movie stars, died Sunday at the age of 87.

    Palmer, the son of a Pennsylvania country club greenskeeper, learned the sport of golf as a youth and perfected his game while at Wake Forest. He turned pro in 1955, winning a tournament in his first year as a professional, and three years later won the Masters.

    [RELATED: A visit to Palmer’s home office in Pennsylvania]

    Six of Palmer’s seven major wins came in a short period, from 1960 to 1964, but that happened to be the exact moment when televised sports first became a national obsession. Palmer’s good looks, humble origins, cheerful demeanor and on-course success combined to make him an early favorite of viewing audiences, and “Arnie’s Army” turned out in force wherever he played.

    Palmer’s

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  • Rory McIlroy win Tour Championship, FedEx Cup title in playoff

    Rory McIlroy saved his best for the end of the PGA Tour season, and it netted him an enormous payday on Sunday at the Tour Championship.

    McIlroy won the Tour Championship with a birdie on the fourth hole of a sudden death playoff, defeating a game Ryan Moore. In the process, McIlroy won the FedEx Cup, taking it from Dustin Johnson, who entered the playoff finale atop the standings.

    McIlroy, Moore and Kevin Chappell all went to a playoff at East Lake after each finishing regulation at 12-under-par 268.

    Meanwhile, Johnson, who shot a final-round of 3-over 73 to finish in a tie for sixth, had to wait. If McIlroy won the tournament, the Ulsterman would also win the FedEx Cup. If Moore or Chappell won, then Johnson would win the season-long race.

    Rory McIlroy won his second playoff event this season on Sunday. (Getty Images)
    Rory McIlroy won his second playoff event this season on Sunday. (Getty Images)

    The three playoff competitors played the par-5 18th hole – formerly the ninth hole at the Atlanta club – in the first two playoff holes. Chappell only managed par after

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  • Rory McIlroy at East Lake Golf Club. (AP)

    EAST LAKE, Ga.—Three hundred thirty-seven miles west of Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club, give or take a five-iron, the Georgia Bulldogs spent most of Saturday afternoon getting pummeled by Ole Miss. At the same time, about 680 miles north, an unspectacular Notre Dame team prepared to kick off against an equally uninspiring Duke squad. Like the moon shaping the tide, these two games, and others like them, have had an unseen but dramatic impact on the end of the PGA Tour season.

    This ought to be a time for golf to celebrate a season that featured four first-time major winners as well as a triumphant return to the Olympics. Instead, the Tour Championship, as it always is this time of year, takes a back seat—a far back seat—to the NFL and college football. The season-ending FedEx Cup, a four-tournament showdown that concludes at the Tour Championship, awards a fat $10 million check to the winner. But even that isn’t enough to vault the tournament past

    Read More »from The PGA Tour has a serious football problem
  • Charl Schwartzel makes back-to-back eagles at the Tour Championship

    Charl Schwartzel had himself a great couple of holes on Saturday at the Tour Championship.

    As you probably know, host East Lake in Atlanta has flipped the nines for this tournament, meaning the old back nine is now the first half of the course. That’s where the 2011 Masters winner took advantage, first dunking his second shot from 142 yards on the par-4 seventh hole for a 2, then making an eagle 3 on the par-5 eighth hole.

    Those consecutive eagles moved the South African to 4 under par on the round. It’s the first time a player has made back-to-back eagles in a PGA Tour round since Nick Taylor did so on the fifth and sixth holes of his round at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January.

    Charl Schwartzel had a good day at East Lake. (Getty Images)
    Charl Schwartzel had a good day at East Lake. (Getty Images)

    Ultimately, Schwartzel finished there, shooting 4-under 66 to get to 3 under par for the tournament. He trails Dustin Johnson and Kevin Chappell by five shots heading into the final round in Atlanta.


    Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor.

    Read More »from Charl Schwartzel makes back-to-back eagles at the Tour Championship
  • Johnny Miller calls European Ryder Cup team worst in years

    Johnny Miller doesn't think this European Ryder Cup team is very good. (Getty Images)
    Johnny Miller doesn’t think this European Ryder Cup team is very good. (Getty Images)

    Johnny Miller didn’t mince words on Saturday in describing what he thought of the Darren Clarke’s European Ryder Cup team.

