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Luke Donald: Monkey trouble in South Africa



Luke Donald has added his name to the long list of PGA Tour professionals who have had animal encounters on the golf course.

Playing the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, Donald was approaching his ball in the fairway when, well, a baboon elected to do the same.

Who says “silly season” golf isn’t entertaining?

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Undaunted by the monkey business, Donald fired a second-round 63 and leads the field by two strokes.

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  1. 8thehardway

    Dec 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Orangutan knocked out Boo Weekly
    (Golf Digest Guy Yokum intv. with Boo, 2007)

    I got in the ring. The orangutan didn’t look like much. He came up about to my chest, though his arms were as long as he was tall. When the match started, he didn’t lift his arms. He kept them down at his side and used them to pivot and follow me as I circled him like Muhammad Ali. I just didn’t see how I could miss. My strategy was to fake with my right hand, and when the orangutan tried to block the punch, I’d throw my left.

    My buddies were going wild. “Get him, Boo! Kick his butt!” They really wanted that $50. I moved in close and faked with my right, and that’s the last thing I remember. I woke up bleeding in the back of a friend’s pickup. The orangutan had knocked me cold with one punch, which I didn’t even see coming. My friends thought it was hilarious.

  2. Chris

    Dec 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    “You mind if I play through?”

  3. ParHunter

    Dec 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    I played there 2 years ago and had one walking the fairway with me. Quite normal it seems as non of my playing partners (all South Africans) were much surprised. I take a monkey over a crocodile on the course by day.

  4. G Rev

    Dec 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I her the baboon is three back after shooting a 64. Those Sunshine tour events must be on really easy courses.

  5. mo

    Dec 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm



  6. brian

    Dec 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    That baboon may actually be the same size as luke

    • JL

      Dec 8, 2014 at 4:11 am

      Baboons do have super human strength, so it would be prudent to not taunt it.

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Team USA holds off International squad for Presidents Cup victory



It was never going to be a Presidents Cup like all the rest, for so many reasons. It wasn’t Tom Weiskopf, skipping the Ryder Cup to go fishing, but the losses of Day and Koepka put the first damper on the teams that were initially selected. It wasn’t high treason, but Patrick Reed’s indefensible actions in the Bahamas were certain to galvanize support for the opposing squad. It wasn’t the MMA octagon, but the shoving of a spectator by a caddie served only to intensify matters. And those are the negatives!

The positive side includes the best golf course we’ve seen in decades, hosting a professional, international team event. Until now, only the Walker Cup venues were in the league of Royal Melbourne, in terms of design and conditioning. A player-captain, only the second in PrezCup history, and a legend at that, won all three of his matches and led his team to victory. Young players arrived on the scene, untested in international team competition; some became larger than life, while others shrunk from the glare of the sun. In the end, a 2-point differential, with more match swings that fit on our fingers and toes. The perfect end to the twenty-teens, the perfect event at the perfect time. Let’s wrap up the 2019 Presidents Cup, just in time for the holidays.

Ground control to Captain Tiger

Tiger finally got out of Tiger’s way in an international event. This thoughtful Woods was different than any we’ve seen in previous Ryder and Presidents Cups. Returned to proper mental, emotional and physical states, he carried this 2019 team on his rhomboids. Before a day-one shutout became a certainty, he lifted Justin Thomas to new heights, winning the day’s only USA point. When Friday looked to be another wound-licker for the USA contingent, Woods and Thomas once again pulled a point from the upside-down. Despite taking Saturday off, Woods’ shots were replaced by his wisdom. He rallied his lineup to 4.5 points of 8, trending in the direction needed for Sunday singles. Saving his most graceful for day four, Woods led Team America into the fray and never trailed in his 3 & 2 win over hot-handed Abraham Ancer. Forget the former holder of the nickname: there is only one Captain America. For all his flaws and his qualities, for his return from the depths of suffering, for his dedication to his craft, Captain America is, once again, Tiger Woods.

