Jack Nicklaus and Kid Rock — yes, Kid Rock — win Skins Shootout tournament

Musician Kid Rock hits a tee shot on the third hole during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 8, 2014 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

When you hear the phrase “Kid Rock and Jack Nicklaus walk onto a golf course,” you expect a punchline to follow.

How’s this for an ending — “and win a tournament together.”

It doesn’t seem close to the funniest potential finish, until you realize this isn’t a joke.

This actually happened.

Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, and Nicklaus paired up to win the inaugural Skins Shootout at the Bass Pro Legends of Golf tournament at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri last weekend. The two took down Gary Player and Lee Trevino.

Kid Rock, a five-time Grammy winner, was a late addition to the nine-hole shootout and admitted he had some nerves about playing alongside a trio of golf legends.

“Yeah, it was nuts man,” he told KSDK. “I don’t get nervous much but I was a little bit today and then I started swinging and I’m like, ‘Man, stuff’s working out.’”

That was a humble assessment according to the Golden Bear.

“He hit the ball great,” Nicklaus said. “He told me he’s a member down there at Bear’s Club and I’ve never played with him before and he said he started practicing last week. He said he’s got blisters all over his hands. He said, ‘I didn’t know if they were gonna hit anything,’ and he hits eight out of nine greens. That’s pretty good.”

Rory McIlroy’s extravagant wedding set for Saturday in Ireland

Erica Stoll, Rory McIlroy and John Fitzpatrick at at a gala for the American Ireland Fund on Feb. 11, 2016. (Melanie Bell / Palm Beach Daily News)

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy’s next PGA event will reportedly be his first as a married man.

The 27-year-old is set to wed fiancee Erica Stoll on April 22 in Ireland, according to the Belfast Telegraph. Golf insiders are reportedly dubbing it the “wedding of the decade” with the sport’s biggest stars expected to attend along with McIlroy’s pop-star friend Niall Horan of One Direction.

The ceremony will be held inside an historic Irish castle and could feature a performance by Coldplay.

Sounds no different than your nuptials, right?

“I am excited,” McIlroy said at the Masters. “It’s a great time in my life, and it would have been nice to walk down the aisle in the green jacket!

“It’s a great time in our lives and it’s all about that over the next couple of weeks and I’ll come back at the Players refreshed and a married man and start a new chapter in my life.”

McIlory met Stoll in 2012, when she was working for the PGA of America and helped him get a police escort to make his tee time at the Ryder Cup after a scheduling mixup.

The two began dating after McIlroy ended his engagement with former No. 1 tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. McIlroy and Stoll were engaged in December 2015.

McIlroy finished in a tie for seventh at the Masters after shooting a three under par. He will make his next start at TPC Sawgrass in search of his first Players title.

Lexi Thompson loses lead in major after TV viewer calls in rules violation

Lexi Thompson cries in a towel as she walks to the 18th green after her second shot during the final round of the ANA Inspiration on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club on April 2, 2017 in Rancho Mirage, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Lexi Thompson was positioned for a smooth landing into the year’s first LPGA major, up three strokes on the field with six holes remaining.

Then, a television viewer intervened via email to inform officials about a day-old rules violation. The infraction occurred on the 17th green Saturday, when she replaced her coin mark with the ball but put it maybe an inch out of position.

As small as the mistake was — tournament officials hadn’t seen it — the penalty was equally severe. Thompson was assessed a four-stroke penalty; two for incorrect ball placement, two for signing an incorrect scorecard (which, at the time, everyone believed was correct).

Thompson was alerted to the violation and punishment by a rules official on her way to the 13th tee at the ANA Inspiration.

“Is this a joke?” Thompson asked. Assured it wasn’t, she said, “This is ridiculous.”

Thompson teed off at 13 in tears. She had gone from a seemingly comfortable cruise to her second career major victory to knocked out of the lead.

She persevered and forced a playoff with three birdies down the stretch. But So Yeon Ryu birdied the playoff hole to take the trophy — plus $155,000 more than Thompson collected.

“It’s unfortunate what happened,” Thompson said. “I did not mean that at all. I didn’t realize I did that. I felt strong through the finish, and it was great to see the fans behind me.”

Thompson’s support extended to the digital realm, where Tiger Woods immediately offered his thoughts on Twitter. 

Even through tears, Thompson took the heartbreak as well as anyone could.

“Every day is a learning process,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting what happened today, but … it happens, and I’ll learn from it and hopefully do better.”

