Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Latest Cool Coupling: Rickie Fowler and Allison Stokke

Rickie Fowler and Allison Stokke are a couple. Which means Rickie no longer has to go stag to Team USA functions.

You know who Allison Stokke is, don't you? Back in 2007, when she was a 17-year-old high school track and field athlete, some photos of her at a track meet were posted online. That's when the sports-slash-laddie blogosphere jumped into action: Dudes started noticing that Allison was pretty hot! Those track photos - she was a top high school pole vaulter - started showing up everywhere, and Allison, against her will, became a poster girl for sexy athletes-on-the-web.

She went on to a college career as a pole vaulter at the University of California and later turned pro. When her pro vaulting career ended, Stokke started doing YouTube videos on vaulting technique and became a fitness model for, among other brands, Nike, Athleta and Uniqlo. She also began working with GoPro on her videos.

And Rickie? It seems like only yesterday (it was 2014, actually) that we were writing a post headlined Say Hi to Alexis Randock, Rickie Fowler's Girlfriend. That relationship was over at least by the time of the 2016 Ryder Cup, where Fowler attended all the functions solo (and was photographed, in one famous image, alone in the middle of a circle of kissing couples).

Rickie and Allison first shared photos of themselves on social media in April 2017, each posting one image (without identifying or tagging the other):

In May, Fowler posted another image of the two together. Again, there was no naming or tagging of the woman in the image, but Fowler did acknowledge Allison was his new girlfriend by hashtagging the photo #rickfoundachick:

Only a handful of more images followed, but at least in the most recent ones they've tagged one another.

And other members of Rickie's circle of friends have even started referencing Allison. For example, here's an Instagram post showing Allison Stokke and friend-of-Rickie Michelle Wie frolicking together:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Listen to Gary Player's 1970 Album, 'Gary Player Sings'

Gary Player is one of the greatest golfers of all time, and one of the best-known. As in, avid golf fans really know a lot about Gary. Probably too much given that he once posed semi-nude for ESPN the Magazine.

But I bet you didn't know Player once recorded a record album, singing 10 songs, a selection of standards, classics and little-known ditties that were some combination of folk, country and pop. The album was titled Gary Player Sings (in South Africa it was released as Sing Along with Gary Player) and it was released on the MCA label in 1970.

What kind of singer is Gary? Well, as a singer he's a hell of a golfer.

This is the track list on the record:

A1. Gentle On My Mind
A2. When The Saints Go Marching In
A3. Jenny
A4. Happy Heart
A5. Singing The Blues
B1. Kum Ba Ya
B2. Deep In The Heart Of Texas
B3. Over And Over Again
B4. Rock A My Soul
B5. Green Green

The sound? Well, the sound is uniquely 1970s - early 1970s. If you're old enough to remember that period of AM radio - or if you've found a way to sample that era of pop music - you'll know exactly what we mean. And if not ... you'll know once you hear the record.

Because, through the magic of the Internet, you can listen to Gary Player Sings right now:

The 1970 album wasn't even Player's first time singing on record. In 1967 he released a single titled If There Was No You. And while I've found an image of the record sleeve, I've not yet found the recording.

Decades later, in an interview with the South African edition of Playboy, Player was asked if there was anything people don't know about him. He replied:

"I once recorded an album of country songs. It was called Sing Along with Gary Player. I think if Sam Snead had heard it he probably would’ve listened to the whole thing from start to finish, and then told me, 'Son, I ain’t heard you sing yet.' "

Player isn't the only major championship winner to record an album, though. John Daly has a couple of them. Raymond Floyd never recorded an album, but in the 1960s he did help manage and promote an all-female band that performed topless.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tania Tare's Beer Pong Trick Shots (and More Amazing Skills)

How does a golf trick shot artist play beer pong? With her iron, her dribbling skills and a few golf balls, of course. This is New Zealand professional golfer Tania Tare showing off amazing hand-eye coordination skills, plus a keen sense of fun:

Enjoy Tania's talents? Good, because here are 12 more terrific Tania Tare trick shots:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Michelle Wie, Danielle Kang Argue About Breast Size

Seriously. The headline explains exactly what happened on social media today. First, Michelle Wie shared on Instagram this snap from SnapChat:

Wie captioned it thusly: "When that @niketraining HIIT workout just kills you... #snapchatvibes #Mondays"

It wasn't long before Michelle's buddy Danielle Kang chimed in with a comment about Wie's boobs: "Hahahahaha A cup looking like a B cup here 😂😂😂 what a wonder bra @themichellewie"

Leading Michelle to fire back: "@daniellekang omg I hate you...I am a B CUP! You are an A CUP!!! Your face is an A CUP"

Don't ever change, ladies, don't ever change.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Remember Top-Flite's D2 Man and 'Never Lay Up' Rap?

Remember Top-Flite? Of course you do! It was once the go-to golf ball brand for recreational golfers. Cheap (relatively speaking), durable, and long. A distance ball for golfers who loved to let it rip but had no idea where it was going. It's fun to bash it long!

Whatever happened to Top-Flite? Yes, the brand is still out there. No, it's not one of golf's most-popular ball brands anymore. Now, the Top-Flite brand is owned by Dick's Sporting Goods, which makes Top-Flite balls (also available on Amazon) a sort of "house brand."

But return with us now to some of the last glory days of Top-Flite. It's 2008. The brand is owned by Callaway. And marketers within Callaway - specifically Nate Randle, the national brand manager of Top-Flite at the time - come up with a viral marketing strategy: A rap video starring "golf's first superhero," D2 Man.

D2 Man dressed like Space Ghost and was accompanied by The Cart Girlz. Together they rapped and cooed about the joys of hitting it long - and the evils of wimping out and laying up.

Never lay up, gentlemen, never lay up. Sample lyrics:

Let me paint a picture so it’s real vivid
When we’re on the links and you go timid
I’ll be in your face getting crazy loco
Playing safe golf is like sipping cocoa.
If you ever lag a putt or play to lay up
I’ll be in your face yelling, 'Yo, wassup!'

No, it's not great rapping. But it was great marketing.

D2 Man was named for the Top-Flite D2 golf ball, which introduced the brands "dimple in dimple" technology. A 2008 press release by Callaway went all-in on the "never lay up" tone and ethos:

"Top-Flite announced today that it is tired of golfers being swept under by a wave of play-it-safe "wimptitude." To combat this cowardice, Top-Flite is insisting that all players who value opportunity over consequence tee up the balls to go for it and NEVER LAY UP! Leading the charge and saving the world from the evils of wuss golf is Top-Flite superhero and YouTube sensation, D2 Man.

"As golf's first Superhero, D2 Man has been taking the internet by storm, rapping and mercilessly calling out golfers who choose to lay up and lag putts. While Top-Flite's D2 golf balls are armed with cutting-edge Dimple in Dimple(TM) aerodynamics, D2 Man is equipped with superior trash talking skills and is spreading the word that a shot worthy of a story is worth far more than playing it safe."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tiger Woods' 'Golf's Not Hard' Nike Commercials

Gotta admit, I have no recollection of the series of Nike TV commercials made in the late 1990s, featuring Tiger Woods doing a comical "Golf's Not Hard" instructional series.

But somebody did: Hat tip to the @golfballed Instagram feed for digging one of these up. After seeing one, I had to find out more about them. Turns out they aired in 1997 and were promotional spots for the Nike Air Zoom TW golf shoes. (Want to see current TW models? Check 'em out on Amazon.)

There were four commercials and they were all pretty good - and funny. The best are the ones about fixing your slice, and the one in which Tiger promises to simplify the golf swing.

Watch 'em all: