Thursday, December 18, 2014

Booty Patrol: Paula Creamer's Belfie

What's a "belfie"? It's a "butt selfie." When someone chooses to show off the ol' caboose. And if there's one thing you can say about the ol' Flogger here, it's that I like me some Paula Creamer booty. So I'm only too happy to share the belfie that she shared on Instagram:

More Paula Creamer bikini pics

That Time Fidel Castro and Che Guevara Played Golf

News recently broke that the United States is re-opening diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Communist-controlled island nation 90 miles from Florida with which the U.S. has had adversarial relations for more than 50 years. Many who heard the news thought of the realpolitik implications. I thought of golf.

Hey, do you remember that time revolutionaries Fidel Castro and Che Guevara played golf? Here they are, those crazy scamps, playing golf in their combat boots and fatigues:

What's going on here? Shouldn't communist revolutionaries detest an upper-class, capitalist-infested game like golf? Yes, and they did (although Che had played before growing up in Argentina).

Cuba once had a fair share of golf courses. In the pre-Castro days Cuba was ruled by right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista. Batista liked America's money, and American tourists loved Cuba's beaches and its Mob-run casinos and fancy hotels. Cuba was a Caribbean getaway. Money changed hands liberally, both ways (just not into the hands of many ordinary Cubans).

But within a few years after Castro seized power in 1959 and replaced the right-wing dictatorship with a left-wing dictatorship, he kicked out the Mob and also legitimate American businesses. And he began plowing under those symbols of capitalist decadence called golf courses. Soon, only nine holes of golf was left in Cuba (other golf courses were returned to agrarian uses - think sugar cane.)

Historian Michael Beschloss provides the timing of the Castro-Che golf photos and a hint at what was going on:

A few years back CNN wrote this:

Castro himself once recalled that he had been mocking Eisenhower, but gave no specifics of the date.

"One day, Che and I went to play golf. He had been a caddie once to earn some money in his spare time; I, on the other hand, knew absolutely nothing about this expensive sport," he said in quotes published on Cuba's Television Camaguey Web site in 2007.

"The United States government had already decreed the suspension and the redistribution of Cuba's sugar quota, after the Revolution had passed the Agrarian Reform Law. The golf game was a photo opportunity. The real purpose was to make fun of Eisenhower."

CNN says that Che Guevara shot 127 that day and Fidel Castro came in at 150. (Maybe this is why Castro eventually shunted his old friend aside and Che died a pathetic death in Bolivia.) Given his terrible putting form, it's surprising Che had any history with the game:

In recent years, an aging Castro, in poor health, has turned over many of the day-to-day duties of dressing up in costumes and bellowing Marxist rhetoric - that is so 1982 - to his brother. And Brother Castro has liberalized a few things here and there, including allowing some golf course construction. A 2013 article in The Economist explains why:

... the main reason for the sudden enthusiasm for pitching and putting is a need to attract more tourists. The island pulled in 2.8m visitors last year, far fewer than the 4.6m who flocked to the Dominican Republic, its smaller neighbour.

... The $350m Carbonera Club, to be developed by Esencia, a British firm, is the first project to get the go-ahead; another course is expected to be complete by the end of the year. A 1,300-berth marina, the largest in the Caribbean, is to be built in Varadero.

A true opening of the Cuban economy and liberalizing of the country's policies will probably have to wait for the death of the Castros. But I would be willing to bet that 25 years from now Cuba will be one the premiere golf destinations in the Caribbean, and American golfers and tourists will against be flocking there.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tiger Woods Gun Play: Remember This Photo?

