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Why Bubba Won’t Win Another Major

May. 2, 2012     By     Comments (10)

Trap Five LogoFor the seventh major championship in a row, the victor of this year's Masters was a first-time major winner. Not since Phil Mickelson in 2010 has someone won their second major, and by my count that is the longest such streak ever. With Tiger Woods perpetually on the mend and endlessly ineffective, and Phil Mickelson often too headstrong for his own good, Bubba Watson is another in the line of new entries to the major winner's circle.

Bubba, as a sold player but not of Hall-of-Fame caliber, faces stiff competition. Never before has there been so many players that match his level of play.

In addition to the state-of-the-sport challenges Bubba faces, his game has some glaring holes. While it would be a disservice to say Bubba was handed the Masters, he didn't exactly steal it away until that famed shot from the tress (and even that was only a par). Bubba has missed the cut in about a third of the events he has played over his career, and while his relatively homegrown swing might make him a nice poster-child for the anti-instructor movement, it could prove to be his ultimate undoing.

I have nothing against Bubba personally (he seems like a good guy and I did a ProFiles article about him last year), and watching his go-for-broke play is very entertaining, but I don't see him winning another major championship.

Read on to find out why.

Belly Putters: The Long and Short of It

Mar. 27, 2012     By     Comments (10)

The Numbers Game2011 was quite an interesting year for golf; sure we didn't see Tiger return to form (signs are pointing to that occurring this year), but there were a number of things happening that kept golf fans entertained. We were treated to three different number ones in the world in Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, and Luke Donald and saw four first-time major winners (Schwartzel, McIlroy, Clarke, and Bradley), which is something that we haven't seen since 2003.

One of the biggest trends that picked up in 2011 was many players moving towards long or belly putters. It had always seemed like the long putter was for old guys or those that got the yips but the idea has become more popular as of late. Recently we have seen Adam Scott put the broomstick in the bag and the move gained even more steam with Keegan Bradley being the first to win a major with a long putter as he captured the PGA Championship in August. Three straight wins and the steady play of other long putter users such as Webb Simpson (who contended for the money title) only added to the intrigue.

Regardless of your feelings on whether or not long putters should be legal, they are here for now and more and more players, both amateurs and professionals, are putting them in their bags. The question is this: are long putters just a fad and something to be forgotten in a few years or are they the real deal? Do they actually help the players using them sink more putts or is just between the ears? We'll look at some stats from the PGA tour to see if 1) players using the long putter putt better than those with standard length putters and 2) if players who have made the switch improved upon their own putting regardless of where they ranked before.

Hank’s Book – With Whom is Tiger Really Angry?

Mar. 9, 2012     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkI know I am a bit late to this party and by now much of the hoopla surrounding the book has died down, but actually I think that is the best time to discuss things of this nature because we have all had a chance to think it over a bit now. The thing is, I love biography books, I have read a number of them, most recently being the one about Steve Jobs. Since I work in that industry it was particularly interesting because I know many of the players. While Hank's book about Tiger does not qualify as a biography, it is somewhat of a "story behind the story" book. The adage that the truth is stranger than fiction may not always apply but it is still very intriguing to hear from the horses mouth what went on behind closed doors. So for that part I will probably read the book.

Tiger vs. Jack – A Different Perspective

Mar. 1, 2012     By     Comments (8)

Thrash TalkIf you only read the title of this article you might think this is another comparison on who is the best golfer of all time. No, considering the stall that Tiger has had in his current play it really ends the debate for now. Over the course of his career Jack is by far the better player. More major victories, 18 versus 14, but what really puts Jack over the top for me is the number of second-place finishes in majors, 19 versus six. And if you include top-ten finishes in majors Jack really starts to pull away.

In the bar last week I made the hypothesis that 2000 for Tiger was better than any single year that Jack had. When I started looking into it I was definitely right. Jack's best year was 1972 when he won the Masters, the U.S. Open, finished second at the Open Championship, and tied for 13th at the PGA. Jack had an excellent 1980 when he won the U.S. Open and the PGA, but 1972 was better. To be frank when I looked into it Jack had an incredible run in the 1970s. He was in the hunt in almost ever major played during those years, but not only in the hunt but he had an enormous amount of top tens. Still 1972 was a great year but it was no match for Tiger's 2000.

