Articles By Rob Doster

All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /weekend-golf-july-4-7-what-you-might-have-missed
Body:

A few highlights of an interesting holiday weekend in golf:

• Has anyone had a stranger season than Graeme McDowell? His last eight appearances on the PGA and European Tours go something like this: missed cut, win, missed cut, win, missed cut, missed cut, missed cut, win. He's the walking personification of feast or famine. McDowell won the French Open by four shots for his ninth European Tour victory, a win that moved him to sixth in the Official World Golf Ranking. We would put him at the top of British Open favorites, but two of those missed cuts we mentioned came at The Masters and U.S. Open. "Thankfully I've managed to learn how to calm my emotions and learn how to respond under pressure, sometimes,'' McDowell said. Key word: sometimes. Here are the highlights:

• Meanwhile, Jonas Blixt rocketed up 100 spots — from 139th to 39th — in the FedExCup points standings with a two-shot win at the rain-interrupted Greenbrier Classic. Blixt earned a green jacket for his efforts, but the win gets him a shot at the Green Jacket that truly matters, as he's now in the 2014 Masters field. The win was his first top-10 finish of 2013 and moves him to 51st in the World Golf Ranking, giving him a shot at a spot in next week's British Open field as a top alternate. "This is what I play for," Blixt said. "I play to win. It just confirms that if you do the right things, that you work hard, dreams can come true." Here are the highlights:

Tom Watson spent time with the youngsters at the Greenbrier and more than held his own, finishing T38 after rounds of 68, 69, 72 and 67 to finish one stroke behind Bubba for low Watson. The ageless 63-year-old Watson is approaching shoot-your-age territory.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 8, 2013 - 12:15
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Essential 11
Path: /athlons-essential-11-links-day-july-8
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for July 8.

• Country songbird and Eric Decker better half Jessie James might be our new favorite WAG. Here are a few reasons why.

Here's how Andy Murray spent his post-Wimbledon morning. I'd say Britain is pleased — as were Bradley Cooper and Gerard Butler at their bro-tastic best.

Mr. and Mrs. RG3 made a weird, creepy video together and posted it on Facebook.

Here are 21 ways not to celebrate a championship. My only quibble with the list: Nothing wrong with hitting up Denny's. A grand slam breakfast is a perfectly good way to celebrate.

• Sometimes, ESPN does things well. This is one of those times. A moving story of a producer and two special athletes.

The Seahawks got together with Fail Mary replacement ref Lance Easley for a charity softball game, where Easley posed for a photo with Golden Tate that will be like picking a scab for Packers fans. 

• Pro hoops has a new power couple: Kevin Durant is engaged to Minnesota Lynx player Monica Wright.

Saturday Down South picked East-West SEC All-Star Teams a la MLB. That's a game I'd pay to see.

• More Roger Goodell moralizing: The NFL reportedly is considering not inviting academically ineligible players to the NFL Combine.

• Interesting historical footnote: Kid Rock was present for the Malice at the Palace.

• Manny Machado went all Brooks Robinson on the Yankees yesterday.

 

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Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 8, 2013 - 10:44
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /athlons-essential-11-links-day-july-5
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for July 5.

• Sorry, fellas — Natalie Gulbis is engaged. Oh well. We'll always have the bodypaint spread.

Joey Chestnut ate 69 hot dogs yesterday. As Bob Ley tweeted, this is why our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor.

• As our tribute to American gluttony, here are 25 epic "Only in America" food items.

• It was an especially happy Fourth for one (no doubt long-suffering) Royals fan. A Lorenzo Cain grand slam netted her 25 large.

• Proving that baseball isn't the only sport with insufferable stat nerds, KenPom digs into the value of two-for-ones.

The Bruins hired a guard to prevent Tyler Seguin from partying during the playoffs. Now that's attention to detail.

• Looking to creep our your guests at your next dinner party? Serve them Silence of the Lambs-themed chianti.

• This is a bit random, but whatever: Celtics fan Roddy White is not a fan of the Brad Stevens hire.

• Already thinking about life after Johnny Football? You'll be glad to hear that the future of the quarterback position in the SEC is very bright.

Serena Williams, towel thief?

Mike Scioscia joins the "Yasiel Puig isn't an All-Star" chorus.

• Chris Parmalee didn't care that his team was down 9-1. He was going to catch the baseball.

 

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Teaser:
Post date: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 11:24
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-july-3-2013
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This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for July 3.

• In honor of our nation's 237th birthday, here's a gallery of famous ladies in patriotic bikinis and other assorted red, white and blue outfits.

• Homer Bailey doesn't always pitch shutouts, but when he does, they're no-hitters. He's the sixth pitcher to toss MLB's two consecutive no-no's. Here are the highlights of last night's gem. Of course, in the afterglow, Bailey had to go and drop an f-bomb.

• An MLB career ended yesterday because of drugs. Not a player; an umpire.

• A minor league player hit what he thought was a game-winning walk-off single. He was tragically wrong.

Urban Meyer: Florida whistleblower.

Pictures of babies doing kegstands. We in no way condone this behavior, but we will link to it.

A 2010 Aaron Hernandez draft profile pretty much nailed it. Also, delightfully, the Hernandez murder case gets the Taiwanese animation treatment.

Doug McDermott: History's greatest walk-on.

• One of 2013's intriguing subplots: Is Texas A&M here to stay?

• They don't love A-Rod in Charleston any more than they love him anywhere else.

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Teaser:
Rounding up the web's best sports links so you don't have to.
Post date: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 13:34
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-july-2-2013
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July 2

• Remember that hot UCLA girl who caught the eye of the camerman during the College World Series? She may be cashing in. More power to her.

• Here's one that's sure to spark a reaction, especially among Michigan fans: The 10 most iconic college football uniforms.

This proves that people will go to creative lengths to smuggle their booze into a stadium.

The Jags are apparently going to try to draw people to their stadium by giving them something other than the Jags to watch. Hey, whatever it takes.

The Butler bulldog had to undergo a rigorous (and adorable) training regimen to prepare for life in the Big East.

I'd say that Mark Stoops is recruiting aggressively, if 182 letters to one recruit in one day counts as aggressive.

Apparently, Cam Newton would rather be hit by a fast-moving 300-pound D-tackle than a tiny fast-moving baseball.

A gallery of stuff thrown by fans, from chairs to flares to phallic balloons.

Photos have surfaced of Alabama's new locker room. Call me when they install the waterfall.

• Speaking of Alabama, wanna see defensive coordinator Kirby Smart posing with a frighteningly huge snake he killed? Of course you do.

Running Vandelay Industries doesn't prevent Art Vandelay from enjoying the occasional Mets game.

• Yasiel Puig has more hits in his first month than anyone in baseball history not named Joe DiMaggio. Here are the video highlights of Puig's epic ascent to superstardom.

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Teaser:
Rounding up the web's best sports links so you don't have to.
Post date: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 13:42
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/pga-tour-adopts-usga-anchoring-ban
Body:

The PGA Tour has acknowledged that the USGA ban on anchored putting strokes will apply to Tour events as of Jan. 1, 2016.

“In making its decision, the Policy Board recognized that there are still varying opinions among our membership, but ultimately concluded that while it is an important issue, a ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the PGA Tour,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “The Board also was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion."

This polarizing issue has been raging for some time, especially given the success in major championships that players employing anchored putting strokes have enjoyed of late. Athlon addressed the subject in its 2013 Golf Annual by posing the question in our anonymous player survey. Here are the responses we got at the 2012 Tour Championship:

• “I think it’s fine. I don’t think they have proven that there is a huge advantage statistically for guys who use it, so I have no problem with it. It’s just a different way for guys to do things.”

• “Let them use it. I’m fine with it. If a player needed to use it to stay on Tour, I think most would.”

• “I’m yet to find a good reason for them to ban it. The arguments so far aren’t really valid.”

But then….

• “I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s true to the original ideals of golf. I’ve used one before but just don’t think it’s right. I’d be glad to see it gone.”

• “I’m against it just because I’ve always worked so hard on my own short game without going there, and I think that’s how golf is supposed to be. I’d like to see everyone else struggle and work harder like I’ve always had to.”

• “I think it’s cheating and should be banned. It goes against the spirit and rules of golf.”

• “Anchoring has to go. Just because stats don’t say long putter users are better doesn’t make it right.”

• “I think it should be outlawed. I want guys to have to hold a putter in their hands when they have a five-footer to win, to feel those nerves, not to anchor it to their body to take that away.”

And the fence-sitters…

• “I’ve tried it, it still is something you still have to learn so I don’t really care one way or the other. I don’t need to use it so it doesn’t really affect me.”

• “I don’t really care. But I know there are more out there that don’t want it. I think if it is banned there will be guys who will be gone from the Tour, some really good guys. But banning anchoring is probably fair.”

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, July 1, 2013 - 13:31
Path: /college-football/athlons-essential-11-links-day-june-24
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for June 24.

• Coaches somehow manage to consistently outkick their coverage. Here's a rundown of sideline bosses who are married to beautiful women (like Amanda Enfield, pictured, wife of balding, nondescript USC hoops coach Andy Enfield).

Twitter went bananas last night over Nik Wallenda's Grand Canyon crossing. (Of course, Dick Vitale apparently thought it was the late Karl Wallenda doing the stunt.) Whatever ratings that thing got, they can thank social media. So is life-risking danger the future of television?

Bubba Watson put a little dent in his image by hanging his caddie out to dry on national television.

Here's every one of LeBron James' made shots in Game 7 compiled into one mesmerizing GIF.

This year's key SEC revenge games start early. Buckle in.

An amusing oopsie courtesy of a Milwaukee television station. (Warning: Somewhat R-rated.)

Chris Chambliss is selling the bat and ball from one of the most famous postseason home runs in history.

• It's always fun when angry fans get hold of somebody's Wikipedia page, as happened to Doc Rivers.

Jose Molina is so slow that Robinson Cano practically ran the ball from second to first to complete a double play.

• Proof from yesterday's Tigers-Red Sox game that there is no such thing as a routine fly ball.

Your browser does not support iframes.

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Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Monday, June 24, 2013 - 10:29
All taxonomy terms: Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/tiger-woods-injury-history-breakdown
Body:

Even while winning 78 PGA Tour events and 14 majors, Tiger Woods has suffered an alarming litany of injuries, to the point that we have to wonder whether he’ll ever be truly healthy again. On the occasion of his latest malady (a strained left elbow that will keep him sidelined until the British Open), we present a breakdown of many (but not all) of the well-known injuries that have befallen Woods — and this doesn’t include anything that may or may not have happened to his face on that fateful Thanksgiving night in 2009. Not to mention the injuries to his pride, reputation and self-esteem.

Teaser:
<p> Tiger Woods' Injury History: A Visual Breakdown</p>
Post date: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/athlons-essential-11-links-day-june-17
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for June 21.

• So did Kate Upton zing her apparent ex-boyfriend Justin Verlander via Twitter? Sure seems like it. Of course, that just gives us the excuse to link to another Kate Upton photo.

• The Heat finished off one of the most compelling NBA Finals in years, a series that was so intense that both teams were exhausted by the end of it. Here's a comprehensive rundown of a historic evening.

Nike was quick to celebrate LeBron's title with this cool ad.

So this is how South Beach superstars celebrate an NBA title: By eating pizza on-stage with Drake.

Hey LeBron: Bill Russell is bored and unimpressed by your two rings.

Somebody tell Aaron Hernandez the cops want to chat. I'm sure he'd want to know.

A ballboy made one of the catches of the year, considering he started from a seated position. Of course, when you get a good look at him, he's actually a ball-man. Time to get a real job, bro.

Did Kim and Kanye really name their baby North? As in North West? Is this real life?

• In honor of Chad Johnson's recent indiscretion, here are the most awkward hugs and butt-slaps in sports.

• The SEC West will be the epicenter of college football this year. Here are the most important games in the most important division. And speaking of the SEC, here are the most dominant linebacker duos the league has to offer. Also, are SEC offenses going too fast for their own good? 

• Let the LeBron-MJ comparisons commence. As this video asserts, The King is on pace to surpass His Airness.

