Jay Busbee

  • The gruesome true story behind Baltusrol's name

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 1 hr ago

    SPRINGFIELD, N.J.—Baltusrol Mountain looms over the clubhouse at Baltusrol Golf Club, a presence both obvious and subtle. Local knowledge holds that every putt on every green bends away from the mountain. Local knowledge also holds that there’s a dark story behind the name Baltusrol , and as the golf world’s best convene here for the PGA Championship, the grim story is once again seeing the light of day.

    The hill once belonged to a farmer named Baltus Roll, who lived with his wife and son in a small house that still stands, growing apples and raising livestock on the same land that’s now the home to one of the nation’s preeminent golf courses. It was an idyllic life, or as close to idyllic as life in the 1830s could get.

    It came to a sudden, violent end. On the night of Feb. 22, 1831, Roll and his wife were awakened by a loud banging on their front door. Someone outside was shouting, demanding Roll get up. When he didn’t, the door shattered inward. Two men rushed into the house, hauled Roll out of bed, threw him out into the cold rain, and then began to tie him up.

  • The PGA Championship: Everything you need to know

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

     

    The PGA Championship begins Thursday at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, the fourth of golf’s majors. Who’s going to win? How’s it going to go down? We know, and we’ll tell you right here.

    Wait, another major? Didn’t we just have one of these?

    We did indeed. Henrik Stenson concluded his thorough throttling of Royal Troon at the British Open barely 10 days ago, and here we are back at it again. Blame it on Rio, to coin a phrase; the Olympics forced golf to adopt a much tighter-than-usual schedule, and the PGA Championship got bumped back up the calendar a bit.

    Ah yes, the Olympics.

    Right. As you already know, most every major golfer has bowed out of the Olympics, claiming fears of Zika virus while not exactly opposing the idea of getting a bit more rest in advance of the FedEx Cup playoffs and Ryder Cup. So while the PGA Championship gets a bit of mocking, it’s also got a far better field than the Olympics could ever imagine.

    Why’s everybody always dumping on the PGA Championship?

    What’s the story with the course?

    So who’s looking sharp this year?

    Yeah, but we know all those guys. Who are all these dudes I’ve never heard of?

    What are the records in play?

    Why’s that?

  • Can 'Beef' deliver more than just a catchy name at Baltusrol?

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

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    SPRINGFIELD, N.J.—The cheers rolls out over the sun-baked fairways of Baltusrol, full-throated and keening: “BEEEEEEEEEF!”

    The man of the moment, Andrew “Beef” Johnston, grins a toothy grin, waving and posing and smiling and signing damn near anything that’s not on fire. This is the Summer of Beef, and he’s determined to enjoy every minute of it.

    Speaking on Wednesday morning, hours removed from a chaotic 11-hole practice round that took nearly five hours, Beef could only shake his head in amazement at the route his life’s taken. “It was like the first real time where I’ve had that much attention,” he said. “And I come off the course and I was like, that was crazy. That was mad.”

    In a world where wearing a white belt constitutes an edgy fashion statement, the burly, shrub-bearded Beef is a revelation, a cheery cannonball into the placid pool of professional golf. He’s inspired fans to wear beards and take pictures of themselves driving cheeseburgers off the tee.

    The unofficial @BeefGolf Fan Club.???? pic.twitter.com/NltzHahs0N

  • Jason Day rolls into Baltusrol sick, barely prepared for PGA Championship

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago

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    SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Most pros spend weeks, months, even years studying major championship courses, assessing every hill and dale, every green and swale, looking for that infinitesimal edge that could pay off with a major championship and immortality.

    And then there’s Jason Day, who’s rolling into this week’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol like a senior in the last weeks of high school: late, sick and just barely prepared.

    “I haven’t played a practice round,” Day said Wednesday morning. “I haven’t seen the course. I don’t know what it looks like.”

    That … that seems problematic.

    In the midst of a rigorous schedule that includes three tournaments, two of them majors, in three different countries across just three weeks, Day is running on fumes. It’s far from ideal when you’re in the running for a critical major, the last one for seven months.

    Before Wednesday, the sum total of Day’s preparation for Baltusrol was the 30 minutes he spent with club pro Doug Steffen at Tuesday’s Champions’ Dinner. Steffen knows Baltusrol, and gave Day a rundown of every hole, but he doesn’t know Day’s exact game, so the advice will admittedly have its limits.

