MIT driverless golf cart
MIT News Office via YouTube
In a recent test, MIT's autonomous golf carts were outfitted with computers, off-the-shelf laser rangefinders mounted at different heights and a camera.
 
From the sounds of things, companies like Google are making steady progress in developing cars that can get around just fine without drivers. For us golfers, though, the real quest is for self-driving golf carts, and there's good news on that front as well.
 
The smart kids at SMART – the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology – recently completed an experiment in which they outfitted golf carts with self-driving technology and tested them out in a large public garden in Singapore. According to the MIT News Office, the six-day test saw the autonomous vehicles ferry 500 tourists "around winding paths trafficked by pedestrians, bicyclists and," it noted, "the occasional monitor lizard."
 
The researchers also tested out an online booking system that allowed the tourists to schedule pickups and dropoffs at 10 different stations scattered around the garden, with the carts constantly rerouted to handle all the requests.
 
"We would like to use robot cars to make transportation available to everyone," said Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "The idea is, if you need a ride, you make a booking, maybe using your smartphone or maybe on the Internet, and the car just comes."
 
We have to note that this experiment didn't include any golf-related action, but it's not much of a stretch to envision the day when carts could pick golfers up at the clubhouse, roll right up to the first tee, and then move around the course with the players doing nothing more than telling the cart when and where to stop. With the right kind of sensors, the carts might even be able to help find wayward golf balls.
 
 
The autonomous golf carts were outfitted with computers, off-the-shelf laser rangefinders mounted at different heights and a camera and, the researchers said, they had to jockey for position on the garden's paths along with everyone else. The obstacle-collision system encountered only one difficulty – when a large, slow-moving monitor lizard crossed the path of one of the golf carts.
 
"It was this stop-and-go game over who's going to do what," said Rus.
 
"The cart was a joy to ride in," said Matt Mason, a professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, who served as a passenger during the trial. "It drove all over the place. It avoided all the obstacles we put in its path.  And it did it without a lot of intrusive machinery."
 
The SMART researchers will formally present a paper on their experiment this month at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. SMART is a collaboration between MIT and the National Research Foundation of Singapore, and includes lead researchers from both MIT and several Singaporean universities, chiefly the National University of Singapore and the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
 
Here's a brief video on the project:
 
 
MIT researchers making advances on self-driving golf carts
September 3, 2015 - 2:42pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy -- back to No. 1 in the world -- makes his first start this week since a 17th-place showing at the PGA Championship.

The PGA Tour travels to Norton, Mass., this week for the Deutsche Bank Championship -- the second leg of the FedExCup Playoffs at TPC Boston.

While the ultimate goal for any player in the field is to win this week, there will also be a lot of jockeying for position in the FedExCup standings. Only the top 70 players in the standings advance to the BMW Championship after this week.

All eyes will be on Jason Day. His win in the Barclays on Sunday equaled his third victory in his last four starts. He's red hot. Jordan Spieth is also back in action after a missed cut at Barclays and Rory McIlroy returns for the first time since the PGA Championship.

RELATED: Deutsche Bank Championship tee times | Wilcox withdraws after rental-car injury

Here are the five players to keep an eye on.

5. Brooks Koepka
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Waste Management Phoenix Open
Reason to watch: Up until last week's missed cut at the Barclays, Koepka has been one of the hottest players on Tour with five top-10 finishes in his last eight starts, including a T10 at the Open Championship and a T5 at the PGA Championship. Koepka is one of the brightest young stars playing on the PGA Tour today. Koepka begins this week at No. 16 in the FedExCup standings. He's also on the outside looking in when it comes to the Presidents Cup -- No. 19 in those standings. Koepka needs a big week.

4. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Winner of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and the Wells Fargo Championship
Reason to watch: McIlroy promised at the PGA Championship that he would not have returned from his ankle injury if he weren't ready to play. And, likely rusty, his 17th-place showing was more than respectable. Since then, he lost his No. 1 ranking to Jordan Spieth and then regained it when Spieth missed the cut at Barclays. I have to believe that competitive side of McIlroy is getting a little annoyed with all the attention Day and Spieth have -- deservedly -- been receiving lately. Look for McIlroy to make a statement at TPC Boston, where he won in 2012.

3. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won Sony Open in Hawaii and the Valero Texas Open
Reason to watch: After a blistering start to the PGA Tour season, Walker has cooled off in recent months. His best finish in six starts since a T2 at the AT&T Byron Nelson is a T21 at the Quicken Loans National. Even with the not-so-spectacular play of late, Walker enters this week No. 7 in the FedExCup standings. I expect him to turn a corner this week at TPC Boston where he tied for ninth a year ago.

2. Henrik Stenson
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Barclays
Reason to watch: Stenson -- winner of the 2013 FedExCup Playoffs -- is coming into this week off the strength of a second-place showing at the Barclays, which ties for his best performance this season. In 13 starts on the PGA Tour, he has yet to miss a cut and is currently No. 4 in the FedExCup standings. Stenson has a history of playing well at TPC Boston, having won in 2013. Furthermore, his four PGA Tour wins came in a World Golf Championship, the Players and two playoffs events. He steps his game up for the biggest tournaments of the season and this is one of them.

1. Jason Day
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
Won the Farmers Insurance Open, the RBC Canadian Open, PGA Championship and the Barclays
Reason to watch: Who would be crazy enough to bet about this guy right now? Day is on fire. The only thing he lacked prior to this season was the ability to close out a tournament. That's no longer an issue. Since winning his first major, it doesn't seem Day has any interest in putting it on cruise control. He's got the pedal to the metal. Oh, and at TPC Boston? He already has a runner-up finish and a tie for third. 

Here's how my five to watch fared at last week's Barclays:

5. Jason Day -- Won
4. Jordan Spieth -- Missed cut
3. Justin Rose -- T16
2. Matt Kuchar -- T39
1. Dustin Johnson -- T9

5 to watch at DB Championship
John Daly
USA Today Sports Images
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a big fan of John Daly's big golf swing.
 
I know we're all happy to see that John Daly appears to be okay after he collapsed on the course during a tournament last weekend. That most assuredly includes Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a big JD friend, fan and fellow Arkansas Razorback.
 
As it turns out, Jones was talking about Daly on the radio in Dallas last week, and touched on why he thinks Big John is so popular.
 
"I guess it's just obvious when you’ve been down and out seemingly as many times as John has been, then you just become endeared to your fans," Jones said on KRLD-FM, according to The Dallas Morning News. "And that's happened with John. And we all know no one's had more foibles or demonstrated more foibles than John … And so that's easy for me to identify with John."
 
Another reason Jones is so fond of Daly is their shared Arkansas roots. 
 
"On the other hand, I guess it's from that Dardanelle (Ark.) background in him that is really appealing to me as well," he explained. "I like the way he plays the game, I like the way he does life."
 
 
Jones also finds that Daly's distinctive golf swing says a lot about Daly's approach to life.
 
"I think it's indicative of what John is about," Jones said. "When he draws back and hits it, he curls all the way around, and he's got that big ol' belly, he goes completely around and that golf club seems to touch the other toe and he just unwinds and hits that little 'ol ball on the other side of that 360-degree arc. 
 
"Now that's impossible to do almost," Jones said. "He does it almost every time. But imagine the leverage. And that's the way he hits life, I think."
 
Daly is a huge Cowboys fan, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him at AT&T Stadium at some point this season. We're also hoping he'll be back out on the course as soon as he feels up to it.  
 
Daly is, by the way, 49, with his 50th birthday coming up at the end of next April. We can't wait to see him on the Champions Tour.
 
Jerry Jones likes the way John Daly approaches life
September 3, 2015 - 9:16am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Will Wilcox
USA Today Sports Images
Will Wilcox suffered a knee injury while entering his rental car. Because of the discomfort, Wilcox was forced to withdraw from the Deutsche Bank Championship.

