Volume Three Hundred Sixty-Eight

Some of the big names skipped Kapalua, but we won’t. Welcome to another year of HtL.

Hittin' the LinksWith the “Polar Vortex” chilling half the U.S. with sub-zero weather, what better way to spend an evening than watching the pros knock the little white ball around Kapalua? (By the way, polar vortex sounds way too much like something out of The Day After Tomorrow, don’t you think?)

It’s 2014, a new year, a new-ish season — the 2013-14 seasons began in October on the PGA TOUR and in November on the European Tour, but the LPGA and Champions Tour both still stick to the calendar. The start of the year is always a time of hope for golfers of all skill levels. The pros can dream of major wins and FedExCup points. The majority of us look forward to breaking 80, or 90, or 100. We fantasize about making birdie on our nemesis hole or reaching that par five in two… and not three putting this time! We resolve to shave a few strokes off our handicap and to win the club championship or our family scramble. It’s a time when all things are possible. Heck, the Cubs could still win the World Series this year.

Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2014! And for the PGA TOUR, it starts in Hawaii.

Hole #1: Johnson Wins TOC Again
Except it wasn’t the same Johnson this year. Following Dustin Johnson’s win last year, Zach Johnson followed suit this year. Well, they do have very similar games, after all. Not. Zach closed with a 7-under 66 for the come from behind win. Fresh off a win at Tiger’s event last month, ZJ has the hot hand at the moment. [Link]

Hole #2: Ah, Kapalua
OK, it’s literally -10 outside. And that’s not a wind chill, that’s straight up fahrenheit. So naturally, Kapalua looks pretty good right now. But really, when doesn’t Kapalua look good? It’s a great course for all skill levels, and then there are the views. [Link]

Hole #3: Scott Edges Woods for GWAA Player of the Year
The Golf Writers Association of America voted Adam Scott as Player of the Year by five votes over Tiger Woods. Tiger will have to be content with his PGA TOUR and PGA of America P.O.Y. honors. [Link]

Hole #4: For(e)ward
Perhaps President Obama should take a hint from his most recent campaign slogan and keep his game moving. Reportedly, the POTUS routinely takes between five and six hours to finish a round of golf. If you’re not part of the solution to slow play, you are part of the problem. [Link]

Hole #5: Zip Lines and Putters
It will have zip lines, stadium seating, and fast-paced action. It will not have drivers or any woods, par four or five holes, or big name players. RippedLinks hopes to attract a young, short-attention-span following. [Link]

Hole #6: Beware Segways
Brandt Snedeker is hoping for a season free of injury (and presumably Segways). Due to a long list of often unusual health issues, he hasn’t played an entire season healthy since his rookie year. In November, he abruptly ended his 2013 campaign a little early with an awkward leap off a Segway and a resulting knee injury during a corporate event at Sheshan International in Shanghai. [Link]

Hole #7: Surfing the Fairway
(HtL normally leaves golf product commentary to The Bag Drop, but we just couldn’t resist this one.) In Back to the Future II, Marty and Doc travel to 2015 where Marty gets to ride a hover skateboard. While it looks like a long shot for that board to be developed in the next year, we golfers can surf the course now. Can’t wait to see the look on the head pro’s face when we head to the first tee with this. [Link]

Hole #8: What Do Pros Do If They Don’t Go to Kapalua?
Phil Mickelson skipped the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua and instead watched the San Diego Chargers’ thump the Cincinnati Bengals in a playoff game. (We’re not sure where Tiger was, but he may have been icing Lindsey’s ailing knee.) [Link]

Hole #9: New Front Man for the Golf Boys?
Six-year-old rapper, Caleb C, scored the #7 viral golf video of 2013 in a Golf Digest countdown. Not bad for a kindergartner. [Link]

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