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Michael Lucas
Michael Lucas was the head professional at a number of clubs, most recently at the now-closed Marsh Harbour.

Mark Mease didn’t let the fact that Michael Lucas wasn’t his biological dad prevent him from calling him his father. And he credits Lucas for life lessons that extend well beyond the golf course, highlighting what can also be a special relationship between a PGA Professional and a student. Even when related.

Lucas was Mease’s grandfather, but Mease called him dad “because he raised me,” Mease said. “My biological father was in the hospital for schizophrenia when I was growing up.”

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And when Lucas died Sept. 16 at the age of 75, Mease wanted to make sure the world knew more about Lucas’s lasting impact.

Lucas, a head professional at a number of golf clubs, most recently at the now-closed Marsh Harbour at Myrtle Beach, helped raise Mease from when he was 4 months old.

From that point on, Lucas taught Mease both life lessons and golf lessons. Sometimes the two mixed, other times they took the form of poetry -- one of Lucas’ favorite hobbies.

“He just taught me to never give up,” Mease said. “That was the main thing, just don’t give up. Keep trying and trying until you get it done.

“I remember being stuck in the sand trap for hours and hours on end because he wanted to make sure I got the right swing down while growing up.”

Possibly Lucas’ biggest impact came while Mease was at Paris Island for Marine boot camp. Lucas would send Mease letters and poems and Mease credited those for giving him the motivation to get through the tough times.

Mease kept everything that Lucas sent and recently came across a poem whose final lines brought a strong flood of emotions.

“When he passed away, I knew there was so much more to learn from him,” Mease said. “Every visit with him was him teaching me something new or a try-it-this-way kind of thing.”

That brought an end to a life that was filled with lessons, especially on the golf course. His father, Michael Lucas Sr., had been a professional golfer, and the junior Lucas soon adopted the game and was captain of the Furman University golf team in 1965.

After graduation, Lucas went on to be a professional golfer, and also became a PGA Professional.

However, a stroke in 2010 left Lucas paralyzed on the left side of his body and confined him to a wheelchair. At the time, Mease was serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Marines.

“I just remember talking to him one weekend and he didn’t sound normal but I didn’t know what was going on,” Mease said. “The next thing I know, I get an American Red Cross message saying he had a stroke.”

Though Lucas wasn’t physically able to play golf the final few years of his life, it did not diminish his love of the game.

In fact, at a ceremony after Lucas’ death, the Richard Campbell Veterans Nursing Home announced it would install a putting green and name it after Lucas.

“He carried the game of golf everywhere he went,” Mease said. “It didn’t matter who he saw, it was always the topic.”

Mease said that a brick at the World Golf Village Memorial Park in St. Augustine, Fla., would be dedicated in Lucas’ honor some time next month.

Although Lucas isn’t around to teach Mease any new life lessons, Mease said he was living every day to try and live up to Lucas’ lessons.

Plus, Mease’s 3-year-old son, Jayden, allows him to pass on Lucas’ lessons to the next generation.

“I’m hoping to instill in him the discipline and motivation as far as setting your mind to something and getting it done,” Mease said. “Just not giving up.”

November 6, 2014 - 12:14pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Jason Dufner
USA Today Sports Images
Jason Dufner was assessed a one-shot penalty on Thursday after instinctively picking his ball up out of the 18th fairway at the HSBC Champions.

Jason Dufner is in the field this week at the WGC-HSBC Champions. It's his second start in as many weeks -- his first two starts on the PGA Tour since being forced to withdraw with injury at the PGA Championship in August.

So, naturally, there was going to be a little rust.

Dufner had a respectable T26 last week in Malaysia at the CIMB Classic and is hoping to improve on that this week in Shanghai.

RELATED: WGC-HSBC Champions leaderboard | Trick shots with a stunt car | 2-year-old John Daly

On Thursday, however, Dufner was his own worst enemy. The rust was more of a mental variety than swing related.

Playing the back nine first, Dufner committed a big no-no from the 18th fairway when he bent over and picked up his golf ball. Almost instantly, he realized he'd made a mistake.

You see, last week in the CIMB Classic, the lift, clean and place rule was in effect. Dufner had a momentary brain lapse Thursday and thought he was playing under the same rules and instinctively picked up the ball. Oops.

"Just one of those things," Dufner told Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson.

The infraction meant a one-stroke penalty for Dufner, who shot an even-par 72 instead of a 1-under 71. 

November 6, 2014 - 10:18am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bryan Brothers
YouTube
In their latest trick-shot video, the Bryan Brothers get all Dukes of Hazzard on us.

Just when you think the Bryan Brothers have run out of ideas for incredible trick shots, they go and do something like this:

 

That's George Bryan tossing the ball from the car to brother Wesley who sends it into orbit.

Perhaps the most refreshing part of this video is that we finally got to see that George and Wesley don't nail it on the first take every time.

That said, when the pressure is on -- as in, "the engine of this car is going to blow up if we don't do it right this one last time" -- the showmen get the job done.

We wonder who's picking up the tab for the car repairs on that '69 Mustang. 

Bubba Watson
Getty Images
Bubba Watson says criticism from the media and people close to him makes him want to improve.
While the first round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai was being played Wednesday night here in the United States, I was reading through some of the pre-tournament player interviews. One that caught my attention was a Q-and-A with Bubba Watson and media official Royce Thompson that took a personal turn.
 
Thompson began by asking some typical questions about the tournament and Shanghai. Then – noting that Wednesday [the day of the interview] was Watson's 36th birthday – he asked the two-time Masters champion how close he thinks he's come to reaching his potential.
 
"I don't think I've come that close," Watson admitted. "I expect better from myself, but it comes down to the mental focus and getting over the bad shots or too high of expectations. 
 
