Volume Two Hundred Sixty Five

The LPGA schedule gets a little shorter, Arnie pilots his last flight, and Mark Wilson makes it two in 2011.

Hittin' the LinksHello Golf Fans and thank you again for joining me for Hittin’ the Links. Golf was slightly overlooked in the sports world this weekend with the Super Bowl going on in Big D. No reason to fret though there was still enough golf news to easily fill the pages of HTL.

In this newest edition we begin with a U.S. Serviceman’s dream come true, and then investigate a cancellation on the LPGA Tour, and check out how golf is doing in the ratings. Also, we look into Arnold’s final flight, find out what a rookie said about Tiger, and do a wrap-up of the week’s events. read on!

Dramatic Farmers Finish Proves TV Golf is Anything But a Snoozefest

Unlike other sports, in golf we root for the player, not the team. It makes a fan’s emotional investment all the stronger.

Thrash TalkCall me a golf nerd, but as the theme song piped up and the sweet, sweet voice of Jim Nantz came through the TV, my blood was pumping. The season technically began a few weeks ago, but consider those preseason games. For my money, the PGA Tour year starts when CBS joins the party, with Nantz leading the way.

Sitting on the couch Saturday afternoon, a day after the winter blues had struck with full force, I expected a typical day of golf. The leader board was strong, with big names and exciting stories destined for lots of camera time. But when that Yanni-composed masterpiece started pumping, the feeling was more like a Yankee World Series game, or Sunday of the Masters. I was caught off guard by how excited I was. Just a two weeks earlier I’d lamented whether my golf fever had finally broken. Thankfully I’m as afflicted as ever.

Nike Launches New VR Pro Drivers, Fairway Woods, and Hybrids

Nike updates its VR lineup for the Spring of 2011 with the second generation of drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids.

Bag DropThough the whole Victory Red (VR for short) name started originally as the TW-inspired branding for Nike’s top of the line irons, it was extended last year to include an entirely new, game-enhancing set of drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids. Upon release, it was evident that Nike had produced their most player-friendly, traditional woods to date.

They further cemented that approach in the later months of 2010, as they confirmed that the SQ lineup is catered to game improvement, while the VR line is designed more around the needs of established/accomplished players. The second generation of VR woods and hybrids, labeled “VR Pro” (in line with the recently released VR Pro Blades and Pro Combo Irons) certainly holds true to that approach. All three clubs (driver, fairway, and hybrid) maintain a more traditional appearance and are designed to offer a lot in terms of workability. With that in mind, let’s have a look at what’s new for this year in the VR Pro hybrids, fairway woods, and drivers.

Nine Holes With Dustin Johnson

We take a look at a PGA Tour superstar in the making.

ProfilesDustin Johnson is one of the brightest stars on the PGA Tour today. Although he hasn’t been around that long, his roller-coaster of a year in 2010 got him noticed. It left us amazed, disappointed, surprised, and possibly with a better sense of the rules. Johnson, also known as “DJ,” is currently ranked 14th in the world and had one of the best records in major tournaments last year. Since his historic breakdown in the U.S. Open and his final-hole rules debacle at the PGA Championship, Johnson has become a fan favorite, and has established himself as one of the best young Americans. To add to that, now that Sergio Garcia and Colin Montgomery are basically out of the picture, Johnson is battling for the title of Best Never to Have Won an Major. Along with Lee Westwood, Steve Striker, and Rory McIlroy, for DJ escaping that title seems to be much more a matter of “when,” not “if.”