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Rating the Commentators, 2009 Edition, Part One

Oct. 7, 2009     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkThe latest Nielsen Ratings came out for golf coverage, and they reveal a few interesting tidbits.

First is that CBS and NBC performed about the same as one another this year. Yawn.

Another yawner: more (often many more) viewers tune into to golf coverage when Tiger Woods is playing. More still watch when he's in contention on the weekend.

Third: Though I rarely ever hear anyone saying anything positive about Golf Channel or its commentators, and though I rarely read any positive reviews of their coverage, I was surprised to see that their viewership has grown over the past few years.

Perhaps golf fans tune in to see and hear their favorite announcers and not because a significant tournament is being covered, or Tiger Woods is playing. I don't think this is the case. I am sure the majority of readers don't either.

Some of the announcers I am rating here are downright awful. Further, the general consensus is that they are aren't very good. Yet, year after year, they keep their jobs. Can networks succeed with subpar commentary teams and lackluster coverage? Apparently. As such, Ian Baker-Finch and CBS aren't likely to be too concerned about the "D" the aforementioned announcer is receiving in my 2009 Rating of Golf Commentators.

Five Sacred Rules of Golf

Oct. 2, 2009     By     Comments (27)

Trap Five LogoAt some point in the past decade or so, Golf Digest became a lifestyle magazine. With reviews of $100,000 cars and style columns featuring $250 belts, Golf Digest morphed from golf magazine and something more like an off-shoot of the Robb Report. At best, it's become a great way to scoff at the elite members of society who happen to play golf while reading through the same re-trodden tips you read a few years ago. At worst, it's a coffee table flipbook for top-tier country clubs - completely worthless to the 98% of golfers who don't need to spend a hundred grand to drive to their local muni or $250 to hold up their pants.

The latest evidence - not counting the belts and cars, of course - comes in the form of Editor in Chief Jerry Tarde's "Golf's Five Sacred Rules." This week in Trap Five we take a quick look at Tarde's "rules" and come up with a real list of five sacred rules - if, that is, we're sufficiently pretentious enough to think that golf is religious enough to warrant calling anything "sacred."

Mizuno Launches New MP-Series Iron Hybrids, Wedges, and Irons

Sep. 29, 2009     By     Comments (13)

Bag DropFor you Mizuno fans, get ready for your favorite itch to be well scratched this week, as we look at Mizuno's MP line of clubs for 2010. If that's not enough, stay tuned for part two, where we'll give you the latest on what's new in the MX-series.

For now, we'll be taking a look at Mizuno's latest offerings in the MP line of products, including the MP FLI-HI, the MP T-10 wedges, and we'll finish up with the MP-58 and MP-68 irons. If you're not a Mizuno fan, you might just become one after seeing their latest offerings. Follow along to see what all the fuss is about!

Fall ’09 Releases: Sun Mountain MCB, Aldila En Fuego Shafts, and Nike Outerwear

Sep. 22, 2009     By     Comments (5)

Bag DropThis week at The Bag Drop we shift gears and take a look at some newsworthy releases you may have missed in the past few weeks. We here at The Sand Trap know you all lead busy lives, and we've taken time to condense some info on some of the latest equipment from various manufacturers for your reading pleasure.

Consider this The Bag Drop's equivalent to a buffet, but with zero calories and some added spice. Follow along as we look at a new full-featured cart bag from Sun Mountain, some hot new shafts from Aldila, and new all-weather apparel from Nike Golf that might make you want to play in the rain!

Goodbye, Eye Candy

Sep. 11, 2009     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkI woefully regret that it has taken me more a week to learn of the grim news. Eye Candy Caddies, a reputable British business entity which provides (theoretically) capable and attractive young women to serve as loopers is currently in the process of being blacklisted; it's services having been banned from a number of courses in England managed by the villainous entity known as Leaderboard Golf.

TaylorMade Prepares Penta TP Ball

Sep. 9, 2009     By     Comments (23)

Bag DropNormally, when choosing a ball, one takes into account that there is a subtle tradeoff between maximum distance and maximum spin around the greens. Golf ball technology has progressed so that there is less of a tradeoff, and TaylorMade claims to have eliminated it with a new ball they'll introduce soon: the Penta TP.

Titleist has been dominant in the ball market, despite challenges, for decades. Though TaylorMade's TP Red and TP Black were reviewed well, they did little to take away from Titleist's market share and have been heavily discounted at retailers for most of 2009.

The Penta TP is TaylorMade's next offensive attack.

Begging the Question(s)

Sep. 4, 2009     By     Comments (4)

Thrash TalkOne
If the FedExCup is starting to work the way it's supposed to and that "way" looks a lot like the traditional season money leaders list, what's the point?

Manufactured drama? More money for the Tour's elite? More FedEx commercials (which, I admit, are generally funny)?

Not, however, as funny as this.

What’s Next for Wiesy?

Aug. 27, 2009     By     Comments (5)

Thrash TalkAlthough I, like many, am neither a Wie-maniac nor a committed Wie-watcher, I was pleased with Michelle's performance at the Solheim Cup this past weekend. The Michelle Wie Story will always be one of failure to meet the ludicrous expectations which surrounded her. It is, of course, a wholly fruitless endeavor to speculate as to the exact genesis of said expectations, but the recipe is surely some part B.J. Wie, some part mass sports media hysteria of the Tiger Woods variety.

What do we make of Michelle's 3-0-1 record at this year's event?

Thoughts on the 2009 PGA Championship, Briefly

Aug. 20, 2009     By     Comments (10)

Thrash TalkAs Tiger Woods limped home Sunday (figuratively, this year) looking thoroughly befuddled and not at all the "Sunday Tiger," we've come to expect, a few disjointed thoughts were swimming about my own befuddled consciousness.

In no particular order of significance, I mulled over the following, which I don't present as any insightful recapitulation of the final round of this year's PGA Championship, or nuanced breakdown of Tiger's failure to secure victory after leading in the final round of a major (for only the second time in his career). Rather, I pen (alright, type) the following as a presentation of a few talking points loosely associated with my impressions of a few days ago.

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