Articles By Rob Doster

All taxonomy terms: Jason Dufner, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-11-jason-dufner
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. 11: Jason Dufner

Born: March 24, 1977, Cleveland, Ohio | Career PGA Tour Wins: 3 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $3,132,268 (16th) World Ranking: 16

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Jason Dufner would have a greater chance to win more tournaments if course set-ups weren't biased toward television ratings. Giving in to the excitement of the slash-and-gouge world that golf has drifted towards, courses are more democratic, and so Jason’s genius for finding fairways and greens is underappreciated — except for major weeks, where, for the most part, severe penalties still exist for tee-to-green inconsistencies. Look for him at The Open Championship and to offer a good defense of his PGA Championship title.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 19
Wins: 1

2013 Performance:
Masters - T20
U.S. Open - T4
British Open - T26
PGA Championship - 1

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T20 (2013)
U.S. Open - T4 (2012, '13)
British Open - T26 (2013)
PGA Championship - 1 (2013)
Top-10 Finishes: 5
Top-25 Finishes: 7
Missed Cuts: 5

—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 1, 2014 - 11:30
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-april-1-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for April 1.

• It's only Tuesday, but it's not too early to celebrate the cheerleaders of the Final Four.

• Check the calendar before believing anything you read today. And in the spirit of April 1, here are 17 pranks you can play on your friends.

• Apparently not a prank: The U.S. World Cup team's popsicle-flavored second jerseys.

• It was a rough Opening Day all around. Don Baylor broke his femur on the ceremonial first pitch at the Angels game. An Orioles dad was left hanging on both a high-five and a fist bump by his kid. Cubs catcher Welington Castro took a foul tip to the giblets. And the mayor of New York got booed as he threw out the first pitch at the Mets game.

Awkwardly worded headline of the day. Looks like they're trying new strategies to attract fans to Citi Field.

• Conversely, lying juicer Ryan Braun got a standing ovation. Sometimes there's no justice.

Orson Charles of the Bengals was arrested for first degree wanton endangerment. Translation: He pulled a gun on a dude during a case of road rage.

• Sure signs of spring: warmer temps, blooming flowers and Nick Saban nuking a reporter for a carelessly worded question.

• The Falcons tried their hand at an April Fool's Day prank. Judge the results for yourself.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 11:19
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-31-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 31.

• March is ending, but the memories remain. Here are the sports ladies who wowed this month, including Jeter ex Hannah Davis.

• Happy Opening Day. There was a game last night, in which a Padres ball girl posted a web gem.

At least Brian Wilson cleaned up for his Dodgers debut.

• The Final Four is set. Kentucky's back in, younger than ever; deal with it. And give them credit for the toughest slog to the Final Four in tournament history.

Could we be headed for an all-SEC title game?  A football conference suffering through a down year for hoops has dominated the tournament. Go figure.

This Dickie V GIF defies description. Just click.

• Love this: A Gainesville TV station found a creative way around the NCAA's highlight embargo.

• Remember Bill Murray's lounge singer sketch on the old SNL? Here he is warbling cover tunes at the Caddyshack Restaurant in Florida.

Dennis Rodman played in drag in a basketball game in Argentina. That's the most Dennis Rodman sentence ever.

• Stephon Marbury won a title. It was in China, but it still obviously meant something to him, given his facial contortions.

• One last look at the shot of the tournament, Aaron Harrison's trey that put Kentucky in the Final Four.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, March 31, 2014 - 10:45
All taxonomy terms: Rory McIlroy, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-12-rory-mcilroy
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. 12: Rory McIlroy

Born: May 4, 1989, Holywood, Northern Ireland | Career PGA Tour Wins: 6 (5 on European Tour) | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $1,802,443 (41st) World Ranking: 7

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Rory McIlroy had a lot of distractions in 2013. In changing equipment, it is best to change one thing at a time so that one can control the variables and can point the finger at the exact cause for any fall-off or gain in form. Rory changed clubs and balls, and while his ball-striking only fell off negligibly from the year before, his game fell off sharply. Perhaps it was the equipment adjustment, or perhaps it was the lawsuit brought on by a management change; regardless of the cause, he wasn't the player who won two majors by eight shots. However, towards the end of the year, he showed signs that he was more settled in his life and his game. The one thing he didn't change was his swing. Good thing. In grace and power there is no equal to Rory’s move, and with the equipment changes behind him and the lawsuit winding down, he can go back to building what may well be, when he is through playing, one of the great careers in history.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 21
Wins: 2

2013 Performance:
Masters - T25
U.S. Open - T41
British Open - Cut
PGA Championship - T8

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T15 (2011)
U.S. Open - 1 (2011)
British Open - T3 (2010)
PGA Championship - 1 (2012)
Top-10 Finishes: 7
Top-25 Finishes: 11
Missed Cuts: 4

—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, March 28, 2014 - 10:42
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-28-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 28.

• The photo's grainy, but Britney Spears showed off a rockin' bod in Hawaii.

Condi Rice and Richard Sherman shot a selfie at last night's Stanford game. Sports, bringing people together.

There was a mini-riot after Dayton's Sweet 16 win last night. Imagine if the Flyers go on to win the title. In other Dayton news, CBS helpfully informed us that a Dayton alum invented Control+alt+delete. Good to know.

The Bruins honored Boston's fallen firefighters.

The Philly Daily News gave the hometown Sixers the New York Post treatment.

Bill Murray wore PBR pants to a golf tournament. Never change, Bill.

• Memory lane: A year ago today, Dufnering happened. Relive the magic here.

• This is fun: A dad turned boring videos of his toddler into action movies.

Here are some photos of famous Americans wearing Kim Jong-Un's iconic hairstyle.

Kareem administered a gentle smack to LeBron's wrist over recent NBA Mt. Rushmore musings.

