Articles By Rob Doster

All taxonomy terms: Graham DeLaet, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-26-graham-delaet
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. 26: Graham DeLaet

Born: Jan. 22, 1982, Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada | Career PGA Tour Wins: | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $2,834,900 (21st) World Ranking: 30

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Graham DeLaet is a Canadian golfer who has not won on the PGA Tour, which makes it an oddity to find him on this list, but what he did in 2013 is just too hard to ignore. Graham, having never had a full swing lesson in his life, led the PGA Tour in Total Driving and Ball Striking, and at times strung shots together that made the game look laughably easy. A gym rat with tremendous speed and a homemade swing, he had struggled with his short game but enlisted the help of former Tour player and short-game wizard Gabriel Herjstedt, and the coaching paid off, as he finished second at the Barclays and third at the Deutsche Bank late in the year before posting back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Farmers and Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2014. Expect to see DeLaet on the leaderboard a lot this year.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 2
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - DNP
U.S. Open - DNP
British Open - 83
PGA Championship - Cut

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - n/a
U.S. Open - n/a
British Open - 83 (2013)
PGA Championship - Cut (2013)
Top-10 Finishes: 0
Top-25 Finishes: 0
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: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 11:42
All taxonomy terms: Patrick Reed, Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/5-key-stats-wgc-cadillac-championship
Body:

An uber-confident, uber-talented guy in a red shirt and black pants cruised to a Sunday victory in the WGC-Cadillac Championship against the most talented field that golf could muster. And it wasn't Tiger Woods, who was wearing the uniform but couldn't produce the results. Patrick Reed, a chubby-cheeked, baby-faced 23-year-old, appropriated Tiger's Sunday sartorial preference and posted Tiger-esque results, cruising to a fairly relaxed one-shot win and then expressing an utter lack of surprise at his success.

At Donald Trump's toughened, tricked-up Doral, Reed earned his third PGA Tour win and then matched the tournament host in hubris and blustery self-belief, putting himself among the game's elite in his post-round comments. "I’ve worked so hard,” said Reed, who proceeded to give a brief resume recital. “I’ve won a lot in my junior career, did great things in my amateur career, was 6-0 in match play at NCAAs, won NCAAs two years in a row, was third individually one year. Now I have three wins out here on the PGA Tour.

"I just don’t see a lot of guys that have (won three times before age 24), besides Tiger Woods of course, and all of the other legends of the game,” he said. “I believe in myself — especially after how hard I’ve worked — that I’m one of the top five players in the world. To come out of a field like this and to hold on wire to wire like that, I feel like I’ve proven myself."

Gotta love the kid's confidence. Let's see how he holds up next month when he tees it up at Augusta in the first major championship of his career. Something tells us he'll be ready for the moment.

Meanwhile, Woods couldn't capitalize on a third-round 66, fighting through more back pain on his way to a Sunday 78, his worst-ever score on a Sunday. A swing from an awkward stance set off the back spasms that forced his withdrawal from the Honda last week. "If it flares up, it flares up," he said. "It's just a matter of keeping it calm, and we had a quick turnaround here from last week. It would be nice to have a week off where I can shut it down and get some treatment." Woods will return to action March 20 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he's won seven times.

Here's a quick statistical summary of a weekend at Doral:

5 Reed becomes the fifth active player to earn his third PGA Tour win before his 24th birthday, joining Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson.

25 Reed also becomes the youngest winner of a World Golf Championship event, eclipsing Tiger Woods' record by 25 days.

8 On Sunday, Woods had only the eighth birdie-free round out of 1,128 rounds in his professional career.

564 Reed has vaulted up 564 spots in the World Golf Ranking since the start of 2013. He began last season 584th; as of this morning, he's No. 20.

318 A tournament-record 318 balls found the water hazards sprinkled throughout the Doral layout during the four days of the Cadillac, crushing the old tournament record of 220 in 2004. A windy Friday produced a field scoring average of 76.

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 11:24
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-10-2014
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Post date: Monday, March 10, 2014 - 10:46
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-7-2014
Body:

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

An entirely subjective ranking of the top 10 cheerleader squads in the NFL. Spoiler alert: The Dolphins are ranked No. 1.

A UCSB bro lost his mellow and stormed the court during the game with Hawaii to let Warriors coach Gib Arnold know what it's like.

