2016 Masters leaderboard: Jordan Spieth leads at 4-under heading into Saturday’s 3rd round

By on Apr 9, 2016, 9:30a


Saturday at the Masters starts the same way it did last year — with Jordan Spieth on top of the leaderboard. But that’s about where the similarities end. In 2015, Spieth was working on a runaway and the final 36 holes seemed like a formality and stroll to the green jacket presentation on Sunday. He had set the new 36-hole scoring record and no one seemed capable of catching him.

This year, Spieth holds just a one-shot cushion over Rory McIlroy, his contemporary with five major championships already to his name. The defending champ came back to the pack on Friday afternoon in some brutally tough conditions at Augusta National, playing his final 14 holes in 4-over to give the rest of the field a chance.

 At one point, after another hot start, Spieth was 8-under for the tournament and five shots clear of the next guy. The celebration of back-to-back green jackets started on social media but came to a halt when he four-putted the fifth hole for a double-bogey. Practicing on an artificial putting green in Dallas can help improve your short game.
Spieth played late in the day, when the greens were dried out from the wind and became “crusty,” as he termed it. Those green speeds combined with the wind and the pin placements made it extremely difficult just to break par. The round of the day was a 1-under 71, making it the first day at Augusta since 2007 that no one in the field could break 70.

McIlroy was one of those players with a 71, built largely from his strong finish. The Ulsterman poured in three birdies over his final seven holes to make a charge into solo second and secure a spot alongside Spieth in the final Saturday tee time. The golf gods were good to us and this is all we’ve ever wanted out of this Masters.

Thanks to the 10-shot rule, there are 57 players from the original 89 still left in the field. Spieth’s late struggles, bogeys on two of his final three holes, brought a huge swath of players deep down the leaderboard back into it. There are simply too many holes left and the wind is supposed to beat up the players again on Saturday, with big numbers lurking out there if the leaders make a mistake.

Spieth said himself he thought someone from outside the trop 25 could easily jump ahead in the third round and the talent outside of that final power pairing of Rory-Jordan is immense. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Brandt Snedeker are just some of the names within shouting distance that could make a run on “moving day” at Augusta.

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Call us today if you would like a free estimate on artificial grass or a backyard putting green, 214.577.3444.


Artificial Grass In 2016 From Texas Turf Solutions

This is going to be a big year for Texas Turf Solutions! We are the number one, most experienced synthetic grass installation company in Texas. We handle small residential jobs up to large commercial projects. Artificial grass has been growing in popularity for the last decade and it is not slowing down anytime soon. We pride ourselves in our installation techniques that help our customers get the most out of their synthetic turf product. Our owner has over a decade of experience in the artificial turf installation business and that experience shows through in the quality of our finished projects.

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If you are in the market for a dry yard for your dogs or a commercial doggy day care or kennel that needs an upgrade we have many large and small artificial dog turf installations to show you. These types of installs can be tricky and need someone who knows drainage and the right products that help keep the smell away with minimal maintenance.

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One of our specialties are artificial turf putting greens. These installations are very specific and need someone with the right experience to complete them correctly. We have built 100’s of putting greens from backyard putting greens to full blown commercial facilities. The synthetic turf used on the putting greens today is the closest match to the real thing the industry has ever had. Many PGA tour pros are using practice golf greens to improve their short game. If you are an avid golfer and your short game could use some help give us a call today, 214.577.3444.

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Building a backyard putting green

Busy schedules and acreage work don’t leave much time for leisure on the golf course. But if you install a putting green, you can take advantage of spare minutes.

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Many acreage owners are installing putting greens on their land. Some do it to have fun with family and friends, while others want to keep up on their short-game competitive advantage.

Leo Melanson is the owner of a putting green company. He says greens need to be in a location that’s above ground level with good drainage. The size is up to you.

“A typical golf course green could be anywhere from 3,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet.  We typically find most backyard putting greens are about 1,000 square feet,” he says. “It’s big enough to get some practice on and get have some variety of shots, but not too big of a project that it’s more labor for you to care for the green.”

There are two surface choices: natural bent grass or artificial turf. Bent grass has a lot of aesthetic beauty, but when it needs trimming the old push mower in the shed is not going to cut it. Literally. Bent grass should be maintained with a professional mower.

Artificial turf is quick to install and requires no maintenance, but it’s a lot more expensive. Melanson says plan on about $1 per square foot for a bent grass green, and several thousand dollars total for artificial turf.

