A normal round on the golf course turned into the memory of a lifetime for a retired police officer in Virginia after he hit two hole-in-ones in the span of an hour at the Ashley Plantation Country Club in Daleville, according to the The Roanoke Times.

The first shot was reportedly at the 182-yard seventh hole of the Meadows Course and the second came four holes later at the 118-yard second hole of the Hills Course.

The golfer, J.R “Butch” Blessard, told the paper he is normally an 11-handicapper and sadly he had no tips for other retirees looking to put up such amazing stats. "It's strictly luck," he said. "There's no skill involved. I'm a good average golfer and I got lucky."

According to the National Hole-In-One Registry, the odds of a player making two holes-in-one in the same round is 67 million to 1.

So how do we know it's real? Three of four of Blessard's playing partners told the newspaper they had witnessed the amazing feat. And for his part, the 67-year-old said he was willing to do whatever it took to silence the doubters.

“All I can tell the cynics is I will take a polygraph test. And they can televise it live on ESPN if they want!” he said.

No word yet if the Worldwide Leader -- or other golfers down on their game -- came calling.

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Golf fans should hope Tiger Woods's accuracy picks up over the course of the weekend at Medinah, otherwise it could be a long weekend for Team America.

The world's No. 2 has gotten off to a shaky start at the Ryder Cup, already nailing a pair of spectators with errant drives.

On Thursday, Woods mishit a drive on the 18th hole and conked a fan in the head. When Woods came over to apologize to the fan, the man told Woods not to worry because it wasn't his fault. Woods drew a big laugh from the crowd when he said that yes, it absolutely was his fault.

During Woods' morning round on Friday, he hit a bad drive on the seventh hole which went into the crowd and struck another man in the head. Once again, Woods introduced himself to the spectator and signed a glove for the man.

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Home field advantage takes on an entirely new meaning in golf. It's an individual sport, so fans aren't rooting against anyone in particular. And because tournaments shift around the country and the world, fans don't have the same loyalty to players as they do to their hometown teams.

But when you make golf a team sport, and you put it in one of the world's best sporting cities, you can expect an entirely atypical and at times hostile atmosphere. Team Europe isn't simply competing against Team USA at this weekend's Ryder Cup, the gentlemen from across the pond are also competing against tens of thousands of American fans.

Sure, European fans love golf as well. But, simply put, Europeans are used to a different type of fan. Perhaps Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie explains it best in a column in The Telegraph:

"In Wales most of the 50,000 spectators were golfers, members of golf clubs, proper golf fans," Montgomerie writes. "I don’t think that’s the same in America. They’re just sports fans."

By that, Montgomerie means that American fans aren't afraid to yell insults at the European players or cheer in a manner that Europeans might consider impolite. And to make matters worse for the Europeans, Chicago fans are known for their passion.

"I have a feeling that Chicago might be even more boisterous than Louisville (Valhalla), so I'm expecting that," said Justin Rose.

The idea of the rowdy American fan dates back to 1999, when some Europeans were upset with the conduct of the American team and the crowd at the Ryder Cup in Brookline, Mass. The crowd was particularly unruly, prompting veteran broadcaster Alistair Cooke to ask whether the Ryder Cup was "a golf tournament or a circus?" In Cooke's mind, the 1999 Ryder Cup represented the arrival of the "golf hooligan."

The fact that the Ryder Cup is being played just outside Chicago -- as opposed to, say, Louisville -- makes it more imposing for the Europeans and comfortable for the Americans.

"This is a great sporting town to begin with," said Tiger Woods. "They obviously have supported the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks, you name it. For us to come in here and be a part of a U.S. team, I think is just going to add to that."

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While George W. Bush has kept a relatively low profile since leaving the Oval Office in 2009, one of his most noteworthy efforts has been assisting and honoring veterans.

The George Bush Institute created the Military Service Initiative, which "helps military support organizations achieve their missions more effectively by raising awareness and spotlighting best practices."

