Jim “Bones” MacKay, who for the last 25 years has been Robin to Phil Mickelson’s Caped Crusader, has a new gig. After an amicable split from Lefty the world’s most mercurial looper is moving outside the ropes. MacKay and NBC Sports announced a new multi-year deal for Bones to become an on-course reporter for the Peacock and its affiliate, the Golf Channel. The 52-year MacKay swill surely bring (picture a cross between Gary McCord and Carl Spackler) a unique voice and perspective to the air. His opening act will be at The Open at Royal Birkdale in two weeks. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile on another Bat Channel, Mackay’s former boss was doing something he had never done before too. Mickelson made the cut at the Greenbrier Classic for the first time in four attempts but would not be a factor in the final outcome. Xander Schauffele, who played a prominent role in the first 3 rounds of the U.S. Open three weeks ago, played the best down the closing stretch to win his first PGA Tour event. The long-hitting Schauffele becomes the 8th first time winner of the season and at 23 is another of the seemingly endless ensemble of talented young players.
World #4, Rory McIlroy, is not having a very good year on the links in 2017. McIlroy missed the cut at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, where he was the defending champion, by 3 shots after shooting rounds of 69 and 73 at the Portstewart Golf Club. McIlroy has been sidelined twice this year for back problems and although he has already been a very streaky player, his lack of form for the last year is cause for concern. As the tournament’s host, McIlroy was around for the weekend and put his free time to good use by working hard on his game.
Newly crowned Masters Champion, Sergio Garcia, has a favorite new garment which came in handy on Friday at Wimbledon. To sit in the Royal Box at the All England Tennis Club, a gentleman has to wear a jacket which was just fine for the 37-year old Spaniard. Accompanied by fiancée Angela Akins, Garcia proudly wore his Green Jacket while taking in the action watching Victoria Azarenka and then 15-time tennis Major winner and fellow Spanish icon, Rafael Nadal on the world’s most famous Center Court.
At the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wisconsin, 35-year old Australian Katherine Kirk bridied the final hole to record a one stroke victory over Ashleigh Buhai. Kirk’ 22-under par total was the lowest of her career and the win was the 3rd of her career on the LPGA Tour.
In a recent column, the Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee said that the enforcement of the anchoring ban (not being able to rest/touch the top of a long putter against your body during the stroke) has been “appalling.” Chamblee then called out PGA Tour Champions players, Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron as two of the most notorious violators of the rule that was implemented at the beginning of 2015 saying that they both displayed a “lack of character” by continuing to putt while under suspicion. Both McCarron and Langer and also the USGA came out with statements immediately following Chamblee’s comments denying any wrongdoing of any kind but the damage may have already been created from the controversial Chamblee.
Jordan Spieth is preparing for the second half of the season and the upcoming Open Championship by getting a little R & R in Cabo San Lucas. The 23-year old superstar was seen hanging out with fellow luminaries, Michael Jordan, Fred Couples, Russell Wilson and Michael Phelps.
The players who did make the halfway mark at the Irish Open were going very low indeed. Lowest of all was 22-year old Spanish sensation, Jon Rahm, who closed with a 7-under par 65 (despite two bogies in his last 3 holes) to win by six shots. Rahm shot a 4-day total of 24 under par to shatter the tournament scoring record by 3 and win his second title in 2017. With this win Rahm will move up to 8th in the World golf rankings and further cement his place as one of the games brightest young stars.
The new coach of the University of San Diego golf team is a name familiar to golfers. 43-year Chris Riley who played on the PGA Tour for 14 years and was a member of the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup team (he paired with Tiger Woods winning their foursomes match 4&3 over Europeans Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter). Noted for his short game and consistency, the likeable Riley retired from competitive golf 5 years ago, and is excited about this new chapter in his career.
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