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Watch a 9-year-old boy get the best birthday surprise ever thanks to a foursome of European Tour pros

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Andrew (Beef) Johnston, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson & Martin Kaymer surprise a 9-year-old on his birthday in this great video from the European Tour

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Four tied for second-round lead, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth in contention

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Four tied for second-round lead, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth in contention

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Rahm, Garcia buoying each other

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FORT WORTH, Texas – For two days they have played like a duo in a best-ball tournament, or a Ryder Cup match, but after 36 holes of ham-and-egg golf Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm will turn their attention to a more singular focus.

The Spanish tandem were paired together for Rounds 1 and 2 at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, with Rahm rolling on Thursday to 66 but grinding his way to a second-round 69. Garcia mixed things up, opening his week with a 69 but rebounding with a 66 on Friday. Both will begin the weekend tied at 5 under, just a stroke off the lead.

Dean & DeLuca Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I think it played a role that when one of us were struggling, the other one had a good day,” Rahm said. “Yesterday I was playing good when he didn’t have his best start, making some amazing par saves. Today he was playing great and I didn’t have my best start.”

To prove what a potent team they could be, the duo birdied the same hole, No. 15 on Thursday, just once in two days and had a best-ball score of 8 under par on Friday.

“We obviously are good friends,” Garcia said. “Like I said at the beginning of the year, it’s awesome to have another Spaniard playing well like he’s doing.”

This week marked the first time the duo was paired together in a stroke-play PGA Tour event. Rahm defeated Garcia on Day 3 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play earlier this season.

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Watch: Former president Obama plays Old Course

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Former president Barack Obama is in Scotland to give a speech at a charity function in Edinburgh on Friday night. But first … golf. And not just golf, but golf on the Old Course at St. Andrews.

According to the Guardian, Obama was told by his caddie on the third hole, “No pressure, sir,” even as a crowd gathered around to watch.

After he hit, Obama reportedly said: “Oh, that wasn’t pretty.”

Obama was also said to have shaken hands and spoken to those in the crowd.

President Obama going for birdie on 18. #obama @golfdigest @the.scotsman @guardian @cnn @nytimes @washingtonpost @barackobama

A post shared by Connoisseur Golf (@connoisseurgolf) on

Barack Obama tees off at St Andrews’ Old Course during a visit to Scotland

Andrew Milligan pic.twitter.com/dBUOLt2eGq

— Press Association (@PA) May 26, 2017

Two icons in St Andrews today. When @BarackObama met the Claret Jug!pic.twitter.com/xQSEVuPi2t

— The Open (@TheOpen) May 26, 2017

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Vijay Singh positions himself to end winless skein, but Bernhard Langer still leads

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Vijay Singh positions himself to end winless skein, but Bernhard Langer still leads

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Kisner is just the horse for Colonial course

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FORT WORTH, Texas – Kevin Kisner is a big believer in the theory of horses for courses, this week’s stop at storied Colonial Country Club being the best example.

In three starts at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, Kisner has finished in the top 10 twice, including a tie for fifth in 2015, and on Friday he moved into a share of the lead with Webb Simpson, Scott Piercy and Danny Lee at 6 under with back-to-back 67s.

“Top 5, if not the best,” Kisner said when asked where Colonial ranks in his heart on Tour. “I love Hilton Head just because it’s a home game pretty much, but this is just like what I grew up on. Tight, small greens. You got to fit it in windows, not a lot of long irons into holes, which we’ve become accustomed to on the PGA Tour.”

Dean & DeLuca Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Kisner has just two bogeys this week and said the key for him has been avoiding the rough and trees off the tee.

“You get so blocked out with the trees if you’re in the rough that you hit so many run-up shots you’re just not going to hit the greens with,” said Kisner, who ranks first in the field in fairways hit (22 of 28). “You’re going to hit some short irons. If you hit the green, you don’t have more than about a 25-footer for birdie.”

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Cut Line: Taking the long view

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FORT WORTH, Texas – In a relationship-building edition, the USGA takes a unique step and listens; while players start to embrace the benefits of a long-term association … with their putters.

Made Cut

Let’s talk. It’s been a complicated few years for the USGA and some PGA Tour types.

Last year’s ruling during the final round of the U.S. Open that cost Dustin Johnson a penalty stroke, but thankfully not a victory, was not exactly popular among the play-for-pay set. Earlier this year there were rumblings that the association may not be doling out a “fair” share of its earnings from its lucrative new deal with Fox into purses.

During the Tour’s West Coast swing the USGA seemed to be trying a more proactive approach by sending representatives to events to talk with players about a variety of issues, primarily a set of proposed changes to the Rules of Golf.

This week at Colonial the détente moved to another level with USGA executive director Mike Davis meeting with the Player Advisory Council.

According to one PAC member who asked not to be identified, the meeting was simply a way to begin a “dialogue,” and included conversations about rulings and next month’s U.S. Open venue in Wisconsin.

The USGA is far too often an easy target, but if this week’s meeting is any indication, at least the association is trying to see things from a player’s perspective.

Commitment issues. Much was made of Jordan Spieth’s decision to switch putters last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson, an experiment that didn’t end well (he missed the cut) and lasted just a single tournament.

Spieth first put his trusty Scotty Cameron 009 in his bag when he was 15 years old, which led to a general sense of confusion over his decision to bench the old model before returning to it this week at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

For players like Paul Casey, who moved into the hunt on Friday at Colonial with a second-round 66, it’s those types of long-term associations that seem to be a hallmark of all good putters.

“There is something to be said about guys that use putters a long, long time. Tiger used his putter for a long, long time. You look at obviously the veteran players, guys now on the Champions Tour,” Casey said. “They never used to switch equipment much.”

