Jul 25, 2014 | 06:32 am

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

In a week when most of the golf news was bad—Dick’s Sporting Goods laid off 500 golf pros, HBO’s Real Sports aired a report on golf’s decline in the U.S., and the TV ratings for this year’s three majors are way down (the Masters had its lowest weekend ratings in almost 60 years; the final round of the U.S. Open had its smallest rating on record; and Sunday’s British Open round ratings were down 28 percent from last year)—there were a few less ominous developments. First, hundreds of golf balls washed up on the north coast of Tasmania, near the new courses Barnbougle and Lost Farm, when a dune collapsed. Second, the two beautiful Robert Trent Jones-designed courses at Kananaskis in Alberta, Canada, are receiving an $18 million cash infusion to restore them after last year’s horrendous flooding. Third, here’s a charming video of Padraig Harrington hitting shots blindfolded. And finally, in the ultimate cultural mash-up, a group of Australians made a golf parody, on video, of the Queen song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Hey, you might as well laugh, right? Have a good weekend. Hit ‘em straight!

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Jul 24, 2014 | 07:05 pm

Caddie Communications

The mantra for caddies has always been Show Up, Shut Up and Keep Up. Not anymore. According to research published recently by Loughborough University in Leicestershire, England, it’s now all about the 4 Cs: Closeness, Commitment, Complementarity and Co-Orientation. Dr. Sophia Jowett, Director of Research Degrees at Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, said that, “The 4 Cs are fundamental to a successful partnership – Closeness includes trust, appreciation and respect, Commitment is about long-term orientations, Complementarity is about responsiveness, openness and acceptance of roles, and Co-Orientation includes shared knowledge and understanding. Not surprisingly, communication is very important and most disagreements revolved around golf strategies such as club selection and shot decisions.” More importantly, the research also indicated that a good quality caddie relationship can improve a golfer’s performance by 30%. So pick the right looper and you’ve got that going for you. 

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Jul 23, 2014 | 12:38 pm

Grand Plan

Rory McIlroy looks like a good bet to become the first player since Padraig Harrington in 2008 to win back-to-back majors when he tees it up at Valhalla next month, but given that he already has a PGA Championship, he now has his sights set on the career Grand Slam by winning at Augusta next year, making him the sixth player to do so after Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tiger Woods. In an ironic twist, just making the cut on the number at the 2014 Masters might help him win the 2015 tournament. An odd number of players made the cut, so McIlroy, as the first one out, had to play with a non-competing marker, Augusta member Jeff Knox, who also happens to be a two-time Georgia state amateur champion and holds the course record (61) from the members' tees. Knox actually beat McIlroy by a shot (70–71) and the Irish lad said Sunday after winning the Open that he may have to play a couple of practice rounds with Knox before next year’s tournament because “he’s the best I’ve ever seen on Augusta’s greens.” When word of that reached Knox, he said he really didn’t think McIlroy needed his assistance but he’d be happy to help in any way he could. “I think in general there are a couple of greens out there you have to be careful with, or know they break a different way than it might appear. I know that place pretty well, and if I can just help (save) half a shot a day, that could be the difference. I would love to help him win a green jacket.”

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Jul 22, 2014 | 06:10 am

Raining On Their Parade

So with three majors behind us, we have three different champions and this remains a weird year. Rory’s dominant win at Hoylake affirmed his immense talent, but as at the other two majors, it was a week of comparatively little drama. Adam Scott remains world number one, but there’s no consensus player of the year. (Martin Kaymer, with wins at The Players and U.S. Open, getting the grudging nod.) Meanwhile, Phil (above) has no Top 10s and Tom Watson has more FedEx points than Tiger. The only ones lighting it up are the ladies, who in the past two weeks have continued to shine—first Mo Martin’s shot-of-the-year British Open title at Birkdale, and now 17-year-old Lydia Ko winning her fourth title and becoming the game’s youngest millionaire. This on top of earlier major wins by starlets Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie. Who would have thought there could be a year when the LPGA put on a better show than the men? But that’s exactly what’s happened in 2015. So far.

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