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Grading Tiger’s Return

Dec. 13, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Thrash TalkThere is good news, and bad news.

The good news is there are a number of positives to take away from Tiger's recent return at his Hero World Challenge. The bad news was his score. Our, or at least my, expectations for Tiger are very high. When he comes back from injury I expect low scores and a return to dominance. The only thing he dominated in this return was the bottom of the leaderboard.

Why Tiger Needs to Fire Mark Steinberg

Nov. 25, 2014     By     Comments (9)

Thrash TalkTiger Woods is really mad at Dan Jenkins. He is angry because Jenkins wrote an fake interview with Tiger saying all sorts of unfriendly things about Tiger in Golf Digest. Tiger responded posting a retort to the article on Derek Jeter's website requesting that Jenkins apologize.

I do not understand why Tiger felt the need to reply to Jenkins. Or why he felt the need to do it on Jeter's website. It was last year at this time that Tiger was angry with another golf journalist in Brandel Chamblee. Chamblee wrongly called Tiger a cheater and the heat from the article forced Chamblee out his role as a writer. Chamblee managed to keep his job at Golf Channel but only by the hair on his chinny chin chin. Tiger did not respond to Chamblee's article by writing his own article. He took to the airways lofting threatening verbiage suggesting Golf Channel might want to fire Chamblee for his poorly written article.

The Tweet Heard ‘Round the Golfing World

Oct. 28, 2014     By     Comments (5)

Thrash TalkA few years ago I was an avid listener of Colin Cowherd's radio program. Like him or not, he had a pretty wise take on Twitter. He believed that Twitter was a loaded gun, meaning you could hand it to someone and they would be likely to shoot themselves (or someone else). I think he was on to something.

I tried Twitter before it really hit the mainstream. I wasn't an original user, but I was probably in before you were. My company at the time was looking for exposure and all of the marketing people I spoke with told me I had to get on Twitter. I had both a company account and a personal one. I did not last long. At the time I was a user the LPGA was just starting their campaign on Twitter as well. I followed Christina Kim and Michelle Wie, among others, and the nasty comments made to them by random people went beyond the definition of mean. I didn't know if I was supposed to be offended or, as a parent, concerned that someone might be stalking them. I quickly left Twitter.

Colin's main point regarding Twitter was that the filter is removed. People can say things they think in their head that they would never say in person. Just type it into that little bubbly prompt and hit "Send." Ninety plus percent of tweets go without a follow up. But the five or ten percent can be dangerous and damaging.

Just ask Ted Bishop.

How to Start Winning the Ryder Cup Again

Oct. 15, 2014     By     Comments (10)

Thrash TalkSomething has to change. Heck, if nothing changes the Ryder Cup might not even be worth watching anymore because the U.S. is not competitive. The U.S. has now lost eight of the last ten. That is a whooping of biblical proportions.

As you know by now Phil Mickelson has outlined what he thinks we should do to stem the tide. There are arguments that the timing of Phil's message was bad, but to that I say hogwash. The American side needs to face up to the challenge. It must accept that it has change its ways in order to start winning. We can no longer show up with an honorary captain who is there because he was a great golfer in his day. We need to think about changing everything.

I have a plan for the U.S. team. I want to make big changes.

A Convincing Argument for 15 Inch Holes

Oct. 3, 2014     By     Comments (43)

Thrash TalkThe first time I heard the idea of fifteen-inch holes I rejected it. The idea was brought to the golf world's attention by TaylorMade CEO Mark King as part of the "Hack Golf" initiative. I lean much more toward the traditionalist view of playing the game as it was intended. I reasoned that fifteen-inch holes would make a mockery of the game that I love very much.

Recently however, I had a conversation with a good friend who convinced me that there is a way to implement the larger hole and still keep the tradition of the game.

As golfers we must accept that our game's growth has stalled. In fact, it's not only stalled, but is going backward. The game is headed in reverse. My initial reaction on how to fix this growth problem comes in identifying the problems with the game today. The number one killer is slow play, or time. It just takes too long to finish a round of golf. Golf needs to be faster.

Dear Sean, I Think it is Time We See Other People

Aug. 31, 2014     By     Comments (3)

Thrash TalkI can remember when I first learned that Tiger and Sean Foley were going to work together I was expecting Tiger to dominate again, and quickly. Sean was a rising star, with a stable of players such as Sean O'Hair who at the time was playing great, Hunter Mahan, Justin Rose, lots of guys who were and still are rising stars. Tiger was returning from scandal and a very broken relationship with Hank Haney, but was and still is the best player to ever play the game. The match looked very good.

Sadly it was a completely majorless relationship. The question of whether Tiger got better is near impossible to answer because he was so often injured that only in 2013 could we do any type of analysis of his performance. 2013 was a great year, with five wins (in big events, including The Players, which he's struggled to win in the past) and Player of the Year honors, but he didn't win a major. I for one thought it was only a matter of time until he got number fifteen in the trophy case.

Is Eleven Years Old too Young to Play in a U.S. Open?

Aug. 21, 2014     By     Comments (6)

Thrash TalkThe darling of the 2014 Women's U.S. Open at Pinehurst this year was not the winner Michelle Wie but eleven-year-old Lucy Li. Her colorful outfits and bubbly personality stole the show for anyone who watches women's golf. She handled the pressure of being only eleven at playing in one of the biggest events in women's golf. But this begs the question, is eleven years old too young to play in a U.S. Open?

Note that Lucy was not even the youngest player who attempted to qualify! She was the youngest to qualify but there was a nine year old, Alexa Pano from Florida, who was not successful but gave it her best effort. My daughter is still quite young, but nine years old seems on the young side to be playing in the biggest stage of women's golf. At nine, I never gave a thought to giving press interviews people asking me questions in press conference. Is this too much at such a young age?

2014 PGA Championship Staff Picks

Aug. 6, 2014     By     Comments (2)

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.

Golf Strategery

Jul. 31, 2014     By     Comments (12)

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.

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