Devil Ball Golf

  • Jordan Spieth’s 2016 is going to be remembered most for what didn’t happen. He didn’t win the Masters, despite heading to the back nine at Augusta National with a four-stroke lead. However, Spieth has also won three times this year, including an eight-shot rout at the Tournament of Champions, a dramatic win at Colonial in his native Texas and, recently, a playoff win at the Australian Open.

    While 2016 hasn’t been nearly as mind-blowing as his two-major, five-win, FedEx Cup-taking 2015, Spieth has enjoyed a good year.

    Jordan Spieth was a winner his last time out at the Aussie Open. (Getty Images)
    Jordan Spieth was a winner his last time out at the Aussie Open. (Getty Images)

    “I would say a B, B-plus,” Spieth said Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. “I wish I was in contention more than once in the majors, so that was a bit of a letdown.”

    Spieth wasn’t a factor in the final three majors of the year, going T-37 at the U.S. Open, T-30 at the British Open and T-13 at the PGA Championship. Spieth, in his view, did

    Read More »from Jordan Spieth rates his 2016 as a 'B-plus'
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — As one of his playing partners chopped a low liner across the 18th fairway, another shanked a shot wide left into greenside water, and a third just gave up entirely and dropped his ball where he felt like he had a better lie, Tiger Woods remained serene and drained a 15-foot-long putt for par. Well, after taking a practice putt to get the roll of the green.

    Welcome to Tiger’s Return, Day -1: The pro-am. Woods, playing with four amateurs in advance of this week’s Hero World Challenge, carded a (very) unofficial 70 with two eagles, two birdies and a rather loose approach to golf etiquette. Don’t read much — or, indeed, anything — into this performance, but Woods looked comfortable and at ease.

    At 8:30 a.m. local time, a course announcer uttered words not heard for well over a year: “Now on the tee, please welcome … Tiger Woods.” A smattering of applause, and then Woods stepped up and laid into his first shot with his always-suspect

    Read More »from Tiger Woods plays strong golf ... in a pro-am, yes, but still
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — It was a quick moment, a quick flash. The American Ryder Cup team was lining up for photos prior to its eventual thrashing of the European team. Woods, a vice captain, had lined up in the back row of the team when a photographer told him to move. Woods simply walked around to the other end of the row, but then the photographer motioned for him to get out of the frame entirely. Woods didn’t belong in this photo at all.

    Oh, sure, everyone had a fine laugh about it, the world’s onetime finest golfer banished like a child sent to the kids’ table at Thanksgiving. But it had to burn, getting shamed like that in front of players he’d once stepped over on his way up the leaderboard, and players who were still in elementary school when Woods was stocking his closet with green jackets.

    Woods, who returns to competitive golf this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, got a Christmas Carol-esque glimpse of his future, a time when

    Read More »from How the 2016 Ryder Cup lit a fire under Tiger Woods
  • Tiger Woods is starting his comeback this week. (Getty Images)
    Tiger Woods is starting his comeback this week. (Getty Images)

    Tiger Woods is back this week, as he makes his return to competitive golf after a 15-month absence at the Hero World Challenge. Woods is one of just 18 players in the field at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, where Bubba Watson is defending champion in an event in which 25-under total won last year.

    So, who are the five best players in the field? Here’s our Tiger-less ranking.

    1. Brooks Koepka — Love Koepka here. A winner in Japan in his last start, and this is a course where he should be able to bang it around and make plenty of birdies.

    2. Jordan Spieth — Spieth won the Aussie Open without his best stuff, showing the grit that is the core of his talent. Was fourth here last year.

    3. Henrik Stenson — Stenson won the Race to Dubai with a T-9 in his last start in Dubai. He does well on courses where he can use the bionic 3-wood to make plenty of par-5 birdies.

    4. Hideki Matsuyama — Matsuyama won the WGC-HSBC Champions and has

    Read More »from Power rankings: Hero World Challenge
  • NASSAU, Bahamas — The Hero World Challenge is this weekend, an event featuring the most prestigious field of the young 2016-17 PGA Tour season. But with no disrespect intended toward the Bubba Watsons and Patrick Reeds of the field, for most of the sports world this event is about one story, and one story only: the return of Tiger Woods.

    The greatest or second-greatest player ever to swing a club, depending on when you were born, Woods has not played a competitive round of golf since August 2015, back in the days when neither the Cubs nor the Cavaliers nor Donald Trump had won anything of significance. Woods has spent the last 16 months, the longest layoff of his career, in everything from cereal-eating seclusion to practice-range grinding to Ryder Cup vice-captaining, and finally makes his return to the game this weekend … and the venue couldn’t be more comforting.

    Woods is the host of the Hero World Challenge, and he’s won the event five times.

    Read More »from The return of Tiger Woods: What you need to know
  • The 898th-ranked player in the world intends to hold up the trophy on Sunday.

