Articles By Rob Doster

All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-14-2014
Body:

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

• Whoa. We're highly impressed with gymnast McKayla Maroney's Coachella outfit.

Bubba Watson celebrated his Masters win at Waffle House. Of course he did.

A long-form look at Bubba and Jordan, the two stars of The Masters this year.

A fun look at Masters bros through the years.

• Mind-blowing Bubba nugget: One-third of his career wins are Masters.

• Golf's meritocracy can pay off. 20-year-old Jordan Spieth has earned five times as much money as Super Bowl-winning QB Russell Wilson.

• Not sure what's going on here, but here's Bo Pelini holding a cat.

It's fun to watch MLB ball girls make great plays, especially on live balls.

Lip-readers will enjoy watching Red Sox manager John Ferrell tell umpire Ron Kulpa what he can do with his blown call.

• The Niners' offseason gets better and better. The latest: Aldon Smith yelled "bomb" in an airport. I think that's frowned upon.

Jeff Francoeur was punk'd by a teammate who convinced him he was deaf.

• Two Pacers tried to shoot after the whistle. Russell Westbrook was having none of it.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, April 14, 2014 - 11:19
All taxonomy terms: Phil Mickelson, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-2-phil-mickelson
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. We've been unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 2: Phil Mickelson

Born: June 16, 1970, San Diego, Calif. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 42 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 3 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $5,495,793 (4th) World Ranking: 5

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Phil Mickelson will turn 44 in June, and ordinarily one would think that a player of that age had seen his better days, but Phil seems as capable as ever — and perhaps he enters this major season hungrier than ever. Statistically, it's easy to find holes in Phil’s game; even in his much-hallowed short game, there are gaping inconsistencies. However, Phil is one of the few players — if not the only player — who cannot be summed up in statistics, so strong is his belief in himself. If anything, at 44, Phil might have a sense of how close he is to being considered one of the top 10 players of all time. Phil is tied for 14th in total majors won, having finished second six times in the U.S. Open, the only major to have eluded him. Of the 10 men who have won three of the four Grand Slam events in golf, no player has more runner-ups in the one major they are missing than Phil. Many look at Pinehurst, site of this year’s U.S. Open, where Phil finished second in 1999, as the site of a storybook conclusion to his great career. Indeed, given his runner-up to Payne Stewart there, this will be one of the biggest stories in the first half of the year.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 85
Wins: 5

2013 Performance:
Masters - T54
U.S. Open - T2
British Open - 1
PGA Championship - T72

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 1 (2006, 2006, 2010)
U.S. Open - 2/T2 (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2013)
British Open - 1 (2013)
PGA Championship - 1 (2005)
Top-10 Finishes: 35
Top-25 Finishes: 47
Missed Cuts: 8

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, April 11, 2014 - 11:37
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Golf, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-11-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for April 11.

• In honor of Masters week, enjoy a gallery of gorgeous girls golfing, including actual golfer Blair O'Neal (pictured).

A man put a lot of money on Rory McIlroy to win The Masters after seeing Rory's image on a chocolate danish. I try not to take orders from breakfast pastries, but that's me.

Once again, a pesky golf fan alerted a rules official to a violation, this one by Luke Donald. At least the fan in question was on the grounds and not calling from the couch. Golf fans are the kids who remind the teacher she forgot to assign homework.

Uh, Michael Pineda, if you're going to coat your hand with a foreign substance, be a little more discreet about it.

So apparently the new Kevin Costner movie "Draft Day" isn't the steaming pile of failure that I anticipated.

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury participated in a dance-off with one of his players.

Watch Jameis Winston and his FSU baseball teammates re-create the Noles' game-winning football play during a rain delay.

• I've never linked to college hockey before, but here you go: Minnesota advanced to the Frozen Four with a buzzer-beater.

• Most athletic move of the day yesterday: Hillary Clinton used her cat-quick reflexes to dodge an airborne shoe.

• Fun media feud of the day: Piers Morgan vs. SI TV writer Richard Deitsch.

Lolo stepped in it on Twitter yet again.

• Jon Stewart crushed the NCAA on the Daily Show.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, April 11, 2014 - 10:37
All taxonomy terms: Adam Scott, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-3-adam-scott
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. We've been unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 3: Adam Scott

Born: July 16, 1980, Adelaide, Australia | Career PGA Tour Wins: 10 (9 on European Tour) | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 2 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $4,892,611 (6th) World Ranking: 2

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Adam Scott will have a very good chance to join Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods as the only men to successfully defend their Masters titles. Perhaps the best driver in the game, Scott can challenge the doglegs at Augusta National and put himself in position to attack a golf course that has so many playing defensive golf. The reason for his improved play in majors beginning in 2011, many believe, is the result of switching to the anchored putter, but he has finished 102nd, 148th and 143rd in strokes gained putting, respectively, the last three years and still struggles on the greens. This weakness is the only thing that keeps him from winning far more often than he does.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 51
Wins: 1

2013 Performance:
Masters - 1
U.S. Open - T45
British Open - T3
PGA Championship - T5

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 1 (2013)
U.S. Open - T15 (2012)
British Open - 2 (2012)
PGA Championship - T3 (2006)
Top-10 Finishes: 11
Top-25 Finishes: 22
Missed Cuts: 15

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 15:05
All taxonomy terms: Keegan Bradley, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-4-keegan-bradley
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 4: Keegan Bradley

Born: June 7, 1986, Woodstock, Vt. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 3 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $3,636,813 (11th) World Ranking: 18

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Keegan Bradley made quite a debut on the PGA tour in 2011, winning the PGA Championship as a rookie, but since then has been relatively quiet, given his enormous talent. Winless in 2013, he managed seven top tens and finished 11th on the money list, but he was so close to doing so much more. Perhaps, after such a high-profile first year on tour, he was burdened by heavy expectations. His game is too complete not too have multiple wins in 2014.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 9
Wins: 1

2013 Performance:
Masters - T54
U.S. Open - Cut
British Open - T15
PGA Championship - T19

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T27 (2012)
U.S. Open - T68 (2012)
British Open - T15 (2013)
PGA Championship - 1 (2011)
Top-10 Finishes: 2
Top-25 Finishes: 4
Missed Cuts: 1

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 10:59
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-10-2013
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for April 10.

Galleries at Augusta this week will be graced by the presence of one Amanda Dufner. Yo, Jason, eyes up here, buddy.

They're underway at The Masters. I know I'm a golf nerd, but this will never get old.

• Very cool fly-over GIFs of all 18 holes at Augusta National.

• This is a little inside-golf, but it is Masters week: Tiger-proofing at Augusta has actually given the edge to the bombers. Related: You can't win The Masters unless you birdie the par-5 15th hole.

So Jack Nicklaus' granddaughter has a crush on Adam Scott. She's cute, she's 18, he's single. I say why not?

One man's Masters power ranking.

• A Masters Thursday long-form read: Tiger Woods and the drop heard round the world.

Clay Travis has some fun with the news that AJ McCarron and Katherine Webb are filming a reality show.

• Bored baseball fans are a fun genre. Like this Rangers fan who was doing a little hockey research during a game.

Mike Greenberg of Mike & Mike milked a cow to pay off a bet. The cow replied by pooping.

• Sporting magenta hair, Caroline Wozniacki caddies for Rory McIlroy at the par-3 tournament and took the time to sink a long putt.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 10:48
All taxonomy terms: Justin Rose, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-5-justin-rose
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 5: Justin Rose

Born: July 30, 1980, Johannesburg, South Africa | Career PGA Tour Wins: 5 (6 on the European Tour) | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $4,146,148 (8th) World Ranking: 8

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Justin Rose is the most technical player in golf, and ordinarily that makes for a good swing on video but a lack of results on the course. The problem, typically, is that those who never stop tinkering never start believing. But somewhere along the way, Justin found belief. His swing doesn't just look good on video; it produces and stands up to intense pressure, as it did on the Sunday of last year’s U.S. Open back nine. He has become so good tee-to-green that he can break holes apart, find specific portions of fairways and greens, and with the exception of being an average putter, is well supported in every other aspect of his game.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 39
Wins: 1

2013 Performance:
Masters - T25
U.S. Open - 1
British Open - Cut
PGA Championship - T33

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T5 (2007)
U.S. Open - 1 (2013)
British Open - T4 (1998)
PGA Championship - T3 (2012)
Top-10 Finishes: 8
Top-25 Finishes: 18
Missed Cuts: 14

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 12:09
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-9-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for April 9.

• Not a huge fan of Ryan Braun. His wife Larisa? That's another story.

Bartolo Colon jiggled his belly like a bowl full of jelly, and it was glorious.

Mason Plumlee — Mason Plumlee! — blocked LeBron's game-winning dunk attempt. What's a superstar gotta do to get a foul called?

Vin Scully used the term "crack pipe" for what was likely the first time in his long life.

A classic photo of the Big Three at the Hogan Bridge. Let's enjoy these guys while we can.

• Sad news: The little girl adopted by the Michigan State basketball team, and Adreian Payne in particular, has lost her battle with cancer.

• More sad news: The Ultimate Warrior is dead.

• Geno Auriemma won his ninth title last night, breaking a tie with Pat Summitt, who sent a congratulatory note to her old nemesis.

A Fox and Friends anchor congratulated the Huskies for winning the NAACP championship.

12 sports movie moments that could never happen in real life.

Joey Votto dressed like a Canadian mountie for a TV interview.

• Watch a Dutch reporter tumble into a body of water during a live interview.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 11:23
All taxonomy terms: Dustin Johnson, Golf
Path: /golf/putting-dustin-johnson-slow-and-smooth
Body:

The perception is that Dustin's putting has held him back, and that once he starts draining more putts, the sky's the limit. While that may be true to an extent — Johnson ranked 117th on Tour in 2013 in Strokes Gained, Putting — his stroke has allowed him to convert a staggering number of eagles (12 in 71 rounds in 2013) and birdies (25th on Tour in birdie average in 2013). And his putting has been vastly improved this season; entering The Masters, he ranks 19th on Tour in Strokes Gained, Putting, and his slow, smooth stroke seems tailor-made for Augusta's lightning-fast greens. As with his full swing, Johnson's putting stroke hinges on tempo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My putting stroke is longer and slower than many players out here. Like with the full swing, rhythm is very important, and a longer, slower putting stroke helps me maintain rhythm.

My tendency is to have my hands forward at address, but we've worked hard to keep the putter at a 90-degree angle to my body. I do have a little trigger right before the takeaway where I flex my hands forward slightly, but at address, the putter is at 90 degrees.

 

Butch Harmon says:

Dustin has done a nice job with his putting. He has an unusual putting stroke — it's very slow, smooth and rhythmic.

