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Graphing the World Rankings

Sep. 15, 2013     By     Comments (1)

xxxxA few months ago, back when Tiger was chasing down the number one ranking, I got an idea: Why not graph out the trajectories of the world's top players over their careers, using the official data available on the Official Golf World Rankings website? At the time, the OWGR site only provided downloadable player data back until about 2003, which is fine for the careers of Rory McIlroy and Brand Snedeker, but, as you'll see below, the Phil Mickelson graph from 2003 on is relatively boring.

Thankfully, when I looked at the data again this month, they had expanded the data all the way back to their career beginnings. Ernie Els, for instance, the oldest player I tracked, has data going back to 1989.

So this is what I decided to do: I got the points tally and OWGR ranking data for the top 15 players in the world as of July 7th (a while ago, I know, but it takes a while to compile and graph all of the data), and graphed both sets. The OWGR points and rankings are through that same day, so they do not include Phil Mickelson's Scottish Open win or his British Open title. Tiger's Bridgestone win is similarly unrepresented.

I decided to normalize the y-axes with a maximum of 25 points and a 500 ranking for comparison's sake, though with some of the more consistent golfers (Tiger, Phil, Ernie for much of the mid-2000s) that is a bit to their detriment (in that you can't see the more slight variations). The x-axes are different for each player, going back to the very beginnings of their pro careers. The OWGR data can get a bit wonky at the very beginnings of the data, which you can see pretty easily in the Tiger and Rory graphs. The y-axes cutoffs do minimize that a bit.

At the beginning I've also created two graphs, which superimpose data for all 15 players dating back to 2003.

If graphs aren't your thing, well, read the captions and enjoy the colors. And if you have to use Excel all day at your job, fear not, for I used the Apple app, Numbers.

OWGR Graphs July 2013 Top 15 Points

OWGR Graphs July 2013 Top 15 Ranking

Five Tour Roundup: July 2013

Jul. 30, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Trap Five LogoHere in the U.S., there are five golf tours aired on television: the PGA Tour, the LPGA Tour, the European Tour, the Web.com Tour, and the Champions Tour. Since we're about halfway through the season, it seems like now would be a good time to recap the action throughout the world of golf.

The PGA Tour has seen occasional dominance of four-time winner Tiger Woods, though he's shrunken during crunch time at the majors. The opposite could be said for Inbee Park, six-time winner on the LPGA Tour this year, and current grand slam candidate with three major wins thus far. The Web.com and Champions Tours each have a single multiple-time winner, while the Euro Tour has just two.

Let's get to it.

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BombTech Grenade Driver Review

Jul. 29, 2013     By     Comments (7)

BombTech Grenade Driver SoleWhen I heard that we had a chance to review the BombTech Golf Grenade driver, I jumped after the opportunity after a bit of research. BombTech Golf is a new company, based out of Vermont, that makes clubs by hand in the United States. Their first club, the Grenade driver, was co-engineered with the University of Vermont engineering department as a part of their senior design project.

Why did I jump at the opportunity? Because I'm an engineer myself.

The BombTech Golf website reads more technically than most. It includes SolidWorks CAD models and computational fluid dynamics simulations, as well as a drag force calculation, not exactly the types of information that companies like TaylorMade or Nike would be willing to give out.

They might not market like the big boys of the golf industry, but could their drivers perform like the OEMs'? Let's find out.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (7)

TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour Irons Review

Jul. 13, 2013     By     Comments (0)

TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour
Last year, with the release of the RocketBallz line of woods, TaylorMade unleashed a massive marketing blitz unusual for the golf market. While their irons have long been solid, TaylorMade still hasn't cemented themselves as the same dominating force from the short grass as they are off the tee.

Enter RocketBladez. TM's newest line of irons were leaked back in October, and they claim to have brought the same (or similar) Speed Pocket technology from the woods. The Tour model that I have been testing is, of course, aimed at the better players, with thinner soles and toplines, minimal offset, and a straighter leading edge.

Ever since I played my first set of wide-soled super-game-improvement irons, I've been of the opinion that most people can get away with (or even benefit from) playing irons slightly better than their skill level. That was the main take-away when I reviewed the Adams CB3 Black irons last year, and that's what I've come to believe here again. Read on to find out why.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (0)

Adams Super S Fairway Woods and Hybrids Review

Jul. 12, 2013     By     Comments (3)

Adams Super S Fairway SoleAbout a year ago, TaylorMade-adidas Golf announced that they had acquired Adams Golf for roughly $70 million, a large sum of money but a price that the most profitable company in golf was willing to fork over. Adams had purchased the putter makers Yes! a few years prior, and between the two they held a sizable sum of patents, all of which TaylorMade now controls.

