May 29

Shane Lowry makes Irish Open cut using wedge as a putter

On the third hole of his Friday round at the Irish Open, Irishman Shane Lowry bent his putter in a fit of anger.

Under the Rules of Golf, since the putter wasn't bent in the natural course of play, that meant Lowry had to find another club to putt with the rest of the way. He chose a wedge, and, as it turns out, it was good enough to get him to the weekend at Royal County Down.

Starting on the 10th hole, Lowry bent his putter on the 12th.

That didn't stymie the 2009 champion (as an amateur), however, as he made three birdies heading in, including a 30-footer on his 16th hole, the par-3 seventh.

In total, Lowry shot 3-over 74 on another tough scoring day. Combined with an opening 72, that was good enough to get to the weekend. 

After the round, Lowry showed some remorse over the act, but was happy with the result.


Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 29

Phil Mickelson gets his first look at U.S. Open host Chambers Bay

Earlier this month, USGA executive director Mike Davis warned that the 2015 U.S. Open champion would be the player that gets as much exposure as possible to unfamiliar host Chambers Bay, near Tacoma, Wash. Davis took a lot of flak for saying a playing would need at least 10 rounds at property to win

Well, Phil Mickelson may not get in 10 rounds before the national championship starts in three weeks, but he got his first in on Thursday. 

Mickelson spent three-and-a-half hours playing the course's front nine, including 30 minutes on the first hole, which will likely flip par with the 18th hole during championship days. It is expected that, at least once, the first will flip from being a par 5 to a par 4, handing a stroke over to the 18th.

So what did he think about the unique layout?

“A very interesting course,” he said to a local TV station, according to The Olympian. He added the course did play very much like a links course that would host the Open Championship in the British Isles.

The 44-year-old can complete the career Grand Slam if he wins the Open after finishing second in the year's second major a record six times.

As for Davis, on the other side of the country on Wednesday, he stood behind but clarified his initial warning about Chambers Bay that was roundly criticized as out of touch.

“I was simply trying to be helpful by pointing out that preparation for this year’s U.S. Open might be more critical than any in recent memory given the uniqueness of the golf course,” Davis said Wednesday at USGA headquarters, according to Golf Digest. “I think things have gotten a little overblown, but the point is still valid.”

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 29

Husband, wife make consecutive aces on the same hole

Tony Blundy had just made a hole-in-one on the 16th hole at Ledge Meadows Golf Course in Grand Ledge, Mich.

Naturally, his wife, Janet, was happy about her husband's first-ever ace. However, the celebration had to be short-lived, as Janet still had to play.

"You're gonna be really mad at me when I put mine in," Janet said to Tony as she walked up to the forward tee box.

She did, but he wasn't. 

That's right, at the par-3 16th, Tony, 53, first sank his 135-yard shot with a 7-iron. Then, right after his hole-in-one, Janet, 43, did the same thing with a pitching wedge from 110 yards a tee box forward. The two were playing by themselves, but the commotion they raised -- and deservedly so -- at their feat attracted a couple of players from another hole to verify what they had just done. 

So what are the odds of something this outrageous happening? The National Hole-in-One Association once calculated that the odds of two people in a foursome making an ace on same hole was in the range of 26 million-to-1. However, when contacted by the Lansing State Journal, the association said the odds would easily be double for a twosome.

In other words, it's a good thing the Blundys had some witnesses.

"If nobody would have been around, nobody would ever believe us," Tony Blundy said. "We've been laughing about it every time we think about it. It's so unbelievable that it could happen."

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 28

The 19th Hole Golf Show: Is Rory McIlroy in trouble?

Rory McIlroy stunned golf with a 9-over 80 to open the Irish Open on Thursday. Combined with his 78 to miss the cut at the BMW PGA Championship, is that reason to worry about his major chances this summer?

We delve into the Dallas deluge that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and wonder if some guys might just be going through the motions this week.

We also give some love to the NCAA Women's Golf Championship and the Stanford Cardinal, including the very clutch Mariah Stackhouse.

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunesTuneIn or Stitcher.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 28

Rory McIlroy struggles to 80 in Irish Open first round

For Rory McIlroy, it was a death by a thousand bogeys on Thursday at Royal County Down -- or, at least, it must have felt that way.

The world No. 1 and tournament host at the Irish Open shot 9-over 80 for his highest round since a final-round 80 in the 2011 Masters.

McIlroy didn't make a single birdie on the round, but he also didn't have a blow-up hole that ballooned his score in very windy conditions in Northern Ireland. He bogeyed half his holes, made pars on the other nine. McIlroy had to make an 8-footer at the last to save par and shoot 80. 

This is the second consecutive shocking round from McIlroy, who shot 78 in Round 2 of last week's BMW PGA Championship to miss the cut. His two-round total of 158 to straddle the two events is McIlroy's highest since shooting 80-78 to miss the cut as a 16-year-old in the 2005 British Masters. Then again, this if the fifth consecutive week McIlroy has played, starting in San Francisco for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play. He has flown some 7,000 miles in that stretch, winning twice and, barring some stunning Friday improvement, missing the cut twice.

Playing with reigning U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer and Players champion Rickie Fowler, McIlroy and the German played in a combined 17 over par, not making a single birdie. Fowler, who finished top five in all four majors last year, managed an impressive even-par 71. 

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

May 28

Golf’s Biggest Smartphone Fails

One of the downsides of having a smartphone is that the potential for a damaging mistake is always at your fingertips. Gaffes happen to everyone, including those with a large audience and a household name.
Posted in Uncategorized
May 28

Jack Nicklaus used the same 3-wood for all 18 major wins

How often do you buy new golf clubs? Every year, three years?

Would you use the same club for 37 years? No, you wouldn't, but Jack Nicklaus did and it helped him to 18 major titles.

Nicklaus used a 1958 MacGregor 693 3-wood to win all of his major championships and 73 PGA Tour titles. He stopped using it in 1995. It's now on display in the new Jack Nicklaus Room at the USGA's museum at its Far Hills, N.J. headquarters. 

While the 3-wood is out of his bag now, he still uses what he called "small-headed" irons. Fans ask him why he hasn't upgraded to modern irons that are much more forgiving than the sticks he used so masterfully. His answer is a window into why he stuck with the 3-wood for so long.

He said, "I say, what do you mean how do I hit it? I hit it all my life, why would I have any problem with it?"

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.