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.

Wiezilla? Giant Michelle Wie Terrorizes Japan! #swearimnotagiant

Funny Instagram/tweet from Michelle Wie today:

What makes it funny is the photo:

Wow, is Michelle in heels or on stilts? Anyone else reminded of this:

Or maybe picture Wiezilla rampaging through Tokyo?

Kudos to Michelle for having such a sense of humor about herself. I especially love the #swearimnotagiant hashtag. And I think I've found the best representation for how Wie might have felt while taking that photo:

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dustin Johnson Needs to Add This Song to His Playlist

Unless you've been putting under a rock, you've heard about Dustin Johnson's departure from the PGA Tour to seek help with "personal problems." And you've probably heard the allegations included in a Michael Bamberger report on Golf.com: Johnson was (allegedly) suspended for testing positive for cocaine use. For the second time. After an earlier failed marijuana test.

This may or may not be true; we may or may not know for sure someday. But something like this happening to DJ is absolutely no surprise at all to golf insiders. (The Golf.com report also includes the allegation that Johnson slept with another PGA Tour player's wife and caused the breakup of that marriage. Allegations of an affair with a second tour player's wife have since been made. It's apparently open season for Dustin Johnson misbehavior rumors.)

Wherever Johnson is now - and I hope he really is getting help for whatever problems he has - I suggest he add this song to his playlist, and put it on repeat:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Olympic Golf Tournaments are Going to be Terrible

We're two years away from the 2016 Summer Olympics, when golf will join the list of Olympic sports. Whether golf needs to be or should be an Olympic sport is something I've always been agnostic about. Personally, I don't care whether golf is left out of the Olympics, which means that it also doesn't bother that it will be included.

But now that golf is part of the Olympics, what kind of tournament will we see in two years in Brazil? I'm glad someone else did the work for me, because I wouldn't want to have to figure out which golfers are likely to be in the Olympics and which aren't. Someone else has already done that: You can see sample fields for both the men's tournament and women's tournament, what those fields would be if the Olympic golfers were chosen today.

And those fields are pretty lame. For example, while all of the current Top 10 men would make an Olympic tournament if it was chosen today, No. 11 Jordan Spieth wouldn't. Neither would Phil Mickelson. Yet, 10 golfers ranked lower than No. 250 would! That includes Chan Shih-chang, Antonio Lascuna, Juvic Pagunsan, Roope Kakko and Thomas Pieters. Right: Guys you've never heard of.

The women's field will be even weaker. If the women's Olympic field were chosen today, Paula Creamer would not make it, but No. 545-ranked Mia Piccio would. Lizette Salas, Jessica Korda and Na Yeon Choi would not get to play in the Olympics, but Maria Balikoeva, Noora Tamminen, Chloe Leurquin, Margarita Ramos, Gauri Monga and Melanie Maetzler would.

The reasons for this are outlined in this explainer. The method for choosing the Olympic tournament fields is based on the idea of including as many countries as possible. I don't have a problem with that.

The problem is that overseers of golf and the Olympics have applied that selection criteria to just another stroke play format, and one with only 60 players in the field. So we're left with what will be very weak fields, devoid of many of the game's stars.

Golf simply doesn't need that. Golf's biggest tournaments are big everywhere, and they are much bigger than these Olympic tournaments will be. If the poobahs had decided on different types of fields - using only amateurs, or using male/female 2-person teams, or whatever - anything other than plain ol' stroke play - maybe I'd feel different.

The first Olympic golf tournaments will generate lots of attention because they are the first. Once that novelty wears off - and if they stick with the current format/selection criteria - Olympic golf is going nowhere but down. And probably out of the Olympics after 2020.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fun Find: Newsreel Footage of 4-Year-Old Bob Rosburg in 1930

Bob Rosburg was a longtime PGA Tour golfer, a successful one, and the 1959 PGA Championship winner. He later enjoyed a long career as an on-course analyst on ABC TV's golf broadcasts in the USA. Everyone called him "Rossie."

But long before all that, Rosburg was a childhood golfing prodigy. And I just stumbled across the newsreel footage to prove it.

Take at look at the following video. It's a 1930 newsreel from British Pathetone that showcases Rosburg at age 4. Alas, they misspelled his last name as "Roseburg," but the "Bobby Roseburg" in the newsreel is really Bob Rosburg.

The newsreel is titled "Another Golfing Bobby!" A leaderboard before the footage begins states, "Meet Bobby Jones' rival - Bobby Roseburg (sic), a 4-year-old Californian but a golfer in miniature!" We then see little Rossie beating balls, and then playing a hole accompanied by an older girl. When the ball drops into the cup at the end of the short newsreel, 4-year-old Rossie exclaims, "How do you like that!"

In 1939, when Rosburg was 12 - approximately eight years after the footage above was shot (Rosburg was born in October 1926, so the newsreel footage had to be shot very late in 1930) - he played in the first flight of the The Olympic Club's club championship in San Francisco. And he beat baseball legend Ty Cobb 7 and 6. Cobb was 53 at the time. According to some accounts, Cobb was so embarrassed at losing to a 12-year-old, and took so much ribbing from Olympic Club members, that he quit the club.

Rosburg said this, in a My Shot interview with Golf Digest in 2002, about playing Cobb:

I beat Ty Cobb, 7 and 6, in the first flight of the club championship at the Olympic Club when I was 12. He was a fierce competitor, and I remember him getting mad at himself for not playing better. But he was nice to me. He shook my hand. It was almost the last I saw of Mr. Cobb, because the guys at the club rode him unmercifully for losing to a child. He disappeared and didn't come back to Olympic for years.