Obama unable to secure Labor Day tee time

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
12:55
PM ET

Looking to get a tee time at Winged Foot? How about Trump National? Apparently even the president of the United States sometimes gets the brush-off, according to a broadcast report.

President Barack Obama was in the New York City area for Labor Day, and his Secret Service advance team inquired about possible tee times at those two elite clubs and some others, according to NBC 4 New York.

The president was in town, the report said, for a fundraiser and a wedding. According to the report, this isn't the first time a sitting president was rebuffed by elite clubs, especially considering that the Labor Day holiday is considered by many to be one of the last big weekends for golf in the Northeast.

Obama had been criticized recently for hitting the links while major crises flared up in the Middle East and the Ukraine.

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Happy 85th, Arnold Palmer!

September, 10, 2014
Sep 10
10:52
AM ET

Every golf fan has an Arnie story. Even if it isn't their own tale, fans of the golfing legend Arnold Palmer, who turns 85 on Sept. 10, 2014, tell it like it's their own.

In that line of thinking, we've pulled together some of the best tweets wishing The King all the best on No. 85.

And, of course, feel free to share your own below, as well.

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Experts' picks: Tour Championship

September, 9, 2014
Sep 9
2:53
PM ET

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week, the PGA Tour heads to East Lake Golf Club for the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Sergio Garcia
Although he has never won this event, Garcia has finished second twice and posted a T-9 last year. Just like Billy Horschel finding the hazard on the final hole at Deutsche Bank, Garcia's triple-bogey on the 17th last week is just a blip on the radar.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Bill Haas
In 2011, the 32-year-old son of Champions Tour player Jay Haas won the Tour Championship at East Lake on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff with Hunter Mahan in one of the most exciting finishes in playoffs history.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Justin Rose
The Englishman has never won the Tour Championship, but he has contended each of the past two years, with a runner-up finish in 2012.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Justin Rose
He's never finished outside the top 20 at East Lake! OK, so it's only a 30-man field (well, 29 this week). Rose did finish sixth last year and second in 2012, so he clearly can get around this track without too many issues. That $10 million bonus is probably a pipe dream as he starts the Tour Championship at No. 26 in the rankings.


Birdie Buster

Collins: Jordan Spieth
Last year as a rookie, he finished runner-up. Now in the throes of a sophomore slump (I write that very sarcastically), Spieth shows up 11th on the FedEx Cup points list with an outside shot to win the $10 million. Expect another top-5 finish coming off his T-8 last week.

Evans: Ryan Palmer
A tie for fifth in the PGA Championship vaulted the 37-year-old Texan into the conversation for a U.S. Ryder Cup captain's pick. But making it to the Tour Championship was always his primary goal. He fulfilled that objective with a tie for fourth at the BMW Championship.

Harig: Billy Horschel
You have to love the way his game has come around the last few weeks, following a second-place finish at the Barclays with a victory at the BMW Championship to put himself in contention for the FedEx Cup title.

Maguire: Bubba Watson
Any time you can get the big-hitting Bubba to focus, watch out. He's sitting there with $10 million dangling in the wings. That kind of coin will get his attention.


Super Sleeper

Collins: Morgan Hoffmann
If you're not rooting for this guy after starting the playoffs as the second-to-last man in, you must hate Cinderella, puppies, kittens and babies. He shot 62 on Saturday and followed it up by dropping a 63 on Sunday at the BMW Championship just to make it this far. Did I mention this was only his second top-10 of the year? His first was at the Barclays two weeks before!

Evans: Morgan Hoffmann
Making his first start in the Tour Championship, the former Oklahoma State star earned his way to Atlanta with a tie for ninth at the Barclays and third in Denver that included a 63 in the final round.

Harig: Hideki Matsuyama
Nobody in this field would be a surprise winner, but Matsuyama would rank as the biggest, longest shot given he barely got into the field at No. 29 (Dustin Johnson at 30 is not playing) with a tie for 20th at the BMW. He has not had a top-10 finish since winning the Memorial.

Maguire: Ryan Palmer
The Texas A&M Aggie, who is 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings, finishes a remarkably consistent season having missed just three cuts in 22 starts. He followed up his T-16 in Boston with a tie for fourth last week at the BMW Championship, so clearly Palmer is kicking it into high gear for the season's finishing run.


Winner

Collins: Rickie Fowler
Karma. I believe in it. How fitting will it be for this event to be Fowler's first win of the year? If there's a golf god, Fowler will take the FedEx Cup too. Since the U.S. Open, his only finish outside the top nine was a T-23 at Deutsche Bank. I'm thinking an extra $10 million will ease the pain of the PGA Championship loss just a little.

Evans: Jim Furyk
The last of Furyk's 16 tour wins came at East Lake in 2010, when he took the Tour Championship to earn the FedEx Cup playoffs crown. The oldest player in the field at 44, the former Arizona star is coming off a tie for fourth in Denver at the BMW Championship.