Rickie Fowler sports spikes at Bay Hill paying homage to Arnold Palmer

A look at the high-tops that Fowler will wear this week at Bay Hill. (Courtesy of Puma)

The first Arnold Palmer Invitational since The King’s death was sure to be rich with tributes to the seven-time major winner.

But it’s hard to envision a cooler homage than Rickie Fowler’s new footwear.

His sponsor, Puma, constructed two pairs of handmade shoes to honor Palmer.

The sides are adorned with photo collages of Palmer. The Velcro strap features a laser-engraving of his signature and the iconic umbrella logo.

A quote from Fowler on Palmer’s influence is found behind the tongue of the right shoe and reads: “Legends never die. You will live on forever Arnie. I will never forget the bear hug in front of the clubhouse at Augusta, watching you hit your final tee shot there, and to spending time with you in the locker room at Bay Hill. Thank you for being you and giving me the opportunity to do what I get to do everyday! I love you as did everyone! RIP The King.”

According to a news release, two pairs of the Puma Golf Hi-Top were made. Fowler will wear one pair as he plays. He’ll autograph the other so it can be auctioned off to support Palmer’s charity, Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation. The ebay bid was up to $10,300 as of Friday morning.

“To have the shoes, something different, it’s kind of a collage of Arnie through his years of golf,” Fowler told USA Today. “So it’s pretty cool. I told some people I’m not sure if I’m going to take them off. I had to put them on last night to lace them up properly and make sure they were good to go for this morning. It’s going to be a special week and I’m glad I was able to put a couple things together and as well as my sponsors stepping up as well.”

Jack Nicklaus, age 77, shoots 71 at Ernie Els charity event

Patrons watch as Jack Nicklaus celebrates his hole-in-one on the fourth hole during the Par 3 Contest prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

In case you were wondering, Jack Nicklaus is still really good at golf.

Maybe even too good.

The Golden Bear recently took part in the “Els for Autism” Pro-Am Golf Tournament at the Old Palm Golf Club. Several tour pros participated, including Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas. The event itself raised more than $1 million for the Els for Autism Foundation, which aims to improve the understanding of, awareness of and development of programs for autistic people.

But Nicklaus — nearly two months removed from his 77th birthday — stole the show by shooting a 71. It might have been even better than he wanted.

“Just when I was getting my handicap up there, I had to go and not only shoot just my second round under 80 since November, but better my age by six shots with a 71,” Nicklaus wrote on Instagram. “But seriously, it was a great day for golf and for raising needed money for the incredible work that my friends Ernie and Liezl Els do to bring attention and support for the estimated 1 in 68 children in the U.S. with autism. 

“I’m delighted I could join the big-hearted amateurs and pros in the 9th annual Els for Autism Pro-Am. I just don’t recall getting a trophy this big for any second-place finishes in my career!”

Isn’t there a rule that any 77-year-old who shoots a 71 automatically gets a first-place trophy? If there isn’t, can someone get started drafting one up?

In the meantime, we’ll appreciate an all-time great continuing to add to his legend.

PGA pro Pat Perez rips Tiger Woods: He ‘knows he can’t beat anybody’

PACIFIC PALISADES, CA - FEBRUARY 19: Pat Perez plays his shot from the second tee during the final round at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 19, 2017 in Pacific Palisades, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Pat Perez plays his shot from the second tee during the final round at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 19, 2017 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

PGA Tour winner Pat Perez is paid to give his candid thoughts.

He earned his money this week while holding nothing back on the present and future of Tiger Woods on the “Out of Bounds” show Perez co-hosts with ESPN’s Michael Collins on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio.

“(Tiger) knows he can’t beat anybody,” Perez said. “He knows it. The guy shot 77 [in the first round in Dubai]. That guy can’t shoot 77. What does he do the next day? ‘Ah, my back’s gone.’ He knows he can’t beat anybody.”

Woods, who had two back surgeries and a follow-up procedure between April 2014 and October 2015, laid out an ambitious start to his year. He planned to make four starts in five weeks, but he will only have played three of those possible 16 rounds.

The rough start in Dubai referenced by Perez led to an early withdrawal by Woods, who cited back spasms as the reason. He said the ailment made doctors advise him to skip both the Genesis Open and The Honda Classic, which is currently taking place at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens.

Perez said he thinks there is more to it.

“He’s not going to come out and play, and play poorly,” Perez said.

Woods has not updated his future plans and schedule.

Perez thinks whether Woods plays the Masters could signal what — if anything — the future holds.

“If he doesn’t play Augusta, it’s over!” Perez said. “Personally, I don’t think you’ll see him again this year.”