Guys like me who grew up on slow greens use a short pop stroke, but for Dustin, his long, rhythmic putting stroke is very effective on the fast greens that he faces on Tour.

I like him to keep his putter at a 90-degree angle relative to his body.

He also uses very light grip pressure — maybe a 3 on a scale of 1-10. Most amateurs grip it much harder.

This article appears in the 2014 issue of Athlon's Golf Annual. Order your copy today.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 10:33
All taxonomy terms: Adam Scott, Greg Norman, Golf
Path: /golf/catching-defending-masters-champ-adam-scott
Body:

The green jacket traveled the world in the past year, and it is difficult to find a Masters champion who reveled in his victory and wanted to share it with total strangers more than Adam Scott.

In becoming the first Australian to win the coveted green jacket, Scott fully embraced the overwhelming joy that came with his victory when he traveled back Down Under, spending the rest of the year in full celebratory mode while also establishing himself as a major player for the foreseeable future.

It is unlikely that former Masters winners will be treated to Outback bloomin’ onions when Scott hosts the annual Champions Dinner — let’s be honest, true Aussies are not big fans of the American restaurant chain. But they do love their golf Down Under and have been heartbroken at the near-misses of their mates on this glorious stage, none more prominent than Greg Norman, who three times suffered excruciating defeats in the Augusta pines.

“He inspired a nation of golfers,” said Scott, tearing up at the mention of a mentor to many Aussie golfers. “Most of us would feel that he could have slipped a green jacket on for sure.”

Of course, with Scott winning The Masters, there would be links to the past, to be remembered afresh with a new major season just around the corner.
Steve Williams, Scott’s caddie, once worked for the Shark, and he played a key role in the victory, helping with the 10th-hole playoff read in near darkness, telling Scott to play more break on what would be the winning putt to defeat Angel Cabrera.

Williams was Tiger Woods’ longtime caddie and was on the bag three times for Woods victories at Augusta National.

The last came in 2005, nine long years ago.

Scott went on to have a stellar season, winning late in the year on the PGA Tour, then twice in Australia in addition to being part of a World Cup victory for his homeland at Royal Melbourne. His four worldwide victories helped him close the gap on Woods in the Official World Golf Ranking as 2014 began.

In sizing up his year’s work in the four biggest tournaments, Scott could only be pleased. And that is the beauty of winning one of golf’s most prestigious events. It doesn’t make the close calls any easier to take, but it does present them in a different light. Scott had three top-five finishes in major championships in 2013, which makes for a particularly excellent record when one of them is a victory.

“It’s really satisfying," Scott says. “Obviously the goal was to win one, but the real goal is to put myself in this position a lot more.

“At some point (in the 2013 majors), I think I led every major during the week. Obviously I’m peaking at the right times. It’s hard to stay there for four days and have the lead the whole time, but I feel like I’m improving still. So it’s something to build on for (the 2014) season."

Scott was among 13 players who made the cut in all four major championships and, along with fellow Aussie Jason Day, led the way with an aggregate of 2-over par for 16 major championship rounds. Of course, Scott’s Masters win makes for a nice tiebreaker in assessing the best major season.

“I was a lot over (par) at the U.S. Open," said Scott, who finished 45th at the only major in which he was not a Sunday contender. “That means I’m playing really good in the others. I think I was cumulative low (in 2012) as well in the four majors (he was top 15 in all four). If that’s the case, I’m doing something right. I wish it added up to more than one win in eight, but I’m going to try and do all the right things between now and April and go back and try and defend and try and get into contention again."

"Obviously the goal was to win one, but the real goal is to put myself in this position a lot more."
Since the start of the 2009 season, Scott has nine top-15 finishes in major championships, including a win and two runners-up. He has often said that his crushing defeat to Ernie Els at the 2012 Open Championship offered up more positives than negatives.

Still, the country’s inability to win at Augusta had become something of a sore spot, with Norman’s heartbreaks cited at every turn.

“It’s amazing that it’s my destiny to be the first Aussie to win, just incredible," Scott said.

“It is fantastic to see him win," said Norman, who watched the telecast from his Florida home. “I believed in him. His ball-striking is probably better than anybody else’s on the planet. A lot of focus goes to the other players because he hasn’t put the credentials on the board or the runs on the board. But at the end of the day, just to watch the way he performed down the stretch, his intensity.

“Everybody questioned whether he had the intestinal fortitude, the go-get-it, but we all knew it. The players knew it. He’s got the game to do it, and I was just extremely happy for him."

Given his recent history in majors, and his form over the last several months, would anybody be surprised to see Scott keep that jacket for another year?

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 14:17
All taxonomy terms: Henrik Stenson, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-6-henrik-stenson
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 6: Henrik Stenson

Born: April 5, 1976, Gothenburg, Sweden | Career PGA Tour Wins: 4 (8 on the European Tour) | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 3 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $6,388,230 (2nd) World Ranking: 3

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Henrik Stenson won three times last September and November, and he will no doubt pick up in the 2014 majors where he left off, because his swing is as technically sound as there is in the game. His coach, Pete Cowen, has not given in to the trend to flatten his backswing and round off his follow-through, and as a result his ball flight is high, solid and powerful. That's a rare combination in professional golf; as more and more players default to control swings, ball flights have come down and so have spin rates, making it harder to get at tough pins on firm greens. If he adds to his repertoire a deft touch from inside 125 yards, he will be the complete player.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 31
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - T18
U.S. Open - T21
British Open - 2
PGA Championship - 3

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T17 (2007, 2008)
U.S. Open - 9 (2009)
British Open - 2 (2013)
PGA Championship - 3 (2013)
Top-10 Finishes: 7
Top-25 Finishes: 14
Missed Cuts: 9

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 11:52
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-8-2014
Body:

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

• Shocking news this morning: Erin Andrews is reportedly acting like a diva on the set of Dancing with the Stars.