Harig: Rory McIlroy
What a way to finish the PGA Tour season. McIlroy has made it a priority to add the FedEx Cup title to all his other efforts this year. A victory at the Tour Championship guarantees it.

Maguire: Jim Furyk
Wouldn't it be amazing if Furyk, who hasn't been able to convert his last eight 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour into victory, finally broke through at the place of his last victory in 2010? Since he's No. 7 in the rankings, there's a pretty good chance that victory would also give him a second FedEx Cup title.

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CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- In golf speak, it is called "taking relief" -- when a player gets to drop his ball away from various obstacles during the course of a round. Billy Horschel took the term to a different level on Sunday at Cherry Hills Country Club, outside Denver.

Having hit his approach shot to the 18th green in the final round of the BMW Championship, Horschel, 27, started running toward the gallery ropes.

The television cameras followed him toward the spectators, and everyone was puzzled about what had him in such a hurry -- as he was two putts away from securing a $1.44 million check.

Simple, really. "I'm sure the whole world saw me sprint, but I had to go to the bathroom," Horschel said. "I had been holding it for way too many holes and I just felt like, you know, I can sort of relax now. Let's just go ahead and go to the bathroom before I can't go."

Horschel found a portable restroom just off to the side of the 18th hole, then was in a much calmer state of mind as he headed to the green and two-putted for his par that secured a two-stroke victory over Bubba Watson.

The win was Horschel's second on the PGA Tour. He heads to this week's Tour Championship in second-place in the FedEx Cup standings, behind Chris Kirk and ahead of Watson and Rory McIlroy. The winner of the FedEx Cup gets a $10 million bonus.

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- For the second straight day, Rory McIlroy 4-putted a green at Cherry Hills, doing it at the same hole as he did on Saturday.

The No. 1-ranked player in the world took it in stride, choosing to laugh at himself rather than get too upset over it.

"It sort of shows everyone out there that we do the same things as they do every weekend," McIlroy said after finishing in a tie for eighth, 6 strokes back of winner Billy Horschel at the BMW Championship.

Of course, McIlroy took the classy way out by failing to mention that most everyone else can't hit 350-yard tee shots, drive par-4 holes or, well, win consecutive major championships.

But McIlroy did give up 5 strokes to par at the par-3 12th over the weekend, making a triple-bogey on Saturday -- when he 4-putted from 4 feet -- and then a double-bogey Sunday when he 4-putted from 19 feet.

And give McIlroy credit for acknowledging that Saturday's 4-putt might have played a role in Sunday's 4-putt.

"Over the second putt it was [on my mind]," McIlroy said. "I said, let's not give any more shots away to this hole. So maybe I put a little bit too much pressure on myself to hole the second putt.

"On the third putt I'm thinking, 'OK, you don't want to 4-putt again,' and I actually [holed] a decent-length putt for a 4-putt."

As for the oddity of it?

"Two 4-putts on the game green? It's not my worst," McIlroy said. "I have 5-putted before. But it's one of those things that at least I can laugh about it and move on."

McIlroy will head to Atlanta for this week's Tour Championship fourth in FedEx Cup points after Horschel moved to second behind Chris Kirk. Bubba Watson, who finished second at Cherry Hills, moved to third. Hunter Mahan is fifth and any in the top five would capture the FedEx Cup with a victory at East Lake.

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, stays at fancy resorts and private plane rides are just some of the many hole-in-one prizes that have been given away at PGA Tour and European Tour events.

This coming week at the KLM Open in the Netherlands, though, there will be a first.

A free trip into space!

That was not a typo. XCOR Space Expeditions is offering the first player to make a hole-in-one during the tournament at the par-3 15th hole at Kennemer Golf and Country Club the ride of a lifetime. The hole plays uphill at 170 yards on the scorecard.

"If you make a hole-in-one here, you are justifiably a star," said Daan Slooter, tournament director for the KLM Open, on europeantour.com.

There will be a full-size model of the Lynx Mark 1 ship on display next to the 15th green all four rounds so golfers can see exactly what they'll be riding in should they be the first. The prize package is worth $100,000, and according to the website, you'll be able to take your "journeys into space starting at the end of 2015."

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CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- There is an $8 million purse and a chance to add another victory to an already impressive 2014 résumé, positioning for next week's FedEx Cup finale in Atlanta for Rory McIlroy to think about this week at Cherry Hills.

But among his big reasons for wanting to play the tournament? Football. American football.

Yep, McIlroy acknowledged two weeks ago that he really wanted to go to Sunday night's NFL game between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts.

Born and bred on the other football -- soccer -- in his native Northern Ireland, McIlroy, 25, has come to appreciate the American version.

"Of course I can enjoy it," McIlroy said Thursday after shooting 67 to share the lead. "I mean, I'm a huge rugby fan. So there's obviously similarities with that. Even though you guys play with pads on, which is -- I don't understand that.

