Top five or not, Patrick Reed is on fire.
Over the past year, few golfers have played as well as Patrick Reed. The cocky Texan won for the first time last August, and simply hasn’t stopped.
He’s currently on the bubble for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, but his competitiveness makes him tough to leave off. Likewise, his cockiness makes him polarizing.
Let’s take a look at on of the Tour’s best golfers.
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There’s a three-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2014, and it’s time to get to know him.
Thanks to the PGA Tour’s new “wraparound” schedule that starts in the Fall, and some timely great play of course, Jimmy Walker is the PGA Tour’s hottest golfer. After spending years making his way up through the mini-tour and Web.com Tour ranks, Walker spent a handful of years as a winless journeyman PGA Tour player before breaking through last October.
Wins at the Frys.com Open, Sony Open, and AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am rocketed Walker to the top of both the FedExCup points standings and the money list. Let’s find out where he came from.
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Exploring the backstory of the world’s hottest player.
After about three years on the Nationwide Tour and six more of middling PGA Tour play, Brandt Snedeker broke through during last year’s FedExCup Playoffs, and won the $10 million top prize. Snedeker, who won earlier in the year at Torrey Pines, beat Justin Rose by three strokes down the stretch at the Tour Championships, vaulting him ahead of Jason Dufner, Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy to win the Cup.
Snedeker has a few major championship close calls, and though he had yet to pull it, Sneds is a pretty solid bet to win one over the next few years. Let’s jump in.
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We take a look at the most famous presidential golfers.
It’s political season, and if you thought you could get away from it even in the golf world, think again. There’s a long history, stemming back to the early days of golf in this country, of U.S. Presidents spending their down time on the links.
As the business community has shown us, the golf course is a great way to schmooze clients and get business done on the go, and at the very worst it’s five hours of walking and staring at your phone.
From President Clinton’s “footwedge” to the Eisenhower Tree, let’s take a look at the most notable White House golfers.
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What the pros will face on the front nine at TPC Boston.
The Boston area is not particularly known for its golf. We have one tournament in the area per year, The Deutsche Bank Championship, and Brookline’s The Country Club has hosted the occasional major (as well as the 1999 Ryder Cup and next year’s U.S. Amateur). Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, MA, used to host a PGA Tour event until the tournament folded in the late-1990s. That’s about it.
Thankfully, the emergence of The Deutsche Bank as an important FedExCup Playoff event (and it’s tendency to produce big-name winners) coupled with New England-native Keegan Bradley has increased the stature of professional golf in the area.
Winners tend to be well into the double-digits below par, and to pull out the Deutsche Bank you generally need to get off to a fast start on the relatively easy front nine. Here’s a description of what the world’s best are facing.
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Checking in on the world’s hottest golfer.
Before this year, Jason Dufner didn’t have much going for him. Sure, he had made over $7.5 million dollars in his career, but he had yet to win a PGA Tour event and he had just 16 top-10 finishes to his name. Prior to 2012, Dufner had missed the cut in over 40 percent of the events he played and his highest placing in the FedExCup was 25th (in 2011). Add to that his major-league choke in last year’s PGA and his laughable last name, things weren’t looking up for Jason Dufner.
But this year? His only missed cut was his first event, the Sony Open in Hawaii, and he has hardly come close since. A few weeks after a solid T24 at Augusta (his highest finish in the event) where he held the 36-hole lead, Dufner broke through at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans the last week of April, carding -19 and beating Ernie Els in a playoff while also holding off world number one Luke Donald. He’s also spending time with the golf team from his alma mater, Auburn University, and quoting Kanye West on Twitter (he’s actually an interesting golfer to follow on Twitter). After two wins, Dufner leads the Tour in money earned (already having surpassed his career high), ranked eighth in the world, and I think at one point he might just have cracked a smile. Maybe.
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We take a walk through one of the best back nines in golf.
Augusta National has a solid front nine, but it’s the back nine where the course really shines. Every hole can easily lead to a bogey but each one is also birdie-able, as Charl Schwartzel and others showed us last year. Because of this, going into the back nine on Sunday everyone within shouting distance of the lead is still in the tournament.
Last year we saw Tiger destroy the front nine, then shoot a disappointing 36 on the back nine. Conversely, Charl was just two under on the front nine but he laid siege to the last four holes of the back nine, and pulled out the tournament.
A complete about-face from their earlier deadlines, Augusta National has opened up recently. No, they haven’t changed their membership policy, but Augusta National now offers the most comprehensive online streaming infrastructure in golf. Augusta has also added more early-round coverage, and the addition of the course to the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game has given us unprecedented access to one of the most interesting courses in golf.
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We round out the sport’s history with a review of the last half-century in golf.
One of the best things about the game of golf is the vast history. Golf has had transcendent athletes almost constantly over the last 150 years, and as I attempted to categorize them all I found myself writing, and writing, and writing. (I tried to do this with baseball, and all I got down was “Yankees, then… more Yankees, and a little more Yankees. And then the Red Sox won. And then the Yankees…”) In classifying the history of golf, these last 50 years are where it got tough, as I had to figure out what do do with Jack Nickluas. Jack had legitimate rivals in Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson at completely different ends of his own expansive career. I ultimately decided to combine Nicklaus and Watson, and give Palmer his own era. I’m sure they won’t mind.
Anyway, without further ado, we are back again this week with the most recent eras in golf, starting with The King and ending with El Tigre.
Continue reading “Nine Holes With the History of Golf Part Two: The King, The Bear, and The Tiger”
We take a look at the last 150 years in golf.
Unlike sports like baseball or football, golf’s eras have been primarily defined and dominated by a key one or two players. While baseball is divided into eras based on the differences of the game (Dead and Lively Ball Eras, Integration Era, Free Agency Era, Steroid Era) and football and basketball are mostly defined by mergers, golf’s era are most easily divided by the dominant player, and these great players actually cut up the history of golf up quite well. Because 150 years of golf is tough to cut down, today we’ll look at everything before Arnold Palmer, right up to and including the Nelson/Hogan/Snead Era.
From the ancient history of the early Open Championship days, to the relative parity of the 1980s and early 1990s, to the modern Tiger Woods era, golf is just begging to be split up and defined. So let’s do it.
Continue reading “Nine Holes With the History of Golf Part One: Pre-Palmer”