Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Driver Used By Sam Snead for 17 Years Going to Auction Block

If you have a spare $250,000 (or more) lying around, you can be the proud, new owner of a driver that was used on the PGA Tour for 17 years by Sam Snead.

Yep, back in Snead's day you didn't trade in your driver every other weekend for the newest release by your club sponsor. You found a persimmon driver you loved, you stuck with it. And Snead stuck with his baby for 17 years, from 1936 through 1953.

The auctioneers, Heritage Auctions, say that this driver was used by Snead in more than 100 victories - many, obviously not all of them, PGA Tour wins. How did Snead get the driver? He took it out of the bag of fellow pro Henry Picard.

In a letter dated Nov. 12, 1993 (and in which he repeatedly misspells Picard's name), Snead told the story of the driver:

In 1936 I was signed with Dunlop, along with Henry Pickard (sic). We were at a tournament on the practice tee when I spotted this driver in Pickard's bag. I took it out and tried it and felt it and really liked it. Pickard said I could have it because it was too big for him. Pickard said that a club maker for Wilson by the name of Gansky made it.

At that time, some of Dunlop's clubs were made by Wilson.

Pickard said that he had paid $5.25 for it. I paid him that amount and took it with me.

I proceeded to win over 100 tournaments, including two Masters, one British Open and two P.G.A. Championships with this driver. I also won many long distance driving contests with it.

A few years after buying the driver, Pickard wanted to buy it back, and I said I wouldn't sell it for a million!

Description: Made by Wilson, name of Sam Snead and Wilson on head, Plain sole plate, dark brown head with black insert, head is cracked in neck with an added screw in the neck, also has an added screw in end of shaft on bottom of head and has lead weight in back of head.

I, Sam Snead, attest that the above-written information is true and accurate.

[signed] Sam Snead.

The letter is part of the auction lot. While Snead says in the letter he wouldn't sell it for a million dollars, his heirs are certainly willing.

Why did we say it would take at least $250,000 to win the driver? Because that's the minimum opening bid. Follow the auction here.

Last year, another auction of multiple Snead memorabilia brought in more than $1 million total.

Stacy Lewis' Terrible Topped Shot at 2014 Evian

Hey, it happens even to the best of us. What happens? This happens:

Yep, that's LPGA major championship winner and No. 1-ranked Stacy Lewis hitting one of the worst shots you'll ever see a tour professional hit.

The shot happened during the 2014 Evian Championship, and during a third-round 73. Lewis' reaction says it all: Ohmigodwhatthehellhappenedthatwassoembarrassing!

But there's a bright side: We can all honestly now say that we've hit fairway woods better than Stacy Lewis.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where's Win McMurry? Probably Somewhere in a Bikini

Where is Win McMurry? The winsome blonde broadcaster has been absent from the Golf Channel for a while now, and hasn't popped up in any other (regular) TV role as I write this in September of 2014.

But don't feel bad for Win. Judging by her Instagram account (@WinMcMurry) she's busying having a fantastic time that can be summed up in three words: beaches, bikinis, cocktails.

So what happened to Win McMurry at the Golf Channel? Why is she no longer employed there? Nobody seems to know (except those who aren't talking). I reached out to Golf Channel via email and a network spokesperson replied simply that "Win's contract was not renewed at the end of 2013." The spokesperson added that the network "wish(es) her the best in her future endeavors."

So Win was out as a full employee of the Golf Channel as of 2014 (I believe she did still appear on the network in spots afterward, probably on a per-piece basis). Is it just a coincidence that McMurry began posting bikini pics in January? Maybe not!

McMurry's Twitter account is now @WinMcMurry, but it was @WinMcMurryGC until early June of 2014. Perhaps there was still a chance, even to that late date, that McMurry and Golf Channel would work out a new deal? Who knows. It's suggestive, however, that she didn't remove the "GC" and mentions of Golf Channel from her Twitter profile until then.

And so what - aside from beaches, bikinis and cocktails - has Win been up to lately? She has been seen on television - she's filled in at least once (maybe more - I don't watch much ESPN) for Michelle Beadle as cohost of ESPN's Sports Nation.

And she's been making personal appearances, such as at the Myrtle Beach World Amateur golf tournament.

If you're like me, you miss Win McMurry at Golf Channel. She's talented, and clearly easy on the eyes. You would think that finding another job in television - and probably a prominent one - is something that Win will be able to do.

So why the delay? There are many possible explanations. But maybe she just wanted a little time away. Maybe she just wanted to spend a little time on beaches, in bikinis and sipping cocktails.

Thanks for sharing, Win. Win McMurry in a bikini is always a win-Win proposition.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ben Hogan Slow-Motion Swing Videos

Want to watch Ben Hogan's swing in slow motion? Of course you do! And below we present multiple videos of Hogan's swing in slow motion.

