Apr
5
2017

Dustin Johnson had a freak accident at his rental home in Augusta on Wednesday afternoon. He slipped and fell down the stairs and injured his lower back. As of now, it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play, but it sounds like he will try.

I can’t think of much to say, except, “Wow, crazy, holy sh*t.” I’m seriously pretty speechless. I mean, really, DJ??? This is seriously unbelievable news. And this is not a joke. My second thought was how it probably screwed up a lot of people’s pools, picks, bets, etc. because DJ was the betting favorite, of course. One friend said he had DJ in four different match-ups or something. That sucks, but obviously, those things are of little importance — his health and wellbeing is our main concern, of course.

Here’s the statement released by his agent David Winkle:

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Apr
4
2017

The Masters unveiled the tee times and pairings for the first and second rounds of the season’s first (men’s) major. Overall, I’d say that there are some good ones, but there weren’t many where I was like, Oh, I’d definitely follow THAT group. Actually, maybe there is one, but I’m on the fence.

I bolded the pairings that stood out to me. I probably could have picked a few more, but since it’s the Masters, the smallest field by far at a major, I would’ve ended up choosing half the groups.

World no. 1 and the betting favorite Dustin Johnson is paired with two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson and reigning PGA champion Jimmy Walker — all are considered bombers. This threesome is most likely the “one” I mentioned above if I had to pick a group to follow.

Here’s the full list of the groupings for Thursday and Friday at Augusta National:

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Apr
4
2017

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up! That’s going too far, I think, as much as I feel for Lexi Thompson and believe she was robbed of a major. It could also set a dangerous precedent and open way too many doors that would not turn out to be beneficial to anyone. To clarify, Phil Mickelson’s quote in the headline is referring to reversing the result of the tournament and taking the ANA Inspiration trophy away from So Yeon Ryu and giving it to Lexi.

However, I agree with his general comments about the rule and the situation. I mean, holy crap, it’s Tuesday of Masters week and the Lexi rules controversy story is still making headlines! As I said yesterday, it’s great we’re talking about women’s golf (kind of), but it’s for the wrong reasons and it’s more of a general problem in golf and it’s not exactly a good look for the game.

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Apr
3
2017

Leave it to yet a(nother) incredulous and absurd rules controversy to cloud the discussion and news coming out of Augusta National on Monday of arguably the biggest week in golf. In a regard, I’m glad the ANA Inspiration, one of the five majors in the women’s game, is actually getting attention, and the stories aren’t lost in the usually overwhelming joy and coverage of Masters previews as they have in years past.

Unfortunately, the spotlight isn’t on celebrating a great champion, but it’s golf’s latest rules debacle, which isn’t exactly the most flattering look for a niche sport that seems obsessed with the never-ending discussing on “growing the game.” Well, letting absurd rules incident play out dramatically on live television isn’t doing golf any favors.

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Apr
3
2017

The golf world reacted via social media with outrage and harsh words Sunday evening during the final round of the ANA Inspiration, the first women’s major of the year. This is yet another incident of golf getting in its own way and looking stupid and lame to casual sports fans who already have that impression of the game.

Walking off the 12th green with the lead, Lexi Thompson was informed she was receiving a four-shot penalty for infractions from the third round. A TV viewer notified the LPGA via email that Thompson had marked her ball and improperly replaced it before tapping-in a one-footer on the 17th hole a day earlier. She received two strokes for the incorrect ball placement and then another two shots for signing an incorrect scorecard — the whole situation was absurd, but the latter was more flagrant since she didn’t know at the time.

Despite Lexi’s impressive ability to fight back and respond with back-to-back birdies after receiving the devastating news, she eventually lost in an one-hole playoff to So Yeon Ryu. In other words, this retroactive, unbelievably delayed infraction late in the final round of a major championship cost Thompson the major title.

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Mar
31
2017

No surprises here. In fact, I’m sure most of my colleagues pre-wrote their stories, as they waited for Tiger Woods to formally announce he would not be playing in the Masters. After all, it’s been fairly obvious that the situation with his back is rather serious and he would not be ready to compete at the Masters — if anytime in the near future or perhaps even ever again. And we’re very familiar with Woods enjoying to release significant news (usually, they’re about not playing and/or not competing/withdrawing, etc.) on Friday evening as it doesn’t generate as much “buzz” right before the weekend.