Rex Chapman caused a Big Blue panic before last night's game even started. Now we get to see if he's right about Cal to the Lakers.

• Speaking of getting nervous, Shabazz Napier caused CBS a bit of postgame heartburn with his mini-rant against the NCAA.

The UK bro with the national championship tattoo might be having some regrets this morning.

• I'd still rather be the UK tattoo bro than the UConn fan who missed out on $100 large because he didn't save his finals pick.

Kentucky fans showed admirable restraint by igniting only 17 couches after the loss.

Drake haz a sad after UConn won.

Degenerate gambler Floyd Mayweather only bet $30K on the championship game. Is he going broke or something? At least he bet on UConn.

Les Miles described the wind currents at Tiger Stadium as only Les Miles can.

Simmons has written about Letterman on the occasion of the late-night legend's retirement announcement.

• Forty years ago today, the Hammer replaced the Babe atop the all-time home run list.

• I'll throw Kentucky fans a bone with today's video: James Young's colossal slam against half the UConn team.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 10:07
All taxonomy terms: Jason Day, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-7-jason-day
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 7: Jason Day

Born: Nov. 12, 1987, Beaudesert, Queensland, Australia | Career PGA Tour Wins: 2 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $3,625,030 (12th) World Ranking: 4

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Jason Day is the world’s best putter on fast, treacherous greens. Period. This explains why he consistently pops up on the leaderboards in majors; having played in only 13 in his career, he has six top tens and four finishes of third or better. In 2013 he averaged 28.68 putts per round at the four biggest events, and this combined with his length off of the tee and a wonderful attitude make him one of the most exciting players to watch in golf. One of the nicest guys in golf too, Day might just have one of the nicest resumes in 2014.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 13
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - 3
U.S. Open - T2
British Open - T32
PGA Championship - T8

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T2 (2011)
U.S. Open - 2/T2 (2011, 2013)
British Open - T30 (2011)
PGA Championship - T8 (2013)
Top-10 Finishes: 6
Top-25 Finishes: 6
Missed Cuts: 3

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, April 7, 2014 - 11:50
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-7-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for April 7.

• The backlash to Paulina Gretzky's Golf Digest cover and photo layout has begun. Click here to find out what the fuss is about.

• A classic photo made the rounds over the weekend: Former Auburn coach Gene Chizik looking disapporvingly at his daughter's prom date.

• Automatically rooting against the Cats tonight? Grantland says that this year's Kentucky team isn't the traditional "Evil Empire" model.

• One reason to root against Kentucky: This fan's ridiculous tattoo.

• Jon Solomon points out that this year's title game pits a team penalized for poor academic performance against a team of short-term rental players. College sports in a nutshell.

Coach Cal was joined by Drake in addressing the team following Kentucky's win over Wisconsin.

• Tonight's the Champions Dinner at The Masters. Here's a reminder of some of the stomach-churning menu choices of years past.

• Let's hope they have some good brew to wash down whatever Adam Scott serves at Augusta tonight. After all, it's National Beer Day.

Hulk Hogan momentarily forgot where he was for this weekend's Wrestlemania.

• Comedy gold from the guy they call Lumpy: Golfer Tim Herron, who won't be playing in The Masters, followed the example of high-profile players by tweeting out what he'll be wearing the for the tournament.

Vin Scully found the plate with his first pitch to Sandy Koufax, because he's Vin freakin' Scully.

• Watch as an attempted intentional walk becomes a walk-off home run.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, April 7, 2014 - 10:52
All taxonomy terms: Sergio Garcia, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-8-sergio-garcia
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 8: Sergio Garcia

Born: Jan. 9, 1980, Borriol, Castellon, Spain | Career PGA Tour Wins: 8 (10 on the European Tour) | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $2,251,139 (26th) World Ranking: 8

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Sergio Garcia's presence on leaderboards has been as unpredictable as the bounce of a football, but in recent years, the source of most of his anguish — poor putting — has been eradicated, and he is now one of the best in the world on the greens. Subsequently, as evidenced by his bounce back stat of 4th in 2013, he is more resilient, and a more resilient Sergio is a threat to win anywhere. He has come agonizingly close in the game’s biggest events, with 18 career top tens in the majors, and this year’s venues — most notably at Pinehurst for the U.S. Open and Hoylake at The Open Championship, where he finished third in 2005 and played in the final group with Tiger in 2006 — set up well for him. A major win, finally, for Sergio in 2014 would not surprise me.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 61
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - T8
U.S. Open - T45
British Open - T21
PGA Championship - T61

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T4 (2004)
U.S. Open - T3 (2005)
British Open - 2 (2007)
PGA Championship - 2/T2 (1999, 2008)
Top-10 Finishes: 18
Top-25 Finishes: 27
Missed Cuts: 17

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, April 4, 2014 - 12:09
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-4-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for April 4.