• Sometimes I'll share videos of fans snatching foul balls away from kids. For something completely different: A fan caught a ball autographed by Hakeem, and gave it to a kid.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, March 28, 2014 - 10:29
All taxonomy terms: Webb Simpson, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-13-webb-simpson
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. 13: Webb Simpson

Born: Aug. 8, 1985, Raleigh, N.C. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 4 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $2,957,582 (20th) World Ranking: 21

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Webb Simpson had a very poor year on the greens in the majors in 2013, averaging almost 33 putts per round at both the U.S. and British Opens, but otherwise it was another solid campaign as Simpson finished 20th on the money list. Despite not having great length, Webb in his last three years has finished 17th, 16th and 1st in the All-Around statistic on tour, which is a good indicator of one's potential — although Webb still has a ways to go to live up to his.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 10
Wins: 1

2013 Performance:
Masters - Cut
U.S. Open - T32
British Open - T64
PGA Championship - T25

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T44 (2012)
U.S. Open - 1 (2012)
British Open - T16 (2011)
PGA Championship - T25 (2013)
Top-10 Finishes: 1
Top-25 Finishes: 4
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, March 27, 2014 - 10:56
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-27-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 27.

• The latest NFL Game Day breakthrough: Through a new app you'll be able to order a cheerleader to your seat.

A three-pound banana split served in an actual batting helmet, and other Michelle Obama nightmare fuel that can be yours at MLB ballparks this season.

Here's what dunking on LeBron sounds like. I would know first-hand, except for the restraining order.

• Jeff Fisher mic drop: If you wanna see a dunk, watch basketball.

Tom Brady watched Boston firefighters do their work, then expressed his gratitude. In far less serious Brady news, Tara Reid says she had a fling with him, pre-Gisele and pre-plastic surgery.

Bruce Pearl's candor is refreshing. It's nice to have him back.

Graeme McDowell had to take to Twitter to clarify his Tiger comments.

Some Internet prodigy did a mash-up of a police chase and the end of the Auburn-Alabama game. This is Al Gore's invention at its best.

• The latest in the UNC academic scandal: This 148-word paper on Rosa Parks, written at a fifth-grade level, got an A-minus.

Jim Irsay's arrest report reveals that he was carrying 29 large in cash at the time of his arrest.

• Mike Cammalleri tried to skate onto the ice for warm-ups without blades on his skates. It did not go well.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 10:42
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/18-holes-you-need-play-2014
Body:

Gambling and golf have gone together since the betting days of famed golf hustler Titantic Thompson. Fortunately you don’t have to take a chance on losing your shirt with these golf holes; they represent some of the best that reside on courses connected with casinos. So enjoy them and see how many you can play this year, but stay away from the man who says he can beat you playing with only a Dr. Pepper bottle for a “friendly little wager.”

 

No. 1
Contraband Bayou, Par 5, 611 yards

Lake Charles, Louisiana

The course was redesigned three years ago, and this hole was chosen as the new opener. It is a much better way to start the round at this course. There is water visible from the tee box, but it is more for appearance than as a hazard. There is plenty of other difficulty, including a fairway bunker on both sides of the landing area that will capture wayward tee shots. Reaching the green will be difficult except for the longest of hitters. Another hazard on the left will get any errant layups. The green has trouble on the left with two bunkers and a lake.
Contact: 866-580-7444, www.llakecharles.com/amenities/golf-course

 

No. 2
Firekeeper, Par 4, 480 yards

Mayetta, Kansas
This hole is part of a six-hole stretch of prairie grass, and the native grass surrounds most of this picturesque long par 4. Don’t get lulled by the scenery or you may find yourself in one of the five fairway bunkers. Stay on the right side of the fairway on the drive to set up your approach shot. Take a little more club on your second shot to ensure clearing the rectangular bunker in front of the green appropriately named “The Coffin” for its size and what it will do to your score. The green narrows from front to back and is guarded by two additional bunkers.
Contact: 785-966-2100, www.firekeepergolf.com

 

No. 3
Sequoyah National, Par 5, 532 yards
Whittier, North Carolina

A slightly elevated tee makes reaching this hole in two shots even more possible. The dogleg right layout is framed by trees on both sides of a fairway that slopes significantly from right to left. The fairway squeezes in dramatically the longer the tee shot, so accuracy is a must. The trees clear for the second shot, and the fairway opens up to an elevated green that continues to the right. A medium-sized bunker on the right before the green serves to fool golfers into thinking that the putting surface is closer than it really is and will also gobble up any short second shots.
Contact: 828-497-3000, www.sequoyahnational.com

 

No. 4
French Lick (Donald Ross Course), Par 3, 240 yards
French Lick, Indiana

The first par 3 on this classic Donald Ross design is a challenge that will test every level of golfer. The long par 3 is made even longer by being uphill and into the wind, so coming up short is a real possibility. Come up too short and there is a chance the ball will roll down the false front and into one of two bunkers. Shots to the far left will find two additional bunkers. Guard too much to the right and miss the green, and your ball will roll down the slope and present an improbable up-and-down opportunity. The green has a bowl effect, so shots will funnel to the center.
Contact: 888-936-9360, www.frenchlick.com

 

No. 5
Cherokee Hills, Par 4, 440 yards
Catoosa, Oklahoma

The hardest hole on the golf course tests golfers from the tee to the green. The opening shot is to a tight fairway that is guarded by bunkers on both the left and right sides. Miss the fairway and the second shot will have to find its way through the trees that frame the hole. Golfers will also have to negotiate a creek to get to the green. If not on the fairway, the smarter play might be to lay up to avoid the big number on the scorecard. The green was built on top of a large rock that provides a significant separation from left to right. This will wreak havoc on long putts and make saving par difficult.
Contact: 800-760-6700, www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com/golf/cherokee-hills

 

No. 6
Salish Cliffs, Par 3, 168 yards
Shelton, Washington

A legitimate birdie hole that can be taken advantage of but can also be a round killer if not played wisely. Club selection is key on this downhill par 3, and both the elevation change from tee to green and the prevailing wind should factor into your club selection. Going left will find a large greenside bunker, and too much club will put golfers in an almost impossible spot to save par. The green has a steep slope that runs from front to back.
Contact: 360-462-3673, www.salish-cliffs.com

 

No. 7
Journey at Pechanga, Par 4, 330 yards
Temecula, California

This is a funky little hole that is both scenic and challenging. The tee boxes are slightly elevated, and golfers will see a large oak in the middle of the fairway that doglegs to the left. Use the tree as an aiming spot and go left of the tree for the optimal approach shot. Make sure the ball gets past the oak, because if it doesn’t, the only option on your second shot will be a punch-out past the large obstacle. Even going long right is a better option than being behind the massive tree. The green is oval shaped and small. Missing the green means landing in a bunker or worse.
Contact: 951-770-8210, www.pechanga.com/golf

 

