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Volume Four Hundred Forty-Four

Aug. 3, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksTroy Merritt was the class of the Quicken Loans National this week. His 10-under 61 on Saturday followed by a 67 Sunday were three shots better than the nearest competitor. But his story wasn't the one that many fans were most interested in.

Tiger Woods was in contention after a 68-66 start. In fact, if you only considered Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Tiger Woods (T18, -8) looked an awful lot like his old self this week. Unfortunately, Saturday's round was a sloppy 74. But even in his struggles, there were flashes of the greatness that led us to first watch in awe when he played. The WGC field might be happy that he won't be at Firestone next week where he's won eight times.

Elsewhere, Inbee Park hit a major milestone at the Women's British Open and self-promotion master Donald Trump managed to not upstage the competition (at least not much). And the EuroTour was practicing for the Ryder and President's cups at the Paul Lawrie Match Play in Aberdeen. Kiradech Aphibarnrat beat Robert Karlsson to claim the event and his third European Tour victory, becoming the youngest Asian player to reach that mark.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Forty-Three

Jul. 27, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksTwo players rode the momentum of their good play in the British Open to wins this week. Jason Day did not leave the big putt short this week, and beat a nation's hope. Danny Willett put together four solid rounds, including a 62, en route to his victory in Switzerland.

Jordan Spieth may have fell short in his Grand Slam campaign, but he did get a drink from the Claret Jug, anyway. Speaking of the jug, the "The Tiger Woods of Iowa," took his on the usual post-major media blitz.

Not a bad week in golf, unless your Robert Allenby. Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Forty-Two

Jul. 21, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksThat was one wild final day of the Open Championship!

For much of the back nine, the likelihood of a 2015 grand slam seemed like a very long shot, indeed. Then, for a short time, it seemed like it was fated to happen. But the cell phones clicked and the ball spun back (like balls aren't supposed to in links golf) down into the depths of the Valley of Sin. Spieth was left with a difficult putt-chip up the steep ridge to make the playoff. His putt missed one-ball left of the cup.

Just like that, Jordan Spieth came up one shot short of keeping the dream of a modern grand slam alive.

Instead, a player that I never would have guessed to prevail on a links course birdied the first two playoff holes and then hung on through the last two to emerge victorious.

But what a spectacle the Old Course hosted this week... the wind blew, the rain fell, Tiger missed another major cut, Colin Montgomerie's son worked the scoreboard, Graham DeLaet's clubs got dusted, Tim Clark withdrew for an odd reason, DJ looked unbeatable and then he didn't, Watson said goodbye to the Open, no one wanted this birdie, Robson read the names for the playoff and hung up his microphone, the amateurs nearly stole the show, and finally there was a new Champion Golfer of the Year.

What a week! Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Forty-One

Jul. 13, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksSo should Jordan Spieth have played the John Deere Classic the week before he tries for the third leg of the Grand Slam at St. Andrews? When you go out and win, it's hard to second guess that decision.

Honestly, I think it was a wise decision on his part, the big winner's check not withstanding. By playing his way into Open Championship week, Spieth avoids having too much free time to think about it. Not to mention he avoids a number of extra pressers where he'd be asked what the Grand Slam would mean to him and does he think he can do it.

Are you stoked for the British Open? Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Forty

Jul. 6, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIt was supposed to be a fairly quiet week in golf, but two scandal-sheet stories broke involving two of golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. What effect the stories will have on the players and their reputations remains to be seen. But honestly, Tiger's rep really can't get hurt all that much since he's already seen as a bad guy by many.

Speaking of Tiger, don't look now, but his game is starting to show signs of life. His bogey-free final round at the Greenbrier Classic was his first since 2013 and even the driver finally started finding fairways instead of OB, woods, and water hazards.

All in all, the place to be in the world of golf this week was the 18th hole at the Greenbrier Classic. If you don't know why already, read on. Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Thirty-Nine

Jun. 29, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksDid anyone else find it ironic that the U.S. Senior Open, played in a state in the midst of a serious drought was played on a course that was green and relatively lush, while the U.S. Open in the rainy Pacific Northwest was 50 shades of brown? Go figure.

Speaking of the U.S. Open, there's still plenty to talk about. Did the USGA just go for a cash grab at the expense of the championship? Was the course a disgrace or is it a challenging American links?

Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Thirty-Eight

Jun. 22, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksFor a championship that had so much hand wringing over the course and relative unknowns turning up on the leaderboard, the 2015 U.S. Open gave us an exciting and, in the end, shocking finish.

Dustin Johnson's three-putt par on the final hole to come up a shot short of a playoff was a gut punch for his fans, and you hate to see it end that way, but it's hard to complain about the final leaderboard. Aside from a few surprises (Branden Grace and Cameron Smith), most of the names in final contention were ones you would expect to see. We saw charges from deep in the field by big names (Scott and McIlroy), and a 13-shot resurrection after an abysmal first round by a past major champion (Oosthuizen T2 -4). Adam Scott, in fact, was just one shot off the all-time low round at a U.S. Open, shooting 64 for a T4 finish (seems that having Stevie back on the bag agrees with him).

At just 21 (how many times did we hear that this weekend?), Jordan Spieth is the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones. He has won two straight majors. And he will be going for the third leg of the Grand Slam at St. Andrews next month. It didn't come all that easily, though. Spieth had a three-shot lead standing on the 17th tee before hitting his worse shot of the week and making double-bogey. He rebounded with a birdie on the par-five 18th. When Dustin Johnson, playing in the group behind Spieth, failed to convert a 12-footer for eagle to win, and then a four-footer for birdie to win, Spieth was handed the Championship.

The second biggest winner of the week may have been Jason Day, whose gutsy performance while battling vertigo and looking like he might collapse at any time earned him a lot of new fans. What a week! Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Thirty-Seven

Jun. 15, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIt's U.S. Open week! Can we just fast forward to Thursday?

As always, there are a lot of questions to be answered in the U.S. Open. Is the course too difficult? Too quirky? Can Rory rebound from several poor showings following his win in Charlotte? Will Phil finally get his U.S. Open and the career grand slam? Can Tiger find the fairway? Can DJ overpower Chambers Bay? Will a dark horse from the field surprise everyone? Or is this going to be a year for the ages for young Jordan Spieth?

In the meantime, there were not one but two majors this past weekend. The women played one at historic Westchester, while the old guys vied at Belmont. And it was a week for front runners to pull away. Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Thirty-Six

Jun. 8, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksMaybe we should all be traveling to Scandinavia for our golf vacations. They seem to play some awfully good golf there. In fact, it was a Scandinavian Slam this week on the major tours. Two Swedes and a Norwegian claimed titles on the PGA TOUR, European Tour, and LPGA Tour, respectively. Skål!

The struggles of the #175 (and falling) golfer in world continue. I followed Tiger Woods for his last five holes at Muirfield Village, and I was far from alone. Even shooting over par and dead last of those who made the cut, Tiger still moves the needle. Several thousand were walking with Woods, at a brisk pace, as the five-time Memorial winner played his final round of the 2015 tournament alone and in just over three hours.

Final U.S. Open qualifying tees off Monday morning. Major #2 of the year is getting close. Let's hit the links.

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