Aug 27, 2013 | 08:49 AM

Should Ko Go Pro?

With a successful defense of her CN Canadian Women's Open title, Lydia Ko now has a mind-boggling four professional victories at the age of 16. Not since Bobby Jones have we seen this sort of performance by a young amateur golfer. Understandably, she’s considering turning pro. But should she? And if she petitions LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan to join the Tour, should he let her? Each of them has a difficult decision. Ko, in particular has a dilemma—continue to forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money or forfeit what remains of her youth. If she does decide to make the jump and the LPGA welcomes her, it will be interesting to see whether can retain her smiling freshness of spirit or becomes hardened to the weekly grind, whether she accepts the huge endorsement contracts that will come her way (and the time commitments that come with them), whether she’s able to perform under the pressure of the world’s expectations, and whether she becomes the next Tiger Woods or the next Michelle Wie.

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Aug 26, 2013 | 06:52 AM

From The Brew Tees

Since golf and beer go together like hand in cabretta glove, it’s no surprise entrepreneurs are trying to tap into this frothy market. It started a few months ago with Slammin’ Sam Beer, and now comes Swing Oil Ale, a craft brew—made in central Massachusetts and found, on tap only, at some local courses and pubs—described as having “just a hint of hops and a smooth clean finish.” Since this sounds like a trend to watch, here are some names for the next batch of brewers to consider: Let The Big Dog Drink, Take Two and Reload, Keep Your Head Up, and Bernhard Lager. Have a better label? Hit “add your comments” below and pour it on!

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Aug 23, 2013 | 06:43 AM

Better Than A Golden Spoon In Her Mouth

Whenever a Ping player wins a tournament, the company builds a gold-plated putter in his, or her, honor and puts it in their special club vault at company headquarters in Phoenix. A few weeks ago, Hunter Mahan looked to have one hand on another gilded stick when he was leading the RBC Canadian Open heading into the weekend. But minutes from teeing off on Saturday, Mahan received word that wife Kandi was going into labor with their first child back in Dallas, so he withdrew (earning both applause and jeers from the golf blogosphere) and quickly flew home to be there when Zoe Olivia was born early the next morning. Never say the people at Ping aren’t all heart, as they recently presented Mahan with a gold putter inscribed with the baby’s name, date of birth, and weight. Said company Chairman and CEO John Solheim, “The birth of a child is a win any way you look at it.” Maybe so, but does it get him into the Tournament of Champions?

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Aug 22, 2013 | 11:05 AM

Leaking Oil at Lahinch

Lahinch, the fabled links in Country Clare, Ireland, has it all: tumbling duneland, spectacular views across Liscannor Bay, and a storied history dating to the 1890s, when Old Tom Morris laid out the original course. (It was reworked in the 1920s by Alister Mackenzie and, more recently, by Martin Hawtree). Lauded as the “St. Andrews of Ireland,” this noble club, listed at No. 37 on the LINKS100 World Rankings roster, is, despite its international renown, in financial straits. According to a recent report in the Irish Times, Lahinch lost approximately 500 fee-paying members between 2009–12, forcing the club to reduce its initiation fee by nearly one-third, from roughly $32,000 to $12,800. Club captain Ray Hennessy blamed the membership drop-off on “the financial crisis,” adding that Lahinch is a second club for the majority of its nearly 2,700 members. On the bright side, green fee income is up 7 percent over last year. Bottom line: Get across the pond to savor a layout once described by Phil Mickelson, a club member, as his favorite links course. You may want to join, too.

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