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19th Hole

The golf gods showed Matt Harmon absolutely no love



Matt Harmon

Matt Harmon stepped up to the most important putt of his career and the golf gods laughed in his face.

It wasn’t quite so cut-and-dried as “this putt is for a PGA Tour card,” but pretty close. Harmon needed a four-footer for birdie at the 17th hole (and a par at the 18th) to finish inside the top 25 for the Finals.

Instead, Harmon agonizingly missed the putt with a decelerating stroke that had him walking after it early, saying, “That’s the worst putt I’ve hit in a long time.”

He followed up with a bogey at the 18th to miss out on his chance to join the big tour by two strokes.

Even more savagely than coaxing Harmon into a high-handicapper’s putting stroke, as you can see in the video below, the golf gods weren’t about to give him the satisfaction of breaking his putter on the first or second try.

Harmon eventually succeeded with the less than satisfying “step on the head and separate the shaft” break, which has to be the least cathartic form of club break.

I mean, damn, didn’t the guy at least deserve something like this?

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  1. Mrisinge

    Oct 11, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    He needs to grow up if he wants to play with the big boys.

  2. Grizz

    Oct 5, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Something got inbetween his ears.

  3. Chema

    Oct 5, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Joe Daley at Q School was way more heartbreaking than this when his hit the liner on the final hole. That’s the golf gods! This has nothing to do with the golf gods. Just nerves and a pulled birdie attempt on the second to last hole. He’s a better golfer then I’ll ever be though.

  4. JimO

    Oct 4, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Had nothing to do with “golf gods” As more than one former player now sports analyst has said, “we don’t like to use the word, but it looks like he choked” There are lot’s of golfers with great swings and lots of talent, but it’s the between the ears and what’s in their gut that makes the difference. And I’m in no way calling Harmon a choker, or gutless. He may learn and come out and smoke the tour next year. All about how you handle adversity, he didn’t handle it well, wasn’t the putter’s fault.

  5. Vincent

    Oct 4, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Golf is hard

  6. Busterfudd1

    Oct 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    There are no such thing as “golf gods”. There are however, Golf Godesses; cruel, unforgiving, merciless forever. Gods forgive – Godesses never!!!!!

  7. justin case

    Oct 4, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    the putt on 17 was for birdie… not par… at least according to the screen.

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19th Hole

The Things I Do to Play Golf



It’s 9:00 p.m. on a random Thursday evening in November. It’s dark, cold, and I’m exhausted. I’ve seen a deer, a frog, and I’ve had two neighbors asked me what I was doing. Technically, one asked me what I was doing; the other asked me if I was nuts.  Either way, for the past 3 hours I’ve been outside cleaning up leaves… in the dark. My feet are numb, my nose is running, and I can barely feel my fingertips.

How did I get to this point? It all started back on Tuesday when I checked the forecast and saw that it was going to be sunny and in the mid 60s. For a guy in the Midwest, this is like finding a unicorn or seeing Sasquatch. To have this kind of weather in mid-to-late November — and on a weekend no less! It’s what we dream about. I knew I had a lot going on the rest of the week, but nonetheless I followed my standard operating procedure of booking a tee time and asking questions later.

This is where things got a little dicey. I had put off a few things last weekend to play 18 holes on Sunday, so I was going to have an uphill battle. It also may have slipped my mind that my wife and I were going to dinner on Friday evening with some friends. So I basically had two days to get two weeks worth of errands and chores done.

I started off Wednesday morning by picking up a few things at Walgreens on my way to the office. Then, in what turned out to be a brilliant move, I went to the grocery store at lunch. Why was this so brilliant you ask? Well, in addition to needing groceries, my wife needed a whole list full of items for several upcoming events we (she) was hosting. Since I was heading back to the office, I picked up every item on the list that didn’t need to be kept cold, which was the majority of the list. Then on my way back, I picked up my dry cleaning and some Chick-Fil-A.

After work, I had to pick up my daughter from dance practice. This is where I made a do-or-die decision to go to a second grocery store in the same day. I managed to pick up the remaining items on the list and pulled up to the pickup line at the dance studio just as the girls were walking out. BOOM! That’s what I’m talking about! As we drove home, I was feeling pretty good about myself, but I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet.

Thursday was just as productive as the day before. I managed to get to my doctor’s appointment, pick up a prescription and make a quick run to Target. I was starting to get cocky. All I had to do was get the leaves taken care of after work and I was home free. Unfortunately, that feeling of cockiness ended as soon as soon as I pulled up to my house. I expected that there was going to be a decent number of leaves since I hadn’t picked any up the previous weekend. What I didn’t expect was for the wind to have picked up in the afternoon and blown all of my neighbors leaves into my yard as well. I sat in my car for a second to pump myself up.

