Two Reports: Tiger On Yacht Bound For Bahamas

Last Friday, Jose Lambiet of the PALM BEACH POST reported:

Tiger Woods Yacht Docked At Old Port Cove Marina North Palm Beach Florida

Observers at Old Port Cove Marina in North Palm Beach noticed an increase of activity in and around golfer Tiger Woods’ yacht yesterday.

Word is that Woods, whose image went from family man to philanderer in three weeks flat, arrived in a limo about 3 p.m. Thursday and has been on the 155-foot ship since. A marina worker speculated that the golfer could be headed to the Bahamas as soon as the weather clears.

Sunday night, Linda Marx of reported:

Tiger Woods and a group of buddies, including some golfers, have left North Palm Beach, according to a source who has seen the golfer’s 155-ft. luxury yacht.

“Tiger’s boat Privacy has been docked at Old Port Cove in North Palm Beach for more than a week,” the source tells PEOPLE. “On Saturday morning, after stocking up on provisions from Costco on Northlake Blvd., the boat left town.”

Another source tells PEOPLE that Woods, 33, is going to cruise in the Bahamas for a few days after hanging around the Palm Beach Gardens area this past week.

Neither source has seen Woods, although tight security has been guarding the Old Port Cove Marina for more than a week. One eyewitness reported that a limo arrived at the marina Friday, before the boat departed the next morning.

Similar, independent accounts from legitimate outlets.

Before Friday, it had also been widely reported that the golfer’s yacht was being stocked with provisions, with the name of the boat covered for additional secrecy.

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PGA Backs Down From Tiger Over Criticism Fines

More than a few eyebrows were raised when Tiger Woods, fresh off his comeback win in the Bridgestone Invitational, criticized a PGA official by name for putting him and Padraig Harrington on the clock on the 16th hole; Woods trailed by one stroke at the time, and Harrington melted down shortly afterward, effectively handing the match to Woods with a triple bogey.

Padraig Harrington and Tiger Woods
(Um, that doesn’t look like a “that shot went well” face.)

According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, Woods was reportedly fined an undisclosed amount by the PGA for criticizing a tour official. And how dare they, right? Yes, blaming Harrington’s late Van de Velde‘ing of the 16th hole on rushing his swing is spectacularly diva-ish, but golfers have beeen depending on that exact diva treatment for decades; why stop now?

For whatever reason, either the prevailing of cooler heads or just sloppy reporting by the AP, the report has been declared false.

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Speed Read: NL Weaker Than Obama’s First Pitch

If MLB and Fox executives are wondering why no one watches the All-Star Game anymore, here’s Exhibit A: the winning run for the AL in their 4-3 victory over the NL was driven in by an eighth-inning sacrifice fly from Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles, a name that resonates with a thud among all but the most die-hard baseball fans. And the person he scored was the Tigers’ Curtis Granderson, who can be politely called “slightly more well-known than Adam Jones.”

Adam Jones

To put it mildly, if the All-Star Game was a weekly series, it would be on the verge of cancellation by now. Especially after TV critics would have inevitably slammed it for its lack of imagination and formulaic structure. Yes, we get it - the AL is always going to win. Can’t we just have a twist on that every once in a while? (And not the shoddy “Who’s Going to Pitch?” cliffhanger that Bud Selig and company cooked up a few years ago.)

Barack Obama

After 13 years of not seeing the National League win, it’s not surprising that people just aren’t that interested anymore. But there was an attempt to spice things up this year by bringing in a big-game star for a special guest appearance: President Barack Obama. After warming up with Albert Pujols in the batting cages before the game, Obama took the mound and delivered a pitch that was about as effective as his pitch for the bank bailout.

I’ll leave it to WIDE WHITE to give a breakdown of Obama’s pitch as it relates to his policies, but suffice it to say that it was neither great nor awful. He should just be thankful that Pujols was there to make a great pick to keep the ball from hitting the dirt. (And that was Pujols’ best play of the night, since he went 0-for-3 before the hometown crowd.)

The game MVP was Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford, not so much for what he did at the plate but for his actions in the field, most notably his catch that robbed Brad Hawpe of what would have been a go-ahead home run in the seventh. And the NL can’t blame the loss on the AL being fired up because of Ichiro Suzuki’s notoriously profanity-laden pregame pep talks - President Obama’s visit to the clubhouses took up so much time that he didn’t get to give one.

