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2014 PGA Championship Staff Picks

Aug. 6, 2014     By     Comments (2)

The big guns of the PGA Tour are all in high gear making this year's PGA Championship very intriguing. Let's take a look at what The Sand Trap Staff expects for this year's event.

Thrash TalkThe 2014 PGA Championship brings us to back to a familiar spot: Valhalla. In 2000 we were dazzled here with one of the best playoffs in PGA Championship history. Tiger Woods defeated Bob May to cap off a fantastic 2000 season. After delaying until 1:16pm on Wednesday, Tiger finally arrived on site. Phil had a fantastic round to finish his weekend at Firestone. Rickie, Jordan, Justin Rose… there are many guys to choose from. Let's see who The Sand Trap staff likes this week.

A few notes as you read through. You will notice that we have added a few new members to the staff. Also, the third question was asked before Tiger's re-injury; some answered before and some answered after.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Eight

Aug. 6, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Sergio falters, again. Rory wins, again. Tiger's back goes out, again. And it's PGA Championship week.

Hittin' the LinksWith the PGA Championship starting on Thursday, the golf world is in a bit of turmoil. Dustin Johnson is on "a leave of absence." Tiger Woods hobbled off the grounds at Firestone after just 62 holes. Rory McIlroy is looking unbeatable.

The U.S. Ryder Team, which for much of the year has looked like the stronger of the two, suddenly seems seriously shaky. Consider everything in the first paragraph, coupled with Sergio's very solid play of late, as well as the fact that the only Americans playing consistently good golf of late are Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley. There's still time for the Americans to come around, but right now it looks like the smart money would be on the Euros come September.

But first, it's off to Valhalla for the PGA Championship. Let's hit the links, Twitter style.

Golf Strategery

Jul. 31, 2014     By     Comments (12)

Golf Instructional books are undergoing a fairly major shift towards common sense on how to get better faster. I take a look at this new trend and what it means to you.

Thrash TalkGolf is hard.

Add to this the fact that most instructional golf books are not worth the paper they are printed on. Most players trying to learn how to play the game from a book have so many swing thoughts they're unable to take the club back. They stink.

Until recently, most golf instructional books were written to either help you improve your swing or trying to help golfer on the mental side of golf. The problem is that it's quite difficult to learn and build a golf swing from a book. Sure, they have pictures and illustrations, but how much can aspiring golfers learn from looking at a static picture of Tiger hitting a 300-yard drive? More importantly, how much can they teach themselves from staring at a picture of Tiger Woods?

Recently, though, the trend in instructional books seems to have shifted a little. Now you are starting to see books that help golfers from more of a statistical point of view. Recent books from Mark Broadie, Every Shot Counts, and Erik J. Barzeski and David Wedzik, Lowest Score Wins, are some examples of books that take a fresh approach using statistics to help you focus in on how to get better faster.

Ping i25 Driver Review

Jul. 30, 2014     By     Comments (4)

Can a low-spinning driver really meet the needs of wide variety of golfers?

PING i25 Driver Hero ShotIn a swing of the marketing winds, a few companies are eschewing the "players' club" designation in favor of an everyman approach. You have most likely seen that Titleist is pitching the Pro V1 for all ability levels and swing speeds this season. The PING i25 driver is carrying a similar message. But can a low-spin driver really be a fit for elite and hacker alike? We'll take a closer look at the i25 to find out.

The i20, PING's previous offering in this line, was a nice lower-hitting, lower spinning driver. For the i25, PING made a few important changes that should reap big benefits for golfers. The biggest differences in the i25 from the i20 are the addition of an adjustable hosel, racing stripes on the crown, and a new family of PING shafts that provide a consistent swingweight regardless of which i25 and PWR shaft you choose.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (4)

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Seven

Jul. 29, 2014     By     Comments (0)

A German thumps the field, unexpected winners take the cup, and Jarrod Lyle is one tough golfer.

Hittin' the LinksIt was not the best week in golf for many who have devoted their professional careers to the game. But we'll get to that.

It was, however, an awesome week in golf for a guy who's mere presence at the event is story enough.

