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Michael C. Hepp's Archive

Dear Sean, I Think it is Time We See Other People

Aug. 31, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Thrash TalkI can remember when I first learned that Tiger and Sean Foley were going to work together I was expecting Tiger to dominate again, and quickly. Sean was a rising star, with a stable of players such as Sean O'Hair who at the time was playing great, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, lots of guys who were and still are rising stars. Tiger was returning from scandal and a very broken relationship with Hank Haney, but was and still is the best player to ever play the game. The match looked very good.

Sadly it was a completely majorless relationship. The question of whether Tiger got better is near impossible to answer because he was so often injured that only in 2013 could we do any type of analysis of his performance. 2013 was a great year, with five wins (in big events, including The Players, which he's struggled to win in the past) and Player of the Year honors, but he didn't win a major. I for one thought it was only a matter of time until he got number fifteen in the trophy case.

Is Eleven Years Old too Young to Play in a U.S. Open?

Aug. 21, 2014     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkThe darling of the 2014 Women's U.S. Open at Pinehurst this year was not the winner Michelle Wie but eleven-year-old Lucy Li. Her colorful outfits and bubbly personality stole the show for anyone who watches women's golf. She handled the pressure of being only eleven at playing in one of the biggest events in women's golf. But this begs the question, is eleven years old too young to play in a U.S. Open?

Note that Lucy was not even the youngest player who attempted to qualify! She was the youngest to qualify but there was a nine year old, Alexa Pano from Florida, who was not successful but gave it her best effort. My daughter is still quite young, but nine years old seems on the young side to be playing in the biggest stage of women's golf. At nine, I never gave a thought to giving press interviews people asking me questions in press conference. Is this too much at such a young age?

2014 PGA Championship Staff Picks

Aug. 6, 2014     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkThe 2014 PGA Championship brings us to back to a familiar spot: Valhalla. In 2000 we were dazzled here with one of the best playoffs in PGA Championship history. Tiger Woods defeated Bob May to cap off a fantastic 2000 season. After delaying until 1:16pm on Wednesday, Tiger finally arrived on site. Phil had a fantastic round to finish his weekend at Firestone. Rickie, Jordan, Justin Rose… there are many guys to choose from. Let's see who The Sand Trap staff likes this week.

A few notes as you read through. You will notice that we have added a few new members to the staff. Also, the third question was asked before Tiger's re-injury; some answered before and some answered after.

Golf Strategery

Jul. 31, 2014     By     Comments (12)

Thrash TalkGolf is hard.

Add to this the fact that most instructional golf books are not worth the paper they are printed on. Most players trying to learn how to play the game from a book have so many swing thoughts they're unable to take the club back. They stink.

Until recently, most golf instructional books were written to either help you improve your swing or trying to help golfer on the mental side of golf. The problem is that it's quite difficult to learn and build a golf swing from a book. Sure, they have pictures and illustrations, but how much can aspiring golfers learn from looking at a static picture of Tiger hitting a 300-yard drive? More importantly, how much can they teach themselves from staring at a picture of Tiger Woods?

Recently, though, the trend in instructional books seems to have shifted a little. Now you are starting to see books that help golfers from more of a statistical point of view. Recent books from Mark Broadie, Every Shot Counts, and Erik J. Barzeski and David Wedzik, Lowest Score Wins, are some examples of books that take a fresh approach using statistics to help you focus in on how to get better faster.

2014 British Open Staff Preview

Jul. 16, 2014     By     Comments (1)

Thrash TalkRoyal Liverpool is the site of the 2014 British Open. Last time we were there, Tiger navigated his way to a win only hitting his driver once. When it comes to the British Open, the weather conditions dictate how the course will play and the rumor is the course is not as dry and the rough is up, so Tiger will likely not be able to it the same way he did last time. Speaking of Tiger there are numerous question marks about how he will play this year considering it is only his second event back from his back surgery.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson come to Royal Liverpool following one of his worst starts ever. His only top ten was at Abu Dhabi early in the season, but with Phil being Phil we can never know what to expect. There are numerous exciting story lines surrounding the event so with that lets see what the staff expects for the event.