Speaking of Ichiro, he took some time out of his schedule on Monday to visit the grave of George Sisler, whose record for hits in a season he broke in 2004. It was a nice touch, except for the fact that instead of bringing flowers or a wreath, Ichiro just swore at Sisler’s grave for 15 minutes straight until being escorted away by cemetary workers. Oh well, I guess it’s the thought that counts.

While MLB was playing a game that no one really cares about, the NBA is knee-deep in something arguably more exciting and definitely more important: free-agency. The main story right now is what will happen to Lamar Odom, and the saga took another turn last night as the Lakers have pulled their three-year deal worth $9 million off the table. The reason? Owner Jerry Buss is upset that Odom’s people haven’t responded to the offer while continuing to negotiate with the Mavericks and Heat.

Lamar Odom

But there’s another free-agency drama going on that is a little more below the radar screen, but just as fascinating. The Portland Trailblazers have made a four-year, $32 million offer sheet to promising young Utah forward Paul Millsap, who is a restricted free agent. That means that the Jazz have until the end of the week to match the offer and keep Millsap on the team.

The problem is that Millsap’s offer from the Trailblazers includes an immediate cash payout of $10.3 million, which Utah would also have to do if they match the offer sheet. And apparently, the cash isn’t flowing through the streets of Salt Lake as readily as Mormon children, since the Jazz ownership would likely have to take out a short-term bank loan to get the deal approved. (Portland doesn’t have that problem, since $10.6 million is vending machine money to billionaire owner Paul Allen.)

Not only does this make me question the solvency of the Utah ownership group, but it also makes me wonder how the whole loan process would go down. Would they have to wait in line at the bank before getting seated at one of those tables out in the lobby. What would they have to put up as collateral - Jerry Sloan? It simply boggles the mind.

Other sports news:

  • It turns out that with 22 points, WNBA star Diana Taurasi outscored her blood alcohol level the night she was arrested for a DUI - barely, as the AP reports that she’s been charged with an “Extreme DUI” after her blood alcohol level was shown to be 0.17 percent - twice the legal limit in Arizona.
  • Speaking of the WNBA, they announced their All-Star Game starters yesterday. No word on if Michelle Obama will be there for the traditional “First Fundamentally Sound Screen” of the game, or if they’ll get “stuck” with Hillary Clinton.
  • One thing you might not have seen at the All-Star Game (other than the National League hitting the ball) was a lot of black players. The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER floats one reason why: the lack of strong black male role models in the inner cities makes it tough to find coaches for organized games.
  • The WALL STREET JOURNAL gives us an “Unofficial Guide to Life as a Ref” while wondering why NFL refs make so much for working one game a week.
  • With all the talk about Tiger Woods taking on Turnberry this week, there’s one thing that should be noted: Padraig Harrington is going after his third freakin’ straight British Open title. USA TODAY says it might be difficult since he’s completely changed his swing from last year.
  • The World Series of Poker Main Event is down to the final three tables, and poker celebrity/Norman Chad man crush Phil Ivey is still very much in the hunt, standing at fourth place with more than 11 million chips. Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari is also alive as they play down to the final table tomorrow.
  • Bud Selig calls claims of collusion to drive down the price of free agentssome make-believe scenario that doesn’t exist.” Right, because MLB would never get involved in collusion.
  • ESPN goes a different route and hires former NBC President Don Ohlmeyer as their new ombudsman. His first call: hiring his good friend O.J. Simpson to replace Bill Simmons as “The Sports Guy.”
  • Anthony Randolph notched his name in Las Vegas NBA Summer League history by tying the single-game scoring record by putting up 42 in the Warriors’ victory over the Bulls. Something tells me you won’t find any pictures of him posing with a basketball with “42″ written on it.
  • While sports talk radio is struggling elsewhere, it seems to be alive and well in Boston, where legendary rock station WBCN in being pulled off the air and replaced by the city’s third all-sports station.

Which remaining free agent is worth the most money?

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Kornheiser’s MNF Role Kaput, Here Comes Chucky

Tony Kornheiser has called it quits with his “Monday Night Football” gig. In his place will be ex-Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden.

Tony Kornheiser Jon Gruden

• And we’re sure Chucky will get along great with his new employer, since he’s had so many nice things to say about the Worldwide Leader before.