Frank Jobe, savior of countless pitchers' careers, has died. They should find a spot in Cooperstown for him.

Super slo-mo footage of a hawk attacking a water balloon.

Another week, another 20 funny tweets.

So Bob Costas' disgusting eye condition at the Winter Olympics was reportedly the result of botox. Should have stopped with the rug.

Wade Phillips dissed Jason Garrett via Twitter in classic passive-aggressive fashion.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is learning to embrace the suck, out of necessity.

Tiny Tim Lincecum and colossal Kameron Loe traded uniforms yesterday.

• Wow. A couple of female Bruins fans ended up bloodied when the netting fell.

The 50 greatest sports movie quotes. One of my favorites: "You're gonna eat lightning, and you're gonna crap thunder!"

• The Clippers dealt the Lakers their worst loss in franchise history. There were a lot of Clipper highlights. A lot.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, March 7, 2014 - 10:24
All taxonomy terms: Ernie Els, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-27-ernie-els
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. 27: Ernie Els

Born: Oct. 17, 1969, Johannesburg, South Africa | Career PGA Tour Wins: 19 (28 on the European Tour)  | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $1,173,761 (74th) World Ranking: 29

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Ernie Els may be in his mid-40s and struggling with his putting, but his golf swing and resume are just too hard too ignore. His fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open last year was his 34th top ten in a major, and this year's major venues will no doubt play into the hands of the veterans who have played there in the past. The Open Championship is Ernie’s best event, and this year’s venue is at Hoylake, where he finished third in 2006. As he showed at the close of the oldest championship in golf in 2012, sometimes it just boils down to who has been there in the past, and there is hardly anywhere in golf that Ernie hasn't been.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 84
Wins: 4

2013 Performance:
Masters - T13
U.S. Open - T4
British Open - T26
PGA Championship - Cut

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 2 (2000, 2004)
U.S. Open - 1 (1994, 1997)
British Open - 1 (2002, 2012)
PGA Championship - 3/T3 (1995, 2007)
Top-10 Finishes: 34
Top-25 Finishes: 51
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 6, 2014 - 17:34
All taxonomy terms: Charl Schwartzel, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-28-charl-schwartzel
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. 28: Charl Schwartzel

Born: Aug. 31, 1984, Johannesburg, South Africa | Career PGA Tour Wins: 1 (9 on European Tour)  | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $2,256,723 (25th) World Ranking: 16

Brandel Chamblee's Take

With his Masters title and his beautiful golf swing, one would expect Charl Schwartzel to contend more often, but his ball-striking stats contradict the aesthetics of his swing, which is why he has just two top 10s in majors, albeit one of them is a win. Still he has a knack for being just outside contention and close enough, often enough, to make one wonder when, or if, he will go on a run. If he's on the range, I can’t help but watch him swing, and if he gets on the leaderboards more often in 2014 maybe his resume will be as pretty as that swing.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 28
Wins: 1

2013 Performance:
Masters - T25
U.S. Open - 14
British Open - T15
PGA Championship - Cut

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - 1 (2011)
U.S. Open - T9 (2011)
British Open - T14 (2010)
PGA Championship - T12 (2011)
Top-10 Finishes: 2
Top-25 Finishes: 11
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: Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 10:50
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-6-2014
Body:

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for March 6.

• Katherine Webb is trying modeling. If nothing else, she has attractive co-workers.

Some guy who looks a lot like Tupac was at a basketball game last night.

• This is great: 2014 college football standings projections for the massive homer in your life.

Watch a hockey player pick his teeth up off the ice. This is why it's the only sport that has team dentists.

Nevada's 6-1 point guard threw down the windmill of the season.

Proposed rules changes by Nick Saban, courtesy of Clay Travis.

• Is Tiger a quitter? Wojo says no. I happen to agree. But he might be facing an opponent he can't overcome.

Swagged-out athletes of the '70s and '80s. I remember them well.

• This is interesting: Mike McQueary might have thrown an unnecessary touchdown pass for Penn State in 1995 simply to cover the spread.

A putt-putt golfer recently rolled a perfect game. (An 18, for those who don't follow competitive putt-putt.)