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June 20

• Wanna score a date with a professional cheerleader? Some of them were nice enough to share the path to their heart with Bleacher Report.

LeBron James. Tim Duncan. Game 7. Not much at stake, other than a title and a legacy.

The Stanley Cup is tied, Yasiel Puig is inhuman and more from last night.

• What's the sound of one hand high-fiving? Justin Morneau found out last night.

The SEC's mediocrity-fighting team of Stoops and Jones continues to impress on the recruiting trail.

• Over in the Ladies' NBA, they make their big announcements without any fanfare. The league's second all-time leading scorer announced her retirement by responding to a Tweet. Of course, I guess for there to be any fanfare, there have to be fans.

• Got $3.195 million lying around? You can have Chipper Jones' Roswell mansion. Take a virtual tour here.

• We lost James Gandolfini yesterday at the shockingly young age of 51. Here is his appearance on Inside the Actor's Studio. And here's a worthy tribute from someone who knew him.

The Aaron Hernandez story continues to unfold. I'm going to withhold judgment, but it doesn't look great.

SEC rookies are already making an impact.

• Routine popup? For Ronald Belisario, there are no routine popups.

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June 19

• Summer TV used to be a wasteland of reruns interrupted by the occasional sporting event. Not anymore. The hottest women of summer television, including The Newsroom's Olivia Munn.

The big winners last night? Fans of compelling basketball. The losers? Sellers of headbands.

The greatest moment from last night's game captured on film: Ray Allen's game-tying 3. My only question: Why is Ginobili flopping in the photo? Floppers gonna flop, I guess.

Stupid Heat fans who left early last night soon realized their mistake.

Are there chinks in Pop's armor after the Spurs' late-game mistakes last night?

Saturday Down South gives Athlon's rundown of opposing coaches' comments about SEC West teams. Thanks for the shout-out.

Mets pitcher Matt Harvey lost a no-hitter yesterday in the Mets-iest way possible.

Serena Williams played a little blame-the-victim in the Steubenville rape case in her Rolling Stone interview. Predictably, she's apologized.

Hadn't heard much from Charlie Sheen lately. Glad to see he's still winning at the expense of others.

• It was classic Pop in the postgame press conference. His classiest answer: "Is that a European question?"

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June 18

• Not all supermodels are created equal. Here are the 10 who are dominating 2013 so far, including our old favorite Kate Upton.

• There's nothing better in sports than a Game 7. Let's hope the current respective finals get there, and if they do, that they live up to the greatest game 7s since 2000.

Alabama is adding a waterfall to its locker room. What's next, live mermaids?

• Don't you like those history what-if games? Here's one: Vin Scully could have been a Yankee.

Seven SEC East teams, seven questions for the fall (and their answers).

The most interesting team in the world: Texas A&M. I don't always watch college football, but when I do, I watch the Aggies.

• Note to shock jocks: If you're going to disgustingly mock a beloved guy with Lou Gehrig's disease, at least be funny doing it.

I find the headline at this link highly amusing. Gotta click to see it, though.

If you were waiting to buy the new Kanye album until you heard Dick Vitale's opinion, you're in luck.

Possibly gay NFL player Kerry Rhodes thinks he could be the father of Kim Kardashian's baby. In other news, Kim's baby has already been kicked out of a club and hired Jay-Z as her agent.

• Remember Bruce Hornsby? His kid's gonna play hoops in the SEC. That's just the way it is.

• I'm not a fan of the look-at-me home run bat flip. But there's something mesmerizing about two minutes' worth of such behavior. Judge for yourself.

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June 17

• Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan and the other losers of the weekend's U.S. Open can console themselves with some of sports' finest WAGs.

Phil Mickelson plays U.S. Open word association: "Heartbreak."

It was an eventful Father's Day weekend. Here's a roundup.

• What's it like to date Tiger Woods? The New York Times asked, and Lindsey Vonn answered.

• Tis the season for meat. Here's a handy grilling guide for the carnivore in your life.

• During a pause in the golf action, Bob Costas took a moment to eviscerate the New York Mets. Now back to Dan Hicks.

Miss Utah displayed her mastery of economics with a classic pageant answer. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

• From the "Where Are They Now" files: Former Bowling Green great Omar Jacobs is still winning and putting up video game numbers, just on a small stage.

Will Mississippi State actually take the field in these jerseys?

• Cleaning this headline up a bit for a family audience: 20 Coaches Who Just Don't Care.

Jay-Z continues to take over the world.

• Danny Green is putting on a 3-point shooting exhibition the likes of which we've never seen in the NBA playoffs. He's made more 3-pointers in these Finals than Larry Bird ever attempted in an entire postseason. Here's every one of them.

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Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, June 21, 2013 - 10:44
Path: /golf/rose-denies-mickelson-merion
Body:

He wasn't the people's choice, but Justin Rose, an overnight success 15 years in the making, grabbed the 2013 U.S. Open by the throat with a clutch final-round 70 — the only score among the leaders to equal par. His 1-over finish gave him an unexpected but well-deserved two-shot win over Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

Rose, who contended as an amateur at the 1998 British Open, becomes the first Englishmen to win a major since Nick Faldo in 1996, beating heralded countrymen Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter to the punch. Rose's fairway metal from the fringe on the 72nd hole set up a clinching par and was a fittingly creative end to an Open that saw more changes in fortune than the financial meltdown.

On Father's Day, an emotional Rose credited his teacher/father, who died of cancer in 2002, with making him the golfer and man he is. "I couldn't help but look up at the heavens and think that old Ken had something to do with it," he said.

Rose also gave a shout-out to Masters champion Adam Scott for a confidence boost.

"I took a lot of encouragement from Adam Scott. … He sent me a beautiful text. He said, 'Your time is coming soon.' He's a wise man."

Philly Mick Falls Short Again
What can you say about the latest Lefty loss? The weekend was setting up beautifully for Mickelson, who posted a brilliant opening-round 67 at a surprisingly brutal Merion track, then held steady to take a one-stroke lead into the final round.

Finally, it seemed, the demons would be exorcised. Finally, the tournament that owed him one after two decades of heartbreak would yield to the will of his legion of followers. Lefty would celebrate his 43rd birthday and Father's Day with a trophy that he covets more than any other in the embrace of his loving family.

And when he erased one of his two early double bogeys with scintillating eagle 2 on No. 10 to retake the lead, it seemed that destiny was smiling on proud papa Mickelson.

Here's the Philadelphia eagle that electrified Merion and unleashed another ungainly Lefty Leap.

But two bogeys down the stretch and far too many burned edges and missed opportunities left Lefty the hard-luck loser yet again.

"This was my best chance. I was playing well on a golf course I really liked," said a candid, emotional Mickelson afterwards. "I hit good putt after good putt that I couldn't get to fall. I don't know what I would do different.

"When I made the eagle, it made me relax. It got me back to even, about where you think the winning score will be."

But mis-clubbed wedges at 13 and 15 led to crippling bogeys, followed by a makeable birdie miss at 16.

And another unhappy Father's Day.

The Week's Real Winner: Merion Golf Club
They said Merion was too short and too easy. They were dead wrong. Lee Westwood put it best with a succint tweet: "If Merion would have played dry this week like the USGA wanted, it would have been impossible."

It came darn close. The tight fairways and gnarled, rain-enhanced rough claimed victim after victim, including the world's top two players, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, who finished 13-over and 14-over, respectively. "I'll look back at the things I did right and the things I did wrong. … I did a lot of things right. Unfortunately, I did a few things wrong," Woods said. After a 13-over finish, I'd say more than a few.

Teaser:
<p> A Rose for Father's Day at the U.S. Open</p>
Post date: Sunday, June 16, 2013 - 19:38
All taxonomy terms: Phil Mickelson, Golf
Path: /golf/phil-mickelsons-greatest-hits
Body:

Phil Mickelson had perhaps the greatest round of a great career, shooting a final-round 66 to win the British Open by three shots after starting the day five behind leader Lee Westwood. One key to the victory was his laser 3-wood second shot to the par-5 17th that set up a two-putt birdie. It was the latest in a career defined by heroic shots.

Sure, he's lost his share of tournaments, many of them in heartbreaking fashion. But he's also escaped from disaster countless times with creative flops, clutch putts and a nearly unmatched flair for the dramatic.

Here's a video rundown of some of Mickelson's greatest moments - 11 of the greatest golf shots of his remarkable career, starting with the 2013 Open Championship.

 

11. 2013 British Open

Phil's monster 3-wood second shot on the massive par-5 17th at Muirfield was the key moment of his career-defining round.

 

10. 2011 Farmers Insurance Open
Only Phil would treat us to the spectacle of having caddy Bones Mackay tend the pin on an approach shot from the fairway.

 

9. 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship
Mickelson's the ultimate shot-shaper, which he proved with this bender around the trees at the Byron Nelson.

 

8. 2009 Tour Championship
For Mickelson, this was a routine chip-in, but given the circumstances — it clinched his Tour Championship win — it makes the list.

 

7. 2008 Crowne Plaza Invitational
Another stunning escape from the trees. All in a day's work.

 

6. 2009 Doral
Once was not enough. Lefty displayed his short-game mastery with consecutive chip-ins at Doral.

 

5. 2012 Masters
Phil's known for his flop shot, but from this position? Under Masters pressure? Sick.

 

4. 2010 BMW
Sometimes, it's preferable for fans (and for Phil) when he misses the green.

 

3. 2000 Chevron World Challenge
Only Phil would even think to attempt this bizarre shot, much less pull it off — a chip-in on an ice-littered green.

 

2. 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open
Mickelson broke Brandt Snedeker's heart with this bomb through the fringe and down the slope on No. 7 in the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

 

1. 2010 Masters
The hero shot to top all hero shots — Phil off the pine straw on 13 at Augusta. Pure guts.

Teaser:
<p> The Open Champion Has Had Countless Career-Defining Moments</p>
Post date: Friday, June 14, 2013 - 10:49
Path: /college-football/athlons-essential-11-links-day-june-10
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for June 14.

• "Man of Steel" opens this weekend, which prompted Coed to count down the sexiest Lois Lanes of all time. Amy Adams ranks pretty high on that list.

Last night, the Big Three lived up to the hype. Finally. Pop let Tim Duncan that he wasn't mad, though. At least not at him.

This Spurs fan is no doubt eating cold pizza for breakfast this morning. And for the next 26 mornings.

Chris Bosh won't win any Oscars for flopping, but hey, it drew a foul. Well worth the fine.

All that chatter about Merion being too easy a venue for the U.S. Open? Yeah, never mind about that. The marquee threesome of Tiger, Rory and Adam Scott combined to go 8-over in the first round.

• Ooh, this could get interesting. Bill Simmons bites the hand that feeds him via Twitter.

I know sports editors are poorly paid, but this guy's choice of a second job is highly dubious.

• A Father's Day weekend morsel: How Mom's advice differs from Dad's.

• October's when the you-know-what gets real in the SEC. Here's an October schedule analysis from Saturday Down South.

Tim Tebow's signing with New England gave Jimmy Fallon the excuse to trot out Tebowie. That makes it all worth it.

• I've truly never seen anything like what happened to Carl Pettersson at the U.S. Open yesterday. At least not where sober professionals are playing.

 

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]


June 13

• My favorite part of hockey? Probably the ice girls, but then I'm kind of a pig. Enjoy this photo array of the ice girls of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals.

• Recently retired point guard Jason Kidd is the Nets' new head coach. For what it's worth, Magic Johnson approves.

They played hockey last night. And played. And played.

It's raining at Merion, but I don't think the heavy stuff will be here for a while.

Lolo Jones took to Vine to try to score a date with Michael Phelps. Her desperation is starting to show.

• Football news from down SEC way: Florida's o-line is better than you might realize. And this schedule analysis shows that they like their cupcakes down in Mississippi. Not surprising, considering the obesity rates.

• Tis the season for a summer grilling guide.

• Today's '90s flashback: Back in the days of flannel, the Seattle sound and Monica Lewinsky, these sports power couples ruled the headlines.

Somebody vandalized Clemson's iconic Howard's Rock. Dabo Swinney needs to find a way to pin it on Florida State.