Nine Holes With the History of Golf Part Two: The King, The Bear, and The Tiger

Feb. 28, 2012     By     Comments (0)

ProfilesOne of the best things about the game of golf is the vast history. Golf has had transcendent athletes almost constantly over the last 150 years, and as I attempted to categorize them all I found myself writing, and writing, and writing. (I tried to do this with baseball, and all I got down was "Yankees, then… more Yankees, and a little more Yankees. And then the Red Sox won. And then the Yankees…") In classifying the history of golf, these last 50 years are where it got tough, as I had to figure out what do do with Jack Nickluas. Jack had legitimate rivals in Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson at completely different ends of his own expansive career. I ultimately decided to combine Nicklaus and Watson, and give Palmer his own era. I'm sure they won't mind.

Anyway, without further ado, we are back again this week with the most recent eras in golf, starting with The King and ending with El Tigre.

Nine Holes With the History of Golf Part One: Pre-Palmer

Feb. 14, 2012     By     Comments (4)

ProfilesUnlike sports like baseball or football, golf's eras have been primarily defined and dominated by a key one or two players. While baseball is divided into eras based on the differences of the game (Dead and Lively Ball Eras, Integration Era, Free Agency Era, Steroid Era) and football and basketball are mostly defined by mergers, golf's era are most easily divided by the dominant player, and these great players actually cut up the history of golf up quite well. Because 150 years of golf is tough to cut down, today we'll look at everything before Arnold Palmer, right up to and including the Nelson/Hogan/Snead Era.

From the ancient history of the early Open Championship days, to the relative parity of the 1980s and early 1990s, to the modern Tiger Woods era, golf is just begging to be split up and defined. So let's do it.

Pipoe Review

Jan. 22, 2012     By     Comments (8)

Pipoe StackSearch the Internet for "golf training aids" and you'll find a variety of gadgets that attach to your body, your club, the ground, your golf bag, etc. You'll find flimsy and bulky devices ranging in price from $5 to $500. These training aids usually only fulfill a couple purposes, whether it's fixing swing plane, ingraining an effective putting stroke, or improving swing speed. Hopefully from this review we'll see how the Pipoe differs by offering an affordable, multi purpose practice aid to golfers, that can be used for as long as you play the game.

Tiger Woods in 2012: What Now?

Jan. 22, 2012     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkThere are two parts to me, the golf fan. The first part is the one that smirked when Zach Johnson's putt was left the entire way on the last hole at Sherwood, the part of me that jumped out of my desk chair and pumped my fist when Tiger's putt went in. That's the part of me that live chatted 2011's Masters, begging Tiger's eagle put on the 15th at the Masters to go in. The part of me that watched the entire Monday playoff in the 2008 U.S. Open, watched his chip on 16th at the 2005 Masters roll and roll and roll… and then fall. That's the part of me that hazily remembers the 1997 Masters. I call that part of me "Optimist." Otherwise known as "Irrational."

The other part, "Realist," lives in a post-2009-Thanksgiving world. A world in which Tiger Woods destroyed himself. He's not Ben Hogan and a bus didn't nearly crush him late one night. He messed up. Post-2009 me, still a fan of Tiger's on-course achievements, has felt stupid for two years for not moving on.

What am I supposed to do? Every time I think he's done, he gives me the eighth hole at the Masters. Every time I think he's back he gives me the PGA. Then he looks wholly average at the Frys.com, and event he could have dominated just two years ago. Now this. He wins an 18-man event, his own event, and I'm supposed to think he's ready for 2012? He's ready to challenge Nicklaus? He's ready to tell Rory and Rickie "Eh, not yet guys?" I don't think so.

Five Things I’m Thankful for from 2011

Jan. 22, 2012     By     Comments (0)

Trap Five LogoFellow golfers, it's that time again. No, Lee Westwood hasn't choked away another major; it's the beginning of a new year. Time to hunker down under five feet of snow, wistfully stare at the golf clubs in your basement sitting on top of the treadmill collecting dust, and game plan for next year. You're going to be a 10 handicap by June, and make it to the single-digit by August. That new driver you just got yourself for Christmas doesn't look quite as nice, as you read the Golf Digest Equipment issue, but it's a new year and you're going to hit the ball longer than ever. A 48-inch driver shaft is all you've been missing. Accuracy be damned!

All kidding aside, this is supposed to be a happy time of year full of new beginnings and fresh starts, and I have plenty of things to be thankful for, in golf, in life, and this is as good a time as any to put them into writing. Join me in helping send off 2011, will you?

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