Jul 28

Random golfer finds one of President Obama’s golf balls at Congressional

Just like millions of us, President Barack Obama loves golf. The only problem is, he isn't the best at the game. That doesn't stop Obama from teeing it up, and when you aren't the best golfer, that means losing a golf ball or two per round (to be fair, even the best in the world can hit a shot that is never found). 

For you and I, losing a golf ball means somebody, at some time, will pick up our lost ball and either toss it back in the woods or decide to use it. When Obama is involved, that person takes a photo of the personalized Titleist and it goes viral.

An Instagram user named "larrydoh" posted this image after digging this ball out at Congressional on Sunday, and it's pretty hard not to identify this one as one used by the president.

h/t Eye on Golf

Jul 28

Rory McIlroy’s British Open-winning ball is up for auction

In the instant after he putted out to win the 2014 Open Championship, Rory McIlroy reached into the hole, palmed the ball, and sailed it into the crowd. The thought of every single person watching that telecast was the same — somebody's gonna sell that ball for big cash — and now, that expectation has come to pass.

Green Jacket Auctions, which has achieved some notoriety in the golf world for auctioning a very specific item (hint: see the company's name), offered $10,000 on Twitter for the ball right afterward:

 Lee Horner of England caught the ball, describing the action to ESPN.com in a spectacularly British way: "When Rory threw the ball, it hit me in the hand and then fell down," Horner said. "There was a kerfuffle, but I managed to get it and hold it in the air and the crowd went crazy."

Horner initially tossed the ball into a drawer at his office, but found out about Green Jacket Auctions' interest. Green Jacket Auctions and Nike later authenticated the ball, and away it all went. Horner has consigned the ball to auction, and will give Green Jacket 15 percent of the final bidding price.

Bidding was about $3,400 as of Monday morning. You can follow the action at the auction, which lasts until August 9, right here.

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Facebook or on Twitter.

Jul 25

Devil Ball Proving Ground: Ping G-30 Driver

Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf gear through its paces. Today we look at the Ping G-30 driver.

Tester — Shane Bacon — Handicap: +0.5

Target Golf Audience — All golfers

Initial thoughts

It would be impossible to talk about a first look at the new Ping G-30 driver without talking about the turbulators. Those raised bumps you see on the top of the driver's crown? Those are the turbulators, something Ping invented to reduce the drag of the driver through the air (this wasn't some cockamamie idea either, with plenty of testing going on at ASU's Windtunnel Laboratory).

The G-30 has a similar finish to all the drivers from I-20 on, with the matte black continuing to look menacing and beautiful, but the first thing you see is the turbulators.

While science isn't our specialty, watching the YouTube video that Ping made showing off the turbulators makes everything a bit clearer. Just look at this screengrab below if you want to see how they perform in the simplest way possible, and then think about your golf club passing through the wind, and the air, and decreasing that amount of drag without having to do anything different with your golf swing.

Screengrab/YouTube (Ping)

I was just on a golf trip at a golf course where the wind routinely blows 20-30 MPH, and with that much wind out there, any help on drag can produce better tee shots that travel further than a clubhead without the turbulators on top (and it worked, as I didn't lose a single golf ball over 143 holes on my trip, which I can promise you had as much to do with the equipment as it did my golf swing).

I also loved the slight bit of color the Ping guys decided to go with on their G-30, with a hint of blue highlighting the bottom of the driver just enough to give it a little extra when you pull the headcover off.

On-Course Thoughts

I've had a few weeks to mess around with the G-30, and I can tell you that I'm consistently as long with this club as any I've hit before, but it isn't the good ones I'm impressed with.

I've been hitting my misses with a pretty good pop, the ones that you didn't totally connect with. That to me is just as important as what happens when you find the sweet spot, and the G-30 seems to be very effective on the misses which means that more bad swings are finding the fairway, and not losing a ton of yardage.

Ping added a new face material, T9S, that is both lightweight and ridiculously strong, so the ball is flying off the clubhead at a faster pace just by the driver switch, meaning more ball speed and more yardage with your tee shots (isn't that what we all want?!).