“There are lots of different options with the artificial putting greens,” Melanson says. “You can buy kits to do it yourself, you can have contractors install them, or can do a combination of the two.  As far as a real putting green goes, there are really two options: you can plant it from seed, which is very inexpensive, or you can buy sod from a grass farm that sells the correct type of turfgrass for your area.”

You’ll need to cut a hole in the green for the cup and the flag. If you plan to make full shots at the green, you’ll want a regulation-sized flag. For just putting around, a smaller flag will do.

When an easy par 5 is a hard par 4, and it’s the same hole

Yes, There Are Some Interesting Tidbits From Steve Williams Book


teve Williams book Out of the Rough has understandably received negative press mostly for his description of Tiger Woods treating him “like a slave.” As mentioned, caddies are in a very subserviant role with their bosses. And, maybe “slave” has a different connotation in Williams home country of New Zealand.

Anyway, I haven’t had a chance to scour the book, but Golfdigest.com‘s Jaime Diaz has and offers these pretty cool antidotes.

Of Greg Norman, with whom he has remained friends: “It’s fair to say I was afraid of the guy…Looking back, I would say he was definitely the hardest guy I have ever caddied for…If I made a mistake, he certainly had no hesitation in letting me know what an idiot I was. And if he made a mistake, somehow that would also be my fault.”

And, “Of all the players I worked for, including Tiger, Greg would be the best in terms of the pure physical side of the game.”

Of Phil Mickelson, who Williams says he admires as a player: “My problem is that he thinks he knows everything. He lords over people – he once tried to tell me the rules of cricket for crying out loud!”

After Woods made his seven-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole of the 2000 PGA Championship to get into a playoff with Bob May, he told Williams, “Stevie, my mum could’ve made that putt. I’m Tiger Woods – I’m supposed to make that putt. It ain’t no big deal, Stevie.”

“There was one player Tiger was fond of and had the utmost respect for: David Duval.”

Before Woods’ third shot to the 72nd hole of the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, in which Williams lied about the yardage in order to help convince Woods to hit a hard lob wedge rather than a sand wedge: “Tiger, you have to absolutely trust me on this one. And if I’m wrong, fire me. I know how much this means to you, so if I’m wrong just fire me.”

In the car ride after 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, Woods told Williams: “Stevie, I think I’ve had enough of golf. I’d really like to try to be a Navy SEAL.”

“Perversely, in hindsight, I think if he could have taken a sabbatical from golf and undergone the 30-month Navy SEAL training course it would been better for him in the long run. He might have returned to golf reinvigorated, mentally refreshed and hungry. And he might have got something out of his system and prevented his humiliating fall from grace five years later.”

Guess I’ll definitely have to download the book from Amazon (the only way to get it in the states).

Murdering Your Golf Clubs

Golf Digest

I never lost my temper with my opponent. I was only angry with myself. It always seemed… such an utterly useless and idiotic thing to stand up to a perfectly simple shot, one that I know I can make a hundred times running without a miss—and then mess up the blamed thing, the one time I want to make it! And it is gone forever–an irrevocable crime, that shot.” —Bobby Jones, on his anger and outbursts on the golf course

Equipment manufacturers might want to avert their eyes from the forthcoming paragraphs. This is a story of exorcism, excoriation and execution, and it might be too gruesome to bear.

As Jones so eloquently explained, there is an irresistible dynamic to the game of golf that provokes its practitioners into paroxysms of pique and petulance. Even the most skilled, most levelheaded player can fail to quell the festering frustration and anger percolating inside. The result is an eruption of emotion accompanied by a need for a temporal release. And because there is an implement readily available to help alleviate the growing stress–an implement, mind you, that shares the blame for the poor outcome, if it is not out and out responsible for it–it’s a safe bet that a golf club is going to suffer some kind of untimely demise.

Let’s face it: Killing a golf club is a predictable response when a golfer finds disfavor with the “irrevocable crime” of a poor stroke. The tradition of altering a club’s configuration likely dates to only a few minutes after the first club was invented.

Long before Rory McIlroy drowned his 3-iron for all to see this year at Trump Doral with a perfect helicopter-style launch that would have made the late Tommy Bolt smile, golfers have found amelioration for their bereavement through equipment eradication.

