Oct 04, 2016 | 08:43 am

Who's on Deck?

Looking at this year’s assistants—Messrs. Furyk, Lehman, Stricker, Watson, and Woods—Lehman’s already had his shot and the other four are all still active (or semi-active) players, although that didn’t stop the PGA Tour from tapping Stricker as next year’s Presidents Cup Captain  (effectively taking him out of the Ryder Cup sweepstakes). Logic would say that if any of the assistants is to be anointed  it would be Furyk. But he nearly played his way onto this year’s team, is 46 (just a month older than Mickelson), and surely intends to play hard in 2017 and '18 as do slam-dunk future captains Mickelson and Woods. So who’s left? The PGA of America loves former PGA Champions with Hall of Fame stature, but could they at this stage reach back for long-slighted Larry Nelson? Unlikely. Guys like David Toms, Mark Brooks, and Jeff Sluman would bring competence but lack excitement; guys like Rich Beem and John Daly would bring excitement but lack competence. Paul Azinger is a dark horse, but in this post Task Force era, both he and the PGA might have more to lose than win from a remarriage. If the PGA follows custom, they’ll wait at least three months before making an announcement. Here’s a thought for them: See how Tiger’s comeback works out—if he injures himself and is sidelined again by the first of the year, the choice is clear.

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Oct 03, 2016 | 06:20 am

Ryder Cup Recap

The slogan in evidence all around Hazeltine National Golf Club was “Where Legends Are Forged,” and there is no doubt that the Ryder Cup that ended yesterday with a 17-11 USA victory will go a long way to launching and cementing the legends of a number of players from both squads. To us—and you can post your opinions below—these were the players who made the most significant statements over the past few days.

Patrick Reed. Two years ago at Gleneagles, as a Ryder Cup rookie, he went 3-0-1. This year he was 3-1-1, including a key 1-up victory in the lead singles match over Rory McIlroy. No one got more excited or, more importantly, rose to the occasion like Reed. It’s as if donning the red, white, and blue turns him into some kind of superhero—Captain America, perhaps?—and we’re likely to see him at the forefront of these team matches for a long time to come.

Thomas Pieters. This year’s rookie sensation for Europe went 4-1-0, and as a captain’s pick, no less. The cool, quiet Belgian, only 24 years old, should have gained enormous confidence from his play and is someone to watch on the world stage from now on.

Rory McIlroy. A few months—make that weeks—ago, we were wondering what ever happened to Rory. Then he won the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup and despite losing in the opening Foursomes and the final Singles, was the heart and soul of the European team, stoking the crowd, playing stellar golf, and acting like the leader we expect him to be well into the future.

Phil Mickelson. How does he continue to get psyched up for this, and at 46 years old? His 2-1-1 record was built on outstanding, and unusually accurate, play that included one clutch putt after another. Many questioned his involvement in forming and running the team, but Phil didn’t just talk the talk: He walked the walk and in his 11th Ryder Cup appearance proved that no one is better at turning controversy into conquest. Love him or hate him, you simply have to marvel. Expect to see him as the Ryder Cup captain very soon.

So who would you give a gold star to? Tell us who and why in the “Feedback” section below. And let the hype for 2018 begin.

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Sep 30, 2016 | 08:43 am

Follow LINKS on Social Media

As the Ryder Cup begins this morning at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota, LINKS Magazine is on the ground. We encourage you to follow our social media accounts, listed below, for a different look at the action. It won't be the place to find pictures of players' wives and girlfriends, but instead you'll find interesting facts and photos that appeal to core golfers. Let us know what you like to see and we'll do our best to take you to Hazeltine through our accounts.

If you want to talk golf, just shoot us a tweet or comment at the profiles linked below!

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Sep 29, 2016 | 06:21 am

Stars, Stripes, and Socks

Here at LINKS, we try to not get involved in politics, even when it crosses into the world of golf. But some other companies really like to step in it. Literally. Take Kentwool, maker of premium golf socks, which has added a series of “Politico Socks” to its 19th Hole Collection. As you can see above, the socks are available in a choice of styles allowing wearers to show off their affiliation and preference while putting their best foot forward. The socks cost $20 a pair and are only available on the Kentwool website. We’re certainly not going to ask anyone which style—elephant or donkey—they prefer. But as for taking a stand, how about this suggestion: Go with the stars and stripes and wear them proudly during this weekend’s Ryder Cup Matches.

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