• So "Game of Thrones" is starting back up. I don't watch it, but after seeing this slideshow, I'm considering it.

Check out the "crowd" at the White Sox-Tigers game on Thursday. They gathered for a postgame meal in the party room at the local Denny's.

• Cardinal Mike Adams battled a Reds fan for a foul ball, and lost. The fan was less than gracious about the win.

An awful woman tried to get a souvenir ball meant for a kid. Jeets was having none of it. Good on ya, Captain.

The new "This is SportsCenter" commercial features Bubba Watson and the Stanford tree.

Here are some terrifying photos of a tornado approaching a minor league baseball stadium.

Adreian Payne didn't win the college dunk contest, but he probably had the best dunk.

So was that Big Papi-POTUS selfie a Samsung marketing stunt?

The predictable backlash to the Paulina Gretzky Golf Digest cover has begun.

Dan Jenkins does The Masters like no one else.

A skydiver had a close encounter during a jump with what appeared to be a meteor.

• Russell Westbrook threw down a filthy reverse slam.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, April 4, 2014 - 11:20
All taxonomy terms: Dustin Johnson, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-9-dustin-johnson
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 9: Dustin Johnson

Born: June 22, 1984, Columbia, S.C. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 8 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $2,963,214 (19th) World Ranking: 10

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Dustin Johnson has won eight times on the PGA tour before the age of 30 and in addition could've easily won two or three major championships. So obscene is his talent, he could easily end up in the Hall of Fame, but he is not higher on this list because he has historically underperformed his talent level, for a variety of reasons. Now that the game seems to have his full attention, he has ours.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 20
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - T13
U.S. Open - 55
British Open - T32
PGA Championship - T8

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T13 (2013)
U.S. Open - T8 (2010)
British Open - T2 (2011)
PGA Championship - T5 (2010)
Top-10 Finishes: 6
Top-25 Finishes: 9
Missed Cuts: 3

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 11:46
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-3-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for April 3.

Paulina Gretzky, Dustin Johnson's fiancee, will be on the cover of the upcoming issue of Golf Digest. Purists will no doubt be outraged, but I say, why not?

• He hasn't been on the Auburn campus much more than a week, and Bruce Pearl has already been shirtless in a dunking booth.

• To assess players, Jim Harbaugh plays a Jim Harbaugh-style game of catch with them.

Watch an Oakland fan get a face full of concrete in his attempt to grab a foul ball.

Deion Sanders says Johnny Manziel has "ghetto tendencies." I think it was a compliment. If you click, you'll notice in the photo that Deion now looks like a lovable sitcom grandpa.

23-year-old Tyler Summitt will face challenges as a head coach, even if his mom is Pat Summitt.

• If you have a strong stomach, and you've already digested your breakfast, you can click here and see what a hockey puck can do to a human face.

• Bartolo Colon's ill-fated trips to the plate have paid off in other ways. Like funny memes.

Paul George of the Pacers drilled a shot from just inside the line. The half-court line.

Marcin Gortat of the Wizards snuck into the Celtics huddle. And the Celtics didn't seem to notice.

There was a good old-fashioned base-brawl in the college ranks.

• Nolan Ryan's ceremonial first pitch was a flashback to the days when he never quite knew where the ball was going. Just without the velocity.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 10:58
Path: /7-greatest-shots-masters-history
Body:

We don’t have footage of Gene Sarazen’s famous double eagle from 1935, but on Masters Sunday 2012, we saw something just as good and just as rare — Louis Oosthuizen's double eagle, the first at the par-5 second hole in Masters history. Later, Bubba Watson joined our countdown with his stunning recovery shot from the pine straw in the playoff. Here are our choices for the seven greatest shots in Masters history.

7. Louis Oosthuizen, 2012
Before Sunday 2012, there had been 19,809 rounds at The Masters, but this was a first: a double eagle at No. 2. Had Oostie gone on to win, his shot would rank No. 1; as it is, he'll have to settle for second in The 2012 Masters and seventh on our list.

 

6. Sandy Lyle, 1988
Lyle had a front-row seat for Jack Nicklaus' charge to the 1986 Masters title. Two years later, he made history of his own with an incredible bunker shot on the 72nd hole, using the slope of the green to set up a clinching birdie. This is great execution for a Tuesday practice round; under Masters pressure, it's one of history's greatest shots.

5. Bubba Watson, 2012
After a day that included a double eagle and two holes in one, Bubba's shot at 10 will be the one they'll still be talking about at the 2050 Champions Dinner.

4. Jack Nicklaus, 1986
Jack’s near hole-in-one on 16 during his final-round 65 was only one of many magic moments that day — but it was pretty epic.


3. Phil Mickelson, 2010
Mickelson’s 6-iron second shot to four feet on the par-5 13th was the kind of hero shot that only he and Tiger Woods would even attempt.



2. Larry Mize, 1987
Playing a few miles from his home, the quiet, unassuming Mize hit the shot of his life, or anyone else’s for that matter, holing an impossible 140-foot pitch shot on the second playoff hole to deny Greg Norman a green jacket.



1. Tiger Woods, 2005
It's a scenario apparently drawn up in the Nike marketing offices — the ball hanging tantalizingly on the edge of the cup, the Nike logo momentarily freeze-framed on our television screens before the ball tumbles into the cup, unleashing an awkward golfer high-five between Tiger and caddie Steve Williams that detracts only slightly from the moment. To answer your question, Verne Lundquist — no, in our lives, we’ve never seen anything like it.

