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Katie Gill is 29 today. 32-24-35. American actress.

Secret Diary of an American Cheerleader, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League

She started modeling at the age of 15 and moved to Osaka, Japan at age 18 to work for various commercial and print agencies. Daughter of actress Morgan Brittany (from the TV show "Dallas" (1978).


How This Amateur Golfer Might Be The Key To Rory Taking the Grand Slam

 

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Interesting take here on how an Augusta National member might be the key to Rory McIlroy winning his Grand Slam next April

"I've always been comfortable from tee to green at Augusta," said McIlroy, who wound up shooting 69 the day after his Saturday pairing with amateur Jeff Knox "And it's taken me a few years to figure out the greens . . . if I can just figure out the greens a little bit more. What really helped me last year was playing with Jeff Knox in the third round. He's my amateur marker and he's the best I've ever seen on Augusta's greens."

Of course, Knox isn't just any amateur. The longtime member of Augusta National has played in two U.S. Amateurs, is a two-time mid-amateur champion in Georgia, and holds the Augusta National course record from the members tees with a 61. He has been a noncompeting marker if there has been an odd number golfers to make the cut in the tournament since 2002 and reportedly upset Sergio Garcia by beating him in the final round in 2006. In this year's third round, Knox shot 70 to McIlroy's 71, but McIlroy reacted much differently.

On Tuesday, the Augusta Chronicle reported McIlroy hopes to learn more from Knox, who said he received a letter from McIlroy asking to play a couple practice rounds with him before the 2015 Masters. The 51-year-old Knox said McIlroy reaching out to him "says a lot about the young man," and that he'd be happy to play with him.

"It was quite an honor for him to say that," Knox said. "I don't know if shocked is the right word, but it was quite an honor. I happened to play good that day; I guess that helped."

 

How cool is that for the amateur Knox...

 

Is Woods Dealing With The End Of His Dominance?

 

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Joe Posnanski is one of my favorite sports scribes. He always seems to have a refreshing yet fair take. Here he looks deeper into Tiger Woods' comparing the games of Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson -- and what might be lurking underneath the statements

Tiger Woods' comparison of Rory McIlroy to Phil Mickelson isn't fair, and Woods knows it.

So, on the one hand, Woods is right: McIlroy has been all over the place.

On the other hand, McIlroy has played 13 major championship since his breakthrough at the U.S. Open, and he won two of them. Woods, in the 13 major championships after his Masters breakthrough, won, yes, two of them. So, in the end, didn’t they really accomplish the same thing?

Well, not exactly the same. What’s different is those tournaments they did not win. Woods was so much more present – he had six Top 10 finishes aside from his victories and McIlroy had two. Woods did not come close to missing a cut, and McIlroy missed two. This is the consistency piece that Woods is talking about. Even before he raised his game to previously unseen heights, Woods proved that he was going to be there time and again, that was the defining essence of his golf. He did not HAVE bad weeks.

McIlroy’s game, like Woods said, is so much mercurial. There’s absolutely no way to know what will happen at the PGA Championship coming up. McIlroy might win by six shots. And he might miss the cut. Woods, not surprisingly, does not have much use for that kind of game.

But that’s the easy part of all this – we know that McIlroy has not figured out how to harness his great talent tournament after tournament. Maybe he will become like Mickelson – not that there’s anything wrong with having a Hall of Fame career like Phil’s. But that’s also not a fair comparison, and Woods knows it. Mickelson did not win his first major championship until he was 34, and that age is still almost a decade away for McIlroy. Mickelson did not win the third leg of the grand slam until he was 43. McIlroy has more major championships at 25 than Tom Watson did, than Arnold Palmer did, more than Gary Player and Ben Hogan and Sam Snead combined. His inconsistency may be a lasting part of his game. Then again, it might not. He might just be figuring things out. I’d bet on his future.