Jones was a serial abuser in his younger years. Gentle Gene Sarazen had his moments. Bolt, nicknamed Terrible Tommy, remains the all-time poster boy for tempestuousness and an unrepentant, unrestrained appetite for destruction. The game has been populated by scores of players whose skills were only slightly superior to their scalding on-course temperaments.

“Eventually the game is going to get to you. The game is going to beat you to death because it’s so hard. I think it’s a natural reaction to beat something in response,” says Paul Goydos, who once fired a 59 in a PGA Tour event but has fired his clubs on countless occasions, sometimes quite imaginatively. “If you don’t feel like taking out your anger on a club from time to time, you’re probably not doing it right.”

“Guys snap,” says 1993 PGA champion Paul Azinger, who had a standing $100 bet every year with Mark Calcavecchia on which man would break a club first. “Anybody who plays golf knows: Guys are hard on themselves,” Azinger says. “But it’s usually a quick burst, and it’s over.” Did the bet ever survive into the Florida Swing? “No, I don’t believe so,” Zinger says with a laugh.

“Destroying a club is almost healthy sometimes,” says Ben Curtis, the 2003 British Open champion, who has been in and out of love with golf since he was 3 years old. “I honestly think that’s what’s missing for me now.

Before I had kids, I had a release. I don’t want my kids–or any other kids–to see me behave that way, throwing a club or what have you, so I’ve stopped. But I think that’s why I haven’t played as well recently. You have to have a release. You play with fire out there, and a little bit of a release keeps the fire under control.”

As Jones said, “Some emotions cannot be endured with a golf club in your hands.” He routinely threw clubs, including a famous display at Brae Burn Country Club in 1917 when, after shanking a shot, he began throwing clubs and balls in all directions as the crowd gasped. Sports writer Grantland Rice once said the young Jones had “the face of an angel and the temper of a timberwolf.”

Jones’ most famous outburst occurred at the Old Course at St. Andrews during the 1921 Open Championship, when he stomped off the par-3 11th hole and tore up his scorecard upon failing after four tries to extricate his ball from the Hill bunker. That year he was guilty of another lapse when he threw a club at the U.S. Open that struck a female spectator in the leg. USGA president Howard F. Whitney reportedly delivered a severe rebuke to the 19-year-old Jones.

The serene, soft-spoken Sarazen once admitted “a bad shot was something to drive me into a tantrum, with the result that my reputation for club-throwing somewhat exceeded my prestige as a golfer.” But Sarazen had imagination, too. After one particularly perplexing round of wayward short putts, he placed the defective putter into a vise and sawed it into three sections. The sin of it was that the club belonged to a club member.

Possessing an acute disposition for rage, Bolt, the 1958 U.S. Open champion, so filled the air with flying shafts that the PGA of America instituted the so-called “Tommy Bolt Rule” in 1957, which established fines for thrown implements. The day after the rule went into effect, Bolt flung a putter skyward. Reportedly, he wanted to be the first man fined under “his” rule.



Today, such open fits of frustration like McIlroy’s are considered conduct unbecoming and costs the offending tour pro an “intermediate-level” fine, around $2,000 to $10,000. John Daly made a 10 on the par-3 seventh hole during this year’s PGA at Whistling Straits and tossed his 6-iron into Lake Michigan. “I should have thrown the 4-iron–that was the club that got me in trouble first,” Daly said. Reminded that McIlroy threw a club into the water at Doral, Daly replied, “I’ve got him beat by about 180.”

Jeff Sluman, the 1988 PGA champion, is about as even-keeled as anyone in the game. “Usually, we all are pretty much the same. We don’t get that mad. When a club stops working, we usually just put it away. We bench it,” Sluman says. “But,” he adds, “sometimes a club just has to die.”

The golf world witnessed a public execution when McIlroy’s synapses snapped and he flew his 3-iron into the lake adjacent to the eighth hole at Doral’s Blue Course after hooking his approach into the water. A chastened McIlroy was of two minds about it later, admitting it wasn’t “one of my proudest moments.” But in the same breath he said it “felt good at the time. I don’t feel good about it now. It’s frustrating when you feel your game is close and you keep hitting shots like that in the water, things I rarely do.”