Teaser:
<p> 7 Epic Moments from Golf's Greatest Tournament</p>
Post date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 17:35
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /10-amazing-masters-records-may-never-be-broken
Body:

Consider this the appetizer before the main course. We scoured The Masters record book and found these amazing numbers:

10 The record for consecutive under-par rounds at The Masters belongs to Tiger Woods, who shot 10 consecutive rounds under par from the third round in 2000 through the final round in 2002. Not surprisingly, he won the green jacket in 2001 and 2002, after finishing fifth in 2000. Tiger's scoring average for those 10 rounds was 68.5.

25 Phil Mickelson holds the record for most birdies in a single Masters, with 25 in 2001. Lefty finished 13-under that year, three shots behind winner Tiger Woods, who was able to muster only 23 birdies for the week.

37 Among many Masters records held by Jack Nicklaus is his astounding 37 cuts made at Augusta. That's especially remarkable when you consider that Tiger Woods has only been alive 38 years. Between 1960 and 2000, Jack played in 40 Masters, missing the cut twice (in 1967 and 1994) and withdrawing in 1983. Among Nicklaus' other Masters records: He won a record six Masters, was runner-up a record four times, and he finished in the top 5 a record 15 times, in the top 10 22 times, and in the top 25 29 times.

23 Gary Player and Fred Couples share the record with 23 consecutive made cuts at The Masters. Player didn't miss a cut between 1959 and 1982 (he didn't compete in 1973 due to illness). During that span, he won three times and finished in the top 10 15 times. Couples' streak ran from 1983 to 2008, although he didn't play in 1987 or 1994.

50 Arnold Palmer holds a record that will likely never be equaled, playing in 50 consecutive Masters from 1955 to 2004. Thankfully, the King is still a fixture in April at Augusta, hitting a ceremonial tee shot along with fellow legends Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

66 That's the record score for a "Senior" player (age 50 or above). Fred Couples shot a 66 at age 50 in 2010's first round; and Ben Hogan, long past his prime at age 54, shot a 66 in the third round in 1967, going on to finish tied for 10th in his final Masters appearace.

66 The lowest score by an amateur was a 66 by Ken Venturi, in 1956's first round. Venturi actually held a four-shot lead entering the final round and was in prime position to become the only amateur winner in the event's history, until a windswept final-round 80 left him one shot behind Jack Burke.

-12 The lowest total by a first-time Masters competitor was a 12-under 276 in 2011 by Jason Day, who finished tied for second, two shots behind Charl Schwartzel.

6 The largest lead lost after three rounds is Greg Norman's 1996 collapse from a six-stroke lead to a five-stroke loss to Nick Faldo following a final-round 78. Coming off the eighth green on that Masters Sunday, Norman was only 1-over par for the day and still held a three-shot lead over Faldo. But three bogeys and two double-bogeys down the stretch doomed Norman to the most painful failure of his star-crossed career.

0 Fred Couples won the 1992 Masters, but here's an interesting distinction for Boom-Boom: He's the only player to have never missed a Masters cut in the 20th Century. Couples first played in the tournament in 1983 and didn't miss a Masters weekend until 2008.

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 17:32
Path: /10-greatest-masters-champions-all-time
Body:

The Masters is the world's greatest golf tournament, so it's not surprising that it has produced an elite list of champions. We've identified the 10 greatest, who collectively possess 32 Green Jackets and have provided countless classic moments.

1. Jack Nicklaus
Wins - 6
Runner-ups - 4
Top 5 - 15
Top 10 - 22
Notes:
Nobody owns Augusta like Jack. His six wins spanned 23 years of stunning brilliance. In the decade of the 1970s, he never finished lower than 8th. As if to put an exclamation point on his unparalleled career amid the Georgia pines, Jack made one final run in 1998 at age 58, finishing sixth and beating the defending champion, 22-year-old Tiger Woods. Here's a record that may never be broken: Nicklaus made an astounding 37 cuts at Augusta; for reference, Woods has been alive only 37 years.

2. Arnold Palmer
Wins - 4
Runner-ups - 2
Top 5 - 9
Top 10 - 12
Notes:
Arnie came along at the perfect time, the dawn of golf's TV age, and he galvanized an army of fans with his domination at Augusta. Between 1957 and 1967, Palmer won four times and finished in the top 10 every year. He eclipses the No. 3 player on this list only because he made The Masters what it is today.

3. Tiger Woods
Wins - 4
Runner-ups - 2
Top 5 - 10
Top 10 - 12
Notes:
Woods' 12-shot demolition of the field at the 1997 Masters was one of golf's signature moments and ushered in the Tiger era in golf. His epic chip-in in 2005 was another classic moment, although that remains his last green jacket to date. Tiger is the all-time scoring average leader at The Masters for players with 50 or more career rounds.

4. Phil Mickelson
Wins - 3
Runner-ups - 0
Top 5 - 10
Top 10 - 14
Notes:
Lefty's record at Augusta rivals Tiger's. His 2004 breakthrough was perhaps the most eagerly awaited major championship win in history. Phil still has a shot to move up this list given that he's finished out of the top 5 only four times since 2001 and always seems rejuvenated by the trip up Magnolia Lane.