    “I do believe the Euros have got, at least on paper, the worst team they’ve had in many years,” Miller said Saturday at the Tour Championship.

    Europe is looking for a fourth consecutive win and its ninth win in 11 tries in the biennial series. However, they’ve fielded a team with six rookies, five that qualified, including Masters champion Danny Willett, and the sixth being Belgian Thomas Pieters, added with one of Clarke’s three wild-card picks. The other rookies are Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Chris Wood.

    Miller seems to believe all that fresh blood, particularly on a road game in the United States at Hazeltine National, will work against the Europeans.

    “I just think with all those rookies … when you lose (Ian) Poulter, it’s like tearing your heart

    Read More »from Johnny Miller calls European Ryder Cup team worst in years
  • Love: U.S. Ryder Cup team 'maybe best ever assembled'

    U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III raised the bar of expectations on his 11-man (soon to be 12-man) team on Friday morning.

    “We don’t have to do anything superhuman, we’re a great golf team,” Love said on “Fairways of Life” on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. “This is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled.”

    Best, ever? Even with the qualifying “maybe,” that’s a lot of confidence in the American side — which still doesn’t have a 12th player, mind you — from its captain.

    Davis Love III gets a second shot at being captain next week in Minnesota. (Getty Images)
    Davis Love III gets a second shot at being captain next week in Minnesota. (Getty Images)

    Then again, the U.S. team, which so far has just one rookie, could use a little uplifting. The American side has lost to Europe six of the last seven times and eight of the last 10 in the biennial series. The last time the U.S. side won was a home game in 2008 at Valhalla in Kentucky.

    Love believes the U.S. team has to play with the gusto to win, trying to snatch each point instead of playing to

    Read More »from Love: U.S. Ryder Cup team 'maybe best ever assembled'
  • Bubba Watson wants to be Ryder Cup vice-captain if not a player

    Bubba Watson didn’t get off to the best start on Thursday in the Tour Championship, shooting a 2-over 72 that has him six shots back of three players, including Dustin Johnson, at East Lake.

    Watson has three more rounds to make a positive impression on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, who will make his final of four wild-card picks after the tournament ends on Sunday during halftime of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” While Love has said that hopefuls in the Atlanta field shouldn’t consider the tournament a four-round tryout for the last spot, the pressure clearly affected Watson.

    Bubba Watson didn't play his best on Thursday at East Lake. (Getty Images)
    Bubba Watson didn’t play his best on Thursday at East Lake. (Getty Images)

    Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger, who, along with Watson, were invited to an informal practice session at Ryder Cup host Hazeltine National on Monday. Berger fared worse than Watson, shooting 74. Thomas, however, shot 68 and plays Friday with Jordan Spieth.

    Perhaps reading the tea leaves from

    Read More »from Bubba Watson wants to be Ryder Cup vice-captain if not a player
  • Dustin Johnson likes Phil Mickelson, is friends with the five-time major winner. And Dustin Johnson wants no part of teaming up with the left-hander at next week’s Ryder Cup.

    “I love Phil and we’re great friends, but we have a lot more fun when we’re playing against each other, not as partners,” Johnson said Wednesday ahead of the Tour Championship.

    Johnson and Mickelson have played against each other plenty of times in Mickelson’s somewhat legendary Tuesday matches. Johnson figures he’s won more often than not from Mickelson.

    EDISON, NJ - AUGUST 25: Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson of the United States wait in a fairway during a practice round prior to the start of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club on August 25, 2015 in Edison, New Jersey. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
    EDISON, NJ – AUGUST 25: Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson of the United States wait in a fairway during a practice round prior to the start of The Barclays at Plainfield Country Club on August 25, 2015 in Edison, New Jersey. (Getty Images)

    In part, Johnson’s plea to U.S. captain Davis Love III is rooted in experience. The pair lobbied to play together in the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales.

    “We wanted it. We thought

    Read More »from Dustin Johnson doesn't want to be paired with Phil Mickelson at the Ryder Cup
  • This one might go up on the U.S. Ryder Cup team bulletin board — if they still have such things — at Hazeltine National next week.

