Mar 27, 2014 | 11:00 AM

Casting Votes

Scotland’s Royal & Ancient Golf Club, founded a mere 260 years ago, will vote this September on allowing women members (on the same day that Scotland votes on independence from the United Kingdom). So why now? "You can always ask that question: 'Why now? Why not 10 years ago?' The R&A have been considering this. It's been on our agenda, on our radar, for quite some time," said Peter Dawson, R&A chief executive. "The feeling is as society changes, as sport changes, as golf changes, it's something the R&A needs to do, and is doing now as being forward-looking as we can." If the vote is positive as expected, then the spotlight will shift to quickly to all-male Royal Troon, venue for the 2016 Open Championship. Few predict that club, founded only 136 years ago, will take the same forward-looking approach. 

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Mar 25, 2014 | 10:28 PM

A Full Cup

Even though this year’s Ryder Cup Matches are being held across the sea at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland, September 26-28, fans on this side of the Atlantic won’t have to miss a minute of the competition. NBC Sports Group has announced that through its two channels, NBC and Golf Channel, the Cup will be broadcast in its entirety in the U.S. Friday’s day-one matches will air on Golf Channel from 2:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. For the weekend, coverage shifts to NBC, from 3 a.m. till 1 p.m. on Saturday, then 7 a.m. till 1 p.m. on Sunday (all times Eastern). That’s 26.5 hours of live golf, the most-ever for a European-based event. NBC has grown cozier with the PGA of America since losing rights to broadcast the U.S. Open, which shifts to Fox Sports in 2015. NBC also will air Ryder Cup preview shows, features, and updates; the opening and closing ceremonies; highlight shows on various networks that are part of NBCUniversal; and Spanish-language shows on Telemundo and Mun2. NBC and Golf Channel coverage also will be streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra and Golf Live Extra. So come late September, there will be no excuse to miss even a minute of one of golf’s greatest events.

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Mar 25, 2014 | 10:44 AM

Swing And A Miss

The Florida Swing is over and in terms of fan appeal it was a whiff. Adam Scott’s Bay Hill meltdown was the fitting finale of four weeks where Rory folded at the Honda, Tiger came up lame at Doral, and the big story at Innisbrook was the slow play of Kevin Na. The four Florida champions—with an average rank of 92nd in the world at the time of their victories—were Russell Henley, Patrick Reed, John Senden, and Matt Every (above)—a veritable Who’s He. Meanwhile, the top six players in the world—Woods, Scott, Henrik Stenson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, and Justin Rose—combined for just six top-10 finishes. If you’re Tim Finchem, you’re glad to be leaving the Sunshine state behind, and a bit apprehensive of what might happen when everyone returns for The Players.

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Mar 24, 2014 | 07:00 AM

R.I.P., Jack and Frank

The past weekend was not a good one for golf, having nothing to do with what happened at any tournament. Two men passed away, two men who each in his own way brought our frequently full-of-itself game down to earth. Jack Fleck, who died on Friday at age 92, both shattered and launched dreams when he miraculously (is there any other word?) won the 1955 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club, snatching victory from Ben Hogan in one of sport's great upsets. Fleck was a club pro from Iowa with shaky hopes of playing the Tour when he finally overcame poor putting and a hair-trigger temper to birdie two of the final three regulation holes to tie Hogan, then beat him in an 18-hole playoff, 69-72. Also lost was Frank Hannigan, who began at the USGA in 1961 and rose to serve as its Executive Director from 1983-89. The 82-year-old Hannigan was smart, funny, often cantankerous, extremely opinionated, and despite a career among the blue blazers, an advocate for real golfers, many of whom had no idea who he was until he became an on-air voice for ABC’s golf coverage after leaving the USGA. At the highest levels of the game, where marching in lock-step is often the only way to succeed, Hannigan heard a different drummer. He will be missed.

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