Jim Furyk, Unorthodox But Effective

Jim Furyk is one of the PGA Tour’s most consistent players. He is the first featured in a new column called “ProFiles.”

James Taylor and Jim FurykThis column marks the beginning of a weekly feature called “ProFiles.” Our aim is to highlight high profile people associated with golf’s biggest stage. You can expect to see current PGA players, past greats, architects and influential people in the game featured one at a time every week. I’m looking foreword to looking at colorful characters in golf each week with you.

Jim Furyk is the player I’ve chosen for this first installment of “ProFiles.” I’m impressed with the kind of golf that Furyk has been playing this year even though we could safely say he has not found the kind of results that he might have became accustomed to through the middle of his career… yet. Jim Furyk is a bit of an anomaly on Tour as he has such a strange looking swing. In a day and age where many swing coaches are saying many of the same things about swing plane and technique Jim does not fit their profile. David Feherty once said he thought Furyk’s swing looked like “an octopus falling out of a tree.” Well, this octopus is a classy guy in my book.

The Most Important Stats: Yours

Numbers are everywhere in golf, but can they be used to help our game?

Welcome to The Numbers Game. Over the following weeks I will try to extract some sense from all of the numbers in golf. There is more to golf than just +1, -1 or for the less fortunate, quad, triple, snowman… well, you get what I’m talking about. No need to bring those things up. I’m going to look at statistics such as Greens in Regulation (GIR), Driving Accuracy, Putts per GIR, etc. and others in future articles to dig deeper into the players on tour and how they are performing. I may extrapolate some data to make predictions or I may look into the history and leave the conclusions to you. Hopefully we’ll all have some fun doing it.

Cialis Western Open Preview

Tiger and Vijay will do battle once again this week at the Cog Hill Golf and Country Club.

western_open_logo.gifThe Western Open is the oldest non-major golf tournament on the PGA Tour. That being said, it’s always a special tournament when the top two players in the world are in the field, and that is the case this week at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club. Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh played in the same tournament just two weeks ago at Pinehurst for the U.S. Open, and both players finished in the top 10. Tiger was the runner-up to Michael Campbell, and Singh finished in a tie for sixth. Just last week at the Barclays Classic, Vijay followed up his strong U.S. Open finish with a tie for seventh at Westchester.

HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship Preview

The best female golfers in the world are attempting to win one of the largest purses on the LPGA Tour at the HSBC World Match Play Championship.

hsbc_logo.jpgThe first regular-season women’s match-play event on U.S. soil since 1954 will take place this week at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, New Jersey. 64 of the top women’s golfers will tee it up in an attempt to grab the first-place check of $500,000, the second largest payday on tour. Only the U.S. Women’s Open has a larger first prize.

Augusta to be Lengthened

Augusta National is being lengthened yet again. Yawwwwwwn. When will these people ever learn that it ain’t distance that’s dropping scoring averages?

HootieAccording to various reports, Augusta National is going to be lengthened from 7,290 yards to 7,445 yards for the 2006 Masters, making it the second longest course in major championship history. Tees at holes 1, 4, 7, 11, 15, and 17 (pars 4, 3, 4, 4, 5, and 4) will be moved back.

The longest course in major history was Whistling Straits, which measured 7,514 when it hosted last year’s PGA Championship. Said Augusta National Chairman Hootie Johnson of the changes:

Since the first Masters in 1934, this golf course has evolved and that process continues. Our objective is to maintain the integrity and shot values of the golf course as envisioned by Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie. Players’ scores are not a factor. We will keep the golf course current with the times.

Hootie Johnson has also floated the idea – on several occasions – of having a special “Masters ball” that travelled shorter distances in an effort to reign in the obscene distances today’s pros are hitting the ball.

The Sand Trap – A New Take

The Sand Trap: now with a tad less news and a bit more commentary on the news, right alongside a new schedule and a dose of new columns.

Over the past few months, The Sand Trap has wandered a bit off course. For example, our daily recaps of PGA and LPGA action. That’s news you can get elsewhere.

The Sand Trap is heading in a new direction. Instead of news, you’ll get commentary on the news. We’re moving to a new publishing schedule, and I’d like to step through it with you. Comments are welcome.

These Girls Really Do Rock

The LPGA has finally proved to me that there is more to it than just Annika Sorenstam.

Thrash TalkI’ll admit that I have never been a big fan of the LPGA. I know a lot of people who aren’t, but they shy away from the question. I have enjoyed watching the PGA Tour since I started playing golf around 1996. The PGA Tour is the home of the best golfers in the world. I always believed the LPGA was just a sideshow like the WNBA is to the NBA. Don’t get me wrong, I have always respected the women that play the LPGA Tour, as many of them are just as athletic as their male counterparts. The LPGA Tour just didn’t have anything that set it apart from other sports. It was too easy for me to watch something else on television when the LPGA was on.

What’s In the Bag Isn’t Always What’s On the Bag

Sometimes the logo on your favorite player’s hat or bag doesn’t match up with the clubs and balls he uses. What’s up with that?

Bag DropA few eagle-eyed Bag Drop operatives have pointed out something that’s an open secret in the equipment business: sometimes pro tour players don’t use the gear they endorse. Now, if you’re the type that still believes in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, stop reading right now. But if you’re ready to face up to the fact that paid spokesmen (and women) sometimes don’t actually use the products they’re paid to gush about, read on.

Volume Fifteen

Here’s nine links for you to get going on a Monday.

There was a lot of good golf on television this weekend. Two sweet hole-outs for victories and two playoffs on the different tours. I found myself watching the U.S. Women’s Open more than anything else. I think it’s great to have all that young talent challenging the experienced players. Carolyn Vesper Bivens, the new LPGA commish, is going to have an amazing tour in a few years. Natalie Gulbis is getting herself in contention regularly, the teens are challenging Annika, and Annika is the greatest women golfer in a long time (and arguably, ever). I hope she plays her cards right.