Volume Four Hundred Eighty-Four

We cap off the U.S. Women’s Open, look forward to the British, and check in on the Olympics.

Hittin the Links Hello SandTrappers! I am Jeff … umm John … umm Jamieson Wilson or something like that, and welcome to this week’s Hittin’ The Links. Today, we take a look backwards to the history of Royal Troon, get into some current rules and PR issues that the USGA is having, and look forward to next week’s British Open.

All that plus Zach Johnson’s last hurrah with the Claret Jug, shots fired from the International Golf Federation, and Good Guy Paul Goydos taking home a hefty check on the Champions Tour.

Let’s get into it!

Volume Four Hundred Eighty-Three

DJ wins, JD falls apart, and a preview of the U.S. Women’s Open.

Hittin the Links Dustin Johnson, he formerly of the 800-lb major championship gorilla, appears to be breaking through big time. With his most recent win, this time at Firestone, Johnson now has three WGC wins, and continues to move up the career wins list. Johnson’s 11 PGA Tour wins look more and more impressive by the year as the PGA Tour searches for a dominant star player to fill the Tiger void.

On this week’s Hittin’ the Links, we take a look at DJ’s win, JD’s collapse, and more from this week on the PGA Tour. We also check in with Stacey Lewis, who has some opinions on the Olympics, take a look at the best food at the turn, and learn how to get a tee time at The Old Course.

Let’s get to it!

Volume Four Hundred Eighty-Two

Billy Hurley picks up his first win, Charlie Woods nearly breaks through, and the PGA Tour cancels the Greenbrier.

Hittin the LinksBilly Hurley III was the highlight of the weekend, winning the Quicken Loans National to earn his first career PGA Tour victory. He was joined in the winner’s circle this week by Lydia Ko on the LPGA Tour, Henrick Stenson on the European Tour, and very nearly by Charlie Woods on the junior circuit.

We’ll also check in on the rapidly declining Olympic golf player pool, see how Oakmont looks after the U.S. Open, and find out why there won’t be a Greenbrier Classic this year. All that plus Gary Player being Gary Player.

Let’s hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Seventy-Eight

Jason Day, ladies and gentlemen. Jason. Day.

Hittin the LinksJason Day outlasted the best field in golf to take home the crystal at the Players Championship, shooting a Sunday 71 to cap off a dominant week. Day opened with 63-66, and didn’t take his foot off the pedal, even as the conditions worsened over the weekend. The win at TPC Sawgrass is Day’s seventh in his last 17 tournaments.

We also take a look at Rory’s continued (relative) struggles, get an update on Olympic golf, and sneak a peek into the continued awkwardness of Tiger’s post-Thanksgiving life.

Let’s hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Sixty-Six

Bubba wins again, Tiger sits on the couch (painfully), and Happy Gilmore turns 20.

Hittin the LinksBubba Watson won for the first time in 2016 this week, furthering the argument that he belongs with Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy at the top of the golf world. This was Bubba’s second win at Riviera, and came at the end of quite the busy week.

It was the opposite of a busy week for Tiger Woods, who is still unable to even hit chips after his third back surgery. It was reported that Tiger has had a setback in his rehab, though agent Mark Steinberg has issued a denial. Woods will also be the subject of an upcoming biography about his life and career.

In addition we’ll touch on Jordan Spieth missing the cut, the LPGA Tour’s dwindling ratings, and a big birthday for Happy Gilmore.

Let’s hit the links.

Leupold PinCaddie 2 Laser Rangefinder Review

The $200 laser rangefinder you’d pay double for.

PinCaddie 2 HeroThe debate between GPS systems and laser rangefinders hasn’t ended, and probably won’t for some time. GPS is convenient for a quick glance, and the course mapping is nice, but I always feel a little dissatisfied whenever I use a GPS unit. The touchscreens are generally poor, the distances take a few precious seconds to update (particularly annoying when you’re driving in a cart), and you’re still at the whim and mercy of whoever mapped the course in the first place (not to mention GPS accuracy, cloud cover, etc.).

The GPS systems in use for golf simply cannot match the accuracy of a laser rangefinder, and I’ve yet to come across a GPS unit constructed as well as even an entry-level laser rangefinder. (And that’s without mentioning smartphone app GPS systems, which I find virtually unusable due to the massive amounts of cellular data and battery they gobble up.)

Oh, and did I mention membership fees? What about battery charging? Or course data syncing?

Nike Vapor Flex Driver Review

Nike gives us a taste of what’s cooking at The Oven.

Nike Vapor Flex Driver HeroWhat do you want from a driver?

Distance? Check.

Adjustability? Check.

Great looks? Check.

The best sound and feel I’ve ever experienced? Check.

The Nike Vapor Flex driver reflects not what a driver should be, but what a driver can be. It’s an insane concoction of technology that builds on the innovations Nike has brought to market over the past half-decade, all packaged into one sleek clubhead.

Amazingly, when you actually take it for a spin, it all seems to make sense. It’s a better-player’s club that, despite the lime green and wild esthetics, produces a muted sound and a boring trajectory.

Let’s dive in.

Talking to Shane Ryan, Author of “Slaying the Tiger”

We talk to Shane Ryan about his new book covering the 2014 PGA Tour season, examine a few of the Tour’s outsized characters, and ask just how many Geoff Ogilvys is your golf game worth?

Throwing DartsShane Ryan has written about golf for Golf Digest, Grantland, ESPN The Magazine, and Deadspin, and writes about entertainment for Paste.

Ryan hosts a podcast, Friends of Tiger, and spent 2014 driving around the country from Tour event to Tour event. His first book, Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on The New PGA Tour, is available today. Slaying the Tiger is an in-depth look at the present and future of the PGA Tour, with profiles of rising PGA Tour stars like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Patrick Reed.

We sat down to chat via email to talk about the book, the PGA Tour, and Matt Every’s wife’s middle name.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty Eight

An all-Masters Hittin’ The Links. (Well, almost.)

Hittin the LinksWe’re now three and a half months into 2015, and one major championship into the golf season. Jordan Spieth, runner up a year ago, outlasted charges from major winners Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy to win his first green jacket (possibly one of many to come).

Spieth was dominant early on, and was able to coast to a record-tying final score of -18. He’s the second-youngest Masters winner even, trailing only Tiger’s 1997 victory, and he broke or tied just about every record his age didn’t disqualify him from.

Woods himself joined in on the low scoring for a few days before Spieth dominance, and Tiger’s own shoddy play on Sunday, knocked him out of contention.

We also take a look at great tournaments by Phil and Rory, a new limited edition shoe from Nike, bask in a bit of ’90s nostalgia, and check in on old friend Anthony Kim.

Let’s hit the links.