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2015 U.S. Open Staff Predictions

Jun. 18, 2015     By     Comments (0)

It is time for golf's annual torture chamber! Better known as the U.S. Open, this year at Chambers Bay. Let's see what excitement TST staff is expecting for 2015.

Thrash TalkIf you asked most golfers to describe the U.S. Open in a single sentence you would likely hear a great deal about thick rough and tree-lined traditional golf courses. Well, not this year. The U.S. Open is heading to my new home state of Washington in the Pacific Northwest to play at Chambers Bay not too far from Seattle. The venue is getting lots of people talking as well as the new broadcast team from Fox of Joe Buck, Greg Norman, and old favorite Holly Sonders.

With Tiger struggling to find his game and Rory coming off two straight missed cuts in Europe there are no clear favorites to get behind. Even recent Masters champion Jordan Spieth has not played that well since donning the green jacket. So you could call the U.S. Open truly an open competition because just about anyone has the chance to win.

With all these great storylines to discuss let's see what the staff's expectations are for this year's event.

Volume Three Hundred Thirty-Seven

Jun. 15, 2015     By     Comments (0)

A week of runaway wins and anticipation for the course by the bay.

Hittin' the LinksIt's U.S. Open week! Can we just fast forward to Thursday?

As always, there are a lot of questions to be answered in the U.S. Open. Is the course too difficult? Too quirky? Can Rory rebound from several poor showings following his win in Charlotte? Will Phil finally get his U.S. Open and the career grand slam? Can Tiger find the fairway? Can DJ overpower Chambers Bay? Will a dark horse from the field surprise everyone? Or is this going to be a year for the ages for young Jordan Spieth?

In the meantime, there were not one but two majors this past weekend. The women played one at historic Westchester, while the old guys vied at Belmont. And it was a week for front runners to pull away. Let's hit the links.

Talking to Shane Ryan, Author of “Slaying the Tiger”

Jun. 9, 2015     By     Comments (3)

We talk to Shane Ryan about his new book covering the 2014 PGA Tour season, examine a few of the Tour's outsized characters, and ask just how many Geoff Ogilvys is your golf game worth?

Throwing DartsShane Ryan has written about golf for Golf Digest, Grantland, ESPN The Magazine, and Deadspin, and writes about entertainment for Paste.

Ryan hosts a podcast, Friends of Tiger, and spent 2014 driving around the country from Tour event to Tour event. His first book, Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on The New PGA Tour, is available today. Slaying the Tiger is an in-depth look at the present and future of the PGA Tour, with profiles of rising PGA Tour stars like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Patrick Reed.

We sat down to chat via email to talk about the book, the PGA Tour, and Matt Every's wife's middle name.

Snell My Tour Ball Review

Jun. 8, 2015     By     Comments (9)

Dean Snell headed up the development of the Pro V1/V1x for Titleist and TaylorMade's lineup of balls for years. Now he's got his own golf ball, and you can have it, too. How does it stack up?

My Tour HeroWhile you may not know the name Dean Snell, there is a good chance you know the names of and have probably teed up the numerous golf balls he's helped design. After 25 years of experience in the golf industry, Dean Snell's name is on 38 golf ball patents. He was the designer or co-designer of some of the best performing and most popular golf balls in the industry. While working for Titleist, he was responsible for the ProV1/ProV1x, Tour Prestige, HP2 Tour, and HP2 Distance. After seven years with Titleist, he moved over to TaylorMade as the Vice President of Research and Development where he produced the TP Red LDP, TP Black LDP, Penta TP, Penta TP5, Lethal, Tour Preferred, Tour Preferred X, Burner, Noodle, RocketBallz and Project (a) golf balls. So when Dean Snell came out with his own golf ball, it caught our attention and these balls should definitely be on your radar.

The golf ball market is an interesting place right now. Titleist is obviously still top dog for the "tour" level golf ball with many great offerings from Bridgestone, Callaway, TaylorMade, and Srixon. But, the problem with these balls is that you're going to pay $44-48 for a premium tour-level performance. In the price-fixing world of golf equipment, all the premium level balls are priced similarly. That leaves the door open for competitors that don't have to pay the Tour players, can cut out the middle man, and sell their balls directly to the consumer. This is the mission of Snell Golf; to sell Tour-level performance golf balls directly to the golfer at an affordable price point. A Pro V1 for the masses. Interested? Too good to be true? Let's take a closer look.

Posted in: Balls, Review Comments (9)

PING G30 Driver Review

Jun. 8, 2015     By     Comments (7)

PING's newest driver features radical new technology aimed to get you swinging faster and bombing it down the fairway.