    Lee Westwood, who will be making his 10th consecutive Ryder Cup appearance for Europe, suggested Tiger Woods, even in his capacity as a vice-captain for Davis Love III, might bring down the 12-man American team.

    “I don’t know what impact there will be from having Tiger around,” Westwood said, according to ESPN U.K. “[The U.S. team] have always struggled to find a partner for Tiger that’s been successful.”

    Woods, who carries a sub-standard 13-17-3 Ryder Cup record, has indeed struggled to find a steady partner, and American captains have tried just about anyone they can think of in hopes of creating a formidable duo with the 14-time major winner. However, there’s one small problem with Westwood’s thinking: Woods isn’t competing this time around.

    “He could have an adverse effect in the team room,” Westwood continued.

    Read More »from Lee Westwood says Woods could have 'adverse effect' on U.S. Ryder Cup team
  • Jordan Spieth gunning for Ryder Cup over FedEx Cup defense

    We all tend to want what we don’t have, not more of what we’ve already got – including Jordan Spieth.

    Spieth enters this week’s PGA Tour season- and playoff-ending Tour Championship with a chance to become the first player to successfully defend the FedEx Cup title. He can’t guarantee a second $10 million haul with a win in the Tour Championship, but he’d have a good chance at a repeat if he can pull it off.

    Jordan Spieth has a chance to repeat as FedEx Cup winner. (Getty Images)
    Jordan Spieth has a chance to repeat as FedEx Cup winner. (Getty Images)

    However, Spieth, like a number of his U.S. Ryder Cup team members have, expressed the sentiment that he’d rather have his hands on the Ryder Cup in two Sundays than again on the FedEx Cup this Sunday.

    “I don’t have a Ryder Cup,” Spieth said.

    He added, “You want something that you don’t have. That’s a trophy that I’ve watched the other side of it now, and it hurt. It was tough at the closing ceremony (in 2014), and it was tough.

    “We had a good time that evening, but when we boarded the plane back home, it was an

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  • Bubba Watson's Ryder Cup practice gamble impressed Jordan Spieth

    Bubba Watson is one of the players hoping to land the final Ryder Cup spot. (Getty Images)
    Bubba Watson is one of the players hoping to land the final Ryder Cup spot. (Getty Images)

    Bubba Watson had a chance to make an impression on some of his potential U.S. Ryder Cup teammates on Monday in an informal practice session as host Hazeltine National in Minnesota.

    From how Jordan Spieth told the story of the last hole of that round, Watson seemed to do just that.

    Watson, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger were the three Ryder Cup hopefuls invited to join Spieth and some others, and a group of five — Spieth, Watson, Thomas, Berger and Brooks Koepka — got together to play the popular golf game Wolf. The rules are pretty simple. Everyone gets a turn to be the wolf, going last in the lineup. After each player before them hits, the wolf decides if they want to partner up with them for the hole to take on the others in a best-ball match. However, the wolf can also choose to go it alone — as a lone wolf, if you will — and try to win on their own for extra points.

    We’ll let Spieth pick it

    Read More »from Bubba Watson's Ryder Cup practice gamble impressed Jordan Spieth
  • Power rankings: Tour Championship

    The PGA Tour season ends this week, with the FedEx Cup playoff champion decided at the conclusion of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

    The top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings are in the field, all with a mathematical chance of winning the FedEx Cup. If any of the top five players in the standings — Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Jason Day or Paul Casey — win the Tour Championship, then they win the FedEx Cup and its $10 million first-place prize.

    Here are our top five players this week:

    Dustin Johnson won the BMW Championship and leads the FedEx Cup standings. (Getty Images)
    Dustin Johnson won the BMW Championship and leads the FedEx Cup standings. (Getty Images)

    1. Dustin Johnson – The BMW Championship winner also happens to play pretty well at East Lake. He hasn’t won here, and he doesn’t necessarily have to do that this week to win the FedEx Cup.

    2. Adam Scott – Scott could very easily be No. 1, playing excellent golf in the playoffs and having a solid East Lake record.

    3. Rory McIlroy – McIlroy is playing well, obviously winning at

    Read More »from Power rankings: Tour Championship