The Shag Bag: amusing stories from the wacky world of golf

In the Nick of Time

You could almost hear Jack Armstrong saying, “Bend, not break” as Abbotsford, B.C.’s Nick Taylor overcame a rough back nine on Sunday afternoon at Pebble Beach to capture his second career PGA Tour victory. It was Taylor’s tournament to lose. The 31-year-old had built up a five-shot lead through 63 holes and was in a perfect position to become the first Canadian to ever win at the historic venue . . . until the winds of change began to shift. Literally.

Gusts of 65 km/h blasted the field on the back nine, and Taylor held on for dear life with bogeys on 11 and 12 and a double-bogey on 14. For a moment there, it looked like he was going to completely fall apart like my San Francisco 49ers did a week earlier. 🙁

But Taylor’s colours aren’t red and gold; they’re red and white, and he showed over those last four holes the type of grit and composure upon which we Canadians pride ourselves. With the wind whipping off the Pacific Ocean, Taylor chipped in for birdie on 15 and then hit a stupefying missile to six feet on 17, dropping the putt in the back door for a birdie.

 

That is how you win a tournament! Taylor’s lead grew to four strokes with the putt, and he went on to seal the deal with a par on the final hole. Way to go, Nick! The galleries at Pebble Beach may have been (loudly) rooting for Phil Mickelson but you had an entire country pulling for you, and you did not disappoint!

 

Murray Strikes Again

Bill Murray has been entertaining the galleries at Pebble Beach for a quarter century with his exuberant personality, antics and wardrobe. In the past, we’ve seen the comedian engage a female fan in a series of stretching exercises; cudgel a replica of the gopher from Caddyshack; punt a teddy bear into the crowd; auction off to the gallery a young female fan who had gotten separated from her family; and even win the pro-am portion of the event in 2011—arguably the most unexpected moment of the entire lot. Last week, we got two more classic moments from golf’s most beloved celebrity.  After leaving a putt wide right in his final round, the 69-year-old chased his ball down before it had finished rolling and nonchalantly backhanded it into the hole. He celebrated the trick shot sarcastically, flipping his putter at his bag while pretending to be disgusted with himself.

If you recall, Mickelson attempted the same (illegal) stunt on the greens at Shinnecock Hills two years ago, albeit with less success, and the golf world did not react kindly. But Murray is not a professional golfer, and the fans at Pebble Beach absolutely loved it—so much, in fact, that a woman in the crowd offered him a shot of tequila on the very next hole and Murray gulped it down without breaking a stride! The result was pure comedy gold.

 

Honouring Greatness

In case you live under a rock and haven’t heard: Tiger Woods will be in the field at the Genesis Invitational this week! It’s almost hard to believe, but Tiger has never won an event at Riviera despite 12 appearances there, including his debut on the PGA Tour as a 16-year-old.

This week’s field also boasts a who’s who list of the circuit’s premier talent, but those aren’t the only reasons why you should tune in for the action. The PGA Tour will be honouring Kobe Bryant with a memorial on the 8th hole, which has been dubbed “Mamba” for the week. The hole will also feature a purple and gold yardage sign a matching flag on the green that bears Kobe’s original jersey number.

 

Video of the Week

After watching this video, I think you’ll agree that galaxy guardian Chris Pratt needs to be in the field at every future Pebble Beach Pro-Am! Not only are Pratt’s silky swing and affable persona tailor made for the event, but the 40-year-old, who was calling difficult shots and executing them throughout the week, appeared to immensely enjoy playing in the event! Is there anything this guy isn’t good at?

 

Highlight of the Week

This actually happened at the Waste[d] Management Open two weeks ago, but I’m only getting a chance to show it to you now. Usually these clips of the tournament’s soused spectators have bad endings, but this man is the drunk Mr. Magoo and his talents must be seen and appreciated!

 

Shank of the Week

I mean . . . these guys knew this wasn’t going to be successful, right? I don’t speak a word of Swedish, but I’m pretty confident that guy said something along the lines of, “Dude, you nearly killed me!”

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Blind folded shank! 🙌

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Dave Kaplan
Dave Kaplan likes to indulge in a crisp apple cider and a considerable amount of hash after a round of golf. He cares not how you feel about this.

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