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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 (2)

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.

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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.

Volume Three Hundred Eighty-Nine

Jun. 4, 2014     By     Comments (0)

Watson wilts wildly, Matsu manages mishaps, and the feds follow Phil. What is going on here?

Hittin' the LinksThe final round of the Memorial might have been the wildest one so far this year: Bubba hooked one into a backyard, Na hit a spectator and left a ball imprint on her knee, Matsu broke his driver, and Scott never got it going.

Also this week, on the IR, Tiger fell to #4 in the world as Bubba Watson slid by him into #3. And just what did Phil know and when did he know it (and who told him)? It was a very interesting week in golf. Let's hit the links.

Callaway Apex Irons Review

May. 29, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Callaway's newest flagship line of irons is not quite Hogan-esque, but pretty darn close.

Callaway Apex Irons Back HeroJust a few years ago, Callaway's lineup of irons was bloated, confusing, and redundant. They had a few uninspired options for better players, and had clearly put all of their effort into the game improvement market.

Several years later, Callaway's lineup has been completely transformed. Along with the holdover X Forged from a year ago, they're introduced two new lines: X2 Hot, and Apex.

Callaway didn't approach the Apex line lightly, and it shows. The label was originally made famous as the name of a line of Hogan clubs. After Callaway bought the Hogan brand in the early 2000s, both the "Hogan" and "Apex" names were retired, a development that many better players lamented, especially as Callaway recycled the Hogan "Edge" label into a set of gaudy game-improvement irons and despite Callaway's recent sale of Hogan to Perry Ellis.

As Callaway's most forgiving forged set of irons, the Apex irons need to strike a balance between appealing to both high- and low-handicappers, which is not easy to do. Let's see how they made out.

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Volume Three Hundred Eighty-Eight

May. 27, 2014     By     Comments (2)

Adam's #1, Rory's single, and Monty's back! And Bubba is, well, Bubba.

Hittin' the LinksWe hope those of you in the U.S. enjoyed the long Memorial Day weekend and took a moment to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. And for those of you in parts of the world that don't observe the holiday this weekend, we hope you enjoyed it and got out to play a little golf.

There was a lot of great golf on TV this weekend, too. While many of us were outside grilling or enjoying the (finally) warm weather, the tours were putting on a show. The Euro Tour's best event featured a hard Sunday charge from an unlikely (of late) player. The Crowne Plaza Championship gave us two of the game's top players catching the leaders from deep in the field and then dueling it out in a playoff. There was even a David Toms sighting in Dallas, as the former PGA Championship winner put up a top 5 performance.

And what can we say about the Sr. PGA Championship? Well, let's see as we hit the links…

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