But before we get to the slo-mo swings, let's first watching Hogan swinging in slow motion. What's the difference? In the later videos, Hogan swings at full speed and then the video is slowed down on playback. But in the first clip here, the tape is running at full speed but it is Hogan who is swinging in slow motion.

The quality of this clip is horrendous, but if you read my colleague Bogey McDuff's post entitled The Secret Society of Hogan Bootleggers, you'll know why.

This clip was taken on a home movie camera by friends of Hogan who were watching him at Seminole Golf Club in Florida, the Atlantic Ocean roaring in the background. As Bogey explained, that home movie footage was, for many years, a holy grail for golf instructors, passed around via VHS copies that got progressively lower-quality with each copying.

But finally, one of those copies popped up on the web. Here it is:

Hey, we told you the quality was terrible. But it's still amazing to watch a Hogan who was obviously advanced in years demonstrate his slow-motion practice routine.

This is an outtake from the same video, a tiny bit better quality (but still terrible), that shows a down-the-line view as Hogan swings in slow-motion:

Here are some more slow-motion videos of Ben Hogan's swing. In this one, the maker the video has taken various Hogan clips and slowed them down to highlight Hogan's transition move:

The next one has outtakes of Hogan from a 1965 Shell's Wonderful World of Golf episode. The maker of this video shows a few repetitions of Hogan's swing at full speed, and then again in slow motion. (And unfortunately, added some weirdly inappropriate rock music.)

And here's an ultra-slow-mo Hogan swing, from start to finish:

The above super slo-mo swing is taken from the following clip, in which Hogan himself talks about the golf swing:

I believe this is the same swing as the two videos above, but this video is nice and crisp, in color, and while in slow motion is at a little faster speed than the super-slo-mo one above:

Here's another super-slo-mo Hogan swing, this one filmed from behind, looking down the line:

The next video includes both regular speed and slow-mo, and Hogan's swing is seen from various angles (it includes voice-over narration):

We'll end with another one like the one we started with: In this clip, it is Hogan who is swingly slowly, rather than a full-speed swing being shown in slo-mo:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

12-Year-Old Girl Wins Volvo SUV with Hole-In-One

Malaysian golfer Natasha Oon recently scored a hole-in-one during the RSGC Ladies Amateur Open Championship at the Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur. Awesome! More awesome: It was the hole-in-one contest hole. Awesomer!

So Oon won the hole-in-one prize: a Volvo XC60 T5, a big, luxury SUV valued around $90,000 USD. There's only one problem for Oon: She's not nearly old enough to drive. She's only 12 years old.

In the video below, Oon says she didn't even realize she was on the hole-in-one hole. She also says she "duffed" her 8-iron. The ball landed atop a hill next to the green and rolled down, onto the green and into the cup.

She's a very mature 12-year-old, this video makes clear. Oon would probably make a more responsible driver than many others already on the road.

Via paultan.org, here's what the crossover SUV looks like:

So if little 12-year-old Natasha Oon can't drive in Malaysia until she's 17? What happens to the vehicle? Oon is keeping it in the family: She's giving it to her mom.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Watch Michelle Wie Create Paintings in Short Timelapses

We've written before about Michelle Wie's art. She paints and draws in various forms, but the end result is always striking, interesting and intriguing. At least to my untrained eye.

Wie is currently out of action with a finger injury, which has given her plenty of time to focus on painting. And this time she hasn't just posted photos of the end product. This time she has shown us herself actually creating her artwork.

Now we can watch the artist Wie at work:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hottie Named Henni Wins Sock Tan Championship

I'm something of a connoisseur for golfer's sock tans. More specifically, women golfer's sock tans. Not because I'm a foot fetishist or anything, but because ... um ... er ... they're cute? Actually, a great sock tan (which is kind of oxymoronic, because the foot is ghostly white) is a sign that a woman is a frequent golfer. And women who golf are hotter than women who don't golf.

The invaluable Golf Babes recently tweeted the sock tan to end all sock tans. Ladies and gentlemen, the World Sock Tan Champion:

The golfer in the photo is Henni Zuel. A hottie named Henni. Henni is short for Henrietta. Zuel is a Brit, and the photo was taken in California where Zuel is playing Stage I of the 2014 LPGA Q-School.

Here are a few looks at Henni that don't involve her feet:

(Photos: @hennizuel/Twitter)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Strange Chella Choi Incident at Canadian Women's Open

Did you hear about the odd incident involving LPGA golfer Chella Choi at the 2014 Canadian Women's Open? Choi mis-marked her golf ball on the putting green and when, after the round, she was confronted with clear evidence of a rule violation - one that came with a 2-stroke penalty - she withdrew from the tournament rather than accept the penalty.

Choi's reaction was odd because there is absolutely no doubt she committed a penalty. A rather obvious penalty. She can't possibly think the application of a penalty was unfair. Maybe her score had something to do with it. With a 2-stroke penalty added, Choi was going to miss the cut. Rather than have an "M/C" on her record, she took a "WD" instead. (Does that choice affect how much money she gets? Anyone know?)