5. Gary Player
Wins - 3
Runner-ups - 2
Top 5 - 8
Top 10 - 15
Notes:
Player made his Masters bones in the 1960s as part of golf's Big Three with Nicklaus and Palmer, but he had some of his greatest Augusta moments in the 1970s, winning in 1974 and charging from seven strokes back in the final round in 1978, shooting 64 to win at age 42.

6. Sam Snead
Wins - 3
Runner-ups - 2
Top 5 - 9
Top 10 - 15
Notes:
Slammin' Sammy enjoyed some of his greatest successes at Augusta, winning three Masters in a six-year span, including a playoff win over rival and defending champion Ben Hogan in 1954.

7. Ben Hogan
Wins - 2
Runner-ups - 4
Top 5 - 9
Top 10 - 17
Notes:
The great Hogan set a Masters record during his Triple Crown season of 1953 with a 14-under total (it would be broken by Jack Nicklaus in 1965), part of an unparalleled run of golf in which he won six majors in eight appearances. In 1967, at age 56, he shot a 66 and finished 10th. His 17 Masters top 10s are second only to Nicklaus' 22.

8. Tom Watson
Wins - 2
Runner-ups - 3
Top 5 - 9
Top 10 - 15
Notes:
Watson's 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.

9. Jimmy Demaret
Wins - 3
Runner-ups - 0
Top 5 - 6
Top 10 - 8
Notes:
One of golf's most colorful showmen, Demaret was the first three-time Masters winner and parlayed his quick wit and flamboyant wardrobe into an appearance on "I Love Lucy."

10. Byron Nelson
Wins - 2
Runner-ups - 2
Top 5 - 7
Top 10 - 14
Notes:
Lord Byron's love for The Masters was epitomized by the fact that he kept playing at Augusta even after retiring from competitive golf to run his ranch. He probably would have won one or two more Green Jackets had the tournament been held during World War II.

Honorable Mention
• Nick Faldo - A three-time Masters winner, Faldo gets penalized for benefiting from three meltdowns in his three Masters wins — Scott Hoch, who missed a two-foot putt in their playoff in 1989; Ray Floyd, who made a late bogey to fall into a playoff with Faldo and then hit into the water at 11 in Sudden Death; and most notoriously, Greg Norman, who squandered a six-shot lead over Faldo with a final-round 78. Plus, Faldo's three wins were his only Masters top 10s.

• Seve Ballesteros - The late, great Ballesteros won twice and finished second twice. He also had the decency to step aside and allow Nicklaus to charge to his sixth Green Jacket in 1986.

• Horton Smith - The event's first two-time winner, Smith won Green Jackets in 1934 (the tournament's first year) and 1936.

• Ben Crenshaw - Crenshaw's Masters win in 1994, shortly after the death of longtime mentor Harvey Penick, provided one of the most emotional moments in golf history. Crenshaw, a two-time winner, finished in the top 10 11 times.

• Jose Maria Olazabal - Less heralded than his countryman Seve Ballesteros, Olazabal was every bit Seve's equal at Augusta, winning in 1994 and 1999 and finishing the top 10 six other times.

• Bernhard Langer - Langer had his greatest major success at The Masters, winning twice and posting eight top 10s.

• Fred Couples - Couples made 23 consecutive Masters cuts between 1983 and 2008, although he didn't play in 1987 or 1994. He's the only Masters competitor not to miss a cut at Augusta in the 20th Century. He won the tournament in 1992.

• Gene Sarazen - His "Shot Heard Round the World" — a double eagle at 15 during the 1935 Masters — put the tournament on the map and helped establish its major bona fides. It also allowed Sarazen to claim a modern career Grand Slam, the first in history.

• Raymond Floyd - Floyd won the 1976 Masters by a dominating eight strokes, matching Nicklaus' record 17-under total (which would be broken by Woods in 1997). Floyd finished second at Augusta three times, including a crushingly disappointing playoff loss to Nick Faldo in 1990, and had 11 top-10 finishes.
 

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 17:25
All taxonomy terms: Masters, Overtime, Golf, Overtime, News
Path: /weirdest-and-worst-food-masters-champions-dinner
Body:

It's one of the great traditions of Masters week: the Tuesday night Champions Dinner, where the defending champ gets to pick the menu for everyone. Defending champion Adam Scott of Australia probably won't break out the bloomin' onions; in fact, the word is that he's serving an Australian lobster known as a "Moreton Bay Bug." Okay. Obviously, giving golfers this much latitude can result in some stomach-churning choices. Here's the proof.


Menu: Haggis, mashed potatoes, mashed turnips
Sandy Lyle, 1989

You know what they say about haggis — it looks the same coming out as it does going in. For the uninitiated, this Scottish dish is basically stuff fished out of the trash at the butcher shop: sheep's heart, liver and lungs cooked in the stomach, with a few bits of actual food (onions, oatmeal, spices) thrown in to confuse you. 
 


Menu: Elk, wild boar, Arctic char, Canadian beer
Mike Weir, 2004

Apparently they were fresh out of grizzly bear, so this had to do. Well, at least there was a little liquid bread to wash down all the animal flesh. Hey Mike, how about a salad?

 


Menu: Cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries, milkshakes
Tiger Woods, 1998

At first glance, this sounds fine. But when you have access to great chefs and an unlimited budget, do you really want to reproduce the drive-thru of the Augusta McDonald's?

