Apr 17

Jordan Spieth backs up tired 74 with stunning 62 at Harbour Town

Oh, come on.

A day after Masters champion Jordan Spieth looked deservedly tired and sluggish in shooting 3-over 74 in the first round of the RBC Heritage, the 21-year-old came back early on Friday and shot 9-under 62 at Harbour Town Golf Links to get into contention on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Spieth made nine birdies in the round, not dropping a shot. The Texan birdied the 10th hole, his first of the day, then made eight birdies in the final 14 holes of the round to go from the cut line to the first page of the leaderboard. 

On the back nine, Spieth made five birdies, with four of them coming on putts of 7 feet or less. At the par-4 eighth, his 17th hole of the day, Spieth made a 41-foot chip for birdie. 

The round ties his PGA Tour career low.

Spieth now has the afternoon session to wait to see the final leading number, but he now has a chance to become the first player to win the Masters and Heritage in back-to-back weeks since Bernhard Langer in 1985.


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

Apr 17

Jacksonville Jags mascot touches down to win charity par-3 contest

Golfers typically wear goofy clothes, by choice, on the course. They also typically don't play very well. So imagine how the average hacker might do playing in a mascot costume. 

Well, Curtis Dvorak, the guy who plays Jacksonville Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville, managed to win $10,000 for charity winning a closest-to-the-pin contest -- while wearing the costume he wears during Jags home games.

Dvorak squared off against 14 other challengers, including former touring players, in the 17th Hole Charity Challenge at TPC Sawgrass on Wednesday. He won the contest with a shot to the island-green par 3 that landed just 4 feet, 9 inches from the hole -- again, in costume. Former PGA Tour player Bob Duval came in second at 6 feet, 4 inches. 

With the win, Dvorak scored a $10,000 donation to the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, which helps families with children facing cancer.

In Round 2, Web.come Tour player Jeff Klauk won to earn $5,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. Klauk had battled seizures since 2006, undergoing a series of procedures in 2012 to help combat the issue. He returned to competition later in 2012.

Then, on top of beating everyone who wasn't wearing a hot, bulky costume, Dvorak then hit a drive from his knees onto the green.

Holy cow. I want that guy in my club scramble.


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

Apr 17

U.S. Open to allow mobile phones for the first time

The USGA is loosening up. They'll allow fans to bring their mobile phones to the U.S. Open for the first time in June.

The governing body announced the change Thursday, detailing specifically the types of devices allowed:

"Spectators may carry mobile devices smaller than 7 inches in length and/or height, including cellphones, smartphones and PDAs. All device volume controls must be set to silent or vibrate at all times."

Your tablet is a no-go.

Fans will be able to use their phones for calls and other needs in four designated zones at Chambers Bay in Washington, which will host the U.S. Open for the first time. The USGA will also offer an improved U.S. Open app with content for fans attending the event. 

However, fans will still be prohibited from using their cameras to take photo, video or stream the event on championship days (Thursday-Sunday). We're looking at you, Periscope and Meerkat users.


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

Apr 16

The 19th Hole Golf Show: Masters review with Paul McGinley

With the Masters behind us, we turned to one of golf's most enjoyable voices to review Jordan Spieth's record-setting win. Paul McGinley, winning 2014 Ryder Cup captain, joined the show to talk about Jordan Spieth's approach to the Masters and how he took control of the event. The Irishman also shared his views on how Rory McIlroy turned around his Masters in the final 45 holes, as well how Justin Rose did in standing toe-to-toe with Spieth.

McGinley also spoke about the Windsor beachfront community in Florida, where he was doing a post-Masters exhibition, including the important takeaways for amateurs and what he hopes people learn from him when he talks golf.

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


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

Apr 16

Get on the path to having Jordan Spieth’s mental edge

Before every shot, Masters champion Jordan Spieth does the same thing.

He stands behind the ball and identifies where he wants his ball to go. Then he takes a few soft practice swings to simulate the motion he needs to produce his desired shot shape. He faces the target line, one foot slightly ahead of the other, envisions the shot in his mind and steps in to swing.

It's a process that allows him to think through every aspect of a shot and free him up to execute. It's also the envy of his peers.

"His composure is Bernhard Langer-like, which is incredible for 21," said 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogivly to Golf.com. "That's his x-factor."

Developing a pre-shout routine, like Spieth has, is great for your game, too. Unfortunately, an overwhelming number of golfers don't have such a routine, and it costs them strokes.

