Apr 17

Web.com Tour player rips into Nick Faldo for taking a spot at the RBC Heritage

In golf, unlike any sport out there, fans long to watch their veterans. Sure, baseball and football and basketball and hockey retire numbers and jerseys, but there isn't a yearning to actually see the old guys play against the young guys. At least not like there is in the game of golf.

We love the idea of a 50-year-old winning the Masters, or a veteran coming in and making a cut on his last leg, forgetting about all the young players out there simply just asking for that one chance to prove their worth.

This issue came up at this week's PGA Tour stop, the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head. Nick Faldo was extended an invite because he's a past winner, taking this title as his first ever win on the PGA Tour back in 1984. Faldo, fresh off his broadcasting duties at the Masters, accepted the invite and opened with a 6-over 77, currently tied for last place at the event.

This didn't go over well with one Web.com Tour player, Josh Broadaway, who took to Twitter to show his disgust for a 56-year-old taking up a spot in a PGA Tour event where plenty of other names are just trying to earn checks and keep their dream alive.

Here was what Broadaway had to say on Twitter.

The argument here can go one of two ways, but before you make a decision, I want you to see what Faldo said in his press conference before the tournament began.

"Preparation is slim.  I'm doing everything on — all on fond memories at the moment, trying to gear myself up a little bit as a golfer.  But between my TV schedule and other things, it's kind of like start preparation on a Monday," Faldo said, continuing later with this. "I probably practice one percent compared to what I used to practice ..."

And on his goals for this week?

"The best goal is to make the cut.  That would be‑‑ that requires an awful lot of good, consistent golf.  That's the intention."

Now, there are obviously two arguments here. The first is simple: Faldo is a past champion who has been a staple in golf for decades and should be able to play in any event he wants to play, especially if he won that event in the past.

This isn't a wrong argument. This is fair and true and if someone wants to sit on this side of the fence I wouldn't think it was a bad decision.

My point on all of this has been and will continue to be this: Golf is a "catch lightening in a bottle" sport. I've seen guys qualify for Web.com events on Monday, keep the momentum going and win that week, changing their lives forever. We've seen plenty of Web.com players have great weeks on the PGA Tour, even winning, and making their dream a reality in just four short days.

But more than all that, you are limiting the chances of a professional golfer by bringing someone in that doesn't really have a chance of competing. Faldo being there is great for some, because he's a name that might draw a few people to watch and over the weekend he will be able to give us in depth points about the golf course, how it's playing and what to expect from each player on the holes coming in.

But is that what we want? Is that a better story than "Web.com player gets in as last alternate and goes on to win?" Did everyone forget about John Daly at Crooked Stick?

My problem with this is it's a curtain call for Faldo, not a great act. We want to see the action before we can cheer, and taking a spot away from someone like Hudson Swafford, the first alternate at the Heritage who sits 137th on the money list, could mean the difference in him playing professional golf next year (the top 125 players on the PGA Tour money list qualify for a tour card the next year) and him trying to figure out which insurance to hawk.

More than any sport out there, golf is a game of opportunity. The greats make it themselves, but the guys that are "just good enough" to hang around the tour for years and years are those guys that got the breaks. They got the invite to this tournament or that, or they were allowed in an event that they didn't expect to play. That is how these guys advance up the golf food chain, and how they can make a career for themselves.

Giving that spot to Faldo, who already has it all and hasn't made a cut on the PGA Tour since 2006 doesn't seem fair to the idea of the sport.

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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

Apr 16

The Players Championship moves to a three-hole playoff

It's been known for years as the unofficial fifth major of the year, and the Players Championship made a move on Wednesday that will make it seem even more like a major starting this season.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced that the Players would move to a three-hole playoff format starting this year, meaning if the Players Championship is tied after 72 holes, it won't just be sudden death like every other non-major PGA Tour event.

The holes will be 16-18, meaning the three most famous holes at TPC Sawgrass will be on display in a playoff if it comes down to that, and it makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

In previous years we've seen players go directly to the par-3 17th if there was a playoff, which is obviously one of the most iconic holes in golf but not necessarily the most fair to play once with this huge title on the line. Now, with a par-5 before and a par-4 after, it will allow players a loose swing without it dooming their chances at the huge Players purse.

The Players joins the PGA Championship with their three-hole playoff idea. The British Open plays a four-hole playoff, the U.S. Open goes 18 holes on Monday if the tournament is tied and the Masters remains the only major that plays their extra holes in a sudden death format.