    It just so happens that player is Tiger Woods, the host and five-time champion of the Hero World Challenge.

    “I’m entered in this event and I’m going to try and win. I know that’s a tall order,” Woods said Tuesday from Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

    Woods, who will turn 41 at the end of December, is making his return to competitive golf on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge, with his first round of consequence in 466 days. The last time we saw him play, he faded to a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. It was his best finish of the season. However, weeks later, Woods learned pain he experienced that week was attributable to the same spot on his back where he had a microdiscectomy performed in March 2014. So, it was done again. A month later, another, otherwise-not-detailed follow-up procedure was done on Woods’ back.

    It was at this tournament last

    Read More »from Tiger Woods is back, but what kind of player will he be now?
  • This is what the Olympic golf course looked like in August. (Getty Images)
    This is what the Olympic golf course looked like in August. (Getty Images)

    The Olympic golf course was a thing of beauty. Designed by Gil Hanse, the players in both tournaments raved about how well it played, how it invited creativity, was imminently fair and looked like it had been there for decades instead of just a little less than two years — the result of a tumultuous and public process.

    Now, just three months after Rio de Janeiro finished as Olympic host, that golf course is in peril.

    According to AFP, the $19 million golf course is not attracting golfers, or even curious Brazilians, to play where the Olympians did. The course still lacks a pro shop, or a head pro for that matter. The clubhouse is practically empty, although there’s a cafe. It’s difficult to even find the course, as there’s no sign at the entrance and no website to give any information.

    At a minimum of $74 per round to play, the green fee is too high for most Brazilians. At $192 per round for foreigners, the only

    Read More »from Report: Olympic golf course on life support, falling into disrepair
  • It’s for real this time, and that has Tiger Woods a little nervous.

    Woods isn’t pushing a false start this time, planning to go through with his return to competitive golf this week at his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Woods owns a home at the host club, Albany, and his newly announced TGR companies run and benefit from the event. And, unlike the Safeway Open, which he backed out of playing as his comeback start just days beforehand in Napa, Calif., Woods is a superstar in a very small field of superstars — Woods is one of only 18 players in the field. There’s no cut, either, meaning Woods has no excuse not to finish out the tournament, at least as far as the rules go.

    This is what Tiger Woods' follow-through looked like the last time he played in 2015. (Getty Images)
    This is what Tiger Woods’ follow-through looked like the last time he played in 2015. (Getty Images)

    All eyes are on Woods this week.

    “I’m nervous for every tournament I play in, whether it’s after a layoff, or six in a row, or a major. I care. If I care, I’m nervous,” he told

    Read More »from Tiger Woods cops to nerves before return at Hero World Challenge
  • The Danes took the World Cup of Golf on the back of a second-round 60. (Getty Images)
    The Danes took the World Cup of Golf on the back of a second-round 60. (Getty Images)

    The Danes are the champions of the World Cup of Golf.

    The duo of Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen won the biennial two-man team event at Kingston Heath in Australia on Sunday, holding off a trio of teams for a three-shot win at 20-under 268.

    The U.S. team of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, the French duo of Victor Dubuisson and Romain Langasque and the Chinese team of Wu Ashun and Haotong Li all finished tied for second place.

    The final day of the competition — just as the second round — was played as a best-ball competition, with the Danes shooting a 6-under 66 to hold off the surging Frenchmen, who shot 63. The Swedish duo of Alex Noren and David Lingmerth had the low final round, shooting 62 to finish alone in fifth place.

    Kjeldsen said he reveled in the opportunity to play in a two-man team, drawing on emotion he didn’t previously experience.

    “I think the psychology has been really interesting

    Read More »from Denmark wins the World Cup of Golf
  • The U.S. duo of Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler are hanging in at the World Cup of Golf. (Getty Images)
    The U.S. duo of Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler are hanging in at the World Cup of Golf. (Getty Images)

    The United States duo of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker are just five shots back heading into the weekend at the World Cup of Golf. Tied for fourth place, the Americans say they’re yet to play their best team golf.

    “A few more [birdies] would have been nice to go into the weekend with, but we’ve done a good job with what we’ve had,” said Fowler after a second-round, 5-under 67 in the best-ball format that has them trailing the Danish duo of Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen at Kingston Heath in Australia.

    “We haven’t had any of our best golf yet, or anything close to it, so we’ll get our run here very soon.”

    The Danes were on point on Friday, shooting a team 60 that got them to a 12-under total. In a six-hole stretch, the Danes made two eagles and three birdies, boosting their round. The scoring conditions on Friday, where the team average was just under 67, were much better than a

    Read More »from U.S. in contention at World Cup of Golf as Denmark goes low
  • Peggy Kirk Bell (right) was one of the great champions and teachers of women's golf. (Getty Images)
    Peggy Kirk Bell (right) was one of the great champions and teachers of women’s golf. (Getty Images)

    Golf legend Peggy Kirk Bell passed away on Wednesday in North Carolina. She was 95 years old.

