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U.S. Open Predictions, 2009 Edition

Jun. 18, 2009     By     Comments (7)

Thrash TalkIn which we, your devoted Sand Trap staff tackle the following, and more:

Who wins? Who'll be slamming the trunk on Friday? And, most importantly, which on-air catch phrases and fixations will have you angrier than the runner up in the media trailer on Sunday?

Come inside for a look!

Strange Gallery at Corning

May. 28, 2009     By     Comments (33)

Thrash TalkDisclaimer: I freely admit that I am a latecomer to the practice of attending LPGA Tour events. With this in mind, the persons and events recounted in the following may seem commonplace or (dare I say) par for the course, to some. From the minute I walked into the gates of Corning Country Club, however, I had the distinct feeling of having entered a parallel universe.

I am not entirely sure what my expectations were, really. Enjoy a day off? To be sure. See some quality golf? Somewhat. Admire certain standouts? Yes. Have a few beers? Indeed. In no way was I prepared for the all-encompassing clown fest which ensued. This isn't to be, as is perhaps fashionable, demeaning of the LPGA Tour. I certainly don't believe the Tour is in any way deliberately attempting to attract the most bizarre galleries possible. Neither do I feel that the gallery I encountered is in any way representative of LPGA galleries at large.

Additionally, I am aware that public events attract, and probably always will attract, interesting individuals. I've had a multitude of strange encounters at PGA Tour events in the past. This event, however, was silliness to the tenth power. From the moment that I was ushered into my parking spot by a moderately incoherent limping geriatric from the Kiwanis club, I knew I was in for an experience.

Scorecard Golf Statistics Software Now at 2.0

May. 20, 2009     By     Comments (5)

ScorecardThis is one of our off weeks from doing the Golf Talk podcast, so I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the recent release of some golf statistics software - Scorecard - which was just bumped to version 2.0 with some well-requested features.

In the interest of disclosure, I'm a partial owner of the software company that makes Scorecard as well as one of the developers/designers for the software. It's not free ($29.95, or $14.95 for upgrades from 1.x), and thus, I make a bit of money from the sales of Scorecard.

As I said, Scorecard 2.0 was just released with several user-requested features, including full nine-hole support for both statistics and handicap calculation, per-hole user notes (so you can document what clubs you hit or anything else you'd like), and graphing of over 35 statistics (with markers).

FootJoy Adds ICON Shoes to Collection

May. 19, 2009     By     Comments (13)

Bag DropThe folks at FootJoy aren't resting on the laurels with the release of they SYNR-G shoes from just a little while ago as they've now added their ICON premium line to their stable of shoes.

Taking some of the best technology from their DryJoys, Reel-Fit, and SYNR-G shoes and incorporating some higher-end leather, the ICON shoes are a contemporary, updated look to your base saddle and wingtip style of golf shoes with a few other styles tossed in for kicks.

Many view the ICON line as a replacement to the Classics line of shoes, but FootJoy is quick to point out that though they may occupy a similar price range, the ICON line is really a fresh new step in the company's history.

Only Two Majors

May. 14, 2009     By     Comments (13)

Thrash TalkPerhaps, it has happened in a somewhat ham-handed fashion; nevertheless, it has happened. With the advent of the FedExCup, the American public has been presented with a formal ranking of PGA Tour tournament prestige, or worth (at least with reference to this particular system, which, given its ten million dollar annual prize, is a pretty influential system).

The merits of the system itself aside, I propose that there are really only two "Majors," and that the rest of the tournaments are filler. Really, though, every tournament ought to strive to create its own culture, history, and prestige (in short, marketability). However, the absence, presence, or overabundance of such does not necessarily make any particular tournament a Major.

What does then?

The Fifth Major? Please.

May. 8, 2009     By     Comments (17)

Thrash TalkI think we've all heard the banter of talking heads, players and enthusiasts revolving around whether or not The Players Championship deserves to be evaluated in the same way as a Major, or formally considered such by golf's governing bodies. My argument, which will be laid out in the succeeding paragraphs, is that it doesn't.

Further, I believe the only two legitimate Majors are The Open Championship and The U.S. Open. I wasn't sure any golf literate or marginally sentient being could make such a claim when I took to my easy chair to massage my temples and consider this issue. However, I am now convinced that it is the most historically honest and consistent evaluation of the golfing calendar, even though I am neither beating the drum of reform or expecting any semblance of change, save for that of popular perception and (add this to Jon Stewart's list of "Sh*t That Will Never Happen) media sensationalizing.

Wait!

Stop the press! What of Augusta… and the Masters… Amen Corner, patrons and not fans… Sarezen's double eagle… Green Jackets… Champions Dinners… Magnolia Drive?

Fear not. I'll deal with those concerns in another article. The beast in the trap is The Players. I'll approach Major classification next week, maybe. Before any of this, however, we need clarity and, alas, defintions.

Surprises at the 2009 Masters

Apr. 17, 2009     By     Comments (1)

Trap Five LogoAfter watching the Masters on TV pretty much every year since grade school, I finally got to see Augusta National in person this year. My wife and I took her parents to see the Tuesday practice round. It was the first time any of us had seen the course. Despite the weather (about 45 degrees with 30+ MPH gusts), we had a great time, saw quite a few of the world's most famous golfers, and walked the best known golf course in the western hemisphere.

I'd heard to expect the course to be hillier than it appears on TV and that the cost of concessions would be remarkably low compared to most sports venues. Still, I didn't think there would be that much that would surprise me. I was wrong. TV doesn't really do the place justice.

An Open Letter To All Anti-Tigerites, Part Two

Apr. 16, 2009     By     Comments (18)

Thrash TalkI strongly considered responding to some of the more interesting comments affixed to part one, but I'll remain the catalyst for mudslinging and not a participant in the action which I provoke (which usually seems to be calling me and/or my writing "pointless" or "stupid").

It's nice both to hear words of encouragement and dodge the tomatoes which are being hurled my way. Keep it up. Before I get to the other major points, I'd like to say that one of the main reasons for all the specific "anti-Tiger" complaints is the man's sheer overexposure, and indeed many of his flaws (foul language, relative scarcity, photographer abuse) stem, I think, for his overexposed status. That is, he's asked to don a persona, which is mostly his creation, but which is, to some extent, a washed out facade, all the time.

True, there are great rewards in being "Tiger Woods," but the man also exists within very apparent boundaries, which seem to be ever encroaching, thus his inherently defensive posture. This isn't so much of a justification for behavior, but rather an attempt to identify root causes, for what it's worth.

Anyway, on with the rest of the letter.

2009 Masters In Photos

Apr. 14, 2009     By     Comments (17)

I had a chance to go to the Tuesday practice round of the Masters this year. It was a bit cold, so not all the players were out there on the course, but the usual suspects made an appearance even if it was just at the range or the putting green.

Scoreboard
This is the first thing that greets you when you step on the course. Not a bad sight.

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