Part of that campaign involves emphasizing the role of sports in the rehabilitation process for wounded veterans. And among other efforts, Bush started a golf tournament for veterans wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan called the Warrior Open. On Monday and Tuesday, the 43rd president held the second annual Warrior Open, hosting 22 wounded veterans at at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas.

"You don't get to meet wounded veterans a whole lot throughout the real world," said retired Marine Corporal Michael Meyer. "So getting everybody together today and playing with them, it's really neat."

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U.S. Army Cpl. Chad Pfeifer won last year's tournament and is chasing the trophy again this year. Pfeifer, whose leg was amputated above the knee five-and-a-half years ago, says he has been playing golf constantly and it has been therapeutic.

"The competition for golf was good and to be able to hang out with President Bush -- it was great," Pfeifer said. "He's always thought about the troops and for him to continue to do that even when he's out of office is incredible."

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Sierra Harr might be too good for her own good.

The 16-year-old high school junior has succeeded at all levels of high school golf in Idaho. As a freshman she won the individual girls' state title for schools with fewer than 160 students. Last year there weren't enough girls at Castleford High School to field a team, so Harr competed with the boys. No matter, as Harr finished seventh in the state tournament and helped her team take the 2A crown in May.

But Harr's success hasn't been met with enthusiasm among all of Idaho's high school coaches. Some have argued that it is unfair to allow Harr to compete with the boys as well as as an individual in the girls' tournament. And now, high school officials are considering banning her from competing with boys.

"When this started, I only wanted to play golf," Harr told The Associated Press. "But I really started to believe that women should be given the same opportunity as men. I kind of became a feminist."

In deciding Harr's case, Idaho officials say they are taking into account the fairness of all athletes.

"There aren't any villains here," said Greg Bailey, the president of the Idaho High School Activities Association. "We try to look at things from a fairness perspective, fairness for that individual athlete as well as fairness for the other athletes involved. The question is, is she bumping out a boy? And if she wins in the competition, did she bump out a boy in the other school district?"

The group's decision may be made easier by the fact that denying Harr the opportunity to compete on a team could involve bucking a crucial tenant of Title IX. The landmark piece of legislation states that girls cannot be denied the same educational experiences that boys receive. Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a former Olympian who now practices law and teaches at Florida Coastal School of Law, told the Associated Press that competing on a team does indeed provide a different educational experience than competing as an individual.

Harr's case won't be decided for several weeks. And her appeal will be moot if enough girls show up for a team in the spring.

(H/T to Off The Bench)

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Blue, Caps, Golf

It's safe to say Rory McIlroy has some good memories from New Haven, Conn.

The world's top-ranked golfer was back in Connecticut this weekend to accompany his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, who is competing in this week's New Haven Open. And while McIlroy was there, he figured he might as well test his luck again.

The PGA Championship winner took to the field at the Yale Bowl for a special challenge. McIlroy attempted to whack a tennis ball into one of the stadium's famed tunnels. Unfortunately for McIlroy, and pyromaniacs everywhere, his suggestion of using a flaming tennis ball was denied.

This is probably McIlroy's second best trick shot. He did, after all, nail a cross bar with a golf ball.

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The PGA Tour scheduling the PGA Championship on the final weekend of the 2012 Summer Olympics had some symbolism.

As the London Olympic Games come to a close the world is reminded of a reason to get excited for 2016 in Rio: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and all of the world's top golfers. Golf will return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904, and all the big names in the sport will represent their country.

Well, not exactly.

Under the proposed selection criteria by the International Golf Federation (IGF), 60 golfers will take the links in Rio. If the same rules applied to a 2012 Olympics golf competition, the 60 golfers would not be the most popular players in the world.

According to the IGF format, the top 15 players in the Official World Golf Rankings would automatically qualify for the 72-hole tournament. According to the rankings on July 29, 2012, if golf were to have been played at the 2012 Olympics, eight of the 15 automatic qualifiers would be Americans (Tiger Woods, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker) and five would be British (Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell). Adam Scott of Australia and Ernie Els of South Africa would round out the top 15.

