October 14, 2016 - 8:57am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Morgan Hoffman
YouTube
There were plenty of fireworks during Thursday's first round of the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., but Morgan Hoffman's albatross on the par-5 18th hole from 251 yards away may have been the best.

The PGA Tour's 2016-17 season started off with a bang in Thursday's opening round of the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

Early in the day, rookie Jon Rahm aced the second hole of his round.

Later on, Morgan Hoffman recorded the first albatross of the new season with -- get this -- an iron from 251 yards out at the par-5 18th hole at Silverado (Hoffman's ninth hole of the day).

Here's the shot:

 

 

Three under in one hole? That will help you to make up some ground quickly.

Hoffman would go on to card a 3-under 69 that left him seven strokes behind first-round leader Scott Piercy, who opened with a course-record, 10-under 62.

So, on the first day of the new season we had an ace, an albatross and a course-record. I'd say that's an OK start. 

Safeway Open: Morgan Hoffman's albatross with an iron from 251 yards out
October 14, 2016 - 7:45am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
arnold palmer
@CarlsonNickJ on Twitter
Weeks after Arnold Palmer's death on Sept. 25, a Michigan golfer finally received a congratulatory note in the mail from the King that was sent just a couple of weeks before he passed on.

There's been a void in golf that will never be filled since Arnold Palmer left us on Sept. 25 at the age of 87.

But, we'll always have the memories -- and, for many, the priceless mementos.

No memento, however, might be cooler than the one Nick Carlson received last week.

Carlson, a 20-year-old Michigan golfer who made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur in August at Oakland Hills, was the recipient of one very special piece of mail (h/t ESPN.com): A three-paragraph letter from Palmer congratulating him on his play in the U.S. Amateur.

"Utter shock, really," Carlson told The Detroit News on Thursday. "Like, I never expected it. It's just something really cool and almost a priceless moment, in my opinion."

"Keep up the good playing. I wish you the very best in whatever pursuit you choose to follow in the future," wrote Palmer.

The letter was postmarked Sept. 8, 17 days before Palmer died, but didn't make it to Carlson until Oct. 7, as it was sent to the course where Carlson works and he hadn't yet been back there.

Carlson posted a photo of Palmer's letter to his Twitter account:

 

 

Understandably, Carlson told the Detroit News that he has since framed the letter.

Congratulatory note from Arnold Palmer makes it to Michigan golfer
October 13, 2016 - 1:11pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Andrew "Beef" Johnston
@apricewahoo on Twitter/USA Today Images
A 4-year-old from Virginia loves golfer Andrew "Beef" Johnston so much, that he's actually dressing like him to go trick-or-treating this Halloween.

How do you know you've made it as a cult hero in golf?

Well, I'm guessing one great indicator is probably when kids start dressing like you for Halloween.

That's exactly what's going on with a 4-year-old named Tate from Virginia, who will be trick-or-treating this year as England's Andrew "Beef" Johnston.

Check it out:

How great is that?

Beef liked it too:

This little guy isn't just throwing on the costume for Halloween, either. Check out the birthday cake he had for his fourth birthday:

Love it all.

But, when it comes to golf-themed Halloween costumes for kids, Little John Daly remains my all-time favorite.

Adorable kid going as pint-sized Andrew 'Beef' Johnston for Halloween
October 13, 2016 - 9:05am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Aaron Fricke
@Drexelgolf on Twitter
Thanks to the help of a tractor's headlight, Drexel golfer Aaron Fricke chipped in during a sudden-death playoff on Tuesday to lead his team to a victory in the La Salle Explorer Match Play Championship.

A little over a month ago, a UC Davis golfer finished his round in the dark thanks to the assistance of teammates and fellow competitors shining the flashlight from their respective cellphones on the green.

A similar situation unfolded on Tuesday for Drexel's Aaron Fricke (h/t Golf Digest).

This instance was a touch more dramatic.

With Drexel tied 2.5-2.5 in its match against Fairleigh Dickinson in the La Salle Explorer Match Play Championship, Fricke was selected by his coach to go back out for a sudden-death playoff to decide the match.

Darkness set in quickly.

Fricke needed the help of a tractor's headlight to play his chip shot from behind the green of the par 4.

That's when this happened:

Virtually no light? No problem.

Pretty cool way to end a match, no?

Fricke got the Vine treatment after the chip in:

Tractor headlight guides Drexel golfer to sudden-death chip in
October 12, 2016 - 2:48pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Steph Curry, Harold Varner III
@PGATOUR on Twitter
During Wednesday's pro-am at the Safeway Open in Napa, Calif., PGA Tour player Harold Varner III nailed a long basketball shot seconds after NBA superstar Steph Curry failed to even hit the backboard with his attempt.

Steph Curry is the most prolific three-point shooter in the NBA today. He's also one heck of a golfer.

On Wednesday, Curry was participating in the Safeway Open Pro-Am out in Napa, Calif., playing alongside Harold Varner III.

At various holes along the Silverado Resort layout, there were basketball hoops set up for when Curry and other of his Warriors teammates came through.

On one such hole, Curry and Varner were just off a green -- way downtown -- attempting to shoot to basket against a hospitality tent which looked to be the equivalent of a half-court shot away.

Curry tried first and didn't even hit the backboard.

An announcer said, "We might be here a while."

Just seconds after those words left her lips, Varner went ahead and did this:

What a shot! And with Curry standing right there, no less.

Great moment for Varner, but I still like Curry's chances in a game of H-O-R-S-E. 

Harold Varner III out-hoops Steph Curry
October 11, 2016 - 1:18pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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hero challenge
@EuropeanTour
Ahead of the British Masters this week on the European Tour, some stars are taking part in the "Hero Challenge" on Tuesday night -- a one-of-a-kind golf competition played at night and under the lights.

The British Masters is being played this week on the European Tour.

But, before the tournament proper starts, there's a fun event featuring the likes of Luke Donald, Andy Sullivan, Andrew "Beef" Johnston, Shane Lowry and some celebrities, including Piers Morgan -- it's golf under the lights for the Hero Challenge.

Taking place Tuesday evening, European Tour stars will go head-to-head in the fast-paced, one-hole knockout contest, in the dark, under floodlights.

Eight players in all will take part in the challenge, consisting of "seven quick-fire head-to-head straight knockout matches, the last man standing will be crowned champion, with the entire contest concluded in less than an hour," according to the European Tour.

Here's what it will all look like:

 

Night golf on the European Tour