Volume Four Hundred Twenty Six

Clubs shatter, why you should bet on Walker and Ko, and we still don’t know if Tiger will play Augusta

Hittin' the LinksLast week was a busy time in golf. Augusta is just around the corner and the LPGA is playing a major this week. A lot of weird stuff and a lot of cool stuff happened.

Here’s a guy stealing a set of clubs. If you recognize him, please contact the authorities. A Seattle taxi driver left a customer in the cab while he stopped to hit golf balls. A golf course protest ended when the protester fell out of a tree. Will MacKenzie talked about “carnage” and his days as a safety kayaker on the Gallatin River in Montana. Luke Donald appeared to feel much the same way I do about Disney World. The PGA TOUR took exception to the color of a caddie’s shorts. And Ohio is the third best state for golf. It says so right here.

In the extremely small category of stories about Tiger Woods that don’t revolve around speculating whether he will or won’t play in the Masters, this story about his helping to establish a scholarship honoring Charlie Sifford.

Oh, and Winter is coming. But first Spring and majors season is upon us. So let’s hit the links.

Hole #1: Home Cooking
Jimmy Walker became the first multiple-event winner of the 2015 season by claiming the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio by four strokes over Dallas-native Jordan Spieth. Don’t look now, but Walker has won five times in the last two PGA TOUR seasons, more than anyone else including world #1 Rory McIlroy. [Link]

Hole #2: Nicklaus Gets His Day
Jack Nicklaus was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal last week. Nicklaus was recognized for both his accomplishments in golf and his philanthropic work, along with his wife Barbara. He is the third golfer (after Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer) to receive the honor. [Link]

Hole #3:Best Badds Birdie Ever
Here’s a trivia question to use on the 19th hole: Who made the longest birdie ever recorded on ShotLink? Aaron Baddeley’s 336-yard re-tee on the 17th hole of the Valero Texas Open Thursday gets the nod. Baddeley hooked his drive into the trees left of the green, took an unplayable lie, elected to go back to the tee, and then holed his third for an improbable 1,008 foot birdie with a penalty stroke. He birdied it again on Friday with a more conventional 3-foot putt as his third. [Link]

Hole #4: Streaking at the Kia Classic
Ending a two-year winless streak, Christie Kerr made a Sunday charge to win the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, California, by two strokes over Mirim Lee. Lydia Ko was three back, but extended her rounds-under-par streak to 28 consecutive rounds. The LPGA’s first major of the year is next week. [Link] [Link]

Hole #5:Equipment Malfunctions
Not sure if this is telling about the quality of today’s golf clubs or how hard today’s players hit the ball, but not one but two players had serious equipment malfunctions in San Antonio. Phil Mickelson lost the head of his 8-iron on a bunker shot and Troy Merritt caved in the face of a 2-iron on a tee shot. [Link] [Link]

Hole #6: Penalty Stroke Doesn’t Chill Frost
David Frost won the Champion’s Tour Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic despite a penalty shot on the 17th hole. [Link]

Hole #7: Masters Scripting
If you find all those scripts for what prominent players will wear at major events a little ridiculous, this one is for you. [Link]

Hole #8: Two Shots Short
On the European Tour this week, George Coetzee fell two shots short in his bid to make the Masters field. He needed to win at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco, but finished in third, two strokes behind champion Richie Ramsay. [Link]
Bonus link: Last week’s weather-canceled Madeira Islands Open has been quickly rescheduled for July 30-August 2.

Hole #9: Hallowed Haunts
Let’s face facts. This is probably just about the only way I’m ever going to see the inside of this place. [Link]

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