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Volume Four Hundred Twenty Nine

Apr. 20, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksSpieth-mania was in full force and hard to miss in the week following young Jordan's victory at the Masters. Among his appearances: the Late Show with David Letterman, the TODAY Show, CNBC Squawk Box, Morning Drive, CBS This Morning, the Dan Patrick Show, ESPN Radio, Mike and Mike in the Morning and too many more to mention.

Somewhat surprisingly, Spieth honored his commitment to the RBC Heritage when he could have justifiably begged off. Very surprisingly he didn't just go through the motions, he was competitive, finishing T-11. It's going to be very interesting to see how Spieth develops over the next few years and to see if the budding Rory-Jordan rivalry can be what we always hoped Tiger-Phil would be.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty-Seven

Apr. 6, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIn other words, 60 percent of the time this week HTL covers the Masters 100 percent of the time.

It's the most wonderful time of the year for golfers. The Masters heralds the arrival (or in the northerly climes the pending arrival) of golf season, at least for those of us who live north of the subtropics. Even in New England, the snow is melting. Yes, it looks like winter is finally losing its hold, and there may be golf soon, even in Augusta, Maine.

In Georgia, the dogwood and azaleas are blooming, the pines are scenting the breeze, and the grass is that amazing shade of green that can only mean that the calendar is right... Spring is here.

On Sunday, the kids had their day on the grounds of Augusta National as the annual Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship took place on the range and 18th green. Next up at that hallowed course: the main event.

The buildup to the season's first major (real majors aren't subject to name changes from year to year) has been coming to a crescendo this week. When Tiger's plane was spotted at the airport in Augusta last week it led to (even more) rampant conjecture as to whether the world #104 (as of April 5) will play (he will). Mickelson's game finally showed signs of life in the first two rounds at Houston, before a Saturday 75 set him back. McIlroy and Watson will be rested and ready, while Spieth, Holmes, and Walker are riding solid play and recent wins into Augusta. It's gonna be good. Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty Six

Mar. 31, 2015     By     Comments (1)

Hittin' the LinksLast week was a busy time in golf. Augusta is just around the corner and the LPGA is playing a major this week. A lot of weird stuff and a lot of cool stuff happened.

Here's a guy stealing a set of clubs. If you recognize him, please contact the authorities. A Seattle taxi driver left a customer in the cab while he stopped to hit golf balls. A golf course protest ended when the protester fell out of a tree. Will MacKenzie talked about "carnage" and his days as a safety kayaker on the Gallatin River in Montana. Luke Donald appeared to feel much the same way I do about Disney World. The PGA TOUR took exception to the color of a caddie's shorts. And Ohio is the third best state for golf. It says so right here.

In the extremely small category of stories about Tiger Woods that don't revolve around speculating whether he will or won't play in the Masters, this story about his helping to establish a scholarship honoring Charlie Sifford.

Oh, and Winter is coming. But first Spring and majors season is upon us. So let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty Five

Mar. 24, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIt's a tough year for 54-hole leaders. At Bay Hill, Henrik Stenson joined the dubious ranks of those who failed to convert their Saturday lead into a Sunday victory. At points, he looked invincible, but a late three-putt undid a lot of solid ball striking.

This week, we got our last look before the Masters at world #1 Rory McIlroy and the short game looked shaky, but he still managed a T11 finish. The Irishman will also be the new face of EA Sports PGA TOUR 2015 video game, replacing Tiger Woods who held that role for 15 years.

Also this week, Arnold Palmer's course design company announced its first project in Scotland. The King will build a second course at Castle Stuart. And we also saw not one but two albatrosses over the weekend, which was pretty cool.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty Three

Mar. 9, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksThe Donald likes a tough golf course. That much was clear this week in Miami at Trump National Doral. J.B. Holmes' amazing 62 notwithstanding, the pros were struggling to score and, like last year, taking a few shots at the course setup. In the end, only 11 players broke par for the week.