Then things get interesting. After the top 15 automatic qualifiers, the remaining 45 spots are taken from the World Golf Rankings. However, countries are only allowed a maximum of two representatives unless the nation has more than two players in the top 15.

In other words, the United States and Great Britain would be able to send their members of the top 15 and that would be it. Both delegations would have more than double the third-most represented nation, but some big names would still be left off the course.

Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, ranked 16 and 17, respectively, on July 29, would have just barely missed out on this year's Olympics. Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley and Jim Furyk, all Americans ranked in the to 35, would have also stayed on this side of the pond (so it's safe to say Bradley would have still won last weekend's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on a Furyk meltdown).

British standouts Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie and Martin Laird, all members of the Official World Golf Rankings top 40, would have all missed out for the host nation.

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The United States and Great Britain would not be the only countries missing some of their best. South Africa, with Els and 19th ranked Louis Oostuizen would block out 22nd ranked Charl Schwartzel. Down Under, Scott and 21st ranked Jason Day would deflect Geoff Ogilvy, No. 48 in the world, and Aaron Baddeley, No. 52 in the world.

South Africans Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini, Korean Y.E. Yang, Americans David Toms and Ben Curtis and Brits Paul Casey and Darren Clarke would be some of the other big names left off a theoretical London scorecard.

On the flip side, the world would get to meet some little-known faces for the first time. Americans do not tend to spend their Sundays watching 327th ranked Mardan Mamat of Singapore or 238th ranked Lu Wei-Chih of Taiwan, but if golf were an Olympic sport in 2012, these guys would be making the trip to London. Maybe they would get paired with Tiger and get a little face time on NBC.

According to about.com, the 2012 men's field would include representatives from 33 countries, while the 2012 women’s field would include 32 nations (Stacy Lewis, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer would be the only Americans). The format would cause the women’s field to dig as deep as number 447 in the Rolex Rankings to tab Paola Moreno of Columbia as the 60th and final competitor.

As the world's best battled Kiawah Island for the PGA Championship crown last weekend, Rio 2016 may be far from their minds. Soon though, players will start to look at the Olympics format and realize qualification is not a gimmee. Only 60 players make the field and for those from the world’s most skilled countries, it is important to get into the world top 15. The IFC appears to be going more toward an international flavor in Rio, rather than a field based solely on skill.

There are no exemptions for a tournament win. Qualifying for the Olympics requires consistency and a little bit of help from the computers.

Oklahoma State Cowboy Rickie Fowler knows just how cruel the computers can be.

According to about.com, here is what the men’s field would have looked like in 2012 with Official World Golf Rankings as of July 29:

1. Luke Donald, Great Britain
2. Tiger Woods, USA
3. *Rory McIlroy, Great Britain
4. Lee Westwood, Great Britain
5. Webb Simpson, USA
6. Adam Scott, Australia
7. Bubba Watson, USA
8. Jason Dufner, USA
9. Matt Kuchar, USA
10. Justin Rose, Great Britain
11. *Graeme McDowell, Great Britain
12. Zach Johnson, USA
13. Hunter Mahan, USA
14. Steve Stricker, USA
15. Ernie Els, South Africa
18. Martin Kaymer, Germany
19. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa
21. Jason Day, Australia
23. Francesco Molinari, Italy
25. Sergio Garcia, Spain
30. Peter Hanson, Sweden
33. Nicolas Colsaerts, Belgium
36. K.J. Choi, South Korea
39. Carl Pettersson, Sweden
40. Thomas Bjorn, Denmark
42. Sang-moon Bae, South Korea
43. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Spain
53. Anders Hansen, Denmark
59. Marcel Siem, Germany
62. Padraig Harrington, Ireland
68. Ryo Ishikawa, Japan
69. Matteo Manassero, Italy
73. Vijay Singh, Fji
76. Hiroyuki Fujita, Japan
78. Bernd Wiesberger, Austria
87. Jeev Milkha Singh, India
98. Joost Luiten, Netherlands
108. Thongchai Jaidee, Thailand
112. Andres Romero, Argentina
114. Raphael Jacquelin, France
119. Shane Lowry, Ireland
126. Brendon de Jonge, Zimbabwe
135. Jhonattan Vegas, Venezuela
136. Thaworn Wiratchant, Thailand
141. Victor Dubuisson, France
154. Juvic Pagunsan, Philippines
162. Camilo Villegas, Colombia
181. Siddikur Rahman, Bangladesh
198. Fabrizio Zanotti, Paraguay
201. Danny Lee, New Zealand
207. Anirban Lahiri, India
211. Ricardo Santos, Portugal
213. David Hearn, Canada
214. Ricardo Gonzalez, Argentina
220. Felipe Aguilar, Chile
237. Graham Delaet, Canada
238. Lu Wei-chih, Taiwan
277. Espen Kofstad, Norway
294. Robert-Jan Derksen, Netherlands
327. Mardan Mamat, Singapore