• Ken Griffey Jr. was interviewed by Linda Cohn. It was...uncomfortable.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 10:36
All taxonomy terms: Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /tiger-woods-injury-history-visual-breakdown
Body:

Even while winning 79 PGA Tour events and 14 majors, Tiger Woods has suffered an alarming litany of injuries, to the point that we have to wonder whether he’ll ever be truly healthy again. On the occasion of his latest malady (back spasms that have forced his withdrawal from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he's the eight-time champion), we present a breakdown of many (but not all) of the well-known injuries that have befallen Woods — and this doesn’t include anything that may or may not have happened to his face on that fateful Thanksgiving night in 2009. Not to mention the injuries to his pride, reputation and self-esteem.

Teaser:
<p> Tiger Woods' Injury History: A Visual Breakdown</p>
Post date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 11:46
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-5-2014
Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 10:41
All taxonomy terms: Brandel Chamblee, Harris English, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-29-harris-english
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. 29: Harris English

Born: July 23, 1989, Valdosta, Ga. | Career PGA Tour Wins: | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 1 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $2,201,167 (27th) World Ranking: 36

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Harris English was only the third amateur ever to win on the Web.com Tour, and in his rookie year on the PGA Tour in 2012, he made 22 of 27 cuts. He continued to improve in 2013, notching his first win in Memphis and then adding another win at Mayakoba late in the year (part of the wrap-around 2014 schedule). He has length off the tee and the ability to do some things better than anyone on Tour, leading in smash factor (finding the middle of the face) and putts from 15-25 feet. Those two are a pretty powerful combination, and why as I write this I think his 36th world ranking is the lowest he will be for some time.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 3
Wins: 0

2013 Performance:
Masters - DNP
U.S. Open - DNP
British Open - T15
PGA Championship - T61

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - n/a
U.S. Open - n/a
British Open - T15 (2013)
PGA Championship - T61 (2013)
Top-10 Finishes: 0
Top-25 Finishes: 1
Missed Cuts: 0

—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 4, 2014 - 16:02
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-march-4-2014
Body:

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

• It's already March 4, but here's a look back at February's lovely ladies of sport, including some Polar Bear Plunge hotties.

This baby picture is one for Grandma's wall.

LeBron  James scored a career-high 61 points last night. And here's a cool interactive shot chart from King James' evening.

• At the other end of the spectrum, this 10-year-old Knicks fan doesn't like what he sees.

Today's feel-good story involves some racers and a WWII veteran.

Brett Favre is looking like the love child of Santa Claus and Popeye.

Dirk Nowitzki did a more than passable Arnold Schwarzenegger impression on the Dan Patrick Show. Of course, the accent gives him a built-in advantage.

The NFL might test 43-yard extra points. Not so routine now, is it?

• Late to this party, but there's a widget to do to your name what John Travolta did to Idina Menzel's name at the Oscars.

• Snowed in? Time to kill? Going on Nancy Grace later? You can watch the Oscar Pistorius trial streaming live.

• Watch a soccer coach take a beverage to the mouth.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 12:12
All taxonomy terms: Brandel Chamblee, Jimmy Walker, Golf
Path: /golf/top-30-golfers-2014-majors-no-30-jimmy-walker
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. 30: Jimmy Walker

Born: Jan. 16, 1979, Oklahoma City, Okla. | Career PGA Tour Wins: | 2013 Wins (Worldwide): 0 | 2013 Earnings (PGA Tour): $2,117,571 (30th) World Ranking: 25

Brandel Chamblee's Take

Jimmy Walker has improved his position on the PGA Tour money list every year since 2008, until finally breaking into the top 30 in 2013. Starting the season off in 2014 with a win at the Frys.com, his first on Tour, and following that up with wins at the Sony and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am certainly bodes well for the transplanted Texan for the rest of the year. It also validates what Butch Harmon told me a year ago when he first started working with Jimmy — that Walker had the potential to be one of the best in the world.

Major Championship Résumé
Starts: 6
Wins: 0

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

Best Career Finishes: 
Masters - n/a
U.S. Open - T52 (2001)
British Open - Cut
PGA Championship - T21 (2012)
Top-10 Finishes: 0
Top-25 Finishes: 1
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:
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.
Post date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/5-key-stats-golfs-honda-classic
Body:

The Honda Classic was Rory McIlroy's to lose, and lose it he did, stumbling to a final-round 4-over 74 to fall into a four-man playoff won by Russell Henley with a two-putt birdie on the first playoff hole. McIlroy narrowly missed his first PGA tour win in 18 months when an eagle putt on the 72nd hole slid past the cup, but he regained a heavy dose of confidence in navigating the tricky Jack Nicklaus-designed PGA National, home to the touted "Bear Trap," the stretch of holes from 15 to 17 that claimed more victims on a difficult final day. Here are some key numbers from the weekend's action.

