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Talking to Neil Sagebiel, Author of “Draw in the Dunes”

Sep. 22, 2014     By     Comments (1)

Throwing DartsNeil Sagebiel is a golf blogger at Armchair Golf Blog and author whose first book The Longest Shot detailed Jack Fleck's stunning comeback and subsequent 18-hole playoff with Ben Hogan at the 1955 U.S. Open, and whose new book, Draw in the Dunes, chronicles the 1969 Ryder Cup.

The '69 Cup featured two highly combative sides. 17 of the 32 matches were decided on the 18th hole, and the last match of the day, which featured Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus, proved to be the decider. Nicklaus, playing in his first Ryder Cup despite having already won seven major championships, conceded a missable putt to Jacklin on the final hole, an unexpected turn of sportsmanship that became known simply as "The Concession." Jacklin tied the match, and the United Kingdom drew even with the States, though the defending champion Americans retained the Cup.

I sat down with Sagebiel over email to discuss golf history, a few the sport's current events, and his own game.

Nine Holes With Patrick Reed

Sep. 8, 2014     By     Comments (1)

ProfilesOver the past year, few golfers have played as well as Patrick Reed. The cocky Texan won for the first time last August, and simply hasn’t stopped.

He's currently on the bubble for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, but his competitiveness makes him tough to leave off. Likewise, his cockiness makes him polarizing.

Let's take a look at on of the Tour's best golfers.

Posted in: ProFiles Comments (1)

Talking to Andrew Fischer, Bubba Watson’s Coach and Founder of FishFit

Sep. 2, 2014     By     Comments (2)

Throwing DartsFirst, thanks to all the TST readers and forum members who submitted questions over on the forum. Also, a big thanks to Andrew Fischer for the answers.

Fischer is Bubba Watson's conditioning coach, and has a new smartphone app out called "FishFit," which is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

Tiger vs. Jack

Jul. 21, 2014     By     Comments (23)

Thrash TalkTrying to parse out the respective greatness of golf’s two winningest major champions is probably the sport’s biggest unsolved mystery.

Jack’s supporters, largely those who lived through his career, tend to look at the one big marker that Nicklaus certainly beats Woods in: major championship wins, as currently defined. 18 remains a larger number than 14, after all. They also point out the Hall of Fame-level competition that Jack had to face throughout his career, including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and Tom Watson.

And Tiger’s supporters, generally younger, look to most other stats. Tiger leads Jack in PGA Tour wins, worldwide wins, Vardon Trophies, money titles, and many more. There’s also a very pervasive argument that Tiger’s competition, despite not having the dozen big names of Jack’s day, was far deeper, and presented a more of a weekly challenge where 100 different players were skilled enough to win rather than 20.

It’s an argument that often gets emotional and irrational, but if we want a real answer, we’re going to have to break it down.

Five Pre-U.S. Open Golf Stories

Jun. 6, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Trap Five LogoWe're in that weird low point that happens in the middle of every golf season. Post-Masters, post-Players, pre-U.S. Open; we've got all the anticipation of the beginning of the season without any of the knowledge that the end of the year brings.

And because we've got another few weeks until what is shaping up to be a Tiger Woods-less U.S. Open, there's no one overarching golf story on which to fall back.

Instead, we get pop-interest stories like Rory McIlroy's breakup, a Stanford University golfer using a push cart during a tournament, and a few nuggets from Tiger, with a bit of reflection on the year as a whole for good measure.

Let's dive in.

Callaway Apex Irons Review

May. 29, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Callaway Apex Irons Back HeroJust a few years ago, Callaway's lineup of irons was bloated, confusing, and redundant. They had a few uninspired options for better players, and had clearly put all of their effort into the game improvement market.

Several years later, Callaway's lineup has been completely transformed. Along with the holdover X Forged from a year ago, they're introduced two new lines: X2 Hot, and Apex.

Callaway didn't approach the Apex line lightly, and it shows. The label was originally made famous as the name of a line of Hogan clubs. After Callaway bought the Hogan brand in the early 2000s, both the "Hogan" and "Apex" names were retired, a development that many better players lamented, especially as Callaway recycled the Hogan "Edge" label into a set of gaudy game-improvement irons and despite Callaway's recent sale of Hogan to Perry Ellis.

As Callaway's most forgiving forged set of irons, the Apex irons need to strike a balance between appealing to both high- and low-handicappers, which is not easy to do. Let's see how they made out.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (3)

Cobra Bio Cell+ Driver Review

Apr. 25, 2014     By     Comments (8)

Cobra BioCell Plus HeroThough I've been quietly admiring Cobra's recent woods from afar, I didn't expect a whole lot from the Bio Cell+ driver when I signed on to do this review. The S9-1 and S2 scream my name every time I walk by the used club rack at my local big-box stores, and the L5V and ZL Encore were some of the few composite drivers that didn't make me want to stuff my ears with Play-Doh, but I had never actually put a Cobra golf club in my bag.

"Had" being the operative word there.

My interest in Cobra waned a bit after their spinoff from Acushnet (and thus Titleist) and subsequent purchase by Puma, though I'm realizing now that was a mistake. Cobra was one of the first OEMs to jump on the adjustable hosel bandwagon, which you can find in nearly all of the woods and hybrids they make.

They've also gone all-in on offering an assortment of colors, moving past "ghosting" to personalization, surely thanks in no small part to Rickie Fowler's fondness for orange.

But the changes this year aren't just esthetic. Cobra has introduced multi-material construction to go along with their E9 forged faces, which they say should give golfers maximum distance and straighter drives.

Let's dive in.

The Analytics Revolution is Coming

Apr. 10, 2014     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkIn February, nerds, statisticians, sports fans, and nerd-statistician-sports fans gathered in Boston, Massachusetts for the MIT Sloan Sports Analystics Conference. Since its establishment in 2006 by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, the conference has grown to feature athletes, media members, and statisticians from across the sports landscape.

Sean Foley, swing instructor to Tiger Woods, has been a vocal leader when it comes to the marriage of science and golf. He spoke at the conference alongside golf statistician Mark Broadie. One of the most outspoken adopters of TrackMan, an advanced launch monitor that uses Doppler radar to track ball flight and impact characteristics, Foley also coaches Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan, and is so busy that he recently had to turn away Luke Donald.

Analytics have revolutionized the way fans watch, talk about, and consume baseball and basketball, and now that's finally coming to golf. Let's dive in.

TaylorMade Tour Preferred CB Irons Review

Apr. 8, 2014     By     Comments (0)

TaylorMade TP Irons 2014 CB HeroThe Tour Preferred CB irons are, I suppose, the spiritual successors to the RocketBladez Tour irons that I reviewed a year ago. They're another cast set of irons with TaylorMade's Speed Pocket technology (a polymer-filled slot cut out of the sole) that TM is hoping will appeal to a mass audience as well as the occasional better player. Ideally, these are a spectrum-spanning set of irons.

You might not expect it, but these have already made it into the bags of PGA Tour players and weekend hackers alike. Let's see if they should earn a spot in your bag.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (0)
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