No. 8
Circling Raven, Par 4, 386 yards
Worley, Idaho

Tall pine trees frame this course’s signature hole that features a hill on the left hand side of the fairway and three medium-size fairway bunkers on the right. Going left should be okay since a lot of the balls will funnel back in the fairway, although if you venture too far left, the hill will gobble up the tee shot. Too far right is trouble, too, as balls will likely find one of the bunkers. An iron off the tee might be the right play for a more accurate shot. The approach is a fairly easy shot to a large green, but going over the putting surface puts you in the protected wetlands.
Contact: 800-523-2464, www.cdacasino.com/golf

 

No. 9
The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, Par 4, 396 yards
Tower, Minnesota

What a way to finish the front nine. This challenging hole has a generous landing area off the tee for a conservative tee shot. Golfers who want to get a little more aggressive will see the landing area cut in half and protected by a bunker on the left. The second shot is over a pond that borders the entire front of the oval-shaped green. Going long is not an option as a large bunker awaits any errant shots. Once you're safely on the green, enjoy the cascading water that feeds into the pond. It will be a nice sound as you putt for birdie.
Contact: 218-753-8917, www.golfthewilderness.com

 

No. 10
Inn of the Mountain Gods, Par 4, 354 yards
Mescalero , New Mexico

This is a classic risk/reward hole that will tempt the long hitters but can yield disastrous results if not played perfectly. The hole features an island landing area in the middle of a lake; golfers must decide if they are going to lay up to the island or try and clear it to get closer to the green. It is about 280 yards of carry to make it to the other side. Stay left, though, because too far right and you will find the water that guards the right side of the green. The more conservative play is to hit a shot about 170 yards from the tee, leaving an approach shot of just under 150 yards.
Contact: 800-545-9011, www.innofthemountaingods.com

 

No. 11
Lake of Isles (North Course), Par 3, 196 yards
North Stonington, Connecticut

Water surrounds the left side of this hole, but there is also a small pond on the right side that can’t be ignored. Teeing off from the back tees will present an additional challenge as trees on the left obscure a golfer’s sight and in some instances will require a right-to-left shot to navigate around them. A tee shot to the right side of the green is the best strategy for this hole since it will keep balls dry, and the natural slope of the green will funnel shots closer to the hole, especially for a lower left pin. Too far right, however, and you'll find the greenside bunker — or worse, the water.
Contact: 888-475-3746, www.lakeofisles.com

 

No. 12
Atlantic City Country Club, Par 3, 134 yards
Northfield, New Jersey

Play the hole where the term "birdie" originated in 1903; a plaque commemorates the occasion. Getting your own birdie is very possible on this short, very straightforward hole. There are large bunkers on both sides of the slightly elevated green and no room for error, but unless there is a mistake in club selection, golfers should be able to find the putting surface. The green is large and slopes from back to front. Take dead aim and try and get a birdie on the same hole that Arnold Palmer, Bob Hope and Sam Snead once played.
Contact: 609-236-4411, www.accountryclub.com

 

No. 13
Fallen Oak, Par 5, 575 yards
Saucier, Mississippi

This one's not reachable in two shots for very many golfers because of the length and elevation increase. The opening shot is helped along by an elevated tee, but the hole gets more difficult as you go. The hole doglegs to the left with a generous landing area, and cutting the corner is possible to take away more yardage for the second shot. Take plenty of club on the second shot, because it plays uphill approximately 40 feet, but also make sure the third shot is a wedge to get the ball close. The green is also elevated and features a 10-foot deep bunker guarding the front.
Contact: 877-805-4657, www.fallenoak.com

 

No. 14
Turning Stone Atunyote, Par 4, 385 yards
Verona, New York

Though it is the shortest par 4 on the golf course, Tom Fazio designed it with plenty of hazards to keep a golfer on his or her toes. The first is the creek that runs up the entire left side of the hole and expands into a beautiful lake complete with a distracting waterfall at the green. Any shot left will find the water. There is a large tree on the right side that will snare any tee shot that goes too far in that direction. Another clever hazard is the bunker on the right side that appears to be closer to the green than it is. The putting surface is filled with subtle contours.
Contact: 800-771-7711, www.turningstone.com

 

No. 15
Southern Dunes, Par 4, 496 yards
Maricopa, Arizona

Truly a beast of a hole. Not only is it long but it is also uphill, and getting there in two shots will definitely be a challenge. The spot to aim for is the first visible fairway bunker, but be careful, because taking too much off this dogleg-left hole could find one of two hidden sand traps. The fairway slopes from right to left and will channel balls to an area that will set up a nice second shot. The approach shot should favor the right side, because if a shot is missed it will avoid the large bunker on the left guarding the green. There is a smaller bunker on the right to avoid as well.
Contact: 480-367-8949, www.golfsoutherndunes.com

 

No. 16
Edgewood, Par 5, 564 yards
Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Running toward the famous lake with stunning views of the mountains, this downhill hole is reachable in two shots. Don’t be fooled by the yardage; you are up in elevation and the ball will carry much further, so getting to the hole in two is a distinct possibility. This is a tight fairway, though, and tall pine trees line both sides (there's one in the middle of the fairway, too), so accuracy is a must. Go after the green with caution because of the many bunkers surrounding the putting surface. But be sure to enjoy one of the prettiest holes in all of golf.
Contact: 775-588-3566, www.edgewoodtahoe.com

 

No. 17
Sweetgrass, Par 4, 427 yards
Harris, Michigan

Playing from the back tees will bring the water into play, and using the rock in the fairway as a guide will help tee shots not only stay dry but also avoid the large fairway bunker. This is one of the few holes on the course that has trees incorporated into the design. The rock comes into play on the approach shot and should be avoided, as should the four bunkers that guard the green. The putting surface is long and slopes from back to front. This hole is titled "Wisdom," and it will take plenty of it to get a birdie — not to mention skill.
Contact: 800-682-6040 ext. 2251, www.sweetgrassgolfclub.com

 

No. 18
Bali Hai, Par 4, 486 yards
Las Vegas, Nevada

Situated on one of only two courses on the Strip, hole, called "Kuda Bay," is a great finishing hole that combines beauty and brawn. The longest par 4 on the course demands a strong drive, and even though the fairway is tight, playing a second shot from an adjoining fairway is possible, so let ‘er rip. The only hazard off the tee is a bunker on the left side. It is the approach shot that is fraught with peril. There is a waste bunker on the right side and a bunker on the left side that makes the green appear closer than it is. The biggest hazard on this hole is the large lake on the right side, where there's also a bunker.
Contact: 888-427-6678, www.balihaigolfclub.com