Hedo Turkoglu’s heroics help the Orlando Magic curse the Celtics to no title repeat this year.

Padraig Harrington is now taking golf tips from “Happy Gilmore“.

• In response to the Matthew Johns group sex scandal, some are calling for the banishment of cheerleaders from Australian pro rugby matches.

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Video: Harrington Getting His ‘Happy Gilmore’ On

I was fairly impressionable as a kid when it came to movies. After seeing “Jurassic Park”, I saw no reason why we couldn’t start cloning dinosaurs right away. I guess Padraig Harrington was impressionable, too, because he’s been experimenting with a new shot straight out of “Happy Gilmore”.

Happy Gilmore

All golfers must have thought about it at one point: How far would the ball go if you got a running start? We have our answer. The 8th-ranked Harrington added an average of 30 yards to to his tee shot. So, is this golf’s Fosbury Flop? Is it just a matter of years before all golfers are using the running stroke?

Video after the jump.

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Speed Read: Sleazy Vick, Caylee Dolls Draw Suit

I think I’ve found the world’s worst person: his name is Jaime Salcedo, and he’s the owner of Showbiz Productions in Jacksonville, FL. He first made a name for himself by selling the “Vick Chew Toy,” which is not related to the one the St. Paul Saints gave away. In fact, if you read the fine print at the toy’s Web site, it’s not even Michael Vick at all. Crazy how someone could get that idea, right? Check out the promotional video for yourself:

So while the toy and it’s cutting-edge “dog material” might be an overpriced, one-note joke aimed at making a quick buck, it’s not really horrible. Now, creating a doll based on a toddler who was gruesomely killed by her mother, that would be hideous. Folks, let me introduce you to the “Sunshine Caylee Doll,” also a creation from the monstrous kitchens of Showbiz Productions, meant to be a “tribute” to slain Florida two-year-old Caylee Anthony.

Caylee doll

Of course, as Salcedo told Fox News, he wanted to be sensitive to Anthony’s memory, so he made sure the doll had little resemblance to her - even if it did play her favorite song “You Are My Sunshine” when you pressed its stomach. After all, making the doll look like Anthony would be “too morbid.

But Salcedo wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t a heartless slime trying to make money exploiting dead toddlers and mangled dogs. He was also a philanthropist, pledging to donate portions of the sales of the Vick Chew Toy to local animal shelters and $5,000 from the sales of the Sunshine Caylee Doll to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Well, Salcedo did make a donation to that last group: for a grand total of $10. And it seems evident that no donations were made to local animal shelters from sales of the Vick doll. So not only was Salcedo making money off of products in horrible taste, but he was pulling a big grift by using charity donations that never happened to support sales.

Finally, someone is doing something about it: the JACKSONVILLE TIMES-UNION says the Florida Attorney General’s office is suing Salcedo for $20,000 for making false advertising claims, and seeking an injunction against further sales of the dolls. Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said that using a respected organization such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as a front makes things even more reprehensible:

“Any company that intentionally misleads innocent consumers to believe they are contributing to worthy charitable causes is absolutely reprehensible,” he said. “It is disgusting that a company would exploit a tragic situation for personal gain.”

Of course, when you consider that Salcedo himself estimates that he sold at least 200,000 Michael Vick dolls at $7.77 each (grossing more than $1,500,000), a $20,000 fine feels like a slap on the wrist. I know times are tough, but the people of Jacksonville can’t band together and find the time and money to get the supplies needed for a good old fashioned tar and feathering? I’ll even chip in and by the first barrel of tar.

Crowds at the Masters

Meanwhile, there wasn’t much going wrong on Thursday during the first round of The Masters, unless you consider the appalling traffic. Despite assurances by government officials that the kinks that led to significant traffic snarls at the beginning of the week had been worked out, the AUGUSTA CHRONICLE says that traffic was even worse for the opening round, leading to headaches such as a local doctor having to run three-quarters of a mile to make a speaking engagement at the course.

At least it was perfect weather for a run, and also for shooting a low score: it was the second-lowest scoring first round in tournament history. The Day One leader is Chad Campbell, who set a tournament record with birdies on his first five holes and flirted with history before back-to-back closing bogies left him at 65, one stroke ahead of Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk.

