Jun 04, 2015 | 06:20 am

Tom’s Time

Ben Crenshaw’s sentimental journey around Augusta National earlier this year reminds us that we have become very familiar with an aging group of golf superstars making their final visits to major championships. There will be one more next month when Tom Watson plays in his final British Open. As reported in the International Business Times, last year at Royal Liverpool was supposed to be the swan song for the five-time Open Champion, but the R&A gave him special dispensation to play once more at the home of golf. Watson says his goal this year is to walk across the Swilcan Bridge on Sunday, which he would do with son Michael by his side as caddie. Although Watson’s recent major record isn’t good—he missed the cut at this year’s Masters, hasn’t played in the U.S. Open since 2010, and has missed the cut or not played in the PGA Championship since 2002—who can forget his incredible performance at Turnberry in 2009 when he reached a playoff and finished second? No matter when Tom Watson leaves the Open Championship stage, you can bet the cheers will be heard throughout St. Andrews—and beyond.

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Jun 03, 2015 | 01:57 pm

Less Bunkers, More Trouble

It seems like every year Jack Nicklaus has tweaked his baby, Muirfield Village, in some way. Since it opened in 1974, he has changed every hole at least once. This year it's the 18th, where he eliminated six bunkers and lengthened the hole by 44 yards. Players can blame Robert Garrigus, who flew the collection of nine bunkers down the right and drove the ball within 76 yards of the green on the 444-yard hole at the 2013 Memorial. The three remaining bunkers, which stretch from 285 yards to about 360 yards from the tee, are more penal, both deeper and steeper, making any approach to the green out of them very difficult. Now players will have to play left of them and be left with "a very significant shot in," said Nicklaus.

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Jun 02, 2015 | 09:18 am

Two Winning Mavericks

One of them calls himself Maverick, both of them are, and yesterday they took home the two biggest prizes in collegiate golf. Stanford Sophomore Maverick McNealy won the 2015 Fred Haskins Award as the best player in college golf. McNealy, son of Silicon Valley billionaire Scott McNealy, is an engineering major who didn’t play competitive golf until four years ago and isn’t sure whether he’ll eventually turn pro or forge a business career, despite a year in which he won six times including the Pac-12 Championship. Meanwhile, the NCAA Championship was won by Bryson DeChambeau, a physics major from SMU who learned the game from The Golfing Machine, the Homer Kelley book that breaks down the swing into 24 components with 144 variations. He compiled his winning 8-under-par 280 at the difficult Concession Golf Club course in Bradenton, Florida while pushing a hand cart, wearing a Ben Hogan-style cap, using irons that were all the same length, and playing one shot bare-chested. 

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Jun 01, 2015 | 11:36 am

What’s In A Name?

Do you belong to Rolling Hills? Play at Hidden Valley? Aspire to join Indian Hills? It’s very likely you know at least one so-called golf course as those are the three most popular course names in the U.S. According to the website Vizual Statistix, the top 10 names are the three above—out of 16,300 courses there were 38 Rolling Hills (including the one above, in Wichita, Kansas)—followed by Twin Lakes, Deer Run, Green Valley, Valley View, Willow Creek, Pine Hills, and Spring Valley. As for the words most commonly found in course names, they are, in order, hill, creek, lake, valley, oak, ridge, pine, spring, and meadow, with 968 courses having either “hill” or “hills” in its title.

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