Also odd because the penalty was just so ... flagrant. Choi putted about a foot past the hole. Tap-in range. She quickly walked to the other side of the hole and placed a ballmarker on the left side of the ball. Then she quickly picked up her ball and reoriented the alignment marker, and placed the ball back on the green. But when she did, Choi moved the ball to the other side of the marker, about an inch. Obviously, a penalty.

Watch the video, it's crystal clear:

Was this an attempt to cheat? I don't think so. Partially because of the comments Judy Rankin makes near the end of the video about Choi's reputation on tour (it's good), but mostly because Choi goes through the chain of events so quickly that she appears to just be careless in what she's doing. Plus, what possible advantage does the maneuver get her? It's a tap-in.

Golf fans with long memories might recall in the past a couple golfers who pulled similar maneuvers, but did so on a regular basis (until they were caught) and moved their golf balls from behind the marker to in front of it, inching closer to the hole. Bob Toski on the PGA Tour in the 1950s, Jane Blalock on the LPGA Tour in the 1970s. Both claimed (and maintain to this day) they were not doing it consciously. But both were suspended. (Blalock eventually sued and won reinstatement.) Ironically, Toski was Blalock's instructor.

At any rate - whether you believe Toski and Blalock were consciously cheating or not - there doesn't appear to be any reason to accuse Choi of that. She was just careless.

The refusal to sign her scorecard and accept the penalty is weird.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Booty Patrol: Pro Golfer Wants 'Jen Selter Butt'

Pro golfer and Big Break cast member Meghan Hardin wants a "Jen Selter butt." But don't take my word for it - here:

See? But here's the thing: When you already look like that, is adding a Jen Selter butt even fair?

Selter is the callipygian fitness guru and model whose derriere is, it sometimes seems, the most discussed - or at least lusted after - thing on Twitter. Selter's backside turns yoga pants into an objet d'art and inspires news and celebrity websites to write headlines that include the word "booty." (No objections from us, naturally.)

But, c'mon, if Meghan Hardin adds a Jen Selter-quality butt, she really ought to be illegal.

Let's visit Meghan on Instagram and see what her starting point is in her question for Selter booty:

Here's hoping Hardin posts regular buttdates, I mean updates, of her progress. You can follow Meghan on Twitter, or check out the posts about her on Golf Babes.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Remember that Weird Dustin Johnson-Natalie Gulbis 'Relationship'?

Were they or weren't they? Dating, that is. Were Natalie Gulbis and Dustin Johnson a couple in early 2011, or weren't they? Not even Natalie and Dustin could agree on the answer.

Do you remember that strange series of events? Public figures generating rumors about dating, girlfriends/boyfriends, are-they-or-aren't-they is a common thing. But it hasn't happened too often in golf.

Before Dustin Johnson blew up the rumor mill with allegations (yet unproven, and in some cases denied by affected third parties) of drug use and sleeping around with other men's wives, he and Gulbis blew up the rumor mill in 2011. Well, "blew up" is too strong a word. Not many people outside golf paid any attention. So let's say DJ and Natalie "inflated" the rumor mill.

The rumors started at the 2011 PGA Tour season opener, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where Natalie was spotted in the crowd following Dustin's group.

Gulbis then confirmed to Golf.com that she and Johnson were dating. They had apparently gotten together during the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge in Las Vegas a few months earlier.

But what kind of relationship was it? Casual dating? Something more serious? "I'll let Dustin handle our PR," Gulbis told Golf.com.

OK, then, Dustin Johnson, ball's in your court. "Johnson declined comment," Golf.com wrote.

Hmmmm. Maybe Dustin just didn't want to be distracted by the publicity a DJ-Natalie hook-up was sure to generate - was, in fact, already generating.

But then it got weird. A mere one week later, at the PGA Tour's 2011 Sony Open, Johnson was asked again about Gulbis. This time, he was willing to make comment. And his comment? He was not dating Gulbis!

To recap: At the 2011 TOC, Gulbis followed Johnson and confirmed they were dating. One week later, at the Sony Open, Gulbis was absent and Johnson said they were not dating.

Obviously, they broke up in the space between the tournaments. But broke up what? Maybe, in Johnson's mind, Gulbis wasn't his girlfriend but simply a friend with benefits. Or a mere conquest. Who knows.

According to the AP report at the time, "(Johnson) says he has spent some time with Gulbis, but that they are not dating."

They way it all happened made it sound like Gulbis misunderstood Johnson's interest - and vice-versa - and that Gulbis thought they were in a relationship while Johnson thought they were just having a good time.

We'll never know the true story. But for a few glorious days in January 2011, the golf world got to bask in the reflected glory of a supposed superstar power couple.