1 Henley was the only player in the four-man playoff to birdie the first playoff hole, converting a routine two-putt birdie on the par-5 18th.

4 Henley becomes the fourth player under 25 with multiple wins, joining McIlroy (6) and Harris English and Patrick Reed (two apiece).

3 Henley was three shots behind McIlroy after a bogey at 10, and a double at 15 seemed to end his chances, but he took advantage of McIlroy's repeated stumbles down the stretch.

13 Holes that Tiger Woods completed on Sunday before withdrawing with back pain. It marked the sixth withdrawal of Tiger's career and raises questions about his health heading to Augusta.

0 Tournaments that Woods has finished in two starts this season. He missed the Saturday cut at the Farmers after a 79 before his withdrawal at the Honda.

Teaser:
The Honda Classic was Rory McIlroy's to lose, and lose it he did, stumbling to a final-round 4-over 74 to fall into a four-man playoff won by Russell Henley with a two-putt birdie on the first playoff hole.
Post date: Monday, March 3, 2014 - 16:22
Path: /golf/athlons-2014-golf-annual-available-now
Body:

Athlon's 2014 Golf Annual is available now — click here to order your copy.

From professional golf's winningest 20-something to the game's pre-eminent elder statesman, this year's edition of Athlon Sports Golf Annual has it all.

Dustin Johnson is the PGA Tour's winningest golfer in his 20s, but he heads to Augusta seeking that career-defining major championship victory at the tournament he values most. Dustin spent some time with us sharing his approach to the game, which is enhanced by his incomparable athleticism but still has plenty to teach the average player, starting with his effective use of effortless power. Athlon also spoke to golf's top teacher, Butch Harmon, to get his thoughts on one of his prize pupils.

There’s never been a more important golfer than Arnold Palmer, and Athlon was fortunate enough to gain an audience with The King for an exclusive, wide-ranging interview on topics from anchored putters to Adam Scott to the drink that bears his name. Enjoy a relaxed conversation with golf royalty in this year’s edition of Athlon Sports Golf.

Tiger Woods has already won twice as many majors as Palmer, but he’s still hounded by the question: When will he win another one? The drought has reached Death Valley proportions — it’s been almost six years since he limped past Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open. And the pressure’s self-imposed, given Woods’ stated goal of surpassing Jack Nicklaus’ major haul of 18. Controversial Tiger critic Brandel Chamblee of the Golf Channel thinks the drought is on the verge of ending, although Brandel remains a little skeptical of Woods’ unusual approach to the game. In his article "Build and Destroy," Brandel dissects Woods’ unusual habit of periodically tearing down his game and starting over.

The only thing that Tiger’s latest rebuilding project has failed to produce is a major, but this year’s venues set up well for some long-awaited drought relief. Athlon takes you on a tour of this year’s four major tracks — Augusta National, Pinehurst No. 2, Royal Liverpool and Valhalla — and lets you know what to expect from these four high holy weeks on the golf calendar.

Speaking of Pinehurst, emotions will be running high as Phil Mickelson makes what he hopes will be a triumphant return to the North Carolina sandhills. We all remember the 1999 U.S. Open, where Phil posted the first of six runner-up Open finishes and where Payne Stewart consoled him on the 18th green. Fifteen years later, Mickelson can come full circle by completing a career grand slam at the spot where his flirtation with the U.S. Open became a major obsession. You can read about Phil’s quest in this year's edition.

We unwind with a little R&R in our "Resorts and Real Estate" golf destination tips, look at "18 Holes to Play" for anyone working on their bucket list along with their golf game, and highlight the best clubs, apparel, shoes, shades and gear on the market.

Athlon Sports' Golf Annual is the most complete 2014 golf preview available today. Order your copy now!

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 10:13
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-28-2014
Body:

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

• The best part of this weekend's Oscars: lots of Jennifer Lawrence. Here's a handy Six Degrees of J-Law chart for all the nominees.