"I believe I can perform at a better level," he continued. "I think I scratched the surface a little it last year, still had my hiccups, still had my bad moments, still had my bad press. … if I keep grinding away, I can improve a lot."
 
A couple questions later, the questioning returned to the topic, asking: "Is there any legitimate criticism that you're referring to [Watson's 'bad press' reference] and that you want to improve on or not?"
 
"Well, yeah, all of it," Watson said. "Any time that somebody writes bad press, the only way I'm going to improve as a human being, improve as a husband, improve as a dad, is when you get people that call you out. 
 
 
"When I make mistakes, when your friends call you out, when the media calls you out, when my wife calls me out, when my mom calls me out, when these people call you out and tell you you're doing something wrong, it's not to punish you or get on to you. It's about to help you improve later in life.
 
"So any time there's bad press where I show anger on a golf course, the media that calls me out and says something about it, that's the only way I'm going to improve. If everybody said I was great all the time, then I would never improve as a human being," he explained. "So I love it, I love that the media calls me out. I love when my friends call me out. My mom calls me out a lot, and I do love it. So that's the only way I'm going to get better as a person."
 
"You can't love it at the time," said the questioner.
 
"Well, I'm a human being, so I know when I do wrong," Watson said. "The Bible teaches us right from wrong, so I know. I'm a sinner. I mess up a lot."
 
What, then, does his mother get on him about?
 
"She tells me that I'm not being good (laughing). I need to smile more," Watson said. "I try to explain to her on the golf course I'm focused and not trying to smile and make everybody laugh. I'm trying to play good golf. She tells me I should smile more and not be so angry. Pretty much what the media says. I guess she could write for the media, too."
 
As one of golf's most high-profile players, Watson is in the spotlight – and thus subject to extra scrutiny – far more than most of his competitors. It's encouraging to learn that he's listening – to those closest to him as well as to his critics. 
 
Watson – like all the rest of us – shouldn't be expected to be perfect both on and off the course. He sounds sincere about wanting to keep improving both as a man and a golfer, and I give him credit for talking so openly about such a personal topic. It's not the kind of thing you usually hear in your routine pre-tournament interview.
 
November 5, 2014 - 5:40pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
John Daly
Jon Trunk
Is this the best John Daly Halloween costume ever?

OK, OK, OK. So, Halloween was nearly a week ago, but we didn't find the best golf-related costume until today.

Late is better than never, right? And trust us, the wait was totally worth it.

Meet Charlie Trunk. He's 2 years old. For Halloween, Charlie was dressed as John Daly, complete with Loudmouth pants (we didn't even know they came that small!), a fake cigarette and a blonde mullet. Charlie even brought his father, Jon, along to caddie.

Absolutely nailed it. Check it out:

 

We caught up with Charlie's dad to learn a little more about the costume -- and it turns out it was much more elaborate than what you see in the pictures.

RELATED: Haunted golf course stories | Golf and Halloween | Scariest shots

"It's important to note that some of the props were not pictured -- golf cart/stroller, diet coke, flagstick," Jon Trunk told us. "A good costume is all in the details. We got a big kick out of it though, and think it's hilarious other people noticed. Great story for Charlie's scrapbook."

Hard to believe, but this John Daly costume for 2-year-old Charlie might actually be the second best Halloween costume of his young life.

How's that possible, you ask? Well, he was Mike Ditka last year. Jon sent us the picture below for proof:

Wow.

Back to last Friday. So why John Daly?

"I played competitive golf through high school and still play as much as I can," Jon Trunk told us. "Although as life happens, I don't get out as much as I would like. Priorities change, in a good way. Anyway, Charlie is a very happy-go-lucky kid and is already big into sports. The first floor of our house is littered with bats, balls, clubs, you name it. For selfish reasons, I'm hoping he settles on golf. He's always been a big kid, off the charts height and weight, and has straight blonde hair -- although it was supplemented with a wig for the costume. Sticking with the sports theme from last year, we thought he could really pull off Big John, as much as a 2-year-old could without Family Services getting a call."

Jon concedes that he himself is a big Daly fan and has followed the two-time major champ's career "pretty closely."

We wondered, what was the reaction of people handing out candy when they saw the pint-sized Daly?

"There were some people that really got it, and others that I started to explain it to, eventually arriving at, 'Never mind, he's a professional golfer,'" Jon Trunk said. "Those that got it said we were the coolest parents ever. Lots of pictures and laughs."

In case you were wondering, Daly saw the photo. He loved it:

 

"I was cracking up," Jon Trunk said of the Daly tweet. "I ran upstairs and woke up my sleeping -- and pregnant -- wife to tell her. We thought of this outfit a while ago, but never intended to have anybody beyond friends and family see it, let alone the costume's inspiration. The beauty of social media!" 

November 5, 2014 - 9:56am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Hole-in-one
YouTube
A baseball player from the Melbourne Aces (seriously) makes an ace with a baseball bat.

So there's a baseball team in Australia called the "Melbourne Aces."

With a name like that, any golf fan would be a supporter of the team, right?

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It turns out the Aces resurfaced a video on Nov. 4 shot last July from a golf course, where former pitcher Cameron Forbes makes a hole-in-one on a par 3 using a baseball bat:

 

An ace for an Ace? Seems a little fishy to us. There have been a lot of impressive videos out there lately and a whole lot more conspiracy theorists.

We're calling fake on this video for a couple of reasons.

For starters -- the first shot hit the pin. You mean to tell us he hit the pin the first time and aced it the second time?

Second, we have a hard time believing that a golf ball coming off a baseball bat would land on the green as softly as this one did.

Finally... commonsense -- no way this is real, right?

h/t Golf News Net