Being paired with Brandt Snedeker, who has largely used the same putter for 11 years, for Rounds 1 and 2 at Colonial made Casey consider the benefits of a long-term relationship with his putter.

“Just trying to look at little things like that, yeah, OK, why does he not change? He’s obviously very good. Maybe I shouldn’t change as frequently as I do,” Casey said.

The longest Casey has had the same putter in his bag? A year and a half in 2006.

“That would be a good [record] to try and break,” he laughed. “I’m in for about three months right now [with his current model].”

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Baby steps. Tiger Woods revealed this week via his website that he is continuing his recovery from fusion back surgery in April and his “long-term prognosis is positive.”

Although Woods still didn’t offer any timeline for his possible return to competition, he did write that he won’t be able to “twist” for another two and a half to three months while his fusion heals.

While that seems to suggest we won’t be seeing Woods on a course anytime soon, the man who has been trying to talk Woods into having the surgery for some time sees the procedure as a potential breakthrough.

“I think it’s going to help him,” said Davis Love III, who had a similar fusion surgery in 2013. “He’s going to match [his swing] up better, he’s going to slow down a little bit and he’ll turn through it better.”

Good news has been in short supply when it comes to Woods the last few years, so we’ll take what we can get.

Missed Cut

Tweet of the week: @Danny_Willett (Danny Willett) “[European Tour] please explain that drop? Burying feet enough in to get to the base of the bunker?”

Branden Grace, who came under fire following the first round of the BMW PGA Championship for a fortunate ruling he received on the 13th hole when his ball was plugged in a greenside bunker, was at, the center of the controversy, but it’s not the South African who should be questioned.

“A rule is a rule, and I took advantage of the rule there, and it helped knowing the rule in some respects,” said Grace, who was given a drop in the bunker because his feet were touching a rubber sheet that was under the sand from his original lie.

If you don’t like the Rules of Golf let the USGA and R&A know, but until then criticizing a player for playing by the book is blatantly misplaced.

Weather warning. If you’re inclined to read tea leaves, European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley’s comments this week sent a clear message.

“The PGA of America says they’re going to determine whether the PGA Championship is moved to May by the end of August this year,” Pelley said.

Those within Tour circles believe that decision will be to move the PGA from August to May, allowing for a larger schedule makeover that would also see The Players move back to March and the playoffs end in early September.

Although there are plenty of reasons why a nip/tucked schedule would be good for golf, there are drawbacks – most notably the thermometer on Friday at Colonial. Temperatures reached the high 90s on Day 2 at Colonial with no relief in sight.

If the PGA were to move to May, Texas, Florida and southern California would all likely become future venues for the PGA of America and as any weatherman will tell you, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

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Facing another MC, Spieth rallies for 68

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FORT WORTH, Texas – For the second consecutive day things weren’t going well for Jordan Spieth, with this week’s defending champion dropping three shots through his first six holes on Friday at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Much like last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson, and the week before at The Players, visions of a short workweek began consuming his thoughts.

“When your back is against the wall and you feel the nerves kick up because you know you got to do something or you’re not going to be able to play both weekends in your hometown,” Spieth said. “That would’ve been really, really tough for me to swallow if I missed this cut.”

But just as he did on Day 1, when he was 2 over through his first four holes, Spieth rallied at Colonial, first with a birdie at the 15th hole (he began his round on No. 10) to turn in 2 over and then with four birdies through five holes to start his inward loop.

Dean & DeLuca Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

That run included birdies at Nos. 4 and 5, the back end of the course’s “Horrible Horseshoe,” which by most accounts are not considered birdie holes.

“I’ve played [Nos.] 1 through 5 in 4 under. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I don’t think I’ve ever been 2 under on those holes,” said Spieth, who played the Horrible Horseshoe in 2 under on his way to victory last year at Colonial.

Spieth finished with a 68 and is 2 under, just four strokes off the early lead, thanks to his late-round confidence boost.

“I stepped up and hit shots when I needed to hit them and trusted them and picked the right lines through the greens,” he said. “I felt really good about the way we played the last 14 holes. About as solid as the entire year.”

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Casey (66) takes less aggressive approach at Colonial

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FORT WORTH, Texas – On Thursday Jon Rahm caused some to double take when he explained that he hit driver a dozen times on Day 1 at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Colonial is widely considered a ball-striker’s golf course, which is code for a course that doesn’t allow bombers to swing as freely as they would at many PGA Tour events.

Rahm’s aggressive approach, however, is not shared by all, as evidenced by Paul Casey’s choice to hit just two drivers on Friday on his way to a second-round 66 that left him a stroke off the early lead.

Dean & DeLuca Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“It’s one of the reasons why I love this golf course, because you can smash it round here, but you don’t have to. A lot of thinking goes on and positioning into the greens,” Casey said. “It’s just such a wonderful classic golf course, which is why myself and a lot of players love playing it.”

Instead, Casey said he depended more on his 5-wood and 3-iron off the tee the last two days in an attempt to find fairways and keep the ball out of the wind, which gusted to 25 mph.

Casey’s distinctly conservative approach has worked, with the Englishman ranked 28th in fairways hit (17 of 28) and 76th in driving distance (272-yard average).

“I’ve always loved hitting long irons off the tees,” he said. “It’s not the longest 3-iron I’ve ever hit, but I’ve got great control with it. It put me in wonderful position numerous times today, or really didn’t get me into trouble, because there is a lot of trouble round there.”

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Injured Rory McIlroy to skip Memorial in hopes of getting 'back to full health' for the U.S. Open

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Injured Rory McIlroy told Golf Digest he won’t be playing at next week’s Memorial Tournament as part of a plan to be ‘back to full health’ for the U.S. Open

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