Maria Sharapova is 27 tomorrow. 34-25-35. Tennis player/spokesman. World's highest paid female athlete. Born in Siberia. In 2004, at age 17, she became the third-youngest woman ever to win Wimbledon. In 2010, signed an 8-year deal with Nike for $70 million. Also a brand ambassador for Porsche.
“I'm not the next anyone, I'm the first Maria Sharapova.”
Enjoy the weekend.
Wild story from the Malaysian Open where pro golfer Pablo Larrazabal was attacked by a swarm of hornets (Thanks to our AG graphics guru Jason Wesch for the link).
They are nasty creatures. I've been stung by yellow jackets and it hurts like bloody hell, so one could definitely feel Pablo's pain.
"They were three times the size of bees," he said. "They were huge and like 30 or 40 of them started to attack me big time. I didn't know what to do. My caddie told me to run, so I start running like a crazy guy, but the hornets were still there, so the other players told me to jump in the lake.
"I ran to the lake, threw my scorecard down, took off my shoes and jumped in the water. It was the scariest moment of my career, for sure. I've never been so scared."
Larrazabal received medical treatment, including injections, for multiple stings. Then, in putting his shirt back on, the hornets also returned, so he played his last five holes in a borrowed shirt.
Incredibly, he birdied the 14th hole en route to a round of 68 and a share of 25th place on 2 under.
"It looks like I'll be playing the weekend, so tomorrow it will be very, very scary to play that hole," Larrazabal said.
The exhuberance of earning a promotion to the PGA Tour from the Web.com Tour appears to be short-lived.
To wit, Will Wilcox, who took the 2nd to last card, has just six starts so far. That is causing even the tight-knit Players Advisory Council to rethink the current embargo for Web.com grads.
Although the topic was characterized as an “initial conversation,” the limited number of playing opportunities for the Web.com Tour graduates is a concern.
“It’s an imperfect storm,” explained one PAC member, who asked for anonymity because players are advised not to discuss ongoing policy discussions.
At issue is a larger-than-normal number of Tour members playing on medical and career money exemptions and increased participation by higher-ranked players as a result of the new split-calendar schedule.
Although players have balked at this suggestion in the past, Tuesday’s meeting seemed to mark a changing attitude among the rank and file to assure enough starts for incoming players.
“It was good to see it coming from the players this time instead of the Tour,” said another member of the PAC.
Another idea is limiting the number of medical or various other exemptions often snagged by Tour players to give the young bucks a chance to play.
Saturday morning on The Teebox Golf Show will be a busy presentation.
--We tell you what last minute decision may have altered the Masters outcome.
--Give you some very inside data on Jordan Spieth.
--Debate whether putting to a larger hole will save golf.
--At 9:10, Craig delivers yet another ridiculous story of sports parents losing their minds.
And we'll do it all from the greatness of Crest Cars in Plano this Saturday morning from 8-10. Hope you can tune in or better yet, stop by.
Lindsay Hartley turns 36. 36-23-33. American actress/singer.
All My Children, Smallville, Days Of Our Lives, Passions
Greek, Italian, Jewish mix. At 17 she was the youngest singer ever to headline Las Vegas when she debuted in "Viva Las Vegas" at the Sands Hotel. Young Miss America.
Several pros attended an event this week following the Masters. The big experiment was using an oversized 15-inch cup. I find it an interesting concept since most amateur players take far too long on the greens and are more interested in flushing full shots than making putts.
So how did it go?
HackGolf, backed by the deep pockets of top equipment and clothing manufacturer TaylorMade-adidias Golf, recently did just that, demoing a bold new idea – the 15-inch golf hole. For as long as anyone alive has been playing, the standard has been a scant 108mm, about 4 ¼ inches wide. The jump to 15 isn’t a renovation so much as a tear down, offering a dinner plate sized target that should make 3-putting all but impossible and dramatically increase the number of birdies and eagles – and of course, holes in one.
Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose headlined an industry field that tried the new concept at Georgia’s Reynolds Plantation, a 6-course luxury resort with onsite Ritz-Carlton hotel. They installed 15-inch cups and played 9-holes, with Garcia shooting 30 and Rose 33, which frankly are not especially low scores, comparable to the best these pros might be expected to shoot on a resort course with standard greens. However, it also stands to reason that since they are so much better putters and routinely hit approach shots closer, they benefit less from the increased size than the average player would. Two weeks ago HackGolf debuted the new oversized holes for the first time at Southern California’s Pauma Valley Country Club, and says that the new cups reduced the length of an 18-hole round from 4:30 to 3:45, while many golfers saw a 10-stroke improvement in scores.
“It is clear our game needs something to recapture the incredible growth and momentum we were experiencing a decade ago,” said Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade-adidas Golf, via a press release. “Whether it is this 15-inch-cup concept or an idea that comes in from outside the industry, we need to spark a revolution that will bring new participants to the game.”
I'm especially interested in the reduced time to play. Lowering round play by 45 minutes is noteworthy as many golfers cite 5-6 hour rounds as one big reason to play less.
And, to satisfy the low and high-handicapper, how about putting a regulation and oversized hole on each green?
Given the high finishes or even making the cut by geezers at Augusta, there's a compelling thought that a 50+ could win a major (attention Tiger and Phil).
To wit, a record six players 50 or older made the cut last week.The day is coming. A man using reading glasses in the scorer's room, with half a hundred winters in his memory bank, is going to win the Masters. Here's a partial list of people who were talking last week about that inevitability: Gary Player (78), Fred Couples (54), Vijay Singh (51), Tiger Woods (38). Jack Nicklaus is the oldest winner of a Masters, at age 46 in 1986. Suddenly, that doesn't seem so old anymore. Fifty-six is the new 46. Couples will be 56 the year after next, and guys can win at 56, former Masters champions were saying last week. One of them held out hope for a win at 61.
You go to the former winners in this conversation, because they get to play every year, but last week Miguel Ángel Jiménez, who is 50, finished fourth, four shots behind Bubba Watson. Four shots back, despite a second-round 76. His Saturday 66 was the low round of the week. One of the guys who beat him by a shot, Jordan Spieth, is 20. The Mechanic is not long. His putting is nice, not extravagant. But he has two exceptional skills. He can hit the ball precise distances, and he can think his way around a course. Those skills have a long shelf life.
Bernhard Langer shares those attributes. “I have said for years that a player in his 50s will win a major,” Langer, who is 56, said last week. He finished even par for the tournament and in a tie for eighth. His Sunday 69 matched the Sunday score made by Bubba his own self.
Susan Ward is 38. 36-23-33. Actress/model.
Shallow Hal, Sunset Beach, Wild Things 2, Make It or Break It.
Wanted to be a vet until age 13 when a talent scout altered her plans. At her parents' farm in Monroe there are dogs, cats, exotic birds, even a baby monkey.
Sports Business Daily announced Joe Buck and Greg Norman will lead their first U.S. Open telecast in 2015.
Buck is a single-digit handicap and a quick study. The wild card is Norman replacing long time lead analyst Johnny Miller. Like how much teeth will the Shark impart in his presentation?
The decision to tap Buck and Norman comes as somewhat of a surprise, as neither has announced golf on television before. Norman, a two-time British Open winner, is a member of the Golf HOF. Buck is said to be a scratch golfer who is knowledgeable about the sport. Buck already is Fox' top voice, anchoring the network's "A" announce teams for the NFL and MLB. The network has not finalized other announcer positions yet, and it is not clear when the network plans to formally announce Buck and Norman.
There is no doubt John Daly is a walking bit. His latest trick is hitting a ball teed up from model Kathy Michelle's mouth. Happily no major injuries were endured.
No practice swings either...
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