 

— John Reger, vegasgolfmag.com

Teaser:
Gambling and golf have gone together since the betting days of famed golf hustler Titantic Thompson. Fortunately you don’t have to take a chance on losing your shirt with these golf holes; they represent some of the best that reside on courses connected with casinos. So enjoy them and see how many you can play this year, but stay away from the man who says he can beat you playing with only a Dr. Pepper bottle for a “friendly little wager.”
Post date: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 15:17
All taxonomy terms: Jim Furyk, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-14-jim-furyk
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. 14: Jim Furyk

Born: May 12, 1970, West Chester, Pa. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 16 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $3,204,779 (15th) World Ranking: 24

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Jim Furyk is already close to Hall of Fame numbers, but at 43 he still has another five good years left to add to his resume. With this being a Ryder Cup year, Jim perhaps feels an extra motivation to make the U.S. team to avenge his painful play in that event in 2012. The Ryder Cup aside, the 2003 U.S. Open champion continues to play at a very high level and is still one of the most consistent players on tour. His second-place finish in last year’s PGA Championship was his 20th top ten in a major, and with The Open Championship returning to Hoylake, a place where he finished fourth in 2006, Jim looks to be, sooner or later, a multiple major winner.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 73
Wins: 1

2013 Performance:
Masters - T25
U.S. Open - Cut
British Open - Cut
PGA Championship - 2

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 4 (1998, 2003)
U.S. Open - 1 (2003)
British Open - 4/T4 (1997, 1998, 2006)
PGA Championship - 2 (2013)
Top-10 Finishes: 20
Top-25 Finishes: 35
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: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 11:20
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-26-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 26.

• My Michelle Jenneke obsession continues. Click here and see why.

The Buffalo Bills left a single light on to honor late owner Ralph Wilson.

Enjoy this time-lapse video of the creation of the Final Four floor.

USF couldn't hire Pitino protege Steve Masiello because he never got his degree from Kentucky, even though his resume said he did. Details, details.

Meet one of the guys who parachuted off One World Trade Center.

This Nick Young highlight is truly classic. He pulled the Larry Bird celebrate-the-three-before-it-goes-in. With one problem.

Here's a rundown from the owner votes on proposed rules changes from the NFL's Competition Committee. Five rules changes in all. Moving the extra points got tabled. They rejected expanding instant replay to include personal foul penalties, which I would support. Jeff Fisher also says they're cracking down on taunting.

Guess who's donning the shades and other tings of dis nature to play the T-800 yet again? Yep. Ahnuld.

After 250 years, women will be allowed to join the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. What's next, letting them vote?

More evidence that the NCAA is just the worst.

• I don't really follow hockey, but I think this is frowned upon.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 10:59
All taxonomy terms: Jordan Spieth, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-15-jordan-spieth
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. 15: Jordan Spieth

Born: July 27, 1993, Dallas, Texas | Career PGA Tour Wins: 1 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $3,879,820 (10th) World Ranking: 13

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods are the only two players to have ever won the U.S. Junior Amateur multiple times, and last year Jordan did something Tiger never did, winning a Tour event while still a teenager. The win propelled the former No. 1 amateur in the world all the way to 10th on the money list after starting out the year with no status. Star status will follow the young Texan everywhere he goes in 2014 as we all watch him continue to do unprecedented things, thanks largely to a razor-sharp putter and a maturity that cannot be explained.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 4
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - DNP
U.S. Open - Cut
British Open - T44
PGA Championship - Cut

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - n/a
U.S. Open - T21 (2012)
British Open - T44 (2013)
PGA Championship - Cut (2013)
Top-10 Finishes: 0
Top-25 Finishes: 1
Missed Cuts: 2

—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, March 25, 2014 - 11:04
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-25-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 25.

• Our kind of bracket: The cheerleaders of the Sweet 16 face off. I think Florida might be the favorite.

Mets marketing dept. in midseason form.

Vincent Lecavalier's chip shot goal missed by hitting all three posts. A hat trick of fail.

The Twins punk'd pitcher Mike Pelfrey. Cruel but funny, like all good pranks.

Drew Brees and his wife dressed in costume to go see "Noah." Nothing like some Biblical cosplay.

Jadaveon Clowney tries his hand at photobombing. Needs some work.

A tremendous gallery of NBA flopping GIFs. Haven't seen overacting like that since Nick Cage in "Wicker Man."

Bob Knight goes to the rape analogy well yet again.

George Takei brings the funny to Twitter. Oh, my.

• My favorite part of spring training: the premature slides that start about 15 feet short of the base. Still working out the kinks.

• Nerd alert: The Durham Bulls will wear R2D2-themed jerseys for an upcoming promotion.

• Some insane daredevils base-jumped off New York's Freedom Tower. You'll have to watch it for me; I'm scared of heights.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 10:36
All taxonomy terms: Matt Kuchar, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-16-matt-kuchar
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. 16: Matt Kuchar

Born: June 21, 1978, Winter Park, Fla. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 6 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 2 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $5,616,809 (3rd) World Ranking: 11

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Matt Kuchar seems to win nothing but big events. His last three wins have been the 2012 Players, the 2013 WGC Match Play and the 2013 Memorial, and those wins put his name near the forefront in all major championship talk. However, Matt’s consistency trails off somewhat in the majors because he is not a very good driver of the ball. Given his lack of great length, he needs to find more fairways, something he struggles to do, but he more than makes up for it with a strategic savvy, great wedge game and a calmness that seems perfect for late Sunday pressure. He needs one great week off the tee at the right event for his breakthrough year.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 33
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - T8
U.S. Open - T28
British Open - T15
PGA Championship - T22

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T3 (2012)
U.S. Open - T6 (2010)
British Open - T9 (2012)
PGA Championship - T10 (2010)
Top-10 Finishes: 5
Top-25 Finishes: 12
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: Monday, March 24, 2014 - 11:08
All taxonomy terms: Adam Scott, Matt Every, Golf
Path: /golf/5-key-stats-arnold-palmer-invitational
Body:

Adam Scott Version 2.0 entered the weekend at Bay Hill playing dominating golf. Scott held a seven-shot lead and was poised to take the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking away from Tiger Woods and stamp himself the favorite to defend his Masters title. Sadly, the old Adam Scott re-appeared over the weekend, as a balky putter led to a collapse and opened the door for Matt Every to earn his first PGA Tour win.

Scott's opening-round 62 had threatened to turn the Arnold Palmer Invitational into an old-school Arnie-style runaway, and the Aussie still held a four-shot lead entering the final round. But a sloppy 76 awakened old demons as Augusta approaches. "Sometimes you've got to be hard on yourself; sometimes you don't," said a philosophical Scott. "And I think I was getting into a really good spot and had an opportunity here to run away with an event and really take a lot of confidence. I'm annoyed that I didn't do better today.

"Today was a bit shaky. It was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason. And my short game just wasn't there. So that needs to be tightened up and probably shows that I need to do a bit more work on it to hold up under the pressure. If nothing else, it's a good reminder on how much putting practice I need to do for going to the Masters and just how important it is. And if I think back to last year, I made every putt that you expect to in that last round and ultimately that's, I guess, maybe what gave me the chance to win."

Every seized his chance, making four birdies in a five-hole stretch to pass Scott and build enough of a cushion that two late bogeys didn't hurt him. "I can't believe I won,” said Every, who earns his first Masters appearance. “Being close to winning out here, I mean it can be kind of discouraging because if you don't win you just wonder if it's ever going to happen.

“I don't see how it could get much better than this, being so close to where I grew up and all the fans out there that were cheering me on. It was awesome.”

 

Some key numbers from the weekend:

63 Scott required 63 putts over his final two rounds, including 32 in his final-round 76. His frustration on the greens was summed up in a disappointing three-putt par on the easiest hole on the course, the par-5 16th.

5 Scott missed five putts inside 10 feet on Sunday.

93 Every earned his first win in his 93rd start as a professional. His best previous finish had been a pair of runner-ups in 2012.

80.56 Henrik Stenson led the field in greens in regulation, hitting 58 of 72 greens (80.56 percent). That's a good sign in what has been a disappointing season for the defending FedExCup champion. Stenson also tied for the lead in driving accuracy.

2006 Scott can take solace in the fact that no player since Phil Mickelson in 2006 has won The Masters after winning a tournament earlier in the year.

 

Here are the highlights of Every's day at Bay Hill.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, March 24, 2014 - 10:56
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-24-2014
Body:

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

Pregnant Mila Kunis joined baby daddy Ashton Kutcher on the Clippers Kiss Cam. Yep, she's preggers. We prefer to think of her this way.

Some late clock confusion was a but of a buzzkill at the end of an otherwise classic Iowa State-UNC game.

20 observations from one of the better opening weekends in NCAA Tournament history. Plus, Athlon weighs in with some great off-the-court moments from the weekend's madness.

Dougie McBuckets went out with a whimper.

• Meanwhile, Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin is feeling some sweet vindication, as indicated by a classic postgame selfie.

The Nae Nae has become the official dance of March Madness.

• Speaking of dancing, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg danced on camera in the locker room, then texted his daughter to apologize for embarrassing her. The Mayor's also Dad of the Year.

Here's a link to some amazing badminton footage. Don't laugh, just click. Badminton's actually kinda badass.

Last week's funniest tweets, from our friends at Mandatory.

• A sixth grader nicknamed Baby LeBron is already dunking in games.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, March 24, 2014 - 10:20
All taxonomy terms: Dustin Johnson, Golf
Path: /golf/conversation-dustin-johnson
Body:

Watching Dustin Johnson hit soaring drives is like watching Picasso paint. It’s what he was born to do, an act of effortless genius. And now, the rest of his game — including the part that resides between the ears — seems to be catching up with Johnson’s prodigious talents off the tee.

Johnson is building an enviable resume. He enters the meat of the 2013-14 schedule as the PGA Tour’s biggest winner still in his 20s, a distinction he’ll hold until his 30th birthday on June 22. With eight career wins, the Columbia, S.C., native is one of only three players under the age of 30 with four or more PGA Tour wins; Rory McIlroy (six) and Webb Simpson (four) are the others. Johnson now has at least one PGA Tour victory in seven consecutive seasons (2008-current); only Phil Mickelson (10 consecutive years) has a longer active streak. (Tiger Woods had a 14-year winning streak from 1996-2009.) Johnson is the first player since Tiger (1996-2002) to win in his first seven consecutive seasons straight out of college (2008-current).

Johnson plans to fill the one remaining gap in his career ledger — a major championship — very soon. Athlon sat down with the Tour’s top power hitter to talk majors, Cups (Ryder and FedEx) and playing golf with The Great One.

You’re known as one of the real athletes on Tour. What role does athleticism play in the game today?

For me, I think golf is becoming more athletic. If you see the generations coming out now, both my generation and all the younger guys who are coming out, they’re all tall and big and strong. The breed of golfer now is just a lot bigger and stronger. Golf has definitely become a lot cooler for high school athletes to take up. Over the last 15-20 years, even the last five years, golf has become a cool sport to play.

Did Tiger play the key role in that?

For sure. There’s not one golfer who can’t thank Tiger for everything he’s done. He’s really made the game popular, and he’s made the game cool to play.

Clearly, the next step in your career is winning a major. You’ve had some painful near-misses. Have those left any scar tissue, or will you be better prepared for the moment next time?

When you fail, or something doesn’t go right, you learn a lot more about yourself than when it does go right. You always learn more from your mistakes. Those situations have helped me in my career. Majors are tough, and if you’re not spot-on, you’re not going to play very well. You’ve got to put four good rounds together. In China (at the WGC-HSBC in November) was one of the first times I played good four days. Got off to a bad start the first day, but turned it around and played really well the rest of the way, and then played really good on Friday and Saturday. I made a couple mistakes on Saturday, but played really good golf. And then on Sunday, I got off to a bad start, but then played exceptionally well after that. It was really the first time where I felt like I played well the whole time.

So you know what it takes now for a major.

Right. To win a major, you’ve got to do that. You’ve got to play four good days of golf.

You’d take any of them, but is there one major you’d value over the others?

For me, it’ll always be Augusta. I grew up an hour away from there. As a little kid on the putting green, it was never putts to win the U.S. Open. Living so close to Augusta, it was always putting on the putting green to win The Masters.

Do you feel like The Masters sets up well for your game?

I think it does. I like putting on fast greens, and the greens at Augusta are always fast. It’s a big golf course, and you have to drive it well there. It’s crucial to control your distance. It’s one of those courses, the more you play it, the more you learn. You learn something new every time you play at Augusta. There are just certain spots you cannot hit it. I think it definitely sets up well for me. I definitely think I’ll contend there.

It’s a Ryder Cup year, and the Ryder Cup obviously means a lot to you.

It’s just so different than what we’re used to, and so much fun. We enjoy everything about it — the dinners, the camaraderie, the team room. For me, being on the last two Ryder Cup teams, we lost both of them, and I did play well in the last one — I was 3–0 — but it’s a team event. It doesn’t matter how well I played, the team has to play well. I could have gone 5–0, and it doesn’t matter, and we lost. It sucks, especially going into singles with the lead we had. You can ask anybody who was on that team — it still stings.

Is the pressure a different kind of pressure?

It’s a completely different kind of pressure. But it’s so much fun. You’ve got your whole country rooting for you. It’s really a cool feeling. It’s really intense. You can’t describe it.

You called the WGC-HSBC in November 2013 the biggest win of your career thus far. The leaderboard on Sunday at the HSBC was basically you and half the European Ryder Cup team. It had to feel pretty good to stand up to those guys.

In that moment, I wasn’t really thinking about that, but obviously, I could see the leaderboard, and every player that was on it was a top-25 golfer in the world. It was a who’s who of a leaderboard on Sunday. For me to play that well coming down the stretch to win was very important to me, very important for my confidence, just to know and believe in myself that I can do that. It’s special.

That day, you got off to kind of a slow start while the guys you were playing with (Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell) were on fire out of the chute, erasing your three-shot lead.

At that moment, there’s all kinds of thoughts going through your head. "Oh, no. Am I really going to do this?" I’m like, alright, we’re starting over. It’s Sunday, I’m one back and have 14 holes to play. Let’s see how good I can play. Let’s show these guys how good I am. I had to change my mindset.

Any opinion on the Brandel Chamblee-Tiger Woods controversy?

Honestly, I haven’t even seen it (Chamblee’s article insinuating that Woods was guilty of cheating in his brushes with the Rules of Golf in 2013). I’ve heard from guys what happened, but I don’t really pay attention.

Do guys care what analysts say about them?

It obviously depends on the person. I don’t watch the Golf Channel. It doesn’t bother me. People are entitled to their own opinion, I’ve got mine, they’ve got theirs. My opinion matters more than theirs.

How important is the FedExCup?

It’s really important. There’s 10 million reasons why it’s important. I think the first year, it’s like anything, guys were like, what is this? But now I think everyone really likes it. They’ve got it to a system that works. I think it’s great for the PGA Tour and the game of golf. You get a lot more interest, and you’re starting to see a lot more of the top Europeans playing the U.S. Tour because they want to play the FedExCup.

That brings up the global nature of the game. Do you anticipate playing more overseas?

That’s hard to say. I’m playing more overseas than I used to. My first few years out, I don’t think I played overseas at all, but the game’s definitely gotten more global. I definitely will be playing overseas, but you can only play so much. A few times a year.

When you really cut loose, how far can you hit a drive?

When I’m on the launch monitor, when I’m swinging really hard, which I never do on a golf course, I can get one 330-335 in the air. A normal swing when I’m on the golf course, it’s going to fly maybe 300. Anywhere between 290 and 300. Obviously, I can step it up once in a while and maybe fly one 310. But I never like swinging with that mindset. I don’t want to hit it hard. Maybe when I’m on the driving range and just goofing around I’ll smash ‘em sometimes for fun. But on a golf course, I might swing 85 to 90 percent at the highest.

Other than the driver, what’s your favorite club in the bag?

That’s a tough one. I like all my clubs. When I was growing up, you’d have a club like a 7-iron, or a 9-iron, that you hit better, where even if it was an 8-iron shot, I’d hit 7, or if it was a 6-iron, I’d hammer a 7 because I liked it. But now, there’s not one club I like more. My putter, maybe my 60 degree, my 3-wood. But I like them all. TaylorMade does a great job. I’ve got zero complaints. They’ve been very good to me, and they make the best equipment. I only need 10 or 11 clubs, I don’t need to play 13, but I have 13 of them. Every one of my professional wins has come with the same putter (a Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport 2 Prototype). Every once in a while it’s got to sit in time-out, though (laughs). I bring out that white TaylorMade to get its attention and let it know who’s boss.

You played college golf at Coastal Carolina, not a traditional golf powerhouse. What role did that experience with coach Allen Terrell have in making you the player you are?

When I was looking at colleges, I remember it was the first week of summer, and I was going to the beach, and I passed by Coastal Carolina. I thought, that looks like it would be a fun school to go to. I called up the coach and sent him a resume. He called me back the next day and said, “Can we meet?” I went and met him. It was definitely a lifestyle change, but Coach Terrell has played a big part in my success, as a person and as a golfer. I don’t know what we were ranked my freshman year, but it wasn’t very good, maybe 100. Then I think by the end of my freshman year we were maybe in the 70s, then my sophomore year we got into the top 25, and my junior and senior year were top 10. So we became a powerhouse. He was really disciplined. Obviously, I tried to bend the rules as much as possible, so the whole time I was in school, we knocked heads. But I understood. It was what I needed — someone that wouldn’t put up with the BS. He helped me tremendously. Going to Coastal was the best thing I ever did — the best decision I ever made.  

What first got you interested in the game?

My dad was a head pro at a golf course when I was little. Me and my brother would go to the golf course with him. Especially in the summer, we’d go every day. We had a swimming pool there, so we’d go play 18 holes, go to the pool, then go back out and play 18 more. Since my brother played too, it was fun for us to play together. Also, there was a driving range right by my house that my dad’s buddy owned. I’d be there until 10 o’clock at night.

Have you gotten Paulina (fiancée Paulina Gretzky) interested in golf?

No. She’ll go hit a ball or two every once in a while, but it’s not her thing.

Your future father-in-law (hockey legend Wayne Gretzky) can play, though.

Yeah, he’s a pretty good stick. He can shoot 74, or he can shoot 85. We’ve played a lot of golf together. He’s got game, for sure, and he’s fun to play with. We have a good time.

You’re joining the family of somebody who’s considered the greatest ever to play his sport. Is that inspiring? Intimidating? Does he still have the "Great One" aura?

Yeah, he does. I think just being around him and seeing how he handles everything and how he conducts himself and the way he treats people. He’s the greatest hockey player to ever play, and he probably will always be. Just to see the way he carries himself, and how nice he is to people. It takes a special person to be that way, and he does it better than anyone I’ve ever seen. He couldn’t be a nicer, more down-to-earth guy. When I’m out there we go play golf almost every day, and we’ll go the club and have a beer. It’s just fun.

Goals for 2014?

Definitely be more consistent. Contend more. I just want in 2014 to try to get better each week. Just put myself in position to try to win on Sundays. The more times you do that, the more you win. I need to contend in the majors, too. The majors are definitely something I’m looking forward to in 2014.

You’re known for your skills on the basketball court. If you were picking the Tour basketball team, who are some of the other athletes out there?

I’d have Gary Woodland on my team. Probably Kooch (Matt Kuchar). Me. We’re going tall; Gary can run point. There are just so many guys coming out now who are athletic and can play other sports. Keegan (Bradley) is pretty athletic. Even Sergio (Garcia) — you know, Sergio doesn’t play basketball, but he’s a really good soccer player and loves to play. It’s just a different breed of golfers today. Keegan can shoot a little bit. I don’t get to play that much any more. Ever since I had my knee surgery, I’ve stayed off the court. I love it, and I want to play, and I’ll go shoot around some. I used to play pick-up games, but I just don’t do it anymore.

How do guys typically unwind and recreate?

It depends on the person. For me, I like going on the boat, whether I’m going fishing or just going out and having a beer, cruising around and listening to music. That’s something I really enjoy doing. On Saturdays and Sundays, watching football.

Looking way ahead, 20 years from now, what kind of career numbers would you want to look back at and say, I’ve had the kind of career I envisioned?

I’ve never really thought about it. I want to look back and know that I helped grow the game of golf and had a career that people respect. One of my ultimate goals is to get to that 20-win mark. Once you get there, then you can look past that, but right now, getting there means you’re a lifetime member, and it does a lot of things for you. If I do get there, once I get there, then I’ll re-evaluate.

 

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 13:39
All taxonomy terms: Steve Stricker, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-17-steve-stricker
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. 17: Steve Stricker

Born: Feb. 23, 1967, Edgerton, Wis. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 12 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $4,440,532 (7th) World Ranking: 14

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Steve Stricker played the best golf of his life in 2013, yet he didn't win a PGA Tour event and played in only 13 events, stating early in the year that he was going to be semi-retired from now on. In those 13 events, he had eight top 10s, led the tour in scoring average, finished third in driving accuracy, second in greens in regulation, second in strokes gained-putting and was second in scrambling. If I knew how much and where he was going to play, I would put him near the top of this list. He hasn't had a top-five finish in a major since 1999, but it looks like Steve is better late than ever.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 60
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - T20
U.S. Open - T8
British Open - DNP
PGA Championship - T12

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T6 (2009)
U.S. Open - 5/T5 (1998, 1999)
British Open - T7 (2008)
PGA Championship - 2 (1998)
Top-10 Finishes: 11
Top-25 Finishes: 28
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: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 11:23
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-21-2014
Body:

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

• I normally find sideline reporters utterly useless. I'll make an exception for CBS' Allie LaForce (pictured).

Dayton's newspaper had fun trolling Ohio State after the Flyers stunned Big Brother in the NCAA Tournament.

• Another highlight of Day One: North Dakota State's locker room celebration.

• The lasting image of Thursday: the Arizona State bench after Texas' buzzer-beater.

• The breakout star of March Madness: Phil Martelli's grandson.

Grant Hill has an interesting theory on Duke hatred.

We won't have Aaron Craft to kick around any more, while we wait eagerly for the next Aaron Craft.

• Not to be outdone, the Red Wings had a buzzer-beater of their own last night.

• Michigan and other teams have turned to an old-fashioned energy drink: chocolate milk.

Tiger Woods has a bulging disc. Sportscasters everywhere woke up all night in cold sweats at the thought of mispronouncing that diagnosis.

• In the market for a new home? Oscar Pistorius' murder house is for sale.

• One-time March legend Steph Curry has taken his game to another level.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 11:11
All taxonomy terms: Lee Westwood, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-18-lee-westwood
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. 18: Lee Westwood

Born: April 24, 1973, Worksop, U.K. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 2 (22 on European Tour) | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $2,081,731 (31st) World Ranking: 36

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Lee Westwood didn't win in 2013, but besides moving to the U.S., he was going through some changes in his swing and trying to improving his ailing short game, the latter of which he was able to do. In spite of not being at his best tee to green, he still managed to finish eighth at the Masters, 15th at the U.S. Open, third at The Open Championship and 33rd at the PGA Championship, making this the fifth year in a row that Lee has finished in the top ten in two of the four majors. With a few more months to work on his swing, a newfound short game and a greater feeling of comfort in the U.S., Lee could end that winless drought quickly in 2014.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 63
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - T8
U.S. Open - T15
British Open - T3
PGA Championship - T33

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 2 (2010)
U.S. Open - 3/T3 (2008, '11)
British Open - 2 (2010)
PGA Championship - T3 (2009)
Top-10 Finishes: 16
Top-25 Finishes: 27
Missed Cuts: 16

—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, March 20, 2014 - 11:19
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-20-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 20.

• Face it, you're not working today. Occupy yourself with these March Madness cheerleader photos while you wait for the games to start.

Here's a rundown of celebrity NCAA Tournament picks. James Van Der Beek likes St. Joe's over St. Louis in the finals. Warren Buffett's money is safe.

Mick Cronin sent Cincy fans a doctor's note excusing them from work today.

Aroldis Chapman had his face broken by a 110 mph line drive. Earlier in the week, Chapman had poked fun at Sammy Sosa with a little whiteface. This was God telling him that doctoring your face to look like another race is never a good idea.

Five legal cases represent the five gravest existential threats to the NCAA.

Michelle Beadle ate a cockroach on live television. Career's going well.

It was a tough Wednesday for Iowa coach Fran McCaffery.