Dr. Michael Lardon can help. He's worked with a number of top professionals, including five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, to improve their mental approach to the game. He has a system that he calls the Mental Pre-Shot, that encourages players to think through a three-step process before each shot: figuring out the distance, intended shot and the dangers; feeling what the shot is like, either through visualization or practice strokes; and finally executing the shot without a thought in your brain. 

"The problem for the average player," Lardon said in an interview, "is that they don't have a caddie to walk them through the process."

Lardon emphasizes the need for a physical trigger that reminds the brain that it's time to execute. That could be touching the cap, taking a breath or whatever makes you feel comfortable. Lardon believes a device like Game Golf, a game-tracking product which requires a player to tap a sensor to a device kept on your belt before each shot, could serve as not only a trigger, but deliver other benefits in the way of data and analysis into your game.

It's a simple thing to learn, but takes a long time to master and to fully integrate into your approach. However, once you learn how to do it and make it a part of each shot, it doesn't take a lot of time and can really help you throughout your round. Even if you can't pull of shots like Jordan Spieth, you can at least learn to think your way around the golf course somewhat like the Masters champion.


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

Apr 16

Watch the supercut of Jordan Spieth talking to his ball at the Masters

If you didn't know anything about Jordan Spieth heading into the Masters, the one thing that probably became very apparent -- other than his talent -- is that he likes to talk to his golf ball. A lot.

It was inevitable, then, that someone would put together a supercut of all the times CBS and ESPN cameras caught audio of Spieth talking to his ball en route to a four-shot, record-breaking Augusta National win. That's precisely what Michael Murphy did, and it's wonderful.

The chatter was a pretty even mix of asking the ball to "go hard" or land softly. Every once in a while, he lamented an off-line drive with a very simple "Oh no."

Hopefully this video will convince our friends in TV to let Spieth do his own color commentary when he plays.


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

Apr 16

Tiger’s agent: Woods’ wrist ‘fine’ after Masters injury

Tiger Woods is feeling "fine" just days after he injured his wrist in the final round of the Masters.

Woods' agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN.com that the 14-time major champion is healing well after Woods hit a tree root with his approach shot from the pine straw off the fairway at the par-4 ninth at Augusta National.

It's unclear if Woods had a medical professional look evaluate the injury. Woods was clearly in pain immediately after hitting the shot, as well for several holes after the stinger. Following the round, Woods told CBS that a bone in his hand or wrist popped out of place and he had to pop it back in to continue playing. 

Woods also said after the Masters that he wouldn't compete again "for a while." He won't be eligible for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship, which is limited to the top 64 players in the Official World Golf Ranking as of Monday. Woods is 101st in the world.

Woods is expected to compete in The Players Championship the following week. He's the 2013 champion there. If he keeps a typical schedule leading into an expected U.S. Open appearance in June, Woods will then play the Memorial in Ohio as his final tournament before heading to Chambers Bay .


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

Apr 16

AT&T pays tribute to Jordan Spieth’s Masters win with new ad

If you're in your 30s or older, then seven years probably doesn't seem like a long time.

However, for new Masters champion Jordan Spieth, seven years is one-third of his life. It covers a lot of ground.

That journey from being a 14-year-old kid with dreams of Augusta National to being a record-breaking green-jacket winner is documented briefly in a new ad released by Spieth sponsor AT&T.

The telecom giant, which signed Spieth in 2014 and put its logo on his bag in February, used some footage of a 14-year-old Spieth speaking to a Dallas TV station about his goal of winning the Masters to spin forward to his four-shot win. Few people know the work Spieth put in over those seven years, but the fruits of the labor are now obvious.


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

Apr 15

Jordan Spieth’s handwritten scholarship Thank you note details his Masters goal

If Jordan Spieth hadn't already won you over with his Masters performance last week, then this should.

Dallas Morning News reporter Barry Horn tweeted a picture Tuesday of a handwritten thank-you note Spieth wrote while a junior at Jesuit High School in Dallas to the Murphy family, which provided him a scholarship.

In the note, Spieth talks about the value of Jesuit's work-study program that gave the Texan the opportunity to work to earn the gifted money to pay for high school. He then goes on to talk about his accomplishments, including being the top-ranked junior amateur at the time. Eight months later, Spieth would finish T-16 in the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Spieth also shares his ultimate goal: "My dream is to play professionally and win the Masters."

The Murphy family has to take a lot of pride in the small role they played in helping Spieth achieve his dreams at the ripe old age of 21.


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