Feb 02, 2016 | 09:19 am

It's Primary Season...

In the same way that the Iowa Caucuses have begun to winnow the field of presidential prospects, golf’s early 2016 events have started to identify the contenders for the Summer Olympics. With five months of qualifying left, only the U.S. seems likely to field more than two players. According to the rules, any player ranking among the top 15 in the Official World Golf Rankings will be invited to Rio, with a maximum of four players from any one country; otherwise, it’s the nation’s two highest-ranking players. Currently, eight of the top 15 are Americans. If the Games were held this week Jordan Spieth (1), Rickie Fowler (4), Bubba Watson (5), and Dustin Johnson (8) would comprise the U.S. contingent. Patrick Reed (9), Brandt Snedeker (12), Zach Johnson (14), Kevin Kisner (16), and Brooks Koepka (17) are all well positioned to play their way into the field, but Jim Furyk (10) with wrist surgery now taking him out of competition for at least three months, is all but out of it. The only other nation with an opportunity to field more than two players is Great Britain with Rory McIlroy (2) and Justin Rose (7) appearing to be locks and Danny Willet (20) and Paul Casey (26) with outside shots. The teams will be finalized in July…just before the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. 

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Feb 01, 2016 | 06:34 am

America's Best

It’s not news to us, but many of the finest hotels in the U.S. are golf resorts. That’s the finding of the latest survey of the best getaways conducted by U.S. News & World Report, which crowned as its number-one American hotel The Lodge at Sea Island, which along with outstanding accommodations and dining has three 18-hole courses designed by Tom Fazio (that’s his Seaside Course, above), Rees Jones, and Davis Love III. Other golf places to place among the U.S. top 10 are Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii’s Big Island and Montage Palmetto Bluff in South Carolina. The magazine also rates the best hotels in the rest of North America, with golf standing tall at Mexico’s Rosewood Mayakoba, Four Seasons Punta Mita, and One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, as well as at Ritz-Carlton’s Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico. More than 2,500 hotels were ranked based on their reputation among professional travel experts, guest review, and hotel class ratings. Watch for ratings of international hotels soon.

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Jan 29, 2016 | 06:45 am

A Welcome Return

David Feherty makes his long-awaited return to televised golf next week when NBC airs the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Feherty, who left CBS last year after 20 years, will have an expanded role in NBC’s golf telecasts, according to SportsBusiness Journal. Besides walking the course with a player or group, Feherty sometimes will cover several holes from a tower or man the main booth overlooking the 18th green. Tommy Roy, who runs NBC’s golf productions, also wants Feherty to banter with the rest of the announce team—including other former players Johnny Miller, Roger Maltbie, and Gary Koch—and carry on conversations with Maltbie when the two cover the same group, “something totally new that we haven’t done before,” said Roy. As for the irrespressible Feherty’s give-and-take with the more sober Miller? “I don’t know what I’m going to get out of that,” said Roy, “but I think it’s going to be some pretty darn good TV.” We certainly hope so. Welcome back, David.

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Jan 27, 2016 | 09:06 am

Shark Gets Zinged

It's official: Paul Azinger is taking over for Greg Norman at Fox. While LINKS was the first with the news of the Shark's departure, Jaime Diaz at Golf Digest broke the news late last night that Azinger will become the network's new lead analyst and will sign a multi-year contract to partner with Joe Buck at the U.S. Open, the U.S. Senior Open, the U.S. Amateur, and the U.S Women's Open this year. Jim Nantz, meanwhile, told SI's Richard Deitsch that he was a bit surprised Norman didn't work out. “When Greg was the No. 1 ranked player in the world, [he] had a very strong tie with [former CBS golf producer Frank Chirkinian]. I can tell you Greg made many, many appearances in the 18th tower when he played in a tournament and was not in one of the last groups. We never had anyone more giving of his time to come up to the tower and put on his headset and tell us what had happened. I always thought he was brilliant. Basically, he got to work one tournament last year... It takes time for people to be together in any sport on the air, to be able to establish continuity and chemistry. When I interview coaches and players, sometimes you can see who is really gifted at rolling out a sound bite and saying it in a way that has never been heard before—interesting ways in making you think. I worked a lot with Greg over the years and I don’t know why they parted ways. I always had a lot of respect for what he offered when he came to his tower."

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