And his subtle jab at McIlroy (and his longtime nemesis Mickelson) does say something. According to those who have found themselves close to Woods, his disdain for Mickelson’s sporadic game and boisterous personality has always been there. But he would never have said anything about it publicly … because to say something publicly would be acknowledge that he actually THOUGHT about Phil Mickelson. And this was something Tiger Woods could not acknowledge.

The second thought is that Woods is beginning to understand what has become impossible to ignore: He’s not going to ever dominate the golf world again. He will win again, he will probably win a major again, but the Tiger Woods who separated himself from the world, who played in his own stratosphere, that golfer is not coming back. The injuries, the scars, the years will not let him come back.

 

Better Than Caffeine

 

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Charisma Carpenter turns 44. 34C-24-35. American actress.

Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Expendibles 1 & 2, The Lying Game

Named after an Avon perfume.  Cherokee, Irish, Scottish, Spanish, French and German mix. Was a cheerleader for the San Diego Chargers' football team. Once a champion ballet dancer. 

"You can take the girl out of Vegas, but you can't take the Vegas out of the girl."

 

The Real Truth Why Dick's Sporting Goods Fired More Than 500 PGA Pros

 

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Most everyone in the golf industry will have some opinion and follow up spin on Dick's Sporting Goods firing more than 500 PGA pros from their stores. They also let go all Golf Galaxy execs. 

Some will say the golf sky is falling and its the diminishing number of amateur golfers playing at least one round a year.

"Every macro-indicator that we've been looking at for the past 20 years -- rounds played, number of minorities playing, women coming into the game -- all of these things that we tracked says that there's less people playing," Mark King, the former president of TaylorMade who was recently named president of adidas North America, told Bryant Gumbel on HBO's "Real Sports" in a segment that will air Tuesday night. "Young people entering the game after high school, 18- to 30-year-olds are down 35 percent in the last 10 years. So I don't like where the game looks like it's going." 

I say not so fast. While golf hasn't enjoyed the dramatic increase in participation numbers since Tiger Woods got our golf pants excited, we also find that when the weather is good, the courses are jammed. So its not the increase or decrease of players but the activity of those players. To wit, we haven't heard of one public course or private club laying off golf personnel. 

Others cite the overabundance of new models churned constantly in the retail stores. That to me is the key, 'cause when you churn, you burn.

Dick's said it sold only 2 percent fewer drivers in the first quarter this year compared to the first quarter of 2013 but that the average price of those drivers was down 16 percent. On average, the golf business accounts for about 15 percent of Dick's overall revenues.

Golfers will buy new sticks when the price becomes attractive. We all know the faulty belief of TaylorMade and others that they have to build new and exciting equipment to draw interest. I had an r7 for 5 years and loved it. But I still bought balls, gloves, shoes and apparel. 

I like what Nike is doing

The dirty little secret is that while Nike plays in the club and ball game to achieve necessary overall credibility in the space, it doesn't really matter if the company ever becomes the market leader.

The areas that Nike chooses to win are apparel, where they are No. 1 and golf shoes, where they are now No. 2. 

While most of the industry aims to sell a shirt with a suggested retail price of $50 for $30, retailers sell most Nike golf shirts with a suggested retail price of $85 at $85. 

Retailers can sell their shoes at north of $200 without seeing a consumer blink. 

And here's the biggest idea that virtually no one ever talks about: Nike is the only major company firmly positioned in the golf world that will do OK as long as people are watching golf.

Its difficult for most viewers to know exactly what clubs their idols are using. But everyone can see what they're wearing. And, its far easier to look than play the part.

Regarding equipment, maybe golf companies should adopt the Apple strategy of making a big deal of unveiling a new iPhone only once a year or two. It builds anticipation and keeps the price point at a profitable level longer. 

We golfers know when we're being suckered by the latest and greatest, fully realizing it'll be yesterday's discounted news in four months. Golf manufacturers better realize it as well and quit vacuuming our wallets with empty promises. 

Remember, fool us once... 

 

Better Than Caffeine

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Sharni Vinson turns 31. 32-23-33. Aussie model/actress/dancer.