In addition to all the news from Doral, we also learned a few interesting updates to some of the stories noted in Volume 422 of HTL.

For instance, just hours after losing his lead in last Monday's conclusion to the final round of the Honda Classic, Ian Poulter found some harsh, but cute, criticism at home. In a tweet Monday, he said: "I just got home and my 3-year-old Joshua just said 'bad daddy, you hit it in the trees'; that's funny. No more needed to be said. Sorry son."

And the story about caddies being left in a potentially unsafe tent during a thunderstorm at the Honda Classic got a humorous reprise from Rex Hoggard. After last week's black eye, I suspect the PGA TOUR will make sure that caddies are well taken care of at tournaments for the remainder of this season.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty Two

Mar. 2, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIf you've been thinking that Lydia Ko's career was going to be a flash in the pan, it may be time to reevaluate your position.

The teenage Ko has the potential, and time, to compile one of, if not the best, LPGA record of all time. While Whitworth, Wright, and Sorenstam's totals are still far in the distance, Ko's fast start is definitely something to take note of. She made every cut in 26 events entered in 2014. She won three times in 2014, adding to her two previous LPGA wins as an amateur (she has since won the 2015 Australian Open). Last year, she became the youngest woman in history to pass both $1 and $2 million in earnings.

Who's the next Tiger? It just might be a 17-year-old girl from New Zealand.

Let's hit the links.

Titleist 915F Fairway Wood Review

Feb. 22, 2015     By     Comments (2)

The Titleist 915 F and Fd are the latest in a successful lineage.What do you want a fairway wood to do? Do you only play it from the short grass when you need to reach the green from a long way out? Is it your go-club off the tee when your driver becomes untrustworthy?

I have long had a love-hate relationship with fairway woods. Some handle hitting off the tightest of lies with no problem, but provide such a shallow face that hitting off the tee causes undue angst. Others look like mini drivers and handle tee shots like champs, but getting the ball airborne off the fairway is a much less likely proposition.

So when the first spy shots of the 915F came out and I started reading about its features, I was immediately interested in finding out if the F could retain its playability off the turf in its new larger footprint. Maybe, the 915 could fit the bill for the elusive all around fairway wood.

For this review, I had a 15° 915F with the stock Mitsubishi Diamana M+ Red 60 shaft.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (2)

Volume Four Hundred Twenty

Feb. 16, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIt seems like the golf news was dominated this week by hand wringing over Tiger's health/golf game and Caroline Wozniaki in a swim suit, but there was quite a bit more going on. And we have a lot of questions…

For one thing, what ever happened to good front runners? It seems like being in the lead after 54-holes is about the last position you want to be in these days.

Which PGA Tour pro is an astrophotographer on the side, and which narrated a children's book?

How good is Kim Jong-un's golf game?

For answers to these questions and more, let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Nineteen

Feb. 9, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIf you don't know about Charlie Sifford, you should.

Until 1961, the PGA Tour had a "Caucasian Only" clause. It's hard to believe in 2015, but less than 60 years ago people were excluded from playing at the highest level solely because of the color of their skin. Much like Jackie Robinson in baseball, Charlie Sifford wasn't the first African-American golfer. He may not even have been the best at the time. But he was the one who broke the color barrier on the PGA TOUR.

By the time Sifford was allowed to measure his skill against other pros on the PGA TOUR, he was 38 (Tiger and his back are now 39). Sifford won but twice on the TOUR but his contributions and sacrifices went far beyond that. Charlie Sifford, in 1960, opened up what was then a very exclusionary sport to a new audience. Sifford endured insults, threats, and galleries who would occasionally kick or throw his ball into the rough, woods, and other bad lies.

Though there is still work to do to make golf more inclusive, Sifford's contributions made it unlikely that anyone will endure what he did in the future, and we should all take notice and honor him.

Let's hit the links.

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