Aug 23, 2013 | 06:43 AM

Better Than A Golden Spoon In Her Mouth

Whenever a Ping player wins a tournament, the company builds a gold-plated putter in his, or her, honor and puts it in their special club vault at company headquarters in Phoenix. A few weeks ago, Hunter Mahan looked to have one hand on another gilded stick when he was leading the RBC Canadian Open heading into the weekend. But minutes from teeing off on Saturday, Mahan received word that wife Kandi was going into labor with their first child back in Dallas, so he withdrew (earning both applause and jeers from the golf blogosphere) and quickly flew home to be there when Zoe Olivia was born early the next morning. Never say the people at Ping aren’t all heart, as they recently presented Mahan with a gold putter inscribed with the baby’s name, date of birth, and weight. Said company Chairman and CEO John Solheim, “The birth of a child is a win any way you look at it.” Maybe so, but does it get him into the Tournament of Champions?

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Aug 22, 2013 | 11:05 AM

Leaking Oil at Lahinch

Lahinch, the fabled links in Country Clare, Ireland, has it all: tumbling duneland, spectacular views across Liscannor Bay, and a storied history dating to the 1890s, when Old Tom Morris laid out the original course. (It was reworked in the 1920s by Alister Mackenzie and, more recently, by Martin Hawtree). Lauded as the “St. Andrews of Ireland,” this noble club, listed at No. 37 on the LINKS100 World Rankings roster, is, despite its international renown, in financial straits. According to a recent report in the Irish Times, Lahinch lost approximately 500 fee-paying members between 2009–12, forcing the club to reduce its initiation fee by nearly one-third, from roughly $32,000 to $12,800. Club captain Ray Hennessy blamed the membership drop-off on “the financial crisis,” adding that Lahinch is a second club for the majority of its nearly 2,700 members. On the bright side, green fee income is up 7 percent over last year. Bottom line: Get across the pond to savor a layout once described by Phil Mickelson, a club member, as his favorite links course. You may want to join, too.

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Aug 21, 2013 | 10:44 AM

Location, Location, Location

To the average golfer, the setting of a course and the views matter more than the strategy or design. Would Pebble Beach be one of the most beloved courses in the world if it were located two miles inland? Doubtful. Just like in real estate, the three most imporant things in golf course design are location, location, location. The Barclays host Liberty National has been criticized for its design elements, but you can't argue with the views of New York City and the Statue of Liberty. Does it deserve to be on our list of The Top 10 Most Scenic Courses in the World? Which courses would be on your list?

10. Kauri Cliffs (New Zealand)

9. Golf de Sperone (Corsica, France)

8. Cruden Bay (Scotland)

7. Teeth of the Dog (Dominican Republic)

6. Old Head (Ireland)

5. Cypress Point

4. Pinnacle Point (South Africa)

3. Pacific Dunes

2. Ballybunion (ireland)

1. Pebble Beach

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Aug 20, 2013 | 06:44 AM

Our Cups Runneth Overseas

With Team Europe’s convincing victory in the Solheim Cup, the trophies for all four of the game’s major team competitions remain on the other side of the pond—as they have been for the past two years. In 2012, the amateur teams from GB&I won the Walker Cup at Royal Aberdeen and the Curtis Cup at Nairn, and last September Team USA’s "Meltdown at Medinah" enabled the Euros to retain the Ryder Cup they’d won two years earlier at Celtic Manor. As if all that weren’t enough, Matt Fitzpatrick’s victory at Brookline on Sunday means that the U.S. Amateur and Open trophies of the same calendar year both rest in the hands of Englishmen for the first time ever. Has the sun set on the American empire?

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