Jun 27, 2016 | 06:49 am

Golf And The Olympics: In Or Out?

We don’t know who was the last straw—in the last few days, both Rory McIlroy and South Africa’s Branden Grace said they wouldn’t play in the 2016 Olympics—but officials are showing frustration with top golfers taking a pass on Rio. Said International Olympic Committee member Barry Maister, “I don’t like it, and I don’t think the sport should be allowed to continue in the Games under that scenario. Once they’ve got in, they have got to deliver. Just getting in with your name, and then putting up some second or third rate players, is so far from the Olympic ideal or the expectation of the Olympic movement. The Olympics is about the best, and they pledged the best. Quite frankly, any sport that cannot deliver its best athletes, in my view, should not be there.”

Which raises some interesting questions, and we’d like to hear your opinions:

*Do you care if golf is in the Olympics?

*Are players within their rights to skip the games for any reason?

*Should the game of golf be penalized, perhaps dropped from the Olympics, for the actions of some of its top players?

*Does golf need the Olympics more than the Olympics need golf?

Let us know what you think, commenting below.

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Jun 24, 2016 | 06:36 am

Dream Team: Tiger and Rio

Here’s a scenario to consider: Tiger Woods playing golf for the U.S. Olympic team. No, we’re not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s fun to think about. And we have to think Tiger has. At his press conference before this week’s Quicken Loans National event at Congressional Country Club outside Washington, D.C., Tiger said that while he’s not ready to play just yet, “I’m still progressing and I’m still getting stronger,” and “I keep getting physically better. I just hope everything clicks in and I can [play competitive golf] sooner than later.” Admittedly, that doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready in seven weeks to tee it up in Rio, but you get the feeling he’d like to. For instance, when asked about Rory McIlroy opting out off Olympic play, Tiger said, “I think it will be a spectacular event just because it’s the Olympics. It would be better if we had a more top-heavy field… We have these top-heavy fields and I think the Olympics deserve that.” Do the Olympics deserve Tiger? Only he can say. And it’s not like he’s in the running, since he’s ranked somewhere down near 600th in the world at the moment. But maybe if enough other players drop out for “family reasons” and concerns about the Zika virus. And how about the Olympics as the stage for Tiger to return to? Hello, world, indeed!

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Jun 23, 2016 | 06:53 am

DJ, USGA, Oy Vey!

What is it with DJ, the U.S. Open, and putting? Last year at Chambers Bay, Dustin Johnson’s three-putt on the 72nd hole cost him the tournament; this year at Oakmont, his practice stroke at the 59th hole has cost the USGA credibility. Ever since a Rules official told Johnson on the 12th tee that his actions on the 5th green were being reviewed—with a penalty possibly being assessed, but not until after the round when Johnson would be able to view a video of the ball moving—the golf world has exploded in response. A significant number of players, most recently including Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods, have questioned the USGA’s handling of the situation. Then the USGA responded with a statement congratulating, thanking, and all but apologizing to Johnson, plus promising to review its policies regarding Rules incidents during a tournament. But that’s not the end of it, with the latest noise from the social-media world wondering where was USGA boss Mike Davis during all the brouhaha. It’s never good when the organization (or disorganization) of an event overshadows the event itself, and rest assured that changes are in the offing in how our national championship will be conducted, if not also some of the who, as well. Another note: While Fox Sports earned generally positive reviews of its second U.S. Open coverage—particularly for the unvarnished comments from Paul Azinger, Brad Faxon, and others regarding the Rules imbroglio—early ratings for the final round were none too good: Since 1988, only Martin Kaymer’s 2014 victory fared worse with viewers.

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Jun 22, 2016 | 08:15 am

History for Sale

In addition to golf, St. Andrews is famous for its great pubs. Combine the two and you've got the Dunvegan Hotel, just a pitching wedge away from the Old Course and the de facto 19th hole for anyone who plays the course. Now it can be yours for a little over $4 million. For the last 22 years, Texan Jack Willoughby and his Scottish wife, Sheena, have owned the landmark hotel, which has five rooms and memorabilia-filled pub, known as the "Golfer's Corner Lounge Bar," but have decided to retire. "We’ve had the time of our lives running the hotel and have loved meeting and hosting so many golfers, golfing celebrities and our true core customers, the not so famous golfing visitors, alike," Sheena told The Courier. “You just can’t describe the atmosphere at the height of the season, but the place just seems to have a magnetic pull of people from all four corners of the world.” Interested? Check out this great video of the hotel.

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