Jan 16, 2015 | 06:56 am

A Couple Of Kiwis

Two players from New Zealand are in the news—and going in opposite directions. Lydia Ko, the 2014 LPGA Rookie of the Year (at age 17), played in 26 events last year and made 26 cuts, won three times, and earned more than $2 million. She’ll kick off her sophomore season in two weeks at the Coates Golf Championship in Ocala, Florida, with the eyes of the golf world upon her. They’ll be seeing a new-look Ko, if her official LPGA portrait, above left, is accurate: She seems to have ditched the big eyeglasses and acquired a new hairdo. Also on our radar was Michael Campbell, the 2005 US Open champion, who was competing in this weekend’s European Tour’s Abu Dhabi Championship. Due to injuries, Campbell sat out most of 2014, during which time he fell more than 1,000 places in the world ranking, entering this week somewhere in the 1400s. We were pulling for the personable 45-year-old to regain his old form, but are sorry to report that he withdrew after the first nine holes citing personal problems. He was six-over par.

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Jan 15, 2015 | 01:09 pm

The Five W's of the Big W

With the start of the Sony Open today at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, we'll be treated to a lot of shots of the big W behind the 7th hole (played as the 16th during the tournament). We have one of the members, Ethan Abbott, to thank. No, he wan't hit on the head by a coconut. Abbott, you see, is a big fan of the 1963 comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World that starred a who's who of Hollywood stars and revolved around finding $350,000 under a big W. Abbott even made the video above to convince his fellow members that replacing the four straight palms with bent ones at a cost of just $4,000 would help give the club an identity. Wow, was he right. The trees have even become the club's unofficial logo, appearing on much of the merchandise in the pro shop. The one in the movie was real, too, by the way, and was located near L.A. in Palos Verdes, but, sadly, only one of the palms remain.

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Jan 14, 2015 | 03:39 pm

Shooting Star

Even though Jimmy Walker lost in a playoff to Patrick Reed on Monday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, his star is clearly on the rise in more ways than one. Not only was he seeking his fourth win in the last 15 months, but Walker, 34, is also an accomplished astrophotographer who has taken some phenomenal photos, which you can view on his website NASA has even published two of the defending Sony Open champ's images on its "Astronomy Photo of the Day" page. The most recent on Dec. 27th was of cosmic clouds in emission nebula IC 1805 in the northern Milky Way 7,500 light years away. What's more, Walker can remotely take photos with his computer or even his smartphone since his equipment—telescope, camera, and computer—are set up with New Mexico Skies Remote Telescope Hosting in Mayfield, N.M, elevation 7,300 feet. Maybe he should change his name to Jimmy Skywalker.

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Jan 13, 2015 | 09:15 am

Only The Donald

Say what you will about Donald Trump, he knows how to stage a media event. Who else could debut a golf  course with the aid of a few dozen of the world’s most beautiful women. This week The Donald announced the reopening of the Red Tiger (formerly simply the Red) Course at Doral, after extensive renovations by Gil Hanse. Helping him do the honors were the contestants in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, owned and run by Trump and to be held at Doral next weekend. Trump offered few details about the new Red except to say, of course, that it was one of the great golf courses in the world. He also used his opportunity in front of the media to comment on world politics and the possibility that he’ll run for president. See for yourself.

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