Jun 29, 2016 | 08:02 am

He's Doing What?!

The golf story of the year has to be Billy Hurley III winning the Quicken Loans National on Sunday. After getting in on a sponsor's exemption, the former Naval officer won for the first time on the PGA Tour in 104 attempts at a tournament dedicated to servicemen and women. In addition, the Tiger Woods-hosted event at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., is not far from his home in Annapolis, where he attended the Naval Academy. His win also comes 10 months after the disappearance and death of his father, a police officer. One of the perks of his win was earning a spot in the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon in two weeks, but Hurley, 34, unbelievably withdrew yesterday from the third major of the year. Why? His sister is getting married! So Hurley will be a groomsman at the wedding in Leesburg, Va., instead of playing in the game's oldest major. Clearly, Hurley knows something about loyality and commitment, having served in the Navy for five years, but talk about bad timing. Another unlikely winner this year, Jim Herman, will take his spot.

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Butler National

Jun 28, 2016 | 09:19 am

Caveman Central?

With both Muirfield and Royal Troon now likely to vote to accept female members, the last bastion of golf Neanderthalia is no longer Scotland, it’s… Chicago. Yes, the City of Big Shoulders is home to a greater concentration of all-male golf clubs than any city (or state or nation, as far as we know) in the world.  There’s testosterone-heavy Bob-O-Link and blue-blood Old Elm, both in Highland Park; relative newcomer Black Sheep, set on farmland in the western suburb of Sugar Grove; and Oak Brook’s Butler National, a long-time pro tournament venue that lost the Western Open a quarter century ago due to its ban of women. Amazingly, none of them seems to be mulling a change of policy.

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Jun 27, 2016 | 06:49 am

Golf And The Olympics: In Or Out?

We don’t know who was the last straw—in the last few days, both Rory McIlroy and South Africa’s Branden Grace said they wouldn’t play in the 2016 Olympics—but officials are showing frustration with top golfers taking a pass on Rio. Said International Olympic Committee member Barry Maister, “I don’t like it, and I don’t think the sport should be allowed to continue in the Games under that scenario. Once they’ve got in, they have got to deliver. Just getting in with your name, and then putting up some second or third rate players, is so far from the Olympic ideal or the expectation of the Olympic movement. The Olympics is about the best, and they pledged the best. Quite frankly, any sport that cannot deliver its best athletes, in my view, should not be there.”

Which raises some interesting questions, and we’d like to hear your opinions:

*Do you care if golf is in the Olympics?

*Are players within their rights to skip the games for any reason?

*Should the game of golf be penalized, perhaps dropped from the Olympics, for the actions of some of its top players?

*Does golf need the Olympics more than the Olympics need golf?

Let us know what you think, commenting below.

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Jun 24, 2016 | 06:36 am

Dream Team: Tiger and Rio

Here’s a scenario to consider: Tiger Woods playing golf for the U.S. Olympic team. No, we’re not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s fun to think about. And we have to think Tiger has. At his press conference before this week’s Quicken Loans National event at Congressional Country Club outside Washington, D.C., Tiger said that while he’s not ready to play just yet, “I’m still progressing and I’m still getting stronger,” and “I keep getting physically better. I just hope everything clicks in and I can [play competitive golf] sooner than later.” Admittedly, that doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready in seven weeks to tee it up in Rio, but you get the feeling he’d like to. For instance, when asked about Rory McIlroy opting out off Olympic play, Tiger said, “I think it will be a spectacular event just because it’s the Olympics. It would be better if we had a more top-heavy field… We have these top-heavy fields and I think the Olympics deserve that.” Do the Olympics deserve Tiger? Only he can say. And it’s not like he’s in the running, since he’s ranked somewhere down near 600th in the world at the moment. But maybe if enough other players drop out for “family reasons” and concerns about the Zika virus. And how about the Olympics as the stage for Tiger to return to? Hello, world, indeed!

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