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Hittin’ the Links

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Nine

Jan. 14, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksHawaiian golf is great for scenery and apparently for competitive juices if the Sony Open was any indication. With an hour of play left, no less than four players were in the hunt.

Next week, the senior circuit takes over on the islands while the PGA TOUR heads stateside for the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Calif. It's still another week before the LPGA starts the season in the Bahamas. Off the course, the PGA Merchandise show is just a little over a week away.

Can you smell it in the air? The 2014 golf season is just starting to bud. Now we need to come up with a plan to make sure that groundhog doesn't see it's shadow next month. Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Eight

Jan. 7, 2014     By     Comments (1)

Hittin' the LinksWith the "Polar Vortex" chilling half the U.S. with sub-zero weather, what better way to spend an evening than watching the pros knock the little white ball around Kapalua? (By the way, polar vortex sounds way too much like something out of The Day After Tomorrow, don't you think?)

It's 2014, a new year, a new-ish season — the 2013-14 seasons began in October on the PGA TOUR and in November on the European Tour, but the LPGA and Champions Tour both still stick to the calendar. The start of the year is always a time of hope for golfers of all skill levels. The pros can dream of major wins and FedExCup points. The majority of us look forward to breaking 80, or 90, or 100. We fantasize about making birdie on our nemesis hole or reaching that par five in two… and not three putting this time! We resolve to shave a few strokes off our handicap and to win the club championship or our family scramble. It's a time when all things are possible. Heck, the Cubs could still win the World Series this year.

Here's to a happy and prosperous 2014! And for the PGA TOUR, it starts in Hawaii.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Seven

Dec. 11, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksWith Tiger's Northwestern Mutual World Challenge wrapping up this weekend, most of the top golfers will be heading home this week or next to spend time with friends and family over the holidays.

But there is one more big tour golf event for 2013. This week the European Tour holds the second edition of the Nelson Mandela Championship, which will start a day early and finish Saturday in observance of the state funeral for its namesake. This year's event was briefly in doubt due to the Mr. Mandela's passing, but the organizers decided that it would be more of a tribute for the tournament to go on. The championship will benefit one of Mandela's dreams - to build a world-class children's hospital in South Africa. To that end, all profits from the tournament will go to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.

But now, for the week that was... HtL links you up with Zach Johnson's shocking win, a first-of-(probably)-many titles by a 16-year-old pro, and much more.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Six

Nov. 20, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksAnother season ends as the European Tour wrapped up last weekend in the same way that the PGA Tour wound up more than a month ago, with Henrik Stenson winning it all.

That leaves the LPGA as the only tour still in its 2013 season, and their season-ending event is this week's CME Group Titleholders at Tiburon in Naples, Florida. This will be your last chance to see the women play until mid-February.

Even with the seasons over or ending, there will still be golf to watch. The ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf is already under way down under in Melbourne, Australia, with a field that includes Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott, Jason Day, and a number of other names you would recognize. You would be doing well to recognize more than a half dozen of the names on the leaderboard when the European Tour tees off it's 2014 season in South Africa this week. But that's the way it goes in the Silly Season.

As always, HtL is here to point you toward some of the more interesting goings-on in the world of golf. Here's what made the cut this week.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Five

Nov. 12, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksWelcome to another episode of Hitting the Links, our weekly look at, well, the week in golf.

We are really getting down to the last few weeks of any "serious" golf now on the major tours. Even though the PGA TOUR is technically a few events into it's 2013-2014 season and the European Tour will hold it's season-ending event this week, make no mistake - there's still a lot of "silly" in the season, as our seventh "hole" below illustrates.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Four

Nov. 4, 2013     By     Comments (1)

Hittin' the LinksWhen last we met, the CIMB Classic was unresolved and headed to a Monday playoff. In case you missed it, Ryan Moore beat Gary Woodland on the first playoff hole to take the title.

If you did miss it, that's understandable. Depending on how you count them, there are between three and five "major" tours (PGA TOUR, European Tour, LPGA, Champions Tour, and Web.com Tour) and a number of slightly lesser tours. On any given week, several of them, if not all of them, hold events, vying for our attention.

Next week, for example, the LPGA Tour heads to Japan for the Mizuno Classic at the Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club in Shima-Shi, Mie. The PGA Tour will make a stop at Sea Island, GA, for the McGladrey Classic. Having just concluded their season, the Champions Tour is on hiatus until Q-School opens Nov. 19 (yes, the Champions Tour still has a qualifying school). The big event of the weekend, however, will be the penultimate tournament of the 2013 European Tour season, the Turkish Airlines Open, where those in the running for the Race to Dubai hope to improve their positions in the standings while Tiger Woods and others just hope to make away with a whole bunch of euros.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is that there is a lot going on, even in the last couple months of 2013. The Woods-Chamblee fiasco is into its third week, another "cheater" has been identified, and one more tour has wrapped up its season. Here are those stories and more in HtL.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Three

Oct. 28, 2013     By     Comments (2)

Hittin' the LinksWhen you are a major outlet reporter, with a major outlet following, and a major outlet paycheck, perhaps when you call the biggest-figure-in-the-game a cheater you should be prepared to stand by your words… for at least a week or two.

Just days after calling golf's brightest star a cheater, Brandel Chamblee has retracted his statement. Essentially saying, "That's not what I meant." BS. Chamblee is supposedly a professional. Maybe it's just me but for Brandel to equate Tiger's 2013 rules infractions/controversies to his own admitted cheating in grade school, and then pretend that he didn't mean to compare the two, is laughable. Anyone in his position, even a former golf pro, should know enough, or have people in place, to correct such a gaff before it gets to publication. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, that didn't happen.

I think Chamblee's accusations would have made an interesting discussion through the winter. I really don't think Tiger was purposely cheating, but I do think that his lack of attention this year to the rules that he's known his entire career does make you wonder what's up. Is his swing distracting him? Is it Lindsey? What exactly is going on in one of the most celebrated, and inscrutable, brains in golf?

Decide what you will about Tiger. Here is that story and several other interesting tidbits from the week that was.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Two

Oct. 21, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksSomething weird was in the air this week. Brandel Chamblee came right out and accused Tiger of cheating. Three events on the big tours went to playoffs, while on the PGA TOUR Webb Simpson ran away and hid. The U.S. Government got back to work, and so did Obama (on his game). And can you believe that Brazilian wildlife may find it's way onto the Olympic golf course in Rio?

Here's a quick tour in links around the world of golf, including a sighting of Michelle Wie's game, more playoffs than you can shake a 3-iron at, and one more reason to keep your ball in the fairway. Let's hit the links.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty-One

Oct. 14, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the Links2014 started this week, at least according to the PGA TOUR. European Tour players just can't quite shoot that magic number. Sneds says PEDs are no problem on the PGA TOUR. And an 18-year-old wins (again)!

The calendar still says 2013, but FedExCup points earned at this week's Frys.com Open count in the 2014 points race. In all, six events of what we used to call "the silly season" are now the start of the 2013-2014 PGA TOUR season. With the matter of tour cards already decided for next year, players can get on with the business of amassing points in the race toward the playoffs. While the biggest names will likely continue to skip these events, the new system should attract many others looking to get a leg up in the points race, resulting in improved fields, more viewers, and higher ad revenues. At least, that's the plan.

Here's a quick tour in links around golf, including those tours on the 2014 calendar and those still on 2013.

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