How crazy was the scoring on Thursday? If Phil Mickelson had shot 73 in last year’s first round, he would have been tied for 29th, five shots off the lead. Instead, he starts today tied for 51st, looking at an eight shot deficit. Even the over-50 crowd was getting into the scoring act: Larry Mize sits in a tie for fourth after a 67, while the group at 70 includes Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer.

Also firing a two-under: Tiger Woods, who probably could have been near the top of the leaderboard if one of five or six putts go in instead of burning the lip of the cup. The other main contender we previewed yesterday, Padraig Harrington, also had a quietbut efficient round, going one lower than Woods. Even Gary Player, in his final Masters, shot a respectable 78. In fact, every player broke 80 except for New Zealander Michael Campbell, who must feel great that even Craig Stadler’s portly butt beat him by three shots.

Finally, Andrew Bynum’s comeback from a knee injury might not be on par (get it?) with Tiger Woods’, but it couldn’t come at a better time for the Los Angeles Lakers. The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that Bynum looked comfortable and healthy in his return after missing 32 games from a torn MCL, racking up 16 points and seven rebounds in just 21 minutes as the Lakers blew past the Nuggets, 116-102. Which begs the question: Could his injury actually have been a break for the Lakers, as their center is now rested and not worn down by the rigors of a long regular season?

  • A few weeks ago, we told you about the Fifth-Third, a 4,800 calorie, four-pound burger that is the new entry at the concession stands at West Michigan Whitecaps games. CNBC says that the gut-buster made its debut last night, with 107 of them being sold. Of the 32 people who tried to eat the whole thing, 17 were successful. Lord, I don’t want to know what the toilets looked like around the seventh inning stretch.
  • darren rovell fifth third burger

    (CNBC’s Darren Rovell ponders the glory of the Fifth Third Burger)

  • LOCKDOWN CORNER says that former Green Bay Packers lineman Syd Kitson is trying to create the world’s most environmentally-friendly city somewhere in Florida. In true Green Bay style, everything is either powered by sharp cheddar cheese, or the light shining off of the still-brilliant aura of Brett Favre.
  • Syracuse basketball looks to take a bit hit next year, as the AUBURN CITIZEN says that Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris will all enter their names into the NBA Draft. Also looking to flee for the pro game: UCLA’s Jrue Holiday, Wake Forest’s James Johnson and Miami’s Dwayne Collins.
  • Speaking of drafts, about the only thing the WNBA does right is take advantage of the one-week period right after the NCAA title game when people still remember that women’s basketball exists to hold their draft. The No. 1 pick? Louisville’s Angel McCoughtry, to the Atlanta Dream.
  • Remember the kerfuffle caused when Teresa Earnhardt refused to let her stepson Dale Earnhardt Jr. take his No. 8 with him when he left DEI to go to Hendrick Motorsports? I guess karma really is a … you know. FOX SPORTS says the No. 8 car will be permanently parked, as DEI has had to shut down operations on Aric Almirola’s team because of a lack of sponsors.
  • The person I would least expect to be in a Twitter controversy is Joe Paterno, who probably thinks that’s what happens when your pacemaker gets to close to a microwave. But ESPN.COM says his son Jay might have inadvertantly spilled the beans that the Big Ten is banning night games in November, meaning the Penn St./Ohio St. tilt will be played in the afternoon.
  • Yesterday’s least-surprising arrest had to be that of volatile former NBA guard Vernon Maxwell. The GAINESVILLE SUN says he was arrested in Florida Wednesday morning and charged with a probation violation stemming from failure to pay child support.
  • BALL DON’T LIE has the gripping story not coming to Broadway next fall: “Nellieball: The Musical.” Much like Don Nelson’s teams, it starts off promising but runs out of steam by the final act and falls apart.
  • Last time we heard about Nebraska tight end Hunter Teafatiller, he was having a party thrown in his “honor” as he was preparing to go to jail on a DUI charge. I guess it’s time to make another keg run in Lincoln, because the AP says he’s been arrested again, this time for driving on a suspended license.
  • Dan Hawkins wants you to know that not only is Colorado football not intramurals, brother, but it’s not a place for your cell phones and cameras. The COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE says the school has closed practices because of too much information floating around the Internet.

Which 2008 cellar dwellar has the best chance to be this year’s Tampa Bay Rays?

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Speed Read: Phillies Fans Boo Ring Ceremony?!