Perez, whose comments have understandably caused a stir, has since tried to clarify his take.

“My whole point that he can’t beat anyone is that he only shows up to tournaments when he thinks he can win,” Perez told Golf Digest. “So he must be hurt still if he’s playing poorly and pulling out of tournaments. It probably sounded harsh the way it came out, but what I meant by that is he is probably still hurt.”

Perez said he has exchanged text messages with Woods, who wasn’t pleased but said he is entitled to his opinion.

Rory McIlroy one of Tiger Woods’ ‘biggest fans’

Tiger Woods of the United States and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shake hands on the 18th green during the final round of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods of the United States and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland shake hands on the 18th green during the final round of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 12, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

When Rory McIlroy talks — or, in this case, types — something interesting often comes out of it.

And since the world’s No. 2 golfer is sidelined by stress fractures in his ribs, he has ample time to dish out several interesting somethings.

He recently participated in a five-day email interview with golf.com’s Michael Bamberger, discussing everything from his fiancee Erica Stoll to Tiger Woods and Tom Brady. Suffice it to say, he’s a fan of all three.

Stoll elicited the most insightful response of the session. McIlroy brought her up when asked which person has made the greatest impact to his off-course life.

“The only way I can describe it is if golf were to disappear tomorrow, I don’t think I’d miss it as much as I would have a few years ago,” McIlroy said. “I felt I needed golf to be complete as a person … I don’t feel like that anymore.”

As for Woods, McIlroy said he was and is “one of his biggest fans.

“I remember [him winning the 1999 Masters] like it was yesterday,” he said. “I think if you ask any fan of golf or tour player around my age, they will give you the exact same answer.”

McIlroy said he didn’t get to know Woods well until 2012, when he inked an endorsement deal with Nike. He credited Woods for handling the public portion of his celebrity “very well for the most part” and noted today’s world makes that a constant challenge.

“Privacy is a very uncommon commodity for most people these days,” McIlroy remarked. “I can see why Tiger longs for it so much.”

While McIlroy is a bigger fan of “football football” than “American football” — the word soccer is “very hard for me to use” — he did correctly predict the Patriots would prevail in Super Bowl LI. But the manner in which it played out, with New England erasing a 25-point deficit in the second half, prompted McIlroy to call it “the most incredible comeback I think I’ve ever witnessed in sports.”

On the health front, McIlory said he is “progressing well” and focused on “building it back up slowly.”

Honda Classic 2017: Tentative full player field at PGA National

Third round of the 2016 Honda Classic Friday February 27, 2016, at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)
Third round of the 2016 Honda Classic Friday February 27, 2016, at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. (Bill Ingram / The Palm Beach Post)

Below is the official list of PGA TOUR professionals and international players who are scheduled to compete in the 2017 Honda Classic.

Please note this list represents early commitments and that the field is subject to change.

