2005 Merchandise Show Wrap-Up

The 2005 PGA Merchandise Show has come to a close. Here’s a tasty little summary.

PGA LogoNext year, The Sand Trap should be well-represented at the PGA Merchandise Show. This year we must suffice with linking to another site for coverage. For more images than you can shake a stick at, check out equip2golf’s 2005 report.

Just because we weren’t there, though, doesn’t mean we don’t have some thoughts.

Several of the big names, including Titleist, TaylorMade, and Ping, were absent as usual. These companies tend to release products when they’re ready (Titleist) or every other week (TaylorMade), and are not pressured into releasing a barrage of new products at or slightly before the yearly merchandise show. Besides, does Ping really want to be 30 feet away from a company that sells nothing but ball mark repair tools?

Finger Strength

Strengthening your hand (not your grip) is one of the most inexpensive ways to improve your golf game.

Squeeze BallGrip strength can mean one of two things, either how tightly or loosely you hold a club or where your hands are positioned on the club. Finger strength is another thing entirely.

It used to be that after a long session on the range, my hands would be rather tired. While we only take 30 to 50 strokes on the golf course (putts don’t quite count), it’s not uncommon to take 100 to 200 (or more) strokes on the driving range when working on an issue.

Hope (and Some New Sticks) Propel Leonard

Justin Leonard, playing in only his second tournament with his new Nike equipment, earns victory, breaking a 22-month dry spell for the 1997 Open champion.

Justin Leonard, who signed with Nike only 25 days ago and who missed his first cut with Nike equipment at last week’s Buick Invitational, today shot 5-under 67 to capture the 2005 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic at 28-under 332.

Joe Ogilvie, who led the tournament after four rounds, remains winless after six years on tour. He shot a closing-round 73 and finished T2 with Tim Clark at -25, three back. Ogilvie joked “The rain dance didn’t work. I was trying for a rainout today, but that didn’t happen.”

Said Leonard of this victory, his first in 22 months since the 2003 Honda, “it will inspire me a bit, knowing that one is not enough. I’ve been sitting on eight wins for almost two years, and it’s nice to get a ninth.” Leonard had only three top-10s last year and finished 42nd on the money list with $1.5 million. He failed to qualify for the Tour Championship for the first time since joining the PGA Tour.

As the last two Hope champions went on to capture the Green Jacket of Augusta, Leonard may now be the odds-on favorite to capture the Masters.

Photo Credit: © Nike

Saturday at the Bob Hope

A 3-under 69 was good enough to keep journeyman Joe Ogilvie two shots ahead of Peter Lonard. Can Justin Leonard make a Sunday charge?

Joe OgilvieJoe Ogilvie is holding on to a two-stroke lead going into the fifth and final round of the 2005 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. He managed only a 3-under 69 in Saturday’s round while Justin Leonard leapt into third with a 64 and Peter Lonard sits in second. Ogilvie’s round included an eagle and two birdies at La Quinta Country Club.

Peter Lonard also shot 69 and remains two strokes back. Justin Leonard, currently at -23, is three strokes back. Tim Clark is four back at 266, and Phil Mickelson, defending champ, sits with several others at 268, six back, after shooting a Saturday 68.


We’ve redesigned our site. Did we meet all ten of our design goals? Tell us what you think!

Yes, this is The Sand Trap. We’ve redesigned a little bit. Our design goals for this go-round were quite simple:

1. Have a good-looking menu.
If you dropped by before, you remember the little menu we had at the top. It served its purpose, but it wasn’t very attractive, it didn’t tempt people to look at the site, and it didn’t work in most versions of Internet Explorer. Our new menu, the “Article Topics” to the right, is far more attractive and user-friendly.

2. Move away from traditional “blog” look.
“Blogs” have a typical look. They emphasize the date, they have a strong “category” presence. They use usernames like “blingo” and “caseycat” (I’ve made those up, so if that’s your name, please take no offense). The line between a “blog” and a “news site” is blurry. We wanted to be on the latter side of that blur. I think we’ve succeeded.

Go Home, David, Please

Go home, David Duval. Get your game in shape or something, but until you do, please – just stay away.

David Duval NikeDavid Duval, at one point in the third round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, triple-bogeyed three straight holes. After three rounds of play on the relatively easy courses of the Bob Hope Chrylser Classic, Duval sits at +30. The leader, Joe Ogilvie, is “comfortably” fifty three strokes ahead. Lanny Wadkins, second-to-last, is 19 strokes clear of Duval. Davis Love III made more birdies on the back nine today than Duval has made in three full rounds of play, and we’re quite confident that were Sam Snead alive today, he too could beat David Duval.

Until last week, I was as big a Duval fan as you’re likely to find these days. I was happy that he finished T13 at last year’s Deutsche Bank Championship. As I said, until last week. Duval withdrew during one of the weather delays and returned to Colorado to get in some snowboarding. This week, he’s +30 after three rounds. This week, right now, I just wish the guy would stop embarrassing himself.

Congrats Arnie!

Arnold Palmer, 75, weds in Hawaii. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Palmer.

arnold_palmer.jpgFrom the Associated Press comes news that Arnold Palmer, age 75, was married yesterday in what is being described as “an intimate ceremony” in Hawaii. Vows were exchanged in a seaside cottage on a course Palmer designed at the Turtle Bay Resort.

While players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are very popular, perhaps no golfer – or athlete – has been as popular as Palmer has been over the last half-century since bursting onto the scene to win the 1958 Masters. The swashbuckling Palmer’s fame was further cemented when he charged to victory to win the 1960 U.S. Open, driving the first green, a 346-yard par 4, in the final round. Coming from behind by seven strokes heading into that final round gained Arnie’s Army a great number of recruits. Palmer would go on to win sixty-one times in the PGA Tour.

Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. Palmer.

Photo Credit: © Hear-It.

Ban Belly Putters? For the Good of the Game?

Where do you stand on the belly putter debate? Are they an unfair advantage? Or are they just as likely to help you miss putts?

USGAIt all began quite suddenly a year ago. After Ernie Els lost to Trevor Immelman at the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open, Els called for the USGA to ban belly putters. Since then the debate has raged on: should the USGA and R&A ban long putters? These putters have become all the rage with golfers who develop cases of the “yips” and can no longer keep short putters stable. Yet some golfers continued to cry out against belly putters. Even players like Colin Montgomerie who have resurrected their careers with these putters agree they’re an unfair advantage. Once again, the rumor mill is spinning and there are grumblings around golf that the USGA is about to make a ruling outlawing belly and long putters. New developments have only added fueled to this fiery debate: many new putter companies such as Yes! Golf haven’t introduced belly and long putter models. Furthermore, established ones like Titleist’s Scotty Cameron house haven’t added new belly putters to their existing lines. Where do you stand on the belly putter debate? Discuss it in our forum!

Bob Hope Chrysler Classic Round 2

Jeff Ogilvie takes the lead in the second round of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.

Joe OgilvieDuring the second day of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, the strong trend of low scoring continued across the professional ranks. Today it was Joe Ogilvie who took a three shot lead with a stellar nine-birdie, no-bogey round of 63. Ogilvie, who played at Bermuda Dunes, recognized that the most difficult rounds of golf were still to come, saying: “Mickelson shot a 64 today at La Quinta. I’d say technically he’s probably leading. Score-wise, I am, but technically I’d say he’s leading.” Indeed, Mickelson has played well early in this tournament, now at 14-under par after turning in rounds of 66 and 64. First round leader Robert Damron is also close behind 4-shots back with five other players.