LeBron looked like some kind of superhero last night. Or serial killer.

A college basketball court-storming resulted in a brawl last night. Surprised this doesn't happen more often.

Five ranked teams lost last night. The NCAA Tournament is going to be ridiculous.

• Is the "hot hand" in basketball really a thing? Apparently so.

A Deadspin editor posted an insane cereal ranking yesterday. The commenters smelled blood in the water and attacked.

• Also from Deadspin: A hater's guide to the Oscars.

The week's funniest tweets. The twittersphere delivers yet again.

Vintage photos of 50 superstar athletes. Dr. J huge fro alert.

• Funny photo of the day: A squirrel feeder made of plastic horse heads.

Joba Chamberlain has an unusual tattoo.

• Jimmy Fallon and LeBron did a vintage rap video.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Butch Harmon, Dustin Johnson, Golf
Path: /golf/effortless-power-dustin-johnson
Body:

The athletic Dustin Johnson is known for being one of the longest hitters in the game today. His smooth, rhythmic swing produced an average driving distance of 305.8 yards in 2013, a number that ranked second on the PGA Tour. His 140 measured drives soared a total of 24.3 miles, but not as a result of hard, aggressive swinging. Here, Dustin and his instructor, top-ranked teacher Butch Harmon, share Dustin's secrets for producing those jaw-dropping tee shots.

 

DUSTIN JOHNSON'S EFFORTLESS POWER

If I feel like I have to try to hit one far, then I'm not swinging correctly. Butch Harmon and I always talk about effortless power, instead of power with effort.

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.

My keys to effortless power:

• Obviously, keeping my right knee flexed, letting my arms get back down in front of the clubhead — those things slow me down a little bit and keep me from over-swinging. Some of the longest drives I've ever hit are ones that I felt like I hit easy and smooth.


Great balance. I'm never coming out of my shoes. If I'm swinging correctly, I'm in balance. You'll notice that if I'm not swinging well, if I've gotta work to hit one far, then I'm not going to be in balance. When I'm swinging correctly, I'm going to hit it even further, and I'm going to stay balanced.

Butch Harmon's Take:

What I want amateurs to notice about Dustin's swing on the tee is his beautiful rhythm and balance. The middle of the clubhead makes contact with the ball with a nice, smooth tempo, and he has a balanced finish.

That rhythm and balance allow Dustin to make a good, aggressive, confident swing without over-swinging. Dustin has tremendous self-confidence with the driver, and that confidence is required on the tight driving holes of the PGA Tour.

Other things to notice:

• Dustin maintains an unusual bowed left wrist at the top of his backswing. I haven't worked to fix that, because it works for him.

• His flexibility and athleticism allow him to use a strong, fast unwind as he approaches the impact position. That allows him to unleash tremendous power on the golf ball.

• Dustin's head rotates through as his body unwinds, and that allows him to generate clubhead speed.

• Two keys: We've worked on a level shoulder turn, and we've worked especially hard on keeping the flex in his right leg.

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

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 14:21
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-27-2014
Body:

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

There's a swimsuit catfight involving vintage SI cover girl Carol Alt, who called out current-day goddess Kate Upton. This is like Joe Montana calling out Tom Brady.

• Optical illusion of the day: Indians outfielder Carlos Moncrief looks like he's headed right for the kitchen cabinets.

Michigan's Glenn Robinson III hit a game-winner to beat his dad's alma mater in their home gym.

Roy Williams staged a one-man sit-in late in Carolina's win over NC State.

• Weapons-grade cuteness alert: The Brewers have adopted an adorable stray dog as a spring training mascot.

• Kliff Kingsbury is more than a heartthrob. He's also a rapper.

28 rules for your Oscars party. A favorite: If anyone refers to Martin Scorsese as "Marty", you can ask them to leave. Another way to enhance your Academy Awards enjoyment: Oscars bingo.

The year of insane prep buzzer beaters marches on.

• This is pretty scary: They found CTE in the brain of a 29-year-old former college soccer player. Better enjoy sports now, while we have them.

• The new season of Survivor includes a couple of sports figures. One of them, the Miami Marlins president, didn't survive the first episode.

• Jose Reyes can bust some pretty dope rhymes. Did I say that right? No?

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 10:34
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-26-2014
Body:

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

• As the NHL skates back into action, enjoy this slideshow of Flyers ice girls.