Congratulations, Philadelphia sports fans, you’ve done it again. Nothing on the lines of booing Santa Claus or cheering Michael Irvin’s career-ending neck injury, but booing during the team’s World Series ring celebration? That’s pretty impressive. As the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS reports, the recipient of Phillies’ fans hatred was former starting pitcher Adam Eaton, as you can see in this video clip (you’ll hear the “You Suck” starting raining down at around 2:45):

Let’s face it: Eaton was hardly a key contributor to the Phillies’ World Series run. He went 4-8 last season with a 5,80 ERA,  and was left off of the postseason roster before being cut this spring. And yes, the Phillies are still on the hook for his contract to the tune of $9 million this season, so you can understand why he’s hardly the favorite son of Phillies fans.

Adam Eaton gets his World Series ring

But booing someone at the ring ceremony? Isn’t that supposed to be just about the most positive thing that can happen at a sporting event - the recognition of an amazing team accomplishment regardless of what any individual did. Pat Burrell, now with the Rays, flew in for the ceremony and received a hero’s welcome. As BIG LEAGUE STEW notes, even So Taguchi got a World Series ring.

Plus, the guy showed a sense of humor about the whole thing, acting like he was Neil Armstrong getting a ticker tape parade down Broadway. Personally, I would have been waving to the crowd, but just with one, middle finger. I guess $9 million for doing nothing and a shiny World Series ring can bring a guy a lot of inner peace.

Meanwhile, there’s a battle starting today for a prize even more tacky than a World Series ring but just as coveted: the green jacket awarded to the winner of The Masters. There’s no guarantee of who will be having the green jacket placed on them by defending champion Trevor Immelman on Sunday (unless Immelman repeats…now, excuse me while I find a rag to clean up the Orange Crush I spit out of my mouth from laughing while typing that),  there is one thing for sure: everyone hates the new course design.

GOLF.COM has a lengthy preview featuring golf writers and anonymous pros, and everyone takes a shot at the new course design, saying that it’s “not Tiger-proofed, it’s excitement-proofed” and that they’ve “sucked the life out of the tournament.” The par-5s are too long to reach in two for anyone, meaning it’s an exciting battle of wedges and midrange putting.

Gary Player

The three names at the top of the list as winners are: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington. One name not on the list of contenders is Gary Player, but there will some attention on him for the first two days: at 73, he’s playing in his 52nd and final Masters tournament. There will be some tears shed when he finishes his round on Friday, but there likely won’t be an emotional outpouring by the fans/patrons like we’ve seen in the past for Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer.

And that’s too bad: Player has been a remarkable ambassador for the sport, whose fame in the US was damaged by being South African at a time when that was considered shameful, and not being quite as good as Jack or Arnie (or even as charismatic as Lee Trevino). But he won nine majors in his career, including three Masters, and did more than any other player in the 1960s and 1970s to make golf an international game.

Plus, he’s been a remarkable philanthropist, rising more than $30 million for his Player Foundation building school in South Africa. So let’s all give a polite golf clap to the Black Knight as he gets ready to head off into the sunset.

Finally, CAGEWRITER says that among the hopeful contestants at the open tryouts for Season 10 of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” were several former NFL players. Among those trying to get into the house this season were former Bucs first round draft pick Marcus Jones, former Colts lineman Rex Richards and former Packers running back/returner Herbert Goodman. This season is focusing on heavyweights, so sadly Johnnie Morton couldn’t use this as a way to spark an MMA comeback.

  • Usually athlete blogs are about as exciting as reading hog futures, but the one by Chantelle Anderson of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream is pretty interesting (arguably more so than WNBA games). Her latest post details her internal debate on whether to post a bathing suit photo on her Web site, and the relationship of sports and sex appeal. Personally, I’d vote “yes” on seeing more skin from her:
  • Chantelle Anderson

