Well, my golf game is officially a mess this week. My number one trick this spring is to only play decent golf on one nine and blow up on the other… as in 10 strokes or more over the other side. What the heck?
That is just the start of the questions I have about golf this week. Here are five questions that most people would consider more important than the state of my personal golf game.
Number Five: When Should We Expect the 460 with MWT?
Hot on the heels of the R9 driver introduction in March, TaylorMade has released the R9 460 and R9 460 TP. Two months is a pretty short product release cycle, but the introduction of a 460cc R9 model really wasn't a surprise. When TaylorMade released the R9 at 420cc, a lot of people posited that a 460 would be along in short order.
What is surprising, at least to me, is that the R9 460 already represents a departure from the original R9 in more than size. It's an interesting marketing move. Instead of killing sales of the "original" R9 (I can't believe we already have to call it "the original") with the introduction of an R9 460 with all of the R9 technology, TaylorMade has instead introduced a larger (and therefore, more forgiving) R9 with less technology - no Movable Weight Technology (MWT) - at a lower price point ($299 for the regular model and $399 for the TP vs. $399 and $499 for the original R9 models). Instead of the 75 yards of side-to-side adjustability promised by the R9, the R9 460 offers "just" 40 yards of lateral adjustment through the Flight Control Technology (FCT), aka the adjustable hosel gizmo. All of which means prices are probably not going to drop on the R9s quite as fast as some have predicted.
That will probably have to wait for the release of the next R9 model, whether that's later this year or sometime in 2010. I suspect we will see a 460cc R9 with FCT and MWT by next spring at the latest. Who knows what they're going to call it, though.
There's a lot of complaining about TaylorMade releasing a new driver model every few months. This tactic does tend to drive down prices on relatively recently released models, but it must be working. They continue to sell a whole lot of drivers.
Number Four: Do you Tweet?
Or have you ever tweeted?
If you haven't heard, Twitter is a social media phenomenon. With the possible exception of Facebook, it might just be the hottest social media phenomenon right now.
Why should golfers care? You can live a full and healthy life without Twitter, but it does provide some features that are helpful for keeping up with what's happening in golf. I'm still fairly new to Twitter (you can find me at Promey if you are so inclined), but I have enjoyed the experience so far.
Twitter is in essence micro-blogging. It asks one very simple question: What are you doing? Users get 140 characters per tweet (or post) to tell us what they're doing, or reading, or thinking. With so few characters to work with, you have to choose your words carefully… or at the very least, shorten those URLs (a lot of the posts on Twitter refer readers to additional material). In addition to putting up really short posts, you can subscribe to other users really short posts or even search for really short posts on any subject you are interested in. (I know, that sounds kind of lame, but it really is pretty cool once you get into it.)
Aside from being able to search on what anyone is saying about any given subject, the second coolest thing about Twitter is being able to follow posters that you are interested in. Some are famous, some aren't. You can find a number of professional players on Twitter, like John Daly, seriously that John Daly, or Stewart Cink.
Number Three: What Constitutes Improving Your Lie?
One of the hottest topics on the Sand Trap Forum at the moment is a debate over a video of Kenny Perry possibly improving his lie during his playoff victory at the FBR Open.
At the beginning of the video, the ball is barely visible in the rough beside the green. Perry taps his wedge in the rough a few times behind the ball to either test the lie or for more nefarious reasons. Then he steps away to take a practice swing. For whatever reason, a lot more of the ball is visible at the end of the video than at the beginning.
Watch the video and put in your two cents over in the Tour Talk section of the Sand Trap forum.
Number Two: What's the Second-Best Tour?
For the third time in two years, an amateur has won on the European Tour. Last weekend, Shane Lowry prevailed in the Irish Open in a playoff. Earlier this year, Danny Lee took the Johnny Walker Classic. Two years ago, Pablo Martin won the Portugal Open.
Lowry's win was more than just a stirring win by the local guy (Lowry is Irish), it also raised questions about the depth of the field on the European Tour. It's not like an amateur victory happens every day, at least not on the other pro tours.
The last amateur to win on the PGA Tour was Phil Mickelson, in 1991. And only Daniel Summerhays, who won in 2007, has won as an amateur on the Nationwide tour.
With the strong European Ryder Cup Teams of recent years, how can the European PGA Tour be a weak tour? Consider that since many of the top Euro players split time on the PGA Tour, there are actually many more "split field" events on the Euro Tour. I tend to think that it's still the number two tour most weeks, despite the amateur wins.
Number One: Will We See Phil at Bethpage Black?
Amy Mickelson is one of the most visible Tour wives. Whether you're a Phil fan or not, he and his wife are very good for the PGA Tour. Aside from providing a "near" rival for Tiger, Phil is, arguably, the second most important player to the Tour.
This week Phil announced that he is suspending his Tour season to support his wife Amy who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. While Phil doesn't always make the right play on the course, he is right on with this decision. I can speak for all of us at the Sand Trap when I say, "We are all pulling for Amy and Phil in this! Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Here's hoping that Amy is quickly on the mend."
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