Jan 20, 2016 | 10:44 am

Does it damage the game?

“Most Beautiful Women in Golf,” “Sexiest Tour Wives and Girlfriends,” scantily clad non-golfing models on golf magazine covers… Does it damage the game?

The move to digital has forced changes in the golf media business. Many magazines and media outlets have all but forgotten their core audience in an effort to reach an ever younger set of millennial eyes and increase digital advertising revenue.

Coverage of female golfers actually playing golf is difficult to find. You are more likely to find a gallery of the “Hottest Instagram Photos” than the results of that week’s LPGA event. If you look at the most popular story on a certain golf magazine’s website, you’ll find the “22 Hottest Pictures of Paige Spirinac,” an Instagram star who, while she was a college golfer, isn’t a professional player. Of those twenty-two photos, only three are related to golf.

Some call it click-bait while others call it damaging to the game, particularly the women’s leg of the sport. Is it golf media’s fault for creating this content or is it simply creating content where there is demand? After all, the Spirinac story is the most viewed on their site.

What do you think? Leave us a comment and we’ll start a discussion!

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Jan 19, 2016 | 08:51 am

Fox Watch

Two days after LINKS broke the news that Greg Norman was out at Fox, rumors swirl regarding his successor as the network’s lead golf analyst. Most of the chatter has focused on Paul Azinger whose glib, insightful work for ABC/ESPN has won him widespread praise. Indeed, some believe FOX has already made a deal with Azinger, is just waiting a bit to announce it. Meanwhile, dark-horse contenders include Norman’s bright and likable FOX teammate Brad Faxon; David Duval (an intelligent talker with Golf Channel experience, but is he smooth enough for the big time?); ABC/ESPN veteran Curtis Strange (he did win two U.S. Opens); and Tom Watson (his playing career’s basically over, so why not?). And then there’s the truly wild card: Tiger Woods.  Stay tuned. 

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Jan 18, 2016 | 11:17 am

One and Done

As LINKS broke last night on Twitter, Greg Norman has parted ways with Fox Sports after just one year in the booth broadcasting the U.S. Open and other USGA events. John Entz, the president of production at Fox Sports, said in a press release this morning that it was an "amicable separation" and Norman said as much, too. But while Norman has plenty on his plate to keep him busy with his multi-national corporation, the Shark clearly didn't see this attack coming. As he says in the current issue of Troon Golf & Travel magazine, "Everything will be different [next year]. We already are working from the production side of things, from the technology side of things. Camera angles will definitely be one. I just got a report that’s 32 pages long about it already, about what we want to do and what we expect and how we’re going to do it." Apparently, there wasn't anything in the report about a new lead analyst, but the early money is on Paul Azinger, who has worked with Fox's veteran golf producer Mark Loomis in the past as part of the Mike Tirico-Nick Faldo trio on ABC.

UPDATE on Monday, January 18, 2016 at 1:22pm

This just in: Greg Norman talks to LINKS about his departure from Fox.

In retrospect, how do you think you did as lead commentator for FOX?
"All I can say is this: going from what I was told by many at FOX and the USGA, knowing all that I put into the process, and considering it was my first run at it, I thought I did a good job. Not great, but good. Like trying to be the best you can be in golf, the more practice you have, the better you get. I only had one US Open Championship. I would have liked another opportunity, as it was so new to all of us last year."
Will you consider moving to another network?
"The learning curve was one that I truly enjoyed and I do believe I have a wealth of golfing experience on and off the course, design philosophy and agronomy knowledge, that someday I could express to the world. So I will certainly keep my options open."

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Jan 15, 2016 | 06:14 am

Congratulations, George!

George Peper, editor of LINKS Magazine, is being honored by the PGA of America with its 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. The formal presentation will be on Wednesday of Masters week at the annual awards dinner of the Golf Writers Association of America. Before becoming editor of LINKS in 2011, Peper was editor-in-chief of GOLF Magazine for 25 years, and has written more than 20 books including Golf Courses of the PGA Tour and Two Years in St. Andrews; co-authored books with Bill Murray and Greg Norman; and edited Golf in America: The First 100 Years and The World’s 500 Best Golf Holes. He also earned an Emmy nomination for his script of the PBS documentary “The Story of Golf.” (To read more about George and see the list of previous honorees, click here.) “George is a true friend of the game who has enlightened us with his passion, candor, and wit,” said PGA President Derek Sprague. “We are fortunate he chose our sport to immortalize.” All of us at LINKS feel the same way.

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