pixel 1
header
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Golf

Brooks Koepka sticks it to weight loss critics with brilliant first round

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka answered critics of his recent weight loss with a brilliant first round at the Masters on Thursday.

Koepka shot a six-under 66 to tie for the lead with Bryson DeChambeau after the first day of play. The stellar start was likely a relief for Koepka, who has faced criticism for losing so much weight.

Koepka won his second consecutive US Open last year and also won the PGA Championship. Then he went out and dropped around 20 pounds off his muscular frame, with some rumors suggesting it was due to a desire to look better for an ESPN The Magazine “Body Issue” photoshoot.

Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee ripped Koepka for the weight loss.

“For him to change his body for vanity reasons, for a vanity shoot, is the most reckless self-sabotage that I have ever seen of an athlete in his prime,” Chamblee said.

The weight loss had some effects as Koepka has been shorter off the tee since dropping the weight in November. He also acknowledged this week that he may have gone too far with his weight loss efforts. He cut down to 1,800 calories per day, which sapped him of energy.

“But I wanted to do it and try to lose some weight, and maybe went about it a little too aggressively for just a long period of time and the intensity of what I was doing,” Koepka said.

Whatever the reason for the weight loss, Koepka seems to have things back on track at Augusta National. The 28-year-old is seeking his first green jacket and fourth major win.

Watch: Bryson DeChambeau narrowly misses hole-in-one, eagle

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau finished a great first day at the Masters on Thursday that saw him shoot six under for the round, but he’s probably thinking about what could have been.

DeChambeau nearly had a hole-in-one on the 172-yard par-3 16th hole. His 8-iron rolled inches past the hole:

He still ended up with a birdie on the hole. Then on the par 4 18th, DeChambeau nearly sank an eagle shot from 196 yards:

The flag stick was not kind to him. Upon watching the replay on ESPN, DeChambeau exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, I guess I should have pulled the flag stick!”

DeChambeau still birdied the final four holes and picked up six birdies overall on the back nine. He finished the round with an impressive six-under 66.

Jason Day aggravates back injury picking up daughter

Jason Day was forced to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month because of a back injury, and it appears the ailment became an issue for him once again at the Masters on Thursday.

Day needed medical attention on the second hole of the first round at Augusta National, and ESPN reported that he was heard saying “oh, my back” after picking up his daughter before the round started.

This isn’t the first time we have seen Day hampered by an injury during a major championship, and it’s a shame to see another one so early in the Masters. Hopefully he’s able to work through it and keep playing.

Watch: Tiger Woods holes out for eagle with incredible shot

Tiger Woods red

Tiger Woods had an incredible stretch of play at the WGC-Match Play on Friday, and the highlight came when he made a shot from the fairway that resulted in an eagle.

Woods found himself 1 down in his match against Patrick Cantlay heading into the 11th hole, and he birdied the par-3 to square the match. He then birdied the 12th hole to take a 1-up lead, and he went 2-up with an eagle on the 13th. He accomplished that feat with an absolutely perfect second shot from the fairway that looked like it was on a string.

Tiger had yet another birdie on the 14th to go 3 up with four holes remaining.

Woods entered the match against Cantlay with a record of 1-1 in group play, so he needed a win to advance to the knockout stage. That four-hole stretch was a perfect example of why he is so tough to beat, and Phil Mickelson could tell you all about how quickly Tiger can turn things around in match play.

Watch: Jhonattan Vegas sinks longest putt ever at TPC Sawgrass 17th hole

The 17th hole at The Players Championship is known for being one of the most exciting in golf, but it is typically the tee shot that draws the biggest reactions from the fans at TPC Sawgrass. Jhonattan Vegas changed that for a brief moment on Sunday.

During the final round of The Players, Vegas sank the longest putt in the history of the island green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. It traveled just under 70 feet, beating Bernhard Langer’s previous record of just under 60 feet.

The long putt got Vegas to 14-under and near the top of the leaderboard.

We’ve seen plenty of show-stopping moments on the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass, and that is right there among the best.

Justin Thomas hits back at fan who called him out over 3-putt

Justin Thomas found himself near the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship on Thursday, and the 66 he shot would have been even better if not for a few uncharacteristic mistakes. Thomas mocked himself over some of those, but he seemed annoyed when a fan got in on the fun.

The highlight and lowlight of Thomas’ opening round both came on the 12th hole, when he drove the green with a monster 415-yard drive. He then 3-putted for a par after having a chance at an eagle.

Thomas clearly knows he blew a great opportunity to shoot an even better score, but his acknowledgement didn’t stop one Twitter follower from asking how he let that happen. Thomas has a very literal — albeit sarcastic — response.

While he has quickly emerged as one of the best golfers on the PGA Tour, Thomas has a tendency to let fans get under his skin. That Twitter interaction wasn’t nearly as awkward as the exchange he had with Rick Reilly at the Ryder Cup last year, but it’s the type that has led to people thinking Thomas needs to let more stuff go in one ear and out the other.

Matt Kuchar defends himself over controversial caddie tip

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar is defending himself over the amount he paid a fill-in caddie for carrying his bags at last year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Kuchar won the event, which took place in Mexico in November. He used a fill-in caddie for the event, David “El Tucan” Ortiz, and the two agreed the caddie would be paid $3,000 plus a bonus depending on how Kuchar performed. Ortiz supposedly stood to make as much as $4,000.

Kuchar won the event after shooting 22-under for the tournament, collecting $1.296 million in prize money. He apparently bumped Ortiz’s pay to $5,000, which is where the controversy begins.

Ortiz feels underpaid and told Golf Channel that he declined an additional payment of $15,000 because he felt $50,000 was more of an appropriate amount.

After the matter received attention this week, Kuchar addressed it while speaking from the Genesis Open in Los Angeles. He said it was too bad the matter has turned into a story, and then he made some comments that made him look bad.

“So I certainly don’t lose sleep over this,” Kuchar said via Golf Channel. “This is something that I’m quite happy with, and I was really happy for him to have a great week and make a good sum of money. Making $5,000 is a great week.”

Kuchar should not be commenting on what is or is not a great week for Ortiz, nor should he say he doesn’t lose sleep over it, because that makes him look completely unsympathetic.

Ortiz agreed to a deal before the week and was paid more than what they agreed to and even offered more than he turned down. Had he told Kuchar he wanted a bigger cut of the winnings if Kuchar won it all, the golfer might have gotten someone else on the bag. At the same time, Kuchar’s success in the event vastly surpassed expectations. He could have easily expressed gratitude to Ortiz for being a part of his success by offering a more generous bonus. He chose not to and is paying the PR price. As we’ve seen time and time again, nobody likes a bad tipper.