  • Henrik Stenson wins magnificent British Open duel with Phil Mickelson

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 11 days ago

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    All too often, the British Open is man versus nature, golfers battling swirling winds and sideways rain to hang onto some semblance of dignity and under-par scores. But the 145th British Open at Royal Troon was man versus man, Henrik Stenson versus Phil Mickelson, and the result — a Stenson victory that was in doubt until the final holes — was one of the best duels in golf history.

    This was golf as a heavyweight prizefight, two of the game’s best standing toe-to-toe and delivering their best, hole after hole after hole. In this corner, wearing black slacks and black pullover, the beloved Hall of Fame veteran seeking a major that would certify his career as among the best of all time. In this corner, wearing black slacks and a gray-and-black shirt, the game’s best player without a major, the genial Swede who was seeking to put a line in his biography above “guy who once played a shot in his underwear.” He’s done that.

    STENSON FRONT 9

    MICKELSON FRONT 9

    STENSON BACK 9 

    MICKELSON BACK 9

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  • British Open, final round: What to watch for

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 12 days ago

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    The 145th British Open at Royal Troon has reached its final day, and after all the wind and rain and bunkers and gorse, we’re in for a treat. We’ve got two of the game’s finest at the top of the leaderboard, and stars both new and old lurking right on the margins. Here’s what to watch for during Sunday’s final round.

    Heavyweight Showdown: Call it “Brute Force In The Gorse.” In this corner, Phil Mickelson, the all-time great who could put an exclamation point on a signature career with a win. In the far corner, Henrik Stenson, the current Best Player Without A Major, an immensely popular Swede who’s never held a 54-hole lead in a major before. They’re both at least five strokes clear of the field, and Sunday’s showdown will have the feel of a Ryder Cup match play showdown. You won’t want to miss this one.

  • Phil Mickelson stands on the edge of the greatest major win in decades

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 12 days ago

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    Nothing Phil Mickelson does comes easy.

    He’ll get himself into trouble and wriggle right back out of it time after time after time. He’s wrung birdies out of certain bogeys. He’s hit balls into galleries and watched them kick off patrons into the fairway. He’s created a Frankenstein putting stroke that’s uglier than a mutt but flows like mercury. He’s even found himself in the crosshairs of the federal government and sidestepped any real punishment. He’s Brett Favre in the pocket, Steph Curry in the backcourt, Bryce Harper with a bat; you have no idea what’ll happen next, but you have to watch.

    Nothing Mickelson does comes easy, which makes this week’s British Open at Royal Troon so fascinating. Mickelson has crafted, quite simply, the finest major of his career to this point, and he’s done it with very un-Phil-like mastery and control. He heads to Sunday’s final round in the final pairing with Henrik Stenson, within sight of his best chance in years to win his sixth major.

    And all was going smoothly until a brutal stretch on the back nine Saturday, when Mickelson’s tournament faced a brief moment of implosion.

     

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  • Rory McIlroy loses mind, snaps club at British Open

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 12 days ago

    Your browser does not support iframes. It’s been a rough go for Rory McIlroy at the British Open. Always one of the favorites coming in, McIlroy wasn’t able to get anything going all week. Saturday began ugly in a hurry, with McIlroy bogeying three of the first five holes.

    By the 16th, he’d had enough. After an ugly approach shot, he slammed his three-wood to the unforgiving Scottish turf. The club didn’t survive.

    Click here for the full British Open leaderboard

    ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

  • Bubba, Snedeker, Day hit everything but the green at the British Open

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 12 days ago

    Moving Day at the British Open started pretty ugly for some of the biggest names in the game. Most of America slept through some fairly nasty golf, but we’ve got it right here for your perusal. First off, let’s check out Brandt Snedeker, firing a shot straight into a TV tower:

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    Bubba Watson got a lucky bounce from a sprinkler head:

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    But a few holes later, karma evened out the scales as his shot at 11 ended up on the train tracks:

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    And here’s world No. 1 Jason Day, shanking an approach right up to a hospitality tent:

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    It’s not pretty out there, but take heart: you don’t have to play it.

  • Watch all 63 shots of Phil Mickelson's record-tying British Open round

    Jay Busbee at Devil Ball Golf 13 days ago

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    Phil Mickelson came within a whisker of recording the greatest round ever in a major on Thursday. It was perhaps Phil’s greatest statistical round ever, and it’s set him up well for a run at a sixth major.

    Here, thanks to NBC Sports, you can watch all 63 of Mickelson’s shots from his remarkable round. Spoiler: it ends in heartbreak, but it’s a hell of a ride along the way.

    ____ Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.