Steven Alker, New Zealand
Robert Allenby, Melbourne, Australia
Byeong Hun An, South Korea
Ryan Armour, United States
Blayne Barber, Auburn, AL
Ricky Barnes, Phoenix, AZ
Daniel Berger, Jupiter, FL
Zac Blair, Saint George, UT
Ryan Blaum, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Jason Bohn, Acworth, GA
Steven Bowditch, Australia
Dominic Bozzelli, Pittsford, NY
Ryan Brehm, Mount Pleasant, MI
Scott Brown, Aiken, SC
Chad Campbell, Andrews, TX
Brian Campbell, Irvine, CA
Miguel Angel Carballo, Argentina
Paul Casey, Surrey, England
Alex Cejka, Germany
Greg Chalmers, Sydney, AUS
Stewart Cink, Duluth, GA
Chad Collins, Cloverdale, IN
Ben Crane, Portland, OR
Jon Curran, Jupiter, FL
Bryson DeChambeau, Clovis, CA
Graham DeLaet, Weyburn, SK, Canada
Luke Donald, High Wycombe, England
Brett Drewitt, Inverell, AUS
Jason Dufner, Auburn, AL
Ken Duke, Stuart, FL
Matt Every, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Derek Fathauer, Jupiter, FL
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Spain
Martin Flores, United States
Rickie Fowler, United States
Brad Fritsch, Canada
Sergio Garcia, Castellon, Spain
Robert Garrigus, United States
Brian Gay, United States
Lucas Glover, Sea Island, GA
Fabian Gomez, Chaco, Argentina
Andres Gonzales, United States
Retief Goosen, Polokwane, South Africa
Cody Gribble, Dallas, TX
Emiliano Grillo, Argentina
Brandon Hagy, United States
Brian Harman, St. Simons Island, GA
Padraig Harrington, Dublin, Ireland
Tyrrell Hatton, England
David Hearn, Brantford, ON, Canada
Russell Henley, Kiawah Island, SC
Jim Herman, Palm City, FL
Morgan Hoffmann, Wyckoff, NJ
Charles Howell III, Windermere, FL
Mark Hubbard, Denver, CO
Mackenzie Hughes, Charlotte, NC
John Huh, Dallas, TX
Billy Hurley III, United States
Hiroshi Iwata, Sendai, Japan
Freddie Jacobson, Gothenburg, Sweden
Zach Johnson, Cedar Rapids, IA
Sung Kang, Coppell, TX
Martin Kaymer, Mettmann, GER
Whee Kim, Seoul, South Korea
Si Woo Kim, Seoul, South Korea
Michael Kim, Houston, TX
Kevin Kisner, Aiken, SC
Patton Kizzire, Sea Island, GA
Soren Kjeldsen, Denmark
Colt Knost, Dallas, TX
Russell Knox, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Brooks Koepka, West Palm Beach, FL
Jason Kokrak, Warren, OH
Kelly Kraft, United States
Rick Lamb, South Bend, IN
Danny Lee, New Zealand
Spencer Levin, Elk Grove, CA
Nicholas Lindheim, Satellite Beach, FL
David Lingmerth, Tranas, Sweden
Luke List, Seal Beach, CA
Andrew Loupe, Baton Rouge, LA
Jamie Lovemark, San Diego, CA
Will MacKenzie, Jupiter, FL
Peter Malnati, Knoxville, TN
Steve Marino, Tequesta, FL
Graeme McDowell, Portrush, Northern Ireland
William McGirt, Spartanburg, SC
Francesco Molinari, Turin, Italy
Trey Mullinax, Birmingham, AL
Sebastian Munoz, Bogota, COL
Grayson Murray, Raleigh, NC
Seung-Yul Noh, Irving, TX
Sean O’Hair, Chads Ford, PA
Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa
Jeff Overton, Evansville, IN
Ryan Palmer, Colleyville, TX
Cheng Tsung Pan, Taiwan
Cameron Percy, Australia
John Peterson, United States
Carl Pettersson, Raleigh, NC
D.A. Points, United States
J.T. Poston, St. Simons Island, GA
Ian Poulter, Woburn, England
Seamus Power, Waterford, IRL
Jonathan Randolph, United States
Chez Reavie, United States
Kyle Reifers, Charlotte, NC
Tag Ridings, United States
Justin Rose, England
Rory Sabbatini, Durban, South Africa
Xander Schauffele, San Diego, CA
Ollie Schniederjans, Alpharetta, GA
Adam Scott, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
John Senden, Brisbane, Australia
Vijay Singh, Fiji Islands
Cameron Smith, Australia
J.J. Spaun, Los Angeles, CA
Kyle Stanley, Gig Harbor, WA
Brendan Steele, Idyllwild, CA
Brett Stegmaier, Vero Beach, FL
Robert Streb, Shawnee, KS
Brian Stuard, United States
Daniel Summerhays, Farmington, UT
Hudson Swafford, Sea Island, GA
Vaughn Taylor, United States
Justin Thomas, Goshen, KY
Michael Thompson, Sea Island, GA
Cameron Tringale, Laguna Niguel, CA
Kevin Tway, United States
Tyrone Van Aswegen, Johannesburg, South Africa
Harold Varner III, Gastonia, NC
Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela
Camilo Villegas, Medellin, Columbia
Johnson Wagner, Charlotte, NC
Richy Werenski, Bluffton, SC
Tim Wilkinson, New Zealand
Danny Willett, Sheffield, England
Mark Wilson, Chicago, IL
Gary Woodland, Topeka, KS
Bobby Wyatt, Sea Island, GA

Jim Furyk appointed 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup captain

FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2014, file photo, Jim Furyk, of the United States, walks off the tee box after playing the first hole during a singles match on the final day of the Ryder Cup golf tournament, at Gleneagles, Scotland. Furyk has been appointed U.S. captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France. Furyk will be in charge of a team that will try to win on European soil for the first time since 1993 at The Belfry. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell, File)
Jim Furyk has been appointed U.S. captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France. Furyk will be in charge of a team that will try to win on European soil for the first time since 1993 at The Belfry. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell, File)

PALM BEACH GARDENS – PGA of America President Paul Levy today announced that Jim Furyk will serve as the United States Ryder Cup Team Captain for the 42nd Ryder Cup, which will be played September 28-30, 2018 at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, France.