Justin Rose could only laugh. Several years earlier he’d done the same thing at Doral, on the same hole. “But I flung it so far that it nearly reached the other side. It was sort of half-submerged in the bank,” Rose recalls. “So we come to the [par-5] 10th hole, and I’ve got a perfect 3-wood distance to the green. I send Fulchy [caddie Mark Fulcher] 50 yards across the fairway, and he wades in and gets it back. I hit the middle of the green. Obviously, it had learned its lesson.” While playing with friends at Whisper Rock in Scottsdale, two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North was testing a new driver. But after a series of poor tee shots, including a snap-hook at 18, North marched off the front of the teeing ground, laid his driver on the stone facing, picked up a large rock, and pulverized the clubhead.

He had calmed down by the time he sat down for lunch, but his friends helped him relive the moment. “I ordered a chef salad,” North recalls. “When the waiter took the top off the plate, there were shards of the driver head sprinkled over the top of the salad.”

Ryan Moore lost it at Oakland Hills in the 2008 PGA, and it cost him his favorite club, a 3-wood. He flung it against the canvas-covered fence along the perimeter of the golf course and watched in horror as it broke into three pieces. “I loved that club,” he says. “I don’t know what I was thinking.” Well, because golf.

Even nice guys 86 a few. And without shooting 86.

At the 2006 Memorial Tournament, Curtis, a native of nearby Ostrander, Ohio, who as a kid dreamed of competing at Muirfield Village, executed a 14-club throw-down in the ninth fairway after rinsing his approach short of the green. “I took the whole bag and chucked it,” he says. “Problem was, I still made the cut. Had to make sure they were all OK.”

Steve Stricker went full Judge Smails on the 11th tee at Doral–what is it about Doral, guys?–and flung his driver high into the trees after a poor poke. His wife, Nicki, was on the bag. She said nothing. Steve finally broke the silence. “Don’t get that,” were his only instructions.

Rocco Mediate was so frustrated by his putting at The International in 2000 after hitting 32 greens in regulation and missing the cut that he ground his putter into the cartpath with his metal spikes. “I smashed it. And then I thought, Why did I do that? I like that putter. It was a beautiful Scotty Cameron Big Sur. So the next week at the Buick, I have to put the backup in play, and I made everything for four rounds and won.”

Similarly, Kenny Perry recalls with remarkable clarity succumbing to an outburst at the 1994 New England Classic. On the range well past dinnertime, Perry became so enraged at his seeming incompetence that he picked up his golf bag, raised it over his head, and slammed it on the ground. No clubs were broken–thank goodness for metal shafts–but the strap was toast.

“Oh, yeah, I lost it,” Perry says. “I didn’t even care. I dragged the bag back to the clubhouse by that broken strap and just flung it into the bag room. Then I came out Thursday morning, took a few swings, made one that felt perfect, and I thought, That’s it! I ended up turning that into four great rounds and winning the golf tournament. Ever since then I always say, you’re never as far away as you think you are.”

Or never far away from rough rage.

“This was a while ago when I was playing in Europe, and I had a very frustrating six to eight weeks, so I went home to Australia to unwind,” says 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy. “I went out to play at Victoria Golf Club with a few friends for like $5. And I bogeyed the last three holes to lose that $5. I took one of my clubs and just started beating my bag with it. I bet I hit it 100 times. I broke six or seven clubs just hacking at this stand bag. Then I started pulling them out to see which ones were still intact. It was a complete flip-out. I bet it would have been fun to watch.”


Sometimes, there is collateral damage to report.

“I drove over them lengthwise so that I got all of them from grip to clubhead,” David Feherty says. “Unfortunately, I left my watch in there.”

Long before Elin Woods underclubbed going for an SUV with a 9-iron, there was Rocky Thompson. After a Monday qualifier for the New Orleans Open, Thompson climbed atop the hood of his Cadillac, still wearing his metal spikes, and proceeded to remodel it with a 7-iron. “We’re all sitting there on the trunks of our cars waiting for the results,” says Gary McCord, who witnessed the carnage. “Next thing you know you hear this God-awful sound, and there’s Rocky flailing away. It was great entertainment.”

David Feherty admits to running over his clubs with his car after triple-bogeying the final hole to lose the 1981 Irish National PGA Championship. “I drove over them lengthwise so that I got all of them from grip to clubhead,” he says. “Unfortunately, I left my watch in there.”

Speaking of Tiger, he has tossed clubs in disgust here and there, but at the 2012 Masters he employed a dropkick to his 9-iron after a poor tee shot at the par-3 16th hole. It would be a 9-iron, right?

Perhaps the most common form of golf-club execution is known as the “Bo Jackson.” For a how-to on snapping a club over your knee, please refer to Kevin Costner’s performance in the film “Tin Cup.” McCord, who appeared in the movie and served as a technical consultant, coached him on the proper technique.