I've talked about how my misses have produced with this driver, but what about the ones that you actually do catch? I noticed a gain in yardage from the get-go, even taking a picture of one of the better ones I hit with the new G-30 the moment I got to swing it.

First few swings with the G-30 — Shane Bacon

The thing can move, but it's the consistency that I've loved the most (I play a cut, and almost all of those balls ended up in an area that I would have called the "fairway" if this was a real golf course).

I also love how the turbulators almost point you down the line, an alignment aid even if it wasn't meant to be. We've seen dots on the top of drivers and arrows to help you get it right, but the fact that whole top of the face almost points you in the right direction can help just about anyone get the club set in the right spot before taking it back (a huge problem for amateur golfers).

Final Verdict

For whatever reason, Ping drivers and I have got along great, and this G-30 is no different. I love the feel of the driver, how easy it is to work it, and how even the most normal of golf swings can produce power and distance.

People might think the turbulators are a bit odd on the top of a driver, but after a couple of swings you won't even notice they are there, and the added clubhead speed will make you forget about almost everything as you're gaining more and more yards off the tee.

I loved it, and can't wait to take it out again.

www.ping.com, $349

Jul 24

Johnny Miller thinks 1994 Tiger Woods would outdrive Bubba Watson by 30 yards in 2014

If there is a man in golf that isn't scared to say what he's thinking, it's Johnny Miller. The NBC commentator and two-time major champion wrote a piece for Golf.com about Tiger Woods current golf swing, but took a look back at the way Woods swung the golf club when he was winning his first of three straight U.S. Amateur titles.

That was 20 years ago, as Miller points out, and he says that the swing and the power that Woods produced back in his amateur days would lead the tour in driving distance.

"If today’s balls and clubs had been available when Tiger was in college, the 18-year-old Woods would have been 30 yards longer than Bubba is now," Miller said. "Tiger had a mega-wide, mega-long swing built more for a long-drive contest than a U.S. Open, but he tweaked it under Butch Harmon to create arguably the most effective motion in golf history."

It's an interesting theory, and one that you could pin on more than just Tiger Woods. Would Jack Nicklaus have hit the ball 310 yards per pop with today's equipment? What about Ben Hogan or Byron Nelson in their primes?

I do think that Woods produced an incredible amount of power when he was a teenager, and even into his early professional days. When he won the 1997 Masters, it had a lot to do with Woods simply overpowering Augusta National, so much that the course revamped the design to cut down on Tiger hitting 9-irons and wedges into the back nine par-5s.

But, I must say, 30 yards past Bubba is a bit of a stretch. The 2014 Masters champion leads the PGA Tour in driving distance at 313 yards per drive (Woods was 49th a season ago in driving distance, averaging 293 yards per drive), and while I'm sure Woods would be able to get the ball out there with today's equipment and his 1994 golf swing, I'm not sure we would be seeing a man averaging 340 yards per poke.

But Johnny is going to be Johnny, and his point on the power and the length of that early Tiger golf swing had everything to do with clubhead speed and pounding the golf ball as far as possible.

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Shane Bacon is the editor of Devil Ball Golf and Busted Racquet on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shanebaconblogs@yahoo.com or

Jul 24

Watch all but one of Rory McIlroy’s golf shots from Sunday at the British Open

One of my favorite trends after major championships is the work of Michael David Murphy.

After majors end, Murphy puts together a short video of all the golf shots hit by the champion on Sunday. We've seen it with Adam Scott after his Masters win, Phil Mickelson after his astonishing win at the Open a year ago, and now we have Rory McIlroy at Royal Liverpool.

You can check out the video below, that takes just 90 seconds to see all but one of the shots Rory hit on his way to a third major championship win. Very cool, and a fun way to relive the drama of this past Sunday at Hoylake.

h/t Shackelford

Jul 23

This Bohemian Rhapsody golf parody video is six minutes of ridiculous fun

You've obviously here because you read the headline and thought, "Wait, someone made a parody of a famous Queen song to golf?!"