Home and Away, You're Next, Step Up 3D, Cold Case

Trained and competed at a National Level in Australia for swimming. Started competitive dancing at age 3. Founding member of Australian pop group 'Girlband'. The movie Step Up 3D grossed over $400 million worldwide. 

Rory Is No Phil As ESPN Ratings Drop 28%

 

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You'd think that Rory McIlroy, being one of the more popular players on Tour, would've helped Open Championship television ratings. Or at least not lost viewers compared to last year.

Apparently not

With Tiger Woods far out of contention and Rory McIlroy beginning with a six-stroke lead, the final round of British Open on Sunday produced a 2.6 overnight Nielsen rating on ESPN, a 28 percent drop from last year (3.6), when Phil Mickelson overcame a five-stroke deficit to win.

The rating matched 2010 as the network’s lowest in the five years since the Open moved exclusively to ESPN.

Yes, the six-stroke lead had something to do with it, but that margin shrank to two. And you had big names Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler in close pursuit for a bit. 

Its a tough pill for the Tour to swallow if only Tiger and Phil move the needle. If so, that spells trouble as those two are on the backslope of their tremendous careers. If Rory, Sergio and Rickie can't do it, who else fills the gap? Maybe Jordan Spieth? Maybe?

 

Jack: 'Rory Is Cocky In A Good Way'

 

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Jack Nicklaus liked what he saw in Rory McIlroy's victory march at the Open Championship

"I like his swagger," said 18-times major winner Nicklaus on his official Facebook page. "I like the way he handles himself.

"I like his desire to be great. I like his desire to do the things he needs to do. I like that in a young guy. He's cocky in a nice way."

"He didn't take some of the chances that he did in the other rounds as far as the clubs he hit off the tee," added the Golden Bear.

"Rory didn't put himself in position to lose the golf tournament. He did what he needed to do ... It's about shooting what you have to shoot to win the golf tournament."

Tiger Woods had a slightly different take. 

"The way Rory plays is pretty aggressively," said the 14-times major champion. "When he gets it going, he gets it going. When it gets going bad, it gets going real bad - it's one or the other.

"He's very similar to what Phil does. He has his hot weeks and he has his weeks where he's off. And that's just the nature of how he plays the game.

Its hard to disagree with Woods. When Rory's game goes south, its terrible. The greatest aspect of Tiger's game in his prime was gutting out rounds with less than his "A" game. Rory--like Phil--needs to add that to his repertoire to stay consistently in the hunt.

 

Better Than Caffeine

 

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Ali Landry is 41 today. 36-24-34. American model/actress/spokesperson.

Eve, Repli-Kate, Bella, Felicity

Is of Cajun French and Spanish descent. Jumped onto the public consciousness as the Doritos Girl during 1988 Super Bowl ads. Was crowned Miss USA 1996. A trained dancer in jazz, tap and ballet for 15 years and also enjoys kickboxing and gymnastics.

How Rory's Dad Also Won Big At The Open

 

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Rory McIlroy's Open Championship win was maybe more sweet for dad Gerry than his son's previous two major victories. Seems that the elder McIlroy and three buddies were fairly clairvoyant ten years ago...

You may have heard of the £400 (now $680) bet Gerry McIlroy placed on son Rory 10 years ago to win the British Open before the age of 26.

In case you missed it, Gerry and his three partners got 500-1 odds on their prescient wager -- he will cash in for £200,000. That £200,000 is worth $341,730 in American cash. Let’s say Gerry gets a quarter share of the winnings –- that’s a cool $85,432.50.

Gerry wager earnings would've placed him 23rd in the field. Rory took $1,665,993 for the win. 

Meanwhile, Rory becomes the first Euro player in history to record wins in three different majors. He's also the third youngest ever to win three different majors (behind Jack 23, and Tiger 24). To get to No. 3, it took Rory 24 major starts, Tiger 20 and Jack 16.

 

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