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Hittin’ 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 Four

Mar. 16, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin the LinksJordan Spieth, who has managed to kick away a few solid leads over the past few years, finally notched another victory at Innisbrook, toppling the red hot Patrick Reed and a hard-charging Sean O'Hair. It took two insane flop shots on the last two holes of regulation and a bomb of a birdie putt in the playoff, but Spieth did manage to close out the Valspar Championship. Spieth now has a two PGA Tour wins, not too bad for a guy who was in first grade when Sean O'Hair turned professional.

This week we also got a check-in on Tiger Woods by Notah Begay III, we heard Patrick Reed attempt to dig himself out of the weeds, and were all witness to the mashup of rap and golf (R.I.P. to both).

Before I get too excited about the prospect of Rory McIlroy and Tom Brady playing Augusta National together, 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.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty One

Feb. 23, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin the LinksThis week we saw James Hahn get his first PGA Tour win at the Northern Trust Open, Lydia Ko win her 17th event this month (still fact-checking that one), and Scott Piercy get lost in an ocean of sand traps.

Tiger Woods was ruled out of the next few events, and Josh Scobee wants in.

All that, plus an antsy Michael Jordan, a second dose of DLIII, and a bit of manufacturing innovation from PING.

Let's get into it.

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.

Volume Four Hundred Eighteen

Feb. 2, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksUsually a bad round by a PGA TOUR pro is one that I would like to shoot. But 82? I'm not a great golfer, but I don't get very excited about any score that starts with an eight. Yet, Tiger Woods, who still might be the best ever, shot an 82 Friday on his way to missing the cut by a lot.

Chip yips sounds like a tasty snack, but I don't think they agree with Tiger. When the short game of the former undisputed top golfer looks like a 20-capper at the local muni, it's painful to watch.

And I failed to note last week that the Most Interesting Golfer in the World notched another win on the senior circuit at the Champions Tour's season opener in Hawaii. That gives Miguel Angel Jimenez two wins in three starts with the old guys.

Let's hit the links.

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