PING G30Over the last few years, PING drivers have been gaining more and more popularity. Part of that may be due to the fact that one of the longest players on the PGA Tour, Bubba Watson, is a member of their staff. Like many companies, PING has a couple of different driver lines, each aimed at a different group of golfers. While there have been options such as the Anser driver or the short lived K series, most of PING's products are either part of the "i" series or "G" series. The "i" series has typically been viewed as the line for the better player, while the "G" series is more for the weekend warrior. While some of that still holds true, the lines are becoming more and more blurred and it isn't uncommon to see the better player, including the likes of Bubba Watson, with the "G" series driver in the bag.

With the G30 driver, PING has their most radical product offering to date. Known more as a traditional company, it isn't often that their clubs have technology not seen on other clubs. The company was among the last to go to adjustable hosels as standard for their drivers, and even at this point there are other hosels that are much more advanced and allow for more settings. Also, you aren't going to find any movable or sliding weights on this club that will let you fine tune the club's center of gravity. What you will find, and what's not on any other driver currently available, are "Turbulators."

Read on to find out exactly what Turbulators are, how they work, and whether they lead to a driver that's worth putting into your bag.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (7)

Volume Four Hundred Thirty-Six

Jun. 8, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Scandinavia: Have you planned your buddies trip yet?

Hittin' the LinksMaybe we should all be traveling to Scandinavia for our golf vacations. They seem to play some awfully good golf there. In fact, it was a Scandinavian Slam this week on the major tours. Two Swedes and a Norwegian claimed titles on the PGA TOUR, European Tour, and LPGA Tour, respectively. Skål!

The struggles of the #175 (and falling) golfer in world continue. I followed Tiger Woods for his last five holes at Muirfield Village, and I was far from alone. Even shooting over par and dead last of those who made the cut, Tiger still moves the needle. Several thousand were walking with Woods, at a brisk pace, as the five-time Memorial winner played his final round of the 2015 tournament alone and in just over three hours.

Final U.S. Open qualifying tees off Monday morning. Major #2 of the year is getting close. Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Thirty-Five

Jun. 1, 2015     By     Comments (0)

When it rains, it pours, especially on Rory.

Hittin' the LinksRain featured prominently in two of three tournaments this weekend (and the Memorial doesn't start until Thursday). The Byron Nelson was nearly a washout, but some solid work by the grounds crew got (most) of the course into playing condition. In Northern Ireland, the weather does a great imitation of Scottish weather, with cold rain blowing sideways across the links.

Speaking of raining on someone's parade, the Golf Channel just can't be nice to Monty. During an interview following Colin Montgomery's 2nd-straight victory at the Senior PGA Championship, the Golf Channel put up a graphic noting his 31 European Tour wins, with "No majors" in parentheses.

All in all, it was a strange (and wet) week. Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Thirty-Four

May. 25, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Too much rain, too little Rory and two Senior PGA Championships.

Hittin' the LinksThere was so much rain at the first of the back-to-back Dallas-Ft. Worth area events that the PGA TOUR instituted preferred lies through the green. Players were able to lift, clean, and place the ball everywhere but hazards. Naturally scores went low. John Huh tied the second-lowest back nine in tournament history with a 29. Jason Bohn did the same on the front. These guys are really good when they get to tee up every shot.

Across the pond, the European Tour's top event was bereft of the game's top player on the weekend. A week after he looked unbeatable at Quail Hollow, Rory McIlroy couldn't find the fairway (or the green or his putter) and failed to make the cut. When his timing is off with the driver, McIlroy doesn't have a plan B to go to.

In French Lick, Indiana, they held a Senior PGA Championship and a U.S. Open broke out (for the first three days anyway). Precision was the name of the game, and, this just in, Colin Montgomerie is a great iron player.

Let's hit the links.

Volume Four Hundred Thirty-Three

May. 18, 2015     By     Comments (0)

This is why we can never have nice rivalries.

Hittin' the LinksThis just in... Rory McIlroy is good.

In fact, when Rory McIlroy is on (as he was during a course-record setting third round at Quail Hollow), he does a pretty good Tiger Woods circa 2000 imitation. He is playing a different game than the rest of the field. Luckily for the other players, unlike how Woods used to do McIlroy does not win with his B-game (at least not yet).

It would be great to have a real rivalry, like Palmer-Nicklaus-Player, but for that to happen the rivals need to be at relatively the same level. Jordan Speith's Masters win and Rickie Fowler taking the Players were both impressive wins. And those guys are among the elite on TOUR. But if McIlroy played every week like he played this one, everybody else would be playing for second, a distant one.

Let's hit the links.

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