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Michelle Wie, Back From Golfing Exile

Jun. 30, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Michelle Wie entered the golf scene with talent to burn, then lost her way, and is now back to try and claim the women's golfing crown.

Thrash TalkHer 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.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Three

Jun. 30, 2014     By     Comments (0)

The week in golf in 140 characters or less...

Hittin' the LinksTiger returns to golf and misses the cut by four. But the back feels good, he says.

Michelle Wie takes NYC and golf world by storm, twerks, and nearly doubles up in Arkansas.

Biggest international suspense… five-man playoff on EuroTour or World Cup?

Oh, and the Champions Tour held a major. Did you notice?

Let's hit the links, Twitter style.

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Driver Review

Jun. 29, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Callaway brings back a very popular line of drivers, updates their looks and performance, and again is making a big impact in metal woods.

BB AlphaRebranding a popular line of golf clubs has got to be a very daunting task. If you are from my generation, you remember the first popular metal golf clubs to hit were the Big Bertha line of drivers from Callaway. The market share at the time was very big; they ruled the "oversized" driver market until TaylorMade got wise to shift to titanium.

In the last five years, Callaway got away from Big Bertha line and frankly has struggled to find their identity. The most recent woods from Callaway have rebranded the Big Bertha line with new logos in particular a cartoon version of Sir Isaac Newton and his famous apple. They have also modernized the graphics and lettering of the Big Bertha clubs. They also released two drivers: the Big Bertha and the Big Bertha Alpha. You can read the other Big Bertha review here, this review is for the Alpha driver.

For the review I was given a nine degree driver along with a Stiff Fubuki Shaft. Let's dive in to see how this club performs.

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Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Two

Jun. 23, 2014     By     Comments (1)

Wie wins, Tiger's coming back, and Rory was missing something important.

Hittin' the LinksIt's difficult to contemplate. This weekend, Michelle Wie was playing in her 11th U.S. Women's Open. Born Oct. 11, 1989, she qualified for the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship at the age of 10 (at the time she was the youngest person to qualify for a USGA amateur championship). She won it in 2003. She was the youngest to make the cut at the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship that same year. In 2006, Wie was the first female medalist at a men's U.S. Open local qualifier (she failed to advance from the final stage qualifier).

Soon after Wie turned pro, a week before her 16th birthday, the trouble started. Her level of play deteriorated. She found herself the focus of several controversies, from questionable withdrawals and suspicious injuries to accusations that her parents were among the worst of sports parents. (Some of these accusations were probably true.) She finally won an LPGA event in 2009, but in most events during this time she was a side note. Even when she got into contention, she failed to close.

But 2014 appears to the year of a major Wiesy resurgence. She's a few years removed from controversy and her play is improving at a rapidd pace. Her new putting style, odd as it is, has taken her from average at best to one of the best putters on the LPGA. She's always been long, but now she's playing a smarter game with more control. She already won at the LPGA Lotte Championship in April this year, and now... well, let's hit the links.

TaylorMade Expands SLDR Line Again

Jun. 18, 2014     By     Comments (3)

The SLDR line has been arguably the most popular that TaylorMade has ever produced, and now they are adding to it with some new woods and the first SLDR irons.

Bag DropA little less than a year ago, TaylorMade Golf introduced a set of woods that started somewhat of a mini revolution in the golf industry. The SLDR line of clubs strayed from the norm of a center of gravity that was low and back to one that was low and forward, and in doing so allowed golfers to hit the ball with a lot less spin. This, in combination with having golfers "loft up" has given many that extra distance that they were searching for, and thus, the SLDR driver has become one of the most popular available.

Some companies would be more than happy to sit back for a while, but that isn't TaylorMade. Since the SLDRs introduction last August, the company has expanded the line with a smaller 430cc version, a white crowned version, a mini version, and now a version without the adjustable hosel, the SLDR S. In addition to the new woods, the company has also released the first set of SLDR irons.

Posted in: Bag Drop Comments (3)

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-One

Jun. 16, 2014     By     Comments (0)

No kryptonite for Kaymer at Pinehurst, Mickelson's putter betrays, the field falters, but Compton's heart is big.

Hittin' the LinksWell, the U.S. Open was a bit anti-climactic. Martin Kaymer beat the field into submission with two near-perfect opening rounds of 65. Dare we call it blitzkrieg?

In the end, the big stories going in got answered:

  • Would Phil Mickelson complete the career grand slam? Not with that balky putter.
  • Could Lee Westwood finally win a major? No.
  • Would Rory McIlroy win his second U.S. Open? No (He'd finish T23).
  • Is Kenny Perry too old to compete in a major? Maybe, but then again T28 isn't too shabby.
  • Would Tiger Woods show up or live tweet the event? Seriously?
  • Can a two-time heart transplant recipient rise to the top level of his sport? Oh yes.

Let's hit the links.

2014 United States Open Staff Preview

Jun. 11, 2014     By     Comments (6)

Is Pinehurst #2 ready to handle back to back US Opens with both the men and women? This question and more is addressed by our staff as the men lead off the extended event.

Thrash TalkThe 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.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety

Jun. 9, 2014     By     Comments (0)

It's the U.S. in the Curtis Cup, Crane in Memphis, and Park at Waterloo.

Hittin' the LinksWe're one week away from what should be a very interesting U.S. Open. We have a refurbished Donald Ross course that has proven up to the test of the world's best in the past. It now will do so without the Bermuda rough that served it well in '99 and '05.

Rest assured, it has new defenses. Though the fairways are wide, misplayed balls will wind up in waste areas, pine needles, wire grass, and other nasty places. And then there are those wonderful greens. We can't wait.

So in the interest of getting to next weekend quicker, let's hit the links.

Five Pre-U.S. Open Golf Stories

Jun. 6, 2014     By     Comments (0)

A little bit of Tiger news, an update on the LPGA Tour’s American resurgence, and a quick look back at the PGA Tour so far.

Trap Five LogoWe'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.

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