• An exhausted Andrew Shaw apparently let an f-bomb slip on live TV in his postgame interview. After nearly 120 minutes of hockey, we'll cut him some slack.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]


June 12

• Since it's Stanley Cup season, what better time to celebrate Canada's sexiest women, including hockey WAG Elisha Cuthbert? Speaking of Ms. Cuthbert, here are 25 tantalizing GIFs. Once again, the Internet proves its worth.

This Erik Spoelstra GIF says all that needs to be said about last night's Spurs rout. He and his assistants look like they're waiting for a bus.

• A little late to this, but the Internet freaked out over AJ McCarron possibly cheating on Katherine Webb.

• Remember Tiger mistress Rachel Uchitel? Her taste in men continues to underwhelm.

• Many think that early-season SEC football is a cupcake parade, but that's not quite accurate. Here are the league's five toughest August/September schedules. There are some legit matchups in there.

The USGA's pace-of-play initiative borrows a line from "Caddyshack." This is a campaign I can get behind.

• Need a schadenfreude fix this morning? Here are 25 pictures of athletes who just lost championships.

• Not sports-related, but I'm throwing this one in for free: a Mitch Hedberg quote generator. Who's Mitch Hedberg, you ask? Only one of history's most underrated comedians.

How powerful is Jack Nicholson? He got Maria Menounos kicked out of a Laker game for wearing a Celtics jersey.

Olivia Munn threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game and was far less embarrassing than many other celebrities have been.

• The Spurs were en fuego from downtown last night, hitting a Finals-record 16 3-pointers. Here's every single one of them.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]


June 11

• Here at Athlon Sports, we're in the information business. We're educators first and foremost. With that in mind, here are 21 things you didn't know about Kate Upton, who turned 21 yesterday.

• It was an eventful day yesterday. By the time it was over, NFL reject Tim Tebow had a job, and NBA Coach of the Year Lionel Hollins didn't. Here are 10 predictions for the Tebow tenure in Foxboro. And here's the Boston Herald giving the news the New York Post treatment.

• Also yesterday: The butt-slap heard round the Internet landed Chad Johnson in the pokey.

This Formula One driver's helmet cam footage is all kinds of awesome. POV porn for speed junkies.

• Father's Day is coming up. Whether your old man's a boozer or a golfer (or, more likely, both), we're here to help.

The 13 funniest celebrity first Tweets. Kobe Bryant made the list.

• So is there such a thing as a home cooking? How the flags fly in each SEC stadium.

• Things got heated between the Red Sox and Rays last night in what turned out to be a pretty epic tilt.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]


June 10

This is my kind of guessing game: Match the WAG with the athlete. Hint: The girl in the photo is a Victoria's Secret model.

They're already calling it LeBlock, the defining play of King James' career thus far. Downside: It came during an off night for James and a rout for the Heat. Still, it was pretty epic. Enjoy Jim Ross' call of the play at this link.

This then-and-now GIF of the Spurs swept the interwebs over the weekend. It's pretty spectacularly mesmerizing.

Your weekend recap, including the Finals, the French Open and extra innings baseball.

Speaking of Rafael Nadal, he took to Twitter to mourn the death of the still-alive Nelson Mandela.

Is this the future of the football facemask? Good lord, I hope not, although the article seems to think it's cool.

Good news, late-night drunks: Waffle House is no longer your only option.

• They play a little offense in the SEC West, meaning that these seven defenders are indispensable.

The legend of Yasiel Puig grows, even as the Dodgers crash.

Baseball's turning into horse racing. Bloodlines mean everything, apparently.

• There was some pretty spectacular Super Regional action in college baseball over the weekend, but this might have been the best single play.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Friday, June 14, 2013 - 10:32
All taxonomy terms: Drivers, Golf
Path: /golf/golf-equipment-drivers
Body:

• AMP CELL Driver
Put a little pizzazz in your golf bag with this new driver by COBRA golf. The driver looks good — it comes in silver, blue, red or orange — and performs great. Golfers can set six different lofts/trajectories with its MyFly technology. Website: www.cobragolf.com.

 

 

 

• R11S by TaylorMade Golf

The white head of the original R11 remains red-hot thanks to added adjustability that allows golfers to create 80 different launch settings. The new five-way Adjustable Sole Plate (ASP) complements the Movable Weight Technology (MWT) and Flight Control Technology (FCT). TaylorMade increased the size of the clubhead to 460cc, the maximum allowed by the United States Golf Association. TaylorMade testing indicated that the white color, coupled with the black face and increased size, makes the head look even larger than it is, promoting player confidence standing over the ball. We all need a little more of that, right? Website: taylormadegolf.com.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 19:52
All taxonomy terms: Hybrids, Golf
Path: /golf/golf-equipment-hybrids
Body:

• Adams Golf Idea Super S Hybrid
Bought by TaylorMade-adidas Golf last year, Adams Golf continues to churn out quality clubs for all skill levels. The newest line, called Super S, was designed to be easy to hit. The Cut-Thru sole slot on the hybrid is thinner, deeper and longer, designed to increase ball speeds for greater distance. Website: www.adamsgolf.com.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 17:43
All taxonomy terms: Putters, Golf
Path: /golf/golf-equipment-putters
Body:

• Bridgestone Golf
All three e-Series golf balls (e5, e6 and e7) have experienced an aerodynamic upgrade in 2013, utilizing a new 326-seamless dual dimple pattern. Dimples that are six percent larger and cover 2.5 percent more surface area on the ball reduce drag and increase lift to maximize distance. The three-piece Surlyn cover construction of the e6 — available in white, yellow and orange — reduces sidespin for more accuracy. Website: www.bridgestonegolf.com.

FASHION

• Loudmouth Golf
Founded in 2000, Loudmouth has time-warped the outrageous 1970s fashions into today’s world. John Daly helped put the brand on the map, but the company offers more than just Daly’s wild colors and patterns. For the more conservative types, there are stylish Loudmouth outfits that will look great on anyone. Then again, most golfers wearing Loudmouth want to stand out from the crowd, not blend in. Website: www.loudmouthgolf.com.

• TRUE Linkswear
Ryan Moore, always the snappy dresser, wears the sensei for its mix of comfort and fashion. TRUE Linkswear, founded just two years ago, created the first golf shoe built on a barefoot platform with the thinnest sole in the game. They’re so comfortable they feel more like slippers and look more like casual tennis shoes than traditional golf shoes. Expanded offerings in 2013 ensure this upstart a place in a market dominated by Footjoy and other major manufacturers. Website: www.truelinkswear.com.

• AHEAD
Acquired by Sweden-based New Wave Group AB in the summer of 2011, this versatile brand is best known for its logoed hats and visors. It is the leading supplier of headwear to the United States Golf Association and PGA of America, and has relationships with Annika Sorenstam, Luke Donald, Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Sean O’Hair and Brittany Lincicome. Men will enjoy the classic look of the polos and the splash of color contrast in its growing PGA Authentic line. Women can accessorize to the max with the Kate Lord Collection. The 2013 fall line adds new colors, like thistle and oasis blue, and new thermal pieces with rich hues.Website: www.aheadweb.com.

• Oakley RadarLock Pitch sunglasses
The RadarLock Pitch, a durable carbon-fiber sports performance frame, features two lenses. The G30 Iridium lens is called the “golf lens” for its ability to improve contrast and depth perception and reduce glare, all great for reading greens. SwitchLock technology makes changing lenses fast and hassle-free. Oakley recently signed Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson to endorsement contracts. Website: www.oakley.com.

• Nexbelt X-Factor Golf Belt
Nexbelt designs “The Belt With No Holes” thanks to PreciseFit, an innovative ratcheting system that allows for ¼” adjustments. With no holes, Nexbelt gives off a fashionable, streamlined appearance. There’s even a hidden ball marker under the buckle just a flip away. The company has introduced three new styles in 2013 to complement their colorful existing lineup of men’s and women’s belts. Website: www.nexbelt.com.

 

GROW THE GAME GEAR

• Hello Kitty Golf
Want your daughter to get bitten by the golf bug? New pink golf gear from Hello Kitty Golf just might nudge her in the right direction. Junior sets with a golf bag come in separate sizes for ages 3-5 (three clubs), ages 6-8 (five clubs) and ages 9-12 (six clubs). A full women’s set and accessories such as golf balls, divot tools, towels and head covers are also available. Website: www.sanrio.com/hello-kitty-golf.

• SNAG Golf
SNAG, which stands for Starting New at Golf, uses oversized clubs and color-coded teaching aids to inspire children and beginners to take up the game without all the confusing technical talk of the golf swing. Troon Golf, which operates courses around the world, uses SNAG in a successful learning program at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. The new Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, powered by SNAG, will be introduced at select local park and recreation facilities around the country this year for players ages 5-12. Individual kits of clubs and training tools, sold in different sizes by age, are perfect for any little player. Website: www.snaggolf.com.

TRAVEL GEAR

• The Last Bag by Club Glove
This durable road warrior, preferred by most PGA Tour players, can take clubs wherever they dare to travel, from Ireland to New Zealand and back. The water-resistant nylon cover comes in 17 different colors and with a limited lifetime warranty. There are two exterior pockets for golf shoes and durable zippers, handles and wheels. The bag can also connect to other ClubGlove luggage, making transportation to and from the airport easier. Website: www.clubglove.com.

 

• Stiff Arm
Even the clubs of PGA Tour players aren’t immune to the hazards of airline travel. Lee Janzen had his clubs trashed either by airline staff or the airport ground crew in 2011. Protect your clubs with the Stiff Arm by Club Glove, a fully adjustable three-piece crutch that fits in all travel bags. The nylon plastic head will take the beating while protecting even the longest club in your bag (presumably the driver). It’s a smart $30 investment. Website: www.clubglove.com.

BAD WEATHER GEAR

• Sunice Albany Jacket
This versatile rain jacket comes from the Hurricane Collection of Sunice, a Canadian company known for excellent outerwear. It is 25 percent lighter with 25 percent more stretch than other jackets in its category. Gore-Tex, a high performance fabric, will keep the water out, while the warmth stays in. Lockdown waterproof zippers keep the iPod storage chest pocket dry. Website: www.sunice.com

 

• Pro Gold Golf Umbrella
GustBuster calls this product the only “UN-Flippable, UN-Flappable, UN-Leakable” umbrella in the world. Wind-release vents in the nylon fabric can withstand winds of more than 55 miles-per-hour, and the frame, made of carbonized steel and aluminum, won’t collapse. The fabric is backed by a lifetime repair or replacement warranty. It will blow away in a storm before it will break. Website: www.Gustbuster.com.

COOL APPs

• My Pro To Go
Need a quick swing fix on the road? This new app brings the highly trained and experienced teaching pros of GolfTEC right to your fingertips. Golfers who capture a front and side view of their swing with their smartphone can send the videos to the app or the website to receive a video swing lesson and drills from a certified GolfTEC coach. A single private lesson costs $39, with savings for a series of lessons. Colorado-based GolfTEC, founded in 1995, has grown to more than 140 improvement centers around the United States, Canada and Japan. Website: www.myprotogo.com, www.golftec.com

• GolfLogix
GolfLogix, the first company to introduce handheld GPS to the golf industry, offers a free app that provides accurate distances on nearly 30,000 golf courses worldwide. It features yardage-book quality imagery and aerial flyovers. For $20 a year, players can track every shot to learn club distances and shot trends. Website: www.Golflogix.com.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 16:42
All taxonomy terms: Golf Gear, Golf
Path: /golf/golf-equipment-gear
Body:

• Bridgestone Golf
All three e-Series golf balls (e5, e6 and e7) have experienced an aerodynamic upgrade in 2013, utilizing a new 326-seamless dual dimple pattern. Dimples that are six percent larger and cover 2.5 percent more surface area on the ball reduce drag and increase lift to maximize distance. The three-piece Surlyn cover construction of the e6 — available in white, yellow and orange — reduces sidespin for more accuracy. Website: www.bridgestonegolf.com.

