Jul 06, 2016 | 08:30 am

Scottish Breakfast

The best two weeks of armchair links golf gets underway tomorrow with the start of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, especially for those of us dying to get across the pond for some links golf only to find another summer coming and going without the opportunity. The next best thing is waking up to a virtual vacation, first at Castle Stuart in the Scottish Highlands and then at Royal Troon southwest of Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde. With the addition of Patrick Reed, J.B. Holmes, and Steve Stricker after the cancellation of the Greenbrier Classic this week, the Scottish Open will have even more of the world's attention. The last time Castle Stuart hosted the event in 2013, Phil Mickelson won and used it as a springboard to capture The Open Championship at Muirfield in dramatic fashion. Next week, NBC and Golf Channel televise its first Open Championship and Golf Channel is televising its first major with close to 50 hours of play, including the final round in its entirety.

Scottish Open TV Times:

Thursday/Friday 5:30 AM-1:30 PM, Golf Channel

Saturday/Sunday 9:30 AM-Noon, Golf Channel/Noon-2:30 PM, NBC

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Jul 05, 2016 | 08:38 am


With one week to go before the final field is set, the list of Olympic withdrawals continues, with the latest, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, making it an even dozen of the game’s top players saying no to Rio. Curiously, Riophobia seems to strike the citizens of certain nations more virulently than others, notably members of the British Commonwealth, with Australia and South Africa each showing three sufferers, along with the early Fijian victim, Vijay Singh. The Irish (McIlroy, McDowell, Lowery) also seem strangely vulnerable to the condition. But there’s no hint of Brexit as Englishmen Danny Willett and Justin Rose stand with Europeans Garcia, Stenson, Molinari, Kaymer, Dubuisson, et al, ready to board the plane to Brazil, along with Americans Johnson, Spieth, Watson, and Fowler. The current field of 60 qualifiers, which shouldn’t change much this week, with the Greenbrier Classic cancelled because of floods, can be found at

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Jul 04, 2016 | 06:32 am

Royal Troon Admits Women

You could say that they cut it a little close, but at least they did the right thing in the end. Royal Troon, preparing to hold the Open Championship for the ninth time next week, has voted—overwhelmingly, according to reports—to accept female members. That means the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, or Muirfield, is the only club with a course in the Open rota currently opposed to admitting women, and supposedly the club is planning another vote after a policy change just barely missed getting the necessary two-thirds majority a few weeks ago. Martin Cheyne, captain of Royal Troon, said, “We have said a number of times that it is important for golf clubs to reflect the society in which we exist and the modern world that looks to us. It is the right decision for the club today and for generations of golfers that will follow.” To no surprise, the R&A was pleased with the club’s decision, saying “we can now look forward to many more great championships at Royal Troon in years to come.” And no embarrassing questions this year.

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Jul 01, 2016 | 06:30 am

Why The Pros Are Saying No To Rio

Like presidential campaigns and celebrity marriages, Olympic golf is a story that changes every day. Just when we think the last name player has excused himself from his national team—Australia’s Jason Day being the latest, following on the heels of Rory McIlroy—someone else comes along. But try putting yourself in their cleated shoes and think about why a trip to Rio in August isn’t that compelling.

There’s the Zika scare, of course, with many men publicly worrying about its effects on their families, current and future. But none of the top women golfers—who certainly should be mindful of the possible health effects on their bodies and babies—have said they won’t play.

Instead, look at golf’s summer calendar: In a space of just a few weeks, the top players will head across the Atlantic for the Open Championship (July 14-17), to Canada for the Canadian Open (July 21–24), back to the U.S. for the PGA Championship (July 28–31), down to Rio (August 11–14), back to the U.S. for a few weeks before the FedEx Cup craziness starts in late August, and then, for the American and European players, the Ryder Cup at the end of September. That’s a lot of high-pressure golf—and travel—in just a few months, private planes or not.

Adam Scott—who was among the first players to bag Brazil—recently chimed in with another potential downer, the format for Olympic play: “Just having another 72-hole golf tournament with a weaker-than-most field doesn’t really pique my interest,” he said the other day before the start of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone, which is, by the way, yet another tough tournament on a tough track in the heat of summer.

Need another reason? Everyone knows the Olympics are for glory rather than money, but honestly, many of the Tour pros have been there, done that: They can get their patriotic juices flowing at the Ryder and Presidents Cup every year or two, so perhaps the idea of battling for flag and country holds less appeal.

And if you think the calendar-changing and globe-traveling arguments are done, wait until 2020 when the Olympics will be in Japan from July 24–August 9. As a number of newspapers have put it, “It took golf 112 years to get back into the Olympics, but for how long?”


Photographs: Andy Altenburger, Mark Alberti, David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

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