But, I mean, 7:30pm ET, T-Dubs? After our friendly encounter at your book signing (which crap, that reminds me, I still haven’t written up that fun and absurd event, though I documented the experience across multiple social media platforms), I thought we were like, best buddies now. Like, nickname status! (And I’m still expecting one the next time I ask you a question at a presser. Unfortunately, I won’t be at Augusta National next week, so who knows when that will be, but I’m looking forward to it.) My biggest takeaway from last Monday in NYC was that he seemed genuinely happy; he looked like he was in a good place and that’s what’s most important at this point. 

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Mar
26
2017

For as long as I’ve been covering golf — I mean, literally, the first tournament I covered was the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach — one of the story lines seems to have always loomed: Imagine if Dustin Johnson [fill in the blank]. Where do we start? Practiced his wedge game? Prepared better? Read the rules? Better caddie? Stopped partying? Stronger mental game? Stayed patient? Blah, blah blah. The list continues, but that shouldn’t be interpreted as a negative or insult; rather it was always a testament to the indisputable fact DJ was so talented.

Despite some pretty major heartbreaking blips from 2010 at Pebble Beach to Whistling Straits at the 2010 PGA Championship to the 2011 British Open to the 2015 U.S. Open, there’s never been a doubt DJ would eventually overcome these excruciating letdowns. And two of those were seriously devastating mistakes that happened on the 72nd hole, which could have been devastating on a level to an average pro’s psyche. DJ always said he never let them really bring him down and brushed them off. With each incident, DJ showed resiliency to continue put himself in the position to clinch the win…or fail.

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Mar
22
2017

jason day mom cancer

Jason Day conceded his match to Pat Perez after six holes and then withdrew from the WGC-Match Play at Austin Country Club. In an emotional press conference, he revealed that his mother Denning Day has lung cancer — the initial diagnosis from doctors in Australia was that it was terminal and she was given 12 months to live. Shortly after, Day brought her to Ohio to receive treatment and the prognosis from doctors is now more promising. She is scheduled for surgery on Friday as doctors try to remove a three-to-four centimeter mass from her lungs.

Wow, I’m a bit at loss for words and this (video below) was extremely difficult to watch in person. I’m fairly certain many people can relate to seeing a loved one battle cancer — and regardless of the outcome or the severity, it’s still very emotional and scary. Day didn’t need to come into the interview room and hold a press conference to divulge the status of his mother’s health on national television.

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Mar
22
2017

Starting in 2015 at the WGC-Match Play event at Harding Park — an unforgettable week as you may recall! — the format of the tournament changed. Of course it’s still match play and it’s only been in effect for two years, so it’s not really a great sample size to judge, especially since I wasn’t able to catch much of the coverage. In all honestly, I don’t have a good feel for the new round-robin format and I don’t like not knowing or experiencing firsthand the positives and negatives resulting from the somewhat significant changes since 2014.

What I can say with utmost confidence, though, is that Wednesday — the first day of the matches — used to be one of my favorite days of the season (and definitely the most exciting one all year at a non-major, hands down). It was always action-packed, filled with tons of dramas, massive upsets, riveting comebacks, twists and turns that was nonstop from start to end. Which was largely because it was truly golf’s version of the NCAA’s March Madness, a single-round elimination knock-out format. Lose the first match and you might be headed for first-available private jet out of Austin (or Tucson, the longtime venue of the event pre-2015), before the no. 1 seeded player had even teed off.

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Mar
17
2017
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

TigerWoods

I was starting to miss this tradition — it felt like it had been a while. I’m sure there have been others the past few months, but I obviously haven’t been paying close attention, as there are some more important, potentially life-altering late-night breaking news that happens almost daily now. However, we can’t blame tonight’s Tiger news dump on Team Tiger, though, and the most significant part did come out on Thursday, so I guess it’s more accurate to call this “WUP’s Friday night Tiger news dump.” Minor details.

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