Ernie’s mistake

Quick thought: who would you say were the five strongest golfers this week for the International Team? I would have said Ancer, Sungjae Im, Cameron Smith, Louis Oosthuizen, and Hideki Matsuyama. And I would have led off with those five golfers, not the likes of C.T. Pan, Haotong Li, and Adam Hadwin. Els needed to get black flags on the board as soon as possible, and they failed. If your best can’t get it done early, your worst won’t later. Option two: put your veterans out first. Get Adam Scott, Marc Leishman, Louis Oosthuizen out in the first three matches. Let them carry their banner into the fracas, a position they’d earned. The brain trust of Team International, so strong in the pairings for three days, did an about-face on Sunday. It either abandoned the metrics that had carried them to the lead, or trusted a flawed algorithm when logic and history were paramount.

Flaws in the system

Team events will always be flawed in their conduct. To begin, the qualifiers who’ve lost their mojo. Golfers like Bryson DeChambeau, C.T. Pan, Haotong Li, and Matt Kuchar, and even Webb Simpson. Fellows who earned their points early on, but failed to show up for matches. There are ways of playing extremely well, yet losing to a hot hand. That was not the case for this quintet. Whatever collision of skill and fate that brought them to these heights, had abandoned them weeks and months before they stepped onto the first tee. Next come the captain’s picks. Until Sunday, not Reed, nor Niemann, nor Hadwin, had done a darned thing to help their squads. Their play was so weak, that their leaders were forced to brace against them. The exceptions were Woods himself, and Fowler, the latter having accrued 2 points in 3 appearances. This was as much a surprise as the failings of the other, aforementioned picks.

The enigma of foursomes

What is it about head-to-head play, that governs all professional, international team play? Is it tradition? Fine. Is it the notion of mano a mano and lining up against a solitary opponent? Okay. Is it the divergence from the norm of 18 holes of stroke play? Acceptable. Fourball is a known commodity. Golfers who succeed at medal play, are likely to play well in fourball matches. Ignore your partner if you must, and play your own game. When it comes to foursomes, there is a misnomer about USA players lacking the temperament, and generosity of spirit, to succeed. For some other reason, players from outside the gilded kingdom, are automatically granted these two traits, which therein give them an advantage in alternate-shot competition. In 2019, team USA won 5.5 of 8 foursomes points. If the ROW squad had merely halved those matches, they would have been 1.5 points closer to victory. Truth is, no one knows what makes a proper foursomes partnership. Is it the best way to identify the proper champion? No. Is it a magically-archaic, outdated anachronism, wreaking havoc on a modern world and its golf? 100 percent. For those reasons, it should always be a part of these matches. It represents the unknown.

Replace singles

Bold statement, I know. Remember, this is a team event, and the emphasis is on team play. I’m not suggesting scramble golf; that’s for the silly season. Probably would take these guys 6 hours per match, with the selection of whose shot, how to play it, where to place it, ad infinitum and nauseum. How about alternate-alternate shot, or sixsomes? Player A drives, player B approaches, player C putts for one team. On the next hole, they shift one slot, then again on the third hole. No? Consider quick-six, where each six holes is worth something, with the three segments determining the winner of the point. Adds a sense of urgency to one of the sessions. It sticks in my craw that sides can establish a proper lead in team play, only to see it vanish upon the abandonment of the essence of the competition.

Comeback kids

Speaking of singles, there were some freakishly-inexplicable comebacks on Sunday. Begin with Tony Finau against Hideki Matsuyama. 4 down on the 11th tee, the pride of Utah somehow won five of the next eight holes to square his match. Only a half point loss for the ROW, but Matsuyama had this one in the bag, and let his mates down, big time. Next would be Patrick Reed. What’s that you say? The guy who one five of his first six holes, with four birdies, against an outclassed Pan, was a comeback kid? Sure thing. You know why. It was a comeback from all the things that had gone wrong over the last fortnight. In truth, Reed deserved to do a Fortnite celebration dance, after his Sunday performance. The maligned Matt Kuchar fashioned a comeback of his own, against Louis Oosthuizen. Koooootch stood 3-down with nine to go, and strode to the 18th tee with a 1-up lead. Sure, he gassed a bogey there, to fall back into a tie, but controlling his own destiny for once, was a big step for the Georgian. As bitter as comebacks are for those who give up leads, they are equally-fulfilling for those who return from the dead.