  • It might take Randy Johnson quite some time to get to 300 wins if he keeps giving up three-run bombs to pitchers, like the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS say he did to Yovani Gallardo, as the Big Unit’s Giants debut was a 4-2 loss to the Brewers.
  • In possibly the least-shocking off-season NFL news this year, a Cincinnati Bengal was arrested Sunday morning. The CINCINNATI ENQUIRER says that Leon Hall, who led the team in interceptions last season, has been charged with a DUI after hitting a 0.15 BA level. Bonus points: he tried to convince the officer that he needed to get home because his wife was having a baby.
  • The TREASURE COAST PALM say police in Port St. Lucie, FL, are looking for a man who ran naked across the outfield at a youth baseball game before hopping the fence and getting into a waiting car. Man claiming to be umpire at game says suspect got “hung up” on fence. Ouch!
  • An interesting item from the ASU WEB DEVIL, a student publication of Arizona State: a Sun Devil football player had his wallet stolen from his locker at Sun Devil Stadium, losing around $270. (The story is halfway down.) Not only do I want to know what a student-athlete is doing with almost $300 in walking around money, but now we know why James Harden is leaving ASU for the NBA Draft (that, and millions of dollars).
  • Also declaring for the NBA Draft last night: USC freshman DeMar DeRozan, Pittsburgh center DeJuan Blair and Arizona’s mercurial Jordan Hill.
  • Dustin Pedroia probably shouldn’t expect to be getting the keys to his hometown any time soon, after the SACRAMENTO BEE says he dissed Woodland, CA in a magazine interview, saying it’s “a dump. You can quote me on that. I don’t give a …” I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that his brother was arrested on child molestation charges there in January.
  • Only in Australia: NINE NEWS says that the entire North Melbourne Kangaroos Aussie Rules Football team had to appear at a press conference to apologize for a video they made showing a condom-wearing rubber chicken having sex with a chicken carcass. And yes, of course we have the video (caution, NSFW due to graphic song lyrics and simulated rubber chicken on chicken sex):

  • In European soccer news, Chelsea ripped Liverpool 3-1 in their Champions League quarterfinal, which THE TIMES OF LONDON says makes them an overwhelming favorite to get to the semifinals again. If so, they’ll likely play Barcelona, who thumped Bayern Munich 4-0.
  • THE SPORTING BLOG wants you to know that you should never criticize the Hillsdale College baseball team, even if they’ve lost nine of their last ten games. Lest you wind up with a mound of dead animal carcasses on your front door, the fate that befell an unwitting writer at the college newspaper.

Who would you take with the first pick in the 2009 NBA Draft?

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Insane 1410-Ft Par 3 Must Be Seen to be Believed

Golf isn’t the type of sport that suffers exaggerators lightly; its near-clinical obsession with rules and precision leaves little to the whimsical machinations of a wandering mind. There is but one “longest par 4 everrr,” and it’s not that uphill 466-yarder at your local open course. So when DEVIL BALL GOLF declares a hole “quite simply the most amazing golf hole on the planet” (in the article’s headline, no less), well, we pay attention.

Africa Green
(Bonus awesomesauce: the greenery making Madagascar)

That’s the green of the “19th hole” at the Legends Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa. Sure, a green in the shape of a continent is pretty cool, but it’s hardly amazing. Oh, but did we mention it’s over 1/4 of a mile (1,410 feet) below the tee? And that you need a helicopter to get to the tee and back? Because that’s a pretty important detail.

DBG found footage at ONE EYED GOLFER of Padraig Harrington and Raphael Jacquelin playing the hole (and it’s dated February 23, so there’s no April Foolery going on here), which is below the jump. We’ll just say this: Padraig, you are the man.

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Tiger Gets $65K for Not Playing in PGA Tour Stop?

Pardon the personal question, but what’s your job? Actually, the answer doesn’t matter, because your job sucks, and sucks hard. At least, next to “professional golfer,” it sucks. Where else could somebody collect $65,000 for not being able to do a weekend’s worth of work? That’s what’s happening with Lord Of The Universe Tiger Woods, who will be missing this week’s Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua but still making bank from it anyway.

Tiger's jacked
(Like the money, Tiger didn’t need these biceps, but if having them makes you feel worse about yourself, then so be it.)

So why does Tiger have $65K more upon which to sleep and enjoy the company of his incredibly hot wife? Well, it’s actually the rule, since the MBC is a winners-only event. Confused? Yes. Let GOLFWEEK explain: Read more…

Speed Read: Marbury Courtside For Knicks-Lakers

I don’t have any way of independently verifying this, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that last night’s Knicks-Lakers game at Staples Center saw an NBA first. And it wasn’t anything that happened on the floor. Well, it happened close to the floor, I guess. Look who showed up, as a “fan”:

Stephon Marbury attends Knicks-Lakers game

Yup, Stephon Marbury, who is being paid $21 million this year to stay away from the Knicks, bought his own courtside ticket to the game and showed up to watch. Steph, of course, can certainly afford the seats. But how comical is this whole thing getting? The Knicks contend they’re still working on a buyout with Starbury, but he seems to be pretty content to just be chilling, doesn’t he?

