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Oct 07, 2014 | 08:42 AM

SKEEEETEKER

Let’s face it, 2014 was not exactly a vintage season for Brandt Snedeker, a former Fedex Cup Champion who this year finished 86th in the points race with just three Top 10 finishes in 25 starts. It’s also fair to say that the weakest part of his game was iron play, as he ranked 136th on the Tour in Greens in Regulation. Seems all he needed was a little time to chill in the backwoods of his native Tennessee. Not sure what take this was, but who cares, it was one helluva 4-iron shot.

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Oct 06, 2014 | 06:44 AM

Happy 18th Birthday

A happy belated 18th birthday to the Old Course at St. Andrews. Wait? Hasn’t golf been played over the fabled links for centuries? Yes, but on October 4, 1764, the Old Course was played at 18 holes for the first time. Before that, it had been a 22-hole layout. On that day—250 years and two days ago—a meeting was held of the Society of St. Andrews Golfers, at which the following was read into the minutes: “The Captain and Gentlemen Golfers present are of the opinion that it would be for the improvement of the Links that the four first holes should be converted into two.” Given that the course at the time was played out and back, taking out two of the opening holes meant a reduction of four in total. (In fact, at the time, the course consisted of 10 holes, 8 of which were played twice during a round, equaling 18.) The Old continued to change, with new greens and holes added over the years, but 18 remained the number, and the standard that the rest of the world soon adopted. And as a birthday present to golfers everywhere, the St. Andrews Links Trust, which runs the town’s courses, created a time-lapse video of the Old being prepared for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which was played over this past weekend and won by Oliver Wilson of England. It's a fitting tribute.

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Oct 03, 2014 | 06:49 AM

The Year Of Rory

In what might be the least surprising bit of news this year, Rory McIlroy has won the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award. According to some pundits, his victory might be tainted because it came from just one month of good play: Between the end of July and the middle of August, McIlroy recorded his three Tour wins—the British Open, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, and PGA Championship. But give the 25-year-old credit. He entered 17 events on the PGA Tour in the wrap-around 2013-2014 season and made 17 cuts, finishing in the top 10 12 times. Besides his three victories, he had two seconds. He never withdrew (unlike last year), and he ran away with the money title, earning $8,280,096, which was $1,943,368 more than second-place Bubba Watson, who played in four more events. McIlroy also finished third in the FedExCup competition, and while it didn’t affect his PGA Tour status, he’s leading the European Tour’s money list by nearly three millions Euros. Plus, he played pretty well at the Ryder Cup. Rookie of the Year honors went to Chesson Hadley.

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Oct 02, 2014 | 10:34 AM

Landmark Status

Almost a century after its two A.W. Tillinghast-designed courses debuted, Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The honor comes from the Department of the Interior's National Park Service Landmarks Program, which defines each honoree as “nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.” The honor described the club’s 36 holes as “arguably the most important and influential design of leading early-20th-century golf course architect Albert W. Tillinghast, one of the first American golf architects to integrate a golf course into nature.” Of course, hosting seven U.S. Opens, two U.S. Women's Opens, a total of 15 USGA Championships, and a PGA Championship (an event that returns here in 2016) certainly helped too. The status also puts Baltusrol in some good company: Pinehurst, Merion and Oakmont are the only other courses to receive the recognition.  

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