Apr 15

Bubba Watson left a sweet tip at the Waffle House, Steak n’ Shake

Bubba Watson hit the Waffle House after winning the Masters. You already know this. But further details of his post-green-jacket journey are beginning to seep out, and they verify the fact that Watson is most definitely the people's choice among golfers.

The Augusta Chronicle is reporting that Watson hit an Augusta Steak & Shake for shakes around midnight, then followed that up with the Waffle House visit. (His order: double grilled cheese and scattered and covered hash browns.)

According to the Chronicle's sources, Watson left a $24 tip at Steak & Shake and a $148 tip at the Waffle House. Generous, but then again, he'd just won $1.6 million a few miles up the road. He can probably afford it.

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

Apr 15

John Daly hits a golf ball teed up in a woman’s mouth

John Daly might be 10 years removed from his last PGA Tour win, but that hasn't stopped him from making the headlines.

After posting a 90 earlier this year on the PGA Tour, Daly spoke before the Masters about how he was sworn off alcohol and uses Diet Coke as a means to avoid drinking.

And he also does stuff like this video below, where a woman (I'm assuming it's one of the two women he tagged in his tweet) allowed Daly to swing a full driver with the ball teed up in her mouth.

The video is incredible, her reaction is exactly what it should be, and John Daly continues to be John Daly, no matter the circumstance.

Apr 15

Report: Joe Buck and Greg Norman will be the featured broadcasting group for the 2015 U.S. Open

The 2014 U.S. Open is just two months away, but with NBC having the second major championship of the year for the last time, we are already looking ahead at what Fox is planning to do when they debut their golf coverage in 2015.

The latest announcement is an interesting one, as sources are telling Sports Business Journal that Joe Buck and Greg Norman will be the featured broadcasting group when the network turns to golf.

Norman, a two-time major champion, never won the U.S. Open, but competed in it 19 times, finishing second in 1984 and 1995. Buck, the man that seems to do it all for Fox, has never broadcasted golf but is apparently a scratch golfer who seems to be versatile enough to do just about anything the network asks.

The team is definitely going to be a different feel from what we've come to expect from the NBC team. Johnny Miller, who can get under viewer's skin at times with his pointed comments and thoughts back to his own accomplishments, is one of the most knowledgeable golf announcers out there, and Dan Hicks always seems to handle himself as a professional and do a solid job in the booth on the 18th.

Buck and Norman will be a new team broadcasting the second biggest golf tournament of the entire year on a golf course that has never hosted the U.S. Open, so if nothing else, it will be a debut for all involved when the golf world turns to Chambers Bay in 14 months.

Apr 15

The Bacon Mailbag: Bubba’s green jacket count, Spieth’s future and lefty-proofing Augusta National

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 and we will try to get to it in the coming weeks. Here we go ...

Bacon: It's quite remarkable how Augusta National plays into certain player's hands. It's a golf course that has history, sure, but it seems to also pick favorites. We've seen Jack Nicklaus dominate there, Arnold Palmer have major success at Augusta and then random names like Nick Faldo and Ben Crenshaw, who just seem to understand what it takes to play well, and play consistent, at Augusta National.

Bubba Watson seems like the guy of this generation to "get" this golf course. He already has two green jackets in just six career starts at Augusta National, and at the age of 35, still has a full decade of being competitive and hitting the ball a country mile (sometimes, literally).

So, I'm putting the over/under on green jackets at 3.5, and I'm taking the under. I think Bubba will win one more Masters for sure, getting in some seriously elite company with just eight other players that have won this tournament three or more times.

The reason I don't see four in his future is simply because only Nicklaus, Palmer and Tiger Woods have been able to accomplish that feat. I think history will play against Bubba if and when he gets to three green jackets, and landing that fourth will be the hardest of them all for him.

If I had to pick anyone right now to get a fourth green jacket, I would go Phil over Bubba just because I think Mickelson has a better chance of being in contention every year at this tournament until he turns 50 (and possibly well after that).

Of course, a lot of this depends on the next mailbag question we will tackle.

Bacon: If we know one thing about the green jackets of Augusta, it's that they don't like when their golf course gets made to look silly.

Tiger Woods did that in 1997 with bombing drives and no rough and the club immediately went to lengths to make the course tougher for that type of player (at that time, there was only one, and his name was Tiger). Sure, Woods went on to win three more green jackets over the next eight years, but since then he has left with exactly zero coats and a lot of disappointments.

That tee shot Bubba hit on the 13th might be something the club replays over and over again when thinking about ways to eliminate that type of domination.

Bubba's driver was absolutely on fire all weekend at Augusta, and he really left a lot of shots out there on the par-5s considering where he kept hitting his tee ball, especially on the 13th and 15th.

