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Hittin’ the Links

Volume Four Hundred Three

Sep. 15, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Hittin' the LinksThe 2013-14 PGA Tour season gave us Tiger Woods getting injured, having surgery, and getting injured again. Phil Mickelson failed to win for the first time since 2003. It saw the return of Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson to prominence. Rory McIlroy (re)claimed the number one ranking in the world, both literally in terms of the OWGR and in the minds of fans everywhere. After the PGA Championship, there is little doubt that he is the best golfer on the planet. Then again, after the past few weeks, maybe we were asking the wrong question. Instead of wondering who will be next to rival Tiger Woods, maybe we should be wondering how good a McIlroy-Horschel rivalry can be.

In addition to the wrap up of the PGA Tour, this week also the official end of major season, as the LPGA's Evian Championship concluded in France. The week after next, the U.S. and European squads will go head to head at Gleneagles for the 2014 Ryder Cup. Until then, let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Two

Sep. 5, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksLabor Day has come and gone. There are just a few more weeks of summer according to the calendar, but there are still big events in golf to be played.

We're at the midway point of the FedExCup playoffs and your new points leader is... Chris Kirk. It's still anyone's race, of course. At least anyone who is still playing. The field will narrow again this week, from 70 at the BMW Championship to just 30 who will make the trip to Atlanta for the TOUR Championship.

And the teams are now set for golf's other big event of fall, the Ryder Cup. Which team looks better going in? We'll be debating that for the next three weeks, but it's almost certainly the Euros on paper (not that the U.S. made much advantage of that in the past). For now, let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred One

Aug. 26, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksTiger made the news again this week without swinging a club. First as "caddy" for Jimmy Fallon, and most recently by ditching his swing coach of four years.

It's playoff time and the TOUR players are chasing the big bucks. Karma paid dividends to Hunter Mahan this weekend, as he not only got the win, he jumped into the lead in the FedExCup standings and also likely made the Ryder Cup team. Not a bad weekend. That being the case, just two more open spots remain on Coach Watson's team. There's a lot to play for as the TOUR heads for the Deutsche Bank.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred

Aug. 19, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksEver have one of those rounds where just moving the ball in the general direction of the hole becomes an almost impossible ask?

Over the weekend, I joined a great group of TST members and staff for a little golf in Erie, PA. I've been playing pretty well of late and even dropped a couple strokes off my handicap in the last six weeks. So there I was warming up and hitting the ball solidly. All seemed right in the world. Then it happened... "El hoselo. The laterals. You know, the S-word."

To make a long painful story short, it got ugly. I shot one of my worst rounds in years and only hit one solid iron all day. Most shots were fat, badly pulled, or both. On the bright side, I only shanked two or three. Why do I share this disturbing story? Because the overall theme of HTL #400 is redemption.

In golf, there’s always some hope for the next time you tee it up. You could find that one little swing key that straightens things out, you could make a hole in one or even an albatross, you might birdie or par your nemesis hole, or you could win that $2 Nassau with your buddies. That's why we keep coming back. Let’s hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Nine

Aug. 11, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksWell, that was fun! Great leaderboard, lots of intrigue, a little controversy, and a great finish in the dark, the PGA Championship was a great wrap to the year's majors. Let's hope the playoffs and Ryder Cup can keep the momentum going.

Here's some of the immediate reaction to the PGA Championship from the Twittersphere:

Now, let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Eight

Aug. 6, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksWith the PGA Championship starting on Thursday, the golf world is in a bit of turmoil. Dustin Johnson is on "a leave of absence." Tiger Woods hobbled off the grounds at Firestone after just 62 holes. Rory McIlroy is looking unbeatable.

The U.S. Ryder Team, which for much of the year has looked like the stronger of the two, suddenly seems seriously shaky. Consider everything in the first paragraph, coupled with Sergio's very solid play of late, as well as the fact that the only Americans playing consistently good golf of late are Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley. There's still time for the Americans to come around, but right now it looks like the smart money would be on the Euros come September.

But first, it's off to Valhalla for the PGA Championship. Let's hit the links, Twitter style.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Seven

Jul. 29, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIt was not the best week in golf for many who have devoted their professional careers to the game. But we'll get to that.

It was, however, an awesome week in golf for a guy who's mere presence at the event is story enough.

It was also a very awesome week for a certain German golfer we know. And the LPGA launched perhaps their most innovative event to date. Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Six

Jul. 21, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksThe Open Championship lacked a bit in suspense, like the Masters and U.S. Open before it. Wire-to-wire wins are like that. And it was the most unlinksiest Open Championship in recent memory. (Can you ever remember seeing so many shots check and back up at an Open Championship as we did this year?) Still Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia made it interesting for a while on the back nine, but McIlroy's third-round lead was too much to overcome. Rory's two eagles on Saturday were the back breakers, giving him plenty of cushion to play with on Sunday.

Fowler appears to have taken over Jason Day's mantle as the automatic pick for a top 10 finish in majors. He's finished in the top five in all three majors of 2014. (Hmmm, should we pick him for the PGA Championship?) And Sergio Garcia is there again on a Sunday at the Open Championship, but this time he got there with a major charge that almost caught Rory. If he'd have been able to extricate himself from the bunker on 15, who knows.

But here's what is for sure, Rory McIlroy is the third youngest to win three of the four majors, behind Nicklaus and Woods. Not bad company to keep. While Phil Mickelson filled the Claret Jug with a $40,000 bottle of red wine and shared it with friends, for Rory's family it was apparently a fifth of Jagermeister. We know that Rory's dad could have afforded something a little nicer. He just won a decade old bet that Rory would win the Open Championship before his 26th birthday.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Five

Jul. 13, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksIt's a major week (again)! Though this past week had two majors, the Women's British Open and the U.S. Senior Open, it's the upcoming men's Open Championship at Royal Liverpool that will get the most attention. It should be interesting.

The game's best are preparing to tackle a course that on paper looks akin to one from a Rick Reilly novel, but with better hygiene. Tiger won seemingly easily in 2006 by eschewing his driver (something he may try again). Is he fully recovered from back surgery and ready to resume his pursuit of Nicklaus' major wins record? Will Phil defend his first Open Championship title? Or will the winner be Rose or Fowler or Spieth or McIlroy or Westwood or [insert your pick here]? Can't wait to see it get started.

In the meantime, let's hit the links.

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