• MLB photo days are just the best. Ask Astros bullpen coach Craig Bjornson.

• Wichita State is 30-0. Is that something? Yes, it's something.

A little kid patiently allowed Dwight Howard to swat away his shots before going between the legs — literally — for the layup.

Ron Jaworski tries his hand at Bayless-style pot-stirring with his views on Johnny Football.

A couple wandering around their property found $10 million in old gold coins. I'm headed to the backyard as soon as I finish here.

• A feel-good palate cleanser to start your day: A 4-foot-1 high school basketball player scores a basket.

• In other high school action, a Wisconsin prep hockey player scored the goal of the year.

• The high schoolers are taking over. Watch a high school soccer player score a 67-yard goal off the opening kick.

A video of Olympic javelin thrower Leryn Franco lifting weights. Just because.

This Jimmy Fallon-Paul Rudd lip-sync battle is making the rounds this morning.

• Tom Izzo dances on a ladder in a strange new commercial.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 10:41
Path: /golfs-mt-rushmore
Body:

All this talk about the Mt. Rushmore of this and the Mt. Rushmore of that reminded me that the concept works better for golf than any other sport, since golfers naturally organize themselves in groups of four. So who comprises golf's ultimate foursome?

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

Here, then, is my ultimate foursome — the four men who have had the greatest, most lasting impact on the game of golf. Feel free to tell me where I’m wrong.

Tiger Woods

Rather than recite Tiger’s resume, I’d rather revisit the one moment that made Woods’ spot on golf’s Mount Rushmore an inevitability. In April 1997, Woods so dominated the most storied and tradition-steeped tournament in golf that the sport was changed forever.

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

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

The rest, as they say, is history — 14 major championships, 79 PGA Tour wins, the lowest career scoring average in PGA Tour history, and, yes, scandal and disgrace. But the impact and the level of achievement are undeniable and unprecedented.

Jack Nicklaus

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

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

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

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

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

Arnold Palmer

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

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

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

Sam Snead

If winning is the standard for determining excellence, there is no greater player in golf history than Sam Snead.

Using a smooth, syrupy swing that looked as natural and effortless as breathing, Slammin’ Sammy won more golf tournaments than any other player — a staggering total of 81 PGA Tour titles, and anywhere from 135 to 165 victories worldwide, depending on whom you ask. He posted wins in four different decades, from the 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro to the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open (his eighth title in that event), when he was 52 years old.

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

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

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

Near-misses

Ben Hogan is widely considered the greatest ball-striker in the game’s history, and he changed golf instruction forever with his Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. Along with Nicklaus, Woods, Gary Player and Gene Sarazen, he’s one of five players to own a career Grand Slam. His courage in coming back from a near-fatal car crash added to his legend. His tough-to-love, prickly personality kept him distant from fans and keeps him off Mount Rushmore. Barely.

Gary Player was golf’s first global ambassador, winning tournaments all over the world, including nine major championships.

Seve Ballesteros was Europe’s version of Arnold Palmer, putting a sport on his back and selling it to an entire continent. Almost singlehandedly, he transformed the Ryder Cup into one of the greatest spectacles in sports.

Bobby Jones was the game’s breakthrough superstar who pulled off one of golf’s signature achievements with his 1930 Grand Slam — winning the U.S. and British Opens and U.S. and British Amateurs in one season. Oh, and he founded The Masters.

Byron Nelson was golf’s greatest gentleman and the author of its greatest individual achievement — 11 wins in a row in 1945, a season in which he won 18 tournaments in all.

Tom Watson won eight majors and dominated golf’s oldest tournament, the British Open, like no one else, winning five times in a nine-year span and coming close to a historic sixth win in 2009 at age 59.  

Teaser:
<p> Who would make the list for professional golf's ultimate foursome?</p>
Post date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 16:11
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-25-2014
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This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 25.

Paula Patton is apparently splitting from Robin Thicke. I don't really know who Paula Patton is, but she seems to have good judgment.

Justin Verlander seemed to be creeping out companion Kate Upton at a recent Knicks-Magic game.

• A kid tried for an Air Jordan logo haircut. It didn't quite work.

Warren Sapp reacted like the rest of us to Jadaveon Clowney's insane 40-yard dash.