A recitation of various Bo Jacksons would require a listing of phone-book-size proportions. However, we must single out Dustin Johnson’s effort after the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s. No one witnessed the moment when Johnson turned his traitorous 2-iron into two irons, but the club had it coming. Its betrayal was unforgivable after steering Johnson’s second shot out-of-bounds on the par-5 14th hole, ending his bid to catch Darren Clarke.

“That was the only time I had ever broken a club,” Johnson says. “I just left it there in the trash can. I never wanted to see that club again.” (There was no report on what happened to Johnson’s putter after this year’s U.S. Open, but we fear the worst.)

PGA Tour rules official Slugger White, a former tour player, has seen his share of throws, slams and breakages. He was even guilty of one at the 1976 Canadian Open when he tried to turn his 7-iron into a sledgehammer on a cartpath. One of his favorite stories happened long ago at a mini-tour event when Frank Conner broke all 14 clubs over his knee in the parking lot. “No one got out alive,” White says with relish.


Which brings us to putters, the most cherished and reviled club. Some players change putters as often as they change zip codes. Sometimes, a player needs a quick separation, which means locker-room attendants or a lucky member of the gallery might receive a surprise gift. But on many occasions a putter has to be tortured in a manner commensurate with the pain it has inflicted. And let’s be honest: Putters are guilty until proven innocent.

“Putters take the brunt of our frustrations, for good reason,” Goydos says.

Woody Austin performed one of the most famous exhibitions of putter abuse caught on camera in 1997 at Harbour Town. He repeatedly head-butted the shaft while exiting the 14th green. “What people don’t understand is that I wasn’t trying to abuse the putter, I was trying to abuse myself,” Austin says before going on a Paul Harvey rest-of-the-story tangent. “What no one knows about that day is that I was playing with Tom Watson, and on the sixth hole he absolutely tomahawked one into the ground, and his caddie is fighting to get it out, and I think he even had to use another club to dig it out. I mean, like I said, it happens to all of us, even the best of us.”

During the 1987 Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village, Ben Crenshaw banged his putter, Little Ben, on the ground as he exited the sixth green during his match against Eamonn Darcy. Crenshaw blamed rust in the shaft, but disgust abetted the immolation. Using his 1-iron and sand wedge the rest of the way, Crenshaw lost to Darcy, 1 up, as Europe won 15-13 for its first triumph on U.S. soil.

Drownings, not surprisingly, are the surest and most convenient method of disposal. “I wish I had a dollar for every putter that I’ve seen thrown into a water hazard,” Skip Kendall says.

Charley Hoffman pitched his in the water at TPC Sawgrass in 2008 after missing a tap-in on the 13th hole. Azinger flung one in the water at the Honda Classic on the seventh hole at TPC Heron Bay, and on the ninth he found a kid holding it. “I signed it for him and told him, ‘I hope you have more luck than I did.’ ” Mediate has been a party to countless burials at sea, including one conducted during the 2007 Fry’s.com Open in Las Vegas, when he exhorted his caddie, Martin Courtois, to pitch it into the lake at the 12th hole at TPC Summerlin. “We’re waiting for Scott Verplank to putt out, and I said it to Martin twice: ‘Throw the effing putter into the effing lake.’ But I’m thinking he’s not going to do it. All of a sudden I see this thing out of the corner of my eye. He whirly-birded it in. I’m like, ‘Did you really throw that in the water?’ He thinks I’m going to fire him. Why would I fire him? He did what I said.”

One tour veteran, who requested anonymity, simply drowned the head of his putter in his hotel-room toilet bowl overnight. This, of course, after he had deposited his daily constitutional.

Though many choose water, Ernie Els opted for fire. “I burned one,” he admitted sheepishly after turning it into a glorified marshmallow stick. “I stuck it in there, and then I used it to move the embers around. The head melted off, and I just let it roast.”

Andrew Magee can beat Els’ flameout, having ignited several dozen putters in a bonfire behind the home of his good friend and neighbor, McCord. Though they belonged to McCord, Gary didn’t object. He and Magee and a host of other tour players toasted the roasting. “That was after an entire year of bad putting, and he wanted to do a complete purge so that I would start over with something new,” says McCord, who cops a plea of guilty about his sordid past. “I did a Ky Laffoon once,” he says.

