The U.S. Open has been called the most democratic tournament in golf, but you have to carry a 1.4 index or lower just to enter a local qualifying tournament. That eliminates all but one or (maybe) two percent of the golfers out there. No, for most of us, the lowly scramble is the "tournament" we are most likely to play. And that's OK.
Humans are social animals. We live in groups, travel in packs to hunt down our mates, celebrate life events with large, communal feasts.
Golf, too, is social, but not entirely. For many, it's a solitary pleasure. Does that make it inhuman? Hardly.
Phil Mickelson wins in Boston, Tiger wins in Chicago, and only five have a chance now to win the FedExCup. Plus, Phil badmouths Tim Finchem, the site of the Tour Championship has bad greens, and much more in this week's episode of Golf Talk.
For this week's Show Notes - links to articles we discuss in the show and additional information - just read on.
I always find it interesting to watch Scotty Cameron tweak his designs. I mean, how many putter makers have produced so many variations on a theme as he has done with his multiple incarnations of Newport-style heads?
It now appears he's traveling down that same road with his Red X mallet putters. Unlike the first mallet putters he produced shortly after joining Titleist (the Caliente and Bolero models) that weren't exactly blockbusters, the Red X putters have established a very strong following among those who favor a mallet head.
It's easy to understand why. It's a classic shape, beautifully milled, and available in multiple lengths and head weights… as long as you're right handed. Here's a look at his latest takes on what a mallet can be…
The fairway metal may be the most under-rated and least publicized club in the bag. It doesn't command the $400 price tag of some drivers, nor does it supply as much drama as "letting the big dog eat." It's not the newest rage in golf - that honor belongs to hybrids. It can't make a ball spin like crazy or hit a glamorous flop shot like the modern wedge. It doesn't make 50-foot putts (or miss three-footers) and it isn't used on virtually every hole like irons.
Still, as a player's handicap drops, he typically relies on his fairway woods more and more. Whether it's playing safe on shorter, tighter par fours or hitting to long par threes or trying to reach long par fives, many better players will use their fairway metals more times during a round of golf than their driver.
Titleist has long held its own in fairway metals. Tiger Woods held onto his Titleist PT 3-wood for years after signing with Nike for a reason: he couldn't find anything better. Last year, Titleist replaced the 904F with the 906F2 and, this year, supplements the lineup with the 906F4. I've had a chance to play both, and I believe Titleist has another winner on its hands.
Earlier this week, I took the first lesson I've had in years. As always, it was a slightly unsettling experience to have someone watching and critiquing my swing, but one that I hope will eventually result in more consistency and lower scores. Regardless, it's definitely got me thinking about the golf swing.
I didn't take lessons as a kid. I just started hitting balls around, had about ten minutes of instruction from a friend on the high school golf team the first time I played a course, and that was pretty much it for the first 20 years I played. I've just experimented on my own and found things that worked (or didn't). I've read golf books and picked up tips from playing partners. Again, some worked, and some went horribly awry. Some of them worked for awhile, and then went horribly awry. It's a fun game, isn't it?
I'll bet you that when it comes to the subject of the FedExCup, there have probably been at least 25 negative commentaries in print, on the Web, and on TV for every one positive one. And that might be understating it.
Whenever I see something like this happening, my contrarian gland starts pumping skeptic hormone through my bloodstream, usually resulting in a string of maniacal rants against popular opinion. So far this season, however, I've been pretty measured in my comments to friends, on blogs, etc., on this matter, afraid of being branded an idiot for supporting what has been, until two weeks ago, little more than a cheesy marketing blitz.
And while I have my reservations on the matter, I'm ready to come out of the closet. The FedExCup is a good thing, with the potential to be much more.