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Aug 21, 2014 | 12:52 PM

Five for Four

How could Rory McIlroy’s season get any better? Well if he overcomes today’s opening round of 74 and wins The Barclays in Ridgewood, New Jersey, the 25-year old gains entrance into an exclusive club. With three wins in his last three starts, another title means he would join Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Jack Burke, Jr. and Tiger Woods as the only PGA Tour players to ever win at least four consecutive tournaments. The epic 11 wins in a row achieved by Nelson in 1945 (during which he won a grand total of $30,250) may be forever out of reach. Tiger’s seven straight from mid-2006 to early 2007 — with British Open and PGA Championship victories — earned him almost $8 million. Hogan’s streak of five consecutive wins in 1953 included The Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. But most impressive of all the streaks may have been Burke’s in early 1952. Although his wins included lower profile events such as the St. Petersburg Open and Baton Rouge Open, he remains the only member of this unique club to have earned his four straight in four consecutive weeks. 

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Aug 20, 2014 | 04:02 PM

Alabama Shakes

One of the most exciting holes in the southeast—the downhill 175-yard 5th at FarmLinks Golf Course in Sylacauga, Alabama—has gotten even more exciting this year. That’s because since April 15th, players who paid the $10 registration fee have had a chance to qualify for a $25 million hole-in-one “Super Shootout” in early October by being the closest to the pin each day. The tricky part is that the hole (pictured above) drops about a foot for every yard, so selecting the right club can be difficult, but so far more than 100 amateurs (no professionals allowed) have qualified for Stage II the last two weeks of September. That’s when they get to come back for a free round and a chance to be one of the top 12 contestants for the final stage Oct. 5th and 6th. The closest of the 12 then gets to hit 25 shots with each potentially worth $1 million. The one catch is that “Supershooter” won’t be able to hit all 25 to the same pin from the same tee. He (or she) will get five shots to five different hole locations from five different tee markers no less than 175 yards. But given how downhill the shot is, it will play a lot less, something the underwriter apparently didn’t factor in. The first stage of qualifying ends Sept. 15th.

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Aug 19, 2014 | 08:46 AM

Christian Values

Add another chapter to pro golf’s oddest biography, The Enigma That Is Bubba. Two weeks after losing a few thousand more fans with his petulant behavior at the PGA—where his antics included f-bombing, club throwing, and heaping some more abuse on his caddie Ted Scott—Bubba, as part of his penitence and promise to “be a better person,” has bestowed his long-suffering looper, Ted Scott, with a brand new car and truck. The professed devout Christian may not always act in accordance with his faith but he does seem to know something about Christian history, as the caddie car payoff harkens back to the medieval practice of buying indulgences.

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Aug 18, 2014 | 06:48 AM

Waving Goodbye

There were two significant goodbyes at the Wyndham Championship this past weekend. On Friday, Padraig Harrington (above) missed the cut and, as a result, lost his exempt status on the PGA Tour (he entered the tournament ranked 188th on the money list). According to Yahoo Sport, his options for next year are relying on invitations from tournaments, taking a one-season exemption as one of the Tour’s all-time top-50 money winners (he said he’s saving that option for another time), and using his status as a former champion to get into a few events. The other farewell is to 41-year-old American Joe Ogilvie, who played his last Tour event—his 399th—at Wyndham: The graduate of Duke University is starting a full-time job as an investment banker. In 19 years on Tour, Ogilvie had one win (fittingly, it was the U.S. Bank Championship, in 2007) and four Web.com titles. More than 300 people waited at the final hole to wish him well. Speaking afterward about playing his last tournament, Ogilvie’s comment was, “Man, that was hard.”

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