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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Mar 21, 2014 | 09:57 AM

Is This What We Mean By Match Play?

Our special all-digital equipment issue that came out last month was called “HotLINKS.” Turns out we didn’t know just how hot equipment can be. According to a study conducted by scientists at University of California Irvine, golf clubs with titanium soles can cause a spark when struck against rocks, which can lead to wildfires. The study was undertaken after fires started at golf courses in Irvine and Mission Viejo, California, where drought has led to unusually dry conditions. The only common denominator in the two incidents was the use of a club—in both cases a 3-iron—with a titanium sole. In this local news report on the study’s findings, it’s possible to see club-on-rock ignition. While this is nothing to laugh at and local golfers are warned to be mindful of the conditions, we can’t help but imagine the marketing folks thinking up a new ad campaign: “Set your game on fire.” Let’s hope not.

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Mar 20, 2014 | 11:05 AM

Open Drought

It’s official. The U.S. Open is returning to Torrey Pines in 2021. But will Tiger be there? Six years have passed since he won his third U.S. Open with an epic playoff win there over Rocco Mediate. Who thought then that Woods would go six years without adding to a major total that still stands at 14? And given his past and current injuries (back spasms knocked him out of Bay Hill this weekend), odds are against him being a favorite at age 45 when the national championship returns to his native Southern California in 2021. Still, he’s not the first multiple U.S. Open champion to go through a lengthy drought between titles. Here are the golfers who have gone the longest between U.S. Open wins:

11 Years – Hale Irwin (1979-1990)

11 Years - Julius Boros (1952-1963)

10 Years – Gene Sarazen (1922-1932)

8 Years – Payne Stewart (1991-1999)

8 Years – Jack Nicklaus (1972-1980)

7 Years – Andy North (1978-1985)

7 Years – Billy Casper (1959-1966)

7 Years – Cary Middlecoff (1949-1956)

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