* Northern Ireland natives McIlroy and McDowell would have had the option to represent Great Britain or Ireland. If they were to represent Ireland, Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry would have lost their qualifications and the next two eligible players would be chosen in their place

See the women’s field here:

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Caps, Golf

There are plenty of reasons for golf fans to be excited about the 2016 Rio Olympics. Not only will it be the first time golf has been on the Olympic program since the 1904 St. Louis games, but many of the world's top golfers have said they will participate despite the tournament's timing in the middle of the busiest season of the year.

There is, however, one sticking point.

The golf course, designed by American architect Gill Hanse and former player Amy Alcott, is the center of a messy legal dispute. Two developers are fighting for control of the land (seen in the accompanying photo), and the decision is in the hands of Brazil's Higher Court of Justice. It could take months or years before a final verdict.

Construction is set to begin on the course in October so that test events can be played in 2015, but a judge could order a halt on construction if the legal dispute is not settled. The city has said it has no Plan B if the initial land is rejected.

The golf course in Rio could become one of the 2016 Games' enduring legacies. The city plans to convert it to a public course after the Olympics, and its presence could do wonders for participation in the sport in Rio.

Still, as of now the dispute remains perhaps the "biggest headache for organizers."

-- Follow Robbie Levin on Twitter @RobbieLevin.

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Caps, Golf

It's fitting that while the Olympics are in England, former golfer-turned-broadcaster David Feherty has invented the modern version of shooting an apple off a person's head.

Feherty, as part of the second season finale of his Golf Channel talk show, Feherty, welcome two-time major champion John Daly on as a guest. In a sneak preview for the finale (airing Monday at 10 p.m. ET), Golf Channel posted the following video of Daly attempting to drive a ball off Feherty's face. Feherty holds on to the tee with his mouth, as Daly tells him, "Keep your eyes closed."

Although Feherty's crew advises he not go through with the stunt, he denies their request. Luckily for the Golf Channel's insurance, Feherty's family and Daly’s criminal record, Daly hits the ball square on. Feherty's face remains intact and his show lives on another day.

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It's hard to tell what's most impressive about Kyle Lograsso's golf outing last Friday. That the 10-year-old had the stamina to play 109 holes is amazing. That he raised $75,000 to fight a rare form of cancer is even more unbelievable. And did we mention Lograsso himself lost his left eye to cancer when he was 2?

Lograsso spent the day at The Legends Golf Club in Temecula, Calif., where he played more than 12 hours of golf and collected $75,000 to raise awareness for Retinoblastoma, the rare form of childhood cancer from which Lograsso suffered.

"I walked the last hole, I walked it for the fight against Retinoblastoma and all the kids going through it," Lograsso told the Press-Enterprise. "I accomplished a pretty big goal. One hundred and nine holes is a lot. It felt good -- once I finished the hole. Now, no golf for another week or two. I've had enough."

As if Lograsso needed another challenge, he played more than half of the holes without shoes.

-- Follow Robbie Levin on Twitter @RobbieLevin.

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Caps, Golf
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