Yes. The answer is yes, and it's amazing.

According to the description on YouTube, this was a video that, "is the culmination of 10 years parody song writing for our annual golf trip to the Murray river courses in Australia," and kudos to the guys that made this because it's well done, pretty wacky and a ton of fun.

Watch it, enjoy it, and maybe headbang on your way to lunch. Might I suggest a donut spot?!

h/t Back9Network

Jul 23

The Bacon Mailbag: Who gets the Grand Slam first, Rory or Phil?

Each week for the remainder of the golf season we will be rolling out a mailbag, with any and all questions invited from readers and fans around the world. Have a good question you want answered? Hit me up on Twitter at @shanebacon or e-mail me at shanebaconblogs@yahoo.com and we will try to get to it in the coming weeks. Here we go ...

Bacon: A great start to the post-Rory McIlroy win questions, and a great one considering both players.

For those that don't know, Rory, 25, has won three of the four legs of the Grand Slam, needing only the Masters to complete something only five modern players have ever done (Sarazen, Hogan, Player, Nicklaus, and Tiger).

Mickelson, who recently turned 44, has won five majors including three of the legs of the Grand Slam, needing the U.S. Open, a tournament he has finished in second place a record six times, to join that same list above.

Instead of comparing them at first, why don't we look at the stats. Rory has only finished in the top-10 once at Augusta National, a self-proclaimed "back-door top-10" this year at the Masters. While that is surprising, he did take a four-shot lead into the final day at the 2011 Masters, only to fall flat on his face with a final round 80 to finish T-15.

A lot of people say they think the Masters is Rory's best major chance for years to come, because he can hit the ball a country kilometer and loves to work the ball right to left (something that is a common theme amongst Masters winners ... see Watson, Bubba).

So, if Rory can curb the distractions off the golf course for the next decade, I think he will win the Masters at least once before he turns 35.

As for Phil, this is a man that won the British Open in dramatic fashion a year ago to snag the third leg of his Grand Slam chances, but hasn't been in form since basically that Sunday. No top-10s on the PGA Tour, no top-25s in a major this season, and the older he gets, the less he is going to care about winning and playing, much like what we've seen with Steve Stricker (this isn't a knock on Phil, it's more of a compliment to his family-first mentality).

I had to take some time to think about this one, because it's easy to say Rory after the way he played at Royal Liverpool, but I think you have to go McIlroy. Since he's only 25, and has two decades until he's Mickelson's age right now, I think he will have at least two green jackets, meaning the Grand Slam is complete, and while I'd love to say I think Phil will finally win the U.S. Open, I see another Masters and possibly one more PGA before I see him winning the U.S. Open.

So, my answer is Rory, but I genuinely hope both get there, because I think Mickelson deserves to be on that list considering how he has played in the majors the last 10 years.

Bacon: Honestly, I think I'll go Tiger.

People have overreacted tremendously about "what is wrong with Woods" with his recent play at Congressional at Hoylake, but the guy just came off 4 months of not playing competitive golf.

Somehow, every golf fan needs to pull out that Nintendo cartridge in their brain where they keep all the old Tiger memories and give it a good, hard blow, because we need a reset.

Everyone say this with me — "Tiger Woods is not the same guy as the Tiger Woods from 2001." Say it again! And again!

This isn't the same guy that is going to win three or four majors in a row, but Woods is still the type of player that can win multiple times on tour, and if you need an example of this, go all the way back to 2013 (he won five times, in case you forgot, and three times the year before that).

He hurt himself, had surgery, and is slowly coming back to form, much like any near-40-year-old would. He played loose golf at the Quicken Loans, had a good first round at Liverpool and then couldn't keep it going.

This isn't the obituary part of Woods' career, just another bump in the road caused by some health issues that he's recovering from.

Woods gets Valhalla next month, a place he has won at before, followed by Augusta National again and then St. Andrews for the Open next year. If he's in form for any of those, he will be in the hunt, and while I think what Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, and even Sergio Garcia are doing right now is great, I think Woods is eventually going to close out a major on a Sunday and I like his chances on those golf courses over anyone else on that list.