Remember the time Tiger Woods played with guns while visiting Navy SEALs? Tiger took weaponry onto a shooting range in San Diego during a 2006 visit. Here's the pic:

Oooooo, I'm scared! Tiger looks kinda badass there. But I guess looking badass isn't too hard when you're holding a handgun and a shell casing is flying. If this photo were taken today, I imagine we'd see Dan Jenkins' photo on those targets. Here's the actual cutline that goes with the photo:

San Diego (May 31, 2006) - Professional Golfer Tiger Woods squeezes off a round from a handgun during training at a shooting range outside San Diego. Navy SEAL instructors assigned to Naval Special Warfare Center at Coronado taught Woods basic marksmanship skills during a recent visit. U.S Navy photo by Chief Journalist Deborah Carson

A few months earlier Tiger Woods was also in San Diego hanging out with Navy SEALs (remember what Hank Haney wrote about Tiger's SEALs obsession?):

And the cutline:

an Diego (Jan. 27, 2006) - Pro golfer Tiger Woods views a static display of various SEAL weaponry. Tiger was in San Diego for the Buick Invitational Golf Tournament and spent the afternoon learning about the Special Operations Community. U.S. Navy photo by Cmdr. Jeffrey Bender

(You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Jason Palmer Is the European Tour Golfer Who Chips One-Handed

Notice anything unusual about the image above? Right: The guy who is chipping is using only hand on that chip shot. His name is Jason Palmer, and he's a member of the European Tour in 2015. Here's the short video clip from which that screengrab was taken:

The shot in the video was recorded during a Challenge Tour tournament in 2014. That's the feeder tour into the European Tour (the Web.com Tour of Europe), and that's where Palmer played in 2014. He's a third-year pro who always struggled around the greens, then switched to one-handed chipping and hasn't looked back - even when fans and other golfers looked at him kinda funny for doing it.

And why should Palmer be concerned about those funny looks? Since switching to one-handed chipping during tournament play, he won his first Challenge Tour tournament, finished eighth on the money list and won promotion to the European Tour!

There's nothing unusual about hitting chip shots one-handed during practice sessions or warming up before a round. Many, many pro golfers do that, and even some recreational golfers. For example, here is Miguel Angel Jimenez warming up around the green with one-handed chip shots (while talking on his cellphone!)

But Jason Palmer is the first in memory who has taken this practice method onto the course during tour events.

Here are two videos in which Palmer discusses the technique and demonstrates it more fully:

Search YouTube for "one-handed chipping" and you'll find many videos of golf instructors recommending practicing chip shots one-handed. For example, this one:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Another Little Kid Throwing a Tantrum After Missing a Putt

A few days ago we showed you the video that is only now making the rounds in the rest of the golf world: the adorable little kid (toddler, really) who just can't deal after missing a short putt.

But guess what? Lots of little kids throw tantrums after missing putts! Throwing tantrums is part of being a little kid. This youngster is so angry about missing his putt he tries to hurl the golf ball at the cameraman:

That doesn't get him any satisfaction, so he picks up that stupid ball, walks it over to the edge of the green and hurls it into the rough!

You go kid! Show that golf ball who's boss! Watch the video:

Later, the kid bashes his putter over his head in frustration:

Oh, wait, that was Woody Austin at the 1997 Verizon Heritage. Sorry kid, my bad.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Are Martin Kaymer and Kirsty Gallacher Dating?

Is Martin Kaymer dating Kirsty Gallacher? That's the rumor du jour, and if it's true all I can say is: He sure knows how to pick 'em.

Kirsty is the British television presenter and model who is the cousin of European Tour (and Ryder Cup) golfer Stephen Gallacher, and the daughter of British golf royalty Bernard Gallacher. Allegedly, it is Stephen Gallacher who set her up with Martin.

You might remember that for several years Kaymer - now a 2-time major championship winner - was dating onetime Big Break cast member Allison Micheletti, who is now Allison Modano after marrying hockey legend Mike Modano. And Allison was quite the catch for Martin back then.

The reports of a Kaymer-Gallacher romance all come from London media, which is notorious for trafficking in rumor and half-truths. (Kind of like golf blogs!) The cougarlicious Kirsty is 38 years old and recently divorced from rugby star Paul Sampson. Kaymer is 29.

