Fasten your seatbelt, but don't bother checking your clubs as we take you on a trip through the hottest topics in the world of golf. We begin in China as one golf course Americanizes with an Asian flare. Back in the good old U.S., American stars and the pursuit of the American Dream have us flying high as the PGA Tour travels to a piece of property owned by one of the most entrepreneurial businessmen on the planet. No need to put your seat back in the full upright position. Just sit back, relax and enjoy this week's ride.
1. Surreal Golf: Mission Hills is at it again. This time with its Fantasy Course, the 12th on the massive property. It will feature terra cotta warriors and waterfall hazards, pandas and Mayan ruins and a green that is an enormous bowl of Chinese noodles. Serious. Yes. Wow.
2. Golf Boys 2.Oh: The Golf Boys are back with 2.Oh. Wow. If it doesn't make you crack a smile (Remind yourself these are talented professional golfers by day), I can't think of what would. I burst out laughing at my desk today, while watching the Birdman again, who crashed last year’s U.S. Open.
3. Team America: All nine winners so far in the 2013 Tour season are U.S. born. Here's the list: Dustin Johnson, Russell Henley, Brian Gay, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, John Merrick, Matt Kuchar and Michael Thompson. Time for the Internationals to step it up, and there’s no better place than this week, when the Tour splits its time between the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the Puerto Rico Open.
4. America's Sweetheart: While we're on the topic of American dominance, Stacy Lewis deserves a tip of the hat. The 2012 Rolex Player of the Year (first American on the LPGA to earn the honor since Beth Daniel in 1994) won the HSBC Women's Champions at Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore on Sunday.
5. Smart Golf: An advent in new technology has golfers attaching sensors to belts and golf club grips to track each shot during a round in the new Golf Game. These sensors combined with GPS and data sharing can be transferred to smart phones, tablets and personal computers for sharing highlights and garnering feedback from others through existing social media networks. 'See, share and compare,' said John McGuire, the CEO and co-founder of Game Golf, who is looking to revolutionize the way golf and other sports are played.
6. Carry-on Clubs: Don't worry about parting with your Scotty anymore. The TSA announced Tuesday at a conference in Brooklyn that they are making changes to aviation security that will take effect April 25. Travelers will now be able to board flights with up to two golf clubs. Other newly permitted carry-ons include small pocket knives, hockey sticks and ski poles.
7. Mat Kearney and Charity: We're revisiting Golf Boys to appreciate singer/songwriter Mat Kearney from Nashville who wrote the music and lyrics at the request of Ben Crane. The puns are worth a second look. Some of my favs, 'Vaca in Sang Moon Bae,' and 'I like olives in my Rory Sabbatini.' Also, 'I want to win so Aaron Baddeley,' and 'I get a massage every single Jason Day.' All proceeds benefit charity: water, which raises awareness and support for the clean-water crisis. Entertaining and environmental. I like it.
8. Third Annual Els for Autism Golf Challenge: It's the largest international charity-driven amateur golf tournament in history. Comprised of more than 20 events across North America, teams compete in a combined low-net event for prizes that include trips to Africa, South America and England, as well as a chance to join Els and other Tour players in Las Vegas. The Challenge has raised to date more than $4 million for autism between 3,300 rounds of golf and more than 13,000 donors.
9. Spotlighting The Top Three: Rory, Tiger and Luke. We get the fab three for back-to-back rounds this week as they tee it up at Donald Trump's TPC Blue Monster at Doral. Despite their top positions in the Official World Golf Ranking, there are plenty of questions surrounding them. Will McIlroy’s swing struggles continue following his walk-off in the second round at last week’s Honda Classic? And how's that wisdom tooth? Will Woods ever be able to dominate again at Doral as he did prior to 2007? And what's going on with Donald? We have only seen him play two times this year, one of them being an early out in the WGC-Match Play Championship.