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
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
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
July 9, 2014 - 9:41am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Zach Johnson
USA Today Sports Images
It's hard not to like Zach Johnson at the John Deere Classic. He's a former winner and always seems to be in the mix.

The PGA Tour is in Silvis, Ill., this week for the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run. It's the final event on Tour before next week's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Though it's the week before a major and a long way from England, many of the top players on Tour, including Zach Johnson and Jordan Spieth, are in the field.

Johnson and Spieth are both past champions at John Deere. In fact, Spieth outlasted Johnson in a playoff there just last year. You're going to want to keep an eye on those two players as well as a few others this week.

RELATED: John Deere Classic tee times | Photos from John Deere | July reader photos

5. Ryan Moore
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the CIMB Classic
Reason to watch: Moore has been steady pretty much all season long, racking up 10 top-25 finishes in 17 starts. His latest effort was a tie for fifth at the Travelers Championship. His best finish at the John Deere Classic was a tie for eighth in 2012. I just feel like he's been playing well, contending regularly and that trend will continue this week.

4. Harris English
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba
Reason to watch: In his lone John Deere Classic start, English tied for 15th a year ago. He has seven top-10 finishes this season, including a tie for seventh at the Travelers Championship in his last start. English won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba back in November, which was part of the new wraparound schedule. After that T15 in Silvis last year, English finished T15 the following week at the Open Championship and then T14 in his next start -- the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. To me, it looks like there's something about this time of the year on the Tour schedule that fancies English. We'll see if that plays out again this time around at TPC Deere Run.

3. Zach Johnson
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T6 at the Memorial Tournament
Reason to watch: Johnson has said many times before -- this is his fifth major. The former Masters champ is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, less than 100 miles from Silvis, Ill. This is his PGA Tour "home game." Johnson counts the 2012 John Deere Classic among his 11 PGA Tour wins. He also came up short in a playoff a year ago, tied for third in 2011 and tied for second in 2009. You have to go all the way back to March for Johnson's last top-10 finish on Tour. He's keen to change that this week -- especially before heading over to England for the Open next week.

2. Steve Stricker
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T6 at the Memorial Tournament
Reason to watch: Stricker is taking heat this week from some in the golf industry for his decision to withdraw from next week's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool. It's the second year in a row that Stricker -- who has been playing a "limited schedule" -- has decided to take a pass on the game's oldest major. With that, he's playing the John Deere Classic this week, an event that he won three consecutive years beginning in 2009. He tied for 10th in the tournament a year ago. When it comes to "horses for courses" few fit the bill quite like Stricker at TPC Deere Run. Plus, he'd like to give everyone something else to talk about.

1. Jordan Spieth
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Second at Hyundai Tournament of Champions and T2 at the Masters
Reason to watch: Spieth's lone PGA Tour win came at this very tournament one year ago in dramatic fashion. He holed a bunker shot on the 72nd hole (which he successfully recreated recently) to earn a spot in a playoff before outlasting David Hearn and Zach Johnson. Since then, it seems Spieth has done everything but win on the PGA Tour. In 19 starts this season, Spieth has finished in the top-25 on 15 occasions, including six top 10s. It's only a matter of time before Spieth wins again, so why not this week where he's the defending champ.

 

2014 John Deere Classic | Five players to watch
July 8, 2014 - 10:17am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Phil Mickelson
Facebook
Many argue that Phil Mickelson possesses the most imaginative short game in golf history. This is one of those reasons.

There's a video making the rounds on social media this morning of Phil Mickelson playing a flop shot backwards that's pretty amazing.

A flop shot backwards? Yes. The pin is behind Mickelson and -- aiming away from the hole -- he takes a mighty swing, the ball sails over his head (backwards) and settles within a few feet of the cup.

The video is said to have been shot on Monday at Royal Aberdeen where Mickelson was taking in a practice round before defending his title in this week's Scottish Open.

Here it is:

 

We've seen Mickelson hit this shot many times before. Very cool, but not as cool as this one from his instructional video:

Come on, Phil. Seriously?

 

Mickelson's backwards flop shot