The Daily Mail, citing the The Sun tabloid, recently wrote:

Gallacher, who split from Sampson in August, has reportedly been on two dates with Kaymer after being introduced to the golfer, who is known as the 'Ice Man', by her cousin Stephen.

Stephen Gallacher, who is also a professional golfer, brought the pair together during the Ryder Cup in November.

The duo 'reportedly hit it off' straight away but are not yet officially an item. A source told The Sun: 'Kirsty has had a really tough year with the breakdown of her marriage. She is going through a difficult time with her divorce.

'Now hopefully she has found something to make her smile again. She is single for the first time in 14 years and she is allowed to have some fun.

'There is plenty of flirting going on and they are clearly very fond of each other.'

Not exactly confirmation of a Kaymer-Kirsty coupling, especially considering the source, but I hope it's true. He gets to date a smokin' hot cougar, and she gets to have fun with a fit younger man.

But Kirsty, just so you know, I'm available too!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We All Know the Feeling: Little Kid's Tantrum After Missing Short Putt

We've all been there, kid.

This little guy misses a short putt with his plastic golf club and ball, and he just ... can't ... take it!

Note to kid: Missing short putts will always feel like this! But you'll learn how to keep the feeling under wraps. Just part of golf. (But once this kid gets a little older, he'll understand he could have just blamed it all on those punched and sanded greens.)

Boy, imagine if Lexi Thompson had reacted this way when she missed a 1-inch putt earlier this year.

Want more? Here's another adorable little kid throwing a tantrum after missing a putt.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chris Como Golf Instruction Videos: You, Too, Can Learn From Tiger Woods' New Coach

By now you've heard - everyone in the golf universe has heard - that Tiger Woods' new swing instructor is a guy named Chris Como. Como definitely was not an unknown before Tiger picked him - he'd made Golf Digest's Best Young Teachers list, he was one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 teachers - but starting work with Woods certainly elevates one's profile.

So who is this guy? One way to learn about Chris Como is to learn from Chris Como. Let's watch some of the golf instruction videos featuring him that are available on YouTube.

If you want to go really in-depth in Como's swing thoughts, you can start with this 21-minute video in which Como discusses the golf swing with a biomechanist:

In this Golf Digest clip, Como teaches us to make a smoother putting stroke:

This Golf.com clip is titled "Hit it farther with footwork":

The following clip is less than 30 seconds, but in it Como demonstrates what is probably his best-known bit so far: his use of boxing technique to help golfers who slice:

And we'll end with this video in which Como attempts a golf swing while leaping from a high-dive platform into a swimming pool. The video is headlined, "Golf swing with no ground force reaction." I'm not sure what it's supposed to tell us about the golf swing, but I do know what it does tell us about the golf swing: absolutely nothing.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Let's Feel Better About Ourselves By Watching Rory McIlroy Hit a Truly Awful Shot

It happens to the best of us. Or, well, to the best of them: A shot so bad that you are stunned a golfer so good could hit it. But mis-hits have always been part of golf, and many giants of the game - Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus among them - have talked about golf as a process of managing the bad shots.

So Rory McIlroy's awful shot in Round 2 of the 2014 DP World Tour Championship in Dubai? Hey, just one of those things. See, you really do have something in common with Rory!

If you're down about your golf game, watch this and feel a little better:

Need even more of a pick-me-up? Watch Stacy Lewis' even worst shot, and the 1-inch putt Lexi Thompson missed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dustin Johnson Gets the Taiwanese Animation Treatment

Oh ... my ... god. Dustin Johnson, currently serving a drug-related suspension (allegedly!) from the PGA Tour, get his story animated by that crazy Taiwanese "news" animation team. And the results are spectacularly awful. We see Dustin's (alleged!) drug habit animated, and his (alleged!) affairs with other tour players' wives animated.

The video is some cray-cray ish. Throughout the animation Johnson is repeatedly shown snorting huge amounts of cocaine with rolled up bills, then beating his chest. Sometimes as a giant squirrel looks on. Watch for yourself: