Brian Harman and Jay Hatch
Courtesy of the John Deere Classic
High school coach Jay Hatch "was like a true pro" in his stint as a pinch-caddie on Thursday at the John Deere Classic, said co-leader Brian Harman.
Jay Hatch started his day on Thursday watching a little golf at the John Deere Classic. He ended it as a Quad Cities celebrity after an unexpected stint as a caddie for co-leader Brian Harman.
 
Harman was cruising along at 2 under through six holes when his caddie, Scott Tway, who had been feeling poorly overnight, couldn't continue. 
 
"I called a medic over and Scottie said he was going to have to sit out at least a couple holes," Harman said after posting a first-round 63 – his best score of the year by two shots. "Jay was standing there and said, 'I'll do it. I'll keep up.' " 
 
Hatch grabbed the bag, and did more than keep up. He helped Harman go 6 under on his final 12 holes and finish the day tied fore the lead with Zach Johnson and Rory Sabbatini.
 
Hatch, it turns out, is a coach at Alleman High School in nearby Davenport, Iowa, whose teams have won three girls' state softball titles and one girls' state basketball crown. 
 
"I don't know how athletic it was, but it was sure cool," said Hatch, who towered over the 5-foot-7 Harman. "I always wanted to be inside the ropes to see what it looked like from there. You know that commercial where they say 'These guys are good?' They are way, way better than that."
 
Hatch, who also plays some recreational golf, told Harman, "I can carry your bag if you don't need any help reading putts." Harman also checked his own yardages for the rest of the round.
 
Afterward, Harman was thrilled with the performance of his surprise substitute.
 
"My man Jay came out and did a really good job. He was like a true pro out there," said Harman, who vowed to send Hatch a check for his effort. Hatch, however, quickly declined the offer, and Tway is expected to be back on the bag on Friday afternoon for Harman's second round.
 
Fan fills in as emergency caddie for John Deere co-leader Brian Harman
July 10, 2014 - 11:55am
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T.J. Auclair
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Philip Lutzenkirchen, Jason Dufner
@JasonDufner/Twitter
Philip Lutzenkirchen, a former star tight end at Auburn University, died in a car accident on June 29. PGA Champion Jason Dufner is remembering his fellow Auburn Tiger with a patch on his golf bag.

PGA Champion and Auburn alum Jason Dufner had a special patch added to his golf bag for next week's Open Championship.

The orange patch with the No. 43 stitched in blue is in remembrance of Philip Lutzenkirchen, who wore No. 43 for Auburn.

Lutzenkirchen, 23, a member of Auburn's 2010 national championship-winning football team, died in a car accident June 29 outside La Grange, Ga.

Lutzenkirchen played tight end at Auburn and was one of the best in the school's history at that position. He holds the school record for most touchdown catches by a tight end with 14, is second in total receptions with 59 and third in receiving yards with 628.

On the day of the tragic accident, Dufner tweeted this picture with Lutzenkirchen:

Dufner pays tribute to fellow Auburn Tiger
July 10, 2014 - 10:31am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy hit a drive in the first round of the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen on Thursday that nearly covered the length of four-and-a-half football fields.

Links golf is sometimes referred to as a ground game. And, based on the bounces, understandably so. If you really, really crush a drive that finds the fairway, it can be like pounding a drive on a tarmac.

That's precisely what Rory McIlroy did on Thursday at Royal Aberdeen in the first round of the Scottish Open.

On the same hole that Phil Mickelson made that wild birdie from the cart path -- No. 13 -- McIlroy smashed a drive that found its way on to the green on the 436-yard hole.

Watch:

That's nearly four-and-a-half football fields with one swing!

McIlroy would two-putt for birdie. He finished the round with a course record 7-under 64 to take the early clubhouse lead.

Not a bad start for McIlroy with a coveted major on the docket for next week. 

