October 26, 2014 - 11:02am
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Mt. Fuji
Kirk Oguri/Twitter
Mount Fuji looms in the distance over the practice range at Kawaguchiko Country Club.

Let's face it: Golf courses are designed with natural aesthetics in mind. The whole idea of golf is to spend some hours away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and in a natural environment.

GORGEOUS GOLF: Grading the most scenic courses on PGA Tour

But even so, there are some places on Earth that just take your breath away. For example, Kirk Oguri shared this picture Sunday morning on Twitter.

 

 

It's got to be just a little hard to concentrate on your shot when every time you look up to follow the flight of the ball, you see Japan's iconic Mount Fuji in the distance. Not your typical driving range view, to be sure. And the rest of the course appears to be just as gorgeous.

In case you'd like to experience this for yourself, Kawaguchiko Country Club is located southwest of Tokyo -- and about 25 kilometers (roughly nine miles) from Fuji's summit, according to Google maps.

World's most beautiful range view?
October 26, 2014 - 9:02am
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Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson/Twitter
Bubba Watson and his family pose for a Halloween photo that will leave quite an impression on you.

Bubba Watson is a two-time Masters champion who isn't afraid to show his goofy side. Although in this case, it's more like Mickey Mouse.

Once you see this, it may be impossible to unsee it ever again.

BUBBA'S NEW BUDDY: Golfing prodigy Tommy Morrissey amazes the Masters champ

Watson tweeted a photo of his family's Halloween costumes -- and it's so cute, it's horrifying.

 

 

Yes, that's Watson in a Mickey Mouse outfit, complete with ears, red shorts and oversized hands. Just try to find a golf glove to fit those fingers.

And you thought Henrik Stenson's skull mask was the scariest thing you were going to see from a professional golfer this month. Not even close.

Happy Halloween from the Watsons
Will MacKenzie
Will MacKenzie prepares to hit what turns out to be a hole-in-one Saturday on the sixth hole in the McGladrey Classic.

This might be the least demonstrative hole-in-one in PGA Tour history, mainly because the ball disappeared so quickly into the cup that Will MacKenzie didn't realize it at first.

MCGLADREY CLASSIC: Russell Henley grabs midway lead

Watch and see for yourself:

 

 

The ace moved MacKenzie to the top of the leaderboard, which makes a good day on the golf course even better.

Watch: MacKenzie doesn't realize ball is in the hole
Jennifer Lopez
New York Daily News
Jennifer Lopez is set to close on a $22 million luxury Manhattan penthouse that features, among other things, a private putting green.

Sold: A $22 million four-bedroom, six-bathroom luxury Manhattan penthouse with 3,000 square feet of exterior space, including a private putting green -- because everybody knows it's hard to find practice facilities close by.

The buyer? According to a story this week in the New York Daily News, none other than Jennifer Lopez, who will now count among her close neighbors Chelsea Clinton and NASCAR's Jeff Gordon.

DREAM FOURSOMES: Celebrity golfers pick their playing partners

J. Lo has agreed to purchase one of four apartments in the Whitman Building on East 26th Street, north of Madison Square Garden.

From the story:

The building has a private gym and key-locked elevators with private landings.

All the apartments have custom kitchen cabinetry, wide plank rift oak floors, Italian marble slab bathrooms and smart home systems that allow residents to control lights, music and heating from their iPhones or iPads.

Hopefully, J.Lo will invite Beyonce over to practice, since she doesn't mind getting out on the course herself.

 

J. Lo's new Manhattan digs feature putting green
October 25, 2014 - 10:05am
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
Bubba Watson
Bubba Watson/YouTube
Bubba Watson shared a YouTube video of himself and 3-year-old golf prodigy Tommy.

In September, we shared with you the story of 3-year-old Tommy Morrissey, who is a burgeoning golf prodigy despite being born with only one arm.

FATHER AND SON OUTING: Bubba Watson takes Caleb to the course

Tommy's favorite golfer is Bubba Watson, who is now suitably impressed by Tommy's golfing abilities. On Friday, Watson posted this YouTube video of him watching Tommy hit one from the tee. 

 

 

Watson then tweeted this:

 

 

 

That's got to be pretty special -- not only meeting a two-time Masters winner, but earning his praise and respect in the process. Let's hope Tommy Morrissey goes a long way in this game.

 

Bubba has a new golfing buddy, 3-year-old Tommy Morrissey