Adams has become TM's little brother; a place for the big boys to take risks, test things out, and share in the mutual spoils. TaylorMade has worked to integrate aerodynamics from Adams, and, as the crowns of this Super S line of woods show, Adams has integrated some of TM's technology into their own clubs.

The Super S fairway woods are along the lines with what Adams has been cranking out for a few years now (including the Fast 12s that I reviewed last year), but the hybrids are a bit of a departure. Adams held onto a more iron-like hybrid design much longer than most OEMs, but they too have transitioned to a more fairway wood-like sole and crown design.

Has Adams managed to balance their own traditional design with the influence of TaylorMade? Read on to find out.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (3)

Callaway Forged Wedges Review

Jul. 10, 2013     By     Comments (3)

Callaway Forged WedgesWedges really have not changed much lately, especially since the inception of the new groove condition of competition back in 2010. We used to hear from OEMs yearly about "Y-Cutter" grooves or "Mack Daddy" grooves or "Zip Grooves," and now - nothing. In the ever-popular evolution vs. revolution dichotomy, what we have seen with wedges doesn't even register on the scale.

We have seen refreshes and we have seen steps-up, but nothing show-stoppingly innovative, nothing that will truly blow your socks off with technology.

Callaway isn't necessarily here to change that. Callaway is going to offer their typical brand of understated refinement, and to bring a certain amount of elegance to the wedge game. After the slightly flashier X-Forged and JAWS lines of wedges, the Forged Wedges are minimalist, simple, and great-looking. And from a variety of lies, they perform great.

That's as good a reason as any, but is it enough of a reason to buy a few over similar offerings from Titleist and Cleveland? Read on to find out.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (3)

Five People Who Need to Win the U.S. Open

Jun. 11, 2013     By     Comments (2)

Trap Five LogoThe U.S. Open heads to Merion Golf Club this year for the first time since 1981. The second major of the year comes around the halfway point during what has been one of my favorite seasons in a while.

We've seen Tiger Woods return to near top form, winning four of his first eight events, though he's still yet to win a major since the broken-knee victory at Torrey Pines in 2008. Three of the wins have come at courses where he's traditionally dominated (Torrey, Doral, Bay Hill), though he threw in a win at Sawgrass and a missed cut at Murfield for good measure.

There's also Phil Mickelson, who won in Phoenix early on but was virtually non-existent at The Masters, Rory Mcilroy, who is winless in Nike clothing, and of course Adam Scott, the winner of the season's first major.

We'll also take a look at the future of short courses in major championships, and the USGA needing a good week.

Nike VR_S Covert and Covert Tour Drivers Review

May. 20, 2013     By     Comments (10)

Nike Covert Driver Tour SoleMoment of inertia.

It was the name of the game about five years ago, thanks to square drivers, perimeter weighting, and a USGA restriction on the industry's previous CoR and clubhead inroads. MOI was capped eventually, but even before hitting the max the OEMs turned away en masse. We haven't seen anything quite so boxy in a while, and objectives seem to have turned. Companies got sidetracked towards adjustable hosels, colorful crowns, and innovative aerodynamics.

But it's back. Ever since Karsten Solheim designed the original Anser putter way back when, the golf industry has been trying to find new and creative ways to distribute weight to the edges of the clubhead. Not just with putters, but with cavityback irons and woods as well. Until now they had to resort to odd shapes (namely, squares or triangles) or heavier tungsten inserts.

Nike says the Covert, and its rear cavity, has changed the game. Let's take a look.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (10)

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Review

Apr. 3, 2013     By     Comments (1)

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Box ArtAround this time one year ago, I wrote a review of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, using a copy of the game I bought myself. I've been a loyal consumer of the Tiger Woods series of video games since about 2002, when the games were much, much simpler.

After a few off years, Tiger 13 was a step in the right direction, and Tiger 14 continues that. There are some bad things, and a few things that had me ready to snap my controller in half, but I can say with certitude that Tiger Woods 14 is the best game to date.

It keeps Augusta National, which was introduced in the 2012 version, and has expanded to include all four major championships (the real names, not just "Summer Major Championship"). The LPGA joins the PGA Tour, and more courses are included standard that in recent year.

More importantly, for the first time since the mid-2000s, former PGA Tour pros are in the game. Tiger 14 includes an assortment of major champions, including Arnold Palmer, who joins Tiger on the cover. The game retails for $60 on Xbox 360 and PS3, or $70 for the Collector's Edition (if you buy the regular edition, you can always upgrade to the collector's via DLC, for about $20). Kinect and Move support remain, though I have neither, so I won't be reviewing them.

Let's dive in.

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