The only thing I could see the club doing is adding some trees just off the right of some of the tee boxes. That seems like the best way to eliminate a guy aiming right and swinging out of his shoes, but even that might not stop a guy like Bubba, who will just aim a little further left and try to hit it a little straighter.

Distance is king in this game, and unless you can raise some of those trees left of the 13th fairway and get them to grow a few feet before next April, I don't see a lot of things you can do for a guy that is flying his drives 320 yards, all in the air.

Bacon: I have a few thoughts on Jordan Spieth and what we should be making of his early success, his play at Augusta and just his overall potential in this game.

First, Spieth is an incredible talent, and we should all be excited about his future, especially considering the lack of young Americans that actually seem like the type of player that can win multiple major titles.

That said, Spieth is still just 20 years old, has played in exactly four major championships as a professional and has already contended in one.

Learning how to close on the PGA Tour is a skill. It isn't just Spieth that struggles with this, we've seen Rory McIlroy blow leads, Adam Scott let them slip away, and just about every golfer on tour this season either get the lead and lose it or make a run and fall short at the end (just look at Matt Kuchar's last three weeks).

The expectations for Spieth are so loud right now it's hard to hear anything else, but we need to remember that just because he isn't putting on the green jacket at 20, the week wasn't a disappointment. Spieth will learn how to close out tournaments just like some of the greats learned how to close them out. The problem with our society today is that we want SO BAD the next big thing in every sport.

"Is Spieth the next Tiger?" "Is Rory the next Jack?!" "Could Ryo Ishikawa win the career Grand Slam?!"

Tiger fooled us into thinking that winning major championships was easy if you're young and talented and hit the ball far. But just look at the current world rankings and see how many of those names don't even have a single major title in their trophy case.

Spieth is great, and will be great for the game, but he's still young and at times shows it on the golf course. If you're buying stock in a golfer right now, Spieth is the guy to invest in, but even if it takes him two or three years to win his first major championship, that is totally fine and still miles ahead of most of the big names on tour not named Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy.

Bacon: I got a couple of versions of this questions after Sunday and was a tad confused by it.

Did Augusta National really play that tough for people, or was it the simple fact that nothing really happened on the back nine on Sunday that left fans unfulfilled? The winning score by Watson was 8-under, which to me represents a perfect Masters.

I'm not a fan of the Masters when the winnings core is 15 or 16 under, and I didn't really enjoy seeing Zach Johnson come in at 1-over and claim the green jacket. But to me, 8-under is a very respectable score for a champion, especially considering the course did play tougher this week than it has in the past couple of years.

I do wish that the club had softened the greens a little for Sunday, because that seemed to be the biggest factor in scoring, but the course didn't play impossible and allowed people to go out and post a number if they played solid golf (Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 66 on Saturday, and Joost Luiten came in with 67 on Sunday, so the scores were out there).

My perfect winning score for each major goes like this; Masters -9, U.S. Open E, British Open -6, and the PGA -11. So, the Masters was just a shot off that number, which to me means a success. I don't want people thinking just because nobody made a charge on Sunday that something was wrong with the golf course. It was just as simple as nobody really getting anything going that had a chance to catch Bubba Watson, and that was that.

Bacon: For me it has improved all big moments on television about 4,000 percent.

One of the things that I think Twitter has helped with is simply allowing you to feel like you're hanging around a lot of people that enjoy or think the same way as you as you're watching something you enjoy. The reason Twitter makes this possible? Because you get to pick and choose who you follow, what style they have, and who is going to be watching and enjoying something the same way you would.

When I watch the Oscars, I love Twitter because the comedians I follow usually are on their A game. I could say the same for the NBA playoffs, as NBA Twitter is probably the best out there. And for golf, it's great because not only am I enjoying being a part of the major championship twitter scene, but I'm getting feedback, comments and jokes from people I've never met but feel like I could enjoy a cold beer with them even though I've never met 80 percent of the people I'm interacting with.

We don't always get the chance to be with our best buds when the Super Bowl is going on, but social media has allowed us to interact and enjoy moments like that with "friends" we've picked for one reason or another. That's what makes it so cool to me.

Bacon: For full disclosure, I was between Rory McIlroy and Bubba as my pick last week for the Masters, eventually going with McIlroy because I will never pick a major championship winner correctly as long as I live.

But, since we are here, I figured I'll give you my major championship predictions since we are months away and they will change 400 times as we approach each major.

I'm going with Sergio Garcia at Pinehurst (why not?!), Tiger Woods if he's healthy at Hoylake, and Dustin Johnson at the PGA Championship.