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A Rivalry is Born

Jul. 26, 2015     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkThe one thing that makes sport great is rivalries. Baseball has series like the subway series. Football has divisional games which inferior teams can rise up and beat some of the best teams just because of the familiarity. I have been to an English Football derby and the electricity in the stadium is fantastic! Everyone - even the players - can understand the necessity of having someone against whom you compete. Someone who drives you to play better.

Golf has had its share of great rivalries. Consider Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. These two guys grew up in the same caddie yard and then went on to compete on the PGA Tour. Hollywood couldn't have scripted a better story. There was the big three for a while with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player. They were the foundation for the modern golf rivalry. Each golfer to a man says they were constantly watching what the other guys were doing. As Arnold began to fade with age, Tom Watson became a worthy competitor to Jack and provided one of the best mano e mano fights that golf has ever seen in The Duel in the Sun. Jack Nicklaus has always stated that Tom made him a better competitor. Jack won more but Tom would rise up and challenge Jack, and very often beat him.

2015 British Open Staff Predictions

Jul. 15, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkThe 2015 British Open comes to us from the home of golf, St. Andrews, with all sorts of fantastic story lines. Tiger has shown improvement since is terrible showing at the U.S. Open. Jordan Spieth, on a Grand Slam watch, just finished a successful defense of his title at the John Deere Classic. Lastly, not to be outdone 2015 Players Champion, and don't call him overrated, Rickie Fowler just won the Scottish Open. The only downer is defending champion Rory McIlroy is out with a leg injury after a soccer accident. The field is set and everyone is playing their best and it is setting up to be an epic showdown at St. Andrews. If you aren't excited about this years British Open you just aren't that into golf.

With that lets hear what The Sand Trap staff is expecting at this event.

U.S. Open Drama

Jun. 25, 2015     By     Comments (4)

Thrash TalkMissing a short putt to win a major sucks. As a golf fan with whom the outcome is neutral, watching a player miss a short putt is painful. "I am in shock" was the comment from Jordan Spieth who was the beneficiary of the miss. My heart was in my stomach as Dustin walked up to tap in his par. I did not want to see him three putt from less than fifteen feet to lose the U.S. Open.

Spieth has now won the first two majors of 2015 and he is a worthy winner. I am happy for him. I would just have rather him won it in an eighteen-hole playoff on Monday as he should have. Not because Dustin missed that putt. The drama of the U.S. Open was incredible. Even Dustin's storyline of being the clear leader, to then a story of him losing it, to then an incredible birdie on 17, to then the deflation of the three putt. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

2015 U.S. Open Staff Predictions

Jun. 18, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkIf you asked most golfers to describe the U.S. Open in a single sentence you would likely hear a great deal about thick rough and tree-lined traditional golf courses. Well, not this year. The U.S. Open is heading to my new home state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest to play at Chambers Bay not too far from Seattle. The venue is getting lots of people talking as well as the new broadcast team from Fox of Joe Buck, Greg Norman, and old favorite Holly Sonders.

With Tiger struggling to find his game and Rory coming off two straight missed cuts in Europe there are no clear favorites to get behind. Even recent Masters champion Jordan Spieth has not played that well since donning the green jacket. So you could call the U.S. Open truly an open competition because just about anyone has the chance to win.

With all these great storylines to discuss let's see what the staff's expectations are for this year's event.

Is Rickie Fowler Overrated?

May. 12, 2015     By     Comments (8)

Thrash TalkThe term overrated is overused. It has become a common terms used by sports talking heads when they feel that someone has been given credit they don't deserve. I am not saying that some teams or players have not been given more credit than they've earned, but we overuse the term.

Rickie Fowler was recently rated as one of the PGA Tour's most overrated players. He answered his fellow anonymous touring professionals by winning The Player's Championship. Even putting this most recent win aside, voting him the most overrated golfer was misguided at best. I honestly don't know if they watch the same tour that I do. How could they rank a guy with the highest finish in all of the majors last year overrated. I simply don't get it.

Mizuno JPX-850 Forged Review

Apr. 19, 2015     By     Comments (5)

mizuno_850_forgedMizuno has unveiled their new addition to their JPX series with a forged boron alloy iron. The addition of boron increases the strength of the steel by 30% and allows Mizuno to forge the face thinner to increase ball speed while still keeping that well-known Mizuno iron feel. This is Mizuno's replacement for the JPX-825 Pro iron, which is seen as a bridge between the JPX and MP lines.

This review will take a closer look at the JPX-850 Forged and see if "Born out of Boron" really does have an effect.

An Interview with The Dan Plan

Apr. 15, 2015     By     Comments (12)

Throwing DartsDan McLaughlin is the man behind The Dan Plan, a golfer striving to "test" the "10,000 hours to become an expert" theory espoused by a few. His goal? Become a PGA Tour golfer after 10,000 hours of dedicated practice.

I have obsessed over the Dan Plan right from the beginning. Well, maybe obsessed is a strong word, but I have definitely given it a great deal of thought. I was introduced to the idea by a friend who was a member at Dan's first club Columbia Edgewater Country Club. He told me there was this guy out there practice putting everyday. His goal was to put the 10,000 theory of deliberate practice to the test. As an engineer, I was immediately drawn to the experiment.

Recently, Dan was introduced to the outstanding book Lowest Score Wins by Erik J. Barzeski and David Wedzik and as luck would have it I had an extra copy and was in the Portland area. I offered it to Dan and also the opportunity for an interview with questions coming from the forum members here on The Sand Trap. He happily agreed. Opinions on Dan here on the forum are mostly leaning toward the pessimistic side, primarily because his stated goal of playing on the PGA Tour is lofty. Calling it "lofty" is probably being nice. Perhaps Dan's goal is closer to fantasy. As such, many of the questions target not only why he chose such a nearly impossible final target as well as why he started with one-foot putts and hit them for so long.

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.

The Ryder Cup Disappoints Again

Feb. 26, 2015     By     Comments (5)

Thrash TalkThe first news of the Ryder Cup captaincy came as more of a "leak" rather than an announcement. We heard from Tim Rosaforte that Davis Love III was going to be captain again.

My first feeling was disappointment that they did not take my suggestion of a Ryder Cup CEO, but rather choosing the safer route of picking a popular figure in the game. My second feeling? How could this be the result of the Ryder Cup task force? To pick DL3 again?

If the answer to the question is that, yes, this is the result of the task force, then I am extremely disappointed. This is a "more of the same" type of move rather than trying to make the big changes the U.S. Ryder Cup needs. Sure, Davis is a nice guy and he had basically won the 2012 Ryder Cup before his team's lousy Sunday singles play, but he is not change. He is one of the many losing captains the U.S. team has had in its recent past. How as a fan of the U.S. team can you not feel anything but disappointment?

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