It was also a very awesome week for a certain German golfer we know. And the LPGA launched perhaps their most innovative event to date. Let's hit the links.

Tiger vs. Jack

Jul. 21, 2014     By     Comments (23)

The age-old debate rages on.

Thrash TalkTrying to parse out the respective greatness of golf’s two winningest major champions is probably the sport’s biggest unsolved mystery.

Jack’s supporters, largely those who lived through his career, tend to look at the one big marker that Nicklaus certainly beats Woods in: major championship wins, as currently defined. 18 remains a larger number than 14, after all. They also point out the Hall of Fame-level competition that Jack had to face throughout his career, including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, and Tom Watson.

And Tiger’s supporters, generally younger, look to most other stats. Tiger leads Jack in PGA Tour wins, worldwide wins, Vardon Trophies, money titles, and many more. There’s also a very pervasive argument that Tiger’s competition, despite not having the dozen big names of Jack’s day, was far deeper, and presented a more of a weekly challenge where 100 different players were skilled enough to win rather than 20.

It’s an argument that often gets emotional and irrational, but if we want a real answer, we’re going to have to break it down.

Volume Three Hundred Ninety-Six

Jul. 21, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Where we answer the question: "Why is the Claret Jug so sticky?"

Hittin' the LinksThe Open Championship lacked a bit in suspense, like the Masters and U.S. Open before it. Wire-to-wire wins are like that. And it was the most unlinksiest Open Championship in recent memory. (Can you ever remember seeing so many shots check and back up at an Open Championship as we did this year?) Still Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia made it interesting for a while on the back nine, but McIlroy's third-round lead was too much to overcome. Rory's two eagles on Saturday were the back breakers, giving him plenty of cushion to play with on Sunday.

Fowler appears to have taken over Jason Day's mantle as the automatic pick for a top 10 finish in majors. He's finished in the top five in all three majors of 2014. (Hmmm, should we pick him for the PGA Championship?) And Sergio Garcia is there again on a Sunday at the Open Championship, but this time he got there with a major charge that almost caught Rory. If he'd have been able to extricate himself from the bunker on 15, who knows.

But here's what is for sure, Rory McIlroy is the third youngest to win three of the four majors, behind Nicklaus and Woods. Not bad company to keep. While Phil Mickelson filled the Claret Jug with a $40,000 bottle of red wine and shared it with friends, for Rory's family it was apparently a fifth of Jagermeister. We know that Rory's dad could have afforded something a little nicer. He just won a decade old bet that Rory would win the Open Championship before his 26th birthday.

Let's hit the links.

2014 British Open Staff Preview

Jul. 16, 2014     By     Comments (1)

My alarm is set for early Thursday morning to watch the 2014 British Open, is yours? Read on to check out what the staff expects we'll see for this year's event.

Thrash TalkRoyal Liverpool is the site of the 2014 British Open. Last time we were there, Tiger navigated his way to a win only hitting his driver once. When it comes to the British Open, the weather conditions dictate how the course will play and the rumor is the course is not as dry and the rough is up, so Tiger will likely not be able to it the same way he did last time. Speaking of Tiger there are numerous question marks about how he will play this year considering it is only his second event back from his back surgery.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson come to Royal Liverpool following one of his worst starts ever. His only top ten was at Abu Dhabi early in the season, but with Phil being Phil we can never know what to expect. There are numerous exciting story lines surrounding the event so with that lets see what the staff expects for the event.

PING Introduces G30 Line

Jul. 15, 2014     By     Comments (0)

The new G30 line of clubs includes new drivers, woods, hybrids and irons.

Bag DropWhen one thinks of the golf manufacturers out there on the cutting edge of innovation, companies like TaylorMade and Callaway spring to mind. It seems that these companies always have some new technology that promises to add distance and increase forgiveness and some time later similar technologies are adopted by the rest of the golfing world. However, one of the original innovators in the golf world is PING, and they are doing it again with their new G30 line of drivers, woods, hybrids and irons. According to PING, they were able to achieve significant distance gains with the new clubs without sacrificing performance in any other key area such as forgiveness.

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