October 24, 2014 - 9:49am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Payne Stewart
PGA of America
Payne Stewart at the 1999 Ryder Cup, one month before his death.

It's hard to believe, but Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of the tragic passing of one of golf's most charismatic figures, Payne Stewart.

Stewart, an 11-time PGA Tour winner and three-time major champion, perished in a LearJet plane accident on Oct. 25, 1999, when the cabin lost pressure. All on board died of hypoxia -- a condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply.

The plane, still on auto-pilot, crashed in a field in Mina, S.D., when it eventually ran out of fuel. Stewart's agents Robert Fraley and Van Ardan, and pilots Michael Kling and Stephanie Bellegarrigue, along with Bruce Borland, a highly regarded golf course architect with the Jack Nicklaus design company, also perished.

Stewart was 42 at the time of his death. He was just four months removed from what would prove to be his final major championship victory, the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, an incredible tournament where Stewart outlasted a then-majorless Phil Mickelson.

Watch highlights from that '99 U.S. Open here:

The plane incident happened just one month -- nearly to the day -- after Stewart was part of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that mounted a then record-setting, final day, come from behind victory in the 1999 matches at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

That was Stewart's last public appearance and, if ever there was an everlasting way to remember someone, that was it.

Stewart had always been known for two things -- his distinctive clothing (plus-fours and tam-o-shanter hat) and his intensity. Before those 1999 Ryder Cup matches, Stewart mixed things up a bit when he suggested that based on the strength of the European team -- or perceived lack thereof -- they should be caddying for the U.S. team not playing against them.

Harsh, no doubt, but that was Stewart's personality. He loved dishing it out, but also had a heart the size of the Wanamaker Trophy that he won in the 1989 PGA Championship.

In his Sunday singles match, Stewart displayed the type of sportsmanship he'll forever be remembered for. His opponent Colin Montgomerie was having a horrible week with the Boston galleries heckling his every move. With the Ryder Cup already secured late that afternoon for the Americans, Stewart picked up Montgomerie's golf ball on the 18th hole and conceded the match out of courtesy.

It was mature, it was classy, it was the right thing to do. It exemplified the person Payne Stewart had come to be.

During the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, Rickie Fowler paid homage to Stewart with his clothing for the first round:

The rememberance by Fowler proved to be good karma. He tied for second at the U.S. Open.

Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champ, also paid tribute to Stewart to Pinehurst back in June. After holing his final putt, Rose gave the famous fist in the air reaction Stewart gave when his winning putt dropped in 1999. You can see video of it here:

To understand just how long Stewart has been gone, here are a few things that have happened since he left us far too early:

- Tiger Woods had just two major championships on his resume before Stewart's passing. Woods has had 12 since.

- Phil Mickelson, major-less before Stewart's passing, has won five of them since.

- Woods (2000, 2002 and 2008) and Retief Goosen (2001, 2004) joined Stewart, Willie Anderson, Alex Smith, John McDermott, Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, Ralph Guldahl, Ben Hogan, Cary Middlecoff, Julius Boros, Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Andy North, Hale Irwin, Curtis Strange, Ernie Els and Lee Janzen as the only winners of multiple U.S. Opens.

- Seven Ryder Cups have been played. The U.S. has gone 1-6 over that time, with the lone victory coming in 2008 at Valhalla, when Stewart's dear friend, Paul Azinger, was the U.S. captain.

- And, for the younger crowd, Twitter, Facebook, iPhones, iPods and blogs didn't even exist until well after 1999.

Stewart has been missed and will continue to be missed. Unfortunately, we'll never have the chance to see him captain a U.S. Ryder Cup team -- something that surely would have come to fruition.

Though he passed so young, Stewart left us with so many great on-course memories.

Even still, it's hard to believe it's been 15 years.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
 

Remembering Payne Stewart 15 years after his tragic death
Bill Murray and Ellen DeGeneres
The "Ellen" Show via YouTube
If Bill Murray forgets who gave him these golf pants, all he has to do is look at them.
Bill Murray has been making the TV talk show rounds in recent weeks to promote his new movie, "St. Vincent." And while the movie doesn't have a golf theme, golf is always on Murray's mind.
 
So it wasn't a surprise that, when Murray dropped by the "Ellen" show, host Ellen DeGeneres wanted to talk a little golf. Well, make that golf fashion.
 
"One of the things I love about the game is they have the greatest clothes," DeGeneres said. "And you have some really interesting pants."
 
So, Ellen continued, she got Murray some pants to wear the next time he teed it up. And when she pulled them out of a shopping bag, they were – standard-looking gray slacks, with pictures of Ellen's smiling face stuck all over them.
 