• More proof that they do things backward in Australia: Watch a security guard teach a young Aussie baseball fan that he can get what he wants by throwing a tantrum.

Here's a bracket featuring the best Seinfeld episodes. The Strike (aka the Festivus episode) is woefully underseeded as a 7.

An in-depth analysis of the best fictional quarterbacks of all time. Uncle Rico at No. 10 seems low.

• Miguel Cabrera did a crazy spokes-video for PlayStation’s ‘MLB 14 The Show.'

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 11:04
All taxonomy terms: Brandel Chamblee, Hunter Mahan, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-19-hunter-mahan
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. 19: Hunter Mahan

Born: May 17, 1982, Orange, Calif. | Career PGA Tour Wins: 5 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $3,036,164 (18th) World Ranking: 32

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Hunter Mahan continues to improve, which, when you get to his level, comes with some risk, as attention to one area necessarily distracts from another. In 2013, every facet of Mahan's game was better than it was the year before, and those improvements landed him in the final group on Sunday of the U.S. Open and The Open Championship. Familiarity with that type of pressure takes some time and is the last piece of a complex puzzle to reach the highest levels of professional golf. If Hunter finds himself in the same position this year, he will no doubt be a different player, and as such 2014 promises to be a great year for the former OSU Cowboy.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 32
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - Cut
U.S. Open - T4
British Open - T9
PGA Championship - T57

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - T8 (2010)
U.S. Open - T4 (2013)
British Open - T6 (2007)
PGA Championship - T16 (2009)
Top-10 Finishes: 6
Top-25 Finishes: 13
Missed Cuts: 12

—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, March 19, 2014 - 11:04
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-19-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 19.

• This bracket's pretty evenly matched: The 68 cheerleading squads of March Madness.

Vin Scully meeting a koala. The Internet was created for things such as this.

Here's a painting of George Washington dunking on Kim Jong-un, with Lincoln boxing out Stalin. I want this painting.

• Today's longform must-read: The Game that Saved March Madness. (Georgetown-Princeton, in case you're wondering.)

Bruce Pearl arrived at Auburn like the Beatles at JFK. Auburn fans finally realized they have a basketball program.

The First Four takes a good thrashing from Greg Doyel.

How the top 16 seeds fared against other tournament teams in the regular season. Hard to believe that Kansas played 20 games against tourney teams (12-8). They're well seasoned, I'd say.

Watch the Twins mascot catch a foul ball with his mouth.

This LeBron assist defies description. So I won't describe it.

Tom Brady and Gisele are selling their LA mansion for $50 mil. Seems a little steep, but it does have an infinity pool, which is nice.

Here's a handy map showing what each state is worst at. My state has the most bankruptcy filings.

• Watch a Canadian college player go Reggie Miller with 12 points in less than 30 seconds.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 10:52
All taxonomy terms: Brandel Chamblee, Zach Johnson, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-20-zach-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. 20: Zach Johnson

Born: Feb. 24, 1976, Cedar Rapids, Iowa | Career PGA Tour Wins: 11 | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $4,044,509 (9th) World Ranking: 10

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Zach Johnson finished in the top 10 in seven of his last eight events on Tour in 2013. In addition, he won Tiger’s event in December (the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge) with a dramatic holed wedge at 18 to get into a playoff with the host and then won on the first extra hole, making the end of 2013 one of the highlights of Zach’s career. He then won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in early January. Always consistent, he seemed to find even a new level and for the first time had back-to-back top tens in majors, finishing sixth and eighth in the British Open and PGA Championship. Perhaps he found a way around his low ball flight in the game’s biggest events; in his entire career, he’s only twice been in the top 10 in greens in regulation in a major, winning one of them at the 2007 Masters. If that’s the case, 2014 might be his best year ever.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 39
Wins: 1

2013 Performance:
Masters - T35
U.S. Open - Cut
British Open - T6
PGA Championship - T8

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 1 (2007)
U.S. Open - T30 (2011)
British Open - T6 (2013)
PGA Championship - T3 (2010)
Top-10 Finishes: 6
Top-25 Finishes: 10
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: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 11:09
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-18-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 18.

Angels pitcher CJ Wilson is married to supermodel Lisalla Montenegro. Lucky guy.

This, my friends, is what a $25 corn dog looks like. It's a foot and a half long, and it can be yours at D-backs games this season.

Three ways to win your office pool.

Greg Doyel says the history-making potential of this year's tournament is riding on Doug McDermott's shoulders.

Vegas is not impressed with the work of this year's Selection Committee. And Vegas would know.

• When underachieving has-beens collide: Vince Vaughn bought Lane Kiffin's Manhattan Beach house.

Dikembe Mutombo punked Rocky, the Denver Nuggets mascot, and even added a finger wag. Things continue to go poorly for Rocky, last seen here being lowered lifeless from the ceiling to the horror of children in the arena.

Enjoy this Gerald Green double-clutch dunk. I know I did.

Watch the Tennessee baseball team clean off their home field in 30 seconds. All that's missing is the Benny Hill music.

Few things are as amusing as unfortunate typos.

• Watch an MMA fighter get knocked out in less than two seconds.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 10:39
All taxonomy terms: Brandel Chamblee, Ian Poulter, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-21-ian-poulter
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. 21: Ian Poulter

Born: Jan. 10, 1976, Stevenage, England | Career PGA Tour Wins: 2 (12 on European Tour) | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $1,723,463 (49th) World Ranking: 18

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Ian Poulter has been as high as fifth in the world rankings, although he's never reached the height he predicted in 2008 when he said, if he played to his potential, it would be just Tiger and him. As I write this he is 18th in the world, so while his peers may have snarled at the comment, the fact is that he is not far off from his boast. It is said that belief matters more than anything in sport, and that is certainly evidenced by the success of Ian. Year after year, he is one of the worst ball-strikers in the game, and yet he plays at a high level and especially so in match play, where his brusque manner and hot putter drive opponents to distraction. This being a Ryder Cup year, Ian will make a lot of noise, I have no doubt.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 44
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - Cut
U.S. Open - T21
British Open - T3
PGA Championship - T61

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 7 (2012)
U.S. Open - T12 (2006)
British Open - 2 (2008)
PGA Championship - T3 (2012)
Top-10 Finishes: 7
Top-25 Finishes: 17
Missed Cuts: 7

—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, March 17, 2014 - 11:33

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