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A Rivalry is Born

Jul. 26, 2015     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkThe one thing that makes sport great is rivalries. Baseball has series like the subway series. Football has divisional games which inferior teams can rise up and beat some of the best teams just because of the familiarity. I have been to an English Football derby and the electricity in the stadium is fantastic! Everyone - even the players - can understand the necessity of having someone against whom you compete. Someone who drives you to play better.

Golf has had its share of great rivalries. Consider Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. These two guys grew up in the same caddie yard and then went on to compete on the PGA Tour. Hollywood couldn't have scripted a better story. There was the big three for a while with Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player. They were the foundation for the modern golf rivalry. Each golfer to a man says they were constantly watching what the other guys were doing. As Arnold began to fade with age, Tom Watson became a worthy competitor to Jack and provided one of the best mano e mano fights that golf has ever seen in The Duel in the Sun. Jack Nicklaus has always stated that Tom made him a better competitor. Jack won more but Tom would rise up and challenge Jack, and very often beat him.

2015 British Open Staff Predictions

Jul. 15, 2015     By     Comments (0)

Thrash TalkThe 2015 British Open comes to us from the home of golf, St. Andrews, with all sorts of fantastic story lines. Tiger has shown improvement since is terrible showing at the U.S. Open. Jordan Spieth, on a Grand Slam watch, just finished a successful defense of his title at the John Deere Classic. Lastly, not to be outdone 2015 Players Champion, and don't call him overrated, Rickie Fowler just won the Scottish Open. The only downer is defending champion Rory McIlroy is out with a leg injury after a soccer accident. The field is set and everyone is playing their best and it is setting up to be an epic showdown at St. Andrews. If you aren't excited about this years British Open you just aren't that into golf.

With that lets hear what The Sand Trap staff is expecting at this event.

U.S. Open Drama

Jun. 25, 2015     By     Comments (4)

Thrash TalkMissing a short putt to win a major sucks. As a golf fan with whom the outcome is neutral, watching a player miss a short putt is painful. "I am in shock" was the comment from Jordan Spieth who was the beneficiary of the miss. My heart was in my stomach as Dustin walked up to tap in his par. I did not want to see him three putt from less than fifteen feet to lose the U.S. Open.

Spieth has now won the first two majors of 2015 and he is a worthy winner. I am happy for him. I would just have rather him won it in an eighteen-hole playoff on Monday as he should have. Not because Dustin missed that putt. The drama of the U.S. Open was incredible. Even Dustin's storyline of being the clear leader, to then a story of him losing it, to then an incredible birdie on 17, to then the deflation of the three putt. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

2015 U.S. Open Staff Predictions

Jun. 18, 2015     By     Comments (0)

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.

Is Rickie Fowler Overrated?

May. 12, 2015     By     Comments (8)

Thrash TalkThe term overrated is overused. It has become a common terms used by sports talking heads when they feel that someone has been given credit they don't deserve. I am not saying that some teams or players have not been given more credit than they've earned, but we overuse the term.

Rickie Fowler was recently rated as one of the PGA Tour's most overrated players. He answered his fellow anonymous touring professionals by winning The Player's Championship. Even putting this most recent win aside, voting him the most overrated golfer was misguided at best. I honestly don't know if they watch the same tour that I do. How could they rank a guy with the highest finish in all of the majors last year overrated. I simply don't get it.

On Tiger Woods and Augusta

Apr. 9, 2015     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkI've started to question recently if I'm truly a golf fan.

Every now and then we'll get a TST forum member who decides that no one is a "real golf fan." They believe themselves to be, apparently, the sole member of this rare species. The rest of us are Phil fans, or Tiger fans, or Joost Luiten fans. Maybe they're right.

I think I'm a real golf fan. I still love playing golf, and I love following it, but there are a lot of ancillary aspects of the sport that grate at me. Golf isn't a particularly mainstream sport, and I think part of that owes to the general attitude of many golfers. Because allegiances aren't (grain flow) forged at birth, golf fans tend to pick their favorite golfers irrationally, and that boils over into their general golf fandom. Black-and-white opinions bug me in general, but especially in the golf world, a sport built on a foundation of black-and-white rules, they tend to be the norm. Nuance is lost. Outrage and sensationalism wins out over enjoyment. It stops being entertainment.

Golf has always been entertainment for me. If it ever ceases to be, I'll move on. Everyone keeps telling me hockey is great.

2015 Masters Preview and Picks

Apr. 7, 2015     By     Comments (2)

Thrash TalkThe dogwoods are in bloom and Tiger's jet has been spotted in Augusta's private airport, it must be time for the Masters. Tiger is playing so the "will he or won't he" discussion is over and we now anxiously wait for him to miss a green to see if he flubs, shanks, or skulls his chip. Tiger always brings a buzz to the game and this year is no different. Traditionally The Sand Trap staff loves to pick Tiger but something tells me this Masters is going to be different.

Even with the all the buzz around Tiger there are a number of other story lines to talk about in the 2015 Masters. Is Rory going to complete the career grand slam and get the third leg of a grand slam? What about the defending champion Bubba Watson? Which rookies will you be looking out for this year? With that let's dive into the questions.

Is Patrick Reed a Top Five…Cheater?

Mar. 18, 2015     By     Comments (4)

Thrash TalkI am no fan of Patrick Reed. My first impression was so bad that he will likely never overcome my dislike, no matter how many Ryder Cup matches he wins. My first impression was his interview stating that he is a top five golfer when he was just starting out. I like confidence but I like it in moderation.

He has proven himself to be a good golfer. There is no denying that. We can argue about whether or not he is in the top five, but he is certainly good enough to play on the US Ryder Cup team. Recently he has been the talk on tour for a piece done about his past. Shane Ryan has been working on a book titled: "Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour". In it he details the troubled past of one Patrick Reed. The story outlines a troubled young man who cheated, which in golf, is the worst label a guy can get. Patrick has now came back saying in an interview on the Golf Channel that the story is false and he has statements from his former golf coaches saying they are false. Now it has become a good old fashion he said he said scenario. He is now asking for a retraction from the books publishers and also Ryan himself.

The Ryder Cup Disappoints Again

Feb. 26, 2015     By     Comments (5)

Thrash TalkThe first news of the Ryder Cup captaincy came as more of a "leak" rather than an announcement. We heard from Tim Rosaforte that Davis Love III was going to be captain again.

My first feeling was disappointment that they did not take my suggestion of a Ryder Cup CEO, but rather choosing the safer route of picking a popular figure in the game. My second feeling? How could this be the result of the Ryder Cup task force? To pick DL3 again?

If the answer to the question is that, yes, this is the result of the task force, then I am extremely disappointed. This is a "more of the same" type of move rather than trying to make the big changes the U.S. Ryder Cup needs. Sure, Davis is a nice guy and he had basically won the 2012 Ryder Cup before his team's lousy Sunday singles play, but he is not change. He is one of the many losing captains the U.S. team has had in its recent past. How as a fan of the U.S. team can you not feel anything but disappointment?

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