• This is pretty scary: A female broadcaster almost fell victim to a human trafficking con in Sochi.

Dirk's dagger in the Mavs' win over the Knicks yielded a quintessential Knicks GIF. At least J.R. Smith is still attempting to provide entertaining moments.

• I don't normally do politics in the Essential 11. But this photo is amazing in a multi-layered way.

Enjoy footage of a woman getting smacked in the face by a whale's tail.

Tim Lincecum is trying something with his facial hair. It's not working.

• Ali-Liston I was 50 years ago yesterday. The FBI believed the fight was fixed by the mob.

• This Klay Thompson slam ended with Kyle Singler back-pedaling into the photogs.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 10:36
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-24-2013
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This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 24.

The Instagrams of the week include this arresting shot from track athlete Leryn Franco.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept his promise to join Twitter if he won the Daytona 500. He already has more than 300,000 followers.

• Fox ran last year's Daytona 500 during the rain delay. Some viewers thought it was the real thing. Hilarity ensued.

50 Cent offered to kiss Michael Waltrip if he won the 500. Armed with that motivation, Waltrip finished 41st.

The folks in Sochi had a little fun at their own expense at the Closing Ceremony.

We knew Jadaveon Clowney was insanely, disgustingly fast, but this is ridiculous.

Digger Phelps struggled amusingly with Tyler Ennis' name.

Athletes who have lost a ridiculous amount of weight, including Barry Bonds, whose melon has shrunk back down to human size.

• And now for something completely different: the world's weirdest bras.

Watch a short kid dunk at a pep rally. So he had a little help.

CBS unveiled Telestrator Boob yesterday.

• Thomas Robinson blocked Corey Brewer's dunk attempt and stole a piece of his soul in the process.

 

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, February 24, 2014 - 11:15
All taxonomy terms: Jason Day, Victor Dubuisson, Golf
Path: /golf/5-key-stats-accenture-match-play-championship
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Just call him Jason "All" Day. Aussie Jason Day outlasted an unbelievably resilient Victor Dubuisson in the finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, draining one last 4-footer on the 23rd hole of the grueling final match at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., to earn his second career PGA Tour win. Finally, a player known for appearing on major leaderboards but disappearing for the rest of the year can add a prestigious championship to his resume, a win that will propel him near the top of Masters favorites.

But Day had to earn it. Dubuisson, a 23-year-old Frenchman who was a virtual unknown to American audiences, all but clinched a spot on the European Ryder Cup team with an astonishing display of Houdini-level escape artistry. Two holes down with two to play, Dubuisson rallied, winning the final two holes with a birdie at 17 and a Day 3-putt at 18. On the first playoff hole, Dubuisson pulled off his first Great Escape, getting up and down out of the prickly cactus. On the second extra hole, he did himself one better, playing his ball from a bush and earning another impossible par.

"Vic coming down the stretch was just unbelievable," Day said. "I've never seen someone as young, apart from Jordan Spieth, and in the old days Tiger Woods, how clutch he was, especially out of the cactus. I kept shaking my head because it was so surprising because there was a couple of times there where I thought he was absolutely dead. The tournament was mine."

Ultimately, the tournament was Day's, and those final dramatic holes were the culmination of an impressive week of match play artistry from a litany of players who seemed determined to reward viewers for their loyalty given the absence of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott. Those who did tune in were rewarded with some of the most stomach-churning golf in recent memory.

Here are the key stats from five days in the desert.

 

89 Jason Day put on a clinic on how to survive in match play. Of the 36 greens he missed, he saved par 32 times, a staggering conversion rate of 89 percent. The PGA Tour leader converted 66 percent of the time in 2013.

 

26 At 26 years, 3 months, Day became the youngest-ever winner of the Accenture Match Play. Tiger Woods was 27 when he won in 2003.

 

0 Graeme McDowell, who reached the round of eight in the Match Play, won his first three matches without ever holding a lead until the final putt dropped. McDowell rallied to beat Gary Woodland in 19 holes, caught Hideki Matsuyama and beat him on the 18th hole, and rallied to beat Hunter Mahan in 21 holes. At no point in any of those matches did he stand on a tee with a lead.