FASHION

• Loudmouth Golf
Founded in 2000, Loudmouth has time-warped the outrageous 1970s fashions into today’s world. John Daly helped put the brand on the map, but the company offers more than just Daly’s wild colors and patterns. For the more conservative types, there are stylish Loudmouth outfits that will look great on anyone. Then again, most golfers wearing Loudmouth want to stand out from the crowd, not blend in. Website: www.loudmouthgolf.com.

• TRUE Linkswear
Ryan Moore, always the snappy dresser, wears the sensei for its mix of comfort and fashion. TRUE Linkswear, founded just two years ago, created the first golf shoe built on a barefoot platform with the thinnest sole in the game. They’re so comfortable they feel more like slippers and look more like casual tennis shoes than traditional golf shoes. Expanded offerings in 2013 ensure this upstart a place in a market dominated by Footjoy and other major manufacturers. Website: www.truelinkswear.com.

• AHEAD
Acquired by Sweden-based New Wave Group AB in the summer of 2011, this versatile brand is best known for its logoed hats and visors. It is the leading supplier of headwear to the United States Golf Association and PGA of America, and has relationships with Annika Sorenstam, Luke Donald, Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Sean O’Hair and Brittany Lincicome. Men will enjoy the classic look of the polos and the splash of color contrast in its growing PGA Authentic line. Women can accessorize to the max with the Kate Lord Collection. The 2013 fall line adds new colors, like thistle and oasis blue, and new thermal pieces with rich hues.Website: www.aheadweb.com.

• Oakley RadarLock Pitch sunglasses
The RadarLock Pitch, a durable carbon-fiber sports performance frame, features two lenses. The G30 Iridium lens is called the “golf lens” for its ability to improve contrast and depth perception and reduce glare, all great for reading greens. SwitchLock technology makes changing lenses fast and hassle-free. Oakley recently signed Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson to endorsement contracts. Website: www.oakley.com.

• Nexbelt X-Factor Golf Belt
Nexbelt designs “The Belt With No Holes” thanks to PreciseFit, an innovative ratcheting system that allows for ¼” adjustments. With no holes, Nexbelt gives off a fashionable, streamlined appearance. There’s even a hidden ball marker under the buckle just a flip away. The company has introduced three new styles in 2013 to complement their colorful existing lineup of men’s and women’s belts. Website: www.nexbelt.com.

 

GROW THE GAME GEAR

• Hello Kitty Golf
Want your daughter to get bitten by the golf bug? New pink golf gear from Hello Kitty Golf just might nudge her in the right direction. Junior sets with a golf bag come in separate sizes for ages 3-5 (three clubs), ages 6-8 (five clubs) and ages 9-12 (six clubs). A full women’s set and accessories such as golf balls, divot tools, towels and head covers are also available. Website: www.sanrio.com/hello-kitty-golf.

• SNAG Golf
SNAG, which stands for Starting New at Golf, uses oversized clubs and color-coded teaching aids to inspire children and beginners to take up the game without all the confusing technical talk of the golf swing. Troon Golf, which operates courses around the world, uses SNAG in a successful learning program at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. The new Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, powered by SNAG, will be introduced at select local park and recreation facilities around the country this year for players ages 5-12. Individual kits of clubs and training tools, sold in different sizes by age, are perfect for any little player. Website: www.snaggolf.com.

TRAVEL GEAR

• The Last Bag by Club Glove
This durable road warrior, preferred by most PGA Tour players, can take clubs wherever they dare to travel, from Ireland to New Zealand and back. The water-resistant nylon cover comes in 17 different colors and with a limited lifetime warranty. There are two exterior pockets for golf shoes and durable zippers, handles and wheels. The bag can also connect to other ClubGlove luggage, making transportation to and from the airport easier. Website: www.clubglove.com.

 

• Stiff Arm
Even the clubs of PGA Tour players aren’t immune to the hazards of airline travel. Lee Janzen had his clubs trashed either by airline staff or the airport ground crew in 2011. Protect your clubs with the Stiff Arm by Club Glove, a fully adjustable three-piece crutch that fits in all travel bags. The nylon plastic head will take the beating while protecting even the longest club in your bag (presumably the driver). It’s a smart $30 investment. Website: www.clubglove.com.

BAD WEATHER GEAR

• Sunice Albany Jacket
This versatile rain jacket comes from the Hurricane Collection of Sunice, a Canadian company known for excellent outerwear. It is 25 percent lighter with 25 percent more stretch than other jackets in its category. Gore-Tex, a high performance fabric, will keep the water out, while the warmth stays in. Lockdown waterproof zippers keep the iPod storage chest pocket dry. Website: www.sunice.com

 

• Pro Gold Golf Umbrella
GustBuster calls this product the only “UN-Flippable, UN-Flappable, UN-Leakable” umbrella in the world. Wind-release vents in the nylon fabric can withstand winds of more than 55 miles-per-hour, and the frame, made of carbonized steel and aluminum, won’t collapse. The fabric is backed by a lifetime repair or replacement warranty. It will blow away in a storm before it will break. Website: www.Gustbuster.com.

COOL APPs

• My Pro To Go
Need a quick swing fix on the road? This new app brings the highly trained and experienced teaching pros of GolfTEC right to your fingertips. Golfers who capture a front and side view of their swing with their smartphone can send the videos to the app or the website to receive a video swing lesson and drills from a certified GolfTEC coach. A single private lesson costs $39, with savings for a series of lessons. Colorado-based GolfTEC, founded in 1995, has grown to more than 140 improvement centers around the United States, Canada and Japan. Website: www.myprotogo.com, www.golftec.com

• GolfLogix
GolfLogix, the first company to introduce handheld GPS to the golf industry, offers a free app that provides accurate distances on nearly 30,000 golf courses worldwide. It features yardage-book quality imagery and aerial flyovers. For $20 a year, players can track every shot to learn club distances and shot trends. Website: www.Golflogix.com.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 14:24
All taxonomy terms: Irons, Golf
Path: /golf/golf-equipment-irons
Body:

• Mizuno JPX-825 Irons
Mizuno calls these irons "the longest and most forgiving irons in the company’s history." That should get your attention. Mizuno’s distance-generating JPX technologies of Hot Metal and MAX COR create an ultra-thin face that delivers extra distance. In the 4- through 7-irons, the MAX COR ultra-pocket cavity design and a multi-thickness face result in solid feel, highest allowable ball speeds, and maximum forgiveness with an easy, high launch. The 8-iron through wedge utilize a Mid COR through a Deep Pocket Cavity Design that delivers greater precision and distance. Lastly, the Solid Power Design in the gap wedge provides enhanced solid feel and maximum control.
Website: www.mizunousa.com/golf

• Rocketbladez irons
The “Speed Pocket,” a small slot in the sole of the Rocketbladez iron, flexes and rebounds at impact, an action that promotes faster ball speed, a higher launch angle and more powerful ball flight. TaylorMade studies indicate that 68 percent of iron shots by amateurs are miss-hits below the center of the clubface. The Speed Pocket — used in the 3- through 7-irons — will help the distance and trajectory on those shots. Website: taylormadegolf.com.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 12:40
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/us-open-television-schedule
Body:
Thursday, June 13 9 a.m.-3 p.m. ESPN First Round
  3-5 p.m. NBC First Round
  5-7 p.m. ESPN First Round (Part II)
  8-11 p.m. ESPN Best of First Round (tape)
Friday, June 14 12-1 a.m. ESPN2 SportsCenter at the U.S. Open
  1-4 a.m. ESPN2 Best of First Round (tape)
  9 a.m.-3 p.m. ESPN Second Round
  3-5 p.m. NBC Second Round
  5-7 p.m. ESPN Second Round (Part II)
  8-11 p.m. ESPN Best of Second Round (tape)
Saturday, June 15 12-1 a.m. ESPN2 SportsCenter at the U.S. Open
  2-5 a.m. ESPN2 Best of Second Round (tape)
  11 a.m.-Noon ESPN SportsCenter at the U.S. Open
  Noon-7:30 p.m. NBC Third Round
Sunday, June 16 12-1 a.m. ESPN2 SportsCenter at the U.S. Open
  2-5 a.m. ESPN2 Best of Third Round (tape)
  11 a.m.-Noon ESPN SportsCenter at the U.S. Open
  Noon-7:30 p.m. NBC Fourth Round
Monday, June 17 12-1 a.m. ESPN2 SportsCenter at the U.S. Open
  1-4 a.m. ESPN2 Best of Fourth Round (tape)
  Noon-2 p.m. ESPN Playoff Round (if necessary)
  2 p.m.-Conclusion NBC

Playoff Round (if necessary)

All Times Eastern

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 11:39
All taxonomy terms: U.S. Open, Golf, News
Path: /golf/us-open-5-storylines
Body:

Here are some of the stories we'll be following when the players tee it up at the Merion Golf Club for the 2013 U.S. Open on Thursday morning:

Is Merion Tough Enough?
In the clubhouse at Merion Golf Club hangs the iconic photo that has found its way into many picture frames across the world: Ben Hogan’s famous 1-iron shot to Merion’s 18th green at the 1950 U.S. Open. The photo is famous for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it captures Hogan on his way to winning the U.S. Open less than two years after nearly being killed in an auto accident that affected the rest of his career. But also notable is the fact that Hogan is using a 1-iron. Nobody uses that club today. And it is quite unlikely that a player today, hitting from the same distance to the pin, would need that much club.

The club near Philadelphia will host the U.S. Open for the fifth time, but the first since 1981. The course was believed to be too short for the world’s best golfers 30 years ago, which leads to the same kind of questions today. And if it is not too short, then how will the United States Golf Association’s Mike Davis go about setting it up to make it a firm enough test?

Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, had the chance to play at Merion last summer and raved about the venue. He also wondered “just how high are they going to grow the grass, how difficult will the rough be?’’

It's a given that the rough will be brutal, the fairways narrow and the greens as fast and treacherous as possible given the torrential rains that have soaked the area.

In order to get the Open again — it is played on the club’s East Course, about a mile from the West Course, where the players will practice and have locker room facilities — Merion officials had to agree to some changes put forth by the USGA. Of course, lengthening several holes was part of the process. In 1981, when David Graham hit all 18 greens in regulation during the final round, Merion measured less than 6,500 yards.

The USGA feels that those changes were worth it, and that Merion is worth showcasing. “This is a national treasure in the world of golf and to expose it to the world, I feel good about that,” said Davis, who is the USGA’s executive director and also in charge of setting up its championship venues. “If I have a fear, it’s four days of wet conditions, where they are throwing darts, but I feel that way at every Open. If we get firm conditions, this course will be an awesome test.”

Whether it's playing tough or not, Merion should provide plenty of thrills, as tweeted by Rory McIlroy: "What a golf course! Plenty of birdie chances mixed with plenty of potential disaster! Going to be an exciting US Open!"

Dream Threesome
The marquee group for the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Merion is a doozy: three-time Open champ Tiger Woods, 2011 champ Rory McIlroy and reigning Masters champion Adam Scott. The grouping provides subplots aplenty, not the least of which is the fact that Woods and former caddie Steve Williams, now on Scott’s bag, will be reunited for only the second time since their acrimonious parting. It also marks the first time — but hopefully not the last — that Woods and McIlroy will be paired at a major. The group will tee off on Thursday at 1:14 p.m. Eastern from tee No. 1 and then at 7:44 a.m. on Friday from tee No. 11. We’ll be watching.

Is Rory Ready?
Former World No. 1 Rory McIlroy has been underwhelming in 2013, to say the least. He missed the cut in his only two European Tour appearances this season, and aside from a runner-up at the Valero Texas Open, he hasn't contended in the U.S. either. His ballstriking has been better than you would think; he ranks fourth on Tour in Greens in Regulation. If he can get a few putts to drop and avoid too many trips to the knee-high rough, he'll contend.

