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Apr 13, 2016 | 08:43 am

A Reason to Smyle

One of the stranger moments in a bizarre Masters came when Jim Nantz ventured into Hord Hardin territory in the Butler Cabin on Saturday when he asked Smylie Kaufman the year and make of his car. The answer: an '08 Nissan Murano. Granted, the veteran broadcaster was trying to emphasize just how life could change for the Masters rookie playing in the final group on Sunday with Jordan Spieth, but it was still a little odd. Kaufman went on to shoot 81, but there was a reason for Smylie to smile in the end. Nissan has offered to replace his old model with a brand new one in a tweet, to which Kaufman tweeted back, "I'm glad I didn't have to hit a hole in one to get one! I appreciate the unexpected surprise!" Others were less than charitable in their responses: "Classy move by to give this kid a break," one guy retweeted. "He only made $68 grand last week and $2 mil for the year…"

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Apr 12, 2016 | 09:00 am

COMING-OUT PARTY

This week brings perhaps the most significant Tour debut since Tiger Woods’s “Hello World”  20 years ago, as Bryson DeChambeau tees off as a professional for the first time at the RBC Heritage Classic. The 22-year-old reigning NCAA and U.S. Amateur Champion is poised to win his first paycheck—possibly a big one—after earning low-amateur honors with a tie for 23rd at the Masters last week. DeChambeau is playing under a sponsor's exemption at Hilton Head and has a few invitations to future events, but most observers expect him to play himself quickly into full Tour status. And there’s at least one good omen—DeChambeau’s scores at Augusta last week—72-72-77-72—were exactly the same as Tiger’s when he was Masters low amateur in 1995.

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Apr 11, 2016 | 06:44 am

Using Video Games To Help Your Game

Hoping to play better golf but don’t want to bang balls on the range? Stuck indoors on a rainy day? A recent study suggests that a little time with a video game could translate into better scores in your next “real” round. As resported in the International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, the study divided 161 participants into three groups: some used a kinesthetic motion sensor to putt in the “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” video game on a Nintendo Wii game system; others putted using a push-button control pad; and the third group didn’t putt at all. After a few minutes of playing (or not), all the participants rolled a series of putts on a small practice green. Those who’d played with the motion-sensor control had the best results, significantly higher than the other two groups. Said Edward Downs, an associate professor of communications at the University of Minnesota-Duluth who helped conduct the study, “What we can infer from this is that the putting motion in the game maps onto a real putting behavior closely enough that people who had 18 holes of practice putting with the motion controllers actually putt better than the group that spent 45 minutes or so using the push-button controller to make putts.” Downs said that future research is needed to see if the same results occur with other golf skills, like full swings, which require different, and bigger, muscles. We’ll wait and see, but in the meantime, you might want to get your kids to show you just how those video-game consoles work.

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Apr 08, 2016 | 09:00 am

Who Will Win the Green Jacket?

Who do you think will win this week at Augusta? Spieth seems on track for the win, but Lowry, Lee, and others aren't far behind. However, anyone who follows the tournament knows just how quickly things can change at Augusta. Even McIlroy and Spieth have lost the tournament when the trophy seemed within their reach. The pundits thought the wind would hold the scores higher on Thursday, but Spieth didn't seem to have a problem. Others like Bubba Watson struggled dearly with the wind at points during the first round.

LINKS wants to hear from you! Leave a comment on this post or send a tweet to the LINKS account saying who you think will win the Masters and what their winning score relative to par will be. Who knows, we may have some extra Masters merchandise lying around the office

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