 
Murray got up and tried on the pants – pulling them over the typically tacky pair he wore on the show.
 
"Normally I wouldn't have a pair of pants on underneath these pants," he explained. "But I don't trust myself with this crowd."
 
So when might we see Murray sporting these slacks out on the links? The first round at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am next spring might be a good bet.
 
Here's a clip of Murray and DeGeneres. The golf portion begins about 1:30 in:
 
 
Bill Murray gets golf pants from Ellen DeGeneres
October 23, 2014 - 10:40am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Lewis Black
Pinehurst Resort/Instagram
Comedian Lewis Black is known for being the king of rants. On a recent visit to Pinehurst No. 2, Black had a lot to say about golf.

Lewis Black, a Grammy-winning comedian, loves his golf like the rest of it.

Black, however, is realistic about his abilities and doesn't take his game too seriously.

Our friend, Alex Podlogar, Media Relations Manager for Pinehurst Resort, passed along an email this morning with a few videos of Black during a recent Pinehurst visit.

Black was at Pinehurst as part of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Ultimate Golf Experience.

Here, Lewis talks about the worst kinds of golfers:

In this clip, Lewis talks about his own on-course meltdowns:

Finally, Lewis hilariously rants about Pinehurst No. 2's incredibly difficult greens:

Comedian Lewis Black talks Pinehurst No. 2
October 23, 2014 - 10:03am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Putt
YouTube
It might be hard to imagine a 3-foot putt going down as the best holed putt you've ever seen. This one, however, might be just that. Check out where this guy is aiming.

It's hard to imagine calling a holed 3-foot putt the most incredible putt you've ever seen.

However, folks, this birdie putt on the ninth hole at The Golf House Club, Elie, in Fife, Scotland, is just that.

Don't believe us? Feast your eyes on this:

Is this guy kidding?

Yes, we know special effects are an amazing thing these days, but at no point in this particular video could we find an instance where an edit may have occurred (unless our eyes are deceiving us).

That was both the longest and best 3-footer we've ever watched.

h/t Golf News Net 

This is the most insane 3-foot putt you'll ever see
October 23, 2014 - 9:34am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tom Watson
Twitter
From left to right, actor Paul Rudd, Tom Watson, former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt.

Tom Watson, 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, took in Game 2 of the World Series last night to support his beloved Kansas City Royals.

Watson, a longtime Royals fan through thick and thin, was donning a Royals hat and jacket. He took this photo with actor Paul Rudd, former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt:

Watson had to be happy with Wednesday night's outcome, as the Royals knotted the World Series 1-1 with the San Francisco Giants.

Here's an excerpt from Watson's February 2014 Captain's Blog, where he wrote about the Royals before the season even started:

Lastly, being a big fan of baseball and the Kansas City Royals, I'm excited that Spring Training is here. I'm going to Spring Training again this year in Surprise, Ariz., to see the Royals on my way out to the Toshiba Classic in California.

I'm interested in seeing a young pitcher the Royals have named Yordano Ventura. He was invited to Spring Training last year and got called up to the Royals in September. Ned Yost, the Royals manager, said that an umpire came up to him after one of Ventura's outings and asked, "Who is this guy?" He's been known to get his fastball up around 102-103 mph. He's also got a big hook that he can control. He could be the pitcher of the future for the Royals and might even start this year. He's a player to watch and one I'm looking forward to seeing.

I hope the Royals can improve on their 86-76 season last year as the playoffs are but a distant memory. Go blue.

Ventura turned out to be pretty darned good. He led the Royals with a 3.20 ERA in the regular season with a 14-10 record.

And, as Watson hoped, the Royals improved on the 2013 record, going 89-73 with a chance to win the World Series for the first time since 1985.

Tom Watson takes in Game 2 of World Series
October 23, 2014 - 8:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Chi Chi Rodriguez
Getty Images
World Golf Hall of Famer Chi Chi Rodriguez turns 79 years old today.

World Golf Hall of Famer and world-class swordsman (with a golf club, that is) Chi Chi Rodriguez is celebrating his 79th birthday today.

Fast forward to the 1:30 mark below to see the famous sword dance:

Rodriguez, a proud Puerto Rican, turned professional in 1960. Always a colorful character, Rodriguez also had a lot of flash with his game. He was an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour and racked up 22 victories on the Champions Tour, including the 1987 Senior PGA Championship.

More recently, you may remember a Rodriguez blooper, where he took the "Big Break" glass break challenge and, well, it backfired with an unfortunate ricochet.

Chi Chi Rodriguez celebrates 79th birthday