When one thinks of the golf manufacturers out there on the cutting edge of innovation, companies like TaylorMade and Callaway spring to mind. It seems that these companies always have some new technology that promises to add distance and increase forgiveness and some time later similar technologies are adopted by the rest of the golfing world. However, one of the original innovators in the golf world is PING, and they are doing it again with their new G30 line of drivers, woods, hybrids and irons. According to PING, they were able to achieve significant distance gains with the new clubs without sacrificing performance in any other key area such as forgiveness.
Her 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.
The 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.
We're in that weird low point that happens in the middle of every golf season. Post-Masters, post-Players, pre-U.S. Open; we've got all the anticipation of the beginning of the season without any of the knowledge that the end of the year brings.
And because we've got another few weeks until what is shaping up to be a Tiger Woods-less U.S. Open, there's no one overarching golf story on which to fall back.
Instead, we get pop-interest stories like Rory McIlroy's breakup, a Stanford University golfer using a push cart during a tournament, and a few nuggets from Tiger, with a bit of reflection on the year as a whole for good measure.
Let's dive in.
Though I've been quietly admiring Cobra's recent woods from afar, I didn't expect a whole lot from the Bio Cell+ driver when I signed on to do this review. The S9-1 and S2 scream my name every time I walk by the used club rack at my local big-box stores, and the L5V and ZL Encore were some of the few composite drivers that didn't make me want to stuff my ears with Play-Doh, but I had never actually put a Cobra golf club in my bag.
"Had" being the operative word there.
My interest in Cobra waned a bit after their spinoff from Acushnet (and thus Titleist) and subsequent purchase by Puma, though I'm realizing now that was a mistake. Cobra was one of the first OEMs to jump on the adjustable hosel bandwagon, which you can find in nearly all of the woods and hybrids they make.
They've also gone all-in on offering an assortment of colors, moving past "ghosting" to personalization, surely thanks in no small part to Rickie Fowler's fondness for orange.
But the changes this year aren't just esthetic. Cobra has introduced multi-material construction to go along with their E9 forged faces, which they say should give golfers maximum distance and straighter drives.
Let's dive in.
One of the most hyped family of clubs currently out there is the SLDR from TaylorMade. First came the driver with its signature movable weight that (yes) slides toward the toe or heel to adjust ball flight. This was not a new idea, as Mizuno and others had used a slide-able weight in the past. No, the real breakthrough technology in the SLDR family is the low-and-forward center of gravity (CG). And unlike the slider weight, the low-and-forward CG is found throughout the line, including in the fairway and rescue woods.
TaylorMade claims that the low-and-forward CG will let many players increase loft to achieve a higher launch with lower spin to promote maximum distance. This is a tantalizing prospect. In most parts of the U.S., golf remains an aerial game. Bandon Dunes and other truly firm and fast courses aside, players are almost always better off getting maximum carry rather than trying to run the ball along the fairway. Higher shots will land softer, giving us a better chance to hold the green and less chance of it running into trouble.
There is no denying that SLDRs are generating a lot of buzz. You can spot the chrome accent all over every PGA Tour broadcast, and probably at your club, as well. The rumor is that several manufacturers will be moving weight forward and low in upcoming models. Will this be the next big thing? Let's take a look.
While sitting in the grill room of my golf club during the final round of the WGC in Doral, the conversation sparked up again.
It has not been discussed near as much as in the past, but on occasion - especially when Tiger withdraws or plays poorly because of an injury - people start whispering about it.
This time the gentlemen said that in his opinion ever since the PGA Tour put their drug-testing policy in place Tiger has been injured more frequently than in the past. His insinuation was that Tiger was in the past taking performance enhancing drugs and now that the testing policy was in place he was beginning to show wear as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens did in the later part of their careers.
After several years of the RocketBallz woods occupying TaylorMade's consumer-oriented lineup, TM released the JetSpeed line late in 2013. Eschewing much of the look behind the RBZ woods (white crown on black face, bold graphics) and building upon the recent hype of their own SpeedPocket technology, the JetSpeed is somewhat of a tuned-down design.
There's no promise of a dozen extra yards here, despite what you might expect from TaylorMade. The JetSpeed isn't adjustable in any way, and there's no tour-level option. You won't find #JetSpeed trending any time soon.
And yet, it's earned a spot in my bag. Keep reading to find out why.
I think if you asked most American golf fans for their feelings on Sergio Garcia prior to this past weekend's Match Play event, they would have given you a pretty negative opinion. Most would say he is a whiner, and that during his younger days he did a fair bit of pouting as well. It wasn't all that long ago that he even dropped as low as spitting in a cup after pulling his ball out.
Sergio recently found himself in the middle of a spat with the World's Number One after he claimed that Tiger interrupted his swing on purpose. He followed this up by making a comment about having Tiger over for dinner to eat fried chicken. Needless to say, it didn't over well and he rightly apologized for the comment. I for one was surprised about that comment because Sergio is a serious soccer fan and FIFA has made a concerted effort to attempt to curb racist comments. Sergio did himself no favors with his handling of that situation. In interviews after The Players Championship he came off sounding like a whiner and a sore loser. Then in the subsequent interview for the Ryder Cup he only dug his hole deeper.