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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Jun 30, 2016 | 06:33 am

For July 4th, Show Your True Colors

It’s not too late. July 4th is a few days away, which still gives you a chance to pick up some stars-and-stripes-themed golf apparel and accessories. Here are a few of our favorite ways to show your spirit.

  • Loudmouth Golf’s new “Flagadelic” shorts (97% cotton, 3% spandex) are $79.50 from the company’s website.
  • Kentwool is offering a new USA Collection with five different red, white, blue, and starred sock designs. Order quickly and each pair is $17.76 (regularly $19.95), with a mix-and-match pack for $35.
  • Walter Hagen produces a men’s Americana golf shirt with a flag motif that is now available for $48.99 (down 15% from the original $58 price) from Dick’s Sporting Goods.
  • Seamus Golf’s American Flag head cover is made from 100% wool milled in the Pacific Northwest. Each driver cover (hybrid also available) contains 50 stars and 13 individual stripes, costs $195, and comes with a free American flag bag tag.
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Jun 29, 2016 | 08:02 am

He's Doing What?!

The golf story of the year has to be Billy Hurley III winning the Quicken Loans National on Sunday. After getting in on a sponsor's exemption, the former Naval officer won for the first time on the PGA Tour in 104 attempts at a tournament dedicated to servicemen and women. In addition, the Tiger Woods-hosted event at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., is not far from his home in Annapolis, where he attended the Naval Academy. His win also comes 10 months after the disappearance and death of his father, a police officer. One of the perks of his win was earning a spot in the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon in two weeks, but Hurley, 34, unbelievably withdrew yesterday from the third major of the year. Why? His sister is getting married! So Hurley will be a groomsman at the wedding in Leesburg, Va., instead of playing in the game's oldest major. Clearly, Hurley knows something about loyality and commitment, having served in the Navy for five years, but talk about bad timing. Another unlikely winner this year, Jim Herman, will take his spot.

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Butler National

Jun 28, 2016 | 09:19 am

Caveman Central?

With both Muirfield and Royal Troon now likely to vote to accept female members, the last bastion of golf Neanderthalia is no longer Scotland, it’s… Chicago. Yes, the City of Big Shoulders is home to a greater concentration of all-male golf clubs than any city (or state or nation, as far as we know) in the world.  There’s testosterone-heavy Bob-O-Link and blue-blood Old Elm, both in Highland Park; relative newcomer Black Sheep, set on farmland in the western suburb of Sugar Grove; and Oak Brook’s Butler National, a long-time pro tournament venue that lost the Western Open a quarter century ago due to its ban of women. Amazingly, none of them seems to be mulling a change of policy.

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El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Course
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