The golf course

After any time at all in golf, folks talk about the Augusta Influence that drives golf course superintendents to desperation. Ignorant members demand that their courses look and play like The National does … for two weeks of the year. With luck, those members will demand that their courses look and play like Royal Melbourne, instead. No need to saturate fairways and putting surfaces with wasted water. No call to preserve a green hue unknown to Mother Nature. No need to avoid the natural bounce, the intuitive carom, the unpredictable roll, the unsettling roil caused by firm, uneven turf. Golf is infinitely more interesting when unpredictable. Its courses are why we play the game until the moment we depart, boots up, toward the next life. Stop humanizing it, for goodness sake!

Closing thoughts

I’m not looking forward to next year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, nor the 2021 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow. I have no anticipation that Wisconsin in late September will be at all firm, just as I know that piedmont North Carolina will be equally wet and soft, in September of the following year. I’m hoping for a dry red in 2022, at Marco Simone outside Rome, just as I hope that the yet-to-be-selected site of the 2023 PrezCup matches will be something special. American golf is treelined, windless, blah, even when played on a faux-links like Whistling Straits.

I hope that future captains resist the temptation to select members of their little clubs, their inner circles. Give someone like Kevin Kisner or Kevin Na an experience on a national team. Your win-at-all-costs, keep-it-in-the-family approaches are simply not what the human experience need be, all the time. Imagine an aging Kisner, a septegenarian Na, recalling the time when he was a captain’s pick for a USA squadron. Not Fowler, nor Reed.

Give us prime-time golf from around the globe. Give us venues as magical as those seen on the Wonderful World of Golf, decades ago. These form the inspiration for generations of young golfers; they always have and always will. Knowing that golf will transport you to another continent, another language, another playing surface, is more than any other sport or game can offer. We are a fortunate lot.

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Patrick Reed’s caddie thrown out of Presidents Cup after altercation with fan



Patrick Reed’s caddie, Kessler Karain, has been kicked out of the Presidents Cup after admitting that he shoved a fan following an altercation on Saturday at the Presidents Cup.

Karain, who is also Reed’s brother in law, admitted to losing his cool after becoming irate after a fan heckled Reed after his 5 and 3 defeat alongside Webb Simpson to Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan on Saturday.

Karin spoke to ESPN and Barstool Sports following the news of his exclusion from the event.


In response to his caddie’s ban from the event, Reed stated

“I respect the Tour’s decision. We are all focused on winning the Presidents Cup tomorrow.”

Reed’s swing coach, Kevin Kirk, is expected to be on the bag for the Texan’s singles match on Sunday.




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5 things we learned on day three of the Presidents Cup 2019



They’ve got us where they want us. We care. In the middle of December, we care about golf. We care about golf course architecture. We care about young golfers earning their first international cap. And about golfers who should and should not be on their respective teams. And about golfers who play well under pressure, on a Sandbelt course with all the traits of a links. And about at least five other things that I’m about to elaborate. Two rounds of four matches each, went in the books on day three of the Presidents Cup. In a facts-only retrospective, Team ROW moved from a 3-point, overnight advantage to a 4-point mid-day advantage. Team USA found a needed gear in the afternoon, and close the 4-point disadvantage to 2 points. And that’s where we stand, with 12 singles matches ahead. Team USA needs to claim 7 points from those 10 matches, in order to retain the cup. Team ROW (the Internationals) need 5.5 points to hoist the chalice on home soil.

1. Why the Internationals will win on Sunday

They’ve played better in Four-Ball competition. In the matches where a golfer’s own ball completes the hole, the ROW has won 6.5 of 9 points. They are making birdies and pars beyond the scope of anything the USA can match. Sungjae Im makes more birdies than anyone else on the PGA Tour. If he gets his usual bushel against Gary Woodland, that’s one point. Ancer has a bit of an advantage against Captain Tiger, in that Woods hasn’t golfed his ball since Friday. If Ancer’s short game stays lit, he has a chance. Unlike the USA, the International squad gets a world-level team event once every two years, and hosts it, once every four. Despite not being an official community (like Europe for the Ryder Cup), the impact of a captain like Els brings the importance of this event home for the team members. It seems that they want to win for him, which goes a long way.