Bizarre injuries happen -- Jesper Parnevik breaking a rib on a Segway; any number of professional athletes breaking ribs from sneezing; a severely sliced finger from cutting open a bagel (PGA Tour player Skip Kendall did that years ago); the list goes on.

But, a knee injury that forced PGA Tour player Will Wilcox to make the disappointing decision to withdraw from this week's Deutsche Bank Championship has got to be a first.

Wilcox injured himself while, get this, entering his rental car.

RELATED: Bleacher Report lists "The 50 Weirdest Injuries in Sports History"

Injuries are no laughing matter, so we certainly wish Wilcox the best for a swift recovery. But talk about bad luck.

The injury effectively ends Wilcox's 2014-15 season. He was No. 89 on the FedExCup points list headed into the Deutsche Bank Championship. Only the top 70 advance to the BMW Championship in two weeks.

Here's how Wilcox explained the injury on his personal website:

Injury and Deutsche Bank Withdrawl

On Monday morning of this week, I slammed my right knee into the dash of my rental car, which was set up much differently than my car, while getting in to drive to a fundraiser golf event outside of Atlanta.

After attempting to treat it myself with rest and ice, the pain and swelling continued. Over the past few days, I have sought out multiple medical opinions, including working with the training staff of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and also Dr. Scott Maughon, who is one of Atlanta's very best Sports Medicine and Orthopedic doctors, who were all nice enough to see me on such short notice. After appointments, X-Ray and a MRI we have found deep bruising to my patellar tendon, which explains the current pain and difficultly in applying weight to my right knee and leg.

After exploring the opinions and resources available to me, I am forced to withdraw from the Deutsche Bank Championship this week and as a result the remainder of the 2015 Fed Ex Cup playoffs. This was not an easy decision to make, but one I do with my best interests and future health in mind.

2015 has been a dream come true year. To start the year with conditional status and fight my way inside the Top 75 on the PGA Tour is something I am very proud of. I have had a lot of fun with all the fans at the events and on social media and can not thank everyone enough for the all the positive vibes and support they have shown me.

The 2015/2016 season will be here very soon. I am looking forward to getting 100% healthy, rested and prepared for full status on the PGA Tour for next season and beyond.

Thanks!

Will.
 

Wilcox withdraws from Deutsche Bank after rental-car injury
September 2, 2015 - 1:17pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Bryan Bros.
YouTube
You won't believe this shot by George Bryan.

The Bryan Bros. are fired up about college football season.

The trick-shot duo recently took a trip to Williams-Brice Stadium, home of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, to shoot one of their best videos to date.

RELATED: Meet the Bryan Brothers -- golf's trick-shot artists

Don't believe me? Check it out:

 

As impressive as Wesley's shots were with the football, George's wedge shot from the top of the press box and into a barrel on the 50-yardline is about as good as it gets.

The Bryan Bros. returned to Williams-Brice Stadium in their Garnet and Black in promotion of College Colors Day, which celebrates the start of the college football season, and is this Friday.

Bryan Bros. get you ready for college football season
The Solheim Cup
The 2015 Solheim Cup wil be played at the St. Leon-Rot Golf Club in Germany.

Solheim Cup (@SolheimCup2015) action gets underway Sept. 18 in St. Leon-Rot, Germany.

And if you're wondering how excited fans and players are look no further than social media.

From a musical ode to the Solheim Cup trophy to past winners reliving the glory, these are some of our favorite posts so far:

1. When Tiffany Joh (@tiffjo) posted this video. Another gem of a parody by the LPGA tour player. If you're not familiar with her skills, you won't regret clicking here.

 

 

 

 

2. That time Brittany Lincicome (@Brittany1golf) lounged with the Solheim Cup.

 

 

 

 

3. And the Ladies European Tour offered this shout out to the U.S. team (@Solheim_Cup).

 

 

4. This dog.

 

 

5. And this most excellent flashback from team USA's Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer)

 

 

#flashbackfriday #solheimcup #teamUSA

A photo posted by Paula Creamer Heath (@paulacreamer1) on

We'll be adding more as the countdown to the Solheim Cup continues. 

Fans, players take to social media for Solheim Cup prep
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