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Is Rory McIlroy Distracted or Just Struggling?

Jan. 15, 2014     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkAs a golf fan we have been trained to expect prolonged greatness. Tiger Woods hit the scene in 1997 and basically dominated golf until 2010. Jack Nicklaus before him was great for even longer. Greg Norman, Arnie before him, Hogan, Nelson, and so on. But for every golfer like those I mentioned there has been a golfer who flew onto the scene and disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared. I worry that Rory may be falling into the second category.

I am sure you are thinking that I am making this prediction too early in Rory's career. You are probably right, he may again win majors, and maybe even get the number one player title once Tiger starts to lose his edge, but my theory is that he will never dominate. For me it is a combination of things that lead me to this conclusion.

Thrash Talk Predictions for 2014

Jan. 1, 2014     By     Comments (4)

Thrash TalkI can freely admit that I am pretty bad when it comes to making predictions. Still, being bad does not stop me from making new ones. Why? Because it is fun to try to predict the future. I am probably as accurate as most of the political talking heads on Fox News or MSNBC. Even though officially the 2014 season has already started, I think it is okay to post the predictions now.

But before I go into my predictions for 2014… let's see how my predictions from last season panned out. I first predicted that Tiger would win the Masters. Yes, I was wrong, but barring a flagstick on the fifteenth hole Tiger probably would have come through for me. That flagstick did not stop him from winning five times during the season, but it caused me to be wrong about my prediction. I also said that he was only going to win two times, and he easily surpassed that.

How EA Sports Can Revive the PGA Tour Video Games Sans Tiger

Dec. 3, 2013     By     Comments (7)

Trap Five LogoAccording to a statement released by EA Sports recently, the video game giant and golfer Tiger Woods have severed ties.

According to who you believe, the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video games already appeared to be on the rocks, and the '15 edition (to be released in 2014) will be either delayed until at least April or not sent to market at all.

Neither option would be all that unheard-of; EA has monkeyed with the release dates for the Tiger Woods games before. The games were released in the fall every year between 2003 and 2007, until moving towards the late summer for the 2008 version and earlier in the summer for 2010. In 2012 EA cut a deal to include Augusta National in the game, and worked hard to push it out before The Masters.

EA is also no stranger to cutting off a game entirely. They dropped the MVP Baseball series after 2007 (mostly because rival 2K Sports signed an exclusivity deal with MLB in response to EA's similar deal with the NFL), and have yet to pick the series back up even after the 2K/MLB deal expired. After their NBA Live 10 game received (justifiably) terrible reviews, they cancelled its follow-up, NBA Elite 11, at the last minute, and haven't released a basketball game since despite relatively weak releases from 2K (though NBA Live 14 is set to come back later this year).

It remains to be seen what exactly the ramifications of the Tiger/EA separation are. I suppose it's possible that Tiger remains in the game as a playable character, though his days on the cover are surely gone.

The games remain different year-over-year, but the yearly releases have become frustrating. Excess players, expensive extra courses, and rotating single player modes have made the games stale, and while the extra space of Blu-Rays and larger on-board stock hard drives should help them, EA needs to make some deep changes. Here are a few things I think could get the PGA Tour video game series off and running again.

An Open Letter to Tiger Woods

Nov. 2, 2013     By     Comments (16)

Thrash TalkDear Tiger,

First off, let me start by saying congratulations on a fantastic 2013 PGA Tour season. Five wins including the Players Championship and two World Golf Championships is one heck of a season. Yes, you may have missed out on adding a major which I am sure was a little disappointing, but you put yourself in position. That means a win at a major is certainly on the horizon.

I know that the season ended on a bit of sour note with that blowhard Brandel Chamblee essentially calling you a cheater for a few rules issues. His article was terrible, and didn't make much sense. He compares your season to himself cheating on a test. His teacher caught him and gave him a F. The only way that analogy makes any sense is if you had won a tournament because of these rules issues. Yes, you won the Players, but not because of any drop. At the other places you didn't win anyway, so I am having trouble making the connection. Suffice to say, the article was bad.

Titleist Introduces the New 714 AP1 and AP2 Irons

Sep. 25, 2013     By     Comments (4)

Bag DropWhile it seems that certain companies (and one in particular) continue to pump out new clubs promising the latest and greatest in golf technology, Titleist golf has taken a somewhat different approach. Every other year, the company reveals a new set of irons and in the years in between we get the new drivers and woods. This year is an iron year for Titleist and with it brings the introduction of the new 714 series of irons. As with the past handful of iron releases from Titleist, this group is comprised of updates to the four existing sets; the MB, CB, AP1, and AP2.

2013 Majors Recap

Aug. 23, 2013     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkIn 1997, Tiger Woods first hit the scene he declared that he was planning to eclipse the eighteen majors won by Jack Nicklaus. This sent a message to everyone that the majors were now the most important tournaments and would get extra focus.

Of course, the concept of majors was decided long before Tiger hit the scene but it was Tiger to put the focus of every golfer on winning them and how important they would become. In 2013, we got three first-time winners of majors in Adam Scott, Justin Rose, and Jason Dufner. Each of them had to endure quite a road to reaching this tall mountain. The fourth winner, Phil Mickelson, won a major, certainly not his first, but one that most of us thought he would never win - the British Open.

Dear Phil, Sorry I Wrote You Off Too Soon

Jul. 30, 2013     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkIt is never easy to admit when you were wrong. When making predictions, especially about sports, one is bound to be wrong from time to time. A few months ago I declared that Phil Mickelson's career in the majors was over.

Boy was I wrong. If Phil hits better wedges on the 13th and 15th hole at Merion, he may have won two majors and I would have looked really stupid. The 66 Phil fired at Muirfield was not vintage Phil Mickelson. It was what we have come to expect from Tiger. Exacting, skillful, and beyond all, clutch.

2013 British Open Staff Picks

Jul. 17, 2013     By     Comments (3)

Thrash TalkThe 2013 edition of the British Open moves to Muirfield Golf Club. The story lines for this year's event look great. Phil Mickelson is peaking with a win last week at the Scottish Open, Graeme McDowell is also riding high with a win at the French Open and of course there is always Tiger. There are certainly some questions around if Tiger is going to be his best this week after sustaining the injury at the U.S. Open. Let's see what the staff expects for this year's event.

Why Hank Shouldn’t Talk About Tiger

Jul. 15, 2013     By     Comments (10)

Thrash TalkHank Haney should really learn to keep his mouth shut. In a recent tweet, Hank Haney shared the idea that Tiger's reason for struggling at the 2013 United States Open at Merion Golf Club was because Tiger did not prepare well enough before the tournament. Hank went on to say that he has seen Tiger prepare in the past when he was Tiger's coach and in his opinion it was not enough preparation for Tiger to win the event.

Beyond the fact that Hank really has no direct knowledge of what it takes to win a major tournament, Hank should have refrained from making any comments about his former pupil. For starters, he has no first-hand knowledge of what Tiger did to prepare for Merion. Yes, he's watched Tiger prepare for majors in the past, but he has no idea what Tiger did at Merion. None.

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