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Superlatives: The Honda Classic

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This week’s Honda Classic takes place at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., home of the world renowned Bear Trap. As far as course nicknames go, the Bear Trap is right up there alongside Amen Corner, Hogan’s Alley and the Blue Monster for the best, most recognizable nickname on the PGA Tour. All that could change if the Tour decides to add an event in Knoxville, Tenn., at the Dead Horse Lake Golf Course.

The American Club

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Back in the mid-90s, the only reasons to consider a trip to Wisconsin were cheese, beer, bratwurst and the Green Bay Packers — not necessarily in that order. Well, times have changed. These days, “America’s Dairyland” is a golfer’s paradise and make no mistake — Wisconsin’s golf mecca is The American Club, one of the nation’s most-popular golf resorts and, in fact, the Midwest’s only AAA Five-Diamond Resort Hotel and one of only 57 Forbes Five-Star Resort Hotels in the world.

Bifurcation: Big Word, Big Consequences

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The goals of those at work in the equipment market have recently come into direct and increasingly noisy conflict with those of both the USGA and R&A. The precise source of the friction is difficult to pinpoint, but suffice to say, while manufacturers were coming to terms with the new limits of post-crash business, golf’s governing bodies were doing some soul-searching of their own. Robbed of the promise that the sport could grow and grow towards some distant and ever-receding horizon, they too have been forced to take greater stock of the present. Concerns about runaway technological innovation and the protection of historic venues from ludicrously long carries and spinning golf balls have leapt from the stalls to centre stage; high-spec equipment is no longer seen as a means of winning the future, but of potentially corrupting it. It’s a shift in thinking that’s put the multinational behemoths of the golf industry on high alert.

The Road Hole:~2020 Vision at Winged Foot

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MAMARONECK, N.Y. – No golf course in the world has as much of a devastating synergy of history and misery as Winged Foot, Graveyard of Champions. Both Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods called it “the toughest U.S. Open venue of all,” echoing the sentiment that has resounded though the decades, from Nicklaus and Palmer to Sarazen and Snead. Winged Foot has forever been the course where golf’s greatest champions go to die. Now with last week’s announcement that the U.S.G.A. will bring the 2020 U.S. Open to the fabled West Course, Winged Foot will host its sixth U.S. Open since Bobby Jones won there in 1929. Winged Foot also hosted the 1997 PGA Championship won by Davis Love III. “It’s a phenomenal choice, Winged Foot has everything,” declared golf architecture expert Bruce Moulton. “It’s seen some of the greatest history of the game, it’s a difficult, but fair test of golf, and it always gives us a dramatic finish.”

On Amateurism and Success

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The Joburg Open, held last week at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, possessed a field every bit as thin as the alpen air in which it was played. On a course stretched to nearly 7,700 yards – how else to accommodate the threat of those artillery round carries? – the cream of the South African circuit met a European Tour severely depleted by its transcontinental hike from the Emirates to contest a tournament worth €1.3 million, or scarcely a quarter of the prize money on offer at Pebble Beach. Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel supplied a flicker of star power, but in truth, this was a peripheral event populated by journeymen and tyros. You could be forgiven for not having paid attention.

Kick-Ass 9:~Monterey Madness

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7. Old-timey trick shots — I know you’ve been dying to see some trick shots from the 1930s—thankfully this video popped up on YouTube this week. Check out the legs on those dames!

Predicting the Pebble Beach Pro-Am

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The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is the most unique event on tour for a couple reasons. For one, it’s at Pebble Beach. Perhaps the most recognizable name in all of golf in terms of courses, Pebble is universally acclaimed for it’s scenic Pacific Ocean views and challenging links layout. But what makes this tournament so special and entertaining is the celebrity aspect. It’s the one time of year we get to watch some of the most recognizable faces in the world tee it up with the guys who do it for a living. We get to watch Bill Murray toss a huge fish into the crowd and do the pyramid in the middle of the fairway. We also get to see guys like Ray Romano try to break 100 while scratch athletes like Tony Romo prove they can (almost) hang with the big boys.

Superlatives:~The Clambake

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This week, Pebble Beach was third in a new listing of the top 40 public courses in the U.S., behind Pacific Dunes in Bandon, Oregon and Bethpage Black on Long Island. Not sure how they determined this list but I have asked Back9Network for a fully expensed trip around the country this summer just so that I can validate these rankings. Still waiting for a response however.

What If…~Personality Paid Pros

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The most important player on the PGA Tour has won exactly one time. He ranks 153rd in driving distance and a bleak 94th in total putting. But he’s a model for the future of the game, and his name is Rickie Fowler. Fowler rides dirt bikes. He wears his hat backwards and he experiments with facial hair. He’s close friends with Bubba Watson. You probably knew all these things—but can you think of one memorable golf shot he’s ever hit? I cannot. But go to any PGA Tour tournament and you’ll see kids wearing Fowler’s signature Puma hat.

Koepka Rips Sergio For Saudi Antics

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Sergio Garcia may be getting off relatively easily avoiding a suspension from the European Tour after being disqualified for a serious breach of etiquette last week at the inaugural Saudi International for intentionally damaging five greens, …

Tools: Spieth’s Winning Clubs at The Open

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Jordan Spieth captured the third leg of the career grand slam on Sunday at Royal Birkdale by winning The Open Championship.The 23-year-old Texan carried a three-shot lead into the final round and despite all of …

Tools: DeChambeau’s Winning Clubs at the JDC

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Bryson DeChambeau rallied from four shots back entering the final round to capture the John Deere Classic in dramatic fashion. The former NCAA Champion fired a final-round 6-under par 65 to overtake Patrick Rodgers. Check …