What’s a Ky Laffoon? “That’s where you tie a putter to your back bumper and drag that thing on the road.”

Goydos steps forward for a similar transgression. “It was already bent a little bit, somehow,” Goydos says with a grin. “I attached my putter to the back bumper at a mini-tour event, the Golden State Tour, and I dragged it around the parking lot and drove it down the service road. Then I pitched it into the bushes. It added a bit of loft to it by the time I was done with it; turned it into a chipper.”

A few weeks later, Goydos watched one of his playing partners chuck a Spalding 8802 into a tree after three-putting a par 5. The club got stuck, so the player, whom Goydos would not name, tried to free it by throwing his 9-iron at it. Very soon the player had four clubs hanging from the tree. The group was playing out of carts, so Goydos joined up with John Flannery, the third member of the group, to finish the final four holes. “As we were leaving,” Goydos says, “I turned around, and the guy was now ramming the cart into the tree.”

Calcavecchia, however, is the king of the Ky Laffoon platoon. After the final round of the 2006 Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, the 1989 British Open champion decided that seven three-putts warranted action. Speeding down the steep hill from the course to his hotel, Calcavecchia opened his car door, plunged the putter out and dragged it along the pavement at 50 miles per hour. “I made sure I hit the reflectors in the middle of the road, too, for extra punishment,” he says, “but that was stupid, because then I hurt my wrist.”

But he wasn’t done. He pulled off to the side of the road and started throwing the club against a brick wall. “People thought I was going berserk. And I was,” he says, laughing at the memory. “But that’s the game for you.”

Trevone Boykin: Great Player, And Apparently Really Good Dude

This photo of TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin with an Iowa State fan before Saturday’s game has gone viral Star-Telegram/Paul Moseley


This photo of TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin with an Iowa State fan before Saturday’s game has gone viral

Jenny Faber is an Iowa State football fan, but one of her new favorite players is a TCU Horned Frog.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin took the time Saturday to speak to Faber’s daughter, Abby, before Saturday’s game in Ames, Iowa.

A photograph of the moment, captured by Star-Telegram photographer Paul Moseley, took off online and continues to grow in popularity.

Faber, who acknowledges that she was unfamiliar with Boykin before he spoke to her daughter, said she and her family will “be following him the rest of the season.”

“It’s really cool that he would take the time to do that before a big game,” Faber said in a telephone interview Tuesday from Ankeny, Iowa, a Des Moines suburb.

The photograph shows Boykin kneeling in front of Abby’s wheelchair during the pregame coin toss. While other players had walked by Abby, Boykin stopped and asked, “What’s your name?”

She replied, “Abby.”

Once people started seeing Moseley’s photograph online, it went viral, especially after ESPN’s SportsCenter posted the shot to its Instagram page on Monday night.

“Who knew the effect of three words?” Moseley said.

By Tuesday it had more than 151,000 likes. The NCAA website also ran a story on the photo, featuring Moseley’s Facebook post, which was shared more than 7,000 times.

‘Abby says ‘I’m famous’

Faber said Abby woke up Sunday morning excited and talking about getting to shake a football player’s hand.

At school on Monday, Faber said teachers and others said Abby was wearing “a big smile” because of her celebrity status.

“She’s heard us talking about it and says, ‘I’m famous,’ ” Faber said.

Abby, who turned 7 on Oct. 11, was chosen to be a “Kid Captain” for the game from Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, where she undergoes physical therapy.

Abby was born premature and weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces at birth, Faber said. She spent 105 days in the neonatal intensive care unit before going home, according to the hospital’s website.

She was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy just before turning 3.

“She usually uses a walker,” Faber said, explaining that she and her husband, Steve, thought it would be easier for Abby to use a wheelchair for the pregame ceremony.

Faber said Abby, a first-grader, “pretty much takes her challenges head-on.”

She has participated in the Ankeny Miracle League — T-ball for children with special needs — and this spring performed a dance recital with Ballet Des Moines: Dance without Limits.

“She really likes to dance,” Faber said.

And she really likes sports, Faber said, adding that Abby’s two brothers and a sister are all active in athletics.

The moment with Boykin, Faber said, is something her family will long cherish.

“You can see in his eyes that he’s taking the time to talk to her,” Faber said.

Boykin, considered one of the front-runners for this year’s Heisman Trophy, has been impressive this year, both on and off the field. After he rallied to beat Kansas State two weeks ago, Wildcat coach Bill Snyder wrote the TCU star a congratulatory letter, saying he was proud of Boykin “as a person & leader as well as a great player.”