 


Menu: Seafood tom kah, chicken panang curry, baked sea scallops with garlic sauce, rack of lamb with yellow kari sauce, baked filet Chilean sea bass with three flavor chili sauce, lychee sorbet
Vijay Singh, 2001

Surely this overly pretentious selection was part of some elaborate practical joke perpetrated by Vijay. We’re pretty sure Tiger and Phil hit the Augusta McDonald's drive-thru afterwards.


 
Menu: An Argentine asado, a multicourse barbecue featuring chorizo, blood sausage, short ribs, beef filets and mollejas (sweetbreads)
Angel Cabrera, 2010

Sampling another culture's cuisine can be a mixed bag. This menu is evidence. Short ribs and beef filets sound good, but anything with blood in the title doesn't. And sweetbreads? That's just a tasty-sounding name for the thymus gland of some animal. No. Just, no.
 


Menu: Bobotie (a spiced minced meat pie with an egg topping), sosaties (type of chicken skewer), spinach salad, milk tart and South African wines
Trevor Immelman, 2009

Rule of thumb: If I can't pronounce it, I ain't eating it. The wine sounds good, though.  

Teaser:
<p> Winning golfers select haggis, wild boar and 10 foods we can't pronounce.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 17:21
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-10-brandt-snedeker
Body:

They’re the cream of the major championship crop, circa 2014 — the Athlon Major Championship Dream Team. Leading up to The Masters, we'll be unveiling Athlon Sports’ 30 players to watch for majors season, with commentary on each from the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee.

No. 10: Brandt Snedeker

Born: Dec. 8, 1980, Nashville, Tenn. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 6 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 2 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $5,318,088 (5th) World Ranking: 20

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Brandt Snedeker has finished third and fifth, respectively, the last two years on the money list, and has two wins in each of those seasons. Had he not been sidelined with an injury for a period in 2013, he might have challenged for the money title as well as the FedExCup. From 50-125 yards, he was the best on Tour last year and continues to enjoy tremendous success on the greens as well. A streaky player because he struggles tee-to-green periodically, he is unfazed by miscues and continues to play decisively, which makes him fun to watch and also makes him better than the sum of his statistics.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 25
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - T6
U.S. Open - T17
British Open - T11
PGA Championship - T66

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T3 (2008)
U.S. Open - T8 (2010)
British Open - T3 (2012)
PGA Championship - T18 (2007)
Top-10 Finishes: 5
Top-25 Finishes: 13
Missed Cuts: 9

—Brandel Chamblee is lead analyst for the Golf Channel. Be sure to follow him @ChambleeBrandel on Twitter.

 

Athlon's 2014 Golf annual provides in-depth previews of this year's four majors, including the top 30 players to watch this season. One of these elite players, Dustin Johnson, also takes you tee to green with full-swing instruction and short game essentials. BUY IT NOW.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 11:10
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-2-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for April 2.

• With baseball season in full swing, enjoy this gallery of MLB WAGs, including Mat Latos' wife Dallas (pictured).

A Red Sox fan made her feelings about Jacoby Ellsbury known. She stopped by Traitor Joe's on the way home.

• More sign fun: A Yankees fan accuses Robinson Cano of being driven by money. Irony is not dead.

Steph Curry sent Mavs fans home sad with his buzzer-beater.

The Final Four: reasons for optimism, reasons for doubt about each team.

Did Sidney Crosby flop from a linesman's nudge? Kinda looks like it.

Richard Sherman ponders aloud why the Eagles cut DeSean Jackson but kept Riley Cooper.

Tiger will miss golf's greatest tournament for the first time since 1994.

• Just because: Samuel L. Jackson performs a slam poem about "Boy Meets World."

The awkward dog photo of the day belongs to Paul George.

Big Papi and POTUS took a sweet selfie.

• New Washington coach Chris Petersen pulled off a nice April Fool's prank on his unsuspecting team. Well done.

 

-- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 10:53
All taxonomy terms: Dustin Johnson, Golf
Path: /golf/wedge-shots-dustin-johnson
Body:

Given his 300-plus-yard bombs off the tee, Dustin Johnson has a wedge in his hands quite often, so improving the accuracy of his wedge game has been an important factor in his success. As Butch Harmon says, "He has tremendous self confidence with the driver — he just needed to clean up the looseness with the short irons." That "cleaning up" started with shortening the swing. Here, Dustin explains his thought process with a wedge in his hands.

My swing on my wedge shots has definitely gotten a lot shorter, a little more compact. Forme, the wedge game is really important, I hit a lot of wedges, so if I'm wedging it well, I'm playing well.

It all starts with driving it in the fairway, of course.

Once I'm in the fairway with a wedge in my hands, controlling the flight really helps me with my distance and helps me get the ball close to the hole. I like to hit wedges with a lower trajectory; I don't like to hit it way up in the air. Obviously there are certain situations where you have to hit it up in the air, but for a normal shot, I hit it lower, because I feel like I have more control.
Most of the time I want to draw it two or three yards. My natural swing produces a draw, but you do have to hit it a little bit from the inside so that it will start just right of your target. Hitting a little draw is a good way for amateurs to learn to hit the ball and picture the golf swing, because it gives you better distance control and corrects some common flaws.

 

Butch Harmon says:

DJ's wedge game was inconsistent because his swing was too long. We've worked to make it a wider, shorter swing that accelerates through the ball. In other words, we've made it a mini version of the full swing. He's worked very hard on it.

 

 

This article appears in the 2014 issue of Athlon's Golf Annual. Order your copy today.

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 18:03

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