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Volume Four Hundred Twenty Eight

Apr. 13, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin the LinksWe're now three and a half months into 2015, and one major championship into the golf season. Jordan Spieth, runner up a year ago, outlasted charges from major winners Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy to win his first green jacket (possibly one of many to come).

Spieth was dominant early on, and was able to coast to a record-tying final score of -18. He's the second-youngest Masters winner even, trailing only Tiger's 1997 victory, and he broke or tied just about every record his age didn't disqualify him from.

Woods himself joined in on the low scoring for a few days before Spieth dominance, and Tiger's own shoddy play on Sunday, knocked him out of contention.

We also take a look at great tournaments by Phil and Rory, a new limited edition shoe from Nike, bask in a bit of '90s nostalgia, and check in on old friend Anthony Kim.

Let's hit the links.

On Tiger Woods and Augusta

Apr. 9, 2015     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkI've started to question recently if I'm truly a golf fan.

Every now and then we'll get a TST forum member who decides that no one is a "real golf fan." They believe themselves to be, apparently, the sole member of this rare species. The rest of us are Phil fans, or Tiger fans, or Joost Luiten fans. Maybe they're right.

I think I'm a real golf fan. I still love playing golf, and I love following it, but there are a lot of ancillary aspects of the sport that grate at me. Golf isn't a particularly mainstream sport, and I think part of that owes to the general attitude of many golfers. Because allegiances aren't (grain flow) forged at birth, golf fans tend to pick their favorite golfers irrationally, and that boils over into their general golf fandom. Black-and-white opinions bug me in general, but especially in the golf world, a sport built on a foundation of black-and-white rules, they tend to be the norm. Nuance is lost. Outrage and sensationalism wins out over enjoyment. It stops being entertainment.

Golf has always been entertainment for me. If it ever ceases to be, I'll move on. Everyone keeps telling me hockey is great.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty Four

Mar. 16, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin the LinksJordan Spieth, who has managed to kick away a few solid leads over the past few years, finally notched another victory at Innisbrook, toppling the red hot Patrick Reed and a hard-charging Sean O'Hair. It took two insane flop shots on the last two holes of regulation and a bomb of a birdie putt in the playoff, but Spieth did manage to close out the Valspar Championship. Spieth now has a two PGA Tour wins, not too bad for a guy who was in first grade when Sean O'Hair turned professional.

This week we also got a check-in on Tiger Woods by Notah Begay III, we heard Patrick Reed attempt to dig himself out of the weeds, and were all witness to the mashup of rap and golf (R.I.P. to both).

Before I get too excited about the prospect of Rory McIlroy and Tom Brady playing Augusta National together, let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Twenty One

Feb. 23, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Hittin the LinksThis week we saw James Hahn get his first PGA Tour win at the Northern Trust Open, Lydia Ko win her 17th event this month (still fact-checking that one), and Scott Piercy get lost in an ocean of sand traps.

Tiger Woods was ruled out of the next few events, and Josh Scobee wants in.

All that, plus an antsy Michael Jordan, a second dose of DLIII, and a bit of manufacturing innovation from PING.

Let's get into it.

How Does Today’s Finish Predict Tomorrow’s?

Dec. 4, 2014     By     Comments (3)

The Numbers Game"He's on a hot streak."

"Rory just can't miss right now."

"You want Webb Simpson on your fantasy team this week, he's been playing great the last few months."

The hot streak. Long defended by athletes, denounced by statisticians. It pops up in discussions about three-point shooting, batting titles, and blackjack, but I want to talk about golf.

I don't really care about putting hot streaks, and it would have taken me a decade to comb though the data to chart individual rounds, but there was one thing I could check out: tournament finishes.

I wanted to see how a player's finish in one tournament ("event A") could be used to predict their finish in the next tournament ("event B").

My hypothesis going in was, with some reservations, that there must be something to the hot-hand theory. We've all seen the kind of streaks Tiger and Rory have gone on where they seemingly can't miss a putt, and we've all had our own streaks where nothing seems to go straight. I figured most pros would go through the same thing.

But the results told a largely different story.

TaylorMade Unveils New AeroBurner and R15 Lines of Woods

Nov. 14, 2014     By     Comments (1)

BD TitleTaylorMade got away from their core audience last year, and new CEO Ben Sharpe knows it.

The SLDR was released with less fanfare than they expected, and it took TM too long to realize that the "Loft Up" features of the club were more important than the moving weights. They tried to rescue that later in 2014 with the SLDR-S, but that line's overlap with the underwhelming JetSpeed just gave TaylorMade a muddled lineup.

The familiar "R" and Burner lines were no where to be found, and the RocketBallz line with which TM had so much commercial success was similarly jettisoned. The entire lineup was blue and grey, and they never quite decided whether they wanted the club crowns to be white, black, or somewhere in between.

TaylorMade's new lineup brings back some of the old standbys, while incorporating the technology that got lost last year.

Posted in: Bag Drop Comments (1)

Bobby Jones Blackbird By Jesse Ortiz Fairway Woods Review

Oct. 23, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Bobby Jones Blackbird Fairway Wood HeroI learned the game of golf on a pair of cut down clubs: a Mizuno pitching wedge and an Orlimar 3-wood, so both brands have always had a place in my heart.

Orlimar, a fairway metal giant back in the 1990s, has fallen off the map after head designer, and the driving force behind the company's greatness, Jesse Ortiz left in 2003. Ortiz has long been one of the game's most recognizable club designers, dating back to the days of permission woods. Though maybe not the best businessman, Ortiz had proven himself to be among the most innovative club designers in golf since joining Bobby Jones Golf a little less than a decade ago.

Ortiz and the higher-ups at Bobby Jones Golf have purposely limited the company's scope to avoid stretching it thin, focusing on drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids. Bobby Jones, with input from Dave Pelz, also formerly sold wedges with a firm, wear-resistant face backed by a polymer membrane, but those are no longer being made. A short-lived lineup of irons has met the same fate.

If you're going to review a Jesse Ortiz club though, it's got to be a fairway metal. Let's get into it.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (3)

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

Sep. 22, 2014     By     Comments (3)

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)
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