2014 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.
Hole #1: Welcome to 2014!
Thanks to the PGA TOUR's new "wrap-around" schedule this weekend's Frys.com Open was the first tournament of the 2013-14 FedExCup race. The move should add drama and improve the fields in the former "Fall Series" events. Therefore, the leader in FedExCup points and the first winner of the 2014 season is Jimmy Walker, who won for the first time on the PGA TOUR in just his 188th try. Vijay Singh finished two strokes back in solo second place. [Link]
Hole #2: Lexi Thompson Wins For Second Time
At age 18, Lexi Thompson bested the field by four strokes to capture her second career LPGA Tour win Sunday at the LPGA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. [Link]
Hole #3: Speaking of Teenagers
As predicted, 16-year-old Lydia Ko has turned pro and is petitioning the LPGA to waive its age limit. Ko, who hails from New Zealand, has already won twice on the LPGA Tour as an amateur. [Link]
Hole #4: Still No 59 on European Tour
There have been 18 rounds of 60 recorded on the European Tour, but still no 59s. Scott Jamieson is the most recent to flirt with the mark, nearly holing a chip shot on the 18th of Saturday's third round for what would have been the magic number. [Link]
Hole #5: Tweet, Tweet, Tweet, Tweet
Russ Cochran birdied the final four holes to shoot 67, which was good enough to win by one at the SAS Championship on the Champions Tour. [Link]
Hole #6: How Do You Mark Your Ball?
A giant golf ball that disappeared after last week's Presidents Cup has been found. The ball sculpture, which is valued at $2,500, was one of 18 such balls in various locations around town as part of the “18 Drives Through Dublin” public art exhibit. [Link]
Hole #7: Fun and Games with Fantasy Team Names
Having trouble coming up with a name for your fantasy golf team? Here are 50 that might at least get a laugh even if your team is in the basement. After last week, we're still kind of partial to "Streaking for Stricker." [Link]
Hole #8: SNEE-DAH-KUR
In this interview, Brandt Snedeker explains why he still resents being left off the 2003 Walker Cup Team and why testing PGA TOUR players for performance-enhancing drugs is a waste of everyone's time. [Link]
Hole #9: Lynn Wins in Portugal
David Lynn shot a Sunday 63 to close from 6-shots back and win the Portugal Masters. Is it just us or do about half the tournaments on the European Tour have "Masters" in their names? [Link]