DATELINE: Two Weeks Before the Masters--How will the Masters draw without the two biggest current names in the sport? We may have to find out. It will still likely command more eyes than virtually any other tournament could hope to. The Masters, after all, is not just a major, for the majority of us in North America it marks the end of winter and the beginning of golf season.
The TOUR is in Texas for the final tune-ups before the season's first major. Next week's Houston Open has a pretty solid field as all those players who like to play their way into the majors will be getting ready for Augusta. Are you getting as excited for the Masters as we are?
Let's hit the links.
Hole #1: From Depths to Heights
Steven Bowditch, who has battled depression for much of his career, won the Texas Open despite backing up four strokes on a windy Sunday. The final threesome was 10-over as a group, as Kuchar and Loupe each shot 75, finished T4, and were each "put on the clock" at one point for slow play. Will MacKenzie (70) and Daniel Summerhays (71) mounted charges of a sort and finished T2. [Link]
Hole #2: Backs and Sides
The two biggest names in the game today are questionable for the Masters at the moment. We already knew that Tiger Woods has a bad back that caused him to withdraw from the field of last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, one of his favorite non-majors. Now Phil Michelson is in doubt for Augusta as well. He withdrew Saturday from the Texas Open with pulled oblique muscle. [Link]
Hole #3: Never Count Us Out
The inaugural Eurasia Cup goes to… everyone… or no one. Despite trailing 0-5 after day one and down 3-7 going into the final day, Asia rallied back to win 7.5 points to tie Europe at 10.5 and halve the trophy. The European team bore little resemblance to what the team makeup should be in September for the Ryder Cup. Then again, the Asian team represented just a portion of the Presidents Cup team from this past September. Malaysia, which played host this year, will again do so in 2016. The event is expected to be begin alternating between Asian and European sites after that. [Link]
Hole #4: Nordqvist Charges for Kia Classic Crown
Anna Nordqvist shot a second consecutive 5-under, 67, to win the Kia Classic by a stroke over Lizette Salas. It was her second victory in her last four starts. [Link]
Hole #5: "Bionic Grandfather" Helps Self, Others Golf
What would you do if you found your retirement plans derailed by a triple amputation? Meet E.Q. Sylvester who has started a non-profit organization to help fellow amputees learn to golf. [Link]
Hole #6: Singh vs. PGA Tour: This Could Take Awhile
Vijay Singh's lawsuit against the PGA TOUR is moving toward trial, though it likely won't be settled before the 2016 Masters. Singh alleges that the PGA TOUR caused him "public humiliation and ridicule" during the deer antler spray investigation. [Link]
Hole #7: But They Look Good on You
Bill Murray always sports some interesting golf fashion. During a recent round, he posed with a Jacksonville weather girl in a self-referencing t-shirt and some pants we'd love to show up to a scramble in. [Link]
Hole #8: Which Legendary Golfer Are You?
Golf needs more quizzes, don't you think? This one will tell you if you are more like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, or Jean van de Velde. [Link]
Hole #9: Old Clubs Respond to Societal Changes, Finally
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews announced last Wednesday that it will vote in September on the subject of admitting women members. The next day, the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield announced that it is exploring the same issue. Last year, Augusta National Golf Club admitted its first two women members. It is high time for these clubs that hold major events and benefit from corporate sponsorship to admit that the world has changed and that standing on tradition for tradition's sake is dodgy footing to be sure. [Link]