    Bell, who was born Oct. 28, 1921, in Findlay, Ohio, took up golf at the age of 17, and it came to her naturally. Bell won three Ohio Amateurs in the 1940s before winning the 1949 North and South Women’s Amateur and Titleholders Championship for her only LPGA major. She was also a member of the 1950 Curtis Cup team before turning pro.

    As a touring pro in the early days of women’s professional golf, Bell became close friends with Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Bell played with Zaharias in her final round before dying from cancer at age 45 in 1956.

    Shortly after she married her high-school love, professional basketball player Warren Bell, the couple purchased the Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C. The Bells and their family have operated the resort ever since, and it has hosted a variety

    Read More »from Golf legend Peggy Kirk Bell dies at 95
  • Rory McIlroy has enjoyed a great 2016. (Getty Images)
    Rory McIlroy has enjoyed a great 2016. (Getty Images)

    The late, great Arnold Palmer was a big fan of sending letters to winners of golf events around the world and of responding to each and every piece of fan mail.

    It seems Rory McIlroy has taken up Mr. Palmer’s affinity for reaching out to fans through the mail as well.

    McIlroy sent a letter to the young man who caught the ball he threw toward the gallery after making an eagle 2 on the 70th hole of the Tour Championship in September. Ultimately, that shot was pivotal in McIlroy making a three-man playoff before eventually defeating Ryan Moore to win the season-ending event, the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize.

    The fan, named Brady, got the letter, which was shared with ESPN’s Jason Sobel, who is friends with Brady’s uncle.

    The letter reads:

    Hi Brady!

    I hope

    Read More »from Rory McIlroy pens letter to young fan who caught Tour Championship ball
  • For those of us who have played golf for a long time and are still waiting on that first hole-in-one, this story hurts a little bit.

    Teaching pro Emma Brown was working with a female student on her very first golf lesson, working on a short course to hit irons off the ground. The student hits a little bit of a low bullet that hits the flag, and then it goes down in the ground for what is, well, a hole-in-one. Her reaction is priceless, one of shock and joy as she runs to the hole to see the ball in the cup and continue the celebration.

    hole-in-one-first-less

    If you want to throw some kind of asterisk on it, or you say it’s fake, then you’re probably a bitter hater who hasn’t gotten that ace yet. Don’t worry; yours is coming…someday.

    Or at least I keep telling myself that.


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

    Read More »from New golfer makes hole-in-one during her first golf lesson
  • Mackenzie Hughes wins on the PGA Tour at Sea Island. (Getty Images)
    Mackenzie Hughes wins on the PGA Tour at Sea Island. (Getty Images)

    The 2016 portion of this PGA Tour season was supposed to be over on Monday morning, the start of an official six-week break for players to re-charge the batteries before resuming ceremonies in Hawaii in January.

    Well, that didn’t quite work out at the RSM Classic on Sunday. Five players tied after 72 holes at the Sea Island Golf Club, sending the tournament into a sudden-death playoff that fought a losing battle with daylight. After Billy Horschel missed a two-foot putt to remain in the playoff, the four remaining players — Mackenzie Hughes, Camilo Villegas, Blayne Barber and Henrik Norlander — all made par 4 on the second playoff crack at the 18th hole. Darkness then set in, and the quartet had to return to the Seaside Course on Monday morning to decide a winner.

    In the end, it was Hughes that survived and picked up his first PGA Tour win in just his ninth-career start.

    The playoff resumed at the par-3 17th, with all

    Read More »from Mackenzie Hughes finishes off first PGA Tour win in Sea Island Monday finish
  • The men's Olympic golf tournament was one for the older guys. (Getty Images)
    The men’s Olympic golf tournament was one for the older guys. (Getty Images)

    Golf appears set to remain a part of the Olympic program for at least two more Games.

    The Guardian reported Monday that the International Olympic Committee is expected to include golf in the 2024 program. The IOC is set to meet early in 2017 to go over last summer’s Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and discuss the possiblity of changing what sports are included.

    When golf was admitted to the Olympic program in 2009, the sport was assured it would be in the 2016 and ’20 Games. However, its future beyond ’20 was pointedly uncertain, dependent upon how the sport was received in Rio after a 112-year absence. Despite concerns from potential participants, particularly male golfers, over the spread of Zika virus, the tournaments both proved compelling, attendance and ticket sales were strong and television ratings were affirming of interest in golf as an Olympic sport.

    Justin Rose won the gold medal in the men’s

    Read More »from Report: Golf to get a spot in the 2024 Olympic program
  • Matt Fitzpatrick took the title home in Dubai. (Getty Images)
    Matt Fitzpatrick took the title home in Dubai. (Getty Images)

    The European Tour season came to an end on Sunday in Dubai, with one of the circuit’s future stars taking home the trophy.

