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Hittin’ 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.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Four

Jul. 8, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksFor what should have been a down week in TV golf, the Independence Day weekend gave us some pretty compelling story lines. Major winners prevailed in the end. But a lot of people watching the Greenbrier Classic were undoubtedly rooting for the other guy.

This week is a double major week. The women of the LPGA are playing the Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale in Lancashire, and the Champions Tour is in Oklahoma for the U.S. Senior Open Championship. In non-major category, the PGA Tour is in Illinois for the John Deere Classic, while the Euro Tour has the Scottish Open where Phil Mickelson is the defending champion. And the following week is the British Open Championship.

We love this time of year. Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Three

Jun. 30, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksTiger returns to golf and misses the cut by four. But the back feels good, he says.

Michelle Wie takes NYC and golf world by storm, twerks, and nearly doubles up in Arkansas.

Biggest international suspense… five-man playoff on EuroTour or World Cup?

Oh, and the Champions Tour held a major. Did you notice?

Let's hit the links, Twitter style.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Two

Jun. 23, 2014     By     Comments (1)

Hittin' the LinksIt's difficult to contemplate. This weekend, Michelle Wie was playing in her 11th U.S. Women's Open. Born Oct. 11, 1989, she qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship at the age of 10 (at the time she was the youngest person to qualify for a USGA amateur championship). She won it in 2003. She was the youngest to make the cut at the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship that same year. In 2006, Wie was the first female medalist at a men's U.S. Open local qualifier (she failed to advance from the final stage qualifier).

Soon after Wie turned pro, a week before her 16th birthday, the trouble started. Her level of play deteriorated. She found herself the focus of several controversies, from questionable withdrawals and suspicious injuries to accusations that her parents were among the worst of sports parents. (Some of these accusations were probably true.) She finally won an LPGA event in 2009, but in most events during this time she was a side note. Even when she got into contention, she failed to close.

But 2014 appears to the year of a major Wiesy resurgence. She's a few years removed from controversy and her play is improving at a rapidd pace. Her new putting style, odd as it is, has taken her from average at best to one of the best putters on the LPGA. She's always been long, but now she's playing a smarter game with more control. She already won at the LPGA Lotte Championship in April this year, and now... well, let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-One

Jun. 16, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksWell, the U.S. Open was a bit anti-climactic. Martin Kaymer beat the field into submission with two near-perfect opening rounds of 65. Dare we call it blitzkrieg?

In the end, the big stories going in got answered:

  • Would Phil Mickelson complete the career grand slam? Not with that balky putter.
  • Could Lee Westwood finally win a major? No.
  • Would Rory McIlroy win his second U.S. Open? No (He'd finish T23).
  • Is Kenny Perry too old to compete in a major? Maybe, but then again T28 isn't too shabby.
  • Would Tiger Woods show up or live tweet the event? Seriously?
  • Can a two-time heart transplant recipient rise to the top level of his sport? Oh yes.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety

Jun. 9, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksWe're one week away from what should be a very interesting U.S. Open. We have a refurbished Donald Ross course that has proven up to the test of the world's best in the past. It now will do so without the Bermuda rough that served it well in '99 and '05.

Rest assured, it has new defenses. Though the fairways are wide, misplayed balls will wind up in waste areas, pine needles, wire grass, and other nasty places. And then there are those wonderful greens. We can't wait.

So in the interest of getting to next weekend quicker, let's hit the links.

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