Boykin also posted the photo with Abby on his Instagram page with the caption “It’s bigger than a game I love touching young people lives”

He reiterated that point Tuesday.

“I really wish we could do more things like that here at TCU, because we inspire so many young people,” Boykin said Tuesday. “And God just put something in my heart to reach out to her!”

‘I was really touched’

Moseley has taken thousands of photos in his 35 years with the Star-Telegram but never has he watched a single image become passed around by so many people online.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Moseley said.

Moseley said he caught the image almost by chance — Abby was at midfield for the coin toss, but until Boykin went out of his way to talk to her, Moseley thought it would be just another pregame ceremony.

“There wasn’t much of a photo, just scene-setter/slide-show kind of pics, until after the flip,” Moseley said. “All of the players kind of walked past the girl, but when I saw Trevone moving her way I moved close, really close, with a fisheye lens to get the stadium and the other players, I was so close I could hear him. He put his hands on the handrests of the wheelchair and said, ‘What’s your name?’ The emphasis on ‘your’ like we’d all do. Really soft conversational tones. I about fell over, I was really touched.”

Faber said reading the comments posted with the photograph has been an inspiration, much like her daughter.

“It has touched a lot of hearts,” Faber said.

Moseley said he has had other photographs go viral, most notably a portrait he shot of legendary sniper Chris Kyle in April 2012.

He shot that photo, which showed Kyle holding his .308 sniper rifle, for a profile the Star-Telegram had published, but it didn’t become widely circulated until after Kyle was shot and killed at a gun range in February 2013.

But nothing, he said, like Boykin’s chance meeting with little Abby.

“It’s been amazing to watch,” Moseley said.


The American Lawn Needs to Die

Lawn care is just the worst.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | 10 days ago

My first inkling that America’s lawn obsession might not be terribly healthy came around 1995. We’d just moved into a new house in Far North Dallas, and 10- or 11-year-old me decided that the next-door neighbor’s lawn — green and smooth and as flawless as a golf-course fairway with manicured grass to cushion falls — was the perfect spot for football. The neighbor, a hard-nosed high school track coach, promptly ran us off and upbraided my father for letting me trespass. This struck me as backward. What good was such cushiony grass if not for play?

At the time, I chalked this up to my neighbor being an uptight jerk, an assessment I stand by. But that explanation is incomplete in that it overlooks the bigger picture: Lawns are awful.

This conclusion is admittedly self-serving. Two years ago, in one of those compromises a married person with two small children and two large dogs sometimes has to make, I agreed to swap our cramped apartment just south of White Rock Lake for a three-bedroom house in Richardson, but I was decidedly unenthusiastic about once again having a yard. Since then, I’ve waged a half-intentional campaign of aggressive neglect. We haven’t watered since we’ve been there. I own a lawnmower, but it’s one of those human-powered reel contraptions and it’s no match for the shin-high bluestem that seems to spring up overnight. Sometimes I borrow a gas mower from my fall-prone, 70-something-year-old neighbor, but between work and kids, this can be infrequent. The other day, I peeked outside the window and found that 70-something neighbor had taken it upon himself to mow our front yard. It’s not something I’m proud of, but my wife and I figured it’d be best to retreat quietly from the windows. We wouldn’t want to startle him and make him fall.

But the awfulness of lawns is something close to an objective fact. Maintaining them is time-consuming and expensive. They suck up ungodly amounts of water. When it rains, their fertilizer-heavy runoff pollutes waterways. They pit neighbor against neighbor’s kids. They are decadent and unsustainable totems of middle-class prosperity.

For several centuries, lawns were the exclusive purview of very rich Europeans, people who were wealthy enough to keep large swaths of land out of productive cultivation and afford the labor required to keep the grass neatly scythed. European-style lawns began to take root in America in the mid-1800s after Andrew Jackson Downing recommended expanses of “grass mown into a softness like velvet” as part of a popular gardening treatise he published in 1841. His ideas were later incorporated into the broad lawns of New York’s Central Park and lush, pre-automobile suburbs like Riverside, Illinois, which were aped in subsequent decades by the developers of less exclusive suburbs. “No single feature of a suburban residential community contributes as much to the charm and beauty of the individual home and the locality as well-kept lawns,” declared Abraham Levitt, whose name would become synonymous with the post-war explosion of inexpensive, mass-produced suburbs. In post-war America, lawns became a standard feature of the single-family home.