I envisioned myself on the course on Saturday (sunny, 65 degrees, and sitting at even par with three holes to play). Then I got out of my car and was slapped across the face with a 20 mph gust of wind. I may have let out a squeal before I scurried inside like an 8-year-old who had been playing in the snow too long. After changing out of my suit, I put on enough layers to make me look like the Michelin Man. I trudged outside like a man on a mission.

This brings us back to where we started. I was cold and miserable, but there wasn’t a leaf in sight by the time I was done. After a glass of scotch by the fireplace, I went to bed. I woke up a little sore, embarrassingly.

“I can’t believe you really did that last night,” my wife said. My response: “Totally worth it!”

Saturday was absolutely perfect. The weather was great. To my surprise the course was fairly wide open, and I played pretty well. I enjoyed a great cigar afterward at the outdoor bar and my wife met me for dinner later. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon in November.

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19th Hole

Rickie Fowler’s touching Instagram tribute to dying man he played golf with



Rickie Fowler posted this photo to Instagram, Thursday.

Fowler’s caption reads

“38 days ago I flew up to Atlanta to play golf with a man fighting pancreatic cancer. For him I hope it was a fun filled enjoyable round of golf! For me it turned out to be much more than that…from breakfast to the course to a late afternoon lunch it was amazing! We shared a cart and shared plenty of laughs along the way! I think some of his putting rubbed off on me too as he made plenty that day! It was a day I will remember for the rest of my life!”

“11 days ago, the Sunday before Tiger’s tourney, we lost that man…a man I wish I could thank for choosing to spend one of his last days with me! Thank you Dr. Reyes, and the win last week was for you! Rest In Peace and my thoughts and prayers go out to your family and friends!”

Damn. What more can really be said? Incredibly classy, gracious gesture from Fowler.

Rest in peace, Dr. Reyes.

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19th Hole

Gamechanger? USGA allows smartphone use for distance information during competition



Good news, competitive golfers, you can now use your smartphone for distance information.

That’s right. The USGA, responding directly to Arccos’ request that its 360 app be permissible during competition, had this to say (per Golf Digest)

“Based on the information provided and our understanding that the Arccos 360 is incapable of gauging or measuring any parameter other than distance, use of the Arccos Caddie application in conjunction with the Arccos 360 application, as submitted, has been evaluated and it has been determined that the use of the Arccos Caddie application is permitted under the Rules of Golf when a Committee establishes a Local Rule permitting the use of distance measuring devices (see Decision 14-3/0.5). However, please note that in the absence of such a Local Rule, use of the Arccos System during a stipulated round is contrary to Rule 14-3.”

Because any information (namely, yardages) garnered from the app would theoretically be available prior to play, the USGA doesn’t have a problem with the use of the device.

“Golf is still a game of skill and judgment, and anything that can give a player an advantage and diminish that judgment is a problem,” USGA senior director of rules and amateur status Thomas Pagel told Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura. “The compilation of two or more data points to provide some recommendation that takes that judgment away from the player, that’s where the issue comes in.”

Thus, the use Arccos Caddie, which provides club recommendations and “plays like” distances to a user, is not permissible from the “two or more data points” perspective.

Needless to say, Arccos is happy.

“Everything in golf is sort of an evolutionary process,” Tom Williams, Arccos vice president of sales and marketing, told Golf Digest. “We think this is a really important step in a process that’s going to speed up, not slow down. We certainly feel the product breaks new ground, but this decision does, as well. You never know what’s going to happen when you’re pushing the boundaries, but we’re just super pleased that this is the outcome of many months of our process.”

Beyond Arccos in particular, however, and as Tom Williams rightly says, the decision builds on the 2016 allowance of rangefinder use during tournament play (Rule 14-3a), further opening the doors for the use of technology on course. 18Birdies, for example, another popular app that, among its capabilities, offers distance information, has a “USGA Tournament Mode” setting.

Certainly, the determination is good for the golf industry. Perhaps, the ripple effect is minimal, but there is at least potential both in terms of opening the door to app development, and doing something concrete about the great bugaboo of slow play at the competitive level.

Undoubtedly, some observers would go so far as to suggest the full capabilities of Arccos Caddie should be permissible for a player during competition.

From the “all or nothing” standpoint, there’s a logic to this position, which goes something like this: The USGA draws the line at information accessed during the round or using multiple data points. So, you can’t use a wind-measuring device, for example, but you can access projections of wind speed prior to your round.

Likewise (and uneasily, for the USGA), a player can have detailed green and slope maps in a yardage book, but he cannot access information projecting how his putt will break from an app during the round.

There’s a strangeness to the current climate. Don’t let players use yardage books or any devices, or let them use all available resources, lines in the sand that keep golf “a game of skill” are arbitrary, the “unrestrained technology” position holds.

Regardless, drawing lines in the sand is the order of the day, and in this case, the USGA has drawn correctly.

What do you think, WRX members?

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19th Hole