What About the 40-Somethings?
At last year's British Open, Ernie Els, then 42, proved that 40 is not a death sentence for golfers, winning his fourth major. Can another 40-something kiss the trophy this week? Merion doesn't require the prodigious length that eliminates some older players before they start, giving hope to the aged this week. Els himself is a candidate to win his third U.S. Open after a respectable T13 at The Masters, although his British Open win is his only victory since 2010 and may have been an outlier. Jim Furyk seemed primed to win his second U.S. Open last year at age 42 before a disappointing final round left him T4. But the guy we're watching this week is Phil Mickelson. This tournament owes something to Lefty, who celebrates his 43rd birthday on Sunday. What a birthday and Father's Day it would be for Mickelson if he got over the hump at a tournament where he's finished second a record five times. His runner-up finish at the FedEx St. Jude could bode well.

Will the Drought Finally End?
It's been a full five years since Tiger Woods' one-legged U.S. Open win. Who knew at the time that it would be his swan song for the foreseeable future. Tiger seems primed to end the drought, winning four tournaments before the end of May for the first time in his career and posting his first win at the Players Championship since 2001. He ranks first on Tour in Adjusted Scoring, All Around and FedExCup points. Once again, he's the undisputed best player in the world. A poor putting performance at the Memorial could have been a red flag, but we think it's a mere blip. We expect him to be the last man standing, this time on two good legs.

Teaser:
<p> 5 Storylines to Watch at the U.S. Open</p>
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: Wedges, Golf
Path: /golf/golf-equipment-wedges
Body:
• Cleveland 588 RTX wedges
More precise U-Groves that are 16 percent larger and directionally milled on a new Rotex Face create more friction at impact on these new wedges, potentially adding more spin control for players. A sole that is wider near the heel and narrower near the toe improves bunker performance. It comes in a satin Chrome or Black Pearl finish. Website: clevelandgolf.com.
Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 10:03
Path: /golf/greatest-golfers-all-time
Body:

Call it a knee-jerk reaction, but Phil Mickelson's stunning sprint to the Claret Jug has caused us to revisit our rankings. Lefty now holds three of the four majors and gets extra credit for his record six runner-ups in the one he doesn't hold, putting him in our all-time top 10, where he nudges out the great Seve Ballesteros, who also won five majors but only two of the four (two Masters and three British Opens).

As with any sport, it's hard if not impossible to compare players across different eras. In golf, it's doubly so, given the game's equipment advances and changing conditions of golf courses over the years.

In compiling this ranking, I used two primary criteria: achievement and impact. Who won important golf tournaments, and who transcended the game while doing so?

Here, then, are the 20 men who have had the greatest careers and most lasting impact on the game of golf. Feel free to tell me where I’m wrong.

 

20. Greg Norman
The star-crossed Norman is better remembered for his spectacular failures than his successes, but we can't overlook his 20 career PGA Tour wins and his 331 weeks spent as the world's No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Rankings. A little better luck and a little more clutch play and he would have seven or eight major wins instead of two (1986 and 1993 British Opens). 

 

19. Cary Middlecoff
Middlecoff set aside a career in dentistry to become one of the greatest players of all time, challenging Ben Hogan and Sam Snead for world supremacy in the late 1940s and 1950s. Won 40 times on the PGA Tour, including three majors.

 

18. Vijay Singh
His career might be tainted on the front end by cheating allegations and on the back end by association with performance-enhancing drugs, but it's hard to deny Vijay a spot in the golf pantheon. He's won 34 times on the PGA Tour, including two PGA Championships and a Masters win.

 

17. Billy Casper
The Big Three — Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player — dominated the golf headlines in the 1960s, but the unassuming Casper was as good as anybody in his era. Casper won 51 PGA Tour events, seventh all time, and earned three majors, including the 1966 U.S. Open, where he denied Palmer a coveted win.

 

16. Ernie Els
With four majors — two U.S. Opens and two British Opens — the Big Easy is a legitimate challenger for the title of second-best player of the Tiger Woods era. His smooth, easy swing is the envy of hackers from here to Johannesburg and has led him to 19 PGA Tour victories.

 

15. Walter Hagen
The flamboyant Hagen was the first ultra-successful touring pro and raised the stature of the lowly pro golfer substantially in an era when amateurs like Bobby Jones ruled the sport. Hagen won 11 professional majors — two U.S. Opens, four British Opens and five PGAs — to set a record that would stand until the 1960s, and he also won five Western Opens during a time when that tournament was essentially a major.

 

14. Nick Faldo
Sir Nick dominated world golf for a time at the expense of chief rival Greg Norman, whom he drubbed in a memorable British Open showdown in 1990 and beat in the 1996 Masters following Norman's epic collapse. Faldo won six majors — three Masters and three British Opens — and earned 30 wins on the European Tour while providing a steadying influence on five Ryder Cup-winning teams.

 

13. Lee Trevino
The Merry Mex got a lot out of an unorthodox, self-taught game, winning 29 PGA Tour events and six majors. Four times, Trevino denied Nicklaus at a major championship, adding to his legend as one of the few players who could stare down the Golden Bear. Trevino also brought an unprecedented level of working-man appeal and humor to the Tour, although, as he said, "I played the tour in 1967 and told jokes and nobody laughed. Then I won the Open the next year, told the same jokes, and everybody laughed like hell."

 

12. Byron Nelson
For a few months in 1945, Byron Nelson played better than anyone ever has. That year, Lord Byron won 11 tournaments in a row, including the PGA Championship. When you consider that Payne Stewart won 11 tournaments in his career and is considered one of the all-time greats, you get a sense of the magnitude of that accomplishment. More than one-fifth of Nelson’s 52 career wins came courtesy of the Streak. And lest we dismiss the accomplishment on the basis of inferior competition, remember that Sam Snead was nearing his prime and a young Ben Hogan was making a name for himself. For one incredible spring and summer, Lord Byron invented and patented The Zone. For the year, Nelson won a staggering 18 events and was named AP Athlete of the Year. For his career, he was the game's greatest gentleman.

 

11. Seve Ballesteros
Maybe we loved him because we could identify with him. We were often hitting out of the woods, from bunkers, from parking lots, just like he was. The difference? Seve Ballesteros would often make a birdie from the woods, or the bunker, or the parking lot, and he’d do it with a style and grace that was impossible not to admire and envy. Almost two decades before Tiger Woods, Ballesteros exploded onto the scene as a precocious 19-year-old, finishing tied for second with the great Jack Nicklaus at the 1976 British Open at Royal Birkdale. Having fashioned his game by hitting rocks on the beaches of Pedrena, Spain, with a homemade 3-iron, Ballesteros was ready to attack any lie, any condition, any circumstance, making him ideally suited for the demanding conditions at Britain’s links courses.

His three British Open titles were triumphs of courage and ingenuity. His 1979 Open title at Royal Lytham and St. Annes was punctuated by a birdie for the ages from the parking lot. His 1984 title at the Old Course at St. Andrews denied Tom Watson his third consecutive Open and fourth in five years. His 1988 title was, in retrospect, the climax of his playing career and featured one of the great final rounds in golf history. His 65 that day included an 11-hole stretch in which Ballesteros made two pars, two bogeys, six birdies and an eagle. It took a chip shot on the final hole that nudged the flagstick to turn back Nick Price. In all, Ballesteros won five majors, adding two Masters titles to his three British Opens, while collecting 65 titles worldwide. His magical short game led him to six European Tour Vardon trophies for low scoring average.

But in assessing Ballesteros’ career, we can’t overlook his larger impact on golf. Seve was more than a great player. He was Europe’s version of Arnold Palmer, putting a sport on his back and selling it to an entire continent. Almost singlehandedly, Seve made the Ryder Cup an event, transforming a low-key, American-dominated series of exhibitions into one of the greatest spectacles in sports. In fact, Seve’s finest hour may have come not with a golf club in hand, but a walkie-talkie. Because of his legacy and influence, the Ryder Cup was held for the first time on mainland Europe in 1997, at Spain’s Valderrama Golf Club. As non-playing captain, Seve was the fire that ignited the European team against a heavily favored American team. Ballesteros, one of the greatest match-play golfers in history, willed his team to an historic win without firing a shot.

The Ballesteros File
• Winner of five major championships (2 Masters, 3 British Opens)
• Winner of 50 European Tour events, six European Tour Vardon Trophies for low scoring average
• Earned 20 Ryder Cup points in 37 career matches

 

10. Phil Mickelson
Tagged from the beginning as the Next Nicklaus, Mickelson has always lived with massive expectations, some of them self-imposed, and Phil's failures are almost as celebrated as his many successes. But there have been plenty of successes — 42 PGA Tour wins (ninth all time) and five majors, including three Masters. He's also recorded a record six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open, but that only adds to his everyman appeal. His jaw-dropping 66 in the final round of the 2013 British Open on baked, windswept Muirfield joins the ranks of the greatest rounds in major championship history and vaults Phil the Thrill into our top 10. His visit to Pinehurst No. 2 for the 2014 U.S. Open now makes that tournament one of the most eagerly anticipated in history as Phil goes for the career Grand Slam, which would be a remarkable achievement for a guy who suffered through countless crushing disappointments just to win his first.

The Mickelson File

• Winner of five major championships (3 Masters, 1 British Open, 1 PGA Championship)

• One of only 8 players with as many as three Masters wins

• One of only 15 men to hold at least three legs of the career Grand Slam

• Runner-up at the U.S. Open a record six times

• 20 top-3 finishes, 35 top-10 finishes at major championships

• Winner of 42 PGA Tour events, 9th all time

• Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012

• Remains last amateur to win on the PGA Tour (1991 Northern Telecom Open)

 

No. 9: Gene Sarazen
It’s a shame, really, that Gene Sarazen is remembered primarily for a single shot, when he meant so much more than that to the game. But what a shot it was. It was his first Masters, 1935. He trailed Craig Wood by three shots on the final day when he came to Augusta’s No. 15, a par-5 that is reachable in two shots. His tee shot left him some 220 yards from the flag. The story goes that as he stood in the 15th fairway, he turned to his caddie, Stovepipe, and said, “Should I play it safe?” “Noooo. Go for it,” was Stovepipe’s response. Knowing he needed to get the ball in the air to carry the small creek guarding the front of the green, Sarazen pulled out his 4-wood and promptly made history, holing his shot for a double eagle that put him in a playoff with Wood, which he won. And Bobby Jones’ little gathering in Augusta was never the same.

Sarazen won his first professional title at the age of 19 and never looked back, winning 37 more times in a career that spanned more than four decades. He became the first member of golf’s modern Career Grand Slam club with his Masters win, which he added to his two U.S. Open titles (1922, 1932), his three PGA Championships (1922, 1923 and 1933) and his 1932 British Open win. After 66 years, only four other players — Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods — have joined that elite group. He even impacted the way the game is played. Sarazen is widely credited with the invention of the sand wedge in the early 1930s.

The Sarazen File
• Winner of seven major titles and a career Grand Slam
• Owner of 38 career PGA titles
• Inventor of the sand wedge
• AP Male Athlete of the Year in 1932
• Won his second U.S. Open (1932) by playing the last 28 holes in an incredible 100 strokes in one of the great performances in golf history
• Struck the Shot Heard Round the World, his 4-wood that nestled in the hole for a double eagle at Augusta National’s No. 15

 

8. Gary Player
Before Seve Ballesteros, before Greg Norman, before Ernie Els, there was Gary Player, golf’s first great international ambassador. Before the diminutive South African packed his wife and kids and a few suitcases and set out on his five-decade international odyssey, golf was primarily dominated by British and American players. Then along came the little man in black. Over a career than began in the mid-1950s, Player has logged more air miles than the Space Shuttle, and he has saved many of his greatest achievements for his trips to the States.

Using an unprecedented commitment to physical fitness (for golf, anyway) and an unmatched work ethic, Player has fashioned a remarkable career that has seen him win well over 150 tournaments worldwide, including nine major championships. He is one of only five players to own all four of golf’s modern majors, and one of only four players — Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo are the others — to have won the Masters and the British Open three times apiece.

Augusta was the scene of his greatest win. It was 1978, and Player hadn’t won a major championship in four years. His career seemed to be in decline, and he found himself seven shots out of the lead heading into the final round of the Masters. The 42-year-old Player proceeded to catch fire. Playing well ahead of the leaders, Player blistered Augusta National with a final-round 64, then waited as the leaders faltered down the stretch, giving him his third green jacket. His 64 remains the greatest final-round Masters performance in history, matched in drama only by Nicklaus’ sixth Masters title eight years later.

