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Justin Rose brutally chunks shot at US Open (Video)

Justin-RoseFortunately for Justin Rose, it is only Thursday. The reigning US Open champion is defending his trophy at Pinehurst this week, and the opening round didn’t go all that poorly for him. The pitch shot he tried to hit on the 8th hole, however, did not go well.

Rose was trying to finesse the ball up onto the green, but he ended up chunking it. He looked exactly like I look when I play in my local golf league on Wednesdays, so I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a laugh out of it. Rose hit a similar shot earlier in the year from about 100 yards out, so he has a tendency to make that mistake from time to time.

Watching the pros hit spectacular shots is entertaining. Watching them hit horrible shots is encouraging.

Video: Instagram/Busted Coverage

Rickie Fowler paying tribute to Payne Stewart with knickers

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Rickie Fowler is known for having the most flamboyant style in golf. We wouldn’t be surprised if he wore pastel-colored knickers at the US Open just because he felt like it, but Fowler actually had a reason for his wardrobe choice on Thursday.

Fowler was paying tribute to the late Payne Stewart. In 1999, Stewart won the US Open by sinking a 15-foot par putt on the final hole. He died in a tragic airplane accident months later at the age of 42.

A statue that depicts Stewart celebrating his famous putt was constructed at Pinehurst No. 2, where this year’s US Open is being held.

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Photo: Twitter/SportsCenter

Phil Mickelson likely not guilty of insider trading

Phil-Mickelson-Claret-JugA bombshell report that was published by the New York Post and other media outlets recently indicated that Phil Mickelson was at the center of an ongoing FBI investigation into a possible insider trading scheme. The New York Times, which also ran the original Mickelson story, admitted on Wednesday night that Mickelson’s role in the investigation has been “overstated.”

Mickelson was originally believed to be tied to the investigation through his alleged relationship with Las Vegas sports gambling guru Billy Walters. Initial speculation was that billionaire investor Carl Icahn may have tipped off Walters when he made a $10 billion offer to buy Clorox Inc. in 2011, causing the company’s stock to skyrocket. Mickelson would have then gotten the information from Walters.

However, the Times now claims Mickelson did not trade in his shares of Clorox at the time Icahn was preparing his massive bid. The government is reportedly seeking information from Mickelson regarding Walters, but he has been informed that there are no plans to criminally charge him.

The new details, provided in the interviews with the people briefed on the matter, indicate that Mr. Mickelson’s ties to the investigation are weaker than previously reported. The details may also raise questions about the government’s decision to deploy what appear to be unusually aggressive tactics in the investigation, particularly when the F.B.I. agents publicly approached Mr. Mickelson even though he is known to have a lawyer and a sports agent.

Mickelson, who has maintained that he has done nothing wrong, was approached by FBI agents after he finished a round at The Memorial Tournament in Ohio late last month. Several former federal prosecutors who spoke with the Times speculated that the government officials may have been aiming to embarrass Mickelson so he would be more inclined to cooperate against Walters.

While it appears Mickelson will not be charged with anything in relation to the Clorox trading situation, he may not be completely out of the woods. Investigators are still reportedly looking at separate trades he and Walters made in Dean Foods in 2012.

Mickelson is attempting to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the US Open this weekend. He has finished second in the event six times during his career.

Phil Mickelson going back to claw grip to fix ‘poopy’ putting

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Phil Mickelson is one of the greatest putters to ever live, and he has been known to switch up his mechanics from time to time. When Mickelson felt like he was striking the ball too hard on the greens a couple of years ago, he switched to what is known as the “claw grip.” He went back to it last week for the final round of the St. Jude Classic and is sticking with it for the US Open.

By gripping the putter in a way that makes his bottom hand a claw, Mickelson can take the hand and wrist action out of his putting stroke and isolate his shoulders. That helps him hit putts with more consistent pace. It also stops the poopiness, as he phrased it on Tuesday.

“I should have won that last week by eight shots if I putted worth — decent,” Mickelson told reporters, via Eye on Golf. “I saw Stockton this morning and really the reason why I went to the claw is that I just have been a little bit too poppy, if you will, I’ve been popping at it. And not making a long kind of smooth, brush stroke. When I take the bottom hand off it allows me to do that.”

