Jan 12, 2015 | 06:13 am

Who Will Show The Open?

If you thought last year’s outcry over Fox Sports winning the rights to broadcast the U.S. Open (and other USGA events) was loud, the next TV contract battle could be even noisier. The R&A will soon decide which entity will air the Open Championship, and the pay-to-watch Sky Sports has a good chance at wresting away the rights from Britain’s free network, the BBC. The “Beeb” has had Open exclusivity for more than 50 years, but as a number of British newspapers, such as The Telegraph, have been reporting, things could soon change. “The BBC losing the Open would effectively spell the death knell for live men’s golf on terrestrial television” in Britain, wrote The Telegraph, which also noted how limiting golf to pay TV could hurt the game in other ways: Recent reports show golf participation is shrinking in the UK, as it is in the U.S. (Speaking of the U.S., we’ve yet to learn if a change in the broadcast rights would affect Open coverage here.) No surprise, where the Open goes ultimately will be decided by how much money goes with it. Stay tuned, indeed.

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Jan 09, 2015 | 12:24 pm

It’s Booming In The Bahamas

Chances are, wherever you’re reading this, it’s cold. So think about warm places to play, such as The Abaco Club, on Great Abaco Island in The Bahamas (above), where the forecast calls for high 70s the next few days. The 10-year-old private sporting club recently changed ownership, and has been acquired by Southworth Development, owner of Virginia’s Creighton Farms, Machrihanish Dunes in Scotland, and other private clubs and residential communities. Southworth will invest millions in renovating The Abaco Club, which already boasts a Donald Steel-Tom Mackenzie-designed golf course that plays along Winding Bay on the front side, on a ridge on the back, and is regularly rated among the region’s best. Speaking of the islands, for more about great golf in the Caribbean, check out the newest edition of HotLinks, the all-digital magazine from the editors of LINKS. It’s available now—for free—and includes a section on the Caribbean. Signing up for HotLinks also means you’ll receive all the other issues planned for 2015, including our big equipment special coming soon. Stay warm.

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Jan 08, 2015 | 01:11 pm

Most Eligible Golfer

Contrary to what most believe, Rory McIlroy is not No. 1 in the world. He's No. 35—at least on Town & Country magazine's just-released list of the Top 50 Bachelors of 2015. Here's what they said:

Why him? The Irish golf phenom, 25, was the first European to win three different majors, nabbing a reported $100 million deal with Nike in the process.

Likes: Controversy. He has traded insults with the Ryder Cup and Tigers Woods.

Natural habitat: Gym. Golf. Repeat.

Caveat: He credits his 2014 wins to breaking up with fiancee Caroline Wozniacki after the invites had gone out.

Just one question: How exactly do you trade insults with an inanimate object, not to mention a trophy. (Rim shot, please.)

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Jan 07, 2015 | 11:15 am

The King Has Spoken

In his yearly state of the game on, Arnold Palmer says reports of golf's death are greatly exaggerated. He concludes that we're seeing a normal "churn" of participants that are in line with historical standards and that equipment sales are only down two percent quarter to quarter, not the free fall that Dick's Sporting Goods layoff of 500 PGA pros would have us believe. "Golf has had a couple of tough years, but we’ve had them before," the King writes. "In fact, all sports go through cycles. Think of the NBA before Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Think of boxing after Muhammad Ali. Finally, before we bury golf, we might want to note that Golf Channel's ratings last year were the second best in its 20-year history. The fact of the matter is that golf is alive, well and booming worldwide."

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