2. Why the USA will win on Sunday

To begin, they hold higher rankings on the official ladder of golfing greatness, have won more major championships, and have more international-match caps (if only because they play one every year.) Team USA also has momentum, halving the 4-point deficit in one brace of matches, and being on the cusp of making it even closer. Justin Thomas is flat-out pissed (in the USA understanding of the term) about giving away a half-point. Winning zero holes on the inward half, and failing to tie one of the remaining five, did not leave a fine taste in the mouth of the young stalwart. Knowing his game, this will buoy him in his match with Cameron Smith. Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland finally won a point outright, which should give them the confidence they need to claim matches on Sunday. Oh, and there’s the Captain-Tiger effect. They may not want to win FOR him, but they don’t want a plane ride home WITH him, but WITHOUT a certain goblet.

3. Damage control, Team USA

Where to start? Are these guys all-in for international matches? Is it possible to get up for this competition, after peaking for four majors, a handful of almost-majors, and a three-week, tour playoff? And then taking September through November off (for some of them)? Add in the discomfort that many have with the ground game, the firm game, the non-spin game, the bunkers-cut-into-greens game, the holes-cut-on-the-edge-of-disaster game. How about guys like Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed, who have not partnered well, yet inexplicably been paired 3 times? Both took Saturday afternoon off, and both need to count on Sunday, or the ROW is well on its way to snatching the trophy. Not far behind are Finau and Kuchar (two half-points each). Finau must be the best guy in the team room, the most unlucky competitor, or something else. He continues to get the nod as a Captain’s pick, over match-play stalwarts like Kevin Kisner and Kevin Na.

4. Damage Control, Team International

Start with Haotong Li and Adam Hadwin. One match for Li over 3 days and 4 rounds, and only 2 for Hadwin. Is either one injured? Off form? A bother to partner with? Seeing the ease with which Captain Els and staff shifted golfers in and out of pairings, the first glaring absence was Li, with the Canadian not far behind. Follow up with the aging trio of Scott, Leishman and Oosthuizen. The first two have played every match thus far, with Louis appearing in 3 of 4. They’re the spiritual spine of the team, but do they have the endurance to make it one last day? Finish it off with Joaquin Niemann. Why is he here? South American representation? Perhaps. Youth? Perhaps. Future of the team? Perhaps. He has one-half point in four matches, and has shown an erratic, unreliable game. His win in September on the PGA Tour seems more fluke than fate, but a day-four victory over Patrick Cantlay would be a massive salve on his wounds.

5. The IF factors

So many “ifs” and so little ability to anticipate if they will turn out or not. Here’s a list of ten:

IF Tiger Woods or Abraham Ancer gets out to an early lead, in the day’s first (and most-anticipated) match, how will that impact the remaining 11 matches?

IF Haotong Li finds any semblance of the game that earned him a spot on the team. He’s out 4th, and a win over Dustin Johnson is certainly plausible.

IF Jason Day and Brooks Koepka were playing/not injured…

IF the weather isn’t as predicted (around 70 degrees, no rain, 10 mph winds), what impact will it have?

IF the USA can avoid shooting at flags, and work the ball into the hole using angles, splines and spines …

IF only the small ball still existed, and the ROW could use it to its advantage

IF the ghost of Peter Thomson returns to putt for the ROW

IF the entire ROW team wears yellow bucket hats on Sunday, in memory of Jarrod Lyle …

Now I’m getting misty. So much good about this game. Forget your usual, Saturday-evening celebrations. This Saturday Night Fever doesn’t involve young Travolta. It salutes the passing of one generation to the next, the opportunity to earn your stripes in international competition, and the opportunity to see an exquisitely-designed golf course, whose conditions are much easier to replicate for superintendents than, say, a certain fruit farm in Georgia. Sunday’s matches will be just like Royal Mel, brothers and sisters: fast and firm. Strap in and ride the coaster!

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19th Hole