The Player File
• One of five players — Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Tiger Woods are the others — to own a career Grand Slam.
• One of four players — Nicklaus, Woods and Nick Faldo are the others — to have won the Masters and British Open three times each.
• Recorded wins on the PGA or Senior Tours in a record five decades — the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

 

7. Tom Watson
Watson won eight majors and dominated golf’s oldest tournament, the British Open, like no one else, winning five times in a nine-year span and coming close to a historic sixth win in 2009 at age 59. Like Trevino, he won four memorable duels with Jack Nicklaus in major championships, including the 1977 British Open, the greatest head-to-head duel in golf history. Watson and Nicklaus so distanced themselves from the rest of the field on that baked, windswept surface that Hubert Green, who finished third, remarked, “I won the tournament I was playing. I don’t know what tournament they were playing.” For the weekend, Nicklaus shot 65-66 — and lost. Watson’s 65-65 gave him his second British Open title.

In 2009, Watson was the beloved elder statesman at the British Open at Turnberry, the sentimental choice of an emotional and appreciative crowd that very nearly willed him to the most improbable win in the history of golf’s most storied tournament. But instead of Nicklaus accompanying him down the 18th fairway, he had four days of fatigue, crushing pressure and the hopes of a watching world weighing him down. Standing over the eight-foot par putt that would have provided an improbable capper to his Hall of Fame career, his 59-year-old nerves finally betrayed him. “It would have been a hell of a story, wouldn't it? It would have been a hell of a story,” he said. “It wasn’t to be. And yes, it’s a great disappointment. It tears at your gut, as it always has torn at my gut. It’s not easy to take."

But Watson's triumphs far outnumber his disappointments. His Augusta exploits are overshadowed by his dominance at the British Open, but between 1975 and 1988, no one was better at The Masters — two wins, three runner-ups and 12 top-10 finishes. He outdueled Nicklaus at the 1982 U.S. Open on the strength of one of the greatest shots in golf history — his chip-in on the 71st hole that led to a two-shot win, perhaps the most satisfying of his 39 career wins.

The Watson file
• 39 career PGA Tour wins, including eight major championships
• 5 British Open wins, trailing only Harry Vardon
• 6-time PGA Tour Player of the Year
• Made at least one cut per year from 1971–2007, a streak of 37 years.

 

6. Bobby Jones
In the Golden Age of sports, nobody shone brighter than Bobby Jones. Not Babe Ruth, not Red Grange, not Jack Dempsey. From 1923-30, a nation that was truly embracing sports on an epic scale watched in awe as Jones won everything in sight. Then, having no more worlds to conquer, he walked away from competitive golf, at age 28. No sports legend accomplished more in a shorter period of time, and no sports legend walked away at such a young age.

A golf prodigy at age 14, Jones really didn’t find his game until the ripe old age of 20, when he began his remarkable run. He took the 1923 U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff, then ripped off another 12 majors before calling it a career. His record of 13 major championships would stand for 40 years, before a youngster named Nicklaus came along.

Obviously, Jones’ crowning achievement came in 1930 with his unprecedented and so far unduplicated Grand Slam. That year, Jones, bore the incredible weight of expectations. Fans and media fully expected him to sweep the majors, which at the time included the U.S. and British Opens and the U.S. and British Amateurs. His run to the Slam almost ended before it began, as Jones sweated out three one-up matches in the British Amateur. He won the British Open by two strokes, then took the U.S. Open by a similarly slim margin.

Only one leg was left, and it was the easiest. Jones waltzed to the U.S. Amateur Championship amid a contingent of Marine bodyguards, and the Slam was his. Less than two months later, Jones retired from competitive golf, his legend secure.

But his contributions to the game didn’t end. A few years later, he organized a gathering of friends that came to be known as the Masters. Jones was a fixture at Augusta each spring, but his golf was confined to the friendly kind. The Georgia Tech and Harvard graduate instead practiced law in Atlanta.

His later years were unkind. He suffered from syringomyelia, a painful and crippling disease that confined him to a wheelchair and finally ended his life on Dec. 18, 1971. The legendary golf writer Herbert Warren Wind eulogized him this way: “As a young man, he was able to stand up to just about the best that life can offer, which is not easy, and later he stood up with equal grace to just about the worst.”

The Jones file
• Winner of the 1930 Grand Slam — the U.S. and British Opens and U.S. and British Amateurs
• Played in 31 majors, won 13 and finished in the top 10 27 times
• Founder of Augusta National Golf Club and The Masters

 

5. Ben Hogan

Brooding, temperamental, focused — Ben Hogan was not a charismatic figure who rallied the masses to follow the game a la Arnold Palmer. Instead, he was all about golf shots. The Hawk remains the greatest shotmaker golf has ever produced. Rather than relying on today’s technologically advanced equipment, Hogan used an uncanny ability to control the flight of his ball to win nine majors — and a greater percentage of majors entered than even Jack Nicklaus. To  Hogan, “the Hawk,” “Bantam Ben,” who was 5’7”, 140 pounds when he was at the peak of his game, striking a ball well was more important than scoring.

Hogan’s life was one struggle after another. The early years, when Hogan couldn’t control the hook. The later years, when he battled back from a terrible 1949 auto crash that nearly killed him. But he never gave in or gave out until suffering a major stroke after his mind and his body had been ravaged by Alzheimer’s and colon cancer.

Others played a golf course; Hogan studied it. He didn’t write down yardages. He interpreted them. “I have to feel a shot,” he said. He squinted from under that familiar white hat, surveyed the land, reached into a bag held by a caddy usually afraid to utter a word and then made that flat, repetitive swing.

He is one of five players to win all of the Grand Slam events. In 1953, he became the first to win as many as three majors in one year, the Masters and both Opens. He didn’t enter the PGA that year, fearing his legs weren’t up to the challenge. The ’53 British Open at Carnoustie, the only British Open he entered, would be his last major.

Hogan’s last tournament was the 1971 Houston Champions International. Playing poorly, bothered by a sprained knee, 58-year-old Ben Hogan walked off the course during the first round and never played again. “I liked to win,” Hogan said, “but more than anything I loved to play the way I wanted to play.”

The Hogan File
• Winner of 64 PGA Tour events, including 9 majors
• One of five players to possess a modern career Grand Slam
• Only player to win Masters, U.S. Open and British Open in same year
• Also a towering figure in equipment manufacturing and golf instruction

 

4. Arnold Palmer

There have been better players with prettier swings. But there has never been a more important golfer than the King, Arnold Palmer. He quadrupled purses, brought golf away from the country clubs and into our living rooms, and assembled an Army of devoted followers. He won — and lost — with more flair than any other athlete.

From 1958 to 1968, Palmer reigned amid the azaleas and pines of Augusta National, where Arnie’s Army first mustered. With the lone exception of 1963, he was in contention at every Masters during that epic stretch, winning four times, finishing second twice, third once and fourth twice.

Although he made his reputation at The Masters — and made the tournament what it is today — it was the 1960 U.S. Open that truly captured the King at the peak of his powers. The leaderboard on that final day included a chubby 20-year-old amateur named Jack Nicklaus. It included a legend — the Hawk, Ben Hogan. The third member of this historic trio lit a cigarette, stalked to the tee of the 318-yard, par-4 first hole at Cherry Hills and drove the green on his way to a historic final-round 65, erasing a seven-stroke deficit for the greatest comeback in Open history.

The Palmer File
• 60 PGA Tour wins
• 7 Major Championships
• 4-time PGA Tour money champ
• 1st PGA Tour millionaire
• 15 consecutive years with at least one victory

 

3. Sam Snead
If winning is the standard for determining excellence, there is no greater player in golf history than Sam Snead. Using a smooth, syrupy swing that looked as natural and effortless as breathing, Slammin’ Sammy won more golf tournaments than any other player — a staggering total of 81 PGA Tour titles, and anywhere from 135 to 165 victories worldwide, depending on whom you ask. He posted wins in four different decades, from the 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro to the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open (his eighth title in that event), when he was 52 years old.

Snead won three Masters, including a 1954 playoff triumph over friend and rival Ben Hogan. He won three PGA Championships and a British Open.

There is one hole in the Slammer’s résumé that prevents him from staking a legitimate claim to being the greatest player in history. Somehow, Snead never won the one tournament that seemingly should have been his by birthright. He never won a U.S. Open. But his near-tragic failures at the Open do not diminish his accomplishments.

His swing was such an efficient device that it served him well into his golden years and remains the gold standard for golf swings. In 1979, he offered golf fans one final glimpse of his greatness, as he became the first player to score below his age, shooting 67 and 66 in the Quad Cities Open at the age of 67. By then, and for the rest of his life, Snead was a beloved ambassador and advocate for the game.

The Snead File
• A record 82 PGA Tour wins, spanning 1936 to 1965
• Seven major championships, including three Masters and three PGA Championships
• Oldest player to win, make a cut and shoot his age in PGA Tour history
• Posted top 10s in majors in five different decades

 

2. Jack Nicklaus

Nicklaus brought out greatness in his opponents — Palmer, Player, Watson, Trevino. But more importantly, he made golf a greater game through his physical skill and strength, his mental toughness, his sustained level of excellence and his genius for strategically dismantling golf courses around the world.

You know the litany of accomplishments. 18 major championships, more than Hogan and Palmer combined. A mind-boggling 37 top twos in majors.

And lest we think the Tour of the 21st Century outshines the Tour in Jack’s prime, consider this: Nicklaus fought many of the game’s greatest at their very peak and beat them all. And when he didn’t beat them, he coaxed their very best out of them.

As if to prove the point, at age 46, Nicklaus was able to muster enough of his old-time wizardry to outduel names like Ballesteros, Kite, Norman — all of them at the peak of their powers — to win his sixth Masters in 1986 in one of the greatest sports moments of all time.

In his golden years, the Golden Bear has continued to shape the game with his prolific golf course design company. 

The Nicklaus File
• Winner of 73 PGA Tour events, including a record 18 major championships
• Winner of a record six Masters
• Finished in top 5 in majors a record 56 times, in the top 10 a record 73 times
• Posted lowest scoring average on Tour eight times
• Won PGA Tour money title eight times
• Won at least two PGA Tour events in 17 consecutive seasons (1962-78)

 

1. Tiger Woods

In April 1997, Woods began a trajectory that led him directly to the top of this list. He so dominated the most storied and tradition-steeped tournament in golf that the sport was changed forever. We all remember the Masters-record 18-under par total that Woods shot in his first Masters as a pro. We remember his incredible 12-shot margin of victory. (Runner-up Tom Kite’s 282 total would have been good enough to win 17 previous Masters, but it only got him within 12 shots of Tiger.) We remember the way his mammoth drives turned the par-5s into pitch-and-putts. What many people don’t remember about the 1997 Masters is how badly Tiger started the tournament. On the front nine on Thursday, Woods went out in 40, leaving him 4-over par. That, apparently, is when the stars aligned and the golf gods smiled. Over the next 63 holes, Woods swept through Augusta National like a tornado, toying with the course and demoralizing the greatest players in the world. 

Tiger’s runaway, far from putting a crimp into the television ratings, instead gave golf its greatest ratings winner to date. In 1996, before Woods turned pro, the ratings were 9.2 on Sunday. In 1997, when Woods won, the number jumped to 14.1.

The rest, as they say, is history — 14 major championships, 78 PGA Tour wins, the lowest career scoring average in PGA Tour history, 10 Player of the Year awards, and, yes, scandal and disgrace. But the impact and the level of achievement are undeniable and unprecedented. Quite simply, at his best, Woods has played the game better than it's ever been played. And when he's done, he'll hold every meaningful record the game has to offer.