    Matt Fitzpatrick picked up his third-career win and second of the season, taking the DP World Tour Championship on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. He finished at 17-under 271, beating out fellow young-gun Englishman Tyrrell Hatton by a shot. Hatton, playing ahead of Fitzpatrick, drove in a hazard bisecting the par-5 18th hole, leading to a bogey. Fitzpatrick, needing a birdie to win, played the finisher with precision to make the winning 4 from 4 feet.

    “It means the world. To win one of these Final Series events is really special, and this one in particular – obviously the last tournament of the year,” Fitzpatrick said. “For me to win on the final week of the year is special.”

    This is the icing on the cake of a break-out year for the former U.S. Amateur winner, adding to his Nordea

    Read More »from Matt Fitzpatrick wins Euro Tour Dubai finale; Stenson wins season-long Race
  • Jordan Spieth has a way of hanging around, even when he’s not at his best. His peers say the most admirable — and, to them probably, annoying — trait is his way of turning in scores better than how he played. He did that again on Sunday at the Emirates Australian Open, and it was good enough to get him into a three-way playoff for his second Aussie Open title in three years.

    Then he won the thing.

    Jordan Spieth wins the Aussie Open again. (Getty Images)
    Jordan Spieth wins the Aussie Open again. (Getty Images)

    Spieth beat Aussies Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall with a birdie on the first playoff hole, earning the win after finishing regulation at 12-under 276 at Royal Sydney Golf Club.

    The 23-year-old didn’t look in good shape to find the playoff with three to play. However, he sank a 30-foot bomb on the 16th hole for birdie, then made back-to-back pars from difficult situations to post 12 under. Meanwhile, Geoff Ogilvy double-bogeyed the 16th himself to fall out of position to win, leaving Hall and Smith

    Read More »from Spieth wins Aussie Open in playoff, hopes to springboard into 2017
  • Rory McIlroy got grilled in a recent interview, and the person who asked him all the tough questions was the only person who could: a 9-year-old boy.

    The European Tour has a regular series called “BIG Little Interviews” with a boy who goes by the name of Billy. He has a cute English accent, and he’s welcomed some of the Euro Tour’s most well-known players for an interview. Billy isn’t confined by being a reporter or trying to maintain a relationship with a player or even the decorum of being a non-ironic adult. The result? Billy can ask all of the uncomfortable questions with biting wit.

    rory-billy-interview

    And that’s just what Billy does with the four-time major winner. Among the topics Billy hilariously broaches with McIlroy:

    McIlroy’s curly mop when he was a teenager. “It was a phase, Billy,” McIlroy said, laughing at himself.

    The decision to skip the Olympics. McIlroy admitted he got on board with the Zika excuse that proved unfounded. He said, “A few people used that excuse, and I just sort of got

    Read More »from Rory McIlroy gets hilariously grilled by 9-year-old in interview
  • Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are making big bucks. (Getty Images)
    Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth are making big bucks. (Getty Images)

    Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy make a lot of money. You knew that. But you probably didn’t have an idea of a ballpark figure that those two guys are banking.

    Let’s put it this way: Both Spieth and McIlroy make enough to appear on a new Forbes list of highest earners of celebrities and athletes under 30.

    The 23-year-old Spieth came in 10th on the list, which measured income from June 1, 2015 to June 1, 2016. He tied with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, raking in an estimated $53 million before taxes. Spieth’s income combines his PGA Tour earnings, including the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus from 2015, as well an estimated $32 million in endorsement money from the likes of Under Armour, Titleist and Coca-Cola.

    McIlroy came in at 14th on the list with a $42.5 million haul. An estimated $20 million of that came from sponsor Nike. His $10 million FedEx Cup bonus did not fall within the measured window.

    Taylor Swift

    Read More »from Spieth, McIlroy on Forbes list of richest celebrities under 30
  • Martin Kaymer in the European Tour's Mannequin Challenge
    Martin Kaymer in the European Tour’s Mannequin Challenge

    The #MannequinChallenge has been taking social media by storm, and golf really hadn’t gotten into it yet. Then the European Tour went ahead and not only took care of that participatory dearth, but they won the whole thing.

    Ahead of this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, the Tour staff, players and its social media team put together an amazing scene on the grounds at host Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    It starts in the locker room, with players like Chris Wood getting treatment, Andrew “Beef” Johnston looking at text messages and a few others looking at the Guinness Book of World Records for being the fastest foursome to play a hole of golf in the world. Then the scene goes outside, with Padraig Harrington dabbing for some reason while some of the valet guys get VIPs out of their vehicle. Then there’s

    Read More »from European Tour wins the #MannequinChallenge with amazing Dubai scene