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Jul 21, 2014 | 09:15 AM

Child's Play

If there is a lesson to be learned from this past weekend of golf, it’s the generational shift at the top of the game. Tiger and Phil? Too old, too injured. No, for the most part, the game belongs to the young like Rory McIlroy, all of 25, along with Rickie Fowler (25), Victor Dubuisson (24), Jordan Spieth (20) and so on. Kudos to the likes of Jim Furyk, who finished solo fourth at 44; Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott, who straddle the worlds at age 34; and, of course, the marvelous 64-year-old Tom Watson, who finds a personal fountain of youth in the British summer. But should there be any question about pro golf’s youth movement, look what’s happening on the women’s tour: You may have missed it, but 17-year-old Lydia Ko won this weekend's Marathon Classic in Ohio, and with the victory becomes the youngest female player to top $1 million in official earnings. Add to the young ladies roster the likes of Lexi Thompson (19) and Michelle Wie (24) and we’re likely to be talking about triumphant teens and 20s on the tee for a long, long time. Now let’s hope these precocious players lead a new group of youngsters to the great old game.

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Jul 18, 2014 | 06:48 AM

Wheezy Ryder?

In what may have been the quietest news flash in golf history, it’s being reported by a number of sources that the PGA of America is working with the PGA and European tours to create a Senior Ryder Cup, and the first matches could be held as early as next year. No idea yet of place yet, but NBC—which would broadcast the event as part of its new TV arrangement with the PGA of America—likes the bye week during next year’s FedEx Cup playoffs, between the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship in September. And it seems some elements of the format have been agreed upon: 10 seniors from each of the US and European senior tours would play 10 matches a day for three days, with a total of 30 points on the line. No idea yet if they’d be playing foursomes, four-balls, and singles as the “junior” Ryder Cup does, but given that event’s success and excitement factor, it would be unwise to bet against it. By the way, if this new event doesn’t satisfy your need for cups, the Presidents Cup will be a few weeks later, October 8-11, 2015, from South Korea.

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Jul 17, 2014 | 01:55 PM

A Closed Open

How would you feel after traveling for 22 hours and almost 5,000 miles on short notice for a potential tee time only to find out you won’t actually be playing? Ask Ben Crane. He did just that this week. Informed on Tuesday that he had become the first alternate for The Open, Crane flew from Portland to New York and then on to London before taking a car to Royal Liverpool. There was little time to shake off the jet lag since he had to be near the first tee when play began at 6:25 a.m. this morning in case there was a withdrawal. Unfortunately for him, there was not. But as expected of a guy perhaps better known for his humorous videos than his five PGA Tour wins, he took it in stride, tweeting: “I didn’t get in to @The_Open but don’t regret the trip. This is a special tournament. Didn’t want to miss the opportunity if presented.” While an estimated $20,000 in travel costs only dents the $1.3 million he has earned this season, another statistic probably has the 38-year old even more disappointed. His best finish ever in five Opens was a tie for 11th in 2006 — at Royal Liverpool.

 

 

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Jul 16, 2014 | 04:13 PM

All Bets Are Off

Part of the fun of playing in the Open Championship for some pros has been the ability to place a wager on himself (legal betting parlors are everywhere, including near this year's host site, Royal Liverpool). Most famously, in 1971, Lee Trevino, after capturing the U.S. and Canadian Opens, placed a 100 pound bet on himself to win at 14–1 and did so at Royal Birkdale. But the R&A is trying to curb the practice by making players sign an agreement this year not to place a wager on the tournament, even on themselves. The ban has been in place since 2011, but this appears to be the first time players actually have to sign something. Caddies are exempt, however, so players can get around it if they really want to and more than a few reportedly appear to be doing just that. Just for the record, Adam Scott and Justin Rose are the current favorites at 14–1, followed by Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy at 16–1, and Martin Kaymer and Tiger Woods at 20–1. Not that that this website condones gambling!

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