October 11, 2014 - 8:19am
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Michelle Wie
We send along birthday wishes to Michelle Wie, who turns 25 today.

It's been one heck of a year for Michelle Wie. From snapping a four-year winless drought in her native Hawaii earlier this season to becoming U.S. Open champion, Wie's had a season to dream about.

Hopefully, she'll make another wish today as she celebrates her 25th birthday.

Wie was born Oct. 11, 1989, in Honolulu. According to her website, she began playing golf at age 4 and soon was hitting the ball more than 100 yards.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: A gallery of Michelle Wie photos 

At 10, Wie became the youngest qualifier ever at the USGA Women's Amateur Public Links Championship. Three years later, she became the youngest player ever to make the cut at an LPGA Tour event, when she finished in the top 10 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Wie graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a degree in communications, which was not at all surprising, given that her grandfather, Dr. Sang Kyu Wie, had been a visiting professor, and her aunt and uncle also had advanced degrees from The Farm.

Her love of Stanford sports is well-documented:

As is her love of painting:

She showed off her artistic skills earlier this year with a video capture. Watch her paint a work of art in 15 seconds here.

So happy birthday, Michelle. All the best.

 

Happy 25th birthday, Michelle Wie
Billy Hurley
Billy Hurley III gets congratulations all around after his hole-in-one Friday at Silverado.

It was a good news-bad news day Friday for Billy Hurley III at the Frys.com Open. The bad news? He shot a second-round 74 to miss the cut by one stroke. The good news? He made a shot worthy of ESPN's Play of the Day.

Watch and listen:

 

 

Hurley used a 6-iron from 182 yards out at No. 15.  After he realized the video clip of his ace made the ESPN broadcast, Hurley tweeted this:

 

 

There were two holes-in-one Friday at the PGA Tour's first stop of the season. Moments after Hurley's ace, Mark Hubbard -- making his first Tour appearance as a member -- did the same thing with a 5-iron at the 198-yard seventh hole.

It's the second ace of the year for Hubbard, who had one on the Web.com Tour earlier in the year. It was the highlight of a second-round 65, which left him tied for fourth, two shots behind leader Martin Laird.

Watch Billy Hurley's slam-dunk ace at Silverado
Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker/Twitter
Steve Stricker went up to the top of the Camp Randall Stadium scoreboard Saturday morning to practice.

Why is Steve Stricker swinging a golf club from on top of a scoreboard at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. this morning?

Check out this tweet:

Here's the explanation, from the University of Wisconsin athletic department. It has to do with an awesome promotion that could win a lucky fan to VIP Wanamaker Club tickets to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

2015 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP: Order your tickets for Whistling Straits now

"At halftime, Stricker will hit three balls in his attempt to land a 135-yard shot onto the Motion W at midfield from the videoboard platform above Section K. If he is successful, Bob Beggs of Fitchburg will win two VIP Wanamaker Club tickets to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Beggs was selected at random from thousands who registered to win the contest."

Stricker is a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour and a three-time member of the U.S. Ryder Cup Team. And he's a Wisconsin native, hence the Badger-PGA connection.

PLAY AT THE PLATE: Jason Dufner tees off at Miller Park

Should be fun to watch, and glad Strick's belted in with a safety harness before he tries to belt one.

Stricker set to try shot from stadium scoreboard
October 9, 2014 - 12:37pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Nicolas Colsaerts
USA Today Sports Images
Nicolas Colsaerts was a mere inches from recording the first official score of 59 on the European Tour Thursday.

Golf is a game of inches.

Today, no one knows that better than Nicolas Colsaerts.

Colsaerts, known as "The Belgian Bomber" for his massive drives, fired the 17th score of 60 (11 under) in the European Tour's history on Thursday in the first round of the Portugal Masters.

He was "thisclose" to the European Tour's first ever score of 59.

Click here to see Colsaerts 18-foot birdie try on the final hole just miss the cup.

That was close, no doubt. But not nearly as cruel as what happened to Phil Mickelson with his putt for 59 at the 2013 Waste Management Open. Remember this putt?

Back to Colsaerts and his flawless scorecard. With four, front-nine birdies, Colsaerts went out in 31. The back nine was extra special, as Colsaerts shot a 7-under 29, which included three consecutive birdies beginning on No. 10 followed by eagles on the par-4 15th hole and par-5 17th hole.

Last December at the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa, Jorge Campillo and Colin Nel both recorded 59s, but they were deemed "unofficial" because they were playing lift, clean and place.

Colsaerts falls inches short of a 59
October 8, 2014 - 10:26am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jason Dufner
@aduf99 on Instagram
While Jason Dufner has been nursing a neck injury, he's taken to the catwalk and serving up pizza.

The last time we saw 2013 PGA Champion Jason Dufner, he was unfortunately forced to withdraw from his title defense in the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla due to bulging discs in his neck.

"I'll play golf again when I'm healthy," Dufner said after that withdrawal. "That could be at The Barclays, that could be next year, that could be 2016. I refuse to be out here and not be healthy and not give myself a chance to be competitive."

Here's to hoping Dufner is on the mend...

... And thanks to his wife, Amanda, and more specifically her Instagram account, we've gotten a little peek at what Duf has been up to lately.

Last week, he, Amanda and their dog -- Prince Louie -- were walking the runway as models at a charity event. Check out a cleaned up Dufner strolling the catwalk:

 

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Our runway debut last night for EAMC fundraiser Wine women and shoes. Great event for a great cause. #dufners

View on Instagram

Nice haircut!

And then, just last night, Duf was making pizza:

 

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A big thank you for #unclemaddiospizza and everyone who came out tonight to support the @jasondufnerfoundation. #pizzapros #slingingdatdough

View on Instagram

Nice to see Duf having some fun. Hopefully we'll see him back on the golf course soon.

h/t Chris Chaney at www.wrongfairway.com 

Jason Dufner: Major champion, runway model, pizza maker
October 8, 2014 - 7:02am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Jimmy Walker
USA Today Sports Images
Jimmy Walker's win at the Frys.com Open in 2013 was the first of three wins on the season. How will he fare in 2014-15?

We hope you didn't blink. If you did, you missed the PGA Tour's offseason.

After a three-week break at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season-ending Tour Championship, the new 2014-15 season is already upon us. The PGA Tour is in Napa, Calif., this week for the season-opening Frys.com Open at Silverado.

Jimmy Walker returns to the event as the defending champion, but his defense will come at a new venue. Walker won the 2013 tournament at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif. This week's event at Silverado marks the first time the PGA Tour has stopped at the Napa resort since the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic way back in 1980.

RELATED: Tee times | Lyle Monday qualifies | Ryder Cup Captain selection under review

Here's a look at five players to watch this week:

5. Derek Fathauer
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: If you don't know this name already, it's one you might want to get familiar with. Fathauer recently won the Web.com Tour Championship to finish first in earnings in that Tour's finals. Previously, Fathauer played the 2009 season on the PGA Tour, missing the cut 16 times in 25 starts, cracking the top 25 just once. He should be much better prepared this time around, coming off a strong season on the Web.com Tour where he racked up eight top-10 finishes in 23 starts. Three of those came in his last four events played. Can he ride that momentum into this week?

4. Kevin Streelman
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: A well-rested Streelman will be making his first start on Tour since the beginning of September. It had to be a welcome break for the two-time Tour winner, who had the chance to spend some quality time at home with his wife and the couple's infant daughter. After going through a bit of a slump in which he missed the cut in four consecutive starts, Streelman snapped out of it in a big way by winning the Travelers Championship in June. That win was truly a season-saver for Streelman. He had just two top-10 finishes all season. He's long been one of the more accurate drivers of the ball on Tour. If he can improve in the greens in regulation category (he ranked No. 137 last season), expect a much more consistent season.

3. Matt Kuchar
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: Annually one of the most consistent players on the PGA Tour, I expect more of the same from Kuchar for 2014-15. Along with winning the RBC Heritage in 2014 -- his seventh win on the PGA Tour -- Kuchar also added 10 other top-10 finishes. Kuchar is a player who just doesn't make any huge mistakes, evidenced by his 69.416 scoring average last season, which was fifth-best on Tour.

2. Brooks Koepka
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: Koepka made 12 of 16 cuts on the PGA Tour in 2013-14, with two top-10s as a non-member. He earned enough non-member FedExCup points/money during the season to achieve Special Temporary Membership. With a top-125 finish on the non-member FedExCup points list, Koepka earned his Tour card for the 2014-15 season. His best finish on the PGA Tour was his third-place showing at last year's Frys.com Open. Koepka is a four-time winner on Europe's Challenge Tour.

1. Jimmy Walker
Best finish in 2014-15 season:
First start
Reason to watch: It'll be hard to top the 2013-14 season for Walker, who won three times starting with the Frys.com Open. He also finished among the top-10 in three of the four majors and earned his way onto the U.S. Ryder Cup team. "Walker" is a name that has gotten very familiar with the first page of leaderboards over the last 12 months. That won't change in 2014-15. 

2014 Frys.com Open | Five players to watch