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May 23, 2013 | 08:16 AM

Where Does It Hurt?

Caddies, players, and volunteers at next month’s U.S. Open at Merion who develop aches and pains will be treated in two separate tents. A team of 130 health-care providers—including chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, hyperbaric-therapy technicians, and other specialists—will be on hand to offer relief. The Wellness Team will be headed for the ninth year by Jeffrey Poplarski, a sports chiropractor based in Amityville, N.Y. As reported in Newsday during the 2009 U.S. Open held at Bethpage Black, “Poplarksi’s team is the last line of defense against sprains, soreness and stiffness for the Open’s 156 golfers, their caddies and about 6,000 volunteer workers.” Poplarksi said caddies, “golf’s version of the packhorse,” are the most common clientele for the team’s services, though middle-of-the-pack players who do not travel with an entourage of therapists have been known to drop by for a treatment. Physical, not mental.

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May 22, 2013 | 11:37 AM

The Road More Traveled

Whether a player finds success on the PGA Tour or not might have more to do with how well he travels than how well he hits a golf ball—an appropriate topic given this week’s PGA Tour stop, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. The hotel chain surveyed players and found the following insights:
•    94 percent spend at least 60 nights on the road each year.
•    They typically hit the pillow at 10:30 and wake up a little after 6 for around seven hours of sleep per night.
•    When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, comfortable pillows (90 percent) and quiet (70 percent) were the most important factors.
•    32 percent dream about golf, mostly about hitting the perfect shot or putt or winning a tournament.
Our own LINKS’ non-scientific survey found that most players take about 10 pairs of pants on the road, 10 shirts, and two pair of golf shoes, white and black. They wash their own socks and underwear but typically have the rest sent out for dry cleaning. Now you know!

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May 21, 2013 | 08:34 AM

Anchorers Away

So it’s official, the USGA and R&A have banned the anchored putting stroke as of 2016—and here’s what we’re pretty sure of: 1) No one will quit the game. 2) People now will either putt conventionally, use their long putters in an unanchored way, or ignore the Rule and do what they want. 3) The major manufacturers will all but stop making long putters. 4) The next major champions at Oakmont and Royal Troon will have conventional strokes. 5) The debate on bifurcation will rage on. And here’s what we’re not so sure of…yet. 1) How the PGA Tour will respond. 2) Whether anyone—professional or amateur—will bring a lawsuit against the rulemakers. 3) Whether Matt Kuchar will feel weird continuing as the “loophole anchorer,” and, assuming not, whether others will now adopt his anchored-against-the-forearm method. Time will tell.

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May 20, 2013 | 08:36 AM

That's No $5 Nassau!

Pro golf and money are almost always synonymous, but there’s been extra news lately. Sports Illustrated released its list of “The Fortunate 50”—the best-earning sports stars—where only two golfers made the list. Tiger Woods came in at number five (with $40,839,027 combined winnings and endorsement income in the last year) and Phil Mickelson at number six ($39,528,000). Tiger had topped the list every year since it began in 2004 until this oner, when boxer Floyd Mayweather ko’d all comers with $90,000,000. Also earnings-related, Rory McIlroy is changing agents. Again. In late 2011 he switched representatives, and now he’s leaving the Ireland-based Horizons Sports Management group—which got him deals with Nike and others—to set up his own company. Among his non-committal comments on the goings-on, McIlroy told reporters, “Management is a funny thing.” He hopes to be laughing all the way to the bank—and standing next to Tiger in the deposit line.

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