Volume Four Hundred Sixty-Five

A late charge and a missed putt lead to a surprise winner.

Hittin' the Links
The AT&T National Pro-Am pulled a coup this year by getting six of the world’s top 10 players to tee it up with celebs and business types. It’s cool to see the players relaxed and having fun, but the real show at Pebble Beach is usually the scenery and the celebrities. But this year, it also managed to produce a suspenseful finish.

Next week, it’s Jordan vs. Rory at Riviera, as McIlroy makes his first U.S. start of the year. Just one more stop on the West Coast Swing and then it’s on to Florida.

Let’s hit the links.

Hole #1: The Long Road Home
When Sunday dawned at the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, Vaughn Taylor was six-strokes off the lead and held no status on the PGA Tour. When the day ended, he had a win, his PGA Tour card for the next two years, and an upcoming invite to the Masters, just 20 miles from where he grew up. Taylor made five birdies on his closing nine to take the lead. Phil Mickelson had a putt on 18 to tie, but it lipped out giving Taylor, a former Ryder Cupper, his first win in 11 years. Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed. [Link]

Hole #2: Ko Defends in NZ
Even an earthquake couldn’t keep Lydia Ko from winning her third ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open. Ten minutes before her final round tee time, a 5.7 magnitude tremblor hit the capital city. Ko donated her winner’s check of $47,000 to charity. Oh, and she’s just 18, in case you forgot. [Link]

Hole #3: Charl Loves Home Cooking
Charl Schwartzel shot a closing round 63 to stretch his one-stroke lead Saturday night into an eight-stroke win on Sunday at the Tshwane Open in Pretoria, South Africa. It was his third win in the event and his eighth in his home country. [Link]

Hole #4: The Ivan Drago of the Champions Tour
No, I’m not suggesting doping or anything like that, but Bernhard Langer is a machine. The 58-year-old won again for the 26th time on the senior circuit at the Chubb Classic in Naples, Florida. Although there was a little suspense, at least. Langer held a seven-stroke lead coming into the final round but his own 73 and a 66 by a hard-charging Fred Couples shaved the margin of victory to three. [Link]

Hole #5: Virtual Reality on Tour
Applying the next big thing in virtual reality to golf. This could be cool (but it’s just sorta meh in 2D). [Link]

Hole #6: Please Keep Carts on Paths
Or at least out of the ponds… [Link]

Hole #7: Murray Throws Things
What would Pebble Beach be these days without Bill Murray? Perhaps a safer place for cell phone photo takers. But hey, if you’re taking repeated flash photos of a celebrity in a dark bar, maybe you don’t deserve a cell phone. [Link]

Hole #8: Haven’t We Seen This Movie Before?
And did Nicolas Colsaerts knock the pelican off its perch? [Link]

Hole #9: Another Player Strips Down
Why are pro golfers so afraid of mud? [Link]

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