The Woods File
• 78 PGA Tour wins, second all-time to Sam Snead
• 14 major championships, second all-time to Jack Nicklaus
• Only player ever to win four consecutive majors
• Lowest scoring average in PGA Tour history
• Scoring average of 67.79 in 2000 the lowest single-season average in Tour history
• Has won a record 27.2 percent of his career PGA Tour starts
• PGA Tour Player of the Year a record 10 times

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Struggling with what to buy Dad this Father's Day? If he's a golfer who loves new toys, gadgets and gizmos, you have plenty of options. Anything that promises to improve his game — or make his life simpler on the course — is worth exploring. Fashion — with the advent of fitness in the Tiger Woods era — has become an important aspect of golf as well. The bright colors worn by Ian Poulter, Rickie Fowler and John Daly pop on the TV screen and have inspired a legion of sartorial followers. If Dad can’t play like the pros, at least he can dress like them.

Here’s a look at some choice selections for Father's Day 2013:

• Cleveland 588 RTX wedges
More precise U-Groves that are 16 percent larger and directionally milled on a new Rotex Face create more friction at impact on these new wedges, potentially adding more spin control for players. A sole that is wider near the heel and narrower near the toe improves bunker performance. It comes in a satin Chrome or Black Pearl finish. Website: clevelandgolf.com.
 

• Mizuno JPX-825 Irons
Mizuno calls these irons "the longest and most forgiving irons in the company’s history." That should get your attention. Mizuno’s distance-generating JPX technologies of Hot Metal and MAX COR create an ultra-thin face that delivers extra distance. In the 4- through 7-irons, the MAX COR ultra-pocket cavity design and a multi-thickness face result in solid feel, highest allowable ball speeds, and maximum forgiveness with an easy, high launch. The 8-iron through wedge utilize a Mid COR through a Deep Pocket Cavity Design that delivers greater precision and distance. Lastly, the Solid Power Design in the gap wedge provides enhanced solid feel and maximum control.
Website: www.mizunousa.com/golf

• Rocketbladez irons
The “Speed Pocket,” a small slot in the sole of the Rocketbladez iron, flexes and rebounds at impact, an action that promotes faster ball speed, a higher launch angle and more powerful ball flight. TaylorMade studies indicate that 68 percent of iron shots by amateurs are miss-hits below the center of the clubface. The Speed Pocket — used in the 3- through 7-irons — will help the distance and trajectory on those shots. Website: taylormadegolf.com.

 

• Adams Golf Idea Super S Hybrid
Bought by TaylorMade-adidas Golf last year, Adams Golf continues to churn out quality clubs for all skill levels. The newest line, called Super S, was designed to be easy to hit. The Cut-Thru sole slot on the hybrid is thinner, deeper and longer, designed to increase ball speeds for greater distance. Website: www.adamsgolf.com.

 

• Catalina Golf Bag
This traditional golf cart bag remains a favorite among the TaylorMade golf line. The crush-resistant construction provides durability, all while weighing just 6.5 pounds. It’s got all the pockets needed for tees and balls, but the best feature might be the hidden cooler that holds six 12-ounce cans. Website: www.Taylormadegolf.com.

 

• AMP CELL Driver
Put a little pizzazz in your golf bag with this new driver by COBRA golf. The driver looks good — it comes in silver, blue, red or orange — and performs great. Golfers can set six different lofts/trajectories with its MyFly technology. Website: www.cobragolf.com.

 

• Pearl Putter
The craze of adjustable drivers has finally trickled down to the putter. The lie of this putter by Pearl ProSports Inc. out of New York can be adjusted so that its head aligns parallel to the ground. This patented feature promotes more accurate putting. More good news: It is legal according to United States Golf Association standards. Website: www.pearlprosports.com.

 

 

 

• Bridgestone Golf
All three e-Series golf balls (e5, e6 and e7) have experienced an aerodynamic upgrade in 2013, utilizing a new 326-seamless dual dimple pattern. Dimples that are six percent larger and cover 2.5 percent more surface area on the ball reduce drag and increase lift to maximize distance. The three-piece Surlyn cover construction of the e6 — available in white, yellow and orange — reduces sidespin for more accuracy. Website: www.bridgestonegolf.com.

FASHION

• Loudmouth Golf
Founded in 2000, Loudmouth has time-warped the outrageous 1970s fashions into today’s world. John Daly helped put the brand on the map, but the company offers more than just Daly’s wild colors and patterns. For the more conservative types, there are stylish Loudmouth outfits that will look great on anyone. Then again, most golfers wearing Loudmouth want to stand out from the crowd, not blend in. Website: www.loudmouthgolf.com.

• TRUE Linkswear
Ryan Moore, always the snappy dresser, wears the sensei for its mix of comfort and fashion. TRUE Linkswear, founded just two years ago, created the first golf shoe built on a barefoot platform with the thinnest sole in the game. They’re so comfortable they feel more like slippers and look more like casual tennis shoes than traditional golf shoes. Expanded offerings in 2013 ensure this upstart a place in a market dominated by Footjoy and other major manufacturers. Website: www.truelinkswear.com.

• AHEAD
Acquired by Sweden-based New Wave Group AB in the summer of 2011, this versatile brand is best known for its logoed hats and visors. It is the leading supplier of headwear to the United States Golf Association and PGA of America, and has relationships with Annika Sorenstam, Luke Donald, Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Sean O’Hair and Brittany Lincicome. Men will enjoy the classic look of the polos and the splash of color contrast in its growing PGA Authentic line. Women can accessorize to the max with the Kate Lord Collection. The 2013 fall line adds new colors, like thistle and oasis blue, and new thermal pieces with rich hues.Website: www.aheadweb.com.

• Oakley RadarLock Pitch sunglasses
The RadarLock Pitch, a durable carbon-fiber sports performance frame, features two lenses. The G30 Iridium lens is called the “golf lens” for its ability to improve contrast and depth perception and reduce glare, all great for reading greens. SwitchLock technology makes changing lenses fast and hassle-free. Oakley recently signed Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson to endorsement contracts. Website: www.oakley.com.

• Nexbelt X-Factor Golf Belt
Nexbelt designs “The Belt With No Holes” thanks to PreciseFit, an innovative ratcheting system that allows for ¼” adjustments. With no holes, Nexbelt gives off a fashionable, streamlined appearance. There’s even a hidden ball marker under the buckle just a flip away. The company has introduced three new styles in 2013 to complement their colorful existing lineup of men’s and women’s belts. Website: www.nexbelt.com.

 

GROW THE GAME GEAR

• Hello Kitty Golf
Want your daughter to get bitten by the golf bug? New pink golf gear from Hello Kitty Golf just might nudge her in the right direction. Junior sets with a golf bag come in separate sizes for ages 3-5 (three clubs), ages 6-8 (five clubs) and ages 9-12 (six clubs). A full women’s set and accessories such as golf balls, divot tools, towels and head covers are also available. Website: www.sanrio.com/hello-kitty-golf.

• SNAG Golf
SNAG, which stands for Starting New at Golf, uses oversized clubs and color-coded teaching aids to inspire children and beginners to take up the game without all the confusing technical talk of the golf swing. Troon Golf, which operates courses around the world, uses SNAG in a successful learning program at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz. The new Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, powered by SNAG, will be introduced at select local park and recreation facilities around the country this year for players ages 5-12. Individual kits of clubs and training tools, sold in different sizes by age, are perfect for any little player. Website: www.snaggolf.com.

TRAVEL GEAR

• The Last Bag by Club Glove
This durable road warrior, preferred by most PGA Tour players, can take clubs wherever they dare to travel, from Ireland to New Zealand and back. The water-resistant nylon cover comes in 17 different colors and with a limited lifetime warranty. There are two exterior pockets for golf shoes and durable zippers, handles and wheels. The bag can also connect to other ClubGlove luggage, making transportation to and from the airport easier. Website: www.clubglove.com.

 

• Stiff Arm
Even the clubs of PGA Tour players aren’t immune to the hazards of airline travel. Lee Janzen had his clubs trashed either by airline staff or the airport ground crew in 2011. Protect your clubs with the Stiff Arm by Club Glove, a fully adjustable three-piece crutch that fits in all travel bags. The nylon plastic head will take the beating while protecting even the longest club in your bag (presumably the driver). It’s a smart $30 investment. Website: www.clubglove.com.

BAD WEATHER GEAR

• Sunice Albany Jacket
This versatile rain jacket comes from the Hurricane Collection of Sunice, a Canadian company known for excellent outerwear. It is 25 percent lighter with 25 percent more stretch than other jackets in its category. Gore-Tex, a high performance fabric, will keep the water out, while the warmth stays in. Lockdown waterproof zippers keep the iPod storage chest pocket dry. Website: www.sunice.com

 

• Pro Gold Golf Umbrella
GustBuster calls this product the only “UN-Flippable, UN-Flappable, UN-Leakable” umbrella in the world. Wind-release vents in the nylon fabric can withstand winds of more than 55 miles-per-hour, and the frame, made of carbonized steel and aluminum, won’t collapse. The fabric is backed by a lifetime repair or replacement warranty. It will blow away in a storm before it will break. Website: www.Gustbuster.com.

COOL APPs

• My Pro To Go
Need a quick swing fix on the road? This new app brings the highly trained and experienced teaching pros of GolfTEC right to your fingertips. Golfers who capture a front and side view of their swing with their smartphone can send the videos to the app or the website to receive a video swing lesson and drills from a certified GolfTEC coach. A single private lesson costs $39, with savings for a series of lessons. Colorado-based GolfTEC, founded in 1995, has grown to more than 140 improvement centers around the United States, Canada and Japan. Website: www.myprotogo.com, www.golftec.com

• GolfLogix
GolfLogix, the first company to introduce handheld GPS to the golf industry, offers a free app that provides accurate distances on nearly 30,000 golf courses worldwide. It features yardage-book quality imagery and aerial flyovers. For $20 a year, players can track every shot to learn club distances and shot trends. Website: www.Golflogix.com.

Teaser:
<p> When thinking about what to buy Dad this Father's Day, consider these clubs and fashions. You can't buy Dad a game, but at least you can make him look like a player.</p>
Post date: Monday, June 10, 2013 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/us-open-last-time
Body:

On the eve of the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, we've compiled some statistical tidbits:

Last foreign winner: 
Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland, 2011 

Last to defend title successfully: 
Curtis Strange, 1989 

Last to win three consecutive U.S. Opens: 
Willie Anderson, 1903-05 

Last winner to win the U.S. Open on first attempt: 
Francis Ouimet, 1913 

Last winner to win the U.S. Open on second attempt: 
Jerry Pate, T18 in first in 1975, winner in 1976 

Last amateur to win U.S. Open: 
John Goodman, 1933 

Last start-to-finish winner (no ties): 
Rory McIlroy, 2011 

Last winner to win money title in same year: 
Tiger Woods, 2008 

Last winner to birdie the 72nd hole: 
Tiger Woods, 2008 

Last winner to birdie the 72nd hole to force a playoff: 
Tiger Woods, 2008 

Last winner to birdie the 72nd hole to win by one stroke: 
a-Robert T. Jones Jr., 1926 

Last winner to birdie the 72nd hole to win by two strokes: 
Lee Janzen, 1993 

Last to win without a round in the 60s: 
Geoff Ogilvy, Australia, 2006 

Last to win with all rounds in the 60s: 
Rory McIlroy, 2011 

Last to win with a round in the 80s: 
80, John McDermott, in playoff, 1911 

Last to win with a round of 77: 
Sam Parks Jr., in first round, 1935 

Last to win with a round of 76: 
Angel Cabrera, in third round, 2007 

Last to win with a round of 75: 
Payne Stewart, in playoff, 1991 

Last to win after being in sectional qualifying: 
Lucas Glover, 2009 

Last to win after being in local and sectional qualifying: 
Orville Moody, 1969 

Last winner between age 20-29: 
Webb Simpson, 26, 2012

Last winner between age 30-39: 
Graeme McDowell, 30, 2010 

Last winner over age 40: 
Payne Stewart, 42, 1999 (sixth-oldest in history) 

Last winner who received a special exemption: 
Hale Irwin, 1990 

Last defending champion to miss the cut: 
Rory McIlroy, 2012

Last to win without a sub-par round: 
Geoff Ogilvy, 2006 

Teaser:
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Post date: Monday, June 10, 2013 - 08:45
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/10-amazing-stats-memorial
Body:

On Saturday at the Memorial, Tiger Woods got an unwelcome taste of what golf feels like out here in the real world. Woods limped to an outward 44, his highest 9-hole score as a professional, on his way to a shocking third-round 79. After failing to break 70 in any of the four rounds, the World's No. 1 player finished at 8-over, 20 strokes behind winner Matt Kuchar. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy wasn't much better, carding a first-round 78 on his way to a 6-over finish. While the world's top two players were hacking up Jack Nicklaus' gorgeous Muirfield Village layout like the Three Stooges, Kuchar was his usual steady, unflappable self, finishing at 12-under after a final-round 68 and holding off Kevin Chappell for a two-shot win that vaults him past Brandt Snedeker into second place on the FedExCup points list and puts him on the short list of U.S. Open favorites.

