Being a relatively new website, From The Hazard has gone through quite a few changes during its first year of publication. I've been experimenting really. Trying to find a format and style that best serves the reader is a constant process and one that will continue into 2018. It's been a great deal of fun. Who doesn't feel blessed to be able to say that about their job?
With the year coming to an end, I thought it would be interesting to link up the top 5 most popular From The Hazard articles in 2017. Besides, the golf world is on vacation for a few more days so, since they aren't doing anything particularly interesting, here we go:
Back in May, I discussed Mr. Nicklaus being upset by a number of top players choosing to withdraw from his annual tournament. The reasons given by several players, after previously committing to compete, was the need to take care of ongoing injuries. Some believed the "injuries" were really just excuses to take some time away from the game prior to the U.S. Open. One of the players to withdraw was Rory McIlroy. His injury proved to be more serious than suspected at the time which ended up being a bit embarrassing for the critics in hindsight.
In one of my early experiments, I took on the challenge to live blog all four rounds of last year's U.S. Open. The result was a series of thoughts, highlights, and opinions posted throughout the day's play. The readership stats indicate that the concept was popular so I'll likely set up to do it again for an event or two in 2018. One piece of feedback, that makes perfect sense, is that the article should be formatted so that the oldest entries are at the top. It might make real-time reading more problematic, but easier for those that are looking to catch up on the days events after the fact. Live and learn.
This article focused on the discussion around Phil Mickelson's decision to skip last year's U.S. Open to attend his daughter's high school graduation. Some folks practically lost their minds over this. In the piece, I maintained that Mickelson had every right to be with his family on such a special day. It became clear shortly thereafter that Mickelson was in the early stages of starting to wind down his career. He would soon announce that he was break ties with his longtime caddy, Jim "Bones" Mackay, and replacing him with his brother. While Phil Mickelson will still be around, it seems he's ready to make golf less of a priority in his life going forward.
This rearranging of the calendar for golf's majors had been rumored to be in the works for some time. Back in August the announcement everyone was expecting finally was made public. The move is meant to keep from having the last two majors of the year stacked so closely together. When combined with how tight the schedule gets in years when both the Olympics and Ryder Cup are on the schedule, the move makes perfect sense. Starting in 2019, we will now have significant tournaments played throughout the heart of the season. The Players in March, the Masters Golf Tournament in April, the PGA Championship in May, the U.S. Open in June, the Open Championship in July, the Olympics (every 4-years) in August, and the Ryder Cup (every 2-years) in September. How this will affect the way players fill in their regular tour event schedules will have to be seen but I've heard very few serious complaints about the change so far.
2017 was a big year for golf balls. A huge number of new products were launched by both traditional and boutique companies. The Titleist ProV1 is no longer the defacto "best ball" in golf. The winners in this new golf ball war have clearly been the consumer, but with choice comes confusion. In this article, I decided to feature two of my favorite YouTubers, Rick Shiels and Peter Finch, who devoted a great deal of time on their channels to help us players make informed golf ball choices. They're two of the best in the space and the popularity of this post proves that out.
I had a lot of fun getting things up and running around here in 2017. A big "thank you" to all of the readers. Without you, there really isn't any reason for me to write all of this now is there? I'm very excited for what's to come in 2018 and I hope you come along for the ride. Happy New Year From The Hazard!