Anyway, there was a game, and it was a pretty good one. The Lakers overcame the absence of Pau Gasol — who has strep throat — and a 15-point halftime deficit, to beat New York 116-114. Lamar Odom, battling the flu himself, had season highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

The lamest all-star game had its participants announced yesterday. Get used to seeing a bunch of guys from New York running around Honolulu in February. The Jets had a league-high seven players named to the Pro Bowl yesterday, while the Giants are sending six players to the game, including 44-year-old kicker John Carney and 42-year-old punter Jeff Feagles.

pro bowl cheerleaders

Both Mannings made their respective teams, and are the first pair of sibling quarterbacks named to the game in the same season. Peyton will start the game for the AFC, while Kurt Warner, who looked completely done three years ago, will start for the NFC. The Gunslinger made the AFC team (but why?), as did Mario Williams, who was once considered a bad draft pick over Reggie Bush and Vince Young. You can see full AFC rosters here, and full NFC rosters here.

Joe Paterno, who has said in the recent past that he’d probably die if he stopped coaching, was given a three-year life extension yesterday. However, the door is open to shorten or lengthen the contract as necessary. So, basically, the announcement just served the purpose of assuring recruits that JoePa will at least be back next year. Of course, I don’t think Paterno’s known the names of any of his players for a decade now, so that might not make any difference.

Joe Paterno

(”Who the f*** are you? Where’s Woody Hayes?”)

Alright, let’s hit the links:

Padraig Harrington only won two golf tournaments this year, but since they were consecutive majors that was good enough to get him voted as PGA Player of the Year.  ESPN’s Jason Sobel explains why Paddy won the award over Tiger Woods.

• THE WIZ OF ODDS says Turner Gill would rather hang out for another year at Buffalo than take over Iowa State’s flailing program. That’s the shape your team is in, ‘Clone fans. Gill probably should’ve taken the job, though, considering that winning five games in two years there qualifies you to coach in the SEC.

• There’s just no words to explain the following photo, so I’m not even gonna try. Big thank you to TMZ (which has more pictures like this if you’re so inclined):

Alex Rodriguez adjusting himself

Sean Avery has been kicked to the curb by the Dallas Stars because of the “sloppy seconds” incident. I’m still completely baffled by the level of outrage this brought out. US MAGAZINE says Avery checked in to a voluntary treatment program (for what? Crude humor?), but TSN says that’s not true.

• OVER THE MONSTER says that Peter Gammons believes that Mark Teixeira is choosing between the Red Sox and Nationals and may make his decision in the next 24-48 hours. The Yankees, Orioles, and Angels are all supposedly still in on Tex as well.

• UAB’s basketball team lost four players yesterday, according to the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. Two players decided to leave the team, and another two were disqualified for the rest of the year because of poor academic standing. Things are going very well for Mike Davis.

• A lot of sports franchises have fallen on hard times, but the Chicago Blackhawks are undergoing a rejuvenation. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s Chris Kuc talks about how the Hawks have gone from barely drawing 10,000 fans a game to leading the NHL in attendance in one season. The resurgent Hawks are averaging 21,475 fans per game (outdrawing the Bulls), and are one of the best teams in the NHL’s Western Conference.

• The IDAHO STATESMAN says that a former Boise State football player has arranged for four copies of this billboard to be placed around the San Diego area advertising the team, which will play in the Poinsettia Bowl next week:

Boise State

They’ll probably win the game, considering they’re bringing two sledgehammers onto the field with them.

• GM is not renewing its contract as official automaker of the Yankees, says XM MLB CHAT. Toyota and Audi will take over that distinction. GM also left a similar situation with the Pirates, and is reviewing deals with six other MLB teams that expire in 2009.

• More from TMZ: Vince Young contends that three guys, including ’70s baseball player Enos Cabell, “stole” the nicknames “VY” and “INVINCEABLE” from him, which is somehow preventing him from getting endorsement deals from Reebok and video game makers. Not being very good at NFL football is apparently much less of a factor.

Which team is going to pay way too much money for Mark Teixeira?

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