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TaylorMade ATV Wedge Review

Sep. 12, 2012     By     Comments (6)

It's a testament to TaylorMade's insane devotion to innovation that just about every TM-related equipment review starts like this: "Not long after the release of their last technology-packed golf club, TaylorMade is back with another highly-touted line." This time it's wedges.

After success for a few years marketing the groove design in their wedges (Y-cutter grooves, Z-grooves), TaylorMade came out with the world's first wedge with a replaceable sole, the xFT. It was a solid wedge on a number of levels, but not exactly on the Cleveland or Vokey echelon. This year they've gone away from the replaceable route, instead opting for a radical sole design.

Bounce is the name of the game when it comes to wedges. It's invaluable in sand shots, and the most consistent short game shots are those that utilize bounce. But instead of offering copious options (like Vokey), or an extensive fitting system (like Edel), TaylorMade has gone for a one-size-fits-all approach.

Does the uniform system benefit the most golfers, or is TaylorMade leaving something on the table when it comes to individuality? Read on to find out.

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Nine Holes with the Front Nine at TPC Boston

Sep. 2, 2012     By     Comments (0)

ProfilesThe Boston area is not particularly known for its golf. We have one tournament in the area per year, The Deutsche Bank Championship, and Brookline’s The Country Club has hosted the occasional major (as well as the 1999 Ryder Cup and next year’s U.S. Amateur). Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, MA, used to host a PGA Tour event until the tournament folded in the late-1990s. That's about it.

Thankfully, the emergence of The Deutsche Bank as an important FedExCup Playoff event (and it’s tendency to produce big-name winners) coupled with New England-native Keegan Bradley has increased the stature of professional golf in the area.

Winners tend to be well into the double-digits below par, and to pull out the Deutsche Bank you generally need to get off to a fast start on the relatively easy front nine. Here’s a description of what the world’s best are facing.

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Five FedExCup Golfers to Watch

Aug. 24, 2012     By     Comments (0)

Trap Five LogoNow in the sixth year of it's FedFexCup playoff system, the PGA Tour has finally finished its tweaking, and they may have struck gold. Though it's still a little odd that Bill Haas won last year (and is fourth in total FedExCup points accumulations since its inception), the system has generally done a good job at not only awarding the player who played the best when it mattered, but showcasing great golfing talent and awesome golf courses.

The Barclays journeys to Bethpage Black in 2012, and joins TPC Boston, Cog Hill, and East Lake to form a pretty solid four-week stretch of championship golf. Several of golf's biggest stars have rounded into shape, including two-time FedExCup champ Tiger Woods and 2012 PGA champ Rory McIlroy.

But though most of the sport's biggest stars have spent time in the winner's circle this year, no one has dominated in the way we were accustomed to seeing in the mid-2000s, and the list of players still with a chance is large. Aside from the more obvious big names, here are five I in particular that I think could contend.

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The Plight of the Runners-Up From Royal Lytham and St. Annes

Jul. 31, 2012     By     Comments (1)

Trap Five LogoErnie won his second British Open and fourth career major last Sunday, but for much of the week Els was absent from the top of the leaderboard. Though I enjoyed ESPN's coverage the first three days (day four's coverage was downright horrible), the fact the we saw very few Els shots was something I pointed out in the forum and on the Sunday chat.

Els remains one of the world's great ballstrikers, and though his 72nd-hole birdie putt put the pressure on Scott, if you were to go by ESPN's coverage you would think all Ernie ever did was miss 15-footers.

Coverage gripes aside, the 2012 British Open was several times more enjoyable than last year's, mostly thanks to the guys that didn't win. First off was Adam Scott, the 18-hole, 54-hole, and 71-hole leader. Brandt Snedeker led after the second round, and matched the Lytham and St. Annes British Open course record that Scott set on Thursday.

For Tiger Woods the theme of the round was "gameplan." Tiger routinely laid back off the tee, leading to 220-yard approach after 220-yard approach and a lot of long birdie opportunities. Closing out the top five and ties are Graeme McDowell, who spent most of the final round in second place, seemingly Scott's only competition, and world number one Luke Donald, who picked up the Lee Westwood gauntlet of backdoor top tens.

The 2012 British Open will likely be remembered in large part for the players who didn't win, so here are their stories.

Tiger and the Media – Time to Cut Their Losses?

Jul. 18, 2012     By     Comments (18)

Thrash TalkA frosty relationship between Tiger Woods and the media is nothing new. Several times a week Tiger Woods walks up the microphone, does his best Bill Belichick impersonation, and spends 30 minutes speaking words devoid of meaning. He's not a Michael Jordan (despite what Michael Lusetich of Fox would like you to believe), and if he wasn't the undisputed best golfer of his generation, he would be much more comfortable being a Jonathan Byrd, the guy who only had to give an interview when he jumps out to a first-round lead before fizzling on the weekend.