Michelle Wie, Back From Golfing Exile

Jun. 30, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkHer performance was not quite as masterful as Martin Kaymer's but it was extremely skillful nonetheless. She was dominating throughout. Yes, Michelle Wie finally won her first of hopefully many majors, and did so at famed Pinehurst No. 2. It has not been what one might call an easy journey for someone many of us thought would have five or six majors in her trophy case by now, but it's now been a successful one.

When Wie burst onto the scene what seems like fifteen years ago, she looked for all the world that she was going to dominate women's golf. She had distance - according to many reports she could hit it farther than many of the men she was playing with. (As a side note, I think much of that was nonsense created by the press.) She could play.

After many years of trying, then turning pro way too soon, and a college career that was not spent on the college golf team, I for one thought she had lost her passion for the game and may fade away into golf oblivion. The early part of her career is the perfect outline for how to destroy a young golfer's career. Her parents are to blame for this mismanagement.

Then, the early part of this year she has been the hottest golfer on the planet. A second-place finish at the season's first major (to fellow phenom Lexi Thompson), then a win in front of her hometown fans in Hawaii, and now the Women's U.S. Open trophy.

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Driver Review

Jun. 29, 2014     By     Comments (0)

BB AlphaRebranding a popular line of golf clubs has got to be a very daunting task. If you are from my generation, you remember the first popular metal golf clubs to hit were the Big Bertha line of drivers from Callaway. The market share at the time was very big; they ruled the "oversized" driver market until TaylorMade got wise to shift to titanium.

In the last five years, Callaway got away from Big Bertha line and frankly has struggled to find their identity. The most recent woods from Callaway have rebranded the Big Bertha line with new logos in particular a cartoon version of Sir Isaac Newton and his famous apple. They have also modernized the graphics and lettering of the Big Bertha clubs. They also released two drivers: the Big Bertha and the Big Bertha Alpha. You can read the other Big Bertha review here, this review is for the Alpha driver.

For the review I was given a nine degree driver along with a Stiff Fubuki Shaft. Let's dive in to see how this club performs.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (0)

2014 United States Open Staff Preview

Jun. 11, 2014     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkThe U.S. Open is my favorite major to watch. With the exception of the disaster of a few years ago at Congressional, it is the best major to watch. I like watching every minute of the tournament. There is nothing better than the back nine on Sunday at the Masters, but the rest of the holes, while great to watch, don't have the potential for disaster that you'll find on every U.S. Open hole. Triple bogey lurks everywhere.

For 2014, the USGA has spiced it up by having the women play the course the week after the men play. This will be the first time in history this will occur. It is a bold move and only after both events are over will we know if it was a wise decision. Bringing the U.S. Open back to Pinehurst brings back memories of the win by Payne Stewart and the tragic events that followed. There are many headlines to watch during the event.

Until recently, 2014 has been such a strange year for winners on the PGA Tour. Golf fans have had to learn about a number of golfers who we have not heard of before, or made appearances after appearing to be lost like Martin Kaymer. The 2014 Open looks to be tons of fun, so let's see what the staff expects from the event.

Is Augusta National a Left-Hander’s Paradise?

May. 21, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Thrash TalkIt is long rumored that Ben Hogan had a secret that made him such a great golfer. Arguments have raged on for years what it was. Most people now agree his secret was really just hard work.

I too have found a secret. My secret is how to win the Masters.

You think I am crazy right? I'm not. I have figured it out. If you want to win at Augusta you need to be a really long-hitting left-handed golfer. Sure, it is not easy to become that, but if you do your odds for winning shift overwhelmingly in your favor. Consider the last few winners at Augusta: the majority of them are lefties. Mostly Phil and Bubba, but we can throw a Mike Weir in there also.

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