"But it's a great game. Once you start to understand it, and I started to understand it more over the past couple of years, you really get into it, and I think the great thing about football is how short the season is. So it's always in demand. People want it. Once the Super Bowl finishes, they can't wait for football season to start up again. I think that's the great thing about it."

McIlroy said he met Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning on Tuesday in the locker room at Cherry Hills and got hooked up with tickets for the game.

"It's nice to be in this position and to be able to meet other sports people and people who are at the top of their game and profession," McIlroy said.

Experts' picks: BMW Championship

September, 3, 2014
Sep 3
1:30
PM ET

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week, the PGA Tour heads to Cherry Hills Country Club for the BMW Championship in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Jordan Spieth
His caddie Michael Greller worked the 2012 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills, so he might have more knowledge of the course than most of the guys caddying. Doesn't hurt that Spieth's had two top-30 finishes in the past two weeks. He just needs to take care of that one round where things get away and he shoots 73. This week, that round turns into 68 and he's golden.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Phil Mickelson
The five-time major champion won the 1990 U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills in a 5 and 4 victory over fellow San Diego native Manny Zerman. At 56th in the playoff standings, Mickelson will need another very good week at the Denver-area club if he wants to advance to the Tour Championship next week.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Phil Mickelson
A bit of a reach here, but Mickelson at least has the memory of winning the U.S. Amateur at Cherry Hills -- in 1990. A majority of the field was seeing the course for the first time this week.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Rory McIlroy
The fact that Cherry Hills isn't in the normal rotation of PGA Tour events -- but is a par-70 that tops out at 7,352 yards -- lends credence to the fact that to play this major venue well, you'll need to be a long hitter. Only Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson average longer drives this year than McIlroy.


Birdie Buster

Collins: Rory McIlroy
You already know he's going to drop at least one 65 on the field, the question is, can he get enough rest and relaxation to drop two instead of a couple of 70s to finish top-5 instead. That just sounds funny, "Two bad rounds for McIlroy and he had to settle for fifth."

Evans: Geoff Ogilvy
The former U.S. Open champion was 100th in the standings heading into the Deutsche Bank Championship and seemingly headed toward the end of his playoff run. But then a 65 on Monday almost carried him to victory outside Boston and into the thick of the playoff race at 24th in the standings.

Harig: Chris Kirk
You have to like how he performed at the Deutsche Bank Championship -- playing the final 36 holes with McIlroy also -- to get his second victory of the 2013-14 season as well as go to the top of the FedEx Cup standings.

Maguire: Chris Kirk
He'll probably never say it, but Kirk has to have a chip on his shoulder after the Ryder Cup snub. The best way to prove something? Go out and dust his Thursday playing partner McIlroy (for the second time in less than a week.)


Super Sleeper

Collins: Chesson Hadley
He started last week 84th in the FedEx Cup standings, but a ninth-place finish catapulted him into the Cherry Hills field. Now playing with house money and 57th on the FedEx Cup list, a top-10 finish should get him into the coveted Tour Championship in his rookie year.

Evans: Kevin Stadler
At 32nd in the playoff standings, the 34-year-old son of Masters champion Craig Stadler can easily advance to the Tour Championship with a decent week. Cherry Hills gives him a good chance to do it. Kevin Stadler knows the course very well, having lived near here as a teenager.

Harig: Jerry Kelly
The PGA Tour veteran grabbed the 70th and final spot and needs a high finish, likely a top five or better, to advance to the Tour Championship.

Maguire: Graeme McDowell
The Northern Irishman will likely go in one of two directions at Cherry Hills. Either he plays completely carefree after becoming a father this week or his likely lack of sleep gives him early tee times on the weekend at this no-cut event. I'm going with carefree.


Winner

Collins: Sergio Garcia
The worst part about this win? Next time around, more guys inside the top 15 will feel comfortable skipping a playoff event. But it's also proof positive that six events in seven weeks is just too much, even for the most experienced and youthful golfers.

Evans: Jason Day
Day is good all day, every day, until the finish when he manages to make a mistake that derails his chances. Arguably, the 26-year-old Australian should have won the past three events he entered. Last week at the Deutsche Bank, where he finished in a tie for seventh, was his latest opportunity to add to his two career wins.

Harig: Jason Day
The Aussie keeps knocking on the door, contending week after week. One of these times he is going to break through and perhaps it is at Cherry Hills.

Maguire: Adam Scott
The Aussie has done nothing spectacular since his win at Colonial in May, but how's this for a steady streak: Scott hasn't finished outside the top 16 since the Players Championship (and that, of course, includes three major championships and a WGC).

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Be wary of falling asleep on a plane with Rory McIlroy nearby.

After finishing tied for fifth Monday evening at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and apparently flying away from the TPC Boston course in Norton, Mass., the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world decided it was time to play a prank on his caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald.

The reaction is priceless.