 

72 Day had played 72 PGA Tour events since his previous win, the 2010 Byron Nelson Classic. The 26-year-old Day wasn't panicking that the wins weren't coming. "A career is very long in golf,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for myself is just to understand I’m not Rory. I’m not Tiger. I’m not Adam Scott. I’m not Justin Rose. I’m Jason Day. I need to do the work and it will happen. I’ve just got to be patient."\

 

2 Victor Dubuisson's second-place finish matches the best-ever finish by a French player in a PGA Tour event, joining Jean Van de Velde, Thomas Levet and Gregory Havret.

 

Tweetboard

Players are fans, too, and they loved what they saw on Sunday. Here's a sample of some of the tweets that were flying across the twittersphere.

Rory McIlroy — "Congrats to @JDayGolf on the win! And well played @Vdubush! Haven't seen short game magic like that since the great Seve! Awesome viewing!"

Jordan Spieth — Congrats @JDayGolf !! What an amazing win and fireworks from @Vdubush . Great match and both are deserving champions. Great guys as well

Tom Watson — Two of the greatest up-and/downs I have ever seen Victor!!!

Sergio Garcia — What an amazing win @JDayGolf ! Well done, very much deserved my friend. @Vdubush great week, keep it going for September!!

 

Enjoy the video of Dubuisson's two remarkable par saves.

 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, February 24, 2014 - 10:29
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-21
Body:

Today's Highlights

NBC

8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

You spent your work day watching live U.S.-Canada hockey; now relax with some tape-delayed action from the slopes and the short track. Spoiler alert: People who love 'Murica will want to tune in.

 

1. Alpine Skiing — Women's Slalom
American teenage sensation Mikaela Shiffrin will try to become the youngest woman to win an Olympic slalom gold, as well as the first U.S. woman to win the slalom at the Olympics since 1972. The 18-year-old from Eagle-Vail, Colo., will have to beat some seasoned competitors, but she's dominated the event on the World Cup circuit.


Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2014/02/17/3330841/american-bohonnon-qualifies-for.html#storylink=cpy

 

2. Short Track Speed Skating — Men's 500m, Men's Relay, Women's 1000m

If you have a need for speed in a confined space, this is right up your alley. In the Women's 1000m, Jessica Smith represents the final chance for a U.S. individual medal in short track. The American Relay team is a solid medal contender as well.

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 12:48
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-february-21-2014
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This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Feb. 21.

• Jennifer Love Hewitt is turning 35, which makes me feel old. Fortunately, she still looks amazing, which helps soften the blow. 

• Today's the day. U.S.-Canada. Battle lines are drawn. And to help you get ready, here are 17 reasons to love American hero T.J. Oshie. And even better, here's T.J. Oshie's hot fiancee, Lauren Cosgrove.

• We need this one to make up for the women's final. One inch to the left, and the U.S. women would have won gold.

A first-hand account of last night's figure skating final.

Jimmy Kimmel and Kate Hansen punk'd the world with that wolf-in-the-hotel hoax, myself included.

The Dutch speed skating coach thinks we Americans waste a lot of time and talent on football, a "sport that sucks."

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

• Fred Davis' weekend is not off to a good start. He was arrested for DUI the day after the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Matt Lauer zinged Bob Costas with an even better line than "jerk store."

• LeBron James proved he was human, bleeding on the court. Of course, he completed the posterization.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, February 21, 2014 - 10:39
All taxonomy terms: Olympics
Path: /olympics/2014-sochi-olympics-what-watch-feb-20
Body:

Today's Highlights

NBC

8-11:30 p.m. Eastern

Tonight's main event is also considered by many to be the main event of any Winter Games: the Women's Figure Skating free skate. Medals will be awarded, and stars will be born.

 

1. Figure Skating — Women's Free Skate
Reigning world and Olympic champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea entered these games as the favorite, but Russian teenagers Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaia and Americans Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds are competing for hearts, minds and high scores as well.


Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2014/02/17/3330841/american-bohonnon-qualifies-for.html#storylink=cpy

 

2. Freestyle Skiing — Women's Halfpipe, Men's Ski Cross

In Women's Halfpipe, competitors will be thinking of Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke, who lobbied for Olympic inclusion of the halfpipe event prior to her death from a training accident in 2012. American Maddie Bowman is a top contender for gold.

Austria's Michael Schmid won Ski Cross gold in Vancouver, and he'll look to do so again in Sochi. John Teller is the lone qualifying American in the event.

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 14:36

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