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Atlantic City Country Club (Atlantic City, NJ) Review

Nov. 21, 2011     By     Comments (3)

ACCC Logo"Stay out of the bunkers" is the warning from the starter on the first tee, which also happens to be the putting green at Atlantic City Country Club.

By the end of the day, I'd have said, "stay out of the marsh," as the holes that wound along the coast proved to be exceptionally difficult on a particularly windy October day. With gusts around 35 mph, and blowing directly toward the water in most cases (and this is the prevailing wind, according to a local expert), the teeth of the course are really exposed on the back nine.

Staff Predictions: PGA Championship 2011

Aug. 11, 2011     By     Comments (1)

Thrash TalkOften derided as the fourth major, trailed way, way behind the other three, the PGA Championship has actually staged some of the best finishes in recent history.

The 2011 edition sets up for drama, with the Steve Williams soap opera filling up space and reminding us that anything Tiger Woods-related remains the hottest of hot stories. Add the fact that Woods is back playing in a major since the Masters, a bucket-load of non-major winners are closing in on hoisting one of the four big trophies, and Atlanta Athletic Club could be the scene of one exciting golf tournament.

Will an established star such as Woods, McIlroy or Mickelson rise? Is this the week Lee Westwood or Steve Stricker breaks through? Maybe the newest Y.E. Yang. Read on to see what The Sand Trap staff has to say about it all.

Tigers’ Quest, Legacy Will Soon Shift to Burden, Curse

Aug. 2, 2011     By     Comments (5)

Thrash TalkFor the first three decades of his life, Tiger Woods had a mission, a quest, a number by which golf immortality has always been measured.

Jack Nicklaus's 18 major championships set the bar so high, until Woods came along and declared that his singular focus in life was to reset that number to 19, if not well higher. It's so outlandish, the thought of a young pro with as good an amateur record as golf's seen since Bobby Jones talking about taking down Jack so early in his career, it redefines the word bravado.

But when Woods said it, when he described his bedroom shrine to the Golden Bear, when it became clear his father had trained him for this starting in a playpen, it became intriguing, and quickly it turned believable.

Staff Predictions: British Open 2011

Jul. 14, 2011     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkThere's little mystique to Royal St. George's, and even less love for the English venue. It's not the birthplace of golf like St. Andrew's or an impossibly difficult test like Carnoustie. When a course crowns so unheralded a champ as 2003's Open winner Ben Curtis, somehow the host bears the brunt of the criticism.

Ask Ian Poulter about the track at Sandwich, and he'll say "it's an average course at best." The 18 holes that sit as far south as any in The Open rota are wildly considered the most quirky, fluky among the bunch.

But isn't that exactly what's so loved about link golf? The creativity, the nuance, the ability to define a champion who does more than lasers his seven iron more precisely than anyone else that week. It's got humps and bumps and wacky lies and oddball stances and nothing's a given. But when in golf is anything a given.

Who will emerge? Who will surprise? There's a strangely common theme among The Sand Trap staff. Read on to see what we think.

Rory Madness All About Potential, Not His Resume

Jul. 9, 2011     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkIt didn't take long for Rory McIlroy to start drawing comparisons to Tiger Woods, in fact the suggestions began before he even hoisted the U.S. Open trophy this weekend at Congressional.

McIlroy's age, his boyish charm and his dominant performance on the grand stage, all offered a trip down the memory lane Tiger Woods paved in the 1990s.

Staff Predictions: 2011 U.S. Open

Jun. 15, 2011     By     Comments (3)

Thrash TalkRecent history in majors has been all about the meltdowns and it really got its start a year ago this week when Dustin Johnson handed away what seemed like a massive three-shot lead on the first tee that vanished quickly on his way to a brutal 82. It remains to be seen if this year's U.S. Open venue, Congressional, will offer the risk-reward and downright difficult-yet-memorable holes seen at last year's Pebble Beach.

Length is the defining characteristic of Congressional, made longer by reportedly soft fairways this week. Will that swing the advantage to the big hitters? Or does it play into the hands of a guy who hits it down the middle? With greens heading beyond 14 on the Stimpmeter (if you choose to believe the USGA), will an all-time great putter emerge?

There's no Tiger Woods, no dominant number one player in the world, and certainly no clear-cut favorite this year. In fact, Las Vegas oddsmakers have installed "The Field" as an 8-1 "favorite," with a batch of golfers (Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood) hovering around 12-1.

Our staff offer their predictions:

Discovering a Shared Passion In Far-Off Land

Jun. 6, 2011     By     Comments (7)

Thrash TalkSeveral months before the catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunamis rocked Japan, I had to opportunity to spend a week in the country. On so many levels, I was impressed and really enjoyed experience of a culture so different than what I'm used to in America's Northeast Corridor.

The island nation struck me as impeccably clean and orderly, especially given the massive population density of Tokyo, where I spent most of the trip. It was noticeably how polite and respectful the Japanese people were to each other and to visitors, making it very easy to explore, even while only knowing a couple phrases of the language.

I've held off on writing this column, knowing that sports and leisure have been on the backburner as Japan has recovered from the horrible disaster, but in recent weeks, the U.S. has lifted its travel warnings, and Tokyo is spreading the message that it's open for business.

Walking My Way to Better Health

May. 26, 2011     By     Comments (17)

Thrash TalkI started off the year with a few golf resolutions, and like most people, I only had mild expectations of sticking to them. The one goal that really had the least to do with golf and the most to do with life was a commitment to walking the golf course as part of my overall plan to get into better shape.

Five months into 2011, and I can definitely declare that my resolution to ditch golf carts and become a walking golfer has been a successful mission, and the health benefits are stacking up in my support.

Tiger Woods Drama More Fun When He’s Struggling

May. 12, 2011     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkHas the eighth ranked golfer in the world ever been this big a deal? Because no matter how badly Tiger Woods struggles, the embattled superstar continues to gobble up nearly every ounce of golf attention. Few weeks offered as much evidence as this one, with fans and detractors hopping on Woods' relationship with his coach, his fellow competitors and even his equipment.

Chalk it up to the layoff and the fact that Woods has been off the scene for a while, but there was no lack of drama surrounding the great one when he arrived at TPC Sawgrass for this week's Players Championship. The most glaring storyline was borne out of Bubba Watson's recent comment.

"I'll just go ahead and say it. I think Tiger is going the wrong way," said Watson.

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