Phil obviously wanted to use another word but stopped himself just in time.

Mickelson explains the reasoning behind the claw grip in this video.

Mickelson is easily the biggest story heading into the US Open at Pinehurst this week. A win would complete the career Grand Slam for the 43-year-old, who has finished in second at the US Open a whopping six times in his Hall of Fame career. I’ll be one of the thousands who are pulling for Phil.

Report: FBI investigating Phil Mickelson for possible insider trading

Phil-Mickelson-Claret-JugPhil Mickelson is reportedly at the center of a federal investigation into a possible insider trading scheme. According to the New York Post, Mickelson may have taken part in illegal trading based on nonpublic information from billionaire investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas sports gambling guru Billy Walters.

The investigation is said to have started in 2011, when Icahn made a $10 billion offer to purchase Clorox. Investigators say Icahn’s offer caused Clorox stock to skyrocket and that he may have tipped off Walters — who passed the information along to Mickelson — ahead of time. Investigators are in the process of trying to determine if Mickelson’s and Walters’ trading habits indicate they profited from the spike in Clorox stock caused by Icahn’s offer.

Mickelson acknowledged that he has spoken to government officials but maintained he has done nothing illegal.

“I have done absolutely nothing wrong,” the reining Open Championship winner said. “I have cooperated with the government in this investigation and will continue to do so. I wish I could fully discuss this matter, but under the current circumstances, it’s just not possible.”

Icahn claimed to have no knowledge of any ongoing investigation.

“We don’t know of any investigation,” the 78-year-old told The Post. “Further, we are always very careful to observe all legal requirements in all of our actions,” Icahn said. “I’m very proud of my record and I’ve never given out insider information. I’m very careful. That’s why I have an unblemished record.”

Despite Mickelson’s admission that he has cooperated with investigators, his lawyer Glenn Coehn told The Wall Street Journal that Mickelson is “not the target of any investigation, period.”

Sources also told The Post that investigators approached Mickelson during the first round of the Memorial Tournament on Thursday. Mickelson started his round on fire and was 5-under after 15 holes. He finished with a bogey on 16 and double bogeys and 17 and 18.

Did Caroline Wozniacki put a hex on Rory McIlroy?

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Prior to Friday, Rory McIlroy had been playing some of his best golf of the season in the wake of dumping his fiancee Caroline Wozniacki. McIlroy won the European BMW PGA Championship last weekend and kicked off the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village on Thursday by firing a 63 in the first round. Then, Wozniacki changed her Twitter avatar.

For whatever reason, Woz made her avatar a photo of her looking like a witch standing over her giant kettle. Chris Chase of For the Win noted that the photo was originally posted last October during a Halloween celebration.

The picture made sense in October, but what about now? If you believe in dungeons and dragons and witches and warlocks, you might find it interesting that McIlroy shot a second-round 78 on Friday, which could go down as the worst round of the day among the entire field.

What’s in the pot, Caroline? We’re onto you…

Related: Rory McIlroy reportedly dumped Caroline Wozniacki over the phone
Related: Caroline Wozniacki in ‘shock’ after split from Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy wins tournament days after breaking up with Caroline Wozniacki

Rory McIlroyRory McIlroy announced on Wednesday that he has decided to break off his engagement with former fiancee Caroline Wozniacki. Just four days later, he erased Thomas Bjorn’s seven-shot lead to win Europe’s BMW PGA Championship. McIlroy shot a 66 on the final day of the tournament.

“How the hell did this happen?” he said after the win, via ESPN UK. “I guess it was just meant to be. I can’t really explain it — it’s been a week of mixed emotions.”

McIlroy played well all week and finished 14-under for the tournament. If his suddenly inspired play was purely coincidence, golf legend Greg Norman isn’t buying it.

At least one report has already indicated that McIlroy broke up with Wozniacki because he felt his relationship was hurting his golf game. The victory lends credence to that theory.

“Once I got inside the ropes this week it was a release,” McIlroy told reporters. “I was on my own and doing what I do best. For four or five hours each day I was in the serenity of my own sanctuary and just concentrating on each shot in hand.”

Expect Rory to be the favorite heading into the US Open next month.