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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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Jan 26, 2016 | 02:20 pm

Be It Ever So Humble

Plenty of buying and selling will go on this week at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, but meanwhile some big-ticket items are for sale in other parts of Florida. Bubba Watson’s lakefront home in nearby Windermere—which he bought from Tiger Woods in 2009—has come on the market for $5.6 million. For just a smidge less—$5.5 million—you can be the proud owner of Mark Calcavecchia’s mansion by the sea in Tequesta, and if those aren’t posh enough, Lee Westwood’s palace in Palm Beach Gardens—all 9500 square feet of it—has just become available for $11 million (almost double what he paid for it two years ago). Now, Jordan Spieth, having banked $53 million last year, could easily have sprung for any or all of those but opted to stay close to home, recently laying out $7 million for Hunter Mahan’s Dallas digs.
 <Lee-Westwoods-Mansion.jpeg>Westwood’s place

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Jan 23, 2016 | 04:15 pm

Let The Show Begin!

The PGA Merchandise Show opens its doors on Wednesday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. This annual get-together—which is not open to the public, sorry—will gather more than 40,000 members of the golf industry including PGA pros, media, association officials, and manufacturers. There are seminars and roundtables, the PGA Youth & Family Golf Summit, and the kick-off to the PGA of America’s celebration of its Centennial. But for most visitors, the highlight is seeing the brand-new equipment and trying it out at a mammoth Demo Day held on Tuesday. Among the companies known to be introducing new clubs and balls are Ping, Titleist, TaylorMade, Callaway, Cobra, Nike, Ben Hogan, Wilson, Bridgestone, Srixon, TourEdge, and Cleveland, plus many others. There also will be new shoes, rangefinders, bags, rain suits, gadgets, and everything else that makes playing the game easier and more fun. The March issue of our digital magazine HOTLINKS will feature a special round-up of the new equipment: If you aren’t already receiving HOTLINKS, click here to sign up for free. We’ll also have new-product coverage in the Spring issue of LINKS and continuing throughout the year.

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Jan 22, 2016 | 06:11 am

Shorts Story

This weekend, the European Tour is playing in Abu Dhabi, where temperatures can get very hot. And while it’s only in the 80s this time of year, the venue still produced a rarely seen sight—pro golfers in shorts. Not caddies, who are allowed to wear shorts almost everywhere, even on the PGA Tour (as shown above), but players. As of this week, the Euro Tour allows competitors to don shorts during practice rounds, and a number of them did, including Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, and Darren Clarke. But nobody told Jordan Spieth, who is competing in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, or, as he told the media afterward, “I would not be wearing pants right now.” Despite golf’s long tradition of, well, traditionalism, we have to believe that shorts will eventually be allowed everywhere. So what do you think: Should it be okay for pros to wear shorts?

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