The Sand Trap is heading in a new direction. Instead of news, you'll get commentary on the news. We're moving to a new publishing schedule, and I'd like to step through it with you. Comments are welcome.
We received an email from The Sand Trap reader Bruce Hardie on Tuesday, and we'd like to share it.
I'm a fan of The Sand Trap and you and the rest of your writers should be congratulated.
I'm surprised, and maybe even a little hurt, by some of the reactions to Michael Campbell's win. Some of the press seem to think that he was some second rate scrub who got lucky.
Ned Barnett says "Campbell's win was great for his career, his bank account and his family, but it wasn't great for golf… The leaderboard was full of little-known international players who are little-known for a reason."
As the world's best golfers tee off at Pinehurst No. 2 this morning, I'm still chuckling about a wayward shot world No. 2 Vijay Singh fired off in the media tent yesterday. Vijay obviously doesn't practice humility or common sense as much as he does his golf game.
So Vijay rolls into the media tent. No one ever expects him to have much of interest to say, and he obliges with all the boilerplate comments about the great shape Pinehurst No. 2 is in, etc.
This report comes to us from Pinehurst #2 courtesty of Dave Koster, scratch golfer, North Carolina resident, and friend of The Sand Trap.
Pinehurst is a special place. There is no doubt about it. I have been there only one other time. I played #5 and got to enjoy watching a good friend of mine play a game of croquet at their famous courts. That was during a cold day in December a couple years back. My second trip was different.
Fast forward to June 2005. The word of the day: Hot. Well, maybe there are two words of the day. The first is 'Hot' and the second should be 'Water'. One was in high demand and the other was not. I think that you can guess which one is which. That's enough about the weather and reminiscing about times past. On to the good stuff.
One of the worst-kept secrets in golf equipment this year is that Callaway Golf has a new ball being tested on the pro tours. While the HX Tour ball has been a staple on tour for more than a year, Phil Mickelson has been very public in his praise of this new prototype ball, code-named HX Tour 56.
While the HX Tour 56 ball is generating a lot of buzz, not many details about the ball have come out. But The Sand Trap was fortunate enough to score a few sleeves of the new ball for some testing prior to the HX Tour's scheduled mid-summer retail release. Did it live up to the HX Tour reputation?
Jack Nicklaus has built a fine career for himself, and one of the crowning jewels in his lustrous golden cap is his own tournament, The Memorial. With one of the strongest fields in non-major golf, Jack's tournament is regarded by many as one of the best of the season.
That view, I've come to learn, may not be shared by the Tour elite. I'm not talking about Tiger, but Tim. Not a guy from Fiji, but a guy named Finchem. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and his very astute, very capable team of executives haven't lost much love for Jack Nicklaus through the years. In fact, it's safe to say they never really had much to begin with.
In fact, Nicklaus is so far on the outside of Finchem's camp that, should the PGA Tour season contract this winter, The Memorial may find its neck on the chopping block.
I've got all the respect in the world for Gary Player. His record is spotless. Oh, well, except for that cheating thing. But really, Gary Player, a brilliant guy and a great player with a good head on his shoulders. Oh, well, except for those stupid comments he made last week.
Gary Player is asking governing bodies to impose "drastic" restrictions to the equipment used on the professional tours. Says Player, a short hitter even in his prime, "There's not even a debate. There must be a premium on driving." New equipment is "ruining the game of golf."
Player elaborated, saying "I play on the Champions Tour now, and there are guys on it who are shooting scores that they could never shoot when they were young men. It just doesn't make sense, and it's ruining golf."
It's common knowledge that Tiger Woods has gained a lot of distance with his new large-headed Nike driver. Right? I mean, c'mon, we saw him hit some absolutely huge monsters at Doral, didn't we?
In the face of statistical analysis, well, that's not necessarily true. Paul Kedrosky has plugged in the numbers, and here you can see Tiger Woods' driving statistics in 2000 and 2005 (red dot). While his accuracy has dropped considerably, his yardage hasn't increased substantially. What's worse, the rest of the PGA Tour (indicated in 2000 by blue dots and in 2005 by green) has dramatically increased with little overall impact to driving accuracy:
Michelle Wie is just your everyday 15-year-old female golfer. Well, apart from the fact that she has played in two PGA Tour events and in the final pairing with Annika Sorenstam on Sunday in an LPGA major.
Wie played in the PGA Tour's Sony Open the last two years and her upcoming appearance in the John Deere Classic via sponsor's exemption looms in early July. Wie's two rounds of even par to miss the cut by just one stroke at the 2004 Sony Open prompted Tom Lehman, who played with Wie in a pro-am, to give her the nickname "Big Wiesy." Michelle is already six feet tall and has a swing that resembles Ernie Els, "The Big Easy." That is a lofty nickname for a teenager.
However, not all is well in Wie's world. She's undergone quite a bit of scrutiny and endured a bit of controversy lately. Is the world taking Wie for granted, or is Wie taking advantage of the world?