Here are 10 amazing stats from a tough weekend in Ohio.

44 Woods opening-9 44 on Saturday included a bogey, two doubles and a triple.

35 Kuchar leads the PGA Tour with 35 top-10 finishes since the start of the 2012 season.

10-1 On Sunday, the toughest hole was the par-3 12th, as it yielded only three birdies but forced 30 bogeys or higher, a ratio of 10-1.

20 Woods' final deficit of 20 strokes was his largest in a full-field event as a professional. He was 30 shots in arrears at the WGC Bridgestone (a limited field, no-cut event) in 2010.

71 Woods, who entered the Memorial ranked first in Strokes Gained, Putting, ranked 71st of 73 players in the category for the tournament.

2 Shockingly, Woods had two three-putts from inside five feet.

5th Woods finished fifth in driving accuracy for the weekend but still finished 20 strokes behind Kuchar, an indication of a rough week of ballstriking (he missed at least five greens each day) and putting (he needed 119 putts for the week).

+1.256 The average round this weekend was 73.256, or 1.256 over par, making Muirfield the third-toughest course on Tour so far this year, behind Augusta National and PGA National (Honda Classic).

2 Kuchar becomes only the second multiple winner on Tour this year, joining Woods, who has four wins. Seventeen players have a single win in what has been a true spread-the-wealth kind of year so far.

96.43 Ryan Moore hit a stunning 96.43 percent of his fairways off the tee for the tournament on his way to a T13 finish.

Teaser:
<p> 10 Amazing Stats from the Memorial Tournament</p>
Post date: Monday, June 3, 2013 - 11:16
All taxonomy terms: College Football, College Football, Twitter
Path: /50Twitter
Body:

College football is well-represented in the Twitterverse by people who know the game intimately and aren't afraid to tell you about it. We took a look at the lengthy list of CFB-oriented Twitter accounts and whittled them down to 50 that are definitely worth a follow. These tweeting all-stars are sure to entertain, educate and occasionally enrage. Let us know your favorites (and anyone we missed).

 

@BFeldmanCBS
Bruce Feldman is a prolific and informative tweeter with a history of breaking news via the medium (and occasionally jumping the gun, but that's part of Twitter's charm). Definitely worth a follow.

 

@sImandel
Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel describes himself as a "Writer, author, lover, humanitarian and college football writer for SI.com." We can only vouch for the college football part. Guy's a fountain of information and opinion, although he doesn't always seem to welcome criticism very cheerfully. Of course, who does?

 

@Andy_Staples
Mandel's SI colleague is a college football savant and part-time foodie who's also equal parts funny and astute.

 

@Mengus22
Mark Ennis is legendary around the Athlon offices for how prolifically he tweets. Chances are he's weighed in about 15 times on Louisville football, Dwyane Wade's fashion choices and Andrew Wiggins by the time you get to work in the morning. Given that level of output, they can't all be gems — but many of them are.

 

@McMurphyESPN
Brett McMurphy was a good get for the Worldwide Leader, and as he was with CBS Sports, he's a prolific breaker of news via Twitter.

 

@CFTalk
CollegeFootballTalk.com is precisely what it's advertised to be: an ongoing conversation about the sport we love. Its tweeting home is equally engaging.

 

@SDS
Saturday Down South self-bills as the "largest website covering @SECFootball." Don't know about largest, but it's one of the best. Their Twitter feed is typically just a shortcut to the website, but well worth a follow.

 

@ralphDrussoAP
You might associate the Associated Press with relics of a different time, but AP college football writer Ralph Russo's Twitter feed, delivered in Brooklyn-ese, is anything but stale.

 

@BryanDFischer
Bryan Fischer is among Athlon's go-to sources for Pac-12 news, as well as generally amusing observations. He's not quite at a Mengus-level output, but he's close.

 

@EyeOnCFB
The Eye sees all. CBSSports.com's college football feed draws on the expert opinions and inside sources of some of the best in the business.

 

@SiriusXMCollege
We're partial to Sirius XM College Sports Nation because our own Braden Gall is a frequent contributor. That doesn't mean they're not a quality follow. Their Twitter feed is a handy entry point to their on-air content.

 

@KegsnEggs
Adam Kramer bills himself as "Founder and gatekeeper of Kegs ‘n Eggs. Lead College Football Writer for Bleacher Report. Advocate of FAT GUY TOUCHDOWNS, and Las Vegas tomfoolery." I have nothing to add to that, except to recommend a follow.

 

@ACCSports
Someday, maybe soon, ACC football will be relevant, and when that day comes, Jim Young is poised to rule. He's your ACC source on all things football and basketball.

 

@dennisdoddcbs
CBS' national college football writer Dennis Dodd can be infuriating, but he's never not interesting.

 

@JFowlerCBS
Dodd's CBS colleague is a solid reporter and equally solid Tweeter.

 

@ClayTravisBGID
Love him or hate him, you can't deny that Travis entertains and inflames with his SEC-centric observations. Prepare to get angry, although Travis' affection for those he lampoons takes some of the edge off. Good news: He seems to have overcome his obsession with butt-chugging.

 

@YahooForde  
The Forde Yard Dash is an in-season must read.

 

@CoachHand
Herb Hand, Vandy's exceptional (and exceptionally nice) o-line coach, beats the drum on Twitter for Vandy, Nashville and the SEC while offering words of wisdom for everyday living. Not your usual coach-speak.

 

 

@MrSEC
With a name like that, you better deliver the goods. And he does, covering the league's 14 teams from every angle — coaching, recruiting and on-the-field performance. Lots of useful links, too.

 

@AschoffESPN
The worldwide leader doesn't disappoint with its SEC coverage thanks to lead bloggers Chris Low and Edward Aschoff, who scour the corners of the interwebs for nuggets of SEC wisdom and share them with hungry SEC fans everywhere. In addition to @ESPN_SEC, which is links central for fans of the nation's best conference, Aschoff maintains his own Twitter account with tidbits like this.

 

@ESPN_Big12
Continuing with our mothership theme, David Ubben handles all things Big 12 for ESPN.

 

@espn_bigeast
There's no more Big East (it's now the American Athletic), so watch for the Twitter handle to change.

 

@SethEmerson
Seth's hunkered down in Athens ready to bring you any relevant Dawg news he uncovers. Mark Richt may have lost control, but Seth hasn't.

 

@CecilHurt
Cecil's been covering Bama since the Bear's last season. I'd say that makes him a suitable go-to guy for all things Tide-related.

 

@AthlonSteven
All of us here at Athlon Sports — @AthlonMitch, @BradenGall, @DavidFox615, @AthlonDoster — are worth following, but Steven Lassan's our resident college football prodigy. Ask him anything — the backup quarterback situation at UL Lafayette, for example — and he can tell you everything you need to know.

 

@finebaum
The mere mention of his name provokes outrage in some quarters. Paul Finebaum has been stirring the pot in the Yellowhammer State for three decades now and has taken his talents to Twitter, although he spends a lot of Tweets quoting what others have to say. For the Finebaum haters, that's just as well.

 

@wesrucker247
World-wide Wes' specialty is Tennessee Vols football at govols247.com, but he has plenty to say about everything that's remotely relevant in SEC football on his Twitter feed. Also, he uses his avatar to keep us apprised of his beard status (currently positive).

 

@MrCFB
Referring to yourself as Mr. College Football may seem a little self-aggrandizing, but after years in the SEC trenches, Tony Barnhart's earned the right to pat himself on the back.

 

@BianchiWrites
Part columnist, part professional internet troll, Orlando's Mike Bianchi is an equal opportunity offender where Florida and Florida State are concerned. That makes him worth following, although he does spend a lot of time plugging his radio gig.

 

@BarrettSallee
Bleacher Report's lead SEC college football writer is a fountain of information on his home site and a premium pot-stirrer on Twitter, weighing in with uncensored opinions on all things SEC. Plenty of useful links, too.

 

@DuckFootball
Rob Moseley covers Oregon football for the Eugene Register-Guard, and he tweets pithy observations from the front lines of the Great Northwest's offensive juggernaut. Also not afraid of lively interactions with fellow tweeters.

 

@UCLACoachMora
Jim Mora has wasted no time jockeying for attention in ADHD-afflicted Southern California. He hasn't really extended his pot-stirring to Twitter yet, but there's always hope.

 

@InsideUSC
Scott Wolf is a staff writer for the LA Daily News, meaning he has a front-row seat for the ongoing circus that is the Lane Kiffin era in LA.

 

@cfosterlatimes
Chris Foster is the LA Times' UCLA beat writer and dispenses nuggets from Bruin-land. As you would expect from a school with 11 national titles, he leans basketball in his tweet count.

 

@steakNstiffarms
Football, food and female hotness. What more is there to the Internet? Elika Sadeghi covers all three on her Twitter feed, with a Big Ten emphasis. To follow her is to love her.

 

ESPN_BigTen
Since 2008, Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett have been regaling Big Ten fans with news, notes and links for the mothership.

 

@JimComparoni
Jim's the publisher of SPARTAN Magazine and is a one-stop shop for all things Gang Green-related. Especially good for in-game tweets that give you a feel for the action.

 

@TeddyGreenstein
Teddy has one of the best self-descriptions on Twitter: "lover, fighter, Chicago Trib sportswriter." Kind of says it all, although he focuses on the sports part on his Twitter feed, in bareknuckles fashion.

 

@Sean_Callahan
The publisher of HuskerOnline.com, Sean (Don't Call Me Bill) Callahan has seen the Nebraska program suffer through some uncharacteristic struggles the last several years. But unlike the team, Sean's coverage is consistently solid.

 

@BTNTomDienhart
Tom Dienhart is the senior writer for btn.com, the website for the Big Ten Network. Whenever there's football to be played, he's got it covered.

 

@11W
Eleven Warriors is your source for all things Scarlet and Grey. It's the largest free Ohio State sports source on the internet, and they've extended their footprint to Twitter in a big way.

 

@smartfootball
If you prefer a more cerebral take on the game, this feed's for you. Editor Chris Brown's also a Grantland contributor if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

 

@John_Infante
Guy knows the NCAA inside and out so you don't have to. For that, we should all be grateful.

 

@HeismanPundit
His self-descriptor says it all: CBSSports.com writer/Heisman voter breaking down the politics of the most prestigious award in sports, plus hard-hitting college football commentary & analysis. What more do you want?

 

@PaulMyerberg
USA Today contributor Myerberg's feed is all college football, all the time.

 

@GeorgeSchroeder
Another USA Today scribe, Schroeder freely dispenses observations on a variety of topics, not just college football. He's moving away from Oregon, though, so no more Springfield police log.

 

@DanRubenstein
Okay, so the SB Nation talking torso only occasionally touches on college football, but dude's funny.

 

 

@BlairKerkhoff
If you prefer your college football with a midwestern, heartland flavor, it doesn't get any more heartland than the KC Star's Blair Kerkhoff.

 

@edsbs
It's more of a general college site, but I couldn't let this Twitter rundown lapse without mentioning the guys over at Every Day Should Be Saturday, who freely share a love of college football with a slightly skewed, always amusing perspective.

@celebrityhottub
Another member of the "Every Day Should Be Saturday" empire, sir broosk regales with absurdist observations, never failing to bring the funny on college football and anything else that springs to mind.

 

Teaser:
<p> These tweeting 50 will keep you entertained, educated and occasionally enraged</p>
Post date: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 14:20

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