May 26

PGA Tour hooks up golf-crazed 4-year-old with Rory, Spieth Fatheads

Gavin Nalepa loves golf. He's been playing since he was 1 year old. He knows Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth like I knew He-Man, as Saturday (and Sunday) morning (and afternoon) superheroes. 

So when it came time for his fourth birthday party, the Ohioan wanted the world Nos. 1 and 2 to come to his party. Unfortunately, they were booked solid. Gavin's mom, Karla, had hoped to find the next best thing. She searched for Fatheads of the two players that she had seen when she and her husband took Gavin to the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last summer. No dice; they're not sold to the public due to licensing concerns.

Karla did what any mom would do for her son: She kept on looking. She sent a message to the tournament's Facebook page, hoping for some help. 

Courtney Boroff, who manages the page, got the message, according to the Akron Beacon-Herald. Boroff decided to help out and give Gavin the next best thing to the best players on the planet. She sent the Fatheads from the event to the family so Gavin could celebrate in style.

“I got them out and showed him and he was so excited,” Karla said. “To him, Rory and Jordan were at his party.”

Gavin will be at Firestone C.C. for the annual event in August, and Boroff is hoping to get the Fatheads signed by both players. That would be one awesome belated birthday present.

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

May 26

Power rankings: AT&T Byron Nelson Championship

The PGA Tour concludes its Texas portion of the schedule this week with the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons (formerly known as TPC Las Colinas) in the Dallas area. 

Brendon Todd is defending champion at an event that has a tendency in recent year to identify breakout performers as champions, including Jason Day, Jason Dufner and Jason -- I mean, Keegan -- Bradley.

Jordan Spieth headlines the field again this week, looking to continue the momentum from yet another runner-up finish, this time at Colonial.

Take a look at our top five picks for the week.

1. Jordan Spieth -- He was T-2 last week and was one bad Friday hole away from winning. He hasn't contended here as a pro, but this was the tournament that got him truly into the public consciousness with his performance as a 17-year-old.

2. Dustin Johnson -- Johnson has cooled off since coming hot out of the gate from his six months away from the PGA Tour. However, a T-7 here last year in a nice indicator, and he's been in the top seven in three of his last four Nelson starts dating back to 2010.

3. Jason Day -- Day hasn't missed the cut in four Nelson starts, including a breakthrough win in 2010. He's been in a bit of a rut compared to his pace toward the end of last year, but this place lines up well for him.

4. Justin Thomas -- Thomas is on the verge of winning and has been in the top 12 in three of his last four PGA Tour starts. He's great through three rounds, then just can't get over the hump on Sunday. 

5. Marc Leishman -- The Aussie has cashed in his last four starts and his life has likely settled down some after his wife's health scare near the Masters. Has a very nice Nelson record: made five of six cuts and hasn't finished outside of the top 12 when he makes a check.

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

May 25

Jarrod Lyle to leave PGA Tour for rest of the year to find game

The golf world has been pulling for Aussie Jarrod Lyle to make a successful return to the PGA Tour after overcoming leukemia for a second time.

However, since Lyle has come back, he's been unable to find the form he needs to regain full status. That's why Lyle has decided to sit out the remainder of the PGA Tour season with the hopes of getting his game in good enough shape to resume his career next season.

Lyle stressed this decision has nothing to do with his health.

"I need to stress that this decision has nothing to do with my recent illness - I am still healthy and cancer-free," Lyle said to the Australian Associated Press.

"As the year progressed, it has become increasingly obvious that I am simply not in a position to compete on the PGA Tour. My goal every single week out here, just like the rest of the field, is to play my best and to be competitive."

In 10 starts this season, Lyle has won $66,145, making just three cuts. Playing under a special medical exemption, Lyle will have to earn $217,680 in his next 10 PGA Tour starts to regain full playing privileges.

The Aussie believes his resiliency will carry him through this tough stretch.

He said, "Just like I did whatever it took to fight for my life in the last few years, I am now going to do whatever it takes to fight for my job."

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

May 25

Yes, You Can Call It A Rivalry

The term gets overused in golf, but when breaking down Jordan Spieth versus Rory McIlroy, nothing characterizes it better. (Oh, and it's closer than you think)
Posted in Uncategorized
May 23

An enormous sinkhole opens up at home to Legends of Golf

There's a new design feature on the Top of the Rock Golf Course, which hosts the Champions Tour's Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf in Branson, Missou.: four big sinkholes.

The biggest sinkhole, which is reportedly still growing and is 60 feet by 80 feet and 35 feet deep, formed around 6:30 a.m. on Friday between the practice tee and a pond near the entrance to the property.

Sinkholes are not particularly uncommon in the Ozarks, where Top of the Rock is located, according to the Springfield News-Leader. The Big Cedar Lodge, which owns the course, is working with engineers to figure out how, if at all, they'll fill the hole. It could take up to two weeks to replace the sunk-in earth. The good news for the facility is that the sinkhole won't impact tee times, but it does create a new hazard.

May 23

Miguel Angel Jimenez sets Euro Tour record with 10th ace

Miguel Angel Jimenez set a new European Tour record on Saturday, making his 10th career hole-in-one to break a tie with Colin Montgomerie.

The Spaniard made the ace in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club in England, using a 9-iron from 148 yards at the par-3 second.

"My irons, they are like darts. It's nice to have the record,"Jimenez said after a 4-under 68 leaves him four shots behind joint 54-hole leaders Francesco Molinari and Byeong-hun An.

This is Jimenez's third ace of the year, following up on holes-in-one at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January and last week's Open de Espana.

So what's the 51-year-old's secret?

"The main thing is I've got the right club in my hand and make a good swing," Jimenez said.

However, Jimenez didn't have the shot of the day. That went to Tommy Fleetwood, who made an albatross on the par-5 fourth hole. 

Fleetwood shot 7-under 65 to pull a shot ahead of Jimenez and within striking distance heading into the final round.

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

May 22

Rory McIlroy misses BMW PGA cut after second-round 78

On Wednesday, Rory McIlroy said, "Golf is a very fickle game and it can humble you quite quickly."

By Friday at the BMW PGA Championship in England, McIlroy had proven his words true.

After an opening 71 at Wentworth Club, McIlroy exploded to 6-over 78 on Friday to miss the cut in his title defense, just five days after winning the PGA Tour's Wells Fargo Championship by seven shots and setting a new tournament scoring record by five.

McIlroy had little to say to reporters after the round, which left the world No. 1 on the wrong side of the cut line for just the third time in his last 45 worldwide events.

The 78 is McIlroy's worst European Tour score since a first-round 79 in the 2013 Open Championship, and worst worldwide since the same tally in the second round of last year’s Memorial.

It seemed clear fatigue had set in for McIlroy, was playing for the fourth consecutive week, including two wins at Quail Hollow and the WGC-Cadillac Match Play. He also finished T-6 at The Players.

The most outwardly emblematic sign of McIlroy's fatigue and resulting frustration came on Thursday when, after a poor second shot in the par-5 17th at Wentworth, he chucked his 3-wood down the fairway. It'll likely result in a fine from the European Tour, and it's a bad look for the Ulsterman, who threw a 3-iron even further and into a water hazard at Doral in March.

Still, McIlroy tried to remain calm about a clearly disappointing outcome.

"I'm not going to read too much into it," McIlroy said. "It was inevitable at some point that the run was going to come to a bit of an end.

“If anything good comes out of this, it's just that I get a little bit of a rest over the next couple of days, and feel a bit fresher for what's going to be a really big week for me next week.”

McIlroy is headed to his home country, Northern Ireland, to prepare for the Irish Open, where he is host at Royal County Down.

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