I bring this up because recently, at his pre-Greenbrier press conference, Tiger called the golf media's incessant "are you back, now?" line of questioning "a little annoying." That sparked a small firestorm among media members because, well, they have been annoying. This is just the latest in a recent string of cold-shoulders given to the media by Tiger.

Five Stories from Olympic

Jun. 28, 2012     By     Comments (1)

Trap Five LogoAnother major championship is in the books and you know what that means. Another Lee Westwood backdoor top-10, another Tiger Woods weekend mini-meltdown, and another drunk lunatic hauled from the trophy presentation by Mike Davis.

The Lake Course at Olympic Club put up a pretty tough test, producing the highest winning score since Oakmont in 2007. In fact, if you look past Oakmont and Winged Foot (2006), Webb Simpson's +1 would be the highest winning score since Andy North won at Cherry Hills in 1978. After Rory McIlroy took advantage of moisture en route to a -16 last year, firm and fast was the name of the game this year, especially from Thursday through Saturday. A thick layer of fog blanketed the course on Sunday, and though players could stop the ball a bit easier, some of them struggled to actually take advantage of that fact (Tiger Woods being the most obvious example).

Though the three golfers who were really in it late (Simpson, 54-hole leader Jim Furyk, and 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell) aren't the most jovial cast of characters, the last few holes were some of the most exciting of the year. We got to see two golfers play the 18th hole, a hole that doesn't require particularly high stakes to produce good television, needing a birdie. Three shots from 341 yards could have forced a playoff, but in the end Webb Simpson held them both off.

Here are five of the most interesting story-lines form the 2012 U.S. Open.

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Five Pairings for the U.S. Open

Jun. 14, 2012     By     Comments (0)

Trap Five LogoThe 2012 U.S. Open begins right about now, and though I have no say in the makeup of the USGA's official pairings, there are some I'd like to see coming down the stretch on Sunday. Whether it's the old guard of Tiger and Phil, the young guns Rory and Rickie, the veteran Brits Donald and Westwood, the streaking Americans Dufner and Mahan, or the early-season big-tournament winners Watson and Kuchar, this year's Open is full of solid match-ups.

Every player currently in the top 13 in the world has won since last November, many in convincing fashion. Tiger, Dufner, and Mahan have all won twice, while Bubba Watson (The Masters) and Matt Kuchar (The Players) have won the year's two biggest tournaments to date.

The USGA likes to mess with the pairings, and come up with a few each year that are outside the box. Though these aren't as creative as the "guys with hyphens in their names" group or the "group of guys with initials for a first name," the way I see it, there are about ten players from the early season that stand out, and they make up five pretty great pairings.

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Nine Holes With Jason Dufner

Jun. 3, 2012     By     Comments (2)

ProfilesBefore this year, Jason Dufner didn't have much going for him. Sure, he had made over $7.5 million dollars in his career, but he had yet to win a PGA Tour event and he had just 16 top-10 finishes to his name. Prior to 2012, Dufner had missed the cut in over 40 percent of the events he played and his highest placing in the FedExCup was 25th (in 2011). Add to that his major-league choke in last year's PGA and his laughable last name, things weren't looking up for Jason Dufner.

But this year? His only missed cut was his first event, the Sony Open in Hawaii, and he has hardly come close since. A few weeks after a solid T24 at Augusta (his highest finish in the event) where he held the 36-hole lead, Dufner broke through at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans the last week of April, carding -19 and beating Ernie Els in a playoff while also holding off world number one Luke Donald. He's also spending time with the golf team from his alma mater, Auburn University, and quoting Kanye West on Twitter (he's actually an interesting golfer to follow on Twitter). After two wins, Dufner leads the Tour in money earned (already having surpassed his career high), ranked eighth in the world, and I think at one point he might just have cracked a smile. Maybe.

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Adams Idea Black CB3 Irons Review

May. 30, 2012     By     Comments (4)

Adams CB3 Irons 8 ToeAdams Golf doesn't really have much of identity right now. They've stopped airing the "number one hybrid on the Champions Tour" commercials (or maybe I've stopped watching Golf Channel at 2 AM?), and they don't really have a repetitive nomenclature. They're not revered for their huge revenues like Nike or TaylorMade, and they don't have the rich history of Titleist or Mizuno.

I could complain about the naming of Adams' clubs from now until Tiger Woods passes Jack's record, but to dwell on that would be doing to complete disservice to the irons that Adams has been putting out recently. Clubs like the Idea Pro Black MB, the Idea Black CB2, and the Idea MB2 have been laying the groundwork for Adams' venture into the crossover realm of player's clubs and GI clubs. They've entered the world in between, where clubs can be forged from 8620 carbon steel yet still have the offset needed to get the ball into the air.

The name of the game in the category that these clubs reside is simple: you can hit these clubs. Your swing looks worse than that of President Obama? You can hit these. (And if the President is reading this, a lefty set is available.) Hovering around a 10 handicap? You can hit these. Nearing scratch golf? You can hit these golf clubs. Read on to let me convince you.

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