The cumulative size of lawns is vast. By acreage, turf grass is the largest irrigated crop in America, according to a decade-old NASA estimate, covering three times the area devoted to corn. Clumped together, it would more than cover the state of Mississippi.

Lawns are clustered in cities and suburbs.

Since the non-native grasses that compose most lawns can’t be kept green with rainfall alone, and because water and sunlight make the plant grow, lawns require intensive intervention, sucking up a total of about 9 billion gallons of water per day in aggregate and costing  the average homeowners about 70 hours of labor per year. Lawns tend to be punishing for the environment as well. In addition to the ecological effects of runoff, which can overwhelm water bodies with excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, there’s the act of lawn-mowing itself. According to National Geographic, one hour running a gas mower can pollute as much as driving a car for four hours.

Lawns are particularly troublesome in arid cities such as Phoenix and Las Vegas, where it’s a challenge to find enough water for people to drink, much less keep a bunch of ornamental grass verdant. The water crunch in a place like Dallas is less acute, but the principles at play are the same. There isn’t nearly enough available water to sustain the population long-term without intensive conservation efforts or massive infrastructure investment. North Texans remain attached to their lawns, though recent price hikes for water may spur many to reassess the value of a green yard.

There really aren’t that many good reasons for lawns. Responding to a Wonkblog piece describing lawns (accurately) as a “soul-crushing time suck,” Turf magazine editor Ron Hall critiques the author for failing to mention “the economic value that nicely maintained lawns add to properties. It doesn’t hint at the good will and sense of civility lawns engender in our neighborhoods. But, the biggest omission in the piece is its failure to mention the well-documented environmental pluses lawns contribute to our communities — capturing dust, their cooling effect, reducing runoff, etc.”

But nicely maintained lawns only boost property values and engender civility because that’s what decades of increasing suburbanization has led people to expect, not because of some virtue inherent to a well-tended piece of grass. On the latter point, whatever environmental pluses are associated with the typical American lawn would be matched by yards of native plants and grasses without most of the damaging effects.

Lawns aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. They are effectively part of North Texas’ infrastructure, there for however long the house it surrounds stands. But at the very least people can water a little less, rely on native plants a little bit more. If one simply must have the perfect golf-course lawn, at least let some kids play on it. Finally, if you see a lawn that’s a bit overgrown or rough around the edges, don’t call code enforcement; congratulate the neighbor on taking a principled stand with their forward-thinking mowing and irrigation policies.



50 Things You Need To Know About Artificial Grass

50 Things You Need to Know About Artificial Grass:

 The Many Shapes of Synthetic Grass Blades:

Synthetic grass can be created with so many different colors and various blade heights, however, within the extrusion process, much like the way you would squeeze out playdough with different shapes, there are several types of synthetic grass blade shapes. Each of these blade shapes serves a different purpose and creates a different affect for your lawn.

Turfs that have oval shaped fibers are commonly found in many different landscape installations. These fibers feel soft to the touch while still maintaining durability.

Synthetic turf that features a diamond de-lustered shape maintains a soft but sturdier feel. It works ideally as a landscape grass for commercial and residential areas.

Shaped like the letter ‘V,’ the Vista blade creates a more durable and strong feel and allows for the turf, as a whole, to have stronger durability.

The 3D ‘W’ fiber is a strong fiber that can withstand large amounts of pressure and helps the turf, as a whole, bounce back to its original state. The blade offers multiple support points which allows for greater durability and a “memory” effect. The turf will bounce back to its original state, despite the surface weight.

The Flattened Oval with Spine turf fiber gives turf a realistic appearance and creates a stronger blade core.

The omega blade shape can be found most often in pet turfs as well as shorter pile heights.

The Mini C-shaped blade gives the turf a natural look and helps the synthetic grass feel soft to the touch. This blade shape can be applied on any installation, however, it is most commonly found on residential and commercial property landscapes.

Shaped like the letter ‘W,’ the Mini “W” blade shape creates higher durability, as a whole. Used widely for areas with high foot traffic, the Mini W blade is ideal for any playgrounds, sports field or landscape.

The “M” shaped blade creates more durability making the turf ideal for heavy foot traffic. Used primarily for areas that experience high amounts of foot traffic, the “M” blade is great for landscapes with high amounts of foot traffic.