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Hittin’ the Links

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.

Volume Three Hundred Sixty

Oct. 8, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksThe U.S. team, with laid-back Freddie Couples at the helm, won the tenth edition of the Presidents Cup over Nick Price's International Team, but the golf was at times upstaged by the weather. Why? Perhaps it was The Curse.

The (sub)urban legend around Dublin is that the Muirfield Village Golf Club is built on land that contains a Native American burial ground. These rumored burial grounds may or may not host the remains of Shateyaronyah, a real-life Wyandot chief known by the unlikely moniker Leatherlips. According to the legend, the fact that wealthy non-natives now smack a little white ball around on this sacred ground has angered the Wyandot spirits who express their rage by bringing rains down on the Memorial Tournament more years than not and now on the Presidents Cup, as well. Whether it was the "Curse of Leatherlips" or a simple meteorological aberration, the Presidents Cup and Muirfield Village got hit with nearly 2" of rain this weekend.

While those of us looking forward to seeing the pros play a firm and fast Muirfield course (for once) were deprived of that spectacle, those who like birdies certainly got a great show as the soft conditions and the lift/clean/place rule let the players shoot right at the pins. This week, HtL looks at the Presidents Cup that was and other happenings in golf.

Volume Three Hundred Fifty-Nine

Sep. 30, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Hittin' the LinksHere's a good question to throw out for your next 19th hole discussion: What week of the golf season features the best group of venues? I think it would be tough to beat this past weekend.

First of all, the Champions Tour players and selected juniors from across the U.S. played the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Not bad for openers, but the week also included the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which was contested on the Old Course at St. Andrews as well as Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. Not a bad trio at all. And just to sweeten the pot a little more, the Web.com Tour Championship wrapped up the finals series on Dye's Valley Course, you know, the other course at TPC Sawgrass.

Speaking of the Web.com Tour, you could say that the Web.com Tour Championship put the seal on the 2013 PGA TOUR season by determining the final card holders for 2014. This week, HtL looks at the Web.com finale, the Presidents Cup, and more.

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