McIlroy crushes 436-yard drive at Scottish Open
July 10, 2014 - 8:21am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
europeantour.com
As he often does, Phil Mickelson wowed fans with a spectacular shot at the Scottish Open on Thursday to set up a birdie.

Some might argue that the degree of difficulty of a shot from a cart path isn't all that bad. I'm not one of those people.

Sure, the ball is lying perfectly and all, but if you chunk a shot from a paved cart path there's no give. Instead of creating a divot, you're likely creating two broken wrists and a severely damaged club.

Unless you're someone like Phil Mickelson.

WATCH: Jesper Parnevik breaks rib while messing around on Segway

In the first round of the Scottish Open on Thursday, Mickelson's tee shot on the par-4 13th hole at Royal Aberdeen came to rest on a cart path within a few feet of an outhouse.

Mickelson took out a wedge and proceeded to do what you'd expect him too -- hit a beautiful shot into the green with a ton of spin to within a few feet of the hole to set up a ho-hum birdie.

Was it as impressive as the backwards flop shot he hit in a practice round the other day? Probably not. But it was still pretty cool.

Mickelson, defending champion of the Scottish Open, finished with a 3-under 68. 

Cart path shot sets up birdie for Mickelson at Scottish open
James Nitties
Web.com Tour via Twitter
James Nitties raised his Mustache Madness game with his "Mo-tach" – a thick black ribbon that wraps almost completely around his head and winds up in a Mohawk.
James Nitties didn't just enter the annual Mustache Madness contest at the Utah Championship this week. He went all in.
 
Nitties – who also won the title in 2012 – faced off against 13 of his fellow Web.com Tour challengers. But, really, none of them had a chance as he raised his game with his "Mo-tach" – a thick black ribbon that wraps almost completely around his head and winds up in a Mohawk.
 
"This is inspired by the fact everyone keeps asking me what I'm going to do to top what I previously did" I 2012," Nitties said. "So I figured the best thing a man could do is destroy his haircut and his personal life in the going."
 
 
Not surprising given its complexity, creating the astonishing accoutrement was a two-person job. Nitties got a barber to shave in the Mohawk and shape up his actual facial hair, and I can't help but wonder if she put a picture of it up on her wall.
 
No word on how long Nitties will do the 'do. But I suspect he'll be extra-glad to don his cap for the first round on Thursday.
 
You can read a full wrap-up of the event and see more jaw-dropping photos on PGATour.com.
 
James Nitties wins mustache contest with hilarious, frightening creation
July 9, 2014 - 10:53am
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T.J. Auclair
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Jesper Parnevik
Instagram
Strange injuries are nothing new for professional athletes. But this one suffered by Jesper Parnevik was a good time gone wrong... and caught on tape.

We've all heard of strange sports injuries. Stuff like a pitcher breaking a rib sneezing. A golfer cutting himself while intending to cut a bagel. A kicker in the NFL blowing out a knee after celebrating a successful field goal... the list goes on.

Heck, our friends at Bleacher Report have a list of 50 of them here.

Well, add golfer Jesper Parnevik to the list.

While injuries are no laughing matter, the Swedish golfer -- a five-time PGA Tour winner and a four-time European Tour winner -- had a laugh at his own expense on Twitter.

Not only did Parnevik suffer a broken rib, but to add insult to injury, the incident was caught on video. As you'll see, he was messing around on a Segway.

Segway injuries to golfers are nothing new. Remember late last year when Brandt Snedeker suffered a bruised tibia and a strained ACL in his left knee after a Segway accident in China?

 

And, for Parnevik, this isn't the first strange injury. Back in 2012, he nearly severed his right, index finger when he caught his hand in a motorized boat winch that required surgery and months of rehabilitation. His career was in jeopardy.

But, funny man that Parnevik is, he made light of that situation too, pulling a prank on a poor reporter who interviewed Parnevik about what had happened. Parnevik reenacted the accident... literally (see the video below).

 

Video: Jesper Parnevik breaks rib in freak accident