August 21, 2014 - 9:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Tony Gil
Youth Summer Olympic Games
The Youth Summer Olympic Games are going on in Nanjing, China, this week. That's where 16-year-old Tony Gil from Canada hit a shot he'll remember for the rest of his life.

The Youth Olympic Games are underway in China right now and during the first round of the Youth Olympic Men's Individual Stroke Play Competition at Zhongshan International Golf Club on Tuesday, there was a very special moment.

Tony Gil, a 16-year-old from Canada, aced the 164-yard, par-3 third hole.

It was the first hole-in-one made in an Olympic competition and also the first of Gil's career.

You can see video of Gil's ace here:

Pretty nice to have it captured on video, eh?

"It was a bit humid today so I used a 7-iron," Gil said after his opening round of 3-under 69. "I knew I'd hit it close but didn't know it was in until I went to the green and saw the ball in the hole."

It was only after the round that Gil realised he had made a little bit of history with the first hole-in-one in an Olympic competition.

"Oh really? That's very cool. It was actually the first hole-in-one in my career too!" he said.

The competition ended on Thursday. Gil finished in 22nd place.

Click here for the final results

Watch: Canada's Gil, 16, makes hole-in-one at Youth Olympic Games
August 20, 2014 - 12:53pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Chris Condon/PGA Tour
On Wednesday (Aug. 20) at The Barclays in Paramus, N.J., seven members of the 2014 United States Ryder Cup Team accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Captain Tom Watson. Pictured from left to right: Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson and Jimmy Walker.

U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson took part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in memory of his late friend and longtime caddie, Bruce Edwards, on Monday (click here to see the video).

Watson then called out the nine automatic qualifiers of the U.S. Team to take the challenge.

Well, on Wednesday, seven of the players accepted the challenge together -- a stunt organized by Jimmy Walker.

ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGES: Tom Watson | Tiger & Rory | Former President George W. Bush

Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bubba Watson and Walker all gathered at Ridgewood Country Club -- site of this week's Barclays -- to complete the challenge.

Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar were the only players not there, but Mickelson's caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay, helped other caddies douse the players in attendance with the ice cold water which came from buckets bearing each player's last name.

It was quite the scene too. While most of the players were dressed as if they'd just walked off the course, that wasn't the case for Johnson and Watson.

Johnson looked like he had just stepped out of the gym in a t-shirt and shorts, while a shirtless Watson looked like... well, a shirtless Watson.

Here's the video:

 

 

The European Ryder Cup team is on the clock.

Together, U.S. Ryder Cup Team accepts ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
August 20, 2014 - 11:11am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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George W. Bush
Facebook
Rory McIlroy called out former President George W. Bush to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Here's the video of Bush accepting the challenge.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy joined forces on Tuesday to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It was a big hit.

As is customary, the star golfers also nominated others to take part in the challenge.

One of McIlroy's nominations was former President George W. Bush, or, as McIlroy called him in the video, "a.k.a. 43."

Well, "43" -- a huge golf fan -- stepped up in a big way. Check out his video, accepting the challenge, here:

 
Former President George W. Bush accepts Rory McIlroy's challenge
August 20, 2014 - 8:59am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Bubba Watson
USA Today Sports Images
Bubba Watson realizes he made a lot of mistakes during the PGA Championship two weeks ago and is taking accountability for his actions.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson drew plenty of criticism for something he didn't do at the PGA Championship two weeks ago and a few of things he did do.

First, the thing he didn't do. He chose not to take part in the PGA Championship's revitalized long-drive competition that was held during the Tuesday practice round on the par-5 10th hole at Valhalla.

Watson -- the longest hitter in the game -- protested the competition by electing to hit an iron off the tee instead of the driver he would use in competition.

RELATED: Five players to watch at Barclays | Tee times | Photos | Kuchar's back

As for the things he did do, well, that boiled down to Watson's attitude on the course.

A couple of tantrums that included audible curses, complaints about rain water collecting on his clubface, which he says influenced shots and also having caddie Ted Scott place a tee in the ground for him so Watson could stay under his umbrella.

Watson was taken to task by many, but none more so than veteran journalist Dave Kindred in this piece for Golf Digest.

The day after Kindred's sharply critical column, he met face-to-face with Watson to explain what he'd written. Rather than get upset, Watson took the criticism to heart and thanked Kindred, saying, "I need to be held accountable."

Watson reiterated that point with writers at The Barclays on Tuesday.

In a piece filed by GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel, Watson talked about the fallout from his actions at the PGA Championship:

"Not competing in the Long Drive was the first mistake," Watson said. "That was the selfish part, because I didn’t agree with it, but there's a lot of things that I don't agree with that I do."

Watson continued.

"Then you look at it from my attitude on the golf course. Because I want something so bad, that's not the reason to do that. You still just bite your tongue and compete at a high level, don't show emotion. I take it overboard because I want something so bad. I want to be considered a great player. I want to win golf tournaments and I've got to learn on that.

"And then my language was not good. That's a different topic and childish again. It's all childish stuff and trying to mature and become a better man. Obviously, I take it on the chin. It was my fault. Everything's my fault and I should be bigger and stronger and better than that."

In Sobel's piece, Watson explained that he did do something right at the PGA Championship, aside from making the cut. After finishing his final round, the rain picked up significantly at Valhalla. A fan asked Watson if he could have his umbrella.

"I was like, 'you know what, that's a good question.' So I just gave it to him. I was like, 'I'm done. You need it more than I do.'"

And that wasn't it for the post-PGA Championship good deeds. Watson's on-course treatment of his caddie has also drawn criticism over the years. To his credit, Scott seems to understand Watson better than most. Watson clearly recognizes that and surprised Scott and his wife with a nice bonus for a successful year.

Scott tweeted out the gifts this week:

Watson wants to be held accountable for actions at PGA Championship
August 20, 2014 - 8:08am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Rory McIlroy
USA Today Sports Images
Rory McIlroy is looking to make it four wins in as many starts this week at The Barclays.

Playoffs? Did you say "playoffs?"

Yes. Yes, we did. The PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup begin this week with the Barclays at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J.

Adam Scott returns to the tournament as the defending champion, but the venue is different. Scott's victory a year ago came at Liberty National.

The Barclays field consist of the top 125 players in the season-long FedExCup points race. At the conclusion of the Barclays, only the top 100 will advance to next week's Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston.

RELATED: Barclays tee times | Photos | McIlroy, Woods complete Ice Bucket Challenge

Along with trying to advance to play another week, many U.S. players will be doing everything they can with only two weeks left to impress U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson and be considered as a Captain's Pick.

Here are five players you'll want to keep an eye on this week.

5. Matt Kuchar
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the RBC Heritage
Reason to watch: One of the best and most consistent players on Tour for the last several years, it's strange to label Kuchar a "bold pick" this week, but in a sense that's what he is. This is Kuchar's first start since withdrawing from the PGA Championship due to a back injury. He claims the back is 100 percent and the ailment was the result of looking everywhere for a slip and slide for his children and sitting in traffic for over an hour. Anyway, the reason for the consideration is this: Kuchar won the Barclays in 2010, the last tie it was contested at Ridgewood. On top of that, he's had top-10 finishes in half of his 20 starts this season, including the win at the RBC Heritage and a playoff loss at the Shell Houston Open. Kuchar is as steady as they come.

4. Ryan Moore
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the CIMB Classic
Reason to watch: It's down to the nitty gritty for Moore, who finished No. 11 in the U.S. Ryder Cup points standings. Heck, you may even want to pencil that in as No. 10, seeing as the man who was ahead of him -- Jason Dufner -- seemed skeptical about a return to golf anytime soon as he deals with bulging discs in his neck. Moore has turned it on of late with four top-12 finishes in his last five starts. He's going to need one really nice start in these last two events before Watson makes his picks to be seriously considered. He missed the cut at Ridgewood in 2010, but did record a T10 at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2011 and 2012. So, perhaps picking Moore next week would be the wiser decision, but I think he'll shine this week. The former U.S. Amateur champ and two-time U.S. Publinks champ wants to be on this Ryder Cup team.

3. Adam Scott
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Crowne Plaza Invitational
Reason to watch: OK, so Scott's season isn't going to blow anyone away given the one win, but trust me -- he's had a super 2014 campaign with eight top-10 finishes in just 13 starts. He also finished in the top 15 at each of the four majors. Sure, a player like Scott expects to win more often than he has this season, but you can say he hasn't put himself in position plenty of times. Scott won the Barclays last year at Liberty National and finished T9 when the tournament was held at Ridgewood in 2010. He's playing for a win.

2. Rickie Fowler
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
T2 at the U.S. Open and Open Championship
Reason to watch: You know that old saying, "If you put yourself in a position to win enough times, eventually it's going to happen"? Well, don't tell Fowler that because he's probably sick of hearing it. Fowler is the only player in the world to finish inside the top 5 at each of the four majors this season. He's the only player in history to accomplish that feat and not to have won at least one of those four. He's playing tremendous golf right now and something's got to give. Maybe it's this week. The only problem? This next guy is teeing it up too...

1. Rory McIlroy
Best finish in 2013-14 season:
Won the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship
Reason to watch: Do you really need me to list reasons to watch McIlroy at this point? The man is on fire. A victory this week would make it four wins in four starts for McIlroy. That's amazing (but still a long way from the record 11-straight Byron Nelson won in 1945). The four-time major champion has said that he's never been as confident in his game as he is now. That's scary for the rest of the competition. Rory isn't quite blowing the doors off the competition like Tiger Woods did during that magical stretch from 1999-2000, but he's definitely getting the job done. McIlroy has earned the right to be considered the favorite whenever and wherever he tees it up now. 

2014 The Barclays | Five players to watch
August 19, 2014 - 1:14pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Joakim Boden
golf.se
Sweden's Joakim Boden's forehead was on the receiving end of an errant golf shot recently.

Sometimes the photo says it all.

This poor guy in Sweden was the victim of an errant shot. The golf ball hit him in the forehead and certainly left a mark.

Here's the tweet by Golf Digest Global Golf Director/columnist Stina Sternberg who had the find:

We clicked over to the story on golf.se and had to use Google Translator to read this quote from Joakim Boden, the man who was plunked:

I had struck my second blow out of the bunker and had just gone out and stood and looked at my colleague. I turned back towards the tee, and would then go up to my ball lying further away on the fairway and hit my third kind. Before I could start walking so slapped it until I got a ball in the head.

OK, there's a little lost in translation there, but -- again -- the photo says it all.

Remember, folks, stand behind your playing partners when it's their turn to hit. You don't want to learn that lesson the hard way. 

Errant shot leaves man with golf-ball sized welt