Furyk is the 28th U.S. Captain since the Ryder Cup began in 1927.

“For more than two decades, Jim Furyk has stood proud and tall on the American golf stage and we are thrilled to have him as our Ryder Cup Captain,” said Levy, who joined Furyk for a news conference at PGA of America Headquarters. “His accomplishments as a player are well known, but his inherent competitive spirit and leadership traits are what made his candidacy so attractive. Jim offers the total package and is well suited for the task at hand.”

The 46-year-old Furyk played in nine consecutive Ryder Cups (1997, ’99, 2002, ‘04, ‘06, ‘08, ‘10, ‘12, ‘14), which is the second-most appearances in U.S. Ryder Cup history. Only Phil Mickelson, with 11, played in more among Americans.

A West Chester, Pennsylvania native, Furyk was a member of winning U.S. Ryder Cup efforts in 1999, 2008 and ‘16, the latter as a Vice Captain. A 17-time winner on the PGA Tour, Furyk also played in seven Presidents Cups, an event at which he served as a Captain’s Assistant in 2015.

“I would like to thank Davis (Love III) and the PGA of America Ryder Cup Committee for their faith in me and my selection as United States Ryder Cup Captain,” said Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open Champion. “I’ve said many times that the Ryder Cup is part of my DNA, so this opportunity was a privilege and honor to accept. This is a special moment for my family.”

Furyk’s first act as Ryder Cup Captain was to name Love as the first of his Vice Captains. Love served two U.S. captaincies (2012, ’16) and played in six Ryder Cups.

Last fall, the United States reclaimed the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008 by defeating Europe, 17 to 11, at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.

“I am anxious to get started and recapture the momentum we enjoyed at Hazeltine, both in the team room and on the golf course,” Furyk said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve won in Europe and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Thomas Bjorn, 45, of Denmark was named 2018 European Ryder Cup Captain last month.

Tiger Woods set to return next week at Safeway Open in California

Two weeks after the PGA Tour season ended, the next one starts Thursday and for some fans it can’t get here soon enough: Tiger Woods is returning to golf.

Tiger Woods said Saturday his "confidence is growing quickly" even after missing the cut at the 2015 PGA Championship. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods is planning to return to PGA Tour action next week in Northern California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Woods made it official Friday by entering the Safeway Open in Napa, California, the first event on the PGA Tour’s wraparound schedule. He has said a month ago that he hoped to play the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort, but had until Friday afternoon to officially commit.

Woods last played on Aug. 23, 2015, at the Wyndham Championship in a last-minute bid to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. A month later, he announced a second surgery on his back, and then a third one a month after that.

Even through other operations on his knee, the 40-year-old Woods has never spent this long away from competition. And never has the No. 767 player in the world attracted so much attention.

“Silverado is the perfect course for him because it is so straightforward,” tournament host Johnny Miller said last month when Woods indicated he hoped to play. “I think he’ll love being back in California. If he can get a good first round … just get some confidence and springboard from there.”

Woods plans to play the Turkish Airlines Open next month and then his Hero World Challenge the first week in December, giving him three tournaments in roughly three months to end the year.

The Safeway Open, in its first year as title sponsor, has a little extra star power next week. Phil Mickelson already has announced he will play, and PGA Tour officials are considering putting them in the same group for the opening round.

“I’m sort of glad I’m not there that week. … It’s going to be a bit of a circus,” Rory McIlroy said last month. “But it’s good to see him back and healthy, and it will be exciting to see him back on the course again.”

Wood sounded defeated last December in the Bahamas because he had no timetable for a return and no idea how long it would take his back to heal. He said at one point, “For my 20 years out here, I think I’ve achieved a lot, and if that’s all it entails, then I’ve had a pretty good run. But I’m hoping that’s not it.”

He played five holes with Mark O’Meara when Woods opened his golf course outside Houston. He also had one awkward moment at Congressional during a promotion for the Quicken Loans National. He was asked to hit a shot over the water to the par-3 10th hole, and put all three of them in the water.

Woods said last month his rehabilitation was to the point where he was comfortable making scheduling plans.

He was at the Ryder Cup as an assistant captain, mostly walking as he spent time with Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. Woods this week was named an assistant to Presidents Cup Captain Steve Stricker, though Stricker said he would like to see Woods playing on the team.

Woods hasn’t won since the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational, the 79th title of his PGA Tour career. That left him three short of the record held by Sam Snead.