Bacon: It's an interesting question, because the person has changed so many times.

Early in his career, it was his buddy Mark O'Meara (if you doubt that, remember, he won two majors in 1998, at a time when Woods finished T-8 and third at both, so O'Meara was his closest "rival").

That turned into David Duval, then Sergio Garcia, then Ernie Els, and then Vijay Singh.

Since Singh, we've seen Tiger go up against Phil Mickelson (not enough for my liking during their primes, but they battled) a few times and now we've got Rory McIlroy.

But Tiger's biggest rival? I would say it's "PGA Flavor of the Week." Why? Because the flavor of the week was who pushed Woods the hardest at majors.

Woods had to beat Bob May in a playoff that saw May pull off gritty shot after gritty shot, face off against Chris DiMarco twice, and lose to Rich Beem and Y.E. Yang at random majors. Shaun Micheel was Tiger's closest competitor at the '06 PGA, and Woody Austin finished two shots behind Woods at the '07 PGA.

And his biggest challenger ever? That Rocco Mediate performance at Torrey Pines, where Rocco basically went shot for shot against Tiger for 90 holes with Tiger eventually beating him on the 91st.

So to me, there isn't a singular player that Tiger has had epic battles against. No one name comes to mind when you think about the legacy of Tiger, more the long list of guys that have had epic weeks only to fall to Woods (or beat him, in the Beem-Yang cases).

I guess the only way we can really cement an answer here is for someone to throw a rubber snake at Tiger the next time he gets in a playoff at a major.

Bacon: Tom Watson made the British Open what it is for American fans, and he should be able to play in that tournament until he can't walk anymore, so yes, extend him an invite for as long as he wants to play.

That's the least you can do for a man with 5.5 Claret Jugs.

Bacon: According to Tiger's website, he will be at the Bridgestone, a tournament he's won eight times including last season. The week after is the PGA Championship, so starting next week we will get two straight weeks of Woods.

How can he make the Ryder Cup team? I think he just needs to show signs of improvement. Say Woods finishing in the top-20 at Firestone, and follows it up with a top-10 at Valhalla. That's a step in the right direction, and something that Tom Watson can look at and justify with a pick (the American team needs Tiger Woods on that team, if for nothing else, some interest in a watered-down USA team that is going up against a superstar squad of Europeans).

Watson has two years of play to see who he wants to take with his captain's picks, but I think Woods will be the most important of his selections, and if Tiger can show that his game is on the up-and-up these next two weeks, he has a chance to wear red, white and blue once again.

On the flip side, if he plays Firestone like he did in 2010, and then has another disappointing week at the PGA, I don't see how Watson can pick him for the team.

So, a lot riding on the next few weeks for Tiger, Watson and the entire Ryder Cup team for the United States.

Bacon: A fun question considering both won over the weekend. Rory, as we've mentioned already, is 25 with three major wins. Ko is just 17 and already has four LPGA wins (two as a pro). 

The issue, of course, is longevity, and I see McIlroy competing well into his 40s while a lot of the LPGA players don't tend to play as long professionally.

Also, Rory has three majors on Ko, and while she might be eight years younger, winning three by the time she is 25 would be quite the accomplishment.

For now, I'm going with McIlroy, but I think Ko is the type of special talent that can not only dominate the LPGA, but do it at a young age. The good news for golf fans is that we will have both in our lives for a long, long time. 

Bacon: Some of my best rounds ever have came when I made sure to distract myself between shots. Golf takes 4-5 hours, and staying in the zone for that long is nearly impossible, especially for someone that doesn't do it professionally.

I make sure to go through my routine during the shots, and I try to stay as focused as possible about the golf shot, but I also take time between shots to look around, chat with buddies, joke around and just take my mind off the game.

I also make sure to eat a lot during the round. I always take a bag of almonds, some beef jerky or even a turkey sandwich with me on the course. Getting hungry, and losing energy, is a quick way to let a good round go bad, so staying on top of your energy level is important (there is energy in beer, right?).